MLP:FIM season 4, episodes 6 & 7 – “Power Ponies” and “Bats!” – thoughts and review

So, I wasn’t quite able to catch up before the most recent ep aired, but now I only have a few left, and then I WILL be caught up, finally! I’d like to get to a point where I’m actually reviewing an ep ON the weekend it airs, each weekend; there’s just been a lot of other stuff going on lately.

And now, a couple of slightly fluffier pieces.

“Power Ponies” was teased back when that season 4 animatic thing was released. At the time, it looked like it might have been some kind of dream sequence or something; as it turns out, that’s not too far from the truth, as Spike’s comic book sucks him and the mane 6 into its world, where they must adopt the ponysonas of the comic’s heroes in order to defeat its hilarious, batshit insane villain: Mane-iac, who is more or less a cross between King Sombra and Millia from Guilty Gear.

NOPONY TOUCHES THE HAIR

NOPONY TOUCHES THE HAIR

I don’t really have a lot to say about this one, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t entertaining, because it certainly was! I’m not that knowledgeable about most superhero comics, so I didn’t immediately make all the connections as to which character each pony was supposed to represent, though some of them were really easy – Filli-Second (Pinkie) being based on the Flash, Zapp (Dash) more-or-less being Thor, and of course, Flutterhulk.

It was interesting seeing Spike put in this position of wanting to help but being unable to (well, until the end that is), because it did reflect what things are sometimes like in the “normal” show, to some degree – at least at times. Spike simply doesn’t have anything in the way of powers, to speak of, and when the mane 6 face down an actual threat, there’s not a whole lot of direct action he can take against said threat. But what he’s good at is supporting the others, taking action with more indirect means, and being resourceful. He just forgot that for a little while.

Seeing the ponies adapt to having their powers was lots of fun. Rarity, in particular, was a hoot. Dashie almost didn’t seem any different from normal. “Huh, lightning powers? All right, cool.” And off she goes.

The exception, of course, was Fluttershy. And – also of course – the one thing we were all waiting for and wondering throughout the ep was: when’s she gonna use her powers? It became clear before too long that they were saving it up for something big right at the end, and they certainly delivered on that. Especially the “big” part! I think the best part about that scene was the utterly flabbergasted, “Holy. Shit.” reactions of the rest of the mane 6 as Flutters just loses it and wins what’s left of the battle for them.

Twilight: Okay, just to be sure... everypony else is seeing this too, right?

Twilight: Okay, just to be sure… everypony else is seeing this too, right?

As to the comic book, the idea that it just comes out of nowhere doesn’t really bother me. I’ve seen some complaints that its unexplained inclusion has really big implications for the world, in terms of how magic works, because here you have a simple comic book that can do something as extraordinary as create an alternate universe and pull seven individuals into it (or something similarly out there), and Spike simply bought it in a store somewhere, just like that, apparently without even fully realizing what he was buying. But to me, there is a far simpler explanation: they were never in any real danger. It wasn’t an “alternate universe”, per se, as much as a really fancy, magic-based version of some kind of interactive video game, or a holodeck. One that they didn’t realize would do what it did and was triggered accidentally. Spike may have walked into the shop that sells these specialized, interactive comics, and when asked if he knew what they were, waved the shopkeeper off, saying “Yeah, yeah. I know what these are, I’ve been collecting em for years!” And that was the end of it.

Of course, this still leaves open the question of why it disappeared at the end, and for that, I don’t really have a good explanation… Oh well.

Anyway, all of that said, this was a fun, lighthearted adventure, and certainly was different from what we’re used to. Power Ponies gets an 8.5 from me.

“Bats!”, for the most part, is fairly fluffy as well, but something that is actually very interesting, and a bit unusual, happened. At the end, instead of somehow making it so everyone was vindicated, they pretty much demonstrate that Fluttershy was right and they really should have listened to her from the get-go, because that happens in life. Well-meaning and intelligent people/ponies can just do the wrong thing sometimes, and that’s what happened here. Twilight and Applejack’s desire for an immediate solution was understandable given the situation, but it was still the wrong decision. Also, the moment Twilight came up with the idea to use magic to change the eating habits of the vampire bats, one thought immediately jumped into my head: “Uh, remember what happened last time you did that?”

cause it worked out SO well in that instance...

cause it worked out SO well in that instance…

This was another one of those episodes that was just lots of fun to watch. The song was pretty amusing, and I also liked how AJ showed her concern for her friends by being willing to sacrifice that prized super apple.

Flutterbat was definitely amazing. Fluttershy is generally my least favorite character of the mane 6, even though I still love her (there really aren’t any characters I dislike, just some I like more than others), but this was a REALLY neat little trip for her to take. Visually, Flutterbat had a great design, and there was just something fantastic about the whole idea (especially with having it be Fluttershy, of all ponies, personality-wise). And damn it, I’ll say it: she’s honestly MORE adorable with those fangs! In fact, I really liked the Flutterbat design overall. I know it’s unlikely in the extreme, but I’d love to see this again!

I should be disturbed, but all I can think is HNNNNNNNG

I should be disturbed, but all I can think is HNNNNNNNG

I do wonder if they’re setting something up at the end, or whether it’s just meant to be a fun little addendum to the shenanigans of the episode. (Been wondering the same thing about the ending to “Castle-Mane-ia”, too…) In any case, if it even comes up again at all, I really hope she keeps the fangs! And I hope it DOES come up again, honestly; I think there is the potential for a bit more here, if there are some other lasting effects aside from those fangs.

I loved Pinkie Pie just drilling straight down into the ground like BYE, only to reappear two minutes later! This episode also delivered yet another amazing Tabitha St. Germain moment. “Fluttershy, sweetness, please come down. And, do stop being a vampire bat.” That lady can deliver lines like nopony else. Is it just me, or have such moments been coming at a higher pace this season?

Great episode overall. This one gets a solid 9 from me.

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