I like TV Dude's review, but want to add some other things about this episode.
It was kinda frustrating how nobody got what they came there to do except Spike and Fluttershy (she got the bird whistle) There were also some plot points that didn't make sense and were frustrating.
When Rarity and Applejack pool their items to get something, they never reveal what it is they're trading! And if other traders are so specific like that one pony wanted a rusty old horseshoe for a crystal chalice... who's to say that they couldn't have both gotten what they wanted with their own stuff?
The trading day went by really fast. There wasn't a whole lot of dilly dallying or time passing montages so it seems the open trading time was only 30 minutes or so! Haha I know in real life it can seem like that sometimes, but for such a special event it seemed short. Also didn't the trading end at sundown, but afterwards it was still quite bright even when the episode ended? I'll have to rewatch the end.
When Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash were pulling the Orthros towards the book stand, first of all, wasn't the book stand right next to the creature stand? Also, both of them have wings. Either could have flown over that rather sparse crowd to tell the book pony to wait. I liked that they used the benefit of flight earlier and also to show Fluttershy's attempt at scaring away the trader. Haha it's probably how I would have tried.
Plus when Fluttershy drops the bear call she doesn't go back for it later. It was probably still there! I've dropped stuff and been halfway across town before I've noticed, but I'd say 90% of the time I go back to look for it I find it. In real life it frustrates me to no end when people lose something, never attempt to find it, and write it off as gone. Matter doesn't just disappear so easily.
I want to give Rainbow Dash some credit for trying to trade Fluttershy off for the book. First, it wasn't like Fluttershy would be gone forever, and even though Rainbow Dash's element is loyalty it's also her most challenged principle. That's how each pony proved their element - by overcoming a challenge that had to do with their principle. It's kinda like in the Leap of Faith episode, Applejack's honesty was put on trial (I was wondering why all those ponies seemed to think AJ's seal of approval meant so much!)
FInally, the most frustrating thing was that at "Twilight's court" the issue was just to reverse the trade, but I think the book pony's word should have been considered. She DID say to Rainbow that if she could get the Orthros she could have the book. Then after a long ordeal that pony went back on her terms of the deal.
I like that they didn't go with the trope that being true to your frends will get you everything you want, but the ways Rarity, AJ, and Rainbow Dash lost out on their goal was pretty cheaply done. In fact, this episode seemed lacking focus on a moral of the story. At first I thought it was going to be stuff intrinsically special to you (like Rainbow's lucky horseshoe) isn't going to be special to others. Then I thought it was about how it's difficult to agree on what's valuable. It could have even been about being gracious vs being generous. In the end it seemed like the moral was "nothing is worth more than your
Also wasn't Twilight's revelation that books she doesn't have room for and probably wont read again are still worth having around because she has sentimental value in them? Is she going to become a hoarder? :P
We're finally in the homestretch here, everypony. After a week off with no ponies, they're back with the final new episodes of the season. This time, the episode centers around a place we've seen this past season, Rainbow Falls. To be more specific, for a trading convention.
Now before I begin, I want to say that when I first heard of this episode, this sounded similar to Best Night Ever, from way back in season 1. Considering both this episode and the other involved the Mane 7's plans not going well, it sounded too similar. Scott Sonneborn is the writer again, who did a good job with Somepony to Watch Over Me. So was this episode a complete ripoff of Best Night Ever, or did we get a solid episode?
We open up to Rainbow Falls, where Pinkie is excited that they're all going to the Rainbow Falls Trader's Exchange. It turns out that not only are they going to the exchange, but Twilight's also going to be doing royal duties there as princess. At first, she thinks nopony will notice, but it quickly becomes apparent otherwise.
After that, we hear what the others plan to do at the exchange. Spike wants to trade a mint condition Power Ponies comic(Make sure that one doesn't take somepony into it, for another one. Rainbow wants to find a signed edition of the first Daring Do book. Fluttershy is going to trade a bear call whistle for a bird call one. Rarity and Applejack both want to find some antiques. Finally, Twilight wants to get rid of some old books.
Rainbow and Fluttershy go to a Daring Do stand and finds her book. She tries to trade it for a rusty horseshoe,(Hey! Somepony tell that old mare from Sleepless in Ponyville that we found her rusty horseshoe at last!) but the trader refuses to take it. She does say that she'll trade the book for a new creature in the show, an Orthros, a two headed dog. For me, I always like seeing new creatures introduced to us in the show.
Meanwhile, Rarity and Applejack both tell each other they found something they want, but because they pooled their resources together, one of the two objects would require that all their items to trade for it. Applejack wants to trade their stuff for an old pie tin that can cook pies five seconds faster. Rarity wants to trade for a brooch that looks like the one she's got, but it's much older. It results in them arguing with each other and trying to convince one another to take their stuff to trade. I wish I was kidding here, but this is as far as this plot point goes. Throughout the remainder of the episode, save for the end, we see them constantly argue with each other about who should get what. Talk about filler.
Back to Twilight and Pinkie, we see a filly wants to trade a broken pen for all of Twilight's books, but Pinkie points out a rule that a trade isn't fair if both parties don't get what they want and scares the filly away. So not only does Pinkie like to make others smile, she likes to intimidate them. She then dresses up like the Flim Flam Bros, complete with a mustache, and draws in a crowd for the books. Twilight tries to make Pinkie stop, but she wants to help her regardless.
Back to Fluttershy and Rainbow, we see that they are doing a fetch quest. The Orthros keeper, who looks like he belongs in a renaissance fair, wants a lamp. The lamp trader turns out to have nothing but Discord lamps. I guess while Discord isn't causing trouble, he's making a profit for his image. He'll trade the lamp for an antique chicken statue. The chicken vendor will trade one for a crystal goblet. Is it me, or does this sound very familiar? We'll come back to that later though.
Rainbow is able to trade in her rusty horseshoe(Great, now somepony's going to be stuck with the old mare looking for it) to the crystal vendor, but it breaks. After a small scene where we see Rarity and Applejack argue, we cut back to Rainbow and Fluttershy, who have fixed the goblet. They give it to the statue guy, who breaks it because he needs it for a picture he's making. They then trade it in for the Orthros and are about to get to the Daring Do stand, but it's closing up.
Fluttershy uses her bear call to scare away the crowd blocking them and go to the trader, but she says she no longer wants the Orthros. She says that she saw how crazy it was and decided against it. Fluttershy convinces the pony that while Orthtros' are hard, they just need to be properly trained. This convinces the vendor to take the offer, but only if Fluttershy comes with her to Manehatten to train it, which would take a long time. Rainbow, who wants the book a lot, takes the offer, but she quickly regrets it when she sees Fluttershy leaving. Way to be loyal to your friends, Rainbow.
Back to Twilight, who hasn't done anything, and Pinkie, things take a bad turn when Pinkie goes overboard about the books, causing the crowd to leave. Rainbow then comes forward and tells Twilight she needs to use her duties to proclaim a trade was unfair.
We then see a makeshift trial(Insert The People's Court theme here), where Twilight finally does something other than stand to the side. She does find that Rainbow did agree to the trade, thus making it fair. She then makes a speech where she realizes she was in the wrong and that while she wanted the book badly, she shouldn't have traded her friend in over it. This makes the vendor touched and decides to give back Fluttershy in exchange for the book back.
So the Trader's Exchange ends, Spike ends up getting a new comic, book with an image on it that looks like Darth Vader, and everypony goes home. Rarity and Applejack's side plot of which item they should get comes to an end when they both get each other something. Yeah, we don't even see how they resolve it or anything. Rainbow trades the Orthros for a bird call that Fluttershy wanted. And the episode concludes with Rainbow being given Twilight's first edition of Daring Do and Rainbow reading it.
Well what do I need to say here? Two weeks waiting for this episode and this is what we got? An episode that's just lacking in many things.
For one thing, despite the fact this is supposed to center around everypony, the one who gets the most focus is Rainbow Dash. This is just like Games Ponies Play, where despite it was about everypony, Rainbow took over the episode. This is far worse though. Oh, sure we got the others interacting as well, but they don't do much. The plot point of Rarity and Applejack's disagreement doesn't "threaten their friendship", nor does it go anywhere. It just stops abruptly and comes to a conclusion, with no satisfaction about how they resolved their problem.
Twilight, despite overseeing the thing, doesn't do her royal duties until the very end of the episode. Hell, it would've been really good to see Twilight be placed in a confrontation between her friends about who should get the better deal. In other words, which of her friends should she side with?
Speaking of which, Rainbow gets the biggest criticism here. I did give her some major props in the last episode because of how I can relate to her. Well now those points are taken away here. Seriously, for somepony who's the Element of Loyalty, she can sell her friends off really fast. Now granted she realized what a stupid idea it was, but it was just uncalled for here. For Rainbow to just sell off her friends like that over something trivial, she should've been slapped in the face harshly for that. I mean wow, Rainbow. Way to take a nosedive in terms of being likable.
As for the story, I figured out quickly it wasn't ripping off Best Night Ever. No, it was very similar to an Ed, Edd, n' Eddy episode. Remember the one where the Eds went on a fetch quest for an egg? Well you'll quickly see how Rainbow's attempt to get the book is very similar to it. Now it's not done poorly, nor is it a point for point ripoff, but you can't help but make the comparison to it.
This episode also suffers something from Rarity Takes Manehatten. It's ending is really rushed. There's no sign of "friendship is at risk" thing until the very end, when Rainbow decides to trade Fluttershy in for the book. Everypony else though didn't feel any strain on their friendship. By the time we get to the "friendship is at risk" point, the episode is almost over and it gets resolved way too quickly. I could let Rarity Takes Manehatten slide for how rushed it was because of the song, but there's no excuse here.
The jokes are pretty much what saves this episode overall. I did like the running gag with Rainbow explaining what she needed each time. Not to mention Pinkie trying to be like a salespony was entertaining to see. Those things kept the episode afloat for the most part.
Another thing to this episode's favor is that we did get introduced to a new creature. As I said before, I always love seeing new creatures added to the show. Finally, I do like that despite Spike getting little dialogue, he's the only one who really got what he wanted. We even saw him negotiate for it a few times. We can add master negotiator to the list of things he's good at.
But really, the cons outweigh the pros by a big margin. Its story is way too loose for us to care. The side plot lines get disappointingly resolved without explanation. Rainbow ultimately takes over the episode and acts like a complete moron, who would rather sell her friends for a book. Let's not forget the whole "friendship is at risk" plot point is shoehorned in there and then quickly resolved for a moral that's done really poorly.
If you want to see the whole "fetch quest" story done better, I implore you watch the Ed, Edd, n' Eddy episode, Who, What, When, Where, Ed? instead. It handled that better and it was only 11 minutes.
Next time, we begin our double dose of Spike episodes, when Meghan McCarthy and Corey Powell have him use a magic spell to help Rarity, but things don't go according to plan.
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