Episode Review: My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic (Season 5, Episode 19) – The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows
Well, this was another big surprise, like last week’s episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. That episode made me throw aside my intended weekly review for an 11th hour review of that game-changing episode.
This week’s episode wasn’t as big of a deal, but like Crusaders of the Lost Mark, it’s been playing over-and-over, and is still providing me with some laughs. Ergo, I felt I should expound a bit on the latest episode: The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows.
While working at Sugarcube Corner, Mrs Cake lets Pinkie Pie see an upcoming order, in relation to an impending visit from Shining Armor, and Princess Cadance (Twilight Sparkle’s Brother, and her Sister-in-law). The order reveals something super-secret, that Mrs Cake swears Pinkie to secrecy on.
Can the excitable pink pony keep this secret from her friends and all of Ponyville…and keep her sanity?
From past experience, Pinkie Pie has often been the odd-pony-out of the show’s “Mane 6” cast. Though she can be a little over-excited at times, she often means well, and tries her best to be friends with everybody.
She has had some episodes in the past that I still like to watch (such as Season 1’s episode Party of One, and Season 4’s episode Pinkie Pride), but sometimes, her characterization can make-or-break an ensemble episode.
Gillian M Berrow (aka G.M. Berrow) has been associated with the series for awhile now, but only in regards to several of the series’ chapter-books, and Equestria Girls book adaptations. Pinkie Knows is her first official writing for the series, and it serves as an interesting episode to dissect.
This episode has a strange “habit,” of punctuating certain scenes with minor flashbacks, which if we see some further episodes written by Berrow, may be something to watch for, to see if this might be one of her recurring writing “trademarks.” The flashbacks didn’t really detract from the story, but they did strike me as having a “oh yeah, now that you mention it” feel to them.
The story also plays around a bit with pushing some of the characters and scenarios, something that writer Dave Polsky does quite a bit with his episodes. However, unlike some of his episodes that seem to have a few-too-many jokes or scenarios that fall flat, so much of what Berrow does here, actually works well, largely thanks to the situations, and what the animators at DHX do with Pinkie Pie.
It feels like Andrea Libman really got the chance to do a little more with Pinkie’s voice in this episode. Libman’s voice seems to squash-and-stretch with Pinkie’s ever-changing attitudes and scenarios, running the gamut of happy, sad, annoyed, nervous, hyper, and many more. Even Pinkie’s little moments of small-talk with herself are entertaining, with a few lines that really made me laugh out loud.
An added bonus to the episode, is the visitation of Shining Armor and Cadance. Though their time is relegated to a very small amount, it was nice to see them in a situation where they were not under duress like almost all their previous appearances (seriously, I was beginning to worry for Cadance after her last few outings!). Plus, we get one of the best brother/sister moments between Twilight and Shining, since the first episode of A Canterlot Wedding.
Where the episode may fall short in the eyes of many, is that it does get a little ‘long in the tooth’ with every-other-pony referencing something that in some way relates to the secret Pinkie is trying to keep. A ‘secret-keeping’ episode I feel could maybe work in a smaller-dosed, 7-11 minute segment/episode (or comic book storyline).
When something like Pinkie Knows is stretched out over 22 minutes, it becomes a bit of a chore to keep the bits interesting. Berrow I will say, does do a decent job on the episode, but it feels like it all goes on a little too long.
The other ‘Mane 6’ characters that are not Pinkie or Twilight, have been largely relegated to the cheerleading box for this episode, giving a few lines here-and-there, depending on the situation. As well, the townsponies almost feel like the old-school background ponies that come forward to support the story, depending on what ‘mood’ the episode needs them to be.
In that way, The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows is an episode that almost feels like it could fit right into the first 2 seasons. It does remind me a bit of episodes like The Ticket Master, Green Isn’t Your Color, or even A Bird in The Hoof.
Final Episode Grade: B
(Final Episode Thoughts: G.M. Berrow helms her first television episode of My Little Pony, and delivers a fun story, that almost feels like a lost episode from the first few seasons. Though it does get a little flimsy with the way it keeps taunting Pinkie Pie to spill her secret, the episode never grows boring, thanks in part to Andrea Libman’s vocals, and the way the show’s animators keep doing so much with Pinkie’s animation. As well, the additional interaction between Twilight Sparkle, Shining Armor, and Princess Cadance, proved to work a bit better than their last few meetings)