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I have to think that this episode was made with the notion that it has been 100 episodes since Twilight became an alicorn. This is the 165th episode of the series.

Twilight has been invited by her parents to be part of a family vacation on board an airship. Shining Armor, Cadance, and Flurry Heart are also on board. It appears Twilight Velvet and Night Light won a contest for this vacation (without reading the fine print). However, it turns out the other ponies on board have paid to see the Twilight and Cadance courtesy of Iron Will now offering themed vacations with the motivational speaking market drying up.

Twilight offers to make a deal that she’ll perform the “Princess functions” as long as her family get to participate in events they want to. However, it turns hard on Twilight since she is unable to play bingo with her Dad, race boat with an airsick Shining Armor, or barrel riding with her Mom. Meanwhile, Cadance is watching Flurry Heart in the day care center on the ship. Plus, Twilight has a contest winner named Sky Tracker on her tail as an “honorary family member”.

Things come to a head when Twilight misses the Northern Stars after signing autographs. She even stomps on Sky Tracker’s foreleg in anger. A heart-to-heart with Cadance shows her that while she’ll always have responsibilities as a princess, there must be some boundaries set between responsibilities to others and responsibility to one’s self like Cadance had to draw when she had Flurry Heart.

Twilight apologizes to everyone and, gasp!, goes off schedule to treat every pony to ice cream. Meanwhile, Iron Will jumps the ship after he loopholes his way out of facing customers who learn that the cruise never guaranteed the participation of “actual princesses.”

In the end, Twilight is treated to a family version of the Northern Stars show and finally gets some downtime with her family.

This was a very sweet episode despite Iron Will’s participation (who’s even more of a jerk here than in “Putting Your Hoof Down”). We’ve seen family episodes featuring five of the Mane Six (we haven’t gone in depth with Rarity’s parents, yet) and just about all of them so far have been very good episodes. “The Perfect Pear” is still the best of the five, but I have to feel it’s now a toss-up between this and “Parental Glidance” for second.

In “A Flurry of Emotions”, Twilight needed to draw a line with adding babysitting her niece on top of a full schedule for the sake of spending more time with her. Here, the line needs to be drawn with regard to keeping everypony happy and keep herself happy. Sometimes Twilight needs some…ahem…”Twilight Time.”

Still, this was a very enjoyable episode with Twilight and her family and one of the top entries of Season Seven.

GRADE: A

StatManDan

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721 – “Once Upon a Zeppelin”

Written by: Charles Demers
Twilight is torn when she discovers the cruise she and her family are on is a themed vacation experience in which ponies have paid for the privilege of spending time with her, and she must please both her family and the cruise.

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According to Box Office MojoMy Little Pony: The Movie will open at around 2,500 theaters next weekend. By comparison, Blade Runner 2049, opening on the same weekend, is set to open in 3,900+ theaters and The Lego Ninjago Movie opened at 4,047 theaters, but has grossed just $23.6M domestically as of ThursdayTransformers: The Last Knight opened in 4,069 theaters on June 16th and ended up grossing $130M domestically (and over $475M overseas). The 1986 MLP Movie’s widest release was in just over 1,000 theaters.

It is possible for a film to open in more theaters as it’s run progresses (read:  Zootopia), though it is up to the fandom to come out and see the movie wherever it’s being played. If you are concerned about all the teaser material and trailers coming out in the lead up to the movie, go see the movie and see how it all comes together anyway. It’s a lot more fun that way.

Let’s be honest, it would be an immense leap of faith if this movie were to gross as much as the likes of Zootopia and Frozen. However, it is imperative for this fandom to support this movie by going out to the nearest theater that’s showing it (and not create and spread pirate copies).

StatManDan

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With their counsel high in demand, the Cutie Mark Crusaders open a day camp to help foals and foster teamwork as that’s how the CMC got their cutie marks. All the foals are enthusiastic about it (one of them getting a cutie mark for haikus on the first day) except for one—Rumble—who was last seen in “Hurricane Fluttershy”. He has grown up a bit since and his big brother Thunderlane is now in the Wonderbolts.

Rumble could not be more disinterested in the camp’s activities, nor a cutie mark in general. He’s afraid that once he gets a cutie mark, he’ll be boxed into doing just one thing for the rest of his life. Rumble convinces others to break from the camp for a while. The CMC are flummoxed by this. How can a foal not want a cutie mark?

So they go to Thunderlane to see what’s up? Thunderlane discloses that since he himself became a Wonderbolt, Rumble wanted to emulate him. He is good at the camp’s activities, but he is afraid the cutie mark will prevent him from becoming a Wonderbolt. That is what Apple Bloom concludes and they bring in Thunderlane as a guest of their camp.

Bored from being limited by what activities they could do (that could lead to a cutie mark), the foals return one-by-one to the CMC camp and learn that their cutie marks will not prevent them from doing just one thing for the rest of their lives.

This episode presents the CMC with a unique problem: What to do about a foal who DOESN’T want a cutie mark? After seeing nearly five seasons worth of the CMC obsessing over them, it’s actually interesting to see how they come across a pony who isn’t as enthusiastic about them.

You could be forgiven if you were expecting Starlight Glimmer to appear at some point. What didn’t work was the song which ran a bit long and Rumble being a bit jerky at times. I also feel there was a missed opportunity to have either Starlight or one of the Mane Six come in to talk to Rumble, but asking Thunderlane is a viable substitute.

The episode is not overly spectacular, but it is still a good episode nonetheless that presented the CMC with a challenge they have not come across.

GRADE: B+

StatManDan

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“The Making of My Little Pony the Movie”

Behind the scenes for the making of My Little Pony the Movie.

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722 – “Marks and Recreation”

Written by: May Chan
Wanting to help as many blank flanks as possible, the CMCs start a Cutie Mark Day Camp, but are surprised when one of their campers doesn’t want a cutie mark.

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