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2018 Holiday Special - Best Gift Ever

Discussion in 'Episode Discussion' started by Loganberry, 27 September 2018.

  1. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    [​IMG]

    Air date:
    27 October 2018

    Writers: Michael Vogel

    Synopsis: "With her new school taking up her time and Shining Armor, Cadance and Baby Flurry Heart coming to visit, Twilight is behind on her to-do list. She hasn't even begun to shop! Luckily her friends are here to help! Instead of one gift for every pony, they decide to do a Hearthswarming Helper and give just one gift to the pony whose cutie mark they pull out of Applejack's hat."

    We're getting a post-season special this year! It looks as though this will be based around the Equestrian equivalent of a Secret Santa, and for those who wish to see such things there's a trailer out on Hasbro's YouTube channel. Be warned, though: the trailer contains spoilers, including at least one very large one. As such, I'll place it behind a cut.


    Please use spoiler-cuts until 24 hours after the special has aired on Discovery Family. Thank you.
     
  2. Danishbrony2011

    Danishbrony2011 Honorary Pony

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    Something to fill out the Winter hiatus.
     
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  3. Eunos the Fool

    Eunos the Fool Proud Hater of Sparity

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    I enjoyed it for most part.

    But that ending really made me angry.. I need to go calm down now.
     
  4. moody magpie

    moody magpie One shall stand, one shall fall.

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    Well this was a lot of fun.
    For a guy who doesn't like Chirstmas I really enjoyed this one. It had a lot of good moments like seeing the return of Rainbow Falls, Derpy speaking for the first time in years, but the thing that made me laugh the most was Dash and Discord dressed as Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow from GI Joe. The songs were ok but not very memorable. If there anything I didn't like about this is that I am still not a fan of Flurry Heart (BTW her winter outfit is a nod to one that Maggie wears in The Simpsons.) Also poor Marble Pie, poor, poor Marble Pie. Overall an enjoyable special which gets an 8/10 from me.
     
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  5. Cendaquenta

    Cendaquenta Honorary Pony

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    *suddenly slams back into the fandom*
    what happened to Marble?
     
  6. Recurrent Trotting

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    fun Christmas special
    the good
    the song at the start was catchy
    the christmas vibe of the ep worked - Auntie Twi being visited by Cadance and Shining :3
    Discord's line were pretty good - reindeer ex machina :p
    the characters were all on point and their mini present stories all worked. Twi obsessing, Rarity giving her present away, Flutters getting fleeced, AJ being too busy helping others, Spike falling asleep on his present and waking up in glitter, Dash trying to give the first thing that comes to hoof until she's given an impossible challenge, Pinkie going to the ends of the earth to get the perfect present from a smug omniscient reindeer.
    Rarity's accessories - that fur hat!

    the meh
    mostly the ending - no one thing sticks out, but it didn't feel natural

    other things
    Pie family was good. still love commander grouchy. Poor Marble though D:
     
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  7. Mane25

    Mane25 Honorary Pony

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    Extra long episode was a real treat.

    I had no spoilers for this so everything was a total surprise. The double length gave the story a lot of room to breathe and not feel rushed (they should do more of this). I really liked the ending. Really good and definitely one that I'll want to watch again around Christmas, more-so than other hearth's warming episodes.

    I wonder though,
    speculating, did they plan/make this just after S7 and delay it a year because of the movie? Because conspicuously nothing from the movie or S8 seems to be referenced as far as I could tell.

    ... Seriously?
     
  8. Blissful690

    Blissful690 New Pony

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    Well, the student six showed up for a bit during the opening song.
     
  9. Mane25

    Mane25 Honorary Pony

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    Ah yes so they did. I just thought it was odd that none of the (new) species from the movie or S8 were shown in the ending sequence.
     
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  10. Eunos the Fool

    Eunos the Fool Proud Hater of Sparity

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    Yes seriously.

    The one thing I truly detest about the show and they shoved it right down my throat this special.

    Everything else was cool though :)
     
  11. Candy Yunagi

    Candy Yunagi Wishes she could be a cat

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    Some lovely slice of life, I really liked it.

    PUDDING!

    Seriously, though, it was great, in a warm, cozy, season 1 type way. A bit of light adventure for some, but nothing too epic. Twilight's obligatory freak outs were fun, and it does stand to reason that with her assistant elsewhere, she wouldn't be able to stop herself going Twilynanas. It's great to see Shining, Cadence and Flurry again, though I have to wonder what Twi's parents were busy doing. AJ and Fluttershy were paired together for a strange cross between Trade Ya and Viva Las Pegasus. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, but it was just one of the weaker subplots, in my opinion. Pinkie's subplot was reminiscent of Party Pooped, but it also reminded me a lot of A Very Minty Christmas from G3. I think it's pretty cool that reindeer are now canon, though it might have been nice to see a whole race of them. I did like the three we saw, though I sadly fear that we may not see them again. I thought Rarity also had a good subplot. I'm not quite sure about that scene with Derpy, though. We know that she's really clumsy, but I never really thought of her being that slow on the uptake. I think her portrayal in Slice of Life was more fair. Even so, it's great to see her, and she is absolutely adorable when she's clueless like that. It's really nice that Rarity's accidental gift inspired Pistachio to pursue fashion, and it's really heartwarming that his parents are so supportive, even though they clearly don't get it. And so is Rarity being generous both with her time, and with the gift she intended for Applejack. Rainbow's subplot kinda felt like it was Discord's, but it wasn't that bad. Discord himself basically acted as he did in Princess Twilight Sparkle and The Break Up Breakdown, being mischievous and deceptive, but ultimately doing good. Winterchilla/winterzilla is a decent pun, as well.

    I did get an earlier season vibe from it. From the focus on the mane 6, leaving little time for developing side characters; to Fluttershy seemingly being at roughly season 5 timidness, to Spike's apparent crush on Rarity, which I don't think has been mentioned in the show for a while. She probably should let him down gently if she's not interested, since he is really starting to grow up now. I have to say, though, that was a great use of the "infatuation" music from Simple Ways. Big Mac and Sugar Belle were adorable, but it sucks that Marble had to see that. I know exactly how she feels. It is great to see the Pie family again, along with Grand Pear, as well. It kinda seems like Flurry is just there to cause problems, so I guess I'm still not the biggest fan of her. It's nice to see Shining actually in some kind of action even just for two seconds :p. I can understand that there was no real time to develop everyone, especially with such a massive cast, but it would've been nice to at least see the student six in the ending montage. It also seems weird that Starlight and Trixie would choose not to join the rest at the end.

    The first song was a lot of fun, and the last got steadily better as it went (I think there were only two?). It's a nice moral, but it would've been nice if each of them had ended up with an unconventional but meaningful gift. Never mind a song, Spike should've given Rarity the guitar. We already know she's secretly a rock goddess. I had been trying to guess who the narrator was, and it would've been nice it was was someone we already knew. Alice does fit, though.

    Also, I had to notice that there was a Lyra lookalike with a pink mane and different cutie mark at Rainbow Falls. Have we seen her before? I'm pretty sure the real Lyra was wandering around Ponyville with Bon Bon, as usual.
     
  12. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    Only seen it once so far, but I quite enjoyed it...
    They really piled on the fan service, though, didn't they? I think that's fine in a festive special, the same way it is in the Doctor Who equivalent. The underlying story was fairly simple, but that's not necessarily a complaint. I like warm-hearted slice of life stories, and at its core that was what this was. The Hearthswarming Helper (ie Secret Santa) concept worked better than I thought it might, especially as the recipients were mixed up a bit -- even before Spike intervened. It was a miracle that nopony drew their own name (well, symbol) out of the hat, though! And talking of hats, looks like the fandom was right all along about Applejack's. Though where that leaves the "hats and bows closet" I have no idea. :p

    What is a complaint is that, until the end, Fluttershy was shown as quite ridiculously naive and timid (for S8) when it came to Flim and Flam. This was the thing that irritated me most, as while I hold no special love for Sparity I can let it ride. I really don't think Flutters would be that bad any more. Mind you, I was amused when she told AJ off for impersonating her. :D I was hot-and-cold about Discord: he was more fun than in "A Matter of Principals", but honestly Rainbow was right to get angry at the end: Discord does seem to be putting ponies in danger worryingly often this season. Ah well, we got another cute/scary creature out of it to add to the FiM bestiary.

    The reindeer may be controversial -- I haven't looked -- but I thought they were reasonably well handled. Seven years after Lauren Faust wanted to do it, we finally get sapient deer in the show! Given their past/present/future setup, I do wonder whether there may be a slight Christmas Carol-style bit of in-universe fantasy creeping in there. Also, the name trio of Aurora/Bore/Alice was genius. :D They didn't actually do a lot in the story, though I guess they (with Pinkie -- whose Yakyakistan escapade was amusing) did at least stop what Twilight would doubtless call the ppuuddiinngg! Hi, meme face. Nice to see Shining Armor in particular, as he's had nothing to do all season. Still no love for Cheerilee, though!

    There were two songs, neither of which I found very memorable. They were okay, but no more, the best part for me being the end of the second when others joined in Spike's song. Also, what's happened to Tabitha St Germain's Derpy voice? It was noticeably different from the one she used in "Slice of Life", and IMO not as pleasant on the ear. Derpy seemed a bit too klutzy, too. Ah well, you can't win them all. Oh, and the Pistachio/Rarity subplot was really nice. I don't think this is a special to watch with an ultra-critical, super-analytical eye. It's one to let wash over you in a warm, fuzzy glow while you raise a [drink of choice] to the magic of friendship. And judged in that fashion, I think it did a good job. :)

    Though... poor Marble. :(
     
  13. Candy Yunagi

    Candy Yunagi Wishes she could be a cat

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    "I just don't know what went wrong!"

    Sorry, couldn't resist ;).
     
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  14. Oilyvalves

    Oilyvalves Railway Pony

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    I really enjoyed this. Really put a big smile of my face multiple times. There were probably issues here and there, but I’m not going to let them take away from the overall viewing experience for now.

    Ocellus could be seen in the Changeling kingdom at the end too. But to be honest, these are minor animation nods that could’ve been added late in the development.
     
  15. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    Yeah, poor Marble. :( Looks like they decided to retcon her scenes with Big Mac in "Hearthbreakers" as something she hoped would develop into more. I'm assuming it didn't, as the alternative would be Big Mac breaking her heart and I couldn't deal with that. I just hope Marble's story has a happy ending in S9.
     
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  16. Steamworks

    Steamworks Active Pony

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    I'm still not sure they should've teased MarbleMac to begin with. They never really addressed whether the Apples and Pies were or were not related, and didn't they meet up in Hearthbreakers under the assumption that they were related? Making the farm ponies incestuous is a pretty bad stereotype.
     
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  17. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    Honestly, I think that description is really pushing it. In "Pinkie Apple Pie", the relationship is given several times as "fourth cousin twice removed". Given that first cousin marriage is legal in many places (including this country -- HG Wells married his first cousin) I really don't think I'm going to lose any sleep about the possibility of a relationship between fourth cousins. The vast majority of people don't even know who their fourth cousins are.
     
  18. CuldeeFell

    CuldeeFell Ponies Rock

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    Well, this one was pretty great.

    Watched it tonight, and I'm fully on board with most people's love of it. Nice, gentle Season One-esque tone. Given the multi-strand nature of the plot I reckon I'll break it down into bullet points:
    • Rarity's plot was lovely. Somehow the down to earth (though not down at heel) farmponies felt like a very believable addition to the pony world of Equestria. The sort of ordinary ponies you'd expect to be living there. Rarity's reaction to Pistachio was great, and her decision to leave Pistachio the hat was so obviously the right one.
    • Applejack's plot with the Flim Flam brothers was repetitive of her previous encounters with them but in a way that felt warm and comfortingly familiar rather than redundant. We all knew how this was going to play out, and the story knew we all knew how this one was going to play out. There was no attempt to keep us in suspense. Instead we just got to enjoy a well worn set of fun character beats. Honestly that comment could apply to most of the plotlines in this episode. I reckon this is an episode that is going to work very well on re-watching and is only going to get better with familiarity. It felt like a very classic sort of TV Christmas special in that sense, where familiarity's only going to enhance the experience.
    • Fluttershy's little "Green isn't Your Color" reference (so mad I could just kick) gets it's own bullet from me. Because I like it.
    • Twilight's plotline was classic Twilight. Again the same could be said for basically all of the Mane Six. This is just them being themselves. For 44 minutes. And I loved it.
    • Spike's plotline was just sort of there really. But it was classic Spike. And I don't object to a bit more Sparity, particularly not in a context like this. (Although, yes, he really should be over it by now.)
    • Rainbow Dash and Discord's plotline was fun, and for once Discord didn't steal all the oxygen from an episode.
    • Pinkie's plotline started out like a remix of "Party Pooped", and this was about the point where I started getting a "Best of compilation" vibe to the whole story. It felt like it was stitched together from some of their previous best adventures. But then we got the magic reindeer which were completely new. They were nice, but to be honest, I hope they don't return in any of the regular episodes. They have an air of fairytale magic about them which feels more appropriate for this kind of special.
     
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  19. Robshi

    Robshi Young Dragon

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    This was a fun nostalgia trip. A lot of early season vibes from this special, including quite a few references like 20% cooler thrown in for good measure.

    "I don't have Rarity."
    You know him too well Applejack. :p

    You know that meme face from Twi was on purpose. A reference to Season 3's opener perhaps? It was funny to see "Twilinanas" over pudding though, and I like how Shining Armour and Cadence immediately saw the symptoms. I see Flurry just exists to make mayhem though. She is a demon in cute baby form.

    Rarity had a nice story, and it was fun to see her get frustrated with Derpy's mail service. She should have got the package, I just don't know what went wrong! It was also sweet to get confirmation that AJ wears her dad's hat.

    I didn't like the winter monster though, mainly because it took up the whole screen in the group shots. I want to focus on the ponies not that thing! Also, I liked the reindeer, but not so much Discord pointing out an episode flaw about them.

    Poor Marble. That was a savage way to confirm the end of that ship. I did like seeing Limestone Pie though, and it was nice to see Marble smiling with her sisters after getting heartbroken.

    Starlight and Trixie seemed to be enjoying another caravan holiday together. I wonder if they made the caravan more comfortable?

    Overall, this was a lovely holiday episode. I'll have to rewatch it along with Glim Glam as Scrooge for my holiday watching in December. ;)
     
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