I was hoping this wouldn't happen... Well, might as well write my pain.
I take it back. I'm sorry, Power Ponies. I didn't know how bad it could get-though I should have, because it has been worse. That was this season's The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well or Magical Mystery Cure. As you can tell, I didn't like it.
With Bats! or Pinkie Apple Pie, I ignored the episode's faults because of the great humour. Unfortunately, Simple Ways only had a few mildly amusing moments, and the rest is anything but enjoyable. If Rarity Takes Manehattan is rarity at her best, Simple Ways is Rarity at her worst. Here, she's self-absorbed, lashes out at her friends, and becomes singularly obsessed with impressing one person-without even feeling guilt until the very end. This is the opposite of what I liked in Rarity Takes Manehattan, where her eventual bad attitude is justified through her experiences. The reasoning here only serves to make her even less likable.
Oh, and what about Applejack? She's fairly likable, and would probably be at her best in a different episode, but here she's just uninteresting. Usually, her spotlight is stolen by Rarity acting increasingly unpleasant, or the stallion who she's so obsessed with, who is uninteresting enough that I've forgotten his name. Tenderhoof, I think. He seems like an okay guy, if not especially bright-though I think that's more the writers' fault than the character's. Mostly, he exists to drive the story. He's not gonna be joining the pantheon of great new characters with Coco Pommel and Cheese Sandwich. Applejack has her moments, but they're few and far between. That said, she's the sole bright light here.
The ending wasn't so bad, and would be a lot better were it in any other episode. That said, the way the episode builds up to the ending means that it wouldn't fit with any other episode, meaning that I can't really give the ending a free pass either. Still, it was a clever way to bring Rarity back to her senses, and shows that Applejack is smarter than she looks. If only everything leading up to that point wasn't so petty and agonizing.
Hey, at least on the technical side it's still good! The animation and voice acting are great as always, but that's not enough to carry an episode unless you write it to be a visual showcase. This is supposed to be funny. Worse, I think this is supposed to be charming. Clearly, that was a failure. This is the worst episode of the season so far. I'm done.