And now the real entry of the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
My opinion of the Cutie Mark Crusaders tends to fluctuate with time. Different stretches of episodes leave me with different opinions on them. Sometimes I like them a lot, sometimes I find them incredibly obnoxious. Their debut here doesn't make me love them, but it is a fairly strong start for them as characters.
The Crusaders aren't too obnoxious here, and there are many people that could relate to Apple Bloom's plight here. The plot point of a character in a school setting being bullied is cliche, but only because it so strongly reflects reality. In addition, in this episode Apple Bloom's frustrated, impatient pursuit of her cutie mark is justified by other events, mainly the fact that she's been bullied so much and her desire to fit in at parties. However, Apple Bloom's hastiness did get slightly grating at times, especially with her antics at the apple stall. Yes, I can understand that she's impatient because she wants to feel accepted and not be bullied, but she doesn't seem to have a lot of consideration for others.
There is some humour to be found, but I found this episode less funny than previous ones. I'm not sure if there even were as many moments intended to be funny, as at the moment I can't really think of any. All the same, I think this was meant to be more of a story episode, and the story works, though it feels like it goes by quicker than the other episodes.
A highlight of the episode is Pinkie's song, a catchy number about cupcakes and her best since part 2 of "Friendship is Magic".
This is a perfectly fine episode, though I don't think it's a favourite for me. As a start to the Cutie Mark Crusaders, it's a fairly good introduction, but it's not quite enough to make me especially interested in their exploits.