Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Retrospective review: The Last Roundup

One of the best episodes of the season, hands-down.

The funny thing is, even though "The Last Roundup" is an impeccable episode, there were still people accusing Applejack of being a background pony. But this is definitely her episode, and is greatly revealing about her as a character. On top of that, the episode boasts a great look at how far the mane six's friendship has come, and some of the greatest comedy of the season.

Applejack has in the past been called boring by some for being a little "too perfect", and to that I have to say that this episode disproves that. While Applejack's intentions are fairly pure, her thought processes are a bit flawed and cause her to do some messed up stuff. Apparently, her shame about having no money to return causes her to desperately escape her friends to the point where it seems she's abandoning them. This introduces some interesting flaws to her character, and gives her more depth. Her development past this point is as effective and interesting as it is relatable, and this is one of the most relatable conflicts of the season. Fear of being named a failure due to overly high expectations? That's something many people understand.

Meanwhile, the mane six have become much closer since the first season, and here it shows. In S1, the mane six were still growing to be the best of friends. Here in S2, they're running across the country looking for their friend, fraught with worry. Conflicts in S2 are often much bigger than they were in S1, which is part of the reason why this wouldn't happen in S1, but still, the development is tangible.

This episode also boasts some excellent visual gags. There's been few episodes that showed this much humour by simply using facial expressions, but this episode contains an entire exchange of facial expressions that serves as one of its best jokes. That's not to say the dialogue isn't funny either, but that's typical. This episode makes really, really good use of visuals for the sake of comedy, boasting all sorts of subtle details, ranging from Rainbow Dash having earplugs to drown out Pinkie's voice to shots lingering on ponies' facial expressions.

This episode is simply phenomenal. It really boasts everything one can ask for in a MLP episode, and is up there with the best of S2-which, in turn, puts it at the very pinnacle of the show. It's excellent in every way, and really, Applejack fans deserve no less after fourteen episodes.

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