Monday, 2 October 2017

Episode Review: S7E21: "Marks and Recreation"

Rumble standing at the door of the Clubhouse
"Er, Rumble... I said to use paint for your circles..."
As the hypemobile for the movie moves way beyond 88 mph, the show just keeps chugging along. This week's episode was written by May Chan, which wasn't a name to excite me given that her only previous ep was the less than impressive "Not Asking for Trouble". Still, one episode does not a failed writer make, so let's have a look and see whether this week's instalment was an improvement.

Yes, "Marks and Recreation" is better than Chan's previous episode, but it still has its problems. The most obvious one, since it's a factor almost throughout, is the casual way in which the CMC throw around the term "blank flanks", even though it's previously been established as a slur. I can accept Rumble reclaiming it, but for AB, Sweetie and Scoots to use it like that seems off.

I become increasingly confused and uncertain as to what canon regarding cutie marks actually is. Given that we've previously been led to believe that a foal won't get a mark that they end up hating, why is Rumble so worried about the prospect in the first place? I suppose I can see that he's of an age where rebelling against an authority figure like his older brother appeals, but still.

Foals lying around with nothing to do
You could always found a community, Rumble
Talking of which, Thunderlane was another character who I couldn't quite decide how I felt about. He seemed a little bit of a superficial guy, with not a lot of depth to him. It was strange that, with Scootaloo a central character, Rainbow Dash didn't even get mentioned in a Wonderbolts context. A quick one-liner explaining that she was off on some job or mission would have helped.

There were some cute characters among the foals, none more so than Haiku Pony. Kettle Corn is an amusing name for a pony in the first place, and hey, having a special talent of painting circles could easily be useful. She could have ended up painting roundels on Equestrian Air Force zeppelins or something. :P Skeedaddle, too, was quite fun. Pip seemed a little ill at ease at times, though.

And so to Rumble's song. This seems to have divided opinion somewhat, but I thought it was great. In its way, it marks a return to the musical-inspired numbers of the early seasons – there's a clear West Side Story influence going on there. As it was the fifth song of S7, it seems that this will be the second season running without a song in its finale. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Apple Bloom giving Sweetie Belle a "scheming" face
"Fear not, for I have a cunning plan!"
But back to "Marks and Recreation". It was certainly a filler episode rather than anything more substantial, and I doubt much of what happened here will have a bearing on the show in the future. The "family" theme of S7 was continued, and it was good to see Rumble for the first time in five seasons. I'd call this a pretty average episode of FiM – but that's still better than many shows' average.

Best quote: Skeedaddle: "The first and last lines / Have five sy-lla-bles but the / Mid-ddle has sev-en."

  • Rumble got to shine for once
  • Some sweet foals, especially Kettle Corn
  • A very catchy song in a nice style
  • The whole "blank flanks" thing
  • Thunderlane wasn't all that interesting
  • What have they done with Diamond Tiara?
★★★ (just)


  1. Yeah this was more of a filler than anything but an enjoyable one nonethless. The next few eps before the finale are not going to be that different by the way, but I think it's due since the second half was full of lore expanding and character development (not mentioning what the finale is about) so I thin, that some fillers before the big finale are more than appropriated.

    Oh yeah since I'm here Logan, I wanted to advice you: Canada is starting the early airings once again: Uncommon Bond will air on October 15th (the day after Secret and Pies in US) and the finale's two parts will be shattered between the weekend of October 21st and 22nd. So all things considered, the S7 will end one week early than expected (well at least this time the finale will still air in order and NOT before the two eps that should have aired before). That is all.

    1. I don't mind filler if it's solid filler. This had just about enough entertainment to qualify, I think.

      Thanks for the info about Canada. I'll probably stick to the US schedule this time, as I'll be at UK PonyCon over the weekend of 21/22 October and that convention has a no-spoilers policy.

  2. Yeah, it was solid middle-of-the-road for me. Fun, but not one I'd watch again. A few fun jokes, though. Had a LOL moment when Sweetie totally lost her cool with Rumble!