The Saddle Row Review
SPOILER ALERT! Those of you who have not seen the show, be warned. This review is going to contain spoilers about the episode. If you have not seen it yet, watch it right now and read my review in 20 minutes, or prepare to have some of the critical plot mentioned before you view it. I am assuming many of you are bronies, or fans of the show, and you are reading this review for an interesting insight on an episode you have seen countless times already (as have I), in which case, continue reading, and enjoy!
“The Saddle Row Review” is the ninth episode of the season. It begins in medias res, with Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Twilight Sparkle hurrying to see Rarity. They want to talk to her about the newspaper review of her new Manehatten boutique (Rarity For You) because they told the reporter some ugly details about the events leading up to the grand opening. However, they worry that Rarity may have already read the review.
When they arrive, Rarity opens the door, seemingly upset. Her expression soon changes, and happy that she can read the review with her friends, she leads them inside. The others try to convince Rarity that they should explain before she reads it, so she doesn’t learn all of the gritty details. Rarity doesn’t want the review to be spoiled for her, so she refuses to hear any of it.
This definitely needs to become an internet-wide spoiler meme.
Throughout the episode, we see many flashbacks of the characters being interviewed, as well as the events that occurred on the boutique’s opening day. Rarity begins reading, and we travel back to a scene of Rarity being interviewed in a diner. She speaks about her new boutique with confidence and joy, while the other members of the Mane Six claim that things were terrible and didn’t go as planned.
Rarity For You is on Saddle Row, along with all the best shops. Well, except for Stinky Bottom’s Discount Hat Emporium, which for whatever reason, didn’t make the cut. Although from the outside, Rarity For You looks like a great shop, inside, the place is filthy, falling-apart, and full of unwanted critters. I guess only Rarity would be able to see the potential the place had. She also seems like the kind of pony who would have prepared everything before opening night, though.
The owner of the building, Mr. Stripes comes in, bringing his daughter, Plaid Stripes, with him. Plaid Stripes is a dorky teenager with braces, eyebrows nearly as bushy as mine, and a terrible fashion sense, but Mr. Stripes loves her even more than he loves miniature doll furniture, and insists Rarity hire her, lest he raise the rent to an unaffordable price. So, with essentially no other option, Rarity hires Plaid Stripes. She begins her new job by proposing to sell glow-in-the-dark teeth instead of clothes, which could be useful for elderly ponies who need to put their dentures in for a midnight snack.
In addition to Plaid Stripes, Rarity has to deal with a family of smelly raccoons, a noisy Club Pony Party Palace upstairs, unorganized merchandise, and the need for an employee to run the store while she is away. She also needs to have the perfect window display.
Oh, and the whole place needs to be cleaned up. While listening to the beat of the loud music from upstairs, Twilight composes a “Sweep” remix. Although during their interviews, Applejack and Rainbow Dash claim the remix wasn’t catchy, the flashback to the cleaning shows that they were excitedly singing along as they pushed their brooms. It was a really catchy song, and I can’t wait for some super awesome fan-made remixes to appear. Update: Such things already exist only a day after the show aired. The fandom is fast. And now I know what I am going to listen to every time I need to clean my floors.
Still, with everything to do, Rarity becomes stressed and overwhelmed and expresses a desire to make copies of herself. In an interview scene, Pinkie makes reference to “Too Many Pinkie Pies” and we see an escaped mirror pool clone (or a really good Pinkie impostor) in the background.
In order to help calm Rarity, Twilight assures her that with their help, things will fall into place. Fluttershy can take care of the raccoon problem, Applejack can deal with Plaid Stripes, Pinkie can control the party noise, Twilight can organize the merchandise, and Rainbow Dash can hire somepony to work there. This allows Rarity to have time to focus on the window display.
In taking care of their tasks, Rarity’s friends try to solve the problems in a manner that they believe would please her. Fluttershy asks the raccoons to leave, Applejack tells Plaid Stripes “no”, Pinkie gives DJ Pon-3 a calming record to play, Twilight happily organizes and reorganizes the merchandise, and Rainbow Dash quizzes applicants on their knowledge of fabric. In theory, this should work perfectly, and I thought it was great that everypony wanted to do what Rarity would like.
Things did not go quite as planned, however. In trying to do things the way Rarity wanted, her friends were ignoring their own special talents. This leads to Rainbow Dash throwing sheets of fabric on top of the potential employees, Mr. Stripes being very upset, a calming music/party music mashup, and angry raccoons running everywhere. Everypony is quite distressed, except for Twilight, who eagerly looks at the pile of merchandise she is to reorganize (and Rarity who is immersed in creating her window display).
In order to prevent Rarity from seeing the chaos, Twilight locks her inside of the window display. She tells her friends that Rarity trusts them to solve it their own way. They all go back to fix the problems as they see fit in hopes of fixing things in time.
Fluttershy lets the raccoons stay, given they do her a favor. Pinkie convinces DJ Pon-3 of a way to make the party cooler. Rainbow Dash makes the potential employees race to see who is able to keep up with the rush of customers. This is actually really smart. Applejack works with Plaid Stripes on her idea for spoon clothes. (Unfortunately, Equestria is ahead of us in this regard; I looked online for this genius idea and found nothing 😦 I may have to open my own spoon clothes business if nobody else will.) And Twilight happily organizes the merchandise. By the time Rarity finishes the window display and is let out moments later, Rarity For You looks amazing!
Rarity opens the door to her boutique and in comes the line of ponies who had been waiting to enter. Seeing as all three ponies finished the race (and knew fabrics really well) Rainbow dash hired them all to help the customers shop. As they browse a highly organized merchandise selection, they listen to awesome music. Nothing beats a boutique dance club… Except for a boutique dance club restaurant! The customers are served fancy soup by raccoons in suits. To eat the soup they are served, they use the brilliant spoon clothes that Applejack and Plaid Stripes implemented.
Despite the rough start, things turned out amazing. The episode closes with Rarity reading the end of a positive newspaper review and telling her friends how thankful she is to have them. Well, almost closes. It technically closes with this:
This episode was absolutely amazing. It was the funniest of the season, by far, and I was laughing every few minutes. That sweeping remix wins the honor of being my favorite moment… The contest was a clean sweep. Explaining each of the funny moments would just ruin them though, because they were too hilarious to describe. I give “The Saddle Row Review” an A++ for humor.
The characters were all portrayed well and showcased their unique personalities. The problem-solving gave the Mane Six an opportunity to shine. The layout of the story was interesting, and although the focus shifted around a lot, it was not hard to follow what was going on, and the interview scenes added humor and many fun references for the brony community.
The lesson was unique as well. I expected the morale to be about considering what others would want instead of what you want, which is horribly overdone. The fact that it was about embracing your own unique talents to accomplish something was something I had never seen before, and also a useful and important thing to keep in mind. However, it is important to consider others as well. In the episode, this was shown by Twilight telling her friends that Rarity trusted them and wanted them to handle things their way. This was just a spectacular episode in every way.