Viva Las Pegasus
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!
To start the episode, we have Twilight, Applejack, and Fluttershy gathered around the Cutie Map. The map calls Applejack and Fluttershy to Las Pegasus, but they aren’t sure they’re the right ponies for the job. Twilight assures them that they are, so Applejack and Fluttershy head to the vacation destination to discover it is even worse than they imagined.
Still doubting that Las Pegasus is suited for them, Applejack and Fluttershy try to find a friendship problem to solve. Before they can find a friendship problem, the pair finds Gladmane, the Elvis-like man behind everything in Las Pegasus. (This seems fitting, since Elvis sang “Viva Las Vegas”.) Gladmane recognizes them and discloses that he is a friendship connoisseur; hard work and making friends helped his glorious hotel become that way.
Gladmane offers to take Applejack and Fluttershy on a tour. Seeing as this may help them find the friendship problem, they agree. They meet the trapeze artist and director for the show the hotel does, and Gladmane is very friendly with them. Continuing the tour, they meet some pink prairie dogs (that Fluttershy loves) as well as the two ponies who work with the prairie dogs in the show.
After they finish up with Gladmane’s tour, Applejack and Fluttershy run into two familiar ponies: Flim and Flam. These two brothers have a rough history with the Mane Six, especially Applejack. Even though Flim and Flam are arguing, Applejack refuses to believe that this is the friendship problem they came to solve, even telling Gladmane it is better for the two of them to be separated. Gladmane agrees, claiming that if the two of them combine their talents, they could run the place. Fluttershy still thinks that she and Applejack should help the brothers, but Applejack insists on finding a different one.
Fluttershy tries to work with the brothers, but they don’t seem to want to talk to each other. Maybe they were not supposed to help Flim and Flam after all. Applejack is able to find a different problem, between the trapeze artist and director. The trapeze artist wants to pull a rabbit out of a hat on the trapeze, but the director is opposed to this. Likewise, the prairie dog instructors are arguing over the formation the animals should form in the show (pyramid or tower). As it turns out, both acts would be more successful if they could get along and leave Gladmane’s hotel show.
When Applejack and Fluttershy meet back up, they come to understand that these friendship problems are beneficial to Gladmane. They go and talk to the performers and they all seem to agree on one thing: Gladmane is the best friend they have. The animals, however, tell Fluttershy otherwise. The rabbit from the acrobat act discloses that Gladmane lies to the director about the trapeze artist trying to steal the show, and to the trapeze artist about the director wanting to get rid of her, though neither are true. The prairie dogs also reveal some dirt on Gladmane: he keeps changing the act so the ponies argue about it. Uh oh, Gladmane.
Now that Applejack and Fluttershy know what is going on, they need to find someone to trick a trickster into telling the truth. Flim and Flam would be perfect for this, so Applejack agrees to help them get back together. Since she is the element of Honesty and supposedly never lies (yeah, right) they believe it. The brothers become friends again and agree to help expose the truth through something called the high-roller hustle.
As part of the plan, Fluttershy dresses up as somepony called Impossibly Rich who is supposedly scouting the competition for her own resort. They arrange a tour later, and when the time comes for the tour, they prepare to get a confession from Gladmane, he confesses that his trick is how he handles his employees: like friends. “But you know all about friendship, don’t you, Fluttershy,” Gladmane says as he takes the wig and glasses off of “Impossibly Rich”.
With their plan failed, Applejack and Fluttershy return to Gladmane’s office, telling him that what he is doing is mean. He explains that since he is a conpony himself, he saw through the high-roller hustle. Though he was impressed they found out the truth about how deceitful he was, he would not confess to it. However, he did confess, and with Fluttershy’s hoof on the loudspeaker button, the entire resort heard him.
It turns out that Flim and Flam knew Gladmane would see through the high-roller hustle and gloat about it. The entire thing was part of the plan all along. Kudos to those brothers for their out-conning Gladmane with a truly impressive strategy. The preformer ponies get along and leave Gladmane’s resort show.
Applejack and Fluttershy discuss a job well done. They realize they were the perfect ponies for the job after all; Applejack’s history with the brothers led her to search elsewhere, whereas Fluttershy’s kind nature ensured she would still try to help them. Unfortunately, Flim and Flam aren’t turned good forever. It is a one time thing for them, and the pair of them use their sneaky skills to trick ponies into buying half-price tickets for the show, despite it having no performers and requiring imagination.
This episode was really good. I liked the storyline (I don’t dare say plot…) and seeing more of Equestria follows the Exploring Equestria/Cutie Map theme I enjoy. The fact that we had antagonists work with the Mane 6 for an episode without staying good was interesting and something I haven’t really seen before. The lesson was not too strong, but I got a general “be kind to people and don’t turn them against each other” vibe. My one complaint is that Gladmane, clearly based off of Elvis, was made to be a total jerkwad. With just a few episodes left in the season, I’m excited to see how everything with the Cutie Map ties together. The hype for the finale is real, even now (but at the same time, I don’t want the season to be over yet!)