My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Season 1, Episodes 24 and 25
Pinkie Pie and Spike both face their fears of rejection. And they both blink.
Episode 24: "Owl's Well That Ends Well"
In his recap of the 10th episode of Freaks and Geeks, Alan Sepinwall says this about a particular storyline: "It's not a bad subplot, but it feels like the show had already grown beyond this kind of story in the space of 10 or so episodes. If I [weren't] watching the shows so closely together, I might appreciate it more."
That sums up my feelings about "Owl's Well That Ends Well," which I'm not going to fully recap. It's not bad, by any means, but it feels like a kind of storytelling that My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic had evolved past by this point. It doesn't help that it's preceded by the great "Cutie Mark Chronicles," and followed by "Party of One," which explores similar themes as "Owl's Well" while going into darker emotional places.
Nutshell: Spike believes that Twilight Sparkle's new nocturnal assistant Owloysius -- an owl, obviously -- is gunning for his job. Wackiness ensues.
Now, there's a lot that's good about the episode. Astronomy plays a major part, including a meteor shower viewing ...
... Twilight writing a report on comets ...
... and comets and meteors are presented as the result of a natural universe with specific physical laws, without a hint of magic or (ugh) astrology to muddle things. A book called The Astronomical Astronomer's Almanac to All Things Astronomy is also a plot point.
Spike's attempt to frame Owloysius by ripping apart a toy mouse and splattering it with ketchup is also nice and icky, almost "Petrified Twilight with Snail-Trail"-icky.
There's also a brief acknowledgment of the fact that Spike, who's been raised by ponies since birth, can't relate to dragons at all. It'll be further explored in Season 2's "Dragon Quest."
Oh, and we get our first bits of pony-cursing since "Fall Weather Friends." So that's cool.
And Spike writes his own Shoehorn (jealousy is bad, and love is not a starvation economy), anticipating a big change in Season 2. So, as I say, there are good things, all in service of an aggressively average episode.
"Party of One," however, is an aggressively great episode.