Recap: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S3 E9 "Apple Family Reunion" aka: Apple Family Reunion
Can you name everypony?
Granny Smith: Hooo-whee! Looks like the family's grown ten-fold since the last reunion! I'm gonna be busier'n a worm in a rotten tomato tryin' ta get everythin' ready! Applejack: I could always help out. Apple Bloom: Me too! Big McIntosh: Eeyup.
Written by Cindy Morrow
The upcoming Apple Family Reunion is nigh, and it seems to be the biggest one yet: everypony in the Apple family, from Braeburn in Appleloosa to Babs Seed in Manehattan, will be showing up at Sweet Apple Acres! Normally Granny Smith is in charge of the reunion festivities, but Applejack offers to host it this time around so her granny can get a chance to enjoy herself. In fact, odds are not everyone will make it to the next reunion, so she swears to make this one the most memorable reunion yet.With a little help from her friends and family, Applejack gets the entire reunion set up just as Apples from all over Equestria begin coming over. Everypony starts catching up with each other, but Applejack is eager for the ponies to enjoy all the exciting activities in store for them—too eager. Applejack's gotten carried away by turning a simple seven-legged race into a full-fledged obstacle course, replacing the granny ponies' rocking chairs with noisy sewing machines so they can finally finish the never-ending quilt, and running the apple fritter-making like an assembly line.Applejack finally calls a break so she can take pictures for the family album, but everypony's too worn out from her activities for her to capture any noteworthy memories. Applejack arranges a family hayride to boost morale, but decides to try something "a wee bit more exciting" than the relaxing one they usually have. Things seem to get better when their bumpy ride takes them to see a colorful colony of (literal) fruit bats...until the bats spot an apple on Aunt Applesauce's hat and swoop down on the ponies. The wagon swerves and comes to a literal crashing halt back at the barn, knocking it down.With her plans wrecked along with the barn, Applejack tearfully thinks she's hosted the worst reunion ever, but as Granny Smith points out, everypony's still here and there's still time to make great memories. Inspired, Applejack announces one last activity for everypony: raising the barn together so they can take the traditional family photo in front of it. Everypony has a blast, and they all head back home at the end of the day with a family reunion to remember—for all the right reasons. As she and her family fondly look over their new photos for their album, Applejack writes out her letter to Princess Celestia:
Applejack: Dear Princess Celestia, today I learned a great lesson about family. Which, if you think about it, is really the first group of friends you ever make. Turns out, that if you're with folks you care about, you don't have to do much to make that time memorable. Even the simplest of activities can take on a whole lot of meaning! And you'll find, you'll remember the "who" long after you've forgotten the "what." Your humble subject, Applejack.
Applejack is the only main character with a prominent role in this episode. Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Spike only get brief cameos (with only Pinkie getting a speaking role), while Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy are nowhere to be seen.
Braeburn returns, but he's relegated to several background cameos, with his only clear line being an "Uh-huh" in a deep voice.
Adorkable: Granny Smith when she was young; her failure to sew and her harmless country swear are huggable.
Babs Seed is in a new school (which, considering the bullying she went through, is a relief), and she's making progress on that Manehattan branch of the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
Characterization Marches On: Remember when Granny Smith didn't speak in coherent sentences and could hardly move? Here she's sharp as a knife mentally and does a lot of physical labor without any visible complications. Maybe she finally got that hip replaced.
Two of the train- and stagecoach-pulling ponies from "Over a Barrel" and "The Last Roundup" are pulling the hayride wagon (although they don't seem to have learned their lesson about what happens when one has dealings with Applejack).
Dramatically Missing the Point: Applejack fails to grasp that the reunion is more about spending quality time with family instead of stupendous activities. For example, she takes Granny Smith's quip on never finishing the family quilt too literally by getting a bunch of sewing machines to speed up the quilting process. The point of the quilt is that it's never supposed to be finished; it's meant to keep growing as family members add to it over the years.
Easily Forgiven: Nopony's mad at Applejack for driving them to exhaustion, all but ruining the reunion, and then putting them to work fixing her mistake. She meant well and the Apples love barn-raising, so it all works out.
Embarrassing Old Photo:Granny Smith isn't fond of the photo taken during her first failed attempt at adding a patch to the Apple family quilt.
Granny Smith: Well, nopony told me you actually had to knot the end of the thread!
False Teeth Tomfoolery: Constantly done by Aunt Applesauce, who lost her original pair long ago and is having trouble with the new set too. (Applejack's shenanigans don't help.)
From Bad to Worse: Applejack's activities go from exhausting to dangerous when the colony of fruit bats cause the hayride wagon to veer off course and crash into the barn. The sad thing is, Applejack doesn't notice anything's wrong until it reaches this point.
Funny Background Event: When Applejack visits the relatives making fritters, one unnamed Apple can be seen eating an uncooked fritter in the background.
Furry Reminder: The 7-legged race is the equivalent of a human 3-legged one.
Granny Smith: Where in the world does that girl have us headin'? The west orchard? Big McIntosh:(looking in the distance) Eeyup. Granny Smith: What?! I was jokin'!
I Can't Hear You: The granny ponies have trouble making out what each other is saying over their noisy new sewing machines.
Granny Smith: Good gracious! Apple Rose: "Golden Delicious"? I think he's racin' with his cousin!
I Was Quite a Looker: Granny Smith takes quite a bit of pride in her brighter and smoother appearance back in her time, and even stretches her face back to recapture some of that youth for a few seconds. Alas, gravity...
Irony: All the fun and games Applejack has planned become hard work for everyone, while an event which is work (raising a barn) brings the Apple family together and is fun.
It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: What Applejack plans for the Apple Family Reunion to be. It goes downhill before Applejack turns things around and makes good on her plans.
Loads and Loads of Characters: Inevitable for a show about an Apple family reunion. On the other hoof, for a show supposedly about Applejack, there are a lot of ponies who aren't Applejack, and we spend a lot of the episode with them.
Hayseed Turnip Truck is a member of the Apple Family, and with the most un-Apple-sounding name. (Granted, Aunt and Uncle Orange are also present, so having an apple-based name/cutie mark/talent is likely not a fixed trait).
Negative Continuity: The flashbacks to Granny Smith's story in "Family Appreciation Day" show she is a full-grown mare when she and her family first settled onto the land that would become Ponyville, yet she appears as a filly in a family photo showing the framework for the barn at Sweet Apple Acres. A possible explanation is animation error.
Never Say "Die": Granny wants to make this reunion the best one ever, considering that not everypony may make the next one. This is followed by Applejack looking up at the shooting stars with a thoughtful look on her face. Applejack then quickly averts this by commenting that everypony may be too busy to be able to make the next one.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Applejack's decision to send the hayride through a fruit bat-infested orchard, and intentionally wake up said bats, marks the point where all her plans go downhill.
N-Word Privileges: Apple Bloom and Babs Seed are comfortable using "blank flank", a derogatory term for a pony without cutie mark, in a conversation with each other, both of them still being blank flanks themselves.
Shown Their Work: As improbable as it seems, according toThe Other Wiki horses live on average 25-30 years and begin to breed at the age of four (with a gestation period of a year) so it is entirely plausible that four generations of horses (Auntie Applesauce down to Applejack, Apple Bloom and Big Macintosh) can be alive at the same time.
Unusual Euphemism: Granny Smith lets loose with one when she gets frustrated with the quilt in a flashback:
Granny Smith: Oh fingle-fangle!
Up to Eleven: Deconstructed; Applejack thinks that taking the family reunion activities Up to Eleven will make things more memorable, but all it does is make everypony exhausted and destroy her property.
Writers Cannot Do Math: Granny Smith states that the last Apple family reunion was 100 moons ago. Since the phrase "moon" refers to a complete 28 day lunar cycle that would mean the last reunion was 2800 days (7.66 years) ago. But we saw the Apple family reunion in the pilot episode. So either its been seven years since Twilight first came to Ponyville or Equestria has a weird lunar cycle or Applejack mixed up the reason why her family was there in the pilot episode as she was overworked when she told Twilight about this and they were there for some other event.
If lunar quarters - waxing, full, waning, new - are reckoned as separate "moons", then that would be just over two years, which would make the episode timing spot on. Of course, then the ponies would be calling their weeks "months", since month is a cognate, and this conflicts with temporal terminology used in other episodes.