... Wait, no it's not.
I'm not particularly a fan of the Apple family (except for Big Mac) so I wasn't looking forward to this episode with any vigor. Still, let it never be said that I won't give a pony a chance; prior to this episode very little was actually known about Granny Smith, and although I didn't see much potential, Granny's been holding out on a good story for us. This episode was a rather pleasant surprise.
Apparently regular apples are not the only ones harvested on Sweet Apple Acres; a magical variety called Zap Apples are coming into harvest. Granny Smith makes some good Zap Apple jam, and this year she is recruiting Apple Bloom to the cause. Meanwhile at school, it's Apple Bloom's turn to bring in a family member for Family Appreciation Day.
Circumstances convene to force Apple Bloom to bring in Granny Smith, which Apple Bloom isn't too happy about because Granny Smith is about as nutty as the Planters mascot. Not helping matters is Diamond Tiara, who turns her mule
factor Up To Eleven
in this episode. The Cutie Mark Crusaders try various schemes to prevent Granny Smith coming into school, but due to their inherent nature of screwing everything up, they screw everything up and Granny comes in anyway.
Then we get some backstory about when Granny Smith was a little filly. This backstory is paced much better than the entirety of Hearth's Warming Eve and has clear relevance to present-day events, so in my eyes the episode surpasses the last one at this point. We learn quite a bit about Granny Smith and Ponyville, and I won't spoil the surprise if you haven't figured it out yet, because the story was what changed my mind about Granny Smith.
As far as criticisms go, I just have some nitpicks. Like how making Zap Apple jam has to be the most nitpicked process I've ever heard of. Seriously, the amount of detail and the ridiculousness of it all is downright absurd. I guess since they're magic fruits they can do whatever they want, but I'm wondering how exactly Granny Smith narrowed down her jam-making method. Also, Cheerilee is officially incapable of keeping a consistent tail style.
The episode is still a good one though, turning excellent when Granny comes to school. No matter how you feel are about the Apple family, watch the entire episode; you'll be glad you did.