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YMMV / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S9 E4 "Sparkle's Seven"

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: It's left open-ended whether or not there was any truth to Applejack's "Apple Chord" story.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The reveal that infant Spike was reared by Twilight's family instead of just by Twilight herself, which was the perceived way as to how he was reared for years, disproved a lot of complaints directed at Celestia for having a filly take care of a baby dragon by herself while she is still studying.
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    • The last milestone episode got some heat from a sizable portion of the fandom for having the Mane Six being out of focus throughout most of it. This episode won many of those same fans back in a heartbeat by having its central story be all about the Mane Six (even having the story conceptualized by the Mane Six and Spike's voice actors themselves).
    • Shining Armor finally gets to carry a story on his own. On top of that, we finally see how he became the Captain of the Royal Guard in the first place despite his poor onscreen track record with his planning of the security system.
    • One could also make the argument that the episode's plot could be a way to address how useless the Royal Guards often are in a crisis.
    • One of the most common critiques on Shining Armor's introduction in "A Canterlot Wedding" was that his Remember the New Guy? status could have been justified if his relationship with Twilight was strained, because it would have given her a good reason to have never mentioned him beforehand. This episode gives us that fix by establishing that Twilight held a grudge against Shining Armour for keeping the Sibling Supreme Crown when he left home.
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  • Contested Sequel: Due to both being milestone episodes, comparisons with "Slice of Life" over which one was better were inevitable.
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • How would the castle defenses be revised?
    • Space exists.
      • Space travel exists considering Pinkie's Imagine Spot includes her wearing a spacesuit.
      • How does this work with the sun and moon — two very prominent celestial bodies — being magically controlled?
    • How much command Shining Armor exactly has over the defense of Equestria?
    • The previous Sibling Supreme competitions.
    • Spike being reared in Twilight's household. When and how long was it?
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Having Shining Armor blab about the updated defenses to Twilight seems like a stupid move at first. But after the episode is over, it's shown that the defenses are to be revised now that the flaws have been pointed out. Workers in the software industry will recognize this as a penetration test, where the flaws of a system are revealed by trying to hack into it.
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    • While the geese might seem like a joke, in real life Guard Geese are something used on farms, as geese are easy to train and remain quiet at night unless spooked while also being hard to distract like some guard dogs.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic comic book #74, when Zephyr Breeze appears, he and Fluttershy's relationship seems to be much better than it was previously, with the two having affectionate nicknames for each other and playfully joking around. She even calmly helps pull him out of a panic attack. Come this episode when Fluttershy mentions him to Spike, she says that he (Zephyr) could learn a lot from Spike about being a good little brother.
  • Memetic Mutation: This image of Princess Luna ominously stroking a goose while glowering at the group immediately became a meme.
  • Narm Charm: This episode is incredibly nonsensical and zany, but you can't deny how hilarious it is.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: A familial example. Spike's exact relation to Twilight is probably one of the most confusing aspects of the show from day one. Some say that it is mother-and-son while others go for Like Brother and Sister. In light of "Father Knows Beast" and this episode, things just got even more confusing as they support differing notions. According to Cathy Weseluck, it is actually a combination of both, with an established example by Nani and Lilo.
  • Retcon: Possibly one for Twilight and Shining Armor's relationship. Previous episodes and the comics established that the two were very close growing up, with Twilight considering him her best friend. Here it's implied that the two only got along because they were competing for the sibling crown. It even specifically shows scenes from Twilight's BBBFF song.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • No-one expected that Zephyr Breeze would be appearing in this episode.
    • Maud Pie's cameo also came off as a surprise.
    • Starswirl the Bearded's cameo was also unexpected to many viewers (even though the scene was among those shown in the Season 9 teaser trailer).

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