Another episode, another review. Here are my thoughts on Rock Solid Friendship.
Can I be the first to say that Maud Pie-centric episodes are feeling a bit overused by now? This isn't necessarily me hating Maud as a character, but rather, I'm noticing a trend since her debut episode in season four in which she's had at least one starring role. She's made three appearances in season five (speaking in Make New Friends But Keep Discord and Hearthbreakers, and non-speaking in the first part of The Cutie Re-Mark) as well as season six's The Gift of the Maud Pie and in season seven? It's this episode.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this episode is bad because it feels like one character is being overused, but my main issue with Maud is that Pinkie has two other sisters which are barely given any time or thought for character development. I mean, can't we have an episode where they react to a new environment like Ponyville with Pinkie guiding them around? Would make for an interesting story, really.
As for the episode the way it is? Generally, I think it's good, but not quite as good as some people thought it was when it first came out. For one thing, the humor is on the hit or miss spectrum. The graduation ceremony in the cold open is one of the funniest in the show, and the bad timing with the door joke and Starlight was also chuckle-worthy.
However, Pinkie was rather obnoxious, perhaps more so than Filli Vanilli. There is a line between helping your friends and acting like an idiot, and she breaches it altogether. Thinking Tank and Lyra were rocks, and then straight up stalking her sister and friend? That cannot be defended, and she doesn't suffer as a consequence. Maybe if she got injured in the Ghastly Gorge when she and Maud were running from the giant eel, I could probably forgive Pinkie's behavior beforehand, but the ending did imply the message didn't penetrate hard enough. Sure, she realized how annoying she was, but still.
And then there's Starlight. I like seeing her interact with Maud despite the pink elep... pony in the room, and the lesson Maud taught Starlight was actually a very good one; it's what's inside that's really important. The flashback was also quite nice, but it does bring up another problem - continuity.
You see, My Little Pony usually has a strong continuity, and the writers (as well as the script editors) try to keep things consistent. But in this episode, Pinkie acts like she did from A Friend in Deed, Luna Eclipsed, and the aforementioned Filli Vanilli. That's a prime example of cherry picking your continuity, a problem which also plagues Journey Beyond Sodor as well as Thomas' 21st season (in the case of the latter, it's visual continuity which throws me off). You'd think Pinkie would've learned from those episodes but... nope. They made her an idiot because they thought it'd be funny.
That being said, I think the episode's moral was very strong, even if the buildup was a little frustrating. Not everybody thinks the same way. And considering the drama on Twitter from so-called Thomas "fans" over Big World! Big Adventures! (both movie and season 22), as well as a few select liberals myself, I think that's something we should all take seriously.
I've got problems with Pinkie's IQ in this episode, but I don't want to be too harsh since it was so early in the season, even if All Bottled Up ended up with a 3/10. Rock Solid Friendship, however, does provide a very strong lesson many should take seriously, the moments with Starlight and Maud were nice to see, and the continuity nods (despite being cherry picked at stupid moments) are also pretty good. I think that's enough to rank this episode a good one. Not one of the greatest, but still good.
Rating: 7 out of 10