Season 8, Episode 23: Sounds Of Silence
Written By Gregory Bonsignore
Back in Season 6's 'Viva Las Pegasus', the map summoned both Applejack and Fluttershy to solve a friendship problem together in the city of Las Pegasus where it is just one big party every day of the year...but could it be possible that these two best friends were summoned by the map to solve a second problem? I wonder what new adventures await them this time or what the friendship problem is that they have to solve...looks like it's time to talk with my old friend Darkness because a vision softly creeping left its seeds while I was sleeping and the vision that was planted in my brain still remains within the 'Sounds Of Silence'!
Fluttershy and Applejack journey to the edge of the map on a friendship quest to help a group of ponies named Kirin who are so afraid of hurting each other's feelings that they've taken a potion of silence
When actress/comedian Rachel Bloom was first announced to be a guest star on 'My Little Pony', I remember saying to myself 'yeah that sounds about right' since Rachel Bloom is no stranger to appearing in cartoons seeing as she's done voiceover work for shows like 'Robot Chicken' and 'BoJack Horseman'-heck, even for the pilot episode in the new reboot of 'Muppet Babies'! But the real question for me was whether or not her performance would be good with her experience in film and television because an ongoing problem with using celebrity actors is that viewers who are familiar with them and their work will only see the actor and not the character that they are voicing-a problem that Mandy Moore has faced ever since she started voicing Rapunzel in the 'Tangled' franchise. Would Rachel Bloom fall into this trap as well or is there more to this episode than what meets the eye?
- Applejack and Fluttershy being sent on another friendship mission-not only is it great to get some continuity nods to the last time Applejack and Fluttershy were summoned together back in Season 6's "Viva Las Pegasus", but this second summoning by the map shows that the characters that we've come to know and love these past few years can be sent on multiple friendship quests in similar pairings and the added new locations to the series also allows for more world building in the world of Equestria...speaking of which, next topic!
- The introduction of The Peaks Of Peril/lore about the Kirin and Nirik-like I've said in multiple reviews prior to this episode throughout the season like in 'Molt Down' or in Season 6's 'To Where And Back Again', it is always great to see more and more world building in the world of Equestria especially since this was a new location that hadn't been featured in the movie prior to the release of this season which actually has connection to a character that we were introduced to last season and that we were being introduced to a whole new culture of characters we had never seen or heard of before; that being the soft-spoken and kind Kirin and the fearsome Nirik of pure fire
- The animation-much like the swamp that we saw earlier in the season with 'The End In Friend', the team at DHX had to really go big with the animation when creating a completely new environment in the world of Equestria to explore and...while it may look dark and scary on the outside, I have to say that they did a really good job in capturing the rustic village of Kirin Grove nestled in a shortcut through the mountains that would certainly give Middle Earth from the 'Lord Of The Rings' franchise and Loompaland from 'Charlie And The Chocolate Factory' a run for their bits!
- Rachel Bloom as Autumn Blaze-it is always great to have a guest star from the entertainment industry make an appearance in 'My Little Pony' and Rachel Bloom did a really great job with voicing our newcomer Autumn Blaze who can be described simply as a less hyper Pinkie Pie with plenty of humorous moments throughout for her and the actress voicing her to really shine on screen...what I feared would be a recognizable performance that would result in only seeing the actress turned out to be another winning performance for the series
- A Kirin Tale-throughout the singing talents of our guest star Rachel Bloom as Autumn Blaze and after a hilarious lead in that technically could count as breaking the fourth wall, we finally get our exposition dump for our new culture of characters as to why the Kirin went from sociable to quiet in a matter of moments when a fight broke out between two of them resulting in hurtful words and destruction of their entire village...not quite as awesome as 'We're Friendship Bound' from 'Road To Friendship, but it is still a very fun and jazzy song compared to what we had gotten prior in the season so far
- The moral of 'actions speaking louder than words'-with how certain events have transpired within the fandom recently with a number of community members mainly from the analysis community being exposed for repeated downright disturbing actions resulting in the fandom being given a bad name, this moral is definitely something that a lot of us and especially those who have done wrong can take away from in order to help make things better again for everyone in the fandom...as Sketchy The Changeling and Lily Orchard have said ever since the beginning, 'forgiveness is earned'. How the moral was executed however was another story...
- The story-while I think that the moral of 'actions speaking louder than words' for this episode was a great lesson to take away from, it's the execution of the moral in the story that really held this episode back from getting top marks because I could immediately tell where the story was heading once Applejack and Fluttershy started fighting with each other due to not seeing eye to eye on different subjects that appeared throughout like finding the way to Kirin Grove as well as trying to figure out how to solve the friendship problem of making the Kirin want to speak to each other again
Overall despite having a weak story, 'Sounds Of Silence' showed that actions speaking louder than words could still make a pretty decent episode full of beautiful animation and plenty of laughs from a wonderful guest star to make it an entertaining experience and I'm gonna give it a rating of an 8 out of 10.
The Maud Couple-5.5/10
Grannies Gone Wild-10/10
Surf And/Or Turf-9/10
Marks For Effort-8.5/10
The Mean 6-10/10
The End In Friend-4/10
Road To Friendship-10/10
A Rockhoof And A Hard Place-7.5/10
What Lies Beneath-10/10
Sounds Of Silence-8/10
SEASON 8 OVERALL RATING: 8.22/10