Well, that was a unexpected. Rockhoof is trying to find his place in the modern world after being in limbo for 1,000 years. His “traditional” methods of unearthing artifacts clashing with the meticulous methods of Professor Fossil in Rockhoof’s old land. His re-enactment of his tales tends to cause damage to Twilight’s school. He also disrupts a fire-breathing contest between Spike and Smolder, mistaking it for a raging fire.
The other pillars haven been adjusting much better than Rockhoof. In Canterlot, Flash Magnus is the new drill sergeant for Princess Celestia’s royal guards. In the Crystal Empire, Mistmane is the royal landscape artist for Princess Cadance and Prince Shining Armor. In her village home in Southern Equestria, Somnambula is a motivational speaker and meditation guru. In the Hayseed Swamp, Mage Meadowbrook sells potions and remedies out of her home/health clinic. Even Stygian has found moderate success as a best-selling novelist. Seeing how well his old friends have adjusted to living in modern-day Equestria, Rockhoof feels more miserable and out of place than ever.
A job as General Seaspray’s Hippogriff Navy goes awry when using the stars to guide the way does not take into account rocks in the ocean. And yes, I’m not sure why the Hippogriffs need a Navy when they can turn into sea ponies, either.
Rockhoof is miserable to the point where he asks Twilight to cast a spell to turn him to stone (because we can’t say assisted suicide on a TV-Y show). However, Yona, inspired by Rockhoof’s stories, reads him her essay about how she felt she didn’t fit at the school at first, but has since made close friends. Rockhoof suddenly has an audience when he decides to finish the story.
Seeing this, Twilight make him the Official Keeper of Tales in Equestria. She’s a Princess, don’t question it. Rockhoof finally has purpose in the modern world.
Here is one of the more surprising episodes in the series. Much like “Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?” took a darker tone with its topic of self-torture to relieve past pains, this is pretty much as close as this show will get to hinting at suicide much like “Tanks for the Memories” used hibernation of a pet in lieu of death of a loved one.
Much as I feel that Steven Universe can tell its stories in 22-minute episodes (read: “Bismuth”) even though it sticks to 11-minute episodes, MLP could well have episodes that deal with touchy topics with a semblance of maturity if given the chance. That was one area that puts Mister Rogers and even Arthur in a class of their own, but I need to get back on track with the episode in question.
There really isn’t that much wrong with this one and it’s in the top tier for this season. It’s about someone trying to find their place in the world after a seemingly long time away from it and that one should keep trying instead looking for a way to leave it. It’s nice to see all the Pillars again, though you do wish they were able to help more. However, we do get a nice save from Yona and by extension the Young Six who were actually enthused by his stories.
We’ve had some good character moments this season, we just needed some better stories and this episode fits the latter.
PS: Since a series continuity error has been brought to my attention on “The Washouts”, I have to downgrade my grade on that episode to a B.