In fact, this is your last chance; I'll be closing the poll down tomorrow, and based on the responses I've already gotten, doing a post about the results later this week. If you want to indulge me, you're almost out of time!
But in any case, feel free to click down below the break to check out my thoughts on Saturday's episode.
-Coherent plot culminating in a simple but generally unobjectionable moral? Check
-A generally optimistic outlook on both life in general, and the ability of goodwill and genuine effort to overcome any obstacle? Check
-Pinkie being silly and everywhere-ish without breaking the fourth wall? Check
-A broad sense of uncloying sincerity? Check
-Ponies faceplanting at 120mph but somehow being none the worse for the wear? Check
...Yup, this was a good one.
-Seriously though, this felt very much like an episode from an earlier season, in a positive way. Light on true throwaway gags and heavy on jokes which subtly (or not-so-subtly) develop either the main characters or the Equestrian setting, there was a lot to Amending Fences that offered tantalizing glimpses of both Twilight and Canterlot. For the former, we've obviously got the central arc of her realizing she was a terrible friend (even if most of her friends accepted that about her long before she even had that realization), but also, from the way she reacts to Minuette (guess I'll have to stop calling her Romana--oh well) initially and to Moondancer in the library, we can see a lot about how her self-impression has changed not just since season one, but since she became a Princess. Meanwhile, the fact that Twilight's tower has apparently been left completely untouched since she left for Ponyville tells us a lot about the relationship between her and Princess Celestia--not just that they're close and Celestia didn't want to throw out her stuff (duh), but that Celestia would basically leave that tower empty indefinitely--including of cleaning staff--paints a much more specific, interesting picture.
-I was exceptionally pleased with Twilight appearing on the page of Moondancer's book. Why? Because she makes for a super-cute drawing.
...Well, that and the fact that it gave the animators a chance to do something a little different which wasn't visually tone-breaking. I would compare this to something like the felt scene from Cranky's episode, which (being as it was Pinkie's imagination) also felt like an organic direction to develop in when expanding the visual repertoire. Live-action, like in Cheese Sandwich's episode, or even just differently-styled-without-context stuff like the giant timberwolf from Spike at your Service, doesn't appeal to me. This did.
-I didn't particularly like that "being friends" was shorthanded to "partying," but that's a minor gripe. It clearly was being used as shorthand, so that the writers wouldn't have to try to fit in a second "friends take many forms" moral that we've seen from this show before, anyway. Still, I'm kind of sympathetic to Moondancer not wanting to play pinata, in and of itself.
-Other little gripe: Moondancer seriously owed all her non-Twilight friends an apology, and they never got it. I mean, how would you feel if you went to an alleged "friend"'s party, and when you got there, the only thing she said was "hey, is [other friend] coming?," and when you said no, she fell apart and couldn't be consoled because her best (read: real) friend wasn't there. Way to make those other three feel like pathetic hangers-on, Moondancer! Ah well, they don't seem the type to hold a grudge. Or notice, frankly.
-Soge had a couple of interesting comments on this episode relative to Slice of Life. Specifically, that the only reason we (the fandom, not necessarily you and I personally) aren't rushing to accuse this episode of pandering is because SoL came first. That might be true, but the "pandering" in this episode is the kind I'll take any day, while I remain quietly terrified that the general acceptance shown to SoL will be taken as carte blanche by the scriptwriters (slash-hasbro execs) to continue producing episodes of its quality. The difference, to me at least, is night and day: Amending Fences uses logical callbacks in logical ways, as storytelling aids, which helps to build both a cohesive world and a coherent story; Slice of Life tossed in ever reference it could manage without bothering to integrate most of them into its nominal premise, or to incorporate them into what we know about Equestria, or even to build on or provide new information about Equestria, or even to make sense independent of significant application of headcanon. If anything, this episode shows just how lazy Slice of Life was; now we know that they (or at least, Larson) can write an episode full of background ponies and callbacks that isn't a jumbled, half-formed wreck.
-In summary, this was an excellent episode, containing pretty much everything I look for in MLP. Yay! I officially take back 12% of all the disappointment I've felt toward Larson for how he handled/was forced to handle Magical Mystery Cure. Season five has had its ups and downs, just like every season, but so far I'm enjoying it worlds more than the last two seasons. Hopefully the Chris Enjoyment Level stays high!