So, Pony Point of View. I've said of a few other episodes this season (and I'm far from the only one) that they've had a S1-S2 vibe to them--you know, low-key, slice-of-life, learning-about-friendship stuff. This is the first such episode, though, where I've felt that it really suffered for not being S1-S2. These girls have known each other for years, now, and it seems like they ought to be more cognizant of one anothers' foibles by now. I mean, if Rarity and AJ can't recite the "it's just Pinkie being Pinkie" over this sort of thing by now, how on earth are they still friends in the first place? That, and I really missed having a letter to Celestia on this one; it would have been the perfect cheesy/sincere cap to this kind of cheesy/sincere lesson.
Also, has anyone else commented on how the bunyip has absolutely nothing to do with anything? Twilight makes a big show of dragging everypony out to see that he's the one that sank the boat, but it's not like the girls were mad because the boat sank--they were mad because they each thought the other two had been acting like ponces, and that resolution (you know, the important one) had nothing to do with who, specifically, was to blame for the boat sinking. I mean, Twilight makes this big deal out of something that's almost entirely tangential to the plot.
I probably sound like I hated the episode, but I didn't! It was fine; above-average in terms of Chris-enjoyment relative to the past few seasons, certainly (best part was AJ recollecting Rarity's dialogue like a true fanfic writer--how often does she say "darling," again?). But it felt like it could have been a home-run episode, but instead just plunked a respectable but unexciting single into center-left. Oh well, on to fanfiction! Some thoughts on some fics, below the break.
Do No Harm, by Holy
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Deep in a jungle on the far side of the world, Daring Do is forced, for the first time in her career, to take another's life.
A few thoughts: Other than a little over-use of proper nouns, this story is pretty well-written. It also has some nice imagery (well, not nice, since is about killing, but... oh, you know what I mean), and generally works well as a scene. My one regret about it is that it is just a scene; there's no real suggestion of how this will impact Do going forward, nor any sort of closure on her part. It's a messy, perhaps tragic event, and while it's given appropriate gravity here, it's never put in a context that makes it more than the singular depiction of an event. That's not a flaw, exactly... but it feels to me like a missed opportunity.
Recommendation: This manages a good transition from high-tension at the start to gloomy and reflective at the end; I think it would be a good choice for readers interested in a look at killing that's both serious and lacking in glorification, though not necessarily for those seeking to see further ramifications therefrom, actual or implied.
Interrogation Box, by Beige Monkfish
Zero-ish spoiler summary: The Royal Guard interrogates a suspect, using the most fearsome techniques in their arsenal.
A few thoughts: I feared this would be a single joke stretched to 3000 words, but this story actually has a lot going for it, humor-wise. The comic repetition and deliberate over-explaining is excellent, as are the narrative asides which dot the fic ("'Any news?' Silver Wing asked, shifting his wings slightly at the cold. [His] wings were actually white, as was the rest of his coat. He just put his name down to having over-exuberant parents"). Its biggest weakness is the titular element, which obviously has a major place of prominence, despite being disappointingly one-note and predictable.
Recommendation: If you're looking for something goofy and random (but not too random), this is an above-average example of the type. It's obviously one to stay away from if you aren't looking for some silly exaggeration, though.