I enjoyed seeing an episode focussed on Scootaloo in particular; unlike Apple Bloom and Sweetiebelle, she's not been fleshed out a lot yet as a character. Not that this episode fundamentally changed that, but it added to her character nonetheless. (On a side note, not being fleshed out early on isn't necessarily a bad thing; it means the character isn't easily classified, e.g. as "the farm girl" or "the snooty brat" and so on. This means that there's more room for character development and real depth; but OTOH none of that is free.)
Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon really are insufferable, aren't they? Sweetiebelle's wry comment that "she doesn't like them one bit" is spot-on. I'm still clinging to the headcanon that Silver Spoon is mostly just mean due to Diamond Tiara's bad influence, and that Diamond Tiara herself has her own issues (perhaps her parents are probably neglecting her, not spending time with her etc.), but it's difficult to continue seeing anything good in them; even though they're just fillies, they've got a strong mean streak. It'd be nice to see an episode focussing on them learning and maturing and becoming at least a little nicer in the process. I suppose such an episode is about as likely as one featuring the CMC actually getting the cutie marks.
Nonetheless, I do wonder what their routine actually was in the end.
I also liked seeing Mrs. Harshwhinny again, although I think she was overdone. Her facial expressions when she visited the Ponyville school bordered on caricatures, and although I can see how a pony in her position would emphasize professionalism, encouraging enthusiasm for the games would also be of critical importance to her, and doubly so in foals. Telling Rainbow Dash off for being too excited about coaching the foals didn't make a huge lot of sense, and indeed didn't even play a real role in the plot, save to allow for a couple of funny moments. (Granted, Dash not praising the CMC's performance as much as she'd wanted to and as they'd deserved may have contributed to Scootaloo's conviction that her role needed changing; but this was hardly made clear, and it should've been obvious to the trio that Dashie did in fact love their performance anyway.)
But she also represents continuity, and that's nice. I'm really hoping for at least one more episode dealing with the Equestrian Games: heck, who knows, maybe it'll even be a two-parter for the end of season 4!
Snips and Snails are still their usual goofy selves, I see. They're funny, but I feel a little uneasy about the two; they essentially just exist to be the butts of jokes, and they also look the part. Couple this with the fact that they seem to be pretty much the only colts (apart from Featherweight and Pipsqueak), and you can probably see where I'm coming from. It'd be nice to see them getting along and interacting with the other foals a bit more to show that they're not just a pair of weirdos nopony wants to have much to do with; but OTOH I also don't know if I really want to see more of them.
On a more positive note, I was quite amused to see Horse Power/Roid Rage/Snowflake again. I love how the show reuses minor, little-used or background characters like that; it really spices things up. Well, as long as their appearances make sense, that is, but his did, and having him help the CMC train adds just a little more to his character. We may not know much about him, but he seems to be happy to help out some fillies in need of buffing up.
The episode wrapped up quite quickly in the end, BTW; convincing Scootaloo to come to the Crystal Empire after all – and do the first version of the CMC's routine, for that matter – didn't take long, and after they took off on a wild scooter ride, neither their overtaking the train nor their arrival in the Crystal Empire nor their performance were shown. But when you only have 22 minutes, you just have to cut.
The scooter ride was quite cool, and the animation for the song was very nice as well, with some interesting deviations from the show's usual flat, cel-shaded style.
What else? Oh yes, Ponyville being special inasmuch as all three types of ponies are living together in friendship there. Maybe it's just me, but I thought this was the case in pretty much every town? (Cloudsdale might be an exception for obvious reasons.) It's still something worth emphasizing, of course, and the CMC may not be aware of this being the norm anyway, but when they won the competition in the end, the older ponies also picked up on this and said much the same thing. Maybe I should go and take another look at Appleloosa, which is really about the only other town we've gotten a good look at so far. Maybe Ponyville and Canterlot really are special, although I don't like the idea of ponies living in an essentially segregated society at all.
And then there was Scootaloo's inability to fly, of course. Apparently this is unusual for a pegasus her age, and Rainbow's statement that she maybe she'll fly in the future, maybe she won't was a fairly thought-provoking one. The possibility that she'll never fly is on the table; obviously I'm rooting for her and hoping she's just a late bloomer, but having a major character come to terms with a disability and learning that it does not make them any less.. well, any less anything at all would make for a good and worthwhile lesson. And I think it'd be appreciated by the actual target audience, too, especially those kids that have disabilities themselves. It's important to learn that you shouldn't let those keep you from anything.
All in all? Cool episode, nice song, looking forward to next week already!
Elsewhere: discussion in broniesaremagic; episode follow-up on EqD.
EDIT: I totally forgot about "Rainbow Professionalism Dash", too; that was really neat. I'll file that right next to "Pinkamena Diane Fun Responsibility Pie". :)
1. There's more, of course. The MLP wiki's list of foals lists no less than 16 colts: in addition to the above, there's Pound Cake, Atlas, Button Mash, Caramel Coffee, Chip Mint, Green Daze, Lance, Lickety Split, Rumble, Shady Daze, Strike and Truffle Shuffle. Fillies still vastly outnumber them, though, and several of these colts share the concerns I have about Snips and Snails.