Brief synopsis: Pinkie's at the Golden Oaks library, and Twilight mentions genealogy. Pinkie starts reading a random scroll, which reveals that she's distantly related to the Apple family (an ancestor of hers was a fourth cousin twice removed). She visits Sweet Apple Acres; it's revealed that the scroll is smudged and that it's not clear whether she is, indeed, related, so the Apples (and Pinkie) decide to all leave the farm and go on a road trip and seek out Goldie Delicious, who is apparently the Apple Family's lorekeeper (not to be confused with Golden Delicious, who was in Apple Family Reunion). Applejack admonishes everyone to present the face of a perfect family, and predictably, chaos soon ensues, with the whole group barely making it to Goldie Delicious by the skin of their teeth. The crestfallen Apples declare that they're not worthy to have Pinkie in their family, but Pinkie is completely unfazed and points out that it's going through thick and thin together that really makes them family. Goldie Delicious arrives and turns out to be a crazy cat lady and a messie; they consult the book of the Apple family tree, and the relevant page... is smudged again. Despite this, the Apples accept Pinkie as part of their family, and they try to make an entry in the friendship journal, but end up fighting over who should write it.
So, my thoughts? It was interesting to see an episode where Pinkie was, by and large, the sanest pony around. Out of all the ponies in this episode, I think I liked her the most, with Applebloom coming in second (she's a filly; she's allowed to be silly). Applejack's stubbornness and inability to admit failure was played well, but I found it remarkable that it was her of all ponies – the Element of Honesty – who basically told her family to be dishonest for the sake of presenting a positive image. OTOH, it's been argued before that the Elements are representations of what the ponies consider the most crucial, not necessarily what comes easiest or most natural for them, and Applejack cares about her family's reputation, so she can be forgiven for forgetting about the importance of honesty for a moment there.
Big Macintosh is always nice to see, but I wish his soft-spokenness and taciturnity wouldn't be reduced to saying little more than "Eeeyup" and "Nnnope" — all the time, no less. In a similar vein, Granny Smith is an interesting character who probably has a lot to say, but she was bit too close to Grampa Simpson in this episode at times: the stereotypical elder telling unbelievable tales. ("So I tied an onion to my belt. Which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. Gimme five bees for a quarter, you'd say...") But those are minor quibbles, I suppose.
The plot was a bit crazy, as mentioned. Why did Big Mac even BRING all that stuff on a road trip? Why did they leave Sweet Apple Acres completely unattended — aren't there chores to take care of? And so on. The beginning of the episode was rather abrupt, too, with no exposition or introduction to speak of; I was left feeling that there was more there that had to be cut due to time constraints.
The episode was focussed more on the craziness of their road trip than anything else, too, and the resolution could've been stronger. Goldie Delicious was a fairly weird character – a crazy cat lady and a messie, as mentioned above –, and the resolution of the big question, with the page in the book being smudged as well... that was a bit meh, really. Or was it supposed to be another unresolved thread/plot hook, joining Fluttershy's fangs, the phantom of the
But there was a song, which is always nice. I like Apple family songs, too, and this one was quite decent, although it did not reach the (admittedly outstanding) Raise This Barn. I'm looking forward to the remixes.
Random other observations: Applebloom's attempt at "Applelicious" has got to have been one of the most blatant shoutouts to bronies I've seen so far. I gotta applaud the show staff for stopping just short of making it googleable, though; to people who're not in on the whole thing and who're merely watching the show with their kids (or who ARE kids), it'll remain obscure, funny but without deeper meaning. I also thought it was cute that Pinkie's scrapbook had a photo of her with the same expression/pose as Lyra on the S2 poster in it — and there were a couple of other moments scattered throughout the episode that made me think that the animators were really competing for EqD's "craziest face". And finally... whatever happened to that squirrel stuck to the tree?
Elsewhere: discussion in broniesaremagic.