After Applejack saves Spike, he insists on fulfilling the Noble Dragon Code by repaying her with excessive help around the farm.After Applejack saves Spike, he insists on fulfilling the Noble Dragon Code by repaying her with excessive help around the farm.After Applejack saves Spike, he insists on fulfilling the Noble Dragon Code by repaying her with excessive help around the farm.
"Spike at Your Service" is down there as among the worst and a contender for the worst episode of Season 3. Yes, worse than "One Bad Apple". May not have liked how that episode handled its subject and the characters and the Mane 6 are generally better characterised in this episode, but at least the storytelling in that episode wasn't anywhere near as messy, the tone as much of a muddle or as erratically paced. It also at least didn't have anything visually jarring or butchered any central characters as much. Although "Spike at Your Service" certainly has its moments, it had all of those problems.
Am going to start talking about those moments. Most of the animation is great, with vibrant atmospheric colour and rich detail. The music never jars or gets over-scored or overused (bugbears of mine when it comes to music in film etc.). There are some amusing jokes here and there, like with Pinkie Pie and the moustache.
Loved the character interaction throughout and the voice acting is very good all round (Spike was not a good character here but Cathy Weseluck's voice work was fine). And the Mane 6 are very well characterised, especially Rarity (one of the most consistently written ponies in Season 3 for the same reasons as the other episodes where she shines) and Applejack (true to character unlike the previous episode).
Cannot really say the same for Spike, the character's only redeeming merit here was Weseluck's game voice work. For an episode centered around him, if the character is not interesting or likeable the episode sort of fails. Spike is neither of those things and as a result "Spike at Your Service" just doesn't work. Here he is useless at everything he does and to the story itself and his incompetence, emphasised far too heavily, is not funny or relatable and is actually very annoying. The tone is very muddled and like the writers were not sure how to approach the material and like they were trying to fit in every mood they could find.
It, the story that is, is very cobbled together feeling, and like it was an idea intended for something else (this did not feel like a 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' episode). As well as paced erratically, sometimes over-stretched due to the plot being too thin and at other times jumpy. The whole dragon code thing felt under-explored and silly and the ending is a big anti-climax. As for the Timberwolves, they are pretty much wasted. Their designs have an eeriness but stylistically they do not gel well at all with the rest of the animation (another out of place aspect), and characterisation-wise they became more goofy than menacing.
All in all, very mediocre and Season 3's worst. 4/10
- Aug 3, 2020