To earn gemstones, Spike persuades the Mane Six to let him take of their pets while they are away at the Crystal Empire.To earn gemstones, Spike persuades the Mane Six to let him take of their pets while they are away at the Crystal Empire.To earn gemstones, Spike persuades the Mane Six to let him take of their pets while they are away at the Crystal Empire.
"Just for Sidekicks" fortunately was better than expected and a much more interesting episode than it sounded on paper and than it ought. It is much better than "Spike at Your Service" and actually one of the least bad of all the Spike-centric episodes that have a generally lukewarm at best reception. "Just for Sidekicks" is still in my view not a particularly great episode, and all the good things are for things that are actually not Spike. Was expecting mediocre at best, got problematic but decent.
All of the Season 3 episodes are well animated, the only exception being the design for the Timberwolves in "Spike at Your Service". "Just for Sidekicks" is no exception, the vibrancy and rich detail still delighting. The music is quirky and dynamic and the moral is a relevant one that isn't laid on too thick or contradictory (or anything like that). There are some very amusing jokes and dialogue, the funniest being with Pinkie Pie at the beginning.
The Mane 6 are all strongly written, to me Rarity being the one to give Spike the gem actually did make sense when you take into account how they interacted together in previous episodes and seasons. The Cutie Mark Crusaders are integrated beautifully and their appearance is infinitely better than their previous outing together as a group "One Bad Apple". The pets are great fun with a great job done in giving them individual (and interesting) personalities, especially Angel, and their scenes with the ponies are genuine.
Did find myself very mixed on Spike here, though he is more tolerable than in "Spike at Your Service". He learns a valuable lesson and learns from his mistakes, he's in character at least and any less than positive traits are not overdone (certainly not to the extent that Season 1's "Owl's Well that Ends Well" went overboard on showing his jealousy). Where he loses points is that he is nowhere near as interesting as the rest of the characters and what's surrounding him, always did find a better character in support than lead, and didn't seem to even belong.
Something actually interesting would happen and then it would shift to him doing something mundane and indifferently, when he is not focused on "Just for Sidekicks" is a different and better episode. The who jokes are very repetitive and are not really remotely amusing let alone funny. The story can be slow and doesn't really progress the season or anything, very filler-feeling at times.
Not a bad episode but far from a great one either. 6/10
- Aug 4, 2020