Yeah the story was going to be straight forward no matter what, but they did introduce a good personal element to Bab's to justify it, and as I said before her little nervous tick with her tail from the bullying made it all the more believeable/emotional.
And you do have to wonder why Rarity has a secret basement with edible clothing...
The blindbag shoutout was a little blatant, but there aren't any CMC blindbags so does it count? I have a gold Applejack on my shelf so I can't say much.
Sweetie Belle can only manage a tiny magic burst when overly emotional, and Scootaloo can hover for a couple of seconds now, Applebloom is showing more signs of earth-pony level strength but all three of them are lagging behind in physical development as well as their cutie marks, coincidence?
Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon getting a taste of their own medicine was good, but the threat is kind of hollow, "tell their Mums?", their Mums own half of Ponyville, basically the Malfoy's of Equestria.
And come on, how many of us expecting some kind of explosion when the timer counting down? even if it was just a can of paint or something.