Floreat, WA
Posts: 2,345
Joined: Apr 2012
*Riku continually gets zapped by computer
Ouch! Why are you still shocking me?!
*Computer displays date and time

So yeah, the long weekend over in the west's made me a tad lazy, so let's get back on the horse (no pun intended) and review Every Little Thing She Does.

So we start with Twilight and Starlight in an early-morning magic lesson, displaying continuous teleportation, impressive shield spells and a display of transfiguration magic so easy that the alchemist in me was flipping out. It's been years since I last watched Fullmetal Alchemist, but I'm pretty sure even magic should follow the laws of equivalent exchange. But this opening also raised a question-marked flag for me. I understand practicing helps keep up skills, but I don't really see why Twilight wants Starlight to practice considering Starlight's far more advanced than Twilight as a unicorn at the same stage. Also, little titbit here, but I noticed Starlight's teleport has a different sound effect than Twilights.

So Starlight shows off some speed spells (including one that's basically the Pokémon move Double Team) before Twilight points out she hasn't done any friendship lessons since her last episode. Well... not only is that pretty obvious since this is the first episode since that one to focus on Starlight, but also it flies in the face of what Twilight said in the opening of The Times They Are A Changeling. Angry
Starlight looks as uneasy about the whole thing as she did in the season premiere and Twilight encourages her to focus on those lessons while she and Spike are in Canterlot for the day. At least we have a reason for why they aren't in the episode, unlike so many times before for Spike. Speaking of Spike, his sarcasm over the length of Twilight's presentation definitely drew a laugh.
We then cut to Starlight in her room (good to establish she has one, not that I think Twilight's that cruel/air-headed to not give her a room from her TARDIS-like castle) and Spike checking in on her before leaving. What he finds (and what the show re-enforces for what feels like the billionth time) is that baby face Starlight is a terrible liar. Spike reads out the lessons (pulled from the bottom of a full bin Daring Do ) and tells Starlight it's okay to admit she's nervous. An idea she scoffs at. Her playing down the obvious problem, that's in character for Starlight. Being nervous about friendship lessons... Didn't we already cover this in the season premiere? It almost feels like... OhJaw Drop
Cockatrice *Riku readies keyblade just in case

Anywho, Starlight brags she could combine the lessons into one and soon gathers the rest of the mane six. They voice concerns but Starlight brushes them off with logic and a systematic, straight-forward approach. Yes, because that's worked soooooooo well for Twilight in the past *cough*whataboutdiscord*cough*. Glare
Her approach is met by opinions that probably weren't in Starlight's plans (like where they want to work, who should go first, etc.), though I will admit I got a smile from Starlight song-blocking Pinkie. Eventually, Starlight excuses herself to the library, on the verge of a panic attack before deciding to fix the problem with-
A Spell! Or rather, a large combination of spells!
*Crickets chirp
Like I said; that's worked so well for Twilight before. *cough*Bats!*cough*Returnofhamonypart1*cough*Lessonzero...*cough*

So yeah... Starlight, blinded by her imagined success and praise from Twilight, casts the spell, which appears to have turned... Twilight's friends into... suggestion-based... zombies... OhAngry
*Riku approaches writing team, dual-wielding keyblades
Okay, who stuffed up here!? This is borderline brainwashing. You know; the thing that made people compare Starlight to Hitler/Scientology/every cult ever? I thought Starlight being concerned about friendship lessons earlier wasn't a good look, but this...
*Riku sighes, moves on

So Starlight starts with the lessons, but finds the others won't do anything unless she tells them to. Oh This is even worse than what she did as a villain! No, Riku, calm down. Just... power through it.
One thing I will say is that the state of the mane six immediately reminded me of an episode from Steven Universe, where Steven - fed up with what he perceived as a lack of personal space, runs into the super-huge dimensional space that is his mum's room. In it, he can wish for anything he wants and it manifests itself. But when it manifests people, they don't think or do anything unless he tells them to, exactly like the mane six ponies here.
As is always the case, the lessons spiral out of control as the commands are misinterpreted and Twilight and Spike return to see a flooded castle and a guilty Starlight. Although, I will say the predictable result was buoyed a fraction by brainwashed AJ quoting movie lines.

So as Spike cleans up (as usual Coffee ), Starlight is made to realise that she completely missed the point of the lessons; spending time with Twilight's friends and becoming friends with them herself rather than completing the task. Starlight also reveals she was nervous about the friendship lessons and failing them, and not mentioning it because of how ridiculous it sounded. While I understand the second part of that, I have to ask: who decided it was a good idea to rewrite Starlight the social skills of season 1-2 Fluttershy?!
*Riku takes deep breath
After that's resolved, we cut to the other five at tables looking very ragged. This provided a few more funny moments, especially Pinkie being legitimately upset over burning the cake. Geez, never stuff up in the kitchen when Pinkie's nearby. Starlight shows up and after copping some deserved flak over it, apologises (in a manner very reminiscent of Leap of Faith) and slowly they forgive her before having another crack at the lessons via montage. A lot of montages in the latter half of the season I'm noticing. I like how it still took Pinkie a little while to lighten up again, showing her pride as a baker was genuinely hurt a little by burning those cakes, though one flour-faced Starlight later and fun-loving Pinkie's back.
So Twilight helps Starlight realise that in cleaning up she was doing her friendship lessons, they all gather on the balcony pool the castle apparently has What, and we close out the episode with Starlight unsure how to "chillax" and everyone laughing.

So, how'd the episode do?
Not well. Sure, there were a fair amount of funny moments from the rest of the mane six and I'm glad to see another Starlight episode, but her character felt wrong. The problem felt old and already done, and Starlight being nervous even more than she was in the premiere is, to me, nothing short of the writer forgetting what's come before hand. It also makes me immensely sad because, much like Flash Sentry, I want better for Starlight. It's episodes like these that seemingly validate the complaints from most fans that Starlight's just a cookie-cutter discount version of Sunset Shimmer, minus the well-paced redemption. I want Starlight to be an enjoyable character, but it's hard to enjoy an episode when it feels like she's already faced this problem and gotten over it. What, are the writing staff making Starlight the new Spike?
*Riku sighs
Like I said, I really want to like Starlight episodes, as I still believe she can be a good character. Just not when she's given episodes like this one. It's not the worst of the season for me, but unfortunately it's definitely down there.
And now...
*Riku notices bills still needing to be paid.
*Riku notices budget in the red.
*Riku sighs

The struggle is real.
Tune in for next week's review, posted on time
Midnight Lights likes this post
Floreat, WA
Posts: 2,345
Joined: Apr 2012
*Riku comes in from dancing at party
Damn that was fun. I've got to try dancing more often. Still... it feels like I'm missing something. Think
*Riku gets shocked
Ouch! Oh Oh. Right. On with P.P.O.V (Pony Point Of View)

So we start the episode with Twilight and Spike heading to the train station to welcome home Pinkie, Applejack and Rarity from a ocean cruise at a place called Seaward Shoals (meaning the canon map introduced at the end of season 5 will require an update). It's at this time Twilight enters exposition mode and also lets slip that Fluttershy and Rainbow are at a Cloudsdale Flight school reunion. At least they have a reason for why they're not in the episode. Sure wish they could give Starlight that kind of treatment. Glare
The purpose of the cruise was to help one another get out of their element and try something new, though one look at the three when they arrive and how not a single word's spoken as they skulk off indicates it went as well as a rational, factual conversation with Donald Trump.

After the intro, Twilight sets up to host a tea party between the three to try and sort it out, though each one declines via animal messenger (Including a non-douchebag Opal Jaw Drop ). Determined to figure this out and fix the rift in the friendship, Twilight and Spike head off and listen to the stories of all three. While they all shared similar themes (blaming each other, being out of character, cucumber sandwiches going overboard causing bubbles, a piñata, the three fighting over the map and the ship sinking), I want to mention a few things from each version;

Spoiler :
Even before she starts her story in oh so dramatic fashion (pun intended Trixie ), we discover Rarity's not so polite to let a crab live in her mane. Perhaps it's a reference to this;
[Image: rarity_fighting_a_giant_crab_by_subjectn...5y7wez.jpg]
I initially thought Spike was being smart, using reverse psychology to get Rarity talking, but re-watching it shows he just wanted out of taking notes. Oh Spike, you were doing so well this season.
Rarity said she wanted the other two to relax, and also probably toned down the amount of luggage she was bringing on-board, though along came PirateJack, and only one thing came to mind;

And after all the shenanigans, Rarity blames PJ.
Spoiler :
Right off the bat Pinkie says how she wanted to make the voyage fun and blames Rarity, before claiming she essentially had an army of porters to carry her luggage. I know Rarity likes to bring a lot on a trip (Sweet & Elite and Sleepless In Ponyville come to mind), but damn!
Rarity also apparently gave them the sandwiches before throwing them away, becoming what many feared she would when the show began; the clichéd high-society character!
While Pinkie and AJ play with the piñata, the ship veers off course and the three fight over the map before noticing the spinning wheel.
Quote:"Oh don't worry dear. Luxury cruises never sink.
Tell that to the Titanic, darling.
Spoiler :
Applejack said she brought a treasure map to give the other two an adventure and the flashback begins. Speaking of the Titanic, Rarity comes in wearing the exact dress Rose does at the start of the movie (even doing the pose at the front of the boat once on-board), while Pinkie comes in acting how many of her critics see her; as a dumb, party-obsessed joke machine.
Rarity goes a tad Darling when bringing out the food, Pinkie acts dumb and AJ accidentally knocks the food overboard.
Pinkie then wants Rarity to whack the piñata, and she refuses in the most Tada way possible. Pinkie then "volunteers" AJ for the game before the storm rolls in. AJ tries to change course, but Rarity wants it for some upper-class reason and Pinkie was being obstructive for the sake of being silly/stupid.
So in the end, AJ blames them both.
Also, throughout the stories, I love how Spike was dying to know how they got back to shore.
So back at the castle, Spike's bummed they're no closer to figuring this out before Twilight begins her cross examination and whips out the chalkboard. One epiphany and flip transition later (really surprised they didn't just fade into the next scene like they usually do), Twilight tricks the three of them to head down to the docks with a friendship emergency. Theirs. However, this does raise a question; since this did seem to be a legit friendship-based problem, why wasn't the map summoning Twilight to solve it? Are intra-group emergencies not included or does the map only focus on non-main characters?
Anywho, Spike finally demands the answer to how they got back to shore and we see they were in shallow waters the whole time. Cheerilee

So, the four get on the smaller boat Twilight got, but Rarity, Pinkie and AJ aren't in a talkative mood. It's here that not only did I get flashbacks of that Rugrats/Wild Thornberries crossover movie, but that Twilight reveals the real reason the boat sank and who was responsible. The bubbles and swell were caused by a new creature; a Tri-horned Bunyip, whose favourite food are cucumbers. Here I was hoping this thing would be similar to a hydra, yet instead we get the Loch Ness Monster crossed with a seal. I'm not angry, just a little disappointed.
Also disappointing is the reason why each thought the others were to blame; Twilight explains they were too busy try to help the other two out of their element that they didn't notice they were doing the same. I find it very hard to be optimistic about a reason that thin on believability. Also pretty had to believe that, considering how long they've been friends and what they've all been through together that they'd let a misunderstanding like this be the thing that nearly destroys their friendship. Geez, hope the remaining villains weren't watching. I know it's teaching a good moral about how even long-time friends sometimes need to work on communication, but this doesn't feel like the most effective solution for that moral. So the five (six counting the bunyip) all enjoy the last scene of the episode doing all the things each was trying to do before, yet now better than before.

So, this episode.
I know it sounded bad there at the end and I'll admit I have issues with how the issue was resolved and the moral (a good one I feel) was delivered, but there were a few good moments two. Seeing each character's take on how things went down was interesting and man did I laugh at PirateJack and the Titanic references. I also enjoyed Spike's frustration about how the boat sunk, but with the theme of the episode (three different perspectives)... it felt too similar to the other one, the episode reviewing Rarity For You's opening. While not entirely the same, it felt pretty similar, and doing two very similar-themed episodes in the one season isn't a good sign for the show going ahead in my opinion.
Overall, I think this was a meh episode. Not good, but not too bad either. But hey, the last two episodes before the season finale are usually pretty good (the last two of season 4 and Leap of Faith in season 5 for example) so hopefully next week's episode is pretty good.
Now, I have a early morning shift to prepare for- Sleep2
*Stay tuned for next week's review
Midnight Lights likes this post
Floreat, WA
Posts: 2,345
Joined: Apr 2012
*Riku relaxes
Ah, nothing like having a week off to recharge and relax.
*Riku notices computer activate, ready taser
*Riku sighs

Can't get a break, can I? Oh well, on with Where the Apples Lies.

We start with Filthy Rich picking up an order of Zap-Apple Jam from AJ and Big Mac.

Once gone, the two learn Applebloom mixed up the crates so Rich got cider instead of jam. After the intro the mix-up's resolved and AJ gives Applebloom the telling off about lying. Careful AJ, your element's showing. But when Applebloom counters saying AJ's never lied in her life, this brings chuckles from both Big Mac and a suddenly-materialising Granny Smith.

We go into story mode, flashing back to when AJ and Big Mac were a little bit older than what AB is now. Have to say I'm a little surprised that AJ had such thin legs as a filly, though that surprise was overridden by Mac speaking normally.

Anywho, Mac and AJ used to argue tons about who'd run the farm, with AJ having tons of ideas, but Big Mac preferring hard work. Going into town on an errand (which managed to sneak in some gay Braeburn innuendo) the siblings bump into Filthy and Spoilt Rich, though she's introduced as Spoilt Milk, his fiancée. Well, that's an interesting point to add to the MLP naming conundrum. Also note even back then she was a stuck-up bitch. What does Fancy see in her?
We also learn Rich just took over his dad's business at this point in time and offers to sell Sweet Apple Cider. AJ sounds interested but Mac cites the tradition of ponies lining up at the farm, and how Granny always refused to let anyone else sell it. Fed up with him, AJ strikes a deal with Rich.
Quote:If the future means me running Sweet Apple Acres and you being quiet, I can't wait.
Oh AJ, despite your hidden talent of seeing the future, I feel you'll be regretting those words by episodes end.

Back at the farm, AJ and Granny reveal just how much Big Mac quotes his favourite saying before Granny gives AJ her response to the idea; Off My Lawn When AJ protests, Granny explains it's to do with selling the cider while it's fresh, and ain't budging from her position. So AJ and Big Mac trudge back into town (where one can spot Cheerilee sporting her 80s hair) to undo the deal. He doesn't take it too well and threatens to end the business partnership. Wut Damn. Diamond Tiara might have gotten her attitude from her mum, but the outbursts of anger might've been inherited from Rich's side of the family. Big Mac tries to calmly talk their way out of it when AJ lies, saying Granny was sick. Rich buys it but Big Mac definitely doesn't like it. Swag And although he's pretty pissed at AJ, he still keeps it secret from Granny as well. I can understand why. When you know you've screwed up, the absolute last thing you want is to find yourself in your parent's crosshairs.
Things aren't helped when Filthy and Spoilt drop in as wellwishers, leaving Applejack to frantically keep Granny Smith occupied while Big Mac stalled. Shame, now we'll never know the canon reason why he's called Big Mac. The lies keep coming, with Granny now apparently in hospital and the Richs rushing to visit.

Somehow Granny buys AJ's lie about apple blight infecting ponies and the family goes to the hospital. Huh I just realised something. Seeing as how AJ and Big Mac are arguing over who'll run the farm and Granny calls the shots, that clearly means the parents are dead by this point. Yet there wouldn't be more than maybe five to seven years age difference between Applejack and Applebloom. Which means, if I'm getting this right, the three of them left a toddler alone on the farm? Bravo AJ. Not only are you threatening the potential financial future of your family's business, but to cover for your lie now you left your little sister all alone on the farm. Great job. Glare

So the lies keep on escalating in the hospital, to the point where Granny (disguised as a doctor) gets shoved in a janitor's closet and Big Mac gets carted to an operating room (during which we also see a cleverly hidden Shining reference and Derpy with bandaged eyes. Why Derpy, what happened to you?). Finally Applejack comes clean before Granny can get started with the saw, admitting she was not only worried about no one listening to her ideas or running the farm, but being too embarrassed to take back a promise. Big Mac takes some of the blame for not listening to her enough, but then Granny shuts them both up, reminding them who's in charge and pretty much strong-arming Filthy Rich into staying as a business partner. And when everyone raised their hooves to hear the story in fear of her wrath? Cheerilee Priceless.
The flashback ends and Applebloom realises the moral that no one starts out perfect and that it takes mistakes to help make someone who they are. They joke about Granny being in charge and the episode ends with laughter.

So, how'd this one do?
Alright. For me it was pretty much a cringy-meh episode until Granny cracked the whip at the end. But just because I'm not much of a fan of cringe humour as I used to be, doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the story. It was interesting to see the experience that instilled Applejack's honesty, something that would become immeasurably important down the line, and seeing how much of a blabbermouth Big Mac used to be was cool too. There were a few nods to previous episodes as well as cool references, but Granny Smith laying down the law was definitely the best part and the moral was a surprisingly mature one, but still very important.
That said, I did still have to stop and start repeatedly due to the cringe this episode brought on, and there is still the unspoken fact that Applebloom was basically left on her own on the farm throughout all of this (there weren't any parents at this point so she definitely had no one there for her).

So yeah, a decent episode. Now, time to kick back and resume my holi-
*Riku gets zapped by the computer
What was that for?!
*Computer gestures to list of uncompleted housework
Glare Seems Granny Smith isn't the only slave driver.
*Riku gets shocked again
*Tune in for next week's review, with a more compliant Riku
Midnight Lights likes this post
Floreat, WA
Posts: 2,345
Joined: Apr 2012
Really sorry this was a day late guys, but I woke up late yesterday morning and was really sick last night so that's why I forgot to upload this yesterday. BlushShy

*Computer raises alert, anti-virus program needs re-installing
Alright then.
*Cannot reinstall, firewall not responding
*Riku takes computer to specialist
*Two days later
Alright, I need to do this and I need a working, secure computer to do it.
*Riku reluctantly buys and sets up new computer

So yeah, that whole scenario actually happened and so I only now have the time to look at the most recent episode, Top Bolt. Also, Hasbro being the *Comment redacted that they are and seeing as how the episode isn't on Kisscartoon yet, I've had resort to watching this episode via reaction video. Fine Let's do this.

The title alone's a clear indication this will be a Rainbow Dash episode and that already forces me to lower my expectations. I don't like being so pessimistic right out the gate, but personally I've only found one Rainbow episode this season entertaining and it was Stranger than Fanfiction. So yeah, I apologise if I'm not singing Rainbow's praises this time around.
We start at the Wonderbolts facility where they've just finished up Spring training and RD's going on about her plans; reading with Twilight, making cider with AJ and a sleepover with Pinkie. Hope she brought plenty of whipped cream. Badumtish Not everyone's glad to hear about it, and we learn Spitfire'll be stuck there training new recruits. Huh I'm getting the strongest feeling this is going to be a second go at Wonderbolts Academy, isn't it? Nope. Instead, the show proves me wrong via RD's butt flashing, which means it's map time! Only it shows RD and Twilight have been summoned... straight back to the Wonderbolts base. Glare Well, I believe that's the second time this season the show's made me look the fool. Kudos show, kudos.

So after the credits RD and Twilight come across Spitfire welcoming the recruits. Yep, it's Wonderbolt Academy all over again, though that's not a bad thing. It was one of the better episodes of season 3 and did give Rainbow a ton of excellent character growth. A shame she couldn't get the same treatment in this season, huh? Looking at the recruits, we've got a decent spread of ponies; some small, some thin, and all with good-colour design. RD and Twilight float down and the recruits are in awe. Well, that's more of a reaction than what the mane six usually get for, you know, saving Equestria more times than I care to count?
As Spitfire starts the drills, the unsure one actually reveals RD and Twilight are her favourite ponies. I smell a reference to us fans. One shout from Spitfire and the three get down to business. Spitfire reveals she hasn't seen any real friendship problems before Twilight suggests Rainbow help the recruits work on their technique. Spitfire points out what's wrong and mentions a classroom portion, igniting-
[Image: sig-3966578.t5e4868_174132__UNOPT__twili...imated.gif]

So Twilight volunteers to help out in the classroom while Dash helps out in the skies. Twilight's super eager but RD's only there to keep them awake, curtesy of a MLG airhorn. One student, Sky Stinger (that's actually not that bad a name. Damn it, why couldn't I have come up with that for a fic?) feels above the lesson and immediately establishes himself as Lightning Dust 2.0. With that mention, I'm a little bummed we aren't seeing her again. I imagine Lightning Dust is capable of a reformation similar to Trixie's yet debuting in season 3 probably hurt her chances of getting another episode. His bravado is backed up by a more genuine mare named Vapour Trail, though her confidence takes a hit on learning of solo testing, and it gives Sky Stinger more airtime to gloat and quest for the season's biggest dick award. Twilight tries getting the lesson back on track, yet it comically puts Dash to sleep.

After the class, Stinger approaches Twilight and RD and asks about the solo test, brushing off any concern for him with arrogance and actually is worried for Vapour. They head to freestyle training and Stinger impresses, yet Dash notices Vapour might've enhanced Stinger's performance. Oh, I think I see where this is going. Anyone who's seen the Homer parts of the Simpsons episode where Marge almost joins the snooty country club knows what I mean. Sky's too busy looking good to realise Vapour's helping him, and Vapour's too busy helping him to work on her own performance. So the two friends decide to help them out, though while Twilight wants to tell them the truth, Dash wants to solve this without telling them. Glare And Dash was doing so well. After all, it's not like the previous episode warned against doing exactly that so it doesn't spiral out of control.

But it might be saved by both sides have good arguments; Twilight wants to reveal the truth before it causes a major problem, but Dash explains it could sap their confidence, which is equally as important in flying for the Bolts. We get a brief interruption from Spitfire (chastising Vapour before turning her attention to the unsure mare from earlier (named Angel Wing) and revealing she loves this portion of the job), before Vapour shows off how cute a sneeze she has (second only to Fluttershy ) and is down on confidence. They follow her to the showers and-
NO! BAD SHIPPERS! No clop for you. Angry
-and despite Dash's wishes they reveal they know the friends secret, revealing the two are pretty much screwed come the solo trials.

So we get the explanation of why Vapour was helping him. Sky Stinger came from a family with tons of siblings but he didn't get much attention. Conversely, Vapour Trail was an only child and was smothered by her parents. She secretly helped him get better at flying and the two became friends.
Ship-fic writers, TO YOUR KEYBOARDS!
Vapour thankfully sees what Twilight and Dash are saying, but is still scared of telling Sky, fearing for his confidence (and allowing Dash an "I Told You So look"). So they go with Rainbow's plan and, to be honest, it's not that bad of one. Twilight will try to teach Stinger the fundamentals while Dash helps Vapour build up her endurance. While Dash has success, Sky is a terrible student. Of course his pride blinds him to the truth until Vapour finally blurts it out, leading to a very funny contrast of Twilight and Dash's faces. The truth comes out and Sky denies it before his piss-poor wing strength is displayed. He then blames her for making him look like a joke and they separate, leaving RD and Twilight troubled.

So Twilight and Dash each feel like their idea was to blame, and not only are Vapour and Sky not talking, but now Sky's confidence is shot, something Spitfire's not happy about. Twilight has a plan though and while she reveals to Sky she relates to him by needing to practise friendship before becoming Princess of Friendship, he should do the same. Likewise, Dash finds Vapour and helps her realise she's talented and truly wants to be a Wonderbolt for the enjoyment of flying, not just to be with Sky. The two are reunited and after forgiving each other, they train hard and help each other through the challenges, doing so in the trial and making it into the academy. Angel Wings switches her fave ponies to Sky and Vapour, the two friends quote Top Gun, and Twilight and Dash return to the castle just for Dash to get called out for a Wonderbolt emergency back at HQ.

So, how'd it do?
This episode did well, definitely exceeding my expectations. I think the main problem with Dash episodes this season is either she has no interesting ponies to work off of, or she doesn't mesh well with them/the plot/theme of the episode (at least in my opinion). She had Quibble Pants to bounce off of to hilarious effect in Stranger than Fan Fiction, but not so in Newbie Dash. Thankfully she did well with Twilight in this one, and with a topic near and dear to her heart, Dash was pretty committed for most of the episode. Twilight was good as well; her ideas clashing with Rainbow's as well as facial expressions helped add to the comedy, and her relating to Sky Striker is a nice display of character growth used to help fix the problem.
The recruits were good too. Like I said earlier, I liked the designs of all of them, though Vapour Trails and Sky Striker both have great designs, compliment each other both in looks and personality, and are no doubt the fandom's newest ship. I was concerned about how Sky was basically the second coming of Lightning Dust, but thankfully that didn't happen. Sad though, as I would like to see Dust return and this could've been a good episode to bring her in. Also, Angel Wings was good for comedy relief. I hope we get to see her again.
This did kind of feel like a role reversal of Wonderbolt Academy; where as before Dash was the trainee trying to earn her place, now she's a senior helping the rookies earn theirs. Shows good character progression for her. This is a rare good episode for Dash this season, and I'm glad to see her get one to redeem her in my eyes, but it's a shame it had to be the last episode before the finale.
So like I said, overall this was a good but not great episode, and leaves us with only the finale left to look forward to.

Now, new computer, please don't be a unwell sadist like my last one.
*Computer offers Riku a cake
Wub A belated birthday cake? You shouldn't have.
*Riku takes a bite, revealed to be seafood-flavoured
*Riku projectile vomits

Some things never change. Hurg
*Tune in next week for Riku's take on the finale
Fortaker, Midnight Lights like this post
19/10/2016, 12:32 AM (Last edited: 19/10/2016 12:39 AM by Riku006)
Floreat, WA
Posts: 2,345
Joined: Apr 2012
Alrighty, time for the finale, To Where and Back Again. Apart from a few thumbnails I managed to stay pretty much spoiler free, so I wasn't sure of much going in. Now, like the season premiere, I'll be splitting this review in two. Not because of wanting to save people from spoilers (because the internet said "To Tartarus with that"), but to ensure the review doesn't drone on forever. But now, the episodes.

Part 1:
Spoiler :
So we open with Starlight and Spike helping Twilight move out some old books, and Twilight commends a modest Starlight on her friendship progress. Gee, would've been real nice to see said progression on screen. Glare Then in comes Happy Derpy with a message for Starlight, who's been invited back to her old town for a local festival. Naturally, she's terrified to go. *Riku sighs Unfortunately I've only just realised there's a trend this season with Starlight; she's terrified to do anything social that doesn't involve Twilight holding her hoof every step of the way. It's almost on par with the criticism that Spike and Fluttershy cop for seemingly having to relearn the same lesson over and over again. Now some issues will take more than one instance to get over, I've said this before and am proof to some extent as well, but I feel after the last episode Starlight shouldn't be this afraid.

After the opening, Starlight walks back into town, yet is met with rudeness from the townsponies, who augh at her (reviving Party Favour's derp face). As she whimpers, it's revealed to be a dream sequence with Luna's arrival, and upon confirming Starlight's afraid she hasn't changed much from the cult leader she used to be, she informs Starlight the best course of action is to ask her friends for advice. They assure her there's nothing to worry about and Twilight suggests Starlight bring someone along.
And Starlight chooses Trixie. Cheerilee
It's hilarious watching Twilight try to hide her disappointment and Trixie rubbing it in her face.
So the two get to town with Trixie saying "I've got your flank". Oh the shipfics that are being spawned from that one sentence alone.
The townsponies are much more accepting of Starlight in reality, though a little needy for guidance/someone to turn to for the festival. Oh Wow, it's almost like they miss not having a free will of their own. Seeing Starlight in distress, Trixie vanishes them in a puff of smoke and the two head back to Ponyville.

So getting back to town, Starlight goes to tell her friends what happened, but they keep giving strange responses, even saying she should never go back there. Add in their secretive nature of hiding out together and it was at this point the writer in me realised what had happened. But for the sake of the review, let's keep pretending, shall we? Starlight has another bad dream, this time an angry mane 6 mad because she went back to her old village. But Luna just manages to fade them away and warn Starlight before being taken away; the Changelings are back.

So not only have the changelings gotten the mane 6 and Spike, but also Luna and Celestia. Starlight bails to wake up Trixie before the two discover them relaying a message to Chrysalis. Sadly, her voice is still undistorted. Guess she must've done that at the wedding as an intimidation factor. So, with the changelings having replaced Equestria's rulers and heroines, Starlight and Trixie are panicking about what to do when Thorax shows up, showing off glittery new wings. Our makeshift hero team is complete when Discord pops in, proving his identity in trademark reality-warping style. But when he learns Fluttershy's been captured, Discord gets serious and immediately teleports them to the outskirts of the Changeling Kingdom; a pot-marked mass of spires that look like the home of the Outsiders from Lion King 2.

Part 2:
Spoiler :
So we learn Discord apparently missed on the teleport, meaning to get them directly in. Ignoring the requests from his cohorts to make a plan, he charges in like a valiant knight on flying pig-back before his magic vanishes. Thorax explains that only changeling magic works in the kingdom, thanks to Chrysalis'throne being carved from an... ancient... dark stone... Jaw DropWub ...Obsidian...
[Image: cef.jpg]
Despite not being comfortable as a leader, Starlight comes up with the plan to destroy the throne so they can get their magic back, and start walking to the hive, with Discord complaining all the way. They also come up with a codeword in case they get separated (a smart move) and settle on klutzy draconiquus. So they sneak past the guards (who wear cool mandible helmets) and it's revealed the walls of the hive open and close on their own. Wub

So while searching, Trixie and Discord get into a little bit of an ego clash, silenced by Starlight who's very close to a nervous breakdown due to the pressure of being in charge again. Once they're confirmed to being lost, however, Thorax drops the interesting titbit that, while changelings are always hungry, Thorax hasn't been so since he befriended Spike. Discord's impatience alerts the hive denizens but the group manage to outsmart the drones with Trixie's smoke bombs and Thorax's disguise. Following two who went further into the hive, they find the throne room entrance heavily guarded. But not for long as a Discord stand up routine is more than enough to let the others slip through. I will admit though, it was better than his routine at the Grand Galloping Gala.
While separated from the group, Discord finds a trapped Fluttershy, but even Discord sees this for what it is. But then he's surrounded and captured by a horde of crying Fluttershys. A little unnerving, to be sure seeing Discord emotionally checkmated like that.

Just when the other three are about to leave him behind, Discord returns, claiming to know the way. But after unknowingly failing their codeword, Trixie sacrifices herself to by Starlight and Thorax time to advance further. The two split up to avoid getting caught and Starlight finds herself in the throne room, with all the captives cocooned above the Obsidian throne. Chrysalis reveals herself in a way that would make demonic contortionists proud and Starlight's caught, though the queen swiftly realises Starlight is Thorax in disguise. The real Starlight tried to use this opportunity to destroy the throne but she's... pretty pitiful without magic combat wise.
So Chrysalis begins to monologue her plan, this time replacing all the most important/celebrated ponies in Equestria to feed off of the citizens love. That and, you know, rule Equestria as a puppet state.

But then Starlight does something really awesome; challenges Chrysalis' rule with a different proposal. She explains Thorax made friends and learned to share love, explaining there was another way for changelings to live. A better way. Now sure, this essentially both describes and destroys my Chrysalis fanfic in one swift motion, but it's still an amazing scene a you see the drones questioning their queen's dogma. Chrysalis tries to deny it but Starlight uses her experience as a former evil leader herself to help reveal that a true leader listens to and celebrates their followers individuality, not stifle it.
Chrysalis then proceeds to make an example of Thorax, absorbing his love. But under Starlight's command, Thorax overloads on love magic (in a scene somewhat reminiscent of the end of the final fight in the first Hulk movie) and cocoons himself before evolving into a new breed of changeling nobility. Seeing this, the drones all follow Thorax into this new evolution, destroying the throne and popping the top off of the hive in the process.

So all the captives are helped free (including Shining Armour, Cadence and Flurry Heart as well) and they're about to congratulate each other before Chrysalis breaks free, though she now sees she's outnumbered and magically outclassed. So Starlight tries to offer her friendship, much in the same way Twilight did for her, but thankfully Chrysalis refuses and flees her former hive, swearing vengeance. While I'm a little bummed we didn't get to see a more pretty version of Chrysalis, she works so much better as a antagonist. Besides, this finale focused on four reformed characters already, we don't need another one right now.
And with Discord back in the magic game, Starlight uses him to bring the entire crew + the royal family, Trixie and Discord to her town, where they join in on the festivities while also delivering the moral that sometimes, despite the fear inside, you need to rise to the challenge and believe in yourself. That last bit might just be my interpretation (I watch yugioh reruns when bored), but it's still a good moral, even if directed at us older fans rather than little girls. Discord and Trixie have a funny little banter that shows their on the same page before Discord engages a flying pig race. Discord

So, that was the finale. Thoughts?
It was good, one of the better finales in my opinion. While not the best (as season 4's finale ain't being budged from that spot anytime soon), it delivered a lot of good stuff that people wanted to see. It gave us another appearance for Thorax, Trixie AND Discord. Not only that, but Discord and Trixie played off of each other beautifully.
The changelings benefited too, as their world got a butt ton of world building and I loved every bit of it. The magic-absorbing Obsidian throne, the armour of the warriors making them resemble bull ants and the ever-shifting architecture of the hive were great. Add in a solid return performance from Chrysalis with a better plan than season 2 and you get insectoid bliss. Still unsold on the new changeling forms but it'll be a while before we get to see them again so I'll reserve my judgement on that toy bait until then.
But the biggest thing to come out of this episode for me was Starlight. a Youtuber by the name DWK has gone on record saying his two favourite characters are Sunset and Starlight, and explains (somewhat inebriatedly that while Sunset has had that massive moment that blew her failures clean out of the water, Starlight hadn't yet. She was reformed, but missing that big step that would earn her respect. Well, in my opinion, this is that moment. Despite being terrified of reverting to her old self if ever given an authoritive job or role (something she shares with SciTwi in Legends of Everfree), she still stood and faced the challenge, outwitting Chrysalis' plans and helping to save the day in Twilight's absence. She used her experiences of being a former evil leader to help convince the changelings there was another way and even offered Chrysalis a chance at that same reformation. If anything this was the moment Starlight earned her spot on the team, so to speak.
There was, however, the problem that it clearly rushed towards the ending, and that the ending wasn't obviously grand or open ended as the last three season finales. But having a rushed ending par for the course for premieres and finales. After all, plots for those kind of episodes are often more complicated than regular epsiodes, and the show staff do only have 44 minutes to work with.

So yeah, a great way to finish up what was a decent season of Friendship is Magic. But I need to ask the same question I asked the last two times an MLP season ended; what can challenge the mane 7 now? What possible threat is there left that the group could possibly struggle against in season 7 now that it's confirmed it's happening? One option could be to do what they did with Tirek and bring back a classic villain in a new light. Grogar's a popular option that, if written correctly, could be a potent threat. However, my bigger concern is the same one I had at the end of last season, of how are the show staff going to keep the show fresh after six full seasons? How many more seasons can DHX be strong-armed by Hasbro to make without sacrificing the quality of the show or repeating the lessons?
So far they've done well not to outright repeat a moral, but they've come pretty close this season.
But I've been proven wrong in my doom-saying thus far, and I hope that continues.

Now I just need to find something to fill my off-season now-
*Old computer struggles back into apartment, damaged, glitchy and taser at the ready
*New computer moves forward, engages sword mode
*The two computers engage in combat
This has been Riku Reviews for Season 6 and, if you'll excuse me, 've just found my off-season entertainment. Nom
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