Hello, Spongey here.
Well, it’s time once again to talk about ponies. I suppose I may as well introduce it again for newcomers. There’s a cartoon called “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” which has some ponies learning lessons about friendship and shit.
It got a bunch of male fans, due to being actually good. Those fans have a bad rep because liking MLP makes you gay or something.
But seriously, I’ve talked about it before, so I have no need to introduce it again. While I always liked it, quite a bit, I never imagined I would be talking about it so much on here. Not too long ago, I did a list of the best Season 4 episodes!
I’ve grown to like the show more as time goes on. After doing this list, I kind of love it. I’ll get into why during the actual list. Now I follow the Analysis community, and thus I apologize for the opening of the Mare Do Well review. It does make sense to analyze the show, and most of the things people bitch about are valid….for the most part.
I still think some look too deeply in some ways, and some bitch about the stupidest things. But overall, I see where they are coming from. I did that top 10 Season 4 List, since the Season ended when I came up with the idea, and I thought it would be fun.
That’s why I did it BEFORE this list. Whoops. Anyway, I enjoy the show quite a bit, and many others do. Plenty of people have the same favorite episodes, but some lists end up being different. Really, the only episode you will never see on a best list is Mare Do Well. Seriously, does anyone legitimately like that episode and find no flaws in it?
Since I hadn’t seen a lot of these episodes in awhile, I decided to marathon the first 3 Seasons to make this list. I remembered a few standout episodes, but I wasn’t sure what the best were.
And now I’m here to decide that. Which episodes, in the first 3 Seasons were the best? Which ones had the best Comedy, best morals, and best stories? Today, we shall find out.
This, is the Top 15 My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Episodes (Seasons 1-3)
Now, this list is gonna be…different. Instead of a normal top 15, I will be doing the Top 5 Episodes from each Season. Why? Because I couldn’t really organize a full top 15, and it would be too hard to decided the best overall episode. At least from Seasons 1-3, as Twilight’s Kingdom comes damn close to Number One.
I could have done separate posts from the Top Ten of each Season, but even I think that’s too much pony. Besides, for Season 1, most of them would be filler, and Season 3 demands a Top 5 anyway, So here you go. So let’s get started!
To be honest, I think Season 1 is the weakest Season. It’s pretty good, but it suffers from typical first Season syndrome. But eh, it’s still good, with some all time great episodes. Here’s 5 of them.
5. Suited For Success
Writer: Charlotte Fullerton
Every show has it’s growing the beard moment. Where it turns from Good, to great. Swarm of The Century got things going, and a couple others kept it up, but this the first truly great episode. And it’s only number 5.
Yeah, despite it being one of the staff’s favorites, it’s only 5 here. Mostly cuz the next 4 hit me in the gut more. But it’s still a solid episode.
Rarity wants to make dresses for her friends for the upcoming Grand Galloping Gala, but has trouble satisfying all their requests.
I suppose this is a good spot to discuss Rarity. Most say she took awhile to grow on them, and I suppose I’m one of those people. She’s not exactly the kind of character I like, but I’ve always liked her. She took a bit to grow on me, but I never had a problem. No, another pony holds the “Hardest to like” spot, and we’ll get to that one in a bit.
But yeah, it was this episode that helped make her awesome. What I like about this episode is that the character it’s about still learns a lesson about with the others being more at fault. If I told you the others learn the lesson, then you would say it would mean Rarity learns nothing, but thankfully, she learns something here.
That’s part of what makes her awesome here. I’m not sure why people bitched about her randomly being Generous in Rarity Takes Manehatten when she was just as Generous here. She offers to make Gala dresses for everypony, and her generosity causes her to blindly follow their demands.
And in the end, she learns that’s a bad idea, and that it’s impossible to please everybody. This whole conflict is based on her dealing with her element, which is great. Of course, nopony should be defined by their Element but it’s good when their conflict deals with the thing they are supposed to be.
As I’ve stated before, Rarity tends to deal with NOT obeying that element, but this deals with the bad parts of it. And that’s not even the main point of the episode. The main point is to showcase the types of crappy customers people usually deal with.
Twilight knows what she wants, even if it goes against aesthetic design. Fluttershy thinks she knows more than the creator does. Apple Jack doesn’t give a damn about what it looks like at all. Pinkie just says what she wants on the spot, without considering the final product. And Rainbow is the “know it when I see it’ type.
“It needs to be about 20 percent cooler”
There, I said it. Happy?
All of this of is done very well, and it adds a lot to the episode. Rarity episodes have a reputation for being good, and there’s a reason for that. For some reason, her episodes always have a lot to them, even if only 1 got a huge reaction out of me. Can you guess which one? And it’s not the one I already mentioned here…
This episode is no exception. We have both parties learning an important lesson, for one. The Mane 6 Learn to let the artist do their own damn work. While listening to feed back is important, it’s even more important to do your own thing. Most of the time, your fans, I mean customers, don’t know what they really need.
…Wait, I’m still talking about ponies, right?
Anyway, I see why this episode is popular. People expected something “girly” but instead got a very well written plot that showed why Rarity is awesome. The other ponies aren’t even being bad, as I see where they are coming from.
And no, it’s not contrived that they all take advantage of Rarity at the same time. For most of them (Especially Applejack) she had to beg to get them to agree to their offer. Only a couple said yes before the offer. Why am I the only one who noticed that? Then again, only Mr Enter pointed that out, to show that any episode can be called bad for any reason. So whatever.
I know it probably deserves to be higher, but I tried really hard to balance objective quality with my personal perception of the episodes. And this one just isn’t as epic as other episodes, in terms of writing. It’s great, but I like other episodes more.
As a side note, I do not dislike the writer as much as you know who does, but I will agree that this is her best episode, as the only other ones I’d call Good are Baby Cakes and Power Ponies…both of which he dislikes. Whatever.
As a side note, this episode is very funny thanks to Rarity’s little breakdown, when her new dresses bomb. Yeah, the main thing I love about Rarity, is her over-dramatic nature always leads to hilarious moments, making her one of the most entertaining ponies. She even outdoes Pinkie sometimes. I’m dead serious here.
Everything involving Rarity’s breakdown is funny, from this…
“I guess technically I’d have to move away to live in exile. Where would I go? And what would I pack? Oh, it’s going to take me forever to do all of that packing. What are you supposed to pack when you go to exile? Are you supposed to pack warm?”
“She’ll become a crazy cat lady!”
“She only has one cat”
“Give her time”
So yeah, that’s all I got. This episode has a lot of elements to make it great. It has a solid story, spot on writing, good morals, and an awesome song. Really, what else could you want in a Pony episode?
Suited for Success: The point where the show really got started. And speaking of Growing the Beard moments..
4. Sonic Rainboom
Writer: M.A. Larson
This episode is seen as the point where the show went from being good, to being Great. With how divisive every episode is, it’s interesting to see that this is one of the episodes that everyone loves. It’s on everyone’s best lists, and is seen as the best episode of Season 1, besides maybe our last pick.
And it’s only number 4. Please don’t kill me. It’s a great episode, but it never really hit me the the way it hits others. It may be due to the fact that everyone praises it so much, that I find it hard to summon up that same enthusiasm since it gets enough praise it is.
I know, that’s unfair, since I have no problem loving all these other episodes, that are just as popular. Guess I just heard about this episode too much for awhile. However, I can look past all that as it is indeed, a great episode.
Rainbow Dash is entering the Young Fliers Competition, and plans to impresses everyone with a thing known as the Sonic Rainboom, but she starts to worry if she can do it, and soon, she gets stage fright.
I suppose now is a good time to say something that will get me crucified: Rainbow Dash is kind of my least favorite of the Mane 6.
A few hours later
GET BACK ANGRY MOB! BACK I SAY!
Okay, let me rephrase that. Rainbow Dash has the highest chance of bugging me, on average. HOWEVER, this is mostly in the earlier episodes. While her intro scene in the Pilot was actually well done, it seems like she has this tiny moments early on where she’s a bit too much of a bitch for her own good.
One such example is Boast Buster, where she more or less says it’s okay when SHE brags, but not when somepony else does. Now, don’t take this to mean this happened often, as it was only a few times. But those times did bug me enough for me to like her the least.
This even plagues good episodes, like Dragonshy and Luna Eclipsed, though she did get her comeuppance in both. Also, her episodes don’t have the best susses rate. May The Best Pet Win, Rainbow Falls, Mare Do Well…need I go on?
But despite all of that, she grew on me and her attitude got easier to sit with. Then came this episode, which made her awesome. This episode has her deal with Stage Fright,which is a complete 180 from her usual portrayal.
I mean, isn’t that Fluttershy’s thing? Thankfully, it makes perfect sense in the context of the episode. She promises everyone she’ll pull of an amazing feat people think is an old pony’s tale, and she is frequently mocked. That would put strain on anyone, and seeing Rainbow going through this is pretty interesting.
But before we continue on with Rainbow, let’s talk about Rarity. She notices that Rainbow is clearly having stage fright, so she gives the others the idea to use a spell to go to Clousdale and cheer them on. Yes, another bit where Rarity shows genuine generosity. It’s small, but I really liked this part, even if the rest sort of negates it.
They plan to use a spell to give everypony wings so they can visit Cloudsdale. Rarity volunteers to get the wings first, even though the spell is untested and, as Professor Professor would put it, highly dangerous. Again, that’s pretty awesome.
She gets her wings, and everybody throws a huge fit over it. …Wait..
The spell was too hard for Twilight to do 5 other times, so she cast a spell that lets them walk on clouds. …Why didn’t she do that to begin with? Whatever. This kind of makes the wing plotline pointless, but I works.
Rarity gets noticed for her lovely wings, and she lets it go to her head. Spoilers, it all goes wrong and she learns a lesson. Yep, a different pony than the focus pony learns a big lesson. However, it works since it’s clearly a Rainbow episode.
Though I do think the episode could have been fine without Rarity’s little subplot. But it did lead to RD proving her worth in the climax, so I suppose it has it’s purpose. Rarity is a little bitch-y here but it’s only as annoying as it needs to be, and it works in the context of the story.
While I’m sure some may not like Rarity in this episode, she added just enough to the story to make her tolerable. She didn’t need to be in it this much but hey, she is not wasted, so that’s good.
Before I go any deeper, I must discuss some side things. This episode gives us some World Building as we visit Cloudsdale and learn more about Pegasi and how they make weather. It’s really cool and gives us some more reasons to appreciate the episode.
While this episode is normally watched for it’s story, there’s some great Comedy as well. You all know the big one the episode opens with. …
It’s still funny. And really giving us that is good enough, but the other jokes work too. Like the bit where Pinkie literally tastes a rainbow. It tastes spicy, apparently. And then there’s bit, with Fluttershy, that some of you may find interesting:
“Just because you’ve failed the sonic rainboom a hundred thousand times in practice doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do it in front of an entire stadium, full of impatient, super-critical sportsfan ponies.”
3 SEASONS LATER:
“Yeah! It’ll be so amazing! You’ll be there on stage, basking in the hooflights! The center of attention! A shining star! Everypony staring at you, judging you, jealously noting how they could be way better than you? Why wasn’t it them? Why wasn’t it them? And then, when you choke, they’ll turn on you, becoming a seething, angry mob, and you’ll be horribly humiliated, never able to show your face in Ponyville again! “
Guess which one fans threw a fit over. (Hint: Its not the Fluttershy one).
Anyway, All of this is pretty cool but let’s get back to the important stuff.
Going back to Rainbow Dash, I should say that, while she did bug me sometimes, I hardly disliked her. She just didn’t seem as likable as the others. However, she got a lot better and the writers made her more tolerable. Her bitch-y side got a lot easier to stomach, in “Fall Weather Friends” and this episode pushed her to flat out likable.
So it did for me what Suited for Success did for Rarity with some people. I like RD now and she can be pretty awesome in plenty of episodes, though some of her best moments come in Non-RD episodes, for some reason.
Dealing with Stage Fright through her was an interesting choice, since she’s the most “social” of the Mane 6, but it worked pretty well given the context. It really added a lot to her character and I very much appreciated it.
By the way, here’s the moral…as said by Rarity.
“I learned how important it is to keep your hooves on the ground, and be there for your friends.”
That’s cool but I’m pretty sure this is a Rainbow Dash episode. She’s supposed to learn an important lesson. Okay, jokes aside I’m okay with this but I’m surprised no one has cited this as a flaw with the episode.
This section is taking a little while, because I’m really grasping at straws for things to talk about. There’s one major thing it does, and it does that thing really well. The same can be said for a lot of episodes, (Especially in Season 1) but I managed to say a lot about those. So I don’t know what it is about this episode that leaves me with nothing to say.
I can guess I say a bit more before we end this. As I said before, this as seen as the show’s real Growing the Beard Moment. It does do a lot of things that the show itself is known for. It takes a character that you expect to be one dimensional, and makes her interesting and relatable It has good humor, good morals, and it puts a creative spin on a mundane concept. It also pushes the boundaries of what Flash animation can do, with the Sonic Rainboom scene.
This episode is used as the first episode people show to Non-Bronies to get them into the show. It’s the first episode most people see, if they needed to be convinced with a certain episode. And due to all those reasons, I can see why but personally, I’d use Lesson Zero. Mostly to scare the pants off of them.
I’m cruel like that
I suppose all that is what makes this episode great, more so than the whole Stage Fright stuff. And when I watch it, I love it. But it doesn’t quite hit m sweet spot as much as others do, I guess. But don’t take this as anything negative, as I have no real issues with the episode itself. I’m not even sure what it is about it that prevents me from getting into as much as others, even though I’m plenty into it now.
I guess we’ll never know. Either way, I can agree that this episode does so much right, that it earns it’s spot on this list. And hell, making me love Rainbow Dash is enough for me to love it. There really isn’t a lot more to say that hasn’t already been said.
Rainbow Dash gets some great development, there’s some interesting world building, and we get a good story with solid morals and some truly memorable moments. All this and more is enough to make this episode a true classic.
Sonic Rainboom. It’s awesome enough to earn a Fluttershy Cheer. …Yay.
3. The Best Night Ever
Writer: Amy Keating Rogers
This show is really good at finales. Not matter how many issues I may find with each Season Finale, they manage to close each Season on a high note in their own way. And spoilers, each of them is on the list. Yes, ALL of them.
This Season 1 Finale may seem like the weakest due to a smaller scale, but it actually does some things better than the others. It was an awesome way to end the first season.
Before I get into the summary, I should mention that this was actually part of a Mini-Arc. In “The Ticket Master”, we learn about the Grand Galloping Gala, held in Canterlot. Twilight got two tickets and there was some cliché plot that was okay , I guess. At the end, they all got Tickets, which Celestia didn’t do from the start because Trollestia. Then in Suited For Success, those dresses were made for the Gala.
And now we have the Gala. It was kind of cool to have a Mini-Arc, even if it wasn’t much. I guess it was practice for Season 4. Anyway, onto this episode.
The Mane 6 finally go to the Grand Galloping Gala, and they hope to do what they dreamed of. But things go really wrong, and soon it becomes The Worst Night Ever. Now, they must find a way to make things better for them.
This episode gets everything right. The story, the humor, the emotion, the characters, everything. It’s an awesome episode all around. See, one thing people complain about when it comes to the other finales, is that they don’t really spread the screen time evenly. We don’t get an equal amount of Screen time for each of the Mane 6 a lot of the time. They have a big enough role for me, but I sort of why that can be a problem.
Which is part of why this episode works. This episode has 6 Simple stories with Each of the Mane 6 trying to deal with their crappy luck. Applejack wants to sell her Apple stuff but no one wants it. Rarity wants a date with Prince Blueblood, but he turns out to be an asshole. Pinkie wants to party but she finds out it’s not that kind of event.
Rainbow Dash gets to hang with the Wonderbolts but they get too busy to talk to her. Fluttershy wants to hang with the animals in the garden but they don’t want to be with her. And finally, Twilight simply wants to talk to Celestia about life, but she gets too busy greeting everypony.
Each character gets equal focus and they come together perfectly. Each character is at their best, even Applejack who doesn’t do a lot in the story for some reason. While some have more memorable parts than others, the episode still does a good job at juggling all of them. While Applejack’s parts are lacking, the others have something special in this.
Rainbow gives us more time with the Wonderbolts, as we found out more about Spitfire and Soarin’. Soarin’ likes pie and he is named after the writer’s son. That’s sweet. Spitfire …sounds sexy in Swedish. That’s all I got from this episode.
Rarity gives us another character for the Bronies to hate for no reason, Pinkie Pie gives us a funny version of the Hokey Pokey, Twilight gives us the ultimate moral, and Fluttershy goes absolute batshit crazy, trying to get the animals to hang out with her.
Seriously, she goes off her rocker, trying to capture the animals just so she can be with them. She even laughs evilly, complete with lightning! Yeah, her story is the best, as it’s just hilarious.
But the real joy is seeing how these stories come together to create an awesome climax. We have Pinkie singing the “Pony Pokey” to liven things up, as everyone just goes through their weird-ness. We have a lot of humor and insanity as things ultimate in Fluttershy bursting through the door, with all the animals running around.
“YOU…ARE GOING TO LOVE ME!”
Mommy, I’m scared. But seriously, Fluttershy’s going crazy actually works as it’s well paced, making it so it makes perfect sense given her character. This show is weird sometimes.
In the end, nothing goes right and the Gala is ruined. However, Celestia tells them the Gala always sucks because it’s so boring, and she invisted to lighten things up. Which makes the whole 2 ticket thing even more confusing.
Anyway, through this they learn that not everything will go as planned, but you can still make the most of it. It’s a solid lesson to cap off the episode. Also, Spike is left in the dust and spends most of his time at Doughnut Joe’s shop.
“Don’t you think you’ve had enough?”
He’s a Donutholic.
I think the main reason this episode works is because everything just flows so well. The humor, the pacing, story, and characters are all top notch. I think the song sums it up: A bunch of small good parts come together to form one great whole.
On top of that, the episode has some emotion as well. By this point in this season, I really care about the characters, so seeing them sad for most of the episode is rather heartbreaking. They get better, but the episode still gives us the obligatory emotional moments.
This episode just flows really well, like no other episode in the first season. No time is wasted, and everything is just pitch perfect all the way through. Each pony is in top form and everything is well done.
Great, now I’m repeating myself. I suppose I should wrap this up as quickly as I started it. It’s an episode that just works really well due all the little things piling up. Amy Keating Rogers tend to do simpler episode, but they always give me something to enjoy and as such, I can always rely on her for a fun episode. But this one really plays to her strength, by giving us 6 simple stories that are connected really well.
Overall, it’s a really enjoyable episode with perfect writing, that give us everything we wanted in a Season finale. And they kept getting more insane from there. It was the only Season finale to be unanimously loved until Twlight’s Kingdom came along, and that alone is an accomplishment.
And the best song of the Season is just the icing on the cake. All I can say is…it’s awesome. It also gives us the best line in the whole show:
“Beg Pardon Rarity, but we don’t normally wear clothes”
The Best Night Ever. It may not be the best episode ever, but it’s still pretty great.
2. Party of One
Writer: Meghan McCarthy
Oh boy, this episode. This is an episode that surprised a lot of people with its …content. It has spawned a lot of talk within the fandom since it aired, and it’s pretty darn popular. It earns that popularity, as it’s a pretty…interesting episode.
Everypony starts making excuses not to go one of Pinkie Pie’s parties, and Pinkie investigates this, believing her friends don’t like her anymore. …Things ensue.
Now, remember how I said I tried to balance objective quality with my personal perception of the episodes? If I didn’t do that I would just put the most entertaining episode at the top, which wouldn’t look good on a list like this.
If I did that, this would be number one. Yeah, it’s that entertaining to me. Mostly due to the …big scene but even before that, it’s pretty damn funny. This premise has been a done a million times, where a character thinks their friends have ditched them cuz they make excuses not to hang out. Not to mention the variations, such as the forgotten birthday plot.
This episode does a…fairly unique take on it, by making it really funny. And making the character go crazy but we’ll get to that. First, we’ll focus on the story itself.
At the start, Pinkie has a Birthday Party for her pet alligator, Gummy aka Best Pet. (Ranking from Best to Least: Gummy, Angel, Opal, Tank, Owl with the hard to spell name, Winona). We see exactly what a Pinkie Pie party is like, and while her friends obviously like them, it’s easy to see why they wouldn’t want to do 2 of those in a row.
So we can see why would make excuses not to go to another one, but thankfully, their reasoning isn’t quite so dick-ish. However, they make it so at least we see why they would ditch a party so there is that.
Anyway, before the big moment we get a lot of enjoyable gags as Pinkie tries to figure out what is going. The highlights being the Applejack scene and the part where she interrogates Spike. Now that was funny and it transitions to the big emotional moment.
So let’s get to it. Spike is forced to tell Pinkie what she wants to hear: Nopony like her parties and they don’t want to be her friend anymore. She gets a bit depressed, to say the least. It’s fairly emotional, actually. You really feel for here in this scene, even though she kind of…told Spike to say that. Ah well.
After that…we get to that scene. Pinkie has a party of her own…with imamate objects. She gives them weird voices and acts like they are alive. The stuff her “friends” say is…well take a look.
“I’m just glad none of them ponies showed up.
“Oh, they’re not so bad.”
“ Not so bad? Puh-lease! They’re a buncha losers!”
“ Oh, c’mon now. “Losers” might be a little strong, dont’cha think? “
“ After the way they treated you? I say “losers” isn’t strong enough.”
Yeah, she goes crazy. Like, too creepy for a children’s series crazy. Actually, I’m jumping the gun on that one because a much creepier type of crazy will pop up later in this post. It’s done in a wat that both creepy and hilarious.
The episode was pretty funny up to this point but this sticks out as the most enjoyable scenes in the entire first season. It’s become a fairly iconic one, mostly thanks to a certain fanfic that came out before this episode, but we won’t get into that here.
Anyway, to make a long story short, Pinkie finds out that this whole time they have been planning Pinkie’s Birthday party. Yes, the party expert forgot her own Birthday. That’s odd but it’s really minor and hey, maybe she was wrapped up in all this stuff it just slipped her mind.
There’s an obvious takeaway here: NEVER EVER BE SECRETIVE ABOUT SOMEONE’S BIRTHDAY. It always lead to wacky sitcom crap at best, and this at worst.
Jokes aside, this episode is great. Not only does it give us a twist on an old formula, it really dives into Pinkie’s character, showing how unstable she can be. There’s plenty of heart, as well as a nice little lesson.
It’s one of those episodes that sums up the show: Twist on familiar formula, outside the box jokes, character insight you never expected. As much as I love the emotionally charged episodes, it’s always nice to get just those small moments in a mostly comedic episode.
Like I said, this episode has a lot of fun gags and the most weirdly hilarious scene in the first season. It does a lot of things right and it has a lot going for it, from the story to the characters, to the humor.
It deserve its reputation, to say the least. It’s not just the episode that spawned a bunch of tedious jokes about Pinkie killing people, it’s a really well done episode with a decent plot and some fun gags.
It’s a ton of fun to watch and it’s the most entertaining episode of the season. However, it’s not quite my favorite, per say. Despite that, it’s a party of fun. Not much more to add, honestly.
Before we reveal number one, let’s look at the runners up….and By that mean, I mean 10-6.
10. Dragonshy (Meghan McCarthy): Another Growing the beard moment, with good comedy and Fluttershy being amazing. I just like other episodes more.
9. Swarm of the Century (MA Larson): Gotta love a good creature invasion story, and it’s a lot of fun. Also, Pinkie being Pinkie.
8. A Dog and Pony Show (Amy Keating Rogers): Did I mention Rarity is kind of awesome?
7. Winter Wrap Up (Cindy Morrow): Another beard moment, with wonderful development for Twilight.
6. Call of the Cutie (Meghan McCarthy): The first CMC episode, and it holds up pretty well with its mature moral. Too bad they forgot it in the their next 50 episodes
And My Number one episode of Season 1 is…
1. The Cutie Mark Chronicles
Writer: MA Larson
I can’t really pinpoint what it is about this amazing episode. What makes it better our last few gems? I suppose it’s one of those personal things, but I’ll get into it after the plot summary. Actually, there’s a lot to say before we spoil it:
The Cutie Mark Cruaders ask everypony how they got their cutie marks and …that’s really it. It starts with Scootaloo wanting Rainbow’s cutie mark story, but they end up making unwanted detours. The episode is just each of the mane 6 sharing their cutie mark story.
I’m a sucker for a good flashback episode. I just like finding out more about a character’s history and stuff like that. It can used to great effect and a lot of flashback episodes tend to be good by default because the story of how something came to be is almost always interesting, and fills up the time well.
That’s part of why Friend of Foe is one of the best Modern Spongebob episodes but that’s a story for another time. This is up there with some of the best Flashback episodes, due to having 6 in one!
Each of the stories is pretty interesting, either revealing more about the character, or just being endearing and fun. Most of my love for this episode comes from seeing 6 unique stories in one episode, with a lot of really amusing and even emotional moments.
Let’s look at each of the stories, in the order they appear:
As a filly, she left Sweet Apple Acres to live a glamorous life with her Aunt and Uncle in Manehattan. But she finds it really isn’t for her, she doesn’t fit in and she miser her family. One morning, she realizes that she truly belongs at home on the farm and runs home. She hugs it out with Mac and Granny, and boom, she’s got butt apples.
This is a nice one to start out with. It’s not anything crazy amazing, but it’s a sweet little story that showed how important Applejack’s family is to her. It adds a bit more to her characters, and it’s a pretty solid way to start things off.
I guess they’ve never heard of saving the best for last.
When she was little, she was shy (and also the sky is blue) and the weakest flier at flight camp. After two jerks mock her, Rainbow Dash shows up to stand up for her. Yeah, RD’s and Fluttershy’s are connected which makes sense in context. The bullies and Dash agree to a race to determine who’s “the big shot.”
All three take off, but Fluttershy is knocked off of the cloud and starts free falling. Thankfully, butterflies carry her safely to the ground. She had never been near, and thus she is so enchanted so nature that she sings about it. As LittleShyFim put, it’s the girliest song in the show yet you can’t help but sing along. That’s both a good and bad thing.
After that, there’s a loud bang sound which scares the animals. Fluttershy kindly calms the animals, discovering her innate ability to communicate with animals on a “different level.” Boom, butt butterflies.
This is certainly the most “endearing” story here, which makes sense given it’s about Fluttershy. All of these are character driven and this one works well in that regard. It’s a lot simpler than some of the others, but it’s cute and the song is nice.
Sadly, favorite pony does not get favorite story. Well, I couldn’t pick a favorite but we’ll see how it goes.
When she was a filly, she was put in charge of costumes during a school play. The day before, Rarity is told the costumes are quite nice, but for her that’s not good enough. She tries to do something cool with them but to no avail.
Suddenly, her horn glows and stars dragging her somewhere. After a long journey it leads her to…
SPONGEBOB: It’s not just a boulder, it’s a rock! A rock! A big beautiful, old rock!
Sorry, obvious joke had to be made. Suddenly, there’s a loud bang and the rock splits open, revealing a bunch of gems. Rarity puts them on the dresses and thanks to her gem finding and awesome dresses, she gets her butt gem.
Honestly, this is the weakest one, or at least the least interesting. It’s sold and I do love the rock reveal, but it’s not quite as interesting as the others. It doesn’t show as much of her character, at least. It’s still a nice story though and it did leave me wondering where it was going, at least.
After witnessing Princess Celestia raise the sun with magic at the Summer Sun Celebration, Filly Twilight is inspired to study magic. Her parents enroll her into Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. The entrance exam is to hatch a dragon’s egg using magic. Under the scrutiny of the judges, she is too stressed to cast a successful spell.
Just as she gives up, she hears a big boom outside. Inexplicably, it triggers her magic and insane stuff happens. She hatches the egg, at least. This exam has very odd implications when you think about it.
Celestia say all this stuff going on and shows up to tell Twilight that she has never seen a filly with such raw ability. She offers to take Twilight as her personal protégé to teach her how to control her magic. Twilight gets her butt star and the rest is history. Also, the baby in the egg became Spike.
Now this one was great. It’s the most interesting of the stories since it revolves around our main character gives us some interesting backstory. It’s pretty interesting all the way through and it’s a very enjoyable one.
Not a whole to say, really.
Oh this one ought to be good.
Pinkie worked on an incredibly dull rock farm with her family, and there was not much in the way of smiling or happiness. One day, she heard an explosion from the sky and sees a rainbow ring. This brings her great joy and even gives her the poofy mane we know her for today!
She is so overwhelmed that shewants to spread this happiness. So the next day she makes a party of her family, and after some hesitation, Pinkie wins them over! Thus, she got butt balloons.
“And that’s how Equestria was made!”
I really liked this one as well. It captures Pinkie’s character perfectly, and it does a very good job at showing how she came to be the Pinkie she is. It’s a really nice one and of all the stories, it gives us the most interesting insight. I mean, Pinkie’s Parents are rock farmers. That’s interesting. Maud Pie would go on go a bit further on this but I’ve gone into that one already.
And last but not least..
As you recall, Rainbow Dash was racing for Fluttershy’s honor. During the epic race, RD found a love for speed. Her desire to win helps her gain enough speed to beat the bullies and, most of all, perform the ultimate trick that was only told in legends: the sonic rainboom.
Then she got her cutie mark, the end. …Yeah, most of her story was already told back in Fluttershy’s story, so this is likely the weakest of the stories, at least on its own due to being so short. But if you pack in with Fluttershy’s, it’s quite good since it shows RD being nice by standing up for Fluttershy.
That brings me to the ending, where I must mention something that appeared in all the stories. Apple saw a rainbow which lead her to home, Fluttershy saw a rainbow that seemed to have caused the big boom, Rarity saw a rainbow when the rock split open, a rainbow was seen with the big boom that made Twilight’s power go into overdrive, and Pinkie saw a rainbow that made her very happy.
Yep, everyone saw a rainbow and Rd happened to cause a big Sonic Rainboom. Which means that Rainbow Dash actually caused everypony to get their cutie marks at roughly the same time. And she caused the rainbow because she was standing up for Fluttershy.
And that proves once and for all that Fluttershy is best pony. Wait, didn’t I say that before in a post no one read?
Some people have mixed thoughts on this reveal, and I rather like it. You could argue it drags it down, as a forced way to give this a bit more meaning, as well as tacked on lesson.
“.Everypony everywhere has a special magical connection with her friends, maybe even before she’s met them. If you’re feeling lonely and you’re still searching for your true friends, just look up in the sky. Who knows? Maybe you and your future best friends are all looking at the same rainbow”
“When did you get so cheesy?”
But I personally didn’t mind it. It’s kind of a clever twist that does a good job at giving the episode a bit more meaning. The moral isn’t exactly much of a moral but eh, it works. Though the forced moral is probably one of the reasons they ditch the “lesson to Celestria in ever” episode thing later on, but we’ll get to that.
I’m not sure what makes me like this one more than some of the others, but I just really love it. It’s really interesting to see some of these stories, and having 6 decent stories in one episode is really cool. There’s heart, humor, charm, character depth, and all the stuff I like seeing in this show.
It’s just one of those things that’s hard to explain. But either way, it’s a great episode and while it may seem like an odd choice for my favorite of Season 1, I still stand by it. It was a really interesting concept done well, by giving us 6 very good stories for the price of one, creating one amazing episode.
The Cutie Mark Chronicles: It’s my favorite episode of Season 1. And that’s how Equestria was made!
Well, that’s Season 1 cleared. Two more to go! Overall, Season 1 may be the weakest Season so far, but it’s got plenty of solid episodes and CMC alone is enough to forgive its flaws. However, that was only the beginning.
So let’s move on to…
Season 2 is where things really got started. Everything was improved from the stories, to the songs, to the animation. The show reached new heights in terms of both popularity and quality. Of course, that’s what happens with most shows 2nd season.
With everything established, you can now go ahead and do some more complex with stuff in terms of development. As such, the 2nd Season will usually be everyone’s favorite (See: Spongebob, Phineas and Ferb). For me that’s the case, at least with this show. Well, it’s my favorite of the 3 Season we’re discussing in this post, anyway.
Season 2 is very interesting, and a lot of people seem to agree it’s better than Season 1, despite how mixed this Season could be. I think Mr. Enter put it best when he said that the weak Season 2 episodes knew would they were trying to do better, which means they were harder to take issue with, and if you did, they line up as the worst episodes up to that point.
But none of that matters, because we’re talking about what Season 2 did right. This Season contains some of my all-time favorites, even more so 1 and 3. Picking my 5 favorites was dead easy, but unlike Season 1, 10-9 is almost as good in a lot of ways. So I’ll have more to say when we get to that part.
For now, let’s look at all the excellent Season 2 episodes you’ve seen praised a million times before!
5. The Return of Harmony
Writer: M.A. Larson
Well, we’re off to an interesting start already. In this show, the parters tend to the most divisive episodes of any given Season. All of them have some criticisms lodged at them that make them hated a bit more they likely deserve. Friendship is Magic has clunky pilot pacing, Crystal Empire has a lame villain, and so on.
Of the two parters, the ones with the most loved are Twilight’s Kingdom, which has its share of criticism but gets less hate, and this one, which is often seen as the best of the two parters besides that one.
Or at least the best of the Season openers. And I’m somewhat included to agree. I say somewhat because on a critical level, there are things about Princess Twilight Sparkle that are better, like how It balances character screen time and all that. But let’s not bogged down in that, because we’ll be here all day if we just compare everything.
This episode is great either way. It does everything a Season opener should do, and then some. It’s easily the most entertaining 2 parter besides Twilight’s Kingdom, in terms of oust enjoyment. There’s a reason but we’ll get to that after the plot.
Discord, the Spirt of Chaos and Disharmony is accidently freed from his stone prison. Now the ponies must stop him but he has a few tricks up his sleeve…
I’m not sure where to begin on this one. Oh wait, I do: Discord is awesome. Yeah, there’s a reason everyone loves him. He’s a perfect mix of hilarious and evil. He knows just how to get things to work in his favor. When the Mane 6 must go into a big maze to find the Elements of Harmony, he uses tricky to get everyone to turn into the opposite of themselves.
The ways he does so is quite interesting, being both funny and kind of depressing. This is the kind of villain where you wonder just how they will stop him. Spoilers, it’s the same way they stop every villain, but it’s the journey that counts.
Besides, they work so hard to get to that point I don’t mind a rushed climax, but more on that later. Part 1 is mostly spent on the Mane 6 in the maze, and it’s very interesting to watch. Discord proves his worth very well, and everything he does is both funny and scary at the same times.
Yeah, it’s mostly due to John DeLancie who does a great job.
I had never heard of him until this show (really) but now I greatly admire him. Just don’t expect me to make a 10 minute animation telling you why he’s cool or something like that.
And yes, Fluttershy is the only one who doesn’t quite fall pretty to Discord’s tricks. He just gives up and turns her into a bitch himself. Again, best pony.
Speaking of which, the Discorded Mane 6 is the real highlight. Pinkie is a downer, Rarity fawns over a rock named Tom, Rainbow Dash leaves everyone to stay in what she thinks is Clousdale, Applejack is a liar, and Flutershy is a bitch. All of these changes leads to some really funny moments and it’s just awesome.
My favorite is Flutterbitch because it’s just funny. I won’t comment on Putting Your Hoof Down, so don’t say a word.
Between seeing our heroes corrupted and an awesome villain, this is easily the most entertaining two parter to date. There are better ones, but this one is just so much fun to watch.
But of course, there are plenty of feels to be found. Twilight giving up after her friends go crazy is really heartbreaking. It’s got nothing on some other moments in the show, but it’s pretty emotional. It really adds to the tension of the whole situation.
The twist with the friendship letters from previous episodes helping was genius. It gives you the feeling that each episode is important and added up to this moment. But man, I feel so bad for Spike here, throwing up all these letters.
Like I said before, the climax isn’t the most shocking or…climatic but it never bugged me. They end up zapping Discord with a rainbow beam once again and it mostly happens because Discord becomes stupid for no reason.
However, it still looked cool and they worked so hard to get there that I don’t mind it too much. It’s a little rushed but not enough to drag the episode down in any way. As a Two parter, this episode gets everything right, from the story to the villain.
It’s gripping all the through and it does everything it’s supposed to do. It has a lot of tension, great character moments, good writing, some tear jerking parts and an awesome villain to push it all forward.
Really, I don’t need to say more. It’s got everything you could want in a two parter and it was an excellent way to open Season 2. I dare say it’s a better pilot than the actual pilot. I think showing this to someone will get them into the show better but I don’t know.
Either way, it’s great. If an episode this good is only number 5, the rest have gotta be amazing. So let’s move on.
4. Lesson Zero
Writer: Meghan McCarthy
Remember how I said Party of One would be number one if we were sheer entertainment value? Yeah, the same applies here. This is one of the enjoyable episodes period. It’s just awesome. You all know why but let’s get into it.
Twilight sends a Friendship letter to Celestia almost every week but for once, she finds that’s late to sending one out. She sets out to do so she goes a bit crazy trying to find something to report on for the week.
And when I say crazy, I mean it. Yeah, much Party of One, this is famous for someone going crazy in a creepy way. But this one goes even further, as it not only has some rather disturbing stuff, but it also focuses on it all the way through.
I mean, Twlight looks downright scary at some points and you honestly wonder if she’s gonna be okay. They do milk it for excellent cartoon Comedy but they do a good job making you worry about her. I think Meghan, Tara Strong, and the animators had way too much fun with this one.
Speaking of disturbing, two scenes stick out. Twilight teleporting inside the CMC’s beach ball (Not sure how that works) and going HI GIRLS in the scariest way possible. Then when Twilight visits Fluttershy, she sees him snapping the neck of a bear.
Yes, it turns out she was just massaging him but think about it: They made us think a character was snapping a bear’s neck.
Little girls’ show my ASS.
But onto the episodes actual quality. Everything is done right here. I think the best element is the pacing. They do a great job showing Twilight descant into mad-ness. She goes from just wandering around, worried she would miss the letter and get in trouble, to …doing that.
None of it feels forced, and there’s a slow burn as she slowly goes insane. The tension is high throughout and the writing stays on point. Twilight’s insanity is insanely (no pun intended) enjoyable, as they do a lot of crazy gags with her. It’s just naturally fun to watch her go crazy, mostly because of how creepy it is.
And on top of that, we’ve got a good story. I mean, the episode is essentially about someone failing to find the typical lesson the week you saw on every kids show. That’s a clever concept in itself, but they do a lot with it.
See, her friends see all this and fail to really reason with Twilight. They don’t ignore her but Twilight just leaves before they can get through to her. Plus, they don’t care her worries 100 percent seriously. They aren’t insensitive at all but they genuinely should have Twilight more seriously, so they can get her back down to Earth.
Thus, when it seems that Celestia will punish Twilight, they say it’s their fault for not listening and apologize. That’s some top notch writing right there, making them still likable but having something to learn themselves.
This episode offers two morals: Take your friends worries seriously, no matter how silly they are, and calm yo tits. Both solid morals. This also did wonders for the series.
See, one issue with Season 1 is that the format forced them to shoehorn in Twilight into every episode, as well as a message.
So they fixed that here, as Celestia tells her to only send a letter when they learn something AND everyone else can send letters 2. This stopped Twilight from being in every episode and well most eps had a moral, they didn’t need to say it all the time.
It’s the safe this is another episode where everything is great. Not only is it a hugely fun episode with someone going insane, with a lot of fun and creative gags, but it’s got a nice story with great pacing, top notch writing that fixes an issue with the series.
It goes beyond just a fun insanity story that’s kind of creepy. It’s also hilarious, fun, with a lot of stuff going for it. It really is a gem and it stands as the most enjoyable episode of the Season.
It’s a blast from start to finish and the fact that it’s also very well written makes it even better. Really, what else can I say? Yes, these are short sections but I just to make you get why I love the episode in question and you’ll be happy.
Besides, I really do have nothing else to say right now.
So overall, Lesson Zero is crazy fun with some great writing to make it even better. Just…watch out for Fluttershy it’s you’re a bear.
And speaking of which…
3. Hurricane Fluttershy
Writer: Cindy Morrow
Earlier, I said very few episodes are universally loved. Each Season has at least one episode everyone likes, even Season 3. For Season 2, it was this. But it may very well be the most beloved episode of the first three seasons, period.
It’s the one episode that pretty much everyone likes. And it’s only number 3. Now, I’m not saying it’s bad, because it is amazing…but there happens to be two others I put in higher regard. It was close to number 2, though.
There’s a good reason everyone loves. I’d do as far as to say it’s one of those episodes everyone should see, regardless of who you are. Along with Party of One, Lesson Zero, our number one spot, Flight to the finish, and Pinkie Pride.
So let’s go over the plot. The Pegasi must generate a whole bunch of wing power to make…a thingy to put water to Cloudsdale, or something like that. It’s cool world building so I don’t care if I can follow it. The point is, they need all the wing power they can get.
However, Fluttershy isn’t up for it because it involves doing this crazy stuff in front of a crowd. Drama ensues. We’ve seen episodes about Fluttershy’s whole shy-ness problem, as well as an ep about stage fright, so how is this different?
Well, it goes a lot deeper into it. It goes into exactly what it’s like to have this kind of fear and it’s more relatable than it’s ever been in the show. We see how Fluttershy was teased as a kid for her lack of flying skills, and that gives her the huge fear she has now. Everytime she tries to go out, she fails and can’t generate enough wing power.
She tries to get out of doing it in some funny ways, but it mostly shows just how afraid she is. Rainbow helps her out through all this and that brings us to one of the best aspects of the episode. This is the best Rainbow Dash has ever been. Aside from being a bit of a bitch to Thunderlane for pretending to be sick only for him to actually be sick, she’s a wonderful friend to Fluttershy here.
This is the Rainbow Dash I like, and she’s got another awesome performance in our next list. She was also great in Flight to the Finish. See, despite what I said about her, I do like her mostly due to episodes like this. It makes up the ep right before this, where she meanly mocked Spike for no reason.
Anyway, as you might expect this episode is very emotional as it explores these themes. You really feel for Fluttershy all the way through and once again the pacing is spot on. But of course, there is also some Comedy. Not a ton but there are some amusing moments like Fluttershy being a tree and of course, the introduction of Best pony aka Bulk Biceps.
I think the main thing that makes this one as great is it is the moral. Actually, there are two morals, both of which are amazing. Allow me to explain. Eventually, Fluttershy decides she shouldn’t give up and thus we get a training montage where she works hard.
She works really hard for quite a while in order to gain enough wing power to contribute. Eventually, she’s finally ready. She goes out there with all she’s got…and she fails?
Yes, she actually only gets 2.3 wing power, which is far below what is needed. Allow me to repeat that: She tried as hard as she could…and she still failed. They tell her that what she gave was still good, but to her, it wasn’t enough.
“How would you feel if everypony else was flying with 10.0 wing power and you were flying with 2.5?”
This…is awesome. Of course, we’re used to media telling us that we can anything if we set our mind to it. But here, that’s not what happens. Someone tries hard and still fails. The only other time I’ve seen that moral taught to kids is Monsters University, but that’s a post for another day.
However, that’s Pixar, who always does stuff like that. This is My Little Pony, a show mostly for little girls, and it’s teaching one of the most mature morals you’ll see in a kids show. That’s…pretty amazing.
And that’s not even the main moral of the episode. Eventually, other Pegasai get sick which means they can’t seem to get enough power to do their thing. They try anyway and as hard as they can it’s just enough. Fluttershy shows up for Moral support but eventually, she has to…pony up and try to help.
Long story short, her little bit of power is enough to drive them over the edge. Thus, the other moral is that every little bit helps, even if it seems like it’s enough. Yet another great moral and it ties into the other one very well.
Yes, Fluttershy eventually helps out but only with the measly bit she had, and she didn’t succeed at what she wanted to do the first time. It’s saying that even when you fail, you gotta keep trying cuz even the little bit you have can help a tiny bit. Even Bart Gets an F kind of had that.
I’m not really saying anything new here, but it’s all true. This episode is pretty great. It’s very emotional all the way through, with a releatable story, excellent portrayals of the characters, and two fantastic morals that should be taught more.
It may not be my favorite, but it’s still a great episode that’s a highlight of the series as a whole. It’s everything you heard it is and more. It’s emotional, well written and just excellent.
So yeah…it’s pretty good. And now onto the obligatory choice that will piss you off!
2. A Canterlot Wedding
Writer: Meghan McCarthy
Oh boy, here’s an episode that gives me stuff to talk about. Here’s the thing: When this episode aired, most people pretty much loved it despite a few issues here and there.
Then someone nitpicked it for half an hour and everyone hates it.
Okay, that’s not entirelty true. It’s just more than any episode, people use the nitpickiest reasons to hate this episode. Usually these reason would make sense but with the way they bitch about this episode, it sounds like nitpicking.
It’s like they deliberate ignore the awesome parts of the episode to complain about it. Okay again, that’s not 100 percent sure. I mostly get why some people don’t like it, but a lot of the reasons seem easy to ignore for me.
Before I move on, I should say that that me putting it above Hurricane Fluttershy is purely just my tastes. I love HF but I also love epic two parters, and I just felt this should be higher. I see why most of you would disagree, but this is my lost.
Also, while The Return of Harmony has less flaws, I enjoy this one more for what it does right. Now onto why it’s great!
Twilight learns that her brother, who exists, is getting married to her old Foalsitter. But she finds Princess Cadence is acting a little off. But of course, no one believes her and she finds out the truth a bit too late..
Before I move on, let’s the address the big thing: Twilight has a brother we’ve never heard of. Yes, Shining Armor is introduced out of nowhere and there has been evidence against his existence.
Honestly, I think people are making mountains of molehills with this one. Yes, it doesn’t make a lot of sense but come on, it’s not THAT big of a deal. It’s really more of a nitpick in the grand scheme of thing. Whether he’s a good character or not is not dependent on how plausible his existence is.
And quite frankly, people should focus on how great their relationship is. Twilight tells us that he was her B.B.B.F.F.
“Big Brother best friend forever!”
Besides how nice it is to see a positive sibling relationship like this, the way it’s done is quite. The song about him shows off some cute flashbacks, and the song itself is nice too. They quickly establish their relationship and we actually get a nice feel for it, even if it’s mostly through them telling us. The visuals help with that issue, at least.
Back to the plot, we find out Cadance was kidnaped by the evil Queen Chrysalis. She’s the queen of the Changelings, weird looking creatures that can take the form of others. She took the form of Cadence to marry Shining Armor and take over the kingdom of something.
Her actual plan involves feeding on love, which is a creepy idea when you think about. Now, her real plan has said to be a bit…flawed. This is another minor thing people love to think is a big problem. It’s kind of big but not a huge problem.
Again, I’m more focused on how awesome she is. She gets pretty powerful and she makes for a decent villain that gives the Mane 6 a run for their money. Meghan isn’t known for the best villains but this one was pretty good, if she got surpassed by Tierk later on.
She also gets a villain song that topped my song list. That’s nice too.
Back to my reasons for loving the episode. As you might expect, there’s a lot of emotion in this one. Not only do we end up feeling pretty bad for Cadence (just listen to her verse in This Day Aria), but there’s some crushing moments with Twilight.
When she makes a fool of herself trying to prove Cadence is off, she pisses everyone off, even Shining and Celestia.
“You have a lot to think about”
Damn. Just seeing Twilight’s own mentor say look down on her is a really crushing moment. Moments like that make this episode great. Naturally, the real awesome-ness comes in part 2 where we get some awesome action.
Remember, there wasn’t a ton in the way of action at this point. So seeing Pinkie using Twilight’s tail to shoot lasers at Changelings’ is amazing. This ep had the biggest scale of any episode up to that point and that’s part of why I like it so much.
There are a lot of really awesome moments and it stays interesting all the way through. Like Return of Harmony, it has a lot of tension and it has decent Comedy mixed in with the more serious stuff. There are a few things that kind of bug me though.
The minor one is that Twilight does kind of take over the plot. The others take part but mostly for the action scenes and that’s it. They get a few moments but Twilight is the focus. There’s nothing really wrong with that but I wish they had more to do.
Also, the climax is a bit odd. Oh, it’s a nice climax, more so than Return of Harmony, but in the end, Chrysalis is defeated pretty easily. Cadence and Shining Armor join together and stop her with the power of love. Yes, really.
One minute she’s like “I’m evil hahah” and bam, love conquers all. The love theme is nice I suppose but for some it could be a weak way to stop the villain. Guess it’s a good thing we have the comics. Don’t worry, I’ll get to those.
My other problem is the moral. Not so much the moral itself but the way it’s executed.
“You persisted in the face of doubt, and your actions led to your being able to bring the real Princess Cadance back to us. Learning to trust your instincts is a valuable lesson to learn.”
In other words…jumping to conclusions is okay? Cuz that is seemed like Twilight is doing from their point of view. Okay, the moral isn’t too bad, since there are times where you gotta trusty your instructs even when everyone else is against you.
Btu the episode right before this had the moral that jumping to conclusions is bad! Isn’t that a bit hypocritical? That’s really the big thing I can see people having an issue with.
However, they aren’t huge problems, and I can look past them I can see why those issues could bug someone but for me I can look past it because there’s just so much to love.
The ending is pretty nice. The actual wrap up is well done, giving us a nice sense of accomplishment. There’s another sweet moment with Shining Armor and a catchy song to close us out. It really is the kind of ending that gives you a good feeling.
Someone once said that everyone loves this episode even if they say they don’t, because of all the good there is in it. I think that’s true but what do I know?
This episode may be flawed, and I may admit I would be praising it more if Twilight’s Kingdom didn’t exist, since that one did a lot of the stuff this one did, but even better. However, it’s still great.
It had a scope beyond anything we had seen before, a sweet sibling relationship, an awesome villain, great songs, and fun action scenes. I honestly do like Shining Armor and Cadence. They aren’t the most complex characters ever, but they are quite likable, especially Cadance. Her bit in the song alone sold me on her.
They don’t do as much as I wanted, but the stuff they do in this and later on is enough to make me happy.
Overall, this episode really is awesome. It really had a lot to love, from the heart, to the songs, to the animation. It had an epic scope and it did everything it needed to do. And really, the flaws, aside from the maybe the moral, are nitpick-y things that don’t matter.
I think some of the people who are hating are just taking minor issues and making them seem bigger than they actually are. A lot of the complaints comes down to bitching about plot holes, like they actually matter or something.
However, I’ve heard legit complaints that at least make sense, so if you hate it, I can deal with it, as long as you’re nice about it. But just remember: Even the great movies have the kind of issues you’re bitching about. No movie is without sin.
No matter what people say about this episode, I will always love it. It’s got epic-ness coming from all sides and it has some nice substance to go with it.
It was an awesome finale and it does a ton of things right to distract from the flaws. It’s just awesome all around.
A Canterlot Wedding: One of the most unfairly hated episodes ever. But maybe not THE most…but we’ll get to that later on.
Like last time, let’s go through 10-6 before we hit number one.
10. Sweet and Elite (Meghan McCarthy): You did the “choosing money over friends” plot line without making Rarity unlikable. What. How.
9. Read it and Weep (Cindy Morrow): Great and relatable moral, good portrayal of Rainbow, and Daring Do. Not much else to say.
8. The Last Roundup (Amy Keating Rogers): Very funny, with one of Applejack’s best conflict/portrayals. Also, Derpy. She is not offensive but I see why Hasbro/Hub thought so and changed her. That’s all I will say on that.
7. Luna Eclipsed (M.A. Larson): Yeah, Luna is awesome and I love Halloween episodes by default.
6. Ponyville Confidential (M.A. Larson): This is how you do a mean/harsh correctly. By using it to impact the story instead of using it for crappy jokes. Best pure CMC episode in the first 3 Seasons. There, I said it.
And my favorite Season 2 episode is…
1. Sisterhooves Social
Writer: Cindy Morrow
This isn’t the usual choice, nor the one you all expected. Yes this is a popular episode, but it’s not one that ends up on the top of most people’s list.
Mr. Enter had it as the 2nd best of the whole at one point, and Norty still has it there, but that’s about it. Now I join the group of people who really loves this episode, and the latter even has it his favorite of the Season like me.
Now, why do I have this one as my favorite? Let’s get into it.
Rarity and Sweetie Belle’s parents are going on vacation for a week so Sweetie must stay at Rarity’s. Naturally, the two start to get on each other’s nerves as Sweetie starts making mistakes. Eventually, it gets to the point where Sweetie leaves and takes in Applejack as her new big sister. Now Rarity has to get Sweetie back and mend their broken relationship.
Now, that doesn’t sound like anything new or amazing. But as it turns out, it’s done extremely well. As I’ve said before, it’s no secret that sibling stuff isn’t always done the best in media. Usually they’ll be the worst of enemies half the time, with the sweet moments being just there everyone once in a while.
While I’m sure that’s the way with some people in real life, it’s usually a bit different. I’ve explained why Gravity Falls goes against that mold but before that, this show did it really well. Leave it to My Little Pony to give us a realistic look at sibling relationships.
Wow, I just said realistic and My Little Pony in the same sentence.
Let’s look at what happens. Sweetie tries to make breakfast and burns it. She tries to do the laundry and just shrinks Rarity’s favorite sweater. She accidentally uses rare and important Gem’s for a project, and when she cleans Rarity’s room to make up for it, it turns out Rarity considered it to be “organized chaos”.
Usually in this type, I either think the older sibling is being a jerk and doesn’t consider that these are just accidents, or that the younger sibling is being an annoying screw up, Usually, it’s both. However, here it’s actually neither.
Shockingly, no one is the bad guy in this episode. Sweetie honestly does make understandable mistakes but Rarity’s anger is understandable. She does try her to best to keep her cool through most of her mistakes and tries to get that it’s all just a bunch of mistakes.
We can see both sides here, but they still make it so Rarity is the one to learn the important lesson. They do that thing where she realizes Sweetie’s mistakes were understandable, in some ways for the better, but they still make it so you get why she was angry.
It’s really amazing how well written this whole thing is. One person clearly needs to learn the lesson but they are still both likable and no one is the bad guy. Not to mention that Rarity it’s forgiven so easily. It doesn’t take long to figure out she was being a jerk but Sweetie has already turned to Applejack.
Rarity still just wants to do what she wants to do, and she still doesn’t understand that being a sibling is a team effort. Applejack had an amazing apple pie metaphor but I forgot it.
So it’s not as a simple as it usually would be, and Rarity has to actually work to earn Sweetie Belle’s respect. Sweetie isn’t even being
unreasonable, since kids can be impulsive and when they get an idea, it’s gonna get stuck. Plus, Sweetie has mad so it’s easy to see why she wasn’t so forgiving, at least with how Rarity still couldn’t learn the real reason.
This is honestly one of the most well written episodes of the show, because of they take a cliché plot and do it correctly. No one is the bad guy and they use it to teach an awesome moral: Being Siblings isn’t always easy, but there’s way more good than bad.
Then of course, there’s the sweet moments, and I’m not just talking about the d’aww inducing ending. After Sweetie leaves, Rarity cleans up her messes and slowly sees that some of her mistakes were for the better.
Then she finds out that project that she was working on, was a paper heart thingy with cute drawn picture of the two. Yeah, Sweetie was giving her a sweet gift and she didn’t even look it cuz her gems were being used on it.
This scene is damn heartbreaking. Like a lot of things, it’s better in Context when just written down. Rarity’s over dramatic reaction even works because the situation makes it heartbreaking despite Rarity being…Rarity.
Then we get the ending, which we might as well go over. Applebloom lets Sweetie borrow AJ for the titular social (which is actually a race…) for one day (“ONE DAY”), or at least just this race. They do it and while they don’t win, they have fun.
Then it turns out it was Rarity the whole time. She covered herself is mud right at the starting line so they could switch places and Sweetie wouldn’t notice. Yes, Rarity got herself dirty to prove herself to her sister.
Now that is amazing. Naturally, this is what gets Sweetie to forgive Rarity and they make up. Now much like Hurricane Fluttershy, there’s still some decent Comedy to offset the drama. Infact, this one of of my favorite jokes in the show. It happens when AJ and AB herd some sheep into this pen. Then one sheep says…
“You have just asked”
You can guess why I picked this one as my favorite. Not only is it really heartwarming with great character development, but it handles a subject matter most shows botch, very very well. It takes a somewhat tired plot and handles it extremely well in a way I never expected.
This episode is also relatable for the obvious reasons. Some people (ahem) may relate to Sweetie, if they have an older sibling they see as a jerk who hates on them for no reason, while some releat to Rarity, as they were acting like a jerk to their sibling and didn’t even realize it.
So yeah, there’s something for everything here. Yes, I do have an older brother, why do you ask? Wait, I’ve mentioned here before, and he’s even picked out 2 reviews, why would you forget about him?
By the way, he was a bit confused when I told him this was my top pick over Canterlot Wedding. Just wait til he reads this…
This episode is my favorite because it just goes above and beyond. It just needed to go through the motions and give us a couple sweet moments, but instead they gave us a realistic situation where no one is really the bad guy.
It’s amazingly written, relatable and extremely heartwarming. It really does do everything right, and while it can be a tad contrived at some points, it’s an amazing episode. You can argue over what’s the “Best” but this is my personal favorite episode of Season 2, easily.
And that’s two down. Season 2 was certainly a great Season despite some off moments here and there. If you can look past some flaws that aren’t too big, you’ll see some of the best stuff we’ve seen in the show.
…Kind of like A Canterlot Wedding. Weird.
I hope you liked mostly agreeing with my choices, because it’s time to move on to….
Now we get to the fun part of any list: Pissing people off no what you pick! Yeah, this Season had a mixed reception to say the least. The main reason is that Lauren Faust officaly stepped down as showrunner and was replaced by Meghan McCarthy.
That’s the only real reason, really. If they watched these episodes thinking Faust is still onboard, then they wouldn’t hate on all them. The hate has died down but it’s still there. Now, I get why some wouldn’t like some of these episodes, but the hate for the Season is just kind of dumb.
This Season was shorter, with only 12 episodes, but for whatever reasons all the Hub shows did that for their 3rd Season at the time. At least Haunting Hour had an excuse. Thus, the usual problems stick out a bit more.
That being said, this wasn’t as good as Season 2 for obvious reasons. I actually like it more than Season 1, since I can get through all the episodes easier, even then the kind of bad one. Of the 12 episodes, I’d call 6 of them great. That’s half the Season, so yeah, it’s a good one.
The great episodes still reached new heights, and I have 5 that stand as highlights of the show. Thankfully, the ones I picked tend to be the ones people like more, with 2 exceptions we’ll get to it.
So let’s look at the episodes that prove why this Season was quite solid.
5. The Crystal Empire
Writer: Meghan McCarthy
And we’re already starting off with a controversial choice. Yay. Yes, I think this episode is great, and while that’s not quite the rarest opinion (Mr. Enter and The Cartoon Hero would agree with me) more people should be loving this one. The reasoning makes a little more sense than Canterlot Wedding, at least. However, it is still underrated, and I will explain why.
First, the plot. An ancient empire reappears after being gone for 100 years, and Twilight is tasked by Celestia to go there along with the others and discover its secret to get it back to its former glory.
Before I address the evil elephant in the room, I’ll go over the main reason I love this episode: The mythology.
One of the many thinks I like seeing is the Mythology of certain worlds, and a lot of this episode is spent on The Crystal Empire. Not just on the story taking place here, but the actual empire, with its cultural and all that good stuff.
This episode has been compared to Atlantis The Lost Empire, and as I’m one of people that loves that movie, I can say that’s a compliment. The best part of that movie was seeing how they fleshed out Atlantis and that’s no different here.
It’s really interesting to see what the Crystal Empire is like and it gets more interesting as the episode goes on. Beside just the idea of it all, they get a good story out of it as we see how the citizens fear Sombra and really don’t want to think about what it was like when he was around.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about him, while also lazily just recapping what they said in the episode. 1000 years ago, an evil Unicorn known as King Sombra took over the Crystal Empire and did all kinds of messed up stuff.
He was eventually overthrown, turned to shadow and banished to the ice of the Arctic North. Before he left, he put a curse of the Empire that caused it to vanish. However, the Empire needs love and stuff to survive and that’s not exactly there with the citizens being all frazzled thanks to being gone for too long.
Cadence, (“One of these days we need to get together when the fate of Equestria isn’t hanging in the balance”) being all about love, has been able to hold up but our heroes still must get the empire back to its former glory.
Just read all that, and tell me this episode isn’t at least ambitious. Of all the locations/characters that were likely brought in to make money and toys, this is easily the best of them. I actually forget that this one of those toy ploys, since they do such a good job making this place a solid part of the world.
As for Sombra, I actually like him. Yes, I’ve made some jokes about him and he’s not the shows best villain, but he isn’t the worst. (Sorry EQG 1 Sunset, you win that prize). The thing with him is, he’s a different kind of villain than we’re used to.
The others were more like actual characters, with built in backstories, and were present as such through most of the episodes. Sombra is more a big evil force looming over everything, and he spends of the episode on the outside, trying to break in. He doesn’t do anything big until the end and he’s stopped before he can do a whole lot.
Granted, all he does is look evil while saying like…4 words but my point still stands. He shouldn’t be judged as a character like the others, because he’s not a character in the same way the others were. As an evil force, he works pretty well. His presence is felt, and the stuff he’s implied to have done is pretty horrifying.
Overall, I’d call him a decent villain for what he is, since he works as an evil threatening force. Yes, there could have been more to him and sadly we won’t see more since he kind of died, I think. Well, there won’t be more in the show.
Since that comment in the Rainbow Rocks review, I’ve read that little comic Arc he was kind of in. I’ll cover that at point so I’ll say more there. But man…it’s interesting.
While I see why some people dislike him, I don’t think he’s an awful villain, even with his flaws. I think he adds to the positives of the episode, honestly.
Now onto the other stuff I like. While Twilight has had bigger development, she goes some neat stuff here. Celestia tells her that this is a test and Twilight is of course worried about passing. She even sings a song about it!
Side note, the songs in this episode are pretty good. Not the best songs ever, but still solid. Between the two songs, I like the one I just mentioned more, if only for the animation and the fact that SPIKE sings. Awesome.
Twilight spends most of the episode just trying to solve the problem, but she gets some key moments. With that, we get to my favorite part of the episode. She bumps into Sombra’s old throne room and finds a door that shows her worst nightmare: Failing the test and having Celestia tell her that Twilight is no longer her student.
Needless to say, this scene is pretty interesting, and hearing all that come from Celestia makes it even more surreal and heartbreaking. But the best part is actually when Spike comes down and looks at the door himself.
“We were home. You told me you didn’t need me anymore. You were sending me away…”
“A fear that will never come to pass. I’m never gonna send you away. And I’m not gonna fail my test!”
…Damn. This little bit is likely the most meaningful Spike development we got until Equestria Games came along. We don’t need to see what he saw to feel the impact. It’s a really sweet scene that’s short, yet manages to be the highlight of the episode.
Even if Spike forgot about his little fear when he left Twilight to serve Applejack later that season, but whatever.
Speaking of Spike, that’s not the end of his awesome-ness in the episode. See, they had to put up this Crystal Fair, full of the Empire’s culture to bring the citizens up a bit and they gotta bring the Crystal Heart there to stop Sombra once and for all.
They get the heart but Twilight gets captured by black crystals made by Sombra, and it looks she can’t bring the heart to the fair in time. So she asks Spike to do it.
With the help of Cadence, Spike gets the heart to the faire and Sombra is defeated. Somehow, his defeat was more anti climatic than Chrylis’ but it bugs me less.
Mostly of how awesome this is for Spike. I mean, HE saves the day in a two parter! In the others, he’s pushed to the side. Here, he’s…more important. Also, this big act gives the mane 6 Crystal coats for a minute, which looks nice. Rarity agrees which is why she’s sad when they go back to normal.
“But… good things are better when they’re a rarity.”
Anyway, that brings us to our moral, another reason to love this one:
“Spike brought Princess Cadance the Crystal Heart because you weren’t sure how quickly you could find a way to escape the tower. You weren’t willing to risk the future of the citizens of the Crystal Empire in an effort to guarantee your own. Far better that I have a student who understands the meaning of self-sacrifice than one who only looks out for her own best interests.”
Once again, My Little Pony shows that it has more maturity than a lot of actual adult shows. Not only does Spike get an awesome moment (that they even build on later) but Twilight gets minor development with a rather mature moral about self-sacrifice.
So yeah, you get why I like this episode at this point. It really does have a lot going for it, from the mythology to the story to the characters. There is one minor issue that I kind of agree with: The tone. The action is splint between Twilight going after Sombra, which is more serious, to the others setting up the fair, which is more comical.
They keep switching between serious and silly and yeah, it can be a bit jarring at times, especially since the other 2 parters mix the tones a lot better. However, I don’t mind it since they are done so well it doesn’t bug me.
The Comedy is pretty spot on, especially with Rarity obsessing with the Crystal Empire, and pinkie…being Pinkie. Rainbow is a kind of a bitch in one part, but it’s so minor I can let it slide.
Now, how does it compare to the other 2 parters? Well I will admit I like Canterlot and Return of Harmony a bit more, since they are more even and all that stuff. However, Crystal Empire is almost as good with it’s epic scope and solid mythology. It even fixes minor issues by giving each of the mane 6 more to do. It does end up being about Twilight and Spike but the others are just there more.
With the exception of Twilight’s kingdom and Friendship is Magic (which are the best and worst respectively), I like all the two parters about equally since they each do something a bit better than the other. They are all still great in my eyes.
Overall, this episode may not be perfect, but it’s still awesome. It has interesting mythology, great drama, some heartbreaking moments, wonderful character moments, good songs, and just plain good writing all around. It even has an underrated villain.
It’s okay to dislike it, but the only complaints I hear are Sombra and the usually nitpick-y stuff. If you look past whatever issues it may have, you’ll see it’s pretty amazing with a lot of the best moments of the Season.
With all that awesome stuff going for it, this is a great underrated 2 parter, that serves as a good way to start a solid underrated Season.
Don’t worry our next picks are less controversial.
4. Too Many Pinkie Pies
Writer: Dave Polsky
I’m gonna let you guys on a little secret: Dave Polsky was one of my favorite writers before Season 4. Yes, really. The main reason is that I can always rely on him to make episodes that I like. I always wonder if they will be GOOD but I always enjoy them. He’s a humor based writer, so all of his episodes have enough humor for me to enjoy, even if the writing can be flawed.
Feeling Pinkie Keen may be the MLP version of Wizards Only, Fools but it has well timed and funny slapstick. Games Ponies and Keep Calm and Flutter on have their own problems but still continue very good comedy that makes them easy to get there. This even extends to Spike at Your Service, which he only wrote the story for.
However, there were two times before Season 4 that he showed he can craft a decent story on top of just being funny. There was Over a Barrel which did a good job with its two sided story despite a few odd implications here and there.
Then there was this episode, easily his best Pre Season 4 Effort. Now, I actually won’t have a lot to say about this one compared to all the others on these lists, and I’ll explain why after the plot:
Pinkie can’t find the time to hang out with all of her friends, so when she stumbles upon a cloning pool, she clones herself so she can have more time for her friends.
Yeah, not a big summary and that’s part of why I can’t say a lot about the episode. I can analyze it all I want, but I can’t exactly go on and on about how complex it is like I can with other episodes. Party of One and Lesson Zero had…interesting stuff to go over, while this doesn’t have that.
Don’t worry, it’s still great though. Mostly because…it’s funny. Yeah shocking I know, but it’s funnier than even your typical Dave Polsky episode. I mean it’s about a bunch of Pinkie Pie clones walking around. How can it NOT be funny?
As you might expect, they really run with this concept. They clearly had a lot of fun with this one, as the episode just has a great energy to it from start to finish. There a ton of creative gags both with the clones and in other places.
This is one of the most interesting takes on the Clone plot I’ve seen, as well as the “Has to be in two places at the same time” plot. It actually feels like what would have happened if Spongebob’s Overbooked actually did it this way instead of sticking it at the end to piss me off.
(NOTE: That’s a really good episode but it would have been better if it was like this. Sorry about the Scabies!)
I like that they didn’t give the clones any weird ticks or signs that they are clones. You know, as a lazy way to tell them apart. Instead, they all look the same but act differently, so it’s still obvious to tell them apart. You can from how they move that they are different from Pinkie, and that’s a nice touch.
Speaking of the clones, they are pretty good. They manage not to be annoying somehow, and they are really funny with how they cause so much chaos. The big difference between the clone Pinkie and the real one, is that the clones are just hyper freaks who shout “Fun!” all the time. They don’t care about their friends, they just cause havoc.
So…Pinkie after 20 pounds of Flanderization.
I’d tell you all the gags but that would spoil all the fun. But I will say that there are tons of amusing gags to keep you laughing, and I will spoil a few key gags. There’s Pinkie turning into a timer, the final test (which I’ll get to) and…the face.
Yeah, at one point a clone says “I bet you can’t make a face crazier than…this” and then makes a face that looks like….G3 Pinkie.
Twilight immediately zaps this clone. BEST PONY.
There’s no doubt this is one of the most enjoyable episodes, up there with Party of One. However, I also really like the writing too. I’ve gone other the clones so let’s move on to the story.
Much like SB in Overbooked, she’s doing this to keep her friends happy. Her intentions as pure as they come and that keeps her likable. Plus, when she has a choice of 3 friends to spend time with, they don’t put any pressure on her. They say that she can pick who she wants, it doesn’t matter.
Then later in the episode, Pinkie is devastated when she sees how the clones are hurting her friends. Then she actually gets depressed and wonders if she’s even the real Pinkie. Yes, this may be the only clone story like this where the original doubts they were the original.
That’s pretty awesome, and it gives some depth to Pinkie’s character. But like everyone else I must mention this: Twilight and the others see what they think is a clone, all depressed and coming up with a genius idea to tell the clones apart and they don’t think for a second that maybe this could be the original.
Yeah, that’s kind of stupid.
Their big idea is to the force the Pinkie’s to watch Paint Dry and zap whoever looks away. …Yeah’s a lot of reason that go badly and it doesn’t help that Twilight just zaps on sight! I think they should have established that zapping the real Pinkie would hurt her, but not send her to the pool for obvious reasons. Thus if they did hit her by accident, it would just bbe an inconvenience.
But you know, whatever.
The real Pinkie manages to be the last pony standing and everything is happy. We get the moral that sometimes you can’t make time for all your friends and all that good stuff.
It would have been easy to just half ass the plot to give us a funny clone story, and while I would have liked the episode for its wacky Comedy if the story was simpler, it’s great that they put work into the story.
It’s the most complex thing the show has done, but it had some emotional depth that I did not expect. The whole doubting she was the original thing is enough to make it different. Really, the only story problems you could find is that it’s a bit predictable, since it does have the Overbooked type of moral.
But it still works and it’s the kind of cliché story that just works when given to a certain character. While this episode clearly needed more Scabie cakes, it’s still a great one.
But really, it is the Comedy that makes it work. No matter how much I talk about the story, the main reason I enjoy it is for the Comedy. It has a great energy to it with a lot of fun gags of all kinds all over the place.
It has jokes you can see coming, and jokes no one saw coming…like the nightmare face. The writers, animators and voice actors clearly had a lot of fun with this one.
It’s just proof that a pure Comedy episode can have just as much merit as a dramatic one. It also proved that Dave could write another solid story to match his wonderful comedic sensibilities. Why am I talking about him more than any other writer? I don’t know, just wanted to say I liked him before he got better.
Though I didn’t realize it til recently, meaning I DIDN’T like him before it was cool. Sadface. But don’t worry, I’ll say more the writer of our next entry.
Anyway, this episode is simply great. It’s really funny with a lot of energy and even has a solid story with depth for Pinkie Pie.
Overall, it goes the extra mile to give a well written and hilarious episode. Oddly enough, this came after the Season premiere, which was number
5…which happened with the Season 2 list as well. Weird.
3. Wonderbolts Academy
Writer: Merriweather Williams
I told you I’d say more about our next writer. If you ask me the biggest Woobie associated with the show isn’t Fluttershy, Luna, or even Rainbow. It’s Merriweather Williams. With some overheated writers, such as Zeus Cervas, I can kind of get it in a way despite how overblown the hate it.
With her, it’s weird. She has the misfortune of being attached to episodes people tend to dislike such as Putting Your Hoof Down, Dragon Quest, and of course, the Mysterious Mare do Well.
Its okay to dislike those episodes (even I don’t care for them that much) but the hatred for her went way too far.
It’s one thing to dislike a writer’s work, but it’s another to constantly bash an episode simply because she wrote it, and act like she’s a bad person. That’s the kind of thing that pisses me off. You can rag on Casey Alexander or Charlotte Fullterton all day, but just because they make bad art doesn’t make them bad people.
The hate has gone down thanks to both this and Bats, but it should not have happened in the first place. Anyway, Merriweather Williams seems to have bad luck even ignoring her hatedom. With all her episodes, it seems like she’s really trying to make something interesting, but they don’t always pan out.
All those episodes are honest attempts to make interesting and even mature stories. However, she just didn’t think them all the through, especially in Dragon Quest. I think that’s her problem, she should think things through better. With some fixes, she could be the BEST writer.
And she is…on Spongebob. See, Merriweather Williams actually has a pretty interesting resume, working on stuff like Adventure Time and Camp Lazlo. She’s most famous for being one of the major Pre Movie Spongebob writers, as she wrote not only the most pre movie eps (or any pure pre movie writer) but also the best/most popular.
Band Geeks. That is all.
However, even that one isn’t safe, because she wrote The Great Snail Race, which is seen as the worst pre movie episode. And as you can imagine, her Littlest Pet Shop episodes don’t fare better with fans, sadly.
What I’m trying to say here is Williams seems to have bad luck no matter what, and as hard as she tries, she just can’t escape people’s hatred. That makes her the biggest Woobie on the show. However, there is one episode everyone agrees is her best, due to lacking any of her usual problems.
And that’s this one. Oh hey, we’re talking about the THING I’M SUPPOSED TO BE TALKING ABOUT.
Since I spent too much time already, here’s the plot: Rainbow Dash is invited to the Wonderbolt Academy where she (as you might have guessed) trains to become a Wonderbolt. She befriends a Pegasus named Lightning Dust who turns out to be a bad influence. Tested loyalty ensues.
I’ve gone on about Rainbow Dash earlier, and this is easily her best solo episode. Yes, even once you consider Read it and Weep or Daring Don’t. I know she doesn’t tend to have the best track record but it’s still great.
Despite what people may think, Merriweather actually seems to write Rainbow fairly well. In Mare Do Well, she acts like she normally would, it’s just highlighted due to the faulty writing. Thanks to that whole alone scene, Rainbow became pretty likable in that one, and it was the others that became the problem.
With this episode, it became obvious that Merriweather can write Rainbow very well if given the right story. That story was a bit cliché but this one is a lot more interesting. This one of those really interesting stories that was fun to see play out.
See, Rainbow Dash always strives to the best and she’s shown she will do anything to be admired. She becomes friends with Lightning Dust for obvious reason but things go sour when Lighting shows she’s willingly to do the wrong thing to get ahead.
Rainbow doesn’t like this but forces herself to go along. She’s picked as Lightning’s wingpony because Lightning pushes herself harder, and this disappointment fuels her further. This is a great dilemma that is portrayed well.
I’m sure a lot of us feel pressure to do the wrong thing sometimes, mostly people who do seem to get ahead. At no point is Rainbow unlikable, as the way it’s written makes her relatable all the through. You can see why she does what she does, and she of course has her limits.
But wait, we gotta go over the little stupid things no one cares about. The fandom thought they knew Spitfire from her appearance in Best Night Ever, but as it turns out, she’s a female R. Lee Ernie. Seriously. It’s awesome and this voice actor clearly had fun with the role.
It was very jarring but it kind of makes sense, since some people do act completely different at …work let’s call it, then it public. Also, we got a meme in the form of the whole “That’s an Academy record” thing.
Also, Bulk Biceps makes his glorious return. Oh, and there are Top Gun references in My Little Pony. That’s nice.
Anyway, this is the type of story that fits Rainbow very well and it brings new depth to her character. There’s a reason this is the best she’s been in a solo episode, as they perfectly handle her. She’s shown to be flawed but still likable and complex.
I think the problem arises when writers think RD is just a one dimensional tomboy jerk, which is why we get some of her weaker moments. But it seems like Williams was at least trying to ditch that with mare Do Well, and with this, we saw how she make her into a complex and likable character.
They also fit in plenty of Comedy, mostly coming from Pinkie Pie. There’s a subplot where she obsesses over waiting for a letter or card from Rainbow. Some people find her bits to be weak, but I thought they were funny. Pinkie is mostly doing this cuz she loves her friend so much and she keeps her Pinkie charm through all of it.
Plus, it adds to the plot, as they later visits Rainbow at the Academy, where they get into danger thanks to Lightning Dust. Speaking of which, she’s an interesting villain. She’s kind of like Rainbow Dash but she’s not just a copy. She is used to show what RD will become if she keeps doing that Dust forces her to do.
She’s a fun one shot character who has a very well done place in the story, and you can see why Rainbow likes her. Of course in the end she gets what she deserves and it’s a big happy ending.
Speaking of ending, some people don’t like it, calling it “ambiguous”. Well, let’s work our way to that, cuz I gotta praise the scene where Rainbow quits. She tells Spitfire that Lightning used a tornado for Cloud busting, and when Spitfire says she’s okay with it, Rainbow quits because if doing the wrong thing gets rewarded here, she doesn’t want any part of this.
Rainbow wanted to be a Wonderbolt more than anything, so seeing her quit her dream is amazing to see. It’s the most mature the character has ever been, period. It’s a very mature and good moment in general, really.
Then there’s the ending. After quitting she gets ready to leave, but Spitfire shows up and says RD is right. She gives RD her place back, and strips lightning of her position and she walks away. Rainbow is now Lead Pony, and everything is happy.
….I’m not seeing the problem here. It’s a little rushed, but it sounds pretty clear cut to me. Spitire saw the error of her ways, Rainbow isn’t gonna quit, and Lightning Dust got punished. Or you guys missing something’s, or am I?
Now the ending was changed from how it was originally. In the original ending, Lightning stays and is made wing pony and Lightning apologizes. Hmm…eh, the change isn’t that big. Actually, I prefer I since it isn’t yet another forced face heel turn. Then again, the next one we got lead to Sunset being amazing in Rainbow Rocks so ah well.
Despite the ending being perhaps a bit rushed, the episode itself is pretty great. It’s the kind of story that just fits the character it’s given, making it very interesting to watch. It gives more depth to Rainbow Dash and is a very solid story in general.
In some ways it’s your basic Great episode, and trust me, that’s a good thing due to just how it’s written. There really isn’t a whole lot more to say than that.
So I ended up saying less about this one than the episode I said wouldn’t take long to explain. Heck, I said more about the writer than the actual episode! But that’s only because a lot of the episodes strength fall on the writer and how she normally does things.
I suppose you get the point: Merriweather Williams is awesome even when she’s not. …Also, Rainbow Dash is interesting and this episode is great in every way.
Before I make a lame meme reference, let’s move on.
2. Sleepless in Ponyville
Writer: Corey Powell
I had a hard time choosing between this and Wonderbolts Academy for this spot, but I went this one simply because I enjoyed it more, and the best moment pushed it over the edge. Of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Scootaloo somehow was the most popular, despite getting the least screen time up to this point.
I’m still not sure why everyone was wanting a Scootaloo episode besides the fact that the other got a bit too many of their own sometimes. But I’m glad she got one, because it ended up being great. What makes this one interesting that it was the debut for a new writer.
When you have an established writing staff, it will be cool to see new writers come up to the plate. Thankfully, this was the best first shot ever. Until Flight to the Finish, of course. …Do new writers do well with Scootaloo, or what?
While camping with the other CMC’s, their sisters, and Rainbow Dash, Scootaloo is frightened by some scary stories and finds herself unable to sleep thanks to some nightmares.
First up, why does camping with Michelle Creber always turn out bad? First Discount Freddie attacks an Alpha Bitch on Haunting Hour, now this!
Now that I have that joke out of the way, let’s move on.
The plot may not seem like much, but like a lot of episodes, it’s in the execution and how it feeds into the character. We have the plot where someone is scared and doesn’t want anyone else to know it, and that eats them up. But with these characters, it work.
We had seen how much Scootaloo likes Rainbow Dash, to the point that she started a fanclub which might as well be Non-Canon thanks to that episode’s reception. This episode explores that a little further, as it starts with Scootaloo fangirling after Rainbow says she has nice moves.
So of course, Scootaloo would be embarrassed to admit she’s afraid on front of her idol. This doesn’t lead to go things for Scoots as she’s tired for most of the day and messes up a lot. Most of the episode is spent on Scootaloo in nightmare scenes, or trying to stay awake so she won’t have Nightmares.
That sounds kind of boring but naturally, it works because they keep it entertaining all the way through. There’s a lot of Comedy here, from the stuff before the Campfire scene, to Sweetie’s Campfire song.
“Let’s gather round the campfire and sing our-“
Not that one.
This episode has been compared to Look Before you sleep due to having a running gag where Rarity is well…rarity about the situation and Applejack snarks at her. That’s fair but it doesn’t feel like a retread since it’s only a running gag and it’s camping. As someone who found that episode to be okay, I’ll say that improves on it and it’s only a minor element.
The main reason I put this at number is indeed the Comedy. It makes it more fun to watch and there’s plenty of other things to like. Like the nightmare scenes! They aren’t gonna scary anyone anytime soon, but they are really well done with genuinely creepy atmosphere and nice music. It’s about as dark as you can get on this show outside of a mental break episode, and it works.
This episode has been compared to Courage the Cowardly Dog and that’s high praise indeed. It is kind of like Courage in that it can genuinely creepy while giving us a good story with heartwarming moments sometimes.
They do a good job at showing Scootaloo’s progression as she gets more afraid, and not just of the “Headless horse”. As a side note, when Rainbow tells the story, Applejack keeps poking holes in the logic.
AJ is new best pony.
Back to my point, she becomes more afraid of both the fake scary things, and Rainbow finding out about her fears. It’s another of those relatable issues that is done very well. And kind of Scootaloo is just adorable at the start with how they fangirls over Rainbow Dash.
Then we have the…interesting part. Eventually, during one Nightmare Scene, Scootaloo is visited by Luna. I accidentally spoiled this a bit by covering her next dream visit, but I get to go into more detail this time.
Luna says she’s the Princess of the Night, so she kind of has to go into dreams. They just leave it at that. Yeah, it does raise too many questions, but I can forgive it because the idea is so awesome. Luna being able to do into dreams raises a lot of possibilities and it seems like they will be exploring those.
But the important thing is the role she plays in this story. She tells Scootaloo that obvious, that her greatest fear will still exist when she wakes up.
“Face your fears!”
Yeah thanks Luna, I’m glad you took time out of your night to say that thing no one could figure out on their own.
Joking aside, this gets the job done but they did better stuff with Luna in the next season. However, I’m glad she’s getting an important role seeing as she didn’t’ exactly do a lot up to this point.
Scootaloo wakes up and ends up getting into danger by falling into a dangerous rushing river thing. That’s a pretty intense scene by the way. Rainbow saves her and Scootaloo finally tells her the truth.
Now, this was a very good episode due to Scootaloo, the Nightmare scenes, but it still simply a really good episode. This is where it becomes a GREAT episode. See, there are a lot of scenes that can emotional, gripping, and even tear jerking. But very few scenes in this show are so d’aww inducing, sweet, that I’m left with the biggest, dopiest smile in my face.
This is one of those scenes, and it may not sound like a lot, it’s epic in full context:
Rainbow reveals that she actually scared when she heard the stories-
“I realized pretty quick that if there was such thing as a Headless Horse, I could totally take it on”
-and she doesn’t care if Scootaloo is facing these same problems. Scootaloo was mostly scared of telling Rainbow about all this because she figured if RD knew she wasn’t “cool” she wouldn’t take her under her wing and all that stuff.
“Yeah, I might be up for something like that.”
Then they hug. Like I said, this sounds like something small, but with how it’s staged, written, and acted it becomes of the sweetest moments in anything ever. It’s mostly due to how it feeds into Scootaloo’s character, as she finally has a moment with her idol.
It’s all in the character and how the moment feeds into it. I’m starting to think this show’s strength is taking stories that could be dull and making them great by feeding into a rather complex character. This is also the best Rainbow Dash had ever been up to that point, and only Flight to the Finish ever topped it.
Guess Scootaloo brings out the best in her.
The real kicker is the actual ending, where RD and Scootaloo race against the others and Rainbow carries Scootloo to help fly. The entire bit is beyond adorable and keeps that smile on my face. Then it actually ends with a fun dream scene to show how Scootaloo has gotten over her fears
This one of those episodes that is a bit hard to sell in some ways, since the story doesn’t seem all that grand compared to some other episodes, but it really is amazing. It has a relatable conflict with some wonderful character development for Scootaloo.
She was alright before but she really didn’t have much to her. The only episodes that showed any real big traits to her were Mare Do well, which went more into her fan girl thing, and Cutie Mark Chronicles where was kind of a bitch.
I failed to mention that earlier so I mentioned it now.
She was the Applejack of the CMC, but with this she became at least the Rarity. Then with Flight to the Finish, she become a lot of people’s favorite CMC. In some ways she is the best, but sorry, Sweetie Belle is still best CMC.
Now that I’m done pissing people off for this section, let’s wrap this up. This episode is wonderful for creepy Nightmare scenes and a nice story, but especially for the heartwarming ending and character development.
Everyone is top notch and it’s just fantastic all the way through. Sure, it doesn’t become truly great until the ending, but it’s still a nice episode with quite a bit of good things to help make a highlight of Season 3. This and Wonderbolts were the most acclaimed episodes of Season 3, and I can see why.
While that one is arguably better written in some areas, this one hits me more with its comedy, creepy-ness and amazing ending. It took an underused character and made her incredibly likable, and it gave us one of the most heartwarming scenes in…well anything.
Well it got its thunder stolen by Flight to the Finish, it’s still pretty great. But we can stop using Sleepless in Seattle as a stock spoof title? It’s getting overdone and I have no idea how this trend started in the first place.
So yeah, it’s safe to this wonderful episode is a dream come true.
…I need to stop apologizing for my bad puns.
Now, for obvious reason I can’t do runners up in the same way I did last time. So I’ll just rank the other Season 3 episodes from worst to best. Yeah, it’ll be me reviewing the Season but eh, it’s a neat idea I wanted to do. So here we go.
12. One Bad Apple (Cindy Morrow): This is an episode I should hate more due to how much it botched the whole bullying thing, for reasons I’ve explained before. But I guess can’t, because I really have no experience with bullying. Yes, I know that’s REALLY hard to believe, but it’s true. So I can’t get that angry since I’m not sure if this really is unrealistic or whatever. I do know it’s a weak episode, even if it has some decent Comedy (“Why does life have to be so ironic?!”) and an awesome song.
11. Keep Calm and Flutter on (Dave Polsky, story by Teddy Antonio): I’d label this one as “Debatable”, and not for the usual reasons. Well, sort of. See, I like a lot of the Comedy and there are some sweet moments, but yeah the pacing is messed up. They spend too much on time on crazy antics, and not enough time on actually reforming Discord. Also, a lot of the conflict happens because Celestia is a moron. Yeah, I’ll give this villain to the girls and not expect him to try anything. What could possibly go wrong?!
10. Spike at Your Service (Merriweather Williams, Story by Dave Polsky): I actually kind of like this one, but I can’t decide if it’s “good” or not. It handles the really cliché plot better than most, with Applejack’s conflict, and I actually think most of Spike’s actions are excusable. However, him leaving Twilight was not well handled. Like I said, it goes against what Crystal Empire established. I think putting the writer known for mean spirited stuff and the one known for wacky comedy together was a bad idea. However, it’s amusing enough to make it watchable. I love the bit about Rainbow’s unfinished novel.
9. Games Ponies (Dave Polsky): I think it’s enjoyable, but that’s about it. Everything is simply “Serviceable”, from the plot to the characters. It’s a bit contrived but it’s funny so I don’t care. Also, doing the in between episodes thing was neat and pointless.
8. Apple Family Reunion (Cindy Morrow): I think this was a nice little story, with a decent moral and some solid Applejack development. It doesn’t have as much as meat as other episodes, but a fail to see how people like Mr. Enter view it the way they do. Also, dat song is amazing.
7. Just for Sidekicks (Corey Powell): This one is underrated. It’s not my favorite, but it’s pretty funny and has some nice moments. No, I have no problem with Spike being greedy since he can’t go over the events of Secret of my Excess that quickly, and the abuse he got was deserved. He also learned his lesson. Better than the other story going on that same time, which was way away from it in production order for some reason.
6. Magic Duel (M.A. Larson): Okay, this one deserves more explanation. Yes, it’s not on the Top 5 and it’s only an honorable mention. Now, this one is great and it’s more even than Crystal Empire, but I explained why that one hits me. Trixie is cool and there are a lot of fun moments and all that good stuff. I just happen to like the heavy stuff featured in Crystal Empire a lot. I really like this episode, I just barely like one more. I can kind of see why some people love it more, though I can’t quite see it as number one above Wonderbolts Academy and such. But it’s still great, so don’t bitch.
And since I’ve mentioned every Season 3 episode except one, you’ll all figured out what my top pick is. To your horror, my favorite Season 3 Episode is…
1. Magical Mystery Cure
Writer: M.A. Larson
…Yeah, buckle up and grab some popcorn, because this may take a while. Or knowing me it will only take 5 minutes. Let’s see.
I’m not going to act like this episode is some big hot button thing, because at this point, it’s not. The main issue is regarding a major character change, and as of Season 4, it has been accepted. A majority of the fanbase is now onboard with the change after the idea’s use in Twilight’s Kingdom alone.
As such, this episode isn’t quite the hot button it once was, and thus loving it is not a crime. Now people agree it is flawed but either very good, or at least gave us some interesting ideas that were done better later. The fans of this episode are becoming a majority, and hating on it is becoming rather old fashioned.
However, it still gets hit with various criticisms, and very few people would call it the best of the Season. And you know what? That’s totally fair. At least here, the problems I keep hearing are actual flaws that exist, or make sense.
And you know what? It’s not quite the best written episode of the Season…but it is my personal favorite, for being an experience unlikable anything I’ve had before, in animation or otherwise. I am not kidding. I felt this way back when I first saw it, before I looked at the show with a critical eye, and I think it now more so than ever.
It’s still unfairly mangled by some, so I’m still here to defend it. However, I will be defending the concept of Alicorn Twilight as most people are accepting of it now, and thus don’t need me to say too much on the issue. I will defend this episodes way of handling it, as it is important to how the episode is written.
I will also only gloss over the ‘logic issues” people discuss, since those aren’t important anymore. I know you may be sick of me mentioning Mr Enter at this point, but his review of the episode, from when it was a hot button issue, goes over everything I don’t in detail. Even if you’re on of…those people, it’s worth checking out.
With all that out of the way, let’s dig in. The plot is pretty simple: Twilight messes up a spell for reasons I’ll get into letter, and causes everypony else to switch talents. Rarity has Rainbow’s, Rainbow has Fluttershy’s, Fluttershy has Pinkie Pie’s, Pinkie has Applejack’s and Applejack hass Rarity’s. Now Twilight has to fix this or everyone’s lives are ruined forever.
I suppose I should just address the Non-Purple Elephant in the room. Yep, this is a musical episode. The important thing to keep in mind is what type of musical this is. The two main types are the kind that are simply movies or episodes with songs in them, and some that litterly use the songs as a device to tell the story.
While plenty of musicals use songs to move the story along, they can still be the same story without them, with the basic story being told normally. What I mean is this episode is more of a musical experience, where the songs are there in place of exposition.
They move things along more effectivity than normal dialogue. Pinkie Pride did this, and arguably better with how Super Duper Party Pony and Pinkie’s Lament together tell a story. The songs here are more self-contained are more…classical, I suppose is the correct phrase here.
It’s important to keep that in mind because the biggest complains are that the episode has rushed pacing and too many songs, many of which are technically pointless. Many have made the case that only the last 2 are needed, and the rest of the episode could be just normal with much smoother pacing.
And you know what? That’s technically true. It does move fairly fast. I mean, What My Cutie Mark is Telling happens almost immediately after the true opening where the conflict is established. Let me recap the story until the big moment:
Twilight sings an establishing song, sees Rarity messing with weather, MY LITTLE PONY AHHHH, talks with Rarity and goes to Rainbow’s, where we get a song showing all the mane 6 and what they are dealing with. Twilight goes home and finds out why this is going on via flashback and quick exposition.
Sad Twilight is sad, song tells us so, she cries a bit, bucks up, realizes the power of friendship, gets her “big crown thingy” and goes out to try to set things right. She gets Fluttershy to realize animals are her calling and after a little bit, there’s a song where they to the ponies and use a magic touch to get them back to normal. They celebrate friendship and go back home until the elements zap Twilight and…it happens.
That both sounds like a lot and too much. It is a somewhat simple concept but the pacing is done in a way that makes it move a bit too quickly. The songs do take up quite a bit of the story as it moves itself along.
It is a problem…but it doesn’t bother me. After all, it’s better to have too much happened and have to think about stuff, than have nothing happen and sit there bored. And the songs actually help the pacing in some way, with how many there are.
Also, each song is important in moving the story and each makes for an experience in itself. The opening is mostly there to be the opening, but “What My Cuitie Mark Is telling me” comedically shows what is going, “Find a Way” shows how bad things are, and a “True True Friend” shows how friends are amazing. Aside from the opening, that’s only three songs before the ones that are apparently the only needed ones. 3 is a big number now, I guess.
Though it is in this context, I suppose. The songs help make the episode enjoyable despite the pacing issues, and it’s a nice excuse. You can argue about the too many songs thing all you want, but they help the pacing more than hurt it.
Now, this is the type of story that can be helped with better pacing, and some say it could have worked better as a two parter to flesh things out more. In a way that is true, but it’s actually already a 3 parter. The other 2 parts are Princess Twilight Sparkle.
Meghan claimed that at the time and it’s true. So watching that right after this makes it better, as every possible problem raised here is fixed there. Is it fair to still bash the episode despite that? You make the call since we didn’t have those others parts for many months, and I can understand both sides of the argument on that front.
Onto the important part of the recap: Celestia sent Twilight an unfinished spell from Starswirl the Bearded and wants her to see what it is all about. She doesn’t quite get it (“It doesn’t’ even rhyme”) and says it out loud, causing all…this to happen, and with it unfinished there’s no way out.
Until the typical answer shows it face, of course. Now, this is all cool but for now it’s just something to keep in mind once we get to it…the big moment. Before we do, let’s cover a few things.
First, the songs themselves. Most people would at least agree they sound pretty and that’s an understatement. I said this is a musical experience and it really is. Every song is expertly done by being on a level not heard of in the show at that point.
They sound like real songs more so than silly tunes for a cartoon. This show has always been good at that and this is a wonderful example of that. I’ve gushed about Find a Way before and it is especially amazing with its emotion. Too bad the best version is only found on Itunes because the most popular show on right now doesn’t deserve an in store release for some reason.
The songs are such an amazing and important part of this episode, that Daniel Ingram deserved a writing credit along with Larson. Ironically, M.A. Larson was not a fan of musicals despite being on this show, and the first song he wrote (“So many Wonders” in CM Chronicles) wasn’t the best, but when he had to do research for the Flim Flam song in the Cider episode, he got into them and…this happened.
I suppose now is a good time to get into the main event, so to speak. Here we go. When Twilight is zapped, she is taken to their weird realm where she meets Celestia. We never find out what exactly this place is, but that’s not important.
“You did something today that’s never been done before. Something even a great unicorn like Star Swirl the Bearded was not able to do, because he did not understand friendship like you do. The lessons you’ve learned here in Ponyville have taught you well. You have proven that you’re ready, Twilight.”
Oh boy, here we go. There’s a lot of ground to cover here, but I’ll address the important part first. Every single time I watch this episode, I enjoy it greatly up to this point, but I always feel unsure about it being my favorite for the Season.
Then this happens and I remember why. I will agree that there was no need for the episode to be paced this way with the songs up to this point, since this part could exist either way. But it doesn’t change the fact that everything from Twilight ends up in purgatory is just amazing.
Where do I even begin? Well, the song Celestia sings is arguably the best in the series. I’m about to explain why but you may wonder why it wasn’t on the list? Well, it does belong at number one for all the reasons I say but….my reasoning for living it plays into why I like the episode, and if I explained it there, I would spoil my thoughts on the episode, and I would have little to say here.
So yeah, I kind of broke a rule by leaving a song out just cuz of the explanation I would give…but Find a Way is amazing enough to make the list look right to my opinion. Anyway, onto my explanation. Also, the song is sadly too short to have the impact of the other songs on a critical level.
It’s short, I’ll paste the lyrics to further show why it’s interesting.
You’ve come such a long, long way
And I’ve watched you from that very first day
To see how you might grow
To see what you might do
To see what you’ve been through
And all the ways you’ve made me proud of you
It’s time now for a new change to come
You’ve grown up and your new life has begun
To go where you will go
To see what you will see
To find what you will be
For it’s time for you to fulfill your destiny
Let’s go over the obvious: Yes, the music, visuals, and singing are flat out beautiful and that adds to everything else I am about to say. First, this song helped make Celestia best Princess.
There, I said it. Just the way this song plays out, with you seeing how proud she is of Twilight, it just made me love her. It’s hard to describe, but she displays this personal and regal quality in this song with everything she sings, and that made me consider her for Best Princess.
What cemented it was the flashback in Princess Twilight Sparkle, where we saw just how much it hurt to banish her sister. I mean, Luna is a pretty big Woobie with how she is, but she wasn’t forced to flat out banish her sister and have to deal with that for 1000 years.
It was double cemented with the comics but I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to the song itself, this song does so much it’s insane. Let’s start with how it uses reflection. Not the mirror kind.
See, I’m big on reflecting on the past. I love it when a series, be it book, film, or TV, looks back on it’s past. This can be either through funny continuity references showing, a clip show, or by cleverly using minor things from past stories to build up to something big. I even like it in a pretentious way when someone is ashamed of their past and wants to make up for it. Cuz it’s not like I’m ashamed and everything I’ve done before 2014 or so.
What I’m trying to say is that when shows do something like this, it always get to me in a great way. Some of the most emotional moments in a story comes from looking back and seeing how the characters have grown, and when a story actively goes out of its way to make you do that, it’s always amazing.
It’s actually part of why I like clip shows, and the fact that this song uses clips doesn’t help that at all. This song does that more than anything I’ve ever seen. They show what Twilight has been through up to this point.
They show that she has overcome hardships and learned about the value of friendship and all that good stuff. But the real part of my whole reflection point is how it plays into her being a Princess.
The show has more than a few Toy ploys thanks to Hasbro, mostly because that’s why this show exists in the first place. I never really see this kind of thing as bad, really. It doesn’t matter if a work exists to sell toys, because the writers can still do a good job implanting those concepts to create engaging stories.
I mean, I’ve never heard a Transformers fan bitch about things being put in to sell toys. Hell, Transformers Prime pulled something earlier similar in its third season, but I went into that already.
Most of the toy plugs on this show turn out well, be it Cadence or The Crystal Empire. As obvious as they can be, the writers actually try to create an interesting story out of them. This episode is the best way this kind of thing has ever been done.
All Hasbro wanted is to give Twilight wings, and the crew could have just slapped wings on her with some dumb chosen one plot and called it a day. But instead, they did something that fits the world and character arc they’ve been building up.
Twilight proved herself worthy of Princess-hood by completing a complicated unfinished spell made by one of the most powerful ponies ever. The reason he couldn’t do it is that he apparently didn’t understand friendship which is…yeah I’ll talk about that some other time, hint hint.
Twilight was able to complete the spell with the help of her friends. She was able to do so because she grew up through the course of 3 Seasons. She opened up to having friends and grew as a person/pony because of them. In other words, she had to work hard and grow in order to learn what is needed to complete an almost impossible spell.
It’s not because of just working hard or anything like that, it’s because she earned it due to the stuff she has done, and how she has done.
She earned her princess hood due to her natural character development. That…is amazing. It must have been pretty easy to cook that up but it must have been hard to write in such a Stellar way.
They took a studio mandate and used it to create some of the amazing development of ever seen. The use reflection to show how a character has grown, in order to bring her to a new level that she deserved.
They even kind of hinted at in The Crystal Empire, with Celestia telling Luna something about her being ready for something. This entire scene drives those points home in the most beautiful way possible.
It shows reflection, it shows character development, it shows Celestia is a proud figure to look up to, and it showed emotion and beauty.
And it’s not just this song. Everything after this drives that point home even further, as they celebrate her becoming a Princess. We get her coronation with a speech from Twilight and tons of little things that just make you feel good inside, by driving that point even further.
No, it’s not forced because it just…feels right, somehow. Mr Enter said that this episode is designed to make you proud of Twilight. Not just happy or even accepting, but PROUD.
For all the reasons I just went through, this works amazingly well. Speaking of Princess Twilight, when this episode came out plenty of people were worried about how this would affect her character. The Mary Sue argument has been debunked, as well as it changing her character.
But one argument still remains: Does it make Twilight overpowered? Does this make the show all about her?
Well, the answer is no…kind of. See, this episode didn’t make Twilight the star…because she was already the star. The series goal was to have a character learn the important of friendship. Yes, the show grew out of putting her in every episode, but she was still the main character, everyone just got a piece of the pie.
As far as I know, as long they still teach kids about friendship, the point will never be lost. Does her being a Princess ruin anything? No, because she’s shown to be the same character, just dealing with a new position. Also, this part:
“I can honestly say I wouldn’t be standing here if it weren’t for the friendships I’ve made with all of you. Each one of you taught me something about friendship, and for that, I will always be grateful.”
They go out of their way to show us that her FRIENDS are why she is here. She gets out of her way to remind this of that. She also goes out of her way to not so subtly tell us something:
“Everything’s gonna be just fine!”
Keep it subtle, Larson.
So yeah, Twilight may be ascending but her friends are still important. Not to mention they keep the focus on friendship after this, making all complaints pointless. Yes, Twilight’s Kingdom did this kind of thing better but this episode still did it well.
Everything from Celestia’s Ballad onward displays a sort of emotional complexity I’ve rarely seen in a kid’s show period. It plays on reflection like a lot of shows do but brings it up many notices with how emotional and amazing it is done.
It rewards you for sticking with the show for this long and does everything right. It’s an emotional experience unlike any other. The show has had bigger tear jerking moments, mostly after this but this is this is the biggest piece of emotion in the show, just with how everything is staged.
It makes you proud of Twilight and has you reflect on how she has grown. Is this episode all about Twilight? Yes, and so is Lesson Zero. What’s your point? It’s still an amazing look into her character.
On top of that, this episode had the balls to break the status qou. Sure, it was a studio mandate by…the Studio was willingly to majorly change the status Qou! When shows do this, it’s either just adding a character no reason (Sparky), or killing one off for no reason. (Maude Flanders).
It can also involve minor things, like location changes or revealing the main characters secret, ala Wizards of Waverly Place. Or to keep at it Hasbro, Littlest Pet Shop. With this, they gave us a major change to the characters status.
It’s safe to say that people tend to hate change, because it ends up going horribly wrong in some cases. That’s why a lot of Status qou changes tend to not stick, because people are just bitch-y about it.
COUGH BRIAN COUGH.
Oh sorry, I coughed there. Brian’s death sucked.
Here, they go through it despite the reaction, not only because Hasbro already spent their money on a fleet of yachts, but because they felt the change worked. And over time, everyone accepted it.
Prior to the episode, I was just kind of Neutral to the idea. I figured it could work depending how it was done. It was done well. It’s another reason to love this episode.
All of this is why it’s my favorite episode of the season. Some of the others may have more even writing and stuff like that, but this gets me on a level very few episodes so.
It’s flawed sure, but the flaws make it kind of fun before it gets amazing. It took a cash grab and used it to explore a character in a way I never thought was possible. It shows all of the shows’ usual strengths and themes and kicks it up a notch.
It makes us reflect back as they handle a major change with a lot of depth, emotion and maturity. The plot is interesting, the animation is lovely, the songs are fantastic, and It hits all the emotional chords it needs to.
It runs on emotion, so I can how someone wouldn’t get fully in tune with it and not be impressed with the episode. But I’m pretty emotional, so this episode impressed me greatly.
It’s amazing how something that takes up about 6 minutes of a 22 minute can make a very good episode into a flat out amazing one. It means a lot to me as a fan and while it has been surpassed, it still works.
I’ve hammered in the points about character and reflection, so I think that’s all I got. It’s not perfect but it’s still amazing all the same.
I don’t care what anyone says. Magical Mystery Cure is my favorite Episode of Season 3.
And that, is my list of the top 15 episodes of a show about magical horses. …I guess it shouldn’t be shocking that the Tinkerbell sequels turned out decent.
It was beyond fun to do this, sharing my favorite episodes, even if a lot of people’s picks tend to be the same. This show may not be perfect, and some of its fans can be weird, but it’s still kind of amazing.
I may not love it as much as something like Gravity Falls but I suppose I kind of do if it can affect me on a level very few animated shows can. It really has grown beyond just a little girl’s show that happens to be decent.
I mean, it has showed a realistic view of various issues, including sibling relationships, and it has shown a lot emotional maturity even adult shows lack. It also tackled disabilities and got Weird Al to voice a character.
It may be created to sell toys, and some may not accept that, but like some people have said, if a show like this can get a lot of adult men to accept that girly things aren’t always bad, then perhaps it truly is something special.
And no amount of stupid fan bitching can change that. Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. Now the only thing left to do is wait for Season 5, which is totally not the reason I did this when I did.
Say, what’s in store for us in Season 5?
“Announcing the Smooze!”
…April 4th can’t come soon enough.
(As a bonus, here are the writer stats, for the top fives only:
Charlote Fullerton: 1
MA Larson: 4
Amy Keating Rogers: 1
Meghan McCarthy: 4
Cindy Morrow: 2
Dave Polsky: 1
Merriweather Williams: 1
Corey Powell: 1
My favorites are obvious)