“Regardless of whether you liked an episode or not, every single person who touches this show gives it everything they can.”-Jim Miller
(Long intro is long, so if you just wanna see my picks, you can skip to the actual list)‘
Hello, Spongey here.
Well, another Season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has come and gone. Season 5 was most certainly very interesting, both for me and in general. While I always had a critical mindset with the show, this was the first Season were I was very aware of the analysis community all the way through.
Between roughly the middle of Season 4, and the start of Season 5, I got more critical of the show, as you’ve seen in my various lists. Heck, I even did VLOGs on the episodes on they aired. It was interesting to look at them critically when they come out, and compare how I feel to what the general reaction was.
Thankfully, the fans tended to agree, at least on the general quality. This Season was certainly big and ambitious. Not only did it have the 100th episode, but it also had some big changes, most of which thankfully went over well.
Like last Season, we have a big theme: Cutie Marks. All across the season, we had seasons really looking at what a cutie mark means, and all that good stuff. We found out it’s possible to misinterpret one, and a pony kind of went crazy over the fact that they could tear friends apart.
It was pretty interesting, and it ended up being a natural extension of the themes from the previous season. While not all of it was perfect, they mostly did a very good job with this theme.
And like last season, we had an arc featuring episodes set aside for said arc. In this case, it was the map. In the Season premiere, Twilight’s new Castle (that people finally stopped bitching about) randomly grew a map, that used their cutie marks to tell them about new locations where friendship problems can be found.
So at random points, the map would call two certain ponys to go to a location to solve a friendship problem. This was mostly done alright, as the episodes themselves worked out decently, and they were all thankfully solid.
Although the overall arc didn’t really lead up to much. The finale didn’t address it that much, except that it can apparently survive time travel anomalies. People thought the ponies would go all over the place in quite a few episodes, either in a row, or spread throughout, kind of like LPS’ own Pet Jet/Fashion Expo Arc.
But instead, two ponies are randomly selected for like a few episodes. Meh. At least it as better than the Equestria Games arc.
This season also had new writers, and interesting changes with old ones. Some worked better than others, but most were solid. Merriweather Williams sadly left, supposedly to work on Pig Goat Banana Cricket, and this sadly marked Amy Keating Rogers final episode for the show.
That one is (spoilers) not on the list, but I will say it was a good one to end her run. And quickly, here’s a sum up and how each new writer turned out, and how the old writers were this season.
Joana Lewis/Kristine Songo: This pair turned out well, with fairly well received episodes, all with decent humor mixed in with solid humor stories. Can’t pin the style too much but these gals seem fine. Castle Sweet Castle gets my vote for their best, mostly cuz of another epic joke from Bulk Biceps.
Neal Deasdu: Congratulations Neal, you’re the new Merriwether Williams! Yep, his two episodes got the most hate of any episodes this season, which is amazing. Even Merriwether threw in one well received episode upon her debut. I will say that his writing could use a lot of work, but the episodes were certainly not nearly as bad as people say. I’ll address them in a bit. I will say that even If I found them flawed, I certainly won’t be going to his Twitter and bashing it to his face anytime soon.
….Yeah, that was the worst.
Nick Confalone: He seems pretty fine with Pinkie Pie in the very least, and both episodes were solid little stories to boot. He also gave us a proper Christmas episode that aired in October for some stupid reason. He might actually my favorite new writer since both of his episodes were notably good in some way. Not much to say.
G.M. Berrow: She’s mostly known for the MLP Chapter books, which I have not read. Her one episode was a mixed bag. Kind of weak plot, but some very good comedy. If she comes for S6, we’ll see if that continues, and if she just goes back to books…it was an interesting experiment, at least.
Scott Sonneborn: Well, it looks his problem of unfortunate implications despite solid humor and creativity is still here. Okay, his episodes were well received, and Cutie Map mostly lacked this, mostly due to MA Larson being a co-writer. Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep is another story.
(That one did have a story credit, so maybe he’s not fully to blame…)
While I personally wasn’t too bugged by the whole twist with Luna, some people saw some issues with it, and I can kind of see why. I don’t think it’s a horrible moral about self destruction or something, but it is another case of the writer simply not seeing the implications, despite good intentions.
My problems are based around what it does to the character and overall narrative, but that’s just me. I do think it’s his best solo episode, due to some insane creativity, but that issue was….well an issue. Please, get partners for your next episodes or just try to keep it really simple.
Josh Haber:While I wouldn’t say he pulled a Dave Polsky, he did make a turn around. People loved The Cutie Remark, and tended to enjoy Bloom and Gloom as well. While you could see his “by the books” problem, he got way better at being creative this time around, especially in the latter.
He also penned the epic conclusion to Equstria Girls trilogy, Friendship Games. While it’s not quite as good as Rainbow Rocks, and his flaws were there, it was still pretty solid, with some enjoyable conflicts and fun moments. Even if it did have my least favorite villain. Hey, say what you will about Sunset Shimmer, but at least she left an impact, and I can say things about her personalty!
Natsha Levinger: She’s fine. Both episodes were received well, and were quite good. Both had stuff that was cool to see, along with fun moments. And anyone who brings back the Shmooze is good in my back.
…Even if she hasn’t actually seen the movie. Whoops. While neither episodes were amazing, and not as good as her previous work, she still did fine.
Also, I want to use the “I think they’re… jokes?” clip at some point.
Noelle Benvenuti: She only came back for one, and it’s fine. Didn’t keep up the traits of Maud Pie, but it was a decent and fine episode either way.
Meghan McCarthy: Oddly, she didn’t write a full episode this season. She’s just on the story for The Cutie Map, and Rartiy Investivages. I get the former, but I don’t think the latter exactly needed someone to help with it’s basic mystery story. MA Larson was promoted to Story Editor for most of the Season, and Meghan was promoted to “Head of Storytelling” for Hasbro Brands.
I guess that’s why. Either way, good to see her great work is paying off.
M.A Larson: After writing a book, he came back this Season, and he’s still got it. All of his episodes were notable, for better or worse. He brought the craziness, and even callbacks fans tended to like. He even gave us Episode 100, which was interesting regardless of what you thought about it. So yeah, he’s still good
Cindy Morrow: Another one who came back from absence. Her one episode brought back her heart, was pretty damn good, if a bit flawed. I hope she comes back in Season 6 to be even better. …Also, how is it that TinkerBell’s take kind of had more stakes than this one?
Dave Polsky: Well, he’s still awesome after suddenly becoming amazing in Season 4. Appleloosa’s Most Wanted was one of his weaker Good episode, it still had some fascinating stuff with TroubleShoes. And Brotherhooves social more than made up for it. Yeah ,I think he’s good with the CMC,and the Apples in particular. And the latter continued Dave’s tradition of unnecessary controversy!
Amy Keating Rogers: Easily the best writer this season. Each episode of hers was notably good, and helped her become even better. Yeah, they each had flaws but their good points made up for that. She most certainly left with a bang. I wish her good luck over at Disney.
As a whole, this Season was pretty good. Not as good as Season 4, not at least almost on par with Season 2. It had the same pros and cons as usual, I just happen to like the pros of other seasons more. While I wouldn’t say the episodes reached the highs of Flight to the Finish, they at least could almost as solid.
They still did new things and for better or worse, this season was decently experimental. And they even did the In Between episodes thing way better than when Season 3 did it. Oddly, this also had a Magical Mystery Cure-ish Musical.
This also had the least amount of episodes that bugged me. To compare, let’s look at each Season’s track record for episodes I could not call objectively good. Season 1 had 5 (including my overall least favorite episode), Season 2 had 4, Season 3 had 3 and Season 4 had 2. Weird how we get one less each Season. Although some kind of change depending on my mood.
This season also had roughly 2. I say that because at one point Princess Spike was the only one, but the more I thought, the weaker What About Discord Got in terms of story. However, I would actually call both okay.
Princess Spike did have a good story, and Spike development that wasn’t just him screwing up. It just wasn’t all that engaging or fun in the end. What About Discord was fairly funny, it just had a couple messy elements. I do kind of enjoy it, it just could have been better.
Don’t worry, I still have no ill will to Neal. Hell, I liked both episodes until I really thought about them again. They are at least far from painful, and I really don’t see what’s so terrible about them.
So yeah, not the greatest season, but it was more consistent than most in terms of how the overall products turned out. That’s all I got for the overall Season review.
And since I went over my favorite episodes from previous Seasons, I suppose we have to do the same again. This season had plenty of gems, and it’s time to look at them. With that long intro out of the way, it’s time to which episodes came out on top.
Which ones had the best stories and morals? Let’s find out!
This, is The Top 5 My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season 5 Episodes
Before we get into it, we have to look at my Favorite Songs. Yeah, there weren’t enough for a top list of this, so they are going here. For me, it’s a tie between The Vote [Crusaders of the Lost Mark] and In Our Town [The Cutie Map].
Yeah, picking a song from the former was hard, and I could have gone with the emotional ending song, but I just really enjoyed seeing an actually fun election for once. Also, it was sort of a Diamond Tiara villain song, which is amazing.
Speaking of villain songs, In Our Town is just a lot of fun. It’s a nice example of a villain song that makes a bad way of life sound good. It’s also creepy in a good way. And the line “You can’t have a nightmare, if you never dream” is…yikes.
Honestly, I only love this one because the thought that Barbie is singing that is…amazing. So yeah, now onto the actual list
- The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone
Writer: Amy Keating Rogers
Like plenty of lists, choosing the bottom spot was hard, and in this case I had to pick between this and Canterlot Boutique, as they are about equally great and I have plenty of reason to put either on the list.
While you can argue the other one had more merit, I eventually with this one simply I enjoyed it a bit more. It was a bit more of a complete package, it doesn’t matter, let’s get into the episode.
This is our first map episode, and it’s easily the best one. Yeah, the others aren’t on here, sorry. The map brings Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash to Griffonstone and find that it’s a run down dump and must find some lost idol to bring things back to normal, and maybe Gild will have a hand in that.
This highlights all the good things about the map episodes, and I kind of wish the others took more advantage of those things. Hoofields has some interesting stuff but the actual location was just kind of there, and Made in Manehattan just used a setting we’ve seen before.
This really takes advantage of the setting and goes into it’s history, and it uses it for a cool story, and then some. With the map concept, we can explore new locations do some creative things. Granted, the concept also means they must go to solve friendship problems so things could have gotten repetitive, (hell two of them involve making the city less asshole-ish) but the three we have managed to work fairly well.
This one happens to not have the problems of the others, and is very interesting on it’s own. I really like exploring the Griffon’s history, and the art style in the exposition bits is very cool looking. This season had a decent amount of art shifts, and that’s always nice to see.
Anyway, onto the world building stuff. We find out that Griffonstone was once a grand city of proud and united griffons thanks to the Idol of Boreas. But sometime during the reign of its most recent king, a monster named Arimaspi attacked and stole the idol. The idol was eventually lost when Arimaspi fell into the Abysmal Abyss, and Griffonstone fell into a state of misery.
And in the end, things are fixed when Pinkie reminds Gilda of friendship and such. Yeah, a pretty easy solution but it mixes nice moments, development and world building quite well. I really like how all these elements are mixed.
We have quite a few reformations and this season, and I think Gilda’s was done well. Honestly, she deserves more than some others. She was a bully but not a horrible one who mocks disabled kids. She was Rainbow’s friend so clearly she had some good in here.
Why is that a guy who corrupted the mane 6 was turned good before a bully who was a friend a mane 6 member?
I never got why people really hated Gilda to begin with, to the point were they bash her episode. She’s a bully. Yeah, that’s the point and I rather enjoy how stereotypical she is. Also, the fact that she is voiced by Sonata is amazing.
They do a good job of trying her reformation into something deeper, and it leads to some nice moments. We’ll go deeper into how this kind of things works later, but I will say this case does it well.
Then of course have the comedy. Not a ton of great moments, but since Pinkie is here we have plenty of amusing interactions. Although my favorite joke is Rainbow’s Twilight impression.
It’s just amazing.
I think the combination of elements is what makes it so great. It has great comedy, sweet moments, good development, adventure, and nice world building. It just does a lot of things very well.
I suppose the only issues are that it might be a bit predictable, and a few jokes kind of jail. Like the one where Rainbow asks Pinkie to throw down a rope, and she does so…but just does that instead of what she was actually supposed to.
It’s one of those dumb Pinkie Pie jokes that makes her dumb because it’s “funny”. Plus, Phineas and Ferb did that exact same joke and it was funnier then.
But other than, this one is very good. I suppose it’s not amazing in it’s great-ness like like Canterlot Boutique kind of is, but there’s something about this one I really like. It’s a lot of fun and combines a lot of elements, and I love episodes that do that.
The thing about Canterlot Boutique is that it’s great-ness comes more for the themes and such, rather than a complete story in the same way as others. It’s just as worthy as being on here, but I can’t help but find some story driven episodes more complete than others.
I suppose it’s just the way I tend to look at things. Anyway, not exactly the biggest episode but it’s very enjoyable with it’s various elements and interesting plot. It’s just a nice fun adventure that has good world building and really takes advantage of the map episode formula.
Fun Fact: This was supposed to be written by a Larson with Amy doing Slice of Lice, but it got switched up due to complex stuff. I may have liked this even more if Larson did it, but eh it’s still good, and it adds more to Amy’s list of great episodes.
That’s pretty much all I got. Incredibly enjoyable with great jokes, very nice moments, and all that great stuff. I’ve been itching to see Gilda again and I’m glad it turned out this well.
Overall, another very solid adventure with everything I could ever want. Not a whole more to it than that, and things only get better from here.
- Brotherhooves Social
Writer: Dave Polsky
Dave has really been improving since Season 3, and he has given us some good dramatic stories. But he started out with Comedic episodes, and typically his episodes are either funny or dramatic.
Sure, there is humor in some of these but it’s not the main focus, or what you remember. When you think about Rarity Takes Manehattan, you recall the story rather than the humor. While in something like Too Many Pinkie Pie, the humor is likely to come to mind instead of the story.
The reason I point this out, is that he finally did an episode where both the humor and drama are equally memorable. Yes, the drama is what puts this on here, but the humor is also noteworthy….for better or worse.
Apple Bloom is bummed out when Applejack is called to Manehattan and must miss the Sisterhooves Social. So Big Mac takes it upon himself to disguise himself as a cousin named Orchard Blossom in order to compete with her.
I suppose we can begin by talking about the Comedy. Now, I don’t usually care fo-….hm…? What? …You want me to be talk about the controversy? …Oh, you mean that thing where a bunch of worried those darn “SJW’s” would get up in arms over this and call it “Transphoic” and they basically took it as a challenge and got offended, causing this big crazy thing?
Aka that thing where there were more people bitching about people finding it offensive then there were people actually finding it offensive. That was…incredibly stupid. They basically created a non existed controversy.
I mean, I don’t like people getting worked up over nothing, but this was pathetic. Now, I certainly don’t see it as Transphoic at all because…it’s not a Trans person we are dealing with.
Big Mac is dressing up as a woman as a way to compete with Applebloom. That’s it, it’s a means to end. He’s only a woman because he thinks he must be a sister. It’s basically like Mrs. Doubtfire.
Not to mention no one has bad reactions to him being a woman. They just look at “Her” weirdly for a bit just because they do suspect something, but clearly won’t say anything as not to start something.
Heck, in the end they are actually more bothered by him kind of cheating with his strenght, then him being in disguise, since they knew Big Mac was just unaware of how loose their definition of sister is.
So yeah, nothing offensive here. Onto what I was saying before. I don’t usually care too much for “Men dressing as women” humor because a lot of it is just lazy. Although it can work, and this episode actually does it well.
Although I do have one problem with it here. It seems that every single time they do this in a show, at least one male character fall in love with “Her”. No matter how little sense it actualy makes, and it’s almost never ufnny anymore.
They sadly do that here, and while it thankfully downplayed, it’s still incredibly pointless and just there for one quick cheap gag. Thankfully it is quick so it’s not a big problem. Speaking of problems, I do think they piled on Applebloom’s sisterly love for AJ a bit too much.
She goes on about how AJ is amazing, and it’s just a tiny bit too much. But that’s just another nitpick. Now onto the good stuff. I just find Orchard Bloom to be very funny, even though I really shouldn’t.
I think it’s because it’s Big Mac. Not because “lol a strong guy is a woman” but because he’s playing this posh exaggerated character. He actually sticks to it all the way until they are caught, and that makes it work even better.
It’s just funny seeing this character going around, knowing it’s Big Mac under there. I also love that this is the most Big Mac has spoken at once, but its in a woman’s voice. Kind of like how Hearts and Hooves Day was one of his extended dialogue bits in a while, but it was all love talk.
There’s something about him in this episode that just cracks me up, and I’m not quite sure why. They don’t exactly do a ton of jokes with but there’s something about it I find very funny. They do take advantage of the humor, but are still respectul and don’t try anything too dumb with it like a lot of shows tend to do.
It’s pretty much Spongebob’s“That’s No Lady” done right. That one also had someone doing it for a bigger reason and they almost had it right, but the jokes were just too dumb and it took that cliché with the guys liking her” too far.
This one underplays the creepier parts and is able to make a joke out of the base concept without making it too disrespectful or lazy. But let’s be honest, if that was the only thing going on here, this wouldn’t be on the list.
All of that is indeed fun, but it’s the ending that makes this one so great. See, this is our first pure Big Mac episode. Sure, he’s had notable roles, and even an arc in the Comics, but not a full episode that really developed him.
But man was it worth the wait, because this develops him incredibly well. Basically, Big Mac sees how AB looks up to AJ, since she goes out and does all of these amazing things, while he just stays behind and doesn’t much of anything.
He’s just a tiny bit jealous and really wants Applebloom to look up to him, and he figured if he were to win the Social with AB, they would bond a lot better. I really love what they did here. It’s great development for Big Mac that makes sense.
I am certainly on his side, but AppleBloom doesn’t look that bad here, since …well Big Mac really doesn’t do a ton but she still loves him no matter what AJ happens to do. I can’t really do this justice, Big Mac says best in his speech.
Speaking of which ,that whole ending is amazing. It has to be one the sweetest scenes in the whole show. Yes, really. It’s incredibly heartwarming, and so interesting to hear Big Mac’s thoughts. Whenever Big Mac has extended dialogue in his normal voice, you know it’s going to be awesome.
Hearing this guy just pour his heart out is awesome, and the whole scene is incredibly heatwarming, especially Applebloom assures him that she appreciates him. It’s one of those happy tearjerker moments, and it’s just awesome.
It’s one of those things you just gotta see because I can’t exactly capture how good this scene is. It dies deeper into Big Mac’s character in an interesting and way it’s incredibly heartwarming, and even puts in a nice joke at the end.
The whole episode is good, but it’s the ending that makes it great. I enjoy the antics of Orchard Blossom but this takes it to a new level. That’s pretty much why it isn’t higher, there are others that are great throughout the whole thing, but it’s still a great episode because that moment is just that good.
I’m very happy to finally get a Big Mac episode, especially one this good. While that ending is what puts it on here, it is good all the way through. The main gimmick is done well with some fun jokes, and it develops Big Mac and has an amazingly heartwarming ending.
There’s really nothing that much more complicated to it than that. Yes, it’s another “Easy to like” one, but the ending is so good that it doesn’t’ even really matter. It’s a fun episode made great but an awesome ending.
It proves that Dave Polsky can combine his strengths very well, and while I wouldn’t call it his best work, it’s still incredibly good. It’s funny and sweet, and it has Big Mac. Really, that’s all I can say at this point, it’s just great.
Oh, and this was the In Between thing, taking place at the same time as Made in Manehattan. Again, better than Season 3’s take on it, and Made in Manehattan was nice too.
3. The Cutie Map/The Cutie Remark
Writers: Scott Sonneborn and M.A. Larson (Cutie Map) and Josh Haber (Cutie Remark)
That’s right, we not only have a tie, but it’s between the Season Premiere and finale. Typically I easily like one more than the other, or I just know one should be higher in my eyes. In this case, I just really couldn’t decide which one should be higher, and honestly neither are quite my favorite, or even the “Best’ necessarily.
I suppose I could put the finale higher, but it didn’t quite feel right and I wanted make some room for Griffenstone. It is fitting to discuss these at once, so we can go into the big theme of the Season at once. And yes, it did hurt to put the big finale at only number 3 this time, but sometimes ya gotta go with your gut.
But let’s talk about the episodes themselves first. In The Cutie Map, the Map calls the Mane 6 to a town for the first time, and it sends them to a town where nopony has a Cutie Mark and their leader Starlight Glimmer wants everypony to be equal, believing Cutie Marks ruin friendships.
This Season opener is an intentionally supposed to be smaller, but also a bit deeper and darker to an extent. I suppose that kind of ties into it’s flaws. I do kind of miss that epic feel of other premieres and it being smaller means it does kind of drag in some parts.
It also doesn’t quite have any epic amazing moments. It has some parts, but all the great moments are in the smaller parts, and the writing. It does kind of have something missing in general, although I’m not quite sure what it is.
Despite that, this episode is very good. For one, they really had fun with the facial expressions here. The animators keep getting better each Season and here they got really good with the character animation.
There are a lot of funny and crazy expressions here, most are from Pinkie but the others get good moments as well. The fandom already loves silly faces, so you can imagine those people had a ball with this episode.
Speaking of funny things, the lax tone does mean they can fit in Comedy a bit better, giving us of nice little moments. Again, most do come from Pinkie but it’s all still quite amusing. And of course, we have that song, which I already went into.
I think the big thing that makes this episode notably great is how….creepy it is. Yeah, it’s not exactly nightmare inducing, but the whole thing has a disturbing vibe to it. We have a town full of ponies forced to give up on their special talents in order to be equal, and just smile away and one breaks down when being punished for showing interest in Cutie Marks.
….Yes. They take the themes here and run with them in a pretty disturbing way. They did a pretty good job showing all this stuff and having it be creepy while not going insanely overboard. Yes, they could have shown it an even creepier way, because this kind of thing can go deeper.
Just the sight of Twilight’s Cutie Mark being taken away is pretty dang disturbing, even if it’s kind of small compared to some of the other stuff in the episode. The idea that someone would just take away their identity simply to be equal is some Harrison Berugron-shit.
That leads to the themes going on here. Plenty of people have been comparing to communism or some crap, but I really just care about the narrative aspect of these themes. In a sense, Starlight kind of has a point to an extent, but of course it’s clear that she is wrong in the end.
Some friendships do sadly go downhill because someone is better than the other, but that’s not really a general rule. If this does happen, the friendship wasn’t the best to begin with. But still it is something to think about it.
What exactly doing it mean to be equal? As plenty of works have asked, should we strip away what makes us special just to be “equal”? In the end the episode pretty much says that while some are better than others, true equality is TREATING everyone as equal despite our differences.
Plenty of works have said this before, but it’s really interesting to see this in a family show like this. They also do put some creativity into it with the humor and just how creepy it gets. Then there’s Strarlight Glimmer herself.
I’ll get into her more when discuss Cutie Remark, but I do like her for the most part. Some could find her annoying since she does sort of exist to be proven wrong, and some just don’t like this type of villain, and while I get that, I mostly enjoy here.
She’s quite good here with how creepy and cheery she is, and the fact that she is voiced by Barbie will never not be amazing. Actually, that reminds me of something. Some people have pointed out that Starlight looks a bit like Aria Blaze….another character who’s voice actor has portrayed Barbie.
Coincidence? …Most likely.
As a whole, this episode works very well. It’s not only amusing, but also has a decent villain, some interesting themes and is very creepy. It does what it wants to do very well and it’s very enjoyable.
I’d put it on par with the other Season Openers, honestly. Besides the pilot, they all have the same amount of strengths and weakness. It could be argued that this is the best, but I sometimes I like the concepts and certain moments in other ones more.
I can’t really say one is easily the best, since it’s a bit complicated. Either way, this one happens to be very good and introduces the concepts of the season pretty well. Now onto the grand finale!
Strarlight Glimmer returns, but not with a spell that allows her to travel back in time and prevent the big Rainboom that gave the Mane 6 their cutie marks. Now Twlight and Spike must go on a big time travel adventure and stop Starlight.
First off, in Friendship Games they cannot contact Twilight while all that stuff is going on, and when she appears at the end she says it’s because she was in a big time loop, and it was the craziest thing that ever happened to her.
Yes, it’s cute to hint at this finale, and basically have enough in between thing. But…this is not even close to the craziest thing to happen to you, Twilight.
Anyway, I think I will start with the negatives, because I’m an asshole. The ending song is nice, but just makes me want to pop in Let the Rainbow Remind you instead….which is why I’m listening to that one right no instead.
There in some weird time travel logic as per usual. It’s far from the worst, but it’s there. A lot of people were critical of how the other timeliness were done. First, we jumped to when Sombra came, and how now he took over since the Mane 6 (and spike, remember he threw the crystal heart). Then it goes to a timeline where Chrysalis took over, THEN we do Nightmare Moon. It seems a bit strange, especially since Sombra has the worst effect, with causing a flat out war.
But of course everyone focuses on how it doesn’t make sense that some events in that timeline happened and some did not. Honestly, I just assume Celestia was able to stop some people in those timelines but happened to be helpless when it comes to others.
Speaking of which, people really didn’t like the effect this happened on Celestia. She was the most stable original Princess up to this point, since Cadence does nothing and Luna is so troubled she’s frankly unfit to be ruler, but this showed she basically is nothing without the Mane 6.
We saw that in Canterlot Wedding, but this takes that further…Yeah, I can see the problem. To be fair, this kind of needs to be the case for the sake of this episode, to show how important their friendship was. But it does have adverse effects as well, and let me tell you, THIS kind of makes Twilight overpowered rather than everything people said was.
While I can see their point, it’s just something that had to happen for the sake of the episode. Hopefully we can go deeper into Celestia in Season 6, because now she needs an episode more than either. Magical Mystery Cure made me love her after losing my respect way back in A Bird in the Hoof, and arguably Keep Calm and Flutter on, and now everyone else needs the same.
Then there’s the issue of Starlight Glimmer’s reformation. Yeah, I was going to talk about this when go deeper but we can cover it here. I’ll go over the negative aspects of it here, and do the positives later.
To put it quickly, it works great for story….not so much for the character. For one, I get that it’s the tragic thing where something bad happened in the past and she’s so caught up in her stuff that she can’t see the easy answer, but it does make her seem a bit lame.
I mean, our evil villain is stopped by a speech that tells her the obvious. Lame. And let’s go into exactly how she is reformed and what this could mean for the show. They see how powerful she is as magic and wants to keep her around as a friend.
They imply this could mean she stays for the long run and becomes a major character. Honestly….I’m a bit worried. Let’s think about it. I’m sure what this could add that other characters do not.
Having a villain use their unique magic to help is cool….but it’s been done with Discord. He was also use to have a villain learn about aspects of friendship or the first time, like they are doing here.
It’s awesome to have a villain become an asset to the Mane 6 in ssome form, and perhaps reflect on their villainy. I know this because we have that with Sunset Shimmer.
Actually, that’s it. The reason they are doing all these reformations is because it worked wonders for her. While it’s neat to have in the proper pony world, it’s still kind of dumb. In general reformations can be neat, but they are doing them a bit too much. Yes, it’s nice to teach kids that people can change, but we should also teach them that some people just won’t change and will always be assholes.
Heck, Lauren Faust mentioned in the Elements of Harmony Guide Book thing. ….Her example of a bully that will not change was Gilda. Whoops.
I think the stuff they did with Discord and Sunset was great, but perhaps they should slow down, although the damage has already been done.
But okay, enough bitching, let’s about why this episode is still great. It’s just cool to see these alternate timelines. It kind of builds on Cutie Mark Chronicle’s statement about how things may be connected that you do know about.
I’ve gone on about how Fluttershy is the one who started all of this….but thinking about it, it’s the Bullies! Yeah, these assholes caused Rainbow to stand up for Fluttershy. Which teaches us all that bullying saves the world!
I like seeing how these alternate time lines play out, with my favorite being Sombra. I like the concept of them being trapped in a war, with some being forced to leave to help the cause. See, this is exactly why I defended Sombra, he easily had the worst effect when he won.
Most of the episode has them going around from time line to time line, so it was important they get that right, and they did. Although it does make the episode a bit repetitive, as that is all it is until the end once we give Starlight that speech.
It makes things a bit less engaging than some other finales, but it still mostly works due to how cool the other timelines. I also do quite enjoy Starlight here, mostly because Kelly seems to be having a lot of fun here.
Which brings me to the good side of the reformation. As I said, it works for the story. The big moral thing I addressed about the Cutie Map is said here, as she is told that it’s really not the fault of Cutie marks that her friendship went south.
She is told to just try again as that was just circumstantial, There was no need to go crazy because of one bad friendship. Yes, this had bad aspects like I went into but I do like the moral and maturity here.
It is basic to just say “try again” but it works nonetheless. The emotion is very strong and while the song isn’t my favorite, it does work to give you a great feeling at the end. It’s just really nice in the context of the story.
As for the Cutie Mark thing, they don’t exactly go any deeper here beyond the whole Rainboom thing, but I suppose it works fine. It was displayed better in the Season as a whole then here.
This Season did show us just how Cutie Marks how, and how it’s up to you and friends to figure out what it means and how to deal with it. Heck, this seaosn goes into how to deal with friends in general. What to do when a friend has other friends, what happens when you leave a friend, and how to react if a friend is better than you.
It’s all very interesting, and this finale finishes that off very well, despite it’s flaws. It is fitting I put these together, as it has a more relax tone than other premieres and finales, and uses it to go a bit deeper.
It all comes down to personal preference. Some prefer these simpler stories that aren’t exactly bombastic, and that’s fine. I happen to prefer those kind when done well, and that’s great.
It was a choice to do them like this, and I respect that. It does mean the finale is not as good as something like Twilight’s Kingdom but, it’s still great in it’s own way. By the way, If I had to pick I’d say I like Cutie Map slightly more.
Yes, Cutie Remark is a bit more fun but some flaws do bring it down to an extent. They are roughly equal though. While it may be flawed, this finale is still very good due it’s fun time travel plot and nice moments.
We’ll see if Starlight does effect the show positively or not, but for now we do have these episodes to enjoy. They do something a bit different but it works due to fascinating themes, some great moments, and even a fairly decent villain.
Overall, these episodes were a great introduction and farewell to Season 5.
2. Amending Fences
Writer: M.A. Larson
Yeah, you all saw this one coming. This is the “Pinkie Pride” of the Season, and it either tops most people’s lists, or comes in at this slot. But in this case, I only have it here because I subjectivity got more of a kick out of the number one.
Meaning this is objectively the best. I had a hard time arranging the top 3 as it is, but I think this fits here.
Twilight gets the idea to visit her old friends in Canterlot that she ditched to do something kind of important. They are mostly doing fine…except for one named Moon Dancer, who went a bit downhill after Twilight left, so now she fix the problem she left behind.
This episode is interesting because….no one really asked for. I’m sure if you asked, most people would have liked the idea, but no one cared about who Twilight left behind. Who the heck is that Moondancer pony they mentioned? Who cares?
But as soon as we got, we wanted it bad. It’s a great example of how you should give your audience what they don’t know they wanted, as they’ll love it way more than what they actually ask for.
Considering this is the same writer as Slice of Life, that’s kind of amusing.
I think everyone has explained why this one works so well, so this will likely be a bit short. This is just a brilliant idea, and while it’s pretty easy to make it work, it’s still great with the execution.
Moondancer basically shows us what Twilight would be like if she stayed in Canterlot, but it also kind of shows us the effect we can have on our friends if we don’t exactly do the right things.
It’s a very interesting idea to explore, and it kind of makes you think. As I said, it’s just a brilliant idea when you think about it. They do a good job fleshing out Moondancer and showing what she went through, and how she came to this way.
While she is just like an Alternate Version of Twilight, they do a fine enough job of making her great on her own. Although my only problem with the episodes comes with her: Her design. She is literally a Twilight recolor.
Not only is it lazy, but it’s also on the nose. They have done this before, but usually because they actually are lazy (Daring Do is literally Rainbow Dash), not because they make a conscience decision to be lazy. …But that’s a really tiny nitpick.
Also, she is voiced by Adagio Dazzle, which is distracting but awesome.
Needless, the episode is pretty heartbreaking at points, especially when Moondancer explains how she felt when Twilight didn’t show up to the party. See, she was kind of shy but was starting to open up, and even threw a party.
But when her best friend didn’t show up, she figured friendship was useless and just gave up…. Ouch, now that’s the stuff that puts previous materiel in a new light. So if I watch the pilot again and see Twilight just running off and ignoring her friends…it’ll be awkward.
That makes the ending all the more satisfying when things turn out all right. It is a bit predictable, and the story itself doesn’t exactly take a ton of turns, but it still turns out pretty well.
The story plays out nicely as we slowly learn more about Moondancer and find out how she felt. It’s paced nicely and is done very well in it’s well. They even put in a bit of humor there like with Pinkie’s cameo.
It’s just a very enjoyable watch, that has plenty of things to chew on analyze. It’s such an easy episode to love, but it’s still a great idea done extremely well. While I honestly find other episodes to be a bit more tearjerker, this does go a bit deeper than most episodes and due to hitting close to home for some, I can certainly see it being more tear jeker for others.
As I keep saying, it’s just very interesting to see this play out. It’s interesting how Moondancer lost faith in friendship because Twilight was so busy with her own problems. Although if she did show up, I don’t think she would have gone to Ponyville and ended up doing all that…sort of important stuff.
So it’s a bit of a mixed bag, I suppose. Either way, it makes for a great story. I’m not sure what else to say. You know why this episode is great, why even go on any further? It’s one of the most fascinating stories I’ve seen from the show.
Just the concept of it is enough to spark some interesting conversations, and the execution is even better. The character insight is really interesting, and there are damn heart wrenching moments which make the ending one of the most satisfying things ever.
It’s just a great little episode that we never even knew we wanted. You just gotta love when something comes out of nowhere and does that. It’s an interesting story that plays out very well, with some nice humor bits, and some damn tearjerker moments with a great ending.
It’s another episode that deserves every bit of love it gets. It’s yet another awesome gem, and once again, I never knew I wanted it.
But of course before we get to number one, we have our Honorable Mentions. And like in the Top 15 List, I will just go Numbers 10-6, so here we go.
- Tanks for the Memories (Cindy Morrow): While perhaps Ranbow could have been punished for what she did, this is still a very good emotional story that gives Rainbow some interesting stuff to deal with, and the ending is tearjerker, than satisfying.
- Slice of Life (M.A. Larson): I don’t have time to go into it here, as a I had a lot to say, so I will link to a review I did on Deviant Art, because I knew I couldn’t go into detail here. In short, it works well for the most part plenty of fun moments, and despite some clunky aspects, it does work as a story with a nice ending. Happy 100!
8. Hearthbreakers (Nick Confalone): Another really good Holiday episode that in this case is better than the first one. Besides introducing us to more of Pinkie’s amusing family, it gives us some really heartwarming moments and is another episode I can happily watch every December.
7. Party Pooped (Nick Confalone): While I do agree the Yaks breaking stuff was a bit much, Nick himself said that they wanted to do a scene justifying that but ditched it help the fact that Pinkie is the only one to break through to them. And that is what makes this one good, by showing how Dedicated Pinkie is. Another great Pinkie episode.
- Canterlot Boutique (Amy Keating Rogers): Again, it was so close. I really like this story where Rarity sacrifices her unique touch just to sell a bunch of dresses. The themes are great, I like that Sassy Saddles isn’t a flat out villain at the end, and the song is very nice. Once again, it was so close that you can just pretend this is Number 5 if you prefer it.
And my favorite episode of MLP Season 5 is…
- Crusaders of the Lost Mark
Writer: Amy Keating Rogers
Okay. Is this objectively the best episode/? Probably not. Once again, this and Amending Fences are so close that if you don’t like that this is number one, you can pretend that one is. When I eventually do have to do a full top 20 or so list when the show ends, they will be right next to each other.
Sometimes I cannot help my own biases, and I can say no episode left me with a greater feeling than this one. It’s not only fun but incredibly satisfying with it’s ending. But let’s get into it, because there’s a bit to cover.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders help Pip run for Class President against Diamond Tiara, but along the way they learn something about Diamond Tiara….
I know you all want me to gush over…what happened in the end but we gotta go over everything else first, sorry. First off, this is indeed our third Musical episode, and this one is like Magical Mystery Cure.
By that mean…it’s almost the same in terms of structure. Both use the songs to display emotions more deeply, and have a big change at the end, and have a different storyline to help make that change happen.
You could almost call it a rip off, but I think it works on it’s own. I happen to like MMM’s style of musical storytelling, because it makes more fun to watch, and the emotions help when the songs may not be the greatest.
I do perfer the music in Pinkie Pride to an extent, even if my favorite songs in MMM are a bit better. The songs here are very solid and catchy, even if I sadly could not find one in my Top 11. I said I like The Vote a lot, but after typing that I decided I prefer “We’ll Make Our Mark”, as it is the Celestia’s Ballad of the episode.
It’s the song that really makes me love the episode and the change they did. It also has reflection which you all know I love. The songs do a very good job of showing the emotion as well, which I will get into it.
I went into how Magical Mystery Cure worked as a musical and people’s reactions to it, but I suppose I can go over it again. I think some Critics actually don’t get how a musical works.
As Teen Beach Movie said, it’s a way to move the story along, just minus the inefficient part. It’s used in place in boring dialogue, and in cases like this do a better job at showing what a character is going through than dialogue ever could.
If you don’t care for that style, that’s fine just admit instead of looking like an idiot when you say it has too many songs in place of story, when the songs ARE the story. While I do kind of prefer some aspects of how MMC did it, this does it better in other ways. It handles more complex concepts such as Diamond Tiara’s redemption, and does very well with showing that.
Again, I do understand that some not care for that, but I think the music makes things way more fun. But let’s get to Diamond Tiara’s redemption. Remember how I said Starlight’s worked better story wise than character wise?
This is the same, to a bigger extent. Yes, everyone is right in that we don’t care about her enough to ant to see her change and that in real life, it would be hard to feel sorry for her and all that.
Personally, despite how I like it here, I will never flat out buy her being good. She mocked a disabled kid to get a head. When oyu do that, you just won’t earn my sympahthy full time.
However, it’s done very well in the context of this story. We find out her Mom, Spoiled rich (Her parents must have had high hopes for her) is the real bitch here and has been forcing Diamond Tiara to do most of this stuff.
It is a bit of a cheap excuse, but her excellent song saves it. WE see that she wants to be better, but doesn’t know how. The song is called “The Pony I Want to be” for a reason. It makes for a very interesting story, especially when how it ties into the big thing at the end.
I also like SilverSpoon standing up to her. Everyone said she has potential to be good, since she does nothing on her own, she just seems like a follower. It’s a bit cliché but it works. I do hope this is an excuse to kick Diamond Tiara off, and just not use her often again.
Because really, a reform Diamond Tiara just sounds boring. At least Pacfica Northwest had that possible Dipper romance thing. Actually, Gravity Falls did this kind of thing better in general but ….I’ll save that for another time, hint hint.
The most interesting aspect of her changing was done with Sunset, so I just hope they don’t use her in a big way again. Actually, this episode would arguably make more sense near the end of the show, so we could excuse it’s flaws as it was just a way to end the CMC thing.
Which makes me think they thought this might be the last Season, hence why this happened. But that’s just me, I guess. As a whole, Diamond Tiara’s redemption is flawed but works well as a story, and has so much emotion to it that it just works for me.
I personally think it would work better if they hinted at her having humanity early on instead of waiting 5 Seasons. Chalk to up as another LPS managed to do better. If the Biskits change for real, I can welcome it because they built it better.
(Also, they had a better election song, sorry).
One last note on this: It does bug me that people just decided to love her after only one episode of her being good. I’m not sure it bugs me but it’s dumb that people flipped so easiyl. Meanwhile, after like 3 episodes going deep into Lars, some still hate it and say he’s just irredeemable.
…But that’s besides the point. But remember, I liked Diamond Tiara before it was cool!
But okay, let’s finally get to the real reason why I do love this episode…..The Cutie Mark Cruaders get their Cutie Marks. Holy shit. I didn’t think I would see this until the very end, but it happened!
I sadly had it spoiled for me because I saw it, but man imagine if I went in blind like most people. You will notice that this episode aired on October 10, 2015….exactly 5 year after the show premiered.
It was unintentional, but it makes for a perfect way to celebrate the occasion. Hell, the episode ends with a reference to the theme! I actually think is a better love letter than Slice of Life, but that’s just me.
First off, I do like exactly how they get their marks. They help Diamond Tiara figure out what her Mark means, and by seeing their nemesis change, they realize that they really like helping people find their marks.
The seeds were planted in Apploosa’s Most Wanted (which actually helps make that one better, instead of making it pointless like I first thought) and it’s addressed here. They realize that no longer care about trying so hard to get their Cutie Marks, and just want to help others.
Then it happens, and it is amazing. They connected the two story lines better here, as it just flows a tad better. While they could have done it with a new villain as well, it works better with an established bitch as it makes it more emotional, and honestly more engaging.
It’s a nice idea, and could lead to interesting stories. If it means an end to repetitive CMC stories, and leads to better ones, I don’t mind this being done here. And oh man, does the song do a great job of making this satisfying.
In this case, a song covering everything works since it’s not as complex as Twilight being a princess. It does a great job of showing us how hard they worked, and how they get here. It’s an incredibly satisfying moment.
I can honestly I have never felt prouder of a cartoon character….since Twilight. Sure, this didn’t have to work as hard, but it’s still done very well. Words cannot describe how happy I feel at the end of this episode, especially with the ending shot.
It does the exact same thing MMC does: Give you a great feeling that has to reflect on the series up to this point. Granted, that one being the season finale made it better, but whatever.
That is why I had this as number one. Yes, the witting isn’t quite as special as some others, but it’s still a really great episode. This episode uses emotion in the same way as MMC, and appeals to me because I am kind of emotional.
I don’t feel it is cheap either. They clearly put a lot of heart into this one, and that really makes up for any flaws it has. The ending just really gets to me, and works so well. Now, are you a cold hearted asshole if you don’t like this episode?
…Maybe. Jokes aside, I would maybe question you at first, but I think that’s not the case. Some people aren’t swayed as easily, and that’s obviously fine, as long as you respect what they tried to do.
This episode isn’t as exactly the “Best” but it is my personal favorite of the Season because it just happens to get to me with what it does. The songs help the pacing and are very enjoyable, the story works decently well, and of course the ending is amazingly satisfying. I do understand if you don’t agree with me, but this is my list, so I don’t care.
With everything it does, this episode is just tons of fun with one of the most satisfying endings ever. Like the show as a whole, it features notable flaws but makes up for it with it’s heart and great moments.
And all of that, is why Crusaders of the Lost Mark is my favorite episode of My Little Pony Friendship is magic Season 5.
Those were my favorite Season 5 episodes. Certainly an odd list to make given how things shuffled. I almost considered putting it no real order, but I found one I was happy with. This Season may not have been as Good as Season 4, and is not my favorite, but it still did a lot of things right and still showed how the show is evolving.
For next Season, I would suggest either no arc or an arc that will give us more development, like what Season 4 did. I also want a Celestia Episode, now more than ever. Keep doing what you are doing, just find something that can please most people, as some of the issues with the Season bugged others more than I, although I think it has the same amount of issues as other Seasons.
We have no news of Season 6 right now, beyond vague things. I just hope it’s another good one. You can expect a list for what when it ends, as well as LPS Season 4, where I will also remake my previous full episode short list for that.
Also, I will finally start my look at the MLP Comics soon, staring with the Specials such as Feindship is magic. Want to start small.
So, where will we go from here? It seems like the show has done everything, down to having three AU films that are mostly made for a small screen.
They gotta do something big, like really big. But what?
….That will do.