Ah, so it’s a new season of My Little Pony. It has been a whole year since the season four finale and it feels a lot longer than that. The atrocious Rainbow Rocks interlude did not help. Oh Hasbro, why you waste resources on crap like that? This two-parter premiere is, well, okay, I guess. I feel like I really should be more hyped for this than I actually am.
Short version: The mane six travel to Camazotz, where Amon enforces equality among the local ponies by using the Lance of Longinus to replace their cutie marks with the mathematical symbol for equal to create a Marxist utopia. The mane six have to put a stop to this.
Long version: The episode begins with the mane six plus Spike investigating their new crystal castle treehouse. When each of the ponies lays their tush on their respective thrones, a map of Equestria appears on a round table in the middle of the throne room. A marking in the shape of their cutie marks circle around a spot on the map. Twilight interprets this as a sign from the elements of harmony that they should travel there for the purpose of spreading friendship throughout Equestria. So, it’s road trip time. Interesting in that the ponies are getting their orders from the elements themselves and not Celestia. Not sure how I feel about this.
The mane six arrive at a town that looks like (and is) the blandest town in Equestria. Every pony in the town walks around with a huge dopy smile plastered on their faces and all of them welcome the mane six to the town. Pinkie is immediately suspicious of the townsfolk and identifies the smiles as fake. There are a few moments where Pinkie tries to be comically sneaky and it comes across as forced to me.
We are introduced to our antagonist, a mare named Starlight Glimmer. I have to wonder if this is going to be a recurring theme. Alongside Sunset Shimmer, are future antagonists going to have names that are some variation of Twilight’s name?
In any case, Starlight rouses the townsponies into a song explaining that each pony has an equal sign as a cutie mark. This eliminates their special talents and makes them all as capable as each other. That way, there are no disagreements and everyone is happy. I am guessing that Meghan McCarthy watched the first season of the Legend of Korra before writing this episode. Fluttershy seems to enjoy the general mellowness of the town but Rainbow Dash openly mocks it.
As an antagonist, Starlight is really, well, lame. Her design is dull and uses the same basic shape as the other mares in the show. There is nothing particularly noteworthy about her color scheme. She has little personality and her motives are left unexplained. Was she hurt in the past? Does she want to be the only special pony in town?
Starlight shows the ponies an item called the Staff of Sameness— That I swear to Gendou, looks so much like the Lance of Longinus that it cannot be a coincidence!— that she uses to take the cutie marks off of ponies and keep them in a glass vault in a cave. Starlight forcibly uses this staff to rip the cutie marks off of the mane six. Without their talents, they are easily subdued and forced into a room where an overhead speaker drones on about equality propaganda. I want to say that I recognize the inspiration for this but it eludes me. Seems awful North Korean-y.
The equal signs on their rumps makes it so that their talents are gone. Rainbow Dash can’t fly fast, Pinkie becomes mellow, Fluttershy can’t talk to animals, Rarity can’t tell what’s fashionable, and Applejack can’t buck and make ‘country-isms’. Supposedly, Twilight can’t use her magic as well, but this is not explored.
What follows are hijinks including espionage and deceit. Fluttershy pretends to be on Starlight’s side for the purpose of being released so she can be free and find a way to restore their cutie marks. She spies that Starlight’s equal mark is actually a fake painted over her true cutie mark. She and the others mane ponies reveal this before the whole town. The townsponies are understandably bitter about their leader being an exception to her own rule and rebel to get their cutie marks back.
A chase ensues in which Starlight carriers the mane six’s cutie marks imprisoned in jars and runs into the mountains. The townsponies break into the vault where their own cutie marks are and get them back. The mane six are incapable to catching up to her what with being talentless. The day is saved by four ponies named Sugar Belle, Double Diamond, Party Favor, and Night Glider and their newly restored quirky abilities. Starlight gets away, but everyone’s cutie marks are restored. With Starlight gone, the mane six’s their cutie marks vibrate and glow to show that their work is done and that they must return to the tree castle. Bur first, they party.
I am inclined to say that I was disappointed by this episode, but that would imply that I had expectations for it in the first place. The single song in the first episode was ‘meh.’ The jokes and gags were okay. Character interaction was what one expects from this show.
One of the biggest disappointments is the antagonist. Starlight Glimmer is a bore. Most antagonists in this show have been notable, either for having an imposing presence (Nightmare Moon and Tirek), interesting and unique character design (Queen Chrysalis), or sheer personality and charm (Discord). Starlight Glimmer has none of that. I suppose that there is something noteworthy about having an antagonist that is not some looming monster. Dash even says that she expects to fight some monster only to have her expectation subverted.
I am surprised by the decision to let Starlight get away. She is no longer in charge of the town, but neither is she imprisoned or even blasted by a rainbow beam. I assume that she will return for future episodes. I guess that is something to look forward too? No. No it is not.
I expect that season five will continue with this trend. I will continue watching with the hope that there will be something unique and imaginative.
A sport called hoofball exists in Equestria and Spike is a fan. I speculate that fans will come up with their own head canon about how it is played.
The four new ponies that are introduced (Sugar Belle, Double Diamond, Night Glider, and Party Favor) will have extensive fanfiction written about them. Their personalities have a certain balance between: ‘basic’ and ‘not fully flesh out’ that leads perfectly to fanfiction.
On the other hand, I cannot imagine fanfic writers caring about Starlight Glimmer. (Just too dull.)
Speaking of Starlight, did she not have the resource to use the lance to jumpstart the pony instrumentality project?
There are eight magical items related to a place or pony named Meadowbrook. Hints at a mcguffin quest to come?
Twilight quotes the good admiral when the mane six are trapped.
The Wilhelm scream is heard during a party scene.
And that’s all I have!