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One of the 5 worst episodes of S7 for me. The episode made Pinkie look like a complete moron and most of the jokes were just really bad. I think another issue is that the story is just a repetitive rip off of Party of One. I mean 90% of it is exactly the same as Party of One. We have seen this story from MLP before. But the way they handle it here is just by reusing the same gag over and over. It’s all basically just RD making Pinkie look away so she can get rid of the pies. Doing this over and over makes it repetitive and slows down the pacing big time. 

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On 2/9/2018 at 11:10 AM, Nuke87654 said:

1.        I enjoyed seeing Spike sacrificing his own time and pleasure to allow Twilight the chance to spend vacation with her family. In Once upon a Zepplin, breaking the past mold from the last couple of episodes of season 7 where Spike doesn’t get involved or explained why he’s not involved in events such as Fame and Misfortune and It isn’t a mane thing about you, we get an explanation and showing for why he’s not part of the Sparkle family in their vacation. At the prologue segment of the episode, when Twilight was given a letter from her parents about them winning a free cruise ride and are inviting her and Spike to come, initially Twilight was reluctant to go as she had princess duties to attend.

 

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Not the fun kind either.

 

 

Hearing that, Spike would do a magnanimous thing for Twilight by willingly taking up the chores Twilight had and telling her to go on this vacation. Initially she would resist as she didn’t want to leave Spike behind while she’s having fun with the rest of their family to which he would pretend to not hear her to send the message he’s made up his mind and won’t be swayed. While this part in the story does is write Spike out, at least they give Spike the respect he deserves by showing us why he’s not involved with Twilight’s family when he’s very much a part of it, certainly much better than past episodes on it (notably Season 2’s Sweet and Elite) as it allows us to see why he’s not involved and even give Spike a moment to shine for his kindness to Twilight.

 

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Spike the noble dragon here.

 

When I first saw that, I remember hearing this out of nowhere:

 

 

After several seconds, I realized it was coming from me.

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On 2/21/2018 at 3:46 PM, RK_Striker_JK_5 said:

Yeah. This episode isn't one that a viewer should think too deeply on. ;) It's not bad, and it is funny. Just... it's not 'outstanding'. But that's all right.

An apt thing about to describe the episode or so.

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On 2/21/2018 at 4:41 PM, Captain Clark said:

One of the 5 worst episodes of S7 for me. The episode made Pinkie look like a complete moron and most of the jokes were just really bad. I think another issue is that the story is just a repetitive rip off of Party of One. I mean 90% of it is exactly the same as Party of One. We have seen this story from MLP before. But the way they handle it here is just by reusing the same gag over and over. It’s all basically just RD making Pinkie look away so she can get rid of the pies. Doing this over and over makes it repetitive and slows down the pacing big time. 

I agree that Pinkie Pie was a moron and a definite problem with the episode itself. As for it being a repetitive rip off, I wouldn't say so as the story here was essentially Pinkie Pie trying to catch Rainbow Dash in the act of refusing to eat her pies after she gathered enough evidence that Dashie doesn't like her pies instead of going all depressed when she erroneously thought Spike's interrogation was an indication of her intent. As for the heavy use of Rainbow Dash distracting Pinkie Pie to get the pies away, while they do make heavy use of that gag, they made it in variety mainly for how many ways Rainbow Dash can keep the pies and Pinkie from not seeing her such as throwing a contraption Dashie built for tank to eat the foods she gives, getting the foals to eat it and other stuff, and Pinkie's reactions and desperation to prove she had been refusing her pies kept the jokes interesting for me mainly for how over the top and desperate Pinkie was growing to prove Dashie wrong. Though I am sorry this episode wasn't as enjoyable for you as it was for me.

 

 

On 2/21/2018 at 7:09 PM, Anti-Villain said:

 

When I first saw that, I remember hearing this out of nowhere:

 

 

After several seconds, I realized it was coming from me.

Agreed. At least they let Spike be able to show why he's not getting involved.

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Today I shall review Friendship is Magic’s one hundred and sixty seventh episode and its seventh season’s twenty fourth episode, Uncommon Bond. The episode’s story is written by Josh Haber and Kevin Lappin. The storyboard artists were done by Marta Demong and Kat Dela Cruz.

 

N/A

 

Starlight Glimmer is excited to see Sunburst is making a trip from the crystal empire for a visit, but soon encounters difficulties when she sees that Sunburst prefers having fun with her friends over her.

 

Positives:

 

1.       I enjoyed seeing Sunburst’s interactions with Starlight’s friends to help develop his character and interests outside studying magic and for helping Starlight Glimmer out when she needed support and affirmation from him for their friendship.

 

Notably in Uncommon Bond, this is really our first chance to help develop Sunburst since the Season 6 premiere, the Crystalling. I was impressed with what they did for Sunburst here as not only did they had him hit it off quite well with Starlight’s friends in Twilight, Trixie, and Maud Pie to help develop his circle of friends outside of the royal family from the Crystal Empire and Starlight Glimmer, but also it shows off his own interests outside of magic too.

 

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Speaking ponish here!

 

Sunburst would show in Uncommon Bond that he really enjoys going hunting for antiques at antiques stores, even buying ‘Blind Barrel’s as he gets to be able to have the chance to treasure hunt for valuable relics at those stores.

 

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Why does this sound like a thinly veiled promotion of Hasbro’s blind bags in the show?

 

He also shows that he is enthusiast for pony history with Twilight as he quite likes to bring up encyclopedic knowledge of the past he has learned and even knows ancient ponish language. With Trixie, he shows that he enjoys ‘up close magic’ as he calls stage magic as not only does he know about it and is entertained by it well, but it’s also one of the few magic spells he can competently pull off on his own.

 

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I can imagine how soothing this must be for him considering his past reputation.

 

Also, he shows a good encyclopedic knowledge on geology and rocks, enough that I will say that Maud maybe ecstatic to finally have someone that can talk to her about rocks and not have to dumb down her knowledge on rocks just to make it easier for anyone to understand what she’s trying to get at.

 

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I can see that Maud probably loved having Sunburst around.

 

These points and interactions he had with Starlight’s friends is great for Sunburst as while it may be Starlight Glimmer’s episode, to me it feels that Sunburst was the one who received actual character development and progress to his characterization. And it’s not just them Sunburst was great with. While he would leave Starlight hanging for a bit as he was having fun interacting with her friends, he does realize Starlight’s frustration and he does play Starlight’s favorite game in Dragon Pit, though at one of their games it does take a turn for creepville that I will explain in a bit. Once he realizes at how sad Starlight Glimmer is being, he does pull all the stops to find a way to help bond with her well which included going to her friends and asking them what do they have in common with her and even built a real life-sized Dragon Pit game for her and all her friends, including himself, to play at.

 

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This would-be tons of fun to play. Really impressed at how he and Starlight’s friends came to her aid when she was feeling down by building and playing this game for her.

 

Thus, Sunburst was perhaps the star of this Starlight episode due for the characterization and development he would receive, but also for doing such a great favor for his needy friend when she needed it. In my opinion, this one houses perhaps the best characterized Sunburst in the show.

 

 

2.       I enjoyed Starlight Glimmer and how she was characterized in Uncommon Bond. Starlight Glimmer was great in Uncommon Bond. Here while as I mentioned that Sunburst felt like the one who was receiving all the character development, Starlight wasn’t left out as we do see her own development in a subtler manner. Throughout the episode, Starlight would be ecstatic to be able to bond with her friend Sunburst only to find that he prefers things and activities she’s not a fan of and her friends on the other hand do.

 

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How she’ll be throughout the episode.

 

One notable thing about her character is how restrained she is. Unlike say in Season 6 where if Starlight encounters a problem she wants resolved, she’ll pull up all her magic just to not only get it solved right away, but she also doesn’t really mind if the spell is not so ethically sound but that it works and gets what she wants, Starlight in Uncommon Bond allows Sunburst to hang out with her friends without really interrupting or intervening, giving them the respect, peace and time for them to have.

 

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Starlight showing off that maturity there.

 

 

Now of course, she tries to get Sunburst to go out and have activities and fun after he’s done with her friends such as going to sweet apple acres at night to experience the taste of apples to remind them of the apple juice boxes she and him would drink, and the mirror pool from Season 3’s Too Many Pinkie Pies where she tries to show off an interesting lore of the mirror pool creating clones that note she does tell him they’re not using the pool but rather to show off its existence to him. Also, even when she does use magic such as when she recreated the building they used to play in when they were little and turn them to foals, it felt less like her blunt forcing her solution with magic but more just trying to let them have fun with Dragon Pit like they use to via total recreation.

 

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Also, this scene invokes tons of rather disturbing views on how mentally damaged Starlight is. I like that.

 

 

As I said before, what makes Starlight so good here is her maturity and restraint where instead of getting angry and trying to force Sunburst to play with her over her friends, she instead lets him have fun with her friends even at her own expense. Thanks to that, it makes Sunburst’s own effort to make her happy via creating a real life-sized Dragon Pit game for her done out of his own genuine care for her rather than to prevent her from messing things up or for her to learn as Season 6 would have us to do.

 

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Got to say, this one made me like Starlight Glimmer even more.

 

 

3.       Twilight Sparkle had a very good secondary role in Uncommon Bond. Speaking of improvements from Season 6, Twilight Sparkle herself had a good time in Uncommon Bond not only for her friendliness and chemistry with Sunburst and even offer him advice at how to help Starlight out during their time together but also her care with Starlight Glimmer as well.

 

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Truth be told, I think I prefer Twiburst than Starburst after this episode.

 

She would try to console and help Starlight out, giving her support and advice for her to deal with a friend who doesn’t have as much common with you anymore including pointing out that so long as both of you want to be friends still and are enjoying each other’s company, then Starlight can still be friends with Sunburst. Overall, Twilight Sparkle had one of her more effective characterizations in a strong seasonal outing for her in Season 7 here thanks to how great of a friend she was helping Sunburst and Starlight out and her chemistry with Sunburst does leave a shipping option open for folks that are interested in it.

 

 

4.       Trixie and Maud Pie are good here as well. Now for the other secondary characters in Uncommon Bond, I enjoyed what I saw from Trixie and Maud Pie. Trixie was the most notable out of the two as we see that since Starlight started to teach Trixie more advanced magic in Season 7’s All Bottled up, she’s actually taken the time and matter on her own to coach herself to perform magic better. This is not counting her other good part for not only having a good time with Sunburst but coming to help and aid him when he needed to figure out how to make Starlight happy.

 

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Even Trixie got a pleasant character development here.

 

 

Maud Pie herself was effective too where she would be her usual rock knowledgeable self only with the twist that she gets to meet someone who knows about rocks too, perhaps giving a moment of happiness to finally speak to someone that’s near her level in knowledge of rocks. She would also help Sunburst out in figuring out what she and Starlight have in common.

 

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You may not see it, but Maud is probably all smiles as she speaks with Sunburst.

 

Overall, Trixie and Maud Pie were quite impressive in this episode and would please their fans for it.

 

 

5.       I also liked the lesson of making its mark in Uncommon Bond that ‘just cause your old friend and you don’t have as much in common as you did anymore doesn’t mean you can’t be friends still.’ This was another thing I liked Uncommon Bond for as the lesson makes a mark that all too many folks in life could face currently of online social media and technology, meeting old friends that you grew up and had fun with only for now to see their interests and you have drifted into a different direction. Here Starlight and Sunburst would encounter that issue as while they’re certainly friendly with each other, their interests and paths have split into somewhere else and thus are having compatibility issues with each other. Thanks to their work to mend that bridge for something more compatible, the issue would be resolved, they would also learn that hey, just because you may not have as much in common with your old friend as you did before doesn’t mean you can’t be friends still as so long as you’re enjoying each other’s company, than that is what matters ultimately.

 

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Friends again.

 

 

6.       We get a nice setup for the Season 7 finale with a certain scary looking book appearing in Uncommon Bond.

 

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Guess what’s going to appear in the next episode after this one?

 

 

Negatives:

 

1.       There was an animation error it seemed when we saw two boulders in this picture. While not a big issue considering it's an inanimate rock and wasn't addressed at all in the episode, it's a minor issue in the episode.

 

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Here's the scene in question. 

 

Conclusion: Uncommon Bond is in my opinion Starlight’s best post reformation episode yet. While Starlight Glimmer was very effective and great as her character development highlights her growing concern for others and maturity as well, Sunburst’s characterization in my opinion was the star of the episode as I felt that Sunburst had his best characterization in it. Twilight Sparkle, Maud, and Trixie were great here too as secondary characters in Uncommon Bond where we even get to see Trixie’s own development in magic being highlighted here. Sprinkle in a continuity setup with the Season 7 finale book appearing here, Uncommon Bond is a fantastic pre- setup for the Season 7 finale. A single animation error that isn't that notable is easily forgiven. 

 

Score: 10/10

Grade: A+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Nuke87654 said:

...

1.       There was an animation error it seemed when we saw two boulders in this picture. While not a big issue considering it's an inanimate rock and wasn't addressed at all in the episode, it's a minor issue in the episode.

 

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Here's the scene in question.

...

Given the water under the two Boulders, I can't help but wonder if Boulder fell in the Mirror Pool and was cloned in the process.

About the worst I can say is that I wish there was a way to have more interactions with Starlight, Sunburst, Trixie and Maud instead of the montages - or at least make the interactions we already have less montage-y (sorry @Thrond for ripping off your criticism).

Other than that, I liked this one.

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8 hours ago, WaterPulse said:

Given the water under the two Boulders, I can't help but wonder if Boulder fell in the Mirror Pool and was cloned in the process.

About the worst I can say is that I wish there was a way to have more interactions with Starlight, Sunburst, Trixie and Maud instead of the montages - or at least make the interactions we already have less montage-y (sorry @Thrond for ripping off your criticism).

Other than that, I liked this one.

Perhaps that's a possibility and one that a person can use. I'm still on the side it's an animation error considering how we have no mention of it and it's such a minor thing but one can easily argue against that considering the pool. Either way, it's a fair point and on that can easily be supported.

As for the montages, I wouldn't say that's a bad thing since they weren't too long and the tune played was soothing and peaceful enough for one to enjoy it, especially as it made it's points across with each person effectively.

 

8 hours ago, RK_Striker_JK_5 said:

Indeed. A pretty good episode all-around. Considering it's Starlight-centric and I'm saying that, that's gotta be good praise. ;)

Agreed, Starlight's best episode post reformation imo.

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9 hours ago, WaterPulse said:

About the worst I can say is that I wish there was a way to have more interactions with Starlight, Sunburst, Trixie and Maud instead of the montages - or at least make the interactions we already have less montage-y (sorry @Thrond for ripping off your criticism).

I'm not going to stop you from agreeing with me. 

This one bored me mostly because I don't find Starlight very interesting, and don't really care if she acts more mature, because I don't feel she has a strong personality, so I find her incremental character development off-putting rather than endearing. 

And as I said in my own review, this one feels like the idea's doing all the heavy lifting, because Starlight and Sunburst's relationship is something which the show has never really built up, tending to inform us it exists rather than develop it. I feel like a lot of focus is put on the relationship itself rather than what it means to each party and how they should adjust to it, and I just don't care about that particularly much. 

I also got the impression that she didn't think very much about Sunburst's thoughts and feelings, but I might not have read so much into that if I found her more interesting, and if this episode were funnier. I'm just not that into the sweetly languid tone of episodes like this. 

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@Thrond @Nuke87654

To try and expand the idea, there was a guy I heard who said that the reason Dumb And Dumber worked so well was the interactions between Harry and Lloyd and how they played off each other. If we had something similar with Starlight and Sunburst, either here or in another episode before this one, I think it would have improved it.

 

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2 minutes ago, WaterPulse said:

@Thrond @Nuke87654

To try and expand the idea, there was a guy I heard who said that the reason Dumb And Dumber worked so well was the interactions between Harry and Lloyd and how they played off each other. If we had something similar with Starlight and Sunburst, either here or in another episode before this one, I think it would have improved it.

That would certainly have helped. 

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@WaterPulse Reflecting on that point with the cloned rocks, I'll get rid of it simply cause it's easily countered and I can't really say the counter cannot exist and is more likely to. So I was proven wrong by you and will remove that point from my review. Nice work. 

 

@Thrond As for that, I wouldn't say as this is only like their 2nd time we've seen where they were able to act and it seems they've chosen to develop more on Sunburst's character as his interactions with Starlight's friends seem to show his interests outside of magic in the following in antiques and studying ancient pony stuff, doing magic tricks since it's one of the few magics he's good at, and has a good knowledge on rocks that probably impressed Maud Pie. I feel the next time they meet, they probably are going to do better for you in that regard. Also, I actually thought that Starlight cared very much for Sunburst's feelings when you consider how considerate she was being with him and not choosing to force him to do things she wants while he's busy with something else. She's always asked him to do stuff with her while he's not focused on something at the moment as the episode showed. Hence the point to highlight her maturity where if it were the Season 6 Starlight Glimmer, she would likely have been forcing Sunburst to do what she wanted. I do not think it was an issue that they didn't develop Starlight's and Sunbursts relationship as heavily as I rather liked the choices in building up their characters on an individual level and they still touched upon their relationship where they're coming to terms that hey just cause we're not so similar now doesn't mean we can still be friends and the ending does leave open for them to go to do stuff more together. 

 

@WaterPulse, I disagree as the point of Uncommon Bond between Starlight and Sunburst was to highlight how they have grown different interests over time and they have to show that just cause of it doesn't mean we still can't be good friends. Had they such a dynamic already, you would need a different episode all together.

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3 hours ago, Nuke87654 said:

Also, I actually thought that Starlight cared very much for Sunburst's feelings when you consider how considerate she was being with him and not choosing to force him to do things she wants while he's busy with something else.

I don't think we should be impressed that she's not behaving like season 6 Starlight.

She didn't do something too terrible here, but a lot of the episode just portrays her sulking because this didn't go exactly as she wanted. I also felt that taking Sunburst to the mirror pool might have been kinda dangerous, and that the super creepy flashback spell demonstrated she still has difficulties considering how others might perceive her actions. 

Which for me would be fine, but I'm bored of Starlight's redemption arc, and I don't find her personality very interesting. I also feel her plight here isn't particularly specific, so I find myself appreciating the moral but still finding the character sort of hard to relate to, because I see her as a blank cipher whenever she isn't doing something off-putting. 

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On 2/25/2018 at 1:02 PM, Thrond said:

I don't think we should be impressed that she's not behaving like season 6 Starlight.

She didn't do something too terrible here, but a lot of the episode just portrays her sulking because this didn't go exactly as she wanted. I also felt that taking Sunburst to the mirror pool might have been kinda dangerous, and that the super creepy flashback spell demonstrated she still has difficulties considering how others might perceive her actions. 

Which for me would be fine, but I'm bored of Starlight's redemption arc, and I don't find her personality very interesting. I also feel her plight here isn't particularly specific, so I find myself appreciating the moral but still finding the character sort of hard to relate to, because I see her as a blank cipher whenever she isn't doing something off-putting. 

We should because any improvement and good behavior should be called out as a positive because it's a step in the right direction for their character. The fact she didn't go and use magic to solve her problems and allowed her friends and Sunburst to hang out uninterrupted unlike how in S6 when she encountered a problem she would use magic to solve it right away shows character development in a positive direction. Sure you're right that the flashback spell shows that she still has ways to go, but that's fine because it's alright for a character to not resolve a personality flaw right away, just as long you're progressing them in a positive way that isn't bad. I can see why you would not be impressed with Starlight and I'll agree that requires a certain taste from someone to appreciate her, but the fact she has fans and she's notably progressed to be a much better character in Season seven is something one should call out on. 

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Today I shall review Friendship is Magic’s episode’s one hundred and sixty eighth and one hundred and sixty ninth episode and its seventh season’s twenty fifth and twenty sixth episode, Shadow Play parts one and two. The story for both parts was written by Josh Haber and Nicole Dubac. The storyboard artists for both parts are Kaylea Chard and Jae Harm.

 

The pony of shadows idea was thought of and brought back by Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco. According to Josh Haber, the season seven finale was meant to coincide and set up for the release of the My Little Pony Movie.

 

Upon the discovery of Starswirl the Bearded’s journal, the gang sets out to try to bring him and his pillar friends out of their imprisonment however they can despite a few reserved protests from Starlight that perhaps they shouldn’t mess with something that’s not needed to be messed with.  

 

Positives:

 

1.       We not only are able to connect the past episodes that helped set up the legends of Equestria to this episode, but we get even more background information on them where we find out what they did to help Equestria together and how they’re connected to the Elements of Harmony. Now one of the big things that Season 7 was setting up was the Legends of Equestria where we see several episodes such as Campfire Tales, Daring Done?, and a Health of Information with showing the characters, Rockhoof, Mistmane, Flash Magnus, Somnambula, Meadowbrooks. There they would help set these characters up and the background information on them and flesh out their characters for fans to be interested in them, but more importantly it would help set them up to be paired up with the legendary Starswirl the Bearded.

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The picture showing them all together.

 

There in the Shadow play episode, we would discover more background lore information on them where it seems that not only did they all existed at the same time, but they teamed up together to fight evil and bring them down. In their last adventure, it revealed the reason why all of them disappeared as they chose to sacrifice themselves to save Equestria via sealing themselves with the dark evil beast known as Pony of Shadows.

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Where they all lie when they found them. Fun fact, the runes on one of the stones actually says 'Poni Rules'.

 

But before they would seal themselves away, the pillar six as they were called chose to plant seeds imbued with their respective magical elements, Strength, Bravery, Beauty, Hope, Healing, and Sorcery and planted the crystal seeds at a certain spot as a way that after their sealing that their plan to create a means for Equestria to defend itself would take their place. That means, was the Tree of Harmony and its Elements of Harmony. That’s right, the pillar six was not only the original mane 6, but the Tree of Harmony carries their elements where it is imbued in a new mane 6.

 

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One could even say the pillar six are the mane 6’s ancestors or something like that.

 

As for their characterizations, while Starswirl the Bearded would get some mixed responses from his behavior, I would say it was fine as he wanted to banish a great evil and was willing to make sacrifices to do it, even if it’s a difficult decision, he felt there was no choice and when he did realize the error of his ways along with the pillars, he showed great remorse and sought to make amends to Stygian, the reformed villain for what he had done. The other pillars characterizations for the most part fit well with their mane six counterparts and were decent enough to garner likes from the audience with a few moments of likeability from them. Overall, Shadow Play does an excellent job in connecting and finishing up the season seven arcs for the Legends of Equestria, develops their background lore greatly, and does a decent enough job to make the characters likeable with only one possible iffy one out of the group. Also, considering some episode titles we’ve been hearing are coming in Season 8 and their presence in the comics, it’s likely we will see the pillar six’s return sooner than we think and I’m pleased as well that they’re not one off characters.

 

 

2.       There was a bit of humor going on at poking fun at plot contrivances occurring because of magic in Shadow Play’s part one. One of the things that I noticed is that the humor seemed to have made a gag or so at plot contrivances occurring due to magic where Twilight would get frustrated at how she had hoped that their problems would be resolved via some magic appearing out of nowhere for which it did. Some nice lampshade going on there with pointing out that trope.

 

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Which it does happen here!

 

3.       The adventure quests the remane five went on to find the Pillar’s artifacts was not only fun but represented some of the episodes best moments as well. When the gang got to the ancient pony ruins of Ponehenge, one of the things they would eventually find after some research that they would need to find the artifacts needed to begin undoing the spell and getting the pillar six out of limbo. During this trek, we would see the remane five and Spike go on separate quests to find the artifacts which held a lot of fun moments and where each of them get to shine.

 

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Here’s AJ not only defending her views from an unbeliever, but we get to see AJ show off that earth pony strength at last. Finally, AJ gets to do something super pony. Note that one of the archeology teacher’s students is the same pony from that appeared and got her cutie mark in paleontology/archeology from S6’s The Fault in our Cutie Marks, Petunia Paleo as she’s called.

 

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Rarity would find that the poor ancestral home of Mistmane is not only in heavily vine covered ruins, but the poor descendant there is bitter at how things went. Don’t worry, Rarity will fix that right up for her.

 

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Rainbow Dash would bring Spike along to help her out get Flash Magnus’s Netitus Shield from the Dragons in Dragon land where RD would do some standing up for Spike after Garble tries to back out of the deal and trick him for his troubles. Dang that shield is durable to have lasted so long with only wear and tear being the only issue it has.

 

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Pinkie Pie would enlist Daring Do and a few folks from the nearby town to help her out find Somnambula’s artifact under that slime pool. Note the vents are gone or so and don’t appear when the pool is drained. It seems someone made a mistake creating those vents in the Daring Done episode.

 

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Fluttershy would go to Hayseed Swamp and help Meadowbrook’s descendant Cat Tail to getting the Flash Bees away to let the animals swim in the nearby pool. While Cat Tail points out that Fluttershy merely must ask for Meadowbrook’s healer’s mask and not do that task for him, Flutttershy wanted to as it was the kind thing and to offer a service.

 

Not only do all of them show the remane five and their elements to bear for the crowd of ponies or dragons there, but it gave us some delightful fun and times to see and represent some of Shadow Play’s best moments.

 

4.       The elements of Harmony make their return here and I’m pleased to see their return. I’ll admit, I missed the elements of harmony and one of the things Shadow Play brings back is those six artifacts to help defeat the Pony of Shadows.

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It’s good to see those necklaces again doing what they do best.

 

On another point, Starswirl does confirm that the cutie map is controlled by the Tree of Harmony and Starlight sees that the map does help the gang out when they need to go and solve a friendship problem so not only is the Tree of Harmony the one leading the mane 6 along with some plan in mind, but it seems to be trying to spread friendship across the lands for Equestria’s benefit.

 

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If the tree could talk, if probably berate the pillars for being stupid and telling them how it's been doing their jobs just fine without them. 

 

 

5.       I do like that the episode’s theme seems to be that ‘Hero Worship out of blind faith is bad and even great ones must be questioned’. One of the biggest themes that went on in Shadow Play was that it seems to highlight of how Hero Worship is a terrible thing to do out of blind faith. While the remane five would display some signs of it, none compared to Twilight Sparkle and her idol worship of Starswirl the Bearded. Throughout the episode, it would plague Twilight’s character where she would act out of her need to bring Starswirl, her idol, out to save and have the chance to please him.

 

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SENPAI NOTICES ME!

 

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I got to say, I do like how the remane five come to Twilight's defense when Starswirl was being dismissive of her. They showed better care for her than Twilight did for Starlight. 

 

This would cause an evil beast to be released in the Pony of Shadows that would doom Equestria if left unchecked and of course get off on a very bad footing with Starswirl who is rightfully pissed off at her for it. This would cause Twilight to be motivated throughout the episode and be emotionally compromised and to try to win back Starswirl’s respect for her by doing and agreeing with whatever coincides with what he wants. Though upon research, she did find a spell that would help keep the pillars around, the ones who made the Elements of Harmony so despite Starswirl’s plan sacrificing the Elements of Harmony, Twilight helped made it not such a bad idea when you consider they’re going to keep the makers of said elements and create new ones after the old ones are sacrificed. This would lead to many problems and issues, including having the Elements of Harmony be offered as a sacrifice to stop the Pony of Shadows. Fortunately, Starlight Glimmer who held no such attachment to these heroes would point out and find the flaws in Starswirl’s plan, but even call him out for how he’s only seeing the Pony of Shadows a monster to kill and not to save his friend and reform him, something that Twilight has done before and would probably agree with Starlight if she weren’t so emotionally compromised.

 

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To be fair to the pillar six, considering that they viewed Stygian’s actions with a biased view and didn’t know what he intended and none of the ponies besides a haunch from Starlight to even offer a chance at reformation, knew much on him, it would be a hard move to question them on their choice.

 

However, Starlight’s words do reach to Twilight as her belief in Starswirl’s infallibility does weaken a bit to where when she saw that there was a pony in the Pony of Shadows beast, she does snap out of her ineffectiveness and acts to save him. There, she would let Stygian speak who would state that he never intended to bring harm to anyone, he only took the artifacts so he could make copies and hope he could become a pillar himself so he can help his friends out for which they immediately assumed the worst in him and cast him out. There, he would find a friend in the Pony of Shadows and let it possess him to exceed the pillar six. After hearing that, not only do the pillars realize their horrific error in judging Stygian so terribly, but even Starswirl snaps out of his egotistical determination to realize he had messed everything up in his pride.

 

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Here’s Starswirl helping Stygian and tearfully state how wrong he was to treat Stygian as he did.

 

There, the ending would not only show the Pillar six apologize and regret with that they had done to Stygian, but even Twilight herself would apologize better to Starlight, admitting that she allowed her blind faith in Starswirl to blind her to situation in front of her that Starlight was able to see through.

 

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While her behavior wasn’t perfect, I’ve come to realize that Twilight’s actions had reason for her to act as such.

 

Overall, I rather enjoyed the episode’s seeming theme of how we shouldn’t blindly accept everything a great person or idol says as they’re still very much human like us and that they can be corrupted by pride and refusal to admit they’re wrong just like us.

 

 

6.       Starlight Glimmer earns kudos for being able to see through the situation logically where everyone else is wrapped up with the hero worship aura going on. Now, I know a lot folks probably will be a bit iffy on how only Starlight Glimmer was the only one to not be blinded by the hero worship everyone else has been infected with in the episode, including her friend Sunburst for Starswirl. But I’ll defend it and state that Starlight has never shown a great interest in any of these Equestrian legends like our heroes have and considering her intellect, she was able to think logically and rationally throughout, even acting as the voice of concern and reason while everyone was overexcited to bring the pillars back and going gaga over them, especially her teacher. She would even make an astute observation where she would find that the Cutie Map only calls the gang for Friendship missions, so the fact it’s helping them out against the Pony of Shadows left her with a haunch that perhaps the Pony of Shadows can be reasoned with. While she would meet great resistance from Starswirl who adamantly believes that there is no chance at redemption for the Pony of Shadows and how Twilight reluctantly wants to go against Starswirl, she would be vindicated at how the ending went and would be thanked by Twilight for being there to challenge them and proving them wrong. Excellent job on Starlight for doing that.

 

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All better now.

 

 

7. Shadow Play made EQG officially canon in the show.

 

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Yes that's Aria, Adagio, and Sonata in their true forms. Let's see EQG haters try to explain this as non canon.  

 

 

Negatives:

1.       The gang’s behavior was a bit on the stupid side however when they didn’t think about how messing with the spell could bring back that ancient evil. While I can understand a lot of their behavior in the episode and thus I’m willing to forgive them for it as it was the point, I do say that it did felt a bit on the stupid side when they were trying to get the pillars back without thinking that messing with the spell would free the Pony of Shadows out. Even Starlight Glimmer didn’t think of that so I felt it was incredulous that option never crossed their minds as if they’re trying to mess with a spell that’s put in place, shouldn’t they think of that worst-case scenario.

 

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What blind hero worshipping will give ya.

 

2.       The Pony of Shadows is a very cliched ‘for the evulz’ villain that held little to be interested in him for. One thing that I’ll say I’m happy is a one-off character is the Pony of Shadows. While he’s not terrible at his role, I will say that he’s so stereotypically bad with little in him to set him apart from a typical Saturday morning cartoon villain other than the separate character Stygian that honestly, I mocked how stereotypical he is.

 

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I’m the villain of darkness fear me!

 

Conclusion: I will say, the Shadow Play maybe the best two parter finale in the show, but it’s also perhaps the first actual real challenger to S1’s finale, Best Night Ever, for best finale in the show. Finishing up the Season 7 arc of the Equestrian Legends in a satisfactory manner and developing backstory on the Tree of Harmony and even bringing them back is a great knot to tie up in the finale. The episode does an excellent job to portray the issues that blind hero worship can cause in a person with the behaviors of everyone sans Starlight Glimmer who deserves kudos for not falling for that. The adventures the remane five went to find the artifacts were tons of fun and I really loved the episode for that alone. The only small but enough issues to prevent the Shadow Play from achieving perfection was the little bit on the too stupid side for them not worrying that messing with the spell to free the pillars would also free the Pony of Shadows which isn’t too bad but most damning was how stereotypical and uninteresting the Pony of Shadows turned up to be.

 

Score: 9.5/10

Grade: A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Nuke87654 said:

I can see why you would not be impressed with Starlight and I'll agree that requires a certain taste from someone to appreciate her, but the fact she has fans and she's notably progressed to be a much better character in Season seven is something one should call out on. 

I kinda find her a less interesting character in season 7 for the same reason that so many people seem to like her more. Kinda feel she doesn't have a lot going on aside from the redemption arc. 

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17 minutes ago, Thrond said:

I kinda find her a less interesting character in season 7 for the same reason that so many people seem to like her more. Kinda feel she doesn't have a lot going on aside from the redemption arc. 

I thought she was okay in "All Bottled Up" and, to a lesser extent, "Shadow Play". Everywhere else where she was the main focus, she was kind of meh.

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At least Sombra was uniquely Batman-prepared and no-nonsense.

 

The Pony Of Shadows didn't even have that; in fact, he accomplished less than any other villain in the series.

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These two episodes were... meh for me. Let me explain.

 

I liked the quests to find the ancient artifacts. And the worldbuilding was cool. However...

 

1. Twilight was, as usual, being a shortsighted idiot when it came to releasing the Pillars. It's in-character for her, yes. Doesn't mitigate the stupidity.

 

2. Every time Starlight crowed about Twilight completing the spell, I wanted to shout to her, "She did it only after fucking up with it in almost every conceivable way and then only solved it on an ass-pull of an epiphany! And it STILL doesn't make sense how that was earning her wing!" but if I start in on Magical Mystery Cure, I'll be here all day. :P

 

3. I felt no sympathy/pity for Stygian. His actions were fueled by jealousy and pettiness. He steals the Pillar Six's sacred artifacts and uses them to become the Pony of Shadows. Well fuck you, too. It's like with Luna/Nightmare Moon. His actions were fully his own.

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3 hours ago, WaterPulse said:

I thought she was okay in "All Bottled Up" and, to a lesser extent, "Shadow Play". Everywhere else where she was the main focus, she was kind of meh.

“All Bottled Up” was something, but I found her redundant in it. Could not find it in me to care about “Shadow Play,” even if she was inoffensive in it. Would it kill her to be inoffensive in a remotely distinctive way? 

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7 minutes ago, Thrond said:

“All Bottled Up” was something, but I found her redundant in it. Could not find it in me to care about “Shadow Play,” even if she was inoffensive in it. Would it kill her to be inoffensive in a remotely distinctive way? 

I don't think "All Bottled Up"'s redundancy was bad enough to kill it for me. As for "Shadow Play", on paper, her role is good, but in execution, it's the same problem I had with her in "To Where And Back Again", where the writer's bungling of her in Season 6 killed any potential emotional impact it could have had. And Season 7 kind of repeated those mistakes. Not as bad as Season 6, but still...

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Regarding “Shadow Play,” people always praise things I’m not very interested in. I don’t find the item hunting, the world building, or Starlight Glimmer very entertaining, I’m kinda annoyed at the mane six making bad decisions, and I don’t care that everyone gets something to do. Would have been way better without the Pillars. 

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20 minutes ago, WaterPulse said:

I don't think "All Bottled Up"'s redundancy was bad enough to kill it for me. As for "Shadow Play", on paper, her role is good, but in execution, it's the same problem I had with her in "To Where And Back Again", where the writer's bungling of her in Season 6 killed any potential emotional impact it could have had. And Season 7 kind of repeated those mistakes. Not as bad as Season 6, but still...

I was just annoyed that she apparently can’t be left unsupervised, and that she then lied to Twilight about it.

 

I love “To Where and Back Again” because, even with the gaps in Starlight’s arc, I can sympathize with not trusting your own judgment. “Shadow Play” doesn’t do anything with her other than expect me to be impressed by her empathy, which of course only kicks in when she can make someone else’s problem about herself. 

 

I guess my complaint is that what the show expects me to feel doesn’t line up with what I’m seeing, and I don’t feel she offers much else to compensate. 

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37 minutes ago, Thrond said:

I was just annoyed that she apparently can’t be left unsupervised, and that she then lied to Twilight about it.

 

I love “To Where and Back Again” because, even with the gaps in Starlight’s arc, I can sympathize with not trusting your own judgment. “Shadow Play” doesn’t do anything with her other than expect me to be impressed by her empathy, which of course only kicks in when she can make someone else’s problem about herself. 

 

I guess my complaint is that what the show expects me to feel doesn’t line up with what I’m seeing, and I don’t feel she offers much else to compensate. 

1. That's why I feel that "All Bottled Up" should have been a Season 6 episode. After the events of "To Where And Back Again", Starlight should have had a better grip on how to handle a loose cannon like Trixie.

2. As much as I didn't like how "To Where And Back Again" was handled plotwise, I agree that Starlight's role was one the better moments. In fact, I'd have to say it's probably her last unconditionally great moment.

3. I probably repeating your last point, but I agree that her problem is that Starlight has had a bit of a personality vacuum ever since Season 6 ended, to the point where I think "All Bottled Up" was meant to be a S6 episode, not S7. There's some good bits to her character - she has a fear of failure/rejection, can be stubborn at times, can be shy when she's willing to try new friendship things - but I feel the writers have yet to fully tap into its full potential.

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9 minutes ago, WaterPulse said:

1. That's why I feel that "All Bottled Up" should have been a Season 6 episode. After the events of "To Where And Back Again", Starlight should have had a better grip on how to handle a loose cannon like Trixie.

2. As much as I didn't like how "To Where And Back Again" was handled plotwise, I agree that Starlight's role was one the better moments. In fact, I'd have to say it's probably her last unconditionally great moment.

3. I probably repeating your last point, but I agree that her problem is that Starlight has had a bit of a personality vacuum ever since Season 6 ended, to the point where I think "All Bottled Up" was meant to be a S6 episode, not S7. There's some good bits to her character - she has a fear of failure/rejection, can be stubborn at times, can be shy when she's willing to try new things - but I feel the writers have yet to fully tap into its full potential.

The main thing Starlight and Sunset Shimmer have in common is that the writers have stretched their redemption arcs way past the breaking point, and don't seem to have a particularly strong vision for what the character should do next, or how to integrate them into the sort of plot they tell with everyone else. Sunset Shimmer at least has a bit more outward personality. I think that also has to do with the changes which have been made to the show's storytelling - specifically how moralizing has become increasingly emphasized. I don't really feel season 7 let anyone just exist as a personality. They all needed to serve a specific moral purpose, and for Starlight that meant some very uninspired plotlines. 

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