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Season 8, Episode 19: On the Road to Friendship

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Title: On the Road to Friendship

 

Synopsis: When Trixie is invited to bring her magic show to the far-off land of Saddle Arabia, she can think of nopony better to bring along than her great and powerful assistant, Starlight— but, not all friends are meant to travel together.

 

Airs: Today at 11:30 A.M. on Discovery Family

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I saw it via leaks. It was a good episode. Felt really bad for Trixie when Starlight did what she did by selling her wagon. I like how they hinted at their only being 9 seasons in the song. All in all i liked it.

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This episode was pretty good if you ask me. I like that Starly and Trixie are more of a dysfunctional (to an extent) friends (unlike Mane 6 IMO) and that is what makes their relationship more interesting. Yeah, trading the wagon was not a good thing to do, but I guess the mood circumstances played their part. So yeah, I still enjoyed the episode a lot.

P.S: the song number was great ^_^

 

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A real good episode. Catchy song, relatable problems, a guest star who wasn't a jerk, good friendship moments for starlight and Trixie. I liked all the callbacks on the travel montage. The wagon meant a lot to Trixie so I am glad she got it back and ultimately her friendship with starlight stayed strong. It was also good to see Trixie perform without hecklers, she's really improved her stage magic.

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I'd probably be angry at Starlight for trading Trixie's wagon, but Trixie was the same pony who dragged her hooves when Starlight kept asking her to help find the map so... that balances it out? :pinkieshrug:

Other than that, this one was fun.

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Starlight's other episodes this season had me concerned, but I actually really enjoyed this. Trixie and Starlight are a really strong comic pairing - Starlight contrasts way more strongly with Trixie than with any of the mane six, while Trixie gets a chance to be relatively sensitive once she's paired with someone she cares about. Plus this gives them my favourite song in a long while, and it all builds to a nice moral. I have a couple minor gripes, but overall this was another very pleasant entry in season 8. 

  • That cold open is a serious contender for the best of the season. The routine is great, I loved seeing Cadance and Flurry Heart again, Granny Smith doing something crazy is always a joy to watch, and it was nice seeing Twilight and Trixie on speaking terms. And god, Starlight and Trixie are just delightful together. 
  •  Hoo'far fellow doesn't have the most distinct of personalities, but it was always fun seeing Trixie bounce off of him. "Ms. Powerful" is a quality joke. She's one of those characters who is only as strong as the jokes she's given, and here her dialogue is almost all hilarious. I wasn't entirely clear on his motivations near the end, though... why would Trixie and Starlight being friends convince him to trade the wagon back? And why did he want the smaller wagon so much in the first place? If he's just trying to help their friendship, then that's nice, but it's not entirely clear, and I think he could have done a somewhat better job of going about it. 
  • Side note: if Hoo'far was really so close to them the entire time, then presumably Starlight could have bunked with him during the night. Still, they really should have invested in earplugs, and they really ought to plan things out more. Next time, ask Twilight for help before you set off. 
  • I was really baffled by the song from "All Bottled Up," which seemed to double down on how bad Trixie and Starlight's friendship was. I'm really glad they got a normal friendship song, especially because it's easily my favourite song from this show in ages. The melody is upbeat without sounding like the millionth variation on "Winter Wrap Up." For me it's quite possibly in the top 5 best songs since the start of season 5. Seeing them sing about friendship even as stuff goes wrong is absolutely adorable. Loved it. 
  • Starlight is a much harder character to get right, at least in my perspective, but this episode more or less keeps pace with the season in giving her a certain low-key tactlessness. It also gives her fun new dorky hobbies - learning she likes board games is one of the season's best surprises yet. She's less sketchy here than in previous episodes, and while that sketchiness was one of her funniest traits, its absence does make her cuter. 
  • But I've never really liked it when this show used extreme behaviour to communicate a moral, and Starlight once again demonstrating that she doesn't realize she needs to ask for permission before she does certain things is seriously getting old by this point. I much prefer pure tactlessness being her key flaw, because compared to more generalized bad judgment, it's much easier to present in a sympethetic, smaller-scale form. I mean, I guess Trixie should have explained the wagon's importance, but it's still no fun seeing these characters behave so badly just to communicate a really simple moral. I think it might have been better if Starlight hadn't managed to complete the exchange before Trixie returned, so it would come back to the problem of boundaries without actually causing Trixie such immediate dismay. But then we wouldn't have gotten the great friendship chant scene, so I can't complain too much. 
  •  Which is ultimately why I'm glad the ultimate friendship lesson wasn't so much "ask before you give away other people's stuff" as "even a good friendship can be strained by travel," which strikes me as somewhat less juvenile. Essentially, this is similar to all sorts of sitcom episodes where two characters are cooped up together; "Stakeout" from Brooklyn Nine-Nine being a fun example. It's a familiar theme with a familiar setup, but My Little Pony isn't a show I associate with breaking new ground, and it's a solid, time-tested theme anyway. Good stuff. 
  • The only part where I wasn't having fun was while Trixie and Starlight were sleep-deprived and grumpy, because eventually it just devolved into bickering, which I don't think is the funniest thing to watch. Starlight eating the last bit of food and Trixie drinking the last bit of juice is a lot more hostile than even the interactions between Celestia and Luna in "A Royal Problem," and nothing here is quite as absurd as, say, Luna eating an entire banana peel. Eventually they're just complaining about each other, and while it's one of the show's better-executed examples of bickering in recent memory, it's still just the same song and dance we've seen a million times. They argue, they split, they eventually come back together. Even then, there's some nice timing for the reactions here, so it was nowhere near as boring as, say, "The End in Friend;" it just goes on maybe a scene too long. 
  • This does redeem itself at the end, though; Trixie standing in front of Hoo'far is funny, and those mailponies who Starlight and Trixie inspired are adorable, and the scene where the two of them finally make up is equally so. And the friendship chant, that's just glorious. Love it. 
  •  Altogether, the first half or so of this may very well have broke my top 5 for the season; if the argument had transpired a little more maturely, or at least a little less predictably, it might have solidified that position. Still, I liked this a lot. 

Score:
Entertainment: 8/10
Characters: 7/10
Themes: 9/10
Story: 7/10
Overall: 78/100

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