My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Hasbro.
Episode directed by Denny Lu and Tim Stuby
We’re back for the last time this year as we’ve reached the end of My Little Pony’s sixth season! It’s not always the best show out there as episodes like The Cart Before the Ponies or 28 Pranks Later have clearly proven, but it’s always deflating to get to the end of a season knowing that it’ll be quite some time before they pick things back up again; especially considering they just released the latest Equestria Girls movie instead of waiting a bit and using it to tide us over between now and season seven. WHAT DO I HAVE LEFT!? Oh wait, they’re still making the comics. That should work! Anyway, does this episode cap off the sixth season on a high note and leave us wanting more, or will we begging for it to be over as soon as possible? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins at Twilight’s Doom Fortress where the three primary residents, Twilight, Starlight, and the slave boy, are moving books into the basement because there’s not enough room left upstairs. Wait, does her castle actually double as a library or is this her personal hoard? I mean, it’s not like the small town of Ponyville was swimming in libraries BEFORE Tirek torched Golden Oaks to the ground, so you’d think Twilight AT LEAST owes that much to the city. Oh I’m sorry, were Twilight and Starlight talking about friendship or something? I wasn’t payment that much attention and neither was Spike for that matter who wanders off from the conversation to look out the window. A wise move considering there’s something heading right for them at terminal velocity.
Oh look! It’s a literal bearer of bad news as Muffins is here to bring a letter to Starlight with a request from her former cult to return to the city for some sort of Sunset Celebration. By the way, what kind of celebration is THAT? IT HAPPENS EVERY DAY!! Now I would be just as skeptical as she is about this considering what she DID to that town, but Twilight doesn’t seem to understand her hesitation and thinks it’s a great idea for her to go back. After the opening credits, it cuts directly to her in the town and being… laughed at? Okay, well I guess this is a kid’s show and a mob full of villagers wielding pitchforks and torches would have been a bit much, but that’s hardly relevant as it turns out to be a dream anyway which brings us to our first indication that this is the season finale. LUNA CAMEO!!
Luna tells her to woman up or shut up before leaving (thereby completing her contractual obligations for this season) and Starlight conveys this message to the Mane6 during one of their Knights of the Friendship Table meetings. Everyone seems to agree with that reasoning; of course assuming that an invitation means that the villagers want her there for GOOD reasons rather than VENGEFUL ones. Okay fine, chances are we aren’t going to get the trial of the century here once she strolls into town, but what the hell else can the village and its citizens do that would be interesting? Why focus on these unimportant ponies and their block party when we could be fighting off some monster or someone who was in the original MLP series? Oh well. I’m SURE they have something planned once Starlight makes it to the village, but first she’s decided she needs a chaperone (or bodyguard) to accompany her on the journey. I wonder who she’ll pick…
Okay then! This is automatically the best episode ever as no amount of in-depth story analysis can disprove that Trixie is the best and that these two together is even better! My favorite episode of the season up to this point is still probably No Second Prances because of that and because of the unique perspective that these two bring to the series; both being former villains but not so reformed as to lose everything that made them interesting (*cough* Sunset Shimmer *cough*). Sure, you can say the same about Discord, but he’s so above everything due to his godhood status that he can easily disengage from the rest of society outside of Fluttershy, while these two are stuck dealing with their pasts on a daily basis and a world that probably resents them more than they are leading on. Hell, isn’t that why Starlight is so apprehensive right now and needs someone to give her moral support? Who better to back her up than someone who did the exact same thing to Ponyville? Who else would be able to understand what Starlight is going through when all her other friends are literal paragons of virtue and will approach most issues from a place of moral superiority?
The two of them leave for the celebration and arrive at the Village of the Damned where everyone is merrily going about their business with preparations for the festival. Then they see Starlight and ALL hell breaks loose! Now obviously they don’t arrest her and put on a show trial before executing her for crimes against pony-anity, but their behavior right now is far from ideal as EVERYONE in town starts running up to her and trying to get her advice on all sorts of things. At first, I thought they were just a bunch of fame seekers looking to ride on her coattails now that she’s besties with the Princess of Friendship, but they seem to instead just want her to be back in charge again. SURE! How could that POSSIBLY go wrong!? Maybe they ARE trying to ruin her life again the same way assholes will offer alcoholics free drinks or if you gave Charlie Sheen a bag of tiger blood. Luckily Trixie is there to help and proves how AMAZING of a friend she is by literally smoke-bombing their way out of town and away from those walking talking relapse triggers.
On the way back home with her tail between her legs, Starlight lets it be clear that she isn’t too happy about feeling so helpless around them, but Trixie assures her that it’s not her fault and that going through that kind of crap helps no one; especially not the Princess of Friendship who just threw her to the wolves without much consideration about what will happen. Again, how amazing of a friend is Trixie? Can we just get a show with these two already!? Trixie and Starlight make it back to Ponyville sometime later, but of course things seem to have changed while they were gone as the Mane6 are acting rather strange and Spike in particular is being a total prick.
Oh great! She leaves for ONE DAY, has a panic attack, and now the world has been gone into chaos! That’ll teach her… for something… I guess. So what the hell is going on exactly? Well she finds out during her dream that night when she sees Luna again, only now it’s on less jovial terms as she only has enough time to warn Starlight that the Mane6 have been taken over by Changelings as has most of Canterlot.
So not only is Trixie a main character here, but we’re getting the return of Queen Chrysalis!? What the hell did I do to deserve such an amazing episode!? It’s basically the first story arc of the MLP comic, only with Starlight and Trixie in the lead!! Speaking of which, Starlight should probably let her know what’s up.
It takes a bit of coxing to get Trixie out of her caravan, but she wakes up quickly once she’s told they’re in an Invasion of the Body Snatchers situation and need to find out what the Changelings are up to. Trixie, not having much of a choice (even though I’m sure she’d rather just ride this out by hiding in her trailer for the next few weeks), goes with Starlight to the castle and check in on those fake Mane6 ponies to see what they are up to.
Their expert espionage skills (i.e. cracking the door open) allow them to listen in on the secret magic conference call the Fake6 has with Queen Chrysalis which just confirms what Luna has already told us. How far the Changelings’ reach goes is still not entirely known, which means Trixie and Starlight can’t trust anyone and have to come up with a solution on their own. The good news is that after leaving the castle (narrowly escaping from the Fake6 who heard something outside the door), they DO manage to run into someone else who is no doubt an ally in their cause. The bad news is that Trixie is a TAD bit out of the loop on things and wasn’t ready for this latest twist.
Oh look! They managed to find something for Thorax to do! His job at the moment is to foreshadow a revelation for later (his wings look different, BUT WHY!?) as well as let us all know that the Crystal Kingdom is already taken over which means the Changelings managed to capture ALL the magic princesses. Now I would have preferred if this explanation came with a flashback so we can see HOW Thorax managed to escape or the circumstances behind the secret takeover as the scene right now is entirely tell instead of show, but I guess it serves it purpose of explaining why all the super powered ponies are out of commission and why we’re gonna have to rely on this rag tag group of freedom fighters to save the day. Wait, isn’t there someone else who hasn’t been mentioned yet and could easily save the day?
Well I was thinking The Smooze, but I guess Q will do just fine. Apparently he isn’t aware that the Mane6 have been taken which is why he doesn’t seem too concerned about the coup, but when Starlight tells him that Fluttershy has been taken… well he doesn’t take it very well. Immediately he transports them to the center of the Changeling Kingdom to turn Chrysalis into a duck or something, but his magic doesn’t seem to be working correctly and only manages to take them to the outskirts of the kingdom which is abuzz with hundreds of Changelings ready to suck out every last ounce of love from any foolhardy intruder and leave them as bummed out husks of their former self! Can these four second stringers manage to save the day? Well I guess we’ll find out in Part 2!!
WHY!? WHY COULDN’T EVERY EPISODE BE THIS GOOD!? It’s not just the fact that we have the usual Epic Finale that made this the highlight of the season; it was the character moments with Starlight and Trixie that expanded upon what made their relationship work so well in No Second Prances. It feels like the show doesn’t really know what to do with her most of the time as her Non-Trixie episodes seem content on rehashing the same kind of lessons the Mane6 had already worked out in the first four seasons, and they just haven’t been all that interesting when she simply serves as a means by which to convey the moral of the story. Here though? She’s really great and works well with the rest of the characters she comes across. Trixie is the one she obviously has the best chemistry with, but her brief interactions with Thorax and Discord also show some dimension to her that’s mostly absent in her other episodes. Let’s see if they can keep up this level of excellence in the next one!
The episode begins with Discord still kvetching about his powers not teleporting them directly into the hive so that he can save Fluttershy as heroically as possible and Trixie taking pot shots at him for being an arrogant jerk who doesn’t think before acting. Gee. Where have I seen that before…
Discord tries again to use his magic to no avail which gives Thorax enough time to get a word in edgewise and explains that ALL magic, besides Changeling magic and I guess Trixie’s MAGIC!, is negated once you get within a certain radius of the kingdom due to Chrysalis’s throne being carved of a Dark Stone. Apparently that’s a thing in this world and this revelation certainly isn’t the best news to hear when three of your four combatants are magic users. After crowd sourcing ideas and coming up with nothing from her teammates, Starlight decides the best plan is to destroy the throne itself which will allow Discord to unleash all manner of chaos on the kingdom. I’m not sure how you DESTROY a stone as I’d assume the pieces would still contain whatever properties allow it to negate magic, but whatever. If the mission is Changeling genocide, they first need to get to the palace which means a whole lot of walking and a whole lot of complaining from Discord. The complaining by the way (as well as his inexperience with walking this far) gives them the idea to come up with a secret code in case they get separated and run into a Changeling, so file “Klutzy Draconequss” away for now as I’m sure that’s gonna come up later. They eventually make it to the central palace and even sneak past the guards which you’d think would be harder, especially considering they have a ten foot tall God of chaos and pony wearing a giant hat.
The palace itself is a hive made of shifting parts that apparently only Changelings are able to navigate successfully which means that Thorax has a reason to be here; less so Trixie and Discord who are still spending most of their time arguing with each other and making a lot of noise doing so. Starlight is just about done with all of this and these two are lucky her powers aren’t working or else they’d get more than a stern talking to right now.
Apparently her frustration here is supposed to tie back to her being uneasy back at the Sunset Celebration with her former cult, but it really feels like a stretch here. I don’t know why she’s so adverse to taking charge NOW when in Every Little Thing She Does, she didn’t have much of a problem getting back into her old habits, and I don’t think the message we were supposed to take from that episode is that she needed to be scarred for life into avoiding responsibilities or taking a leadership role. With the cult in the last episode, I can understand the aversion to that as it’s an unavoidable reminder to her own past mistakes, but she’s never shown a problem with facing NEW challenges (her issues are always centered around trying to avoid what she did before her reformation), so why are they bringing it up now? I guess it fills up a bit of time between them entering the hive and Thorax inevitably getting them all lost (a great lot of help HE turned out to be) which gives Trixie a chance to start pouting. Oh, and she also asks Thorax about how often Changelings feed which is the PERFECT opportunity to get back to that whole Wings Changing thing from the last episode. Apparently Thorax hasn’t had to feed on love since he made friends in the Crystal Empire which more than likely is why his wings are so sparkly now (though no one else seems to be picking up on that). On the one hand, we now have a clear path to the Changelings not having to go extinct in order for Equestria to be safe, but on the other hand I get the feeling this may lead to Chrysalis no longer being a villain which would be a major loss. We’ll have to see how it plays outs, but I’m hoping the writers have something better up their sleeve than yet another redemption story. Besides, we’ve got a chase scene to focus on now as Discord is acting like a loudmouth idiot again and woke a bunch of Changelings up. Starlight proves once again that she’s a natural leader by coming up with a plan to avoid capture (it involves more smoke bombs) and it ends up working so well that they end up following their pursuers straight to Queen Chrysalis’s inner chamber.
The place is crawling with guards, which means they need some sort of distraction so they can get through; meaning someone’s gonna have to stay behind so the rest can move on. Well considering all he can do is complain, Discord has the honor thrust upon him and tires out his stand-up routine on the Changelings while the others sneak into the… umm… inner sanctum. It goes even better for the B Team than expected because Discord somehow manages to escape his pursuers (tough crowd) and even finds Fluttershy on the way back! Well isn’t THAT convenient! Unless… IT’S A TRAP!! Okay, it wasn’t THAT convincing of a trap, but then it turns out that there’s like forty Changelings pretending to be Fluttershy… and I’m not sure what happens next. Okay, so Discord doesn’t fall for the one pretending to be Fluttershy, but what about there being even MORE fake Fluttershy’s makes the situation any worse other than their ability to tackle him?
We cut back to the rest of the B Team which means we don’t get an answer to this, but it’s clear that he must have gotten captured as a Fake Discord meets back up with them. How do they know he’s fake? Because he doesn’t know the password Klutzy Draconequss! See? That WAS important! The Fake Discord tries to lead the group down one of two paths which Thorax quietly points out is a classic Changeling trap where one side has a bunch of them ready to pounce. Why they didn’t put Changelings in BOTH paths just to cover their basis is goes unexplained, but this means that yet again they need to leave one behind so that they can distract the Fake Discord and his crew while the other two escape. Wait, what is Trixie doing!? NO!! NOT HER!! SHE’S THE BEST ONE!! Starlight is feeling the same way I do and doesn’t feel she can handle this on her own, but Trixie lets her know that she has always been a great leader and can absolutely do this with or without her, and… I’m gonna need a minute. And some Aerosmith…
So now that the best pony just voluntarily gave up her remaining screen time in order to save the day, Starlight and Thorax make a mad dash for the throne room so they can destroy the Dark Stone once and for all! They get split up due to being chased yet again, but Starlight manages to find her way and runs straight into Chrysalis along with everyone else in giant pods; including the Mane6 and Celestia. I’m not sure what the tactical advantage was to dragging them all the way out to the Changeling palace instead of finding a nice closet to store them in where they were originally captured, but whatever. Without magic, Starlight doesn’t really stand a chance here and is captured immediately which means Chrysalis can monologue about how awesome she is. But wait! It was a trick! The pony they captured was actually Thorax which successfully distracted the Changelings while Starlight tries to destroy the Black Stone Throne!
With a rock.
Well THAT was a total dud! I don’t know what she was thinking when she mortgaged all her friends’ sacrifices on this one idea, but I guess now she has to come up with plan B fast. She lets Chrysalis ramble on about her plans in search of some sort of weakness, and she does manage to find something. Chrysalis needs love to keep her hive alive and there are no greater recipients of love than those in power. Just ask Barrack Obama. Of course, Thorax hasn’t had a need to feed for some time now, so while so maybe making friends is the key to self-sustainability rather than sucking the life out of everyone. Before Chrysalis can turn her into an empty husk, Starlight puts forth her theory that not being a jerk could keep them alive, but Chrysalis isn’t about to risk her whole hive on some hippie-dippie theory about giving peace a chance. Fair enough I guess. I mean, if it was THAT easy to NOT starve to death, you’d think they would have figured it out by now… right?
Oh look, that’s exactly what they needed to do. Apparently Thorax was SO full of love that Chrysalis attempt to suck it all out of him (making him an example to the other Changelings as to what happens to traitors) completely backfires and propels her away through the sheer force of… love power I guess. Not only that, but apparently we’re going the X-Men route on this in that good guys have to be good looking too, and so Thorax transforms into… something. I don’t know; he looks kind of like something out of Princess Mononoke.
Not only that, but ALL the other Changelings just decide as of right now to be super beautiful bug-deer abominations as well and they all start transforming too… which apparently they could have done at any time if it’s THIS easy, and they also destroy that Black Stone Throne in the process; resolving that little subplot rather nicely. You know, at least when the Crystal Ponies got all crystal-fied (before they just gave up on that gimmick) there was a Crystal Heart they had to find and some evil mo-fo they had to destroy. Here? Just wish for it, and all you ugly ducklings can turn into swans! Well… not ALL of them. Queen Chrysalis is the last holdout and rejects Starlight’s offer of redemption; preferring to run off into the distance and plot her vengeance against them all. I wonder what happened to the Alicorn Amulet. Does Twilight have that?
So we do get to keep Chrysalis around for at least one more villain fight which is good, but what made her interesting, aside from her REALLY cool design, is that she was a Queen and therefore on an equal playing field to Celestia. Say what you will about her, she always had a clear goal in mind which is to give her people what they need to survive which is love. Sure, she can be ego-maniacal at times (and even a jerk to her own subjects which we saw in the first story arc of the comics), but she wasn’t out and out evil for the sake of it like Sombra or OG Discord. Without her people to protect, who by the way were REAL quick to drop her ass even though I’m pretty sure she’s STILL the only one who can give birth to new Changelings, all she can do is repeat Starlight’s story from season five where her motivation is purely that of petty revenge which isn’t nearly as interesting. We’ll have to see what they come up with in the future, but this really feels like a poor send off for the Changelings who are now good because reasons and I guess will be following Thorax now.
Well it looks like everything’s fine and dandy now that all the important characters have been freed from their cocoon-y doom and the Changelings are no longer a threat to Equestria… unless they’re still evil underneath those friendly facades. Oh well! No time to worry about that! There’s still one subplot left to resolve and that’s for Starlight to go back to the Sunset Celebration (flanked by all her friends and the royal families of course) to conquer her fear of… giving orders I guess. They accept her with open arms and the episode, as well as the season, ends with one last pissing contest between Trixie and Discord. Well at least that idea hasn’t been run into the ground just yet, so why not?
The second episode unfortunately doesn’t work as well as the first one, but that’s almost unavoidable when the buildup is as good as the first episode was. The payoff just didn’t come together for me, and too much of this felt overly convenient. How do we stop an invasion that’s already captured the most powerful creatures in all of Equestria, INCLUDING the literal God of Chaos? With the power of LOVE of course! Even if it makes no sense that THAT magic still works in the presence of the Black Stone Throne, as well as the subsequent redemption of the ENTIRE Changeling populace, but who cares!? Happy ending all around! Starlight still managed to be better in here than she was for most of the season, and her relationship with Trixie is still the best thing the series has going for it right now, but the first part is definitely better as it focuses much more on those aspects that work so well. Let’s just hope that the next season builds even further on the successes of this season with Starlight and Trixie being breakout stars, but drop some of the dead weight that is still holding this show back in a lot of places such as the less than stellar Cutie Map episodes (which SHOULD be the highlights) and the meandering Cutie Mark Crusaders episodes that still haven’t found much for them to do since they got their marks. Look, all I’m saying is that a Trixie spin-off with her going all over Equestria is probably not the worst idea they could try!
So now that the season has come to an end, what does the future hold for this franchise? Well, we’re definitely getting a season seven as this is still a major cash cow for them, but the big question hanging over the future of this series is how the movie is going to affect things and whether necessary resources will be pulled away from the show to get the movie out on time. That seems to have been the case with season three as it was being made alongside Equestria Girls, and it definitely shows as it’s still the worst season so far. Will we have to deal with that all over again next year? Only time will tell, though I’m hoping that Hasbro can afford to add resources instead of splitting the existing ones if they want to make a movie, but this is also the studio that greenlit a found footage Jem an the Holograms movie, so who knows. Of course, there’s also the question of how the film will fit into the continuity of the series (Equestria Girls managed to skirt this pretty well by setting everything in another dimension) but there’s no point speculating on that this early in the process as the movie is about a year away and we don’t have many details to work with right now. Until then though, I hope you enjoyed not only this recap but the ones for every other episode this season, and I hope you all come back once the next season starts. That will be in like two weeks… right?