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Synopsis:

For the first “Ones-versary” (the 1,111th anniversary of the first time Princess Celestia raised the sun), Twilight Sparkle has written a play for the School of Friendship to perform to commemorate the event. When she sees Celestia get head-over-hooves excited about it and confess her love for the theater as a child, Twilight announces she’ll be the star of the show on the spot to give her a chance to be part of the play, in spite of the misgivings of Spike, Starlight, and the rest of the Mane Six. Their fears soon prove to be well-founded when it turns out Celestia is an abysmal actor and a stage klutz; inadvertently ruining the play’s central sun prop and giving a horrible performance. Rather than confess the truth, Twilight tries to salvage the situation by getting Celestia acting lessons while the girls try to get a new prop, but not only do they only succeed in damaging the set more but Celestia fails to get anything from the experience. Eventually, Twilight blows up in a screaming fit about the play being a disaster and Celestia’s terrible acting, unknowing that she is in earshot. Upset that she wasn’t honest with her from the start and let things get this far, Celestia flies off, but Twilight flies after her and confesses that she just wanted to do something for the individual she looks up to the most for once. Celestia ends up forgiving her and returning to the show and, taking charge as the new stage director, reorganizes the play to make up for its faults and shortcomings and manages to put a successful show on after all. Celestia is happy with this at the end; stating she only ever wanted to be part of a play, not necessarily star in one. She ends the episode shocking everyone by saying she plans to abdicate the throne to pursue theater full time…afterward smugly commenting that maybe she’s not such a bad actor after all.

Review:

I’m a bit of a sucker for Celestia episodes, especially ones that treat her as her own character rather than a MacGuffin, but even accounting for that I think this episode was a good one.

There’s a lot to like in this episode aside from another rare turn at Celestia as a normal pony. The dialog has a bit of a fanfiction-esque feel to it with the speed, delivery, and edge on some of the lines, but it still works and I think it works very well. I’m very fond of the fact that, although this is very much a Twilight and Celestia episode, all of the Mane Six, Spike, and Starlight get a chance to shine a bit in it. Initially, back in Season Six, I made the complaint that Starlight could never appear with the rest of the Mane Six unless she stood out (and usually above) the rest of them. Since that time, Starlight has gradually seemed to move into an “independent” role from the rest of the girls; becoming her own character that existed around them like Maud Pie or Trixie. This is one of the rare episodes that not only brings Starlight back into the same “sphere” as the Mane Six but actually has her on equal footing with the rest of them. In this episode, she’s very much “one of the girls”.

I also like that this episode is a bit of return to form of Spike being Twilight’s “voice of reason”. A lot of episodes have shifted Spike into his more negative light, but I like episodes like this where he pretty much keeps telling Twilight how it is and “rolling with the punches”.

On top of all that, it fleshes out more Equestria Lore. The funny part is that a lot of the Equestrian history in this episode was presented in “The Journal of the Two Sisters”, but none of that was necessarily canon. This episode cemented quite a bit of it, although it left out a few important details (such as Luna raising the moon for the first time at roughly the same point).

Twilight’s interactions with Celestia are pretty nice too, especially the big confrontation. Overall, the dialogue seems more mature in this episode than it has been with others, and Twilight and Celestia themselves seem less “formal”. For once, Twilight isn’t cowering and cringing before Celestia because she fears divine retribution or punishment but because she knows she did something bad to her friend, and a lot of the delivery that Nicole Oliver and Tara Strong give really sells that.

On a final note…the last joke of the episode kind of puts a weird spin on the rest of it. It revives the old notion of “Trollestia” all over again; the possibility that she was deliberately faking being a terrible actor. Now you go back and watch this episode and wonder just how much of all of this Celestia was aware of the whole time and if she was just trying to teach Twilight another lesson all along.

Overall, another good all-around episode.

Fun Facts:

Thanks to this episode, coupled with material from “The Journal of the Two Sisters”, we can get a ballpark figure on the time span of history of Equestria. Assuming that each season of the show represented a year, and Luna was stuck in the moon for 1,000 years, then Celestia was over 103 years old when Luna was banished. According to “Journal”, Celestia actually gained her Cutie Mark from raising the sun for the first time, and assuming she initially aged similar to a filly, then that would put her around 115-116 years of age at that time, and is currently 1124 years old.

Pinkie Pie’s giant cannon is apparently named “Big Bertha”.

The history as presented in this episode is actually very similar to the history presented in “The Journal of the Two Sisters” by Amy Keating Rogers, indicating that, for that book at least, the content inside is canon.

Although they don’t have much presence or purpose, this is the second episode to highlight the Student Six and the first following the Season Eight premiere.

Celestia debuts her own rarely-utilized “Royal Canterlot Voice”. Notice that after she uses it, even Smolder is trembling. This might in itself be another little nod to “The Journal of the Two Sisters”, as in that book the filly Celestia was able to intimidate an adult dragon with her own voice.

On Stage and Raspberry Beret (wonder how many kids got that reference…) were first introduced way back in Season Five’s “Made in Manehattan”.

Celestia sitting upright in a chair… O_o

Twilight’s wings act as an instant blow dryer. 😛 Also…that lying face. Considering how many pony expressions have become memes over the years, I’m stunned no one picked up on that one.

The giant firework has Trixie’s cutie mark on it.

So Celestia can save the day…so long as the problem that needs fixing is a play. 😛

Luna is not happy that Celestia cut in on her gig. 🙂

Rating:

3.5 Stars out of 5

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