Twilight Sparkle and the girls are headed off for a “Friendship Retreat” in the form of an Escape Room, leaving Starlight Glimmer and Spike to “castle-sit” and Starlight to use the opportunity to teach Trixie more magic. However, Trixie’s self-centered and thoughtless attitude ends up causing a series of mishaps that progressively annoy Starlight, culminating in her misfiring a teleportation spell and ending up sending the Cutie Map to an unknown location. Starlight seethes in rage at this, which threatens to manifest itself in her magic. Afraid that an angry outburst will cause her to lose her friendship with Trixie, she instead literally bottles up her anger each time it manifests and, staying faux calm and pleasant, takes Trixie on a walk around town to try and find out what place she was thinking of when she cast the teleport spell in order to find the map. Unfortunately, Trixie’s selfish nature only leads them on a fruitless wild goose chase and causes Starlight to bottle so much of her anger she grows emotionally drained. When Trixie finally notices what she’s been doing, she accidentally causes the bottle to break, spreading her anger to Granny Smith, Bulk Biceps, and a jeweler pony…who now act out Starlight’s rage on Trixie. Starlight manages to call the anger back into herself, but as a result she finally vents her own anger on a clueless Trixie and, after she’s done, apologizes for not having made it clearer earlier when her anger was still minimal. This prompts Trixie to finally apologize for her own behavior and reassure her that she wouldn’t break off her friendship with Starlight over her losing her temper. The two reconciling prompts Trixie to remember that she was thinking of when the two first met when she was performing the teleportation spell, leading them to find the Cutie Map at the spa. The two get it back to the castle just as the girls come back from their retreat, only for them to immediately suggest they all take a trip to the spa. Trixie suggests Starlight use a spell to wipe the minds of the spa ponies to forget the map was there; and when Starlight cynically asks if she’s learned nothing from the experience, she answers if she did they wouldn’t have any fun.
Most fans liked “Celestial Advice” pretty well. This one was less well received by many, but…I personally thought it was great.
I’ve realized at this point that if you’re a fan you either love and adore Trixie or you want to stab her with sharp, pointy knives. I was standoffish to her in her first couple appearances, but…since pairing her with Starlight, I like her a lot. I honestly think she plays off of Starlight really well in all of their appearances; and that deciding to make her “besties” with Starlight was probably one of the best moves the writers ever did to put Starlight in the cast. However, it can be difficult during some viewings as my (pega)sister is in the camp that utterly loathes Trixie and her rampant self-centeredness and thoughtlessness. She was seething about as much as Starlight was in this episode.
For me, I think that’s part of her appeal as a character. While in “Boast Busters” and “Magic Duel” her over-the-top ego and arrogance were played up as minor villain traits, when she’s in a situation where she’s an “ally” I think they make her a pretty good comedic character. And in all fairness, I do honestly believe Trixie does learn from her mistakes…it’s just that she’s not nearly as “good a student” as Twilight or Starlight and she needs remedial lessons from time to time. While she is still constantly selfish and unthinking, deep down inside she isn’t doing it on purpose–she’s just gone so long in her life without any real friends it’s a case of “old habits die hard”. It’s going to take her a while to learn empathy and for all her near-continuous slip-ups she is trying.
On top of all that, while it was a bit “slap over the head” with the metaphor, it did teach a friendship lesson that hadn’t been covered yet: that just bottling up your emotions is never healthy, either for you or for your friends.
So as another Starlight/Trixie episode, I think this one is very nice.
The only problem was Starlight and Trixie didn’t provide enough material for a 22 minute episode, so they included the rather pointless subplot/song with the Mane Six and the Escape Room. There really wasn’t anything fun or entertaining in that one. The song “Best Friends Until the End of Time” was kind of nice for a padding song, although, in my opinion, it would be blown away by “Flawless” in the second half of the season. But while there wasn’t anything really outrageous or amazing that came from the Escape Room subplot, it was “subtle” enough to where it didn’t seem to be overt padding and therefore wasn’t distracting. Spike, in this episode, is played perfectly straight and…I think that was the best thing for him in an episode where he wouldn’t have to feature.
So while a lot of fans thought of this as a step backward from the first episode, I liked it immensely, and it made me feel really good for what would be coming the rest of the season.
While it had definitely been hinted for a while that Trixie isn’t as good at magic as Twilight or possibly even many unicorns, this episode established that she’s not good at magic at all. This is somewhat at odds with her original appearance in “Boast Busters”…unless she was clever enough to set up only tricks that would outdo everyone who tried to show her up.
Starlight nicknames Trixie: “Trix”. :3 Trixie’s own nickname for her, “Mini Twilight”, is not so nearly well received. 😛
Earlier in “May the Best Pet Win”, there was a joke that seemed to be a fourth-wall break by Fluttershy: “should we sing about it again?”. This episode established the girls are actually consciously aware of the times they break into song.
Spike’s comic is apparently the pony version of “Archie”, with pony Archie and pony Jughead on it.
This episode hints that magic is tied to emotional state. Technically, that might have been hinted as early as the first episode as “friendship is magic”, but the only other real time that factored in was in “The Crystal Empire” when both Celestia and Twilight had to use magic based off of anger and hate to unlock King Sombra’s secret passages.
“Best Friends Until the End of Time”, unfortunately, set a trend for this season in which money was saved by repeating the same bits of songs both visually and in audio. I know they’re trying to save money, but…songs are normally added to pad an episode in the first place. Recycling animation during them just makes it even worse for me, especially since the girls walking forward in a line is one of the few times in the show the fact that it’s Flash-animated really sticks out.
In both the scenes leading up to it and during the song, the lines of the Mane Six and Trixie/Starlight’s lines match up with each other. The funniest one is the end, in which Rainbow Dash’s “Aw nuts.” is turned into “AAAAAH!” “NUTS!”.
As I said in my last review, Kelly Sheridan’s voice acting is possibly the best on the show. The long monologue she gives after Starlight reabsorbs her anger perfectly crescendos from her still sounding tired and drained to blowing up in rage.
3.5 Stars out of 5