Chrysalis, CMCs, Cutie Mark Crusaders, Derpy Hooves, King Sombra, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Nightmare Moon, Pinkie Pie, Princess Celestia, Princess Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, review, Scootaloo, Season Five, Starlight Glimmer, Sweetie Belle, Tirek, top ten, Twilight Sparkle
Well…it took a lot longer than I wanted, but at last the fifth season is over and done with.
As some of you may or may not recall, way back before the season even began I put out a list. Specifically…Ten Things I Want to See in Season Five of MLP:FIM. I wasn’t expecting to get many of them, let alone all of them, but with Season Five finally behind us…let’s see how I ended up doing.
So, to recap, the scorecard for my Top Ten list of things I wanted to see in Season Five!
10. A Y7-rated episode.
Score: No check.
The season stayed firmly grounded in Y-rated territory, with every episode, just like every one before it, rated “Y” and therefore suitable for everyone.
But…when you think about it, that’s kind of a misnomer. The fact is a lot of episodes this season seemed orientated toward the more teen persuasion. Some of the themes explored in episodes such as not selling out in the name of business, volunteering in your community, cult conformity, and the like were things that don’t really pertain to the seven-year-old-and-under crowd.
The problem with content in cartoons ever since the rating system came out is that content is confined to violence, language, and sexual matters. Anything else is fairly “off limits” unless it offends someone. That’s why MLP:FIM is mistaken for being only appropriate for little kids due to its rating. The fact is a lot of episodes this season probably went over the heads of little kids, even while they were still free to watch them.
9. Chrysalis returns.
Yes, Chrysalis did make a brief return in this season…along with King Sombra, Nightmare Moon, Tirek, and even the Flim-Flam brothers. But it doesn’t really “count” as she wasn’t the highlight villain of the episode she appeared in, and it was mostly just a “callback” appearance rather than meant to be anything significant. I kind of feel bad for Kathleen Barr, though. Neither here nor in the new Equestria Girls movie did Trixie have any lines, which means they brought her in to do three or four lines for the entire season.
8. Applejack’s background.
Score: No check.
Applejack’s background remains unexploited territory for this season. About the closest we ever come is a brief line in “Crusaders of the Lost Mark”: (To Apple Bloom) “If mom and dad were here, they’d be so proud of you.” This is actually the first mention they’ve ever even gotten the entire series, but it still does little to shed light on the situation. The implication is that they’re not there because they’ve passed away, but note that Sweetie Belle’s parents never show up that episode, nor Scootaloo’s…and the former of the two we’ve already seen in Season Two. So it’s entirely plausible that they’re “away from home”, however unlikely.
7. Derpy speaks…again.
Definitely mark this one. Not only did she finally get her voice back in “Slice of Life”, Derpy ended up being one of the main characters in that episode. I’ll note her name is now officially “Muffins”, however.
6. A “Princess Celestia” episode.
Score: No check.
If I could give this one a “minus score”, I would. Princess Celestia has represented virgin territory for the show for a couple seasons now, and yet she’s still untapped. As a matter of fact, since Twilight Sparkle became an alicorn, she has been figuring less and less into the show itself. Luna now officially is on the show as much if not more than her.
Celestia actually only had three real appearances in this season, and all were rather…awkward. The first was in “Make New Friends but Keep Discord”, in which she displayed almost more of her fan-given “Trollestia” side in which she not only loves how Discord destroyed the Grand Galloping Gala worse than the Mane Six did, but she actually snickers when Discord makes a joke at Twilight Sparkle’s expense. The second was in the fan-friendly scene in “Slice of Life” in which she and Luna basically argue like any two sisters would, but, again, this is more fanservice than anything. Finally, she showed up in a few of the dystopian universes in the season finale…but she never even had any lines (unlike Nightmare Moon).
The real irony is that Celestia’s human counterpart had more of a significant role in the third Equestria Girls movie than she did in this season…and more lines as well. Celestia actually helped out a bit in that one by covering up for the girls and standing up to Finch at the end. On that note, I think the actual Princess Celestia might be becoming the “Flash Sentry” of the series: a character the writers can’t find a purpose for.
5. More Cutie Mark Crusader “exclusive” episodes.
About the closest we came to one of the CMCs highlighting an episode solo this season was with Apple Bloom, and it’s a bit of a stretch on hers. Granted she was the only CMC in “Hearthbreakers”, but that kind of figures as that was about the whole Apple Family…not just her.
She stood out more in “Bloom & Gloom”, and, granted, the episode did indeed focus mostly on her…but at the last minute the rest of the CMCs came in. To me, the real purpose of that episode was to “cap the mini-Luna arc”. Note that in Season Three Luna visited Scootaloo in a dream, while in Season Four Luna visited Sweetie Belle in a dream. This was completing the set and, in retrospect, paving the way for “Crusaders of the Lost Mark”.
While this season featured the best CMC episode ever, the only one it really gave a chance to “shine” is Apple Bloom…which, again, is kind of a tragedy to me. But with the CMCs now having their Cutie Marks, I’m optimistic that will change in Season Six.
On that note…
4. Give the CMCs their damn Cutie Marks already.
Score: Check and double-check.
I don’t think it was quite as good as everyone made it out to be…but it was still phenomenal. I honestly wasn’t expecting this to happen, but not only did it happen, it did so in a way that blew the similar-themed “Magical Mystery Cure” out of the water. Rightly rated as one of the best episodes in the series, I’ll praise this one more when I get to the actual review.
3. Rainbow Dash becomes a Wonderbolt.
Score: No check.
“Rarity Investigates!” featured Rainbow Dash filling in for an actual Wonderbolt who was stripped of his rank, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s any higher than the Wonderbolt Reserve. Therefore, I’d say this plot thread is one that is still unresolved and is prime material for a Season Six or series finale episode.
However, it’s worth noting that Rarity’s own dream from the series pilot, which was not nearly as publicized or highlighted but is no less special, was fulfilled in this season with her opening a franchise in Canterlot.
2. Nightmare Rarity.
Score: No check, BUUUUUT…
Obviously Nightmare Rarity from the comics never showed up, and if she had I would have been far more aghast than I was at the CMCs getting their Cutie Marks this season. That said…
The “Nightmare Rarity” arc really featured two main factors to it. One was Nightmare Rarity herself, with the idea that one of the Mane Six was corrupted into a dark version of herself obsessed with power. Well…that theme was kinda-sorta hit on in “Equestria Girls: Friendship Games”. While it was Sci-Twi who temporarily turned evil, the implication was clearly there that this was a “dark version” of the Princess Twilight Sparkle we all know and love. She didn’t quite have the charisma or sense of doom, however.
The other factor was that Princess Luna had to learn to stop letting her guilt over her actions as Nightmare Moon stop her from being the best she could be now, and that the ponies of Equestria are behind her. That theme was definitely handled in “Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?” Maybe not quite as “epicly” as the comic, but it was definitely the highlight of the episode.
So while we may never see Nightmare Rarity on the show, we definitely got some “vibes” from it. I’d rate this as “half a check” if I could.
1. Go out with a bang, not a whimper.
Score: (Deep breath)…No check.
This season had a lot of episodes that were full of heart. It lacked ones that were sillier and funnier, but it had a good share of those. It made viewers feel for a lot of side characters and new characters. So…it’s rather disappointing that it ended on a note with Starlight Glimmer rather spontaneously “becoming good” after revealing she was only evil for an extremely petty reason.
My biggest fear coming out of this season is that the finale will actually “taint” the rest of it. This was actually a really good season. In certain ways, it might have been the best thus far. But I’m afraid what happened with Starlight Glimmer in the finale might ruin all of it and leave it with a more “sour” taste in one’s mouth.
Time will tell.
Final Score: 4 out of 10
That’s not as bad as it sounds. Some of those are effectively “half” so in reality it’s more 5 out of 10, while I expected only 2 out of 10 at the most. Welp…there’s always next season (for now…)…
That and the feature film.