For the first time in the series, we do not open with a two-part episode. The episodes that aired today were loosely connected with one another as we shall see.
There is a medal award ceremony for Starlight, Trixie, Discord, and Thorax for their heroism in rescuing the Mane Six, Spike, and the Royals in the previous episode. They are receive the Pink Heart of Courage. Twilight is especially glowing about pupil Starlight, but is now concerned about what happens next—a point that Discord drives home.
Twilight seeks Celestia’s advice and comes to the conclusion that, like Celestia did with Twilight, she would have to send Starlight away. But where? Twilight fantasizes about where to send her. Changeling Kingdom with Thorax, Dragon Kingdom with Dragon Lord Ember, even to the Crystal Empire to study with Sunburst. Indeed, Twilight fantasizes about the pros and cons of each and gets frazzled.
Celestia laughs this off and tells Twilight that she once had the same conundrum regarding Twilight. As a student, Twilight excelled, but also isolated herself from everypony else. So, ultimately Celestia decided to send her to Ponyville, but not right away because she fretted that she really didn’t want her to go and later not need her anymore. Twilight reassures her mentor that she still needs her every now and then and Celestia says that Starlight feels the same about her.
So Twilight declares the day Starlight’s graduation citing there’s nothing left to teach her and she’s ready to go out on her own. But Starlight isn’t ready to do that just yet, and wants to stay with Twilight a while longer—much to the relief of Twilight. Twilight gives her her present and it’s a mirror with friendship memories similar to the one Twilight has and Twilight promises to be there for Starlight.
This was a refreshing change of pace from the previous seasons. There is no real catastrophe to avert. There are no enemies to face. This is actually the denouement from the previous episode. It’s great to see Starlight’s growth and to see Celestia in a different light than we’re used to seeing. The show has had plenty of “what’s next?” type episode in recent times (e.g. “On Your Marks”), but what is there left to teach your student after she helped save Equestria? For now, Starlight feels that there is still stuff to learn from Twilight and Twilight can still be there for Starlight.
It was nice to change things up by not starting with an adventurous two-parter. This episode ticks all of the boxes for an enjoyable episode.
“All Bottled Up”
We see Starlight and Trixie in the castle kitchen. Trixie is practicing a transformation spell trying to turn a salt shaker into a teacup. After Starlight gives her some tips, Trixie is successful, but gets overenthusiastic and transforms many things into teacups and ruins Starlight’s teacakes for the Mane Six for their Friendship Retreat.
Starlight is not pleased and a red storm cloud starts to form when she starts to get angry with Trixie. Matters are not helped when Trixie tries a teleportation spell and teleports the Cutie Map instead of an apple. Meanwhile, the Mane Six go on the kind of retreats where the goal is team-building and problem solving (or the kind of thing that you probably do at your workplace every now and then). They go to an escape game where they try to find clues to a puzzle to help them escape from a room. Rainbow Dash gets motivation as there is a record to break for quickest time out.
Back to the A-plot, Starlight tries to bottle up her emotions, literally, with a spell. She and Trixie will also try to locate the map which is where Trixie was probably thinking of last before teleporting it. Trixie keeps frustrating Starlight more and more after stops at Bulk Biceps’ cinnamon nut stand, at the jeweler’s, and at Sweet Apple Acres with Granny Smith. Ultimately, things come to a head and the bottle containing Starlight’s anger breaks and infects Bulk Biceps, the jeweler, and Granny Smith who express Starlight’s frustration at Trixie.
Meanwhile, the Mane Six find the key to the room and break into song about how they are “Best Friends Until the End of Time.” It’s “A Sunshine Day” for them compared to the “Rainy Days and Mondays” that Starlight and Trixie are experiencing right now in Ponyville. However, the song pushed them past the record time by two seconds. Oh, well….
Anyway, Starlight finally gathers enough strength to drain the anger from the other three and vent at Trixie’s attitude. Trixie apologizes and Starlight lets go of her anger. The two reconcile and find the Cutie Map at the spa, where Trixie was reminiscing about when she first met Starlight. The Mane Six return unsuspecting of what happened to the map, and head off the spa (Hopefully, where the spa ponies won’t have a long-term memory if Trixie has anything to say about it.)
Anyway, this was another fun episode. I’ve always enjoyed the interaction between Starlight and Trixie and here we get an opportunity for Starlight to interact more often with someone other than Twilight. Trixie’s attitude hasn’t changed too much, but she is willing to learn from Starlight and willing to be by her side. Admittedly, the B-plot exists to give the Mane Six something fun to do, but darn the fool who doesn’t think too much about the song. After all, they have come a long way in seven seasons and it’s also nice to see the Mane Six together just having fun (and “team building” like teams at work do).
Overall, both episodes were excellent and serve as a great start to Season Seven.
Post Episode Notes:
- Both episodes featured relatable problems.
- Celestia in a different light
- Starlight’s growth as a character
- Starlight’s interactions with Trixie
- Mane Six song is very catchy.
- B-plot merely exists to give Mane Six something to do in “All Bottled Up,” though still relatable.
- Discord, Trixie, and Thorax are still in character.
GRADE (Both Episodes): A