Tag: review

SU Review: The Heart of the Crystal Gems

Sometimes you have to tear things apart before you rebuild. That happened to Garnet (Ruby and Sapphire) after the discovery that Rose Quartz was actually Pink Diamond in disguise and that she faked her shattering with the help of Pearl. It was Pink who didn’t want to destroy the Earth and started a rebellion as Rose—partly inspired by Garnet’s first fusion.

After Amethyst tells Steven that she refuses to unload millennia of her problems onto Steven while he is already dealing with his own feelings in a rare show of maturity in “What’s Your Problem?”, they find Ruby playing cowboy and enjoying her new solitary life—or so it seemed. She can’t stop thinking about Sapphire. Ruby then proposes to Sapphire and that they can be together when apart and can be Garnet when they want to.

Before the wedding, Steven decides to invite a special guest for the 150th episode—Bismuth. Steven convinces Bismuth that the Gems will welcome her with open arms and not attack because she tried to shatter Steven. Bismuth becomes the maid of honor and it’s time for a wedding (after a nice song by Steven).

Ruby and Sapphire become Garnet once again and the party is on before it gets interrupted by Yellow and Pink Diamond. They go after the Cluster, but the Cluster is in control of itself and it fights off Yellow. Meanwhile, Blue Diamond tries to stop everyone through her grief, but Garnet holds her long enough for Lapis to return and smash her with the barn. Joy is only temporary as the Diamonds regroup and unconvinced that Steven is Pink Diamond.

Steven is disembodied temporarily, but can enter people’s, gems’ and diamond’s minds and is finally able to convinced Yellow and Blue of the fake shattering. To be continued for the next arc…

This is by far the best of the Steven Bomb arcs. It basically shattered (no pun intended) the back stories of Rose and making the most of Ruby and Sapphire as individuals and as a couple. Amethyst finally tells Steven what he perhaps needed to be told in that he shouldn’t carry more crosses than need be. And yes, “Reunited” was epic (apart from the sudden ending).

In five episodes, this show is about to put the previous 146 in the past and start off on a new course for whatever is left of Season Five and for Season Six. Sometimes, you have to tear things apart before you rebuild. What has come out of this arc looks magnificent.

GRADES:
“Now We’re Only Falling Apart” B+
“What’s Your Problem” A-
“The Question” A+
“Made of Honor” A
“Reunited” A

StatManDan

MLP Review: The Mean 6

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong with it.”
—To A Mouse, by Robert Burns

While the Mane Six and Starlight go on a retreat near the Tree of Harmony, Chrysalis plans to clone versions of the Mane Six to steal the Elements of Harmony—and get revenge on Starlight which she swore to do in the end of “To Where and Back Again”. Things go awry straight away when the clones are more in line from the Discorded Six we saw in “The Return of Harmony.” The Fake Twilight proves to be even more devious when she plans to betray Chrysalis once she and the other clones get the elements.

We go through the standard interactions between real and fake Mane 6 and before the Fake Six go after the Elements and the real Mane Six and Starlight make-up thinking that they were giving each other a hard time. However, the Fake Twilight betrays Chrysalis, but in a twist, the Tree of Harmony grabs the fakes and turns them back into the clumps of wood they were originally. In other words, the Tree knows fakes when it sees them, and Chrysalis flies off in disgust.

Note that the Mane Six and Starlight and Chrysalis do not meet each other (or at least realized it was Chrysalis in disguise at the beginning taking photos and hair samples). So the Mane Six have literally no idea that Chrysalis was around. Chrysalis simply did not think this plan through from not realizing that her clones would embody the opposite of the personalities of the ponies she is cloning. I do give the episode credit for giving the clone Twilight some depth as well. There’s already a meme that she is/was the most competent villain the show has had.

The only bad spot is that the interactions/mix-ups with the real and fake Mane Six get to be a bit tedious throughout the second act. I do like that Twilight stops her group’s bickering by admitting she got carried away with her schedule. It’s not the best of Season Eight, but it is in line with the more recent episodes of the season making that in the higher end of Season Eight.

GRADE: A-

So that is the first half of the season. If I were to rank this episode among the other Episode 13’s of previous seasons, here’s how it would go (I exclude Season Three since that was only 13 episodes):

1. The Perfect Pear (S7)
2. Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep (S5)
3. Stranger Than Fan Fiction (S6)
4. The Mean 6 (S8)
5. Simple Ways (S4)
6. Fall-Weather Friends (S1)
7. Baby Cakes (S2)

StatManDan

MLP Review: Marks for Effort

The Cutie Mark Crusaders, bored of the Ponyville School, wants to enroll in Twilight’s School of Friendship. They can’t though because they are overqualified and they are bad actors in trying to convince the Mane Six that they need more lessons in friendship.

The CMC come across a pegasus pony named Cozy Glow (who has a rook for a cutie mark) who needs help with her friendship lessons. The CMC help her to good effect and in preparation for an exam. Everything seems OK, but Cozy Glow failed the test and Twilight blames the CMC for deliberately giving her bad lessons.

Enter guidance counselor Starlight Glimmer. Cozy Glow tells Starlight that she intentionally failed the test because, in her words, she wanted to help the CMC get in the school. Starlight straightens everything out, now that she has something to do, and the CMC become on-staff tudors with honorary degrees.

Well, we were wondering how the Ponyville school we’ve know since the start of the show was going to factor in all of this. Of course, it’s similar to Arthur when there’s Mr. Ratburn’s class and Ms. Sweetwater’s class. This episode is much better for the CMC to be in and you have them doing what they have been doing since Season Six only now they have a role in Twilight’s school.

But it is Starlight who really completes the episode as she apparently had nothing to do for a while (and she hasn’t been seen since “The Parent Map”). She quickly became the funniest and best part of this episode.

The last few episodes have been much better from the show and make the school look more functionable for Season Eight.

Of course on a side, if you have read ahead on the synopses for the next 14 episodes of the season and/or saw the leaked episodes, do a favor for those who have kept away from any and all spoilers of that nature and not ruin it for them.

GRADE: A

StatManDan

MLP Review: Molt Down

The episode begins with Spike and Rarity looking for phoenix feathers for a new dress design (and to see PeeWee who has grown up). However, Spike is acting odd because he has developed a stone scale which is like a pimple. The stone scales spread all over his face and he also has sporadic indigestion and extreme shifts in volume when speaking.

Smolder explains that Spike is going through a natural process called during adolescence “molt”. However, one of the after effects of molt is that the molting dragon, much like when members of Menudo reach the age of 16, will be kicked out of the nest by the family (and also becoming prey for rocs). Not wanting to go through that, Spike sees Zecora to see if there is a cure, for which there is none. Rarity sees Zecora because working with phoenix feathers has affected her hearing, so Zecora gives her a potion while Spike leaves the hut.

However, Zecora finds spike hiding not from Rarity, but from a roc. The roc captures both Zecora and Rarity while Twilight tries to fight it. Meanwhile, Spike goes through a final stage of molting which including being encompassed in a stone cocoon, breaking out of wing, and growing wings. (Congratulations, Josh Haber. You’re the new M.A. Larson.)

Spike fies to help Twilight defeat the roc and save Zecora and Rarity. Also, “molt effect” does not automatically mean Spike has to leave Twilight as this is Equestria and typical dragon customs don’t always apply. Now Spike’s wings make him a better model for Rarity’s dresses!

This Spike episode, is closer to “Equestria Games” and “The Times They Are A Changeling” than most Spike episodes. There was a wonder when and if Spike would get wings and/or grow up. Here’s your answer. Now, there will be more speculation on whether Scootaloo will ever fly. Well, the next episode is a CMC episode….but I digress.

Handling Spike going through a form of natural puberty was handled quite well. Spike is doing desperate things during the episode, but they are not over the top as in other Spike episodes. It just let’s Spike go through the process while things are happening around him and he gets to save Rarity for once! So overall, this is one of the better Spike episodes and does invoke a major change in the show and now there is another flyer in the cast.

GRADE: A

StatManDan

MLP Review: The Break Up Break Down

I cut to the chase and say that this was a good episode apart from one part being telegraphed and one part extraneous.

The telegraphed part is of course Big Mac thinking (mistakenly) that Sugar Belle is in Ponyville to break up with him. The extraneous part is the whole thing with the CMC and thinking Sweetie Belle may have a secret admirer after the postal mix-up. I guess there needed to be a B-plot in this story and something else for Big Mac to bounce off of.

Now let’s get to the good parts. Discord is actually making an effort to be helpful and cheer up Big Mac. The part with “Skelanor” was quite humorous. Spike was good in this one too to tie in with “guys’ night”.

Long story short, Sugar Belle is taking a part-time apprenticeship with Mrs. Cake while her cousin is running the bakery in Starlight’s old village on weekends (to be on his own for once apparently). Of course, Discord “stalled” Sugar Belle so that Big Mac can square things away with her.

So overall, a better effort from last week apart from the telegraphed mix-ups and the extraneous portion with the CMC.

GRADE: B+

StatManDan

MLP Review: Non-Compete Clause

There’s a time and a place for everything and in this case, Applejack’s and Rainbow Dash’s competitive nature does not fit the task they are charged with. After Fluttershy wins her ninth successive Teacher of the Month award, AJ and Dash volunteer to take the Student 6 on a field trip (to battle for hearts and minds).

Both AJ and Dash maybe “Teamwork Experts”, but they are also experts at being over-competitive. The poor students are caught in the middle of this whether it is building a shack or a canoeing or a nature walk. For that last one, both compete in trying to be non-competitive and both build bridges towards a perilous situation with biting cuda fish.

Throughout this, the Student Six show teamwork skills by learning through their professors’ how-not-to-do things. And no, AJ and Dash will not learn their lesson about keeping their competitive streak in check.

Outside of AJ and Dash, we have a good episode as everyone else sees through how their competitive streak might lead to trouble. That said, it wouldn’t be interesting if AJ and Dash weren’t in charge of the field trip. Then the Student 6 wouldn’t be the most interesting thing about this episode.

So if you were tired of another AJ vs. Dash episode—you’re not going to re-watch this again.

GRADE: C

StatManDan

SU Review: “Can’t Go Back” and “A Single Pale Rose”

Oh my goodness gracious! Was that ever a twist to everything! I’m certainly not talking about Lapis just going to the Moon Base. Let’s get that out of the way. At this point, she prefers flight to fight because she certainly is still traumatized by what happened to her and does not want to go through that again. At the same time, she cannot help but wonder about what’s going on on Earth. She warmed to the idea about returning, but after Steven told her about his Diamond dream, off Lapis goes again to parts unknown.

So Steven wants to talk to Pearl as she might have been the one to shatter Pink Diamond. Pearl remains mum, but sends her cell phone inside her pearl for Steven to fetch and it will lead him to the truth. We have to go to the fourth power inside Pearl’s pearl to find out the truth. There was no shattering. Pink Diamond had Pearl disguise herself as Rose to pretend to shatter Pink, so she could roam free as Rose on Earth. If you go back to “Jungle Moon,” you saw an insolent Pink having an argument with Yellow Diamond over why the former could not have an army or fleet. At some point, Pink became enthralled with Earth and created a false story about Rose.

This is the series’ ultimate wham episode. It only leaves us asking more questions that won’t be answered until Summertime. We saw how Blue and Yellow reacted to Pink’s “shattering” in different ways. Now we’ll see how everyone reacts to this twist in the tale. In the preview after the second episode, at least one gem is not taking it well.

GRADE (both episodes): A-

Dan