Tag: season 7

Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! – Growing Up and Growing Apart

Source: MLP:FIM, Forever Filly

Source: MLP:FIM, Forever Filly. (Note how Rarity and Sweetie Belle are framed in such a way that they appear as equal as possible. Rarity is actually a lot taller than Sweetie, but this trick of the eye really drives the point home).

Filly Forever explores a very complex issue, and it tackles the subject matter so effectively that I can hardly contain my need to reflect upon it.  The lesson here is loud and clear, and easy to read, but the web of conclusions one can draw from based on one’s personal experiences is near infinite.  I’ve been turning it over in my head for hours, and the themes just get richer the more I think about it.
This story captures the bittersweet anger and joy one feels watching those of a younger generation come of age.  It captures the rage, and frustration that the younger generation feels as they struggle to be taken seriously.  Most importantly, it captures the tension in between.

After hours of being treated like a foal, Sweetie Belle, in her frustration, snapped at Rarity, “You don’t even know me anymore.”

It’s a devastating thing to have to say, and it’s a devastating thing to have to hear, but it’s true.

As an adult, I can think of a great many friends and relatives with whom I was very close during my childhood who don’t know me at all these days.  I don’t know them either.  It sucks and it hurts.
Preventing loved ones from drifting apart takes a surprising amount of work, and once you have drifted, reforging those bonds can be very difficult.  Add a generation gap, and it becomes even more complicated.  You go from dealing with each other as child-and-adult, to dealing with each other as adult-and-adult.  It’s a tumultuous transition for everyone involved.  For starters, the need for new boundaries never becomes clear until they are broken, and until both parties can examine, and articulate the problem accurately, which takes rather a lot of trial and error.

It’s frustrating.  It’s painful.  Most of all, it’s frightening.  You both need to work at it, and if you can’t figure out how to grow together, you are doomed to grow apart.

Forever Filly tackled that problem head on.  The story itself is quite simple, but the complexity of this conflict lies in what we already know about the characters.

Let’s start with Rarity.  She had, in past episodes, found Sweetie’s childishness irritating when it got in the way of her work and her ambition.  In Sisterhooves Social, Rarity had had a lot of important work to do.  That work of hers got in the way of bonding with Sweetie, just as much as Sweetie Belle’s presence got in the way of Rarity trying to meet her deadlines.  Sweetie Belle wanted to help, but she was just a kid, and her efforts just ended up getting herself underfoot (under hoof).
It’s a scenario that most of us know very well from our own lives, in one form or another.

However, now, it’s the total opposite.  Rarity finds herself at the top of the fashion world, having achieved most of her dreams and ambitions, but she misses her sister. v She yearns for the days when they had bonded together, and longs to spend uninterrupted time with her.  Sweetie, on the other hand, is now the one who has responsibilities to take care of.  She has become an entrepreneur in her own way, and doesn’t have time to spend with her sister.

The scene where Rarity admires the wall of the crusader headquarters, and the photos of their satisfied “clients,” is brief, but it tells us volumes about Sweetie – profound information.  It tells us exactly the type of pony that she is growing into.

They say that kids don’t learn from what you tell them; they learn from what they observe.  In this moment, we see just how much of an influence Rarity has been on Sweetie’s life.  The work ethic that Sweetie had despised in her sister as a child, has sunk in, and become her own, as she cultivates real responsibilities, and moves toward adulthood.

It’s the sort of thing that’s impossible to put into words, but when you see it, and really think about it, it shines a light on both characters – who they are – what they mean to each other.  There’s a piece of Rarity that Sweetie will always take with her, and it will arm her throughout her life.  The problem is that Rarity can’t see that.  She mistakes that genuine professionalism for flight and fancy – a quaint form of child’s play.

That tiny moment not only captures so much about the characters, it conveys the very essence of the conflict at hand – the gap that needs to be bridged.

I could spend rather a lot of time pointing out parallels in the dynamic between the two sisters in this episode, and the dynamic that they had back in Sisterhooves Social.  It’s certainly a topic worth discussing, as there are quite a lot of subtle differences in characterization that make this episode an elegantly told story.  However, I’m concerned more with the message than dissecting the narrative itself.

When Rarity realizes the error of her ways, she expresses her sorrow that “[She] didn’t know that the last time [they] did those things would be the last time [they] did those things.

This line pretty much says it all: about growing up; about life; about the need to cherish every moment, while at the same time, not being afraid to let those moments go.  I personally didn’t know that the last time that I pushed my youngest on the swingset would turn out to be my very last time doing that.  It was a day like any other.  I don’t even remember anything about it right now because it was so very unremarkable.

I don’t remember the very last time I helped with my kids’ shoelaces either, nor the very last time my own mother needed to help me with mine.

There was no ceremony.  No grand announcement in either case.  It just sort of happened when no one was paying attention.

-Sprocket

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MLP Review: “Rock Solid Friendship”

Well, this one had plenty of talking points. The episode begins with Maud earning her “Rocktorate” and pondering moving to either Ponyville or Ghastly Gorge. Obviously, Pinkie is hoping/pushing for the former. Maud says that it will be a rock-based decision, but could explore less exotic rocks with somepony who ‘gets her.’

Enter Starlight Glimmer. Apart from Maud perhaps lending Starlight an indirect hoof in helping her enslave the village, the two start conversing. Things are off to a good start, but then Pinkie gets a little pushy to make them BFFs and to clingy to Maud. Maud and Starlight also come across a hidden paradise within the gem cave in Ponyville, but again Pinkie appears and you get the picture.

It pushes Maud to choose Ghastly Gorge where she can be alone with “great rocks”. Oh, there are the quarray eels that were introduced in “May the Best Pet Win.” After fleeing form them, Pinkie apologizes to Maud for trying to force friendship between her and Starlight and promise to give her space. Ultimate, Maud finds a space in the Crystal Cave town that she and Starlight discovered.

First off, let’s talk about the pink elephant in the room. This is behavior we have seen before from Pinkie where she gets insecure if she feels she does not have all the friends or the best parties. This is leaning towards Pinkie at her worst a la “A Friend in Deed.” On the other hand, it’s nice to see development for both Maud and Starlight here. This is indeed the first episode in which Starlight appears and Twilight does not as well as prolonged interaction with somepony other that either Twilight or Trixie. Of course, with Maud, we have some of the funniest parts of the episode like Rarity panicking after Maud tells her how ‘common’ chartreuse gems are in the cave.

Already, the speculation is that this season will be about developing characters other than the Mane Six and Spike for the most part, but we’re just four episodes in and there’s a long way to go. So overall, this was a great episode though sometime despite Pinkie rather than because of her.

Post Episode Notes:

  • Third Wheel Pinkie again
  • Maud and Starlight interaction and development
  • Giving Starlight another pony she can relate to
  • Humor, especially with Maud

GRADE:  A-

StatManDan

MLP Review: “A Flurry of Emotions”

In this episode, Twilight is set to visit a group of foals from Cheerilee’s class in the hospital who have come down with horse hives. Her schedule is jam-packed, and enter Princess Cadance and Shining Armor with Flurry Heart. The ragged royal couple ask Twilight if she can watch her for a few hours while they visit a friend and his pop-up art gallery. The “Best Aunt Ever” agrees despite the probability that it will throw a monkey wrench into her schedule.

Wherever Twilight went on her schedule, Flurry Heart creates mischief. At the toy store, at the school, at Sugarcube Corner, and then things come to a head at the hospital when she loses her snail Whammy and she goes all over the hospital looking for it. Her mischief finally causes Twilight to snap at her to stop. Flurry Heart cries, Twilight apologizes for neglecting her, and they spend the rest of the day playing together.

All the while, Cadance and Shining Armor are being reminded more and more of their daughter and how much they miss her. They go back to Twilight’s castle and find Twilight and Flurry Heart having fun. Cadance and Shining Armor learn the lesson that they should give Twilight more advance time if they need a babysitter while Twilight learns the lesson about quality time over quantity of time.

This was a good episode, though there are some issues to be had here. More than one person will point out that Twilight should have delegated more of the tasks to Spike. Spike is on song here in this episode trying to get Twilight to stay on track. It was actually nice to show how sometimes Flurry Heart can run her parents ragged, but also remind them of how much they love her. There are also a few minor inconsistencies with Flurry Heart where she shows intelligence beyond her years at times and acts like a typical baby at other times (i.e. the split pea scene).

But like I said, this was a good episode with two good lessons, though one of the conflicts could have been easily solved by delegating more responsibility to Spike.

Post Episode Notes:

  • Some character development for Cadance and Shining Armor
  • Two good lessons for both babysitter and parents
  • Though one problem could have been solved by delegating tasks to Spike
  • Pinkie’s sad face stamp!
  • G1 shout-out
  • Minor inconsistencies with Flurry Heart’s abilities and intelligence.

GRADE:  B+

StatManDan

MLP Review: “Celestial Advice” and “All Bottled Up”

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.

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“Celestial Advice”

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.


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“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

StatManDan

Preview for “Celestial Advice”

A sneak peek has shown up for season 7’s premiere.

MLP Season Seven Preview: The Age of Equestria

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is in the seventh house season. The stars look to align for what will be a big year in the franchise with the show beginning its seventh season on April 15th. It will be just the sixth Western Animated show that debuted since 2000 to reach seven seasons.

There are spoilers coming up so if you do not want to know what has been announced for the show, look away now.

Already, we know that the season premiere will NOT be a two-parter and that the comics are supposed to tie in more with the show. We will see the parents of Rainbow Dash for the first time in the show’s 150th episode. We finally get to see Applejack’s parents, though how that will come about is a mystery. William Shatner and Felicia Day will guest star this season. Oh, there is a movie coming on October 6th. If there are no breaks in the season, and assuming that the finale is a two-parter, then Season Seven should end on September 23rd.

Questions still about such as what will become of Starlight Glimmer after the events of the Season Six finale? Will we see more of the new Changeling Kingdom? How will the comics tie in to the show? Will Queen Chrysalis seek revenge on Starlight in Season Seven as she vowed to do? That’s part of the fun of the upcoming season as what will happen next?

There is still plenty of mileage in the show and the franchise surrounding. The hype that will come surrounding the movie is ahead of us and there will be more to come in 2018 as well. Meanwhile, 2017 promises to be big for MLP and it is hoped that the seventh season will be filled with good luck for the show and later the movie in October. The moon for this franchise is now in the seventh house and we’ll see if Jupiter aligns with Mars this year. It all starts again on April 15th!

StatManDan

Titles and Synopses for Season 7 Episodes 5, 6, 7, and 8

 Fluttershy and Angel Singing by mysticalpha

Fluttershy and Angel Singing by mysticalpha

Discovery Family has released their May highlights, and in it includes information on the new episodes of My Little Pony for that month. This information is contained under the spoiler break.

Fluttershy Leans In premieres Saturday, May 6 at 11:30a/10:30c
Fluttershy is determined to make her career dreams come true with the help of some very special
ponies. But when her true vision is not being executed properly, she must find a way to stand up
and fight for her ideas.
Forever Filly premieres Saturday, May 13 at 11:30a/10:30c
When Rarity surprises Sweetie Belle with a special day together filled with all of her favorite
activities, she quickly learns that her little sister is no longer the little foal she used to be.
Parental Glideance premieres Saturday, May 20 at 11:30a/10:30c
When Rainbow Dash’s parents discover she’s a Wonderbolt, they show up at every event to cheer
her on. However, their unabashed enthusiasm proves to be rather embarrassing and pushes
Rainbow Dash to the brink.
Hard to Say Anything premieres Saturday, May 27 at 11:30a/10:30c
When the Cutie Mark Crusaders discover that Big Mac has his first crush, they vow to help him win
Sugar Belle’s heart before Feather Bangs does it first.

[Source]