Well, this new episode came much quicker than expected! Aired a week early in Canada so naturally it found its way to the internet for all to enjoy and I couldn't help but watch it.
"Wow, Fluttershy. I've never heard you speak with such conviction!" I think that quote says it all... Fluttershy has grown so much as a character and this episode makes it very clear. That's not to say she isn't timid anymore. She's always been that way and it's a vital part of who she is. But even Iron Will would be proud to see how far this pony has come. The new Fluttershy is here, and she's got such a determined demeanor.
The episode revolves around Fluttershy's dream to establish a wildlife sanctuary. For a while, I figured this was something she would be interested in. I even had a headcanon theory that Fluttershy's house and the surrounding area already were a sanctuary and Fluttershy was the mayor-appointed wildlife "guardian" of sorts. But this still works fine!
When Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and Applejack bring in some "experts" to help design and build the sanctuary, they fail to grasp the vibe that Fluttershy wants: natural, mimicking the natural habitats of the critters that will live there. And I like how Fluttershy has developed the courage to stand up for what she does want. Assertiveness! See Fluttershy, it can pay off.
Oh, and look who made an unexpected reappearance after a couple of seasons: Big Daddy McColt. His beard still looks fake, though.
The whole sanctuary is beautiful; shows how much effort is being put into the scenery this season. Not to mention it's adorable.
Oh Spike, you poor, poor thing. You're helping out your friend Fluttershy when you could be napping back in the castle.
All in all... I can't help but adore this episode. Can't really find anything to complain about. Not sure if that's my love for Fluttershy's character talking, but regardless, this is the best we've seen this season thus far. It's a 9/10 episode, easy. LOVED IT.
Well well well, everypony. Time for another new episode.
Maud Pie is one of those unique characters who shows so little emotion, yet manages to be extremely lovable. So of course I wanted to jump for joy when I found out that she was getting an episode early on in the season. And once again, Maud failed to disappoint. But what really made me happy was seeing how Starlight was unexpectedly integrated into the story. Looks like Starlight and Maud have actually crossed paths before, in a strange twist of fate that led to Starlight's enslavement of her old village...
But alas, now that these two have encountered each other once again, they have a cool chemistry going on. Maud tells Starlight that one reason she holds rocks so near and dear to her heart is that they can never judge; rocks don't care if you're different from everypony else. And that theme fits this pair so well... Maud is Starlight's Boulder who accepts her regardless of the regret that still tries to eat away at her. Heartwarming lesson at work here.
My only real gripe about this episode was Pinkie Pie. Yes, good old Pinkie means no harm and only constantly bugged her sister out of love. But even I, a viewer, have trouble dealing with Pinkie when she's too hyper and in everypony's face too much. It just gets boring; Maud and Starlight (seemingly) have a moment alone with each other to bond, and then Pinkie comes in like, "OH MY GOSH AREN'T YOU TWO HAVING SO MUCH FUN TOGETHER? AREN'T YOU BECOMING THE BEST OF FRIENDS?!?"
Then there was Pinkie's mysteriously out of character behavior that made her more like Twilight than anypony else. Seriously, doing scientific analysis on friendship is Twilight's job, not yours, Pinkie.
Whatever, though. The good far outweighed the bad.
I suppose I should call some attention to the cute little Bon Bon, Lyra, and Derpy moments, too. Some people will undoubtedly call these moments fan service, but you know what? I see nothing wrong with showing some love for these background ponies. Bring it on.
Overall, nice episode that hopefully means we'll see a bit more Maud this season than we normally would, since she's now got a beautiful cavern abode on the edge of Ponyville. Seriously, I may not be a geology geek, but LOOK AT IT:
Nice scenery in this episode, if I do say so myself.
Anyways, I give this a rock solid 8.5/10. Apart from an overwhelming Pinkie, it showcased plenty of cute moments with plenty of beautifully deadpan Maud humor. Definitely an episode I want to re-watch a bunch of times.
One more thing... these two are adorable together. I can already see the shipping starting to happen.
All in all, really not bad. It was just what I expected: Twitter and Spike watch Flurry Heart and things go wrong because we all know cartoon babies with magical powers are a real hassle to deal with. Not sure how Twilight could lose track of time like she did, though. Kinda out of character, if you ask me.
For me, some of the best humor actually came from the art gallery Cadance and Shining Armor visited. I liked how it poked fun at how downright strange (some might say "boring," too...) some of the more abstract art out there can be... the whole subject makes for a lot of controversy when it comes to defining exactly what "art" is.
This episode parallels Baby Cakes a bit, as well as Stare Master, so it's not exactly something that hasn't been done on the show before. Flurry Heart's unpredictable magic had already showed up in The Crystalling, too. But it was nice and heartwarming to watch so I'll give it 7.5/10.
Not a terrible start to the season. I reckon the best has yet to come, just because this was only the third episode. This one had brand new writers, correct?
Nick Confalone, writer of Party Pooped, Hearthbreakers, No Second Prances, The Saddle Row Review, and Dungeons & Discords, returns with next week's episode. He's already done some nice work with Pinkie and Maud in Season 5, plus some of my favorite Season 6 episodes, so I'm excited to see what's in store.
Bring it on!
I was planning on watching the streams live, but sadly I had to wait until I got family stuff out of the way, with Easter tomorrow. Finally watched a little bit ago though, and here are my thoughts:
Ok: how in the heck is Starlight ready to move on? In the name of Celestia (yes Celestia, you ARE an expression ;)) does Twilight have nothing left to teach her? Are we missing like another season (or two?) worth of Starlight episodes, because we did not see too much progress from her in Season 6. Yeah, To Where And Back Again was impressive, but give me a break... I'm a Starlight fan and I feel a bit cheated. I wanted to see her journey but it progressed too quickly. Oh well, at least she isn't disappearing indefinitely.
With that out of the way, hmm, let's see... the Twilight, Spike, and Celestia moments were heartwarming. Especially Celestia's memories of the time immediately before she sent Twilight away to Ponyville.
I'm just gonna say this now: Discord was pretty annoying. He was too much of a pest to Twilight. Like come on bro, give the princess some space... Starlight's not your student.
Oh well. The situation with Starlight bugs me, but whatevs. As I said, we can only assume that there was a whole lot she did that we didn't get to see in Season 6.
6.5/10. Probably my least favorite premiere episode.
All Bottled Up:
I can't help but think this would've fit pretty well in Season 6, before Starlight's "graduation." Would've made for a good sequel to No Second Prance. But whatever.
As I mentioned previously, I'm a Starlight Glimmer fan. And reforming Trixie was one of my personal highlights of Season 6. Finally, one of my favorite "obscure" characters is getting the screen time she deserves. And thank Celestia, Twilight's grudge with Trixie has dissipated. So seeing Starlight and Trixie both in the spotlight again was nice.
The Mane 6's friendship retreat was pretty cheesy. I don't have much to say about it other than I liked the persistent gag in which their dialogue mirrored that of their pals back in Ponyville. And I guess the song wasn't bad. *shrug*
The episode's moral was kinda forgettable. Sure, it's good for kids; don't bottle up your anger, lest it build up so that it ends up hurting someone. But I suppose it wasn't terribly original. Green Isn't Your Color and Putting Your Hoof Down come to mind as episodes with similar morals.
Hmmmm... what else...?
Again, not an amazing premiere episode, but at least it was presented as more of a standalone story. Starlight and Trixie are cute together, makes me want to see more duo episodes with those two.