Season 8 Episodes 1 and 2 "School Daze" Review by EpicEnergy
Season 8 Episode 1 “School Daze Part 1” Review
Episode 1 Opening: Normally, I don’t have an episode’s opening as an individual category in my reviews, but this is an exception because this opening is the first scene we see of season 8, containing much information right off the start. Since this is the first episode of season 8, this episode indeed has a connection with the previous MLP Movie, but not with season 7. First and foremost, I don’t expect S8 ep1 to take place right after the events in the MLP Movie, which is the Storm King’s defeat and the celebration of a certain festival afterwards, since the occurrences taking place in season 8 indicate at least a few weeks have passed since the events in the MLP Movie. Anyways, we are reminded of the incidents that took place during the MLP Movie and the new areas explored. The recollection in this episode of the MLP Movie incidents serves as a crucial component in establishing a firm foundation for future season 8 episodes because it reminds us that the MLP Movie and what happened in it is canonical; moreover, since most of the places there that were visited will be revisited in season 8, knowing about where they are located, who lives there, and what happened there is highly important. Additionally, the dialogue each character gives in this opening of episode 1 is very informative of what happened after the MLP Movie ended, such as where Tempest Shadow went. Very well handled, writers, I couldn’t ask for a better reminder and account of the MLP Movie, what a way to start an episode with. Moving onward. A good portion of season 8 is about the School of Friendship which reaches out to all creatures. Another portion is about adventuring to those places beyond Equestria on friendship quests. Both mainly originate from Twilight’s decision to start a school. It is this decision that lays the path for many Season 8 episodes, and this decision originates from the MLP Movie itself. This opening tells us about the lake from where a good amount of season 8 flows from. We know why there is a school, why Twilight founded the school, why creatures who are not Equestrians attend this school, why we see more of other lands outside of Equestria, and how these lands were found in the first place. The only issue I have with the opening is the fact that the map expanded without explanation. This map remains a contrived and arbitrary plot-device, which is a large problem to have in a narrative, and having it expand for no given or indicated reason makes this even worse. Consequently, I must subtract a few points for this poorly designed and improperly used plot-device that will most certainly affect future episodes until fixed or removed.
Characters: The leaders of the nations outside of Equestria all have excellent personalities and play a great role in this episode, so thankfully there is nothing to criticize here. The mane six are also used and depicted fantastically, the only problem is Twilight Sparkle in a particular scene. The mane six approach Twilight to tell her that going by the book simply isn’t working. It is here that Twilight acts severely out of character, which is somewhat irritating because Twilight has set the book as the ultimate authority instead of her own as the Princess of Friendship. I must take off some points from the rating for this incident being illogical, as Twilight completely ignores all her friends and ignores the disastrous effects of following the book that are clearly evident throughout the school.
New characters: The EEA scene is where we see the main antagonist of episodes one and two, Chancellor Neighsay. Neighsay has a somewhat arrogant and very serious personality which seems to be present in the entire EEA organization. This arrogant personality is what fits with his speciesism, which means that he thinks that ponies are higher and more important than any other creature/species. Next characters. In this episode, we are introduced to the student six. Their personalities are quite likeable. The student six are comparable to the mane six, but not to the point where they have completely identical characteristics, personality, and/or appearance. They are well-balanced characters.
Plot: Overall, the plot is great in this episode; however, there have a few problems in some scenes. The first scene I shall address is when Twilight and Celestia in Celestia’s school talk about how to run a school. This where Celestia reveals that she and no one else has no authority over the EEA in academia despite her standing as a princess or any other standing whatsoever, like a princess of friendship. I suppose the EEA is some sort of independent organization that somehow manages to be the ultimate authority when it comes to academia, but this area remains unclear. The writers could have made it clearer as to why and how such an organization rose to power. Such a restriction has not been seen in Equestria up until now either, as far as I remember that is, though I won’t take off any points since this doesn’t appear to be much of an issue anyways. I must move on. Next, we see the School of Friendship itself for the first time. I don’t like that it is just there. The writers could at least have somepony say when it was built instead of just having Twilight announce ‘I’ll make a school’ then proceed to have it partially accredited, and instantly afterwards we see a fully operational school building. Hence, I must deduct a few points from the overall rating of this episode. Now I will critique the “friends and family day” scene. It’s good the writers gave us that reason for every leader to be there, because this makes the next scene seem hardly contrived and arbitrary at all. I’m referring to the scene where every single leader hears Neighsay make racial comments. During the chaos beforehand, I noticed Gallus just dropped Sandbar for no apparent reason which knocked over the leaders like bowling balls. Sorry to be so critical of what is meant to be a humorous moment, but Gallus just dropping Sandbar for no reason makes no sense, and Gallus wasn’t even upset or showed any sign of doing that purposely, yet he threw Sandbar very tremendously anyways. Also, Derpy causing both Smolder and Silverstream to crash out of the sky into the food/desert stand even though Derpy didn’t appear to touch them at all makes no sense either. What’s more is that Ocellus destroyed a good and sturdy tower as a large, flying insect, which also makes no sense how she managed to do that. Therefore, I must take off some points. Now for the final scene. Neighsay shuts the school down at the very end of this episode, and then the “to be continued” image pops up, which leaves us with suspense. Nicely done on this scene.
Moral: There is no evident moral in this episode yet, because it is only part 1 of 2.
Episode Rating: 8.5/10
Season 8 Episode 2 “School Daze Part 2” Review
Characters: The characters are well-treated in this episode, so there is no problem here. We also see more characteristics and personalities of the new characters.
Plot: The general plot of this episode is well designed as usual, but there are some aspects of it that fail to be genuine. To begin with, the opening of this episode, the usual part 2 MLP opening, consists of a summary of the previous events that took place during part 1. I appreciate this, because sometimes people can’t watch both episodes back to back on certain occasions, and this opening type assists by helping us to recall those events. Next scene, we have Twilight, who has entered a temporary yet severe state of depression. She acts severely out of character here and even entirely ignores her friends, but the real question I’m asking is whether this is reasonable. My interpretation, based on the previous occurrences in part 1, is that going into this depressive mood is in fact reasonable and not illogical since Twilight just had her dreams crushed and her friendships with other nations seemingly ruined, and that Twi tends to overreact; thus, no points will be deducted. The next scene I want to address is the potential world war scene. As a large part of the plot that exists to stir up suspense in the viewers to this episode, this subplot has a few issues that I must mention. The major problem is that all five nations instantly threaten each other that will result in a world war if not dealt with, and that every nation’s reason to start such a disastrous incident is that the leaders simply don’t know where each one’s student went. I find this highly unreasonable, since war, which should be used as a last resort, is used as the very first resort; moreover, we don’t even have any reason why the six students are highly important to the leaders to begin with, except for Sandbar (being a pony) and Silverstream (being the Queen’s niece). For these two reasons, I must deduct some points from the episode rating. Oh, by the way, what also makes no sense is that only the mane six go searching for the students while no one else does anything despite the threat of a world war. Moving onward to the next scene I will address, Silverstream says that she has never seen stairs before, and that this is her first time seeing them. As funny as it is, this is inconsistent because Silverstream was at a school with plenty of stairs to be seen. A simplistic, minor error on the writers’ part, but I still must count off a few points. Next scene. We are now introduced to a strange, new critter species. I would call them the correct name, but since I don’t know how to spell it correctly, I will refer to them as the colorful porcupines (I know, very creative). These creatures are obviously used for plot-convenience, because they suddenly appear right on time to threaten the student six so that the mane six can rescue them, and these critters disappear right after that. Since this plot-convenience is at least slightly subtle, and an attempt was made to make it completely subtle, I will deduct a very small amount of points. The remainder of the episode is great, and I have nothing to criticize in it, so I shall end this section and proceed to the moral.
Moral: One may argue that there is no moral in “School Daze”, since it is a two-part episode, and most of those episode categories focus more on the story aspect rather than the moral aspect. I would disagree with that. The major moral is that all creatures are equal. This is symbolic of the modern-day issue of racism. Neighsay enforces the morally wrong idea that ponies are superior than any other race. Twilight demotes this by promoting the morally right idea that all creatures should be treated equally, and that friendship should be available to everyone. It isn’t pleasant when writers force modern-day issues into movies because we have seen enough of it in real-life and because the writers usually force it in there and ruin the narrative, but this modern-day issue is symbolized, and it don’t feel forced at all. This symbol fits perfectly into the theme and context, and it teaches us a very valuable lesson.
Episode Rating: 9/10
Additional Areas (if applicable)
I’ll be speaking of both episodes 1 and 2 as one episode in this category.
Humor: The humor is excellent and solid! I am glad the episodes aren’t overflowing with it, nor are they kept at a too serious level either. It’s the perfect balance for this episode, and it is thoroughly enjoyable.
Aesthetics: It’s pleasing to see that MLP S8 keeps the traditional 2D animations despite the movie’s animations. G4 is better off continuing what they started than switching over to 3D animations suddenly, though it wouldn’t bother me if G5 had them.
Overall Episode Rating (parts 1 and 2): 8.5/10
Conclusion: There are minor problems in both episodes. The map is of course introduced once more, which a very contrived and arbitrary plot-device; however, it doesn't really play a part in "School Daze" so it hardly affects the rating. There is a plot-convenience in part 1 at the end where the students suddenly become extremely clumsy to further the plot, but the context makes this problem rather miniature and insignificant so this also hardly affects the rating. The second part has an illogical subplot, which is the only major problem out of both parts. Aside from those minor problems, the amount of good content in "School Daze" outnumbers the amount of bad content by far. Therefore, this entire episode is rated 8.5/10, unless you round it off to the nearest whole number which would give it a 9/10,
0 = the worst of the worst, an absolute failure
1 = an extremely horrible disaster
2 = very dreadful
3 = terrible
4 = bad
5 = mediocre
6 = good
7 = great
8 = very fantastic
9 = extremely amazing
10 = an absolute perfection