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I consider myself a reasonable person. Who doesn't? SPOILERS for 3rd Equestria Girl Short. STOP NOW if you don’t want them. I’ll remove this WARNING when the episode airs. Starlight Glimmer was introduced, among other reasons, to help be new viewer’s guide to the show. I get that. It’s a great idea. Bravo. The more the merrier. More people means more ratings. More ratings means more episodes. Maybe even Equestria Girls the series. I recently had the chance to watch the 3rd Equestria Girl short, and I was pumped. I was hoping we’d have Twilight Prime or Celestia run into Sunset. Maybe have that wonderful heartfelt “I was wrong!” “I know” moment we all in one way or another, envision! I was extremely disappointed. Not because I didn’t see any of that. I’m fine with that. More suspense the better. First. Lets recap Starlight Glimmer. I’ve said in my early reviews when we first met Starlight Glimmer that my first impression was that of joy. Starlight was presented as a veiled homage to both Socialism and the Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union. I loved that. She had no regrets about what she was doing. She thought she was doing the right thing. Most well rounded villains do. She used a Plot Device to steal Cutie Marks and make everyone Equal. Because when everyone’s equal, no one is better. That's the problem with socialism and communism however, it’s never that easy. There’s always someone in charge. Corrupt most often than not, who keeps the status quo with the help of devoted brainwashed minions. The same was true in Starlight’s village. When the whole thing comes crashing down around her, she does what any good villain does: she runs. When cornered, she tries to flat out KILL the Mane 6. If Twilight hadn’t had her barrier spell, she would have succeeded. Then came the moment of truth. The moment I might add that Sunset Shimmer (who I’m convinced was a prototype for Starlight) choked at. When classically our villain should have a small breakdown and repent, and be accepted and not executed for their crimes, Starlight does not. I was overcome with hope that we’d finally gotten on the right path of balancing realism and cartoonism lessons. Starlight vows REVENGE. She does, quite frankly, what I would have done. For the rest of the season she spies on Twilight and her friends to find out just HOW they beat her, and what she can take away from Twilight to make her feel as awful as she does. Thus making all things equal again. She then waits for the proper moment and tool to strike with: The Time Spell we all but forgot existed from seasons past. Using it, she does, again, what I would have done: she goes back and stops the Rainboom that began the lives of all the Mane 6 from happening. Problem solved. The final part of any revenge plan is to make sure your target knows who destroyed them. Often a pitfall of villains, but still important. What goods the work if no one knows? So Starlight does in fact, let Twilight know who is responsible. Then the moment I personally was waiting to find out: What horrific event made this monster? Villains aren’t born. They are made. Something tragic usually. Personal, and always life altering. Starlight gives us her backstory, finally, and despite the fact it kind of resembles what I thought was going to happen to the Cutie Mark Crusaders when one got their mark (by the way, what a cop out :P) it was comic book perfect. We learn that unlike the wonderful happy friends that the Mane 6 are, Starlight didn’t get her Cutie Mark when her best friend did. When he did (which apparently was for being able to sort by the dewey decimal system I guess?) his family showered him with enough praise and uplifting that anyone would be upset, let alone our villain. He quickly disappeared out of her life, leaving her alone. The most important thing to any pony, had made HER the most miserable one. She didn’t want that to happen to anyone else. So she started (with Maud’s help it seems) her plan for the village. Then it was destroyed by Twilight, making it extremely personal. Bringing us to the end of that season where Starlight is literally inches away from winning, and she chokes. Somehow, the Magic of Friendship wins, making her an instant friend. I’m all for the lesson that “why make enemies when we can make friends” don’t get me wrong. It’s something that needs to be instilled more and more each generation. But, we can’t be so naive to let the lesson be that if you try hard enough it will ALWAYS happen. Try that the next time you are mugged at gunpoint So, thus Starlight joins our merry crew of ponies and despite the fact she’s new and knows she makes mistakes, she’s able to learn fast! She learns in half a season or so what it took us 4 seasons to teach everyone else, and THEY are supposedly the elements avatars. Starlight is not. Yet there she goes, excelling. The unthinkable happens: the 2 demigod like sisters, Luna and Celestia, and everyone else that actually matters to the world, are replaced in a two parter that I loved as a callback to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The Queen who was in the finale of season 2 came back and hatched an evil scheme, and unlike Starlight, actually did something right. Gathering the best of our backdoor favorites: Discord, The Great and Powerful Trixie, and Thorax who gets the silver medal one becoming the fastest friend we EVER pick up, form a Suicide Squad to get everyone back! Because if a seemingly immortal alicorn, her sister, and her student, her student’s hand chosen friends and the rest of the royal family can’t, clearly what we need are Jobbers But I’ll be damned if they don’t pull it off, thanks to STARLIGHT’S plan. Which looks like she’s making up as she goes along. Let's quickly summarize: Starlight enslaves a town in such a way they thank her, she’s thwarted by Twilight and company, she then escapes without reforming. She then returns and execute a perfectly timed plan using time travel to undo her opponents before they even become, celebrates her victory in front of Twilight. Twilight gives a speech, Starlight see’s the errors of her ways and all is forgiven. She then turns into the 7th pony in half a season. She then saves the entire kingdom of Canterlot, neigh say, the world, with the help of tertiary characters and her wits. This sounds remarkably like a literary trope I was once warned about. Now, all that behind us. Let's go to the Equestria girl short #3. Sunset goes through the portal and meets the only person apparently minding the castle, Starlight Glimmer! She then returns with Sunset (because who's going to steal a castle!?) and adapts way faster than Twilight, who for all intents and purposes, is third in line for wisdom at this point, and has just an awful set of jeans. Sunset and Starlight hit it off, I can honestly forgive this given their similarities. What happens next is the issue. So the Monster of the Week, Juniper something or other, has trapped Sunset’s friends in a mirror. Seems villainy enough, right? Ok, so then Sunset goes to confront her, and knowing very well how dangerous magic can be, and having beaten three CLASS A supervillains across as many movies, is sucked into the mirror as well. Starlight is now left alone in an alien world with no magic and only her wits. The two square off and play an amusing game of round and round we go, followed by the most atrocious thing I’ve seen since they let Sonic SatAM just STOP with a cliffhanger: Starlight pulls a card from the bargain bin of solutions and does exactly what Sunset did to SciTwi. She tells her that there’s another way and let me show you, paraphrased of course, but that's it. THAT'S it! We get a Darth Vader moment where the villain proclaims it’s too late, but then that's it. NO FIGHT. No CONFLICT. Not even danger. Starlight singlehandedly comes to a world she literally knows NOTHING about less then two hours ago, gets some ice cream, fights a resident villain of that world on their own turf, and simply TALKS THEM DOWN..and then makes them a friend! Starlight has been able to do all these things and we’ve known her, what two seasons MAYBE? 5 seasons it took the mane cast to get to the point they are, Starlight takes course by mail and she’s surpassing them after less than HALF the time it took the best of the best? This is a Mary Sue. As close as you can come to one without everyone having romantic relations with her. (which seems to be happening. Go check Rule 34’s site) Yet everyone I see talking about her for the most part just loves her. I can either conclude two things: Characterization has taken a great fall in the minds of this latest generation or they don’t know it’s an awful character. If the rest of the show was as poorly written and executed as Starlight, I could see that as no issue. But it’s not. It’s a rich show, with excellent writing. HOW this happened and WHY more people aren’t seeing this, is beyond me. So I end this with an open friendly, mind you, challenge. If you care enough to get to this point in the article, you’ve no doubt got a very well thought opinion of this one way or another. Am I looking at this character the wrong way? If so, please, PLEASE, I welcome constructive input in the matter to help me see it another way. I don’t want FLAMES. I want civil discussion. Thank you
Hello all my new readers, and if they are still here, my old ones! Pony Think Tank today takes on the opening salvo of Season 7! I’ve been on a small hiatus as I work on Equestrian City, which is coming along slowly but solidly I might add, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to take a look at the premiere! This season, we aren’t dealing with a major issue that requires at least two episodes to fix, and I’m not sure if that is entirely good, but we’ll see as we dive head on into “Celestial Advice” Our cold opening is, surprise surprise, Starlight Glimmer, who seems to be the shifting focus of the series since the writers took Sunset Shimmer’s formula and shoved it into a cookie cutter We quickly find that the visual gags are more present than previous seasons so far, which I personally like, with Spike turning his (hair?) into Rarity’s facsimile. We’re then given the fact that we’re not that far off time was since last season, as a party and award ceremony is being planned for the Suicide Squad like team of Discord, Starlight Glimmer, Trixie and Thorax (who if you aren’t familiar with his new appearance, seems to have eat a box of crayons and burped.) Obviously Thorax needs more color as you can see. After the cringe worthy intro, we are greeted with the award ceremony where all our team is given the Equestrian Pink Heart of Courage (goodness that is a mouthful). The after party has the newly reformed changeling guests (minus the Queen, thankfully) mingling with the guests, as Twilight and Celestia exchange lines akin to the student has become the master and all that lovely cliche we’ve been hearing in our own heads for a bit. Not one to be happy about anything for too long, Twilight slowly begins to come to the realization that the lessons she has for her student no longer apply after the writing team seemingly power leveled Starlight to End Game content! Overcome with rapidly sprouting panic, she seeks out her teacher, Celestia, for advice on the matter while Discord seemingly invents a B story for himself, hyping up the announcement Twilight is going to make with gossip and clever manipulation. Spike’s demeanor is very much attuned to mine personally, each of his lines seems to be for the fans at this moment, most with good humored sarcasm, some with biting cynicism. I approve. "None of these have me saying more then four or five lines. SPIKE! Bring me the writers!" As Twilight comes to the conclusion that she needs to follow in Celestia’s footsteps and send HER prize student away, all of which she does without really, any help from Celestia, we come to a chapter break! Continuing to solve her own problem with the people she has for advice simply watching and, well not really helping per say, we’re given a new spell, this one seems to be a Holodeck spell, where Twilight starts us down the road of my favorite two words: What If? Arriving at the first stop on what turns into a neurotic spiral into worry, Twilight’s first stop is what if she sends her to the new Changling empire! We quickly find out, based on Twilight’s totally subjective thinking, that the lessons she teaches to the newly reformed critters will be taken in stride and all will be, well, boring and forced. Much like the first and second season. Just as all seems well, worry hits her and the scenario changes to what seems more likely with a giant hive mind that's suddenly allowed free thought: mischief. Snapping out of it we dive into another idea, which to me all sound like story pitches that were flat out rejected, where she's sent to the dragons and becomes, shall we say, epic friends, with Ember. (You remember her right? We saw her once, everyone free ships with her and Spike, and then we lost her just as quick) A quick dive into madness and lava later and Twilight is back to square one with her imagination getting the better of her. The final treat we get is what almost seems natural to me, but then again what do I know, in that we send her to the crystal Empire to “study” with Sunburst. This one holds the most interest when a spell goes wrong and they summon a black hole of sorts and everyone seemingly dies. I do enjoy the idea that the spell was to summon something lost in the past, makes one wonder. So after all that Twilight almost has a break down, and Celestia, as well as the rest of the random I'd imagine, begins to laugh at Twilight. After explaining she's not laughing at her she's laughing...well no she is kind of laughing at her, Celestia sits her former student down and relates that she too had all these years in her head, proving to us Celestia is human after all. So to speak. "You...actually thought..you'd be the leads forever? Even I was sidelined! Thats hilarious!" In the interlude, as Discord, in a scene that really seems to me on a subtle level is the rest of the Mane 6 asking each other why they aren't in this episode, hyped up more around the kingdom until Twilight is greeted with a over anticipated reveal. This seems like the writers again making light of the fact “hey, we've really got nothing epic this time out the box.” "You see girls, you've been moved into what they are calling Background Ponies" The rest plays out rather quickly, but it all boils down to the lesson we learn is that, well if You Love Something, let it go. Which is landmark I might add because Celestia is the first in the series to really express the term ‘Love’ in the sense of a deeper emotion and have it mean something. As the episode winds down, Starlight is thrilled to be graduating, but doesn't end up leaving the show...I mean the Castle because she doesn't want to. Thus breaking us from the formula we all thought was destined to happen. Overall I find this episode is a 5 out of 10. Average. The Celestia section is the only saving grace, as the B story is almost an afterthought. Spike’s overhaul as the straight man is by far more evident this time and is a welcome change from being the comedic foil for the most part. It’s a good start, not a disaster, but there’s room for improvement. We dive right into episode 2, “Bottled Up” We’re given another episode where our favorite up and coming ship, StarTrix, opens the show. Greeted by Trixie’s inability to use proper magic, she’s given a quick tip by the one person who knows how to misuse magic, and quickly turns a salt shaker into a teacup. Why? You got me. Still, Trixie’s ability to go overboard with it makes me chuckle as we quickly end up with way way way too many teacups, including a teacup poodle! Full of herself as usual, Trixie annoys Starlight to the point she starts to manifest a dark cloud of..well...dark side energy. Set with the pieces of this episode, we are quickly thrust into the opening song many of us turn down to prevent embarrassment at work Starlight is not amused! Coming back from commercial, Starlight and Trixie see our Mane 6 heroes, who seem to be slipping into the backseat of the entire show I might add, off to their Friendship Retreat. Whats a Friendship Retreat you ask? I know I did immediately after it was said, and just as quick, we’re given the explanation most would THINK was the proper one. We find out that's only half right later on as our two stories divide and our adventure begin! "Bye, Twilight! We'll take good care of your show!" Back at the castle, Trixie and Starlight begin her next lesson, and letting Trixie pick, we find is the worst idea so far. She immediately wants a hard spell: teleportation! Spike, who like the audience, seems to see where this is going, decides to run off before he’s used as the subject of the spell. An interesting point Starlight makes is that her magic is based on her emotions at the time, which just screams Jedi and Sith, but I think is a nice element we can exploit down the road, or later in the episode, as we’ll see. You have Hate. You have Anger. But you do not USE THEM! The B story, a little weak as last time, switches us to our Mane 6, who quickly find out the Twilight’s Friendship Retreat is not a Spa, but a locked room that focuses on teamwork far more brain twisting then simply doing the Trust Exercise. The narrative feels at this point, very expedited I might add. Meanwhile back at the ranch er I mean castle, Trixie eventually goes off half cocked and ends up losing the entire Cutie Map! Thus answering the question how you lose an entire giant magic table many of us were asking after the leaks. Starlight has a minor stroke of course and panics. Quickly becoming upset with Trixie’s ho hum approach, Starlight realizes her anger is manifesting itself in the form of the red cloud. Of course the smartest thing to do is to cast a spell to bottle up her emotion (and we get the title of the episode...ta da!) Spinning back to the Mane 6 story and the StarTrix story happens far far too quickly again, though it seems only to do so to exploit a transition device as clever as using the last line of the scene to contrast or satirize the opening line of the next. The basic overall plot reveals that Starlight is afraid of losing Trixie as a friend if she doesn't bottle her anger up, which is why she gets weaker and weaker the more they search for the table in the places Trixie leads to to find. Each successful bottling of the emotion takes it’s toll on Starlight, much like it does in real life, thus and applicable lesson! "Even THIS comic has better pacing!" Of course the Mane 6 break into song after they solve their problems, and a very appropriate character tells them the consequences of having broken into song may not have been worth it. I enjoyed that line the most out of the entire episode incidentally. Back to the StarTrix plot (heh) Trixie eventually notices the magic being bottled up and tries to find out what it’s all about. The ensuing tug of war sends the bottle flying up and down, shattering it and releasing the anger into nearby citizens, all of whom become angry at Trixie for different reasons reflectance of the moments in time Starlight was angry. "Don't worry girls, the writers told me next episode *I* have a major part!" We spiral towards the end of the episode with a quick realization by Starlight that Trixie had no idea how she felt, as she bottled it up inside. Trixie as well admits that as difficult they were to hear, she needed to hear the anger to fully grasp Starlight’s feelings. Again, we use the term ‘Love’ by Trixie to Starlight which let me tell you, probably has the entire shipping world in an overdrive mode. I can hear the lemons being written as I type this. "Did...did you say you Loved me?" All in all I give this a 5 out of 10. The first thing that stuck out to me was they recycled footage DURING the song that was as even pointed out by the writers, unneeded. I find that concerning. Trixie is fun in moderation, as is Starlight Glimmer, I can only hope we aren’t entirely shifting gears to the next generation to a point we lose our footing on what made the show fun to begin with. Thanks for stopping by and don't be shy to make a comment!