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Since people have been ranking the seasons, I've decided to have a thread for ranking individual episodes. Ranking every episode is too much, so I'm just doing top and bottom 10, but you can do any number you want. I'll do the bottom 10 first just to get them out of the way.  

Bottom 10: 

Spoiler

10. Fluttershy Leans In

I don't want to put this episode on this list as it's just so inoffensive, but that's exactly the problem with it. It's so inoffensive that it lacks a real conflict, and thus plot. From a technical standpoint it may be the worst written episode in the series. The following episodes may be a bit better mechanically, but have particular elements that cause offense.

9. Slice of Life

This episode was simply ridiculous. To be fair though, that was the intent. I don't like such blatant pandering to the fans, but hey, it did it's job. Without that context though it's just trash and doesn't live up to the supposed Slice of Life theme at all.

8. Games Ponies Play

So begins the worst arc in the entire series. The plot for this episode was just bland, and the moral broken. 

7. Power Ponies

Season 4 was the season of bad gimmicks, and of all the bad gimmick episodes this was the most gimmicky. It just doesn't fit in the established mythos at all. And that's all aside from just being one of many bad Spike episodes. Don't worry, the next three are also bad Spike episodes. 

6. Secret of My Excess

This episode introduced an element of dragon biology that was fortunately never brought up again because it's just that problematic and dumb. The real problem with this issue is it somehow frames Rarity exploiting Spike's emotions as being a good thing. 

5. Equestria Games

And this was the episode that concluded the worst arc in the series. It pretty much existed just to continue Spike-abuse. 

4. Spike at Your Service

Of all the bad Spike episodes, this is the absolute worst. Somehow Spike becomes utterly incompetent at what appears to be his actual job. Apparently originally it involved Rarity instead of Applejack, but in she replaced in order to avoid the sort of implications Secret of My Excess had. Unfortunately, that just made the episode make no sense whatsoever. Finally, the way the life-debt trope was played was very disturbing in addition to utterly nonsensical (it's not like everyone hasn't saved each other's lives countless times from far greater threats), and WHY DID SPIKE CHOKE A TIMBER WOLF FUSION TO DEATH WHEN HE COULD HAVE JUST USED HIS FIRE ON IT! COME ON, THAT WOULD HAVE MADE WAY MORE SENSE! 

3. P.P.O.V. (Pony Point of View)

Most people criticize this episode for it's poor characterization. The main problem I had however was the fact it's a conflicting-narrative mystery episode where the resolution to the mystery makes zero sense. The conflicts between narratives aren't resolved, the bunyip adds absolutely nothing, and there is no way anyone watching would be able to pick up on the random details that were used to "solve" the case. I could see the characters being in character if there was a real explanation for how their personal biases could have escalated to this level of conflict, but there wasn't. What we are left with is the characters just being mad at each other for no reason. 

2. Daring Don't

It's another bad gimmick episode. In addition to just being a crumby episode based on an overused trope, the biggest problem is completely defeats the point of Read It and Weep. The moral of that episodes came from Rainbow Dash learning to value reading about fictional adventures by experiencing them vicariously, but it turns out nope, it's better to just go on real wacky adventures. Finally, the moral is awful, it's not just poorly executed, it's an actual bad message. It's basically saw it's a good thing to go and stalk authors and butt into their personal lives because working alone is bad kids! 

1. Magical Mystery Cure

And the title of worst episode in the series has to go to Magical Mystery Cure. The episode is excused for it's plot being mandated and having no time to work anything meaningful in due to only having one episode to work with due to the half season and most the screen time in that episode being taken up by musical numbers, but the excuses don't change the fact that from a writing standpoint it's objectively terrible. The pacing is the worst in the entire series, with the conflict being entirely resolved within the first half of the episode. While the conflict superficially works, if one puts any thought into trying to figure out what exactly was going on they would realize it makes no sense whatsoever. The biggest sin is that what was supposed to be the biggest change in the series was delivered without justification and ended up having no real impact, it was a major anti-climax. The problems with MMC were ultimately resolved in the Season 4 finale, but that took a whole 'nother season, until then it left a terrible scar. 

And now that the bad is out of the way, lets look at the good! 

Top 10:

Spoiler

10. The Mane Attraction

Despite being the penultimate episode in Season 5, it was actually one of the first known ones due early previews featuring guest star Lena Hall. The episode ended up being far more than just a guest star though, centering around a simple yet touching story. I consider it to be by far the best musical episode in the show.  

9. Friendship is Magic

This is the episode that introduced most of us to our favorite characters and as a result got us to fall in love with the show. Even if it didn't though, if this episode wasn't great, I doubt many people would have been exposed to show as otherwise the early spreaders would never have given it a chance. 

8. Magic Duel

In many ways, this is like A Slice of Life. It's over the top, it panders heavily to the fanbase, and it's written by M. A. Larson. The difference though is this episode is actually good regardless of whether or not you're familiar with fan memes. The tone is much different from the rest of the series, but it manages to pull it off without feeling out of place. Later, this episode set the stage for No Second Prances, which I also consider one of the best episodes in the series for it's thematic maturity. And it's just such a fun plot-driven episode that really stood out in the disappointment that was Season 3. Frankly Sleepless in Ponyville was probably actually the better episode from a technical standpoint, but I just love this episode too much.  

7. Rock Solid Friendship

When Maud Pie was first introduced, she served merely as an extremely flat to foil to Pinkie Pie designed specifically to facilitate a very awkwardly delivered moral. She kinda stayed that way, until this episode. No episode has created as much character development. Not only did it give her a ton of depth so that she could actually be relatable, but by having her choose to move to Ponyville and make a real friend with Starlight Glimmer she's truly changed.  Pinkie was kinda off this episode, but I don't care, because this wasn't Pinkie's episode, it was MAUD's episode, and what it did to Maud makes up for it didn't really do to Pinkie. 

6. Gauntlet of Fire

For most the series, dragons have been given the short end of the stick. Not only is there countless Spike-abuse, but prior to this episode Spike was portrayed as sole exception to nastiness of the dragon race, which is kinda racist. This episode changed all that. Not only did we finally get a strong Spike episode, but we got other good dragons as well. The entire dragon dynamic was changed after this episode. Oh, and we finally got FEMALE dragons, which the fandom had been waiting for after the one gorgeous piece of artwork by Faust was revealed, and no, Crackle doesn't count. Finally, like Magic Duel it's just a really fun episode. 

5. Do Princess's Dream of Magic Sheep?

I was considering including Luna Eclipsed, but this is just the best Luna episode. The main thing is that this is by far the darkest episode in the series. Aside from the fact it's literally quite dark (all Luna episodes are, because the nighttime is dark :P) and it probably had the most at stake for any mid-season episode, I don't think any other show has portrayed self-loathing and related-self punishment is such a visceral yet still kid-friendly way. Some might think such a theme might be too mature for children in the intended age, but sadly it's a much more prevalent issue than we would like to admit. 

4. Twilight's Kingdom

In Season 3, there were two major unexplained changes: the reformation of Discord, and Twilight becoming an alicorn. Of course, the Doylean explanation is to make lots of money by pandering to the show's two principle fanbases, but those in one of the fanbases often appreciate a Watsonian explanation. This is the episode that finally retroactively justified those changes, making all the struggle worth it. Also, it stands out for being a significant uptick in quality after a dirge that spanned Season 2-4, especially regarding the openers and closers post-Return of Harmony. 

3. A Perfect Pair

Frankly, I don't think this episode is actually as good as the fandom makes it out to be, from Season 7 I prefer A Rock Solid Friendship. What ultimately prompted me to put it this high is context. Applejack's parent's is one of the oldest questions in the fandom. Apple Family Reunion heavily implied that they were deceased, but that wasn't enough for the fandom, so A Perfect Pair came around to put the nail in the coffin. The amount of anticipation for this episode was unworldly, and it actually delivered, with it's very sweet love story. The most interesting note is that once again it didn't explicitly confirm their deaths, though the implication was even clear enough. A portion of the fandom still wants to know HOW they died, but....really people. 

2. Amending Fences

I consider this the single best stand-alone episode in the series. Somehow, a master piece was made from a throw-away line in the first episode. I don't even know where to begin, it's just too beautiful. 

1. The Return of Harmony

If Friendship is Magic only had one season, this would have made for the perfect series final. No other two-parter in the series had anywhere near the thematic consistency, especially when it came to connecting it to the rest of the series as well. The moment where Twilight is the reading the letters from Celestia is my single favorite moment in the series, it's just perfect. At this point, I don't think it's possible to have a series final as grand and on point, the sure size of the series without significant oversight has caused it to become just too inconsistent at this point. That being said, I'm glad the series has continued long since then.

As a post-note, I find it really interesting how M. A. Larson is both responsible for the best and worst episodes in the series by my reckoning. I think it partially shows that people are too quick to label writers as either being good or bad. I think Amy Keating Rogers was the all around best though. Either way, he really has left his mark.

 

 

 

Edited by Ganondox
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I don't really hate any of the episodes but my favorite single episode is Perfect Pear. I tend not to watch the self proclaimed critics because of this reason. So far all of the ending and premiers have been great to me.

Edited by Kadeda
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Wow, a list of top and bottom 10 seems really hard to do, I just have a clear top and bottom 3...

 

Most Favorite Episodes:

1. Crusaders of the Lost Mark: loved the songs, loved DT's change of heart, loved how the CMC helped her and adored the way the CMC got and celebrated their cutie marks.

2. A Health of Information: the episode I was at the edge of my seat from the very beginning. Loved Fluttershy's determination, Twilight's support, Meadowbrook's introduction and had just the right amount of humor to also be a funny episode.

3. The Perfect Pear: great structure to have the apple siblings asking about their parents, endearing love story between the cutest FiM couple, those heartbreaking and heartwarming moments were amazing, the perfect end to a lovely episode. Credits and tears rolling at the sound of the guitar.

 

Least Favorite Episodes:

1. Hard to Say Anything: the beginning was ok, the cringe was real from the moment the CMC noticed Big Mac's crush, Big Mac's kiss attempt was disgusting. Song was awful. I still had a few laughs and it ended nicely.

2. The Cart Before the Ponies: I got hyped when Cheerilee explained about the race and cars, I kinda hoped the CMC had asked each other's sisters instead of their own ones to help them. Big sisters projected themselves too much into their little sisters' activity. Song was ok.

3. It Ain't Easy Being Breezies: useless little morons, Spike used just to be the cause of the problem, Fluttershy was adorable, Mane 6 turning into breezies was so out of nowhere, loved Dash asking Twi to turn her into a griffon. A bit boring episode.


 

Spoiler

Special mention:

Non-Compete Clause: only episode I've disliked, couldn't enjoy it at all during my first watch, the student six great moments weren't enough to make the episode worth watching.

 

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2 hours ago, DonMaguz said:

Wow, a list of top and bottom 10 seems really hard to do, I just have a clear top and bottom 3...

 

Most Favorite Episodes:

1. Crusaders of the Lost Mark: loved the songs, loved DT's change of heart, loved how the CMC helped her and adored the way the CMC got and celebrated their cutie marks.

2. A Health of Information: the episode I was at the edge of my seat from the very beginning. Loved Fluttershy's determination, Twilight's support, Meadowbrook's introduction and had just the right amount of humor to also be a funny episode.

3. The Perfect Pear: great structure to have the apple siblings asking about their parents, endearing love story between the cutest FiM couple, those heartbreaking and heartwarming moments were amazing, the perfect end to a lovely episode. Credits and tears rolling at the sound of the guitar.

 

Least Favorite Episodes:

1. Hard to Say Anything: the beginning was ok, the cringe was real from the moment the CMC noticed Big Mac's crush, Big Mac's kiss attempt was disgusting. Song was awful. I still had a few laughs and it ended nicely.

2. The Cart Before the Ponies: I got hyped when Cheerilee explained about the race and cars, I kinda hoped the CMC had asked each other's sisters instead of their own ones to help them. Big sisters projected themselves too much into their little sisters' activity. Song was ok.

3. It Ain't Easy Being Breezies: useless little morons, Spike used just to be the cause of the problem, Fluttershy was adorable, Mane 6 turning into breezies was so out of nowhere, loved Dash asking Twi to turn her into a griffon. A bit boring episode.


 

  Hide contents

Special mention:

Non-Compete Clause: only episode I've disliked, couldn't enjoy it at all during my first watch, the student six great moments weren't enough to make the episode worth watching.

 

Yeah, top 10 is a lot, which is why I said to do whatever number you felt like. The only reason I could do it with relative ease is because I had already rated all the episodes ahead of time. 

  • Brohoof 1
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In all honesty, it would be hard for me to do a Bottom 10 since I'm in the minority (from my current point of view) who doesn't find any episode of the show unbearably bad. My least favorite episodes are actually the inoffensively mediocre ones like Fluttershy Leans In and much of Season 1 that just feels outdated to me now, because I just never feel a calling to watch them again. Episodes like The Mysterious Mare Do Well and Spike at Your Service just have me laughing at how stupid they are with a rewatch. ^_^

Top 10 would be much easier, because while I only like and don't love widely acclaimed episodes like Magic Duel, Wonderbolts Academy, Maud Pie, and The Saddle Row Review like most, I still have a combination of common fan favorite and personal favorite episodes that I'll always revere. For example, I do love some stuff that "everyone loves" like Twilight's Kingdom, The Perfect Pear, and A Hearth's Warming Tail, but I also love some "controversial episodes" like Feeling Pinkie Keen, Keep Calm and Flutter On, and What About Discord?, episodes that I feel are grossly misunderstood.

In short, my list definitely wouldn't be "MARIO/ZELDA IS BEST GAME OF ALL TIME EVERYONE THINKS SO" or "LOOK AT MY UNPOPULAR OPINIONS SO EDGY". I'd just want it to feel as real as possible. :fluttershy:

Edited by CloudMistDragon
  • Brohoof 1
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BOTTOM 10:

Spoiler

 

10. "The Show Stoppers" - Early CMC at their most annoying. Bunch of irritating buildup to a big surge of cringe comedy. Many CMC episodes have grown on me over time, but this one is just a concentrated blast of everything I find obnoxious about them. 

09. "Somepony to Watch Over Me" - Literally couldn't finish this in my latest rewatch of season 4. I just find Applejack's overprotective behaviour so obnoxious and so exaggerated that this is unwatchable to me, though I somewhat remember liking the chimera scene, and the moral's nice. 

08. "What About Discord?" - I remember this one being weirdly noncommittal about its moral, in that it says Twilight's wrong but then shows that she was right all along. Also, this one is intentionally annoying, and I guess it succeeds, but is that really a good thing? 

07. "Non-Compete Clause" - I don't watch this show to be bored and annoyed, and I don't like my favourite characters acting immature and irresponsible just to convey a moral. Mostly I just didn't find this at all fun, and I didn't see anything to really sympathize with in AJ's or RD's motivations. 

06. "Games Ponies Play" - If anyone had even said the name "Harshwhinny," or mentioned the Equestria Games, this entire episode wouldn't have happened. And the jokes here are terrible anyway, including a bunch of exaggerated characterization. Just tedious.

05. "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows" - This is basically just one joke. I got tired of Pinkie keeping her secret within minutes, and then the joke continues to play on that anxiety for 22 deeply repetitive minutes. It's unbearable, and I didn't find the few other jokes here all that funny either.

04. "Hard to Say Anything" - Here's another one which just asks us to laugh at obnoxious behaviour, except that its jokes range from unfunny to weirdly uncomfortable. It's really not funny that Big Mac is harassing Sugar Belle in increasingly odious ways. It's just annoying and off-putting. 

03. "The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well" - Duh. Honestly, I just find this one mean-spirited, as if it was specifically written out of a hatred for Rainbow Dash. On top of all the reasons everyone else hates this, I just can't stand the lengthy sequences of Rainbow Dash failing. Reputation deserved. 

02. "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?" - This episode has a really bad sense of humour. Oh, so Rainbow Dash is afraid of cute things? How very creative. The dream sequence just shows us things we've already seen before. And that the conflict is solved by Luna just getting over her problems is wildly offensive.  

01. "Magical Mystery Cure" - Exhausting barrage of musical numbers which gives its plot no time to breathe or dwell on actual emotion. The story doesn't make all that much sense, and Twilight's coronation doesn't feel remotely earned, which makes the episode's emotional sweep fall completely flat. And you can't just pretend a change was justified when you didn't spend any time justifying it. That's really insulting. 

TOP 10:

Spoiler

10. "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils" - Barely nudges out "Bloom and Gloom" for being a little more superficially entertaining. Here, Sweetie Belle's childish concerns are presented in a deeply sympathetic light even though they're not condoned, and seeing her shown to appreciate the world beyond her perspective is delightful. Luna is perfectly suited to convey this message, and the nightmare imagery is surprising and creative. Like the rest of the "CMC nightmares" trilogy, this succeeds in being empathetic without losing perspective, and it's probably the most overtly charming of the bunch. 

09. "Party of One" - At least by season 1 standards, this one's genuinely weird. Pinkie Pie's absurdity is pitched just right, and the episode just offers one great comedic beat after another. Going back once you know the twist, it's fun to see what all of the misunderstood statements actually mean, and having that on top of the usual fun of the fast-paced visual gags makes for a delightful episode even before it goes off the rails. Pinkie Pie's breakdown remains one of the show's most memorable scenes, in large part because its darkness contrasts so much with the bright cheer of the rest of the show, and also because it so clearly lays bare Pinkie's anxieties. It's just a nonstop parade of memorable scenes. 

08. "Horse Play"  - The platonic ideal of a My Little Pony episode. Characters make mistakes, but their motivations remain accessible and sympathetic. Cute moments abound, and great jokes come constantly. The mane six are all distinctive and entertaining, Starlight fits in neatly while also standing apart, and most importantly, it grounds Celestia in a way the show has never been able to before this point. For once, she's approachable and relatable, as well as adorable and hilarious. This episode truly exemplifies what this show does so well. 

07. "Hurricane Fluttershy" - This is one of the show's most melodramatic episodes, but it's just so well-crafted that it's impossible for me to resist. I love the intense representation of Fluttershy's anxiety. I love how Rainbow Dash tries to be sensitive in encouraging Fluttershy to improve. I love how Fluttershy works incredibly hard to increase her wing power, and feel bad for her when even that isn't enough. This one hits all the right emotional buttons for me every single time. 

06. "A Hearth's Warming Tail" - It's not just "A Christmas Carol." This has taken the skeleton of the classic story, removed some parts and added others, and essentially changed the whole meaning. This isn't a parable about greed, it's one about unchecked ambition, about being raised to ignore the small things in life and thus fail to truly understand people. It's about someone who did the wrong things for the wrong reasons but wants to do right. The songs are catchy, but they're also immensely powerful, filled with small universal truths. This, to me, is the most emotionally moving the show has ever been; the only reason it's not higher is that it's still a tad derivative. 

05. "The Last Roundup" - Like "Horse Play," this one consists entirely of all the things which make the show great. Like "Hurricane Fluttershy," it's delightfully melodramatic. Applejack has never been written with as much nuance, and every other character is at their best as well. More importantly, it's fast paced and consistently funny, with the narrative buildup established largely through montage, a major chase scene in the latter half, and a ceaseless procession of great jokes. This is the kind of thing that attracted me to this show: it's charming and clever and reveals surprising depth beneath the show's innocent surface. 

04. "Rarity Investigates!" - Five seasons in, this was the show stumbling across something genuinely fresh. A consistently hilarious episode that not only features a pairing rarely before seen in the show, but which also uses a delightful gimmick, and places all of it against a background of career advancement for both characters. This episode is filled with great imagery and great jokes and plenty of charming moments, but it also unveils the unlikely similarities between Rainbow Dash and Rarity. Like Rainbow, Rarity knows what it's like to nearly have her dream taken from her, and by opening with Sassy Saddles, this episode actually implies that as part of Rarity's motivation here without needing to state it outright. Also, it's really fun.  

03. "Wonderbolts Academy" - Dash's best episode, and one of the few episodes which really emphasizes her enthusiasm and loyalty over her ego. So many of Rainbow's thoughts are expressed entirely through visual cues, and part of what makes this episode so delightful is how her enthusiasm manifests: rather than showboat, she simply wishes to follow instructions and prove herself capable. That makes her the perfect foil for Lightning Dust, who represents all of Rainbow's egotism without the discipline, someone for whom success comes before anything else. I just love how Rainbow is forced to choose her values before her dreams, how she's really anxious about choosing but shows conviction when she finally makes the choice. Plus, Lightning Dust is one of the show's most entertaining antagonists, so that helps. 

02. "Lesson Zero" - It's just so weird. Twilight's anxiety about an impending deadline is immediately relatable to me, and I continue to relate to her until she starts creeping on the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Like all my other picks, there's just an endless procession of memorable scenes, from Fluttershy snapping a bear's neck, to Rainbow Dash destroying a barn, to "Clock is ticking!" and onwards. And it's so creepy, especially for this show! Twilight's erratic behaviour is unlike much else in this show, and yet as unnerving as it is, the show keeps us in her head from start to finish, so we can sympathize with her motivations even as she blows them way out of proportion. This is the episode which made Twilight my favourite character, and if it's not the best episode, it might just be my favourite. 

01. "The Best Night Ever" - One of the few episodes in the entire show to actually draw on what came before for its impact. Season 1 has a lot of episodes where the mane six don't seem especially close, and so many of the storylines come across like bonding moments which contribute to their growing friendships. We also spent a lot of time getting to know these characters, and here all we've learned pays off with an episode that balances a different subplot for each of them while somehow managing to find great, hilarious moments for each. This is the epitome of the show's early style, and in the end it even gives closure to the mane six's growing friendships, showing how now they're close enough to laugh off such a bad night. The best season finale the show has ever had, and possibly the most well-rounded episode in the whole series. 

 

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