There are plenty of season-specific "What would you like to see" threads. However, with this one, I'd like to be more open-ended. This blog's comments section is your chance to tell us What Episodes Would You Like to See? It doesn't have to be season 5 specific; it could be a story that, in retrospect, you think would have fitted into one of the previous seasons.
I'll start the ball rolling with three ideas of mine:
Season Opener - The Guardians of Harmony
Okay, remembering that 'The Guardians of Harmony' looks like it's going to be the theme of Season 6:
Episode 1 - Monsters
Sunset Shimmer and Sci-Twi visit Ponyville (much cheap laughs at Sci-Twi's expense as she tries to get used to being a unicorn and being in yet another new place where everypony thinks that they know her). What starts as a research party to aid Sunset and Sci-Twi's attempts to understand and control the magic that has leaked into the human world turns into a crisis when Sci-Twi is kidnapped by a maurauding gang of griffons led by none other than Gilda!
- A scene where Princess Twilight is excessively smug at poor Sunset having wings;
- A scene at the Pinkie Party ('Welcome to our Extraequestrian Visi', with 'tors! hastily tacked onto the side);
- Flash Sentry is Twilight's guard commander and is trying to wrap her in cotton wool because 'the princess can't be risked';
- His core troops are the pony equivalent of the Shadowbolts;
- Checkov's Gun is cocked when Twilight teaches her human counterpart a spell that lets her see magical energies on objects and beings;
- Lots of scenery damage in Ponyville due to the Griffons; it's what lets them get away cleanly.
Episode 2 - Champions
The Mane Six and Twilight's guards catch up with the Griffons but it quickly becomes clear that, even though they're trapped in Horseshoe Valley, a box canyon with no escape route, they aren't going to give up. In the dramatic fight scene, each of the Mane Six demonstrates what could be defined as 'superpowers'.
At this point, Sci-Twi makes her appearance, rescued from a cave by Sunset, Flash and the Shadowbolts; she'd used the magical detection spell Princess Twilight taught her and she tells her pony counterpart that all the Griffons have horrible green energies writhing around them. Realising that there is an external agency, Twilight and her friends use the Rainbow Power to cleanse the Griffons of their taint.
Gilda tells Rainbow and Pinkie that she and her friends were kidnapped; her memory is confused but she remembers being strapped to a stone altar and suddenly being so mad at everypony;
Everypony goes to Canterlot where Celestia and Luna introduces them to an ancient legend... or possibly a prophecy... recorded by Star Swirl the Beareded in which the emergence of six mares who would protect the Pony Nation from threats internal and external would be marked by the appearance of a certain number of magical rainbows. She then shows how each use of the Elements and the Rainbow Power to date matches the foretold circumstances.
Princess Twilight decides that she and her friends must learn if they really are the chosen ones and, if so, what their special abilities are to protect Equestria.
- Reunion between Sunset and Celestia (tearful scene - Is Sunset actually Celestia's foster daughter?);
- As Sunset and Sci-Twi are about to go through the Mirror of Worlds, Celestia presents Sunset with her crown and proclaims her 'Princess of Friendship of the World Beyond the Mirror' and tells her to lean on her friends... her 'Council of Friendship' if she should ever lose the path ahead.
- Post-credits scene with a shadowy pony listening to a report from an informant about the Mane Six's quest. "They must be stopped. We must accelerate our timeline."
Season 6 - Overview
Season Six's running theme will have each of the Mane Six having a focus episode where we learn more about their special powers, both those arising from their natures (i.e. Fluttershy's empathy, Applejack's strength and Rainbow Dash's weather-engineering) and also a 'single shade' version of the Rainbow Power where they can alter events through inspiring the quality of their Element in others (similar to the effect of the Equestria Girls Ponying Up).
- The Cutie Map is the plot device that sends them to their individual destinations.
- On each of the individual quest episodes, the Mane Six character is paired with their Shadowbolt counterpart (i.e. Rainbow Dash with Indigo Zap) as a bodyguard, with the exception of Twilight Sparkle, who travels with Flash Sentry
- The Shadow Pony is seen occasionally making his plots and it is clear that he can turn intelligent beings into semi-zombie agents, possessed of maniacal personality traits that are 'anti-Elements' (Selfish, angry, cruel, etc.).
Role of the Shadowbolts
After the fiasco with Our Town and Starlight Glimmer's later invasion of the Castle of Friendship, Celestia insists on Twilight having heavier security. Flash Sentry is given the task of commanding the unit (based on Shining Armour's recommendation) and he insists that he hoof-picked the antisocial misfits who call themselves 'The Shadowbolts' as the best guardsponies he's ever met. Flash himself is rather irritatingly over-protective; he and Twilight argue constantly. Twilight insists that she doesn't need such security measures whilst Flash (who is pretty much the picture in the Royal Equish Dictionary next to the word 'Paladin') insists that "the Princess cannot be risked".
Time and events actually demostratethat they're pretty good professionals. for example, Sour Sweet is an ace sharpshooter with her bow and Sugarcoat is proud of being one of the fastest earth ponies in cross-country galloping to ever go through the Academy.
Some episode ideas that include the SBs:
- Trixie turns up to "challenge the usurper Twilight Sparkle to prove once and for all who is the greatest magical pony alive" and briefly ends up under a pony-dogpile made up of Flash and the SBs;
- Whenever Twilight Sparkle is on official 'Princess Duty', Flash and the SBs go with her. They'd become constant non-speaking presences, seen in the background, interrogating waiters about what they've put in the fruit punch and the like;
- This extends to the Princess's personal life too. The next tea morning with Twilight's friends in Canterlot includes a fully armoured Flash Sentry, Sunny Flare and Sugarcoat as a 'protection detail'. Minuette, Moon Dancer and the others get entirely the wrong idea about the role of Flash (who is practically the picture in the Royal Equish Dictionary next to the world 'Paladin') in Twilight's household;
- Off-duty, Lemon Zest is a dedicated DJ-PON3 fan-filly; Octavia is... jealous... for reasons she does not care to think about too deeply;
- Tired of the constant bickering between these rather acidic personalities, Twilight sends Flash and the girls on a 'team-building exercise' guest-starring Iron Will; hilarity ensues although, naturally, the Magic of Friendship wins out in the end when they have to face off against an unexpected problem;
I propose that the Friendship Guard's uniform is scarily similar to the Shadowbolt athletic uniforms in Friendship Games: Silver-grey armour with royal purple and black tabards, girdles and the like.
Season Finale - The Glyphs of Disharmony
This is my idea for a season finale. It comes at least in part from Ghostkaiba's frequent musings about what enemies could come next after the Old One-level Discord and the physical behemoth of Tirek. I, for one, would like the next enemy to be a purely intellectual foe; little physical strength in himself (although he has an astonishing level of skill with magical theory - equal to Twilight in most respects).
The story basically runs throughout the season with the Six finding various groups of Ponies that have been dragged off of the path of harmony by some kind of malign magic that locks their minds into a certain type of non-harmonious trait (episode 1 and 2 focussing on ponies trapped by a Glyph of Conformity).
Episode 25 - The Angry Ones
Celestia calls Twilight to Canterlot to discuss a worrying upsurge of violence in the rural areas around Las Pegasus. Groups of Ponies are attacking towns, villages, farms and mines, motivated by nothing more than anger. Lots of damage has been done by these surprisingly-organised groups.
Celestia asks Twilight, as Princess of Friendship, to investigate and find out what is the cause of this trouble. Because the Mane Six are not exactly equipped to face off against a possible bandit army, Prince Shining Armour has been given command of two legions of the Royal Guard with orders to do all necessary to restore order to the region.
Basically, the episode follows the usual 'Part 1' stereotype with the Six (even Fluttershy) getting snippy at each other until Twilight decides that they should check different villages before they start arguing. There will probably be at least one confrontation with the 'Angry Ones' that confirms that they are definitely an organised force acting on somepony's behalf.
Twilight and Spike then find the big bad in his evil fortress and finds a huge magical amplifier with a mystic rune carved on its that causes anger and rebellion to grow in ponies' hearts. At this point, Twilight gets jumped by the Big Bad's mind-controlled guards and she teleports Spike to Shining Armour.
What happens next comes from my desire that, for once, the Royal Guards not to be complete and utter incompetents that need the Mane Six to save the day. Once he hears Spike's story, Shining calls all his units together and they march as a single force for the Big Bad's fortress. He also sends magical seeker messages to the rest of the Six, giving them Twilight's location and telling them to break her out so she can't be used as a pony shield in the coming attack.
Episode 26 - The Triumph of Harmony
We rejoin Twilight, who is tied up in the villain's Evil Lair (tm) and is having to endure his monologue about how he will turn ponies into a formidable army with which he will conquer the world, etc., etc. There is also a indication that he's trying to corrupt Twilight with the power of the Glyph and she's constantly having to focus on the good memories of her friends to resist its effects.
We follow AJ as she closes in on Twilight's location. As she joins up with the rest of the six one-by-one, their resistance to the Glyph's malign magic grows. Finally, they break into the fortress via its sewer system (Pinkie's suggestion, much to Rarity's disgust) and they break out Twilight from her cell. When Twilight realises that they are not hallucinations, the Rainbow Power flares and they transform to new combat forms in element theme-specific armour.
The last third of the episode is basically showing off the Six's new 'Defenders' super-powers spliced with Shining Armour's Combined Arms assault on the fortress (20,000 or so trained and disciplined troops backed up by Earth Pony-tech and magical heavy weapons vs. a bandit 'army' bulked out with a few hundred mind-controled rage-zombies = no contest).
The Six break into the Lair and blow up the Glyph using their Rainbow Power Combined attack. The Big Bad orders his lieutenants to attack and then suddenly flees through a hidden door.
He emerges into the courtyard and finds himself practically muzzle-to-muzzle with a very, very annoyed Shining Armour. We see from the Big Bad's POV that there are over a hundred earth pony and unicorn infantry and archers as well as pegasi and griffon sky rangers and scouts all in perfect formation with piles of beaten evil mooks everywhere.
Shining Armour steps forwards and announces: "In the name of their Arcane Majesties Celestia, Luna and Cadence I hereby place you under arrest!"
The Mane Six step out behind him; Twi and Shiny banter about 'better late than never' whilst the villain sweats for a bit. He finally answers. "Um... Yes, I suppose the time has come for us to negotiate terms for a truce!" Shiny rolls his eyes and raises a hoof. The archers all pull back their draw-strings. "Er... I mean, declare a unilateral ceasefire!" Shining looks up an the sky warriors' blades snap forwards. The villain gets seriously squirrel-like at this point. "Um... That it's time for me to leave?" Spells appear at the tips of the horns of the battlemages (including Shiny). "Oh, Tartarus! I surrender already!"
"That's good. Lieutenant Sentry, place this malefactor under arrest!"
Epilogue is a victory parade in Canterlot with Twily and Shining leading the victorious troops (including an amazed Mane Six) to the reviewing stand where Celestia, Luna and Cadence receive them and unveil a statue of Twilight, Shiny and the rest of the Six in heroic postures, shattering the Glyph beneath them.
Mini-Arc - The Crusade
This is essentially how I want the Cutie Mark Crusaders to get their Cutie Marks. It's basically season-agnostic although it fits best post-Sleepless in Ponyville as it requires Luna to have an established relationship with the Crusaders.
Part 1 - The Cutie Marks of the Heavens
This would work fine as a single-part episode.
The Crusaders (possibly including new recruits Rumble, Dinky Doo and Button Mash) are having an all-nighter at the Gang Hut when Princess Luna drops in. Literally, by falling through the roof. She hit a shooting star whilst checking the alignment of the heavens and was knocked out of the sky; she's more embarrassed than hurt.
As she observes Apple Bloom and Button repair the roof, she asks the Crusaders about the various plans scrawled on parts of the walls. When she hears of their ambitions, she decides to give them a lesson in finding your true talent by telling them a tale never heard by mortal ponies before - how Celestia Dawntreader and Luna Stardancer got their cutie marks!
At the end, before flying off, Luna hammers home the point that a special talent is something that you are naturally good at - something that you were always good at, not something that you suddenly stumble across by accident. She leaves and the Crusaders are clearly baffled as to what this is supposed to mean.
Part 2 - The Soapbox Rally
This would be a multi-part arc, maybe as many as five or six episodes.
Every year, Equestria holds the Soapbox Rally, a journey from Fillydelphia to Canterlot for colts and fillies in pony-powered carts and other contraptions across a wide range of terrains and environments. There is a cash prize (say... around 10,000 Bits) but the real prize for the foals is the adventure and to stand out from amongst their peers. Inspired by the Equestria Games, the Ponyville CMCs decide to compete (not without Sweetie Belle's reservations... she really doesn't think that she wants a "Cross Country Rally Cutie Mark").
A quick bit of research in the newspaper archive in the Friendship Castle's library confirms to Apple Bloom that the competition will be tough. Some of the brightest and toughest foals on Equestria are involved and many large companies enter teams running in carts built by professional engineer ponies. She's just starting to despair when Princess Twilight recommends to her a book on the history of the race and on the principles of pony-powered transports (pedals, bike chains and even unicorn magic-powered pseudo-electric motors). Apple Bloom's eyes light up: She knows how to do this.
Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon come across the testing of the CMCs' Mk1 prototype cart and provide their usual mocking commentary. However, Apple Bloom has done enough work on the propulsion, steering and suspension that, as it is bouncing through the countryside outside Ponyville, the two bullies are impressed despite themselves. Filthy Rich has taught Diamond how to spot a winner and, by Discord, this machine could be a winner! This is, in her view, unacceptable. She somehow manages to talk her father into funding a team whose only real objective is to rob the CMCs of the prize. Naturally, Diamond and Silver won't dirty their hooves with racing. No, that task falls to Featherweight, Snips and Snails (none of whom really understand what the Hay is going on here).
The story is basically a series of race levels where Apple Bloom uses what the viewer should understand to be Piggietech to get the Crusadermobile Mk2 over various courses and obstacles, up to and including parasol-assisted soft descents from jumps and using modified air circulation fans for propulsion whilst descending under the parasols. Maybe also have the plunger-equipped roof-walking 'wheels' too! Scootaloo rapidly demonstrates a near-supernatural ability to pilot whatever mad new modification Apple Bloom creates and Sweetie Belle time and time again finds the abilty to touch her friends' hearts and give them the motivation to go on with a song that often magically fixes a problem.
Finally, after a spectacular run up the mountainside to Canterlot (including the use of soda-bottle boosters to handle the steeper slopes) the CMCs are declared winners. Princess Luna, who has always had a fascination in all things mechanical, congratulates the CMCs on their victory. Diamond Tiara storms forwards and demands that they be disqualified (the soda bottles aren't exactly 'pony-powered'). However, the judges admit that nopony had even attempted to use them before and so there isn't a rule against them. In any case, they were triggered by Sweetie Belle shaking them super-fast with her magic so it is technically pony-powered. Babs, who has been cheering her cousin's team on with the rest of the Manehatten CMCs, nearly starts a fight with Diamond Tiara, calling her a "sore loser and a wannabe lawyer trying to cheat honest ponies out of their bits".
Luna asks who developed this marvellous contraption and everyone points at an embarrassed Apple Bloom. Apple Bloom demurs and says it would have been nothing but lumber and scrap without Scootaloo's piloting. Scootaloo demurs and says Sweetie kept them all focussed and their spirits up with her magical singing.
Luna remarks that, in truth, all their talents were involved in this victory and thus it is truly a team effort - a victory of harmony and the strength of the united Three Races. As the CMCs are handed the cup and the winners' blue ribands to the cheers of the crowd, including the M6 and all their friends, they feel... weird. "It's like this is what ah'm meant to do!" Apple Bloom blurts out. "It's like this is who we're meant to be!" Scootaloo agrees. Sweetie Belle concludes: "Like it's our... Our destiny!" And then their cutie marks appear. For Apple Bloom, a green apple in the centre of a cog wheel, for Scootaloo, a winged wheel perched on a lightning bolt and for Sweetie Bell, a heart made up of two musical notes.
"Let nopony doubt the integrity of this victory," Luna declares with her full Royal Canterlot Voice. "For this day Magic Itself has acknowledged them!"
"Stupid magic," spits a bitter Diamond Tiara. "Stupid hayseed! She's still a nopony, cutie mark or not!"
Part 3 - If Chickens Could Fly
This would work as another single-parter.
The doctors are saying that Scootaloo's wings will never grow properly and she'll never fly. Apple Bloom doesn't accept this and starts developing madder and madder contraptions to let her friend fly as high and as fast as she wants, basically wing harnesses to give her lift so her wings' propulsion power can get her moving.
Pretty soon, Scootaloo becomes a familiar sight, flying overhead in her semi-engineered, semi-magical airborne harness. Still, it is only a substitute and she frets that she is not really worthy of her race or of Rainbow Dash's approval.
Then, Rainbow Dash remarks that one of the few airborne records she won't be able to break is the fastest flight from Canterlot to Cloudsdale by means of something other can conventional pegasi flight. Apple Bloom decides that this is a record that will have Scootaloo's name on it. It is the time for rocket-powered crewed flight to make its début on the Equestrian stage!
In essence, Scootaloo flies a supersonic flying harness that is launched in a vertical-launch two-stage rocket booster. After arriving at Cloudsdale (escorted the last few miles by the Wonderbolts!), she's met and congratulated by Rainbow Dash who reminds her that she always said Scootaloo would find her own awesome. Now look at her! She's set the one record that Rainbow Dash couldn't even attempt to smash!
Well, those are my ideas! Thanks for sticking with me through that. What episodes or stories would you like to see?