Before I start, I need to say something. Rather than say about what I thought about absolutely everything about the episode, I will instead mostly say my thoughts. In my previous reviews, I mentioned everything that happens in the episode, now I just want to say my thoughts.
The episode is about Princess Celestia having a task for Twilight Sparkle to complete. Princess Luna is wary because she doesn't want a certain empire magic to fall again. Twilight comes ready for test but Celestia instead tells her that an evil unicorn called King Sombra was damaging the lives of a certain nation called Crystal ponies. He was overthrown, but before he was a curse was made to trap the crystal ponies. She wants Twilight to try and help find an object called the Crystal heart. Shining Armor and Princess Cadence are also helping Twilight along with her six pony friends. Twilight seems confident but a little worried. When they reach Shining and Cadence, both of them have lost their magic ability and can no longer help. This is where I ask "Why doesn't Twilight just revive the weakened Cadence. Her brother horn is harder to revive but Twilight can probably do a revival spell, considering how far she's gotten in magic.
This storyline I had mixed feelings on. It was a good story but there was that plothole with Twilight and Cadence.
7. Rainbow Dash. Was not herself. i didn't like how they touched on her brashness too much. her relationship with Fluttershy from Hurricane Fluttershy is forgotten as she fights her in a joust tournament. However, to Rainbow Dash's credit, I do applaud her solo in The Success Song. It kind of shown that she may be arrogant but to keep in mind that she still has signs of loyalty. Her interaction with Twilight Sparkle is one of the best in the show, in my opinion.
6. Fluttershy. Pretty much the same. her annoying spin of shyness and assertiveness wasn't here. i was guessing for her to actually flip out at the Crystal ponies and at Rainbow Dash.
5. Rarity. Whereas earlier she seemed to be actually willing to help, still showing her obsession, she instead has her obsession get the best of her. At times, she doesn't evens eem willing to help. She still seems herself but she barely shows much signs of generosity.
4. Pinkie Pie. In previous episodes, Pinkie Pie seemed the most immature, but she had some hidden insecurity with attention in Party of One. here, however, Pinkie seems reduced to just a kid at heart, running around the place, barely helping. I liked her being a Spy in disguise as a Pyro because Pinkie is like The Pyro in TF2 and I did like the return of her kickass Party Cannon, but that's about it.
3. Twilight Sparkle. Even the star of the episode has some problems. Sure, Twilight had self-sacrifice and everything, but there was a subplot of her taking the Crystal empire thing as a test. it's not a test Twilight. I know she's obsessed with studying but she needs to know what priorities.
2. Applejack. They really pinned down Applejack really well here. She was the only one who actually got Crystal Pony information. She was the one who made Rarity feel better about dissapointment with leaving the Crystal Kingdom. She was the one who asked the right questions to the librarian about the crystal ponies. SHe was the one who stopped the Crystal Ponies from seeing the fake Crystal heart and lied very well. Sure it broke her element but it was also to help her friends. But wait, Applejack's not the one who truly shines. It's surprusingly the show's most underused main character.
1. Spike. Spike is the true hero here. Twilight told him to bring the Crystal heart as she couldn't do it herself. Sure Cadence saved Spike but he was the one who brought the heart. They made him more useful rather than a wimpy punching bag. He even had huge development with Twilight. That wall that shown your worst fears, when Spike saw it, he saw Twilight throwing him out and not needing him anymore and Twilight said that it shows a ponies worst fear, but something that'll never happen. That's really touching. It's like Spike has actually become a character. When they see stairs, Twilight even asks Spike to come with her. Spike looked overjoyed and I can see why: he's never been brought on missions before. my only problem is that after they make him the hero and he even has a painting of him on Celestia's wall, he doesn't get much credit, and when they're waiting for Twilight to get results from Celestia, Spike turns really feminine again, hyperventilating. No creators, you made Spike useful. Stick with it. He's really likeable now.
Shining Armor. Apart from showing the path to the empire, battling King Sombre and throwing his wife to save Spike, Shining doesn't do much else after his horn loses it's magic. On the bright side, he did do the useful things I mentioned earlier.
Princess Cadence. Due to her injury, all she did was save Spike by being thrown by Shining, which was freaking awesome.
Princess Celestia. As usual, Celestia doesn't do much. She tells Twilight where to go and she does Twilight that she passed but I wish she fought King Sombre.
Princess Luna. She's underused again but something seemed different about her. She seemed more stern about the crystal pony topic and again, I nwould have liked if she fought in battle. After Twilight succeeds however and her and her friends board the train, Celestia and Luna appear to be holding a black book, something I think will connect to something in the future.
To put it frankly, I hate King Sombre. He barely sai anything, started off as a cloud, got no development and with him only saying no, I can't even applaud the voice actor. Even Nightmare Moon was better than this guy. Sure she was unoriginal but she had a decent backstory. Discord was probably the best villiain as he had fun with chaos. You can't even tellif King Sombre has the personality of Nightmare or Discord. The villiain before him, Queen Chrysalis was decent. Sure, she was kind of unoriginal but she brought a new flavor to it getting the furthest in her plan. KIng Sombre doesn't do anything.
As usual, the music is good, but here, it's incredible. These three songs are some of the best of the show.
Twilight sings about how worried she is about completing her task, but has a hint of confidence for her intelligence. Plus, we finally hear Spike sing, better, with Twilight as a duet. He's one of the best singers out of the 7. He doesn't need to make his voice girlier to sing, even though he's voiced by a girl. Take notes Bieber.
This is a full group song with the 7 singing about how to help Cadence with her magic. All have a solo except Spike, but he sings anyways on the bright side. The song has a good melody and the solos from the 6 are short, sweet and to the point.
I may have some disagrements but this is the besty song I've ever heard in MLP. I've watched it a few times and i shed a manly tear three of the five times. All had solo's except Spike but you can still hear him anyways. And the song really shows how close the 7 are, all supporting Twilight. It's just a happy song, nearly feeling like the SERIES finale instead. It just seems so incredible, despite it's short length. Remember when I complained about Rarity barely being generous? She's the one who starts the song, almost looking like she's sorry for her selfishness and showing generosity. Sure, the exploitation of Rarity was funny but it was out of character. This song makes up for it.
Animation & Visuals
The animation and visuals here are some of the best in the show. The crystal ponies are well designed, the actual death of King Sombre looks dark, the crystal animation was really powerful and the facial expressions were humourous. The animation here makes the top-class of Season 1 and 2 look like garbage. That's how great I think the animation is.
In the end, for the most part, I liked the episode as it took more risks than usual. I was mixed on the characterisation and summary and I hated King Sombre, but everything else was brilliant.
-An underused character liek Applejack shining
-An underused character like Spike shining
-Spike and Twilight friendship advances
-Shining Armor wife throw
-Possible connection wth black book in future
-Greatest animation in the show
-Some characters don't act themselves
-The stairs are a bigger enemy than King Sombre
-Twilight doesn't just use a revival spell on Cadence