Merry Christmas Eve, everypony! Darkblaze here with yet another blog post. I know I'm a bit late to the party on this one, but I finally have the time to post my opinions on the Season 6 finale of FIM, "To Where and Back Again". I've got quite a doosey to talk about here, so might as well get started!
First, I would like to mention that I went into this as spoiler-free as I possibly could. The only thing I knew about the finale was the basic premise put out by Zapit, as well as a thumbnail image showing Starlight and Trixie together. Other than that, the lack of promos and the early Tiny Pop release made my experience a lot more enjoyable in the long run, enough for me to confirm that this is my all-time favorite season finale of the entire show and possibly my favorite two-part episode, as well! (I will go into more detail later)
First thing I want to talk about is the cast for this episode, which I thought was a spectacular move on the writer's part. I think this is only the 2nd or 3rd episode (feel free to correct me in the comments) that doesn't directly star the Mane 6, and instead focuses on Starlight and her crew of reformed villains. I really like this type of storyline because it offers more room for developing characters we don't see as much, which is why I enjoy watching movies like Cars 2 and Day of the Diesels despite the overwhelming opinions against them. And when I say they develop these characters, boy did they develop them; all of the reformed villains' personalities played well off of each other, especially Trixie and Discord's, adding more depth to their characters. The real MVP (most valuable pairing) in this episode has to be Starlight and Trixie; their friendship gets more development than NSP could ever have hoped to achieve; this episode also made me appreciate Trixie more as a character than a plot device. Overall, I thought the characters were utilized well, and I look forward to more stories like this one in the future!
Next on to some random pros; the humor was so on point in this episode that I rank it just a few spots below SRR as the funniest episode of the series. The pacing wasn't that bad in this episode, either; while most two-parters in the show have issues with the plot moving too fast at points, in this episode, the first part set up the conflict, while the second part focused on the resolution, which is how it should be. Out of all the characters featured in this episode, Starlight clearly receives the most character development, and rightfully so; her actions in this episode truly tie the knot in her reformation arc throughout Season 6, similar to how Discord's reformation was handled. I think one of the big issues people had with the Season 5 finale is that Starlight's change of heart came from out of nowhere, and Twilight's speech at the end felt more forced. In this finale, however, Starlight's speech feels more natural because she personally experienced the bad side of power and forced leadership. I also love the fact that Chrysalis herself wasn't reformed because, again, it adds to the realism of the episode; there's nothing Chrysalis has to be remorseful of, so naturally she shouldn't feel the need to reform.
Which brings me to probably the most controversial topic of the entire episode: the reformation of all of the Changelings. While I will admit, initially it seemed a little contrived and rushed, after further analysis, it actually helps to add to Changeling lore. It was never confirmed that Thorax was the only Changeling who "reformed" (even though he was never evil in the first place) neither has any other Changling had the opportunity to change themselves. Therefore, my theory is that, after years of living under Chrysalis' tyrannic rule, the Changelings wanted an escape from their tortured lives, and Starlight's speech and Thorax's transformation sparked the rebellious feelings within them to defeat their leader. Speaking of which, I actually don't mind their new look because it fits with the current folklore surrounding changelings (look it up). For anyone who's still stubborn about their reformation, this does not mean that all the Changelings have been reformed - I mean, we never did know what happened to the Changelings in Twilight's castle . . . ;-)
In conclusion, I thought this season finale was very entertaining and has a lot of re-watch value. Some highlights for me include:
- The return of the village poinies, Starlight's former subjects
- Starlight's realistic struggle with her leadership issues
- Discord obsessing over Fluttershy's safety (his reaction to Fluttershy being ponynapped was priceless!)
- Luna's involvement in Starlight's struggles, which didn't feel like unnecessary fan-pandering
- Starlight's apology to the ponies from her village, which felt more solid than in the Season 5 finale.
I know many people found issues with various things in this episode, but I believe they can be overlooked to get down to the true meaning behind the episode. As for the fate of the Changelings, similar to Celestia and Luna's comments about the birth of an alicorn in the season premiere, they are simply topics to discuss sometime in the future. Until then, I'd love to hear what you all have to say about the Season 6 finale. What did you like/dislike? Did this episode live up to your expectations? Comment below!