Let the review commence
I have since changed my way of viewing episode. I see the good with the bad, and that was a very good way to go through season 5. Yeah, there were some breakout episodes this season, but so many were just average. That isn't a bad thing, but it isn't a good thing either. It's just a thing. There were bad episodes like Made in Manehatten. There were good and even great episodes, like Mane Attraction, Amending Fences and Make New Friends but Keep Discord. But mostly, the season had many okay to average episodes. Sure, I felt the feelings and laughed more than other seasons, which is why Season 5 is by far my favorite. It was consistent, and I like consistency. So, I walked into the season finale with average expectations. I didn't see the previews and only read the summary. I was excited, but I didn't let myself get too hyped. My average expectations were met and surpassed with ease. This is one of the best two parters...nay...it is the best two-parter this show has ever brought forth. So, let's dive into it.
An eye for an eye...
So, if you're reading this review, I expect that you have watched the finale. The message is something always overlooked in this show, and here it's amazing. Most people have probably heard the quote, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind". That quote is a brilliant way to convey this episode's message. Starlight will stop at nothing to reap her revenge against Twilight. She has bided her time and now she unleashes her magus opus spell to destroy Twilight. She will stop at nothing to end the bond Twilight has with her friends. She will travel through time itself and fight Twilight for eternity just to break her. That is true dedication, and it blinds her. Starlight doesn't see the weight of her actions, and it leads to the destruction of Equestria itself. Even when Twilight tell Starlight of this, she carries on to ignore it. She tries to resist Twilight's logic, but fails. This just shows how much Starlight wants Twilight to never be bond with her friends. It's truly inspiring and frightening. Another message that this two part episode tells comes in the sixth and final act. Starlight shows us her childhood. She is playing with a friend when, suddenly, there is a freak accident. The colt saves Starlight, gets his cutie mark, and then just flat out abandons his friend. A quote from a rather famous series, Harry Potter, rang through my mind. "Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, especially those that have lived without love." This fits so well with Starlight. She was an innocent filly with only one friend. When that friend left her, she was alone. She never trusted anyone ever again. It broke her. It left her bitter and cold. This is an excellent segue into the next message...
Destiny vs. Want
Destiny is something that is carelessly thrown around in this show. It's been around since Season 1, and it makes me sick how much the show banks on it for plot devices. This season had an overall theme about destiny and cutie marks. Obvious the premiere and finale, but also with Trouble Shoes, Diamond Tiara, and even Rara. With Trouble Shoes, he wanted to be a rodeo "pony", but when his cutie mark appeared and ruined that for him, he went for second best. He became a rodeo clown. He didn't want to be a clown, but he was FORCED to. The show kind of glosses this over, but I felt terrible for this big guy. He had to go for second best because some magical butt tattoo told him he had to. Why follow your dreams when you are already given your destiny when you are young? With Diamond Tiara, she is given a cutie mark without even knowing what it means! Sure, she finds out during this episode, but she had had the mark for some time. It's just disturbing how such a small thing can cause such a terrible effect. With Rara, she sold her soul to a corporate shill and became a pop star when she should have stayed closer to her roots. She was being tricked and lied to so someone else could profit. It's not as bad as the other two examples, but it is certainly there...
With Starlight, cutie marks are once again thrust in a bad light. The mark on her friend that caused him to leave her is the very epitome of the evil that destiny brings. She has every right to hate the things. The magic of cutie marks is flawed and tears friends apart; Starlight's goals to eradicate them are almost valiant. But they aren't always bad. With Twilight and her friends. With the CMC and I'm sure other ponies, these marks bond them rather than tear them apart. With Starlight however, she got the short end of the stick, and she has every right to see cutie marks as evil and wrong. They destroyed her childhood and they must be banished. When you stop and think about it, her morals are very interesting.
Starlight is a villain that I like to call a "Mind-screw" Villain. Much like Discord before her, she messes with Twilight's head. She can hold her own in a magical fight as shown in the episode, but the only reason for it was to cause RD and the bullies to get distracted. She manages to staunch Twilight's attempts to stop her in many ways. Starlight uses sabotage, diplomacy, distraction, Twilight's rage, and many other things to stop her foe. She is one of the best villains in the entire series for this reason. Unlike other villains, Starlight has the upperhand throughout the entire episode. She never loses control of her stranglehold on the bond between Twilight and the Remane 5. She has isolated Twilight from her friends, leaving the alicorn at a fraction of her power. She is a very capable mage. She is wise. She is just better than Twilight. She outwits, then outmagiks, then outdoes Twilight. Unlike NMM, Discord, Chrssie, Sombra, and Tirek, Starlight forces Twilight to fail multiple times. Twilight fails to stop her at least a half dozen times. With the other villains mentioned, Twilight doesn't "lose" until the very end. Twilight has already lost within the first ten minutes of the finale. The only reason Starlight stopped was because of Twilight's words. That is what go through to her. If Twilight has failed to do stop her there, she would have lost completely. Starlight is by far the msot threatening villain this show has come up with.
"The pacing was terrible." ~Every Brony ever,
The pacing wasn't great, but what did you expect. Once again, I think that this episode should have been three parts, but it wasn't. Give the writers credit, this episode could have been an hour and a half movie, but they only get a forty-four minute timeframe. They did their best, and nearly pulled it off...until the sixth act...That was rushed. I can let that slide though, since this episode is too good to focus on such a thing.
Join the Light Side
Starlight's reformation was...not disappointing actually. I thought she might remain evil, but she didn't. I'm fine with that. I can deal. It'll be interesting to see how the writers will build her character in the coming seasons. I know the reason for this reformation as well. Season 6 is a "reboot" of the series. Not a true reboot, but a partial one. Now, the writers have another character to use. The others are starting to reach their goals, and they need another to come for more episode ideas. It's a champion idea, kind of lazy, but whatever. If it works, good on DHX. If not, well...at least her design is nice...
It doesn't have the same ring to it...I know...
Who needs music?
I'll keep this short. The song was okay, and I'm happy there was only one. Songs take up space, and this one was at the end, so I don't care.
So, to recap this review. The villain is great, the messages are great, the pacing was meh, the music was meh, and the reformation was fine in my book. Overall, this episodes shortcomings are buried under a hundred other reasons this episode is amazing. 9/10. Best two-parter.