Published by The Second Opinion in the blog The Second Opinion's blog.
Celestial Advice and All Bottled Up are finally here! Are they the fresh start we needed?
Yeah, I agree with your analysis, for the most part. I'm actually all for seasons being less focused and not necessarily having an obvious overarching story arc as long as the writing quality is there to back it up. I mean, it worked for season 2 but then it didn't work for season 6 and that was more recent. However, I chalked it up to the new writing staff not quite hitting their stride yet so I went into this season hoping that they would. So far I'm feeling cautiously optimistic that we'll be getting a season that's at least alright, even if it doesn't necessarily end up being the best.
I'm kind of torn on the first episode. I mean, this is the first season premiere that isn't a two parter, but then The Best Night Ever isn't a terrible finale IMHO in spite of being only one episode, so I wasn't turned off by the prospect of one such episode here. I'm just kind of split down the middle on what transpired. On one hand we were led to believe that the status quo would be shaken up, at least in regards to Starlight, only to find out that said status quo has actually been maintained. On the other hand, I'm also glad that Starlight hasn't been written out of the story as I kind of like her, and I don't mind the current status quo, so eh...
Oh, yeah, I like that Celestia finally got something that resembles character development and we kind of sort of got a Celestia episode now, so that can finally be checked off the fan wishlist. I kind of like the whole literally bottling up anger angle of the second episode. I do agree that the mane six kind of just made an obligatory cameo there to satisfy fans. I do kind of enjoy when the show parodies itself, so props for the stallion pointing out that some songs are kind of pointless, and I think this one was intentionally pointless so I don't mind that it lays the ideal of friendship on thick.
I do have to wonder though if Unicorns are a hazard to everypony around them, and if so, what can be done about that as any act to protect other ponies from Unicorns can be construed as racism. Also, nopony could win a war against Unicorns as they're the master race other than Alicorns. Then again, they got away with locking out magic with an enchantment during the Equestria Games.
I'm actually starting to like Trixie's arrogant and unintentionally irritating side. I just finished Trixie's GM Berrow book not too long ago, and it's full of moments where Trixie aggravates others around her. Also, it opens with Trixie having an inner monologue where she wonders how Twilight became a princess while she didn't, since "they both have equal skill in magic". That kind of made me chuckle a little.
Even without an overarching story, I think season 2 had a sense of purpose that season 6 lacked. It was doing everything to put the 6 friends, the elements of harmony, through the paces of relatable trials and bonding, in the most interesting ways it could think of. Apart from the vague notion of wanting to do something with Starlight, season 6 seemed like it was just trying to think of anything that might happen to them.
Considering most unicorns are supposed to be like Rarity, just levitation and a few talent-related spells, I'm guessing the writers would tell us that a war would mean the unicorns had a few of the heaviest hitters, spaced out between a lot of mediocrity that more athletic breeds, earth ponies and pegasi, could handle more often than not. That's just an educated guess though.
As for Trixie, I also like that they're letting her flaws that kept her in the antagonist role for so long shine. Someone who's more of an antihero learning and improving can be interesting, and with the writers seeming bored of thinking how the main 6 might need to progress, I'd say it's welcome.
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