Ah, it’s very nice to be able to watch new episodes on a weekly basis again! My Little Pony returned last week for its Season 4 premiere. While it wasn’t quite as epic as past two-part sagas, it was still a great watch. It established a surprising new status quo. The Elements of Harmony were put out of commission. This will have ramifications because those Elements are their most powerful weapons when dealing with opponents. Not to mention that they have no way of reigning in Discord if he were to go renegade. The other major thing is that a mysterious box appeared from the Tree of Harmony, with six key slots. So for this season the big plot will be finding those keys. What’s in the box? I’m guessing we’ll find out in the final episode. ‘Castle Mane-ia‘ continues where the previous one left off. Twilight is on a mission to find some information about the box. It’s a pretty interesting episode, a full on comedy horror adventure. It won’t be making classic status anytime soon, but it was definitely fun.
Here’s the official episode description from The Hub:
“Twilight and Spike are sent by Celestia to the ruins of her old castle for research, and unknown to each other, the rest of the ponies find their way there as well. Meanwhile, trap doors, secret passages and a dark presence known only as the Shadow Pony await them”
The story has Twilight head on over to Princess Celestia and Luna’s old castle in the Everfree Forest. Unbeknownst to her, her friends also make their way there for different reasons. Applejack and Rainbow Dash are having a daring contest while Fluttershy is assisting Rarity with finding some new fashion-related items. Pinkie Pie states at the beginning that she has to be at the school to test a new bell. First, this can be viewed as a kind of Part 3 to the premiere. Twilight’s part of the story revolves around the mysterious box. Plus, yet another status quo change is established by the end. This is just as interesting as the box for a few reasons. One, it looks like it will be replacing the letters to Princess Celestia. And two, in theory this could be the basis for the next generation of My Little Pony in the same continuity. (I might be getting ahead of myself, but Twilight saying, “And maybe some day, other ponies will read it and learn something too!” is a pretty interesting hint.)
I think one of the greatest things about this episode is that we get plenty of interaction in duos. Rarity and Fluttershy haven’t had one-on-one screen-time together since Green Isn’t Your Color. Newcomer writer Josh Haber writes these two very well, especially Rarity. Whereas Applejack got a surprising amount of important dialogue in the premiere, Rarity partially steals the show here. Fans of Applejack’s and Rainbow Dash’s rivalry will enjoy the two here, since they’re constantly trying to outdo each other. The setting is something straight out of an old horror flick, a ruined castle. It made for a pretty interesting backdrop since the ponies had no idea they were all there together and kept on accidentally scaring one another. Twilight in the final act got a nice role, showcasing why she’s earned the title of Alicorn Princess by being the most calm-headed of the group and leader.
This is all fun, but ultimately it feels like a Scooby-Doo episode. That’s not a bad thing of course, but it just doesn’t quite rise to ‘great’ level. The Pony of Shadows got a lot of hype when that name was first announced. The plot twist regarding it is again like something out of a Scooby-Doo episode. I will give the writer a lot of credit here, you will not see it coming and then laugh about it. Of course, it’s also disappointing for people expecting something from this Shadow Pony. The very last scene made up for it, it should be interesting to see where it leads. This is groundwork for what I’m guessing is the final saga of Season 4.
Overall, a pretty fun episode. It has a pretty unique concept that cleverly manages to have the ponies in the ruined castle without any knowing each other is there. There’s a lot of running and yelling, but there’s also some pretty great writing in there, mainly from Rarity and Twilight. It was nice to see just how much Fluttershy cares for Angel too. Also the new status quo change is a pretty cool one and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out. And the very end is absolutely fantastic. ‘Castle Mane-ia‘ is not one of the better episodes of the series, but is still a good watch.
Daniel is a huge fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. His favorite is Fluttershy and you can follow him on Twitter: @Destroyer_199