Breaks between seasons are never easy. In the case of My Little Pony, fans had to wait almost an entire year for Season 5. It comes to no surprise by now that the show is one of the most successful cartoons in the modern century, with already Season 6 being confirmed! Last time Twilight and friends had their most grand battle yet, against the powerful Tirek. At the end of that fantastic two-parter a new status quo for this season was unveiled: Twilight got her own castle. (It’s still going to take awhile to getting use to the fact that the tree-house library is no more.) ‘Cutie Map’ is the premiere two-parter here, successfully bringing back the ponies with a good story and great new antagonist. They’re back folks.
Here’s the official description from
The Hub Discovery Family:
The Mane 6 are summoned to solve a friendship problem only to find a utopian village where everyone has given up their Cutie Marks.
The Mane 6 have had their Cutie Marks taken and must find a way to get them back. When a deep dark secret is revealed about the pony who took them, they think they may have the answer.
Arguably the most distinctive part about My Little Pony as a whole is the Cutie Mark. These little symbols represent each character: who they are and their special talents. That’s why the concept of ‘Cutie Map’ is so intriguing. Why would anypony willingly choose to give up their Mark? It might be a tough concept to grasp on paper, but it’s nicely executed on screen. The resident ponies in the mysterious village are chasing a fabricated dream that if everyone’s the same, happiness and friendships will follow. After all, if we all have different talents and different opinions, how can we get along without growing bitter with one another? That’s pretty much the thought process the antagonist, Starlight Glimmer, instills on the ponies. For the young viewer, it’s a solid message because it can be easy to think like that. Everyone has different talents, and there’s nothing wrong people having a disagreement, because a true friendship can prevail over that.
How are the Mane 6 here? By now the characters are 100% best of friends. If you go back and watch a Season 1 episode and then this, you can see the fantastic development. Rarely you see that in cartoons these days. Perhaps Fluttershy has the most notable role, being the one Twilight sends out to trick Starlight. It’s rare when we see her in this type of role, so that was definitely fun. While this isn’t Pinkie Pie’s worst episode, she didn’t really bring anything to the table aside from noticing a fake smile when she sees one. (Which was ingenious.) It may seem like I have a bit of a negative tone here, and that’s because I’m still getting over the fact that she literally gave up the reason why they wanted to see the Cutie Mark Vault, when minutes ago Twilight reminded them that they weren’t supposed to do that.
Now, let’s talk about the villain: Starlight Glimmer. This two-parter proves that an antagonist doesn’t have to be divine, all powerful, a queen, or a demon to be engaging. Here we have basically a normal unicorn, nothing fancy, just manipulative. While she may not go down a a fan favorite when compared to the other villains, there’s no denying she was a great antagonist. Thankfully, her ending doesn’t have her turn good and leaves room for something in the future. She’s basically “Big Brother,” and in fact the premise is much like 1984. “Conformity will set you free. To excel is to fail. Accept your limitations and happiness will follow.” This was some really great writing, making this basically a totalistic part of Equestria thanks to Starlight. When looked at deeply it gives this story a whole new dimension, but that’s an analysis for another day.
Scott Sonneborn and M.A. Larson both share writing credits for this two-parter. As a whole, it’s hard to find any complaints. Aside from that Pinkie Pie mishap, quality writing is throughout. There are some moments that will give the longtime viewer a good laugh, such as when Twilight says, “Then I guess we’ll take six muffins!” after Sugar Bell says she can make muffins, and then nothing else after that. Speaking of Twilight, it’s truly amazing how much development she’s had over the course of four seasons. In fact, I’d say this is the first time when she’s fully realized her princess role. It’ll be great watching her progress even further in the coming episodes. The song ‘In Our Town,’ was solid in context, though definitely not one of the more notable themes from the series.
Overall, a solid way to start off Season 5 of My Little Pony. While it probably won’t go down as a fan favorite due to it having not too much excitement when compared to the previous two-parters, ‘Cutie Map’ delivers a quality story and great antagonist. It reminds the viewers that friendships can’t be forced or made because “they’re the same,” rather a friendship is built on a special bond where they can share their different talents. Meghan McCarthy and the team look to deliver another great season to an already, as Rarity would say, “fabulous” show.