Well, it has finally arrived. I remember the great hype for Season 3’s ‘The Crystal Empire‘. As astonishing as it may sound, the hype for Season 4 of My Little Pony was perhaps the most eagerly awaited thing of the franchise yet. It’s easy to see why, we had to wait nine months for it to come, which was a bit longer than the seven month wait between Season 2 and 3. The previous season ran for only 13 episodes, but it’s easily the most notable for one reason: Twilight becoming an Alicorn Princess. All of the crazy controversy surrounding that has thankfully died down. So, this was going to be the first time we see how Twilight operates as a princess. Of course, we had a peek of that from Equestria Girls a few months ago. So, MLP is back with another hour premiere. It wasn’t a harsh wait, we’ve had the comics and a movie to satisfy our pony needs in the meantime. But of course nothing beats new episodes. While this premiere doesn’t quite come close to any of the two-part sagas, it’s still naturally a great watch.
Here’s the official description from The Hub:
Princess Twilight is busy adjusting to her new wings and new role in Equestria when Celestia and Luna go missing. Meanwhile, her friends are all having unusual troubles of their own and it will take all of them working together to help find the missing royals. The ponies need to put the rest of the puzzle pieces together to find Celestia and Luna before it’s too late. Their journey becomes even more dangerous when they must travel deep into the heart of the expanding Everfree Forest and learn stunning news about the Elements of Harmony.
The story starts out with Rainbow Dash trying to show Twilight how to use her wings. It’s a funny and touching scene, since people were still worried that with Twilight being a princess she’ll be like Celestia and Luna, being ‘above’ everypony else. That isn’t the case, at least not yet. So, what exactly is the conflict? The Everfree Forest has always remained a popular fixture in the show, and especially fan-fics. It’s good to see it taking center stage, except it doesn’t really matter with the plot twist you’ll see in the end. It kinda undermines the Forest, but not too much that it counts as a negative. The scene with Celestia getting taken away thanks to the sinister vine was definitely pretty intense.
Meghan McCarthy is perhaps the most popular writer for the show currently. The writing is fantastic throughout. Applejack fans will be pleased to see her getting a little bit of the center stage, she’s the one who reminds Twilight that they’re all friends no matter what. Pinkie Pie has her usual random antics for these Mane 6 adventures, her best scene is when she sends a letter to Twilight after only a few seconds she and the others departed. Spike fans will be extremely pleased with his portrayal as Twilight’s #1 helper, and friend. He’s the one that snaps her back to her senses on more than one occasion. He can be a good side character, though unfortunately the great writing with him doesn’t usually translate into his solo adventures. I didn’t think Discord would be brought back so fast. He was reformed back in the Season 3 episode, ‘Keep Calm and Flutter On.’ So this is the first story with him being a good guy, or as close as he could be. He never fails to be a highlight, plus you never know what he’s going to do. And with the ending, the viewer just doesn’t know what’s going to happen since Discord can technically do anything he wants now.
Perhaps a problem is that there’s no real antagonist. The ‘villain’ is rather a force, unnatural nature. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just disappointing for those expecting an antagonist like the previous three premieres. This leads into another maybe problem. By the end, the viewer is aware that the entire climax is used to change the status quo and set up the rest of the season. This is not a bad thing, but unlike ‘The Crystal Empire‘ and ‘The Return of Harmony,’ the story doesn’t feel grand and overall just feels like a setup for bigger things to come. The highlight of the story is the flashback that happens when Twilight drinks Zecora’s potion. At first we think Luna is the one responsible for the whole thing, until we realize that this is actually Twilight peeking into the time Celestia banished Luna all those years ago. This makes you pause and look at the scene with a whole new perspective. It’s fantastic and has perhaps the most ‘epic’ battle seen since Celestia and Queen Chrysalis locked horns.
A thing I personally found interesting was seeing just how vital Princess Celestia and Luna are to Equestria. Without them, there’s no one to bring down/up the sun and moon when necessary. So that was great how the show deepened their roles ever so slightly. (Plus it was pretty cool how it was day and night in Equestria since those two had been kidnapped.) The Ponies venturing into the Everfree Forest was definitely fun to watch. They even have a ‘boss fight’ with a rather large crocodile. It’s always great to see some monsters in the show. For some odd reason the crocodile managed to corner Twilight, she didn’t even try using her magic on it. In fact, it took the other ponies to tie it up or for Twilight to escape. So she’s not exactly quite the powerful princess we were expecting after her transformation.
Overall, ‘Princess Twilight Sparkle‘ is a solid premiere. It is not quite as epic as I thought it’d be. It’s not close to ‘The Crystal Empire,’ ‘The Return of Harmony,’ or even ‘Friendship is Magic.’ It’s a setup premiere, with the ending being pretty surprising since it’s going to have ramifications in coming episodes. So while not quite ‘epic,’ it’s still a great watch. The ponies are fantastic like always and Twilight is still her lovable self. Discord is a highlight, every scene he’s in brings a good laugh. And we’re not treated to one, but TWO flashbacks of events fans have been wondering about for awhile. My Little Pony is back.
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