Interestingly enough, unlike the past couple of seasons there doesn’t seem to be a major continuing plotline for Season 6. The only one of course is Starlight Glimmer as Twilight’s pupil. Beyond that, the series has returned to its Season 1 and 2 episodic nature. It remains to be seen what the culmination of Starlight’s role will be, so it’s intriguing to see what the show is doing with this plot point. After a couple of episodes with this on the back-burner, Twilight’s mission in training Starlight returns full force. This one got a considerable amount of hype because it would be featuring the return of Trixie, whom hadn’t been seen since Season 3. While there’s a lot of good dialogue and the message being a valuable one, “No Second Prances” ends up more on the mediocre side due to quite a bit of questionable writing.
Here’s the official episode description from Discovery Family:
When Starlight Glimmer starts becoming friends with a fellow formerly-bad pony, Twilight tries to stop her.
The episode starts out rather unreasonably. Sadly, Twilight is written very badly this time around. She apparently expects Starlight to walk into Ponyville and make a friend, then bring that friend to a dinner with Twilight & Princess Celestia the next day. This is quite an unrealistic request, and unnecessary. I’m certain Princess Celestia would have believed Twilight herself that Starlight was making progress. We’re then led to a rather grating sequence as the Mane 6 tries to get Starlight to make a friend. Pinkie introduces Mrs. Cake to her, and the latter reacted so violently one would be led to believe that Mrs. Cake was one of the meanest characters of the show. The episode starts getting good when Starlight runs into Trixie, and the two discover they’re similar. This was the greatest aspect of the story: writer Nick Confalone writes incredibly fun dialogue between the two characters.
At first Twilight’s suspicion of Trixie was warranted. Yes, she forgave Trixie back in “Magic Duel,” but it makes sense she would be a little worried with Starlight’s first friend outside the Mane 6 and Spike being another troubled-past pony. After good dialogue between Twilight and Starlight on the matter, the former agrees and says she trusts Starlight. This is fine, but minutes later we see Twilight doing her best to stop the friendship from happening, completely overriding what she had said earlier. Worst, she points to random ponies for Starlight to be friends with, thinking friendships can just happen unnaturally. Twilight is perhaps the show’s best character, but she can be written off, and today’s episode might have been her worst portrayal since “Lesson Zero.” By the time the message rolls around it’s too late to save Twilight’s portrayal.
The episode’s climax does pack some intense emotion, stuff you won’t find in any cartoon apart from MLP. “No Second Prances” is also an excellent story for further developing Trixie as a character. Starlight becoming friends with Trixie in just one episode has one of the best written friendships in the entire show. It’s unfortunate the things surrounding it weren’t as well done. At the very least, I believe this is the first time Twilight calls DJ Pon-3 by her name.
Overall, “No Second Prances” features a fantastic appearance by Trixie and good development for Starlight. The friendship established between the two is organic and nice to watch. It also features one of the most emotional climaxes in an MLP episode yet. (Which is definitely saying something.) Unfortunately Twilight’s portrayal is too jarring to ignore. Her character is sacrificed to drive home the message at the end. Her antics were just too silly, and the Princess Celestia scenes were also not that good. We have what would be a great episode turned into an okay one.