While Season 5 of My Little Pony hasn’t been anything resembling bad, so far it’s been the most lackluster of the seasons. A fear some had was that as the show went on the writers would start to run out of ideas and MLP could turn into Spongebob where the show declines. I doubt that will ever happen, but lately the episodes haven’t been that amazing. The last two, and to an extent three, just felt rather mindless in comparison to the quality we’re used to seeing. Perhaps Season 4 spoiled viewers with the fact that it had an ongoing plot. Season 5 has one too with the Cutie Map, but for the last five episodes it has not been explored. The slice of life adventures the show is spectacular with, but they just haven’t been comparing to previous season’s stories. “The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone” is the first great episode in awhile. Not only does it bring back a fan favorite character, but it features a compelling adventure and quite a few heartwarming moments. (Note: there will be spoilers in this review.)
Here’s the official description from Discovery Family:
When the map calls Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie to the ancient kingdom of Griffonstone, they have differing ideas about what problem they have been sent to fix.
Perhaps the most requested character for return was Gilda. Ever since her appearance way back in the season 1 episode “Griffon the Brush Off,” fans have been wanting to see her make a comeback. In fact, griffons in general have rarely appeared since that episode. That’s a main reason why fans were looking forward to this, and it does not disappoint. Now, grabbing an “antagonistic” character and reforming them is nothing new for the show. It can be good, but also annoying since it does tend to happen a lot. Here I’m impressed with the way it was handled. Gilda was rightfully called a bully and jerk in the beginning, but by the end she’s not. Sure, one could make an argument that because of this softening her character is ruined, but it’s just handled so well that I’m inclined to say this is the proper way to do character development.
Perhaps the main reason why the episode is so good is because the writing was done Amy Keating Rogers. For those that follow my reviews, they know that I personally find Amy’s writing to be some of the best of the entire staff. (She wrote the fantastic “The Best Night Ever” and “Filli Vanilli” after all.) This time she has a classic “Brave and the Bold” duo, in the form of Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie. These two haven’t been the stars together like this since “The Brush Off,” so it was certainly a treat here. Pinkie Pie in particular hasn’t had much to do this season other than being the one-liner character, so it was fantastic to finally see her being used for something more substantial. In fact, I’d say this is one of her best portrayals yet. (She has quite a few moments which will get the viewer laughing, such as when she tells Gilda that she “never leaves home without baking powder” and then takes it out of her mane.)
The entire setting is unique. While in Starlight Glimmer’s town where everybody was abnormally happy, here it’s the opposite. It’s an interesting concept, because here we have Rainbow and Pinkie (happy, cheerful friends) in a hostile, non-friendly atmosphere. It’s basically like in The Walking Dead where whenever Rick’s group lands in an unfamiliar place, they exact drastic change. One writing inconsistency was when Gilda told Pinkie and Rainbow that she “likes the way things are,” but then later she says she “wants to leave this lousy town.” It’s a contradiction, but it doesn’t affect the story. Perhaps the most heartwarming scene (and easily one of the most heartwarming scenes in the entire show) was the flashback sequence with Rainbow befriending Gilda. The scene also where Gilda says, “You’re more important to me than some dumb chunk of gold. “ to Rainbow and gives her a hug is also equally great. (Whoever says cartoons can’t invoke such emotion from a viewer needs to check out this episode.)
Overall, this was a fantastic episode, in fact, the best of the season thus far. Gilda’s redemption is handled extremely well. There’s quite a few touching moments that will deliver a smile to even the most un-cheerful of viewers. The duo of Rainbow Dash and Pinkie was a blast to watch. We have a real winner from Amy Keating Rogers.