Thoughts on Season 3 · 3:42am
Okay, time to review.
"Crystal Empire" was a good two-parter. I have one major gripe about it, though: Sombra. He just wasn't that interesting a villain, especially compared to previous baddies like Nightmare Moon, Discord, and Chrysalis. Aside from that, the introduction of the Crystal Empire was well-worth the wait.
"Too Many Pinkie Pies" was alright. Pinkie's breakdown regarding whether or not she was real really hit me in the feels. Still, Twilight, as observant as she is, should have remembered that Pinkie is emotionally fragile at times, and should have picked the real Pinkie out early. It would have saved a LOT of trouble. On the other hoof, that would have been a boring resolution.
"One Bad Apple" was excellent. CMC episodes usually make me wary, but this one was worth it. Babs is an excellent foil to both the CMC and the RBD (Rich Brat Duo). On the one hoof, she's a blank flank, and has been teased about it. On the other hoof, she has a Manehattenite attitude towards things. In the end, she gave the RBD what-for. Also, the song "Bad Seed" is an instant ear-worm, and I love it.
"Magic Duel" was awesome! Trixie returns triumphant, figuratively and literally! The fact that she out-powered Twilight, who's widely regarded as one of the (if not the) most powerful mage in Equestria, really added to the shock value, and it made the episode spectacular. And to be defeated by smoke-and-mirrors, her old schtick, was a nice touch of irony.
"Sleepless in Ponyville" was a heartfelt episode. Scootaloo suffers from something we all do in the presence of our idols: the need to impress. In the end, she had to admit her fears, only to learn that she and Rainbow Dash aren't so different. A very well-written episode. And it has Luna for added joy.
"Wonderbolts Academy" is another awesome episode. Rainbow Dash has taken her first step towards realizing her dream of becoming a Wonderbolt, but she's not willing to put her dream above her friends' well-being. Lightning Dust is an interesting character, a look at Rainbow Dash minus her virtues. And Rainbow doesn't really like what she sees below the surface.
"Apple Family Reunion" is a great episode, for being centered on AJ, my favorite pony. Though, it seems that in this particular episode, she's decided to borrow a leaf (or twelve) from Twilight's book: Overpreparedness 101. The return of Babs Seed (as well as Braeburn and Apple Strudel in view only) was welcome, as was the lesson AJ learned at the end. Some criticize this and other AJ episodes for being too similar. Still, I like AJ, and I like this episode. Also, more great music in the form of "Raise This Barn".
"Spike at Your Service" was bad. The main failing I have with it is Spike's obseqiuousness towards AJ. Spike is many things, but he's not that devoted to being a servant. He has his own wants and dreams. Also, the 'life-debt' thing? Pretty obviously borrowed from Star Wars. And I refuse to believe that Spike is so clumsy he makes a mess wherever he goes. Hay, he takes care of the library no problem, which is full of flammable books.
"Keep Calm and Flutter On" was a load of horseapples. Reforming Discord is an interesting concept, but this episode botched it severely. One friend was all it took? Really, Hasbro? I understand this is a show for little girls, but that's stretching the suspension of disbelief. John de Lancie's talent was wasted on this.
"Just for Sidekicks" was another bad apple. Not to rag on Spike, but... this season really doesn't like him. He's apparently forgotten the lesson he learned in "Secret to My Excess", which is a real pain. Hay, Zecora even alludes to it by donating one of his gems to charity, telling him dragon's greed is bad mojo. Speaking of, this is, to my knowledge, Zecora's only appearance throughout Season 3. Why is that, I wonder?
"Games Ponies Play" is the companion episode to "Just For Sidekicks", and is a much better episode in general. True, the whole plot could have been avoided had the girls simply asked to confirm identities, but everything worked out in the end. What I like is that this situation is a very real possibility in real life, too. In fact, I'm pretty sure this has happened before...
Last, "Magical Mystery Cure". Oh, boy. For a season finale, this was... I won't say bad, but it was quite obviously rushed, especially the part dealing with Twilight's ascension and coronation. The first part of the episode was very well-done, and I like how proactive Twilight is regarding helping her friends. But when she's done, and finishes Starswirl's spell, that's when things go downhill. There was enough potential in this to easily be a two-parter, and I hate the fact that this season's length caused it to be a single episode.
Overall, the season was rather good, with a few hiccups towards the end. In my firm opinion, "Keep Calm and Flutter On" should have been removed from the roster, and "Magical Mystery Cure" should have been a two-parter. Still, though, this was a vast improvement on some of Season 2's content *cough*Maredowell*cough*.
I apologize for the rant, but I just rewatched the whole season today with my sister, and had to get this out of my system.