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Lifelong Nerd. Lifelong practical Catholic and firm believer that an egg is an egg. Amateur fanfiction auteur elsewhere and maker of YouTube videos.

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    Mariusioannesp Reviews: "A Royal Problem"

    WARNING!!! The following contains SPOILERS for the latest MLP episode “A Royal Problem”.

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Mariusioannesp Reviews: "A Royal Problem" · 6:34am Jun 17th, 2017

WARNING!!! The following contains SPOILERS for the latest MLP episode “A Royal Problem”.

Now, without further a-mile-in-each-others-horseshoes-do, here is my review of “A Royal Problem”.  
The Cutie Map calls Starlight Glimmer to solve a friendship problem at Canterlot Castle. For some reason. When she arrives there, Starlight discovers that it’s Princess Celestia and Princess Luna that are having the problem. It seems they don’t appreciate how hard the other has it. Starlight’s solution to this little problem is to switch Celestia and Luna’s cutie marks so they each have to spend the day doing each other’s duties. Will Celestia and Luna learn to appreciate each other by literally spending a day in each other’s horseshoes?
So what’s the verdict?
I present to you MLP’s first Celestia and Luna episode! And it is glorious!
So yeah, I liked it. I liked it a lot!
We begin with Twilight Sparkle utterly dumbfounded that the Cutie Map has called Starlight Glimmer to solve a friendship problem.

I feel for you Twilight. I'm confused by this turn of events as well.
But Twilight isn't just surprised the map has called Starlight. It seems to have called her to Canterlot Castle. Twilight wonders why that is and why only her as it usually picks two and perhaps if she should go with her. All this starts making Starlight rather nervous. Twilight assures her not to be as it’s probably something small. Spike suggests that perhaps it’s that the princesses not seeing eye to eye. Twilight insists it can’t be that. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna would never fight. At least not again. When Starlight arrives at Canterlot Castle, Celestia asserts that there are no friendship problems there that she knows of, and Luna agrees.

Starlight though picks up that she might not actually think that’s the case.
When Starlight arrives in her room in the castle, she discovers that Twilight’s there. Sort of.

She’s using a spell to communicate with Starlight as a ballerina in a music box. Is this like that spell where Twilight made herself appear in a book in “Amending Fences” way back in Season 5?
Anywho, Twilight just wanted to check in with Starlight in a totally friendly way and not a meddling way.

Starlight shares her suspicion that the friendship problem is between Celestia and Luna. She explains that she could tell something was wrong by the way they said nothing was wrong. Twilight’s concerned because this is a big problem. Either way, Twilight can’t help not only because of the Map but also because she has no idea what to do anyway. But she’ll be there if Starlight needs to talk… Or listen to music.

The next morning, Starlight is having breakfast with Celestia. Turns out, Celestia makes breakfast herself, preferably stacks of pancakes decorated to look like a pony’s face. There was always a sense that Princess Celestia was humble like that, but this is the first we’ve seen it on the show itself. A rather disheveled Luna enters, but she’s too tired to eat the breakfast Celestia’s prepared. She just has a pineapple.

Starlight figures the previous night must have been hard on Luna, but Celestia explains that she’s like that every morning as she dumps Luna’s pancakes in the slop bucket.

Later on, Starlight is telling Twilight how she thinks Luna is inadvertently hurting Celestia’s feelings. Twilight laments this whole situation with Celestia making Luna breakfast. Starlight notes that Twilight is probably a little biased given that Celestia is her mentor. And that is the reason why I think the Map chose Starlight for this mission rather than Twilight.
Starlight wants to get all the facts first before she acts. She’s going to spend the night with Luna. Later that night, Starlight is accompanying Luna as she as she decorates the castle’s hallways with lavender.

The lavender’s calming scent helps dreamers achieve a restorative sleep, Luna says. See, Luna tries her best to help to make sure the castle’s residents sleep peacefully, it seems Celestia is too busy with dignitaries to ever notice. Starlight later relays to Twilight that both Celestia and Luna are hurting each other inadvertently, and instead of talking about it, they’re just becoming colder and more distant. And since they are the princesses, Twilight feels they can’t be confronted about this, but that’s what Starlight intended to do. Of course, Twilight freaks out over this as she knows that the last time Celestia and Luna fought, Luna became Nightmare Moon and Celestia had to banish her for a thousand years. Twilight stresses that this cannot happen again. Starlight doesn’t find this helpful at all.

Soon it’s breakfast again. Starlight is enjoying Celestia’s pancakes, but Luna just gets a banana.

Did Luna just eat the peel and discard the actual banana? Has she been spending some time around Discord?   
Before Luna can walk off, Starlight asks to speak to the both of them. She wants to tell them that she has identified the friendship problem she was sent to solve. Turns out, it’s them.

Celestia and Luna are rather aghast by this. Starlight explains that they’ve been inadvertently hurting each other’s feelings. Starlight gets Celestia to admit that it bothers her when Luna skips out on the breakfast she loving crafts for her. She also gets Luna to admit that it bothers her when Celestia doesn’t acknowledge what she does with the lavender in the hallway each night. However, Luna then offers a condescending apology for not noticing Celestia’s face pancakes because after a long night, she’s still half-asleep in the mornings.

Celestia snaps back that she's so exhausted at the end of the day she can barely see straight. So yeah, she doesn't notice flowers in a wall sconce. And yet Celestia still makes the effort to smile. Luna retorts that what exhausts her is being adored by everypony. Celestia counters that Luna spends her evenings flitting around giving ponies lovely dreams. Luna warns her not to presume to know what it’s like to govern the Dreaming, and Celestia argues that she doesn’t know what it’s like to be her either. As this argument gets out of control, Starlight tries desperately to deescalate the situation.

Finally, Starlight has had enough and suddenly uses her magic to switch Celestia and Luna’s cutie marks!

Now, they can know what it’s like to be the other.
It seems Starlight has gone with her gut for this solution. Naturally, that’s why it’s unthinkable. They demand that Starlight change their cutie marks back, but Starlight can’t even if she wanted to. The spell lasts for 24 hours. Starlight explains that they said themselves how neither believes how hard it is to be them. Now this is their chance to prove it. Luna looks forward to an easy day followed by a good night’s sleep. Celestia balks at that notion as she hasn’t had an easy day ever, while now she’ll be able sleep the day away and have an easy night. They agree to do this though they really didn’t have a choice in the matter.

Starlight reports to Twilight what she did, and of course she’s freaking out over it. Starlight is sure though this was the right call. At least she hopes so. So that things run smoothly, Starlight will be joining Luna as she goes about Celestia’s day. Luna announces to the castle staff that she and Celestia will be taking on each other’s duties for the day. They’re confused but accept it. So, you’re telling nopony thinks this is the least bit odd or a sign of a problem or cause for emergency or anything like that. Anywho, Luna and Starlight go over Celestia’s roster for the day. She has a few public appearances like store openings, judging a rose contest, and the like. Luna didn’t think it was going to be this easy. So, Luna spends the day smiling and waving just like a penguin.

She has trouble cutting the ribbon at the store opening and ends up just tearing it off.

She also finds the rose contest a bit tedious.

Then, Luna’s getting her picture taken with a group of schoolfillies at school fundraiser event. After all the smiling she’s been doing, Luna’s having a hard time keeping her smile as camera pony takes his sweet time getting her into position. She ends up momentarily scowling just as the picture gets taken, and it’s the picture on the front page of the newspaper.

Wait, isn’t that the Foal Free Press from “Ponyville Confidential” way back in Season 2?
Anywho, the article suggests that Luna was unhappy with the student fundraiser, but that wasn’t the case at all. She was scowling briefly because her cheeks hurt from smiling all day. Starlight points out that perhaps smiling all day isn’t as easy as Luna thought. Luna becomes concerned the students’ fundraiser wasn’t able to raise enough funds for their trip because of her. Starlight informs her that she can’t dwell on that at the moment as she has to meet with some delegates for a luncheon to dispel rumors of timberwolves in the Whitetail Woods. However, when Luna meets with the delegates, she merely declares in the Royal Canterlot Voice that there are no timberwolves.

The delegates leave grumbling how that’s apparently not true. Luna apologizes to Starlight, explaining that her mind was still on the students. Normally she has all the time and solitude to work through her problems, but Celestia doesn’t have that luxury. Next, Luna has a town hall meeting with the mayors of Fillydelphia and Baltimare. (At least that’s what they’re called in the credits.)

This lasts for three hours! With that, Luna has made it to the end of the day. She’s so exhausted, she decides to go right to bed.
Right then, Celestia arrives to start Luna’s day, or rather night. She feels rather vindicated when Starlight informs her that Luna has already turned in for the night. First off, Celestia raises the moon, which she seems to find surprisingly easier than raising the sun.

Uh, Celestia. Didn’t you raise the moon during the thousand years of Luna’s exile? Wouldn’t you know that already? Or perhaps it didn’t come naturally then because it literally wasn’t her nature. (One of the MLP comics did depict Luna having difficulty raising the sun in Celestia’s stead.) Celestia asks Starlight what’s next, but find she’s fallen asleep.

Then she remembers that ponies are asleep at night so she’s alone. She doesn’t have to do much as Luna, just watch over Equestria, visit the Dreaming, and protect ponies from their nightmares.

Her list was three times as long. She finds she keeps talking to herself as she has no pony to talk to. She then realizes she could talk to ponies in their dreams and so enters the Dreaming. Now she has to protect ponies from their nightmares, which shouldn’t be hard because they’re not real. It just so happens that Starlight is in the middle of nightmare right now. It seems Starlight’s nightmare is stemming from her insecurity over her plan to switch the princesses’ cutie marks. She fears the worst happening as a result of the princesses not realizing they need each other.

That’s right. It’s Nightmare Moon!
But that’s not all.

Meet Daybreaker! The “Nightmare” version of Princess Celestia. I have to say Daybreaker is an awesome name.
She has a certain similarity to that Nightmare Star card that appeared in the MLP card game a while back.

Anywho, Celestia can’t believe it. Daybreaker insists that if Luna can become Nightmare Moon, than Celestia can become Daybreaker. Celestia insists that she’ll never become her. Daybreaker argues she can become her when she realizes she can do anything she wants and that she doesn’t need Luna or anypony else. Daybreaker goes after Nightmare Moon crying that she should have destroyed her instead of banishing her in the moon! Wow! This getting dark. And to think there are some fans who think this is who Celestia really is. You know, that whole “Tyrant Celestia” thing. So, Starlight is in a panic over all this, crying out about the need for balance. Celestia tries to subdue Daybreaker, but she can’t seem to do so.

Starlight laments how this is all her fault and now Equestria is doomed!
Celestia realizes she’s going to need help from an expert. She goes to Luna’s dream where she is also having a nightmare. Luna is being taunted by those schoolfillies she let down for not having a genuine smile.

Oh, my gosh! Luna’s teeth are falling out! I told you this was getting dark. You know, teeth falling out is actually a common dream for many people. I know I’ve had it a couple of times myself. Anyway, Celestia shows up and takes her to Starlight’s nightmare.

Luna remarks that she’s never seen anything like this before. Luna warns her that if she doesn’t do something soon it’ll have grave consequences on Starlight’s psyche.

Celestia explains how her magic isn’t strong enough to take on Daybreaker so she thought they could work together. Luna reminds her though that she has her magic, which does not work in the Dreaming. It has to be Celestia. Celestia admits that she can’t do this. She was wrong about her job not being hard. It takes a brave and strong pony to do what she does. Luna also admits she was wrong. There’s a lot more to Celestia’s day than smiling and being adored. In order for Celestia to defeat Daybreaker, she has to trust in her own strength just as Luna does. Encouraged by Luna, Celestia comes between Daybreaker and Nightmare Moon, redirects their magical lasers, and causes them to poof from existence.

Luna congratulates Celestia for her success, but she says she couldn’t do it without Luna. She doesn’t know how she does it alone every night. Luna asks Celestia if she talked to herself at all. Luna knows her sister so well. But let’s not forget Starlight. She’s there wondering if she’s still dreaming or if it’s real.
With that, Celestia exits the Dreaming, and Luna is there waiting with a stack of pancakes she made as she knows Celestia’s had a long night.

Yeah, those are some janky-looking pancakes.
Celestia has some, but she can’t effectively hide that they’re not good.

Luna though knows that already. Celestia appreciates that she tried though.

Starlight walks in still confused over what was real and what wasn’t. Yeah, I know the feeling of waking up that disoriented after a weird dream. Celestia and Luna praise Starlight for making the right call going with her gut and for being as bold as she was. The experience has made Celestia and Luna closer than ever. Suddenly, Celestia and Luna’s cutie marks switch back to their rightful owners’ flanks, but it’s not Starlight’s doing. Starlight notices her cutie mark start going off indicating that her mission is now accomplished. Starlight can’t wait to tell Twilight. Twilight, however, immediately teleports herself there, demanding to know all the details as she leads Starlight away.

In the end, Luna quickly tells Celestia that there’s a field trip she needs to make happen and a timberwolf issue she needs to address before flying off to go to bed.

Now, it’s time for another installment of amusing background pony moments!


That appears to be Doctor Whooves’ dream. He’s in a hedge maze with what appears to be a ponified Weeping Angel! I’m sure most Whovians’ dreams are likewise haunted.

This appears to be Applejack dreaming of when she was as baby being held in her parents’ forelegs. If that’s the case, this may in fact be our first look at Applejack’s parents before their big introduction later this season.

Derpy is dreaming of being a queen with her own Twilicane for some reason. It’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for.

I can’t tell if this Rainbow Dash’s dream or Twilight Sparkle’s dream, but either way, why would they be dreaming about flying with each other. I heard once that dreams about flying are really about making the sex. So, this could be a Twidash dream.
We also have Flim or Flam dreaming of them both sitting in a pile of bits. Discord is dreaming of having a pillowfight with the Smooze. Pinkie is dreaming of surfboarding on her alligator Gummy. Fluttershy is dreaming of sitting atop a giant Angel Bunny’s head. (Is she dreaming of being a pet again, like in “Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep”? If so, it’s still not weird. Not weird at all.) And Cadance is dreaming of having a party by herself with Flurry Heart as the DJ. But these aren’t as important.
This episode was written by Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco aka The Lady Writers. As such, some of the elements that have appeared in their episodes pop up here. Twilight Sparkle does still plays a big part, though she is not at the center. Also, they know how to handle the epic, as we saw in Legend of Everfree. What’s impressive though how they managed to cram this whole epic battle between Nightmare Moon and Daybreaker into just a slither of a single episode. However, they seem to be taking a few new directions in their writing. Starlight Glimmer has now become a focus of their writing. This is their second episode with Starlight at its center. To a certain extent, Starlight is Twilight is she had never embraced friendship and instead chose a darker path. They gave us a never before seen look at Princess Celestia in the season premiere “Celestial Advice”, and we see more of that here. Not only that, we get a deeper look at Princess Luna as well.   
I wonder though if this episode has implications for later in the season. As story editors, the season premiere and finale would fall under the Lady Writers’ purview. Could this episode be setting something up for the season finale? Perhaps. Though it is not necessarily unheard of for the story editors to write one of the random episodes in the middle of the season. I mean, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Starlight play as big a role in the finale as she did in the premiere. (Though hopefully not big enough to shove the Mane 6 completely to the side.) We’ll just have to wait and see.   
Starlight just up and switching Celestia and Luna’s cutie marks like this could almost be considered a villainous move. This is not the first time Starlight has done something like this. (Remember “Every Little Thing She Does” from last season.) It’s clear at this point that using magic this way is Starlight’s first impulse. I accept that this is who Starlight is. It could be a sign that Starlight still has some residual villainous tendencies, though she uses them for what in the end is a good cause. In a way, that makes her kind of like Discord, though Discord reserves what’s left of his villainy for much more mundane things.  
This episode features an unprecedented look at Celestia and Luna. We get to see what their duties are and what it is they do each day. We also saw that Luna still harbors some resentment towards Celestia even after all this time since her return. I guess it just took something like this for her to get over them. We also got confirmation of the headcanon about Luna operating at night. Though as of yet, it doesn’t appear that Luna holds a Night Court.
This episode bears a certain similarity to My Little Pony Micro-series #10. In that case, Luna takes on Celestia’s duties for the day, but Celestia doesn’t. Celestia spends all day at a spa, and then goes to bed at the end of the day, leaving Luna to take care of the night as well. This episode was also much more epic, featuring that battle between Nightmare Moon and Daybreaker.  
This episode makes me wonder what’s in store for Starlight’s future. Why was she called by the Cutie Map? Is it possibly a residual effect of her tampering with the map? It could be because Twilight would have been too biased as I said before. It could also just be so Starlight can go on friendship missions with any of the Mane 6. That would be cool to see. Can the map possibly call anyone? I for one would like to see Discord’s smug little face revolving around some environ of Equestria. Or perhaps Starlight is special. She might be called for something greater. Maybe Starlight might become an alicorn princess at the end of this season. If so, I don't really care. My continued apathy towards Starlight is what saves this from being a stupid idea to me.
As for what I didn’t like… I got nothing. This was a solid episode.
I will say though that the title “A Royal Problem” is a bit on bland side. They could have played with the aphorism “a mile in each other’s shoes” a bit for title.
Also, it sounds like it shows that Tabitha St. Germain doesn’t have much practice as Princess Luna given her infrequent appearances. There are moments when Luna a little too much like Rarity.
Overall, “A Royal Problem” was a fun episode that gave us our real look at Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. And Starlight Glimmer wasn’t that bad either.   
What did you all think of “A Royal Problem”?
God bless you. God bless America. And God bless Equestria.

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