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I'm a brony and a Pinkie Pie fan but I like all of the mane six, as well as Spike. I hope to provide some entertaining and interesting fanfics for the Brony community.

More Blog Posts1136

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Ranking the Season Finales (From Worst to Best), Version 2 · 2:27pm Oct 14th, 2019

Well folks, it's time. With the final finale behind us it's time to see how all the season finales stack up and where the last one lands. Do note that I'm going to include "The Last Problem" alongside "The Ending of the End" since ultimately all three were bundled together and "The Ending of the End" does tie in loosely with "The Last Problem" when all is said and done. And remember that we're not only looking at how these episodes fared individually but also how they function as a send off for their seasons (and whether they might have been a good ending point for the show if it had ever come to that). Same disclaimers as always apply. Here's the first version, from March. Let's see what changed.

9. School Raze Parts 1 and 2 (Part 2 is worse than Part 1) (Season 8, Episodes 25 and 26)
Why it stayed on the bottom: Even the way this finale ends is disappointing and it feels like it was done because they knew another season was on the way so they were like "Just skip ahead to Season 9". The more I think about Cozy Glow the less she makes any sense at all as a villain, we know nothing about her in terms of backstory or motivation and we never get filled in at any point. She's not even a front for a bigger threat like Tirek or Chrysalis, or even Neighsay like some people were expecting. This was all about shunting aside everyone else so the student six could get a chance to shine, which even assuming they did more with the student six in Season 8 thrusting them into a season finale on their own was wrong. Of all the finales to include a possible alternate mane six, this one was undeniably the weakest. Even worse is how Starlight just gets taken out without fanfare and does nothing the whole finale outside of being a damsel in distress, the bubble of silence feels like a way to cheapen her role even further. I am so glad this is not where the show ended.

8. The Cutie Re-Mark Parts 1 and 2 (Part 2 is worse than Part 1) (Season 5, Episodes 25 and 26)
Why it stayed above the bottom: Bringing back Starlight Glimmer was not a bad idea, her being reformed was also not automatically a game breaker. But the show didn't put its best foot forward here. They took away everything that was great about Starlight's character as a villain in the premiere and turned her into a one dimensional, cliche villain obsessed with revenge (she starts monologuing, doesn't kill when she has the chance, underestimates the very thing that will defeat her, etc.). And they have to plot armor her by nerfing Twilight. Maybe the first time it's forgivable since Starlight has the element of surprise on her side, but starting with the second time it feels like Twilight is taking several steps backward just to make Starlight look like a threat. Yet not only does Starlight not show any signs of repentance when confronted with the consequences of her actions, she threatens to rip up the spell so Twilight can't stop her while replying "Spare me your overblown ego!". Yet on a whim Twilight finds the words to get through to Starlight and it's all's well that ends well. Still, at least the ending song could've served as a decent enough stopping point, it was probably the last time the show tried to have a contingency in place just in case it didn't get renewed for another season. From Season 6 onward they were winging it.

7. The Best Night Ever (Season 1, Episode 26)
Why it stayed in the bottom three: The first but ultimately not the last time the show would try to use the "Subvert Expectations" idea in writing. A part of it again lies with "Party of One" being so good it overshadowed this episode, but almost from the beginning we run into problems when the episode realizes it never gave Pinkie Pie or Twilight any kind of goal to strive towards and has to hastily toss one in for the both of them. Even then, the rest of the mane six never really try to make their dreams come true, and it's all for the sake of subverting the "Happily Ever After" cliche. But when this was the finale to what could've been the show's only season, why did they think that was a good idea? Especially nowadays it's never a given that your show will get another season, so you want to make sure that every finale you write is a good enough stopping point just in case. Not to mention how irresponsible it was for Celestia to invite the mane six to the gala in the hopes they would liven it up, even if she didn't expect them to go overboard in the way they did.

6. To Where and Back Again Parts 1 and 2 (Season 6, Episodes 25 and 26)
Why it moved down: Rainbow Dash sums up the biggest problem for this two parter if it had to serve as anything other than a season finale: "Somepony's gonna have to catch us up on what we missed." A Starlight Glimmer finale with former antagonists was nice for a season, but if the show had ended there it would've felt anti-climatic and kind of disappointing. The biggest issue is how Part 1 is very clearly the set up and it just rushes through the motions as quickly as possible to get to Part 2 and the pay off. Even then, Part 2 has problems with Discord getting captured all of a sudden, Trixie having to spring the imposter's trap for unspecified reasons, and Thorax becoming mute upon his evolution even though in subsequent appearances his voice didn't change at all. Also, Starlight spends much of Part 1 flip flopping and can't make up her mind: Does she want to go back to the village or not? The biggest problem though is that Starlight's redemption arc up to this point had barely been focused on and what little we saw made it look like she wasn't learning much of anything.

5. The Ending of the Ending Parts 1 and 2 and The Final Problem (Season 9, Episodes 24-26)
Why they're in the middle: If it were just the two parter this finale would rank much lower, perhaps second or third worst overall. And if it were just The Final Problem it would probably rank up at the top, maybe even number one. That really says a lot about how much The Ending of the Ending really drags down the finale overall. I should specify that it has now come to light that Nicole Dubac wasn't the one who made Grogar be Discord all along, that was the intent of the show staff from the beginning and it look like Nicole was just the poor writer tasked with making it happen (though the show staff never said what they wanted Discord's motivation to be so maybe Nicole took some creative liberties there). But why the teasing with Grogar then? Why make a big deal out of him coming back and putting him into some episodes if he was just a disguise and a ruse? That decision alone hurts so much of the episode because it makes Discord look unbelievably stupid and causes Twilight's character growth to be reset. There are good things though, the final battle with the Legion of Doom was great and it was interesting to see how the villains weren't so united (when you only share a common enemy, the moment said enemy is defeated, killed, or thrown out of power the alliance will likely break down). Thankfully The Final Problem was able to clean up after The Ending of the Ending and give the show a farewell it deserved, even if it was mostly just them cramming Twilight's coronation into a separate episode rather than try to squeeze it into the two parter at the end. The Final Problem isn't flawless, but just imagine what it would've been like if we hadn't gotten it and just had The Ending of the End for a finale.

4. Twilight's Kingdom Parts 1 and 2 (Season 4, Episodes 25 and 26)
Why it stayed the same: The top four placers remain as they are so skip to the end if you saw the original version of this list. Long story short, the DBZ-esque fight is really cool but the entire two parter is spent on building up to that point without stopping to ask whether the writing choices make sense. For example, is it really wise to send Discord alone to face Tirek when he's still new to friendship? And is it really the best idea to give Twilight all the alicorn magic but make no effort to hide knowledge of her existence (on top of Discord already knowing about her)? It is interesting to note that Tirek was a last minute change, they originally wanted to use The Pony of Shadows and Tirek was brought in to celebrate the MLP franchise's 30th anniversary. I think that ultimately worked out for the best since I don't think The Pony of Shadows would've been the same as he was in "Shadow Play" when he had a much stronger presence and connection. In a way this kind of was a series finale, it was the finale for what you could say were the classic years of the show, especially with the longest hiatus in fandom history that would follow in its wake.

3. A Canterlot Wedding Parts 1 and 2 (Season 2, Episodes 25 and 26)
Why it stayed the same: It's really too bad that Shining Armor and Cadence were introduced to us with such fanfare, and then Hasbro tossed both of them aside in later seasons. Oh well, at least Shining Armor got the chance to develop into his own character, it's too bad they never could pin it down for Cadence because I think she was fine as she was in her debut here. Also, I had no trouble understanding Queen Chrysalis even with that echo filter and I wish they hadn't gotten rid of it since without it all I hear is an evil Trixie. Despite that infamous scene from Part 1 this two parter is actually pretty solid. Even though it's Shining Armor and Cadence who save the day, the mane six aren't completely helpless here and the fight against the changeling army was beautiful. And "This Day Aria" remains probably one of the finest villain songs ever to come out of a non-Disney product.

2. Magical Mystery Cure (Season 3, Episode 13)
Why it stayed the same: M. A. Larson confirmed that the original ending of this episode was going to be Twilight flying with Rainbow Dash over all of Equestria and then closing the book from the pilot, so the ending scene we got was definitely a hasty change when they learned they were getting a fourth season. Yes, yes, you can probably call this "Magical Musical Cure" with how many songs there are, but I think pretty much all of them help the pacing and the story to flow well (the only one I'd probably cut if it were up to me is "Behold Princess Twilight" it's repetitive and doesn't contribute anything). This was also the last time Rebecca Shoichiet would just be Twilight's singing double and not be known for voicing Sunset Shimmer, and she got a pretty good work out here. Now, by process of elimination you can probably tell which finale still tops this one.

1. Shadow Play Parts 1 and 2 (Season 7, Episodes 25 and 26)
Why it stayed on the top: Looking back on it there do seem to be a few cracks in the story here and there. They're mostly forgivable, it doesn't feel completely OOC for Twilight to do what she does here. What probably helps the most is how the pillars aren't there to replace the mane six, they're there to work alongside the mane six. And the golden rule of any team up is not to make one team look good by making the other team look weak. This finale also filled in the last bit of gaps in the show's lore, tying the map and the castle to the Tree of Harmony and thus the elements. Granted, a line or two explaining why the elements are used again after several seasons of being ignored would've been nice (just say that they were being used to power up the tree and now it's been strengthened enough not to need the elements 24/7), and Starswirl is obviously meant to be wrong on his world view (which comes partially from overplaying Starlight's role). But so many other things are done so well that you don't mind them. Some call this finale boring, but personally I think it has enough to keep you engaged throughout. With some epicifying it probably could've stretched into a third part for a grand finale, or maybe even been a made for t.v. movie. A big theatrical movie would've been hard though, because it would've required a lot of exposition to get newcomers up to speed. Ultimately, for all the things I said above, this two parter remains the best finale we ever got in the show.

And there you have it, come back tonight when we'll rank all the two parters from worst to best.

Comments ( 2 )

For me, it goes:
Ending of the End + Last Problem
School Raze
Cutie Re-Mark
To Where and Back Again
Shadow Play
Twilight's Kingdom
Magical Mystery Cure
Canterlot Wedding
Best Night Ever

To me personally "The Cutie Re-Mark Parts 1 and 2" are the worst episodes in the entire show mostly because I found it boring and repetitive, and Starlight's motivation for being evil was just unbelievable to the point where I made a better motivation for her being evil.

And I do agree on "To where and back" where it did felt a little anti-climatic.

But Magical Mystery Cure was always my top 5 favorites. For helping me get comfortable to this show.

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