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A pretty simple question - I'll be giving my own opinions once I've seen some of yours. But just for clarification:

  • We're looking at the finales themselves and the flow of the plot. Please try not to consider later episodes when making a selection - it's fine if you can see existing themes in the show that cry out for further exploration, but don't just pick late ones because you don't want to lose good episodes.
  • You can decide whether any interseasonal stuff, like Equestria Girls or Best Gift Ever, aired or not.

Edit: And now I'm ready!

The Best Night Ever - A little sad, since it would mean that the show was a failure to launch. On the other hand, it wouldn't have a single bad episode. (Nope, not even that one you're thinking of - I liked them all.) As for the episode itself, it's an interesting but perhaps controversial lesson to end on, with a surprising lack of Twilight- but then, she did appear a lot in the rest of the season.

A Canterlot Wedding - Have the finale push the main cast aside to focus on a pair of Hasbro marketing shills? Yeah, how about not? (Apologies to the Crystal Royals, but even you know you didn't grow your depth until later.)

Magical Mystery Cure - The only one we're pretty sure was written to maybe end it - and Season 3 did show characters moving towards their goals and facing their past selves. I suppose it would have been okay to go out with this grand spectacle - but the late episodes introduce too many things with obvious future potential for it to feel like anything but a rush.

Twilight's Kingdom - probably one of the better options. Not just because once you've started Starlight you have to finish her, but because thematically this really works - the culmination of a season-long expanded version of the premiere quest*, that also ties up the aforementioned loose ends from Season 3. Now mind you, I'd want the whole thing redrafted a couple of times, but I already want that, so...

*I've often considered whether having the Mane 6 brought together as Element Bearers was too hasty, if they should have had a season to bond as friends first. But then you have to ask, if the premiere had been pure slice-of-life, would the show be nearly as popular?

The Cutie Re-Mark - I really wouldn't want to end the show here - it's a bad episode at the end of a string of weak ones, so it would feel more like euthanasia than retirement. But I must grudgingly admit that the "what-if-we'd-never-met" plot is suited for a grand finale - now it's annoying me that they wasted it here - and Starlight's insta-redemption montage could technically be considered a resolution for her character arc. So unless I can find some other fundamental objection... Aha! The complete marginalisation of the Remane 5! Rejected!

To Where and Back Again - probably the strongest season finale to date, and also a completely unsuitable series one. (Because it's the climax of supporting character's stories while completely sidelineing the leads.)

Shadow Play - the other one that could have worked, being not only a strong close to a strong season but also going back to the hidden roots of the show. That said, I would have liked a finale version to be extended into an hour-length movie with:

  • More involvement from supporting characters, as well as more awesome from existing ones.
  • An explicit link between the Pony of Shadows and Nightmare Moon.
  • Not quite so much of Twilight being stupid and Starlight being the only correct one.

But unlike Twilight's Kingdom, that would be more about bringing it up fron "good" to "excellent".

School Raze - not particularly suitable. Besides the fact that that ending would be made ten times worse if it was the last scene of the show, there's also the indecisiveness of Season 8 in general. If it's still a show about our leads, then stranding them in Tartarus all finale is no good - if it's about the students, then they should have got more episodes. (And also Elements, but that point stands regardless.)

I think I'm right in saying the Season 3 finale was originally conceived as a series finale, before S4 got the green light? Either way, while I wouldn't lose seasons 4, 5 and 7 for the world, in terms of just saying goodbye, Magical Mystery Cure - with "Celestia's Ballad", Twilight's ascension, and the untold promise of a new chapter in her life that we might not get to see - would have been a beautiful ending note. All of the other finales work to a lesser or greater extent as the theoretical Last Episode Ever, but to me - as someone who got into the show two years later! - well, it's S3 that really feels like the most plausible Goodbye Forever episode.

6778662
Magical Mystery Cure becuse it would be a fitting conclusion and show that twlight has grown through the entire series.
I maen it was ment to be the series finale

6778662 I'm going to definitely go with the crowds and say that "Magical Mystery Cure" would've been a fitting finale if they indeed stopped there as originally planned. Baring that, the only season finale that has subsequently felt like it could've been a proper series finale is "Shadow Play" since it filled in the last few gaps of the show's lore and revealed how the Elements of Harmony were created, meaning everything would've come full circle.

6778662
6778700

"Magical Mystery Cure" would have been the obvious ending point for a short run (and was intended as such); but I wouldn't have been happy with it since it left too many character arcs unresolved.

The season finale that feels like an appropriate ending point to me is "To Where and Back Again", which wrapped up a number of secondary character arcs very well. Even though it left Chrysalis in the unredeemed villain role (which I don't necessarily object to, it's nice to have a long-term recurring villain as realistic as she is).

"Shadow Play" would also have been decent, having set up a good basis for a spinoff series featuring the Legends; but it didn't feel entirely complete to me, especially with the movie having been looming over the entire season prior to that.

6778662 Another vote for Magical Mystery Cure here.
I wonder if the actual series finale will have the same feel.
All I know is that if Starlight ends up getting wings, it's going to be very... eh... polarizing.

6778662 If I had to pick, I'd say season five, "The Cutie Re-Mark." Starlight's redemption, and the subsequent "Friends Are Always There For You" musical sequence, have that sort of "natural ending" feel to them. There would still have been issues (e.g. Shining Armor and Cadance are still expecting), but I think that works best out of the finales we've had so far (though obviously, season three's ending has to be noted as being the one originally intended to be an ending...other than Equestria Girls, I mean).

I'm saying "Twilight's Kingdom". It had extremely high stakes that were believable, a major change to the status quo, the culmination of a season long arc, solidification of Discord's reform, an intense out-of-genre magical battle, and featured the very first villain of the MLP franchise.

Sure, "Magical Mystery Cure" felt like an era was ending and had plenty of good songs, but as it was half an hour, it seemed a little rush. With season four, we saw that Twilight was still finding her nitch in her new role, with "Twilight's Kingdom" finally showing that. Also, the song at the end "Let the Rainbow" was about as awesome as any other (the hint at Dislestia in the last minute interested me too), and that closing picture of the Mane Six and Spike seemed like a good send off to me.

I liked the finale so much that I have a hard time accepting the seasons after it as canon (and actually working on a series that deviates from the show following season four). Sure, seasons 5-8 have had memorable moments of their own (the CMC finally getting their cutie marks, Twilight reconciling with her Canterlot friends, the fight with the Tantabus, the Slice of Life episode, the Apple siblings learning about their parents' past, and Spike getting wings) , but I kind of wish that they had taken place before "Twilight's Kingdom".

Whatever kind of ending we get, I do hope that it'll measure up to the S4 finale. The series deserves to go out on the biggest note it can.

6778662
Anything but The Cutie Re-Mark because that particular season finale ended on a very bad and insulting note.

6778732
Making Starlight Glimmer an Alicorn Princess is a very ridiculous idea and it would end the show badly. Might as well make Chancellor Neighsay, Svengallop, or even Cozy Glow into Alicorns too.

I thought it had ended when I watched S4's. It would have been perfect to leave everything else to the imagination.

6778759 I've always wondered exactly who Bulk Biceps is looking at there.

6778869
Well, if we line up his pupils we can see which direction he's looking. By extrapolating that vector, we can extend it out until his line of sight lands on the first pony along that path. And bingo, to nobody's great surprise, he's ogling Rarity.

The real question is: Who is Derpy looking at?

6778662

To be honest, perhaps "To Where and Back Again" since it was the end of an era, the changelings suddenly being good but other than that, there aren't any that I can think of. "Magical Mystery Cure," ending it there would have been nothing short of Hasbro killing a cash cow and wasting tons and tons of potential for a great show....not to mention denying themselves tons of profit. Now what would make for a great ending, Starlight getting her wings. Yes some may think it would be polarizing but at that point, why would it even matter?

6778662
For me the great finale should have been Twilight's Kingdom.
The battle with Tirek with Twilight having to bear the power and burden of all the princesses power. She willingly leting all that power go for the sake of her friends, including Discord who had betray her. The true reformation of Discord. And an awesome musical to finish if of with Let the Rainbow Remind you.

6778662
"Princess Twilight Sparkle" would have been the best finale IMO but I also want to mention The Return of Harmony.

"Princess Twilight Sparkle" always felt like the ending to me, with Twilight having completed her journey, having to return to Canterlot and finding it difficult to finally say goodbye to her friends.
They even have to give up the Elements of Harmony, the things that started it all, even if "the bonds that keep us together will never fade away". The perfect quote for an ending.

The symbolism was great, with the sun and the moon both in the sky at the same time, Twilight had to fetch for herself and take charge, taking the place of her mentor and overall it has enough a feeling of importance and bigness that a finale needs and we even got to see those important lore moments where Luna became NMM and how Discord got defeated.

It was a good way to wrap everything up.

I also think that TRoH could be considered a good ending because it wraps up the original message of the show pretty neatly: in a way, I felt that the first season (the whole show, by that point) was a lot about proving the inner value of things usually considered saccarine and childish, something that is very well exemplified by the main character herself.
Twilight used to be a cynical and at times very arrogant person, but through the season she went through a complete shift in perspective by being shown the real, inner meanings of those things that she previously considered just a waste of time.
And in a way I think that's the same shift an adult viewer can go through while watching this show, from rolling their own eyes because the ponies randomly start to sing a song (mirrored by an actual character in the show) to just embrace the childishness of it all and sing along.

Then enters Discord, who shares pre-FiM Twilight arrogance and cynism, but with a twist, he actually makes fun and ridicules the saccharine.
If the first episode gave the Elements of Harmony and that rainbow laser meaning, (consquently giving this little girls pony show meaning and a value) this episode strips it away.
The childish is just childish, it's something you make fun of, and the Elements lose their power, they do nothing. Just a white, powerless flashy light.

You can say that TRoH is the antithesis to the show thesis.

So, if we want to consider the whole point of the show this message, and not the characters journey, this episode works very well as an ending.

And now that I've finally posted my thoughts (see OP), lets's see how they stack up against everyone else's!

H'mm...no-one seems interested in the first couple...

6778700

in terms of just saying goodbye, Magical Mystery Cure - with "Celestia's Ballad", Twilight's ascension, and the untold promise of a new chapter in her life that we might not get to see - would have been a beautiful ending note.

6778718
6778725
6778732
Unsurprisingly a quite popular option, but I think I have to side with
6778728

"Magical Mystery Cure" would have been the obvious ending point for a short run (and was intended as such); but I wouldn't have been happy with it since it left too many character arcs unresolved.

Instead, I favour these opinions.
6778833

I'm saying "Twilight's Kingdom". It had extremely high stakes that were believable, a major change to the status quo, the culmination of a season long arc, solidification of Discord's reform, an intense out-of-genre magical battle, and featured the very first villain of the MLP franchise.

6779144

For me the great finale should have been Twilight's Kingdom.
The battle with Tirek with Twilight having to bear the power and burden of all the princesses power. She willingly leting all that power go for the sake of her friends, including Discord who had betray her. The true reformation of Discord. And an awesome musical to finish if of with Let the Rainbow Remind you.

(Although unlike some, I wouldn't go so far as to say it should have ended there, especially with the episode as aired rather than an improved version.)

As for my least favourite, only a single vote
6778746

If I had to pick, I'd say season five, "The Cutie Re-Mark." Starlight's redemption, and the subsequent "Friends Are Always There For You" musical sequence, have that sort of "natural ending" feel to them. There would still have been issues (e.g. Shining Armor and Cadance are still expecting), but I think that works best out of the finales we've had so far

although I do admit that these aspects make it a better finale than then the much better episode that ended the next season.

The season finale that feels like an appropriate ending point to me is "To Where and Back Again", which wrapped up a number of secondary character arcs very well. Even though it left Chrysalis in the unredeemed villain role (which I don't necessarily object to, it's nice to have a long-term recurring villain as realistic as she is).

Sorry, but the finale should be a climax for the leads of the show IMO.

Now that just leaves my other good option

the only season finale that has subsequently felt like it could've been a proper series finale is "Shadow Play" since it filled in the last few gaps of the show's lore and revealed how the Elements of Harmony were created, meaning everything would've come full circle.

"Shadow Play" would also have been decent, having set up a good basis for a spinoff series featuring the Legends; but it didn't feel entirely complete to me, especially with the movie having been looming over the entire season prior to that.

I'm not quite sure what this bit means though?

Glad to see no-one wants to stop with School Raze - although I do think The Best Gift Ever would be decent.


6778847

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6779548

Sorry, but the finale should be a climax for the leads of the show IMO.

The problem with that is that the Mane 6 had already effectively resolved their character arcs prior to that point, there really wasn't much in the way of climax left. The later seasons have been as much about secondary characters as about the Mane 6.

Twilight had proven herself as a princess and as a friend, multiple times; Rarity had achieved her dream by opening not one but two branches of her boutique; Rainbow Dash had finally become a Wonderbolt; Pinkie Pie had overcome her crippling fear of rejection; Fluttershy had come out of her shell and developed some self-confidence; and Applejack... well, did what Applejack does, cemented her status as "team mom" and held everypony together as the backbone of the group, and maybe extended her family a bit along the way. Along with that, the Crusaders finally got their cutie marks; Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, the longest-running antagonists in the show, were finally redeemed; and Princess Luna got closure for her personal arc.

"To Where and Back Again" provided an opportunity for the remaining semi-redeemed characters to finally have their time to shine, prove themselves, and complete their primary arcs; as well as partially wrapping up the Changeling arc. The only arcs left after that were Celestia's and Spike's; everything else was either more character development, or new character arcs.

6779652
Even if their arcs are resolved, I still think they deserve a bigger, more heroic role in the finale than hanging in changeling coccoons. I don't know about you, but for me a finale, especially for a loose show like this, should sort of summarise the show so far - so if their growth is complete, then let them show it off.

6779661

Eh, I'm perfectly happy with how the character arcs have developed so far. I don't necessarily need a finale to sum up everything or be super-epic, just provide a sense of closure, even a quiet and contemplative one, even an ambiguous one if it fits with the theme and style of the show.

Besides, as the show has demonstrated multiple times, no one's growth is ever complete, "We're Not Flawless" after all. :twilightsmile:

6779671
For me, the Mane Cast's friendship is the integral theme of the show - I can't accept a finale which ignores it, and ideally I would like it at the forefront.

Incidentally, it's worth bearing in mind that Magical Mystery Cure as we now know it isn't the version that was conceived as the last ever episode of the show. MA Larson originally wrote it as a two-part finale, incorporating a lot of stuff that eventually ended up in Princess Twilight Sparkle, as well as a Pandora's Box subplot in place of the Starswirl's Last Spell stuff, and a different post-coronation final scene (the book of legends from the very start of S1 E1 closing again).

6779548
Thanks for favoring my opinion.:twilightsmile: As for the season finales that followed it, maybe they could've been done better. Here a few such ideas:

The Cutie Remark: Instead of Twilight chasing after Starlight through different timelines, the entire Mane Six follows her into the past when she disrupts Rainbow's first Sonic Rainboom. The result is that each one of them get hurled into a different timeline where they hadn't met each other:

Fluttershy ends up in King Sombra's world
Rainbow Dash is send to the world the Changelings have conquered
Rarity ends up in Nightmare Moon's realm
Twilight finds herself face to face with Tirek again
Pinkie Pie winds up in a Discord world
And Applejack is forced to deal with the modernization of the Flim Flam brothers

Despite this, the separated members manage to rally the other five ponies in each world and together, they save those worlds before the Mane Six are reunited and confront Starlight, who is shocked they managed to find their way back. It would then lead into a more believable and less rushed redemption of Starlight.

To Where and Back Again: As was said, the episode would've been better if the main characters hadn't been sidelined in the episode, and be involved in the action. Also, it would've been better if Flurry Heart had a big part in it, as to book end her premiere introduction. As in, Thorax overwhelms Chrysalis with the aid of Flurry Heart and the love she creates.

Shadow Play: Instead of the Mane Six carrying the idiot ball, upon learning of the Pillars of Equestria, they go in search of their lost relics. After uniting them, however, a mystery creature who had been spying on them all this time steals the relics and uses them to release the Pony of Shadows, with its servant revealed to be the entity that possessed Princess Luna and turned her into Nightmare Moon, which is actually a fragment of the Pony of Shadows that it left behind (as a way to reverse the rumor that was mentioned in Castlevania).

School Raze: I'm not really sure how this could've been done better, but I think at least one thing was not to have the Mane Six be trapped in Tartarus for the duration.

6779797
This would be awesome

6779957
The tag was simply to get the attention of all posters who had expressed an opinion. But if you really want personal feedback, I agree with you regarding the Season 5 finale and half-agree regarding Alicorn Starlight - but don't worry, it's not going to happen unless StormLuna somehow takes over the show.

6780160
Oh okay. And may StormLuna never take over the show or MLP FIM will become a G3.5 MLP style cringefest.

6780323
You...do realise that they're the founder of the torture group right? (And even setting that aside, Starlight wouldn't fit in G3.5)

6780328
Well it may not be exactly like G3.5 MLP, but it will be a certified cringefest. Also StormLuna would have the Alicorn Princess Starlight Glimmer defending Equestria from Donald Trump if she were in charge of the show.

6780335
That might be the one emergency I might actually let her? press the ascension button for... But I think if you check around, you'll find I have been opposing that kind of idea wherever I find it.

Just remember that even if the last shot of Season 8 lingers in your mind and throws you off, in My Little Pony of any Generation forgiveness comes before punishment for the truly repentant.

6780343
It really depends on the crimes that were committed and whether or nt the villain was under someone or something else's influence. And Donald Trump is the closest thing we got for a male human Princess Celestia.

6780351
OK... we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one. And it's true that circumstances have to be considered, but I don't think that Starlight being entrusted to Twilight's custody is too implausible. And you can't deny it's worked - she's a force for good in Equestria now.

6780356
I am not saying that rehabilitating Starlight is impossible, but her transition from being one of the most cruelest villains in MLP FIM to reformed hero should have been handled alot better.

6780360
I'll certainly agree that there were several missteps, but I disagree with you about her starting point - Cutie Map Starlight was trying to do what she thought was best for ponies, which is why seeing her as driven solely by petty revenge in the finale was so disappointing.

6780362
No, it was implied that Starlight's reasons for starting her cult less than noble because she made all the ponies in her town to dedicate their entire lives just to make her happy and make her the center of attention. And if they so much as not smile wide enough, they would be thrown in a cell and be literally tortured with propaganda audio until they come out crazy. Starlight deliberately made the ponies of her town live in a constant state of fear in order to keep them in line. She cared more about keeping those ponies under her absolute control than actually caring about them.

6780367
Her methods were cruel and controlling, but I do believe that she had her warped version of their best interests in mind - that was one reason I knew she was slated for reformation.

6780370
No, it was clear that she had selfish motives. I think that her reformation was a last minute decision and they did not bother with her transition from villain to reformed hero due how rushed and half baked The Cutie Re-Mark Part 2 was.

6780373
It was quite obvious from the start that she would not be overcome by force - as the representative of an opposing philosophy, persuasion was narratively necessary, Why they chose to screw up her inevitable redemption so badly - well, I think they just got carried away with the whole timelines thing that they forgot that she was supposed to be at the center of the episode. Sucked, but at least she got better stuff later.

6780376
But unfortunately because they screwed up her redemption arc so badly, she can never be worthy enough to become an Alicorn. If she to ascend, so must the rest of the Mane 6 and Sunset Shimmer too.

6780427
Well yeah - I think we have enough alicorns already, don't you?

6780433
I agree. We already got Princess Flurry Heart.

6779797
Hmm... I like some of these better than others.

The Cutie Remark:

I definitely like this idea better than what we got, and maybe even better than my own idea (a teamup between the CMC and the time-displaced filly Mane 6). I'm just not sure we'd actually have time for all of it, even if we cut that awful montage.

To Where and Back Again:

I don't think this one could be fixed without completely reinventing it, and I don't want to - it's one of my favourites. Your idea of using Flurry Heart does seem interesting though - do you have any more detail on it?

Shadow Play:

The idiot ball could also be removed by modifying the journal to imply that the Pony of Shadows was destroyed rather than sealed, perhaps foreshadowing Star Swirl's aggressive approach to threats. Then freeing him is still Twilight's mistke - just not an idiot one.

School Raze: I'm not really sure how this could've been done better, but I think at least one thing was not to have the Mane Six be trapped in Tartarus for the duration.

School Raze as a story is dependent on sidelining the Manes so the kids can take center stage - that's why it's no use as a true finale except for a post-script season. (and Tartarus - where they can use their skills, interact with Tirek and so on - is a big step up from changeling cocoons.)

6780476
Sorry. Nothing more on "To Where And Back Again". It was just a short summary.

As for "Shadow Play", if the journal doesn't mention that the Pony of Shadows was sealed, how would the Mane Six know what happened to the Pillars?

6780508
It would state that they were "lost to Limbo in the final battle" or something. I mean, I think Sombra is supposed to have still have been haunting the north while the Empire was in Limbo, so why not the other way round? (And actually bringing up that obvious parallel would also be a step to improving the story - might even lead to an informed decision, like "we beat Sombra and got to keep the Empire, so we can save the Pillars too.")

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