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Season 9, Episode 1 & 2 - The Beginning of the End

Discussion in 'Episode Discussion' started by Bridle Timeout, 1 April 2019.

  1. Bridle Timeout

    Bridle Timeout I Love Twilight Sparkle

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    [​IMG]
    Breakfast in the Castle by InuHoshi-to-Darkpen
    Air Date: 6th April 2019

    Written By: Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco

    Synopsis: Twilight experiences self-doubt when Celestia and Luna decide to retire and hand off the ruling of Equestria to Twilight and her friends.
    (N.B.: Using the Zap2It synopsis as it's the least spoilery. :p )

    In case you missed it in the general season news thread, these episodes have been teased a bit in a couple of trailers: (The second one is particularly spoilery)

    This one particularly hits me in the feels. :oops:

    Well, here we are, the premier for the final season of our beloved pastel ponies. There may only be 26 episodes left, but I for one don't see an end to my enjoyment of MLP. :)

    As I said in the other thread, I'm thrilled that Twilight (and friends) will be succeeding Celestia and Luna. Not just because I'm a big fan of Twilight, but also because it was part of Lauren's original vision for her, so I'm glad to see that they've stuck to that. :) However, I thought that would be the type of thing that they would have saved for the very last episode, so I'm very curious how this season will unfold.

    That said, I hope Celestia and Luna are still around and involved, and don't simply go off to wherever ponies go to retire. :p

    I'm also curious what they plan to do with the villains in these episodes, as it sounds like it has the potential to be a very involved story, along with the possibly rushed conclusions as we've seen in the past. However, I was very excited to learn that The Lady Writers did these, as I've greatly enjoyed most of their previous contributions to pony. :)

    Not related to this episode directly, but I do hope the finale is called "The End of the Beginning" or something. :)

    Please remember to use spoiler tags as appropriate until 24-hours after these episodes have aired on Discovery Family. Thank you.
     
  2. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    So exciting to see an episode thread again! :D Even if it is the last season premiere one we'll ever have, which is a sad thought. :(

    A few brief thoughts from me:
    Very much looking forward to this one, especially now we know the identity of the writers. I wonder whether there'll be any foreshadowing of the eventual end in this one? Will the Young Six get involved? What about Spike, or Starlight? So many things to think about! I do have mixed feelings about Sombra's return, so I'll wait and see how that goes. Maybe a tad irritating that Tia and Luna seem to be being pushed out of the way as quickly as possible again, but again I'll see how it goes.

    Well, surely it's obvious where they go? They join the Golden Horseshoe Gals! :p
     
  3. moody magpie

    moody magpie One shall stand, one shall fall.

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    While I'm looking forward to new pony episode goodness, I still can't feel anything but bittersweet about it knowing that this will be the final season, still best to go out with a bang rather than a whimper.
     
  4. Danishbrony2011

    Danishbrony2011 Honorary Pony

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    Let's see if S9 will be months worth waiting for after the S9 info leaks last Winter.
     
  5. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    A second animatic is out:


    Edit: and a third!

     
    #5 Loganberry, 2 April 2019
    Last edited: 3 April 2019
  6. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    Some news about casting, under a cut as I need to mention something that isn't in the synopsis above:

    Big Jim Miller isn't returning to voice Sombra this time. The part is being voiced by Alvin Lee Sanders, who played Flutterguy in "Filli Vanilli". That's why his voice sounds different in the animatics. Confirmation tweets from Miller follow:

     
  7. Danishbrony2011

    Danishbrony2011 Honorary Pony

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  8. Candy Yunagi

    Candy Yunagi Wishes she could be a cat

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    I still can't really believe it's relatively soon to be over, either. And I kinda can't believe it's season opener time again. It's a familiar feeling, with a hint of something new this time. It will all be over in several months, but it's not yet. Let's ride this ride one more time!
     
  9. sten whik

    sten whik Space

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    The board is set, the pieces are moving.

    [​IMG]

    We come to it at last, the great battle of our time.

    And to these the last ever two part season opener episodes...

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Solar Wind

    Solar Wind Bring back Robot Wars

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    Right. The beginning, of the end, sort of.

    So, we are not going full retirement just yet from the Princesses. It is what i hoped for and will be more a fitting ending to this generation. Grogar is pretty intimidating as well. Much like Tirek, they updated his design whilst keeping his intimidation. Chryssy is still crazy, but we do need to talk about Sombra. He is so much more impressive.

    He actually has a cunning plan that for about 95% of the time made sense and worked until the end. I believe that he has fully redeemed himself from the rather disappointing season 3 premiere. I'm not a fan of his voice though. It just seems too generic and doesn't suit him. I was expecting a much deeper voice from him. Ah well. At least he went out on a high note and got as close to taking over Equestria as the others have.
     
  11. Eunos the Fool

    Eunos the Fool Proud Hater of Sparity

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    Okie dokie lokie.


    It's crazy to think that the next time we will have a season Opener for MLP will be a completely different Generation.

    So yes.

    For most part this was a good opener.. I wouldn't say it's my favourite but it was still enjoyable.

    I do like how Twilights Friends find her so predictable now to the point they even have a name for it.

    I was still not convinced that Cozy Glow was secretly Chrysalis but I now accept defeat on that one as it was confirmed they are not this episode.

    Discord who I tend to find hit and miss now a days was a great form today.. and Yes I actually admit I thought they were killing him off.. Was like damn.. Am I watching MLP or Game of Thrones here?

    When King Sombra made his debut in Season 3.. I thought he was a very boring and un interesting character.. However I feel they did a better job with him this time round.. Even if he did play the idiot ball a bit and not attack when Discord was giving his dying speech.

    So yeah, not my favourite Season Opener but still a decent one.

    Somewhat surprised the Breakfast Club didn't play a role in this one.

    Still.. We are officially on the final lap now.. Hopefully this will be a decent Season.
    The weather outside is ok at best.
     
  12. Mane25

    Mane25 Honorary Pony

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    OK, here we go.

    Slightly on-edge watching this, it's the last season so they really needed to get this right.

    Not going to lie, for the first 3/4 of the (two-part) episode I wasn't overly enthused by it - it was your fairly generic big villain vs the good guys type thing... not the reason I watch pony. And it had what seemed like some odd inconsistencies - like why would the mane 6 lose their power without the elements of harmony, when isn't their friendship the source of the power? Well thank goodness it all came together in the end, and that last question was answered by the episode too! The last quarter was really good and taken as a whole it was fine. Discord was great in this - really kind of emotional thinking he might die.

    Finally a sigh of relief that they managed to bring back Sombra without utterly destroying my headcanon. I'm a big fan of the S3 premier and giving him too much of a personality would interfere with my interpretation and enjoyment of that episode (he's not supposed to have any personality, he's the metaphorical embodiment of fear and hatred). I can live with this episode as long as he doesn't come back again.
     
  13. Candy Yunagi

    Candy Yunagi Wishes she could be a cat

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    I suspect this will inspire much creativity from the fandom. I hope to see that...

    Overall, it felt kinda like going back to a few seasons ago. Something of a Princess Twilight Sparkle or The Cutie Map feel. I kinda suspected Celestia might be Chrysalis (I thought she did that thing with her eyes that fake Cadence did during This Day Aria), but it seems they were serious about retiring, just not yet. I wonder how long they've used Twilighting as a phrase, though I still prefer Shining Armour's term of going Twilynanas. Since Twi will be ruling though, she'd better get used to being used as a figure of speech, the way Celestia is :p. Seriously, though, it's really nice that they all know each other that well after all this time.

    I've never seen G1, so this is the first I've seen of Grogar, but I think he's right, in that they can pose a serious threat if they stand united. I think that'll be a struggle, though, and that could well end up being their undoing in the end. Sombra's voice is a bit annoying, but I think it does suit him. I'd have to rewatch The Crystal Empire, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't quite back, that the Crystal Heart vanquished him before he could regain his true power. He does sound like a rogue nobleman from many moons ago, and he has a hint of Blueblood in his voice. His attempt to take the Crystal Empire was quite ill advised. Grogar warned him against it, he seriously underestimated the elements and their bearers, and he even announced that he would unleash their greatest fear on them. If he hadn't, he would've still lost, but it may have taken a bit longer. It's kind of a shame that we didn't see all of their fears, but we know them well enough by now to be able to make some good guesses. It was kind of a cakewalk for them, and a really nice measure of how far they've all come. I kind of expected Flurry Heart to make short work of Sombra at one point, though :p.

    His attempt on all of Equestria starting from Ponyville went to some dark places, though. It felt like I was watching a later Sailor Moon story. Seeing them all genuinely lose hope was really hard; even the Movie didn't go that far with it. It was also good to see how Sombra actually operates both times, since that was glossed over in both The Crystal Empire and The Cutie Re-Mark. I do have to wonder how Equestria will sustain itself now that the Tree of Harmony is gone. The Pillars may have it covered, but I have to wonder if that will be enough in the present day. Seeing the Princesses in action is long overdue, and it seem that they were being strategic in having little influence on the other grand adventures. Speaking of which, not only could Discord have curb-stomped Sombra (which is awesome, by the way), but he really does understand friendship at this point, and can't see him ever going back. I didn't think we'd see the end of him, but I didn't know he was faking having lost his power. I did know he was milking it after everything was restored, though. I loved that Celestia had that smirk on her face for just a second when he was ranting. She beat him at his own game.

    I wonder if we'll see Sombra again. He does seem in a pretty bad way, but that didn't stop him from returning before :p. It's slightly unsettling to see Cozy applying Pinkie's friendship lessons, but rather amusing that the others are having none of it. This is kind of a stretch, but there may be the slightest chance of reformation if that kind of thing ever actually has the intended effect on them. It also occurs to me that Flurry Heart would make an interesting good counterpart to Cozy's evil...

    So we're probably getting a dramatic finale, rather than something low key, then. It would be nice if they saved the last one for sentimental reflection, but it looks more likely they might use episode 24 for that. if that happens, I'll be tempted to leave it until after the finale, even. It would be pretty cool to see every ally the Mane six have gained, though. I doubt we'll see the ones from the Movie, but you never know, I'd love to see our friend Fizzlepop Berrytwist one more time...
     
  14. Bridle Timeout

    Bridle Timeout I Love Twilight Sparkle

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    The Beginning of the End
    Hmmm, seems we might have a bit of a story arc this season. Whether it is just the premiere and finale remains to be seen, or if it will be touched on during the middle of the season as well. What I find particularly interesting, is there were some scenes in those trailers that didn't appear in this episode at all, so I have a feeling this will be a season long story arc.

    These episodes were good, was a bit surprised that the episode largely focused on Sombra in the end. However, it does set up the fact that Chryssy, Cozy Glow, Tirek and Grogar will be a major threat if they work together.

    Sombra's takeover was.... unsettling, both with how swift it was and how mindless ponies became under his control.

    Celestia and Luna decided not to retire... yet. So perhaps they will in the series finale? I was interested in the idea of the Mane 6 ruling, but at the same time, it's also a relief in a way, that they're not shaking things up that much. (I feel like it took time to sort out some of the previous big changes in the show, like Twilight ascending or Starlight being reformed, and there isn't going to be a "next season". :p )

    Discord was written well, and his speech was actually genuinely moving. Even if he was faking being hurt, his slow-motion dive to protect Fluttershy was sweet. :)

    There were also other bits that I loved:
    - Pinkie "cake walking"
    - When everyone looked at Pinkie, expecting her to say something funny to lift their spirits, but she was too upset to do so.
    - Everyone knowing how Twilight "Twilights" so well, that they knew exactly at what stage of her freakout she was in. :p
    - Tirek casually flicking Cozy Glow away.
    - Chryssy's ranting before she joined the others. She's gone just a bit nuts. :p

    Good premiere, though not quite the best, but it does leave me excited and hyped for the rest of the season. :)
     
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  15. Loganberry

    Loganberry Element of Custard

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    Quick thoughts after one viewing:

    Well, you can't accuse Lewis and Songco of holding back! A really packed premiere, so much so that the pacing did feel a little rushed on occasion, though I'm not sure much could have been done about that. I think Grogar comes across very well, by which I mean he has real menace -- especially since the Mane Six etc don't yet know he's around; they think Sombra was it. Discord's fake-out was in character for him, so no worries there, though I hope he won't be overused this season. I'm not too worried about the relative lack of Starlight, as she's had plenty of time recently, but I'd have liked to have seen a little more for Spike to do. Cadance and Shiny seemed a little on the useless side when Sombra kidnapped Flurry Heart. Seeing the Tree of Harmony and the Elements shattered was quite a moment -- I wonder if that story will continue later in the season? And at long, long last, Celestia and Luna (maybe looking forward to their not-actually-yet retirement) actually got to do something practical! :p

    All in all, I was quite pleased. I'm not sure this episode will fully hold up if looked at under a microscope, as there were some plot points that were skated over a bit. For example, we still don't really know anything about why Cozy is the way she is. Still, it was very entertaining and a lot happened. Probably third in my ranking of premieres, behind "The Return of Harmony" and "The Cutie Map". I'll take that. :)
     
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  16. Zero Motion

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    Haven't been able to post much due to coursework but I just saw the premiere.

    I think this has to be my favourite premiere episodes!
    Granted I do need to rewatch some, there's no way any other 2 episodes could not only bring back 4 fan fave villains but also introduce a "new" one and give them just enough screentime to showcase his power whilst also hiding exactly what his power is, however, the pacing was a bit rushed at times, there wasn't much that could be done when dealing with such a huge cast.
    I am loving everything about the mysterious Grogar, also that we're getting a Legion of Doom type team up.
    Though I do hope they utilize Cozy Glow better in the coming episodes, she didn't seem like a psychopathic filly who brainwashed and took over an entire school just to gain power, she seemed like a helpless filly who doesn't understand her situation.
    When in actuality, she likely does understand that Grogar is powerful, enough to free her ad Tierek out of Tartarus so why both keeping up the "oh I'm just an adorable little filly" act if she's really a menacing and conniving psychopath on the inside. (I still see her as a younger, slightly more driven Starlight Glimmer, before she got boring)
    I pray this lack of personality from Cozy Glow is not hinting at her betraying Grogar and alerting the mane six because she's so scared of him, yes Grogar is menacing, heck even Chrysalis knows not to mess with him and she's gone insane. (the more I see of her, the more I think she's the Joker to Twilights Batman)
    I could see that being possible but man, I'd hate that, I feel like Cozy Glow has so much potential to be a great villain, I think as long as that doesn't happen, this season should be pretty good.

    Anyways we then move onto Discord.
    Now I've always loved Discord, his character is the living embodiment of weirdness, I freaking adore it.
    Until now most of the fandom as far as I can see had given up on him, they thought he'd never get a complete redemption arc like Sunset or even a half redemption like Starlight. (I love that she's completely ok with running the school like damn, good development right there, I still prefer her as evil but we can't always have what we want.)
    Anyways this finally provided us with a fantastic speech and a great performance by John De Lancie, 10/10 I really hope he continues to act in this manner, no not saving the mane six but being there to support them whether that be through the use of his chaotic magic or by giving them a heartfelt speech.

    Overall I felt it was just a good 2-parter and has me looking forward to the rest of the season.
    King Sombra has always been a favourite of mine, at first his voice surprised me but I got used to it during the 2nd episode, I think it almost fits him.
    I do hope we get to see him some more, maybe with some of the Umbrum? ;)
    I will say I loved that moment when he had Flurry Heart, reminded me of Syndrome taking Jack-Jack from the end of The Incredibles. (was fully expecting Flurry to burst out some magic BS and save herself, glad she didn't)
    I'd say the highlight moment was seeing Twilights mane go into that ethereal look, if that's the endgame look for Princess Twilight, ruler of Equestria + friends, I'm completely down for it.
    Glad to see Starswirl again, as well as the ethereal trio, so badass!
    Also adored Celestia's face at the start and Cadance's at the end, hilarious. :D
    This does make me wonder how the finale is gonna top it.
    Since the obvious ideas, we have going into the finale is "Grogar and his team Vs the Mane Six" so I'm hoping they combat and go against that idea that the show has implanted at least into my mind.
     
  17. Steamworks

    Steamworks Habitual Pony

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    Hopefully time won't fly by too quickly during this final season.

    Fakeout from the princesses. Guess they gotta be playful.

    I wonder how much Discord listens in on the castle.

    Dash seems like she's wanted that dreamwalking power for a while.

    So are we all in on "twilight" being a verb?

    Is that Arimaspi's eye?

    I really ought to watch Grogar's G1 run to see how he compares to his G4 incarnation.

    Is Cozy gonna be the snarky one?

    I'm counting 5 evils. Is there gonna be another one added to the group? 6 seems to come up a lot in this show.

    I think Sombra's new voice isn't exactly right. Deeper and more menacing, I think.

    And now Starlight is twilighting.

    Sombra seems to have powered up a lot since last we saw him.

    I wonder why Discord is not into stopping Sombra. It's not like he could just rip reality in half and banish him.

    That was too easy.

    The physical elements have been destroyed before, but they did still have the tree. The tree is also sentient, so is it in pain? Can it still manifest as someone? Will it?

    Come on, Twi, you saw them break before.

    Sombra twisting the knife and going ham.

    The Everfree Forest encroaching on the town might be Sombra's downfall. Surely he can't maintain an assault on Canterlot and keep the forest at bay.

    Or it's just going to tie up the Mane 6.

    And Sombra assuming Luna and Tia have fled. Hoping that's a setup for an ambush.

    You're tilting at the wrong thing, gals. Let the forest go and deal with Sombra.

    I dunno why Twi didn't just teleport in to begin with.

    And now Discord is helping.

    And milking it.

    Is Discord finally reminding them that the elements are inside them all?

    And Twilight's march is the best.

    Sombra's death looked really painful.

    So are we going to revisit Luna and Celestia retiring in the finale?

    Maybe we'll even see them in action more.

    Is Cozy trying to friendship lesson Tirek and Chryssy?

    Oh geeze, Tirek, Chryssy, and Cozy don't seem comfortable with Grogar's plan. Are we gonna see them turn against him in the finale?
     
  18. Recurrent Trotting

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    a mixed bag 6.5/10. More Crystalling/Celestial Advice than Return of Harmony
    the good
    the new villain! some of the old villains - Cozy Glow the cute-friendship-mc-evil-pony character is great :D

    the call backs. Discord in the strained glass for instance. I wanted more dammit! Bringing back all the old villains too is a great idea for the send-off season

    Discord was also on form, rightly taking the mic out of some of the worst bits of the writing :p even his speech was sorta inspirational. I appreciated his discordy magic too - the ice-cream and reality shower curtain :D

    the meh

    Celestia and Luna being perhaps the most blatant trolls ever by retiring and stressing Twi out and then being all 'psyche!' :p was pretty sweet seeing Starswirl, but his opponent was.. a forest. Also the sisters and Starswirl really need to all deal with the forest? If you're going to bring the Legends back and make them real ponies then you have to deal with them better than this...

    the lack of more clever/subtle call-backs like Discord in the stained glass for the Mane 6 themselves. Twi being stressed with a bag was eh... and none of the Mane 6 really shone in this ep I thought. It's tough to do character call-backs in a good way - MMC managed being a clip-show homage to the development of the Mane 6 so friggin well. When you set MMC against this ep you really begin to appreciate Larson :3

    the bad
    the villain who stole the show - Sombra - was ugh. This ep was set up for later eps in that it was clearly getting the weakest character out of the way. Sombra had all the irritating traits of badly written super hero villains. Inexplicable OPness out of nowhere, mono-dimensionalism, being brought back from the dead. etc etc.


    Twi without the elements has done before, and done much better than in this ep. the same exact thing was the central hook of s4. the plot of Princess Twi/Twi's kingdom where the harmony tree stored the elements but in the end the tree showed her all she needed was the magic of friendship..? Also that season made the harmony-tree a significant plot point and bigged it up. This time not only werethe elements not enough to kill sombra anyway, but then the tree went down like it was nothing to one poke of sombra's crystal.
     
    #18 Recurrent Trotting, 7 April 2019
    Last edited: 7 April 2019
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  19. F.I.N.E.

    F.I.N.E. Less than 50 characters.

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    It’s finally here....

    That was quite a bit more dramatic than we’ve seen for a while. I don’t think the stakes in a season premier/finale have been quite this high since Twilight’s Kingdom. I rather enjoyed the Mane 6 demolishing the show’s admittedly rather battered fourth wall (although Discord does it the best) I don’t have particularly strong feelings about King Sombra, so I quite liked to see him back without my headcanon being messed about too much. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the season, and the obvious big showdown with Grogar (and seeing who stabs him in the back!)
     
  20. janglehooves

    janglehooves Proud to be an earth pony!

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    For our friends, for our families, for our home, for Equestria!
    Trollestia strikes again! Seriously, she must have known the effect that springing that sort of news on Twilight would have! Also, if Equestria really is enjoying its longest period of harmony in recent years, then given the number of monsters, villains and existential threats the Mane 6 have had to face, how bad was Equestria before? :eek: The episode itself was pretty solid though it seemed to be a setup for a season arc. It wasn't the most groundbreaking opener IMO and I felt it went over some ground that has already been covered at times like the necessary/unnecessary status of the elements but it certainly had its moments. One of the best aspects was the interplay between the villains. As they usually tend to be independent it was fun to see how they interact as a group (sort of the evil version of the Student 6...). Sombra was a good choice to be the one who tries to go it alone as he has that sense of arrogance about him and I thought his voice work suited that sense. My personal favourite was the Tirek/Cozy Glow double act which is not something I was expecting to enjoy so much! I know we're supposed to find Cozy overly sweet but apparently it didn't work on me because damn it, she is the most adorable litttle manipulative bundle of villainy! :D Tirek and Cozy seem to have this long suffering older brother/annoying little sister relationship and it was rather touching to see her hiding behind him at times (even if he did end up flicking her across the chamber...:)). I've not seen any synposes of future episodes so I'm not sure how they're going to handle things but I'd like to see some more glimpses of how the villains are getting on during the season rather than just leaving them out of the picture until (presumably) the finale. Grogar seems to be an interesting prospect with his emphasis on teamwork again being a dark parody of one the themes of the show.
    As others have said, Discord was particularly good. I had my doubts about him for a long time though it's pretty clear by now that he is a reformed character. It's a tribute to the various writers of the show that they have managed to keep a feeling of ambiguity around his actions, even when he trying to do good and this was used to good effect here.
    For some reason I was less shocked by the destruction of the Tree of Harmony than I was by the Golden Oak. This was possibly because it has previously been suggested that the elements themselves are more a manifestation of the ponies who bear them rather than reliant on the elements as magical artifacts and this was confirmed in the episode. That said, for all their power, the Mane 6 still managed to make the occasional odd decision such as combat gardening rather than dealing with the more pressing threat of Sombra and then sorting out the errant vegetation later on... Sombra also doesn't seem to have read The Great Escape or he would have put in some better foundations when walling in the Mane 6. Then again, who knew horses could dig that fast (apart from Maude Pie...)?
    So over all I enjoyed the episode and it was a good setup for what will hopefully be an interesting final season.
    This is the Cozy Glow appreciation society signing out...
     

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