Pony Think Tank takes on “Celestia Advice” and “Bottled Up”

Hello all my new readers, and if they are still here, my old ones! Pony Think Tank today takes on the opening salvo of Season 7! I’ve been on a small hiatus as I work on Equestrian City, which is coming along slowly but solidly I might add, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to take a look at the premiere! This season, we aren’t dealing with a major issue that requires at least two episodes to fix, and I’m not sure if that is entirely good, but we’ll see as we dive head on into “Celestial Advice”

Our cold opening is, surprise surprise, Starlight Glimmer, who seems to be the shifting focus of the series since the writers took Sunset Shimmer’s formula and shoved it into a cookie cutter :P We quickly find that the visual gags are more present than previous seasons so far, which I personally like, with Spike turning his (hair?) into Rarity’s facsimile. We’re then given the fact that we’re not that far off time was since last season, as a party and award ceremony is being planned for the Suicide Squad like team of Discord, Starlight Glimmer, Trixie and Thorax (who if you aren’t familiar with his new appearance, seems to have eat a box of crayons and burped.)

Obviously Thorax needs more color as you can see.

After the cringe worthy intro, we are greeted with the award ceremony where all our team is given the Equestrian Pink Heart of Courage (goodness that is a mouthful). The after party has the newly reformed changeling guests (minus the Queen, thankfully) mingling with the guests, as Twilight and Celestia exchange lines akin to the student has become the master and all that lovely cliche we’ve been hearing in our own heads for a bit.

Not one to be happy about anything for too long, Twilight slowly begins to come to the realization that the lessons she has for her student no longer apply after the writing team seemingly power leveled Starlight to End Game content! Overcome with rapidly sprouting panic, she seeks out her teacher, Celestia, for advice on the matter while Discord seemingly invents a B story for himself, hyping up the announcement Twilight is going to make with gossip and clever manipulation.

Spike’s demeanor is very much attuned to mine personally, each of his lines seems to be for the fans at this moment, most with good humored sarcasm, some with biting cynicism. I approve.

“None of these have me saying more then four or five lines. SPIKE! Bring me the writers!”

As Twilight comes to the conclusion that she needs to follow in Celestia’s footsteps and send HER prize student away, all of which she does without really, any help from Celestia, we come to a chapter break!

Continuing to solve her own problem with the people she has for advice simply watching and, well not really helping per say, we’re given a new spell, this one seems to be a Holodeck spell, where Twilight starts us down the road of my favorite two words: What If?

Arriving at the first stop on what turns into a neurotic spiral into worry, Twilight’s first stop is what if she sends her to the new Changling empire! We quickly find out, based on Twilight’s totally subjective thinking, that the lessons she teaches to the newly reformed critters will be taken in stride and all will be, well, boring and forced. Much like the first and second season.

Just as all seems well, worry hits her and the scenario changes to what seems more likely with a giant hive mind that’s suddenly allowed free thought: mischief.

Snapping out of it we dive into another idea, which to me all sound like story pitches that were flat out rejected, where she’s sent to the dragons and becomes, shall we say, epic friends, with Ember. (You remember her right? We saw her once, everyone free ships with her and Spike, and then we lost her just as quick)

A quick dive into madness and lava later and Twilight is back to square one with her imagination getting the better of her. The final treat we get is what almost seems natural to me, but then again what do I know, in that we send her to the crystal Empire to “study” with Sunburst. This one holds the most interest when a spell goes wrong and they summon a black hole of sorts and everyone seemingly dies. I do enjoy the idea that the spell was to summon something lost in the past, makes one wonder.

So after all that Twilight almost has a break down, and Celestia, as well as the rest of the random I’d imagine, begins to laugh at Twilight.

After explaining she’s not laughing at her she’s laughing…well no she is kind of laughing at her, Celestia sits her former student down and relates that she too had all these years in her head, proving to us Celestia is human after all. So to speak.

“You…actually thought..you’d be the leads forever? Even I was sidelined! Thats hilarious!”

In the interlude, as Discord, in a scene that really seems to me on a subtle level is the rest of the Mane 6 asking each other why they aren’t in this episode, hyped up more around the kingdom until Twilight is greeted with a over anticipated reveal. This seems like the writers again making light of the fact “hey, we’ve really got nothing epic this time out the box.”

“You see girls, you’ve been moved into what they are calling Background Ponies”

 

The rest plays out rather quickly, but it all boils down to the lesson we learn is that, well if You Love Something, let it go. Which is landmark I might add because Celestia is the first in the series to really express the term ‘Love’ in the sense of a deeper emotion and have it mean something.

As the episode winds down, Starlight is thrilled to be graduating, but doesn’t end up leaving the show…I mean the Castle because she doesn’t want to. Thus breaking us from the formula we all thought was destined to happen.

Overall I find this episode is a 5 out of 10. Average. The Celestia section is the only saving grace, as the B story is almost an afterthought. Spike’s overhaul as the straight man is by far more evident this time and is a welcome change from being the comedic foil for the most part. It’s a good start, not a disaster, but there’s room for improvement.

We dive right into episode 2, “Bottled Up”

We’re given another episode where our favorite up and coming ship, StarTrix, opens the show. Greeted by Trixie’s inability to use proper magic, she’s given a quick tip by the one person who knows how to misuse magic, and quickly turns a salt shaker into a teacup. Why? You got me. Still, Trixie’s ability to go overboard with it makes me chuckle as we quickly end up with way way way too many teacups, including a teacup poodle! Full of herself as usual, Trixie annoys Starlight to the point she starts to manifest a dark cloud of..well…dark side energy. Set with the pieces of this episode, we are quickly thrust into the opening song many of us turn down to prevent embarrassment at work ;)

Starlight is not amused!

Coming back from commercial, Starlight and Trixie see our Mane 6 heroes, who seem to be slipping into the backseat of the entire show I might add, off to their Friendship Retreat. Whats a Friendship Retreat you ask? I know I did immediately after it was said, and just as quick, we’re given the explanation most would THINK was the proper one. We find out that’s only half right later on as our two stories divide and our adventure begin!

“Bye, Twilight! We’ll take good care of your show!”

Back at the castle, Trixie and Starlight begin her next lesson, and letting Trixie pick, we find is the worst idea so far. She immediately wants a hard spell: teleportation! Spike, who like the audience, seems to see where this is going, decides to run off before he’s used as the subject of the spell. An interesting point Starlight makes is that her magic is based on her emotions at the time, which just screams Jedi and Sith, but I think is a nice element we can exploit down the road, or later in the episode, as we’ll see.

You have Hate. You have Anger. But you do not USE THEM!

The B story, a little weak as last time, switches us to our Mane 6, who quickly find out the Twilight’s Friendship Retreat is not a Spa, but a locked room that focuses on teamwork far more brain twisting then simply doing the Trust Exercise. The narrative feels at this point, very expedited I might add.

Meanwhile back at the ranch er I mean castle, Trixie eventually goes off half cocked and ends up losing the entire Cutie Map! Thus answering the question how you lose an entire giant magic table many of us were asking after the leaks. Starlight has a minor stroke of course and panics. Quickly becoming upset with Trixie’s ho hum approach, Starlight realizes her anger is manifesting itself in the form of the red cloud. Of course the smartest thing to do is to cast a spell to bottle up her emotion (and we get the title of the episode…ta da!)

Spinning back to the Mane 6 story and the StarTrix story happens far far too quickly again, though it seems only to do so to exploit a transition device as clever as using the last line of the scene to contrast or satirize the opening line of the next. The basic overall plot reveals that Starlight is afraid of losing Trixie as a friend if she doesn’t bottle her anger up, which is why she gets weaker and weaker the more they search for the table in the places Trixie leads to to find. Each successful bottling of the emotion takes it’s toll on Starlight, much like it does in real life, thus and applicable lesson!

“Even THIS comic has better pacing!”

Of course the Mane 6 break into song after they solve their problems, and a very appropriate character tells them the consequences of having broken into song may not have been worth it. I enjoyed that line the most out of the entire episode incidentally.

Back to the StarTrix plot (heh) Trixie eventually notices the magic being bottled up and tries to find out what it’s all about. The ensuing tug of war sends the bottle flying up and down, shattering it and releasing the anger into nearby citizens, all of whom become angry at Trixie for different reasons reflectance of the moments in time Starlight was angry.

“Don’t worry girls, the writers told me next episode *I* have a major part!”

We spiral towards the end of the episode with a quick realization by Starlight that Trixie had no idea how she felt, as she bottled it up inside. Trixie as well admits that as difficult they were to hear, she needed to hear the anger to fully grasp Starlight’s feelings. Again, we use the term ‘Love’ by Trixie to Starlight which let me tell you, probably has the entire shipping world in an overdrive mode. I can hear the lemons being written as I type this. :P

“Did…did you say you Loved me?”

All in all I give this a 5 out of 10. The first thing that stuck out to me was they recycled footage DURING the song that was as even pointed out by the writers, unneeded. I find that concerning. Trixie is fun in moderation, as is Starlight Glimmer, I can only hope we aren’t entirely shifting gears to the next generation to a point we lose our footing on what made the show fun to begin with.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t be shy to make a comment! :D

 

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