M.L.P Review- S3ep1- The Crystal Empire Parts 1&2

Posted: November 14, 2013 in My Little Pony- Reviews

1000px-King_Sombra_shadow_creeping_up_behind_main_characters_S3E1

Hello and welcome to my very first true review, everyone! Are you excited because I’m so excited! While I was sitting around, drinking a cup of my finest tea, I was pondering on how I could start off this whole “reviewing” thing… and I came to the conclusion that I need to start this off by creating a review of My Little Pony. Because… why not?

                        So here we are, I decided to start off with season 3 as season 4 is coming soon and I want to get at least a few people accustomed to the way we do things here. Ok then! Lets get into it!

                        Season 3 was a complete and utter mixed bag, this is not saying that it was a bad mixed bag… but it was mixed non-the-less. It included a very inconsistent pattern of a great episode followed by a worse one. However, apart from a select few, this season’s episodes were surprisingly strong.

                        We started off this season with a two parter (as per usual) and just like the previous season, it was surprising, and quite strong. Now I will say that it was not as good as the Discord season starters in season 2… however, it still held its ground as an intense, albeit slow at times, episode of the show.

                        The episode began with Twilight and the gang trotting off to canterlot to have Twilight meet with the princesses, however, this is no ordinary tea-party get together. No, not at all. In fact, Celestia (once again) has a task for Twilight sparkle. Right away, I was pitching a rage-tent and was ready to complain about how this keeps getting re-used as a way to get the characters on a path of war (in this case, friendship). I was, however, pleasantly surprised at the intriguing lore that Celestia presented to Twilight. The whole idea that there was some ruler who FREKEN INSLAVED the ponies of a magnificent kingdom of crystal, is really badass, especially for a show like this. So I let this slip, and sat back, grabbed my popped corn, and soaked into the ride that is this episode.

                        After a brief (and well-choreographed) song, we got put on the absurdly colored choo-choo train all the way to reference land. Where we met up with the now apparently returning “Shining armor”, who looks surprisingly worried as he tracks through the blizzard to meet the gang. While they are making their way to the kingdom, they quickly encounter “King Sombra” the massive villain in this episode, who, although looked the part, didn’t particularly do much apart from infecting Shining Armor’s horn with some sort of STD.

                        From then on, we find out that the entire kingdom (fantastically animated) was being protected by Cadence (probably with the immense power of LOVE BABY!). The gang sets off to investigate what is going on in this slightly odd kingdom, and soon enough they find out they must bring cheer to the super sad (and amnesia ridden?) ponies of the crystal empire.

                        Here is where the episode falters, because apart from the brilliant “pinkie is fluttershy” gag that happened early on, we didn’t get much substance from the entire cast or story. It was this 20 minute long stretch of “character goes here, acts like the character acts… profit?” It seemed as though the show writers (now without a new showrunner) were trying to re-introduce the characters. Fluttershy is shy, pinkie is nuts, rainbow dash can be both vain and annoying, twilight is smarty smart purple butt, etc etc.

                        I find this to be completely unwarranted, although I understand it. The show was blowing up with new viewers, and the writers may have wanted to get the new people accustomed to this show quickly… however, it did take away from the experience in general.

                        But don’t fear! Plot progression is here! We have an explosion of dramatic flare when we find out they needed to find the REAL crystal heart (which is a thing, apparently… look cadence’s cutie mark you fools!) so Twilight sets off to find it. After jumping through a few hoops (or running up and down upside down stairs) she finds the door to her greatest fear. This provided a touching “spike scene” that was both unexpected and welcome.

                        From then on, the barrier of LOOOOOOVE falls and sombra begins to invade. The ponies panic and scream while the “Mane 6” keep their composure and try to defend the empire. Nevertheless, friendship prevails (hallelujah!) and Shining Armor goes all “Olympic athlete” on Sombra’s ass by throwing his weak and defenseless wife at him like some sort of metallic pole.

                        And just as quickly as this invasion began, it ended. And a bit of me felt disappointed, as the entire episode surrounded re-introducing the characters instead of moving the plot forward. However, it was definitely not a disappointing episode in general.

                        Perhaps it was my high hopes due to the AMAZING season finale? I’m not sure… all I know is that the entire episode felt slightly off, and this caused for a slightly disjointed and confusing experience. But an experience nonetheless, and this experience is one that is still, to this day, a great episode. It was filled with decent (but well-choreographed) musical numbers, fantastic animation, and an interesting story with a underwhelming villain. It helped provide backstory where there is none, however, it gave the entire world of Equestria a fantastic spark of lore that resonated with me and made this entire world slightly more… believable is NOT the word.

Pros: Funny in most parts

-Lore lore loooore!

-Shining armor and Cadence make their… welcome? Return.

-Decent musical bits

-brilliant animation

-A few references thrown in

Cons: Bad pacing

-An odd re-introduction of the characters and their traits

-Underwhelming villain

-A really strange and unwarranted (and slightly boring) middle.

Episode grades:

Part 1: B

Part 2: B+

Overall: B

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Comments
  1. SonicPonyPoke says:

    I know you are busy with school, but are you still going to do Blind Commentaries of MAS eventually? Because I heard you in that you where going to do that. Just wondering is all 🙂

  2. tvmovieguy says:

    I feel compelled to correct one thing. The show did have a new showrunner at this point – Meghan McCarthy, who also wrote this episode. From my understandng, she’s the story editor, and decides who writes what episode and also approves the episode ideas. I think season 3 is a mixed bag partly due to the loss of Rob Renzetti, who I think is the unsung hero of MLP. He was the story editor of season 1 & 2 and left at the same time Lauren Faust did to work on Gravity Falls, and Lauren only had a small role as a consultant in season 2, widely considered the best season, so a lot of the show’s greatness must have come from him.

    Anywho, great review! I thought this episode was disappointing, and I’m not on good terms with season 3 as a whole. I personally find it to be a poor imitation of the show, with most episodes being either awful or painfully mediocre. Sleepless in Ponyville and Just For Sidekicks are awesome though (best episode and best Spike episode, imo), but enough rambling – The animation noticeably improved since season 2, which is a big plus, but I personally don’t find the art design of the Crystal Empire that interesting, and the songs didn’t do anything for me. The singing voices are pleasant on the ears, but I didn’t find the songs themselves very musically or lyrically interesting.

    I agree that the middle portion detracted from the experience somewhat. All of the characters were acting like Flanderized versions of themselves, which got on my nerves a bit. And I felt that Sombra was a massive wasted opportunity for some real badass villainery. I’ve seen some interviews with Meghan McCarthy, who said she was going for a ‘Lord Sauron’-type character; a kind of evil presence, but I didn’t get that at all. The story as a whole was serviceable, albeit having some pacing problems. I wouldn’t consider it to be a great episode because of the problems I have with it. 5/10 from me.

    -By the way, this is MrFilmyMan, aka classictvguy from YouTube 🙂

    • Fantastic! Don’t fear about “rambling”, this is exactly the place to do so! I love reading people’s opinions on the episodes, that’s exactly why i’m creating this sort of blog!

      • tvmovieguy says:

        Thanks! It really was a great idea to start up this blog. I’ve had more fun than I thought I would writing my thoughts, and it’s the kind of chance that doesn’t come along too often to interact with one of my favorite YouTubers. And when you do the non-MLP reviews, I can watch along with you and give my 2 cents. It’s like when Doug Walker did the Avatar Vlogs. It gave me an incentive to watch along and discuss, and in the process I discovered one of my favorite TV shows, that I probably wouldn’t have got around to seeing otherwise. I’ve bookmarked the shit out of this site, and I’ll be sure to spread the word 😀

    • That means a lot! Thanks for your support, i’ll make sure and keep this site as entertaining as possible!

  3. Dietz says:

    This is maybe not my favorite two-parters (hands down Return of Harmony) but damn. This episode is EPIC : we have a cool looking new place, a bad-ass villain (even if not threatening), and ponies in battle armor.
    Pinkie was just in fire in that episode, one of her best role in the entire serie.
    The Spike/Twilight relation was just amazing, it did what the ‘Owl’s Well It Ends Well’ episode did 10 times better.
    And I’m glad we find out why the heck Princess Cadence was an alicorn. (In a really smart way too)
    (and this finale song, my friends sang it when I passed my bachelor :’)

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