Thursday, 20 April 2017

Episode review: S7E01: "Celestial Advice"

Celestia laughing uproariously
"You think this makes it more likely I'll get a real episode? Oh, Twilight..."
And we are go with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season Seven! Okay, okay, I know we were go some time ago, but I can't help it if I've been on holiday. Never mind nuclear confrontations in Korea or snap general elections in the UK, this is the big one. Since for the first time the two episodes weren't (entirely) two parts of the same story, you'll get two shortish reviews: the first today and the second tomorrow. Text Review Roundup will be squashed in at the weekend if I can find the time! Having Lewis and Songco on the case was a promising sign, but come past the break for the actual review of the S7 premiere.

First things first: I like this episode more than I do the S6 premiere, mainly because it isn't so boring. It is a considerable change of pace from the way in which previous seasons have opened, in many ways feeling more like a mid-season slice-of-life ep. Clearly, those who detest Starlight will hate the fact that she seems likely to play a very big part once again this year. I'm not one of those, so I'm fine with it – although I would hope that the Mane Six are the central heroes of S7, fun as the others are.

The other members of the Starlight Gang – Trixie, Discord and Thorax – were confined to supporting roles this time, and didn't do much to make me cheer or jeer. Much more interestingly, we finally got some decent screen time for Celestia. It's not the full-on Tiasode I still long for, but it's much better than what we had last season. I'm pleased that Celie's slightly mischievous side is in evidence, such as in the scene where she laughs at Twilight. (She claims she isn't, but I'm not sure I believe her!)

Twilight buried in scrolls as Spike looks on
"Oh, come on, Twi. Can't I even write Humdrum fanfic in peace?"
Spike has quite a good episode as well, even if he is used mostly in the "snarky sidekick" role. He keeps the interest alive in the frankly overlong segment wherein Twilight considers possible futures for Starlight, and he needles Twi in small but amusing ways. I'm not sure his impersonation of Rarity is his finest moment, and his exposition-heavy bit near the start is a little bit dull, but still. Nice to see the School for Gifted Unicorns flashback, though where's Twilight's cutie mark?

The main problem with this episode is that the actual story is a bit thin. The Starlight Gang are awarded the hitherto-unknown "Pink Hearts of Courage" (which the Mane Six apparently never got) early on, but the central issue – whether Glimmy will be sent away as Twilight herself was – isn't really explored with the depth it could have been. Worse, the late turnaround on this is hurried and turns a potentially very moving episode into something a little bit eye-rolling.

All this isn't to say I dislike "Celestial Advice", because that's not the case. What I ask from FiM is generally 22 minutes of entertainment and cute talking ponies, and I think I got that here. It's not going to go in my "classics" file in the way the S2 and S5 premieres did, but it's a reasonable start to the season. At the point I finished watching this episode, I'd become cautiously optimistic about the months ahead.

Starlight making a rather weird face
"My goal this season is to double the amount of fandom arguments about me!
Best quote: Celestia: "I had not realised that I was an expression!" (Runner-up: her "There's no wrong way to fantasise!")

  • Decent screen time for Celestia at last
  • Spike's gentle snarkiness
  • Nice to see a mild Twi freakout again
  • It all feels pleasantly Pony
  • Pinkie's vacuum cleaner right at the end

  • Takes a few minutes to get started
  • The "possible futures" scene is too long 
  • Rushed, cop-out ending


  1. This is my favorite episode of S7, and that is a miracle, because i should complain how low-key it was (like i did with Crystalling), the character interactions completely sold this episode for me and this is a rare case these kind of episode win me over.

    1. It's kinda bound to be your favourite episode of S7 at this point, given that when it aired it was the only episode of S7. ;) Okay, I know there's been another one since; I'm just being silly.

    2. The another one is my favorite too ;)) No matter what come after them, they are my favorite by default, if they arent in top list, they will be in honorable mention. My opinions didn't change after over 15 rewatch ;)