Monday, 4 September 2017

Episode Review: S7E17: "To Change a Changeling"

Starlight rallies the changelings against the Maulwurf
Sometimes I worry about Starlight. Well, all the time, really
Last week, I was in the unusual position of liking an episode less than the majority of the fandom. I was hoping I'd find more enjoyment out of this week's ep, which was written by Kevin Lappin – whose only previous Pony writing credit was for the fairly entertaining "Honest Apple". Would "To Change a Changeling" do the trick for me?

Happily, the answer is an only moderately qualified yes. On sheer entertainment value, this episode is among the best of the season, and that's down to Starlight and Trixie. These two make an amazing double act, and there is so much to enjoy here, not least Trixie repeatedly being rude to Glimmy. Entirely in character and extremely funny, especially as Starlight has some nice comebacks of her own (that "second best" line).

Thorax is pretty good here, too, and it's satisfying to note that he's able to assert himself a little more after his meeting with Ember, most notably when he makes both ponies come with him to confront the Maulwurf. I'm not sure his Feelings Forums are the best approach, and we spend a little too long in the company of Hippie Changeling, but his heart is in the right place. Of course, Chrysalis is still out there somewhere...

Changelings attacking the Maulwurf
It's like Breezies mobbing a weird fish/vole hybrid
One not-fully-reformed changeling, though, is still in the hive: Thorax's own brother/broodmate/whatever. It's nice to see that the conversion process wasn't total, and Pharynx is generally a fun character. (Not voiced by Vincent Tong, in spite of his Garblesque sound; it's Bill Newton.) He has some nice dialogue of his own: "I put you in a bag. I thought it went great." And it was good to see that his more reasonable points were recognised as such by the end.

The biggest problem with "To Change a Changeling" is that it (I assume unwittingly) seems to approve of bullying. Pharynx loved Thorax, but bullied him (okay, siblings do that) and then the goodies use those memories to get the Maulwurf to hit itself. I'm not keen on that as a way to win in this series, and even less so that Starlight at one point seems to endorse the infliction of pain on it, a line I don't think the show has crossed before.

Oh, and the Maulwurf is a stupid monster. Seriously, the name is just German for "mole", so what are they going to do in translation? But overall, I think there's more good than bad in this episode, not least Trixie's hilariously useless attempt at teleporting she and Starlight out of Pharynx's bag. I'd probably watch a full 22 minutes full of nothing but Trixie and Starlight snarking at each other, actually

Pharynx is unimpressed by Hippie Pony
"All you need is love... for dinner"
Best quote: Pharynx to Starlight and Trixie: "Wow, so you're both losers!"

  • Outstanding interaction between Starlight and Trixie
  • Pharynx's character is given a bit of depth
  • Thorax seems to have remembered Ember's lessons
  • The Maulwurf really isn't much of a monster
  • Slightly troubling attitude to bullying


  1. I had a bit skeptical about this episode because Kevin Lappin wrote this ep (i dont like Honest Apple), this ep was surprising good. I dont know Why i have a feeling that writers usually write seriously when they write Starlight episodes...... just my random thoughts LOL

    1. I quite liked "Honest Apple", but I would place this one higher.

  2. Just given this a second viewing. Quite enjoyable ^_^. It's really cool to see the new-style changelings (or any changelings for that matter) fleshed out so much. They look so cute to me. That yellow one - AWW!

    Just before I sat down to watch the episode, I saw a very interesting point posted on the Facebook Military Bronies group. It was making the comparison between Pharynx and a military personnel trying to re-adjust to civilian life. It kinda made me see his character in a different light. Seriously, he is one DEEPLY written character, from what I've seen.

    It was really great to see effects of Thorax's meeting with Ember so soon. And I loved how Starlight's rousing speech failed to convince the swarm initially. It always makes me roll my eyes when I see that sort of speech in a film, and it instantly turns things around.

    As for the whole 'bullying' thing. My take is, if I hadn't seen other people raise it, I wouldn't really have noticed any issue. I just don't think it's all that worth reading in to. But if other people took issue from it, then their view stands.

    1. Always good to find an angle you (or I, or anyone) hadn't thought of before. I wonder whether Kevin Lappin has any sort of military background? I'm now hoping we get more of Pharynx, and indeed the other changelings. This is total speculation and I haven't seen so much as a hint, but I wonder whether the hive will be grateful for Pharynx when/if Chrysalis does return to get her revenge on Starlight?

      As I think I said on UK of E, I didn't really think about the "bullying" thing until people started mentioning it there – and when it wasn't just one isolated person, I had a second think. It still doesn't bother me personally especially (though, maybe oddly, the pain thing does) but I can see why not everyone thinks that way.