And there's another season done. Really, seven seasons, 169 episodes and a movie. Couldn't imagine that back in the summer of 2011 when I binged on Season 1 and waited the long month of August for Season 2 to start. But here we are now.
Overall, this was quite the enjoyable season. More standout episodes than Season 6, less "Meh" episodes than prior seasons, but more "enjoyable, but forgettable" episodes than prior seasons as well. However as I said during the thoughts on Season 6, it has more to do with me than the show. I'm still finding it at the same level of quality it's had all along, but my general interest has faded since the heydays of Seasons 2-4. I'm glad it's continuing through Season 8 and another movie, but we're at the point where it can end at anytime and I'd be satisfied. And this is coming from a long time "Simpsons" fan (I stopped watching around Season 21 and when I catch clips of later eps, I am not impressed. The earlier episodes up through about Season 14 (but especially Seasons 3-9) still bring very fond memories and larger laughs). So yeah. At this rate, it'll probably be once again me who leaves before the show does. But what can you do? And unless Gen 5 is really frickin' amazing, this will just be the anomalous decade of my life where I liked Ponies.
Anyhoo, onto Season 7. As I said, more "Enjoyable, but forgettable" eps than prior seasons, so I guess I'll just put my thoughts on my Top 10.
1. Episode 10 "A Royal Problem" 6/10/2017
I don't care what the general consensus flips flops as, I have always loved Starlight Glimmer. She's definitely my favorite addition to the cast and her episodes are always among my favorites. And this one tops it. Mostly because not only do we get neurotic Starlight (who's just as funny as neurotic Twilight), finally, finally after 7 seasons of waiting, we get a largely Celestia-centric episode. Best Princess finally gets to shine and show more of how normal she actually is instead of the paragon she's thought to be/usually shown as. My favorite bit is how her and Luna react to Starlight saying that the friendship problem she's there to solve is between them. Luna reacts with a loud "EXCUSE ME?!", but Celestia's is even better with a "Beg pardon?" in a tone that says "Bitch, what did you say?" And then her sarcastic apology to Luna about not appreciating Luna's duties. Yes, Celestia was the best in this episode, especially as Daybreaker, finally canonizing the all the "What if Celestia had gone evil" timelines and OCs that have flitted about since Season 1. And from the way she played it, it sounded like Nicole Oliver hadn't had that much fun in a role since "Hearts and Hooves Day" with Cheerilee's sickeningly love talk. This one definitely tops the season with neurotic Starlight, not-so-perfect Celestia, and even bonus neurotic Twilight.
2. Episode 2 "All Bottled Up" 4/15/2017
Now since Season 6 there is another reason why Starlight eps are usually among my favorites. Starlight herself is always great, but where Starlight is, usually another pony is around her. A Great and Powerful pony. Naturally, I refer to Starlight's #1 BFF Trixie. Yet another character I've always loved. Trixie always makes everything better. "Boast Busters" is an overall "Meh" episode, except for every second Trixie is onscreen. "Magic Duel" would be the top episode of Season 3, were it not for "Sleepless in Ponyville" and "No Second Prances" is not only the best episode of Season 6, but one of my top faves overall. So, yes, I love me some Trixie Lulamoon. And pairing Starlight up with Trixie was a stroke of genius and this ep showed how great of a double act they are, between Starlight having a mental breakdown and Trixie not really caring. And Trixie gets the best lines. Top one? Celebrating her teacup magic by lifting Starlight's forelegs and saying in mock whisper cheer "Yay Trixie! You're the best at magic and having good hair!" Indeed, Starlight and Trixie sharing the spotlight is always a great thing.
3. Episode 22 "Once Upon a Zeppelin" 10/7/2017
If it involves the parents of the Mane 6, it's going to be a good time. And here we see where that Sparkle insanity comes from. Twilight Velvet provides the crazy, while it's Night Light who's the reason Shining and Twilight are the huge dorks that they are. For not sharing any Sparkle blood, Cadance is the most normal member of that family. Can't say I was too onboard with the whole cruise thing being a scheme by Iron Will, but it served it's purpose of getting the Sparkles together. I would really love another episode with them again. Truly, the best family.
4. Episode 7 "Parental Glideance" 5/20/2017
Another entry in the "Mane 6 parents make everything better". This time we meet the Dash's. Dash was the last to have any family introduced in any way (well, there was that guy in "Games Ponies Play" everyone thought was her dad, but that was for lack of any other answer. I think it's just random family member now, or it could just be an early design for Bow Hothoof, her actual dad) and from them, we can see why. The main thing Dash loves is attention and Bow Hothoof (her dad) and Windy Whistles (her mom) deliver that in abundance. And that's putting it mildly. Their entire house seems to be a Shrine to Rainbow Dash. Probably for the best that Dash is an only child (seemingly. Makes more sense than her having a neglected sibling and why she's quick to adopt Scootaloo as her sister). Still, their extreme eagerness to show support for their daughter was great and with the addition of fangirl Scootaloo (these three seem to be the only ponies who love Dash more than she loves herself) and it was a great one.
5. Episode 13 "The Perfect Pear" 8/5/2017
You may be starting to notice a pattern here, but once again "Mane 6 parent=Awesome". And this time we get the answer to one of the series biggest mysteries: who were Applejack's parents? And the answer is a pair (or pear. Ha.) of star-crossed lovers. For years, the fans have been making jokes about the hatred the Apple family must have for pears, and here we see it's canon. And it is heartbreaking. As well as heartwarming in the end. I know that many are calling this the best episode of the season (and some say series), but for me, I like the above 4 a little more. Probably because they were heavy on laughs, while this one was heavy on feels. I still have to take the moment to talk about my favorite aspect that many don't focus on and that is that AJ has probably one of the more badass lineages. I mean come on, her maternal grandfather is none other than Captain James Tiberius Motherfucking Kirk. Yes, William Shatner guest voices in his one as Grand-Pear, the father of the Apple sibling's mother. So overall, this was a good one and a touching tale of Apples and Pears.
6. Episode 14 "Fame and Misfortune" 8/12/2017
I love it when series get meta and this episode is the writers kind of getting off their chests what they've been thinking about the fans these last 7 years (in a sort of nice way, but it's not that complimentary). Best part was the "fans" confronting Fluttershy about how she "always learns the same lesson" and her flipping out over it. I mean sure, I had that issue do and am glad that the series is kind of moving away from the standby of "Fluttershy mans up" (it made for good episodes in "Dragonshy", "Stare Master", "Putting Your Hoof Down", and "Hurricane Fluttershy", but then we also got "Bats!" (song, notwithstanding) and "It Ain't Easy Being Breezies" and the formula wore itself thin), but yeah. I dug that scene. I also loved the end where the Mane 6 sing a song and it...changes nothing. Fans are still arguing outside Twilight's castle. Very, very accurate.
As a final note, for her specific fandom misery, no pony talks shit about the true Best Pony Rarity. Rarity is the best, no questions.
7. Episode 17 "To Change a Changeling" 9/2/2017
Another entry in the Starlight/Trixie double act. This time we catch up with Thorax and his attempts to make the Changelings cuddlier. And it seems to be working, except for his brother Pharynx deciding that he'd rather still take after dear old mommy Chrysalis. Still, great to delve into Changeling behavior again and continue the great pairing of Starlight and Trixie.
8. Episode 15 "Triple Threat" 8/19/2017
You know what episodes used to be the weakest each season? Spike's. You know what episodes aren't anymore? Spike's. I did always like the little dragon as a character throughout the show even if his own spotlight eps were pretty "Meh". But now he's had a good long string of them. And this one carries forward from two of those pretty good ones. We've Thorax checking in with Spike after "The Times They a-Changeling" and Ember from "Gauntlet of Fire". Now aside from the take on the cliched plot of "Two Timer Date", this was still great. We had Ember trying to be nice (and failing) and Thorax being neurotic about his leadership abilities until the two meet and figure each other's problems out. While Spike loses his mind over how to entertain both of them and finding that the map's calling him for a Friendship problem.
9. Episode 24 "Uncommon Bond" 10/21/2017
Yay! Another Starlight ep! And this time, she tries to play catch up with her old BFF Sunburst. And then finds that not really keeping in contact with your old friends since you were kids means you might have less in common as adults. Common problem and executed nicely, between Starlight finding out that Sunburst really is as big a nerd as Twilight, Trixie stealing him to her assistant/test dummy, and Maud, well, Maud charming him in her own unique way.
And the solution to the whole problem is "Only kids play tabletop games. Adults LARP".
10. Episode 3 "A Flurry of Emotions" 4/22/2017
Cadance and Shining being exhausted new parents and Twilight's adventures in the conflict between Babysitting and Rigid Schedule making. Makes for a fun episode.
And now, the remaining 16 episodes in the order I found them in relation to each other:
11/12. Episodes 25/26 "Shadow Play Part 1/2" 10/28/2017
13. Episode 8 "Hard to Say Anything" 5/27/2017
14. Episode 23 "Secrets and Pies" 10/14/2017
15. Episode 6 "Forever Filly" 5/13/2017
16. Episode 4 "Rock Solid Friendship" 4/29/2017
17. Episode 18 "Daring Done?" 9/9/2017
18. Episode 21 "Marks and Recreation" 9/30/2017
19. Episode 12 "Discordant Harmony" 8/5/2017
20. Episode 19 "It Isn't the Mane Thing About You" 9/16/2017
21. Episode 11 "Not Asking for Trouble" 6/17/2017
22. Episode 9 "Honest Apple" 6/3/2017
23. Episode 16 "Campfire Tales" 8/26/2017
24. Episode 20 "A Health of Information" 9/23/2017
25. Episode 1 "Celestial Advice" 4/15/2017
26. Episode 5 "Fluttershy Leans In" 5/6/2017
All of them have their moments, but compared to the top 10 up there, not enough to climb out of "Enjoyable, but forgettable". But still, a pretty good overall season. I'd rank it 4th behind Seasons 4, 2, and 6.
Until the Spring!
(Oh and I also saw the movie as well. Great songs, great new characters (Tempest, Capper, and the Storm King in that order), but overall story wise, didn't feel like it was anything beyond a usual season finale. Still a pretty good flick nevertheless.)