MLP Review: Shadow Play

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For those of you who argue that there are episodes of the show that were better than the Movie, here’s another one to add to the list. Sunburst discovers Star Swirl’s journal (not to be confused with his spell book in “Magical Mystery Cure”). It turns out that he, Rookhoof, Flash Magnus, Mistmane, Sonmambula, and Mage Meadowbrook were brought together to serve as pillars of Equestria through sorcery, strength, bravery, beauty, hope, and healing. The six pillars sacrificed themselves against the Pony of Shadows to send it and them in limbo. Before doing that, they left a seed that would grow into the Tree of Harmony.

Astonished that the legends are real as well as the Pony of Shadows, Twilight sets out to set her mentor and the other pillars free. To do that, she, the rest of the Mane Six, and Spike set out to retrieve the following: Rookhoof’s hammer, Flash’s shield, Mistmane’s flower, Meadowbrook’s mask, and Sonmambula’s blindfold. Twilgiht, Starlight (who has her doubts about this), and Sunburst make the final preparations. They succeed in bringing the pillars back, but also the Pony of Shadows.

The Pony of Shadows retreats after being held back by Star Swirl ,Twilight, and Starlight. The Pillars and Mane Six move on a plan to banish the Pony of Shadows for good, though Twilight is hesitant to sacrifice the Elements of Harmony and Starlight is wondering about whether this is really a friendship problem. The map calls every pony to Hollow Shades where the pony named Stygian who was exiled by the Pillars for taking their instruments. Just as the Pillars and Mane Six attack, Twilight sees Stygian trapped inside and goes in. Stygian maintained that he only took the instruments to replicate them and gain their respect after bringing them to take on and trap the Sirens. With an assist from Starlight, the rest of the Pillars and Mane Six free Stygian and send the shadow back into limbo.

Star Swirl reunites with Celestia and Luna and the Pillars will go out exploring what’s become of their lands and of Equestria. He also thanks Twilight for helping him understand friendship and Twilight thanks Starlight for helping her see things beyond her idol worship.

So where to begin with this? After he was first mentioned 138 episodes ago, we get to see Star Swirl in the flesh. We had the Legends of Magic comic series as well as the episodes “Campfire Tales”, “Daring Done?”, and “A Health of Information”; but didn’t know it would all come together in this fashion in the finale. And it all worked very well. One thing that didn’t work well was the root of the conflict which came down to poor communication between Stygian and the Pillars. While the Pillars got all the glory for defeating the Sirens, Stygian got none and tried to do so through somewhat nefarious means and went on a downward spiral from there. But really, that was the only flaw in this episode.

Every single character was in top form and it was interesting to see the Pillars interact with their respective successor in terms of the Elements of Harmony. The continuity not just with the season, but the comics and “Rainbow Rocks” as well was spot on. Recall that Twilight was able to complete a spell that Star Swirl couldn’t because he did not understand friendship like Twilight in “Magical Mystery Cure”. It was a nice touch to have each of Twilight’s friends demonstrate their elements as reflections of each of the Pillars’ elements.

So this was a top class finale to cap off a wonderful Season Seven. It is a definite step up in class from Season Six and how it compares to Seasons Four and Five is anyone’s guess. We certainly cannot wait for Season Eight!

GRADE: A

Top Five Season Seven Episdoes:
1. The Perfect Pear
2. Shadow Play
3. A Royal Problem
4. Once Upon A Zeppelin
5. Parental Glidance

Bottom Five Season Seven Episodes:
5. Rock Solid Friendship
4. Marks and Recreation
3. Honest Apple
2. Not Asking for Trouble
1. Triple Threat

(NOTE: It was very hard to name the bottom five, especially where there were just two obvious choices.)

The Season Seven Songs:
1. Flawless
2. You’re In My Head Like A Catchy Song
3. Best Friends Until the End of Time
4. Battle for Sugar Belle
5. Blank Flanks Forever

(These were the only five songs in the season. “Pinkie Pride” itself had six songs.)

A more in-depth Season Seven review is coming up!

StatManDan

  • Raffaele Lanza

    Well done Dan. I knew I could still trust you.

    I think my time with this series is over, while I loved the S7 and the Movie more than I expected and they restored completely my hype for the series, without spoiling anything I’m not fond at all about what has been revealed about the S8, especially since some of it involves something regarding what it is still my favorite episode of the series, so I think it’s time for me to stop with this series once for all. Not a big deal, in the end I planned to quit since the last year but I just wanted to see the Mane 6 at their best working together saving the day one last time before I left. Between the S7 finale and the Movie i was more than satisfied on that regard, so I’m good.

    But I didn’t stayed longer than I should have in pony sites (because I watched the episodes when they leaked) to say another time that I was leaving, but because I have one last request for you Dan: the Mane 6 are some of the most inspirational characters ever, but despite the S7 and the Movie did much justice to them, the fandom unforgiveably panned them and came to hate them for whatever reason, and now there are a lot of “fans” who not only are demanding their removal from the series, but also came to hate everything of their past stories…. and some of those people were people I considered friends, or people that I respected so much for a long time…. You have been one of the very few people who made justice to the characters and the series for a long time and still does, so I ask you to promise me something Dan Gaichas: promise me that you will keep supporting the show and the Mane 6 as long they stay high in quality, and most of all, promise me that if eventually the show goes downhill in future you will NEVER come to hate everything from their past. It’s all I ask you Dan.

    • Ninten Cano

      I will always remember you because you were a TRUE My Little Pony fan.
      Don’t worry, I understand.

      Go ahead with your new goals and be optimistic!
      *sniff* Never forget the good times with the show, buddy.

      I wish you all the best!

  • Ninten Cano

    Great review Dan.
    I wish you a good new year.
    See you in season 8.

    You’re the coolest person I know.