Can there be two good Spike episodes in one season? Well, Season Four had “Power Ponies” and “Equestria Games”, though the former was liked more for Ponies as Superheroes. Here, Season Six has “Gauntlet of Fire” and this episode. Twilight, Starlight, and Spike are visiting the Crystal Empire and Flurry Heart, but the citizens are in a bit of a panic because of a changeling sighting. Shining Armor and Cadance are taking no chances.
The guards are deployed and are being helped by the Empire’s hero, Spike the Brave and Glorious (what happened to the Great and Honorable part?). It’s Spike who ends up finding the changeling, but he’s not like all the others. His name is Thorax who is looking for friendship after the events of “A Canterlot Wedding”. He’s found it in the Crystal Empire, but he goes into a for after sensing the love generated from Flurry Heart.
Spike tries to convince the guards back at the castle that he’s made friends with a changeling, but he is laughed off and Shining Armor thinks it’s no laughing matter. Spike then brings in Thorax via disguise. It works out well for a while, but the cover is ultimately blown at the sight of Flurry Heart. Thorax runs off and Spike fails to defend him in the heat of the moment. Spike then runs off to find Thorax and they eventually try again.
This time, Thorax comes as himself and Spike sings a song about why changelings could change. It’s ultimately won over by Twilight who views it as spreading friendship and that he taught all at the castle, even herself, a lesson about spreading friendship to others such as changelings. It ends with Thorax being accepted into the Crystal Empire.
This was a wonderful episode with perhaps the strongest lesson yet this season. It’s saying something that two of the best three episodes this year are Spike episodes in my opinion (the other on that list being “The Saddle Row Review”). There are groups of people we feel we may never be friends with, but that doesn’t mean we cast off everyone in the group as a whole as potential enemies. This is what the lesson was here and Spike being a hero in the Empire lend credence to this given the setting.
You could not ask for a better debut for writers Kevin Burke and “Doc” Williams.
Pluses and Minuses:
- + Strongest lesson of season
- + Spike and Thorax
- + First Spike song
- + Great debut for new writers