Episode Review: My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic (Season 6, Episodes 6) – No Second Prances
When it comes to many characters in the series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, first impressions are usually what we go on right away.
Viewers immediately felt Gilda the Griffon was little more than a bully in her Season 1 episode, but in Season 5’s The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone, we got to learn a bit more about her.
And in the Equestria Girls series, we’ve seen how Sunset Shimmer has worked through some of her issues, and become a respected and encouraging friend to many of the students at Canterlot High School.
“Reformation” has become a word that many have grown a bit tired of in recent seasons of the show, though as some have seen, it has often become the one way to get some characters to return (since we rarely have recurring villains in the series).
And when it came to one fan-favorite (jerk) pony, many went wild when they saw the preview for this episode.
As part of her continuing lessons in learning about friendship, Starlight Glimmer is encouraged by Twilight Sparkle, to make a new friend before Princess Celestia shows up for a special dinner.
Eventually, Starlight happily brings her new friend to the castle, but Twilight is shocked when that friend turns out to be (the great and powerful) Trixie!
It’s been a few episodes since we last encountered Starlight Glimmer, and much like her “Equestria Girls counterpart,” Starlight continues to try and take a few steps at a time, in trying to learn about friendship.
Usually when it comes to making friends, you seek out others who share the same interests as you. In a big way, Trixie ends up fitting that bill better than any other pony in Ponyville (both Starlight and her pretty much ended up enslaving dozens of ponies at one point, and have been trying to learn from that experience).
One of the strangest things in regards to this episode, is how Twilight reacts to Starlight making friends with Trixie.
When last we saw Trixie, she seemed to have come around, and was willing to swear off from her more abrasive and vengeful ways, as we saw in the Season 3 episode, Magic Duel…though that hasn’t kept her from being a bit snarky in Twilight’s presence here.
Twilight’s reaction to Starlight, could almost be on par with a parent being unsure of the new friend their child has brought home. Though the child finds this new friend to be great, certain traits about the child that the parents observe, may lead them to be apprehensive.
The apprehensiveness Twilight displays in the episode gets a little crazy, when Twilight suggests other ‘friends’ Starlight could bring to the dinner. However, the choices may put some in mind of those made when Ponyville was training for the Equestria Games in Rainbow Falls (aka, “fanservice”).
Twilight is mainly front-and-center for the episode, though the other members of the “Mane 6” get a scant few minutes in the first act. However, the scenes reminded me of the bits in Season 1’s The Call of the Cutie, where almost all of the “Mane 6” tried to help Applebloom find her special talent…with each attempt ending poorly.
There also comes a rather unsettling moment, where Starlight is forced to choose between helping Trixie perform a magic act, and attending Twilight’s dinner party…and chooses the magic act!
Ok, I know she’s trying to be a good friend and all, but Twilight is having a dinner party with the Princess of Equestria, to check up on her progress in learning about friendship! That to me, is like the second leg of a job interview, where they bring you in to talk with other team members, to get a feel on if you’d be a good fit for the department: ergo, it’s not something you should just blow off!
Also of note, is the major part of Trixie’s big act in the third part of the show. It actually requires an added hoof (as Trixie is not powerful enough to properly pull it off), and yet she does the act anyway! The fact that she didn’t have a “safety net,” really felt like she either was at the end of her rope, or she held out a sliver of hope that she’d be saved from death…which is a bit odd (and to say the least…suicidal?).
When it comes to voice-work for the episode, both Kelly Sheridan (Starlight) and Kathleen Barr (Trixie), sound like they’re pushing their vocal chops into areas we haven’t really encountered with these characters. Barr’s vocals really feel like they are pushed furthest, as Trixie goes through a few more emotions here, than we’ve seen her have in the past.
Writer Nick Confalone made his debut to the series’ stable of writers, by writing Party Pooped and Hearthbreakers last season. Prances so far feels like his ‘strongest’ episode, but it showed that in its more intimate moments, that is where he seems to excel as a writer. When his episodes attempt to open the story up, it feels like it rattles around, never really feeling like a solid piece of storytelling.
Of course, we’re left to ponder if this new friendship between Starlight and Trixie, will mean that “the great and powerful one” will be seen around Ponyville in a greater capacity. Personally, I could see Trixie maybe coming back for 1-2 episodes before the series ends, but I can’t see the showrunners treating her with the same level of recurring appearances as someone like Discord.
This episode also feels like we’ve put to rest Trixie being conniving or scheming when it comes to one-upping Twilight, but I could be wrong there. If she comes back again, it would feel like a shot in the hoof if we didn’t have anyone trusting her.
Final Grade: B- (Final Thoughts: “No Second Prances” builds on Starlight Glimmer’s friendship lesson story arc for the season, while also bringing up a sticky point from the show’s past. The concept of Twilight being apprehensive about Starlight choosing Trixie as her friend is a good avenue to go down, but the execution as the show goes on gets a little flimsy in her distrust of her pupil’s choices. The little moments between Starlight and Trixie, are some of the best scenes in the episode, though the third act feels rushed. It seems to jam in a number of emotions, let alone a rather shocking conclusion that Trixie really should have considered…unless, she was willing to accept the possibly horrendous outcome…?)