The Crystalling-Part 1
SPOILER ALERT! Those of you who have not seen the show, be warned. This review is going to contain spoilers about the episode. If you have not seen it yet, watch it right now and read my review in 20 minutes, or prepare to have some of the critical plot mentioned before you view it. In fact, it would probably be best to watch the entire series up until this point, if you haven’t. I am assuming many of you are bronies, or fans of the show, and you are reading this review for an interesting insight on an episode you have seen countless times already (as have I), in which case, continue reading, and enjoy!
The first episode in the new season begins with Starlight Glimmer looking for the library in Twilight’s castle. While looking, she stumbles upon Spike, who points her in the right direction. As you may remember, Starlight Glimmer is reformed. Although she originally tried to time travel to change the course of Equestria as an act of revenge against the Mane 6, she is different now, and is Twilight’s pupil.
I think her transformation from evil to good was a bit too fast, and definitely could have had more time dedicated to it. When Discord was reformed, he got a whole episode dedicated to it, and even then, he still wasn’t completely changed in his ways. Starlight’s transformation in the end of the previous season seemed much too rushed, but nonetheless, she realized that friendship is magic and Twilight made Starlight her student.
In the library, Twilight is planning Starlight’s first friendship lesson. The list is quite long still, because we know Twilight is a fan of large lists. Before we can see Twilight narrow down the options at all, it cuts to the theme song. In the group shot of the characters, we see Starlight among the Mane 6 and other major characters. We also get to see the crusaders with their cutie marks.
Twilight suggests that Starlight joins the others in the throne room while she narrows down the friendship lessons. In the throne room, Twilight’s friends are discussing the Crystalling. Pinkie is annoying, and whenever anypony says what the Crystalling entails, she adds that there is a party. Shut up, Pinkie. We got it the first time.
In comes Spike, who had been doing research with Twilight. He explains the Crystalling ceremony in detail to the others. In short, the Crystalling is a ceremony tradition in the Crystal Empire that occurs when a new pony is born, and strengthens the power of the Crystal Heart.
When Starlight goes to ask Twilight about the Crystal Empire, Twilight informs her that one of the final three friendship lessons she was considering starting with was going to be there. You see, the first pony Starlight cared about (Sunburst) lives there. Since Sunburst getting his cutie mark and going to Celestia’s magic school is the reason Starlight became evil, maybe it is not the best place to start.
Starlight doesn’t seem very thrilled about this possibility, and shares her feelings with Spike. Spike advises her to be honest with Twilight about what she feels. Already we see Spike taking on a larger role. He seems to be insightful and knowledgeable, as well as a supportive friend to Starlight.
Shortly after Spike and Starlight converse, Twilight receives an invitation to the Crystalling. Her brother, Shining Armor, and his wife, Princess Cadence had just had their baby. This decides for Twilight: Starlight is going to have her first friendship lesson in the Crystal Empire.
In a preview clip for the episode, it showed the gang on a train headed to the Crystal Empire. Based on this, I thought the episode may have something to do with the ponies arguing over who had the best gift for the baby, but I was able to see by watching the beginning of the episode, that this was a simple quarrel and had little to do with the actual plot. While on the train, Spike again encourages Starlight to tell her feelings to Twilight. She does, and Twilight assures Starlight that she will be there to help, as well as showing her a list of the steps she made to guide Starlight through the lesson. And yes, this is another long list.
When the ponies (and dragon) arrive at the Crystal Empire, they are met at the train station by a new and tired father. Shining loves being a dad, but neither he or Cadence have been able to sleep since the baby was born. They did a pretty accurate portrayal of a new parent here, and I love it.
Twilight realizes she needs to help her brother, but Spike steps up and offers to take the list she made and go with Starlight to do the friendship lesson. “Trust the lesson,” he says. When he and Starlight are on their way to Sunburst’s house, Starlight sees a giant statue of Spike. Spike is a hero because he saved the Crystal Heart, as well as the Equestria Games (which where held in the Empire as well). Starlight, who is eager to procrastinate this friendship lesson, demands to hear the whole story.
Meanwhile, the Mane 6 go to meet the new baby. Princesses Celestia and Luna are there. When the new baby is revealed to be an alicorn, the princesses say that Equestria has never seen the birth of an alicorn and it is beyond even their understanding. Although perhaps the princesses were born before Equestria was formed, this seems to hint at them being made alicorns as well. And though this alicorn baby is extremely adorable, she is extremely powerful; one of her cute baby sneezes is enough to blast a hole through several stories of the building.
Since the baby is so powerful, there is debate of calling off the Crystalling. Celestia tells Cadence that this should be told to the empire and the Crystalling should still occur. The Mane 6 even agree to help, which seems only natural, as they are always there when other ponies are in need of assistance.
The focus then shifts again to Starlight. Spike seems really understanding of her apprehension, and follows Twilight’s list carefully to ensure that this friendship lesson goes well for her. Starlight knocks on Sunburst’s door. When they meet, Starlight assumes her old friend has become a super important wizard, but the way he reacts to this leads me to believe otherwise. With a “good to see you,” Sunburst shuts the door and heads back inside.
Shining Armor is stressed by being a father and missing out on sleep. I am so glad this episode did not portray parenthood as sunshine and rainbows, because it is certainly hard work. Twilight and Pinkie struggle to keep the baby in check while Shining and the others are preparing for the ceremony. Babies are hard work. Remember that.
Back at Sunburst’s house, Starlight tries giving her friendship lesson another shot. She attempts again to reconnect with her old friend. While they make awkward conversation over tea, it almost seems like their shared awkwardness will lead to them becoming friends again. When Sunburst asks if something happened to Starlight after he left for magic school (like perhaps, becoming evil) she denies it and turns the question back to him. He also denies anything happening and mentions being an important wizard like she said.
Oh, by the way, I am totally shipping them at this point. They are awkward, cute, and clearly trying to impress/look good for the other. This is the most adorable pair in the whole show. It starts with childhood friendship followed by a ton of crazy dramatic stuff. Then, they meet up again and have an awkward tea party. Then love, then marriage, then before you know it, Twilight and her friends are back at the Crystal Empire for the Crystalling of their baby. Yes, yes, yes. This needs to happen ❤
Speaking of babies and Crystallings, Cadence separates her baby from Pinkie. The baby is sad and cries. Her crying destroys the Crystal Heart and it shatters into many small pieces. Not only does this mean the Crystalling will need to be called off, but it also means that the entire Crystal Empire is going to be buried under ice and snow. The episode ends here, but is to be continued…