Thursday, November 16, 2017

MLP Episode 710: A Royal Problem

After seven years, we're finally getting a Celestia and Luna episode! Of course, some fans weren't too happy that it was also a Starlight Glimmer episode; could A Royal Problem be anything but, you know, a problem?

I'm gonna come out and say this; A Royal Problem might possibly be my most favorite episode. Not just my favorite of season seven, not just my favorite episode of the post-Kingdom era, but possibly my favorite episode of the series, hooves down. There's a lot I could say about this episode, but for now, I want to talk about the episode itself. Everything surrounding it will be an individual review in itself, but I will refer to some of it in the episode review.

First off, there's Starlight's role. It's perhaps her best overall, but given how the majority of her roles in season six were bad, that's not saying much. Here, she's perhaps one of the few characters who could've filled in this role. If it was Twilight, her character would backpedal from Lesson Zero. If it was Rarity, it would feel extremely off-putting. If it were Spike or any of the Remane Four... it would feel pretty stupid.

Another point of discussion is Celestia and Luna; the only times we ever saw them being sisterly toward one another was the ending of Elements of Harmony (that is, the second part of Friendship is Magic) and a small one-off gag in Slice of Life. Never had there been a full episode about that aspect of their relationship... until now.

And they pull it off fantastically. One could argue that they should've resolved their fight by now, but look at the prologue in the series premiere; Luna was envious that her moon was overshadowed by Celestia's sun - ponies played at day and slept at night. Luna wanted appreciation, but Celestia tried reasoning with her and had no choice but to banish her to the moon for a millennia.

The conflict in the present day feels more nuanced; Luna thinks that Celestia's duties are easier than her own and vice-versa. Like I mentioned earlier, adding Starlight to the conflict was a great move. Yes, her actions could be seen as impulsive, but if an argument is about to get bad, you might have no choice but to interfere before it gets worse.

Not only that, both sisters end up realizing on their own that the other's duties were not as simple as they initially believed. It feels a lot like Freaky Friday, where a mother and daughter (or two sisters, in this case) had a fight and were forced to live each others' lives until the end, when they understand that they should accept each other for who they are, not who one wants the other to be. The themes alone in this episode are brilliant; I could go on about them all day!

Oh, and you can't review the episode without talking about Daybreaker. Seriously, is this evil form of Celestia a badass or what? She is the day equivalent of Nightmare Moon, only the insanity levels are cranked up to eleven... times ten. Bit of a shame that she may never appear again, but it's still a great addition to an already great episode.

Final Thoughts
It's a borderline miracle; after To Where and Back Again, I didn't think there could be a good Starlight Glimmer episode, but then A Royal Problem came around and, ironically in a positive way, turned out to be no problem at all! I'm very happy this episode turned out the way it did, especially from the pen of Joanna and Kristine, and especially after the failure known as Legend of Everfree.

I will admit the review is a bit short, but there is so much positive I could say about the episode before it gets stale. Even if you're not the biggest fan of Starlight, you might still like it for Celestia and Luna. Give it a shot and see for yourself!

Rating: 10 out of 10

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