So Season 5 of MLP:FIM has ended. Weird, feels like just yesterday I was waiting for it to start and now the wait for Season 6 begins. Of course, I can remember the ancient days of waiting for Season 2 to start back in the summer of 2011, so the cycle begins anew. Sucks that it'll be another year or so before Season 6 starts, but I'm not surprised. Having it begin airing in November of 2016 brings the airdates back in line with the other seasons. But again, still sucks. At least I've got other series to watch in the meantime (even if "Doctor Who" ends it's season next week with only the Christmas special 3 weeks later until that comes back in another year).
Now what did I think of Season 5? I very much enjoyed it. Season 2 remains my favorite season of the show, but Season 5 nicely fits second, being just a hair better than Season 4 in my opinion. Probably because Season 4 had 3 episodes that I didn't strongly care for ("Twilight Time", "It Ain't Easy Being Breezies" and "Leap of Faith"), while Season 5 had only one ("Princess Spike"). The premiere was the best one since Season 2's and the finale was also excellent (but not to the level of the premiere nor Seasons 2 and 4's finales).
Here's how I would rank the season (episodes ranked relative to one other):
1. Episode 9 "Slice of Life" 6/13/2015
Sure it was wall to wall fan service, but that was not a bad thing whatsoever. You gotta do something special for the 100th episode and this delivered. Loved the focus on the background ponies. Derpy was hilariously adorable and I loved all her interactions with the Doctor. And he wins for them not only giving him a British accent, but even kind of having him sound like David Tennant a bit (complete with an "Allons-y!"). Lyra and Bon-Bon were great as "best friends" ("Riiiight." "I don't believe you!") and the whole "Agent Sweetie Drops" bit was so out of nowhere that it was hilarious. And Octavia proves she is most metal pony. All in all, that episode was great. After all, where else am I going to see a semi-canon crossover between "Doctor Who" and "The Big Lebowski"?
2. Episode 20 "Hearthbreakers" 10/24/2015
The Pies are the best family. Enough said. Maud continued to be in top form where her deadpan emotionless responses to everything and we finally got some canon personality and names for the other two sisters. Limestone's great in her whole pushy, angry, and possessive personality and Marble's just completely withdrawn into herself. I couldn't get enough of all their interactions.
3. Episode 12 "Amending Fences" 7/4/2015
Good old Proto Six (Twilight, Moondancer, Minuette, Twinkleshine, Lemon Hearts, and Lyra). Reminded me of the times I've gotten together with my old High School buddies. Minuette was my favorite of the old friends. Just so perky and happy. No wonder she's friends with Pinkie.
4. Episode 7 "Make New Friends, But Keep Discord" 5/16/2015
Really, you can't go wrong with a Discord episode. As Celestia says, the God of Chaos always livens things up whenever he's around. And this was no exception. His petty jealously over Fluttershy's new friend was hilarious. And so was aforementioned new friend, Treehugger. Stoner Pony is best. "We can't say she's high all the time, but she totally is". Maud though wins for best line in the episode.
Discord: "This is the most basic of jokes!"
Maud: "You're the most basic of jokes."
Sick burn Maud.
5. Episode 1/2 "The Cutie Map" 4/4/2015
Best season premiere since "Return of Harmony" in Season 2 (but then, that was Discord's debut). I particularly loved how it deviated from the standard season premiere formula of "Twilight gathers the rest of the Mane 6 to battle some ancient evil that Celestia had thought she dealt with a thousand years ago". Here, Twilight's no more important than the others, the Mane 6 as group aren't the ones who stop the villain, and best of all, the villain is some ancient all powerful evil from a millennium prior. Instead, she's just a run of the mill average pony who's one of the more sinister villains. Starlight Glimmer, who keeps her communist utopia a utopia through brainwashing and rhetoric, always with a pleasant smile and voice. Really her mix of small town mayor/cult leader makes a bit scarier than a God like Tirek, just because there really are people like that.
6. Episode 18 "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" 10/10/2015
The impossible happens. Twice. Diamond Tiara finally gets some character development after 5 years of being a complete and total bitch first off. But then the real "Never thought this would happen yet" occurred. The CMC finally get their Cutie Marks. There's 5 years of development finally fulfilled. Add some pretty damn good songs (but can you expect less from Daniel Ingram?) and it makes for a real memorable episode
7. Episode 16 "Made in Manehatten" 9/26/2015
RariJack episode. Nothing more needs to be said. Ever since "Look Before You Sleep", you get AJ and Rarity together for an episode and you've got gold.
8. Episode 5 "Tanks for the Memories" 4/25/2015
As off as it was to have an episode about the onset of winter airing at the end of April (let's not even get into "Hearthbreakers", the Christmas episode airing a week before Halloween, which had a Halloween episode actually air on it), it still was great. The song "I'll Fly" was one of the best, as befitting the first actual Dash solo song and Dash's desperate attempts to stave off winter just she can have more time with her pet were both hilarious and adorable.
9. Episode 17 "Brotherhooves Social" 10/3/2015
It's hard being a good brother. It's even harder when your little sister clearly prefers another one of your siblings (oops, did I just project my own situation here?). Only one thing to do to prove that you'd do anything for them. Go full drag queen. Every word out of "Orchard Blossom's" (Big Mac in a dress) was hilarious. You can tell that Peter New hadn't had that much fun doing Big Mac since "Hearts and Hooves Day" where he had to speak in mushy sentences (of which you can tell Nicole Oliver as Cheerilee was also having a blast). Better since outside of one pony, no one was fooled by the drag act, they just let it slide as they've got "a loose definition of what constitutes a sister".
10. Episode 25/26 "The Cutie Re-Mark" 11/28/2015
The season finale. As I said, not quite as good as the premiere, but still excellent. Loved the return of Starlight and how she pulled the classic villain temper tantrum of "I'll go back in time to fuck up the hero's life so they can't fuck up mine". Her sheer pettiness was great (especially when we got to see her backstory. So simple, but as they say in the episode, one little thing can have a catastrophic effect). And then there were the different timelines. I certainly didn't expect Sombra or Chrysalis to show up again, but there they were! And Nightmare Moon was more sinister than she had been in quite a while. Only timeline I'd have liked to see is a Trixie ruled one. That could have replaced the Flim Flam Brothers one, but whatever. As for the ending, well, I did like it, but I'll like it more if they follow up on it in Season 6. We'll just have to wait and see (a fucking year).
11. Episode 21 "Scare Master" 10/31/2015
Sure, "Fluttershy overcomes a phobia" episodes are as common as "Fluttershy mans up" episodes for her, but this one was still great. I loved her phobias getting the better of her during the party and her first attempt at scaring the Mane 6, before her true successful attempt. Plus she acknowledged that she gave it try, didn't like it very much, so she'll sit these group outings out. A pretty good lesson to learn.
12. Episode 19 "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows" 10/17/2015
Took them almost four years of marriage, but Shining and Cadance are finally having a foal. Yeah, we all pretty much guessed that from the synopsis, so it was great that the focus was not what the surprise was, but how Pinkie's going to keep it in. A nice callback to "Green Isn't Your Color" where Pinkie kept guilttripping Twilight into not blabbing secrets (although there it would have been for both Rarity and Fluttershy's benefit) and now she finds it's not so much fun being on the other side. Meanwhile, Nerdy Armor is best. But then, he's a Sparkle. Just being cooler than his sister means he's still a total dork.
13. Episode 24 "The Mane Attraction" 11/21/2015
Great songs, great new character in Rara, and it was just a good episode with Applejack. Not much else to say.
14. Episode 15 "Rarity Investigates" 9/19/2015
Part 2 of the Rarity Trilogy (3 straight weeks of Rarity-centric episodes. Finally they made up for her not having a single one during Season 3). Haven't Rarity and Dash interact this much since "Sonic Rainboom" in Season 1, but they make a good duo. Not as good as AJ and Rarity, but whatever. And of course, Rarity can't do anything without fabulous costume changes!
15. Episode 8 "The Lost Treasure of Griffinstone" 5/23/2015
It was good to see Gilda back for the first time since Season 1 and Dash's impersonation of Twilight was hilarious, but yeah. Not much else to this episode.
16. Episode 13 "Do Princesses Dream of Enchanted Sleep?" 7/11/2015
Enjoyable and I liked the different dreams (especially Dash's) and the ending was great. But other than that, yeah. Probably depends on just how much you like Luna. I'm more of a Celestia and Cadance guy. Never hopped on the Season 1 "Woona" hype. I did like "Luna Eclipsed" but that was just a good episode in general. So yeah, I've got no real strong feelings towards the Princess of the Night.
17. Episode 22 "What About Discord?" 11/7/2015
Probably the weakest Discord episode. He was still in top form and it marked a good return of Neurotic Twilight. Plus I really resonated with the lesson of "Sometimes your friends do stuff without you so you shouldn't worry too much about it", having been in Twilight's position many times. But still, it just was pretty average overall.
18. Episode 14 "Canterlot Boutique" 9/12/2015
Part 1 of the Rarity Trilogy (Part 3 was "Made in Manehatten"). Sassy Saddles was great character in how her business sense clashed with Rarity's and "Rules of Rarity" is probably the best song to come out of the season (only behind "In Our Town" from the premiere), but overall there wasn't too much else to the episode. The Goth pony at the end was hilarious though.
19. Episode 23 "The Hoofields and McColts" 11/14/2015
Twilight finally gets called by the map! And that's about it really. Twilight's neurotic behavior carried the episode and that's all I can really say about it.
20. Episode 3 "Castle Sweet Castle" 4/11/2015
This is really only down here just because of early in the season it aired. Nothing wrong with it, but there was just episodes I liked more that aired after it. The song was good and I liked how the rest of the Mane 6 argued over how to decorate Twilight's castle, but again, that's just it. I'd still recommend the episode though.
21. Episode 4 "Bloom and Gloom" 4/18/2015
I find that every time I rewatch it I end up liking it more, but not by all that much. Of the "CMC and Luna Trilogy" ("Sleepless in Ponyville" for Scootaloo, "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils" for Sweetie Belle" and this for Apple Bloom) this is the weakest. Shame, as "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils" is one of my favorite episodes of Season 4 and "Sleepless in Ponyville" is my favorite episode period (and a counter for anyone who says Season 3 really sucked). But yeah, this feels more like it was ticking Apple Bloom off the checklist. But then, after the finale it does bring up something interesting in how gaining a Cutie Mark could lose you your friends...
22. Episode 11 "Party Pooped" 6/27/2015
Best things about it are both Pinkie and Twilight's sanity slipping, but not falling off completely. I find that the Yaks are stand-ins for certain fans in that no matter how hard something was put together and how well done it is otherwise, they're going to shit all over it because it isn't "perfect" in their minds. Pinkie's line of "Even Fluttershy set them off! FLUTTERSHY!" is quite accurate towards that interpretation.
23. Episode 6 "Appaloosa's Most Wanted" 5/2/2015
Some good slapstick and the clearest episode in establishing the finishing of the CMC's arc in "Crusaders of the Lost Mark", but otherwise, eh.
24. Episode 10 "Princess Spike" 6/20/2015
Any episode would have paled following "Slice of Life", even more so when it's a Spike episode. I like the guy, but his episodes more often than not, they're kind of "Eh". "Owl's Well That Ends Well" and "Dragon Quest" are at the bottom of the overall episode list for me. I can't say what it is that makes this so, but it happens. Sole exception being of course "Secret of My Excess". That was a good one. But yeah, this one was no different. Plus it was another "Reassure him he's important" episode, which we've seen a whole bunch of times and was done better in "Power Ponies" and "Equestria Games". Best parts of the episode were sleepy Twilight and Cadance. Other than that, this is really the only episode in Season 5 that gets my thumbs down (but it doesn't make into my bottom ten overall, so that's something).
So that was Season 5. "Slice of Life" and "Hearthbreakers" make it into my Top 10 overall episodes and the season as a whole was great, although not as much as Season 2.
Welp, now to wait the endless year until Season 6 starts. Oh boy...