This Saturday, The Hub Network will air the Season 4 Finale of MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC, with two all-new, back-to-back episodes, “Twilight’s Kingdom – Part 1” and “Twilight’s Kingdom – Part 2,” starting at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT. The finale brings to Equestria a very dark and mysterious new force, one who has been speculated about in the online circles for quite some time. Before you read any further, I need to throw out the [SPOILER] warning... and give you confirmation on just exactly who this new foe is. Actually, if you were following me on Instagram, you'd already know, as I confirmed it on April 24th. Beware that the rest of this review is a SPOILER-heavy account of adventures yet to come... seriously, if you don't really want to know what happens, do not read this. You've been warned!
The old badguy from the 1980s version of MY LITTLE PONY has been reinvented for FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC, his appearance striking me as very... Sith-like. The Emperor to Discord's Darth Vader, Tirek is exciting, bringing with him a (rainbow?) dash of that classic 80s evil. A glimmer of Skeletor... a hint of Cobra Commander... the muscle of Hordak, Tirek can be considered a Rock Father-approved bringer of doom. In fact, he's essentially the soul-sucking Satan of Equestria... if souls were magic.
"Twilight's Kingdom - Part 1"
Struggling to learn her place as a Princess, Twilight Sparkle begins in an identity crisis, noting that "Princess Luna raises the moon; Princess Celestia raises the sun; and Princess Cadance protects The Crystal Empire," while she "just seems to smile and wave" with no real purpose. A musical number finds Princess Celestia proclaiming that Twilight's "destiny is uncertain," though all the Princesses agree that she'll "play her part" very soon.
It's Princess Celestia and Princess Luna that find themselves awakened by visions of Tirek's arrival, recalling that he and his brother SCORPAN had once set their sights on Equestria, aiming to steal all of its magic. After Scorpan befriended a young unicorn wizard, he attempted to halt Tirek's plans, but had to inform the ponies, and Tirek was exiled and imprisoned, while Scorpan returned to his homeland.
Dropping in like MARY POPPINS, Discord is called upon by the ponies to help track down the escaped Tirek, but putting their faith in Discord is a grave mistake, as Tirek - who becomes not only stronger, but larger in size with each pony defeated - is a persuasive influence, who quickly convinces the weak-minded Discord to switch sides.
"Twilight's Kingdom - Part 2"
As Tirek continues to hunt down each pony to steal their magic, he eventually grows strong enough to steal the power of flight, and then goes after the Earth ponies as well. Even Discord finds himself betrayed, as Tirek devours his magic and deems him "just as worthless" as his brother, Scorpan. Only expecting there to be three Princesses, Tirek desires to make their Alicorn magic his final conquest... but with Twilight Sparkle a wildcard, Celestia, Luna and Cadance give up their magic, bestowing it upon Twilight in hopes that Tirek will not find it.
Evenly-matched, Tirek and Princess Twilight Sparkle face-off in battle, their powers bringing them to a draw. What hangs in the balance is the freedom of Twilight's friends, all of whom are now being held hostage in exchange for her magic... so she sacrifices her power, but that allows her the final key to opening a mysteriously-locked chest that she'd been trying to open. Held within, the rainbow power consumes Twilight and her inner circle, allowing them to defeat and imprison Tirek once more, while proving once and for all that "friendship is magic."
With evil stopped for now, Princess Twilight Sparkle is awarded her very own castle (which is built via magic, of course) and she deems it her duty "to spread the power of magic across Equestria" before being proclaimed...
Twilight Sparkle: The Princess of Friendship.
An exciting pair of episodes, my girls and I watched them twice. While there are some details that I've undoubtedly left out of my spoiler-filled recap, one thing is certain... fans of MY LITTLE PONY will be discussing these episodes for some time to come.
And Season 5? CONFIRMED!
An Epilogue of Sorts:
Being a member of The Hub Club, my friends at Build-A-Bear Workshop and The Hub Network arranged a special visit for my girls to build a dressed MLP character of their choice. Now, having two daughters, I couldn't have just one MLP friend, so I bought a second one. Last week, we welcomed Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy into our home, each with accessories and sound. Despite being in the store many times, we'd never actually done the full "Build-A-Bear Experience" - but I'm glad we did.
Something tells me there's plenty of visits to Build-A-Bear Workshop yet to come in the years ahead.
If there's not a location near you, you can shop the entire MY LITTLE PONY Collection online.
For more MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC, check out The Hub Network
About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER™.
Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality and Commentator.
He serves as a PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent), has made guest appearances as a member of the Sprout Kindness Crew, was featured in the Father's Day issue of Lake County Magazine, and is a former contributor to Chicago Parent.
Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for the likes of FEAR FACTORY, DIRGE WITHIN, PRODUCT OF HATE, ARCANIUM and others, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, and in 2013 he's been quoted on CNN, Babble, The Huffington Post, and The Good Men Project, in addition to making appearances on ABC News and WGN.
Learn more here.