The big two-parter has arrived! And My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is kicking off with the Crystal Empire two-parter.
The first part is about Celestia giving Twilight the rather monumental test of finding a way to protect the Crystal Empire upon its mysterious return from the shadowy King Sombra (meaning shadow in Spanish).
And the second part is focuses more on Twilight finding the Crystal Heart which is key to stopping Sombra.
This two parter is easily the most visually stunning two-parter yet. Everything from movement to lighting to the absolutely gorgeous looking Crystal Empire is incredibly well-designed.
And surprisingly enough, darker as well. As in, there was more liberal use of black and shadows this time around, giving some pivotal scenes more atmosphere.
This willingness to be 'dark' just means that kids get a more well-rounded entertainment. They're gonna' have to use the potty on their own one day after all.
However, that's also the double-edge sword with Crystal Empire; it's big on flash but a bit lacking in character, and character is where MLP: FiM shines.
Sombra, with the black crystals and huge swirling mass that surrounds the Empire is incredibly atmospheric, but he as a character, well, what character? At least Queen Chrysalis from the last two-parter had some personality, but Sombra practically was evil and that's all they wrote, literally.
The same can be said for the crystal ponies themselves, they looked great but no character depth.
The mane 6 were there as a supporting ensemble and there certainly were very funny bits about; particularly with Rarity going ga-ga about the crystal pony look, and Pinkie dressing as Fluttershy was one of her most bizarre gags yet.
But the second parter is easily the better of the two as the stakes were raised and the scenes with Twilight and Spike were some of the most visually creative and suspenseful. The moment where Twilight comforts Spike when he went through a door of your worst fears was quite sweet.
Something the episodes did a lot was foreshadowing big things for Twilight. Celestia and Luna are setting up something big for our plucky purple unicorn. It remains to see if it will be a big payoff or not.
But overall, certainly better than A Canterlot Wedding but not up there with the scene-stealing Return of Harmony, 'cos let's be honest, Discord is a hard one to outclass.