I don't like it. I'm generally ambivalent towards MLP: FiM episodes though the cuteness usually does wonders for my mood, but this episode left me displeased.[Spoilers, of course]
1. The plot was rushed. given the restrictions of the season, I can give this a pass.
2. The name drop. I'm pretty sure it's written in the series contract to name drop the title at least once a season, so I can give this a pass as well.
3. I was constantly going "Just WALK AWAY Fluttershy" until she did and then it switched to "No, you are walking away for the wrong reasons" because everything about Discord and Fluttershy's interactions were kind of emotionally manipulative and ew. It was not a good moral - that emotionally manipulating a person, even for 'good' intentions, is an okay thing. Because Fluttershy seemed very aware why she was walking off.
Nope, I'd far rather Fluttershy walked away or, if the huge wink wink that Celestia gave the mane six was any indication, everypony killed Discord's vicious streak with kindness. Isn't Rarity the element of generosity? Pinkie Pie the element of Laughter? Twilight herself knows what it's like to gain friends where before she didn't have any.
Saying emotional manipulation is okay to a certain point is not cool. Not even considering second chances is uncool too.
Though friends not putting up with friends being dicks is an acceptable message. As is friends sticking around and trying to persuade someone to just leave an unhealthy relationship.
4. Discord was just kind of off. He's a self-titled Lord of Chaos, that doesn't just go away. You can't kill entropy. Okay, so he did say 'mostly' and I'll take that as a reason not to go chaotic evil. But he survived over a thousand years without friends, why should two days matter? Why is he then taken away from his only friend to serve Celestia? (His Heel Face Turn moment of realisation wa adorable hough.)
nbsp; i. As much as I dislike Discord/Celestia as a ship pre-canon, I could get behind a friendship forming after this episode. After all, Fluttershy isn't around and she's the only reason he's cooperating, why shouldn't Celestia worm her way into his affections? (For bonus ret-con, she could turn down any romantic affections after he's served his purpose and he can return to his antagonist role.)
nbsp; ii. I want to know why Equestria needs Discord's magic. There must be some serious trouble going on if Celestia has to turn to a chaotic-neutral/chaotic-evil antagonist to beef up Equestria's magical power. To use chaos magic at that.
5. That previous sub-point also means that I'm wondering if there isn't another reason why Celestia is leaving the Elements in Ponyville.
6. At least Fluttershy isn't a total doormat. I'll give her that.
And season finale speculation:
There's apparently been some confusion about what exactly the final will contain? What with the Hub branding 'Princess Coronation' on it and the synopsis reading something entirely different. People of course jumped to popular fan theory #1 in regards to the first part - Twilight's gonna become a princess. Which makes internal sense to me, seeing as she's Canterlot born, her brother was considered a worthy Captain of the Guard AND groom to Princess Cadance, which while her entrance exam to Celestia's school seems 'scholarship exam' still leads me to suspect she's actually pretty high class. Just incredibly geeky and doesn't care about that stuff.
However it's far too soon after the Crystal ponies storyline when it was hinted that Celestia and Luna have something big planned for her.
Firstly cutie-marks and destinies are not intertwined and everyone in this fandom seems to forget it. Like Pinkie Pie isn't a party planner, though her work at Sugarcube Corner certainly helps facilitate that. Or how Rarity has a talent at finding and using gems, except she only uses that to bling out her dress designs.
Cutie-marks are a talent, not a destiny. So swapping cutie-marks and destinies might bring about completely new, insightful cutie-marks to everyone. Which I'd like to see instead of cutie-mark swapping.
Working with the coronation hint it's either Cadence gets officially crowned as Princess of the Crystal ponies, which also makes sense as her cutie-mark is very... telling, though there is an issue of timey-wimeyness which I'll get to later, or Luna gets reinstated as official co-ruler of Equestria. (Can you tell I'm a Luna fan?)
Because Luna's never been formally announced as co-ruler. Yes, she's a princess and she's still wearing her crown, but it seems she's only recently taken over her night-time duties. And the episode would somehow involve Twilight doing what she did when she got her cutie-mark and blasting out almost pure magical power to set things right.
With Cadence, her cutie-mark, if she is crowned as Princess of the Crystal ponies, is peculiar. It is destiny based, because somehow I think love-based magic wouldn't have a crystal heart set in a crown symbolising it. So either she's taken a trip with Doctor Whooves, or her cutie-mark in particular foretold her destiny when she discovered she was good at making people reconcile and love each other. Which means maybe Twilight was doing some reading and got curious as to why this would be the case just for Cadence and decided to see what her cutie-mark would be if it were just on talent...