We've completed another season, and like with the last few, I always like to go back and reflect on some of the best new episodes to put in the ever-growing list of greats. It was hard to pick 10 here, and obviously this list may not reflect what you personally think, but that is what the comments are for!
Below the break, get our picks for top 10 best episodes of season 6!
The #10 slot was pretty difficult to nail down with a lot of excellent contenders coming in for the end. P.P.O.V was one of those episodes that really changed up the usual pony formula, and gave us an interesting look at what goes on in the minds of one of each of the mane 6 at any given moment.
We didn't pick this episode because it was an incredible story. Realistically, the final "reveal" was a little... lacking, but it completely dominated when it came to character interaction. Seeing the grizzled Applejack through Rarity's eyes, or the Over-the-top duncy Pinkie through Applejack's was interesting to say the least. It's an episode that raises some complicated questions on what kind of friendships we have going on between the mane 6, and how they actually see one another deep down. There was a sense of realism here where I'm sure plenty of people out there see a friend in one way but vocalize a different point.
The Fault in Our Cutie Marks
Winner for one of the best new character additions! Gabby is the type that could cheer just about anyone up. A griffon Pinkie Pie with loads of energy and surprisingly deep backstory. If I had to pick between her and Gilda for a future birdlion episode, it wouldn't be much of a challenge.
We were pretty light on Cutie Mark Crusader focused episodes this season, but what they lacked in quantity they made up for in quality. While Gabs may have stolen the show, these three were great in their own right.
Dungeons and Discords
This might be higher on the list if it had more dungeons. I think a lot of us expected to get right in the action and see Discord dungeon mastering a slew of crazy references to oldschool D&D. That being said, the long buildup actually worked pretty well, with character interaction we rarely get to see in the show. Even though I primarily watch MLP for our mare-filled super-cast, it was kind of refreshing just giving the dudes an episode.
It really shined when they dove into the fantasy world though. It makes me hope we get an entire episode from start to finish involving something like that next season. The possibilities are exciting, and that poll we ran showed a lot of people share the sentiment.
Every Little thing She Does
I'm probably going to get hell for this one, but if I was 100% in control of this list it probably would have been higher up. If you are a Starlight Glimmer fan because you love how she reminds you of oldschool Twilight with a slightly more chaotic/evil edge, this was a dream of an episode. The starting magic "duel" was an excellent way to show how much she has improved under Twilight's tutelage, and seeing my favorite new Unicorn crafting brand new spells made the Dungeons and Dragons geek in me air guitar in excitment. Yes, I literally did that when the synopsis popped up. I do a lot of things when no one is looking.
She's totally going to be the next Starswirl at this rate, and I love it. I already went into great deal on that topic though, which you can read over here. The episode was such a solid representation of the old trope of an curious wizard playing with new magic and screwing it up at grand levels. I can't ask for more from pony, or Glimmy.
To Where and Back Again
The way a lot of us watched this with the one day gap between really helped solidify it in my mind compared to other season-enders. Something about having an entire day rewatch, analyze, and blabber about what we think would happen made it all the better.
The general complaint outside of SUDDEN COLORFUL CHANGELINGS I saw was the idea that we'd have an entire season finale dedicated to ponies other than the mane cast, but I honestly felt like that was super refreshing. We got a stellar group of ex-villains that worked so incredibly well together that the episode probably could have just been the four of them arguing for 22 minutes and been top tier. Trixie's battle of wills with Discord, Glimmy's growing confidence and friendshipping, and Thorax worldbuilding the changelings was a joy to behold. I've caught myself a few times fishing for a screenshot for a post and ending up just watching a scene or two.
That being said..
She was amazing
She was hilarious
She was loyal
She saved the world
Her coat matches her bestie perfectly
Trixie for Mane 8th.
No Second Prances
~~~BIAS Mode Activate~~~
If you dislike Trixie or Glimmy, you probably weren't too fond of this one. If you have spent the last 6 years LOVIN' the Trix and finding even more to love with Glimglam, this was the BEST. I already talked about how fun it is to team up ex-villains above. "No Second Prances" was the perfect example of an almost 100% dialogue centered Slice of Life episode, with ponies blabbering their way to a surprisingly dark climax but comfy friendship in the end. What was the endgame of depressed Trixie? We will never know for sure.
I know I'm in a pretty small section of the fandom when I say I want to see way more of this pairing, but it was such a well done display of what two vastly different personalities with similar pasts can accomplish. Seeing it again in the finale was a joy.
Gauntlet of Fire
If you are like me, you probably weren't too thrilled at another Spike episode. He works so well as the logical herder of crazy ponies on the side, that his big dedicated episodes always feel a bit out of place. I've come to expect him as the one to correct Twilight and friends when they are doing something dumb, and seeing him as the one making ridiculous mistakes always bothered me.
Luckily this one went a completely different direction and introduced some of the best lore of the season. We got an awesome new character in Ember, and Spike did a great job of solving the issues laid out before him. He made some kiddy mistakes, but owned up to everything really well. A lot of respect was gained for the little guy in this one. I'm sure we will see more Spike focused adventure in the future, and I have my fingers crossed that they end up treated like this.
Hearth's Warming Tail
A relatively good chunk of people didn't like that pony went this route, but every major show out there has tackled the Christmas Carol episode. You can almost guarantee it will happen eventually if something lasts more than three seasons. Pony was due for it... even it happened in the middle of summer.
For a purely ponified retelling, I think they did a tremendous job on it. The scene setting was perfect, the songs exciting, and the general pacing well done. It wasn't one for the world builders or the character improvers, but from a purely entertainment standpoint it nailed it. Glimmy's evil song, Luna's majesticness, and all the roles each of the characters played was done exceptionally well. I think it would have been even better at mini-movie length like most Christmas specials do with th etopic, but for 22 minutes it still worked.
I think this would have been received better if it was actually around Christmas, but the mysterious scheduling overlords at Hasbro wanted it early, and I don't mind missing the possibility of an extended hiatus or gap for the sake getting it to air later in the year.
Stranger than Fan Fiction
If Slice of Life was a shout out to the fandom, this was a parody of it. Everything about "Stranger than Fan Fiction" was taken directly from our hyper-critical fanbase, from Quibble's nitpicking at every little thing, to the body pillows in the background. It was a picture of brony and fandoms in general, with both the light and dark sides put on full display. You can almost feel a sense of glee pouring through the screen from the creators as they vented out their frustrations through Quibble. We've driven them nuts over the years even if they probably love most of the attention in the end.
Aside from being fun in the satirical way, it's also up here on this list because the episode itself was just really solid. We had a fun little totally platonic relationship between Dashie and her new bestie, with a bit of temple-delving on the side. It's the type of episode that gives you lots to look for in the background while entertaining you with the story in the front, then leaving with lots to talk about when it's over.
The Saddle Row Review
This is one of those episodes that really set itself apart in terms of overall plot writing. Some people aren't too fond of the re-telling narrative style, but for what it's worth I think the team over at DHX nailed it. The news report framing the events at the boutique was used almost perfectly. We got a scene from each of the mane 6 while avoiding the rushed feeling an episode of that scale usually runs into. This is the concept of slice of life at it's finest with a good amount of comedy on top, and easily deserving of one of upper spots on this list.
Also Sweep Sweep Sweep.
Waifus Waifus Waifus
You already know my stance on Vapor Trail if you read the followup. She's one-in-a-million.
Because Snails was awesome. Who would have thought?