|Quick Take: I didn't think MLP could ever top Twilight's Kingdom. That's why I was relieved when the last two seasons gave us relatively quiet premieres, and when last season's finale focused on a personal story amid quick what-if scenes of alternate history. This time, we get an adventure with the most entertaining "ragtag bunch of misfits" going up against a force that's captured the Mane Six, Spike, and all the Princesses. As they progress, the companions don't bicker annoyingly as much as they sling well-phrased barbs and make delightfully in-character observations about their predicament. Thorax impersonating Starlight is a neat twist, but most impressive to me is Trixie's completely voluntary self-sacrifice, proving her friendship. She may still have an attitude after this is all over, but I feel like I understand her now, and this has to be a moment of growth for her. The willigness of the hive to set themselves free of their hunger, Starlight's offer to Chrysalis and the queen's rejection of it (both of which are extremely important to making this story work), and the ponylike color variations among the reformed Changelings are all just as they should be. I also like the vaguely deerlike proportions and antler-like antennae of the new Changelings. Back in my response to Gauntlet of Fire, I said I could envision the dragons fighting alongside Equestria in a "Battle of the Five Armies"-style adventure. This makes army number three. Flawless, as yet again MLP exceeds what I thought was possible for the show.