To Where And Back Again Retrospective

Megalobronia

Nintendo Nerd
You have no idea how impatient I was to make a thread like this. If you don’t want to read a whole essay, you’re free to just skip to the bottom paragraph. Anyway, the Season 6 Finale, To Where And Back Again (which I’ll shorten to TWABA) released five years ago today on October 22, 2016. While previous Season Finales would put Twilight or the Mane 6 as a whole as the focus, this one has a rather unorthodox team saving the day.
However, not everyone was so accepting of the status quo being changed. There were a multitude of things people complained about in regards to this two-parter. The new changeling designs, Starlight being the center of focus, the Mane 6 being reduced to captives with no explanation as to how it happened (the alicorns being put out of action is nothing new at this point, but that doesn’t mean people are okay with that), the fact that the changelings were quick to turn on Chrysalis, and while I’m sure there were other complaints, those were the ones I saw the most frequently.
I, on the other hand, personally really enjoyed this episode (or episodes?). It serves as a nice conclusion to Starlight Glimmer’s redemption arc, with her not only coming to terms with what she is now compared to her debut, but also saving the day along the way. In Part 1, it’s clear that Starlight hates what she did when she was evil to the point where she completely curls up when everyone at her old village welcomes her with open hooves, fearing she would revert to her old ways. In Part 2, Starlight ends up not having a choice in regards to becoming a leader as she’s forced to lead three members (plus herself) on a mission to rescue the Mane 6 as well as the royalty of Equestria. I also have to give her props for trying to literally reach out to Chrysalis, but much to her dismay (and many of the fans’ delight), she turns it down.
I love how each member of the team has had their stand-out moments throughout Part 2. Trixie willingly walks into a trap to allow Starlight and Thorax to progress and also gives a confidence-boosting speech to Starlight before doing so. Discord doing a comedy routine to some changeling guards didn’t seem like much at first, but the fact that they gave chase to him afterward showed that it was also effective, as it was enough of a distraction to allow his team mates to progress. Thorax disguising himself as Trixie and leading a swarm of changelings all over the place using Trixie’s smoke bombs was pretty cool, I guess. NGL, I was fooled when he disguised himself as Starlight to distract Chrysalis.
Other moments I liked include the “Klutzy Draconequus’’ password, Discord getting serious when he hears of the Mane 6’s (Fluttershy specifically) capture, the panorama we’re treated to when Chrysalis breaks free from the rubble that used to be her throne, and Starlight (with help from Discord) bringing everyone to the Sunset Festival at the end. Overall, there weren’t very many moments I didn’t like about TWABA. I wasn’t averse to the above mentioned points like most fans were.
So now that I’m done gushing about this Finale, let me ask this: What are your thoughts on the episode? Did you watch it around when it first aired? Do you still like it? Do you still dislike it? Did you at first dislike it but then grow to like it or the other way around? What did you like about the episode? (I’m not gonna ask what you dislike about it because I know what a lot of you are gonna say.)
Megalobronia

Nintendo Nerd
Me before posting this thread
My Brain: You realize that by posting this thread there’s probably going to be people who will talk s*** about this episode. Are you prepared to endure that?
Me: hesitates for a few seconds then sighs Yes hits post
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Blissful690

I really like her mane!
This was actually the first episode I watched in real time cos I’m from the UK and it aired there a couple of weeks early. It was quite an interesting experience, if I do say so myself.
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CORDZ2000

Draconequues Lover
Episode was incredible only thing i didn’t really like were the changeling turning into skittles and no explanation on how everyone got captured but otherwise it was a simple concept doing amazingly, the dynamics were great, the emotional factor of discord worrying about fluttershy and trying to make up for his betrayal of her in the S4 to the point that the changelings were able to use it against him was heartwarming and heartbreaking.
Starlight trying to make up for her actions and didn’t see herself as worthy of leadership because well past as a dictator and all…
We see how much trixie has grown to value starlight. Thorax becomes king and its a interesting concept of how the hive changes like changelings so he can navigate through it. Honestly if we never seen the reformed 4 afterwards of where and back, it would have been a fine acceptable ending for all 4 characters.
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Mr.Myoozik
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I still love it, it’s my favorite season finale out of all the ones in the show. To put it in context, this was the episode(s) that not only got me back into the show after a bad season, but also cemented Starlight Glimmer as my favorite character in the entire show. All your points that you said about it I also agree with them with the exception of the reformed changelings, I think they could’ve been designed better and less colorful. With that said, I am aware that there are those who don’t like it and do bring up valid points about why it’s a bad finale. Regardless of that, I still love this finale and my opinion will unlikely change.
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Latecomer

It was my favourite two-parter in quite some time. (Even if Starlight returning to Our Town should have been it’s own episode.)
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Starponys87
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Friends with Autism
The developments in Season 6 seem to nullify everything that the comics did before with the changelings – effectively booting it out of the canon. And I say that’s a good thing.
For a long time, I refused to read the comics – because of how the first story arc was written. I feel the artists made fun of the (possible) genocide of an innocent race of creatures. I don’t feel they cared any more about the kitties than the changelings themselves. It makes no sense to me – I don’t understand how this could be allowed in a series that supposedly celebrates friendship.
Ironically – the reformed changelings have become the innocent race of creatures that the first comic arc seems to make fun of.
Phoenixflambe
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Opaline, Arcana Mistress
People who didn’t like this episode definitely did not like the feature character but also treats the entire season like babies ruin everything kind of shtick. Or pretends it’s not a redemption arc even though its crystal clear that’s what the writers intended.
FrootiDragon

I liked “To Where and Back Again”. With that being said, I don’t like Starlight Glimmer and seeing her being babied and victimized by the writers is kind of annoying and pushes a bad message. Starlight abused ponies for years (?) just because a (bad) childhood friend of hers moved away. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the pain of both abandonment issues and betrayal–but experiencing abuse yourself doesn’t give you the right to abuse others. I–for example–got bullied a lot growing up but I don’t sympathize with Starlight because she’s a narcissistic abuser. So seeing her acting all traumatized due to being put in charge is just laughable–imagine the trauma(s) of Our Town-ers whose lives were endangered by Starlight. They were manipulated for years. And were sent to a “brainwashing room” if they did something wrong. Starlight is a typical narcissist–she abuses someone, changes her mind, offers the abused a poorly worded out apology, and expects to be forgiven all of a sudden. Plus the amount of self-victimization. Imagine being a former dictator and wondering why nopony in Ponyville wants to be your friend.
Phoenixflambe
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Opaline, Arcana Mistress
I don’t think I know of a fanfic where it features rewrites of episodes post season 5 that involve her to be non-existent. Since anything in those episodes were her idea or that Discord would still be a jerk even if it wasn’t Starlight he’s annoying.
Tiger beetle
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I wish this show really had more season finales like this along the way. It doesn’t always have to be the Mane 6 saving the day from a disaster.
The changelings being bad actors is also hilarious to me. It’s like nature itself said “you can shapeshift into almost anything…but I ain’t paying for your acting lessons.” With the exception of the changeling playing Twilight, I thought that guy did pretty good, especially by adressing the strange way the others were acting.
I also kinda think it’s funny Chrysalis’ plan involves kidnapping Flurry Heart. Like I know she’s an alicorn and a magical powerhouse, but it’s not like she’s gonna lead a squad of heroes to sabotage the plan.
The changedlings I do like, but I wish they didn’t try to make them more ponylike - some have horns, some don’t. Some can’t fly, some can. I prefered when they all had little, curved horns and insect wings.
CORDZ2000

Draconequues Lover
I did like starlight and trixie’s growing dynamic but didn’t care for Starlight being given the biggest spotlight or the village’s easy forgiveness
CORDZ2000

Draconequues Lover
@Tiger beetle
Yeah same about the finales comment and what u said about the changelings design. I guess it would have been usual for chrysalis to have learned to be a acting couch throughout the years. So she could have made her army stronger.
Tiger beetle
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@CORDZ2000
Eh, I feel like this was the time to give Glimmer the biggest spotlight. The end of her season-long arc and all. Plus, gotta make up for all the episodes she wasn’t present for or was reduced to a cameo. Plus Trixie, Discord, and Thorax still had moments to shine.
The village…I wish we didn’t see these guys in the season 5 ending montage. That way the invitation would leave Starlight weirded out, and the easy forgiveness would be a surprise and feel uneasy in itself. Essentially sending Starlight into a spiral of “what’s going on, why are they so nice, I do not deserve this.”
CORDZ2000

Draconequues Lover
@Phoenixflambe
What’s so weird about people thinking it makes no sense for her to be easily forgiven, by a village she mentally and emotionally tortured, locked into a room until they become hollow shells?
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