As we approach the halfway point of season 5, we must looked back a little. It's been a pretty good season so far. We've see a village run by a mare obsessed with equality. New civilizations such as the Yakyakistans. The return of Gilda, and exploring her homeland. For all its ups and downs, season 5 has been pretty good. But now we get an episode focused on somepony we haven't had an episode on since season 2, Princess Luna.
Yes, it's finally time to have Luna be in the spotlight again, and miracle of miracles, she's doing something. One of my biggest complaints this season is the lack of any of the others princesses, and that it seems they do nothing at all while Twilight does all the work. I get that Twilight is learning more about her duties as a princess, but there are clearly times when the other princesses are needed. Do I need to really need to remind you all of Party Pooped, and Celestia and Cadence not doing anything with the negotiations, or worse in Princess Spike when Spike was set up for failure by the other princesses because of their lack of help, and didn't do anything. It's about time we honestly see another princess, aside from Twilight, do something at last. We need to develop these characters more instead of reinforcing my theory they are lazy.
But enough of that, it's time for our Luna episode. She's teaming up with our heroes to hunt down something called the Tantabus. Our writer this time is Scott Sonneborn. I have mixed feelings about Scott. He's a decent writer, but wrote Trade Ya!, probably the worst episode of the whole series. So what does Scott have in store for us? What is the Tantabus? Will it be stopped? Let's take a look.
So the story begins with Twilight and her friends running at a very fast pace. We then see Luna in the the throne room of the Castle of the Two Sisters. A small cloud of blue smoke, called the Tantabus, appears behind Luna. She says for the Tantabus to do its worse to her. It then glows red, and Luna groans in pain. Twilight and the others then barge in, and see a black substance form around Luna. Twilight points out that Luna is turning into Nightmare Moon again.
True to Twilight's words, Luna does indeed become the malevolent demon again. The girls go Super Saiyan. Okay, no they don't, but they summon their Rainbow Powers, and attack Nightmare Moon. The attacks seem to have no affect though, and Nightmare laughs them off. However, while that goes on, the Tantabus opens a portal to another dimension, and slips out. Ngihtmare Moon is shocked by this, but is so distracted by it, Twilight and her friends' attack envelops Nightmare Moon, and restores Luna to her glory, and the gang celebrate. Luna then wakes up in her moon shaped bed. She's shocked that her dream ended happily, and that it can't happen.derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
Why she's wearing her shoes, crown, and necklace while asleep, I'll never know.
We cut to Carousel Boutique, where Twilight and her friends are doing a get together in grooming their pets. However, all of them are very tired, except Pinkie since she's...Pinkie and nightmare don't affect her (Methinks it's part of the Giggle at the Ghosties song from back in season 1), and Spike since he had a good night's sleep. Twilight says her nightmare had this blue smoke monster in hers, which shocks the others. They all say that they too had a blue smoke monster in their nightmares as well. Alarmed by this, Twilight tells Spike to send a letter to Princess Luna about their nightmares. Just after Spike sends it, Luna barges in and demands to know who saw the blue smoke. Everypony says they did, except Spike. I understand you didn't see it, Spike, but not cool man. You're friends are in trouble. Don't rub it in now.
Luna tell them about the Tantabus, a being made of her nightmares, and that it escaped from her last night. Luna says that it's like a parasite and that her dreams are no longer enough for it. She believes that the Tantabus knows about the others because they encountered it before when they faced Nightmare Moon. Spike is oddly upset about this since the Tantabus didn't haunt him. Since when did Spike become a glutton for punishments and nightmares? Or maybe he wanted in on the action. You're guess is as good as mine. Rainbow shrugs it off, but Luna warns that if its power isn't contained soon, it could escape into the real world, and turn Equestria into a living nightmare. Rainbow concedes that this is really bad.
The following night at Twilight's castle, the girls prepare to go to sleep in Twilight's room, with each one of her friends having their own beds. Luna says while they sleep, she'll go after the Tantabus in whichever dream she sees first. Twilight asks Luna a legitimate question: Why not get Celestia in on this to help. Luna says though that Celestia can't do anything since she has no power over dreams, and only Luna can move from dream to dream. Wait. Did we actually get an answer as to why Celestia isn't helping? Wow! An actual honest explanation as to why another princess can't do anything! See? It's not so hard to find an explanation as to why a princess can't do something, is it? That could've solved some of the problems I had with in Princess Spike and Party Pooped! This isn't so hard to do, is it?
Anyway, Luna says that nopony can help them, even Twilight and her friends. She says they need to slumber while she hunts for the Tantabus. Luna then feels her mane being tugged, and looks to see Spike. He says that since nopony can help them and that he's a dragon, he offers his aid by staying awake and keeping an eye on them, which earns Twilight's thanks. They all fall asleep, and Luna uses some her magic to connect to each of the ponies' dreams.
First, Luna visits Rarity's dream. We see a bunch of dresses floating about which makes Rarity happy. Unfortunately, the Tantabus has invaded her dream and has turned one of the dresses into a monster. Rarity fights a few of them off before Luna arrives. The Tantabus turns more dresses into monsters, and destroys one of the dresses. Rarity is sad about this since she loved the fabric, and wants to destroy the Tantabus herself. Luna stops her though since she says that she doesn't want her to suffer anymore, which seems to make the Tantabus grow a bit bigger. She turns her attention to the dresses, and destroys them, but the Tantabus escapes and seals off a window. Luna says the Tantabus went to another dream, and must pursue it on her own since other ponies can't follow. Rarity tells her to go and says she can handle herself, but the numerous monsters around her make her unsure.
We then see Pinkie literally jumping from scene to scene. She jumps from the forest to what I assume to where the Mirror Pool was, to the dragon from Dragonshy, Cloudsdale, and then where Auhizotl's throne. I guess this is how Pinkie is able to get somewhere so fast. Luna meets Pinkie in Cloudsdale, and warns her that the Tantabus has come to her dream. Pinkie says she doesn't see it and leaps into Sugarcube Corner. She is amazed to see so many cakes there, but the Tantabus comes in and turns one of the cakes into a monster, much to Pinkie's horror. derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
You can't have your cake and eat it.
As the monstrous pastries (I can't believe I just wrote that) encircle Pinkie, Luna pops out of a cake (Not like those cake girls) and takes out the deserts. Luna sees the Tantabus escape into a box, and leaps into it, but then the scene shifts to the Crystal Empire, and Luna crashes into Spike's statue. Pinkie apologizes before Luna leaves again. She then hops to Ponyville and invites all the citizens for ice cream, which they seem to accept.
Cut to Fluttershy's place, where she having a rather unusual dream about her and Angel.derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
Maybe she's dreaming Angel acts like this one day.
She says she's glad that she's the...pet...for once.......Okay, thank you for sharing one of your fetishes, Fluttershy. Guess that knocks out the fanon theory that Fluttershy is secretly a dominatrix. Moving on from that bit, the Tantabus sneaks up on Angel and touches him. Fluttershy then feels drool on her and looks up to what most fans see Angel as.derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
Hah! I knew Angel was secretly a demon all along!
Luna saves Fluttershy and puts her on top of the tree. Luna then sees the Tantabus go into the birdhouse, and knows it's moving to another dream, so she pursues. Meanwhile, Demon Bunny is clawing at the tree to get to Fluttershy. You know, Fluttershy, you can fly away from this, right? We then see at Sweet Apple Acres, Applejack is taking care of the big apple in the orchard. The Tantabus comes in and kills all the trees, including the big apple. Luna chases it and ends up in a cavern, and Rainbow in some trouble.derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
Even in her dreams, Rainbow wants in on the action.
Luna believes that the Tantabus has corrupted Rainbow's dream, but Rainbow says this is her favorite dream. The Tantabus then touches something, and the dream changes to something pleasant. A little too pleasant maybe.derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
It's like something from Barney and Friends. Now that is scary.
Rainbow screams in horror (can you blame her?), and Luna see the Tantabus escape yet again, and goes after it. We then see the final dream, which is Twilight's. Naturally, since she loves books so much, she is at a library that has flying books. While reading, the Tantabus invades and turns the books into monsters. Twilight runs for it, but encounters the Tantabus itself. Luna steps in and manages to trap the Tantabus in crystals. So can all the princesses summon crystals? The victory is short lived though as Twilight is attacked by the books. Why she isn't using magic to defend herself, I don't know. The Tantabus takes this chance to break out free, and everything goes white.
The girls suddenly wake up, and Spike checks on them. Fluttershy and Rainbow are terrified about what happened and don't want that nightmare again. Spike wonders if Luna did catch the Tantabus, but she comes down and says she failed. She says it'll haunt them every time they go to sleep now, and they'll always have a nightmare. She warns them that the Tantabus will keep doing this until it gets enough power to infect the real world. She laments about her past with Nightmare Moon and that she's once again bringing harm to the ponies she loves and cares for.
Pinkie tries to cheer her up by saying all ponies make mistakes. Luna says that as long as none of the others dreamed of other ponies, the Tantabus remains confined to their dreams. Pinkie says that after Luna left, she shared a giant ice cream with the town of Ponyville and prepare for a test, which leaves Luna scared. Twilight confirms what Luna fears, that the Tantabus can go around Ponyville and turn every citizen's dream into a nightmare. Luna says that the Tantabus can feed off the power of the nightmares and soon escape the dream world, and go into the real world, and destroy Equestria with its nightmare fires.
The group tries to figure out what to do since the Tantabus can easily escape at any time. Twilight then comes up with the idea that everypony in Ponyville have the same dream. Luna says it's possible, but that she's never made a shared dream with so many ponies before. Fluttershy suggests it's worth a shot, and Luna agrees to it to stop to Tantabus. All the ponies, including Spike this time, fall asleep, and Luna works her dream connection magic again.
We then see Discord's world at night. Well, to be honest, it's Ponyville in a dream. The citizens are confused and have no idea what is going on. Mayor Mare bumps into a giant Derpy. Lyra and Bon Bon have seemed to take their "friendship" to the next level.derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
LyraBon, LyraBon, alone in the world is a little LyraBon!
Luna, Twilight, and her friends arrive in town and see everypony is here.derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
I heard of being lightheaded, but this is ridiculous.
Twilight is happy to see Luna has done it, and Applejack seems just as happy to see her brother Big Mac, but something has changed.derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
Unicorn Big Mac: Able to create apples of all kind.
Luna calls all the ponies over and warns them of the Tantabus. However, it arrives shortly after, and Luna apologizes about how she's brought this upon everypony, but vows to destroy it. Luna attacks the Tantabus, but it strikes back and drives off the citizens. Twilight checks on Luna, who says that she's using all her magic to hold this dream together, and asks the girls to take care of the Tantabus. They agree to it, and go after it. The Tantabus causes havoc all over town by turning the buildings into monsters. The girls go around to save various citizens from impending doom. Fluttershy sees the Doctor, and chooses a very odd way to save him.derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
I had no idea Fluttershy wanted to be Flutterbat again.
After Applejack saves Neon Lights, she sees Big Mac is in trouble. She tells him that it's a dream and that he can do anything. So what does he do? He decides to take a page out of Sailor Moon.derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
In the name of the Apple Family, I will punish you!
So Princess Big Mac (Thought I'd never write that in a review) flies off and takes on the monsters. Rainbow flies over and says that they can't take much more of the dream, or else they'll be too busy saving ponies to notice the Tantabus escaping. They run off, and Applejack asks how they'll tell if the Tantabus can escape. They meet up with the others, and see the smokey figure cutting the sky to the real world.
Before it can move out, a magical energy blast stuns it, and the portal is closed by Luna. She urges the others to hurry up before it's too late. Rainbow and Twilight go on the attack while Fluttershy pleas to the townsponies to help out. Mr. Cake points out they don't have the magic of Twilight, nor the speed of Rainbow. Rainbow agrees, but only in Ponyville. Applejack says this is a drea, and that they can do anything. This gives Spike a brilliant idea.derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
BY THE POWER OF GRAYHOOF! I...HAVE...THE POWER!
So Sir Spike rides again and takes off on the giant Derpy to fight the Tantabus. The town cheers and runs off to help. The Tantabus tries to escape again, but Sir Spike takes his lance and cuts it, preventing it from escaping. It tries again in another location, but Filthy Rich comes in and "bribes" it so to say.derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
Money can't buy happiness, but it sure as Hell can buy you awesome powers.
Scootaloo then steps up to the plate.derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
Scootaloo is blowing everypony away with her abilities! *shot*
Rainbow then turns into Zapp of the Power Ponies (nice to see the Power Ponies episode being reference), and creates a tornado to trap the Tantabus. She thinks it's working, but Twilight says other wise. The Tantabus escapes the tornado, and Pinkie says to do more. So Applejack turns into Mistress Mare-velous, and Twilight heads for the remains of Golden Oaks Library.derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
Fly, my pretties, fly!
Even Fluttershy gets in on the act.derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/7/1…
Fluttershy the demon summoner.
However, Luna is unable to hold off the Tantabus any longer, and tearfully says Equestria will fall, and it'll be all her fault. This causes the Tantabus to get bigger, and knock off its attackers. Spike notices this and wonders what's going on. Twilight thinks that the Tantabus is feeding off of Luna's guilt. Luna believes this, and thinks this is how it got out of her dreams in the first place. Luna admits she created the Tantabus as a means to punish herself for the evil she caused as Nightmare Moon. She said to make sure to never forgive herself for all that she had done, and that it seems she has not learned her lesson. The Tantabus then grows really big and takes on the shape of Luna.
Twilight says that Luna is the key to stopping the Tantabus, and Rainbow chimes in to Luna to stop feeling bad about herself. Luna asks how she can do that since she's no better from before, but Twilight tells her to look around. She says Nightmare Moon would've wanted Luna to use the Tantabus to turn Equestria into a nightmare, but points out Luna is doing everything she can to stop the Tantabus from invading Equestria. Twilight goes on to say that Nightmare Moon is in the past, and that they all trust her, and asks Luna is she trusts them. Luna takes the words into account, and says that she does trust them. The Tantabus then roars as it shrinks in size, and it returns to Luna. She says thank you, and everything goes white.
So the morning sun vanquishes the horrible night, and the girls wake up. Twilight announces Luna did it, but Applejack isn't sure what she did. Twilight explains Luna created the Tantabus to punish herself, and that the worse she felt, the more power it had. When she forgave herself for what Nightmare Moon did, it went away. Fluttershy shushes Spike, and points to a sleeping Luna. Spike wonders what Luna is dreaming about as she sleeps soundly. And so our story ends with us being shown Luna's dream. She's sleeping on a peaceful island. I do wonder if you're asleep in a dream, you can dream.
Anyway, this episode was really good. Let's ignore a lot of the callbacks and fan service for a minute and look at this episode on its own merits. On its own, the episode really works out well. Although this is Luna's second episode, this is easily her best episode. She's not only shown doing something, but we learn more about her. We learn more about her past, her feelings about Nightmare Moon, and her character goes through a good arc. This is something the other princesses, especially Celestia, have been lacking, and there needs to be more exploration of the other princesses' powers, abilities, and what they do.
The characters are all great, and they all play a big role in the episode. Even the townsponies get in on the action and get some really good scenes and action. I was especially really surprised to see Filthy Rich do something action related. There's some great characterization for all of our ponies. Sonneborn has done a good job improving on writing and capturing the characters' personalities. He's especially gotten pretty good with Rainbow now. Considering Sonneborn and how he's written Rainbow Dash in the past, like Trade Ya!, this is miles better.
The story itself is really good, and it has a good moral all around with how to deal with the past. Again, it's nice to see more depth and background on Luna's past. Considering this was also a look at Nightmare Moon as well, it's nice to know more about her and Luna's past together. The character development for Luna is very strong, and some of the best development for a character this entire season.
Of course, all the callbacks to past episodes and seasons like Power Ponies and Sir Spike was really good. I especially loved how the townsponies were acting. LyraBon (literally), giant Derpy, Filthy Rich and his money beams of awesome, and so much more. This was insanity, but yet done in a fun way. The way everypony plays a part really made this episode shined.
The Tantabus itself is an interesting idea. The concept of Luna keeping something to remind her of her failures is an interesting idea. I can actually understand why Luna would do this since the guilt she carried would've been too much to handle. However, this brings up my biggest complaint in this episode: this should have taken place sooner. I think the episode honestly could've taken place last season or in season 3. The reason I say this is because if the Tantabus has been feeding off of Luna's guilt this whole time, I think it would've gained enough power to escape earlier. It couldn't be over a slow period of time since Luna was feeling constantly guilty about what she did as Nightmare Moon. It would have fueled the Tantabus faster, and allow it to escape faster. It doesn't really make a lot of sense to be honest.
But despite this plot hole, this is still a great episode for Luna. Great character development for the princess of the night. More back story on Luna and her abilities. A good action scene. Call backs to past episodes. It's a really good episode all around.
I would say to come by next time, but unfortunately, for whatever reason I have yet to find, the season is taking a hiatus that's supposed to last until the fall of this year. I think we'll see the show back on the fifth anniversary of when the show began, which is October 10th. What does the rest of the season hold for us? Will Rarity have her own episode at last? What is the plan of Starlight Glimmer and her about the Sonic Rainboom event? We'll just have to wait and see. Until then, I'll be back soon with an update on my story, Diamond's Dusk.
FINAL SCORE: 9 out of 10
Your thoughts on this episode?