So I'm making a different post for Season 5 because the previous one is getting way too massive. In fact, I might consider splitting the review post for the first four seasons into four parts as well, one for each season, in order to make things more manageable. So, here are my episode reviews for Season 5...
Reviews after the page break due to spoilers
1. The Cutie Map Part 1 (9.25/10) (REVIEW PENDING... Need more time to rewatch and formulate some actual coherent thoughts on this episode as they remain freshly ingrained in my memory)
2. The Cutie Map Part 2 (9.5/10) (REVIEW PENDING... See immediately above)
3. Castle Sweet Castle (7.5/10)This episode wasn't as great as the premiere, but it certainly had its moments of being heartwarming and funny. Twilight Sparkle suddenly waking up and saying "I'm pancake" was one of the most adorkable things ever. Seeing Spike wake up with that Rarity plushie in his hand was also funny as well, though I am surprised that nopony even batted an eyelash at the sight of it. There was another significant moment of Spike x Rarity ship-teasing during this episode, where Rarity batted her eyelashes seductively at Spike to get him to stall Twilight for time until sunset to give them more time to decorate properly. I liked Twilight Sparkle's new manecut at the spa, even though it was
only temporary. It looks absolutely beautiful, especially for those who have a thing for short-haired girls. The return of Bulk Biceps
was also another thing I enjoyed quite a bit, and seeing Aloe speak for the
first time was also something I liked.
I did get rather annoyed at the other Mane 5's antics during the second act of the episode, though. Specifically, how they only concentrated on decorating a single room and ultimately destroyed it, and then kept arguing endlessly about which of their decoration ideas was the best, instead of concentrating on decorating different rooms and making everything better. I also wasn't particularly fond of the song. It just lacked a certain... magic that many of the other songs in previous episodes had in my opinion.
The scene where Twilight and Spike stopped by the ruins of the tree and mourned was a potential tearjerker and a heartwarming moment. I especially appreciate how Spike finally got a little bit of respect from the writers, and that they made clear that he was as upset about losing the Golden Oaks Library, his old home, as Twilight was. Flashback to the other Mane 5 were moping about how Twilight Sparkle would be disappointed because she thought they didn't do anything while she was gone. Then they start talking about the memories they had back at the old library. And then Pinkie Pie chimes in and says "Remember the time it got BLOWN TO SMITHEREENS?!?!??!". Wow, Pinkie, that really was NOT cool. If it weren't for the fact that she at least realized how badly she screwed up in saying that at the last second, I would probably personally demote her to worst pony status for this episode, like I did in Filli Vanilli.
I enjoyed how Spike finally stood up for himself and told the other Mane 5 off when he thought they didn't do anything to decorate the castle while he was out stalling Twilight. And then, the ending. While I understand that many people thought the very idea of using wreckage from the tree to make a chandelier was macabre, I still think it was one of the most heartwarming moments yet. Twilight's tears of joy and the Mane 6's subsequent group hug almost made me tear up just from the sheer beauty of it all. I just hope that tree chandelier doesn't wind up being cast aside as a one-off prop. All in all, what truly saved this episode from the confines of "Owl's Well That Ends Well"-tier mediocrity where the little funny moments and the two big heartwarming moments during the final act.