If the two-part season premiere showed that this season had potential, the second episode showed it had equal room for disappointment.
I haven't been this disappointed with a second episode since "Ticket Master." Every other previous season had great second episodes such as "Lesson Zero" and "Too Many Pinkie Pies."
This episode on the other hand? Well, there isn't much to say about it. The Mane 6 explore a haunted castle. That's about it. And they do so for no real reason. Sure, Twilight has a reason relevant to the overall story arc, but the others merely have convenient excuses for being at the same place at the same time.
Other than setting up the alternative method for delivering the moral (which will be a journal) and possibly revealing this season's main antagonist (The Pony of Shadows), this episode accomplishes nothing. Even more disappointing is that the title references Castlevania yet provides no other references. What I would have given to see Nightmare Moon exclaim "What is a mare? A miserable pile of secrets!"
But if there's any consolation to this, it's that the next episode is far more superior. (Despite all the hate from the pony community!)
Here is the episode along with my other thoughts on it:
Considering the innumerable times Twilight has searched through the books in her library, you’d think she would know by now if any of them mentioned anything about a secret box from a secret tree that was only revealed this season.
Opening a chest connected to a tree from which the Elements of Harmony originated is important? Who would have thunk it?!
That horse statue seems oddly realistic for a world of cartoon ponies. Do such realistic horses exist in this world, or is it simply art?
Obligatory wingboner is obligatory!
Spiders! Spiders! And entire legion of star-emblem spiders!
Not sure if “Bees…my God!” or “Ah! No! No the bees! Not the bees!”
I would make a joke here, but seeing as how I suck at math, I probably wouldn’t have done any better.
Does Fluttershy normally take her animals into the depths of one of the most dangerous forests of Equestria. (Not that I care about that pain in the ass Angel! He deserves to be manticore meat!)
So if Rarity knew about these tapestries all along, why didn’t she go for them sooner? Obvious answer: because it was convenient to the plot.
Fluttershy admits that the ruins of an ancient castle are no place for a bunny like Angel…which is why she brought him along. (Not that I care. I hope falling debris turns him into a bunny pancake! Would be the best death since Brain Griffin!)
So apparently the “Pony of Shadows” is a remnant of Nightmare Moon’s dark magic that is still alive and posing a possible threat to other ponies. This certainly seems canon with the comic books and Nightmare Rarity (though the next episode does bring the comic’s canon into question), and it could serve as this season’s main villain.
Or it could be a convenient excuse to bring back AJ’s “spooky” face from "Look Before You Sleep"!
Rarity: Had power to levitate tapestry off of the wall. Asks weak friend to lift it off instead.
So rather than rescue his owner by pressing down again on the trap switch, he decides to hop away. Why does Fluttershy keep this selfish bunny around?
Obvious CGI hallway is obvious.
If you don’t know who the “Pony of Shadows” is, the eye color and the process of elimination should make it obvious.
CAAAAAAATTTTT! I mean….BUUUUNNNNNYYYY!
Celestia said she had no idea about the magic chest, so obviously, her secret diary should have the answer!
Again, Fluttershy, if you knew that Angel would not be safe in an old castle, WHY DID YOU BRING HIM ALONG?
What is the point of the trap door slide? Is it supposed to trap intruders? If so, why was there a secret lever allowing them to escape?
Angel: Owner is freaking out over his safety. He is chill-axing with free food. Again, why does Fluttershy keep him around?
How does a castle falling apart make the sound of perfect harmony emanating from a pipe organ?
Screw you too, Angel!
I don’t think Angel is hiding under that rock.
A trap door with a fresh bowl of carrots. Isn’t that convenient?!
Clearly AJ and RD were near the floor level or underground. How is AJ on the top floor?
Even when it’s filled with debris, I really like her mane.
Too bad that wasn’t the real Angel.
Oh, now Twilight takes notice of all the weird noises.
Must have learned this freezing spell from Syndrome.
Okay…I admit, Fluttershy nuzzling Angel is cute.
You were expecting the Phantom of the Opera?
Okay, here is my pet peeve with this season: Pinkie Pie is too random—too much for even her character. The last episode had her drooling over frosting and coloring a book during the apocalypse. Now she’s playing organs for the hell of it. Is this season going to be nothing but the ever Flanderization of this character?
See what I mean? I knew she had an empty head, but not a rock solid enough one to ring the bell with!
“I always let my imagination run away from me…and then it comes back…with cake!” Because the only thing you should rub in other people’s face is cake!
Well now we know how they’re going to deliver the moral of the day without writing a letter to Princess Celestia…not that they did much of that anyway.