This series did not benefit from having a thirteen-episode season, and I think that was one of the central problems. It was like the MLP writers went down a checklist of things that fans wanted and made sure to cram each into the season, but because of that everything seemed forced.
This is probably the most evident in the Trixie and Discord episodes. Both episodes had the potential to be spectacular and both wound up being throwaways. It was truly disappointing to watch as nothing really happened in either episode. It was as if fans were only supposed to focus on the fact that their favorites were present (and then get excited) and not notice how poorly both episodes were written.
As much as the season seemed to be constructed to meet a checklist, the points this season chose to focus on in a lot of cases were terrible. There were two Spike-centered episodes this season out of thirteen, and the previous season (with twenty-six episodes) also only had two Spike episodes. Overall, very little time was spent on Rarity this season (who is my favorite of the mane six) and I feel more time should have been given to the mane six instead a more minor character like Spike.
I know I’m part of the brony crowd, but there have got to be little girls that watch this show, right? And I feel this season didn’t exactly cater to its entire audience. One of the reasons MLP has earned the appeal of an older crowd was because the show did not blatantly cater to them. This season was clearly meant for the bronies, and as I’ve said in an earlier post, I think too much of that fan service can be a bad thing. In Season 3, it was just too much.
The season started with lots of potential, but it didn’t fulfill that potential. There was a lot of nothingness and throwaways. Now I’m not saying I wanted a full fanfare for every episode, but to have so many throwaway episodes in a season half its usual length is a problem. I feel that if the season was longer, more plot concepts would have been fully fleshed out and the forced-ness of the season might not have been as bad.