I'm sure y'all know by now that this is currently my favorite episode of the season! ;) Gauntlet of Fire! A nice little Harry Potter reference there! I've been waiting for this episode for a very long time, and I knew it would be a Spike episode many people of the fandom would enjoy! Many say that this is Spike's first good episode, but he's had other good episodes. It's not like this is the first time he made the right decisions. I just knew this would be a good episode as soon as I saw the summary! And after how much Spike did in the premiere with Starlight Glimmer, it just made it more probable! And now it's certain! :D So let's get into detail on how much I enjoyed it! Expect me to get all fangirl in here. ;)
Let's start off with the returning characters. I'll start off with Twilight and Rarity. Now I know Spike is still helping Rarity out in her time of need, but I still think his crush on her might be fading away a little. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy them as pretty close friends, but it would be nice to see Spike growing up and just realize there is no way, without Rarity being the one to tell him. But Spike did grow up in here! But I'll get back to him in a bit. At least I can see directly that Rarity still does use him, but that doesn't mean she doesn't care about him. Let's be honest, Rarity always uses her friends for her own benefits. It's nice having classic Twilight back! She's still our adorkable geeky pony like we used to know her by! She's still not perfect, obviously, but she means well! It was her past lessons that helped Spike out in succeeding. Alot of people said that Twilight and Rarity were not needed in this episode, but if they didn't, then Princess Ember wouldn't realize that dragons and ponies can work well together! It would've been nice having Starlight there as well because of her and Spike's friendship, but she's already starring next episode, and episode 8, so it's really no big deal. Their relationship will continue on throughout the season.
Spike himself was excellent! He used to be just a dragon thinking about his own ways and just being an assistant, but he's more than that, and this episode proves it! He's taken his friendship lessons from Twilight pretty seriously now! He's no longer the punching bag character! He's got potential! That's what I really wanted from him! I absolutely loved the story! I expected there to be a story like this! In fact I had something similar in my Alternate Season Six story! Spike in this episode is not like the Spike from most of his other episodes! He doesn't need to be leader; but he did do something! He got the Dragons and ponies of Equestria to ally! We got griffons, yaks, and now dragons! We preparing for a war or something? Princess Ember! I loved her! She was the proof that was needed to show that not all dragons are bad! We finally met another good dragon, and Spike's got his own dragon friend! She deserved to be Dragon Lord! I really hope we see her again this season! Torch, her dad, he was pretty funny with demanding other dragons to share his own opinions! XD But as a dad, he was what I expected of him - an overprotective dad, and Ember had to prove him wrong. Even though it was expecting, I still liked it! We also had Princesses Celestia and Luna make a cameo in here! It's nice seeing them getting restored to appearing in more episodes than just three, just like in seasons 1-3! I expected Garble to return, and he never changed one bit. I'm actually relieved that he didn't get reformed like most other antagonists. Not all villains can change for the better, and I wish for Garble, Flim and Flam, and certain other antagonists to remain as villains throughout the series. Not all the villains, but some. Karma really got Garble good, and seeing Spike and Ember fight Garble was really leet!
That said, this was the Spike episode I really needed! Not only that, but Big Jim confirmed, not one, but two more Spike episodes this season! I expect great things outta that! You know how Season Five was big for the Cutie Mark Crusaders? Well, this season is going to be that for Spike! He may not be Dragon Lord, but I expect big changes coming outta him this season! Plus maybe a song or two from him finally! :D I cannot wait to see what they have in stock for him and the other dragons for this arc! :D