Just a transcript of the chat to show how I felt about the new episode as I watched it with a friend. Warning, there are some swear words.
Also Spoiler Warning....we didn't like the episode.
Me: watching the episode now
Me: Oh lawd, return of the baby. Protect me.
Me: This changeling sounds like such a nerd
Skwerl: It's all emotional. Emotional manipulation
Skwerl: Everything is geared to deliberately and obviously make you go "awww wook at da sad changeling". And of course this fandom eats that shit up.
Me: So I bet this isn't going to be taken intelligently
Me: I don't understand why a changeling would react like that to love. That seems really really bad for survival. Changelings don't literally eat the victim, they feed off of you like a parasite. So this is the parasite attacking the food source before it even gains the love it needs. If every Changeling behaved this way they would starve.
Skwerl: It's probably to foment artificial conflict. There's literally nothing threatening about Thorax. So they give him some stupid impulse that makes him attack people who are nice to him for some reason
Me: I'd be okay with that if they made it obvious that this was his individual problem. Like its a weird social anxiety that makes no sense...Also this guy sounds like a brony.
Me: his pony disguise is actually cute
Skwerl: Yeah it is.
Me: But I notice how he somehow manages to not blow his cover despite that being his problem.
Me: FUG! CRYSTAL HOOF! HE'S SO CUTE THO
Skwerl: Ponies are nice to him everywhere but he doesn't attack them
Skwerl: DEJA NO. YOU'RE FALLING FOR THE BAIT. DON'T BITE THE HOOK!
Me: Lol too bad he's not real.
Skwerl: I admit. I do like the way changelings LOOK in general.
Me: Kek, Hoof's cuteness is not enough to ignore the flaws. Oops. he messed up.
Skwerl: but the way this poor guy is written...
Me: Whaaaaaat? So that means none of the ponies he met up to the point of meeting Flurry Heart have love in them...They were just empty husks who are gonna slit their wrists when they get home.
Me: THIS EPISODE HAD NO TENSION. Like wow.
Skwerl: Turns out it never mattered if he was a changeling.
Me: HOW IS IT ALREADY ALMOST OVER? Nothing's happened!
Me: oh lawd a song...Oh my god spike singing. Has this ever happened before? This song makes them seem like they're stronger friends than they'd actually be in a day...Less than a day.
Skwerl: Shining Armor has the most justified reason to not trust this changeling, and even he has to change his mind for the sake of this forced moral.
Me: All it took was a song, lol.
Skwerl: And just like that it's done. Also, if Changelings can just love each other, why do they even exist...as what they are? They're just fucked up looking ponies.
Me: Wherever Horse God is. He hates Changelings.
Me: Yeah...yeah...this episode wasss kinda...not good?Skwerl: Yep.
I've experienced a lot of ups and downs this season. This isn't the lowest low. Maybe the second...no maybe third lowest. Maybe I am a cynical heathen but I think making Thorax "nice" right off the bat ruined the episode for me. Also calling his mother an evil queen. And being the only Changeling to "see the light" felt like some bullshit. Worse. It felt like some fanfiction. I think Gauntlet of Fire and even Treasure of Griffonstone did this so much better. Ember is a product of her homeland. A dragon who doesn't value friendship. But she understands something is wrong, but doesn't know how to find the solution. It took til almost the very end of the episode for her to realize the faults of Dragons AND how to fix those faults. If Spike had never been there she could have turned out just like her father.
I wasn't sold by Thorax who was already a woobie, "better" than the other changelings since day one, and he didn't even need a modicum of character development. It was more like he is a pony trapped in a changeling's body than he is an actual changeling.