The aesops are becoming increasingly problematic.
Rarity Takes Manehattan has Rarity realizing how badly she's treated her friends, and runs out of the competition which would seem to ensure her defeat. This could've been a great message about doing the right thing even if it costs you, but we find out that Rarity won anyway. In "Rainbow Falls", Rainbow struggles with sticking with her weak team. We could've gotten a message about sticking with your friends even if you have to sacrifice something else for it, but Rainbow ends up qualifying. I remember how the first season finale ended with the cast not getting what they wanted, and I find it disappointing that the writers now always go for the Sweet and Sour Grapes
approach. I think it's proof that while the show may be entertaining, it's not as unique and clever as the fans like to believe.
At first, I liked the fact that not every antagonist ended up learning a lesson. It helped the show feel realistic and kept it from becoming too sugary. But almost every jerk in the series being a shallow character is starting to get old. I think Diamond Tiara might've been better received if it had been implied that she picks on people because of her own insecurities, while suggesting that she might grow out of it one day. Some fans don't hate her because she's a jerk, they hate her because she's boring. Lightning Dust was a jerk, but she didn't feel like she was past redemption to me. The cider episode is well known for not acknowledging that the Flim Flam brothers had a point, so I hoped their sequel episode would be more nuanced, perhaps with them learning that they don't need to con people to make money. But instead, they were even worse than before. With this track record, it feels like the two antagonists who were reformed only did so because they're fan favorites, not because the writers saw nuances to their characters.
On a final note, this show needs more recurring characters. Lots of interesting characters are introduced, but never appear again or only get one sequel episode at best.