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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mlp_s1e1_mareinthemoon_727.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Welcome to Ponyville! ''[[{{Gasp}} GAAAAASP!!]]'']]
'''Also known as "Friendship is Magic, part 1".'''

-> Written by LaurenFaust

->''' '' "OnceUponATime, in the magical land of Equestria..." '' '''

Twilight Sparkle sits alone by a tree, reading up on the history of Equestria and the tale of Nightmare Moon. Long ago, two sisters ruled the land; the elder raised the sun at dawn while the younger raised the moon at dusk. One day however, the younger sister grew resentful of the fact that the ponies played in the day, yet slept through her wonderful night. She became bitter and one night refused to lower the moon. The elder sister was forced to use the power of the Elements of Harmony to banish her sister to the moon. After some further research, Twilight Sparkle is convinced that soon the Mare in the Moon will return for her revenge "on the longest day of the thousandth year"...which happens to be the upcoming Summer Sun Celebration. She tells her baby dragon assistant, Spike to send a letter to Princess Celestia, ruler of Equestria, on the matter and she doesn't like the response:

->'''Spike:''' Ahem..."My dearest and most faithful student Twilight: You know that I value your diligence and that I trust you completely...but you simply ''must'' stop reading those dusty old books!"

Celestia tasks Twilight with supervising the preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration in the small town of Ponyville and gives her a secondary task of finding and making some friends. Firmly believing that the fate of the world does not rest on her making friends, Twilight arrives in Ponyville to fulfill her royal duty. Spike asks Twilight to attempt socializing with others, directing her to a pink Earth Pony passing by. When Twilight greets the stranger, the pink pony gasps and runs away. Now certain that she's the [[OnlySaneMan only sane pony]] in the village, Twilight grudgingly does her job.

First, she visits [[CountryMouse Applejack]], hoping to quickly check on the food preparations and be on her way. Instead she's introduced to Applejack's [[LongList huge]] [[TheClan extended family]] and plied with all manner of apple-based foods. Shortly after leaving with a full stomach, she's [[CrashIntoHello swept off her feet]] by [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Rainbow Dash]] and knocked into a puddle of mud. After a number of futile attempts to clean her up, Twilight is left with a fluffed-up mane and Spike and Rainbow are left in tears of laughter. After they regain their composure, Rainbow reveals what she's doing for the festivities: taking care of the weather. She's the fastest Pegasus in Ponyville and she proves it by clearing the sky of clouds in [[PunctuatedForEmphasis Ten. Seconds. FLAT.]]

Next on the list is [[TheFashionista Rarity]] who's in charge of the decorations. Spike is [[PrecociousCrush smitten instantly]] while Rarity is shocked and appalled by Twilight's messy mane. Insisting that she fix it up, she runs Twilight through a number of costumes (and gushes over her dreams of moving to Twilight's hometown of Canterlot) before Twilight drags Spike from the boutique and out to the edge of the woods where [[FriendToAllLivingThings Fluttershy]] is leading a choir of songbirds in rehearsal. Unfortunately, Twilight appears at a bad time and startles both the birds and poor Fluttershy. Despite her best efforts, Twilight can't get [[ShrinkingViolet Fluttershy]] to talk to her...[[CutenessProximity until she sees Spike]]. After Spike literally tells Fluttershy his life story, Twilight brushes her off and drags Spike into the library with her. Hoping to finally get some time to herself, she turns on the light...

'''''SURPRISE!!!!'''''

Oh look, [[BrickJoke it's that pink pony from earlier.]] [[GenkiGirl She won't stay still and]] [[MotorMouth she won't shut up either.]] She introduces herself as Pinkie Pie, and while she's explaining at a mile a minute that the reason she dashed off was to set up a surprise welcoming party, Twilight unwittingly [[INeedAFreakingDrink pours herself a drink]] of hot sauce, [[ExtremeOmnivore which Pinkie then eats on a cupcake without a second thought.]] Running to her room, Twilight ponders the idea that these new ponies are her friends and worries over whether or not the Mare in the Moon will really return. Before she has time to fret any further, she's beckoned to the town hall to watch the sun rise.

Once there, the mayor of Ponyville introduces to much fanfare, Princess Celestia!...Who never appears. She's gone without a trace. However a certain somepony takes her place...the Mare in the Moon, [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Nightmare Moon.]] She's going to take her revenge by [[TheNightThatNeverEnds plunging Equestria into eternal night]].

->'''Nightmare Moon:''' Remember this day, little ponies for it was your last. From this moment forth, the night...will last...''forever!''

'''''[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E2ElementsOfHarmony TO BE CONTINUED]]'''''

[[MoodWhiplash *cue happy credits music*]]

!!Continued in "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E2ElementsOfHarmony Elements of Harmony]]".

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!!Tropes present in this episode (YMMV tropes can be found [[YMMV/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E1MareInTheMoon here]]):
* AntagonistTitle
* ApocalypseHow: Nightmare Moon's eternal night immediately brings about planet-wide societal disruption. If left unchecked, according to WordOfGod, it would eventually result in planet-wide societal collapse and the extinction of all life due to starvation.
* BabyTalk: Twilight does this to get Fluttershy to leave her and Spike alone.
-->"Aw; wook at that. He's so sweepy he can't keep his wittle bawance."
* BalloonBelly: Twilight Sparkle gains one after meeting Applejack's family and being persuaded to stay for brunch. "I ate too much pie..."
* BigEntrance: Nightmare Moon's arrival at the Summer Sun Celebration is accompanied by wind and lightning.
* CharacterizationMarchesOn:
** Spike doesn't have difficulty spelling after this episode.
** Fluttershy never has ''this'' much trouble talking to new ponies again, which we can be thankful for.
* CostumeTestMontage: Courtesy of Rarity naturally.
* CutenessProximity: Fluttershy comes out of her shell after seeing Spike.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: In the Russian dub, Twilight calls Nightmare Moon "Lunyia Poni" twice in a succession. As of now, this mistake, along with many others in season 1, has been redubbed by voice actress ''herself'', though it wasn't official.
* DistantPrologue: The StorybookOpening tells of events that occurred 1000 years before the time of the show proper.
* DownerEnding: Not quite as harsh as the [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E1TheReturnOfHarmonyPart1 second season's first episode]], but still very relevant. Nightmare Moon has returned. Twilight Sparkle saw it coming, but failed to prepare, and Princess Celestia is nowhere to be seen. The final shot of the episode is Twilight Sparkle watching in horror and despair as Nightmare Moon unleashes [[TheNightThatNeverEnds eternal night on Equestria]].
* EarlyBirdCameo: The Cutie Mark Crusaders haven't met yet, but Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle picked the same table as Apple Bloom under which to hide from Nightmare Moon.
** And of course, Angel Bunny in the opening who will only have his first appearance in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E3TheTicketMaster The Ticket Master]].
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: At the beginning, Celestia and Luna are referred as "unicorns". Later, season 3 will canonize the fandom term "Alicorn" for ponies with both wings and horns.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: We get one of these for each of the main characters: we can quickly see Twilight Sparkle is a bookworm too busy to make friends, Spike is her put-upon assistant, Applejack is neighborly and very close to her family, Rainbow Dash is lazy and a jokester but also loyal to her friends and neighbors, Rarity is giving but also obsessed with fashion and glamour, Fluttershy loves animals but is [[NotGoodWithPeople not good with ponies]], and Pinkie Pie is fun-loving and [[CloudCuckoolander more than a little weird.]]
* [[EtTuBrute Et Tu, Luna?]]: Princess Celestia had this realization in the backstory when her sister, Luna, becomes Nightmare Moon.
* ExpositionCut: How Spike tells his life story.
-->"Well...it all started when I was a cute little purple and green egg...\\
... and that's the story of my entire life. Well, up until today. Do you want to hear about today?"
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** Whilst Twilight is dictating her letter to Princess Celestia and the "camera" is following her, the huge hourglass in the Canterlot library passes in front of a unicorn head statue, causing it to distort to the profile of Nightmare Moon.
** The Element of Magic appears on Celestia's head in Twilight's storybook when Celestia is imprisoning Nightmare Moon. It already matches Twilight's cutie mark.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: Two.
** During the party scene, when Twilight is pouring herself a drink, a gray pegasus up in the corner has crossed eyes and a goofy smile. "And so the legend of Derpy Hooves is born" said one poster on [[ImageBoards 4chan]], and [[EnsembleDarkhorse born]] it ''was''.
** When the ponies get excited to see Princess Celestia, a green unicorn is ''very'' excited, jumping up and down and staring straight at the camera with a big grin on her face. Meet Lyra Heartstrings, and this is the first of her many {{Funny Background Event}}s throughout the series, particularly the "Excited Lyra" RunningGag.
* TheHerosJourney: The episode has Twilight who wants to find a way to defeat Nightmare Moon but receives a CallToAdventure from her mentor Celestia who asks her to leave her hometown and go to Ponyville and make friends; she wasn't happy about it but figured she should go along with it. Supernatural aid, Trials and Tribulations, and the Abyss come in the next episode.
* ImNotHereToMakeFriends: "The fate of Equestria does not rest on me making friends."
* INeedAFreakingDrink: Twilight's reaction to Pinkie's MotorMouth. Unfortunately, it turns out to be hot sauce.
* KnightOfCerebus: Things are pretty happy and funny... and then Nightmare Moon shows up...
* LampshadeWearing: Spike, at Pinkie Pie's party.
* LetMeAtHim: Rainbow Dash to Nightmare Moon. She is held back.
* LettingTheAirOutOfTheBand: When Spike offers to top off telling his whole life story to Fluttershy with recollecting the events of that very day, Twilight quickly cuts him and the peaceful music off before either of them can continue.
* MagicCountdown: Played with:
** [[AvertedTrope Averted]] when Twilight Sparkle meets Rainbow Dash. She dares her to clear the sky in ten seconds. It takes ''exactly'' ten seconds of screen time for Rainbow Dash to do it.
** When Twilight is looking at the moon shortly before the celebration, the four stars around it are approaching it at a steady rate, fast enough that they'd reach the moon in just a few seconds if the camera remained there. They only reach the moon once the camera gets back to them which is at the height of the celebration.
* MoodWhiplash: Right after Nightmare Moon appears and plunges the world into TheNightThatNeverEnds...it cuts to the cheery and happy closing theme.
* TheNightThatNeverEnds: The EvilPlan of Nightmare Moon.
* OhCrap: The entire town's reaction to Nightmare Moon appearing. Twilight's reaction starts earlier since she's the only one who knows it's coming.
* OfCorsetHurts: Twilight has this reaction when Rarity is trying to secure a saddle on her.
* POVCam:
** There's a brief shot from Fluttershy's perspective, with her spotting Spike from between her bangs.
** We also see from Twilight's perspective when the four stars align and Nightmare Moon is set free.
* PuppyDogEyes: Used by Applebloom when asking Twilight to stay for brunch.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: At first glance, one might wonder over the bird that looked like a cardinal but was red on top and brown on the bottom; males are red above and below and females are brown above and below. The pyrrhuloxia is pied but is gray below, and the two species can hybridize.
* RhetoricalQuestionBlunder:
-->'''Twilight Sparkle:''' Spike, do you know what this means?\\
'''Spike:''' No...?
* SealedEvilInACan: The can, in this case, is the Moon.
* SocietyOnEdgeEpisode: Due to the threat of [[TheNightThatNeverEnds eternal darkness]].
* ShoutOut: Pinkie Pie's reaction to when she first meets Twilight Sparkle may be a reference to ''Series/{{Weinerville}}'' in which Dottie opens every episode with "Welcome to Weinerville" before screaming.
* StorybookOpening. Unsurprisingly accompanied by an ArtShift, using quasi-animations based on the illustrations in the book Twilight is reading.
* SurroundedByIdiots: "All the ponies in this town are '''crazy!'''"
* TemptingFate: Pinkie Pie to Twilight while waiting for Princess Celestia to [[CueTheSun raise the sun]].
-->'''Pinkie Pie''': This is so exciting! Are you excited? 'Cause I'm excited. I've never been so excited - well, except for the time that I saw you walking into town and I went *{{Gasp}}* but I mean, really, [[LampshadeHanging who could top that]]?
* TurnInYourBadge: When Twilight Sparkle reports her findings about the return of Nightmare Moon to Princess Celestia, the response is that she should stop reading those dusty old books...essentially taking her off the case. This is in fact a {{plan}} meant to ensure that Twilight defeats Nightmare Moon.
* VertigoEffect: On Twilight when she sees Nightmare Moon.
* WeirdMoon: The Sun and the Moon can not be up at the same time (see phases part of the article). The moon also functioned as [[SealedEvilInACan a can for Nightmare Moon]]. When Nightmare Moon escaped, the "Mare in the Moon" disappeared off the face of the moon.
* WelcomeEpisode: Introduces Twilight Sparkle (and Spike) to Ponyville in general, and the rest of the Mane Six in particular. Has some shades of [[EveryoneMeetsEveryone Everypony Meets Everypony]] in that it is likely that the other five may be acquainted with each other socially, but are not necessarily close friends (with a few exceptions).
* WhenThePlanetsAlign: On the longest day of the thousandth year, the stars will help Nightmare Moon escape her prison.
* [[WhileRomeBurns While Equestria Burns]]: Justified. Taking the time to make friends will be what enables Twilight to defeat Nightmare Moon.
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