The entire episode, if for no other reason than this is the episode that proved that this incarnation will not be like prior incarnations.
That especially goes for the title sequence. It's begins with the typical facile cutesie lyrical style of the franchise, and suddenly changes a fast paced rock song leaving you no doubt that this franchise is under a bold new management.
Rainbow Dash really does clear the sky in ten seconds flat.
This editor took count when she did it. She pulled it off in eight.
Elements of Harmony
Twilight Sparkle has been suddenly abducted by Nightmare Moon while trying to activate the Elements of Harmony, and is now trapped alone with the dark goddess of Eternal Night gloating at her from across the room, while the only artifacts in the world that might possibly be able to stop her are firmly in the villainess's clutches. What does she do? Put her horn down and charge.
The best part is that it isn't even a Leeroy Jenkins style gesture of defiance. By charging, Twilight Sparkle lured Nightmare Moon down off the podium and away from the Elements of Harmony to meet her charge... and then used her teleport-dodge to skip right past Nightmare Moon at the last instant, leaving her on top of the podium with the Elements while Nightmare Moon is stuck running in the exact opposite direction of where she needs to be. Badass BookwormandBatman Gambit, all in one move.
The out-of-universe example with the audience. This was the revival of a two-decade-old franchise based on a toy that only girls liked, with shows that were largely seen as a joke. The generation that came before this, 3.5, was probably the worst of the adaptations, and it did not help things. Then this two-parter aired. Various boys in the audience fell silent, then exploded in pure happiness at how good everything about this show was. It became a sensation over-night. The best part is that compared to what comes later on, the two-parter may be seen as one of the corniest and most trite of the bunch. It still left G3.5 in the dirt.
Rarity being the first to fight the manticore, and kicking it straight in the face. Two episodes in, and she's already showing her Badass Damsel tendencies.
Applejack bounding her way down the cliff effortlessly, being the only flightless pony to save herself from the cliff collapse.
Applejack, even though it was something she shouldn't have done, earned one by harvesting half the farm's apple trees by herself. Sweet Apple Acres is really big (there's a reason it's called Sweet Apple Acres), so it's likely not an easy feat to harvest half the apples in the entire area within the span of a couple days. Yet Applejack still managed it.
And don't forget that she, in the words of Mayor Mare, single-hoofedly saved Ponyville from a stampede of panicked cows.
Twilight clearing 31 trees at once is pretty awesome.
Griffin The Brush Off
In one of her first Pet the Dog moments, Rainbow Dash is not happy at all when Gilda tears into her friends. Special points for the usually aggressive pony pwning Gilda solely with stern words.
Pinkie deciding to deal with Gilda once and for all after the griffon bullies Fluttershy. Of course, her method of "dealing with" her turns out to be a party and not a series of pranks as we're led to think, but it's rare to see Pinkie deciding to take on a problem so directly and decisively.
The first time we see Pinkie's The Cat Came Back abilities. This wouldn't be notable in any other cartoon, but in this one it's something that no other character had been capable of up to this point and the others are visibly baffled by it.
Twilight's use of magic against the Ursa. To elaborate: she conjures a breeze to pass through reeds to make music to calm the Ursa. While doing that, she empties a water tower and carries it through a barn, while simultaneously milking cows to replace the water. While all that is going on, she levitates the Ursa itself and gives it the water tower-turned-bottle, and levitates it all the way back to its cave home. And is only momentarily winded after she is finished.
Trixie still beat them, but something must be said about Rarity, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack's tricks, which were pretty dang cool.
Applejack's lasso jumps were a lot more impressive than what Trixie did in return, which was just make a rope wiggle. Any unicorn could have done that. She didn't do anything that matched up to what Rainbow Dash did either, she just made her feel dizzy. And Rarity made a dress out of a curtain in about three seconds- Trixie just messed up her hair out of spite. She didn't really beat them, she just immaturely showed them up because she couldn't do better.
Trixie herself gets a small one when she tries to fight the Ursa. Yes, it was completely ineffectual, but the fact remains that she knew she was outclassed, but still made the effort.
Look at how big the lightning bolt she hit the Ursa with was. It might've only lightly singed the huge Eldritch Abomination, but anything smaller likely would've been fried.
Fluttershy at the end. She made a dragon cry. A really, really big dragon, when the entire episode had been about how she's terrified of dragons.:
How dare you? HOW DARE YOU?
Equestria would've been covered in the dragon's smoke for 100 years if Fluttershy hadn't stepped up. That mare saved the entire country.
Rainbow Dash going up against the dragon beforehand. "GET. OUT!!" Her "Hell yes I did" nod when the dragon complained about her kicking him counts as awesome and hilarious.
The pillow fight between Rarity and Applejack is funny and awesome.
The moment where Applebloom, after realizing just how ridiculous everypony's been acting around Zecora, she plants her older sister Applejack on a leaf *
She got shrunk by this plant called Poison Joke. It, like most things on this show, is a long story.
and leaves her there to go set the record straight. As mentioned on the show's funny page, Applejack could do little more than throw a temper tantrum.
Swarm of the Century
Pinkie's one-pony band.
Rainbow Dash shows that she can create tornadoes, which likely would have solved the problem had Pinkie Pie not showed up with those cymbals.
There's also the mane ponies (save Pinkie Pie) corralling the parasprites into the forest, again almost taking care of the problem.
After an episode-long Humiliation Conga at not being able to properly help with the traditionally non-magic winter clearing activities, Twilight sees how disorganized the process is, and is quickly able to earn her own place in the tradition by getting everyone organized to efficiently clear up every trace of winter without getting in each other's way. And is then presented with her own vest, with a combination of all the other teams' colors. Accompanied by the instrumental of the episode song throughout, no less.
And this organized process began a little before sundown, and they still finished it anyway by the next day, right on time. Rephrased, Twilight organized them so well that they wrapped up winter in a third of the ideal time!
Call of the Cutie
Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle calling out Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon for making fun of Apple Bloom at the risk of getting made fun of themselves. And they did so for a pony they didn't even know.
Season 1 - Part 2
Fall Weather Friends
Twilight Sparkle's decision to compete in the race causes hilarity to Dash and Applejack. And why shouldn't it? She's a bookworm, one of the least athletic ponies in the town, has never been in a race and only knows about running from books. Race begins. Twilight is just quietly trotting at the back of the race, looking around, enjoying the scenery, commenting on Applejack and Rainbow Dash's nonsense. She is among the first to arrive, because she was not just looking at the scenery, she was pacing her efforts, contrarily to the others, and once everypony was exhausted, she sprinted her way to the finish line. Needless to say, this is a tactic she learned of in her books. Let that sink in: one of the weakest ponies in the town took fifth place, after consistently being way behind everypony else, presumably without using magic (and she could have just cheated and teleported, but she didn't).
Applejack kicked a high striker hard enough to not only break it, but also sent its bell shooting off into the atmosphere. Especially impressive when you realize that she only had to use one of her legs accomplish this, while her opponent Rainbow Dash had to use both of her hind legs to even ring the bell.
All of ways either pony wins the challenges are pretty awesome, even if Rainbow Dash gets sneaky and starts using her wings later on. Granted she holds to Applejack's demand and keeps up with her using only her hooves during the race.
Suited for Success
The second fashion show on two counts:
For Rarity. It's easy to forget that the completely awesome special effects as well as the dresses were produced by her. Before this, the only real things she used her magic for was telekinesis and not really anything else. Who knew she had that kind of magic in her?
For the creators in a meta sense. It's a fashion show, and it's not at all ironic like the first one, but it's still awesome, even if you think fashion is completely frivolous. It's a perfect example of how they can make something great out of ideas that don't sound promising at all.
Fluttershy suddenly speaking up and pouring a ton of fashion critique when Rarity pesters her.
Feeling Pinkie Keen
Twilight pulling a You Shall Not Pass on a Hydra. For reference, the Hydra is several hundred times her size, has been actively trying to eat the group, and is one of the few monsters in the series where Talking the Monster to Death is not an option. She manages to hold it off long enough for Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Spike to get to safety. The fact that the entire episode until that moment had been one long Humiliation Conga for Twilight only serves to emphasize how awesome this moment was.
Kind of one for Rainbow Dash too, despite not being in the episode. How does Twilight pull off the You Shall Not Pass? By charging the hydra. Why does she charge the hydra? Because that's what Rainbow Dash would've done. Dash can apparently inspire acts of awesome without being there herself.
Dash's Sonic Rainboom in the process of saving Rarity and half of the Wonderbolts from falling to their death. A sonic rainboom consists of breaking the sound barrier and causing some sort of light refracting phenomenon that makes a rainbow-colored shock wave.A feat considered impossible in-universe.
Not to mention that somepony did the math◊, calculating that Rainbow Dash was pulling 1600+ g-forces at the time. If you use the graphics shown in the episode, she's not just flying at supersonic speeds, they're hypersonic. That's right, little Dashie can fly at five times the speed of sound, which means, if this video is correct and the sonic Rainboom doubles Rainbow's speeds for the duration, that she is pulling that turn at ten times the speed of sound, or 3397.5 meters per second. If we follow the math formulas from the before example that gives us 166405.15 g-forces.
If the above is correct, then Rarity deserves one just for surviving.
Fluttershy in that scene, who was cheering in her very own extra-shy way at the beginning of the episode, suddenly burst out in hysteric cheers while Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie look on in awe. Just awesome.
Fluttershy trying to tell off the Jerk Jocks who are bothering Rainbow Dash. It... doesn't quite work, but Fluttershy having the courage to stand up to bullies (who we later learn once teased her when she was a filly) for the sake of her friend, especially at this point in the series where she hasn't yet learned to be more assertive, is quite a feat.
The Stare Master
Fluttershy again. To put it in perspective Twilight Sparkle, the most powerful unicorn in Ponyville, could not stand up to the cockatrice and ended up as a statue. Fluttershy marched up to the monster and stared right into its eyes while telling it off and threatening to tell its mother about it. While being slowly turned into stone.It backs down.
Also, what she says to the Crusaders right before she does it: after spending the entire episode unable to get them to heed or obey her, she just shouts (well, shouts by Fluttershy standards), "Girls! Behind me now!" You realize in that moment that she has resolved to save the fillies in her charge or die trying. The final scene shows that she now doesn't even have to raise her voice to instantly get their attention.
Scootaloo's full-on epic scooter scene just after the theme song. Jumping off her scooter mid-ride, over a branch too low to scoot under, in slow motion with birds flying about, landing on the other side, and continuing to ride. The way she dismounts and pulls her helmet off is nothing short of awesome.
Even with how bad the Crusaders' act turns out, you have to admire the sheer amount of effort and ambition they put into it, with complex choreography and special effects. And the way they actually get through the whole song without missing a beat even as the chaos unfolds around them.
Formidable, nothing, if he hadn't gotten his head stuck in a tree limb, he'd have taken all three to the cleaners, and this is a kid fighting three adults, each of which is at least twice his size. As far as we know, Spike has never fought before in his life, nor had any sort of combat training, but given that The Power of Love (close friend to The Power of Friendship, and just as potent in this series) was fueling him, that more than made up the difference. Well, that and the whole "dragon" thing, but he isn't even using his breath-weapon (probably because he IS just a child and it would constitute maiming force).
A group of Diamond Dogs ambush, mount, and rope the ponies in the "rescue party," with one Dog shouting "More workhorses!" Applejack responds:
"Whoo, doggies! If you think you can take this bull by the horns, you better bet ready for a ride! YEEEEEEEEHAAAAWW!" *cue five-pony rodeo*
Over a Barrel
During the pie fight in "Over A Barrel", background pony Carrot Top jumps out of the second story of a building, lands on a buffalo, and rides him rodeo style. The whole time she has a huge grin on her face like she's having fun.
Other good moments for the settler ponies include tricking one of the buffalo into knocking itself out on an anvil and managing to take out the buffalo chief (kind of).
The ponies pulling the train managing to fend off the buffalo hounding them.
Cutie Mark Chronicles
In what could be the crowning moment of the season, Rainbow Dash perform her first Sonic Rainboom as a young filly, earning her Cutie Mark in the process, and in doing so inadvertently causes the rest of the mane cast to get theirs as well.
Filly Twilight's sudden power-up that caused her to not only hatch Spike (which, presumably, was what the test was for), but to cause her examiners to float in the air, turn her parents into plants, and enlarge baby Spike enough to break a hole in the tower ceiling and attract Celestia's attention. It was awesome to see just how powerful her magic is even at such a young and untrained age. Like Celestia says:
Celestia: Twilight Sparkle, I have never come across a unicorn with your raw ability.
Faust stated that the dragon egg test was something akin to an Unwinnable Training Simulation; the fact that Twilight actually hatched the egg forced Celestia to learn how to raise and train Spike on her own to later give to Twilight as her assistant.
Owl's Well That Ends Well
Owlowiscious physically taking on a full-grown dragon, then flying point to lead Twilight and Spike out of the forest with that thing chasing them every step of the way.
The entire chase scene. You don't mess around with a character with such a command on cartoon physics, no matter how nice or carefree they may usually seem.
Rainbow Dash literally dragging Pinkie Pie out of her depression and halfway across town.
The Best Night Ever
Rarity spends much of "Best Night Ever" trying to woo Prince Blueblood, only for him to act like a complete Jerkass in return. At the climax of the episode, after being used as a shield against a cake thrown across the room, she finally loses it and gives him a piece of her mind in an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
The clincher? The Prince shrinks back as Rarity gives her speech, afraid of her getting frosting and cake on him. When he complains about her being messy, she shouts "Afraid to get DIRTY?!" and shakes herself so that he gets covered in frosting too. Anyone who's been watching the entire show up to this point will appreciate this moment even more, considering Rarity's own moments of Super OCD in previous episodes.
Season 2 - Part 1
The Return of Harmony, Part 1
Fluttershy gets one in the first episode. When Discord tries to corrupt her like the others by telling her she's helpless and her friends don't like her, she responds with her usual sweet and kind self and says she's lucky to have such great friends and appreciates them thinking she can do better. Discord can't corrupt her the usual way, and just manually corrupts her instead. She's the one who makes Discord break his facade. When his manipulations fail, he snaps and gets enraged for the first and only time so far.
How well Rarity also resists Discord's temptations, and still manages to walk away from the diamonds in the rock after she's revealed to have Mind-Control Eyes. Even Fluttershy fell immediately after her brute force brainwashing.
Discord himself gets quite a few in the first episode. He manipulates the ponies under his rules, and orchestrates their loss like a pro. Dash's corruption in particular is extremely cunning, appropriate considering it ‘wins’ him the game.
Also managing to steal the elements when they were guarded by a spell only Celestia could break.
An offscreen CMOA is from none other than Princesses Celestia and Luna, who were able to stop Discord's reign of chaos with the newly-discovered Elements of Harmony a thousand years ago. Now imagine that story with the climax from episode 2, with the royal sisters in the place of the Mane Six and Discord in Nightmare Moon's place, turned to stone by the stark opposite of his own existence.
An onscreen CMOA for Princess Celestia in the Canterlot Tower scene. Listen to Discord's monologue to her. He's trying to push the princess' buttons and get inside her head. Celestia responds to his teasing with a Shut Up, Hannibal! and in another one orders him to quit screwing around and answer her original question. Discord begrudgingly answers with a cryptic riddle and then vanishes before Celestia could demand a straight answer.
Seeing the girls working together to get rid of the cotton-candy rain clouds is pretty impressive.
The entire chase scene after Rainbow Dash is completely epic. Fluttershy, pulling Twilight's Twinkling Balloon, tries to catch up to the corrupted Rainbow Dash, but she's still too fast for her even with Rarity and Pinkie Pie weighing her down. That is until this exchange:
Rarity: Oh Fluttershy, could you be a dear and fly faster, please?
She then proceeds to outpace Rainbow Dash. This is Fluttershy we're talking about. The one who has repeatedly been stated to be a rather poor flyer. By comparison, Rainbow Dash is capable of shattering the visible light spectrum.
Discord's downfall. The Rainbow Of Light return and Twilight get an epic"World of Cardboard" Speech, followed by the look on Discord's face when he realizes the Elements Of Harmony work now and it's too late for him to do anything about it.
Twilight Sparkle: I'll tell you what we've learned, Discord! We've learned that friendship isn't always easy, but there's no doubt it's worth fighting for!
What's more Badass is she just told off what amounts to the God of Chaos. The girl has serious guts. On top of that, she delivered that speech just after teleporting to her friends and protecting them from Discord's telekinesis with a magical barrier. That bears repeating - she actually stood up to and countered Discord's magic with her own. The force field returning the ground back to normal when it lands really sells it.
Celestia gets one by being the Spanner in the Works to Discord and helping Twilight realize what she has to do to reunite her friends. Bonus points for Out Gambitting Discord by just sending some letters.
Twilight being the only one to overcome the depths of despair and chaos without assistance from magic. Then going about saving her mates. Which included having to tie up and probably chase Fluttershy, who we see can be a competent flyer when she isn't scared.
Twilight and Spike fighting and successfully retrieving the book containing the Elements of Harmony from the corrupted ponies. Notably, Twilight takes on Pinkie Pie and Applejackat the same time, without resorting to magic.
Spike tackling Jerk!Fluttershy out of the air was also awesome.
Even though it ultimately fails, there's Twilight deciding that she has taken enough crap from the Discorded ponies and taking charge of the situation after discovering the Elements, successfully persuading the others into getting out of the library to confront Discord.
Discord producing a glass, which he fills with chocolate milk from the top to the bottom, then drinking the glass, and tossing the still glass-shaped milk over his shoulder, causing it to explode and the explosion was even dark, not bright. Discord just holds a nonchalant face through it, like this happens all the time for him.
Fluttershy wrestles a bear. Actually, she was being a chiropractor for the bear. Still, the initial scene was badass. Fluttershy having the courage to help a bear in pain is great in itself, following on from the Manticore in the pilot.
You've seen the Sonic Rainboom, right? How about a Sonic RainNUKE?
Beforehand, Rainbow Dash kicking through walls and biting through ceiling beams.
Clearly, Rainbow Dash is too awesome to be contained by the show's world. Here's hoping she doesn't get fourth-wall lessons from Pinkie.
Spike finally getting fed up with Twilight's issues and yelling at her to "SNAP OUT OF IT!"
Spike gets another one by writing to the high ruler of all Equestria herself, knowingly going above Twilight's head in doing so, so that she could come down and help Twilight out with her problems, knowing that they have taken too great a hold on her. And he did this with a claw cramp that he got from writing all day.
Princess Celestia's clearly angry demeanor towards Twilight when she arrived and the magic she uses to cancel Twilight's spell is a reminder why she is the Princess of Equestria.
Also the way she easily cancelled Twilight's spell over everypony. It's not often we get to see the princess unleash her power that way.
Despite witnessing this, Twilight's friends still rush to the library in her defense. They'll look out for Twilight, angry sun goddess or no.
Spike's method of cleaning the frosting off of himself. Pinkie Pie would be proud.
Luna makes her long awaited return by arriving in a beam of moonlight riding a demonic chariot pulled by a pair of pegasi that look like soldiers right out of Pony Hell with Luna herself dressed like a Sith Lord, all set to Nightmare Moon's theme from Season 1 and Dramatic Thunder. It doesn't help improve her "public image", but it sure was a badass entrance.
The part where she descends from her chariot and her black cloak turns into bats that fly away as she unfolds her massive alicorn wings.
Pretty much any time she pulls the Dramatic Thunder, even in the most mundane contexts, is awesome. The fantastic animation and great use of light(n)ing certainly help.
As if her appearance here wasn't awesome enough, Zecora's story-telling is just amazing. She really has a flair for the dramatic, and the way she makes use of her own special brand of magic makes it even cooler, with just enough creepiness to be scary at the same time.
Luna stopped a panicked stampede of townsponies with the over the top Traditional Royal Canterlot Voice, essentially bringing everypony within earshot to their knees (even Twilight).
The fans were very worried about this episode, as giving Luna a canon personality would invalidate a year's worth of fanwork speculation that had become very popular. Her canon personality being accepted by those fans was as unlikely as the show itself earning such devotion.
Rainbow Dash dressing as a Shadowbolt.
It's more Awesome in Hindsight, but think: if that's the Traditional Royal Canterlot Voice, Celestia must have used it too.
The Sisterhooves Social
Rarity running the race with Sweetie Belle. May not seem like much, but then you realize: this is Rarity, who freaks out at the mention of dirt, covering herself from horn to hoof in mud and engaging in rough and tumble, "uncouth" activities she would normally spurn, all for the sake of her sister. And it includes the likes of launching Sweetie Belle over an entire climbing hazard with one leg, bucking a barrelful of grapes in one kick, and launching a bench full of apples. There's some Hidden Depths for you.
The final slide toward the finish line. Any baseball player will tell you this is a risky move, in terms of both its effectiveness and the potential for injury. Rarity's willingness to go for it without even thinking says quite a bit about her.
Applejack is able to hold her breath under the mud for the entire time the race lasts, just to help Rarity and Sweetie Belle make up. This applies to Rarity as well, perhaps even more so. Think about it: In order for her and Applejack to switch places like that without Sweetie Belle or anypony else noticing, Rarity must have been waiting under the mud for quite a while before the race even started.
There's more awesome to Rarity hiding in the mud than just the time she spends under it. She couldn't move or exhale at all, or it could have blown her cover. She couldn't even gasp for breath when she came out, because from Sweetie Belle's POV Applejack was only under for a few seconds at most. This girl had to fight her reflexes on top of her fear of uncleanliness to pull of what she did!
Rarity was able to keep herself under control with all of Sweetie Belle's messes. Considering how frequently Sanity Slippage happens in this show, the fact she had enough self control to not snap under the pressure is a feat in and of itself.
The Cutie Pox
After being bullied by Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon in Call of the Cutie, Apple Bloom finally gets to show them up with style.
Sure, Cutie Pox is serious, but there's no doubt some of the feats Apple Bloom is able to perform are awesome. Toward the end of episode she's able to sculpt a statue, tame a pack of lions, carry a heavy barbell (reading 1000) with just her tail, and put up a fight with a fencer all in quick succession while still being able to keep the two plates and loopty hoop spinning.
Zecora successfully guessing what Apple Bloom's injury is as she sets up her rhyme.
Her sudden disappearance at the end of the episode. Leaving in style.
Scootaloo's attempt at bowling may lack precision, but it's quite a kick for a little filly.
May the Best Pet Win!
Most of the animals get at least one during the course of Rainbow Dash's test. Not much of a surprise since one of Rainbow Dash's qualifications for a pet is "awesomeness".
Tank lifting up a boulder with his head and carrying Rainbow Dash to safety, proving his worth to her.
At the start of the race, Tank is stuck on a tall cliff with no visible path into the canyon below (where he is next shown onscreen). In all likelihood, he dropped all the way down to get there.
The bat fighting its way out of a quarry eel's mouth.
And if that hadn't worked, Tank was about to drop Opal's cathouse on her. At the end of the episode, he successfully steals her toy.
And earlier, while Dashie is asleep in the teaser, Winona trees Opalescence. The worst-tempered cat in Ponyville, a cat that raptors fear, and Winona succeeds in treeing her.
The entire canyon race, until Rainbow's accident, is one major crowning moment of awesome. They even went so far as to use Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries". At one point, Dash briefly whistles along with it.
How Rainbow Dash started the avalanche. Those weren't loose boulders or anything. She cracked solid rock just by smacking into it. Clearly the Ghastly Gorge just isn't tough enough to have Rainbow Dash in it.
Rainbow Dash was able to cut corners better than a lightcycle (and leave sweet rainbow trail to boot).
The Mysterious Mare Do Well
The Mysterious Mare Do Well using her incredible agility and reflexes to effortlessly dodge the falling debris and save the construction workers. secret identity spoilers It's actually Pinkie Pie using her Pinkie Sense to predict incoming danger and reacting accordingly.
Pulling each piece of the dam perfectly back into place in ten seconds flatwhile holding back megatons of water from pouring through. secret identity spoilers It's Twilight using her magic.
Stopping a runaway carriage from careening off a cliff using only her hind hooves.secret identity spoilers Nopony else but Applejack, of course.
The flight scene after the dam incident. secret identity spoilers Oh, Fluttershy.
For all her ego, Rainbow Dash does actually rescue a filly from the bottom of a well, saves a baby carriage from tumbling off a cliff (same cliff as above, they should really put up some guardrails or something), and catches an entire balcony of senior citizens. If she wasn't such a braggart she'd make a heck of a super hero.
Incidentally, during the building rescue she successfully manages to dodge a ton of debris almost falling onto her — the same way she wasn't quite able to the previous episode.
Though an in-Universe case of Mundane Made Awesome, it is sort of impressive that Rainbow Dash was able to mow the whole lawn in five seconds flat.
Rainbow Dash pursuing the Mare Do Well and actually capturing her. After an entire episode of being outdone, ostracized, humiliated, and depressed thanks to her, it was awesome finally seeing her take the Mare Do Well down. Well one any ways the others revealed themselves after Rainbow took down the first
Sweet and Elite
Fancy Pants' entirecharacter. A fashionable, aristocratic pony who's actually an open-minded good sport, and not a snooty, pretentious jerk like the other Canterlot elite? Is it any wonder that he's a trendsetter, while the other ponies are merely Yes Ponies? The show's subverted the "high society is evil and filled with haughty jerks" before with other celebronies who turn out to be reasonable people, but Fancy Pants' character—and in direct opposite to the more typical Jerkass high society ponies, who are noticeably less important than he is—is the most blatant yet.
"Yes. Yes, I do know them. They may not be as sophisticated as you Canterlot ponies, but they are my very best friends and they are, without a doubt, the most important ponies I know."
Secret Of My Excess
One of the Wonderbolts' wings slices through Mega!Spike's spikes. Since dragon skin is tough, that's really impressive.
That the Wonderbolts are apparently the Equestrian Air Force.
It may be counterproductive, but Pinkie Pie defending the bakery the only way she can from a giant dragon she doesn't know is Spike was pretty darn brave.
Pinkie: I'm not giving him cake! I'm assaulting him with cake!!
Rarity losing the Distressed Damsel attitude and talking down Giant!Spike (even though she has no idea it's him), knowing full well he's a rampaging beast who's easily twenty times bigger than her.
Regarding a couple scenes later, she is completely right that Spike was able to put the kibosh on his own problems and pull himself together after he's seen what he's done.
Applejack staring after Spike (with a mustache of leaves, no less), uttering nothing but a simple: "Twilight, get my rope."
Despite the soft purple and green color scheme, giant Spike still looks pretty badass. He also has the potential to completely curbstomp everyone in the show (including Equestia's air force and its more potent magic users).
Scootaloo manages to keep her grip on her scooter despite being opposed by a dragon easily twice her size. Also, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle anchoring Scootaloo so she doesn't get dragged off. Who'd have thought that the CMC had that much strength between them?
Family Appreciation Day
Granny Smith wowing Apple Bloom's class with the story of how her family founded Ponyville, and was even responsible for the success of Diamond Tiara's family. The story includes Granny's painstaking recording of all the silly little tasks that would make the zap apples as good as possible, over a period of what has to be several years.
Back when there wasn't a proper Ponyville settlement to retreat to, the young Granny Smith braved the dangerous Everfree Forest in the middle of the night and completely alone, all to find food for her family. She didn't even have any idea of what to look for beyond "something edible" (and even that's hoping that ponies and wild Everfree denizens can eat the same stuff).
Pound Cake having the strength to drag the full-grown Pinkie Pie around the whole house, and Pinkie hanging on through the whole thing.
Pumpkin Cake demonstrating unicorn magic that's never been seen before: levitating herself, and walking through walls.
Pound can fly and Pumpkin can use magic when they're just one month old. The fact that some fillies, like Twilight, had to wait until Rainbow Dash formed the first Sonic Rainboom to see her magic abilities and Scootaloo still not able to fly, is actually a pretty awesome accomplishment. Rarity and Rainbow Dash's comments about baby unicorns and pegasi respectively suggested that foals don't have much control over their skills, which the twins did.
Carrot Cake changing diapers lightning-fast. With his mouth. Guy just earned his Dad Card.
Pinkie's response to Twilight telling her that she just doesn't have it in her to be a caregiver. She shoves her out, slams the door in her face, goes back to the twins, and ultimately manages to pull it all off. Crowning Moment of Politeness, no. But awesome all the same.
She didn't need to be polite in that situation. Twilight does have a tendency to be unintentionally condescending, and while she's a very likable character, it is nice to see when she's called out on this flaw (for another, if smaller example, there's Spike's little irritated cry of "MY lectures!?" in "It's About Time"). Pinkie deserved to get this moment.
Pinkie took a page out of Fluttershy's book by staring them into submission. Granted, not as awesome as Fluttershy's uses, but still, the fun-loving Pinkie Pie scolding the kids is pretty awesome.
Season 2 - Part 2
Hearth's Warming Eve
Clover the Clever's Avatar State magic being able to fend off the Windigos, a magic that previously had never been done before that involved setting the Windigos on fire.
It must be mentioned that not only did this act save the world, it also was without the Elements Of Harmony or anything else. It was pure Power of Friendship with nothing powering it up.
The three tribes warming up to each other on their own.
It's not as obvious, but give the mane cast credit, they put on the biggest play in Equestria and did very well. Especially true for Fluttershy, who was pretty much scared to death of performing, but did excellently all the same.
The Last Roundup
Applejack's impressive rodeo moves at the beginning.
Even though she didn't win any blue ribbons at the rodeo, Applejack still did very well considering this was a national competition. Jubilee's comment implies that not only did she compete in more events than anypony else, but that she also managed to get in the top five for all of them.
Fluttershy once again proving that she can keep the pace with Rainbow Dash. Not to mention she's the one who rams AJ's transportation.
For that matter, her and Rainbow Dash managing to fly over a train while pulling a wagon with Twilight in it.
While Rainbow Dash isn't really known for being the voice of reason, she does a decent job trying to pry the truth from Applejack (who's usually the more responsible of the ponies) and getting her out of her stubborn self exile (eg. utilising Pinkie Pie's Motor Mouth as method of torture, chasing down and finally catching her in a chase out of town). Like the other ponies she plays her part in getting AJ out of her Heroic BSOD as well.
Pinkie's Motor Mouth being weaponized, and her seemingly Unstoppable Rage at broken Pinkie Promises. Fortunately for Applejack, she turns out to be fairly easy to appease.
The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000
Applejack becomes the first character to actually not need to learn a lesson, as she'd spent the whole episode already knowing it.
Twilight gathering the rest of the mane cast to help out the Apple Family with Twilight choosing the appropriate pony for each job. With their help, they end up turning out five cider barrels to the Flim Flam brothers' three, forcing them to forgo quality control for the sake of quantity.
All of the mane cast while helping the Apples. Rainbow Dash keeping up with Big Mac on the treadmill, Pinkie Pie's backwards-somersault mid-air apple catch, Twilight simultaneously barreling the cider andcalculating both teams' production rates, and Fluttershy speeding from tree to tree, knocking down apples as fast as—or faster than—Applejack, who's been doing this her entire life.
Rainbow Dash's reaction to the Flim Flam Brothers' Kick the Dog moment, even if Applejack stopped her before she could beat the tar out of them:
Rainbow Dash: I oughta press you into jerk cider!
It's clear that the entire town is visibly upset by their Kick the Dog moment and that the Apples just lost everything. They didn't just chase the Flim Flam Brothers out of town for rotten cider, but for how rotten of ponies they were to some of their own, giving the entire town one of these.
Applejack refusing to rise to the brothers' bait of trying to make her upset and holding true to her word. She could have easily let Rainbow Dash mess them up, but she refused to fall to their level.
Applejack lassoing the Flim Flam brothers' cider barrel in the blink of an eye when they try to take over the local cider business.
The gauntlet that Daring Do, the Indiana JonesExpy that Rainbow imagines herself as, runs through upon first entering the temple. And showing the benefits of owning a Nice Hat.
Another one for the writer for mixing three different aesops into one episode and doing it very cohesively.
That the show included an Ahuizotl, a mythological creature most of the fans wouldn't even know what it was. The writers really did their homework on this one!
Hearts and Hooves Day
Big Mac is able to drag two bulls carrying a cartful of anvils and even an entire house by a rope just to get to Cheerilee. Note that he's happily doing the Pepe Le Pew bounce through most of it. The house is the only one that gives him any trouble and even that only slows him down for a couple of seconds before he continues on his way.
Michelle Creber gets an entire song to herself, switching effortlessly between Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom's voices.
Cheerilee smashes through the blockade Sweetie Belle set up for her in her attempt to reunite with Big Mac. She also destroys the front doors of both Sugarcube Corner and the Carousel Boutique, wiping out most of the latter building's front wall for good measure.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders keeping Big Mac and Cheerilee apart long enough to undo the effects of the poison. What we have here are two juggernauts magically compelled to stare into each other's eyes and these three fillies kept them apart for exactly an hour. The Mane Six themselves couldn't have done better.
A Friend in Deed
It may be a bit mundane, but Pinkie managing to remember even the smallest details about everypony is pretty impressive, especially since she does it in order to make people smile and be happy.
The whole "Smile" sequence, and not just for the music.
When Pinkie Pie achieves her goal, she blasts off into the sky like a firecracker.
When he's trying to get away from Pinkie Pie, Cranky performs some impressive athletic feats considering his age.
She tipped two giant carts over with a kick. This is coming from a pony who formerly couldn't even knock over a vase when angry.
And then she stood up to Iron Will in the end.
Pinkie Pie's Duck Season, Rabbit Season on the tomato seller, and Iron Will. To give Will some credit, he did eventually see through it when Pinkie tried it on him.
Fluttershy using The Stare to put Angel back in his place.
Iron Will himself, given that he did things like stretch a fence as if it were the ropes of a wrestling ring when frustrated, riled up an entire crowd of ponies with his Hulk Hogan-esque Showmanship, and made Fluttershy a bully with nothing but a few pamphlets and catchy slogans. Did we mention he's also a Minotaur?
And one for the writers for not taking the easy way out and making Iron Will an all out villain, instead opting to make his antagonistic nature mainly one of values, or rather, methods of upholding them. Iron Will does not at any point do anything truly malicious just for the sake of being a villain, and though Pinkie and Rarity do blame his teachings for what happens to Fluttershy, the episode itself makes it clear that the flaw is mostly in Iron Will's teaching methods, and Fluttershy getting it wrong in the first place. Iron Will backs off and keeps his deal when it's brought up, and even when at his "meanest" (tearing off door barricades to get to Fluttershy), he actually mentions that she was overdue for payment in the first place. All he did was his job the way he figured it should be done, and try to get paid for it.
While heartwarming as well as awesome, Rarity and Pinkie Pie standing up to Iron Will, a minotaur several times the size of either of them, to try to protect Fluttershy from his demands. Turns out that they were wrong about his intentions (he respectably backed down after Fluttershy stood up to him), but they had no idea that would happen. Bonus points for Pinkie, who not only put herself between Iron Will and Fluttershy's door multiple times, but got "in his face" a couple of times as well to try to put him off.
When defending Rarity, Pinkie Pie still brings her own unique flair to the argument, complete with rhymes and poses.
Even Derpy got one in this episode. While it may not just be her not quite getting everything, when Iron Will silences everyone at the seminar, Derpy is the only one who showed no fear towards Iron Will, even though he wasn't a villain.
More towards Iron Will, considering a lot of ponies look down on him, it gives the impression he had to claw/pull himselfs up by his own bootstrapes towards being tough and comptent on his own.
It's About Time
Fluttershy managing to tame Cerberus by treating it like a real dog is a mix of this, CMoH, and CMoF.
Even better, right before that, Twilight just saunters up to Cerberus like it's no big deal as her horn starts glowing as if she's preparing to cast a spell. Too bad it didn't take.
The Mane Three head off after Spike on the dragon raid, setting us up to think they'll show up just in time to talk Spike out of smashing the egg. Instead, he has his epiphany completely on his own, and tells the other dragons off.
The two phoenixes saving their kids, showing what a bird of fire can really do.
Even though they ran away afterwards, the three willing to go Mama Bear on the teen dragons. Especially Rarity.
Rarity: Fighting's not really my thing, I'm more into fashion, BUT I'LL RIP YOU TO PIECES IF YOU TOUCH ONE SCALE ON HIS CUTE LITTLE HEAD!
Spike finally being accepted into the dragons' group. He even wins the "King of the Hoard" competition momentarily under his own power.
Right in the beginning, it's clear that Fluttershy still has her new assertive attitude. When Rainbow Dash pulls her through the door to see the dragons, Fluttershy bounces back, knocking back Dash before hopping off her and racing for the window...
...which she very gently opens before flying away.
Twilight teleporting not only herself but three of her friends away from the pursuing dragons, and managing what seems to be the longest-distanced (intentional) teleport she's done in the series yet.
Upon learning that the present pegasi might not be able to create a strong tornado to bring the water up to Cloudsdale much less break the wingpower record, Rainbow Dash decides to go through with it anyway, saying that while they won't be able to break the record, Cloudsdale still needs that water. Expect no less from the Element of Loyalty.
When the tornado fails, Twilight urges Rainbow Dash to give up since somepony could get hurt if they fail to make another strong tornado. Her response:
That not a single pegasus sided with Twilight on this counts as a CMOA for the whole town.
It's especially carthartic considering Rainbow's frequent role as the Leeroy Jenkins and Commander Contrarian (particular in her Butt Monkey level previous appearances). For once the hot blooded pony goes against advise and takes a worthy gamble, and it works!
When Fluttershy was in the second tornado, images of the fillies who picked on her flashed in her head. Instead of letting it get to her like it did throughout the episode, she screams "NO!" and speeds up, giving the tornado the proper velocity needed to send the water to Cloudsdale.
Fluttershy sucks an about-to-fall tear right back up into her eye.
Fluttershy managing to motivate herself at all and start her own training regimen to increase her wing power. She may not have seen it as much of an improvement, but numbers don't lie: she managed to increase her wing power by 360% entirely on her own. And she did it either in less then a day to a few days tops. Rather impressive for a non-athlete like Fluttershy.
Even after she did that, she only got 2.3 wingpower. The tornado got stuck at 5 wingpower short of the minimum needed amount. Then Fluttershy joins in, and the tornado succeeds. So she actually managed to do 5 wingpower minimum. Everything combined, Fluttershy went from 0.5 to 5 wingpower, which is a factor 10 more powerful.
It's very cathartic to see Diamond Tiara getting her karmic retribution at the end of the episode.
Twilight making a force field around the whole library. The next Nightmare Moon or Discord is going to have a much tougher fight on their hands with magic like that.
Watch Rarity's shadow when she goes into Sweetie Belle's room to confront her about being Gabby Gums. She kung fu kicks the door open.
MMMystery on the Friendship Express
Seeing parodies of Dick Dastardly, James Bond, and a ninja movie was pretty awesome to see, and it all came out of Pinkie's mind.
Twilight solved the mystery, almost completely on her own, and identified all three culprits, in five minutes tops.
Topped by Pinkie figuring out the secondary mystery in just seconds, once she has a better idea of how to look for clues.
A Canterlot Wedding Part 1
Remember when Twilight erected a force field around the library? Shining Armor did same thing for all of Canterlot. Apparently, incredible magic potential runs in their family.
Luna flying through Canterlot's force field and landing on a balcony near Celestia. "Rest, my sister. As always, I will guard the night". Truly the royal pony sisters as they were meant to be.
A Canterlot Wedding Part 2
The entire episode for everyone involved at Studio B. When you have fans saying that the two parter was comparable to DisneyRenaissance era films, you know they really hit one out of the park this time.
One for Meghan McCarthy for penning this gem. This was her last episode for the show, so she decided to make it perfectly clear that if she was going, she was taking what was left of the original franchise with her!
The incredible Beam-O-War between Princess Celestia and Queen Chrysalis. Unfortunately, Celestia is defeated thanks to Chrysalis feeding off of Shining Armor's love for Cadance.
What Princess Celestia says before she starts fighting Queen Chrysalis, that shows that Celestia would be damned if Chrysalis were to succeed in her plan..
Princess Celestia: No. You won't. You may have made it impossible for Shining Armor to perform his spell, but now that you have so foolishly revealed your true self, I can protect my subjects from you!
Want to know something even more awesome? Even after that massive power up she'd gotten, Chrysalis was visibly straining against Celestia's power. Celestia, even if she lost, managed to make Chrysalis sweat a bit before she did.
Cadance the real one gets a minor one when she and Twilight face off against the brainwashed bridesmaids, simply by distracting them with the bouquet and tossing it into a ditch, luring them away.
And again when she casts her Love spell just once and immediately breaks Chrysalis' sway over Shining Armor. To put that into perspective, Chrysalis has been regularly blasting Shining Armor with a brainwashing spell for at days.
The Mane Six's all-out brawl against the Changelings ending with a Powerpuff Girls-style beatdown montage.
Pinkie using Twilight as a gatling gun and weaponizing her party cannon deserve a special mention.
Also, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash using trickery and deception against the changelings, and Fluttershy emerging from the battle apparently untouched, despite not having raised a hoof against an opponent.
Changeling!Cadance: Ugh! Why must she be so protective of her brother? (talking about Twilight while sobbing dramatically) Why does she have to ruin my special day?
Real!Cadance: Because it's not your special day! It's mine!
Perhaps a minor one for Cadance, but when she is trapped in the crystal cave with Twilight they are running trying to find a way out they see a light that's far away and Twilight stops in despair but Cadance doesn't even stop and tries to push a heavy mining cart with everything she can because she knows she needs to find someway to save Shining Armor even if it is hopeless. Of course, Twilight steps in to help her and Cadance remembers that she has her world's version of a battle hardened warrior mage at her side, for whom nothing is impossible!
When the minecart goes flying and Cadence and Twilight are left floating in the air, Twilight grabs her, not sure of what will happen. Then Cadence's wings flare out. Keep in mind that she's probably been in in the caves for several days with no food or water and still manages this!
After trapping Twilight in the underground cave, Changeling!Cadance begins gloating about having her brother wrapped around her finger. Twilight instantly goes from cowering terror to Unstoppable Rage, zapping any showing of the villain. You do not threaten her big brother. Not to mention that it's always been assumed that Twilight was capable of powerful offensive magic like that, but this is the first time we actually get to see it onscreen.
Keep in mind, this takes place immediately after the end of the previous episode where the she and said brother have had a serious falling out in which he straight up tells her not to bother showing up to the wedding at all. The sheer amount of devotion to her brother that shows is awesome in and of itself.
Didn't quite like how Twilight's friends just brushed her off in the previous part? Well, Chrysalis delivers a pretty cathartic calling out to them.
YMMV on this one- The Mane Five had no idea what Cadance was really like.
The animation from when Celestia was giving her exposition on the Crystal Empire.
Shining Armor holding off King Sombra while the others escape, showing himself as capable of offensive magic as his sister. Unfortunately it does little good against an enemy who is literally a shadow.
Cadance casting and maintaining a shield of love around the entire Crystal Empire, going sleepless for days to do so.
Seeing Celestia and Luna defeating a villain onscreen, if only as a flashback/hologram.
The Crystal Empire Part 2
Spike becomes the hero by Twilight letting him bring the Crystal Heart to Cadence so that she could use its power to save the Crystal Empire and stop King Sombra. This definitely makes up for his 7-episode absence last season as well as his being generally shafted in terms of plot relevance in previous two parters.
He also unhesitatingly follows Twilight down an exceedingly long, dark stairway just because he could no longer hear her answering him and was worried, without any knowledge at all as to what might have happened to her. He succeeds in saving her too, as his arrival snaps Twilight free from the illusory spell that had trapped her.
The very fact that Spike hurries off after Twilight the moment he hears that she intends to search for the Crystal Heart on her own, determined not to be left behind, quite a demonstration of his Undying Loyalty to her as well as a CMoH. And in doing so he turned out to be the Spanner in the Works that allows Sombra's defeat.
And in the end he gets a whole stained-glass window to himself!
The entire two-parter. If A Canterlot Wedding wasn't Meghan McCarthy's victory lap, then this episode certainly is. If there are any claims that this show will falter without Lauren Faust at the helm, this is the counter evidence.
Twilight again shows herself to be able to replicate even seemingly complicated spells after having seen them only performed once. Her solution to having to climb up an absurdly tall spiral staircase counts as well.
Once again Shining Armor and Cadance prove themselves to be quite the Battle Couple, even with both their magic suppressed/weakened, when Shining Armor launches Cadance into the air so she can glide forth and save the falling Spike along with the Crystal Heart with levitation.
King Sombra gets one for how Dangerously Genre Savvy he is. He takes no chances with the Crystal Heart, going to such lengths to keep anyone from finding it that Spike going with Twilight is quite literally the only reason he didn't win. He even takes into account the possibility that Twilight could teleport out of his trap!
Discord and Nightmare Moon spent an entire episode trying to disable the one thing that could stop him. Chrysalis had to cut the heroines off from the Elements to stop them. Sombra already stopped the one thing that could stop him a thousand years ago and put it behind so many defenses (the last of which turned into a benefit to him) that his planning alone nearly ensured his victory.
The door sequence, if just to show how mature the show has become over the past two years.
The Crystal Ponies get one. They were enslaved by Sombra, are absolutely terrified of him, and he's generally crushed their spirits to the point the slightest reminder of him drives them back towards despair. This makes the fact that they are the ones to power up the Crystal Heart and finish him off all the sweeter. Especially the fact Sombra is left vainly ordering them to stop, knowing what's coming and not able to do a thing about it.
Babs finally stands up to Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon by threatening to tell their mothers if she ever catches them bullying the Cutie Mark Crusaders again. Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon fall into the mud by themselves.
She's not the only one ticked off with their bitchiness. Look at the background right before that scene, and you can see Applejack giving off a rather angry face. The kind of face that would probably have her go all Big Macintosh on them had Babs not stepped in.
Not gonna lie, the Oh Crap expression on their faces when Babs threatens to tell their moms was priceless. About time someone told the Spoons and Riches what the little brats have been doing.
Not to mention the Slasher Smile Babs gives to the two right after she threatens them. Yeah. You heard right. This might be the reason why they fell into the mud. They probably thought Babs might wind up bullying them.
In short, not since Hermione Granger has threatening to tell someone's mother been so badass.
The Freakin' A-Team reference!
The fact the writers managed to take what most shows would turn into a run of the mill A Very Special Episode, and turn it into what seems to be a pretty much universally loved episode, while also producing a complex character instead of a two dimensional bully is awesome in and of itself.
It may not have been the right solution to their problem, but the CMCs building a fully functional booby-trapped float in one night is impressive.
Not to mention that they had planned everything out for their plot to succeed, including setting down a mattress off to the side just so that they would have someplace soft to land when Babs knocked them out of the way to get on the float.
Scootaloo finally flies (or at least hovers for an extended period of time)!
And Sweetie Belle makes magic sparks!
Twilight's second duel with Trixie. Everything she did was amazing, but the most epic thing was when she bucking turned Applejack into a stallion!!!
The awesome was not lessened at all when it was revealed that it was an elaborate ploy put on by the Mane 6, Sweetie Belle, and the Apple family. To pull off a trick like that was truly incredible and a joy to watch. Furthermore, it is also a major role reversal of the power dynamics. Twilight has always been seen as a master of magical forces, and while Trixie can do some of that too, her appearances make it clear that her main focus, her main talent, was in stage magic, the art of illusion and misdirection. With the amulet, all her power is pure magical force. And how does Twilight beat her? She beats Trixie's pure magic muscle with the same sorts of tricks Trixie used to use! Twilight was the less-powerful and more canny spellcaster for a change, and she played the role better than Trixie did! Anything you can do, she can do better...
It also turns out that one of Twilight's tricks did not involve any trickery or magic at all beyond a puff of smoke and a ray from her horn to make it look like she was doing something major and maybe to hide Pinkie getting the instruments out if Twilight wasn't conjuring them. Pinkie repeats her One Pony Band routine from "Swarm of the Century" just by being Pinkie Pie... but withouther mouth!
Rainbow Dash snatching away the Alicorn Amulet.
The Mane Six's acting skills are worth a mention. Things like Twilight choosing Rarity and Applejack for her demonstration and Trixie taking Twilight's amulet were entirely according to plan, but they were still able to convincingly act as though the events were completely spontaneous.
Fluttershy going Mama Bear on Twilight when she's using magic on her animals.
The first duel had some good moments too, including Twilight conjuring up a parasprite to eat the pies Trixie flings at her.
Zecora casually refilling her cup with a simple gesture, revealing that she's got some magic of her own despite not being a unicorn.
Alternatively, she could be using the same smoke-and-mirrors that she taught Twilight to use. Still awesome, though.
Even after seeing how powerful Trixie has become, Twilight's friends immediately step between her and Twilight to stop her from driving Twilight out of town.
Afterward when they all run after Twilight (who is being forcibly thrown out of Ponyville by magic), Spike gets a subtle moment when he is one of the first to reach Trixie's barrier, only second to the pegasi (who are flying). Seeing as he has been shown to occasionally have trouble keeping up with the ponies in the past, that's quite something.
It speaks to how powerful Twilight really is when you consider Trixie had to get something like the Alicorn Amulet to beat her.
Trixie does deserve some Determinator props considering she managed to, while being a social outcast, figure out just what she needed to do to get power, find out where it is, and get the resources to acquire it.
While she didn't pull it off for long, Twilight levitating three globes of water while standing on the surface of a pool was pretty cool.
And Zecora channels a certain Old Master from Star Wars, even borrowing Yoda's "You must unlearn what you have learned" quote. Zecora's intended role as a secondary mentor was finally fully realized in this episode.
Fluttershy's animal friends actually get one in this episode for being instrumental to sneaking Fluttershy past Trixie's barrier. The beavers especially, for not backing down to an otherwise powered-up Trixie.
She's unable to make it last, but Twilight still manages to induce the effects of the age spell for a brief moment after having just witnessed it once. And this is a spell specifically stated that only the absolute top-tier unicorns are capable of!
Sleepless in Ponyville
Rainbow Dash setting up the campsite.
Rainbow Dash's rescue of Scootaloo at the end (both in reality and in Scootaloo's dream).
Oncoming Scootaloo on a scooter - what does Granny Smith do? Lean up slightly and allow Scootaloo to use her as a hurdle! She even winks afterwards! +15 Cool Old Lady points!
And of course for Scootaloo herself, as she had to adapt quickly to the upturned cart, ending in a nice glide that gave her points with Rainbow.
For the first time in three years, ever since her debut in the Season 1 opener, We see Princess Luna in her full power as Princess of the Night. Gone is the little filly who begged her big sister for forgiveness and the awkward monarch who could not connect with her subjects. She rips apart Scootaloo's nightmare and delivers the same sage wisdom we've grown to expect from Celestia. This is what we've been waiting for to see her grow to become the beloved High Queen of the night we know she could be. Definitely the best way to make up for the use of They Wasted A Perfectly Good Character that they had on her.
Don't forget how she arrived in the nightmare. Her face appears in the moon with glowing eyes before she manifests in a flash of light and vaporizes the Headless Horse. It may have been a dream, but dang, was it Badass.
Spitfire didn't know. Until Rainbow Dash burst into her office to hand in her badge, Spitfire had no idea what was going on outside. She didn't see the tornado, she had no way of knowing what had gone on, and the last time Rainbow had come to her office it was to complain about the position she'd been assigned. When Spitfire finds her, she's got Lightning Dust with her, along with two other pegasi who don't look happy; which means that in the few minutes it took for Rainbow Dash to walk back to her friends, Spitfire tracked down Lightning Dust, took witness statements, had LD confirm it, and tracked down Rainbow Dash.
Of course, the true Awesome is that she trusted Rainbow Dash enough to immediately take her word that something had gone horribly wrong. In fact, with Spitfire's treatment of Lightning Dust it's implied that she even had a minor horrified moment when she looked back and realized how reckless Lightning's behavior had really been, and that she had encouraged it. It can be assumed that she then realized Rainbow wasn't just bitter because she was being given real competition for the first time; she was genuinely bothered—as any good leader would be—about somepony carelessly endangering those who are weaker and less outgoing than them. The leader of the Wonderbolts took Rainbow Dash's opinions with the same seriousness she would give the opinions of an equal. Which, for Rainbow, must have been pretty cool.
This needs emphasis: this is Merriwether Williams we are talking about. The same woman who wrote The Mysterious Mare Do Well, one of the most vehemently criticized episodes of the series thus far. Sure, she was one of SpongeBob SquarePants' most legendary writers, having co-written many of the show's best episodes, "Band Geeks" included. But from the minute "Mare-Do-Well" aired, many Bronies would have you believe that she was the anti-Christ. That she was able to bounce back from such a paltry reputation in the same time frame it took for her to get there is quite a feat for any writer.
After being browbeaten and silent for most of the episode, Snowflake finally lets out another "YEAH!"
During the cloud clearing exercise, Raindrops (you know, Derpy's Palette Swapfriend?) clears them by karate kicking. She clears clouds with style.
Many of the training drills are just plain cool to watch - like Rainbow Dash and Lightning Dust clearing clouds by slicing through them and bouncing between them like a pinball, respectively.
The other trainees, having found out that Rainbow Dash—who, as most of them are from the Ponyville/Cloudsdale area, they know has always dreamed of being a Wonderbolt—quit the Academy because she refused to mistreat them any further, immediately throw her a collective salute and accept her as their leader. Which is a position that doesn't actually exist.
The fact that most of them were also there to see Lightning Dust casually dismiss the near-deaths of four innocent ponies (and a pegasus who probably should have been able to save herself) and Rainbow Dash furiously shout her down probably had a lot to do with it, since at that point most of them must have been getting pretty fed up with the dynamic duo's antics.
Apple Family Reunion
Having the entire Apple family rebuild Applejack's family barn while having a shindig going on qualifies.
Special mention goes to Granny Smith. For all her years, that mare knows how to cut a rug like nopony's business.
Spike At Your Service
Applejack taking on and defeating three Timberwolves, saving Spike's life in the process. She manages this again at the episode's climax before her accident.
Spike ends up returning Applejack's favor by lobbing a pebble into the giant timberwolf's open maw, causing it to choke and then collapse. Very much in the style of David Versus Goliath.
Mundane Made Awesome, but Spike completing the tower of rocks for Rainbow Dash and counting every blade of grass in Sweet Apple Acres, tasks that were assigned specifically to try and get him to stop helping Applejack. Some of said rocks were larger than he is! Not to mention that he immediately offered to rebuild the rock tower right after Rainbow Dash knocked it down.
While she was visibly winded afterward, the fact that Rainbow Dash stayed true to her word and was able to knock down the tower is in itself impressive.
Keep Calm and Flutter On
Fluttershy is shown once again to be able to resist Discord's tricks but this time, she turned them AGAINST him!
Fluttershy calling out the others for suspecting her of mindlessly trusting Discord.
On the flip side, Discord being immune to the Fluttershy Stare. After her forcing him to brute force brainwash her rather than talk her into betraying her friends, he'd probably been wanting to do that for a while.
Even better, Discord's creation of an elegant, yet incredibly simple, plan to secure his freedom from the risk of being re-stoned. In less than two minutes after being freed, he has already arranged a large-scale disaster that only he can fix. He bunked with Fluttershy because he already knew that it would be her main responsibility for his being reformed. He pretended to be trying to separate her from her friends to buy time for his real plan to work. He pretended to be on the verge of reforming and then tricked Fluttershy into promising never to use her element against him, knowing that without it, he could not be re-stoned. He then "kept" his end of the deal in a way that caused MORE chaos than before. Knowing that Fluttershy was Incorruptible Pure Pureness embodied meant that once she made that promise, she would keep it no matter what. The most incredible thing is: It. Worked. The only thing he never planned on was the fact that he actually liked having a friend. Otherwise, there would be no one who could stop him from spreading chaos worldwide. But even Discord was smart enough to realize that a world of chaos without Fluttershy as a friend scarcely bore thinking about.
Don't forget eating all the library's reforming spells, which he knew he could get away with as everyone would assume it was just another of his little bits of randomness.
Angel standing up to Discord. For obvious reasons his efforts only made him the episode's Butt Monkey, but it's hard not to be at least a little impressed by a little bunny willing to go up against the God of Chaos.
Celestia casts a new spell to prevent Discord from stealing the Elements. No big deal is made out of it, but considering this is magic that actually seems to work against Discord...
The attention to detail during the scene inside Fluttershy's spinning house.
Just For Sidekicks
How Angel goes back to get Spike's last gem to save him after all conflicts he had with Spike this episode.
Some of the hardship Spike goes through to keep the pets in control is pretty impressive. Perhaps most notably him lobbing one of his gems at a suitcase trolley (with the addition of The Six Million Dollar Man sound effects for a nice touch), instantly creating a blockade for a runaway Angel.
Owlowiscious intimidating Angel. True, he's his natural predator in the wild, but seeing as Angel showed no fear of the God of Chaos in the previously-aired episode...
Angel using Tank to break out of the train at the Crystal Empire.
The fact that many fans consider this for first-timer writer Corey Powell to be a good Spike episode, to the point that within the fandom, Powell's OC is a dragon, contrary to the rest of the writers who are envisioned as ponies. And that's she's cool with this image.
Games Ponies Play
The Mane Six's welcome performance for the "inspector", utilising flips, teleporting, a pyramid formation (which Applejack helps support with nothing but her tail), Rainbow Dash making a heart shape out of her flying trail, and finishing with a big blast from Pinkie's party cannon.
Rarity succeeds in doing Cadance's headdress in the end.
The tourist pony gives Rainbow Dash a race without even meaning to.
Magical Mystery Cure
A rather twisted one for Rarity. When her cutie mark is switched, compelling her to try and fail at weather control, she proves powerful enough to mess up weather all over Ponyville, much more than you would expect from a pony who isn't a magical prodigy like Twilight.
How they made Twilight's promotion about her capability and talents, not some ancestral birthright as a 'royal' title might imply and the writers could have easily used if all they wanted to do was stick some wings on her for Hasbro's merchandising purposes. Might not agree, YMMV, but they tried.
Honestly, this makes every alicorn retroactively even more awesome; Celestia and Luna may have been the first and will probably always be the most powerful, but you become an alicorn when you're not just good at something, not just the best at something; you become an alicorn when you are the physical embodiment of every last aspect of something. Twilight is Friendship, just like Luna is the night, Celestia is the sun, and Cadence is Love.
Even if the above is not the intent of the writers (hopefully, we'll learn more in S4), the means the writers used distinguish the concept of an MLPFIM princess from more typical Disney Princess, in that it is a position of leadership and responsibility and not a glorified title with lots of pampering. In a show designed to sell toys to girls, this is a very strong moral that is the type of thing needs to help that audience to grow up to be leaders themselves, and not expect good fortune to just happen magically.
Twilight corrects the spell not even Starswirl the Bearded was able to complete, all thanks to her new understanding of friendship over three seasons, thus proving once and for all that she is ready for the next level of her studies.
Even better, when Twilight is in the spiritual plane. Celestia brings up the fact that Twilight completed a spell that a great unicorn like Star-Swirl the Bearded couldn't finish, because she had something that he never had, which was true friendship. If you think about it in a sense, it almost means that to some extent, Twilight has managed to surpass Star Swirl the Bearded in that field.
When Pinkie Pie rediscovers her true talent, the entire town, formerly furious, simultaneously erupts in a joyous shout of her name and joins in the musical number.
The brief shot of a set of ponies suddenly grinning and their eyes expectantly wild, right after Pinkie's mane puffs back to normal speaks volumes about how much Pinkie means to the town's happiness.
Don't forget about when Spike helps Twilight. She's suffering from guilt, from what she did, but Spike quickly snaps her out of it, and convinces her to save her friends and Ponyville. Heck, just the way he is able to communicate with her, and motivate her, is an awesome concept all together.
Celestia`s singing for the first time is awesome and heart warming at the same time.
"Honestly?? I feel that people who call them that are ignorant a-holes. That's how I feel. I didn't create this show for little girls, I created it for little girls and their parents — including male parents. It only stands to reason that adult animation fans without children may like it, too. The belief that boys shouldn't be interested in girl things is the main reason there's hardly anything decent for girls in animation — or almost any media, for that matter. It's a backwards, sexist, outdated attitude."
Lauren Faust refuting claims of a Know-Nothing Know-It-All woman who claimed that Rainbow Dash was a "tomboyish lesbian", the fact that Celestia was white and good and Luna being a near-black color and dark was racist, that the show was implying that smarts wouldn't help you in life, and that you need authority figures to tell you what to do with your life. Her response can be seen here. The various people that commented on the KNKIA woman's blog post defending the show also get one.
The official Comic Con poster◊ includes almost every single significant, speaking, and/or popular character from show (at the time).*
It's the non-speaking, insignificant characters that make this awesome. Almost every background or minor character that is loved by the fandom are in there. Derpy Hooves, Trixie, the Shadowbolts, Pokey Pierce, Pinkamena's friends, Doctor Whooves (Nayuki, who made the poster, confirmed that he was turned specifically so that his cutie mark could be seen), Lyra Heartstrings and Bonbon, Octavia, Vinyl Scratch, Colgate and Berry Punch (Nayuki confirmed that it was unintentional but is happy that it turned out that way. Colgate also is giving a dentist's smile. Whether this is a reference to her fan name is currently unknown). If you haven't figured it out already, Nayuki confirmed that the poster was made for Bronies.
Hasbro's reaction to the many parody videos on Youtube. While most companies would file a copyright claim on the videos to get them deleted, Hasbro allows the videos to stay and actually embraces them. They understand how big the Brony community is and how much they enjoy the show.
Hasbro in general has been awesome to the fandom, taking a light-hearted stance on uploading the episodes to Youtube, the various fan-works, and trying to honestly answer questions the fans have about upcoming products. Part of this is because the company has never seen anything like this before.
(it's just Twilight reading a book, nothing out of the ordinary). This was naturally posted on Equestria Daily, and people noticed that on the second computer screen was the blog itself. Some fans said how it would have been funny if the Equestria Daily screen was of the actual article regarding the Season 2 tease, and then Jayson tweeted a second photo◊ of just that. Well played, Mr. Thiessen.
And John de Lancie is experiencing the joy of being part of the MLP fandom. From his twitter: 'Roddenberry warned me that I had no idea what I was getting into with Star Trek. Someone should have warned me about My Little Pony! Egads!'
A major Fan Run Convention, BronyCon Winter 2012, which is held in New York, had a massive turnout this January because 3 major voice actors were there: Andrea Libman, Nicole Oliver, and Ashleigh Ball. The CMOA is that, this summer, the first announced guests are Lauren Faust and John De Lancie. That's right, the creator herself and Discord are coming to BronyCon, and they had to move it to the Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey for more space. Check out Equestria Daily for more information about the news and BronyCon.org for more information about the convention.
Writer Meghan McCarthy came on as a last-minute addition, and the attendee total hit its maximum of 4,000 in the final days before the opening ceremony. A charity auction was held on the first night, with the last item being a Season 1 Comic Con poster signed by nearly every voice actor. The bidding stalled just shy of $1,000, then took off again after Lauren Faust was invited out to add her signature. The winning bid was $4,050.
On February 11, 2012, Hasbro announced that they would be releasing toys of fan-favorite characters Trixie, DJ PON-3, Zecora and Nightmare Moon, along with a more show-accurate Celestia. Taking a look at the reactions from the fans, it's clear that most of them consider this a CMOA for Hasbro.
Lauren Faust put up a second batch of sketches to raise money for medical purposes. Firefly, Medley, Pinkie Pie, Twilight, and Princess Celestia were auctioned off. They raised $18,041 altogether, with the Twilight sketch raising $9100 on its own.
This commercial aired on Pinkie Pie's birthday (75 days after the airing of A Friend In Deed), and was, according to The Hub's Facebook page, made to celebrate that day, which is something only the true fans would recognize. Furthermore, the commercial itself seemed to hint that a video game could possibly be in the works. Bronies rejoiced.
And it's only gotten better. Lauren Faust and Tara Strong are now on board as producers, the total pledges are close to $150,000 (not counting any money in through Pay Pal), and the target was increased to $200,000 by June 10. Various incentives are also being offered for different pledge levels, running from a thank-you in the documentary credits all the way up to a dinner with John, Lauren, and Tara.
The $200,000 goal was reached with nearly a week to spare. It was raised to $270,000 in order to allow the crew to travel to conventions in England and Germany; as of June 7, 2012, that total has also been met.
The final total was $322,022, making it the second most funded film on Kickstarter. And in fact, if the $26,142 raised through Paypal was included, it would be first.
At Comic Con, we got a song with Twilight lamenting how the one thing in her life that she's been completely unprepared for is happening. Once the song ends, Spike realizes she still hasn't said what she's actually talking about, and asks about it. End clip. Trollestia would approve.
On a related note, this. The awesome is not the video itself; great though it is, we've seen fan-made animation of the caliber before. But the awesome is who was doing the voice. And who was potentially risking her entire career to do so.
At the Canterlot Garden 2012 voice actor panel was pretty awesome. Andrea Libman brought a six-year old Pegasister named Prudence onstage for the whole panel. The biggest highlight was when the hosts asked the audience to give Tara Strong the silent treatment for being late to the panel - only for Tara to arrive dressed in a complete Twilight Sparkle cosplay outfit.
Also at Canterlot Gardens 2012, we got a real life example of an Ensemble Darkhorse over the course of the convention: a man dressed as a ninja became so well-known around the con that, at the closing ceremonies panel on the final day, he was invited up to the panel along with the hosts of the con.
The Grand Galloping Gala, the formal dance on the first night, was delayed for over an hour due to problems. While waiting to finally be let in, two or three bronies decided to pass the time by singing some songs from the show. Ten minutes later, they have formed a whole singing flashmob consisting of other bronies in the lobby.
Interestingly, a fairly large subset of MLP FIM fan work also happens to beDr. Who fan work.
The Brony Thank You Fund, Inc.: a group that was created to make a thank you commercial on behalf of the fandom to the magic-makers of the Hub, created the Derpy Hooves Animation Scholarship at CalArts. To supply the money needed, they created the 2013 CalArts Scholarship Calendar including art from top Brony artists. So far, the Scholarship is past the 20% mark, at $10,829. Hopefully people can continue to put funds into this opportunity.
The response of the fandom, showrunners, and others in light of the debacle of first (and likely last) Las Pegasus Unicon convention.explanation The short version: the con organizers severely underestimated the costs to the hotel and VIP agents, forcing others to step in to try to organize the event even as the hotel kicked people out of the various meeting rooms on the last day, and attempted to charge attendees full hotel room rates. The various brony media groups and other con organizers stepped up to assure payments would be made to cover the VIPs and satisfy the hotel. While several attendees were stranded due to sudden, unwanted charges, the fandom came together to help raise money to help these people with auctions, including items supplied by the writers and voice actors, Enterplay, and others. It may not be the brightest spot in the history of the fandom, but the response to correct things was beyond impressive. Details can be found at the #LasPegAssist site.
It's actually somewhat appropriate that this happened the week after "Magical Mystery Cure" aired. "A True, True Friend" became something of an unofficial anthem for the #LasPegAssist movement. Doubles as a Crowning Moment Of Heartwarming.
With Fighting is Magic dead, Mane6 has decided to start from scratch in terms of plot, and artwork, (and maybe more if they change to Skull-girls) and look at who they got on their team!. Of course, this assumes they aren't swapping to Skull-girls.
This counts as a CMOA for Skullgirls as well, but their Indiegogo campaign hitting and surpassing the cap of $725,000 means that Mane6 will be able to use the Z Engine for free! Sure they'll have to start from scratch, but the Z Engine completely blows Fighter Maker 2000 (The original game engine Mane6 was working with) straight out of the water in terms of what can be done and is far easier to work with. This means that out of the ashes of Fighting Is Magic, a new grander game will emerge. It proves that creativity and passion for a work can triumph in the face of C&Ds.
The fact that whoever was behind translating the show into Japanese managed to make theme songs that were as upbeat and infectious as the original tracks. Seriously, you can't help but smile when listening to them. (It helps that they show some of the most funny and heartwarming clips from other episodes during them.) The opening song, in particular, is delightfully energetic and probably counts as a Woolseyism.