Recap: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S1 E26: "The Best Night Ever"
Everypony gets dressed up for the season finale.
Twilight Sparkle: ...No!... Rarity: ...I've waited all my life... Fluttershy:...for this moment... Pinkie Pie:...and I'm not going to... Applejack:...let it slip by!... Rainbow Dash:...If it's the last thing I do... Twilight Sparkle: ...I'm gonna make this... All:...the bestnight ever!
Written by Amy Keating Rogers
The night of the Grand Galloping Gala has finally arrived! Everyone's excited about it being "the best night ever", and hopes for each of their dreams to come true. To recap: Fluttershy wants to befriend the creatures in the gardens surrounding the palaces, Applejack wants to sell apple-based treats to raise money for the family farm, Rarity wants to meet her Prince Charming, Rainbow Dash wants to meet (and hopefully join) the Wonderbolts, and Pinkie Pie wants to live it up at the biggest party in Equestria. Also, we find out that Twilight Sparkle wants to simply chat with Princess Celestia, while Spike hopes to hang out with his friends and show them around Canterlot. As soon as the group arrives at the palace, though, all except Spike run off to set their plans into motion, leaving him all alone...At first, things seem to be going all right, and at least somewhat according to what the girls envisioned. However, things quickly go wrong. The party-goers don't appreciate Pinkie's enthusiastic nature; Twilight can't get a chance to really have a conversation with the Princess as the two of them have to greet every single guest; Rarity's object of affection, Prince Blueblood, acts like a complete Jerkass towards her; all the animals in the garden run away from Fluttershy, who grows more and more impatient as they do so; Rainbow Dash gets to hang out with the VIP crowd thanks to the Wonderbolts recognizing her, but can't get a moment to talk to them and Applejack ends up making only two sales after about an hour at the Gala - one of which was to Rarity. Determined, however, the ponies pledge to make it the "best night ever".Things quickly get out of hoof, though. When the party goers reject Pinkie's peppy singing and dancing because it isn't "that kind of party", she assumes that they want her to get even more aggressive and rowdy. Applejack realizes that no one's been buying her wares because fancier hors d'oeuvres are available, so she whips up something more sophisticated. Fluttershy, meanwhile, is physically chasing all the animals around the castle grounds, growing steadily more unhinged as she does so. The whole disaster reaches its boiling point when Applejack carts a huge cake into the ballroom just as Pinkie does a stage dive into the crowd. Pinkie lands onto the cart, knocking the cake into the air. Prince Blueblood uses Rarity as a shield against the cake, whereupon she thoroughly chews him out for his horrible behavior all night. Cornered, the Prince knocks over a statue, which Rainbow Dash quickly catches, only to knock down several columns in the processnote Alas, despite her efforts, the statue also breaks into several pieces. As the dust settles, Princess Celestia and Twilight arrive on the scene, and just when Twilight thinks it can't get any worse, a stampede of wild animals being pursued by a furiously insane(!) Fluttershy rushes in, causing everyone to panic. The Princess tells Twilight to run, and she does so, her friends following behind. On the way down the stairs, Rarity drops one of her glass slippers. After Pinkie tells her that her prince would surely use it to find her, the horrified Rarity stomps on the slipper before fleeing in terror.The girls meet up with Spike, who's been drowning his sorrows in fried pastry and sprinkles at a local doughnut shop. They all relate what went wrong with their night over a plate of doughnuts, and agree that it was the worst night ever. Just then, Celestia arrives in the shop, thanking the ponies for making it the best Gala ever. Turns out the Gala's always a boring, horrible event, and Celestia invited the six in hopes that they would liven things up a bit, although the chaos that followed wasn't exactly what they had in mind. The episode ends with Twilight realizing that friends can make even the worst situations seem that much better.
Tropes present in this episode (YMMV tropes can be found here):
Prince Blueblood's use of "one" when he expects Rarity to put her cloak over a puddle:
Prince Blueblood: Miss Rarity! Stop! Rarity: Oh. Prince Blueblood! How chivalrous. Prince Blueblood: One would hate to slip. Rarity: Yes. "One" certainly would. Prince Blueblood: One's cloak should take care of the problem.
And again when he expects her to get the door for him.
Cut Song: The "Piggy Dance" song featured in "Baby Cakes" was originally meant to be in this episode, longer and to the tune of the "Chicken Dance", but was cut due to time constraints. It apparently wasn't this episode's only too-long Cut Song, either.
Prince Blueblood is prissy and regal like Rarity, and demonstrates what a jerk she isn't. Where Rarity is generous to a fault despite how she appears, Prince Blueblood is a complete Jerkass who cares only about himself.
Fluttershy encounters animals that are shyer than her, Pinkie's troubles come from ponies that must party the right way, the guests are too proud to eat AJ's food, Rainbow loses the Wonderbolts to people louder and more attention-seeking, and the schedule works against Twilight.
Foreshadowing: Twilight's attempt to recreate the fairy tale enchanted-carriage-and-horses archetype is a mild foreshadowing of the gala itself — everything starts off as expected, but falls apart soon afterward...
Furry Confusion: Twilight's plan to magically create horses to pull everypony's carriage... and Rarity's alternate solution when it goes wrong. Even Spike gets in on the fun when he attempts to direct the carriage.
Gone Horribly Right: Princess Celestia invited the Mane cast in hopes that they'd liven up the Gala, or at least hoped that they would do so after she knew they were all coming. (The events of "The Ticket Master" make it look less than entirely planned.) They prove so lively that the Gala is destroyed by their antics. However, Celestia still considers this an improvement over how the Gala would have gone without them, so it's a Downplayed version of the trope.
Spike: (knocking) Aw, c'mon, you guys! Let me in! Rainbow Dash: Sure thing, Spike! Rarity: Heavens, no! We're getting dressed! Applejack: Dressed? Er... beg pardon, Rarity, but... uh... we don't normally wear clothes.
Heroism Addict: Rainbow Dash flirts with this towards the end of the episode. To be precise, she wants the Wonderbolts' attention and so bucks Caesar into the air and catches him on her back (in a very suggestive — for ponies — position). Nopony notices, and she flings him aside in frustration.
The Mane Cast's forays into Trying Too Hard to make the night the Best Night Ever universally just make the night worse for them and those around them. Rainbow Dash in particular literally breaks a lot of stuff when trying to save a falling statue.
Also, Opal scaring away the mice turned horse at the beginning.
Pie in the Face: Rarity gets a whole cake in the face thanks to Prince Blueblood.
Previously On: "At the Gala" is a stealth version of this, since it reminds the audience of all the characters' expectations about the Gala that had been established in "The Ticket Master" (though Twilight's isn't introduced until now). They come with brief imagine shots, updated to feature each pony in her gala dress.
Prince Charmless: Blueblood. Rarity actually describes him in nearly those words.
"At the Gala" has quite a few similarities to "Ever After" from Into the Woods. "Into the Gala to meet, to sell, to find, to prove, to whoop, to talk...."
The song between Fluttershy and the meadowlark is straight-up the same melody as Snow White's during her "I'm Wishing" song. And then when she finds the gardener pony, he explains that he enjoys whistling while he works.
Squee: Quite literally Rainbow Dash's reaction to finally getting to hang out with the Wonderbolts.
Suspiciously Apropos Music: Pinkie's "Pony Pokey" song is played over scenes of the other ponies trying to have a good time at the Gala, with the lyrics matching up to their situations and actions very well.
Tempting Fate: Twilight and Celestia walk into the grand hall to find it devastated, and with four of the Mane Cast surveying the results of the recent bout of Disaster Dominoes. Twilight can't help but utter the classic phrase, "Well, it can't get any worse!" Cue Fluttershy with a horde of frightened animals
Title Drop: Several times over the course of the episode.
What Happened to the Mouse?: A quite literal example in that we never find out what happened to the mice/horses that were originally going to pull the carriage after Opal scared them off. Twilight made a passing mention just before Opal's entrance that the spell only lasts until midnight, as appropriate of her genre stealing... so, they most likely returned to Fluttershy's entourage the next morning. Also, Twilight turns four mice into horses, but we only see three run away after Opalescense pounces.
Xanatos Gambit: Princess Celestia had one going on. Either she got to spend the evening with her star student (making the boring party at least slightly more bearable), the mane cast would make the party more interesting, or (as what happened) the mane cast would make things so "interesting" that the boring party would be over faster. Let's see... Celestia's party got cut short by a spectacular case of Disaster Dominoes courtesy of Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie knocked her guests out of their starched shirt complacency, her Prince Charmless of a nephew got a well deserved "The Reason You Suck" Speech and she got to spend some quality time in a relaxed late-night restaurant with the mane cast. Yup, a winner is Celestia.
Yandere: Oh, Fluttershy. This is the source for her infamous meme, "You're going to LOVE ME!"