Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S7 E4 "Rock Solid Friendship"

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Getting a rocktorate: easy.
Making friends: not so easy.

Written by Nick Confalone

Pinkie Pie's sister Maud graduates from her university, earning her rocktorate degree. After the ceremony, Maud must decide between living in Ponyville or Ghastly Gorge. The latter has better rocks, but the former has more people Maud can potentially get along with. Taking the train to Ponyville, Pinkie is enthusiastic about finding a way to make Maud stay. She shows her sister the gem caves, but Maud says they're all common gems. Twilight's castle doesn't impress Maud either, and Pinkie grows increasingly desperate. Soon, Starlight Glimmer exits the castle, bumping into Maud, remembering meeting her before enslaving the town of ponies. Pinkie insists that Maud help Starlight with her chores, hoping that making friends will convince Maud to stay.

While out and about, Maud and Starlight start bonding, talking about Maud's passion for rocks and Starlight's passion for kites. However, Pinkie Pie keeps interrupting them, trying to get them to bond, even though they're doing just fine on their own. While in the gem cave, Starlight and Maud find an underground cavern complete with a waterfall, which Pinkie purposefully traps them in to try and get Maud and Starlight closer. However, Maud effortlessly breaks them out with the use of her pet rock, Boulder. That night, Maud tries to tell Pinkie that she's going too far, but Pinkie won't listen. In the morning, all Pinkie finds is a goodbye note from Maud, saying that she's decided on Ghastly Gorge.

Heartbroken, Pinkie wakes up Starlight and wonders why they didn't click as friends. Starlight replies that they did, but Pinkie kept interrupting and making things worse. Upon hearing this, Pinkie rushes to Ghastly Gorge to apologize to Maud. While dodging giant quarray eels, Pinkie admits that she should have just let Maud do things her own way, and begs Maud to give Ponyville another chance. Maud replies that she knows Pinkie only did what she did out of love, and agrees to move to Ponyville after all, using the cave she and Starlight found as her new home.


Tropes:

  • Adorkable: Starlight excitedly gushes to Maud about the mechanics of kite-flying.
    Starlight: The trick with an S.L.K. is not to make the spars too heavy. But if they're too light, you've got no ballast and then good luck tacking against the A.O.I.! [beat] I really like kites.
  • An Aesop:
    • You can't force people to be friends, and trying to do so will just make it worse on everybody. It's better to let things run their course and grow on their own.
    • Just because something is fun and engaging for you doesn't mean that other people will also find it enjoyable. Forcing people to try to bond or have fun your way will only ruin what might otherwise have been a pleasant time.
  • Aesop Amnesia: This is more or less Pinkie Pie learning all over again that she cannot force a friendship. Justified since she has a very strong interest in making sure this particular friendship works out.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Maud says that one of the reasons she likes rocks so much is because rocks don't exclude you for being different from other ponies.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Maud discovers the hidden cave and later easily escapes the cave-in through her extensive knowledge of rocks (and a little help from Boulder).
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Pinkie Pie acts rather woodenly when she "accidentally" sets off explosives that cause a small cave-in, trapping herself, Maud, and Starlight in the gem caves.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Pinkie may be younger, but we see this from her when Starlight says "She's weird." about Maud.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Pinkie says that her favorite "omelet cupcake" is "jalapeño red velvet". Maud just gives a resigned sigh; Starlight later says it "sounds gross".
  • Brick Joke: On the train trip to Ponyville, Pinkie Pie's (extremely fast) speech mentions making fuzzy slippers that say "Best Sister Friends Forever". At the end of the episode, Pinkie squee on seeing Maud is wearing fuzzy slippers in her new home.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • Maud in general, but particularly when she calls the chartreuse gems "common" in Rarity's earshot. A noticeable exception to this is in her relationship with Pinkie; she'd rather just leave town rather than tell her sister that she's being too overbearing.
    • Starlight defaults to Brutal Honesty when she can't make up an excuse about missing brunch, informing Pinkie that Jalapeño Red Velvet Omelettes sound gross. Seconds later, when Starlight tries delivering a friendship lesson, she can't help but be as bluntly harsh as possible about how Pinkie was the real problem.
  • Busman's Vocabulary: This episode shows us that Maud's obsession with rocks has a big influence on her choices of words and expressions too.
    Maud: And you melt my heart more easily than sodium-rich plagioclase feldspar.
  • Call Back:
    • Maud has earned her rocktorate degree, which she had been studying for since her very first appearance.
    • During the flashback to Maud and Starlight's first meeting, Starlight has her false "equality" cutie mark and old haircut, and a partially constructed "Our Town" is briefly seen.
  • The Cameo:
    • Two by Derpy: Once at the marketplace just after Maud trolls Starlight, and one as the pony to whom Pinkie pretends to deliver a pizza.
    • Lyra Heartstrings is addressed by name and makes a non-speaking cameo with Bon Bon/Sweetie Drops when Pinkie tries passing her off as a rock.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Almost becoming Starlight's signature trope, this time she's forcefully woken by Pinkie Pie.
  • Character Development:
  • The Comically Serious:
    • Starlight assumes Maud is joking when the latter tells her that she could conquer Equestria with the right stone. Maud's consistently deadpan delivery makes it difficult to tell.
    • Prior to a My God, You Are Serious moment, Pinkie tells Maud she should do stand-up. Maud's cough-and-you-miss-it response is "I do."
  • Commonality Connection: Starlight and Maud, funnily enough. They are both lifelong outsiders who aren't very comfortable with expressing their feelings. They also share a All of the Other Reindeer complex, the difference being that Maud sought solitude in rocks, while Starlight went out of her way to attempt to Take Over the World.
  • Containment Field: The walls of the cave where Starlight made her Cutie Mark vault back in "The Cutie Map" are made of a mineral capable of absorbing and containing cutie mark magic. Starlight learned this from Maud when she traveled there during her studies to get her "rocktorate".
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Covered in Gunge: Pinkie and Maud both end up covered in quarray eel drool when Pinkie rescues her sister from the aforementioned monster. They both are completely clean in the next shot, however.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Starlight meets Maud by running into her, face-first, and dropping a saddlebag full of books she was carrying.
  • Creepy Crows: Pinkie Pie's arrival at Ghastly Gorge is accompanied by a murder of crows taking flight, just in case the place wasn't already sinister enough.
  • Cue Card Pause: We gets one from Maud, despite how simple her graduation speech is.
    Maud: I'm Maud.
    Pinkie: Yeah, you are! Brilliant speech! Encore! Encore!
    Maud: There's more, Pinkie. I'm Maud... [flips index card] Pie. Thank you.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Maud is always deadpan, but she manages to fit a little snark in here and there.
    Maud: I didn't get a rocktorate because I can shred on guitar like nopony else.
  • Depth Deception: From the perspective of the camera when Maud is hanging from the ledge, it looks like she's over a deep chasm and not just a few feet above the surface below.
  • Disapproving Look: At the end, Starlight frowns at Pinkie Pie butting in between Maud and herself again. It's implied Maud is giving such a look too, although with her it's hard to tell. Showing that for once she got the lesson, Pinkie understands and makes herself scarce.
  • Eat Dirt, Cheap: Pinkie's way of tracking another pony involves tasting the dirt. For once, it isn't so much a weird Pinkie thing than something Earth Ponies are known to do, including her family.
  • Eaten Alive: A quarray eel snaps Maud up whole before Pinkie rescues her. Maud doesn't notice until AFTER Pinkie does so.
  • The Exit Is That Way: At the end, as Pinkie has learned her lesson and tries to not be so overbearing for Maud and Starlight, she graciously leaves Maud's new cave home... on the second try, since she went the wrong way.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • Starlight walks into Maud because she is reading and not looking where she is going.
    • And Maud doesn't realize her quarray eel peril until after Pinkie saves her.
  • Family Theme Naming: Like her sister Pinkie, Maud's full first name (Maudalina) ends in "ina", and her middle name (Daisy) starts with the letter "D".
  • Feedback Rule: Despite having worked perfectly for her professor before, the moment Maud tries to speak in the microphone it causes loud feedback, forcing her family to cover their ears.
  • Flashback: One shows Starlight and Maud's first encounter on the outskirts of Our Town, back when it was just founded and still in construction.
  • Foreshadowing: The Cold Opening shows non-verbally how Pinkie's family has little patience for Pinkie's exuberance at Maud's graduation, hinting at the core problem of Pinkie taking that excitement to the next level to try to convince her sister to live in Ponyville, even breaking Maud's rock-solid patience with her antics.
  • Forgot About Her Powers: Rarity has trouble finding a certain gem even though this is her special talent and she has a spell which can illuminate covered gems. Admittedly, the spell illuminates all gems, not specific ones, but it would have helped find the buried supply Maud easily uncovered.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: It turns out Maud and Starlight met a long time ago and Maud unknowingly gave her advice on how to trap an entire village's cutie marks. Starlight doesn't remember her but Maud does, despite hardly glancing at her in the first meeting.
  • Funny Background Event: Rarity putting the gems she found back after being told that they're all "really common".
  • Geographic Flexibility: In "May the Best Pet Win", Ghastly Gorge is close enough to Ponyville that the others think nothing of going there on a whim for a race. Indeed, the map of Equestia shows it's a stone's throw from the town, about the same distance as the Castle of the Two Sisters and right next to Froggy Bottom Bog. In this episode, though, it's far enough that A) Pinkie has to take a train to the desert and B) it's such a lengthy journey it would be difficult for Pinkie to spend time with Maud there. Of course, considering it's Pinkie we're talking about here, it might not mean anything.
  • Graduation for Everyone: Inverted; no other ponies are seen in Maud's graduating class, and the Pies and Boulder are the only ones in the audience.
  • Guilty Pleasures: Starlight seems to see her love for kites this way; she is very awkward and nervous when she reveals it to Maud.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Starlight reveals that she really likes kites. She even throws around proper kiting terms like "SLK" (single-line kite) and "AOI" (angle of incidence) when talking about them with Maud (See Continuity Nod above).
    • Maud shows that while she harbors a heart of gold behind her stony-faced demeanor, she is also insecure about how different she is from every other pony. On a lighter note, she apparently likes and performs stand-up comedy. Unless she was being sarcastic, she also plays guitar.
  • Jeweler's Eye Loupe: Maud is wearing an eye loupe to examine the emerald jasper she found... while inside a quarray's eel mouth.
  • Left the Background Music On: When inspecting the gem cave, the camera pans out over all the shining gems as harp chords play. Maud looks aside to show Pinkie playing a harp being the source of the music.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: When Pinkie hears about how Maud inadvertently helped Starlight take over "Our Town" with her cutie mark removal spell by informing her of a stone that could contain the magic, this is her reaction.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: As they're running from the quarray eel, Maud and Pinkie are knocked off the cliff onto some of the rocks below. Maud is stuck hanging from the edge, allowing Pinkie Pie to apologize. Then Maud reveals the drop is only a couple feet and both just walk out.
  • Literal-Minded:
    • Maud, naturally.
      Rarity: So, what are you doing now?
      Maud: Talking to you.
    • Maud tells Pinkie Pie to slow down as she is babbling in excitement about Maud possibly moving to Ponyville. Pinkie Pie just repeats herself with her words slowed to a crawl.
  • Lost World: Starlight and Maud find one exploring the gem caves beneath Ponyville, after Maud broke open a hollow-sounding granite wall to reveal a giant cavern full of glowing gems, water and plant life. Maud eventually makes her home there.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Pinkie has this in effect when she yells at Tank, literally blowing him away with her voice.
  • Mathematician's Answer: Maud, as usual.
    Pinkie: How many times have you smiled like this? [huge grin]
    Maud: Zero times.
  • Meet Cute: Maud meets with Starlight Glimmer when the latter bumps straight into her because she's too entranced by reading, and they end up sprawled with books all around. Subverted, though, since it isn't their absolute first meeting, as a is revealing right after in a flashback.
  • Mighty Lumberjack: Played for laughs. When Maud asks Boulder if they should leave Ghastly Gorge, Boulder is on a tree stump wearing a knit cap next to an ax and a cord of chopped wood.
  • Mirthless Laughter: Pinkie Pie breaks out in an uncharacteristically forced fit of laughter before telling Maud never to speak to anypony about how she helped Starlight enslave a town.
  • Motor Mouth: Pinkie Pie is reaching new heights of speed-talking out of excitement at the beginning of the episode, making her speech barely intelligible. Until Maud asks her to slow down, which she does (starting to speak very slowly instead).
  • My God, What Have I Done?: This is Pinkie's reaction when Starlight tells her that she was being a third wheel and wound up driving Maud away.
  • Narrative Shapeshifting: While quoting Maud on the train ride to Ponyville, Pinkie briefly imitates her sister's manestyle and perpetually deadpan expression.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Pinkie being too pushy with trying to have Maud and Starlight be friends is what drove Maud to go to Ghastly Gorge and almost get Eaten Alive.
    • A flashback reveals that Maud wound up being a major linchpin in the creation of Starlight's village by telling her about the cave where she could store stolen cutie mark magic.
  • Not So Stoic: Pinkie's so overbearing that we actually hear Maud let out an exasperated sigh, although Pinkie clearly doesn't pick up on it and Maud's not really one to be outspoken about her feelings.
  • Odd Friendship: Maud and Starlight, despite the Commonality Connection mentioned above, are still quite different from each other. Although Starlight admits that Maud is "weird", but "in a good way".
  • Older Than They Look: It's revealed that Boulder is 2000 years old, but according to Maud, he doesn't look a day over 600.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Pinkie calls Maud by her full name in this episode, revealing it to be Maudalina Daisy Pie.
  • Palate Propping: Pinkie Pie jams a jack between the jaws of a giant quarray eel and force its mouth open to get her sister Maud out of the beast's maw.
  • Phlegmings: The quarray eel is seen copiously drooling, especially in the scene where Maud is inside her mouth.
  • Pie in the Face: A non-splattery example; Pinkie beans Derpy on the head when she tosses a pizza box at her.
  • Poe's Law: In-universe. Starlight can't tell if Maud's claims of a rock that could allow Starlight to conquer Equestria are real or if Maud is messing with her. Maud's non-denial doesn't make it any clearer, though she does say she "of course" does stand-up comedy moments later.
    Starlight: You're messing with me.
    Maud: Am I?
  • Prompting Nudge: Pinkie Pie urges Maud to offer her help to Starlight Glimmer, volunteering her, and then Pinkie gives a good shove to Maud toward the unicorn when she isn't moving fast enough.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Not really a speech, but Starlight Glimmer calls out Pinkie Pie's problem. Her selfish attempts to force a friendship between her and Maud actually pushed Maud away and ruined her chances to make a new friend, and in turn, move to Ponyville.
  • Running Gag: Starlight Glimmer appears. Her dark past is brought up yet again. It wasn't even brought up accidentally or deliberately this time. She just happens to meet the pony who told her about the magical mineral cave to keep the captured Cutie Marks hidden. Once again, bringing Starlight's past transgressions back into conversation once more. The poor girl just can't catch a break. However, the fact that Maud is indifferent to this past sets up the spark of a friendship between Starlight and Maud.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Maud says "sigh" as she's mining rocks in Ghastly Gorge.
  • Scenery Porn: The cavern described in Lost World above. A cavern with beautiful gems, waterfalls, a small pool and plant life. Once Maud sets up home there, she adds a canopied bedroom, some small steps and even a small dock by the side of the pool. Shown here.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several people have drawn comparisons between the hidden cavern Maud and Starlight discover and the Genesis Cave from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
    • Maud's new home has a mailbox outside the new entrance Maud formed using Boulder, drawing parallels to Bugs Bunny's abode.
  • Staggered Zoom: As Pinkie says to Maud, "...and then hold onto your world, 'cause it's about... to... get... rocked!", the picture zooms closer on their mouths, with a sting for each cut.
  • Standard Snippet: The graduation in the opening uses "Pomp and Circumstance March No.1".
  • Stealth Pun:
    • At one point, Pinkie Pie makes "pizza deliveries" while wearing a ridiculous costume with a pizza slice around the head. She has a pie face.
    • The MLP Facebook page did an April Fool's joke about Pinkie's sister "Pizza Pie". With the costume Pinkie could sort of be called this.
    • Maud jokes at one point about being able to "shred on guitar like nopony else". That's called "rocking out", usually associated with playing rock music, and commonly done by rock musicians in rock concerts. Even Maud's sense of humor is rock-based.
  • Strongly Worded Letter: When Maud leaves for Ghastly Gorge, she leaves a letter for Pinkie insisting that her "decision has to be rock-based" and that she "won't even have time for friends". To a pony who has built her life around being the life of the party, this is devastating.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Maud tells Pinkie "I'm having a great time on my own," then gives the audience an aside glance.
  • Talk About the Weather: Starlight and Maud are just starting to learn about each others' interests when Pinkie tries to get them to talk about feelings. Starlight will have no truck with that.
    Starlight: Um...I feel...like I don't want to talk about feelings?
  • The Triple: Aside from rocks, Maud likes minerals, plate tectonics... and stand-up comedy.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: As it turns out, Maud was the one who told Starlight where to find a rock capable of containing an entire town's cutie marks.
  • Voiceover Letter: Pinkie reading Maud's parting note is done with Maud's voice.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: Starlight mutters something that could either be "kites" or "cups" when suddenly woken by Pinkie.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Starlight Glimmer calmly but bluntly tells Pinkie Pie the she is the real problem, and ruined Maud's chances to make a new friend by constantly butting in.
  • World Building: Two new places appear in this Episode.
    • Valerocktorian University where Maud gets her rocktorate degree on graduation day.
    • The secret grotto that was hidden in the gem cave and became Maud's new home.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Invoked by Maud, who notes that the cave overflowing with gems means these gems are not exactly rare. This is also reinforced by previous episodes, where gems have been shown to be pretty much everywhere if you know where to look.

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