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Mare in the Moon
- 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 cutesy 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.
- When Nightmare Moon shows up and starts harassing the other ponies, Twilight speaks up, confronts the alicorn, and announces she knew she was going to show up. Sure, it has a few repercussions in the next episode, with Rainbow Dash getting suspicious of Twilight and Nightmare knowing to spy on her, but it's still pretty brave.
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.
Her brave gesture 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 Bookworm and Batman Gambit, all in one move.
- The arrival of Twilight's new friends and them demonstrating the Magic of Friendship to Nightmare Moon by forcing her to taste the Rainbow of Light. The page image should give you a rough idea why this is so awesome.
- 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 Damsel out of Distress tendencies.
- Applejack bounding her way down the cliff effortlessly, being the only flightless pony to save herself from the cliff collapse.
- Pinkie Pie's "Laughter Song" which, aside from the main theme, is the first song in the series and a terrific one to start out with. When Nightmare Moon's illusions in the Everfree Forest's trees frighten the Mane Six, Pinkie starts singing about facing her fears. The rest of her friends, who doubted her song would do anything at first, are amazed at her wiping the illusions away and even join in with her near the end. The song would later be instrumental in helping the Mane Six eventually defeat Nightmare Moon. In addition to the song providing Pinkie Pie with an Establishing Character Moment (where she could randomly break into song and not care if anypony else notices), it also proved to fans that Friendship is Magic could match the songwriting and compositions of previous animated My Little Pony adaptations.
- Nightmare Moon deserves some credits because without knowing her, she managed to figure out and play on Rainbow Dash's Achilles Heel: her ego.
- 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.
- Applejack, 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.
- The Whole Party Scene Towards Gilda not to mention the ELECTROCUTION!!!
- 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.
- Even her sabotaging the Mane 6 had a moment where she manipulated the rainbow that appeared over Rainbow Dash's head. A rainbow is refracted light. And later on in the series, it's revealed that Trixie's more for stage magic than regular magic. In other words, even a unicorn with no magical expertise can manipulate the light of a rainbow!
- For a case of "Awesome in Hindsight", Snips and Snails' encounter with the Ursa Minor becomes this when one takes into account what happened to Tempest Shadow in her backstory. They both survived with their horns intact.
- Rainbow Dash telling Rarity, "I think we've got bigger problems than making sure our hairbows match our horseshoes." Anyone who lives with people who put nitpicky, superfluous fashion details above more practical things knows how grating Rarity is being.
- 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.
Look Before You Sleep
- The moment where Apple Bloom, after realizing just how ridiculous everypony's been acting around Zecora, plants her older sister Applejack on a leaf note and leaves her there to go set the record straight. As mentioned on the show's funny page, Applejack could do a little more than throw a temper tantrum.
- Who would have thought that "Appleteeny" could tame "Rainbow Crash" and ride her cowboy-style while still small?
- "Flutterguy's" rendition of Pinkie's "Evil Enchantress" song could be a mild example, due to that deep voice.
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.
- The fact that Pinkie Pie, resident Fourth Wall Observing Cloudcuckoolander of Ponyville, was the one to recognize and actually take care of the Parasprite problem, despite her friends thinking her gathering instruments was just Pinkie Pie being Pinkie Pie. Either she had a past experience with them, or she got her hooves on a copy of the episode's script.
- 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 half of the target 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.
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 to 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 until the escalation of cheating reaches its peek.
- As the voice of the central characters of this episode, Ashleigh Ball definitely qualifies.
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 holds 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.
- Somepony did the math◊ and calculated 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 this is correct, then Rarity deserves one just for surviving.
- However it's more sensible to assume she "just" shatters Newtonian Physics and substitutes her own, which are Aristotelian in nature, thus not requiring them to survive any g-forces.
- Fluttershy, 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.
- 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.
- Sweetie Belle's rendition of the lullaby.
The Show Stoppers
- Scootaloo's 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.
A Dog and Pony Show
- Rarity gets captured by a group of dogs who want her to find gems for them. This, of course, includes living in labyrinthine tunnels, hand (or hoof?) digging them up and pulling the cart they go in. She complains a good amount, messing with the dogs' heads and setting them up to be insecure and defensive, but it really takes off when they tell her to stop whining. Thirty of the most hilariously satisfying seconds later, she's sitting on a throne with an army of dogs digging up jewels, giving them to her, and begging the "rescue party" to take her with them just to shut her up.
- Even before she starts her climactic whining act, she gets a notable moment when she tricks several dogs into collapsing a pillar onto themselves.
- Spike also takes a level in badass in this episode. Not only does he lead the charge to rescue Rarity, but he takes on three Diamond Dogs at once and actually does a formidable job.
- 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 get ready for a ride! YEEEEEEEEHAAAAWW!" *cue five-pony rodeo*
- Simply the fact that Rarity is already getting requests from big stars like Sapphire Shores.
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.
- Scootaloo (the Pegasus of the Crusaders) managed to hover in the air for a few seconds without any assistance. And she was able to haul a fully-loaded wagon attached to her scooter using nothing but her wings. If she can never fly in the air like Rainbow Dash, she's definitely flying on land.
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.
Party of One
- Angry Pinkie Pie getting her own pink blur as she keeps up with Rainbow Dash is both badass and slightly scary.
- 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.
- With all the voices Pinkie Pie gives to her inanimate "friends," Andrea Libman definitely qualifies.
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 awesome "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.
- And then after that: Rarity loses one of her glass slippers after Celestia tells the Mane Six to flee the gala. Pinkie Pie stops her and says Blueblood can use the slipper to track her down. Rarity's response? She lets out a Big "NO!" and stomps the slipper into shards. This shows Rarity is willing to sacrifice her own fashion to avoid a bad relationship.