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     The Crystal Empire Part 1 
  • 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.
    • Chrysalis spent a two-parter sapping Shining's power; Sombra does it in seconds.
  • 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.
    • And his resulting Taking You with Me curse on the Empire shows him powerful and savvy even in defeat.
  • In relation to the above, Luna's words imply that she is confident she could handle Sombra, and only doesn't because Celestia believes the experience will be important for Twilight.
     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 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 saves her too, as his arrival snaps Twilight free from the illusory spell that had trapped her.
    • The 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. In doing so he becomes the Spanner in the Works that enables Sombra's defeat.
    • 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. note 
  • Twilight again shows herself to be able to replicate complicated spells after seeing performed once.
  • Twilight's solution to having to climb up an absurdly tall spiral staircase? Reverse gravity and slide all the way up!
  • Once again Shining Armor and Cadance prove themselves to be quite the Battle Couple even with both their magic suppressed/weakened. Shining Armor launches Cadance into the air so she can save the falling Spike and the Crystal Heart.
  • King Sombra gets another one for being Crazy-Prepared. He takes no chances with the Crystal Heart, going to such lengths to keep anyone from finding it that Spike going with Twilight is 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 each spent an entire episode trying to disable the one thing that could stop them. 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 that 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 that Sombra is left vainly ordering them to stop, knowing what's coming and not able to do a thing about it.
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     Too Many Pinkie Pies 
     One Bad Apple 
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • '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 would start bullying them.
    • In short, not since Hermione Granger has threatening to tell someone's mother been so badass.
  • The Freakin' A-Team reference!
  • It may not have been the right solution to their problem, but the CMC building a fully functional booby-trapped float in one night is impressive.
    • 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.
    • Then they get another moment when they save Babs from their trap they used to humiliate her.
  • Scootaloo finally flies (or at least hovers for an extended period of time)!
  • Sweetie Belle makes magic sparks!
     Magic Duel 
  • Twilight's second duel with Trixie. Everything she did was amazing, but the most awesome thing was when she bucking turned Applejack into a stallion!!!
    • The awesome was not lessened at all when it was revealed to be 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 made 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? 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 without her 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 and then banishing it just as easily.
  • Zecora casually refilling her cup with a simple gesture, implying that she's got some magic of her own despite not being a unicorn. She could be using the same smoke-and-mirrors that she taught Twilight which is just as awesome.
  • 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 deserves some Determinator props considering that, while being a social outcast, she figured out just what she needed to do to get power, find out where it is, and obtain 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.
  • 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 get one in this episode for being instrumental to sneaking Fluttershy past Trixie's barrier. The beavers especially, for not backing down to a powered-up Trixie.
  • She's unable to make it last, but Twilight stil induces the effects of the age spell for a brief moment after having just witnessed it once. This is a spell specifically stated that only the absolute top-tier unicorns are capable of!
  • A minor, Fridge Logicky one: "Male Applejack" is voiced by Ashleigh Ball, meaning that either Applejack can throw her voice, or Big Mac can do a dead-on impression of his sister. Either way, score one for the hidden talents of the Apple family.
     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. I'd pity Freddy Krueger if he ever tried to face the "Princess of the Night".
  • Rainbow Dash stopped being scared of The Headless Horse when she realised, in her words, "If there was such a thing as the Headless Horse, I could totally take it on."
  • Ashleigh Ball not only doing a very close imitation of Rarity's voice, but making it believable as coming from Rainbow Dash.
  • Sweetie Belle is beginning to pick up the fine art of manipulation, convincing Rarity to go on the trip.
    • And then Rarity puts one over her and makes her lug both of their luggage throughout the trip.
      • Which, in turn, speaks to unexpected physical strength on Sweetie Belle's part. That filly is stronger than she looks, and Rarity must know it, or she wouldn't have had her pull as much.
     Wonderbolts Academy 
  • Rainbow Dash (and some of the other Wonderbolt Academy recruits) end up saving the other main pony characters.
  • A meta one for writer Merriwether Williams. After some of her season 2 episodes, especially one in particular, got her labeled the show's worst writer, she was actually able to bounce back with this much better one.
    • 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. It especially didn't help her case when she wrote the almost as vehemently criticized episodes "Putting Your Hoof Down" and "Dragon Quest". 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 Swap friend?) 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.
  • The sole fact that Lightning Dust has proven herself nearly equal to Rainbow Dash in ability, a pony who's definitely earned the reputation as "Best Flyer in Equestria", a number of times. Not bad for a possible one-shot character.
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     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.
  • A small one for Babs: at the end of the kids' competition, all the kids collapse of exhaustion... except her.
     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.
  • Rainbow Dash's inexplicably convincing Timberwolf roar.
  • The timberwolves have definitely become more badass since their first appearance back in season two from just plain looking far more fierce in looks to being able to piece themselves together after being shattered to twigs, to even being able to assemble themselves into a giant, king timberwolf (note the crown).
  • 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 vs. 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.
      • And she was willing to do it again.
     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!
  • To both the writers and John de Lancie; they made Discord have a realistic Heel Realization!
  • Discord's immunity to the Fluttershy Stare. As of this episode, he is the only one to ever No-Sell it.
  • Discord's plan to avoid re-imprisonment. 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 he could bank on her keeping the promise.. It worked all the way to the end where it was then rendered meaningless with three words from Fluttershy.
    Not. Your. FRIEND!
  • Discord anticipated Twilight's reforming spells so he ate everything referring to them in the library. He ate them because 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 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 works against Discord...Celestia has either Taken A Level In Badass or could have smacked him down like she did the last time, but wanted Twilight to handle it like she did with Nightmare Moon.
  • Meta example: the attention to detail during the scene inside Fluttershy's spinning house.
     Just For Sidekicks 
  • Spike apologizing to the pets when Angel threatens to blow their cover.
  • When Spike's Growling Gut threatens to expose them all to the Mane Six, Angel goes back to get his last gem to save him after all conflicts they had in this episode, in what appears to be an impossibly short amount of time. He feeds Spike half of the gem and they avoid detection. This after Spike was willing to take the fall for himself, the pets and the Crusaders.
  • Some of the hardship Spike goes through to keep the pets in control is pretty impressive. Most notably is 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. Within the fandom, Powell's OC is a dragon, contrary to the rest of the writers who are envisioned as ponies; 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.
    • They rehearsed it with Rarity, but perform it without her. That must have required some quick reworking and improvisation.
  • Rarity succeeds in doing Cadance's headdress in the end.
  • The tourist pony gives Rainbow Dash a race without even meaning to.
  • The excitement the crystal ponies express over the empire hosting the games is so great, you briefly see their excitement empowering the crystal heart!
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     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: she turns the clouds into a chessboard pattern and summons gales. It's pretty impressive for 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.
    • 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 by becoming the best at something; you become an alicorn when you are the physical embodiment 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), this means the writers distinguished the concept of an MLPFIM princess from more typical Disney Princess. It's not a glorified title with lots of pampering but a position of leadership and responsibility. In a show designed to sell toys to girls, this is a very strong moral and the type of thing that audiences need to grow up to be leaders themselves; not expect good fortune to happen magically.
  • Twilight corrects the spell not even Starswirl the Bearded was able to complete, thanks to her 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 a deeper understanding of friendship. If you think about that means Twilight has surpassed 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.
  • When Twilight's suffering from guilt Spike quickly snaps her out of it, and convinces her to save her friends and Ponyville. 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.
  • Twilight becoming an Alicorn Princess. Her friends were amazed at what happened.
  • Rainbow Dash clears the sky in ten seconds again and this was without her knowing that she was capable of doing so.
  • After all the drama, all the controversy, and all the panic, beloved fandom mascot, Derpy Hooves, is back for the season finale. Whether this is a final send off or a message announcing her return, rest assured that it's extremely appreciated.
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