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The Cutie Map Part 1
- Starlight Glimmer gets one retroactively when it is revealed in the next episode that the staff is not a magical artifact and was her using her own magic all along. Not only does she demonstrate the power to directly remove cutie marks, something that no typical unicorn has ever been seen performing before, she was able to catch Twilight (who had already been leaping into action by then, no less) by surprise and subdue her long enough to take her cutie mark.
- If you watch very carefully when the rest of the Mane Six's cutie marks get sealed away, the last one to be sealed, but not by much, is Rainbow Dash's mark. It makes perfect sense that she'd be the one to resist the hardest, even if it was in vain.
- A meta example: the subtle way how Starlight is revealed to be the villain is awesome in and of itself.
The Cutie Map Part 2
- Party Favor gets a few during "The Cutie Map." First, when Starlight Glimmer tells Fluttershy to point in the crowd and identify who it was that told the Mane Six about the cutie mark vault, Party Favor steps up and announces it was just him, causing him to be thrown into prison. Later, as Starlight Glimmer is fleeing from town with the Mane Six's cutie marks in tow, he manages to swiftly create binoculars and a bridge out of balloons! That's Pinkie Pie level of Crazy Awesome, right there! But his most awesome moment of all came when he was the one to call out Starlight when she tried to preach her philosophy one too many times.Starlight Glimmer: The only way to be happy is if we're all equal!Party Favor: (coldly) Except for you!
- Also, the fact that the whole equality routine has worked a little too well on the town ponies, as they unite against Starlight after the reveal. It's nice to see that in an episode promoting the powers of diversity, there's also a subtle demonstrate of the powers of unity when put to right use.
- The entire chase scene, and the fact that Starlight is the first two-parter villain to be thwarted not by directly tapping into the power of friendship/love/crystals, but by the raw skill and determination of the heroes.
- Fluttershy's meekness becomes an asset for once, as she pulls off a successful espionage. She later reveals Starlight's facade by dumping water on her, and even though Starlight dodges, what little water splashes her is enough to do the trick. There's also the fact that from the moment she left the room with the others she was on her own...and yet figured out how to bring down the Big Bad. By herself!
- The fact that despite having been robbed of their talents, the mane six manage to bring down Starlight anyway through pure wits and sharing their friendship with the town. Even better, remember when Discord robbed them of their horns and wings back in season 2, making them easy pickings for him? Starlight did something more crippling than that to them...and yet they still manage to win and come up with a competent plan for doing so that works. Quite an improvement, huh?
- Once she gets her cutie mark back, Twilight conjures a large shield that easily dissipates Starlight's laser beam. The same beam that a few moments ago disintegrated a whole bridge. Starlight may have caught her off guard once, but there is no question that Twilight can counter her in a fight. Better yet, Twilight's barrier had always been smooth - but this one looks exactly like the one Starlight herself used moments before, and Starlight says it took her years to master that spell! Note that later in the season, regular smooth magic barriers also appear, so this doesn't appear to be just an art upgrade; apparently, Twilight secretly practices Sharingan.
- Double Diamond cutting off Starlight's escape with his skiing skills. "Feel like an air drop?"
- Starlight's currently the only Arc Villain to invoke Villain: Exit, Stage Left — i.e., a normal character does something several Physical Gods couldn't.
- Even while still being under the equalization spell (and possibly lacking his Earth pony strength), Double Diamond is able to throw the "Staff of Sameness" with enough force to break through the barrier containing everyone's cutie marks.
- Heck the fact that Double Diamond turned on Starlight at all is a mark in his favor. From watching part 1 (and the first half of part 2), it's easy to assume Double Diamond is a brainless flunky who's so cowed by Starlight that he'd never question her. But once the truth comes out, he's one of the first ponies to call her out on her hypocrisy.
- Unsettling as it may be, Starlight's Big "QUIET!" to Twilight as the latter does one of her usual friendship speeches counts as well, as no other villain in the show has done it.
- Meta-example: You know you have a well-written story when it gets nominated for a Hugo Award!Note
Castle Sweet Castle
- Applejack using those Earth Pony Green Thumb abilities to grow flowers instantly.
- The other Mane Six members digging up the roots of the Golden Oaks Library to create the chandelier.
- The decorations the Mane Six added to the castle actually look pretty good when they're not all mashed up in a single room.
Bloom and Gloom
- The episode opens with big news: Babs Seed finally gained her cutie mark! Apparently it's a pair of scissors and her talent lies in mane styling.
- Which was brilliantly foreshadowed in Friends Forever #13, meaning that we will hopefully get a tighter continuity between the show and The Merch this season.
- We finally see Scootaloo fly, even if it was only in a dream this time.
- Apple Bloom successfully capturing a whole swarm of twittermites on her first try. And even after she gets her pestpony cutie mark removed, when she sees the town being attacked by twittermites she immediately suits back up and strikes a heroic pose. She's then completely ineffective without the mark, but it was neat while it lasted.
Tanks For The Memories
- Fluttershy using Brutal Honesty to force Rainbow Dash to deal with her grief is awesome for her levels of Character Development.
- Overreacting, sure, but the fact that Rainbow is willing to stop a season from coming (and very nearly does) just to play with her friend is some impressive loyalty.
Rainbow Dash: "I'll change it all / it's only the weather."
- Embodied in this line from her song:
- Ashleigh Ball's performance during Rainbow's breakdown, throwing herself full bore into a crying fit, complete with hyperventilating and struggling to get actual words out, and never once slipping out of Rainbow's voice.
Appleoosa's Most Wanted
- Sweetie Belle showing greater control over magic, being able to telekinetically close the door to Troubleshoes' wagon and lift the Sheriff's keys.
- Applejack breaking the record for hay stacking.
Make New Friends But Keep Discord
- Fluttershy chastising Discord for his rude behavior. She doesn't hesitate to let him know he's crossed a line.
- Celestia gets one for revealing that she invited Discord specifically to liven up the evening.
- It may just have been Rule of Funny but Pinkie's Offscreen Moment of Awesome of packing the shop's entire inventory in just thirty seconds was pretty cool.
- Maud getting away with heckling Discord.
- The Smooze gets one for (inadvertently) blocking Celestia's magic.
- Even better is Celestia being willing to fight it in spite of it cornering her and everypony else at the Gala counts as this. Even when close to defeat she keeps going. As it turns out, she was actually enjoying the Smooze and Discord, so she might actually have been pretending to be unable to stop it!
- Tree Hugger using... hippie singing to calm down the Smooze.
- A little moment is Discord using the Smooze to defeat the Mane Six (sans Fluttershy) when they tried to stop him from sending Tree Hugger to a different dimension. Even better is Discord easily stopping the Smooze to save the Gala by taking away all the treasures it consumed (granted, he uses indirect magic on the treasures inside The Smooze, unlike the others' direct magical blasts to The Smooze itself, but still.)
- The sheer dedication of the mailpony who delivers Discord's invitation. He's alone in a Eldritch Location that takes madness to new heights, but he still looks for Discord's house to deliver the mail. He even claims that he can find his way back with some minor directions, rather than just beg Discord to poof him home like anypony else would.
- Meta example but, as of the airing of this episode, Friendship is Magic is now the longest running TV series in the history of Hasbro. Let that sink in.
- Longest running TV series with a continuous generation run, at least, but still, an awesome achievement.
- Another meta example: John de Lancie has become such an integral part of Friendship is Magic as Discord, that he's no longer listed as a guest voice, but as just another part of the regular cast!
The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone
- Gilda's first line after a four-year absence does not disappoint; she makes her presence known the way only she can:Gilda: We don't have a king, losers.
- Gilda saving Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie from falling to their deaths at the cost of her race's greatest treasure. In the process, she earns the job of essentially being the Princess of Friendship's ambassador to the griffons, spreading the concept to all of them.
- King Grover, whose leadership (and the symbolism of their greatest treasure) caused the griffon species as a whole to rise above their greedy, petty and apathetic base natures and become a kingdom that was the envy of the other species around them. A kingdom that continued to flourish for many generations. And it is even indicated King Grover is still observing his subjects from somewhere beyond this world, hopeful they will become great once more.
- Pinkie Pie deserves mention, as well. Just by observing the town and its population, she realizes that the missing idol isn't the root of the Griffons' problem. She then comes up with a solution to not only bring Griffons together again, but to save Rainbow Dash as well.
Slice of Life
- With the Mane Six indisposed, Matilda asks Amethyst Star to organize her wedding. We learn that Amethyst was once Ponyville's best organizer before Twilight came to town and usurped that position. Her declaration of such and acceptance of Matilda's offer are Mundane Made Awesome enough by themselves, but the best part is that it's not an Informed Ability: when Matilda first spots Amethyst, she's effortlessly guiding civilians away from the carnage of the Mane Six's monster battle in an organized fashion.
- Way back in Winter Wrap Up, Amethyst is shown leading the unicorn team.
- When Octavia can't get the music for the wedding quite right, DJ Pon-3 steps in to give it some dubstep. Octavia is hesitant at first, but soon gets completely into it until they're both dancing to the beat like they're in a music video.
- Meta example—the fans have liked to pair up DJ and Octavia as room-mates who share an Odd Friendship long before this episode. Now the writers have stepped in and validated most of that speculation!
- Even the design of their house is awesome - split perfectly down the middle with each side, inside and out, decorated to suit each of their styles.
- And how do they get to the wedding? On Vinyl's DJ booth! On top of that, Octavia was able to steer this beastly machine into a sharp turn with only her cello bow.
- After the backlash that came from The Last Roundup, Derpy getting to speak again is awesome in its own right. Even better is that her voice now sounds very much like some of the fanon voices for her.
- The reveal that Bon Bon is actually a secret agent who's had her own run-in with a Bugbear, and took it out. This makes her the most Badass Normal character of the series as she took out one of Equestria's biggest threats on her own. Consididering that it took the combined efforts of an alicorn princess that was The Archmage long before her ascension, the fastest flier of Equestria having Super Speed, an Earth pony with Super Strength, a walking Reality Warper, a fashionista that borders between Guile Heroine and Kung-Fu Wizard, and a Pegasus renowned for being The Beastmaster and weaponizing a Death Glare to defeat him, that is quite an accomplishment for a single Earth pony.
- The bugbear itself. It's no ordinary bear monster but a creature powerful and dangerous enough to have been locked up in Tartarus. And after escaping a few years ago it apparently has been tracking down Bon Bon for revenge after she played a major role in getting it locked up (Bon Bon in fact had to go into hiding to get away from it for as long as she did).
- This makes the Mane Six ultimately defeating it an Offscreen Moment of Awesome, given what being locked up there implied. Particularly since they did so in a prolonged fight. Even more is that it is implied that the girls did not use Rainbow Power to defeat it. The girls are getting better at protecting Equestria on their own without the Elements of Harmony to back them up.
- Doctor being The Doctor. He even hints to being Really 700 Years Old and says "Allons-y! at one point! Albeit it seems he never actually perfected time traveling and gave up on it once he discovered there was a spell that enabled it.
- Despite all the chaos, in the end the wedding goes ahead!
- Gummy's surprisingly philosophical inner monologue.
- Twilight planning the summit by going without sleep for three days.
- Spike managing to make sure Twilight got some much needed rest by thwarting every attempt to wake her, from songbirds to construction workers to delegates.
- Cadance showing off some awesome crystallization magic to fix a broken water main.
- Apparently the friendship statue isn't actually held together by anything; all the stones are simply cut to fit and hold together perfectly on their own. That's one hell of an engineering feat.
- After several episodes in the past of seeing the Wonderbolts trying and failing to operate as a rescue team, it's nice to finally see them succeed in saving ponies.
- Just the fact that Pinkie managed to make it to Yakyakistan's gates, which is farther than any pony has ever managed to get.
- She also managed to make the trip and the accidental return trip all in a single afternoon. Only Pinkie can pull off something like that.
- Just the sheer amount of planning that is revealed to go into Pinkie's parties.
- Pinkie managing to turn the situation with the yaks around. And it wasn't just a simple friendship problem, Pinkie stopped a war from breaking out.
- After a fashion, with the Shout-Out to the The Beatles, the songs of The Beatle Bronies can be considered canon!
- No attention is called to it, but Fluttershy reacts extremely quickly when her animals are in danger from the rampaging yaks and flies them to safety.
- Pinkie Pie successfully preventing the wagon from falling into the ravine... temporarily.
- Twilight managing to break through Moondancer's shell and helping her open up again. Also a CMOH.
- The completely casual reveal that Twilight can now enter books. So much Fanfic Fuel.
- A few small ones for Moondancer: first, she quickly and easily dispels Twilight's bubble of silence. Later, she levitates Twilight over her head and sets her back down, even though most unicorns haven't been shown to be able to levitate anything as large as themselves. It indicates that Moondancer's magic is unusually potent for a unicorn; of course, since she was a Shadow Archetype of Twilight, that makes sense.
Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep
- The return of Flutterbat, and, from "Power Ponies", Mistress Mare-velous and Zapp.
- Alicorn Big Mac. Even the change itself, with a full-on Sailor Moon style Transformation Sequence!
- Fluttershy riding Demon-Angel Bunny into battle against the Tantabus.
- Spike getting the ball rolling by turning into his knight daydream from back in "A Dog and Pony Show" and then riding a giant Derpy into battle like a steed.Spike: If you're gonna dream, dream big.
- Filthy Rich weaponizing his money and flying around on a floating cloud of bits blasting the Tantabus with showers of bits.
- Rainbow's favorite dream, beating the tar out of a bunch of Changelings. Complete with a beautiful offhoof backhoof.
- Scootaloo giving herself giant wings for a Blow You Away attack (which gets Rainbow's approval).
- Rarity using a giant needle to sew up a hole the Tantabus was about to use to escape into the real world.
- It's also a CMOH, but the Mane Six getting Luna to come to terms with being forgiven, denying the Tantabus her guilt to feed off of and reabsorbing it.
- Luna managing to link ALL OF PONYVILLE into a singular shared dream by herself to corner the Tantabus deserves mention. And still being able to fire off attacks powerful enough to damage the Tantabus on top of that. Yeah, she struggles to do so, but given the sheer power that must take, that's majorly impressive!
- There's also the reveal that Luna created the Tantabus herself! Yes, this is tragic and unfortunate, but considering how dangerous the Tantabus was, it also hints at how dangerously powerful alicorns may potentially be...
- Rarity is the only one of the Mane Six to actively fight back against her nightmare and, after Luna arrives, immediately offers to help instead of simply letting the princess handle things. It was also pretty cool to see her fight with magic for once, even if it was inside a dream.
- Rarity finally managing to get a boutique in Canterlot!
- After being pushed around by Sassy Saddles for most of the episode, Rarity finally puts her in her place and takes back control of her shop.
- It says a lot about Rarity's skills when an unfinished dressnote is able to win a mare's heart at the end.
- Rarity manages to figure out that Wind Rider was the one who framed Rainbow Dash through her powers of observation.
- Rainbow managing to catch up to Spitfire and bring her back in time for the show.
- Making it better is that she had a perfect opportunity to fly in the show without any guilt attached, and still chose to risk it and go after Spitfire. There's some Character Development for you.
- And unless Wind Rider flew really, really fast in the Mustang Marathon, Dashie has broken his record just fetching Spitfire back.
- When they return, Spitfire is visibly winded. Rainbow Dash is not. "I don't have the endurance to fly long distances."? Horseapples!
- To be fair to Spitfire, she was probably winded from looking for the really rare flower for her 'sick' mother. Still doesn't take away from Rainbow Dash being able to fly fast for a really long distance, though.
- On that note, Spitfire gets a minor one for managing to recover her stamina in time for the show minutes later.
- Spitfire kicking Wind Rider out of the Wonderbolts for framing Rainbow.
- Rainbow participating in the show in Wind Rider's place.
- The construction of the episode counts as its own, as unlike the show's previous mystery episodes, it's a complete Fair-Play Whodunnit with every clue available to the audience, yet still being subtle enough that even many adults likely won't pick them up. And they were able to do this in just 22 minutes.
- Soarin' taking charge in Spitfire's absence. For someone as laid back as he is seen in previous episodes, he spares no expense in getting Spitfire back and sorting out Rainbow Dash's situation.
- Give Big Mac some credit: he outran Rainbow Dash in the footrace (not an easy thing to do), despite carrying Apple Bloom.
- As pointed out in Fridge Brilliance, he outran Rainbow precisely because he's carrying Apple Bloom; while Rainbow has to hold back so Scootaloo can keep up with her, Mac is so strong that he can keep his top speed while carrying his little sister.
- Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo win the competition! Even though they are both pegasi, and supposedly don't have earth pony strength. Also a bit of a Heartwarming Moment.
Crusaders Of The Lost Mark
- Sweetie Belle's telekinesis has improved to the point she's strong enough to lift another pony (Pipsqueak) and she's skilled enough to tie a knot in a rope.
- One of the schoolfillies has Super Strength the likes of which we've only seen from Big Mac, and shows it by lifting up the schoolhouse!
- Another colt has huge teeth, which he uses to pick up a broken-down seesaw by one end (with Twist hanging on to the other) and haul it away.
- The Crusaders sing part of "Light of Your Cutie Mark" while galloping backwards at full speed so they can face down Diamond Tiara.
- After Diamond Tiara finds out that she only got one vote in the election (her own), Silver Spoon stands up to her and delivers the "Reason You Suck" Speech fans had been waiting nearly five years for.Diamond Tiara: Silver Spoon! You didn't vote for me?!
Silver Spoon: No, I didn't.
Diamond Tiara: But... you're my best friend!
Silver Spoon: Am I? 'Cause I tried to help by mentioning your "surprise" statue, and suddenly I wasn't even allowed to speak! You could have actually won this election if you just listened to me. You wanna know how? (whispering) Sorry. I'm not allowed to speak. (closes Diamond Tiara's agape mouth shut)
Diamond Tiara: (screams and runs away in a rage)
Silver Spoon: (to her classmates) What? I don't have to follow her drama anymore.
- In turn, we see Diamond Tiara standing up to her domineering mother, then finally revealing what her special talent is. She has a talent for leading others, which she uses to coordinate the repair of the school playground.
- After nearly five years, it finally happened! The Cutie Mark Crusaders HAVE THEIR CUTIE MARKS!!!
- The reception-apparent to this episode is really something to behold. Since there were no previews for this week's episode, most people came in not knowing what to expect. Afterwards, however, it's clear expectations have not been this thoroughly shattered since A Canterlot Wedding, while dishing out praise usually reserved for a two-parter or series finale. That is an accomplishment.
- Having been asked about the Apple Family parents multiple times, the writers have often said that they wanted to find a way of working in a mention without being too depressing (since Lauren Faust had originally conceived of them as being dead). This episode finally manages to do so, and in a very heartwarming way as well.
- Got to give the writers credit for this as well. The Cutie Mark Crusaders may have finally realized their goal of getting their Cutie Marks but that doesn't mean they'll no longer be important in the show. Their adventures are just starting! They'll help other ponies realize what makes them special or figure out the real meaning of their Cutie Marks.
- With Shannon Chan-Kent finally called upon to sing as her regular role Silver Spoon, she manages to make it sound distinct from her work as Pinkie's singing voice, and still completely believable as coming from the character.
- Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon appear on good terms despite the fallout.
- The cherry on top? This episode was released exactly five years after the premiere. Whether intentional or not, it's still awesome nonetheless.
- The episode shows the interconnectedness and varying scale of the show's overall plot. This business about school board funding for playground repair happened because a giant demonic centaur broke out of his hell-prison and battled the then-most-powerful wizard in the country.
The One where Pinkie Pie Knows
- While Pinkie did come close to spilling the beans about Cadence's pregnancy many times, she managed to keep it as a surprise for Twilight and the other members of the Mane 6. And she went to great lengths to make sure it stayed that way.
- Meta-example: A lot of people called out Pinkie for forcing Twilight to keep a secret that could have solved a problem (namely, by appearing in unlikely places and shouting FOREVER!) back in "Green Isn't Your Color". Here, she gets a taste of her own medicine, and does it bite back HARD. Even Reality Warper ponies aren't safe from the hand of karma.
- It's even better if you believe that Twilight had already figured things out but was deliberately stalling during the scavenger hunt for just this reason.
- Maud's Sherlock Scan to figure out Applejack had been sledding.
- When Pinkie Pie and Applejack talk with each other in the Pie family mine after the Holder's Boulder disaster, Pinkie tries to assure AJ that no one thinks she's a nincompoop, then lists some adjectives ("Pushy, aggressive, mean...") that might closer fit how her family might think of her. After catching an annoyed eyebrow raise from Applejack though, Pinkie backtracks and says "Oh. I'm not helping. Sorry." This seems small, but is actually huge: Pinkie Pie, practically the pony embodiment of Innocently Insensitive and being oblivious to social cues, realized on her own that she was being rude, acknowledged it, and apologized without being prompted to!
- Fluttershy scaring her friends witless. Even if Angel helped with the ideas, the fact that she pulled it off was something to behold. And she didn't rely only on her animal friends - the climax of her act has her dressing up as Flutterbat and ripping off one of the heads on Spike's costume. Fluttershy succeeded at being scary, not out of Sanity Slippage, using the Stare, or a misguided sense of how to be assertive, but entirely of her own accord.
- The cherry on top? She opens her "Flutterbat" routine with an epic Evil Laugh!
- Kudos to her animal friends helping out too; Angel was the mastermind behind much of the thing, and his major contribution was pretending to be shadowy figure chasing the Mane cast around. Fluttershy's birds pretended to be Bedsheet Ghosts. Her pet spider, Fuzzy Legs weaved a massive web to catch them. And capping it all off is Harry the Bear dressing up like a swamp monster.
- Rarity trips in her mermaid costume while being chased by ghosts in the corn maze. Spike shows Undying Loyalty by rushing back to help her up.
What About Discord?
- Remember how Discord managed to shrink the Smooze when it started causing havoc at the Grand Galloping Gala? He does it again by shrinking him inside a bottle. Once again, take into account that not even Twilight and possibly Celestia's magic managed to do anything to Smooze, and yet Discord did the same feat again without even removing treasures that made it grow. It implies that Discord may be the strongest user of magic in Equestria (or at least, a user of one of the most insanely exotic variants).
- The girls calling out Twilight for trying to use a potion on them because she thought that Discord had them under a spell. Not only that, but they manage to convince Twilight to reveal her jealousy, which she tried to hide from them all episode.
- After Discord reveals that he purposely kept Twilight in the library and rubbed it on her face about the inside-joke, the girls hit him with Laser-Guided Karma by calling him out, admitting that his joke was not funny, and then laugh about their new inside-joke with Twilight.
- On a smaller note, Twilight forgiving Discord and letting him join on the fun is awesome because she shows that she doesn't let something like a petty grudge to sink to his level.
- Zecora gets one by brewing a potion than can negate Discord's magic (if he's actually used it, that is, as Twilight learns the hard way). Talk about Badass Normal.
The Hooffields and McColts
- Fluttershy figures out the root of the problem, and then reveals it to the two families, calling them out for their behavior.
- Twilight pulls out her freezing spell again, and despite visibly struggling manages to hold two whole families long enough for Fluttershy to get through to them. Said families are large enough to each be a small army.Twilight: Everypony freeze!
- Twilight, unknowingly, saved a pony's life from being beaten to death with a shovel thanks to that spell.
- The fact that she's struggling from the start makes it look like it'll be a minor Race Against the Clock for Fluttershy, as she'll have to try and convince the two sides to stop before the spell gives out and they start fighting again. Instead, Twilight is able to keep it up long enough she has to be told to let go.
- Additionally, this may be the most impressive, wide-scale display of magic from Twilight thus far which was under her own power and control. She's getting stronger...
The Mane Attraction
- Applejack planning an Engineered Public Confession to expose Svengallop.
- It's a blink-and-you'll-miss moment, but watch the look on Svengallop's face when Twilight plays his recorded confession for all to see. For the briefest moment, he's absolutely taken by surprise! He may act jaded and unrepentant when he's caught red-hoofed, but it's refreshing to see he's not always one step ahead of everything.
- Something of a villainous one for Svengallop. When Coluratura calls him out, he forgoes the typical Villainous Breakdown and launches into a blistering Breaking Speech that leaves her a nervous wreck before just taking off, leaving most of his dignity intact. He would be a full-blown Karma Houdini had Word of God not stated that getting outed shot down any further attempts to scope out another easily biddable starlet to help him live a high life of luxury.
- "The Magic Inside" is not only Awesome Music, it demonstrates Coloratura publicly coming to terms with her true self. And both in- and out-of-universe, it is a resounding success.
- Made even more awesome by the fact that the song is not edited in any way, to the point that you can hear her inhale. A subtle yet incredible metaphor for the episode's message.
The Cutie Remark Part 1
- The episode's opening: Twilight's about to give a lecture to a class about Cutie Marks at Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns. Twilight's given lectures before, but to finally give one at the school she's been studying so hard in get into as a filly? It must have been a dream come true to her!
- Let's give props to Starlight Glimmer for not only lasting this long - most villains are taken out by the end of their two-parter - but pulling off a vicious plan all the other villains could only dream of.
- We also get to see King Sombra in better action and probably a good reason why he went boom at the end of "The Crystal Empire": He'd have an army capable of taking over Equestria.
- Despite how bad the Bad Futures are, we see some real badassery shine through. In the Sombra Bad Future Rainbow Dash is a frontline soldier (with a metal wing!), and Pinkie and Maud have teamed up to fight alongside her, Pinkie displaying Super Strength akin to her sister! Celestia also takes the frontline against Sombra and pwns some Crystal Empire soldiers without a thought.
- Also, look carefully when Rainbow Dash makes her debut flying into action; she's flying alongside 2 other pegasi. If you quickly observe their fur color and tails, you can see that it's Spitfire and Soarin! Dash gets to fly with her heroes! Maybe not the way she intended to, but still.
- You kind of have to hand it to Starlight Glimmer. The second way she disrupts the Sonic Rainboom is by convincing the sports pegasi to not be bullies, putting the Princess of Friendship in the unbelievable position of trying to defend bullying and teasing. It's such an audacious, ludicrous, and effective move you really have to applaud her for it.
- Starlight altered one of Starswirl's spells to make it better, something only Twilight could do before.
The Cutie Remark Part 2
- The three previous villains explored in-depth were Sombra, Chrysalis, and Nightmare Moon. Sombra and Chrysalis have both driven Equestrian society to its knees in their wars when Twilight discovers those futures, but Nightmare Moon seems to have already won, with no signs of a resistance or war left, and is the only explored future where none of the mane six are shown to be still fighting the villain. It also pretty much confirms Luna is at least Celestia's equal in power, dark magic notwithstanding.Nightmare Moon: My sister has been imprisoned in the moon for years!
- There's at least one Bad Future where the Flim Flam Brothers win. You have to give some respect for somehow pulling that off, considering who they likely had to defeat to end up on top.
- Props to Starlight, she holds her own against Twilight in a magical battle and the time spell is incredibly powerful. We've seen Twilight self-levitate before, but Starlight not only demonstrates the same ability, she maintains it for a long time and is even lithe enough in flight to avoid Twilight's attacks. Twilight Sparkle herself, the element of magic, acknowledges that Starlight Glimmer is very talented at the end. And this convinces her to change up her tactics and fight her with friendship, literal friendship instead of a rainbow beam of friendship, giving her a crowning moment of her own.
- Even though the time loop works to Starlight's advantage by letting her show up wherever and whenever she wants, and despite having to fight through crazy apocalyptic futures, Twilight still proves very quick at adapting to the circumstances. Starlight immobilizes her upon her return? Twilight readies a shield spell for next time. Starlight holds her own in a magical duel? Attack first and imprison her (for bonus points, Twilight copies Starlight's own spell!). Can't keep her down long enough to stop her from changing the timeline? Drag her into the time spell and show her the Bad Future in person. And when that fails to change Starlight's mind, Twilight gives us the actual resolution of the episode, but read on for that one. Starlight may also possess powerful magic like Twilight, but in magic replication and adaptability, Twilight is unparalleled.
- Despite the past cracks about Twilight's poor flying, she now demonstrates greatly improved aerial skill and agility; in her magical battle with Starlight, she skillfully evades Starlight's magic blasts. And this was right after fighting through a changeling apocalypse!
- Starlight's initial breakdown shows an awesome resolve for her misguided vengeance that isn't immediately apparent. That is if she had destroyed Starswirl's spell she would have doomed herself to be trapped in the past with no way to get back to the present.
- The resolution is one in its own way. Twilight doesn't defeat Starlight Glimmer in a fight, she talks her down by offering to help her and be her friend. No Elements of Harmony, no Crystal Heart, no Rainbow Power, just one character reaching out to another. After five years of every major villain being dealt with by blasting them with magic rainbow lasers, it's kind of refreshing that non-magical friendship resolves the conflict.
- In the changeling Bad Future, Zecora leads La Résistance against the changelings, proving important enough for Chrysalis herself to step in and take her down! Zecora also has a great Shut Up, Hannibal! to Chrysalis.Even if what you are saying were true, we'd never surrender to a CREATURE LIKE YOU!!
- Nightmare Moon effortlessly destroying a Timberwolf. In case it wasn't clear before just how lucky it was that Twilight figured out the truth about the Elements when she did.
- Twilight's Guile Hero side shines through when she tricks Nightmare Moon into getting rid of the timberwolves so she can return to the past. Even though Nightmare Moon is savvy enough to take Spike hostage in attempt to prevent Twilight's escape, Twilight gets the better of her by pulling off (another) teleport feint, both rescuing Spike and moving herself into the path of the time spell before Nightmare Moon can stop them.
- The Tree of Harmony can't do much to affect the world on its own, but it still demonstrates an awesome degree of power to transcend time, keeping its power available to Twilight through the map even as the timelines get worse and worse. It also may have demonstrated some sentience when it in the end made sure Starswirl's time travel spell would not be used again.
- Sunburst, Starlight's childhood friend, got his cutie mark when he used his magic to not only prevent a massive book tower from collapsing on Starlight, but almost instantaneously reshelve all the books.
- The outcomes of the alternate timelines speak to some serious behind-the-scenes awesomeness:
- Either on the part of the Mane Six (and/or other characters), for being able to beat every villain but one...
- Or the one who came out on top in each timeline, for being able to wipe out all the others...
- Or the ones who didn't turn up, for taking each other out of action...
- Or, in the last one, all the villains and the Mane Six, for managing to utterly annihilate one another.