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Fridge Brilliance / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - Season 5

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     The Cutie Map Parts 1 & 2 
  • As mentioned below and shown previously in "Magical Mystery Cure" and "Twilight's Kingdom", a cutie mark is intimately linked to the pony's talent and magic. Aside from enforcing Individuality Is Illegal, it's easy to speculate about what plans Starlight Glimmer may have had for the marks in the vault, and whether she will attempt a similar scheme in an upcoming episode. After all, the official theme for the season according to the toy line is "Cutie Mark Magic".
  • The Staff of Sameness is a generic and boring name, but that's the entire point. The staff is an artifact that takes away a pony's cutie mark, what makes them special, and "equalizes" them. What better name for something that does that than one that obviously lacks any imagination or creativity?
    • The release of The My Little Pony Movie introduces a Staff of Sacanas, which vaguely sounds like sameness. It's possible Starlight Glimmer may have heard of that staff and had been inspired by it.
  • During the "In Our Town" sequence, two of the Mane Six are much more visually disturbed by the song than the rest. Specifically, Rainbow Dash and Rarity. Both are ponies who take more pride in their talents than the rest of the Mane Six. They love standing out and being in the spotlight so the idea of a town where nopony stood out is just that much more disturbing.
  • The ponies likely didn't just turn on Starlight because the mane six had unknowingly undermined her brainwashing the entire time. They thought she was their friend...but had her special talent the entire time. This means her belief that Cutie Marks can only end in a broken friendship was dead wrong since she still had hers.
  • What would be a practical use for the 'Cutie Mark Removal' spell? To keep dangerous prisoners under control; it would definitely come handy for any high security pony jail. And, in a way, that's precisely what Starlight Glimmer is doing; the town's villagers are her prisoners and she's the self-appointed warden, with her own security staff, solitary confinement cells, and a place where she keeps her prisoners' "weapons" (the cutie marks).
    • The spell makes even more sense if you remember that for 1000 years, Equestria didn't have the Elements of Harmony to protect them. What lengths would Celestial have to go to in order to protect her subjects from another Sombra or Nightmare Moon? Stripping someone of their talents probably seemed kinder to her than a death penalty, and less severe than sending an army of ponies she cared about to deal with a powerful threat.
  • If you look closely, you'll see that everypony in the village has a very desaturated color scheme. And once the mane 6 have their cutie marks stolen, their colors fade towards grey as well, showing it to be a symptom of cutie mark removal. But, if you look closely, one pony's colors are still relatively vibrant, despite having an = cutie mark Starlight Glimmer.
  • Starlight never uses the Cutie Mark removal spell during the final chase. Remember that if not in some sort of container, Cutie Marks instantly fly out and seek their owner. The spell would've been useless since without something for her to put it, it'd have just returned to it's actual owner the moment she let go of it, and considering how many other spells she needed to fire off and she was carrying the mane six's marks at the time, it'd have probably used up more energy than it was worth.
    • The Cutie Marks returning to their hosts makes sense as well: Cutie Marks a representation of one's identity and self. They're part of a pony. So why wouldn't the Marks return right back to their rightful owner?
  • The "equal" motif appears several times in the episode, including in the way the village is built. Note however that Starlight's house is not a part of the motif, subtly foreshadowing that's she's not as equal as she wants the rest of them to believe.
    • There's also the framed picture of an equal sign hanging on the wall when Starlight Glimmer first comes out to meet the Mane 6. The picture is crooked and askew showing that things weren't perfectly equal.
  • When the Main 6 are locked up, why doesn't Twilight just teleport out? Her Equal Cutie Mark neutralizes her magic to only the most basic "moving objects around with your horn" skill that all unicorns have.
    • Likewise, the Equal Cutie Marks either removes or restrains the other Mane 6's best-known talent: Rarity's sense of fashion is removed. Fluttershy can't speak bird. Pinkie Pie's enthusiasm is reduced to neutral and deadpan. Applejack loses her countryisms. Rainbow Dash can't fly faster than anyone else.
  • While it DOES hurt and upset them, the mane six are not completely crippled by their Cutie Marks and talents being taken, and in the end still outsmart and expose Starlight through wits and espionage, particularly compared to the other equal ponies. This makes a lot of sense when you realize this is the third time this has happened to the Mane Six. Discord and Tirek already did this to them before. The mane six have to win with their heads instead of their hooves most of the time. Starlight taking away their power was a handicap, but to the mane six it wasn't anything they hadn't already dealt with.
  • Even after being equalized, Twilight remains the brain of the group, coming up with the plan to save the day - she was brainy even before she got her cutie mark.
    • Likewise, Fluttershy still remains a Stealth Expert and cunning. Neither of these traits have to do with her Cutie Mark.
  • It makes sense that Fluttershy would be more open to the town's idea of equality (at first). She's frequently bullied for being a weak flier. The idea of a town where her flying skills wouldn't matter must have really won her over until she realized the implications.
  • Starlight believing so easily that Fluttershy had switched sides makes perfect sense when you think about her worldview: in her mind, the mane six's friendship was fragile because they were different and that they had their disagreements. So by her worldview, Fluttershy defecting and joining her made perfect sense because she disagreed with her friends about whether Starlight's world was good or bad.
  • Starlight clearly underestimates the Mane Six and their ability to stop her. This makes sense when you realize she still has her Cutie Mark: she's the only pony in town that's still able to operate unhindered, the idea the mane six could turn the tables without their Cutie Marks likely never occurred to her at all.
  • The location of the town seems to be a desert or a place with little rain and surrounded by mountains, making it isolated. This makes sense, as if there more ponies around, someone will find out the truth about her Cutie Mark, and if the town got more rain it would wash off the make up.
  • The name of Starlight Glimmer's town is never revealed: it's only referred to as "our town", "our village", "our little village", etc. This seems like a plothole at first, but consider that Starlight's entire doctrine is that uniqueness brings strife and unhappiness. Giving the village a name would distinguish it from others.
  • It makes sense that the equal sign cutie mark (spell?) would take away Applejack’s ability to make “countryisms”. Those are usually greater than/less than statements, such as the one she was trying to make in the episode, where she started to try to think of something that the door was shut tighter than. Saying something has more or less of a specific quality than something else is the opposite of a statement of equality, and exactly the kind of comparison that Starlight Glimmer wouldn’t want her to be able to make. Rarity losing the ability to make a value judgement on the curtains is similar in nature, as well as Pinkie’s excitable emotions being dulled. Suppressing the ability of ponies to make value judgements and compare things (and come up with a statement that they are unequal in some manner) would also be ways to suppress the desire to escape from her village, because it would make it harder for them to want to leave for a better life.
  • From a writing stand point, it makes sense that Spike didn't go on this adventure; a) as a non-pony, he wouldn't be affected by the Cutie Mark spell, and b) he could use his dragon fire to send an SOS to Celestia.
  • Discord was a foe who embodied chaos. Now we have his inverse in Starlight, a foe representing order.
  • Starlight has a very severe reaction to Twilight trying to give her a Friendship lecture. We can pass this off as her frustration and villainous breakdown but the season end reveals that associating friendship and cutie marks together in a positive light hits a VERY raw nerve in Starlight Glimmer.
  • Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie standing near each other. Starlight backing up behind them so the equal sign is visible between them. Voice Actor Joke?
  • Everyone in Our Town has the same hairstyle, but none of them match Starlight's. Hmmm...

     Castle Sweet Castle 
  • Twilight doesn't want to go back to her new castle so she does whatever she can to not go home. But in "The Cutie Map", she's fine with spending time there. The difference is that her friends were there with her, but obviously they have their own homes and don't want to spend all their time at the castle. Twilight and Spike would be going to an empty and lonely castle.
    • Also, she's always been busy with something when she's been there before, be it stocking the library in "Rainbow Rocks" or examining the throne room in the previous two-parter. She's been too distracted to focus on her feelings about the old library until now.
  • The song "Make This Castle A Home" has the lyrics refer to "Princess Twilight Sparkle", which Twilight herself has asked her friends not to call her. It's an early indication of exactly what's going wrong: Even in trying to help her, her friends aren't thinking of what Twilight wants, only of what they want.
  • As the Castle's chandelier demonstrates, no matter what happens to you or where you go, it's important to never forget your roots.
  • This episode coming directly after the Cutie Map makes perfect sense for one reason: The rest of the Mane Six DO have a disagreement and their differing tastes clash...but in the end, they reunite and find a perfect and absolutely touching way to fulfill their goal, THEN use their individual hobbies and desires to spruce up individually to make the Castle a place Twilight will be more at home. In other words: The entire episode was basically proving Starlight Glimmer dead wrong without mentioning her once.
  • Rarity's reluctance to remove even one of her decorations isn't just her being fussy; as an experienced designer, she's the only one who actually had a unified plan behind her contributions, so that removing even one thing would destroy the whole scheme.
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     Bloom and Gloom 
  • Babs Seed's cutie mark seems a little out of the blue (hairdressing?) unless you've read Rarity and Babs' Friends Forever comic, where Babs is very impressed by the punky haircuts on the Roller Derby ponies and won't stop talking about it afterwards (and rather ironically gets into a fight with another hairdresser who wants to cut off her distinctive bang).
  • Princess Luna explains that the reason Apple Bloom is having nightmares is because by fearing her potential Cutie Mark, she's fearing herself, because Cutie Marks are a representation of who you are. With this in mind, the ponies in Starlight's village being so miserable makes a lot of sense: Starlight wasn't trying to convince them to give up a destiny or their powers, she was trying to force them to give up who they are and a piece of themselves. No wonder their happiness was forced and they desired their Cutie Marks back deep down no matter what Starlight did.
    • Starlight Glimmer's Equal Cutie Mark is most likely used to fill in that emptiness the Pony feels without their Cutie Mark with the added effect of equalizing their talents. But it's like forcing a square block through a circle hole. Even if it goes through, there's still gaps for those feelings of emptiness to seep through over time.
  • After learning that Cutie Marks are a representation of a Pony's personality and not just their talents, it makes sense that after Starlight Glimmer steals the Mane Six's Cutie Marks, they start losing personality traits along with their talents.
  • This episode actually incorporated one important fact about dreams really well: they're often nonsensical in some respects, or some things just feel "wrong". When we dream, often times there will be things that seem out of place- in the case of Apple Bloom's nightmare about being rejected by her own family, it was the fact that they often switched voices, or that Big Mac was at one point wearing Applejack's hat, or, heck, even the fact that Big Mac said so much more than just "eeyup" or "nope"- yet we tend to overlook them and think we're not really dreaming. These discrepancies are pretty obvious to the audience, as major clues that this is in fact a dream- yet Apple Bloom doesn't seem to notice them. So for anyone wondering why Apple Bloom didn't notice these things, one can simply answer "well, neither do we when we dream".
  • In Apple Bloom's second nightmare, after she gives up her Cutie Mark, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo get theirs but we don't see them. Dreams are made up of our experiences and fears and won't have anything that we don't actively know. Since Apple Bloom doesn't know what the other Crusaders' talents are, their flanks would still be blank. The show gets around this by not showing their flanks.
  • One of the Cutie Marks Apple Bloom gets is her own face that winks at her. It's a nice way of telling that Apple Bloom is giving herself nightmares because of her fears of losing her friends and family and that a Cutie Mark is simply a reflection of yourself.

     Tanks for the Memories 
  • Why didn't Rainbow know that tortoises need to hibernate? Whenever winter is being created or wrapped up, she's leading the weather team, so she's unfamiliar with what the animal team does.
  • Rainbow Dash might seem to be overreacting throughout the episode, but consider that of the Mane Six, she's the only one with a pet who needs to hibernate. Every year, she'll have to say goodbye to her pet for several months and will never be allowed to play together with him during the Winter season.
    • It makes even more sense when you remember that Tank is Rainbow's only company at home; besides their respective pets, Applejack has her family, Pinkie has the Cakes, Twilight has Spike, Rarity often has Sweetie Belle visiting, and Fluttershy has dozens (if not hundreds) of animals. The idea of returning to an empty, lonely house every day after work isn't exactly inviting.
  • Fluttershy has probably longed-learned to cope with hibernating pets, particularly Angel, as her book shows both bears and bunnies are those species that need to hibernate as well. Plus, it's likely that Tank isn't the first hibernating pet Fluttershy's given to another pony, which would explain her bluntness towards Rainbow Dash near the end.
  • How does Rainbow Dash get away with some of the more obvious crap she pulls in her sabotage, such as getting other ponies to follow her lead? She's the Weather Manager, she'd usually be giving orders to the weather teams, so they probably think it's some trick that gets things done faster.
  • Rainbow Dash embodies Loyalty. The unfortunate consequence of this, as the episode demonstrates, is that she's completely unwilling to part with her companions, even if it's for their own good.
  • Pinkie says that "Applejack cries on the inside", which AJ admits... This is made harder when you remember that in Apple Family Reunion, two shooting stars resembling her parents fly at the end of the episode. Applejack cries on the inside because she is the one that keeps her family together, and therefore needs to be strong for anypony in need.
    • All but confirmed by "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" where Applejack says to Apple Bloom "if mom and dad were here", which seems to say that they are in fact dead.
  • Spike gets visibly annoyed when Rainbow Dash asks him how to deal with Tank wanting to brumate because she thinks they are almost the same. While Spike may have been angered at Rainbow Dash's way of speaking (Which kind of combined a seeming Fantastic Racism and extreme ignorance at how different Spike and Tank were to each other), it's very probable that Spike simply found Rainbow Dash's endless questions nonsensical - Spike may be a reptile, but he's a fire-breathing dragon. With the ability to produce fire, dragons should be endothermic, and as such they shouldn't brumate on cold weather. Spike would have no idea how to deal with brumation.
    • Way back in "Winter Wrap-Up", he didn't know what hibernation was, and his response to the explanation was, and I quote, "I definitely like the idea of hibernation, uh, except for the "eat less food" part." This would seem to indicate that he doesn't hibernate, brumate, or otherwise sleep through winter.
  • It was pointed out under Fridge Horror that the geese would still be flying north. Well, Derpy has gone north for southern birds before, and now it's the right direction to go...

     Appleloosa's Most Wanted 
  • First Starlight Glimmer and her anti-cutie mark ideology, then Apple Bloom's worries about not getting a suitable cutie mark, and now Troubleshoes, "destined" to be unlucky thanks to the horseshoe on his flank. By the looks of things, cutie marks and how they shape a pony are set to be major themes for this season. With Starlight at large and bound to return by the season's end, episodes exploring the aspects of cutie marks would go far in laying the foundation for a second confrontation.
  • Troubleshoes Clyde takes his upside-down horseshoe cutie mark (with the opening on the bottom side) as a sign of bad luck. However, at the rodeo, one can see that the entrance to the main field is an upside-down horseshoe, a sign that Clyde had some type of connection to the rodeo (just not aware it was for being an entertainer and not a competitor).
  • As Luna said in "Bloom and Gloom", if a pony cannot accept who they are, their life can seem like a bad dream. That certainly applies to Troubleshoes. As long as he continued to resist his nature as a performer, the accidents he caused were dangerous to the point of being criminal. Yet, as soon as he embraced performing, the accidents became harmless beyond the cleanup involved.
  • When the Cutie Mark Crusaders first meet Troubleshoes, all three of them scream with Sweetie Belle holding onto Apple Bloom. This actually makes sense when you consider how their sisters Rarity and Applejack respectively behave towards one another. Way back in the Season 1 episode "Look Before You Sleep", whenever Rarity and Applejack got scared, the first thing they did was hug each other without any second thought. Both pairs of sisters seem to trust each other the most out of their friends, going as far as comforting one another when frightened.

     Make New Friends But Keep Discord 
  • Well of course Fluttershy would get along well with a pony named Tree Hugger. After all, Fluttershy wants to be a tree.
  • Discord was extremely paranoid that Fluttershy doesn't want to be his friend anymore. Well, he did betray them to Tirek a while ago. Even if they said that they forgave him, he's probably feeling a little uncertain whether they still consider him a friend.
  • Fluttershy not inviting Discord makes sense if one remembers the nature of the Gala: it's typically a pretty boring, static affair. It wasn't so much she'd rather go with Treehugger than him, it was more likely she simply didn't think Discord would want to go, since it's the exact opposite of the kind of thing the Spirit of Chaos would enjoy.
  • The broom closet full of shiny treasures? Maybe those were the crown jewels Spike planned to show Rarity at the last gala. They're relocated to the broom closet during official events... because no potential thief would suspect them of being there.
  • The Smooze being tamed by music makes perfect sense when you remember that in G1 it was introduced with a song about it.
  • Of course Discord's joke about just flying in and his interspecies wings are tired didn't go over well—that joke relies on the dual meaning of "flying in", which doesn't work in a world without airplanes.

    The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone 
  • When looking at Gilda's flashback to her first meeting Rainbow Dash, her nasty treatment of Fluttershy in Griffon the Brush Off makes a little more sense. Back then she was also very shy and bullied by the same pegasi only for her to befriend Rainbow Dash and gain confidence. To her, Fluttershy reminded of her past self and, combined with her desire to be cool, she probably wasn't very proud of her old self.
    • It's also a parallel with Babs Seed - someone who was bullied becomes a bully themselves because of their insecurities.
  • The decision to have Gilda be the one to spread the ideals of friendship to other griffins. While some griffins do associate with ponies, they may not actually live in Griffinstone (and indeed Gilda herself wanted to leave). The griffins in Griffonstone are quite distrustful and antagonistic toward ponies (even more than toward each other seemingly), so a fellow griffin makes a better emissary of friendship.
  • Why have we heard nothing about griffin society until now? Because their society is in shambles and antagonistic toward having ponies visit them. The few other griffins that have appeared over the course of the series are presumably ones that have integrated into pony society.
    • Plus, those that do talk to ponies probably don't want to admit what sorry shape their homeland is in.
  • Crack brilliance: Pinkie finds the old griffon king statue very "charming". It's a statue. Made of rock. Pinkie grew up on a rock farm. Even if she's not as rock-obsessed as Maud, she probably still has some affinity for them.
  • Why do many the griffins require bits for services? They are part bird and an attraction to shiny things is found in many birds.
    • The more obvious reason, seeing as Griffonstone has now become a Place Worse Than Death to its inhabitants, is that they're all desperate to make enough money to leave Griffonstone forever
      • But then Fridge Logic comes back if one wonders where are they going to go? They distrust and at least most dislike ponies, so wouldn't they want to be far away from them?
      • They wouldn't necessarily have to go to Equestria. We've seen two non-pony nations already. Who's to say there aren't more?
    • Even more Brilliance. They don't want to live in Griffonstone but they don't want to associate with ponies either. No wonder they're so grumpy. They can't make up their mind where they'd rather go. They want to leave the town they're in but don't want to have to associate with anyone else.
  • Why are Pinkie and Rainbow the ones to go to Griffonstone instead of the others? Because they're the ones who have had the most interactions with griffons.
  • Sure, the Idol isn't the easiest to reach, but the fact remains that Pinkie, Dash and Gilda found it in the space of a single day. Even factoring in sheer luck, it would seem odd that no griffin succeeded in relocating it since the time of the theft. However, it bears remembering that the griffins owed their unification to the Idol; their racial hats of greed and pride hadn't been solved as such, merely overcome. With the loss of that artifact, those hats would swiftly gain the overhand once more. With each griffin too greedy and too proud to engage in any form of cooperation, it's small wonder indeed they never succeeded.
  • Why wasn't the aid of Celestia, or Equestria in general, invoked to retrieve a vitally important artifact like the Idol? Why does it appear that knowledge of Griffonstone's fall hasn't reached Equestria at all? As if any self-respecting griffin would ask a pony for help.
    • Paranoia could also have been a factor. It's conceivable that, in the eyes of at least some griffins, informing the ponies of the theft of their artifact might inspire the ponies to go and take said artifact for themselves.
  • Gustav, the baker griffin from 'MMMystery on The Friendship Express', was prideful and rude, yet later revealed to be a decent guy. This is because, unlike the Griffonstone's inhabitants, he didn't just integrate to the pony society, but also made himself a successful career and comfortable living; in this episode, we learn that, when griffins were at their best, their greed was mostly replaced by pride. So, griffins with a good, successful life are proud of their achievements, while those who're doing badly are extremely greedy; their dominant Fatal Flaw depends on their living conditions.
  • Combined with Shown Their Work, Gilda is strong enough to climb a cliff while carrying Pinkie and Rainbow; in myth, griffins are said to be powerful enough to fly while carrying horses (and even heavier animals) in their claws.
  • Pinkie complaining about the lack of singing, partying and bakeries, and Gilda's sarcastic comment about how Griffonstone really needs those, actually makes a lot of sense. As seen in 'Magical Mystery Cure', without some amenities to ease the tensions from living in a troublesome town, the inhabitants grow increasingly cranky and unfriendly. The griffins don't just live in 'a dump', but don't do a thing to try improving their living conditions, and those who achieve some measure of success are more than eager to leave the place.
  • Upon seeing what a dump Griffinstone had turned into, Rainbow Dash quips: "Maybe the map should've called Rarity instead of us". Well, later we see that Greed is the Fatal Flaw of its inhabitants, so of all the Elements of Harmony, Generosity is the one they need most.
    • However, it sent Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie on the technicality that they were the ones who have the most history with Gilda. Aside from that, Pinkie Pie was sent because she's the one who saw the root of Griffonstone's real problem. And Rainbow Dash was sent because she and Gilda shared something the other griffons lacked: loyalty. It taught Gilda to stay and help Griffonstone rather than abandon it.
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    Slice of Life 
  • A random changeling shows up at the tail end of panning over the wedding crowd. It might seem out of place, but the last time the changelings showed up was at a wedding. Also, what better place to feed on love?
    • Adding to that, he doesn't seem to be there to cause trouble. Chances are good that after the last (shown) wedding and how it ended for the changelings, this one figured that his meal would go much more smoothly if he simply behaved himself.
    • On a meta level, the changeling's presence serves to Reinforce the episode's moral. Every character is equally important. Whether they are a cross eyed pegasus, an oddly sitting unicorn, or just a changeling mook, each and every one of them have earned a special place in the hearts of fans.
    • Cranky could just be friends with the changeling. Since we know his best friend is Steven Magnet and he's traveled all across Equestria looking for Matilda, he may have struck up an unlikely friendship with a changeling.
    • Word of God says that it's a friend of Matilda's.
  • Why doesn't Celestia just teleport back to Canterlot to get the gift? We know she can do this if she has to. Well it wouldn't look all that good for everypony to know she forgot the gift by seeing her teleport, and she couldn't leave the wedding to teleport in secret. Being royals she and Luna wouldn't be expected necessarily to have brought a gift, them simply being there is an honor after all, so perhaps they decided to just act like they didn't get a gift and send it to Matilda and Cranky later?
  • This episode is regarded by some as the show creators kissing up to the adult fandom, and indeed they may have a point. After all, Cranky and Matilda get married and seal their wedding with a kiss, making this an episode about ass kissing.
  • Gummy being Pinkie's pet has been essentially Rule of Funny since season one. The revelation of his philosophical thoughts and existential crisis adds some depth to their relationship. He chooses to stay with her because he wants happiness in life. Who better than Pinkie - the embodiment of laughter itself - to bring joy to someone with such a bleak outlook? Pinkie lives for making others happy, and might just be the only thing keeping Gummy from Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and going full-blown Straw Nihilist.
  • The fandom often makes Lyra the 'crazy one' and Bon Bon the 'sane one' when pairing them, but this episode reveals that Lyra is actually the normal one while Bon Bon '' is a secret agent.' So it makes perfect sense that Bon Bon plays 'normal', as she's keeping up a facade and is trying to avoid drawing any unwanted attention; and her 'normalcy' image is far more believable when compared with a more eccentric personality, like Lyra's.
    • The fact that Bon Bon is a secret agent also might explain why she keeps changing voices.
  • Many people wondered why on earth all four of the princesses were not only invited to Cranky and Matilda's wedding, but also accepted in invitation. With Twilight it made sense as she lived in the same town and to an extent, Cadance as Twilight's sister in law. But why Celestia and Luna? Well, Think about where Cranky and Matilda were when they first met. They were guests at the grand galloping gala. Even if old and relatively unimportant now, both of them must have been extremely important at some point to have been invited to the gala. Maybe even friends with Celestia!
    • There's also some implication that Cranky kept up a life of service to Equestria during the years in-between. Decades of adventure that, very least, introduced him to a sea serpent, would almost certainly have been to the benefit of Equestria at some stage.
    • Cadance is also the Princess of Love, so it shouldn't be surprising to see her at a wedding.
  • Cranky was seen guiding Spike along a river back during the Dragon Migration; such a method of travel may very well be how Cranky met Steven Magnet in the first place.
  • Derpy being given the name Muffins (in the credits) makes sense if you think about her cutie mark. Bubbles, which make dough rise, are what give muffins their classic shape!
  • When Bon Bon learns which monster is attacking Ponyville, she's surprisingly fast at fessing up her past as a secret agent to Lyra, considering it's a secret she'd been hiding for years. She could have just as well invoked any silly pretext to get away from Lyra while the bugbear was around. But considering how close friend she'd become with Lyra, it would make sense that keeping that secret from her for so long was taking its toll, and she was itching to make the big reveal. The bugbear was just the needed trigger.
  • Shining Armor always cries at weddings. Makes perfect sense when you consider everything that happened at his own. It's bad enough that he could have married Queen Chrysalis but maybe he still feels bad for calling Twilight out in front of all her friends, leading to the changeling invasion.
    • Possibly supported by Cadance noting that, while he often had this issue, he normally cries during the ceremony, instead of before.
  • Celestia and Luna being at the Wedding instead of helping defeating the Bug Bear makes sense when you realize their words implied they just arrived, and we know the Bug Bear had just been defeated and Ponyville JUST found out about it as soon as it showed up. This likely means the Mane Six were the ones to find it, and the Princesses showed up about the same time it was defeated.
    • Cadance not helping make sense too. Even if her shoulder wasn't needed for Shining Armor to cry on, she's the Princess of Love, so she probably can't just run out on a wedding that's about to start so she can fight some random monster, particularly when the Mane Six already seemed to have it under control.
  • At first it may seem random that Lemon Hearts just happened to have the twilight scepter with her, but it actually makes sense why she would have it. It would be considered a way to remind Lemon Hearts of her old friend.
  • When it's first revealed that Sweetie Drops was a former agent working for a monster-hunting agency out of Canterlot, and that the agency was dissolved by Celestia when the bugbear escaped from Tartarus. At first it seems harsh that Celestia would go so far, until you realize she probably disbanded the organization out of a sense of guilt and was trying to protect her pony agents.
  • Fireworks that ignite when exposed to love? Fitting, considering that fireworks are a common shorthand for Something Else Also Rises in fiction.
  • Not sure if it was intentional, but let's think about Gummy's monologue. It came completely out of nowhere, makes little to no sense (the episode would've worked the same way with any kind of joke) and it hasn't even been referenced ever since. In other words, it is an almost literal Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.

     Princess Spike 
  • Canterlot is the nominal seat of Equestrian government, it's where Celestia and Luna reside and is shown to have many wealthy residents. Given how greedy and destructive dragons have been shown to be in-universe, it's likely that Canterlot's dragonsneeze trees were planted to keep dragons away from what otherwise would be an irresistible source of wealth and treasure to plunder for their hoards. Spike is violently allergic to them, and one would assume all dragons would have a similar reaction.
  • While Twilight's Waking Non Sequitur doesn't make much sense, either in-context or not, Whinnyapolis (as an expy of the capital of a breadbasket state) would be a major producer of hay, and Manehattan is clearly an expy of Big Applesauce, so her response is at least marginally related to the delegates involved. The candle, however, lights nothing

    Party Pooped 
  • A meta-example. The yaks get angry and rampage every time the ponies don't meet their standards or expectations, no matter how small it is. Sounds like the fandom whenever something in an episode doesn't meet their standards or expectations.
    • Entailing that, the yaks enjoying an Equestria-themed party embodies how the fandom is occasionally pleased by surprises they did not see coming.
  • Pinkie Pie being the only one among Twilight's friends who really read the information on Yaks makes a lot of sense when her secret 'Party Cave' is revealed. Pinkie keeps files on everypony in town in order to throw personalized parties, so she'd also try to do the same for the Yaks. The only reason the Yaks didn't like her attentions is because she couldn't get the original materials/ingredients, and the Yaks are exaggeratedly perfectionists.
  • The Yaks don't throw a fit during the Equestria-themed party because the two countries have been isolated for so long that they have no frame of reference for what is "perfect" for Equestria, so they just assumed what they got was perfect.
  • The yeti being portrayed as a bear-like monster rather than as a bipedal primate might seem baffling for some, but it makes sense when you remember a possible explanation for several sightings of huge, humanoid apes is that they are actually misidentified bears rearing on their hind legs. In addition, it is also believed that the yeti itself may probably be an undiscovered species of bear rather than an ape.
  • It seemed weird as to why didn't Cadance go with Pinkie Pie to Yakyakistan considering how she is beginning to think that the Crystal Empire is boring. Cut forward to the next season premiere and you realize that she is probably pregnant with Flurry Heart and not risk a miscarriage.

     Amending Fences 
  • Why was Moondancer so affected by Twilight not going to the party, even if the rest of her friends did attend? The flashbacks show that she and Twilight shared the same interests and were the closest to each other among their classmates, so Moondancer considered her as her best, closest friend. When Twilight didn't go to the party, it crushed Moondancer because she thought this proved that even a pony with her same intelligence and interests didn't consider her friendship worthy, and even if the others were still friendly, Moondancer thought they'd get bored/tired of her even faster than Twilight, having little in common with anypony else, so she preferred to keep to herself rather than exposing to another deception.
    • Twilight also moved to Ponyville immediately afterwards, disappearing from Moondancer's life completely without any goodbyes or giving her a reason why she couldn't attend her party.
  • The episode excuses how Minuette, Twinkleshine, Lemon Hearts, and Lyra Heartstrings are seen in both Ponyville and Canterlot, but not Amethyst Star, who was also in the first episode. However, this makes perfect sense if one presumes Amethyst moved to Ponyville as a foal. This not only fits with her being an organizer for the town before Twilight moved there, as said in "Slice of Life," but explains how flashbacks show the other four as foals in Ponyville; they were probably there visiting Amethyst Star. This would also explain why Twilight and Spike don't address Amethyst as one of their Canterlot friends — if she only came there for visits, Twilight likely didn't know her well enough to consider her a friend.
  • The episode also explains how Minuette, Twinkleshine, and Lyra, were Cadance's bridesmaids. With the implication the three were Twilight's childhood friends, it's entirely possible Cadance met them through Twilight and has kept in touch with them as they grew up. Lemon Hearts is the only one of the four above who wasn't part of that, but this episode mentions she's an event planner for the castle, so she was probably busy behind the scenes of the wedding and couldn't take part in the ceremony.
    • There's also another possible explanation: Cadance was also their foalsitter and they kept in touch for longer, seeing as all four of them were more social than Twilight was before she moved to Ponyville, that three of them live closer to Cadance, being Canterlot residents, and the fourth visits regularly despite having moved to Ponyville since.
  • Moondancer is implied to be who Twilight would have become had she not traveled to Ponyville or learned the importance of friendship. She even had the same mane style as Twilight back then. Now, look at Human!Twilight in the Equestria Girls Friendship Games trailers. Notice anything familiar when comparing Human!Twilight to Moondancer?
  • Moondancer is a recolor of Twilight, disregarding a few changes. Seems a bit weird, and still is, but it makes a bit more sense when you realize that G1 Moondancer was a recolor of G1 Twilight.
  • Twilight's old friends (other than Moondancer) are ponies who've been showing up as background ponies and in other minor roles since the start of the series. That just emphasizes how out of touch she'd gotten: she didn't notice or recognize her old friends for over a hundred episodes.
  • It seems kinda weird that despite showing up in many of the episodes (and even directly interacting with Twilight on occasion) none of her friends hold it against her when she tries to make amends (the one that does that ironically hasn't shown up at all). The first episode established that Twilight was somewhat anti-social and often forgot her friends. Of course none of them would hold it against her; none of them knew of her adventures or quests (since she's often with the other Mane 6 and apparently can't even remember her old friend's names) so they just assumed that to be her normal behaviour. It's also why Minuette was so surprised that Twilight showed up at her house at all; the Twilight she knew would never do that for social reasons.
  • It's been pointed out that the "bubble of silence" spell used in this episode would have been really useful during "Princess Spike" but was not used. This actually makes perfect sense: Twilight probably learned the spell sometime between the two episodes, for precisely that reason.
  • Twilight has to confront a smart unicorn whose view of friendship was devastated after a single, very close friend suddenly vanished from her life, and ends up isolating herself from what she thought caused her pain. Twilight therefore gives a brief peek to the past to see what caused all her troubles, and ends up making some effort to show her that there are many more friends around the world for her to meet, and she ends up giving up her harmful ways. This is essentially the conflict with Moondancer in this episode, but it gives the feeling of serious foreshadowing of what eventually happens with Starlight Glimmer in the season finale as their pasts have a similar structure.

     Do Princesses Dream Of Magic Sheep? 
  • Rainbow Dash's favorite dream being her fighting a Changeling army might be because Rainbow Dash did fight, and win with the help of her friends, against a Changeling army. She would definitely consider it one of her own CMOA and would love to relive it but with less stress of needing to hurry to save Canterlot and more her being awesome.
    • There's also her "Nightmare", which has a field of happy flowers singing happy cheesy songs to her. Of course, a tough Pegasus like Rainbow Dash would consider that to be a nightmare.
    • There is more to that. Just look at how these flowers act! And the consequences should any of Rainbow's friends ever meet them. She'd try to warn them only to end up being abandoned by all her friends for seemingly wanting to hurt such cute "innocent" beings. Pretty hard blow for the Element of Loyalty, eh?
    • And last but not least, this is basically the equivalent of your food singing to you and obviously wanting you suffer.
  • What's Rarity's dream? Being eaten alive by her work!
  • Pinkie's dream has her sharing ice cream with everyone in Ponyville. A Call-Back to her "Smile" song about how she dedicates her day to cheering everyone up. Even in her dreams she wants everyone to be included.
  • Pinkie dreaming about literally every pony in Ponyville makes sense when you remember that in "A Friend In Deed" she literally knows every single person (including non-ponies like Cranky) in town.
  • Why is Pinkie Pie's nightmare Monster Cake? Because ponies are vegetarians, and they don't care to eat anything with a face on it.
  • Fluttershy dreams of being the pet for a change, and Angel being her care-taker. Given Fluttershy shares a mother-child relationship with Angel, it's not uncommon to think of their kids one day growing up to take care of their elder parents. So Fluttershy dreams her "child" will one day be able to take care of her for a change.
  • Princess Luna's Be All My Sins Remembered implies that Nightmare Moon's invading ponies' dreams and nightmares as described in her issue of My Little Pony: FIENDship Is Magic is now canon. But according to that comic, Luna didn't know anything about entering dreams until she met the Nyx during her banishment. This makes her new role as a protector of ponies' dreams even more poignant as part of her penance.
  • Although it was Played for Laughs, it makes sense that Big Mac would imagine himself in the dream as an Alicorn. In pony society, the Alicorn royalty are the most powerful beings around. Why not go into God-Mode territory for the sake of a dream?
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     Canterlot Boutique 
  • Rarity telling her friends they don't have to help her make dresses even though she has a lot of orders makes sense considering what happened last time she got them involved with her work, even though she learned her lesson about taking advantage of other's kindness.
  • Sassy's line that she doesn't want to be part of another failed boutique - she's always been on the managing side, never the production side, and so probably doesn't understand why making the same thing over and over could be more challenging and stressful to an artist than making lots of new things all the time. And if nopony had explained that to her before then that's why she doesn't realize that's what's causing her to fail all the time as opposed to not having the right amount of exposure or orders or anything else.

     Rarity Investigates 
  • With the implications that Rainbow Dash isn't the first pony Wind Rider's pulled a Frame-Up on, the other Wonderbolts' willingness to suspect Dashie on zero evidence makes more sense - for at least some of them, it wouldn't be the first time a rookie's resorted to underhooved tactics to fly with them.
  • The fact that Soarin gave Rainbow Dash some time to exonerate herself might be a Because You Were Nice to Me moment Call-Back to Rainbow Falls.
    • Even better, that moment was also a "To what lengths would Rainbow Dash go to fly with the Wonderbolts?" issue, just played out differently. If Rainbow wasn't willing to (fully)compromise her morals then, Soarin has no reason to think she'd do so now.
  • Soarin' automatically taking command of the team and threatening to give Dashie the boot personally SEEMS out of line, since that would be stepping on the captain's hooves...unless you realize that Soarin' may have been Spitfire's second in command this entire time and it's just never been implied (or needed for that matter) until now.
    • It's also possible that Soarin' took charge because he knew that the others would've wanted Rainbow Dash to be kicked out immediately without any chance to clear her name. By taking control of the situation and making his own threat, he was able to placate the other Wonderbolts and give Rainbow Dash a fighting chance.
  • It makes perfect sense why Rarity figured Wind Rider was wearing his scarf differently to hide the Smoking Gun against him; she did the same thing with her hair once.
  • The Wonderbolts believing Rainbow Dash might actually have gotten rid of Spitfire makes sense if they know what happened in Tanks for the Memories. While we do not know if she was punished for damaging the Weather Factory, Rainbow Dash has demonstrated that she is willing to break the law if she wants something bad enough.
  • If you pay enough attention, Wind Rider's guilt is obvious from the beginning. He was the first one to blame Rainbow Dash for Spitfire's disappearance.
    • That, and he has a smooth, faint New York accent, like some expy straight out of the detective genre in Rarity's novels. That alone tells you that he's going to be integral to the plot somehow.
  • At first, it seems Played for Laughs that Rarity would think that "heh heh" would indicate Wind Rider was jealous of Rainbow Dash. But when you think about it, she makes a good point, and for two reasons:
    • Rarity herself has experienced jealousy in "Green is not your Color". It takes a jealous pony to know a jealous pony.
    • When the Wonder Bolts brought up that Rainbow Dash could potentially beat his record, all he did was chuckle, rather than congratulate her or encourage her.
  • The Wonderbolts expelling Wind Rider without a second thought makes perfect sense when you consider as a veteran, he was held to a higher standard of behavior than other Wonderbolts. Wind Rider's comment about playing dirty also imply this may not have been the first time he did such a thing.

     Made In Manehattan 
  • We finally get a good explanation of why Twilight, the Princess of Friendship, hadn't been attending many 'friendship emergencies' herself; in Real Life, you can't count on magic to instantly solve each and every problem, but you have to make an effort, and many times the problems take a while to get fixed, even when having the best intentions. Even at the end of the episode, Rarity and Applejack hadn't fixed all the community problems, but inspired the local ponies into working together and solve the problems themselves, similarly to how Pinkie and Rainbow didn't immediately get Griffonstone back to its former glory but gave one of them, Gilda, the necessary motivation for her to slow but surely influence the other griffins in a positive way. In both cases, the episode's problem had a Mundane Solution, so Twilight's powers weren't necessary and, in fact, wouldn't have helped to fix the core problem, the locals' unwillingness to improve their community.

     Brotherhooves Social 
  • How could Big Macintosh outrun Rainbow Dash despite Rainbow being far ahead of him? Because Rainbow had to hold back so Scootaloo could keep up with her; being a team race, the older ponies had to run along with their little sisters, so they couldn't go at top speed and leave their young teammate behind. Once Big Macintosh decided to carry Apple Bloom, and being so strong that her weight wouldn't be a problem, he didn't need to hold back at all, getting an edge in the race.
  • Apple Bloom was ticked off about Applejack missing the Sisterhooves Social, but Sweetie Belle managed to come to terms with Rarity missing it pretty well, despite temporarily disowning her for refusing to participate last time. Why? Because Apple Bloom and Applejack do the Social together every year... except for the last one, which they sat out as part of a plan to help Sweetie Belle and Rarity reconcile; every year, like clockwork, and then they miss two in a row, which would be especially jarring to a filly raised in a family that puts as much emphasis on tradition as the Apples do. Sweetie Belle, on the other hand, was mad at Rarity last time for refusing to take part in the Social with her; this time, Rarity would presumably have chosen to go to the Social with Sweetie Belle had the map not called her away, so while Sweetie Belle was disappointed, knowing Rarity would have been there if she could have helped soften the blow.
  • Applebloom is a fairly young filly, and the Social only happens once a year. Given her age, it's likely that she's only attended a handful of Sisterhooves Socials in her lifetime, so missing two in a row like this would be rather devastating.
  • Why is Orchard Blossom not exactly questioned as being an Apple Family member despite the more upper-class look and acting? The Oranges are upper-class themselves; it wouldn't be much of a stretch for Orchard Blossom to be somewhere in-between the upper-class Oranges and more down-to-earth Apples.

     Crusaders of the Lost Mark 
  • Apple Bloom's voice is noticeably deeper after her cutie mark appears. This could be a sign of how she's grown up.
  • Their Cutie Marks have the sign that look similarly to a crest. Crusaders in Real Life have been known to carry around a crest of their own. Talk about a nod to their name.
  • It seems fitting that the The Crusaders help Diamond Tiara reform as she is the one who indirectly created their group, so it's also fitting that helping her become a good guy got them their cutie marks.
  • The CMC vowing to help other ponies discover their talents as their own special talent makes a lot of sense from a meta, series-wide perspective. Yes, people have been speculating, for example, that Sweetie Belle would get a cutie mark in singing, or Apple Bloom would get one relating to potions, but if these three actually got these cutie marks, they would have their own separate ways to go, essentially breaking the three-filly adventure-seeking team dynamic that viewers have grown so accustomed to for almost 5 seasons. With the cutie marks that they earned this episode, the writers found a way to "reward" the CMC for their long search, while at the same time allowing the three of them to stay a team.
    • And the writers also gave the fandom theories their own nod. Each Crusader has a symbol inside their shield that matches with the viewers' theories on what they'd get their cutie marks in. A musical note inside a star for Sweetie Belle (singing), a heart inside an apple for Apple Bloom (something apple-related), and a lightning bolt inside a wing for Scootaloo (speed/acrobatics).
    • Not only that, but from a meta standpoint their new role allows them to still be referred to as the "Cutie Mark Crusaders". It'd be hard for fans to drop that name after 5 seasons, but with this the name is still valid, it just has a new meaning: instead of crusading to find their own Cutie Marks, they now crusade to help others find theirs!
    • Scootaloo's cutie mark also calls to mind Rainbow's because of the wing/lightning bolt, seeing as a lightning bolt is part of Dash's cutie mark and was the emblem for her Element of Loyalty. Something that must please the little filly who admires Dash so much.
  • Diamond Tiara's Heel–Face Turn and subsequent Calling the Old Man Out may seem rushed, but her "I Want" Song made it clear she was unhappy with the path she was on and was only doing it because she didn't know there was another way. Once the CMC manage to convince her that there is another way, it's not unbelievable that she'd jump at it.
    • It makes sense in another way as well. Diamond Tiara repeatedly mentions, being a Diamond, she never breaks. That argument is entirely fallacious though, as diamonds are a very hard material but can be broken with relative ease. In other words, for all of her external bravado and confidence, deep down Diamond Tiara wanted all along to just have the kind of things money and success couldn't buy; real friends and love.
  • The Cutie Mark Crusaders role in life is helping others succeed in their own roles. And because they've tried every single job in existence, between the three of them they have perspective on nearly everypony's life.
  • Diamond Tiara's Character Development makes a lot of sense when you consider her cutie mark. It is a crown, which typically denotes royalty. The crusaders help her to stop acting like her high birth makes her inherently better than everypony else around and instead show her she can use her authority for good. This is particularly touching since, up until now, the fandom commonly held the belief that Tiara's Cutie Mark denoted a completely useless "talent" at "being a Rich Bitch".
  • The crusader's collective cutie marks stem from not just a tight bond and a wealth of different experiences, but the ability to see the good in others even they thought wasn't there. Both Troubleshoes and Diamond Tiara earned the ire of those around them when they misinterpreted their talents, until the crusaders gave them a brighter perspective on it.
  • The appearance of their cutie marks being accompanied by much more showy magical effects as usual, including floating in the air, colored auras and blinding white light, has been noted. But when you think about it, previous occurrences seen in the show concerned only one pony at a time. Here, not only the three fillies are receiving them simultaneously, they are linked together, as proven by the identical shield designs and their common talent of helping others find their purpose in life. This is certainly not a common phenomenon among ponies, and thus probably resulted in a greater magical discharge, hence the more impressive light show.
  • The young filly with Super Strength has a hedgehog cutie mark. This cutie mark reflects a metaphor known as the Hedgehog's Dilemma based on intimacy. It basically states that people are sometimes scared of being intimate with others due to fears they will accidentally hurt them, just like hedgehogs and porcupines aren’t able to cuddle or be near one another due to their spines/quills hurting others. Thus, her Super Strength prevents her from being close or intimate to her schoolmates because she's scared of hurting them or other school things. Her Tareme Eyes reflect this as only other Shrinking Violet characters like Fluttershy and Coco Pommel have them.
  • Diamond Tiara rejects her mother's teachings because she wanted friends. Up until this point, even going with her mother's mindset, she did have a friend: Silver Spoon. Prior to Silver Spoon ditching her, Diamond Tiara thought she could have both, so she didn't complain too much. Only when the mindset finally drove away the one friend she had did she break and begin to realize her entitled attitude was mutually exclusive with friendship.
    • Note only that, but note how selective her mother is in who she LETS her daughter be friends with. Silver Spoon is probably one of the few ponies on a VERY short list she could actually be friends with...and now she drove her away.
  • Her mother picking on the girls for being "blank flanks" could explain why Diamond kept using that as an insult long after it stopped actually bothering them. It wasn't just schoolyard bullying, it was a prejudice learned from her mother who uses a lack of cutie marks as a sign that a pony is inferior and not worth hanging around.
  • This image sums up Diamond Tiara's character development in a nutshell.
  • The CMC don't hesitate for a second to help and try to redeem Diamond Tiara when they realize she needs it. They didn't need to learn that bullies can have reasons they're how they are or can be redeemed, because they already did with Babs Seed.
  • The Crusaders' Cutie Marks might have been foreshadowed as far back as the episode where the Cutie Mark Crusaders was formed. The girls founded the Cutie Mark Crusaders to help each other find out what makes them special. And if not that, it was certainly foreshadowed back in 'Hearts and Hooves Day' where the Crusaders do their best to help another pony find happiness (Granted, she neither needed or wanted help with the problem but that's not the point.)
  • After this episode, the Crusaders have essentially become therapists for ponies suffering from Cutie Mark Failure Insanity Syndrome.
  • Spoiled Rich's cutie mark is a diamond studded ring and her daughter is named Diamond Tiara.
  • The Cutie Mark Crusaders have become Starlight Glimmer's Good Counterpart after their talent to help ponies find out what makes them special is revealed. Whether that's a good or bad thing has yet to be seen.
  • This episode also presents a reason why Diamond Tiara became a bigger Jerkass per episode: Because each episode she appears in has her fail. Look at everything that happened:
    • "Call of the Cutie"? She's shown up at her own cutie mark party.
    • "Show Stoppers"? She didn't win an award at the talent show.
    • "Family Appreciation Day"? She got humiliated at a family history show and tell by a business partner's family.
    • "One Bad Apple"? There's a chance Babs Seed might've made good on her word and tattled on her and Silver Spoon.
    • "Ponyville Confidential"? She's demoted in the Foal Free Press.
    • "Flight to the Finish" She failed to be the flag carrier of Ponyville.
    • For every failure, her mother would be harder on her and keep pushing her to be better and better, despite this method leading only to failure. She only succeeds when she finally defies her mother.
  • Bit of cross-episode brilliance, but something sticks out about Apple Bloom's cutie mark. It's been theorized that Sweetie Belle's talent is singing, Scootaloo's is stunts (particularly with her scooter), and Apple Bloom's is construction. Their new cutie marks have different symbols in the center, but only the former two point to an individual talent (singing for Sweetie Belle (musical note in a star), and possibly being fast on her scooter thanks to her wings for Scootaloo (wing in a lightning bolt), but Apple Bloom's is an apple with a heart, rather than a hammer or the like. However, in Made In Manehattan, Applejack proves to be adept at construction herself, despite her special talent having nothing to do with it. This points to two things: A) A pony can be above average at something without it being his/her talent, and B) Either construction skills run in the family, or Apple Bloom learned her skills from Applejack rather than it being a natural skill. This makes the fact that Apple Bloom doesn't have a construction-related symbol in her cutie mark easier to swallow. Adding to this, in Bloom and Gloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo are shown dreaming about doing what fans have thought their talents were. Apple Bloom never dreams about getting a construction-related cutie mark. Foreshadowing, perhaps?
    • Speaking of Bloom and Gloom, one of Apple Bloom's worries in that episode was that her family would disown her if she ended up with a non-apple cutie mark. When she gets her mark, it does include an apple, squashing her fears and cementing her status as an Apple Family member.
    • "Marks and Recreation" confirmed this brilliance; the ability of ponies to have more than one talent or interest, even outside of their cutie mark, is the whole point of that particular episode.
  • The CMC show Diamond Tiara two paths, one where she can stop being a bully and become a good pony and another path where she chooses to stay under her mother's hoof and continue to be a bully. At this point, many viewers expected Diamond Tiara to pick the path towards the light after hearing the CMC's song and were disappointed, for a short while, when Diamond Tiara chose the opposite path. Diamond Tiara, however, was reformed by the CMC and did pick the Good Path. There just wasn't anything on the path the CMC pointed at. Just a gazebo with nothing important around.
    • Also, they'd just been singing about "The Light of Your Cutie Mark". Where do you take a light but where it's needed?
    • Worth noting is that the new playground includes a similar-looking gazebo. Diamond Tiara poses inside it near the end of her Triumphant Reprise, highlighting which path she really took after that fake-out.
  • Entailing the above fridge brilliance, it's worth noting that when Diamond Tiara chooses the school yard, she's really exercising her ability to get ponies what she wants them to do. By choosing that path, she got the CMC to follow her so they could be there for her to announce her donation for the new playground. And this time, she didn't have to influence the CMC by bossing them around, insulting them, or bullying them.
  • Back in "Bloom and Gloom", Apple Bloom had a nightmare that once she got a cutie mark, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon would still mock her. Some fans would hope the teasing would stop once the CMC got their cutie marks. But this actually foreshadowed that the opposite must happen: before they can hope to earn their cutie marks, the CMC had to get to the root of what made Diamond Tiara a bully, and help her be a nicer pony. Only then would they get their cutie marks without fear of Diamond Tiara degrading or insulting it.

     The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows 
  • While trying to keep the secret from the Mayor, Pinkie's mouth scrunches up and her eyes dart to the side, similar to how Applejack looks when she tries to lie. Makes sense that they would share this tic if they're supposedly distant cousins...
  • Funny how an episode with the plot being one of keeping a big secret comes right after the episode with one of the biggest spoilers for the series. Pinkie Pie's dilemma could reflect a fan's desire to talk with his/her friends about 'Crusaders of The Lost Mark' but doesn't want to spoil the big surprise ending.
  • The Crusaders are bored in this episode, despite just realizing their long-time goal of getting their Cutie Marks. Well... that's exactly why they're bored. They just experienced a life-changing event, one they've been working so hard for. Compared to that, everything will seem dull for a while. More to the point, since their sole focus of the last five seasons has been accomplished, And Then What? is in full effect.
    • Which is a nice bit of foreshadowing, as they later spend a whole episode grappling with what their next step should be.
  • A bit of Fridge Heartwarming but Shining Armor and Cadence's baby is extremely lucky to have both the Princess of Love as a mother and the Princess of Friendship as an aunt. Two of life's biggest problems and the baby's has the leading experts to help. And if it's a Cutie Mark problem, the Crusaders are there too.
  • Shining Armor's comic book collection. Suddenly, Spike's own love of comic books may make a lot more sense.
  • Fridge Heartwarming: If the big news gets the Mane 6 this excited, imagine the sheer elation the Crystal Ponies will express when they learn that, after over 1000 years of oppression from King Sombra and now having kind rulers, a benevolent heir to the throne will finally be born.
    • It'll probably be as nuts as the announcement that the Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant with Prince George was. (And if Hasbro doesn't treat the actual birth like the media frenzy that birth was, I'll frankly be disappointed in their marketing team.)
  • Why is Pinkie Pie so determines to keep the secret? Considering how much she hounded Twilight over keeping s secret, she wants to prove she lives up to the idea.

    Hearthbreakers 
  • At first glance, Twilight's gift to Spike appears to be a Gift-Giving Gaffe. Considering how Spike's dragon greed and growth were triggered after receiving many gifts on his birthday, a deliberately disappointing gift could be a tactic to keep him a happy baby dragon.
  • Opening the Christmas presents in the evening instead of the next morning is a real tradition in some countries (like Germany). But notably, in the UK, the Royal family opens their presents in the evening (according to German tradition), while the rest of country waits until the morning. And Twilight IS Royalty at this point!
  • Pinkie mentions that the Pie family haven't been able to find their presents due to them being too well hidden. Considering what we've seen, it's more than likely the presents are rocks. They live on a rock farm where they see rocks every day. No wonder, no one's been able to find their presents.
    • Except the one Pinkie hid on the train is colorfully wrapped. You'd think something like that would stick out like a sore thumb among a dull grey rock farm (granted, it's possible she's the only one that does that, but in that case you'd at least expect hers to be found fairly easily).
  • This episode reveals that Marble is incredibly shy (even more so than Fluttershy), while Limestone is a grouchy Jerkass. Is it any wonder why Maud is the only sister Pinkie invited to Ponyville? Or to the Gala, for that matter.
    • Makes additional sense when we see that Pinkie's closest to Maud (even though Marble's her twin). She sleeps on the same side as Maud and shows the most excitement at seeing Maud (as opposed to anyone else).
    • If you think about it, the episode Maud Pie would have been almost exactly the same had Marble or Limestone came to Ponyville instead of Maud. Marble wouldn't have spoken at all, probably saying only "mm-hmm", whenever one of Pinkie's friends tried to befriend her. Limestone, on the other hand, would be like navigating through a minefield. You'll either press her Berserk Button or have your attempts at friendship be insulted. Throughout the episode, however, it's clear that Marble and Limestone love Pinkie just as much as Maud. Marble doesn't get angry at Pinkie for talking on her behalf and if anypony touched Holder's Boulder without apologizing, Limestone would explode with anger. With Pinkie though? They argue like any siblings would.
  • Going off the Season 4 page's Fridge Brilliance of Maud being a counterpart for Big McIntosh, the other two Apple siblings also have counterparts in the Pie family:
    • Applejack's counterpart is not Pinkie, but Limestone: both run their respective families' farms and take their jobs seriously (although Limestone is more of a Jerkass about it).
    • By the above logic, Pinkie is actually a counterpart to Apple Bloom: excitable Genki Girls who serve as foils to their more responsible siblings, but while Pinkie obsesses over trying to be friends with everypony, Apple Bloom is happy with her close-knit group of friends. Pinkie is also far less grounded in logic than Apple Bloom.
    • Which brings us back around to Maud and Mac: both are quieter than their siblings (well, two of them in Maud's case) and have exhibited Super Strength. The difference between them is that Maud has never shown an interest in anything not connected to rocks; while Mac rarely speaks his mind, he sings in a four-pony a cappella group, which is one non-work-related interest more than Maud has shown.
      • Big Mac could also be said to have a second counterpart in Marble, who takes Mac's status as The Quiet One to an extreme by not having any discernible lines aside from "Mmhmm", much as his dialogue is often more "eeyup"s than actual sentences.
    • Granny Smith and Igneous Rock. Both are the heads of their respective families, owners of a farm, and each take their family traditions seriously.
    • In short, while it's still ambiguous whether they're related, the Pies are actually very similar to the Apples, but emphasizing certain traits and taking them to extremes.
  • On the train, we see expys of Kevin McCallister's mom from Home Alone, as well as Steve Martin and John Candy's characters from Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Both parties are trying to get home for Christmas and Thanksgiving in their respective movies, and Hearth's Warming Eve is a conglomerate of both holidays.
  • Pinkie Pie's family having personality parallels among her friends (Applejack and Limestone, Fluttershy and Marble, Maud and Twilight, and presumably Rainbow Dash and Rarity to Limestone as well) explains how she's able to deal with them so easily: She knows how to treat Fluttershy because her younger sister behaves the same way, knows how to interact with an academic like Maud and Twilight, and knows how to deal with someone headstrong and/or brash like Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Limestone. A family with varying personalities such as hers could contribute to a much more socially adjusted person, er, pony like Pinkie.
    • Pinkie's extreme over-protectiveness of Fluttershy in the early episodes, in spite of Fluttershy being much older than her, could definitely come from her relationship with Marble Pie - she always treats Marble like a child in spite of them being twins.
    • It would also explain Pinkie and Rarity's friendship. Rarity and Limestone both care a lot about rocks, or gems in Rarity's case. Heck, Rarity even had the same Berserk Button as Limestone back when she was discorded into believing a huge rock was a massive diamond. She didn't want anypony but her to touch it.
  • While it's not mentioned, there's an awful lot of crystals at the Pie Family rock farm. Could those crystals be the real source of income for the Pie family? Other than rocks?
  • The many shipping moments between Big Mac and Marble Pie, despite them being possible cousins. While some immediately find it to be Squick for cousins to be shipped, remember that even if the Apple and Pie families are connected, they're so distantly related that they're no longer considered related, either by law or genetics.
  • It's been noted that Pinkie acts a lot like her sister Maud in "The Cutie Map", after having her cutie mark removed. By the same token, her sister Limestone is reminiscent of her Discorded self from "The Return of Harmony".
  • It seems like a bit of Hypocritical Humor that Pinkie Pie says looking for an actual obsidian stone (as opposed to the picture they found) would be weird, but as Maud had told us a couple scenes earlier, obsidian forms in volcanoes. The Pie Rock Farm doesn't seem to be anywhere near a volcano, so obtaining an actual obsidian rock for the search would be very difficult, hence why they use a picture.
    • Also, a picture among rocks would stick out and be easier to find than a rock among, well, rocks.
  • Ever wonder how come Pinkie Pie is so unrelentingly forgiving with a Jerkass like Gilda? When you have a grouch like Limestone as a sister, you're probably able to deal with just about everybody.
  • Holder's Boulder was found in an ancient dragon nest and looks like a giant egg. Could it be a dragon's egg or a rock? It actually could be both in the sense that it may be a fossilized dragon's egg (an egg that died and turned to stone over the course of millions of years).
  • If Holder's Boulder is supposedly a fossilized dragon's egg, could it be that the Pies' way of celebrating Hearthswarming be an Expy of Easter? Both involve eggs, and they both even have a scavenger hunt. Even carving your own dolls could be their equivalent of painting the Easter eggs, in a way.
  • It seemed weird that when Maud says that she is pushing Holder's Boulder as hard as she can, it is still moving slowly despite showing in her debut episode that she can casually demolish giant rocks to pebbles with her hooves with zero effort. Then you realize that in the full context of the situation, she is trying to push Holder's Boulder as hard as she can without damaging it. Not to mention, Pinkie Pie not being in danger is a probably second factor.

    Scaremaster 
  • How did Rainbow Dash do so ridiculously well at the "pin the horn" game? Wonderbolts vertigo recovery training.
  • Fluttershy's "scary tea party" may have been an Epic Fail, but she did slip some mundane fears her friends tend to have into it; she tries to scare Applejack (an occasional caterer) by suggesting that someone was dissatisfied with the portion of sugar she was handing out, Rarity (a fashionista who takes great pride in her appearance) by claiming that no one complimented her dress and Pinkie Pie (the most highly social of the bunch who loves parties) by saying that one of her friends was inconsiderate enough to not show up to the party. And for double fridge brilliance, the reason the attempts fail is because they're TOO mundane (and thus, boring) for a Nightmare Night scare.
    • Which veers into Fridge Horror territory when you remember how Fluttershy sent Rarity and Pinkie Pie crying back in "Putting Your Hoof Down". She attacked the very cores of their personalities in a very effective way that left them unable to argue back. If Fluttershy wanted to, she might be even better at attacking others psychologically than most of the villains of the show!
  • Pinkie's horror story was about balloons. This makes perfect sense when you remember that she's been at the center of two unsettling scenes (in "The Return of Harmony Part 1" and "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows") that featured creepy balloons.
  • Some of Fluttershy's worries mimic the philosophy "See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil". Fluttershy was afraid of wearing a veil with her costume because she wouldn't be able to see. She didn't want to go apple-bobbing because she wouldn't be able to hear. And she didn't want to eat any candy because it would be too sticky in her mouth for her to speak.

     What About Discord? 
  • While rearranging all the books in her library is definitely something Twilight would find fun, Spike says that they already did that recently. Maybe Twilight's still bored and is just trying to find something to do?
  • The lesson Discord teaches Twilight during the episode is very similar to the lesson he learned back when he believed Fluttershy replaced him with Tree Hugger. Perhaps he just wanted to share what he learned with the Princess of Friendship.
    • Add to that Twilight's attitude throughout the episode, pompously denying she is capable of jealousy, thus indirectly insisting she is a better person than Discord. If he had ever seen this demeanor from her before since his own outburst, it would make perfect sense he would target her to make her accept she is Not So Different from him. Note Discord's rather excessive and well punctuated gloating about it afterwards, and that Twilight looks more ashamed than angry, she's being called out on acting Holier Than Thou.
  • Of course Discord would turn Fluttershy into an orange. She's always wanted to be a tree and oranges grow on trees.
  • Twilight notes the oddness of Rainbow Dash getting on well with Discord. However Rainbow Dash (along with Pinkie Pie) are The Prankster, albeit good natured cases, and Dash's initial beef with Discord was due to not trusting him and that he manipulated Fluttershy. After getting some clarification he had truly changed, it would make perfect sense she would enjoy the prankster king of chaos making harmless jokes.

     The Hooffields and McColts 
  • Why is Twilight having no trouble carrying her stuff while Fluttershy is? Being an Alicorn, Twilight doesn't just have her natural unicorn magic and the flight ability of her wings, but also the strength of an Earth Pony; something that all Alicorns are said to have.
  • The map sending Twilight and Fluttershy. Pinkie would try to fix everything with a party (trojan cake scene), Rainbow and Applejack are too abrasive, and Rarity would be too distracted by all the dirt and mess to put much of an effort. Twilight has experience in settling disputes between sides and, in case things go south, the necessary power to stop the fighting from escalating too far, and there's lots of animals there to justify Fluttershy being there.
    • Even more, Fluttershy's presence actually saved many animals' lives as they were about to get injured in the crossfire, plus her special abilities allowed her to find the reason the families started feuding on the first place. Then, Twilight could use her magic and position as a princess to force the two families to stop fighting and listen, something Fluttershy wouldn't be able to do by herself, as shown when she fails to stop two mares from fighting.
    • Another possible reason for why Fluttershy and Twilight were needed to solve the feud is that the two families needed kindness in order to stop fighting and forgive the other for the sake of the local wildlife and afterwards, Twilight could help the two families combine their talents to fulfill the wishes of their ancestors.
  • The war between the Hooffields and McColts is actually the first problem involving friendship between two sides. "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone" was about rebuilding national pride with friendship and "Made in Manehattan" was more about rebuilding community spirit.
  • Ever noticed that pattern of pairing Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash, Rarity and Applejack, and Fluttershy and Twilight together respectively in solving friendship problems? Just watch Let the Rainbow Remind You again, and see why.
    • Each duo also had an episode spotlighting their friendships in Season 1: Pinkie & Rainbow in "Griffon the Brush-Off", Rarity & AJ in "Look Before You Sleep", and Twilight & Fluttershy in "A Bird in the Hoof". Interestingly, each friendship problem they fix is comparable to the ones in the original episodes: Twilight and Fluttershy once again deal with a situation where talking about something could lead to the resolution, but the difference is it's the animals who explain the situation and the ponies are the ones being unhelpful; AJ and Rarity actually have to deal with something smaller, because handling the big stuff is too much for them this time around (whereas the climactic problem in "Look Before you Sleep" was that Rarity was too busy worrying about the small stuff to help AJ with the big things); Pinkie and Rainbow mend fences with Gilda and have to encourage her to make friends, as opposed to pushing others away because of an initial bad attitude.

     The Mane Attraction 
  • Pinkie's assertion that Countess Coloratura is more popular than Sapphire Shores might seem like a textbook case of Remember the New Guy? at first, given that Coloratura was not mentioned before in either of the episodes that Sapphire was in... but such a statement seems exactly like the kind of press that Svengallop might put out, and Pinkie has shown a tendency to be extremely Literal-Minded in the past. Who's to say that that doesn't extend beyond just being Sarcasm-Blind?
  • Pinkie had no problems to get everything Svengallop (initially) demanded for Countess because, aside from her own party planning abilities, she has connections to the ponies (and griffin) that could provide her with these items in short notice; she's close enough to Princesses Celestia and Luna (Canterlot's garden flowers), she personally knows fellow chef Gustav Le Grand (eclairs), she's friends with Princess Cadence and Cherry Jubilee (Crystal Empire's gems and cherries, respectively) and she'd gone to Rainbow Falls at least once (water).
  • Why did Applejack lose touch with Coloratura? That would have been about the time her parents died.
    • Actually, Applejack already had her cutie mark by the time she met Coloratura. And her parents died roughly before she earned it. So it could be that Applejack and Coloratura simply lost touch when the latter went to pursue her singing career.

     The Cutie Remark Parts 1 & 2 
  • Every alternate world had a different villain in charge. How is this possible, when logically, all the villains should have gone unopposed without Twilight and her friends? And, how does changing the exact same thing over and over again lead to a different bad guy taking over the world? Because every world is a different outcome of the same events. There was a war between the villains, with a different victor in every timeline. Sombra won in the first timeline, Chrysalis in the second, Nightmare Moon in the third, Tirek in the fourth, Discord in the fifth, the Flim Flam brothers in the sixth... somehow, and in the last timeline, the factions all wiped each other out.
    • Starlight Glimmer giving Fluttershy and the bullies a course in her philosophy gave rise to Chrysalis. This kinda makes sense, as ponies following Starlight's philosophy would be very vulnerable to changeling infiltration.
    • When the timeline changes the first time, we see Twilight fail her magic exam and Spike's egg isn't hatched and in the present, King Sombra is taking over. Why Sombra? Because Spike was never hatched and never got the Crystal Heart in time to save the Crystal Empire.
    • During the Flim-Flam brothers timeline, it's very possible that the brothers are now the heads of a Mega-Corp using up all of Equestria's resources and leaving it a polluted wasteland.
      • And how did the brothers beat the other villains? Simple; cunning, cowardice, manipulation, and superior technology. The industrial hellhole the brothers have made of Equestria implies they've been creating all sorts of gadgetry - maybe guns, bombs, tanks, poisons? The other villains tend to be both dependant on magic and out-of-touch with modern technology (Nightmare Moon, Tirek, Discord - all of them are explicitly Fish out of Temporal Water). The other villains also have blatant emotional problems and vices (even Sombra is a depressive who relies on having others fear him), not to mention relatively simple tactics. The brothers are expert con artists who managed to manipulate Applejack, the most sensible and emotionally stable member of the Mane Six. The other villains have more complex goals than the brothers (who simply desire profit). So the other villains should be easy marks. All the brothers have to do is keep their head down in the early conflicts, invent some new technological booby-traps and lure the other villains into an ambush with physiological trickery.
  • As Twilight describes, each Bad Future gets worse and worse, penultimately ending with... the Flim Flam Brothers? Them being worse makes sense you look at how each Bad Future is presented. Sombra's isn't a complete victory just yet; just that if Celestia wins, it'll be extremely rough recovery. Chrysalis' showed the population had some semblance of civilization even if it was tribal and they were living in paranoia. Nightmare Moon ruled with an iron fist and demanded utter loyalty, but was by far the most civilized though who knows how long that'll last. Discord sent everything into chaos, but the princesses are alive and kicking despite being clown get-ups. Then Tirek is just destroying everything, which finally goes into "No Hope" territory for real. How did the Flim Flam Brothers top all of that? By being greedy to the point of self-defeat, using up natural resources until there's absolutely nothing left. There's not much that's as humiliating and disgraceful as the world being done in by the petty and careless greed of two ponies.
    • Somepony has got to be buying what Flim and Flam are selling so it wasn't just the greed of two brothers that destroyed Equestria, it was the greed of every pony in Equestria. YMMV on which way is worse.
  • The timeline where Discord won being worse than a timeline where Tirek won makes sense when you remember that Discord would have sensed Tirek stealing magic in his World Gone Mad and, since he's not friends with the Mane 6 which would allow Tirek to manipulate him, would have immediately put him down before he got too powerful. Also, Discord prefers to keep his toys intact to torture more while Tirek just outright blasted everything in sight.
  • The barren wasteland doesn't have any noticeable villains except one, Starlight Glimmer herself. Possibly showing that out of all the villains, Starlight is the one causing the most damage to Equestria just to get her petty revenge.
  • How does Twilight escape Nightmare Moon? Abusing her teleportation, the way she got the best of her the first time!
  • Starlight sitting on Fluttershy's chair. The chair has butterflies. Guess what effect occurs in this episode?
  • The entire finale is one big stable time loop for Starlight and Twilight. Starlight does something to stop Rainbow from performing the Sonic Rainboom—>Twilight tries to stop her and fails—>Twilight gets sent to a bad future—>Twilight goes back to the past. Rinse and repeat. The bad futures aren't just consequences of Starlight's actions, but also the motivation for Twilight to keep going back to stop Starlight. Twilight even says it herself that they could be fighting for all eternity. The loop is only broken when Starlight agrees to stop the spell which restores the original timeline.
  • When asked about the Mane 6 in the Sombra timeline, Applejack says the only name that rings a bell is Rarity. This makes sense when you think about it: Applejack and Rarity are the only members who originally lived in Ponyville. Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash grew up in Cloudsdale, Twilight in Canterlot and Pinkie lived on her rock farm. Without the Rainboom, none of them moved to Ponyville, leaving just Rarity.
  • The Sombra Timeline looked as if technology in Equestria had taken a large leap forward despite being at war. Well, it's because they're at war that their technology is so much more advanced. A lot of technological advances happened during wartime in reality and when your opponent is King Sombra, you'll need far bigger weapons.
  • Zecora being the leader in the Chrysalis timeline, despite being a zebra everypony was afraid of back then. When anypony can be a Changeling, you'll need a reliable way of finding out that your loved ones are really your loved ones and Zecora had just the concoction they needed. Presumably being the only one who can make such a substance and possibly for her wisdom as well, Zecora automatically became the leader of the forces rebelling against Queen Chrysalis and her Changelings.
    • In addition, Zecora seeming intimidating might have been considered an asset in this situation. After all, it's the Changelings who would have cause to fear her.
  • Twilight finally gives Starlight one of her usual friendship speeches, after she was rudely interrupted the first time she tried.
  • Why does Twilight immediately leaves the timelines where Lord Tirek, Discord, and the Flim-Flam brothers have taken over Equestria? Because in each one, had she stayed longer, would leave her unable to go back in time to stop Starlight. Lord Tirek would sense Twilight's magic and immediately chase after her to drain it, Discord would take away her magic as well while he tortures her in his chaotic world, and the Flim-Flam brothers would likely have destroyed the map under their machines.
    • Why doesn't Twilight immediately leave the Chrysalis or Nightmare Moon timelines? She can't. In the Chrysalis timeline, she's held at spearpoint by the resistance, and in the Nightmare Moon timeline, her magic needs to recharge and timberwolves chase her off.
  • Nightmare Moon is the only alternate-timeline pony who immediately believes Twilight's time travel claim and moves quickly to secure that power. (Even Zecora needed proof from her magic goop.) Why is she so quick to believe her? Because Nightmare Moon, as Luna, personally knew Starwsirl the Bearded and no doubt was aware of his experiments in time travel magic. It's not a new concept to her.
    • Once Zecora does apply the goop, however, she understands the general situation without Twilight telling her and asks only for details. She even has some advice on the subject of alternate timelines. Why she knows these things or where she learned them is unknown, but she shows similar knowledge in the main timeline when she makes a potion which allows Twilight to see the past. She needs some convincing, but certainly not the kind you'd expect for a claim of such magnitude. And that she knew how to check for somepony from another timeline in the first place implies that she has reason to. This isn't a foreign concept to her either.
  • Even if Twilight had succeeded in getting the very creeped out Rainbow to perform a Sonic Rainboom, it's very likely that it would still lead to a Bad Future since Fluttershy would have been left out. Fluttershy needed to be on the land below, comforting the scared animals, to get her Cutie Mark and only fell because of the race. Without Fluttershy, that would mean no Element of Kindness. And no Element of Kindness means no Elements of Harmony to stop Nightmare Moon, Discord, or Tirek. Leading to yet another Bad Future.
  • Starlight's Start of Darkness turned out to be because she lost her friend after he got his cutie mark, which is one of the scenarios Apple Bloom had a nightmare about in "Bloom and Gloom". It seemed like a silly thing to worry about back then, but this episode shows that this could actually happen. Without a mentor figure around to tell Starlight that she could have still been friends with Sunburst even though they were in different places on different paths, she ended up losing her faith in friendship, and hating cutie marks and anything that made ponies different.
    • As an early hint at Starlight's backstory, the most prominently displayed audience member at Twilight's presentation is Moondancer, whose issues similarly resulted from feeling abandoned by a friend.
    • This season seems to have a theme regarding someone potentially losing a friend with many of the reactions very over-the-top. Aside from the aforementioned "Bloom and Gloom", you have Rainbow trying to stop winter in "Tanks for the Memories", Discord tossing Treehugger into another dimension in "Make New Friends But Keep Discord", which he was only doing because he was afraid of losing Fluttershy, and Moondancer becoming a shut-in due to Twilight missing out on her party in "Amending Fences". There were even minor scenes in other episodes like Diamond Tiara's Villainous Breakdown when Silver Spoon votes against her. It's only natural that the season end with this same theme on a much larger scale.
  • Starlight's constantly changing the past and beating Twilight to the punch there makes sense: the only way Twilight can win is by stopping Starlight, but Starlight just needs to change just enough so that the Sonic Rainboom never happened.
    • On that note, the very fact that Twilight and Starlight were fighting was enough to distract Dash and prevent the Rainboom!
  • Starlight continuing to hang out in the past just to mess with Twilight is a good metaphor for how she herself is stuck in the past because of one event and is not willing to move forward or think about her actions affecting anypony else until Twilight drags her out of it - literally and figuratively.
  • The fact Starlight stayed in the past makes the catastrophic result make more sense: if every little change can have a ripple, what about a person who was never supposed to exist there remaining in the past?
    • There's also the fact that Starlight likely caused a Temporal Paradox by changing WHY she went back to begin with, which likely also caused problems.
    • She didn't stay in the past. She told Twilight the spell was designed so that every time Twilight went to the past, it sent Starlight to a point slightly before her, preventing Twilight from arriving before Starlight.
      • She had to have stayed in the past. If she didn't, she would have learned the first time around about the consequences of messing with the past instead of Twilight having to drag her in to show her. Your point about how the spell works is still valid, though; otherwise she would be ahead of Twilight in time whenever Twilight used the spell.
  • The Mane Six inviting Starlight to be part of the group. Why should they do such a thing for her? Because their track record with redeeming people has been horrible thus far - Princess Luna nearly caused Nightmare Night to be cancelled because no one realized that someone who has been locked away for a thousand years wouldn't be caught up with everything they missed and wouldn't "get" it and everyone save Fluttershy kept Discord at leg's length, giving him a chance to pull a Face–Heel Turn and ally with Tirek. By bringing Starlight into their fold, they can give her a chance to actually be redeemed without causing trouble for everyone because of their short-sightedness.
    • I wouldn't say it's been horrible, but yes, keeping the former villain close is a good way to prevent any misunderstandings that might occur in the future.
    • The approach they're taking with Starlight is the same one that worked for Sunset Shimmer.
    • In general, banishment/exile has been only temporary fix with villains often coming back more vindictive than ever. It was something Celestia most likely realized which is why Discord was reformed. There will always be villains that can't be turned like Chrysalis, Sombra, and Tirek, but redeeming a former villain seems to be the option for Equestria, and in Starlight's case, she has already resigned herself to her fate. Why throw away somepony who could use her magic to make Equestria a better place?
  • How could the next change result in a Bad Future worse than the barren wasteland? There's no need to speculate: we've been shown what the next step could look like had they not stopped where they did, and who could have brought it about. Midnight Sparkle is the next level, and in her world she has shredded the fabric of reality itself. without Twilight to act as the first domino, the Human 5 never reunite, Sunset never reforms, and there's nobody to talk Twilight's counterpart down from her power trip.
    • Keep in mind that since the Mane 6 would, theoretically, never unite to begin with, the Elements of Harmony would be out of the picture for the most part, meaning Sunset Shimmer's attempt at getting the Element of Magic would fail - thus, Sunset would return to her world empty-handed, and the events of Equestria Girls (and presumably Rainbow Rocks, by extension) would never happen. Thus, without normal magic to siphon, Twilight's counterpart would never turn into Midnight Sparkle.
      • There's been plenty of In Spite of a Nail things during this two-parter, from little things like Applejack still going home from Manehattan and ponies still having the same cutie marks, to bigger things, such the plunderseeds/black vines not killing the Tree of Harmony (otherwise the map, being connected to it, would presumably no longer work). That makes definitively ruling things out a bit trickier.
      • The human world appears to have been shielded from Starlight Glimmer's shenanigans, since we see the story from Sunset's perspective and her memories appear unchanged. In fact, there's evidence that Starlight Glimmer didn't actually change the past at all, because we can observe Equestria after Midnight Sparkle ripped chunks out of space-time and it looks perfectly normal.
      • Of course Starlight never changed the past at all. Twilight talked her out of it so it never happened and the timeline was never changed and everything that Twilight and Spike saw as a result didn't happen either.
    • Even if Midnight Sparkle can't exist, her existence was the result of being reckless with magic, meaning someone else could become essentially the same thing in sufficiently similar circumstances.
    • Without her friends, Twilight may have gone down the same path in an alternate timeline that her human counterpart did in the main one.
  • One interpretation of the wasteland and why no villain is shown is that in this future, it's Starlight herself that was the triumphant villain. With her philosophy widespread, pegasi can't create the weather, unicorns can't use their magic to do the needed jobs, earth ponies can't farm or do their own jobs, and the Princesses can't raise the sun and moon. Everyone is equal, and in this, no one has the skill needed to maintain an ecosystem dependant on pony magic.
    • Finally, it could simply be that all of the villains fought each other for control, but ended up destroying both themselves and Equestria.
  • The overall moral of the episode, that every friendship is important, seems strange when only the Mane 6's friendship is focused on. But think about it: all throughout the season we've seen the consequences of friendships falling apart:
    • Moondancer's friendship with Twilight being ruined resulted in her becoming a recluse.
    • The first Hooffield and McColt's falling out led to their families feuding for years and turning their beautiful landscape into a warzone that causes animals to suffer.
    • Without the friendship of the CMC, Diamond Tiara would have remained an Alpha Bitch under the hoof of an abusive mother.
  • In the Nightmare Moon Timeline Nightmare Moons castle is open for tourists. Why? Because Nightmare Moon craves the recognition and admiration she never recieved as Luna. Making the castle open to the public (with guided tours no less) allows for everypony to come and be in awe at her accomplishments.
    • Nightmare Moon craving the admiration and love of other ponies might also be the reason why, out of all the possible timelines, hers is by far the most pleasant to live in. Sure, everypony is afraid of Nightmare Moon and an eternal night certainly isn't great but at least it looks like society still exists and isn't involved in a hopeless war.
    • Nightmare Moon also appears rather...benevolent compared to the likes of Tirak or Sombra. She only wanted her subjects to love her, so it wouldn't make sense to force them into an iron-hoofed dictatorship.
  • In the Nightmare Moon timeline, Nightmare Moon restoring the Castle of the Two Sisters may have less to do with sentimental value and more to do with the only force that can stop her and end the eternal night, the Elements of Harmony. Unless she managed to destroy them, Nightmare Moon staying at the Castle of the Two Sisters is almost exactly the same strategy King Sombra used with the Crystal Heart. Keep the only thing that can defeat you close by and make everypony too afraid of you to even think about trying.
  • Why would Nightmare Moon imprison Celestia in the moon when she could very easily send her to the sun? Well, with the sun gone, how else would she be able to show off her trophy?
    • Also, it might also serve as a warning to any other ponies who might think of rebelling against her.
  • Throughout the whole two-parter, you could say that the map was calling on Twilight to solve Starlight Glimmer's friendship problem.
  • Starlight Glimmer was able to create a spell that, with the Tree of Harmony's power as a booster, allowed her to travel to any point in time and space for as many times as she wanted. Starswirl the Bearded's original spell, however, could only send you back a maximum of one week prior, create a Stable Time Loop instead of whole alternate timelines, and you could only use the spell once. So how was Starlight able to make a spell that Starswirl the Bearded, the legendary unicorn mage, could not? Perhaps Starswirl made his original time travel spell to be so limited ON PURPOSE, recognizing that when going back in time too far, for as long as you want, as many times as you want, history can be greatly altered in unexpected ways—such as the Bad Futures shown in the two-part episode.
    • He may have even known from experience the Butterfly Effect's... er, effects, so made the spell in such a way that any changes a future time-traveler makes would hopefully be small at best.
  • It seems odd that in the Alternate Timelines, the Mane Six (as far as we are shown) retain the same cutie marks despite stopping the sonic rainboom preventing what caused them to gain said marks. However, "Bloom and Gloom" explains that cutie marks represent a ponies talents and personality, so all Starlight Glimmer changed was delaying how and when they got them. Twilight Sparkle not passing the exam that caused Celestia to make Twilight her student and thus sent out to make friends and find the Elements of Harmony would be enough to explain why the timelines went to hell.
  • Bon Bon being part of Zecora's resistance against Queen Chrysalis makes sense when you consider the fact that she was once a secret agent who specialized in taking down evil monsters.
    • Also, the fact that Lyra is nowhere to be seen may mean she was either killed or captured, which would make things intensely personal for Bon Bon.
  • The world ruled by Nightmare Moon does not appear to be suffering from the absence of sunlight. Considering that Nightmare Moon never wanted power, only her subjects' love, it's very possible that she is maintaining things like crops and vegetation with magic, either herself or with the help of powerful unicorn servants. Nightmare Moon can't have the ponies' love if she doesn't take care of them.
  • Why is Twilight personally teaching Starlight when there have been several other ponies who needed her teaching? Like Sunset Shimmer, Moondancer, and Trixie? Unlike Starlight, these three ponies were either in good hands or didn't really need Twilight's help to make friends. Sunset Shimmer and Trixie both used to be evil but Sunset was left with the Humane Five and became a hero on her own while Trixie already gotten a lesson in humility from Twilight and is used to a life of traveling by herself. Moondancer herself did not take out her anger by threatening others and regained her Canterlot friends, meaning Twilight doesn't need to teach her about friendship. Also of note is that Sunset is still in touch with Twilight while Moondancer is seen attending one of Twilight's lectures, looking much better than she did before. Starlight, on the other hand, had no pony to go to. If she went to Our Town without Twilight to vouch for her change of heart, it's very likely she would have been chased out. Starlight desperately needed friends to help keep her from going crazy again and therefore, was the one who needed Twilight as a teacher the most.
  • It seems like a bit of fridge logic that the the first two bad futures we see were from villains that weren't explicitly defeated by the Mane 6—the Crystal Ponies and Princess Cadance (with Spike's help) defeated King Sombra and Cadence and Shining Armor defeated Queen Chrysalis—even though they were the ones split apart. But when you think about it, if they were all villains the Mane 6 defeated with the Elements/Rainbow Power (like every other villain shown sans the Flim Flam Brothers), then the moral of the importance of everyone's friendships would be at risk of being a Broken Aesop, since it would give the impression that the only reason the Mane 6's friendship is so special is because of the elements, a factor no other friendship has. By knocking this issue out in the first half, they show that there's more to their friendship's importance than the elements, and thus any friendship can be important without that additional factor.
  • Zecora saying the Changelings win timeline shouldn't exist. While this is true, there's another reason: none of the Bad Future timelines could exist. Each one is the result of a change Starlight or Twilight made to the past. While some of the outcomes could have organically and naturally happened, when their cause are two ponies who literally couldn't have been there at the time, they become events that are physically impossible. The Bad Future timelines really shouldn't exist, because each stem from an event that couldn't have happened the way it did!
  • During Twilight's lecture, the camera spends a lot of time focusing on Moondancer, an early hint as to the root of Starlight's issues.
  • It seems strange that Starlight never considered the possibility that tampering with the Mane 6's past would doom the world, until you remember where we first found her: running a cult! And what are the first three rules of running a cult? Isolation, isolation, isolation. While this allowed her to rule unopposed by pesky, secular authorities, it also meant that she was ignorant of any and all current events, and thus had no idea that the meddlers who ruined her little fiefdom were heroes who literally saved the world several times over.
  • Twilight mentions that Starswirl only had a time travel spell that went back by about a week. Why does Starlight have a spell that's even more powerful? Because perhaps Starswirl did make a spell that went back by years. What happened was, Starlight stole it from the past, leaving Starswirl with only the prototype week-time-travel spell. He might've meant to rewrite the year-time-travel spell, but either forgot or couldn't find the time. So if Twilight's knowledge of there only being a week-time-travel spell is any indication, Starlight's meddling changed history so it vindicated he just wrote an ineffective time-travel spell.
    • And supposedly, Starswirl remotely taking the spell back must've been him realizing the spell Starlight stole was too powerful and could fall into the wrong hooves. So he destroyed it.
  • Why did Flim and Flam get their own timeline, when the other timelines all had villains who were in two parters? Well, Flim and Flam may not have been antagonists in a two part episode, but they have been antagonists in two episodes. At this point in the series, the only other villains that matched this feet were Diamond Tiara & Silver Spoon, who were in no way threats to anyone and were in multiple episodes, and Trixie, who was only a threat when she had the Alicorn Amulet, which she only wanted so she could seek revenge on Twilight over something she probably wouldn't have even been present for in the altered timelines.

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