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Fridge Brilliance / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - Season 6

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    The Crystalling 
  • Starlight seems to have a poor sense of direction. Perhaps the design of the equality village was not purely symbolic.
  • After learning that the Crystal Heart is what allows the Crystal Empire to survive in such arctic terrain and that it is breakable, it makes sense why King Sombra never destroyed the one thing that could defeat him when he could note : if he destroyed the Crystal Heart, then his slaves would perish in the ensuring weather change and leave him alone in the snow.
  • Why does Sunburst know so much about the Crystal Heart and how to fix it when not even Twilight knew? Because he lives in the Crystal Empire and presumably studies the old magic of the Crystal Empire everyday far more than any other pony around.
  • Celestia says that Equestria hasn't ever seen an alicorn birth. Celestia and Luna were born before the ponies left their ancestral homelands to found Equestria, and assuming they were the last alicorns born before they mysteriously vanished, their knowledge of baby alicorns would be quite limited.
  • Starlight and Sunburst's magical abilities in Starlight's flashback parallels them in the present; Starlight, whose talent grew out of control in a destructive direction, and Sunburst, who fizzled into obscurity, without the magic of friendship to help them both. Sunburst's only major display of magic on his own was for Starlight's sake.
  • Sunburst's talent was mistakenly thought to be magic when he was young after an impressive display when he got his cutie mark. The mistake comes from the fact that he was manipulating books — something we still see him doing all the time as an adult. His talent is not in magic in general, but with books (and spellbooks in particular), which include finding the right book and the right spell at the right time.
    • Furthermore, his cutie mark is what appears to be a sun radiating rays of light and doesn't feature any shape or object that could even remotely be associated with magic (e.g. a wand, a spark etc.). There's also a term known as enlightenment where a person is in a state of great knowledge along with the adjective "bright" which can describe a smart person (both of which are tied to the definition of light), and Sunburst displays a very wide understanding of magic despite not being able to perform it. In other words, his cutie mark has been telling us his talent is being knowledgeable as opposed to having great magic skill right from the very moment he gets it.
  • Fridge heartwarming. Celestia had Spike become Twilight's assistant while Twilight was still her student and now that Twilight has her own student, Spike is helping out Starlight as her assistant.
  • At the end of last season, Starlight describes her parting with Sunburst in terms that made it seem like he'd run off to Canterlot to live it up and never given her another thought. Naturally, hearing Sunburst's side of the story paints things in a very different light not just for the audience, but for Starlight as well.
  • With Starlight and Sunburst's reunion turning awkward fast, Spike reads an item off of the list that says "And if all else fails, ask them to share an embarrassing moment from their past, maybe even something they regret!" Both Starlight and Sunburst balk at the idea, but them confessing their respective troubled pasts is what allows them to rekindle their friendship in the end, meaning the idea was more valid than they thought.
  • It makes sense that Pinkie was picked to help Twilight watch Flurry Heart. She's looked after infants with out-of-control powers before.
  • In a way, Flurry Heart may have done a Princess-worthy act by being born. If she hadn't been born, there would be no reason for Starlight to see Sunburst. What's more, just when Starlight and Sunburst were about to part ways so hastily, her cries shattered the crystal heart, forcing the two ponies to confront each other's past and sort out their issues. What's more, the crisis lead Sunburst to save the day, earning him the title of wizard. Above all, she basically solved a friendship (between Starlight and Sunburst) just by being born.
  • Why didn't Cadance go with Pinkie Pie to Yakyakistan? She is pregnant with Flurry Heart and doesn't want to risk a miscarriage.
    • Maybe, though she and Shining Armor didn't know about it until the episode "The One Where Pinkie Pie knows". If she and Shining Armor had known, they would've planned the surprise visit and announcement sooner so they'd be the ones to tell Twilight.
      • It's usually recommended to wait until at least the second trimester before making the big announcement, as it's during the first trimester that the risk of miscarriage is the greatest. It's not that they didn't know prior to the episode, it's just that that episode was past the threshold.

    The Gift of the Maud Pie 
  • Maud's skill at ice-skating, while surprising to Rarity, makes sense considering that Pinkie's also pretty good at it. Since Pinkie claims to have been ice-skating since she was a foal, it's probable that Maud's been at it at least as long as Pinkie. And a little heartwarming since it would mean that either Maud taught Pinkie how to ice-skate or Maud learned ice-skating so she could skate with her little sister.
  • According to Maud, Boulder found the jewels in the jewelry store too snooty. That would explain why he wasn't seen with her at the gala.
  • Why can't Pinkie simply ask Rarity to simply make a pouch for her? The latter didn't bring her sewing kit.
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    On Your Marks 
  • During Apple Bloom's loneliness montage, while she's trying out baking, Diamond Tiara, Silver Spoon, and another filly (Peach Fuzz) are there as well. However, instead of Diamond Tiara, Silver Spoon is the one who seems to be taking the lead, with her being shown baking the pie and Diamond Tiara and the other filly only being shown tasting it. This might seem odd, considering you'd expect Diamond Tiara to help after her Heel–Face Turn, but consider her name and cutie mark. Silver Spoon, as in the thing used for baking. Maybe Diamond Tiara's cutie mark isn't the only one that doesn't mean what you might think at first glance.
    • This also means that Silver Spoon won't need the Cutie Mark Crusaders' help in finding her purpose; Diamond Tiara (1) took that step for them and (2) looks poised to do the same with other foals, here or elsewhere, (3) who might have the very physical features she once mocked. This frees up the Crusaders for much greater challenges she might not yet be ready for. Don't expect either of them to ignore that epiphany any time soon.
  • After five seasons being impatient about getting their cutie marks, the Crusaders have grown up a little and... Are now just as impatient about doing what they got their Cutie Marks for. Even with their new cutie marks, they're still the same fillies.
    • And of course they're going to have trouble doing it. While special talents aren't always easily derived from cutie marks (and unless you hear it straight from the pony's mouth, there's always the possibility that you might be wrong), once you know what it is, what the pony is to do with it generally follows naturally from the talent. Good at growing and selling carrots? You're probably going to be growing and selling carrots. Good at mayoral duties? You're probably going to be mayor. Good at bowling? You're probably going to bowl. Outside of those occasions when somepony (or something entirely different, maybe?) who doesn't have a cutie mark needs help learning where their talent lies to begin with, they're generally only going to get to exercise their talent when it's not so obvious to the client what to do with it, such as rodeo clowning, leadership, or... lifting something else...?

    Gauntlet of Fire 
  • All the dragons competing seem young, which both makes sense as the next generation would be the logical choice to succeed and explains why there aren't more dragons there.
    • Plus, the contest is far more challenging for the youngsters, since very few things can stop an adult dragon; if they were competing, the contest would most surely be a trial by combat, which would be extremely destructive and, probably, have some fatalities. Having nothing but young dragons competing limits the fights among the contestants as they're too focused on the course's dangers.
    • Adult dragons also seem terribly lazy, and violently territorial. It's entirely likely they don't really care about being Dragon Lord enough to leave their own fiefdoms. And Torch's challenge and style of ruling rely on Asskicking Equals Authority; he wouldn't be able to control a group of adult dragons through force.
  • How are Twilight and Rarity able to get past the dangers of the Gauntlet and keep ahead of Spike and Ember? Twilight is no doubt using her signature teleport spell — they're literally employing Offscreen Teleportation.
  • The Crystal Ponies are going to idolize their hero Spike even more when they hear the story of how he became the Dragon Lord for a few minutes.
  • Compared to her father Torch, who's the biggest dragon shown so far, Ember really is just an ember.
  • Twilight and Rarity choosing not to re-use the costume from "Dragon Quest" was definitely the far more practical decision. Why? Because the dragon costume wouldn't have been glowing like the other dragons.
    • And even if this was not noticed, they would have been expected to compete, or explain why not. Them just standing there or speaking would likely have blown their cover.
  • For a few minutes, Spike, as the Dragon Lord, held absolute power over Garble and his fate — and he only told him to go away and hug every dragon he met on the way home. While Garble hates Equestria and would be insulted by the suggestion, he's probably lucky that Spike was raised by "namby pamby princess ponies."
  • Torch might have stated that only the toughest and strongest dragons would be able to win, but ironically enough the course seems to reward speed, agility and intelligence far more. This is proven further by the fact that only Ember (who's small and clever) and Garble (the only one who declined to wear plate armor and thus could move more effectively) manage to make it to the end.
    • One could even suspect that Torch intentionally designed it to play to Ember's strengths...
    • Or if not favoring his own daughter, he may have put a secret test of character into the contest since he likely expected most of the Dragons would believe being strong and tough mattered just due to his own appearance and words.
      • Which would really show why Torch was ultimately a good ruler. He likely understands that ruling isn't just simply about your ability to push others around or your ability to fight, but also your ability to govern, think and outwit others, both physically and mentally, WHILE still being able to bust some heads if push comes to shove. Had any dragon whose only focus was on strength and physical prowess become Dragon Lord, they likely would have ended up razing the kingdom to the ground with heavy infighting, battle of egos and conflict in a matter of weeks, if not days. Assuming of course they didn't end up taking the Conqueror route and tried to fight against other nations like Equestria...only to end up getting wrecked by the Princesses.
  • Why is there little knowledge of dragons despite having an entire community of them in Fillydelphia? This is because there is a difference between actual coexistence and simply living next door. With exceptions like Mina who owns the local comic book store and thus has more exposure to the outside world while being more open-minded as a result, the Dragons and Ponies are still going through Fantastic Racism. Even with the fire incidents solved, it's going to take more than that to get the Dragons to open up about their culture to others. Notice how in that issue, the Dragons simply stayed to themselves until they had to prove their innocence?

    No Second Prances 
  • Twilight not trusting Trixie after her apparent Heel–Face Turn back in Season 3 may seem like a serious Series Continuity Error until you realize that she was not truly reformed at the end of "Magic Duel" because she was not truly broken like Starlight after her second defeat and not taken in by Twilight as a student to learn the true value of friendship (remember: Twilight was not a princess yet, as this was before "Magical Mystery Cure". And when she took over Ponyville, she was under the influence of an Artifact of Doom at the time. That being said, it could be implied that after leaving Ponyville, she eventually returned to a career of performing, which in turn made her revert to her old egotistical self from her rebuilt confidence.
    • On top of that, while Trixie's actions in "Magic Duel" were fueled by the Alicorn Amulet, the fact that she willingly used such a thing in the first place may also contribute to Twilight's distrust of her.
    • Perhaps another reason Twilight was reluctant to trust Trixie, despite apparently leaving on good terms with her in their last encounter, is because she has had more recent bad experiences with another Trixie.
    • Also, after "Magic Duel", she "forgave" Discord, who remained problematic and outright lapsed back into evil in "Twilight's Kingdom", when he met Tirek who persuaded him to join him and only going back to good after handing Tirek near decisive victory, that would give her reason to make her more hesitant to trust (already observed with her initial interaction with Sunset Shimmer in Rainbow Rocks). Twilight was afraid that Trixie could make Starlight return to her old ways,
    • There is also the matter of the two's personalities. Starlight had a legitimate Freudian Excuse to turn out like she did, and took control of a village out of misguided, but still well-meaning, intentions and she swore vengeance on Twilight because the latter ruined her dream of utopia. Trixie on the other hand was boastful and self-centered and she used an evil amulet to enslave Ponyville just because Twilight saved both her and Ponyville from an Ursa Minor, after she proclaimed that she could defeat it.
    • There's also the fact that Starlight was willing to accept any punishment that was given to her and has taken steps to make it up to those she has hurt, while Trixie, from what we've seen, apologized, then skipped town without helping clean up the damage her rule on Ponyville likely caused or doing anything to make it up to those she enslaved. Not exactly something you want to do if you're trying to get others to make amends.
    • Another part of it is because of what happened during "Boast Busters". Even if Trixie apologized for the events of "Magic Duel", she didn't feel bad for playing cheap tricks during her performance back in "Boast Busters", and the fact she hasn't realized this gives Twilight reason to not trust her. Trixie may have apologized for going mad with power, but not necessarily for being a jerk during her Ponyville performance.
  • Why is Starlight the one who befriends Trixie? Because she's the only one in Ponyville who wasn't there for Trixie's last two visits.
    • She probably believes Trixie is a great and powerful wizard as well thanks to her clothing and boasting, just like she believed Sunburst was a powerful wizard until told otherwise.
    • Trixie's pretty quick to correct that belief by pointing out that her "Great and Powerful" bit applies to stage magic, not actual magic. After destroying her career twice over trying to sell that very illusion, it's no wonder. Again, the experience with Sunburst has already taught Starlight that there's more to magical talent than sheer ability, which likely contributed to Trixie seeing her as a genuine friend instead of a tool to use against Twilight.
  • The reason Trixie couldn't make the Manticore Moonshot Mouthdive before is because she used to be a "solo act", and most magicians have assistants to help them perform the most impressive and dangerous tricks. Even if she could teleport on her own, Trixie wouldn't be able to concentrate well enough to do it when she's getting blasted from a cannon and heading to the manticore's mouth. The trick requires two ponies working together; a stage magician both fit and brave enough to do the most dangerous part (getting shot to the manticore's mouth), and a skilled teleporter who can save the magician at the last moment.
    • This also proves how strong Trixie and Starlight's bond is despite knowing each other for such a short time. The trick requires perfect coordination and complete trust in each other's capability, with Trixie basically putting her life in Starlight's hooves.
  • It had been noted that the original Manticore Moonshot Mouthdrive, performed by Hoofdini, is much more impressive and dangerous than Trixie's version, with the manticore chewing the magician and the "teleportation box" being secured by locks and chains. It's obvious why, since this is the very first time Trixie performs the trick, so she's doing the "beginners" version; Hoofdini, being the one who came with the original trick, perfected it over time, plus, just like the real Harry Houdini, he surely had several assistants helping him. Also, unlike Trixie, it's very likely that Hoofdini didn't give that much credit to his assistants, giving the impression that he really performed the trick without any help.
  • After the show, Twilight says to Trixie that she wouldn't have been able to pull off a trick like that herself. Obviously this was meant to make Trixie feel better, but there's actually a grain of truth to that statement. Pulling off the trick means putting the audience in suspense that the performer might not survive it. Twilight Sparkle is a gifted mage and teleportation wizard already known to survive a lot worse. Since becoming an alicorn princess, her reputation as such has become even more common knowledge. Twilight could never pull off a Manticore Moonshot Mouth Dive because no-one would seriously believe she was in any danger.
  • Starlight Glimmer not knowing about the Wonderbolts makes sense when you recall that she's spent most of her life in more isolated and lesser-known parts of Equestria, where perhaps the Wonderbolts have never traveled to to put on a show.
    • And what do you think the old Starlight would have thought of them showing off their talents, anyway? Yeah, not a good place to perform.
  • Big Mac's freakout at being forced to talk makes more sense after watching Where the Apple Lies, where him talking excessively contributed to that episode's issue (and almost cost him his leg).
    • In addition, ut would scare any pony to do something they used to love doing, against their own will. Think about it, Big Mac used to talk because it was what he did whenever he felt upset. He eventually learned that talking isn't a bad thing, he just needed to do it in moderation. If you compared that to comfort food, then not only is it scary because Big Mac is trying to quit the habit, but it's like being under a spell that makes you force-feed yourself.
  • On top of being Jossed by Word of God, the supposed Fridge Horror of Trixie appearing to attempt suicide by attempting the Manticore Moonshot Mouthdive without Starlight to teleport her is diminished by a few clues regarding the behavior of the manticore:
    • First, it makes no attempt to struggle or escape from it's chains. It roars a couple times, and that's it.
    • Second, it swallows Trixie whole, as opposed to the one in the flashback that chewed up Hoofdini.
    • Third, it bows alongside Trixie and Starlight.

      All of these clues point towards the manticore being trained. If this is true, then it's entirely possible that, if too much time passed with nothing happening, the manticore would have just coughed Trixie back up. She'd be battered, disoriented, and humiliated, but she'd be alive.
  • Starlight becoming Trixie's "great and powerful assistant" is pretty clever on the part of the writers. Whenever the Mane Six are together without her, it is because she is helping her best friend put on a show.

    Newbie Dash 
  • None of the Wonderbolts treat Rainbow's nickname ("Crash") as a big deal, and it turns out they all have their own nicknames that are based on mishaps on their first day. Military callsigns are usually in reference to some kind of embarrassing incident. Especially the ones for fighter pilots.
  • Soarin's is "Clipper" because he clipped his wing... The same kind of accident that nearly took him out of the relay tryouts. Apparently he still needs to work on that.
  • A hint that the Wonderbolts don't regard the nickname as an insult can be seen in how they treat Rainbow Dash after the first accident. Yes they keep using the nickname and don't like it when she messes up while practicing, but most of their criticism is constructive as they tell her how she needs to fly to perform better. One even tries to comfort her after the hard day. Unfortunately the implications of all this fly over Rainbow's head.
  • Why did Dash get off easier than Lightning Dust? Because she was willing to accept responsibility for what she did, and was genuinely contrite.
  • Despite Dash being hailed by the Wonderbolts as the most talented flier they've ever had, she still has trouble keeping up with the squadron during practice. For most of her life, Dash has done her flying solo. So when she's asked to fly in a group, she's out of her element. Not to mention that the Wonderbolts keep calling her "Crash" at all times; this throws her off a lot, and affects her performance.
  • After Rainbow's stunt during the airshow goes wrong, Spitfire berates her for showboating and putting other ponies lives in danger. This is exactly what Lightning Dust did at the academy, and what ultimately lead to her expulsion. Spitfire even references it, saying she's "thrown ponies out of the bolts for less."
  • So of the Mane Six, who is the one to take the lead on advising Dash to just do her best as part of the Wonderbolts' team and let the Embarrassing Nickname blow over? Twilight Sparkle, the only member of the Mane Cast with a confirmed family history of military service.
  • The series had shown in the past how childhood bullying can have lasting consequences in adult life, plus the affected ones can have troubles discussing these issues, which only makes them worse. This explains why Rainbow didn't tell the Wonderbolts about the "Crash" insult, and how much it affected her, plus, being the newbie, she didn't want to appear as a complainer and demand a special treatment when finding out that all the Wonderbolts had nicknames too. Plus, the Wonderbolts are mostly unaffected by their nicknames because they came from embarrassing incidents after joining the team; they were adults already when these events happened, and they could take them well enough. Rainbow's "Crash", on the other hand, has lots of emotional baggage since childhood.

    A Hearth's Warming Tail 
  • Snowfall Frost didn't attempt to make it so Hearth's Warming Eve never happened, she was just going to erase all knowledge and record of it from the world. So how would doing so change Equestrian society so much that the Windigos would be able to return? Simply put, Hearth's Warming Eve's events are not simply a story but a basis for Equestria's philosophies and way of life in general. Most all ponies are taught them from an early age and their influence is pervasive. Without a strong cultural reason for the very different pony races to be united, it is logical that over time the strife in Equestria could increase to the point that the Windigos could gain a foothold again and their effects would only increase the strife all the more. It's like the old saying goes: Those who don't learn from their history are doomed to repeat it.
  • In a world full of magical creatures, why would any ponies think Windigos weren't real? For the same reason that Nightmare Moon was regarded as a myth: no pony is known to have seen a Windigo for over a thousand years and no evidence they existed (beyond written records) are known. Similarly friendship-based magic like the flames that banished them and the Elements of Harmony saw little, if any, usage once the Celestial Era of Peace began after Nightmare Moon's banishment, as large-scale dangers to Equestria were few. As time passed it makes sense that some skeptical ponies would doubt such creatures and magics were real. Magical or not, there are those who refuse to believe certain things that are not a part of their own life experiences.
  • Why is Luna the Future Spirit instead of Twilight, the only Mane Six member not appear in the flashback as one of the characters? Not only does Luna better fit the haunting tone of the song, Twilight's status as the narrator means that she's still interacting with the story.
    • Or perhaps, in a similar way to the original tale incorporating The Grim Reaper as said ghost, this one had a clear Nightmare Moon expy filling the role.
  • If you think about it, Twilight also fits into Snowfall's role, being almost the same kind of pony before moving to Ponyville. A Hearth's Warming Tale must be her favorite because she sees a lot of herself in Snowfall.
  • While she has changed a lot, Starlight's lack of interest in the materialistic aspects of the holiday are quite fitting considering the society she once thought ideal was one that was rather lacking in material comforts, good food, candy, etc.
  • And it's no coincidence that Spike was the one puzzled by that lack of interest, as dragons are naturally prone to greed.
  • In the setting of the story, Time Turner shows up in Victorian garb reminiscent of the Eleventh Doctor's in "The Snowmen". Except in one shot where he opens a door and he's wearing the Tom Baker's scarf (as in present-day Ponyville), right after we've seen the other one in the street. Would count as a blooper, except, well... it's Doctor Hooves, and if there's one pony who could be in two places at the same time in the past.... (For that matter, the Victorian-garbed Doctor Hooves is also seen in the flashback to Snowfall Frost's childhood, which is further in the past to the main story.)
  • Why is Snowfall Frost a fundamentally well-meaning pony whereas Scrooge in the original story was an uncaring miser? First of all, as mentioned elsewhere, it wouldn't exactly be in character for a character played by Starlight to be a miser given the whole no-material-comforts ideal of Our Town. Additionally, Scrooge is meant to be seen uncaring about his fellow beings and in need of complete reformation; Starlight was presented as a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • In addition to some points above, Twilight and Spike's reactions to Starlight's lack of interest in HWE are an unfortunate reality regardless. Just ask anyone who's had to break it to family and friends that they don't do Christmas (perhaps anymore, especially in the case of family). Yes, this includes believers in the Messiah commonly known today as "Jesus". If you are taken aback, especially by this last inclusion, and are about to come up with stock reasons for why they're silly to do that, congratulations, you've just proven the point.
  • Applejack appearing as the Spirit of Hearths-warming Past could be very fitting on her part. In case you haven't noticed, no Expy of Jacob Marley showed up in the story. Perhaps, Applejack appearing first is parallel to how neither her parents or their death is discussed on-screen.
  • The characters in the story itself have some awfully Hearth's-Warmingy names, which, even for ponies, are a little too specific - but not only is this only a story, it's a parody of Dickens, a writer notorious for giving his characters almost ridiculously descriptive names - Mr. Headstone, for instance. And "Ebenezer Scrooge" just sounds like a miser's name, the way "Snowfall Frost" sounds like a chilly, standoffish person.
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    The Saddle Row Review 
  • In "Castle Sweet Castle", Twilight's friends were given the job to "make the castle feel like home" for Twilight, which is rather broad and vague. As a result, they try to make the castle suit their preferences with no synergy with each other. Here, Rarity assigns each of her friends a specific task, Twilight organizes her outfits, Applejack stall Plaid Stripes, Pinkie stop the rave upstairs, etc. They each have a clear goal to work for, which allows them to draw on their own experiences and have a less chance of tripping over each other.
  • While the idea of the devil Rarity in Pinkie's Good Angel, Bad Angel image of her being the reasonable one is itself a funny moment, it's even more clever when you realize that Devil Rarity's belief that the rave above the boutique needs to be stopped ends up being the bad idea, which is usually what the devil figure in most Good Angel, Bad Angel situations tends to offer.
  • While all three of the ponies that Dash hired may have been "slow" by Dash's standards in an impromptu footrace, this is exactly a quality that makes them a good choice for the boutique. A good salesperson doesn't rush a customer into buying something, even if it means more sales; instead, they help the customer feel at ease by allowing them to make a decision at their own pace, showing them around and answering whatever questions they may have. In a way, Dash did think like Rarity when she hired them.
  • Why wasn't Starlight Glimmer present? Helping a friend open a store sounds like a great opportunity for a friendship lesson, right? Not in this case; "I heard "set the table" and just kinda went for it." Imagine her magicking Plaid Stripes silent, or levitating the raccoons away, or blasting DJ-PON-3's equipment in well-meaning but disastrous attempts at helping.

    Applejack's "Day" Off 
  • As indulgent as the "pampered muscle massage" sounds, it's probably just what Dash needs. She has one of the most physically demanding jobs out of the Mane Six. The competition for "most physically demanding job" would be Applejack... who is also at the spa. Both ponies would likely appreciate something that might help with stiff muscles.

    Flutter Brutter 
  • Fluttershy's frustration with her parents make sense since she used to let ponies walk all over her all throughout the series and by now she can speak up for herself. She even stands up to her younger brother, whom she finds irritating for taking advantage of their parents.
  • Unlike other cases of Remember the New Guy? in the show, some of the mane cast, Rainbow in particular, act as though they've met Zephyr Breeze before. If Rainbow and Fluttershy were friends growing up, it makes sense that Rainbow would be familiar with Fluttershy's family. Especially since she already seems close with Mr. and Mrs. Shy.
    • And lets also remember that the series is a Slice of Life series. It only shows a moment in their daily lives, so it's very likely that Fluttershy could have brought him up in the past. It could also be why she could watch over the CMC so early on; she's got experience at a much younger age to deal with a younger sibling who was much louder than her; she's got more experience than any of the other Mane Six when dealing with rowdy kids because she likely had to deal with it growing up.
    • In addition, unlike Shining Armor and Maud Pie, who were great older siblings whose sisters genuinely adored them, Zephyr is one of the only ones who Fluttershy has shown genuine anger and dislike of, so it makes sense she'd not mention him.
  • Zephyr's obvious crush on Rainbow Dash may be because Rainbow is everything he isn't. She knew what she wanted to be in life and worked hard to achieve that dream while Zephyr lazed around trying to find something he's talented in.
  • Also, Rainbow criticizing Zephyr over napping might look like Hypocritical Humor at first, due to Rainbow's often napping herself, but Rainbow, unlike Zephyr, has always been a very efficient worker, and now, as a Wonderbolt, she trains constantly, so she sees her naps as a well-deserved break, while seeing Zephyr's as just another facet of his Lazy Bum tendencies.
  • Zephyr says that Fluttershy had always been the family's bossy one. It makes sense, relatively speaking, since Fluttershy works with animals, and while she usually keeps them controlled through kindness, sometimes she has to impose herself to stop them from causing mischief or hurting others/themselves. In contrast, Mrs. Shy works with plants, and Mr. Shy, until recently, worked with weather clouds; in both cases, while both jobs can have a few set-backs, none is related with the work's subjects (plants and clouds) intentionally causing trouble to the workers.
    • Not to mention that they're family. People who are shy and quiet around others tend to be far more vocal around people they're comfortable with, like close friends or family. Fluttershy may not be that assertive with some random pony but with her own brother, she's far more comfortable with putting her hoof down.
    • Also, considering their parents are quite submissive, and it's shown that Zephyr takes advantage of their kindness on a regular basis, it wouldn't be surprising if Fluttershy had to take a parental role at times, and use her position as the older sibling to lecture and discipline Zephyr, specially considering she'd have Rainbow Dash's support.
    • And finally, Zephyr's definition of "bossy" is "anyone who doesn't let me do things my way"; Fluttershy kindly requesting him to behave properly would be enough for him to consider her a bossy sister.
  • Zephyr casually messes with his sister's mane as a playful gesture and ends up restyling it in the process, hinting that being a stylist is his one genuine talent.
  • When one takes a close look at Zephyr and compares him to a certain chaos spirit, it's suddenly easier to see how Fluttershy could tolerate Discord better than most of the Mane Six in the beginning — his narcissistic, obnoxious personality is very close to her own brother's.
  • It's easy to see why the first job Fluttershy got for her brother was with Rarity. Fluttershy probably thought that a job with another creative pony interested in fashion would be a good match for her brother.
    • And what's the second thing Rarity does in the entire series? Fix Twilight's messed-up hair. (The first is "finish decorating", for the record.)
  • The wig displaying Zephyr's "creative style" may seem like his ego is blinding him from seeing how bad the mane style is. Or maybe, he does realize how bad it is. It's established later in the episode that Zephyr has a crippling fear of making mistakes. Perhaps he recognizes it as his first mistake at something he was good at, but tried to sugar coat it as a "creative difference".
  • Perhaps Zephyr Breeze and Fluttershy are Not So Different when you think about it. Because they both shy away from things that intimidate them. Back in Season 1, Fluttershy used to be so shy that she could hardly introduce herself to Twilight. In a way, Zephyr shied away from tasks (namely for his fear of mistakes). The only difference being that Zephyr hides his anxiety behind a façade of Inferiority Superiority Complex. Also, Fluttershy made progress growing more assertive and self-confident, whereas Zephyr has to hit rock bottom before he realizes he needs to overcome his fear.

    Spice Up Your Life 
  • It may seem like the map is simply a little glitchy after being re-activated when it shows Twilight and Twilight at the castle, but then you remember that there really are two Twilights and the portal between the worlds is still open, with the opening on Equestria's side being a mirror last seen in Twilight's castle. Possible foreshadowing?
  • The Cutie Map being broken gives Starlight Glimmer a reason for not appearing in the previous episodes. She was busy researching spells to fix the map.
  • As a fashionista, Rarity has to adapt her business and merchandise around what's popular at the time. This approach to business explains why she insisted on making the Tasty Treat just like every other restaurant, even though she herself tried several earlier that day and took a dislike to what they offered. Pinkie, on the other hand, sold the Tasty Treat on a welcoming atmosphere and quality food made to appeal to the customers' individual tastes. Pinkie Pie lives and works in a bakery. Of course she knows how to manage a business centered around serving food!
  • Also explains why Pinkie was rolling her eyes at Rarity for only going by one critic's word: She's a baker, and thus has to taste her food while preparing it just like any other cook. She has a palate of a chef herself, and eats a lot. She knows what is decent food and what isn't; when she ate the food from the other three-hoofed restaurants, she was disgusted with the blandness and the fact that it had no flavor. It's also why she said "That makes no sense!" when Rarity told Saffron that Zesty didn't want flavor; to her, why would ANYONE not want flavor. Her life as a person around various kinds of bakery options knows about it.
    • Adding to the fact that she knows all about flavors and seems to appreciates the way Saffron was doing her business. She knows how a cook should be like because she works for the Cakes, a happy new family that took her in when she moved to Ponyville. She sees them love every minute of their job, even when it's stressful for them, and likely gets a kinship with Saffron from that. She loves seeing people happy and when they are doing what they love, she likely would want them to keep that happiness.
    • This is also the source of the conflict between Pinkie and Rarity. Rarity is a fashionista whose business relies on her knowing what's popular at the moment and adapting her catalog accordingly. She was applying her fashion business sense to food service.
  • At first, the map sending Rarity and Pinkie to help a single family restaurant doesn't make much sense, considering the other missions were designed to help large populations. But, helping the Tasty Treat wasn't just about a single restaurant, but also inspiring the other restaurants there to break out of a uniformity that ruined Canterlot's food industry.
  • Perhaps it's a good thing Zesty Gourmand didn't give the Tasty Treat 3 hooves. If her critique "desperately trying while desperately failing" is any indication, it means the Tasty Treat tried and failed to fit in. But fitting in isn't necessarily a good thing. That's why in the end, the restaurant's original style is better making it stand out.
    • Also, there's a foreshadowing that the Tasty Treat is a square peg: Coriander Cumin may be dressed like the waiters from the other restaurants, but he doesn't share the same figure as them. Even when it tries to be like the other 3-hoof restaurants, there's no way you can smother it's original style.

    Stranger Than Fan Fiction 
  • The Cipactli as the episode's "big threat" plays into the South American theme that Daring Do has for her enemies; the Cipactli is another mythical South American monster (specifically a many-jawed crocodilian beast that the Aztec gods Huitzilpochtli and Quetzalcoatl killed to make the land from), just like her nemesis, Ahuizotl. Even her rival Dr. Caballeron has a name that sounds vaguely Spanish, which is one of the most common languages in South America.
  • Furthermore, Daring Do having a South American motif makes sense, because, as discussed on Mayincatec, South America is practically the natural setting for pulp-style Adventurer Archaeologist shenanigans.
  • As Quibble points out, this being his main issue with the books, Daring's adventures had been focusing more and more on action sequences rather than intellectual problem-solving and research. This is because, when she first started writing her adventures, Daring and her foes were just getting to know each other, and, as they became her recurring enemies, Dr Caballeron and Ahuizotl's threat level increased as well, so Daring no longer had to deal just with ancient traps and jungle perils, but also with the villains' schemes and traps, which obviously increased the physical danger and action, while the intellectual side of archeology (solving puzzles and doing research) stayed mostly the same.
    • Not to mention that given all the stuff she had to go through, she probably didn't care to write down the more intellectual parts if those adventures were more about her nearly DYING. That could be why she seemed disinterested with Rainbow's complaints about Quibble and WHY she was getting frustrated with him when he kept knocking at her. She is literally in a life-or-death situation as part of her job. She is not likely in the mood for some know-it-all nerd talking her down.
  • The scene where one of Dr. Caballeron's henchmen buys a pillow with Daring Do isn't necessarily Foe Yay. Note that she's captured in the picture, so it could easily be an allusion to an Offscreen Moment of Awesome for the guy.
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    The Cart before the Ponies 
  • At first it might seem that Filly Derpy beating Filly Rarity for 'Most Creative' is just a gag. But think about it: Derpy managed to make a cart that looks like a jumbled mess but could actually race (as if it couldn't then it wouldn't have been a cart and it'd be disqualified). So Derpy was actually VERY creative, thinking outside the box to create a unique cart nopony had ever seen before.
  • Snips takes part in the race, but Snails doesn't. As ponies tend to have Meaningful Names, it's easy to imagine why he might want to sit this one out. (Of course, this isn't "Buckball Season.")
  • At first glance, one might seriously question why the CM Cs chose their adult partners instead of switching them around to match the awards they wanted to win, as shown by the episode's YMMV page. However, their initial choices do have merit. Applebloom wanted to win the award for fastest cart, and Applejack, being a builder for her farm and preferring practicality over fanciness, would know how to build a wooden appliance and make it function to the best of it's ability (and since a cart's main function is to travel...). Sweetie Belle wanted to win the award for most old-fashioned cart, and Rarity, who is able to take any theme and work with it as seen in Suited For Success, would be able to work with the theme of "old-fashioned" and make it stand out and look good. Scootaloo wanted to win the award for most stylish cart, and Rainbow Dash, as a lover of coolness, would be able to give Scootaloo advice on how to make her cart look cool and stylish (and the "cool" type of stylish was clearly what Scootaloo was going for, given her Phoenix-themed cart). The fact that they were able to make their carts cater to their desires without switching partners speaks volumes.

     28 Pranks Later 
  • You might think the "zombified" ponies look a little narmy, but then you remember that it's a prank and the ponies are probably not taking the scare factor all that seriously. That being said, they seem to have done a good job in-universe, seeing how they scared the flank off of Rainbow Dash.
  • Many people have complained how goofy the zombie prank was; perhaps this is a reaction to the last time the Mane Six tried to teach Dash a lesson. Yes, the citizens of Ponyville needed to scare Dash to make her understand how hard her pranks were on everypony else, but they weren't trying to traumatize her, so they scaled down the prank to make sure it didn't hit her as hard as last time. Presumably, what with Equestria's nastier aspects that have been revealed in the show and the knowledge (both direct and indirect) that the Ponyville citizens have of them, they could have come up with something much more gruesome than rainbow-muzzled ponies moaning for cookies.
  • Similar reasons may be the In-Universe reason why the "apocalypse" was done with the Technically Living Zombie variety. That type of zombie is an infected person/pony, and with an infection, there can be hope for a cure or for the individual eventually recovering (which is what Dash seems to be thinking in shutting herself, Rarity, Applejack, and the CMC in the barn to wait out the apocalypse). If the "zombies" had been undead ponies, Dash would have had no hope that she could get her friends back, and the prank would have hit her a lot harder.
  • There's another reason to go with the Technically Living Zombie: safety. If Dash believed the ponies were genuinely undead, rather than potentially curable, she might not think twice about trying to fight her way out, which could lead to her really hurting somepony.
  • Rainbow Dash pranking Fluttershy despite being confirmed to know pranking her wasn't a good idea may be because of what Fluttershy did during Scare Master and Flutter Brutter. She proved herself to be a very effective prankster when she puts in the effort as well as showing herself to have a much more assertive side to her nowadays so Rainbow Dash probably believed Fluttershy could handle being pranked now. Too bad she was wrong.
  • The ponies were acting in a fashion similar to when they were influenced by the "Want-It-Need-It" spell in "Lesson Zero"
  • It may at first seem odd that Rainbow Dash doesn't try to fly away when cornered by the zombies, but the reason is clear when she tells them they can't have more cookies. Rainbow isn't really concerned about her safety or getting away, she just doesn't want the ponies to have more of what she believes is making them sick. She is the Element of Loyalty.
  • The brick sandwich prank may not have been as dangerous or mean-spirited as it seemed, given that Pinkie and her family eat rocks with no ill effects. And even if it was, it's possible Rainbow might not have realized it because of this.
  • Pinkie Pie showing concern about Rainbow Dash's cookie prank, and Rainbow Dash insisting they go through with it, is an Affectionate Parody of a plot device in Zombie movies. Sometimes, the Zombie infection starts because of an experiment that may go wrong. The scientist (Pinkie Pie) tries to insist the bio-weapon (the Joke Cookies) may need more research to avoid any problems, but the Benefactor (Rainbow Dash) funding the research doesn't listen.
    • Afterwards, when Rainbow Dash leaves to proceed with the prank, the camera lingers on Pinkie Pie, who eats another joke cookie without thinking. This not only serves as a Red Herring that something's wrong with the cookies, but acts as an Affectionate Parody of some small indication that the Zombie Apocalypse has begun.
  • How did everyone's mane and coat colors, after being washed out the whole prank, instantly snap back to normal as soon as they drop the ruse? Rule of Perception—We were seeing them from Rainbow's point of view, and she saw them as looking unwell until they revealed that they were okay.
  • Rainbow Dash pranking Applejack despite the latter's preparations makes more sense when you remember that Applejack forgot to close her bedroom door and left alarms near the top and bottom edges of the door but not the center, apparently forgetting that Rainbow Dash can fly.

    The Times They Are a Changeling 
  • The whole episode could be seen as Spike solving a friendship problem like the ones the map sends the Mane 6 on. Thorax had a friendship problem and by becoming friends with Spike, a possible future where changelings are no longer considered evil to the cores opened up and became a reality in the season finale.
  • Changelings are confirmed to be capable of transforming into non-living objects like rocks. Getting love by turning into a beloved individual isn't the only way to get the love they need. They could change themselves into a beloved treasure, statue, or anything a pony loves. This is also very potent Fridge Horror and Paranoia Fuel since it means changelings can be anything instead of anypony.
  • It makes sense that Twilight would be the first to realize her mistake and defend Spike and Thorax. Besides being the Princess of Friendship, she is the one who knows Spike the best and has been with him since they were both young and likely realized that if Spike says the changeling is good, he must be good.
  • Thorax slipping on the ice while disguised as Spike may look like a very dumb way to blow his cover, but then it would make sense that he's unused to being bipedal, unlike the dragon, explaining his poor balance.
  • Many pointed out that Twilight and Cadance's childhood dance wouldn't have worked to expose a changeling due to Chrysalis possibly picking it up back in "A Canterlot Wedding". But Chrysalis looked confused when Twilight did it, so it's entirely possible that she thought it was some weird pony thing, didn't think much of it, and forgot about it.
  • Why is Spike so easily moved by Thorax's backstory? Because he's listening to a version of the life he could've lead if he hadn't been raised by ponies. For starters, he and Thorax were both hatched, not born. And second, they each come from a race of creatures who formerly had no understanding of love or friendship. Spike is saddened to imagine how lonely he'd be if he were the only friendly dragon surrounded by unfriendly fellow dragons.
  • Shining Armor isn't just hostile towards changelings because their queen brainwashed him into a trance. It's also because Chrysalis basically turned him against his own beloved sister Twilight. No wonder he's hostile towards changelings, he doesn't want a repeat where something turns him against his Little Sister Best Friend Forever!
  • At the start of the episode, Thorax hisses whenever Spike shows him any kindness and losses control of himself when near Flurry Heart. As he says, this is because he hasn't been eating properly lately. His time as "Crystal Hoof" likely only wet his appetite. Then, after Spike's song (a big friendship thing in and of itself) convinces others a bunch of others to befriend him instead of his disguise, he no longer hisses at any point, not even when brought near Flurry Heart again. This means he's not hungry anymore.
  • A flashback shows changelings hissing at each other right after they hatch. Most think this means the majority of changelings were born evil. But through the episode, Thorax hisses when he is given love, or reminded of his hunger. The larvae aren't hissing because they're mean or angry, but because they were only just born and are naturally hungry.
  • Showing an undisguised Thorax right in the throne room when the Crystal Guards are actively turning the place upside-down looking for the him sounds like one of the show's many instances of The Guards Must Be Crazy, right? Thorax could have easily disguised himself as another pony or even an object if the Crystal Hoof disguise didn't work a second time, only unveiling himself right before facing Twilight and company.

    Dungeons & Discord 
  • The scene where Discord teleports the guys to a table where they play poker with dogs gets funnier when you remember that both Spike and Big Mac spent time as dogs.
  • Discord not taking to the tabletop game is threefold:
    • 1) Discord is a Reality Warper and the game consists of pretending to do things. Given his imagination literally reshapes the real world, it makes sense just pretend action would bore him.
    • 2) His in-game powers are much lower than in real life. Given what happened with Tirek and his own narcissism, it makes sense that playing as a much weaker character wouldn't appeal to him.
    • 3) The tabletop game is very much rule-based and said rules are restrictive to his in-game actions, neither of which endear the idea of playing to Discord.
  • Night club life is spontaneous and unpredictable so of course Discord would like it, as it represents chaos that he won't get in trouble for.
  • Many have expressed disappointment that this episode doesn't feature Spike, Big Mac, and Discord in the RPG world, having their adventure as their respective characters. The biggest reason for this to come to mind is that in other stories that use this premise (e.g. Borderlands 2's "Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep"), the character most opposed to playing the game will still participate, just to humor the group. Discord is refusing to do so, and is going out of his way to disrupt Spike and Big Mac's game. Until he comes around, there's no fantasy to be shown.
  • Discord's disdain for hanging out with "sidekicks" actually paints his relationship with the Mane Six in a new light. The fact that he would freely hang around the girls in prior episodes suggests that he always had a level of respect for them (at least enough to "grace them" with his presence).
    • Similarly, it makes sense that he would change his tune once he heard the term "guys' night", considering his only friends so far have all been female. It would be a chance for him to have fun with friends of his own gender for the first time.

    Buckball Season 
  • Pinkie and Fluttershy are particularly good at Buckball because they're very unconventional players; Pinkie uses her whole body instead of just her hind hooves, so it's quite hard to block her shots, and Fluttershy uses mostly her Prehensile Tail to catch and return the ball, so she doesn't tire herself out flying to intercept the shots. This gives them an evident edge even against naturally more athletic ponies; basically, Pinkie and Fluttershy play more efficiently and waste much less energy.
    • Their unconventional play styles would also make them less predictable. Pinkie in particular; there were moments during the match where Braeburn looked like he was too busy wondering what the hay she was doing to think about the actual game.
      • Also, Braeburn's team can give them a good challenge because, aside from the obvious time they spent training, they also go for unconventional playing; they have a huge, muscular pegasus that can block most of the shots without making a big effort (her body is already a very big obstacle to make a good shot), and their unicorn is obviously a jock, whose magic is focused on sportish activities while also being physically well fit.
  • Why is Snails so good at Buckball? His mellow attitude and constant empty-headedness allows him to maintain a zen-like calmness which allows him to act without pressure and focus his concentration on keeping the bucket aloft and moving it where necessary.
  • Perhaps Fluttershy isn't so different from her brother Zephyr Breeze. They both don't work well under pressure. True, Zephyr may be lazy, but they both grew uncomfortable when faced with what they perceived to be high stakes.
  • Why didn't Applejack and Rainbow invite Rarity, Twilight, or even Starlight to their try-outs? Well, Twilight is no longer a unicorn so the opposing team might call it unfair and against the rules to have an alicorn as a player (like Korra being the Avatar in her series' pro-bending), Starlight shows no interest in sports since she doesn't know who the Wonderbolts are, and Rarity is... Rarity. Secondly, it's been suggested that the episode may have occurred at the same time as "The Times They Are A Changeling", which explains the absence of Twilight and Starlight (and Spike, who is supposed to be a big fan of the sport).

    The Fault in Our Cutie Marks 
  • Why Gabby is so good at everything? First of all, as it's revealed in the end of the episode, her special talent is Helping, so she can adapt pretty well to whatever activity she needs to do in order to help others; while she'd not the very best at everything, she'd still be a very competent assistance. Second, being a griffon, she's a Jack-of-All-Stats by pony standards, having the strength and resistance of an earth pony (her lion side), the flight and speed of a pegasus (the eagle side), and, thanks to her talons/claws, she can do delicate, complex stuff similar to an unicorn using magical telekinesis. And third, she's a Nice Girl who's more than willing to use her special talent and abilities at all times, unlike the average griffon who, because of their Jerkass nature, does nothing unless it benefits him/herself, meaning that Gabby has a lot of practice using her abilities in a variety of ways.
    • Depending on how long she's been trying to get a Cutie Mark, she could quite possibly have picked up some skills that way too, much like the Crusaders themselves.
  • Gabby's bird side looks like a peregrine falcon, one of Earth's fastest birds; in fact, in a diving flight, its Super Speed is unparalleled by any other creature. Gabby shows herself to be a very fast, efficient flier through the whole episode, so her being a mail worker/messenger is a very fitting job.
  • Gabby may not seem like other Griffins, being so nice and cheerful, but she has the same Fatal Flaw as the rest of them. She's unknowingly being greedy like other Griffins. As in, she wants something she can't have.
    • Similarly, the griffins' other Fatal Flaw is Pride, but, when properly channeled, it's actually a positive trait that counters their greedy side. This happens with Gabby in the end, having gained an honorary cutie mark, and being proud of her achievement, promising to promote the values of pony society among griffins.
  • When you consider the Cutie Marks of Petunia Paleo's parents, their concern that her Cutie Mark of a skull and two bones means her calling involves her being a pirate makes even more sense. Mrs. Paleo's Cutie Mark consists of an oyster with a pearl, which could be considered an "underwater treasure", while Mr. Paleo has two fencing epees for his Cutie Mark. Combine that with Petunia's Cutie Mark and the Paleo family's Cutie Marks represent three common elements in pirate stories: treasure, swordplay, and the skull and crossbones.
  • When the map sent Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash to Griffonstone, they left believing Gilda would sow the seeds of friendship but as this episode shows, the map had another purpose for sending them there. It put Gabby on the path to the Cutie Mark Crusaders and thus spreading their values amongst Griffins, which would greatly help Gilda.
  • This marks yet another episode where a character is introduced who is different from the rest of their race. Ember and the dragons, Thorax and the changelings, and now Gabby and the griffins. Like the last season's overall theme being Cutie Marks, this could be the theme of season 6.
  • In a way, Gabby's fake cutie mark washing off was actually her real cutie mark appearing: in the form of helping some pony!

    Viva Las Pegasus 
  • Gladmane was right to fear the Flim-Flam Brothers taking over his resort. When those two brothers work together, they're capable of taking over Equestria!
  • Gladmane's downfall is brilliant when you think about it: he didn't have the magic of friendship on his side! All the other times Flim and Flam were ever thwarted was because there was friendship. In "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000", Apple Jack had her friends to help her during the competition against the brothers. If not for friendship, the Flim-Flam brothers wouldn't have been prompted to speed up their machine and make the lousy cider that ultimately sent them running. In "Leap of Faith", Apple Jack's familial friendship with Granny Apple Smith prompted her to confess the truth about the tonic, once again forcing the brothers to skedaddle. But in Las Pegasus, Gladmane isn't "friends" with these ponies, just manipulating them into thinking he is their Only Friend.
  • Perhaps Las Pegasus will be where the Flim Flam brothers will finally belong. Everything there is about flashiness, money, business, and drawing in the crowd. Even if they're not reformed, at least Las Pegasus will be a kind of prison where their greedy tendencies won't hurt no pony ever again.
  • Despite Applejack and Fluttershy being uncomfortable in Las Pegasus, the cowpony still trusts that the map sent them there for a reason. It makes sense because the last time Applejack was sent to a mission, she seemed unsuited for the city life at first but ultimately played a key role in bringing the neighborhood together. She's know that from experience.
  • Why would the map help repair the Flim-Flam Brothers if they simply replaced Gladmane as top conmen? Their prior appearances always had them grab the Villain Ball and be forced to flee before they did much harm. Worse case is that Gladmane is gone and the brothers will get themselves evicted before long, thus fixing the problem. Meaning Gladmane could wind up getting the last laugh!
    • Alternatively, it was similar to "Top Bolt" later in the season where it wasn't just solving a current friendship problem, but also preventing a later one. Gladmane voiced his intent to monopolize the resort industry in Las Pegasus, presumably using the same manipulative tricks he was using at his current resort. Had he not been run out, that probably would have been a lot more broken friendships on his part, and the overarching problem would have been a lot harder to fix(the primary reason they were able to do so here was because both performances happened to involve animals and Fluttershy Speaks Fluent Animal, an advantage they're not guaranteed to have if Gladmane's corruption spreads to other performers). Repairing the rift between the Flim-Flam Brothers was just a necessary step in the plan to repair the friendships between the other performers and prevent others from being broken in the future.
  • Why is Gladmane more dangerous than Flim and Flam? The Flim Flam brothers are like a benign cancer, causing no real damage unless it's left unchecked for far too long. In comparison, Gladmane is like a malignant cancer, actively destroying other ponies' friendship as long as it benefits him lucratively. If he had been left to his own devices, there's a chance his influences would've spread, breaking apart friendships across Equestria like an actual cancer on the body.
  • Fluttershy mentions in the beginning that Pinkie Pie or Rainbow Dash would have been better choices for Las Pegasus. That could have been part of the reason why Fluttershy and Applejack were sent. Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash would have been too distracted by the excitement of the park to focus on the friendship problem.
  • It makes sense why the Flim Flam Brothers didn't go through the reformation: After all, they took over Equestria as mentioned before in an alternate timeline. That implies that there are some people who can't change.
  • When you think about it, the ponies working for Gladmane being unable to leave could be a child-friendly parody of gambling. In real life, Las Vegas is famous for casinos, which are infamous for making its visitors addicted to gambling and betting. In a sense, Gladmane has made ponies visiting Las Pegasus addicted to his artificial friendship.
  • Aside from Getting Crap Past the Radar, a more plausible In-Universe reason on strip shows apparently not existing in Las Pegasus is that they would not sell well to an audience that usually never wear clothes.

    Every Little Thing She Does. 
  • Starlight continue showing her ability to combine different spells in order to create new, much more powerful ones, just like she did with Starswirl's Time Travel spell and the magical energies of the Map of Harmony. Combined with WMG, it's very possible that this is how she created her trademark Cutie Mark Removal Spell, by combining an energy transference spell with another one that had some minor effects on cutie marks. This is also the reason why she's pretty much on Twilight's level, since Twilight, mostly, uses 'normal' spells, while Starlight combines and modifies them to create her own, making herself an unpredictable opponent even for skilled, more experienced spell casters.
    • There's another unicorn who's particularly good at combining different spells to accomplish otherwise impossible tasks; Sunburst, Starlight's first friend, who she is on talking terms again. It's very possible that he gave Starlight the idea of combining spells in the first place, either by telling her directly or by Starlight observing him at work.
  • This episode explains why Starlight has been absent for most of the season. She would much rather learn new magic instead of making friends and interacting with others. Twilight isn't the kind of pony to say "you need to spend less time in the library reading".
  • While it seems that Starlight Glimmer is Easily Forgiven after compromising her friends' free will, remember the events of Lesson Zero. They have experience having a friend who reaches for the magic when she feels inadequate and overwhelmed with a situation.
  • Anyone familiar with Computer Information Technology will recognize the spell-bound Mane Six (minus Twilight) behave like computer programs that need specific input in order to work.
  • It may cross into Fridge Horror, but there's a reason Pinkie Pie is particular about not burning cake. What's the name of the family she lives with at Sugar Cube Corner? The Cakes. So burning cakes would give Pinkie a seriously disturbing imagery of her adoptive family.
  • Starlight's fear of failing an activity with her friends adds to the reason she stole her village's cutie marks. She did it so that if there was an activity she wasn't good at, she could do it with her "friends" regardless, because they would be equally as bad as her.
  • Twilight's castle being full of spiders, bats, snakes and other "creepy crawlies" makes a lot of sense, given much of it is dark and quiet or outright empty, making it an ideal shelter for such animals. Plus it is made of rock/crystal, mimicking the caves and such that bats like. And of course most any home actually has tons of spiders living in it, the inhabitants just rarely notice them.

    P.P.O.V. (Pony Point Of View) 
  • Applejack imagining Rarity as an Upper-Class Twit is no surprise, but it's more surprising that Pinkie would be as harsh to Rarity as she was... until you notice that Rarity's reaction to Pinkie's snacks (at least from Pinkie's perspective) is not unlike her initial reaction to the food served at the Tasty Treat. In addition, she tries to replace Pinkie's snacks with her own, a smaller-scale version of what she did to the Tasty Treat. It's likely that Rarity's behavior from that episode is still on Pinkie's mind.
  • None of the accounts of the sinking mentions the trenchcoat Rarity was wearing when she got off the train and in the flashback of them making it back to shore, not even Rarity's, which underscores just how unreliable their memories of it are.
  • In a sense, ALL three ponies were at fault for tipping over the boat. Rarity brought the cucumber sandwiches that attracted the bunyip. Applejack tripped and sent the cucumber sandwiches into the water. And Pinkie Pie brought the beach ball that made Applejack slip.
  • In Australian mythology, the bunyip is said to be one-part dog. In other words, this bunyip is a sea dog.

    Where The Apple Lies 
  • Filthy Rich cutting ties with Sweet Apple Acres would mean he loses one of his most important suppliers. Why would he do that? He probably wouldn't, but it's easy to see how a younger Applejack's might fear that he would. And since Granny Smith was telling the story, the details of anything she wasn't there for would most likely have come from either Applejack herself or Big Mac, who would likely side with his sister.
  • Some people find it chronologically out of order that Filthy Rich and Spoiled Rich weren't married in the flashback. Shouldn't Apple Bloom have been born by then, as well as Diamond Tiara? But come to think about it, maybe being younger than Apple Bloom and the other school ponies could explain Diamond Tiara's former bully-some personality. Being the youngest in her class must've made her feel insecure about herself. But it's also what lead to her growing proud. Being the youngest in her class to get a cutie mark must've made her feel good about herself, like a child protégé. It's no wonder she said "Waiting for cutie marks is so last year."
  • There's a reason Big Mac Took a Level in Kindness and decided to humble himself to talk less. Applejack told him to keep quiet until she said so, and he agreed (even though the tone was resentful). When Granny Smith nearly sawed off his leg off by mistake, you can tell he really wanted to break it silence. But Applejack beat him to it and told the truth before any harm came to him. The whole thing ended up being like a crazy Trust-Exercise that taught Big Mac that being quiet can pay off, because he trusted his sister to know what to say before things got out of hoof.
  • Big Mac's Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness in "Brotherhooves Social" while in disguise as Orchard Blossom might just seem like something Big Mac decided on to make his disguise as thick as possible, but in this episode, we learn he was actually much more talkative when he was younger. He's had experience (albeit not in years) with talking a good deal.

    Top Bolt 
  • The friendship problem is less fixing an existing problem and more preventing a future falling out between Sky Stinger and Vapor Trail. In fact, there's two possible outcomes for their relationship had Twilight and Rainbow not helped them. The first is the obvious falling out when Sky finds out that Vapor was secretly helping him. The falling out would have been much more devastating to their relationship had it happened during the test in front of an audience. The second outcome is that Sky and Vapor become too dependent on each other and are unable to grow as individuals.
  • What does this episode have in common with Spice Up Your Life and Viva Las Pegasus? We saw three different pairs of ponies deal with three different problems in three different locations!
    • Adding to that, the three two-pony Cutie Map episodes in season five focused on large-scale friendship problems permeating entire communities. Then the finale happened, with its moral that every friendship is important. Fittingly, the Cutie Map episodes in season six focused on smaller-scale friendship problems that, when repaired, are set to improve the respective communities.
  • Once again, we get a situation involving Rainbow Dash and the Wonderbolts, this time with the former chosen by the Cutie Map for a friendship mission. But while she does have insider knowledge of the Wonderbolts, Dash is still very new to their military social culture, as demonstrated earlier this season in "Newbie Dash". So who better to pair her with than Twilight Sparkle, the Mane Six member that grew up in close proximity to a military organization?
  • Rainbow Dash's Awesome Ego tendencies take on new meaning in light of her comment that "Flying is thirty-percent skill and seventy-percent confidence."
  • If flying is "seventy-percent confidence", it might be interesting to look back on Zephyr Breeze: he's hardly ever seen flying, hinting he had less confidence than we were lead to believe.
    • It also makes it symbolic when, during the song "I can do it on my own", Fluttershy and Rainbow fly, reflecting their own confidence.
    • What's more, it also explains why in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", Fluttershy used to be the weakest flyer in Cloudsdale: in those days, she had so little confidence in herself.
  • Who better to drive home the perils of doing something such that someone else thinks they did it than someone who had to learn that lesson?

    To Where and Back Again 
  • After The Reveal that the hole-riddled bug ponies aren't the changelings' final forms, Chrysalis's name takes on an additional, ironic meaning. A chrysalis is a hard shell that protects a caterpillar while it grows into a butterfly, but Chrysalis has a metaphorical hard shell (namely, her desire for vengeance) which is preventing her from achieving her final form.
  • At first glance, the return of the infamous "but I didn't listen" face may look like simple Meme Acknowledgement on the animator's parts, but when it's revealed that it is a dream, it makes sense that that face would appear again. The face would have been as memorable for Starlight as it was for the viewers, so of course she would remember it. Her subconscious mind then pulled that face for use in the dream.
  • Doing an Exorcist Head is easy for Chrysalis since, as a changeling, her body can contort in any possible way for her transformations.
  • Trixie and Thorax using her Smoke Out trick in such an effective way references how Real Life magicians often have assistants posing as them (the magicians) precisely for tricks that mimic teleportations and quick disappearances. Thorax also knows the hive's passages pretty well, making the illusion much more effective, just like magicians often have the stage ready with passages and trap doors for their tricks.
  • Starlight has solved a friendship problem, and it was one that inevitably saved not just the Royal Family and the Elements of Harmony, but all of Equestria as well.
  • Thorax being physically different after his transformations as the other changelings make sense when you notice that the only other changeling with a teal carapace is Queen Chrysalis. This means that, like Chrysalis, Thorax might be part of the changeling's royal caste rather than the "drone" mooks which might also explain why he has a higher degree of autonomy than other changelings, who seem to follow Chrysalis unquestioningly.
    • Alternatively, the more drastic transformation may well have been a result of Thorax having a greater amount of love within him than any other changeling, even with Chrysalis partially draining it, due to him being accepted into the Crystal Empire for quite some time.
  • Seeing how easily Chrysalis replaced powerful individuals with changelings as well as being in possession of an anti-magic throne, it's easy to see how Chrysalis came out on top in the alternate future where she won. All she would have to do is lure past villains to her hive and no matter what powers they have, like Tirek's magic draining or Discord' Chaos Magic, they would find themselves powerless while being swarmed by the entire changeling army.
    • King Sombra — himself known to use similar defenses (e.g., his Power Nullifier crystals) — would've have fallen for it. In that case, she just invoked We Wait until somepony else dealt with him, such as Tirek or Discord.
  • When Starlight used the invisibility spell, it didn't affect her and Trixie's eyes. This way light can still pass into their eyes and let them see. Notice how whenever someone's looking at them, they have to close their eyes. This is because their invisible eyelids block the light.
  • The area around the Changeling Hive is devoid of vegetation, except for some tree stumps, with the edge of the barren zone corresponding exactly to the limit of the Anti-Magic field. The easy conclusion is that lack of magic has an adverse effect on Equestrian plants, which wouldn't be too surprising considering some of the weird proprieties of nature in this world. Now, why does this wasteland is looking somewhat familiar? Oh yeah, it looks like the last of the Bad Futures in "The Cutie Re-Mark", which seemed entirely devoid of life. This alternate future was probably showing us an Equestria where magic has died, possibly because Chrysalis created more throne-like objects.
  • When Discord is complaining about having to walk to the Changeling Hive, he says that he hasn't walked that much in a millennia. Really, any walking distance is more than he walked in a millennia, seeing how he spent those thousand years trapped in stone.
    • His clumsiness may also be an extension of his chaos taking effect, even without magic.
    • On a related note, when he's tasked with distracting some changelings and is subsequently fleeing from them, he's seen running on all fours. The lowered center of gravity would make this much more practical for a hasty escape, where tripping would mean an immediate capture.
  • Chrysalis not bothering to try to have Starlight kidnapped and replaced may seem an Idiot Ball moment as Starlight is one of the most powerful ponies in Equestria, but from her perspective it is not.
    • She wanted to replace not simply powerful ponies but ponies that were both powerful and beloved by Equestria as a whole so she could take the love directed at them. Starlight has made progress with friendship, but she is far from beloved by Equestria the way the royals and Mane Six are.
    • A second factor is a simple one: Starlight spends most of her time in the castle practicing her magic, and hasn't really been shown using powerful magic outside it much. Even the powerful spells we've seen her do were confined to inside the castle. Chrysalis was obviously spying, but a spy wouldn't really be able to see inside the castle except going in to meet the Princess in their disguise. So it makes sense Chrysalis would underestimate her: as far as Chrysalis knew, Starlight was simply Twilight's brand new student, and she had no real reason to guess she'd be powerful enough to threaten her. Even her Cutie De-marking spell wouldn't be much of a threat to a species that lacks them. And unlike the other heroes Chrysalis captured, Starlight has never played a role in the Queen's defeat or the defeat of any previous villainnote . The audience is aware of how strong Starlight is, but Chrysalis has very little way of knowing that because Starlight never really shows it when outside the castle.
    • A third reason is her status as Twilight's student at all. Far from something like "back-up Twilight", Chrysalis sees her more like a second Spike. Once she replaced Twilight, all she had to do was instruct that changeling in how to manage her. This is why Imposter Twilight knows more about Starlight than the other changelings and did a better job impersonating Twilight. It was to make use of her just like she would any other civilian.
    • A fourth reason: in the past season, Starlight spent most of it as a background pony, with her only two real confrontations happening either in the remote town, or after she snuck into Twilight's Castle without anyone else knowing. As far as Chrysalis is concerned, Starlight is a background pony (especially since the majority of them seem to show up near Twilight all the time, like Lyra).
  • The changelings having a nymph stage, a weaker and incomplete winged form, and a complete, winged, final form makes sense when you realize that some insects have a Subimago form before their final, Imago form. This stage has wings and resembles the full grown form, but is normally worse at flying, more vulnerable, and generally inferior to the final form, which fits the fact the black, withered form is depicted as being inferior to the well-fed final form.
  • Discord becoming friends with Trixie. He now has someone every bit as arrogant and theatrical as himself to play off of. In fact, all the new friends Discord has made this season is probably the writers' way of giving him new targets to mess with other than the Mane Six (whom he hasn't antagonized at all this season), so he can still be his trickster self without fans complaining about his moments of Character Development being ignored.
  • Anybody noticed that, when Discord warps the unlikely rescue team from Ponyville, it's the middle of the night, but when they arrive at there is daylight (albeit cloudy)? The Changeling Hive is in a place remote enough that it's in a different timezone from Ponyville. (Of course, how would timezones work in Equestria, especially with the Princesses of the Sun and the Moon captured, is anyone's guess.)
  • Chrysalis and Starlight Glimmer make surprisingly good Foils/Shadow Archetypes to each other. Both used to be charismatic, manipulative and seductive leaders with devoted followers, and both have a way of rendering said followers equal and practically undifferentiated from each other. Both were the heads of societies that had no internal strife, and assimilated outsiders. Both also managed to learn from her mistakes. Starlight learned to see things from Twilight's point of view. Chrysalis decided to remove the biggest known obstacles to her forces for when she invaded again. Both were helped to be defeated by a single person among their peoples who managed to overcome their conditioning, and their downfall was a simple case of being horribly outnumbered and outgunned when their own followers saw cause to turn on them. They even get the same offer of forgiveness, and have a habit of trying to solve problems by trying to control people, though with different methods. Starlight, however, had a genuine if hypocritically practiced belief that was she was doing was for the benefit of her people. She was genuinely trying to help them, in her own twisted way. Chrysalis externally seemed to be responsibly benefiting her people, but in the end only cared about herself.
    • On that subject, the creature the changelings were based on was somewhat fairy-like in nature. In addition to the whole "insect" motif, they seem to have more fairy attributes such as bright colors and sparkling wings. Given both the insect theme above and the fairy theme, their new reformed state makes perfect sense. They resemble deer more than ponies in their new forms, which ties in with the fairy motif. Deer are commonly depicted as delicate, cute, sometimes ethereal animals in fiction.
    • The changelings quickly accepting Thorax's method makes a lot of sense when you remember one thing: they were literally starving all the time. Of course they'd jump at the chance to finally be full.
      • Another reason is it's implied Chrysalis conditioned the changelings to be absolutely loyal to their queen... which worked fine when she was the only changeling royal, but once Thorax turned into what seems to be another changeling Royal, they had a choice. Combined with the above, their jumping ship to Thorax makes much more sense.
  • The much-derided constant shilling of Starlight's magic turns out to actually be building up to a story where she has to do without it, showing qualities that truly prove her to be a worthy leader.
    • The reason no plant life or vegetation of any sort can be seen surrounding the Changeling Kingdom. Equestria is a land where magic is adherent to not just ponies and creatures but the land itself which has magic of its own. With Chrysalis' throne letting off an Anti-Magic field, however, it blocks not just pony and chaos magic, but also the magic of the land as well. Hence, why it's a barren wasteland.
  • To show you how far Starlight has come as a student of friendship, consider the fact that all of the Changelings under Chrysalis' rule were "all equal to each other": They all looked the same, had the same skill in the same abilities and were all equally starving and miserable. By teaching them to accept Thorax's example, the Changelings gained nourishment, happiness, and uniqueness which made them no longer equal to each other.
  • Similar to the above, the reason the Changelings are more colorful when they learn to give love instead of just taking it is because in giving love, they are showing their true colors as individuals, and symbolizing that a truly loving relationship means getting to know each other as individuals and looking past and/or removing a false front one might show to those they aren't close to. Chrysalis doesn't care about them as individuals, so they all look alike to her when they're not transformed, but when they defect from her, they can show their "true colors" and individuality.
  • It makes sense that Starlight stuck with a small group. As far as she knew, the changelings could have gotten to other ponies in Ponyville or even other world leaders. She wouldn't have trusted Trixie or Thorax without Something Only They Would Say.
  • Discord's initial nonchalance toward the situation may not have been due to simple apathy; He would have assumed Twilight and the others were already on the case. Hence his Tranquil Fury when he learns otherwise.
  • Once you see that true changelings are more deer-like, it becomes brilliant when you look at changeling larva and notice they have spots. Just like the spots on a deer fawn.
  • When Discord serves as a distraction in the changeling hive, he performs stand-up comedy routine using a microphone. Normally we wouldn't blink at the thought that Discord could pull a microphone out of nowhere, but Discord couldn't use his powers this while Chysalis' throne was intact. It's quite possible the microphone actually belonged to Trixie, who, as a performer, would have a lot of use for a spare microphone. Indeed, we see him pull a microphone out of Trixie's bag earlier in the episode, making this more or less confirmed.
  • Thorax says that a common changeling battle tactic is to lure targets into an area of their choosing for a Zerg Rush ambush. What if this is how they kidnapping the Royal Family and the Friendship Council? One of them could turn into Twilight and have full trust from any of their other victims. Shining Armor, for instance, wouldn't have thought twice about a surprise visit from his sister. Once he's captured, smuggling other Changelings as friends of "Shining" would get them into the Crystal Empire's castle so they could replace Cadence and Flurry Heart, who wouldn't have any guard at all against who they thought was their loving husband/father. A Cadence disguise could say to Celestia and Luna something like "following Twilight and Spike's example with Thorax (because Chrysalis refers to him as a "traitor"), I've made peace with the Changelings. Please join me for a good will visit." Then, once they are inside the Changeling Kingdom, their alicorn magic is useless. It's just a matter of one victory after another and building on the success of each.
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