Follow TV Tropes

Following

Fridge Brilliance / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - Season 8

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    School Daze 
  • Budget and schedule jokes aside, Tempest Shadow spreading the word of the Storm King's defeat throughout the world may be a cheap way to get her out of the show instead of having her stay and make amends to Equestria especially since in the comics the news already got spread during the Convocation of Creatures. Then you remember that while she redeemed herself in front of the Mane 6, she is still The Face and The Heavy of the invasion while committing multiple acts of treason by assaulting the princesses in broad daylight. With the events of the invasion still fresh in their collective memory, the general public would still be unaware or wary of her Heel–Face Turn and she would face constant scrutiny if she stayed in Equestria. It doesn't help that she was the one that gave the Storm King the idea to invade Equestria in the first place or at least bumped it up on his to-conquer list. So it's for the best if she leaves Equestria for the ponies to cool their heads off and get everything back to normal so that she doesn't have to constantly sleep with one eye open should she ever decide to return.
  • When the Mane 5 go to tell the leaders the School is reopening, most of the ponies go to an appropriate leader as follows:
    • Pinkie Pie goes to the Yaks as the Official Friendship Ambassador to the Yaks.
    • Of course Rarity would be sent to talk to the leader of the dragons, she herself is close friends with a dragon, Spike.
    • Fluttershy goes to the changelings since they're now trying to be peaceful and kind like her.
    • Rainbow Dash goes to the Griffons due to her Friendship with Gilda
    • This leaves Applejack to give the message to the Hippogriffs, who value honesty after Twilight's stint as a pearl thief.
  • Why is Sandbar the Only Sane Man of the student group? Unlike the others, Sandbar is a pony who grew up in Equestria, therefore he'd have more familiarity with the importance of friendship. Since he's not overwhelmed by the flood of new ideas like the rest of the group, he can dedicate more brainpower to thinking ahead.
    • Furthermore, some of the students (specifically Yona, Smolder, and Ocellus) look fairly young compared to full-grown members of their species, while Gallus's Totally Radical dialog and Silverstream's extreme excitability and Mundane Object Amazement indicate that the same is true for them. Sandbar, on the other hoof, already has his cutie mark, and his character model is that used for almost all adult stallions. He's likely the oldest of the group (although he's almost certainly younger than the Mane Six).
  • After watching how the EEA oversees education in Equestria, suddenly the incompetence of the Ponyville School Board and the helplessness of Cheerilee regarding Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon make a lot of sense.
    • It also explains some of the ponies' behavior in general throughout the show. Why are ponies naive, skittish around non-ponies, and prone to acts of stupidity? Because that's how the fascist, xenophobic school board overseeing their education demands that they be educated.
    • It's also possibly the other way around. The education standards might just be the results of ponies that have learned to be mistrustful of non-ponies after years of being attacked by non-ponies. Right or wrong or xenophobic or not, nearly every major attack on Equestria has been by non-ponies like Discord, changelings, Queen Chrysalis, Tirek, the sirens, and the Storm King's army, episodes like The Cutie Remark have shown they're really not well equipped to handle such attacks (and look at the collateral damage they suffered during the changeling and Storm King invasions), and monster attacks are apparently so common (according to Slice of Life, at least) that the ponies are completely desensitized to it. It really casts the "racism" of the ponies as not malicious and simply a product of fearing for their own lives when you think about it; imagine how scared any ponies who might have overheard the griffons, dragons, and yaks threatening to raze Equestria to the ground because their kids had wandered off probably felt, or the unease a lot of ponies probably feel now that that long-time enemy race of manipulative untrustworthy shapeshifting vampires is "suddenly friendly and safe" all of a sudden.
  • In the same vein as the above Fridge Brilliance, suddenly Tempest Shadow's song ("Open up your Eyes") makes more sense. That lyric about how "Life's not fair or just" becomes sobering when you take the EEA into account: in Tempest's days, there's no way an EEA school would've believed a unicorn (even "one of their own kind") with a broken horn was capable of amounting to a star pupil.
    • Also, this one lyric ("If you depend on others, you'll never find your place") seems prophetic of how Twilight depended too much on being "by the book", nearly losing her school because she relied too much on the EEA to give their stamp-of-approval.
  • While it makes sense that the Mane 6 can be teachers despite having no official training, that is their primary role in the school is to use various means to teach their particular Element of Harmony (and as the representatives of the elements they are qualified for that), that does leave the question of what about the student's regular schooling? The answer to that seems to be in the implication that all the students are the equivalent of teenagers for their particular species, and may well have completed whatever schooling their particular species requires (assuming ones like dragons even require schooling that is).
  • It makes sense that Thorax is the only non-pony leader who doesn't want to go to war. It would ruin all his hard work in showing that the changelings are now peaceful and no longer eager to conquer other nations.
  • Starlight Glimmer as a Guidance Counselor makes perfect sense. As shown in "A Royal Problem" last season, she is capable of listening to all sides of an argument without a bias, and encourages others to see things from one another's point of view (a must in a Friendship School). And she has taken to channeling her penchant for Brutal Honesty into "Tough Love", such as she used to get Twilight out of her funk.
  • While the chancellor is most certainly racist and nothing is an excuse for that, it doesn't help that the five races he's racist towards had, at one point or another, opposed Equestria, some of them even bringing about their almost doom (and a number of them are themselves quite distrustful and racist toward each other).
    • The obvious example are changelings, which have committed two successful invasions and whose sadistic former Queen is still at large. Thorax is painfully aware of how much justification the other races have for not trusting changelings, making him the only leader to not blame anyone when problems occur.
    • Second obvious are the Dragons, where the bigger ones are outright intimidating, and their teenagers are just as much of jerks. One of them had the idea to invade Equestria if he was made king. And while usually reasonable, Ember proves to have quite a dangerous temper herself.
    • The Griffons, while just mere greedy jerks, were incredibly stingy with their money and apathetic toward others. The first two ponies to travel to their lands since the decline of the Griffon Kingdom, who are also the Elements of Harmony and ergo the only things being in between a villain and world domination, nearly died due to the Griffons' greed/apathy.
    • The Yaks refused contact with Equestria for generations, and declared war at a minor deception that was only done to try to please them. They've mellowed slightly but can still prove difficult to deal with.
    • The Hippogriffs have been absent for a very long while and they were very reluctant to help out Equestria in their time of need until one of them was convinced otherwise. Doubly so for their leader, who not only personally refused to help, but also evicted the bearers of the Elements in quite a dangerous manner when one of them got desperate. It's only natural that they'd be suspicious towards this new race of creatures.
  • Adding to the above Fridge, there may be another reason Chancellor Neighsay is bigoted towards the other races: "Fame and Misfortune". If this book truly was read by ponies across Equestria, chances are he may have been one of those ponies. And like the Loony Fans, he may have missed out on the friendship lessons and been more interested in the journals' other contents. On one hoof, it's a good thing because the journals made him more aware of all the "good works" the Mane 6 have done. On the other hoof, it's bad because the journals are outdated about Equestria's allies:
    • The only mention of griffons (aside from Chef Gustav) is Gilda, and unfortunately, her debut understandably left a bad impression.
    • There are only two kinds of dragons we know from seasons 1-4: greedy grown dragons (like the one from "Owl's well that ends well") and delinquent teenage dragons (like Garble and his buddies). Spike may be the exception, but the Chancellor figures that it's only because Spike was raised by ponies that he turned out okay.
    • Changelings go without saying. Their only debut in the first four seasons ("A Canterlot Wedding") chronicles how they and their former queen not only invaded Equestria, but tricked everyone into turning against Twilight, including her friends AND her own big brother.
    • As for the Yaks and Hippogriffs, they aren't even mentioned, making them rather unknown. And that of course leads to "fear of the unknown".
  • Using a Portal spell to travel from Canterlot to Ponyville feels more precise and formal than using the Teleportation spell: It can be inaccurate and unsafe if cast wildly without a very specific destination point in mind.
  • Why isn't Gabriella picked to join the school despite being a perfect choice? She is already busy with a full-time job and the only time she was in Equestria was because she just happened to have a delivery there. Not to mention, it would utterly destroy the gender balance among the Student Six with Sandbar being the only male if she replaced Gallus. Further, the idea is to learn friendship and learn about the other species, something that Gabriella has no problem with already. She may also simply be too old.
  • Aside from the obvious reasons (writer miscommunication, time and budget), it seemed weird that Skystar would have a Friendless Background when she has her cousin Silverstream that is practically a clone of her to spend time with. It's most likely that the former wanted friends that aren't also family members or aren't too similar to her hence her insistence on wanting the Mane 6 to stay.
    • Plus, it's possible that Skystar wanted somebody her age. Silverstream is a teenager, if the Mane 6 being old enough to be her teachers is any indication.
  • One would think that Rainbow Dash would understand what it means to want to be alone after losing something ("Tanks for the Memories"). But from where she stands (or flies), Twilight's plight is different. Rainbow Dash knew Tank for years when she lost him (to hibernation). But Twilight only opened her school not long ago, and lost it in relatively short time. So the way Rainbow Dash sees it, "easy come, easy go".
  • Twilight was able to bypass Neighsay's un-accrediting spell, not just because she's an alicorn: she invoked the loophole where the spell only works on EEA schools. But like she says, it's not an EEA school, but a Friendship school. So the spell couldn't work on something that was off-the-beaten-path. Also, as a princess, Twilight outranks Neighsay.
  • Twilight's friends have always been the one thing that cheers her up. Why is it that this time around it doesn't? Because they're also reminders of her failure with the school. She sacrificed their happiness at teaching unconventionally in order to make the school EEA approved, and it all proved meaningless when it was unaccredited. Seeing them try to cheer her up only serves to add salt to her wounds, that they're just trying to avoid the issue that she blatantly ignored their needs to teach their own way. And being who she is, Twilight's too fixated on what she's done wrong to move on until she can make it right.
  • While the Young Six are fighting in the hallway, why is Gallus the most snide towards Sandbar when earlier, they had started a nice friendship? From what he's seen of his teachers recently, ponies are boring. And if that alone is any indication, that means his new pony friend Sandbar is boring as well.
    • It's only when he convinces Sandbar to cut classes that Gallus changes his tune about Sandbar and ponies and general. And it definitely helps when he sees the Mane 6 fight the pukwedgies later on.
  • Looking back at "Shadow Play", it seems that the show's picking up a new trend among its antagonists. Earlier in the series, Twilight and friends were up against devastating villains from the past. Well, now they're better established at what they do, and trying to discover and invent new institutions to expand their outreach and foster alliances. The problem now is Equestria's cynical old guard refusing to accept change and obstructing their efforts by trying to force them to do things "the correct way". That way being the old, traditional way that actually did more harm than good. Which works for the show's original target audience, who are all very likely encountering the same problems going into middle school and high school.
  • Adding to the Not What It Looks Like when Neighsay sees the students is Derpy's expression. Neighsay sees these outsiders appearing to terrorize one of the heroes of the recent war!

    The Maud Couple 
  • Why is it that Pinkie can get along great with Maud, but have trouble getting along with Mud despite the him being astoundingly similar to her sister? Because Pinkie grew up with Maud so she would see Maud's strange behavior or quirks as "normal". Pinkie's reactions to Mud's behavior is basically how everypony else sees Maud.
    • At the same time, it's pretty evident that Maud and Mud have several subtle differences that Pinkie would be more apt to noticing because she is so familiar with her sister and thus "overlooks" the similairies Mud and Mud have and focuses more on the differences: Maud is a true Stoic who maintains a low variety of facial expressions. Mud expressed some form of fear and shock when Pinkie Pie used a piñata stick.
  • Of course Pinkie Pie would be freaking out at learning that Maud doesn't like parties, it reminds her too well of the time she learned Rainbow Dash didn't like her pies: some pony doesn't like something she's been making for them for years.
  • That moment when one realizes: Mud and Maud's respective interests are a shout-out to the old expression "Sticks and Stones".
    • Also, there's an unintentional pun in there somewhere: What kind of music do you suppose Maud likes? Rock. So what kind of rock music do you think Mud likes? Styx.
  • It might sound unusual for Maud to refer to Mudbriar as her boyfriend instead of her coltfriend or stallionfriend like the fandom does, but consider the fact that there are many non-pony races introduced in the show, so she might've been using a race-neutral term for him.
    • Further supporting this, Pinkie briefly asks Maud if her boyfriend is a bird. This may just sound like Pinkie's usual kookiness, but then remember that the movie introduced a race of sapient birds, so Maud dating a bird was well within the realm of possibility (and disregarding that, one could refer to Griffons and Hippogriffs as birds too, though they haven't been referred to as such in-universe yet).
    • On top of that, there are subtle dialect differences between Ponyville and Canterlot (e.g. "babysitter" vs. "foalsitter"), so the area where the rock farm is located might just use that term.
    • Finally, the show has had ponies use "girl" and "boy" to refer to other ponies for a long time, just rather sparingly (and "girlfriend" was outright stated back in the first Hearts and Hooves day episode). It's the use of terms like "man" and "woman" that are avoided (aside from for a reaction joke in one episode).
  • The opening scene with Maud's stand-up comedy routine isn't just there to start off the plot - it reinforces how ponies other than Pinkie see Maud, so her frustration with Mudbriar's similar quirks comes off as Laser-Guided Karma.
  • The episode is somewhat intricate, detailed about, and centered around dating and relationships, but why do this in a show aimed towards younger audiences (bronies aside)? Those who have been watching since season 1 have now been following for eight years and the older subset of that original target age group has grown up and may be considering such relationships.
  • Pinkie Pie and Mud Briar do share at least one similarity. They're both literal-minded. Pinkie did originally think Limestone was telling her to crack open Mud Briar like a rock to understand him better before Limestone quickly clarifies that it was just a metaphor.
    • Another one is that they're both talkers and tend to go on tangents, though in Mud's case, it's because he is arguing or explaining about semantics (this also serves as another difference between Mud Briar and Maud, who is more short and to the point.)
    • They're also both very detail-oriented; Pinkie's party planning files are quite similar to Mudbriar's mental files. And both specifically are about what the people they care about like.
    • This could build on the Fridge that the reason Maud likes Mud so much is because he reminds her of Pinkie Pie.
  • Limestone Pie's jealousy makes additional sense if you accept the theory that she is the oldest of the Pie sisters (while not explicitly confirmed if she or Maud are the oldest, it is implied since Limestone runs the farm and supports another that theory Pinkie and Maud's bond stems from being the middle children.) She feels jealous that Maud found a boyfriend despite her quirks while Lime hasn't.
    • As for why Maud beat her to a boyfriend: Limestone still lives on the isolated rock farm, and insistence on her sisters working instead of chatting paints her as a Workaholic who isn't likely to want to travel away from the farm even for a vacation. Maud initially left for college, then permanently moved to the highly-populated Ponyville. Maud has had far more opportunities to meet potential partners than Limestone.
  • Mudbriar seems to be rather accepting of Pinkie despite her mannerisms and her over the top personality, and it does make sense if you think about it like this; he wants to get along with Maud's family. He knows how much Maud loves her little sister and thus wants to make sure they do get along. He even accepts her 'olive branch' despite misnaming it because he knows she means well. (Heck, I think he's aware that he's frustrating at times given their talks at the end of the episode)
  • Pinkie Pie forgoes the Pebble Pinata for Maud's birthday, not just because it makes Mud nervous to see "stick abuse", but because his reaction helps her realize that Maud may not be comfortable beating up any form of rock, much less a pebble.
  • Why does Marble, the Pie Family's Fluttershy, be able to give her older sister the biggest death glares when she interupts Pinkie? Besides being Pinkie's twin sister, it could show that despite her shyness, she's assertive to her own family similar to how Fluttershy is to her parents and brother.
    • That's because Marble is not the Pie family's Fluttershy. She's the Pie family's Big Mac. Marble grew up with rigid, steadfast parents and Maud, Pinkie, and Limestone for sisters. As far as we've been shown, the Pie sisters didn't have many friends outside their rock farm, so each one had to learn to get along with, look out for, and at times push back against the other three. Result: The Pie sisters share the same dynamic as the Apple siblings. They're a tight-knit family that loves, respects and supports each other, and even The Quiet One isn't afraid to call the others out on their bad behavior. However, it may also be because it's specifically Pinkie Pie, who can be viewed as the most sensitive of the sisters (and in fact, it may also because Pinkie and Marble are twins.)
    • It should also be noted that in this show, the shy, soft-spoken ponies are usually the ones you don't want to mess around with, anyway.
  • It may seem out of character for Pinkie to take such a intense dislike to someone, but there is an important factor to consider. Namely we've seen through the series that the one thing likely to impede Pinkie's "friend to all" personality is if that potential friend threatens her own identity in any serious way, i.e. threatens her pride:
    • We saw this in a less nuanced and more extreme way back in season one, when Pinkie became antagonistic toward her friends for little more reason than the idea that they don't like her parties.
    • We saw this back in Pinkie's Pride, where she became antagonistic toward Cheese Sandwich because the circumstances of the meeting threatened her identity as a party planner. And Cheese Sandwich was a pony that under any other circumstance would have been very easy for Pinkie to get along with.
    • In contrast, Maud is the sort of character that should by all rights be the most difficult sort for Pinkie to get along with. Pinkie seems to handle outright antagonism from another much better than a seeming lack of reaction. But (as noted elsewhere) since she grew up with Maud she came to understand the intricacies/depth of the pony underneath the quirks. She doesn't have that advantage with Mud Briar, likely the first pony she's ever met that shares so much in common with Maud (that sort of personality seems almost nonexistent in Equestria), and thus her first time having to deal with this sort of personality without the familial relation/understanding. Now if this was the only obstacle, then Pinkie could probably work past it, but throw in how Mud Briar also threatens Pinkie's perception of herself as a pony who understands Maud, and you have all the ingredients for a pony that Pinkie is going to have a hard time getting along with.
      • Granted, Mud also has his own quirks unique to him that could be considered annoying (such as his tangents on correcting people regarding semantics, hence starting his sentences with "technically...", which could make him come off as condescending). So while he is very much like Maud, he still has some differences unique to him (and ironically, said traits are some he shares with Pinkie).
      • At the same time, Maud's own similairies with Pinkie just make Mud's differences against Maud even more (they both have intuitive senses and it's been revealed that Pinkie herself had a pet rock like Maud has Boulder. And let's be frank here, pet rocks are more common than pet sticks. )
    • And of course we've seen many times that while the Mane Six do embody the Elements of Harmony, they are still very fallible and quite capable of acting against their element depending on the situation. In short, the circumstances of this episode were the rare combination that does this to Pinkie, giving us a look at a rarely seen side of her, namely one that is frustrated and intolerant toward another pony for more than a few seconds.
Advertisement:

    Fake It 'Till You Make It 
  • Spike is a champion at Dragon Charades. He's about the only dragon in the series that isn't a Proud Warrior Race Guy, so Spike is more likely the only dragon that even plays Dragon Charades. Which, naturally, makes him champion at the game by default.
    • His skill at the game would come from living around ponies, many of whom are prone to fits of hysteria that oftentimes render them incoherent. Mastering the art of reading body language in other creatures is an essential to being the Only Sane Man in Equestria.
  • Why did Rarity use "terminated" instead of "fired"? Bear in mind, some of the older fans may be job-hunting or may have jobs. "My Little Pony" is a show for escaping the problems of our world, and nothing sets an adult on edge like hearing the word "fired".
    • Besides, Rarity is addressing Fluttershy's split personalities as just that, personalities. A pony may be "fired", but a personality is "terminated".
      • "The Point Of No Return" uses the word "fired" without hesitation, giving more weight to this explanation than the former.
  • During Rarity's confrontation of the personalities, when you think about it, once you put aside her insults about the customers, Fluttershy is still herself; only she's offering up which of the personalities are preferred for selling clothes. With each "no" Rarity gives, Fluttershy moves on and offers "how about this one?" So when it came down to Fluttershy herself, all she could do was realize that none of them worked and come forward as herself.
  • That moment when one realizes, once again, the episode was aimed at a teenage audience as well as a younger audience. The whole idea of "Fake it 'til you make it" is to teach teenage girls that it's not a good idea putting up an exterior like Fluttershy did. Being mean and snooty and antisocial won't get you very far later in life; it only serves to lose more friends than earn them. Fluttershy learned this the hard way when her new personalities drove away the customers.
    • Also, it could be sending a message that being an individual (Valleygirl!Fluttershy and Goth!Fluttershy) means nothing if there's no heart behind it.
  • Why was Fluttershy shooing out the customers with insults of how the outfits weren't their style? Because she's trying to keep the dresses. Why? Because she's not the element of Generosity, Rarity is.
  • That moment when one realizes: remember when Rarity said "Clothes make the pony"? That may be the point of Fluttershy acting convincingly condescending and mean with her personalities. It's meant to showcase what really happens when you let clothes define you more than anything else, more than being kind, or smart, or friendly.
  • Of course Fluttershy was so rude at the end to all the customers; she was wearing those outfits to help herself be more assertive when dealing with them and we all know what happens when Fluttershy tries to be assertive. This becomes Fridge Horror when you realize poor Fluttershy is doomed to remain a meek and timid pony forever unless she wants to be a rude jerk to everyone she meets. Though I have the feeling Discord is behind it, either as a friendly prank or he really wanted to help her stand up for herself more but couldn't resist adding a little chaos.
    • Except "Fluttershy Leans In" confirmed that Fluttershy is fully capable of being assertive without becoming an outright jerk. This was just a case of her getting too in-character for the personas she was acting as. Discord being involved is an interesting idea, though—it'd explain how she was able to switch costumes so quickly at times and even employ Offscreen Teleportation near the end of the episode.
  • Why was Rarity struggling with the centerpiece design of her collection so much? When we finally see it, it has wings. Even if there's nothing technically wrong with it, it probably subconsciously brings up bad memories of the Princess Dress, preventing Rarity from being happy with it, even if she can't pinpoint the problem. (Kind of falls under Fridge Horror when you take into account she may struggle with all winged dresses.)

    Grannies Gone Wild 
  • Why is Rainbow Dash (and other Wonderbolts) so excited about a roller coaster, even though they can probably do much more thrilling maneuvers on their own? Because a roller coaster can have surprising twists and turns and they have to deal with them in split-second — while when flying on their own, they usually know in advance what they're going to do. Roller coaster is simply a different KIND of a thrill, one that they might miss.
  • A tweet by Big Jim Miller suggested that Jack Pot (confirmed in the officially-licensed My Little Pony Ultimate Guide to be Trixie's father) may not even know he has a daughter, implying that Trixie is the product of a one-night stand, and thus never knew her father. This would actually explain a lot about Trixie's personality; not only would she have inherited her love of performing from him, but her need for praise and recognition would be the result of growing up without a father who could provide those things.
    • The confirmation factor linking Jack Pot to Trixie is the former's failed Smoke Out exit, which is the latter's Running Gag. Which would make sense if Trixie discovered her talent for stage magic and learned what she knows from Jack Pot (either from being taught directly by the latter, or by watching his show and emulating). He never perfected the art of the Smoke Out, so neither did she.
  • Some fans have complained about this episode missing an opportunity to have Applejack learn not to be so overbearing on her elderly relatives. The episode closes on Granny Smith on her way back to Applejack with four other mares, all of whom nearly saw their Las Pegasus outing ruined by AJ's overbearing rules. Applejack's got an earful from Granny on the way, and Granny's bringing backup.
  • Applejack's list being a kill-joy isn't uncommon when you remember what happened in "Somepony watching over me". It parallels how Applejack views a member of her family as being delicate, and sets down rules. The reason she sets down those rules in the first place is, she's never accompanied Granny Smith to Las Pegasus, and doesn't know first-hoof how capable Granny and the Elder ponies are there.
    • Applejack's motivation for her overprotectiveness of her grandmother could have a simple and plausibly tragic explanation: her deceased parents. If that is the case, Applejack's drive to ensuring her grandma's safety is compounded with not wanting to lose another parental figure.
  • Meta-Brilliance: The pony holding the guiding wands as the balloon lands in Las Pegasus is an alicorn, but going by most of the blind reactions, relatively few people noticed this at first glance, even though the pony is up close to the screen. Suddenly all of those scenes of ponies failing to notice that Twilight is an alicorn and treat her accordingly make a lot more sense—if you're not expecting it, missing such a detail is surprisingly easy.

    Surf and/or Turf 
  • Sweetie Belle is the singing talent of the trio, and she has her sister's eye for beauty. So the moment she experiences the natural beauty and harmonics of the Harmonizing Heights, she falls in love.
    • In addition, she may also be wishing to spend quality sister time with Rarity there at some point in the future; Rarity would also love the place.
  • Of course the hiipogriffs hold no grudge with Twilight. It was Queen Novo who was enraged by her trying to take the pearl, whereas she seemed to not notice that her subjects were not "perfectly ok" with staying hidden forever. Their joy that Twilight played a major role in stopping the Storm King would have easily erased any animosity they might have had.
    • Queen Novo's probably dropped most, if not all, of her animosity, too; she's sent a general to enter diplomatic relations with Twilight Sparkle on her behalf and let her niece enter the Friendship School as a representative of their race among the students. Maybe what Twilight did was wrong, but Novo's likely forgiven her if she's willing for all this to happen.
  • The map sent the Cutie Mark Crusaders because all three were needed. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo were meant to understand the cons and pros of both Terramar's homes. Apple Bloom is there, not as a tie-breaker, and not just as the sane one. She's there because, from "Call of the Cutie", she's been the glue that brought them together. She may also be there to empathize what it's like for Terramar on a daily basis.
    • More than that, they were sent to solve a problem that deals with who they are. They deal with Cutie Marks, but what does that mean? A Cutie Mark in some way links to your identity. So while Hippogriffs don't have Cutie Marks, the CMC were still called to solve an identity crisis.

    Horse Play 
  • Celestia takes Twilight lying to her much more personally than she has a number of her transgressions from when Twilight was her student. The fridge brilliance comes in how Celestia for a number of seasons now has been trying to foster a genuine and equal friendship with Twilight, one where Twilight sees her as a friend she can talk to casually just as much as she sees her as a ruler. In her eyes, Twilight was again treating her like some divine being that must not be crossed in any way. Likewise she cools down when Twilight explains her motivation was genuine feelings of friendship.
  • Celestia is utterly terrible at charades, which might be another reason Spike is so good at it; he had to be in order to figure out what she was hinting at.
  • As overjoyed as she was at being in the play, Celestia expressed concern about Twilight's on-the-spot decision to make her the lead actress, pointing out Celestia's lack of formal training or experience in stage acting. Because in the worlds of business, politics, and theater, you have to interview and/or audition each candidate being considered, and hire based on their experience, competence, and training in the position you're hiring them for. If you hire someone without vetting them, and they prove unable to perform, that counts as an act of gross incompetence on your part, and one that can severely impact your credibility going forward. Granted, it's Princess Celestia being hired for a school play, but the principle is the same.
    • Unfortunately, Celestia's known Twilight her whole life. Twilight's excited, and when Twilight gets excited, she gets carried away with things, and she acts and makes decisions without thinking them through. She won't realize she made a mistake and try to correct it until things start going wrong around her. Celestia has a history of using Batman Gambits to troll and manipulate her subjects, having most notably invited the Mane Six and Discord to the Grand Galloping Gala on two separate occasions just to watch them crash it for her amusement. Which brings up the question: is Celestia's Bad "Bad Acting" legitimate, or is she deliberately sabotaging her rehearsal performance in an attempt to correct Twilight without them regressing back to their old mentor/student relationship?
    • That being said, it's also a potential good explanation of how Celestia's been ruling as long as she has with that 100% Adoration Rating. She's not only become experienced in bluffing if necessary, but in playing a situation to get the best outcome for everyone involved. In addition, she's likely been putting the right ponies into the right positions and manages them well enough that things have been running extremely efficiently (which would also explain how she's able to take time out of that schedule to be in the play at all: hyper-effective management skills).
  • Luna is sitting in the audience watching the play, and the play is being performed at night. She should be on the clock in the dream realm, according to previous episodes. The last time Twilight tried to involve Celestia in her entertainment productions, she tried to get Celestia, Luna, and Cadance to use their magic for special effects. She's delaying her usual shift in case Twilight has Celestia raising the real sun for the play.
    • Alternatively, the play is performed early enough in the night that few ponies are asleep anyway, so Luna isn't needed in the dream realm just yet. "A Royal Problem" showed her awake and performing other tasks before moving on to her Dream Walker shift even though it's clearly nighttime outside, and it would make little sense for a play to be shown at a late enough hour that everypony would normally be asleep.
    • Adding onto that, why would Luna be mad when Celestia does raise the sun as part of the play? Ponies have been shown with a fairly steady circadian rhythm - the cycle of sleeping and waking - and one that's similar to humans. This circadian rhythm is disturbed by the present of bright lights like the sun. Even if it was early in the night, Celestia has disrupted Luna's job by reducing the nighttime and preventing the ponies from sleeping such that the Regent of Dreams has had her evening duties reduced.
  • The revelation that before Celestia took over raising the sun it took several unicorns to do it, and said unicorns lost their magic permanently as a result, might help explain how Celestia originally got her 100% Adoration Rating. As pointed out on the Fridge Horror page, the pre-Celestia state of affairs might have eventually resulted in an Equestria plunged into The Night That Never Ends because the unicorns had no power to raise the sun. When Celestia raised the sun on her own and kept her magic, she single-hoofedly brought hope to the situation.
    • It also strengthens the existing Fridge concerning Luna's transformation into Nightmare Moon. Before Celestia, you had dark, villainous entities not unlike the Pony of Shadows trying to bring about that eternal night. Despite being sister to Celestia, Luna's dark colors combined with her powers over night would lead ponies at the time to associate her with those villains, leading into the 0% Approval Rating that pushed her over the edge to become one herself. She's doing much better now because most of the villains she kept being associated with before are now shrouded in myth and legend, if they're even remembered at all.
  • Celestia is probably not faking the bad, bad acting more than playing it up. Look at her reaction when Twilight first suggests it. That's not the voice of someone that's excited at the prospect but one that knows its a bad idea. Not to mention Spike, who was raised by Celestia is not comfortable with and constantly is sarcastic about how good of an idea it is.
  • When you think about it, the whole point of the Mane 6 not being able to find a replacement for the sun prop reflects exactly what happens in the play: all the ponies are trying to raise the sun but can't do it. That falls to one Princess who can do it. So it feel to Celestia to find the only suitable replacement: the genuine article.
  • When Starlight casually points out that to her, Twilight is more like a regular princess, she unknowingly foreshadows the kind of relationship Celestia's expecting throughout the episode: a casual one where Twilight doesn't have to be uptight and afraid of her mentor. All she wants is for her and Twilight to be friends.
  • As Applegeek points out, Celestia isn't necessarily a bad actress, she's just better at acting when she trolling somepony.
    • More generally, she's better at following her own instructions than those of others—even when On Stage suggested lessons on improv, it was understanding what they were improvising that snagged Celestia, not the idea of improvising itself.
  • Sandbar playing the role of Star Swirl the Bearded. The obvious reason is that he's the only pony of the Student Six, so he is more familiar with the myth than the rest who play nameless unicorns. But beyond that, he's already seen as the leader of the group, of course he'd get the most important supporting role.
  • Celestia helping Fluttershy get into character makes sense another way. She's held rule over Equestria with a 100% Adoration Rating for over a millennium. With that kind of history, there had to have been many ponies that played the part of Princess Celestia on stages across Equestria, some of whom performed with Celestia herself in the audience.
    • Not only that, remember that Fluttershy had already played Celestia once, and the event was detailed in a certain book that was insanely popular not too long ago...
  • Of course Spike is good at improvising narration, he DMs an Ogres and Oubliettes game. Improvising when things take an unexpected turn is a big part of a Dungeon Master's job. (Parody Retcon is also something DMs tend to get good at)

    The Parent Map 
  • After seeing how Starlight and Sunburst's childhood were like under their parents, suddenly how the two of them ended up the way they are makes a lot of sense:
    • Starlight was constantly coddled and hit with the Stranger Danger anvil until she couldn't make friends outside of Sunburst. So when he left and seemingly never replied, she had no one else to turn to outside her father whom she is trying to avoid. She ended up losing her faith in friendship and started blaming the first thing that was responsible for taking away her only friend: Cutie Marks. She most likely hit her "emo phase" after that which made her develop such an extreme view on them. Not to mention, Twilight's similar mannerisms may have unknowingly reminded her of "dear old dad" who ruined everything, which might explain why she subconsciously got to such extremes in the Season 5 finale. The similar sounding names aren't helping.
    • Sunburst's mom keeps trying to push her son into being more ambitious and taking more initiative about his future, explains why he's so insecure. Maybe she pushed him so hard as a kid that keeping in touch with friends ended up taking a back seat to achieving greatness. So when he failed, the overwhelming feeling of being crushed stopped him from contacting Starlight, making him unable to muster the courage to contact her.
      • Sunburst living life as a hermit scholar in the Crystal Empire prior to the season 6 opening is another piece of this insecurity: his mother was too concerned about his future that, after flunking out of magic school and getting another earful from his mother, he fled to the one place where he likely wouldn't even be recognized to hide away from it all.
      • Moreover it's specified he felt "lost" after failing in magic school, and various other things imply he overall felt like such a failure that he didn't want to drag anyone else down with him, and of course that included not wanting Starlight to know what had become of him.
      • It could also be interpreted that Stellar Flare coming up with all these plans made poor Sunburst feel like he was behind in making plans of his own. The more plans she came up with, the more inferior he felt at charting the course of his own life.
    • On a more fun, slightly shippier note, Stellar Flare is brutally honest and into making dramatic plans like Starlight, and Firelight is into books and antiques like Sunburst is. Maybe they became friends as foals in a platonic version of Like Parent, Like Spouse?
  • Starlight's initial disinterest makes some sense now when Twilight and Sunburst geek out over antiquing in "Uncommon Bond". Antiques are a thing her father geeks out over all the time. Starlight was behaving in that episode exactly the way she did as a filly when Firelight went antiquing and dragged her along.
  • Starlight and Sunburst were sent, not just to solve their friendship with their parents, but to essentially save Sire's Hollow as well. One half of Sire's Hollow had become a shopping mall because Stellar Flare was trying too hard to give her son a "planned future" where he could accomplish something. The other half of Sire's Hollow was preserved and antiquated to the point that it was unenjoyable, because Firelight wanted to keep it the same for his "silly filly" Starlight's sake. Sire's Hollow finding a middle ground between past and future depended on Starlight and Sunburst making up with their parents.
  • Starlight going Emo in her younger years didn't just happen out of nowhere. Bear in mind, this is the same filly who came to despise cutie marks because it took her friend away. Naturally, it's possible she vowed to herself to never ever earn a cutie mark. And when she did earn a cutie mark of her own, well, you can see how well she took it.
  • We see Starlight's love of kites apparently went back to foalhood, given the kite on her old blanket. So is it coincidence her cutie mark kinda resembles a kite with a long tail?
  • Starlight's Emo phase would explain why her human form in Equestria Girls would have ripped pants.
Advertisement:

    Non-Compete Clause 
  • When Twilight decides to put Rainbow Dash and Applejack in charge of a teamwork-building field trip when they're clearly in the middle of another competitive squabble, Pinkie Pie is the one that calls out what a bad idea this is. Pinkie's been a consistent third party in these two ponies' previous squabbles. Of course she knows better.
  • Yona, as a yak, can't swim - which makes a lot more sense when you realize that all large bodies of water in and near Yakyakistan are going to be ice.
  • While everyone else is shocked the canoe broke, Silverstream is completely unfazed. Is she oblivious to what just happened due to her Cloudcuckoolander tendencies? Nope. She's a hippogriff/seapony. Water is her element!
  • When Rainbow and Applejack are debating on whether to build a bridge out of vines or branches, many have pointed out that a bridge built with both might actually have been viable. Just another point towards the two Comically Missing the Point of teamwork—coming up with ideas and plans together can work better than blindly going along with just one's.
    • What's more, in order to build their bridges ends-to-center like they were, they each would have needed to fly across the chasm to build from the far end. Non-flyer Applejack would have even needed to recruit one of the flight-capable students to lift her across. So not only would at least one of the professors need to use teamwork to complete their task, but they would use teamwork in a way that completely invalidated the need for said task in the first place.
  • Remember "The Hooffields and the Mccolts"? There's a reason the Map didn't send either Applejack or Rainbow Dash to settle their feud: those two are so competitive that it's in itself a feud.
  • At least one time in the past, there's been hints that competition's at the heart of the Applejack-Rainbow Dash friendship: "Buckball Season". Said-episode shows how the two find common ground in competition. This episode also shows that competition is their Achilles Heel, friendship-wise.
    • What's more, one of the first episodes of the series was "Ticket Master", when Rainbow Dash and Applejack were competing for Twilight's Grand Galloping Gala tickets. They've been competing even before "Fall Weather Friends".

    The Break Up Breakdown 
  • Discord shows up ready to play Ogres and Oubliettes after a week of waiting to play the game again, only to be told upon arrival that the game's being put on hold because of Big Mac's romantic woes. This is an actual thing that happens among Dungeons and Dragons players.
    • He also doesn't empathize with Big Mac, and spends the episode annoyed that his personal issues are holding up the game. Stories abound of D&D players like this, too.
  • It took a draconequus to break up the couple (Discord tempting Big Mac to go ahead with breaking up) and it also takes a draconequus to bring them back together (breaking Sugar Belle's wagon).
  • Given both ponies have "belle" in their names, Big Mac yelling at Sweetie Belle (and realizing it made her cry) becomes a nice metaphor for him understanding that breaking up with Sugar Belle hurt her feelings. And Sweetie Belle forgiving him once he talks about it helps him understand how unconditionally Sugar Belle loves him, and deserves an apology for it.

    Molt Down 
  • The molt symptoms are similar to puberty (stonescales being pimples, the uncontrollable volume shifts like volume pitches for example). This episode is also aimes at a teenage audience as well as a younger one, and most of the kids who've been watching since season 1 eight years ago are probably going through puberty now.
  • Predators being attracted by molting dragons' scent is pretty much how nature controls dragon populations. The youngest dragons are protected by their parents, and the oldest ones are apex predators themselves, but a pre-teen dragon, that has been kicked out of the family group because of the molting's effects, is temporarily vulnerable and can be defeated and eaten by a powerful enough predator.
    • Not to mention, it's a darker parallel to the survivability of reptile babies in real life, in which where most of them won't reach adulthood. It also doubles as a test of survival and strength to weed out the weaker runts.
    • If dragons in the show are as long-lived as they are in general mythology, then unless their breeding habits are appropriately slowed, anything that trims the population could be a Necessary Evil to keep dragons from growing too populous, similar to what some theorized was the reason behind the dragons smashing phoenix eggs in "Dragon Quest".
  • Dragon families spontaneously kicking their molting children out of their nests straight into the claws of other predators may be a bit callous as a family and self-defeating as a species. Then you realise that it most likely due to the fact that 1) they don't have anything to help plug their noses from the smell, which was shown to be something not even other dragons like Smolder can stand and 2) a molting dragon will attract the other predators to the nest and put the other non-molting runts and eggs in danger when you account for the fact that the parents themselves may be asleep for decades taking naps. Not to mention, Smolder herself didn't exactly elaborate on what did she do after her molting is over, implying that the "molt effect" simply lasts for the duration of the process itself and she simply returned home after it's all over.
    • "Dragonshy" established that adult dragons do have Dragon Hoards, thieves stealing from those hoards are a Berserk Button for them, and they will respond in kind if they are assaulted. Most of the other dragons in Ember and Smolder's generation that we've been shown are Jerkass Glory Hounds like Garble that believe that they're invincible and are often seen pulling stunts and exchanging dares to show it off. Unless certain boundaries get set and enforced early on in their lives, those young dragons will steal from and/or attack their much-more-powerful adult elders to impress their buddies. This may have also been a factor in the parents' decision to kick them out.
    • Dragons on the whole have also not been very good with details and analysis. Smolder hasn't been an exception. She wouldn't have seen any reason to look into it before, so naturally everything she says on the subject would be based on her memory of what she saw and heard happening to herself and other dragons, taken at face value. She even admits to not fully understanding how the "molt effect" works.
  • Dragons in general have been shown to be solitary creatures. The older dragons live by themselves, only coming together when migrations occur, or when summoned by the Dragon Lord. Even Smolder, who is a very young individual, is shown to be very self-sufficient, much like Ember. There's been one consistent exception to this, Garble and his pack of teenage dragons, and there's been implications that teenage dragons tend to gather unlike the older specimens. The Molt Effect is a plausible explanation for this otherwise odd behavior. Dragons that are going through the effects of the molt might seek out other individuals going through the changes and form packs to better protect themselves from the predators, and these units stick together as they grow older and stronger, until the various individuals strike out on their own.
  • Phoenix feathers can cause hearing loss in ponies. Looks like the Royal Canterlot Voice is one extra purpose for Celestia who has Philomena, a pet phoenix. It's nice to be able to hear what you are saying after all.
  • Spike seems to figure out his new wings a lot sooner than Twilight did — we get less than a minute of slapstick before he proves agile enough to basically out-fly a Roc. Considering he got his wings as a natural part of growing up and his species always obtains them eventually, flight is probably instinctive for him. Twilight, by comparison, got her wings artificially and is naturally from a flightless species, so she had to put more effort into learning how to fly since it wasn't already hardwired into her brain.
    • Also Spike is friends with an expert flier in Rainbow Dash and has been around Twilight who had to learn how to use her wings from scratch. He's likely learned a few things that he can now put into practical effect.
  • Occasionally throughout the episode, Spike wonders aloud if ponies go through molt, too. The humor is that they normally don't, but there is one pony in Ponyville that went through a transition similar to the one Spike is going through. It's also foreshadowing the answer to Spike's worry about being forced to leave home; when Twilight got her wings, she wasn't forced to give up her home (well, not right away), she was still the same pony she was before, and her friends were right there willing to help her adjust to the change. Why would they treat Spike any differently?
  • One small foreshadowing of what Spike's molt would entail is when Smolder gives Spike a congratulatory smack on the back, and he winces in pain. One would interpret that perhaps she hit a spot on his back where there's plenty of stone-scales. But as it turns out, he was in pain because he was growing wings under his old skin.
  • This episode explains why in "Rarity Investigates", Rarity was narrating her investigation out loud: because just like her sewing, she works best when she talks out loud to herself.
  • Why are predators attracted to the molt smell, which every other creature finds horrible? They've learned that the distinct smell is coming from a young, flightless dragon, without any adults guarding it. Basically, they've associated the smell with easy prey.

    Marks for Effort 
  • Twilight scolding and banning the Cutie Mark Crusaders for (supposedly) sabotaging Cozy Glow's test suddenly makes a lot more sense when you realize she essentially did the same thing back in Seaquestria. To her, it must have become her greatest failure due to her not getting the hippogriffs' help, causing a rift between her and her friends, and essentially almost failing Equestria and the concept of friendship as a result. Suddenly, her attitude towards sabotage takes on a much darker meaning...
    • Twilight is also being very quick to accuse the CMC of wrongdoing without listening to their side of the story or getting her facts straight. Just like she was too quick to call out Princess Cadance as being evil right before her wedding, without any hard evidence to back it up. The villain of that episode appears next.
  • Cozy Glow's cutie mark is a chess piece, making her a literal Chessmaster
    • Not just any chess piece. Cozy's cutie mark is a Rook. In chess, the Rooks rank second in power to the Queen, lacking only the Queen's ability to move diagonally. As a verb, the word "rook" means "to cheat or defraud someone out of something". It's a subtle hint that Cozy Glow may not be as innocent as she appears.
  • Cozy Glow's light-based name doesn't fit the pegasi Fantastic Naming Convention of being flight or weather related, nor is it related to their cutie mark. It's a hint that there's something heinous being hidden.
    • It better fits unicorn magical theme naming. Guess what she uses to be the threat she is in the season finale?
  • When handing the diplomas, Spike out of nowhere trips. Seems weird, until you remember the last episode established he's starting to grow up. Another puberty side effect is increased clumsiness.
  • If you pay attention, you'll notice that throughout the conversation with Starlight, Cozy Glow never takes a sip of the "empathy cocoa". In other words, she lacks empathy.
    • "Shadow Play" showed that friendship is borderline impossible without empathy, stopping just short of outright naming it as a seventh Element of Harmony. No wonder Cozy Glow wasn't doing well in a school dedicated to teaching friendship.
    • Starlight initially considered Cozy Glow's plan devious, then pulled a poker face before sipping the cocoa and going back to being a guidance counselor. Starlight's been in that position before, but learned empathy; it's a reminder, but she still has empathy.
  • When the CMC initially offer to help Cozy Glow, her immediate reaction is to ask what's in it for them. This implies that she doesn't think anything can be done for someone without receiving something in return, which is why she's willing to go to such lengths—deliberately bombing the test she studied so hard for—in order to ensure the CMC got something in return for helping her. And in the end, they eventually did; thanks to them helping her(and her fessing up about the real reason she failed), they get to be a part of the school after all.
    • Which further adds to the episode's aesop: Cozy Glow's use of deception and misunderstanding of empathy to get what she wanted backfired on her. Being honest and forward about her fault got what she wanted.
  • Despite previous school episodes showing the Student 6 all together, this episode shows them more scattered; all at once, Gallus, Ocellus, and Yona are in Pinkie's class, Sandbar and Silverstream are in Fluttershy's, and Smoulder is in Applejack's. It makes sense for a school of friendship to occasionally shuffle the students—it would encourage students to interact with others and make new friends instead of sticking to one small circle.

    The Mean 6 
  • The Mean 6 have problems listening to Queen Chrysalis, and even Mean Twilight once she decides to try to overthrow her. Thing is, they're made out of wood and, at base, simple inverts of the Mane 6's personalities without much depth, similar to the Mirror Pool clones from "Too Many Pinkie Pies".
  • Why can't the Mane 6 see the differences in the Mean 6's colors? It could be that horses have dichromatic vision (compared to trichromatic for humans), meaning they can't distinguish between two close shades of color.
    • If that's the case, how did ponies that have jobs that use distinct colors like Rarity's boutique survive?
      • You don't have to be able to distinguish colors that your customers can't distinguish either.
    • Or alternatively, the less colorful surroundings of the forest make the Mean-counterparts seem just as colorful as their real counterparts.
    • Or alternatively alternatively, the colors we see aren't the colors other characters see (i.e. to them their CMs aren't discolored/flipped, they look just as vibrant as any pony etc.), because the other characters don't even know of the clones' existence and thus can't see their true colors. In other words, in-universe they might look exactly like the Mane 6 (minus the slightly scraggly manes), but to us their colors look different because we already know they are fakes (not to mention it is a kids show after all, and if they were the same color as the Mane 6 on-screen young children could have trouble telling them apart). But in that case what about the Mane 6 turning grey in "Return of Harmony" and taking notice of it and a changeling imitating another's physical appearance so well that we can't see a difference? The former is likely an ailment (like a sickly person turning pale), and the latter is a creature capable of deception in which they'll appear exactly the same as the one they're imitating.
    • This is most likely the correct answer. It's obvoius that the color scheme differences/muted colors, were for the audience's benefit. To the real Mane 6, the fake ones looked a bit disheveled and "off", but with as much stress as everyone was under they didn't notice, except for Rainbow Dash (who is hyper observant, she even suggested poison joke or a curse). Sure, fake Rainbow Dash had an upside down cutie mark, but noone saw that one up close. Rarity would not be able to make the things she made if they only had dichromatic vision.
      • Problem: Rarity thought Applejack looked "peaky". She did notice a difference, but not enough to suspect anything beyond that.
      • Real Pinkie Pie looked more discolored and acted at least as bad in "Yakity-Sax". The Mane Six can look or act enough like this in a bad moment that it's unreasonable they would dismiss the Mean Six as such.
  • Twilight's Element is Friendship. What's the inverse of friendship? Selfishness. Mean Twilight was only interested in looking out for her own interests; the other Mean Six clones were simply pawns to be ordered around and berated when they didn't obey.
    • In other words, Mean Twilight is a reflection of the changeling queen that created her. Queen Chrysalis is literally in conflict with herself in this episode, rediscovering herself without her hive or her status as queen.
    • Friendship is what brings all the Elements together. Mean Twilight is the others combined. It is not so obvious, since no single trait dominates her personality, but she's mean, dishonest, greedy (for power) disloyal to her creator, and her idea of humor is snide remarks.
      • Also in a sense, the Mean 6 embody Queen Chrysalis' worst traits. She's greedy for the power that comes with love, lies to those she's deceiving, treats others cruelly, was only loyal to herself rather than helping her hive, has a twisted sense of humor, and (normally) has powerful magic.
    • At its heart, this episode is a direct deconstruction of Queen Chrysalis' reliance on her minions to carry out her plans. In "To Where And Back Again", she was only able to accomplish her goal of seizing power over Equestria because her changelings were unquestioningly loyal and obedient to her. She could use them freely as extensions of her will; through them, she could be anywhere, learn anything, and gain whatever control she wanted. She could not do this with the Mean Six. They questioned her, plotted behind her back, and disobeyed her orders from the second they were born. As a result, she spent the whole episode chasing after her wayward minions instead of moving forward with her plans, and ultimately wound up accomplishing nothing she'd set out to do.
  • Why would the Tree of Harmony know that the Mean 6 are clones? They are made from trees themselves, of course the Tree of Harmony would see through it. Takes one to know one indeed. Not to mention, it would be weird for a source of ancient power to not have a security system when you consider who planted it in the first place...
    • Secondly, considering how autonomous the Cutie Map is, it's likely that the Tree of Harmony itself is self-aware or even sapient. Even without input from it's creators, it could have developed defences on it's own after nearly dying from the plunder vines and it might also be the reason why Discord never tried to directly mess with it during his first reign of chaos.
    • It also raises some fridge about the Everfree Forest. The fact that ponies were too intimidated to venture into the forest back in Season 1 meant the Elements were right where Celestia left them centuries ago for the Mane Six to find. Did the Tree of Harmony grow the Everfree Forest around itself as a first line of defense for the Elements? Looking back, it sure seems as though it did.
  • Why is Chrysalis so sure that she can't take on the Mane 6 plus Starlight right there in the prologue as lampshaded by Mean Twilight? Numerical disadvantage aside, she has lost her hive and therefore has no help obtaining love to feed on since that time. No love equals no power. She might as well just gift-wrap herself to them in that sorry state.
    • A doppelganger made out of wood and magic was beating her in a Beam-O-War-style magic duel at the end of the episode. Perhaps Chrysalis was playing her cards right. Which would also make Mean Twilight's question about Chrysalis needing friends even more of a taunt than it already was.
    • Take moment to reflect back on the number of episodes over the past few seasons in which characters have patched up relationships with loved ones, found romance, made new friends, discovered new things to bond with old friends over, and so on. Evidently, Chrysalis was so fixated on making the one dish that's Best Served Cold that she failed to notice the all-you-can-eat buffet right in front of her.
    • Finally, there's also the fact that Queen Chrysalis is a changeling. Back in "To Change A Changeling", we got positive confirmation that individual changelings are effectively helpless at fending for themselves, even at their hardiest. They're only effective at what they do when they do it together with other changelings (or other creatures, as Ocellus is learning). Chrysalis may be more powerful than a standard drone, but not by enough to offset her species' natural weakness from flying solo.
  • To add to the above fridge, it at first seems convoluted that she didn't kill the Mane 6 and Starlight right then and there. But then, one remembers what her parting words were: "There is no revenge you could conceive of that will come close to what I will exact on you one day Starlight Glimmer!" And she wants to make good on her word. She's the mistress of cruel manipulative plots, and she wants to make sure to twist the knife for Starlight, rather than a quick and painless coup.
  • The Tree of Harmony responded to each of the Mean 6's lack of Friendship by having each Element turn completely black.
    • Mean Rarity greedily claimed "That one's mine!" whilst pointing to the element of Generosity, ruining the point of using power for the benefit of others.
    • Mean Fluttershy tripped up Mean Rarity and snidely said she wasn't sorry for no reason other than for kicks, corrupting the Element of Kindness with her pointless, rotten cruelty.
    • Mean Applejack was dishonestly trying to steal the Element of Honesty instead of earning it through acts of trust, showing the corrupting effects of telling lies.
    • Mean Pinkie got her tasteless kicks by hurting the Tree, instead of using Laughter to bring joy to others.
    • Mean Rainbow Dash simply laid on the ground, rather than loyally helping her fellow Mean 6 out, showing that she was really loyal to herself.
    • Mean Twilight betrayed Chrysalis for her own benefit and selfishly misused her magic in an attempt to take her out, instead of using magic to spread love and friendship across the world.
  • Why did the Tree of Harmony turn the Mean 6 into wood logs? It's depowering them to their basest forms. Had Twilight Sparkle herself been just as cruel and power-hungry, chances are the tree would've reduced her to an ordinary unicorn pony.
    • It's also an allusion to the Blue Fairy's quote from Pinocchio: "Remember a [pony] who won't be good may just as well be made of wood."
  • In a sense, Chrysalis is the equivalent of Celestia to Mean Twilight. Whereas Twilight repays her mentor with respect and adoration, Mean Twilight repays her creator with betrayal and deception.
  • Mean Twilight's cutie mark lacks the white points that emanate from it. This entails so much symbolism:
    • She doesn't have "the light that shines from a true, true friend".
    • She lacks the "spark" that the real Twilight first mentioned, when she first realized she was happy to see her friends.
    • She's not enriched or well-rounded beyond her selfishness, knowledge, or power hunger.
    • There's no magic of friendship inside of her, only raw magic.
    • Given she's is mean, it represents that she lacks a light side to her to balance out her dark.
  • Remember that weird Imagine Spot Pinkie Pie had in "The Maud Couple"? That wasn't just any Imagine Spot: that was her Pinkie senses trying to warn her about the Mean 6. Think about it:
    • "I'm not shy, and I hate animals." That fits Mean Fluttershy to a T.
    • "Fashion? Not for me, Darling." Not only does Mean Rarity lack her counterparts generosity, but she has no taste in fashion. note 
    • "An apple a day is down-right disgusting!" Sounds like something Mean Applejack would say.
    • "Slow and Steady wins the race." Given Mean Rainbow Dash's apathy and laziness, that sounds right.
    • "I never learned to read." Smart as she is, Mean Twilight technically doesn't show any signs of literacy.
    • "What if I don't like cupcakes?" Mean Pinkie would definitely hate them.
  • Neither Chrysalis' nor Mean Twilight's plans would have worked due to one crucial detail: the physical embodiment of the Element does nothing if the Element itself is disabled or not present. The second episode of the series had the Elements appear out of nothing because Twilight and her friends realized they were the mental/spiritual embodiment of the Elements, while the Season 2 opener had the Elements rendered ineffective when the user was Discorded or - in the case of Spike wearing Rainbow Dash's - incorrect. Further Fridge Brilliance comes around when Genetic Memory is averted for Mean Twilight and Chrysalis hasn't even been around enough such that neither party would know exactly how they work.
  • Rainbow Dash is defined by her ambition. Her Character Development throughout the show has been focused on how hard she works to achieve her goals, while at the same time learning how to be there for her friends when they need her support. Mean Rainbow Dash, by contrast, is lethargic and unmotivated, and her inverted Loyalty Element means she's unreliable for support and apathetic toward anything going on around her. Mean Rainbow Dash was created from a hair from Rainbow Dash's tail and a photo of her butt. She's a literal Lazy Bum.
  • Fluttershy's meme of secretly wanting to become a tree is inverted into a tree becoming her Mean Six counterpart.
  • Chrysalis's "Shutterbug" disguise utilizes colors that are inverse to her own changeling form.
  • It's fitting how the episode ended with the Mane 6 being none-the-wiser that Chrysalis essentially ruined their camping trip. Why? Because there's a saying, living well is the best revenge. By forgiving each other and by withstanding the problems caused by the Mean 6, our heroes unknowingly got back at Chrysalis for ruining their camping trip.
  • Among the recurring Big Bads, Chrysalis is one that was never defeated by the Elements of Harmony, but by other methods. Yet she's the one to go after the Elements, thinking of them as a game-changing weapon. At first it may just look a bit ironical, but in fact, it can explain that she would think her lame Evil Knockoff plan could work: having never been blasted by the elements, like Tirek or Discord, she never learned some measure of healthy respect for them. Thus, she underestimated how powerful the Elements and the Tree of Harmony could be.
Advertisement:

    A Matter of Principals 
  • Discord acting the way he did makes a lot more sense when you consider something Starlight said to him in her apology. Namely, she was running the school the way Twilight would, which is why she didn't let Discord in the school, for fear of him disrupting things. One should remember that contrary to the episode description, Discord did not start acting disruptive after being denied acting principal. Rather, it was immediately after, where he offered to help out (if in his own chaotic way), and getting subsequently rejected that he began to act disruptive. While it doesn't justify acting like a jerk about it, it does make his actions a little less petty.
  • One of Neighsay's complaints is that sooner or later the Mane Six would be called to a map mission all at once, effectively leaving the school without teachers for an indefinite period of time. It seemed very irresponsible on Twilight's part for not thinking things through as she never had a response for that. The reason why Twilight never bothered defending herself was that she already had a contingency should this ever happen written down this whole time, which was to hire substitute teachers.
    • Though that begs the question as to why she didn't just say so to him when he brought it up, instead of making it sound like she didn't care about the possibility by deflecting the question.
      • She didn't bring that up because she probably thought it was a no-brainer and that Neighsay was asking a stupid or rhetorical question.
  • How could Starlight be able to blast the Bugbear away with one hit while it took the entirety of "Slice of Life" for the Mane Six to beat it? While it is easy to chalk it up to the writer inconsistency and/or Creator's Pet, a much more sensible explanation would be that the Mane Six recorded all kinds of data on it so that they will have a much easier time defeating it when it appears the next time. All Starlight needs is to look it up when it showed up and well...
    • Alternatively, it wasn't an actual Bugbear like the Mane 6 fought, but a weaker facsimile conjured by Discord for that particular stunt. It's not unlikely that all he wanted to do was scare the students, not actually harm them, so he'd rather use something that wouldn't actually be dangerous.

    The Hearth's Warming Club 
  • The changelings' Comically Missing the Point regarding Twilight's instruction for Hearth's Warming celebrations is meant to be cute and silly, but one of their modifications makes a lot of sense: They build their fire as a wooden prop illuminated by firefly lamps. Given how Thorax reacted to the Ceremonial Flame of Friendship it's likely that an actual burning fire in their home would be far too distracting to them, and possibly even dangerous to the younger changelings.
    • Not to mention, with how strict Chrysalis' rule was, it would make sense that Ocellus would take the customs a bit too literally. They previously had no concept of what a holiday was!
  • Of course Rainbow Dash and Twilight figured out the culprit: Rainbow Dash knows a griffon prank when she sees one. Between that and Twilight's logical deduction, they must've known all along it was Gallus.
  • Unless it's all made up, the story of Scales could be one of the reason dragons "don't do friends". After all, one of them (their leader, at that) tried once and didn't end well.
  • Considering that everyone in Griffonstone literally hate each other's guts except for a few individuals to actually bother with love, the Blue Moon Festival might be the reason why its inhabitants didn't go extinct long before Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash came along. After all, outside of saving up money to immigrate to Equestria and other lands, in such a context you soon realise that the alternatives to maintain a stable population are...far from pleasant.
    • Or, just like was theorized elsewhere for dragons, mating for Griffons could work the same way it does for many animals—a female picks a male based on a set of traits, they mate, and then part ways. No emotional attachment required.
  • The griffin holiday being called the Blue Moon Festival is quite fitting given their culture. After all, Gallus calls it the one time when griffins are nice to each other implying griffins being kind/nice to each other only happens "once every blue moon".

    Friendship University 
  • Why did the Flim-Flam brothers see through Twilight's Paper-Thin Disguise, but not Rarity's? The Mane Six members they've dealt with most recently are Applejack and Fluttershy, while Twilight is a princess and therefore high-profile enough that they know what she looks like, but while Rarity is a reasonably known fashionista, it's unlikely that the brothers pay much attention to fashion. Not to mention they've only encountered her once before, during their first appearance (and never actually interacted with her much). They don't know her well enough to recognize her.
  • Once again, Chancellor Neighsay is allowed to just walk away, without any repercussions for his part in this episode's events. Except...maybe not. He publicly gave Flim and Flam's school full EEA backing, only for it to come up that the entire thing was one of the brothers' patented get-rich-quick scams. Not only that, but it was founded based on Twilight's curriculum, which Neighsay had previously (and also publicly) condemned and refused to accredit. Nothing happened to Neighsay onscreen, but his giving a pair of known scam artists full EEA backing based on only their word, without any investigation to confirm they were on the up-and-up, may have damaged the EEA's credibility going forward. Especially if Twilight's school catches on and Equestria develops healthy relationships with the non-pony creatures he keeps slandering.

    The End In Friend 
  • Rarity getting constantly distracted by the buckball uniforms for inspiration would explain why she wasn't even suggested to play the first time.
  • Starlight and Twilight came up with a plan to get Rarity and Dash to be friends again pretty quickly. This could be chalked up to cartoon logic, but since Twilight studies/teaches friendship for a living it's entirely possible she's made contingency plans for any Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure situations that might arise between her friends.
  • Rarity tries on a pair of shoes, and they shed glitter in such high quantities that she practically blankets the inside of the store with loose glitter over the course of that one scene. After that scene, though, they barely shed at all; only a small amount comes off, and only when Rarity gave them a shake to make them shed. Rarity is a fashionista that works with glittery, glimmery apparel all the time. She has the equipment and materials at home to re-glitter the shoes such that they don't shed as readily as they did at the store.
  • Of course Twilight would orchestrate an emergency for Rainbow Dash and Rarity to go on! Looking back on all their previous outings, what's the one thing that's brought them together as friends? Saving the day!

    Yakity-Sax 
  • Pinkie being unable to play the yovidaphone seems farfetched. It's because this is an instrument from another country that is played by the native Yaks who have different lungs. The instrument probably wasn't customised for pony lungs before it was given to Pinkie, which was the source of the conflict.
  • Why is Pinkie so insistent on playing in front of an audience instead of playing in a soundproof bubble/room even though her playing is constantly terrible? She needs to know if her playing is getting better!! The problem is that she never improved which drove away her audience too quickly for any critique and she kept playing at the wrong time.
    • Similarly, her friends encourage her with the expectation that she will eventually improve. However, none of them give her any constructive criticism or tips for improvement. She probably assumed she was playing just fine because she was never told otherwise.
  • It seems way too over the top that being told at not being good at an instrument that you just knew is enough to send Pinkie into a depression. Than you realize that she is essentially being told that she has been a walking noise pollution area, meaning that she is definitely not spreading her element of Laughter to her audience and is doing the exact opposite the whole time. Of course she wouldn't take it well, just not to the extreme that the audience would expect.

    On the Road to Friendship 
  • Why is Hoo'far so insistent on trading his wagon with Trixie? Starlight would demonstrate later on that it's size is meant for two to fit and operate, making the trip cumbersome if only used by one. He most likely realised that he got a wagon that's too big for him to handle on the way to Ponyville and jumped at the chance to trade. And after overhearing the argument about wagon size during the night, he assumed that Trixie realised that sentimentality isn't worth cramped living space and gave the green light to trade, thinking that he was helping in his own way.
  • While she still has a bit of her old inflated ego, Trixie mentions that ponies just call her by her name - and she doesn't seem to mind them not including her Miles Gloriosus titles anymore - when Hoo'far calls her "Ms. Powerful". The lessons in humility really are paying off.
  • During their song Starlight makes reference to a "buddy movie" when comparing how she and Trixie are stuck together. Rather odd reference in a world where movies don't exist, but then one recalls that Starlight actually has spent at least a few days in the Equestria Girl's world where technology mirrors the real modern world.
    • Not only that, her appearance in the Equestria Girls series occurs during the premiere of the Daring Do movie in the human world. One which Starlight was presumably invited to.
    • Actually, movies do exist in Equestria, since the "Babs Seed" song has a scene of the CMC in a movie theatre.

    The Washouts 
  • Why doesn't Lightning Dust (seemingly) hold a grudge against Rainbow Dash over getting her kicked out of the Wonderbolts? When the Wonderbolts kicked her out, they are essentially telling her that that their rules will keep restricting her and she will never get to fly in her own reckless way as long she's with them. If anything, Rainbow Dash was actually doing her a favour by getting her kicked out. No wonder she said in her own words: "And it was the best thing to ever happen to me!".
  • The Washouts' popularity stems from the fact that they are the "only stunt group" (means no competition in the field), have no military baggage (means that they do not have to worry about PR disasters whenever they fail unlike the Wonderbolts who get hit with it all the time) and being the only other flight-based entertainment group means that they are providing an alternative for those who got too used to the Wonderbolts air shows and want to see something different and more exhilarating (compare military air shows to extreme sports).
  • Of course the Washouts would stick with each other. Their respective flaws make them unsuitable for any other jobs that go thorough basic safety regulations. They can only tolerate each other.
  • Scootaloo's behavior, rebelling against the expectations of her authority figures, makes sense once you realized she's effectively a teenager at this point. "Forever Filly" show Sweetie Belle has grown up and changed interests, and that was at least a year ago (nine months take place between the start of Season 8 and "Non-Compete Clause"), likely longer.
    • There's also "Parental Glideance", where Scootaloo saw that Rainbow Dash was fallible.

    A Rockhoof and a Hard Place 
  • Why wasn't Rockhoof consulted regarding his very home and are more focused on the artefacts? Aside from lack of delicacy as shown earlier, it's most likely due to the fact that Rockhoof may have remembered the objects in his own way. What they really need is a third-person perspective to maximize the knowledge gained from the objects to prevent bias.
  • Flash Magnus being the newest drill sergeant is a valiant attempt by Celestia to get the Royal Guard out of their losing streak and help Shining Armor who is busy in the Crystal Empire with some of his duties. Not to mention, with the Royal Legion gone, Flash would end up in the same situation as Rockhoof if it wasn't for this job as he likely has no other skills like Rockhoof.
  • As Applejack stated, it seems weird that the Hippogriffs need a Navy or ships in general when they can just turn into seaponies. That's because the purpose of the Navy is to protect incoming cargo ships and the harbour that is essentially a doorway to Hippogriffia. Having ships that can carry supplies is invaluable for an island nation and the Navy is to protect said ships from pirates. Relying on just one source of supply which is by train (which was also built quite recently no less) is just asking for the island to suffer from low upkeep should train services ever get disrupted, which happens a lot more than you think.
    • However, the movie spent a lot of time showing the pirates and hostile forces operating around Mount Aris flying around in airships. Versus the hippogriffs' sea-faring navy. Because that navy isn't meant to fight off the pirates. It's meant to forewarn the other hippogriffs to evacuate Mount Aris and retreat into Seaquestria. As the Mane Six learned in the movie, Seaquestria is where the seaponies keep their shiniest treasures...and where they keep their standing army.
    • That may had been the case before but after the events of said movie it's clear that the dynamic between Hippogriffia and Seaquestria changed from "homeland and emergency bunker" to "Two equal worlds" if the context provided during the events of "Surf and/or Turf" is of any indication. Now they need to have a standing army on both areas available at all times. Even if it cannot fight pirates, the Navy has it's uses as it allows quick deployment to both areas simultaneously by acting as a mid-waypoint to deploy soldiers to either places on a quick notice. Not to mention, this means that Mount Aris now has two fronts to look out for in the form of the sky and sea.
    • It could also be more practical for travelling long distances that would exhaust a normal Seapony.
  • Why didn't Somnambula help out with Starlight and Trixie's friendship problem? She's most likely doing a motivational show when it happened and the whole fallout happened on the outskirts of the village where they parked their wagon, meaning that it could have simply fell under her radar.
  • Nopony suggests that Rockhoof try his hand at either Applejack's orchard or the Pie family's rock farm, the former especially since Apple Bloom would have loved to meet Rockhoof in the flesh, even though both jobs would require hard manual labor which seems to be Rockhoof's forte. However, it'd be easy for him to fall into the same trap of Does Not Know His Own Strength as with anything else—he could easily end up accidentally kicking down Applejack's trees or smashing rocks into gravel, and that would equal lost income for both parties.

    What Lies Beneath 
  • For Smolder and Gallus, the Tree of Harmony presents them each with their greatest fear, yet arguably they are truly tested after they've conquered those fears. Gallus's claustrophobia has little to do with friendship, but admitting his fear to comfort Silverstream takes great courage given his tendency to hide his pain. Smolder admitting she enjoys cute things to strange ponies is not nearly as difficult as risking her reputation as a Tomboy by admitting it to one of her closest friends, which she nevertheless does to help Ocellus.
  • The spiders only stop chasing Yona after she asks for help, something Yaks have been shown to have trouble with.
  • If you think about it, the students tests can be compared to each of the obstacles the Mane Six overcame in the pilot.
    • Gallus' trial involved crystal walls closing in, which induces panic just like the landslide, where Applejack instructed Twilight to trust her and let go. And the solution to both was to stay level headed. Gallus also had to be honest to Silverstream about how vulnerable his claustrophobia makes him feel.
    • Yona encounters frightening creatures (spiders rather than a manticore), and just like Fluttershy, she ends up befriending them.
    • Silverstream faces her biggest fear, which turns out to be an illusion, not unlike spooky tree faces. And she manages to overcome it (with assertiveness rather than laughter). Either way, it involved being brave in the face of an illusion.
    • Smolder's test is related to beauty and things Rarity would like. To proceed, Smolder had to sacrifice her pride and admit she enjoys these things, like Rarity sacrificed her flawlessness when she cut off her tail.
    • Sandbar's is pretty obvious. Just like Rainbow Dash, he faces the dilemma of following the ponies he looks up to or stick to his friends.
    • And there's Ocellus' test, parallel to Twilight's own hurdle of facing Nightmare Moon, the dark and evil ruler of her kind. And Chrysalis is the "Nightmare Moon" of the changelings. They both faced the darker side of their species and were momentarily faced with hopelessness. But both overcame their despair when their respective friends came to their aid (Arrived to help Twilight/Invited Ocellus to a tea party).
  • Following up on that, each of the Young Six's main fears corresponded to what Cozy Glow told them. Their test corresponded with whatever fear Cozy's words instilled in them. In a sense, the tree was putting them to the test to see if their friendship was stronger than a few empty words about how "friendship wasn't in their nature". And ultimately, they do prove those empty words are wrong about them.
    • Cozy pointed out how Sandbar's creature friends were "holding him back". But the tree's test on Sandbar brought out an Undying Loyalty towards his friends that, contrary to Cozy's words, proves he's not about to let his friendship with them slip away just because someone tells him they don't have what it takes to understand friendship.
    • Then Cozy mentioned how it's likely Ocellus grew up around the time changelings used to be love-starved monsters. This invoked Ocellus' fear of becoming Queen Chrysalis and that she can't escape her people's former nature. But Smolder inviting the young changeling to a tea party snapped her out of her funk, reminding her that despite what Cozy says, it's Ocellus' choice whether she wants to either be a monster or the kind and gentle soul she really is.
    • What's more, Silverstream was told how hiding from the Storm King made her isolated from other species and therefore 'unable to socialize'. She was very scared of the Storm King's return, but Gallus helped her see she doesn't have to let the Storm King or his memory stop her from being sociable with the other creatures.
    • Next, Cozy said Griffons don't like to be around anybody, not even their own kind. Gallus had to escape his trap room by remaining calm and remembering his friends. Not only that, he disproved Cozy by being open with Silverstream about his fears.
    • Cozy said Dragons are fierce, and presumed a dragon like Smolder didn't care to be around cute ponies. But even a proud dragon like Smolder defied that and allowed herself to admit she likes cutesy tea parties and dress up.
    • Last but not least, Cozy poked fun at how Yaks believe they're the best at everything and don't need help. So Yona has to learn to ask for help to show that, yes, Yaks are even best at asking for help. Cozy also said making friends with other creatures must feel like a step down for Yaks but Yona disproves this by making friends with the spiders.
  • Thirdly, a viewer once said that the tests can also be metaphors for adolescent fears.
    • Gallus: Claustrophobia, which can also be seen as a metaphor for fear of loneliness.
    • Smolder: Adolescent girl's fear of embracing their inner femininity and being seen as weak.
    • Ocellus: Fear of being ostracized due to one's physical appearances.
    • Silverstream: Traumatic childhood.
    • Yona: Fear of nature/being a scaredy cat.
    • Sandbar: Fear of being left out, being seen as a useless third wheel.
  • Sandbar meets Rainbow Dash and Rarity for his test. Not because he looks up to or relates to either one. Because it's a subtle reminder of the time Sandbar watched Rarity and Rainbow Dash nearly end, then reaffirm their friendship with each other, despite being wildly different from one another. They're part of the lesson the Tree is trying to teach, in more ways than one.

    Sounds of Silence 
  • "Nirik" is actually "Kirin" backwards. It makes sense, given the Nirik are the opposite of everything the Kirin stand for.
  • This episode is an inversion of the Season 4 episode "Bats". In said-episode, Fluttershy had the right idea (spare the Vampire Fruit Bats) whereas Applejack was in the wrong for trying to get rid of them. In this episode, it's Applejack who's in the right (find the Foal's Breath) whilst Fluttershy is in the wrong for believing the Kirin are better off without speech or angry feelings.
    • Fluttershy's quick to agree with the Kirin's solution because that was essentially what Fluttershy was doing when she first met Twilight Sparkle, and for more or less the same reason.
    • By the same token, Applejack being so outspoken against the Kirin's solution could be because she's had experience in where it leads. The Apples as a family have been the victims of several tragedies and near-tragedies because somepony hid the truth and let their negative emotions get the better of them.
  • At one point, Applejack asks the Kirin if there's one of them that can talk. The Kirin then part and point to a path to the forest where Autumn Blaze resides. This may seem like a helpful gesture, but looking at Autumn's flashback, the other Kirin gave her the same gesture when they banished her. This could be chalked up that they were essentially banishing Applejack for talking too much.
  • When one thinks about it, it's not until Applejack meets again with Fluttershy that she learns The Reveal that the Kirin and the Niriks are one and the same. This may not be a big spoiler for us, given we already saw the flashbacks. But if you listen to the lyrics to Autumn Blaze's song, it doesn't say anything about Kirins being able to change into Niriks. There's just mention about their tempers and fighting, how it lead to their village being destroyed, and how the Stream of Silence "cooled" them. From Applejack's point of view, it would sound like a bunch of metaphors and figurative speech. This would lead Applejack to think the Kirins simply let their bad tempers get the best of them. It's only once Fluttershy reveals the mural of the Kirins' history that she learns Autumn Blaze wasn't just speaking in metaphors when she said they got so angry that "[they] burnt [their] bread".
  • Why can't the Kirin Show, Don't Tell properly when it comes to communication? Not to mention, it seems rather extreme that they'd would make themselves emotionless on top of being mute. It's because if they show their feelings they can start fights non-verbally as their Nirik forms are triggered by their anger, defeating the purpose.
    • Autumn Blaze even lampshades why can't they just write down what they want to say or resort to charades more often. The reason is that what they meant by silence was total silence. Having all these bypasses would defeat the purpose of the vow of silence, which is to never express your feelings at all.
  • The Kirin's dragon half is shown with their power over fire and their explosive tempers. Not to mention, they also fall in line with the biggest leader like the Dragon Lord.
  • Living in a forest while having literal fiery tempers seems to defy common sense, so it may be intentional to deter the Kirin from flying off the handle at the slightest problem and becoming Niriks as you can rarely control yourself when you are angry.

    Father Knows Beast 
  • Spike's sudden incompetence with flying in the prologue is likely chalked up to a combination of Centipede's Dilemma, Anachronic Order, Beginner's Luck and the fact that he usually just flies normally instead of trying to do advanced flying techniques with the wrong type of wings.
  • Why Smolder or dragons in general don't do pillows? Unless it's proofed against fire, claws, and other hazards inherent to dragons, you better not form any attachment to it.
  • Why is Spike so willing to believe Sludge even with the numerous Plot Holes in his story? The idea that he would finally meet and hangout with his biological father overrode any common sense and Sludge took full advantage of that. As for the Mane Six playing along, it's due the fact that their friend just met his supposedly long-lost biological father and trying to say otherwise would paint you as a killjoy. Combine that with the lack of physical evidence and the results of Twilight's attempt with Spike, the only way Spike would get out that situation is if Sludge spilled the beans on his own.
    • As a matter of fact, the only other way Spike find his own way out of that toxic relationship was if he got a second opinion from Smolder, an actual dragon who's been raised by actual dragon parents. Spike only had Sludge at the time to tell him what dragons do or don't do, and it took Smolder to give him the wake-up call he needed to put his conning dragon "father" to the test.
  • Sludge enters the episode in a giant flying fireball headed straight for Ponyville. No mention is given of how or why that happened. The remainder of the episode reveals him to be a manipulative Lazy Bum, so the logical conclusion is that his streaking across the sky in a blazing fireball was him being evicted from the last place he decided to freeload in.
    • What's more, there's implication that Sludge has been to Klugetown (or even lived there). From what we can draw from the movie, Kludge Town is the last place one would ever learn about honest living or hospitality. This could explain why Sludge was initially unwilling to accept the Mane 6's hospitality, as well as his overall tendency for lying and mooching off the kindness of others when the opportunity shows itself.
  • Sludge telling how Spike's mother was sent by the Dragon Lord Torch is quite a clever lie, because it's a Call-Back to Torch's reign as Dragon Lord. And from what we know, the previous Dragon Lord is/was so tyrannical that if he orders a mother to leave her (unhatched) child, it goes unquestioned.
    • It was shown in "Gauntlet Of Fire", though, that Torch was actually far from tyrannical. By dragon standards, he was actually a Reasonable Authority Figure. As hard as he was on the smaller dragons, he treated them fairly, listened when they spoke to him, and gave respect where it was due. A Lazy Bum like Sludge would do nothing to earn that respect, so they would see him as a tyrant that bellowed at his fellow dragons and bullied them into submission.
  • Once busted, Sludge says he "saw the opportunity and took it". If you remember, that's what Scales did in the story that won the latest Feast of Fire. There's a possibility that he either got inspired by the story, or he was the one who told it in the first place.
  • Spike is desperate for someone to teach him how to be a "real dragon". By the end of this episode, he seems to have found a proper dragon role model in Smolder.

    School Raze 
  • How was Cozy Glow, a mere filly, able to imprison Starlight Glimmer? Then you realized Starlight had her magic drained, and Cozy had magic in the form of the artifacts which she had advanced knowledge to use. It seems easy in hindsight.
  • Another possible reason Chancellor Neighsay tried to take over the School of Friendship (besides his stated reasons and further spiting Twilight) is that he tried entrusting the running of an EEA friendship school with others twice before and both times he was unsatisfied. He probably figured that if you want something done "right" you have to do it yourself.
  • Why didn't the school blow up when Ocellus said that was a distinctive possibility when removing the artifacts? Because each of the Young Six were the species that the respective artifacts were used by in olden pony times and thus able to channel the energy of the artifacts properly.
    • Clover the Clever's Cloak - pony - Sandbar
    • Knuckerbocker's Shell - dragon - Smolder
    • Amulet of Aurora - hippogriff/seapony - Silverstream
    • Helm of Yksler - yak - Yona
    • Talisman of Mirage - changeling - Ocellus
    • Crown of Grover - griffon - Gallus
  • Everyone skipping right to imprisoning Cozy Glow in Tartarus might seem overly harsh, but it makes a disturbing amount of sense when you consider how she abused friendship. Every villain that had a Heel–Face Turn didn't truly know friendship and was willing to learn. Every villain that didn't and is still roaming free, barring Tirek, didn't know friendship but refused to learn. Cozy Glow was the first to learn about friendship but then twist it for her own ends, and her act had been flawless up until this point. Any attempt at rehabilitating her would be risky because it'd be impossible to know if she was truly taking the lessons to heart or just waiting for another chance to strike. Combine that with the fact that she was willing to strip Equestria of magic as a means to her own ends, sending her to Tartarus might have likely been their only safe option.
  • Similarly, Luna's involvement in the idea seems the most jarring, as she's long been established as a Friend to All Children. However, considering she can determine a Pony's troubles through their dreams, she would also be the one to notice if Cozy Glow lacked any Freudian Excuse that Luna could have otherwise helped her with before things got this bad. Either that, or she tried to help Cozy through whatever drove her to this, but failed, either because Cozy was beyond her help or refused to be helped. Either way, Luna could remember from the field trip and Timberwolf fiascoes in "A Royal Problem" that sometimes you can't help everypony, and for this reason she would have been one of the first ones to acknowledge that Cozy Glow couldn't or wouldn't be rehabilitated like many other antagonists.
    • Another issue that causes Cozy Glow's imprisonment is that the circumstances of her actions, compared to other villains such as Discord or Starlight Glimmer. The latter two didn't understand friendship, and were taught the right way of it until they proved their redemption. Cozy Glow, on the other hand, commited her villainous acts after being taught about friendship and finding a way to use it for her own ends. She wasted her chance of redemption before she was even caught.
    • The fact that it's Luna overseeing Cozy's incarceration is especially interesting. Why did Cozy do what she did? Loneliness over her struggle to make friends. Jealousy of other ponies being able to make friends so easily. Lust for the power to force everypony else to be her friend. The same motivations that led to Luna's Face–Heel Turn into Nightmare Moon at the start of the series.
      • The difference is that it took two blasts from the Elements of Harmony to turn Luna back; one to banish her to the moon for a thousand years, and one to reverse the transformation so she can repent and redeem herself. Cozy was hit with a blast of power many times more potent than what Luna was hit with, straight from the Tree of Harmony itself, and remained unchanged.
  • Neighsay's concern in "School Daze" was that other creatures would use what Twilight taught them about friendship against ponies. Cozy Glow, a fellow pony, did exactly that. Small wonder Neighsay had such a quick turnaround. On top of being helped by the very creatures he spurned, he was shown firsthoof that ponies weren't immune to the acts that he feared would happen. Consequently, fearing such attacks from other creatures was not only racist but hypocritical.
  • Cozy Glow's punishment could also be related to how forgiveness works according to Christian theology. If the sinner sincerely repents (such as all of the reformed antagonists in the show), they'll get Easily Forgiven no matter how awful their crimes are, but those who didn't show remorse or refused redemption faced damnation. Cozy Glow showed no remorse over her evil actions, which is why she ends up in Tartarus.
  • Cozy Glow's plan seems rather stupid at first when you think that her own magic is going to be drained and tossed into the ether as well. Then you realise that throughout the events, she can still fly even on the third day, when by then even the Pegasi Royal Guard can't fly and have to march on foot. She already rigged her whole plan to make sure she's the only magical being left in the Equestria or even the world!! (admittedly Rainbow Dash is also seen flying right near the end of the magic drain, so it may have just been an animation/writing oversight).
  • The Pillars being unable to help outside of Starswirl's Exposition Dump and Flash Magnus being (likely) among the ranks of the Royal Guard deployed is due to the fact that the magic drain already disabled the rest.
    • Starswirl, Mistmane and Stygian being unicorns completely lost their ability to cast spells like Starlight and Twilight after the first day. It's safe to say even Starswirl lost the ability to cast after sending his letter.
    • Somnambula and Mage Meadowbrook are in remote parts of the country. With magic gone, it's safe to say the trains are disabled or they just won't make it to the school in three days.
    • This just leaves Rockhoof, who is most likely out of town when it happened as the Keeper of Tales.
  • So Cozy Glow was using six artifacts associated with six ancient heroes to open a portal into a void dimension. Sounds a lot like the ritual Twilight used to unseal the Pony of Shadows back in "Shadow Play", doesn't it? Well, Twilight has that abysmal track record of securing potentially-dangerous magic tomes and artifacts in her possession, and she's pretty much given Cozy the run of the school as her "Friendship Assistant"...
  • Another reason for Cozy's seemingly overly-harsh punishment despite her age: There are certain crimes where minors can be tried as adults and charged accordingly (at least in the US where the show first airs). These are typically the most severe crimes. While the minors in question are usually mid-teens, we can't be certain of Cozy's age (the CMC are probably adolescents by now but look no different from the Series Premiere apart from their cutie marks, and Cozy's childlike voice might just be part of her facade); and while we don't necessarily have a real world equivalent for Cozy's actions, draining one of the forces Equestria is dependent upon with plans of usurping royalty, including trapping Equestria's main defenders in their version of Hell and dooming another pony and possibly several creatures to be dragged to the ether, would probably be up there as a crime severe and thought-through enough to be charged accordingly regardless of the criminal's age.
    • Also consider the punishments doled out to Big Bads: petrified (Discord), shattered (King Sombra), petrified AND shattered (The Storm King), banished to the moon (Nightmare Moon), and banished to Limbo (The Pony of Shadows). Compared to the alternatives, Tartarus, which is shown to be a normal prison as opposed to Hell as fans assumed, is the most lenient punishment Cozy could receive.
    • Not only that, but there is a real world crime for what Cozy Glow did: high treason. In most countries in the real world, high treason is punished by the death of the offender. Since Equestria has no death penalty, the closest they could get was declaring Cozy Glow a monster of Equestria and banishing her to Tartarus for all time.
  • The Tree of Harmony assigns a color to each of the Young Six which indicates which member of the Mane 6 (and subsequently the Pillars of Equestria) they are a counterpart of. With that in mind, it seems really strange that Gallus gets the color purple considering that Twilight and Star Swirl possess great magical power while Gallus isn't even able to cast magic. However, what he does have in common with them is a history of being a loner. Twilight thought making friends was a waste of time, Star Swirl had a rather bad attitude in general, and Gallus had to grow up in Griffonstone with no family to support him.
  • On the same note as the above fridge, each of the Young Six earned their elements in their own ways.
    • Yona is Honesty because, even in Hulk Speak, she always speaks what's on her mind and rarely ever fibs.
    • Ocellus received Generosity because her species as a whole has learned that sharing love is more beneficial than taking it.
    • Smolder has already demonstrated Loyalty in "What Lies Beneath" when she and Gallus refused to leave their friends behind.
    • Silverstream being Laughter is rather obvious, given she's so enthusiastic and high-spirited.
    • And Sandbar is Kindness because he exercised Fluttershy's Cruel to Be Kind lesson when he became a Fake Defector in order to save his friends.
  • Some fans believed it would be Chrysalis who would team up with Tirek and threaten Equestria in the season finale, but in a sense, Cozy Glow is in fact the pony equivalent of the (former) Changeling Queen. Think about it, both characters are:
    • Unsympathetic and manipulative
    • Masters of deceit who pretend to be someone innocent (Princess Cadance and Shutterbug/herself, but nicer)
    • Claim a position higher than "princess" (Queen/Empress)
    • Possess artificial leadership skills
    • Manipulated others to disproportionately turn on someone else (Chrysalis turned Celestia, Shining Armor and the Mane 5 on Twilight, whilst turning Twilight on the real Cadance/Cozy Glow temporarily turned Twilight against the CMC, and then turned a mob of the students on Neighsay and the Young Six)
    • Willingly put themselves before the well-being of their respective people (willing to starve her fellow changelings/drained magic from Equestria)
    • And are ultimately turned on by their former allies (dethroned as queen of the changelings/her friendship with other ponies soured).
  • Applejack seems especially cross towards Cozy Glow when she confronts the filly about her true nature and involvement with Tirek. Of course she would be. As the Element of Honesty, it's nothing less of a Berserk Button for her and the Mane 6 to be lied to.
  • It makes sense that Cozy Glow would look down on the Elements of Harmony, given that she is the opposite of each of them.
    • Honesty: Cozy Glow lies that Starlight Glimmer left her in charge of the School of Friendship, and later that the Young Six wanted to destroy the school.
    • Kindness: Even with all her villainy aside, Cozy Glow is quite a Jerkass.
    • Laughter: Cozy Glow is nightmare material and has an Evil Laugh.
    • Generosity: Cozy Glow wants to take all magic for herself and only cares about herself, seeing others as a way to get what she wants.
    • Loyalty: Cozy Glow betrayed all of her "friends" and essentially her fellow ponies.
    • Magic: Cozy Glow has no magic, instead relying on her wits and some magical artifacts to accomplish her Evil Plan.
  • This is a season finale parallel to "Twilight Time": the Tree of Harmony didn't save the Young Six because their friendship was powerful, their friendship is powerful because the Tree of Harmony is friends with them.
  • The reason Smolder is already suspicious of Cozy Glow from the start is thanks to the story the young dragon told in "Hearthswarming Club". The story of Scales isn't just meant to foreshadow Cozy Glow: In-Universe, it taught Smolder to be aware of seemingly innocent creatures who act "too precious" to be true. Looks like Smolder's favorite story was something of a Spanner in the Works by teaching her to be on guard of the devious filly.
    • Not to mention her previous experience with Sludge in "Father Knows Beast" taught her to take things with a grain of salt.
  • Even though it took some convincing to do it (reluctantly), Gallus joins in receiving extra homework because he's repaying the rest of the Young Six for what they did in "Hearthswarming Club". His friends basically did the same thing for him when it would've been easier to go home to their own holiday traditions. But instead, they sacrificed their own plans to make sure Gallus wouldn't be alone for the holidays.
  • It makes perfect sense that the artifacts are the last things whose magic remains functional, as it's already been shown that magical artifacts can function in environments with little to no magic.
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report