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The Beginning of the End
- Cozy Glow's inclusion in the group seems a bit odd. She isn't a magical powerhouse like Tirek, Chrysalis, Sombra, or Grogar himself, her greatest strength was deception (which she lost after it was revealed she was fooling everyone and won't work anymore since they know her true nature), and she's a kid. But she's a pony which means she can offer insight on how ponies think and, as one of Twilight's former top students, she knows more about the power of friendship than any of the villains there.
- Twilight doesn't attempt to teleport out of the crystal Sombra traps the Mane Six in, despite using teleportation at relevant times at other points in the episodes. But then one recalls that back when she first dealt with Sombra's magic she discovered his crystal traps interfere with any attempt to teleport out of them.
- Upon rewatching, it's clear Discord pointing out Fluttershy as his favorite was actually very deliberate manipulation on his part. He was fully aware that Sombra would try to attack Fluttershy after hearing that in an attempt to bait a sacrifice, so he'd let his guard down, thus being the perfect opportunity to "sacrifice" himself for her, and give a You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech from there.
- On the one hand, it may seem odd that friendship magic would kill Sombra, given in the past it has tended to only immobilize, purify or banish/seal away. On the other hand, one could consider what happened to Sombra to be the same as what happened to the Mean Six. The friendship magic didnt directly kill him or them, it simply undid the magic that had brought them to life (or in his case back to life) and thus in effect killed them.
- This episode basically explained why there are so many monsters and other dangerous threats to Equestria. They were either created by Grogar himself or inspired to follow in his footsteps.
- As noted in the previous season, Changelings are extremely social creatures by their nature, to the point that an individual changeling can't function on their own. Next we see Chrysalis after "The Mean Six", she's teetering on the edge of a full mental breakdown from being alone for so long.
- Discord fakes an injury and pretends he can't fight anymore because he wants to show the Mane Six that they can save the day without his help and that they're capable of protecting Equestria on their own. That's probably the exact same thing Celestia and Luna have been doing this whole time and why it seems like they haven't been doing much, they just weren't as explicit about telling Twilight that they were holding back because they wanted to make sure she'd be up to the task once they were gone.
- It also shows why Discord doesn't just step in and save the day all the time either even though he's powerful enough to do so. He much rather prefers being a trickster mentor and getting the ponies to handle their own problems.
- Another possible reason for him to pretend to be hurt by Sombra's attack is to play with Sombra's ego; if Sombra believes he can beat Discord then he would absolutely believe that the Mane Six couldn't possibly defeat him and would be even more caught off-guard when it turns out that they absolutely can.
- On meta levels, it makes sense to make Sombra the defective villain of Grogar's team since he is the only one of them who can be seen as an actual threat at this point. Tirek is still weak (plus Discord, who can capture him, is now fully on the ponies side, and since Tirek already fooled him once, it won't work again), Chrysalis is nothing without her minions, and Cozy Glow is now exposed as a criminal, so she won't be able to do that sneaky takeover again.
- When asked why the Mane 6 always win, Chrysalis says it's because they cheat, while Tirek says they're lucky. While the actual answer is that they have friendship, one can see how they saw those as the answer. Both times Chrysalis was defeated, she had the Mane 6 captured when outside help came and won the day- meaning the Mane 6 "cheated". As for Tirek, they only defeated him because there happened to be a powerful magic inside the chest, when they had nothing else left: A lucky break for them.
- Aside from Grogar, Sombra is the only villain present at the villains' meeting that hasn't been defeated in some way by the Elements of Harmony or the Tree they came from, and therefore has no respect for them or the power they represent in relation to his own. So of the four lesser villains, he's naturally the one to underestimate the Mane Six and try to conquer Equestria using his own power, like so many other villains have done before him.
- Grogar chooses to make an example of Sombra's failure, but Sombra not being revived again would also apply to a case of Exact Words for Grogar. The deal Grogar made with him was that Sombra could keep the Crystal Empire if he won and that he had to submit to Grogar if he lost (and stay dead if he refused to submit), and even assuming his initial retreat from the Elements of Harmony didn't count as a loss, Sombra definitely broke the agreement when he decided to try to rule all of Equestria instead of just the Crystal Empire.
- When Sombra shows the Mane Six their greatest fears, Twilight's includes Daybreaker, who so far has appeared only in Starlight Glimmer's nightmare in "A Royal Problem". How would she know about that? Answer: At the end of that episode, Twilight told Starlight to "Tell [her] everything" and "don't leave out any details". Considering Starlight's magical prowess, it's not unfeasible that she'd be able to create a sort of magical hologram to show Twilight what Daybreaker looked like.
- Grogar said there were ponies in the lands of future Equestria far before its founding. Perhaps, this can explain all these cultures like Egypt, China and Aztec that already existed at the time the exodists from Hearth's Warming legend arrived to this lands. And Grogar might be reason why they all are located on the south of the continent despite the legend claims that equestrian nature is extremely rich. Even more, this finally establishes that there were multiple pony nations instead of quite fairy-tailish "one species, one kingdom, one purpose" thing that history looked like before with Saddle Arabia, Maretonia and Mistmane's homeland as examples.
- It makes sense that Grogar is the series' Final Boss, since G1 Grogar was powerful enough to defeat the Flutter Ponies. To put this into perspective: up until then, nothing and nocreature could withstand that Utter Flutter of theirs.
- Why did the Tree of Harmony send its version of an automated massage for help instead of its own consciousness? Its body was smashed into a stump by Sombra. Just being alive is already a miracle by itself and will only leave it with a mere fraction of its power.
- Despite us later seeing what appear to be her parents, when chastising Ocellus for leaving unannounced Thorax only speaks of the "the hive" being concerned for her. This emphasis makes sense given the deeply communal nature of the changelings, they may recognize certain changelings as being closer family, but in a sense they are all treated as one family.
- The ways each of the students chose to remember the Tree of Harmony are references to each of their respective races' cultures:
- Gallus the Griffon figured that the best idea to memorialize the tree would be to put it and everything about it in a museum so that it could be preserved for future generations, which makes a lot of sense considering how he was a Griffon living in Griffonstone. A people and land who LOST their historic symbols and self-destructed because of it. He doesn't want history repeating itself in Equestria. He also turned it into a tourist attraction as a way to generates bits, reflecting how concerned griffons are with making money.
- Smolder, as a dragon, figured that the best way to honor the Tree was to create a massive POWERFUL statue that would last for generations that everyone could pay respects to and recognize it for what it was.
- Ocellus was doing a meditation garden which also fits with what we have seen of her personality and changeling society thus far.
- Sandbar, being the token pony of the group, simply goes for the Mundane Solution which is planting a replacement. He's also an Earth Pony and earth ponies are generally good at growing things.
- Silverstream's memorial artwork is fluid and dynamic while at the same time (sort-of) waterproof. Much like her people who constantly shift between land and sea while maintaining a sense of core identity.
- Yona's idea was to simply build a memorial out of the remains, as the yaks follow the philosophy of destruction and rebirth as nothing lasts forever. Her idea brings the rest together out of their conflicting views and the result was a ramshackle clubhouse that becomes the Clubhouse of Harmony, symbolizing their friendship.
- A new tree growing from the Young Six's use of the old pieces has a bit of Truth in Television to it. New trees can be grown from cut branches of old ones being planted in the ground, creating a clone of the older tree. It's a lot more complicated than what we see in the show, but it's doable.
- Similarly, branches removed from the trunk don't instantly die (hence why this practice of "cutting" is possible). As such, the life (and therefore magic) still lingering in the remaining pieces of the tree could be what allowed it to reach out to the Student 6 in the first place.
- Given this is the 200th episode of the series, it feels highly symbolic that the one who came out on top in this episode was Spike and Princess Luna. This appropriate on 2 levels. On Princess Luna's level, she was virtually the catalyst for the Mane 6, as Nightmare Moon was what brought them together and made them the Elements of Harmony. On Spike's level, his getting the crown represents how he's the Spanner in the Works to most villains (from stopping Sombra to befriending Thorax and therefore leading to Queen Chrysalis' downfall), so naturally he foiled both Twilight and Shining Armor.
- There is a reason as to why Luna would agree to Spike's plan in the first place: Both characters were constantly in the shadow of and/or simply reduced to second fiddle to their more famous family members: Celestia for Luna and the Sparkle siblings for Spike. Of course she would agree if it means actually beating her sister for once.
- Whether her time as Apple Chord was actually true or not, either way would have given insight to her character and past:
- True: In hindsight, Countess Coloratura is a Shadow Archetype of what Applejack would've been if she hadn't quit her Apple Chord gig in time to see how important her family was. In fact, her stunt as Apple Chord may have served to second-hoof give Applejack a taste of how overrated celebrity-hood is.
- False: It showed her dedication to family as it is mostly likely the time after her parents died as an infant Applebloom was shown but her parents are nowhere to be seen.
- It seems Zephyr Breeze joining the Canterlot guards would be out-of-character...And it is! If one is familiar, he's not one to do anything outside his comfort zone or specialty (mane-styling). Also, it would be a Continuity Snarl for Zephyr to go back on his old ways, starting something he doesn't intend to finish. That's where the Brilliance comes in: It's a hint that he's a pawn to Luna and Spike's plan.
- Twilight's statement that her and Shining Armor having a long-term Sibling Rivalry appears to contradict the song B.B.B.F.F in where "We never had a single fight". Then you realise a few things:
- While not as obvious as say, her adoration of Celestia, it's shown that she has a massive case of Big Brother Worship judging by the song lyrics of B.B.B.F.F. There's no way she would risk to giving a bad first impression of him to her friends if she included the sibling rivalry.
- Throughout the montage, the duo were treating everything as a (seemingly) friendly competition. The rivalry just never escalated to fighting.
- Any Real Life siblings can tell you, it's Truth in Television that even those that never fight can't exactly resist trying to one-up one another for parental affection and/or trying to rub it in their faces.
- Celestia being the judge of the whole thing shows two character traits that has been consistently shown throughout the series: Her penchant at being Twilight's Parental Substitute and her tendency to ignore Luna without even realising it.
- In addition to being a Shout-Out to Disney's Hercules, Rainbow Dash's Megara outfit can be seen as a reference to the associations ancient Pegasus culture has with the ancient Greeks.
- It's also works as a clever way to work in a Shout-Out to the original Pegasus. Putting the original creature in the show as a cameo wouldn't work, because it would just be another white MLP Pegasus. So they took Rainbow Dash, the Mane Six's primary representative of the Pegasus race, and put her in a Greek toga dress.
- Why would the episode be named Sparkle's Seven if only the Mane 6 are involved? That's because there is a seventh member the whole time that flew under the Mane 6's radar:Spike.
- Luna was a vital component of Spike's plan, which ultimately succeeded, so you could say that it was a literal Dark Horse Victory.
- Why did Shining Armor choose now, of all times, to revive the "sibling supreme" contest, with the winner receiving the crown for keeps? Because he knows that Twilight will soon be taking Celestia's place as ruler of Equestria, and that competing with her over the castle's security could very well be his final chance to one-up his little sister before she ends up permanently outranking him.
- Which also goes to explain why his "security improvements" are so shoddy and oddly designed just so Twilight and her friends can bypass them. He's being fair and giving Twilight a chance to win.
- Him spilling all of the of the security improvements in advance could have been a combination of this and, if they were genuine, wanting to test a worst-case scenario; if they worked to stop an intruder who knew all of them and had ample prep time, they'd easily stop someone caught off guard.
- Which also goes to explain why his "security improvements" are so shoddy and oddly designed just so Twilight and her friends can bypass them. He's being fair and giving Twilight a chance to win.
- Right at the last minute, Shining reveals Twilight lost their contest. Because although she did eventually succeed in circumventing his security enhancements, she and her friends failed to do so without being spotted and identified by the Royal Guard, who had already been informed that they would be trying to break into the castle.
- When listing off his improvements, while mentioning increasing the number of guards, at no point does Shining mention improving the training program. Consequently, The Guards Must Be Crazy is still in full effect as both "Apple Chord" and Pinkie succeed in distracting them. (Shining Armor himself even falls for the former, at least at first.)
- How was Rarity able to easily undo the bricklaying blocking one of the tunnels? It's probably not much different than unearthing a gem, especially with telekinesis allowing more precise control.
- Wind Sprint not liking Daring Do 1) implies that she has very unreasonable standards for interests and/or 2) seemingly makes no sense at first. Then you realize that she likely got her first impression of it from Quibble Pants, who always preferred the puzzle-oriented era of the books. His emphasis on puzzles over action when introducing the series likely bored her to sleep and gave her the wrong idea about the series.
- Why not just ask Snails to dodge the balls so the Ponyville team couldn't get a score? That would make the fact that they're just letting Quibble win too obvious, making Wind even more disappointed.
- On the other side of the coin, nopony bats an eyelid at Pinkie and Fluttershy's obvious intentional help. The assumption is that since the skill difference is so great, it wouldn't be entertaining to watch Team Ponyville curbstomp a team of unprofessional players. Even without Quibble's arc, it'd make sense for them to level the playing field a bit.
- Tirek mentions that Cozy Glow snores when she sleeps. You aren't dreaming when you're snoring, which could explain how Luna wasn't able to see if Cozy had any trauma through her dreams; she never dreams.
- Cozy Glow convinces Chrysalis to attend her team meeting by telling her there'll be cupcakes. Considering how isolated Chrysalis has been, she likely hasn't been able to feed on love for a while and is probably starving. Small wonder an offer of food appeals to her.
- Not to mention, granted it's her own magic that was just stolen and Tirek gave it up reluctantly, but likely the first 'magical' meal she's had in a long time is one that somebody else gave to her... which is exactly what reformed all the other Changelings.
- Rusty Bucket doesn't recognize Cozy Glow as the one who drained magic, and isn't as suspicious as he should be. Unless there's a horn hidden under that Bucket Helmet (which looks a bit too short to be hiding one), or wings hidden under that cloak(which is unlikely as he'd have no reason to hide them), he's likely an Earth Pony (which would make sense for someone chosen to guard a mountain pass—you're gonna need a lot of strength to deal with the snow and rocks). He probably wasn't as affected by the magic drain, and was nowhere near Equestria when everything went down.
- When the trio starts succumbing to The Power of Friendship, Chrysalis is the first to snap out of it. Changelings undergo an actual, physical transformation when they "give love freely, instead of taking it", and Chrysalis's context was similar to Pharynx in realizing that feeling of mutual acceptance. Chrysalis might have felt that transformation beginning to happen and hit the B button by actively rejecting friendship. The other two, who don't have that warning sign, didn't realize what was happening until called out.
- When it comes to Unicorns, their cutie marks tend to point towards what kind of magic they'll be most adept at, and ponies tend to have Meaningful Names(especially with "The Perfect Pear" confirming that ponies can change their names). Gusty the Great's cutie mark is of leaves blowing in the wind, and that plus her name implies an an affinity towards wind magic. With that in mind, the strong winds surrounding Mount Everhoof could be the result of one of her enchantments placed there to protect the bell, rather than being a natural hazard.
Sweet and Smoky
- Why didn't Smolder point out that Garble was her brother throughout her time at the School of Friendship? Spike being the one who interacted with him the most and isn't afraid to badmouth him is not one of the (main) teachers while the Mane Six omitted any stories which paint other dragons in a bad light (which is pretty much all of them) to avoid pissing off the international exchange student.
- Garble suddenly having Hidden Depths in contrast to his previous appearances seems like an Ass Pull at first but then you realise this fact: This time, his sister is around to reign him in.
- Smolder's penchant for cute stuff and dresses or Garble being a beatnik poet. Both siblings are dragons that have an embarrassing secret that cannot be shown in public.
- Which could be why Smolder never tells Spike how her brother is sensitive (because of his poetry). Having her own secret, she knows that it's up to Garble to tell others about his secret.
- Why Ember and Fluttershy couldnt tell that the eggs werent warm enough while Spike could? The teenage dragons have yet to drain enough lava for the change in temperature to be noticeable. Its likely that when the former two were taking care of the eggs, its still warm but not hot enough to make the eggs hatch. While by the time Spike came, the teenage dragons had their lava pool long enough for the eggs to be cold.
- Why is it when the dragons laugh, they produce hotter fire, when we've never seen Spike do anything like it? Unless he just hasn't reached the age to do such a thing, it's because he's learned to control laugh-fire because he's always lived in places where the fire could cause massive damage. The dragons in the Dragonlands are surrounded by rocks and lava: There's nothing to damage with their laugh-fire, so they don't bother reining it in.
- Also, laughing loudly and rapidly involves repeated forceful exhalations, so that might also affect the heat of fire produced at the same time as laughing, and/or the amount of fire.
- In his previous appearances, Garble was often depicted as worse than most of the other dragons, like being more hostile and vicious. Considering what we learn about him in this episode, it's clear that all that was him overcompensating for his own perceived "weakness" by trying to be the most "dragon-y" dragon possible.
- Bit of Fridge Heartwarming: It's been proven that babies in utero can still hear people speaking outside. Shortly before they hatched, Fluttershy was reading to the dragon eggs. That could be why the baby dragons she was hugging at the very end didn't react negatively and even seemed to be enjoying it—they recognized her voice and consequently trusted her.
Going to Seed
- Applebloom's appearance in the flashback threw many longtime viewers for a loop due to how messy it made the Apple siblings timeline. An example would be this. However, this could be Granny Smith being an Unreliable Narrator due to her old age.
- It seems to be the case that whenever the pasts of the Apple family siblings were shown, it results in Continuity Snarl. However, the possible timeline could be: Filly's AJ's Great Confluence—>Leaving for Manehatten and getting her Cutie Mark—>AJ leaves for summer camp and meets Rara—>"Where the Apple Lies" incident—>Parents' death
- Trixie getting everyone in circles during the search for Silverstream despite saying that she has experience. Since her tale with the Ursa Major is made up, it makes sense that her experience is made up as well.Trixie: I have a lot of experience telling ponies that I have experience with the dangerous creatures of Everfree Forest.
- Sunburst proves able to fire a beam of destructive magic from his horn, a ability that is increasingly indicated to be nigh-universal for unicorns rather than a complex spell (as he can't do those). If one thinks about it, this was actually indicated long ago back in season 3's Magic Duel, where Trixie is able to fire a attack beam even after losing the abilities of the Alicorn Amulet. Its just that (as in that case) without fairly high magical capability/experience/refinement, the attack beam is unlikely to actually do much or any real damage. Thus in this season while we see Sunburst and Rarity use attack beams, the actual damage they seem to do is quite limited compared to similar attacks from Starlight, Celestia, Luna, Twilight, etc.
- In "The Maud Couple", Maud was 100% on board with Mud's eccentricities. In this episode, she's shown silently calling him out a couple times for his unwarranted corrections. What changed? Probably more ponies besides Pinkie pointing out that that isn't really socially acceptable behavior. She's trying to keep him out of trouble with the others by reminding him when to rein it in.
The Last Crusade
- If the reason Scootaloo can't fly is due to having an Earth Pony father and a Pegasus mother giving her half-baked magic from both sides, this could go a long way explaining as to why there are rarely any mixed race couples in Equestria. If the biology is in conflict like mixing a land based Earth Pony and sky based Pegasus, even if they can get past the biological compatibility tests, the children in question will be likely born with their respective parent traits in conflict resulting in a Master of None.
- If this is accurate, this could be another trait of Alicorns: They're so powerful they overpower the other races even on a genetic level, resulting in Flurry Heart being born an Alicorn with a Unicorn father and a Pegasus-turned-Alicorn mother.
- Wind Sprint probably pokes a hole in this. Pegasus father(she mentions when talking to Rainbow Dash that her dad was also a great flyer), Unicorn mother, skilled flyer in her own right.
- With their constant travelling for work, it can make one wonder why Scootaloo's parents would have a permanent residence in Ponyville and a daughter in the first place. Scootaloo mentions that her father is very knowledgeable about the creatures of the Everfree Forest, which indicates the possibility that her parents moved to Ponyville for the express purpose of studying the Everfree Forest's wildlife. Living so close would've also let them easily juggle work and raising a child, though they clearly didn't consider that they'd have to leave Scootaloo behind once their study of the Everfree concluded.
- Why didn't they just take Scootaloo with them the first time? A couple possible reasons. Either their next place would have been too dangerous to bring someone so young, or they figured it would be a lesser evil for her to have a stable home and friends as she was growing up without her parents, as opposed to staying with her parents but having no stability otherwise, or maybe even both. Either way, they're bringing her this time because they figure she's old enough to handle things now.
- Some have wondered why they didn't go with the Great Seedling for a Snipe Hunt to keep Scootaloo's parents in Ponyville. One explanation could be that Scootaloo's parents are more interested in dangerous creatures, and the Great Seedling is benign if mischievous.
- Scootaloo's parents Establishing Character Moment while showing their skills also foreshadowed their inability to understand the viewpoints of their child by being only able to catch the rampaging beast after it had already broke into the school and endangered the students and Cheerilee.
Between Dark and Dawn
- Why is Celestia seemingly terrified of Chickens? Because Chickens are similar in appearance to Cockatrices! At some point in Celestias' life, she might have ran afoul of a Cockatrice and turned into stone and that Luna was able to free her after some time, leaving Celestia afraid of Cockatrices and Chickens ever since.
- Fridge-Tear Jerker kicks in when you realize that this primal fear of hers might have resurfaced again sometime after the events of The Storm Kings' Invasion, followed by the three-day long Trauma Conga Line that she, Luna and Cadence all suffered from during the occupation.
- A more humorous factor (by comparison) might due to what happened in the My Little Pony: Friends Forever Issue #38.
- What's with the Royal Sisters' constant insistence on "helping" in the Cold Opening? After the events of the Season 9 premiere and being in constant need of rescue throughout the series prior, can you blame them for being actually wanting to be useful for once? It's almost as if they heard Rainbow Dash's complaint about them not helping and decided to make her eat her words.
- Twilight's insistence on keeping the royal duties being done by just the seven of them is due to the fact that she wants to prove that her friends can rule Equestria on their own. It doesn't help that until now:
- 1) She actually thought Celestia did all her duties by herself, meaning that in her mind, she is just following her mentor's example.
- 2) The Canterlot nobility has never really been shown onscreen to help with Celestia's duties. This gave her the impression that their help isn't needed.
- Fancy Pants taking a level in jerkass seems odd at first. Then, you realise that he was kind enough to offer his help the first time, only for Twilight to forcibly decline multiple times because of her need to overcompensate. In his eyes, he is dealing with an incompetent stuck-up like any other stereotypical noble.
- Luna geeking out over the post office. The post office is typically closed and not making deliveries at night.
- It's Luna that insists on going to see the opera. Luna was banished to the moon for a thousand years. To her, this was a chance to appreciate some fine performance art that she missed out on.
- Celestia, meanwhile, is bored out of her skull at the opera, and lets slip how much she hated going. One of Celestia's complaints was that she was constantly having to hobnob with and suck up to politicians and ambassadors. Which meant going to see this exact same opera hundreds of times over the centuries at their request.
- This story reveals there is a Gala committee. This would explain why Celestia can't just make the changes she wants to the Gala (as she has shown before that she thinks it's boring unless she purposely invites guests she knows will cause chaos), because she isn't directly involved in planning it.
- I have a theory on how the princesses could ride the Wild Blue Yonder even though it's supposed to be closed. The ride is located in the Flim-Flam hotel, and we know they were planning to expand, probably also had plans of replacing the Yonder with something more profitable, or something that suits their needs. I guess after Rainbow Dash rode it, they did close it, but chose not to demolish it until they got the bits for the replacement. Their main income at the time was Friendship University, and we know how that ended. Then they tried to do the same with the Heart's Warming dolls, and failed again. They probably had no choice but to give up their expansion plans, and reset everything to the original state to stay in business (for now, at least). So, with their two encounters last season, the Mane Six didn't just save ponies from being overcharged for stolen friendship lessons and poorly made toys, they also additionally saved the coolest roller coaster of all time.
- During Garble's brief cameo in "Lotta Little Things", he is shown flying, not with his usual gang, but with two other dragons. This makes sense, when you think about it: Following his Heel Realization, he would have also realized that his gang were never really his friends (due to not accepting him for who he really is, and mocking him whenever it was even suggested he had a sensitive side), thus driving him to seek out some real friends.
The Last Laugh
- Why doesn't Pinkie consider her purpose of making others happy worthwhile at first? While her calling is noble, her scale is limited to Ponyville while the rest have influences beyond Ponyville. Twilight is going to rule Equestria, Rarity has other branches of her fashion business in the country, Fluttershy's animal sanctuary caters to animals from around the world, Rainbow Dash is a Wonderbolt and even Applejack's family business also operates on a country-wide basis via the Apple family. She is Overshadowed by Awesome.
2, 4, 6, Greaaat
- Twilight purposely giving Rainbow Dash a job she clearly no interest and experience in sounds like a jerk move. But with Pinkie Pie busy teaching the other students, Rainbow Dash's enthusiasm and the ability to hype people up is the next best thing. Rainbow Dash was also Fluttershy's cheering instructor all the way back in "Sonic Rainboom". Why would Twilight do this? It's because she is following in Celestia's hoofsteps while clearing showing that she still needs to iron out some kinks to even reach the latter's level.
The Summer Sun Setback
- When Tirek drains the Earth Ponies' magic, their cutie marks remain, whereas before anypony drained by him would lose their cutie marks. Why the difference? If their cutie marks disappeared, it'd be pretty easy for others to connect the dots and guess he had something to do with it. By only draining enough magic to leave them physically weak while letting them keep their marks, he lowers the odds that anypony will suspect foul play.
- This also plays into Discord not sensing Tirek's magic draining, there probably wasn't enough magic drained at once to register on his radar. Remember in "Twilight's Kingdom - Part 2", it took the transfer of magic between alicorns for it to finally register on his head if he is not actively sensing for it. And the reason he is not actively sensing for it? He probably still thinks Tirek is in Tartarus and Twilight most likely ordered him to control himself to avoid having him mess with the preparations.
- Why did the weather manager not recognize Cozy Glow? Only the main characters and Royal Guard arrested her. The average pony was Locked Out of the Loop since the heroes still think she is still in Tartarus. Meanwhile, the guard that didn't recognise her is probably either a newbie or wasn't present at her arrest.
- Twilight rebranding the Summer Sun Celebration to the Festival of the Two Sisters is symbolic for two reasons: The first is her taking political power over the Royal Sisters. The second is finally letting go of the past (The battle between the siblings) to celebrate what they achieved (Their impact on Equestria).
- Cozy Glow breaking the chains which locked the book with another book. What's on the cover of the book she used? A key.
- How did Cozy Glow even know about the restricted section? She likely got that information when she was Twilight's assistant.