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- Twilight plans to make a gift for Starlight where she can wake up and see pictures of her friends every day, just like the one Twilight has in her room.
- On that note, one of Twilight's pictures is a picture of her and Moondancer. After Spike's comment about not having any pictures of her old friends from Canterlot, Twilight is putting a fix to that.
- Another of Twilight's pictures is of Discord, showing that, for all the trouble he likes to cause for her, she still considers him a friend. He even shares the picture with Celestia, making it doubly heartwarming in that he posed for it alongside the Princess who was once his oldest enemy.
- Twilight and Celestia awarding Starlight, Trixie, Thorax and Discord for their actions against Queen Chrysalis and being praised as heroes by everypony.
- Thorax and the changelings seem to be getting along well with the ponies, Twilight's concerns besides.
- Twilight is worried for Starlight's future, and can't decide where to send her out of fear that something will go wrong.
- Celestia reveals that she was worried for Twilight's future when she was still her student. She knew that she had to make friends (and knew she needed to meet the rest of the Mane 6 before Nightmare Moon was released), but kept thinking of things that might go wrong and delaying sending her away. She ultimately realized that the real thing she was scared of was that Twilight wouldn't need her anymore.
- In response to the last point, Twilight reassuring Celestia that she will always need her.
- During Celestia's flashback while visiting Ponyville, she spots the rest of the Mane 6 as friends just hanging out.
- Twilight announces Starlight's graduation, and although she's not Twilight's student anymore, Starlight doesn't want to leave the castle just yet.
- In its own way, Discord's trolling of Twilight. If you take him at his word, he wasn't trying to embarrass Twilight. He was trying, in his own way, to get her to assign Starlight to him. Seems our embodiment of chaos incarnate took a shine to her after their last adventure together. He even invites Starlight to join him in his next bout of mischief-making.
- And it cuts both ways. If you pay attention, you can see Starlight genuinely laughing at Discord's various antics.
- Discord's trolling in general is noticeably less mean-spirited than it has been in the past. The very worst possible interpretation is that he's trying to mildly embarrass Twilight, and only by calling attention to something she really needs to consider.
- When Twilight's friends are wondering why she didn't include them in her big surprise for Starlight, Discord suggests it's because she doesn't think that highly of them to begin with, but then laughs and tells them it's because she wants them to be just as surprised. Sure, it's actually because he sent Twilight into a tizzy over what to do with Starlight, knowingly or not, but it goes a long way showing that while he may never stop messing with the girls' heads, he's done toying with their friendship.
- Really, Celestia and Twilight's relationship in this episode. It's rare that we see the two of them interact on such a personal level. Their relationship has always been akin to a teacher and a student or a mother and a daughter. Here though we see that these are two ponies that deeply care for each other and despite the fact that Twilight has gone from Celestia's student to a Princess in her own right, both she and Celestia still have a special bond.Celestia: Here we are after all these years, Twilight. We are living proof that letting someone spread their wings doesn't mean you no longer have a place in their lives.
All Bottled Up
- Starlight is teaching Trixie more advanced magic. Trixie is so thrilled when she finally casts real magic for the first time she does it again and again.
- Starlight has developed an Affectionate Nickname for Trixie, calling her "Trix".
- Though they have very little interaction in the episode, Trixie is far less antagonistic to Twilight here than she was last season, even coming with Starlight to see her and the others off as they depart for their friendship retreat.
- Although it's far from healthy, the reason Starlight tries to hide her growing anger at Trixie is because she doesn't want to hurt her feelings or damage their friendship. Even better is that Trixie, though hurt by all of Starlight's suppressed thoughts about her as said through three random ponies, is able to make their friendship even stronger because of it.
- For once in the entire series, we get to see the Mane Six spend the majority of the episode having fun in their escape room resort. Nobody's friendship is in jeopardy, the fate of Equestria isn't at stake; it's simply an unadulterated Slice of Life where we get to see these six friends enjoying themselves, and their only care in the world is trying to beat a game record purely for fun.
- Even better is that it looks like they're setting up for conflict, with the others being initially unenthusiastic about Twilight's choice of venue. But while they bicker a little, they end up all having fun and beating the game in record time. Now if only they hadn't taken time out for a song...
- The song itself is basically the six of them singing about how deep their friendship is, and how it will last "until the end of time".
- Towards the end, we finally find out where Trixie teleported the Cutie Map: the Ponyville Day Spa, where she and Starlight met for the first time, because Trixie—for all her flippant, easygoing gestures throughout the episode—was sincerely thinking about what a wonderful friend Starlight was to her.
- Rainbow Dash taking it on herself to give Trixie and Starlight another shout-out for saving Equestria.
- The moment Trixie sincerely apologizes for pissing off Starlight one too many times, all the anger Starlight had built up just disappears.
- Trixie saying "The Starlight I love is passionate, lively, and yes, sometimes angry." Starlight tears up a little and smiles as she hears this. They may disagree, or even fight sometimes, but their friendship will always stay true.
- Even though Trixie is probably only there because Starlight is, she is getting to know some of the residents outside Starlight and the Mane Six to some extent. It seems small, and the other aspect of the scene takes precedence in the moment, but this is a fairly big step for someone as self-absorbed as Trixie can be.
- A minor example, but Spike having no trouble being around Trixie counts as this, considering their last real interaction before this episode involved her turning him into a ball and bouncing him around in order to provoke Twilight into duelling with her. Like the Mane Six, he's let the past go, and sees her as a friend.
- Twilight So Proud of You's from the previous episode continues. She has Tears of Joy when she thinks that Starlight is taking initiative by assigning herself friendships lessons.
A Flurry of Emotions
- Twilight putting together a visit to some sick foals in the hospital to cheer them up.
- So, basically Twilight's problem in this episode is she wants to both visit sick kids at the hospital and play with her baby niece.
- Twilight's sheer joy in playing with Flurry Heart, to the point that she basically forgets everything else for a while.
- Most of Flurry Heart's antics in this episode are adorable:
- She tries to copy Twilight winking at her, but can't quite manage it, so she blinks instead.
- After doodling on Cheerilee's blackboard, she declares "La-la!" to the sound of "Ta-da!"
- Also, her little doodle are stick figures of herself, her auntie Twilight, and Spike. Flurry already sees Spike as family, and probably sees him as an uncle or big cousin.
- When she sees the Cake twins fighting over a toy, she tries to get them to share it with each other. Unfortunately, her idea to do this is to break it in half.
- Flurry giving Twilight a big hug and kiss to show that she does forgive her for yelling at her.
- When all is said and done, Twilight and Flurry ended the day happily playing together in the castle, now closer than ever.
- After Twilight delivers the episode's aesop, she adds "And [Flurry] taught me a really cool bear game, so I learned two things!"
- At the end of the episode, Spike's reading his "Dashing Dragon Warrior" book to the sick foals.
- Shining Armor and Cadance are reminded of Flurry in some way by most of the art they see. This results in Spearhead being perfectly fine with them leaving the show early, honored that his work could provoke such emotion.
- For really the first time, we get to see Cadance and Shining Armor just spend time together as a couple. Unsurprisingly, they're cute together.
- When we first see Cadance and Shining Armor, their manes are messy and they can't remember what they said and you're like "Oh no! They're sleep deprived!" but then they're fine in the art gallery and you're like "Oh, phew. They weren't tired after all. Just in a rush.". Not only does it relieve the worried audience to know Cadance and Shining Armor are getting the hang of being parents, but it's an indication of how much the audience cares.
Rock Solid Friendship
- Maud waves to Boulder while accepting her rocktorate diploma. There's an emphasis on "Companion" for that Companion Cube.
- Maud wanting to have a friend that "gets her" aside from rocks and her family, is pretty heartwarming for a pony that until now has displayed little interest in such things.
- Maud apologizes to Starlight about Pinkie's behavior.Maud: Sorry about my sister. There's no half-excited with her.
Starlight: Oh, I know. But she always calms down. Eventually.
- Maud TWICE giving her rare, admittedly small but meaningful, smiles when Starlight proves herself an understanding friend.
- When Starlight and Maud go into the gem cave, Starlight asks Maud why she finds rocks so fascinating. What makes this a heartwarming moment is that Starlight doesn't ask in a "That's weird" or "I'm humoring you" fashion. She's genuinely curious about why Maud is interested in them, and is willing to hear her out.
- Starlight actually manages to bond with Maud, and the two of them manage to expand each other's horizons a bit, with Maud actually convincing Starlight that there was some interest to be had in rocks, and Starlight introducing Maud to kite-flying.
- One of the reasons Starlight starts liking Maud so much is because she doesn't judge her on her actions in the past. When Pinkie is pressing Maud not to utter a word about how Starlight enslaved an entire village, Maud's response is simple yet so touching coming from someone who'd just met her after their brief encounter long ago:Maud: It's not like she's enslaved anypony lately.
- Though funny, Pinkie's Let Us Never Speak of This Again reaction could mean that 1. she doesn't want Maud to remind anyone of Starlight's past or 2. she doesn't want anyone getting angry with Maud for inadvertently helping her, or both. Either way, it shows Pinkie trying to look out for her friends/family in her own particular way.
- One of the reasons Starlight starts liking Maud so much is because she doesn't judge her on her actions in the past. When Pinkie is pressing Maud not to utter a word about how Starlight enslaved an entire village, Maud's response is simple yet so touching coming from someone who'd just met her after their brief encounter long ago:
- To be fair to Pinkie, she does prod Maud into going with Starlight to the market, kickstarting their friendship. She should have left it there, but she actually did help Maud find a friend.
- Even in the middle of several jokes about how blunt Maud usually is, she refuses to just tell Pinkie what a pain she's being. And though Pinkie is the problem here, she's only trying so hard because she really, really wants to have her sister nearby.
- It's mixed in with a bit of Tear Jerker given how Pinkie is crying big, heaving sobs at that moment, and a bit of Funny with another of Maud's purple rock-based metaphors, but the two sisters' sincerity as they make up is nothing if not touching.Pinkie: Oh, Maud! I love you bigger than all Equestria! (continues sobbing as she gives Maud a big hug)
Maud: (deadpan) And you melt my heart more easily than sodium-rich plagioclase feldspar.
- Mixed in with Funny Moments, but when Starlight calls Maud "weird", Pinkie is right away there to defend her big sister.
- And it should be noted that Starlight didn't use "weird" maliciously. She actually meant it as a compliment.
- At the end of the episode, Maud invites Starlight to help her decorate her new place, an invitation Starlight enthusiastically accepts.
- Starlights portrayal in this episode is a testament to how far shes come as a character. In the past, shes shown more than a few sociopathic tendencies as well as a Lack of Empathy towards others. However, in this episode, shes not only extremely nice, but she also makes an active effort to understand Mauds love for rocks.
- Give Starlight credit for realizing that her Brutal Honesty hurt Pinkie's feelings. She tries to rephrase things to be less harsh, admittedly without any real success, but it's telling that Starlight had come to recognize that what she said could have a negative impact on others and try to amend her behavior.
- The slippers; "Best sister friend slippers". One might think Pinkie was going to explode with joy when she sees them on Maud's hooves.
Fluttershy Leans In
- Watching Fluttershy be bold and refusing to let the so-called experts ruin her dream of an animal sanctuary. It makes one tear up when they see just how much Fluttershy has grown over seven seasons.
- The rest of the Mane Six showing concern for Doctor Fauna when they hear of her problem and agreeing to help her, especially after what she's done for their pets.
- Fluttershy calls in her own expert to help with building the sanctuary. One she knows will get it right: Big Daddy McColt.
- Of course he'd help Fluttershy: he's repaying her for ending the feud between him and Ma HoofField.
- All in all, it's lovely to see Big Daddy HoofField be able to utilize his talents rather than be stuck fighting a pointless feud. And he seems better for it too.
- Lola the sloth hugging Fluttershy's leg.
- After all the "experts" ignored Fluttershy's wishes and almost ruined her plans, the Mane Six step in to apologize and help her build the sanctuary the way she (and the animals) wanted it.
- Rarity tries to set a whole day aside to spend with her sister when she realizes how busy she's been and hasn't been able to have fun with her. Once Rarity realizes that Sweetie Belle likes new things now because she's older, they start to actually have fun together.
- We see the CMC help another colt get his cutie mark. They encourage him to follow his inner passion and he carves a statue of them.
- The whole message that just because someone/somepony/somedog(?) is older and doesn't enjoy doing the same things with you that they used to, doesn't mean they don't love you anymore or that you can't find new special things to do together.
- The Crusaders' wall of fame is one of these in itself, but especially the fact that Diamond Tiara has a prominent place on it.
- The photo of Rarity and Sweetie Belle at the end, where they're beaming at the camera (and covered in ice cream).
- For the original owner of the ice cream shop, watching (and being part of) such a special moment from a former customer.
- The balloon pony offering a heart shaped balloon to an upset Rarity.
- Even when she's upset with Sweetie Belle, Rarity is still polite enough to see that Sweetie's in the middle of something important and wait for her to finish before trying to talk to her.
- Once Rainbow Dash's parents find out Scootaloo is a fan of Rainbow Dash, they tell her all about their daughter and practically treat Scootaloo like she's part of the family. Indeed, there is a Big Sister Worship vibe mixed in with the Doting Parents theme.
- Seeing all the support Rainbow Dash's parents have given her through her life, even if they go a little overboard a few times.
- Spitfire and the other Wonderbolts aren't mad at Rainbow Dash for her parents being so enthusiastic and causing a few disruptions. They just take it in stride, feel embarrassed for her, or lightly tease her for it. This is very different from Rainbow Dash's flashback where several foals, some of whom are future Wonderbolts, just glare at Rainbow Dash and leave her because of her parents cheering.
- Fleetfoot addressing Rainbow Dash's dad as "sir" with a salute and telling him he raised a great flyer.
- The Wonderbolts helping Rainbow Dash apologize to her parents by giving them a private air show.Rainbow: Thanks for doing this.
Spitfire: Happy to help.
- The Wonderbolts in general are portrayed as very kind and understanding in this episode, which is especially heartwarming given that their past appearances have a tendency to display them in a less-than-positive light.
- Despite Rainbow Dash very nearly ruining their relationship with her incredibly harsh speech towards her parents, Scootaloo is still willing to lend Rainbow Dash an ear and a helping hoof in patching things up with them. She even expresses genuine shock when she hears Rainbow Dash was not always the high-achieving flyer she is now. Finally, when asked for help despite telling her she'll have to find a different hero to do her report on, Scootaloo simply takes a commemorative photo of Dash learning the error of her ways. It all goes to show that, even with her image of Rainbow Dash lower than it's ever been, Scootaloo will never leave her idol's side.
- The fact that it's Scootaloo's calling her out that causes Rainbow to have her My God, What Have I Done? moment. Seeing her "little sister" that angry with her is obviously a huge blow to Rainbow Dash, demonstrating how much she cares about the younger pegasus.
- At the end of the episode, Scootaloo gives her report on Rainbow Dash. Cue Rainbow Dash and her family cheering her on. Scootaloo always wanted Rainbow Dash to be her big sister; she now not only has a supportive big sis figure, but supportive parental figures as well.
- It's a minor thing, but as noted in Tearjerker, the flashback shows Derpy gradually decreasing in standing the more her eyes get derped. A Blink-and-You-Miss-It moment, though, is that while some foals on the lower tiers, especially those who used to be higher, look sad or angry, Derpy never stops smiling.
- Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles are unreservedly kind and friendly to Scootaloo, being patient with her during her high-pitched screaming fit when they don't even know who she is, making her a meal and giving a tour of their home, and giving her unprompted support and compliments regarding little things like her blindfold-tying skills. They're amazingly supportive of their own daughter, but it's clear that they are genuinely kind, positive ponies to everyone even when Rainbow Dash isn't the focus.
- After Rainbow Dash makes up for yelling at them with a Wonderbolts show, Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles give her a hug, then mention that she didn't need to do all this (as it's a little over-the-top). This marries the three things Rainbow Dash always wanted from her parents: that they give her constructive criticism, they don't overzealous cheer over it, and they see the error in their ways for embarrassing her.
- It's easy to miss, but when the Wonderbolts are having their photos taken with all the fillies and colts, Rainbow Dash in particular looks very happy for the filly she's taking a photo with even putting a hoof on her mane. It's a nice little reminder of the kind of pony Dash is.
Hard to Say Anything
- Aside from the main plot, the episode has another look at the close relationship between Big Macintosh and Apple Bloom, clearly stronger than ever.
- Apple Bloom is clearly happy that Mac has a crush and frequently encourages it.
- Whenever Big Macintosh is upset, Apple Bloom is the quickest to latch onto it and figure out what's wrong.
- Even when the attempts to woo Sugar Belle unravel, Mac quickly forgives Apple Bloom (and the rest of the CMC) for their mistakes; it probably helps that, for the most part, the CMC didn't make real mistakes and the attempts only failed because of Feather Bangs' intervention. Heck, he isn't even irritated at seeing the CMC.
- Big Macintosh's relationship with Sugar Belle. By the end of the episode the realization of the little things they do for each other even results in a Relationship Upgrade.
Big Macintosh: She's kind, and she works hard, and she's sweeter than everything in her bakery.
- Even before the said upgrade, the two have some very cute moments together, such as when they accidentally touch muzzles.
- The sheer joy Sugar Belle has when Big Macintosh (with a little help from Apple Bloom) builds her a new display case for her baked goods.
- Big Mac talking about Sugar Belle's best qualities.
- A small moment that can be easy to miss, but while Big Mac is singing to Sugar Belle, she looks mostly confused during the beginning but then smiles a little at the song. She only looks annoyed once Feather Bangs interrupts and both colts start competing and singing over each other, but even then she seems a little less annoyed with Big Mac than with Feather.
- Also Big Mac was genuinely enthusiastic about singing to Sugar Belle, indicating that he was looking forward to sharing a talent he excels in with someone he had genuine feelings for. Which makes it the only one of the romantic gestures that comes close to being realistic for Mac.
- Party Favor and Night Glider are briefly seen sitting at a table together, on what appears to be a date. Party Favor even has a lovestruck smile on his face.
- The CMC offering to help Feather Bangs at the end of the episode, showing that they hold no grudge over him frequently upstaging their attempts to get Big Mac and Sugar Belle together.
- Applejack helping get the fashion show back together after her comments originally ruined it. She apologizes and helps out with the designers to try and understand things from their point of view.
- Rarity's whole plan for the fashion show as a way to give young designers (like she was in the early seasons) a leg up into the fashion world. Now that she's achieved her own dream, she's using her position to help others along the same path. Yeah, there's a reason she's the Element of Generosity.
A Royal Problem
- Celestia turns out to be a pretty good chef, making Starlight a platter of pancakes with adorable fruit faces on them each morning. She even makes them for Luna, even though her sister is usually too tired to eat them. At the end of the episode, after Celestia has spent all night fighting nightmares, Luna makes her pancakes, which are clearly not as good but Celestia still appreciates the effort. Luna even admits they're bad and tells Celestia that she doesn't have to pretend to like them, and they share a laugh.
- After Luna turns down Celestia's first offer of pancakes in favor of a whole pineapple, the pancakes Celestia makes the following morning are decorated with pieces of pineapple. Celestia no doubt changed things up in hopes that the altered recipe would appeal more to Luna.
- Everything about Celestia and Luna making up at the end and really appreciating what the other one does is adorable.
- This line of Luna's:Luna: I know you have to be perfect for everypony else - and you do an amazing job - but you don't have to do it for me.
- When Celestia responds to this by bluntly tossing Luna's attempt at pancakes away and calling them terrible, Luna just laughs it off with an "I know!". After all they've been through, Luna's accepted that she won't always be able to compete with her sister.
- This line of Luna's:
- Luna encouraging Celestia in Starlight's nightmare to fight Nightmare Moon and Daybreaker.
- It's also a funny moment, but some of the dreams we see are quite sweet when you think about them — for example, Cadance and Flurry Heart having a dance party, Discord and the Smooze having a pillow fight, and Twilight and Rainbow Dash having a friendly flying competition. One of the nicest would be a baby Applejack in the arms of ponies that are almost certainly her parents.
- Despite being angry with her for swapping their cutie marks, Celestia still takes the time to tuck Starlight in for the night when she falls asleep after her long day trying to help Luna. What makes it special is that it appears as a completely automatic gesture. She does it without even thinking about it.
- It's also worth noting that the moment Celestia saw Starlight suffering the terrors of her guilt-induced nightmare, she immediately came to her aid. And when she realized the situation was beyond her skills, she turned to Luna without hesitation.
- It might be easy to miss, but Luna's reaction to seeing Celestia in her dream-turned-nightmare is a Security Cling to her big sister. And that is before they apologize to each other.
- Starlight's approach shows that she's very much paid close attention to her friendship lessons, even if she hasn't had much in the way of practical experience. She approached the problem without a bias, which it's all but stated Twilight wouldn't have been able to do. She observes the interactions of the sisters. She asks questions about what it is they're doing and why. When she tries to get them to open up about their Innocently Insensitive treatment of each other, she remains neutral. And while casting a spell without either party's consent is questionable (and was done in a moment of panic), she did encourage them to view the situation from each other's perspective. If Starlight can learn to quell those tendencies to use magic without thinking when her emotions run high, she has all the makings of a good therapist.
- Celestia and Luna sealing their reconciliation in the morning:Celestia: I love you, sister.
Luna: I love you, too.
- Though it's also a Tear Jerker because of how guilty she feels, that Luna cares so much about the school children's/fillies' field trip. She was ready to rush out and try to fix the matter, and when Starlight tells her she can't, she looks irritated about having to put the children aside for the sake of delegates and, later on, two arguing politicians. In short, the kids' field trip is the only issue she really cared about. If previous episodes didn't make it obvious enough, this one firmly cements Luna's fondness for children.
- At the conclusion, Twilight is gushing praise for Starlight accomplishing her first friendship mission. Though her Motor Mouth is also a funny moment, it underscores just how proud Twilight is because we usually don't see her this excitement for anything other then reorganizing her library, or some such.
Not Asking For Trouble
- Regardless of your opinion of what it represents, there is something sweet about how Pinkie swallowed her misgivings about the situation with the Yaks and the avalanche...until she overheard some young Yaks saying that they were unhappy but felt too afraid to speak up. Almost immediately Pinkie starts searching for a way to be their voice.
- Pinkie finding a way to help the Yaks while sparing their pride.
- At one point, Gummy licks Pinkie's face while she's hugging him. Considering it's Gummy, that's an extreme display of affection.
- Just before things go sideways, when the Yaks are celebrating the festival with Pinkie, Rutherford happily declares "Ponies and Yaks friends!" Between this and other comments he makes throughout the episode, it's clear he's really happy to have Pinkie there. He even makes her an "official honorary yak", complete with a helmet with horns so they can horn-bump.
- Ultimately the Yaks' issues with just asking for help, while problematic, turn out to be based on a logical source: it's not just that they're too proud to ask, it's that they feel you do not NEED to ask your friends for help. They will help you without the request being made. It's not entirely sensible, and it's a slightly naive mentality, but still nice to see.
- Discord wanting to invite Fluttershy over for tea to his place because he feels bad she always invites him and she's never been to his place.
- And though he ends up disastrously overthinking it, Discord puts a lot of effort into his tea party, to the point of driving himself to a panic attack, all because he wants to show Fluttershy how much he values her friendship.
- Discord, fearing that his lifestyle will be too much for Fluttershy, acts completely to the opposite of his normal, to the point of risking his own existence, just so she isn't uncomfortable.
- Discord and Discord discussing all the things he likes about Fluttershy, including "She gave us a chance when no other pony would," and "She makes us want to be a better draconequus."
- Discord's animated fingers eat one of Fluttershy's sandwiches into a heart shape before he reattaches them. They may be uncivilized little hooligans, but they know how to show what her friendship means to them.
- Fluttershy, seeing Discord fade due to not creating chaos, decides to make chaos. And how she does it is by thinking how he would act... and gets many things right when it comes to his thought process.
- When Discord tells her why he tried to act like Equestria's standard of normal Fluttershy says that she likes him because he is so different from her and he has opened her up to things she never experienced before. They aren't friends despite who Discord is... they are friends BECAUSE of who he is.
- This exchange:Fluttershy: "That may be true, but we make sense to me. I never would have thought to make a singing ginseng before I met you! You've opened me up to so many possibilities and impossibilites! I guess what I'm trying to say is, I like you because you're so different from me!"
- The exchange is also an excellent indicator of how far Discord has come; His first lines of dialogue in the show revolved around him mocking the very idea of "making sense", but in this episode, he was worried that his friendship with Fluttershy didn't make any sense at all.
- This exchange:
- The real tea party, with Fluttershy having fun in Discord's insane little world.
- Discord's interactions with all the other ponies: he's a little abrasive at times (mostly because they keep asking him if he's really friends with Fluttershy, and the doubt offends him), but for the most part perfectly friendly with them, even way overpaying for all his items. Also, though they're a little weirded out by him (and the fact that he's friends with Fluttershy), none of the 'normal' ponies seem the least afraid of him anymore.
- Also, consider that Discord is a Mad God who could've just snapped his fingers to acquire the things he needed for his tea party. Why did he bother to shop for and pay for those things? Because Fluttershy means that much to him as his first friend that he'd make the effort to go all out to please her.
- To further illustrate how far Discord has come, when he pops into the tea shop he startles the owner, who falls off a ladder and drops the tea set she was carrying. Discord catches both before they hit the ground, sets the pony down gently, and replaces the tea set on the shelf. Contrast this with his behavior in the Season Four opening, where he couldn't be bothered to save a pair of ponies from attacking vines until Twilight yelled at him.
- A small one, but Pinkie Pie gives Discord some much needed advice at the party store, speaking in an unhesitatingly friendly manner with him and not once getting weirded out by him like the other ponies mentioned above. In return, Discord sincerely thanks Pinkie for her advice regarding the tea party, and acknowledges her as being the party expert.
- Subtle, but when Discord turns his home 'normal' he conjures up pink butterfly-patterned wallpaper.
The Perfect Pear
- Pear Butter's song, "You're In My Head Like a Catchy Song," which is a love song about how much she cares about Bright Mac, with a Falling-in-Love Montage playing in the background. Even though she accidentally says she loves him at the end of the song, Bright Mac not only reciprocates, but shows her a rock he carved with their cutie marks to say the same thing. The whole sequence is exceedingly sweet.
- Bright Mac's silly, excited rambling about how he planned to say the love proposal if it wasn't for the fact Pear Butter spit it out first.
- Bright Mac and Pear Butter happily dancing together despite having to do so separated by a crowd of other dancers.
- Pear Butter and Bright Mac's secret wedding and Pear Butter's decision to stay with her new husband against her father's bigotry.
- Granny Smith may have been firmly against the Pears, but the minute that Pear Butter says that both the Pears and the Apples are part of her family, she drops her own bigotry and accepts Pear Butter as her own and essentially blesses her and Bright Mac's marriage.
- She also comforts her after her father disowns her, gently laying a hoof beneath her chin. As a matter of fact, it's hinted the reason why she's still angry at Grand Pear isn't because of the rivalry, but the fact he disowned his daughter when she married Bright Mac.
- Big Mac asking Burnt Oak if it would be okay to talk about his dad in the future, which Oak is perfectly happy with. It's also mixed with Tear Jerker, given that it's a grown adult son wanting to get to know his father more. The bright delighted grin on Big Mac's face when Burnt Oak says yes really sells the moment.
- Grand Pear and Granny Smith making a truce after so many years of hatred towards the other. It comes complete with Insult of Endearment, "Prickly Pear" and "Crabapple", respectively.
- Given what the timeline implies about Mrs. Cake's age, it brings to mind the old Word of God that the Cake's pretty much adopted Pinkie Pie because they had no children of their own. If pony menopause works like it does in humans (and even if it works like it does in horses; fertility declines the older they get) they really must have been assuming they would never have children, with makes Pound and Pumpkin's birth even more heartwarming.
- It turns out Apple Bloom takes quite a bit of inspiration from her mother despite never really knowing her, as she helped Mrs. Cake get her cutie mark. In fact, each of the three siblings inherited a trait from their parents.
- The first meeting between Bright Mac and Pear Butter.Bright Mac: I'm not supposed to talk to you.
Pear Butter: I'm not supposed to talk to you, either.
Bright Mac: My mom says if you hold a buttercup under your chin, it'll make your chin glow. But it doesn't work on me. See?
Pear Butter: [attempts] Does it work on me?
Bright Mac: [stares in awe for a while] Sure does, Buttercup.
Pear Butter: Buttercup? I like that name.
- Bright Mac is just a sweetheart the whole way through. His Sickeningly Sweethearts behavior with Pear Butter is adorable, he's easily the nicest character on either side, he fully owns up to his own mistake even if it means working for his family's rival, and seems to hold no sour opinions of either side. It's very easy to see where Big Macintosh's Gentle Giant and Apple Bloom's All-Loving Hero tendencies come from.
- Despite the tragic and bittersweet aspects, the episode succeeds at being incredibly positive, hopeful, and heartwarming, right to its end with the united family declaring they will all be okay as they look on at the lover's trees.
- A small one that is shown a few times during flashbacks; many of the scenes are at night and we always see the full moon, with Nightmare Moon/ Luna's outline on the face. Luna grew angry because she felt that no one appreciated her night and that everyone slept through it. But this episode shows that there were people who would have appreciated it, namely lovers. Many of Bright Mac and Pear Butter's activities take place under a full moon - even their secret wedding!
- The Apple siblings reaching out to Grand Pear, and unhesitantly welcoming him into the family. When Grand Pear shows how deeply he regrets his actions, Apple Bloom tells him that what happened before is "in the past" (and even asks if she can call him "Grand-père-Pear").
- Granny Smith's relationship with the Apple Siblings becomes Heartwarming in Hindsight when you take into account her previous feuding with the Pears. There might've been a time when Granny Smith would've never imagined her son marrying a Pear, much less having Pears for grandchildren. And yet, here she is, the proud grandmother of three half-Apple-half-Pear grandkids who she loves so dearly. She's raised them, cared for them, and taught them the trade of being farmers. Looking back, one would've never guessed her grandchildren were half-Pears.
- Near the middle of You're In My Head Like A Catchy Song, Bright Mac is dragged past Pear Butter while she's weeding the orchard, and Bright Mac winks at her. At the very end of the musical number, Pear Butter finds Bright Mac asleep in the orchard, surrounded by more of the same weeds she had been pulling earlier, and curls up next to him. Bright Mac wasn't just out there to meet Pear Butter, he was also doing extra work to make her life easier, to the point of exhausting his strength and stamina enough to need a nap. It wouldn't be surprising if Pear Butter did similar things, in secret, to help Bright Mac too.
- Upon rewatching this episode after knowing how Grand Pear treated the Apple family in the past, the opening encounter between him and Apple Bloom becomes much more endearing as hes shown to be nothing but kind and even polite towards her. Really goes to show how even in old age, he cant find it in himself to justify holding a pointless grudge anymore.
Fame and Misfortune
- After Rarity runs off crying when two ponies criticize her journal entries, Starlight tells Twilight to go after her while she stays behind to deal with the two who badmouthed Rarity.
- When Starlight says she's going to have a "chat" with the two ponies who trashed Rarity, Twilight gives her a look, then nods. In the past, if Starlight had made a statement like that, Twilight may well have expressed concern that Starlight would have gone too far in "correcting" the offending ponies. But after all they've been through together, she demonstrates explicit trust in her former pupil.
- She also steps in to defend Fluttershy from her critics (even lifting one into the air).
- Starlight deciding to stay with the distraught Rarity while Twilight goes to see how things are with Applejack.
- When Starlight returns to the castle, she immediately realizes that Twilight's "window staring" is a sign that things are bad. This shows just how close she is to her former teacher.
- Despite all the chaos and stress the Mane Six went though, they decide it was all Worth It when they find out that the journal helped Toola Roola and Coconut Cream repair their friendship and make them better friends.
- Because of this, the Mane 6 realize their friendship has successfully withstood all the chaos they've endured this week. And when faced with the prospect of dealing with the crazy fans one by one, Twilight decides they should savor their time together. It's heartwarming to see that their friend hug is genuinely a source of comfort.
- Despite the fan ponies not listening, the song Flawless, is a rather touching song as it's all about that while they're not perfect, the Mane Six are happy the way they are and they are "Works in Progress", meaning that they still have plenty to learn.
- Rainbow Dash admitting that her confidence, while coming off as cocky, is what 'gives [her] the courage to fail'; a huge difference from how she used to act from Season 1.
- Rarity admitting to being a drama queen, and Applejack admitting that there's such a thing as being too honest; a lesson finally hammered home to her five episodes ago, by Rarity no less.
- Pinkie Pie admitting that she may be silly more than is needed, but she's just so happy to have so many friends to share in her silliness.
- Fluttershy, in a callback to earlier accusations of having to learn the same lessons repeatedly, says it took her a while to get there, but she's finally confident enough to 'come out of [her] shell'.
- Finally, we have Twilight wrap up the song, outright saying that without their faults, there wouldn't be any friendships at all.
- A minor example, but Starlight calling the Cutie Mark Crusaders' plan of putting together a cutie mark summer camp a "great idea" is an excellent sign of her Character Development, considering how much Starlight used to hate cutie marks.
- Despite what happened the previous episode, unless it's still happening behind the scenes, it looks like the hubbub and chaos has thankfully died down. Like a bad storm passing after days and days of rainfall. It's nice to see some peace restored.
- Thorax changes into a bear twice as big as himself, and Ember immediately stands against him, because both think Spike is being threatened by the other, with both pulling a Go Through Me to protect Spike.
- Before that moment, both Ember and Thorax were upset with Spike (with Ember even yelling at him). The fact that they both stepped up to defend him without hesitation shows just how much he means to them.
- Ember and Thorax befriending each other over their own problems as the new rulers of their respective species, and later forgiving Spike for his mistakes; while they are still upset over the whole ordeal, they can understand Spike's fears, as they were already having a bad time dealing with the flaws that Spike thought would make them to fight each other. The episode even ends with the three of them sharing a good laugh over one of Ember's fire-sneezing incidents.
- When Thorax gently brings the negative consequences of Ember's method of "solving" problems and arguments to her attention, she's immediately horrified at how badly this upsets her subjects. Brash and blunt she may be but she truly does care about those under her rule.
- In Applejack's story: even though they had teased him earlier, after saving his home, Rockhoof gives the Mighty Helm ponies a good-natured group hug.
- In Rarity's story: Mist Mane's ultimate act of kindness, when she sacrifices her own beauty to restore the beauty in her home and her friend Sable Spirit, even after all the horrible things Sable Spirit had done. And Mist Mane continued doing kind deeds for other ponies. Even more heartwarming—this is the favorite legend of Rarity, Element of Generosity.
- Rarity telling Sweetie Belle that beauty can be found everywhere, if you only know how to look.
- Rainbow Dash gets a lot in this episode, including spending most of the rest of the episode in-between the legends helping Scootaloo calm down after she's freaked out remembering the events of "Sleepless in Ponyville" and taking the most active stand and risks against the fly-ders to keep the others safe.
- At the beginning of the episode, Rainbow helps calm Scootaloo down by reminding her that, if she's afraid of anything they run into, she's got a big sister this time.
- When Scootaloo freaks out about going into the cave initially, Rainbow doesn't give her the choice whether to stay out and get bit or go in the cave. She picks the orange filly up and rushes into the cave.
- When Rainbow's about to tell her story, she invites Scootaloo to sit closer if she's scared. Scootaloo dives under Rainbow's foreleg, prompting the sweetest, warmest smile from Rainbow Dash.
- Then, after Scootaloo admits she liked Rainbow's story, we have an adorable bit of Rainbow picking her up and playfully tossing her in the air. The details make it even sweeter, with Rainbow booping her nose and Scootaloo happily buzzing her wings.
- When Scootaloo is scared at the prospect of traveling deeper into the cave, Rainbow Dash first gently reminds her to be brave like the story, gives her a motivational/comforting hug, then stays by her side with her wing around her the whole trip.
- When Scootaloo is scared of the river, Rainbow promptly picks her up and lets her sit on her belly through the waterfall.
- For a whole new level of heartwarming, compare Dash's reactions to Scootaloo panicking about the cave to that of Fluttershy's panicking in Season One episodes. Dash never hesitates to calm or comfort Scootaloo, and never once shows signs of being exasperated or irritated at the filly's panic like she did with Fluttershy in Season One. That is some strong character development, further cementing how Dash really does take lessons about compassion to heart and how seriously she takes being Scootaloo's surrogate big sister.
To Change a Changeling
- The fact that Starlight and Trixie travel all the way to the Changeling Hive on their own initiative. This is not a Cutie Map Mission. They just thought that a friend of theirs could use some cheering up. Starlight was a student in the Magic of Friendship but Trixie was (and still is) self-absorbed but still wants to help.
- The "craft time" changelings drawing a picture of Starlight and Trixie. Seems they have some hero worship for the two ponies responsible for bringing their benevolent king to the throne.
- Thorax's resolve to keep helping his brother change his ways. Even when every other changeling is calling for Pharynx to be banished form the hive, and it's clear the discontent is threatening his rule, Thorax just gives a firm "No" to the idea, staying loyal to the brother who once protected him. Rainbow Dash would be proud.
- While it turns out to be a pretty bad plan, it is heartmeltingly cute how excited Starlight is with her plan to lure the maulworth to the hive. She even finishes up her explanation by happily rearing up and kicking the air with her front hooves cutely.
- A small one in the flashback of their childhood. Even though he did it just to pick on him some more, Pharynx stood up to the other changelings picking on Thorax because in his own rough way, he truly cared for him.
- Even Trixie found it sweet! (...Except for that last part).
- The fact that per Starlight's Rousing Speech, the changelings eventually recognized that if their king Thorax still loves Pharynx, they should come to his rescue as well.
- The ending, where Pharynx is accepted by the other changelings for who he is, despite his tough attitude. The shared love allows him to finally change. Furthermore, there's also the fact that the magic that transformed him is willing to accommodate Pharynx's tastes to a degree, giving him a darker tone color palette.
- When the post-transformation Pharynx calls out Starlight for saying he was a "lost cause", he does so with a smile on his face, showing that he doesn't really hold it against her. And when Thorax also calls her out for both that and her poorly-thought-out plan, Pharynx spares her from further recrimination by asking if anyone wants to hear the story of how he used to make Thorax hit himself.
- In the legend of Somnambula, what was the answer to the Sphinx's riddle? "Hope".
- When the ponies of Somnanbula realize it was Dr. Caballeron who stole the Glow-paz, they stand up for Daring Do. Broken statue or no, they're not so blinded by anger that they can't recognize Daring Do from a bad guy.
- Following that, the ending where Daring Do takes responsibility for all her past actions. She buys a new cart for the vendor, pays off her debt to the inn-keeper, and repairs the statue of Somnanbula, thus earning the ponies' forgiveness. And Yearling leaves with a smile, knowing she's made amends and has a clear conscience.
- All thanks to Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash, Daring Do's books will not be cancelled.
- Rainbow Dash is repeatedly said to be Daring Do's closest friend.
- This is what sets her apart from just any fan, especially like the ones from "Fame and Misfortune" as they both care about each other as individuals. Notably, Dash was one herself in "Daring Don't", but mellowed out by the end of the episode and, while still interested in keeping the books going, is genuinely interested in helping Daring get her reputation back for her own sake.
- Rainbow Dash, upon listening to the story of Somnambula, begins to understand just why the statue means so much to the townsponies, and even argues that Somnambula would have even appreciated somepony like Daring Do, since they both worked to protect the city and its inhabitants.
- Pinkie Pie being uncharacteristically considerate of Yearling's feelings and decision shows considerable Character Development. She's learned when to leave well enough alone from experiences like "Rock Solid Friendship" but still wants to make sure that Yearling is happy with her decision.
It Isn't the Mane Thing About You
- The Cold Open shows several instances of Rarity's giving and generous nature, gladly doling out business advice to the Flower Trio, Mr. Breezy the fan-maker, and Davenport at Quills & Sofas in exchange for special orders for Rarity's shoot with Photo Finish.
- Fridge Heartwarming: In "Fame and Misfortune", Daisy was one of the Rarity haters. Yet, she no longer holds any ill will towards Rarity, who in turn holds nothing against her. (Generally, it's nice to see Rarity's work and reputation have been restored.)
- It's a blink-and-you-miss moment: Grand Pear and Granny Smith selling their respective products side by side. And this time around, they're not arguing or bickering over which fruit is better. Seems like they've truly learned to bury the hatchet.
- A similar blink and you'll miss it moment: before we cut to Filthy Rich, you can just barely catch Apple Bloom talking with Burnt Oak. Looks like she's not the only Apple sibling that wants to hear more stories about her father.
- Though she is completely freaking out, mortified, and under a ton of stress, Rarity nevertheless stays remarkably calm when she goes to ask Zecora why her 'shampoo' caused most of her mane to fall out. She's upset, to be sure, but she let's Zecora explain and doesn't blame her at all when she realizes what happened.
- In turn, Zecora searched all over Ponyville for Rarity to share the news her hair would grow back (eventually). Though it's not the good news she was hoping to hear, at least it's nice to see she took the time to tell Rarity her the potion mix-up didn't damage her hair forever.
- When Rarity moans for any pony to come up with a solution for her ruined mane, Applejack, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy don't hesitate to come forward and offer their aid. The hopeful look in Rarity's eyes just sells it.
- Sugar Belle visiting Big Mac at Sweet Apple Acres, and the loving looks they exchange.
- All of Rarity's friends reminding her of how special she is, mane or no mane, immediately restoring her confidence.
- Rarity's entire "Shining from the inside out" montage. Whilst wearing her new punk-fashion, she goes around town giving everyone in town the things they need more than she does (now that she has no photo shoot). She gives Filthy Rich her lavender flowers, helps Mr. Breezy improve his sales pitch by bringing his fans outside, and donates the lounge chair she had reserved. She didn't have to, but she did.
- In the end, Rarity's friends arranged for Photo Finish to take pictures of Rarity during her aforementioned "shining from the inside out" montage. Even though her improvised Mohawk may not be the same as her usual hairdo, she's still named most beautiful mane in Equestria for being beautiful on the inside.
A Health of Information
- Fluttershy doing everything she can to help cure Zecora, even when it leads her to exhaustion and sickness herself. It just goes to show how much Fluttershy cares for her friends.
- Likewise, despite coming down with a terrible illness that would result in her facing A Fate Worse Than Death, Zecora demonstrates a remarkable calm and grace in assuring Fluttershy that she doesn't blame her in the slightest.
- There's something quite endearing about Twilight and Spike's cook-off. Twilight is often busy with her princess duties, and Spike as her assistant, so it's nice to know they can still find time to have fun together via a friendly contest. And though Spike claims that his cauliflower bites "blew her sweet potato muffins out of the water", he later confesses to having eaten all the muffins, admitting that they were really good.
- In the flashback about Meadowbrook, there's one where she successfully makes a cure for a poor critter's illness. To reward her efforts, her mother bestows her a healer's mask as a rite of passage. It's almost the equivalent of earning your cutie mark.
- Cattail warmly greeting Twilight and Fluttershy. He doesn't mind that they basically broke into his home, and welcomes them with open hooves.
Marks and Recreation
- Kettle Corn crediting Skedaddle for helping her find her cutie mark in Haikus. Skedaddle blushes in response.
- Rumble finally leaving his side of the camp. In a sense, we're watching him finally come out of his shell.
- Thunderlane and Rumble spending some time together learning how to cook. It may not seem like much out of context, but this is notably the first activity where Rumble tries something other than a Wonderbolt activity, without fear he'll get a cutie mark in something else.
- Thunderlane cements himself in this episode as a Cool Big Bro and Friend to All Children; he quickly comes to the Crusaders' aid when they explain the situation, is a total Nice Guy not just to Rumble but the CMC and the other campers whenever he's onscreen, and genuinely cares for and addresses Rumble's concerns about getting a cutie mark in a way that's gentle but gets to the point.
- In the end, Kettle Corn's joy at realizing she can be a haiku poet and a painter if she wants to be. She even makes a haiku about it, and Apple Bloom comments on its beauty.
Once Upon A Zeppelin
- Spike offers to let Twilight go on the cruise while he handles her work. Heartwarming on its own, but Twilight tells Spike that he's as much a part of her family as anypony else and thus doesn't think she should go on a vacation without him. While Spike assures her that it's no trouble at all, it's nice to see Twilight acknowledge that she and Spike are essentially family.
- Although he may be a jerk, and although Twilight is having her Tear Jerker moment, it's also a Pet the Dog moment to see Iron Will treat one of his own goats to relaxation.
- The Loony Fans that are in this episode are a a million times more respectful then the ones in "Fame and Misfortune". As obsessive as some of them are, a lot of them admit that they would have left her be had the cruise not advertised that would be spending the day with Twilight, and they're all disgusted when they find out Twilight's family was tricked into the cruise. They also give her the privacy she deserved at the end of the episode. Such a beautiful departure from "Fame and Misfortune" indeed.
- Twilight's speech to the fans, thanking them sincerely for caring so much about her and Cadance, but gently requesting that they let her relax for the rest of the cruise.
Fan: "...Of course, Princess!"
- And the fans' response:
- Twilight is saddened that she missed the one event she actually wanted to spend with her family, seeing the Northern Stars. So at the end of the episode the family sets up their own activity for her: reenacting the Northern Stars by dressing Shining Armor, Flurry Heart, and Twilight Velvet in giant star costumes and levitating in the air as their own Northern Stars.
- The fact that, after Twilight accidentally stepped on his hoof and yelled at him, her parents took Star Tracker back to their cabin for first aid and comfort. Then followed by Twilight coming in to give him a heartfelt apology and inviting him to join them all for ice cream.
- Topped off by Star Tracker deciding to let her spend the rest of the cruise alone with her family, earning him a warm hug from Twilight, and then confronting Iron Will when he tries to take advantage of Twilight's celebrity status again.
- Cadance telling Twilight she is a good princess and explaining it doesn't make her a bad one to put her needs first from time to time.
Secrets and Pies
- The reason Pinkie Pie keeps making pies is because she loves seeing how happy Rainbow Dash is when she eats them. The reason Rainbow Dash refused to tell Pinkie Pie that she hates pie is because she knows how happy Pinkie gets when she sees Rainbow eat them.
- A subtle one: when Rainbow's lying is uncovered, she laments that she should have just eaten the pies in the first place. Not that she should have told Pinkie she didn't like pie, but that she should have just sucked it up and eaten them. Her first idea is still that she wanted Pinkie to be happy.
- The fact that while Rainbow Dash doesn't like pie, Pinkie's pies are considered universally delicious by the rest of Ponyville. When Pinkie talks to the ponies Rainbow secretly sends her pies to, they all have nothing but good things to say about them.
- Fridge Heartwarming: back in Best Night Ever, Rainbow saves Soarin's pie, and that's coming from someone who hates pies in general. That's some loyalty, especially to somepony she barely knew at the time.
- Seen then as here: Rainbow rarely throws out pies, even though she never eats them: She usually gets them to those who will appreciate them. And in the current episode, when she makes surpieses out of them, you can see the adorable delight on the faces of the pony recipients.
- Throughout the episode its abundantly clear that Starlight ADORES Sunburst (platonically that is). Seeing just how excited she is at the prospect of hanging out with him is absolutely adorable, even if it does get rather... creepy at times. And Sunburst, despite his obliviousness, clearly cares a lot about Starlight as well.
- While it had some bumps along the way, it is quite heartwarming that Sunburst, a bit of a social misfit himself, found a group of other misfits that he gets along with so well. In particular he's the first pony besides Starlight who really finds Trixie personally endearing and vice versa, and his geeking out with Twilight is a heartwarming sight to behold. He doesn't even seem to find Maud to be off-putting.
- The little giggle Trixie makes when Sunburst performs his own magic trick (pulling some handkerchiefs out of her mane) is just adorable.
- During the bonding Montage between Sunburst and Trixie, Sunburst continually messes up the old "Pick a Card" trick. Trixie doesn't show the slightest bit of annoyance; she just keeps smiling and politely shaking her head as he tries each card in turn.
- Small one here, but Maud points out that the reason why she and Starlight get along so well isn't because they have much in common; they simply enjoy each other's company.
- Twilight, Sunburst, Maud and Trixie making a giant version of Starlight's favorite game to cheer her up. And it involves all of them dressing up as dragons. Its as adorable as it sounds.
- The best part is that none of them seemed reluctant to do it. All of them, even Maud and Trixie, were more than happy to go through the trouble just to cheer up their close friend.
- In previous episodes, it was shown that Trixie was often Innocently Insensitive towards Starlight and, at times, taking their friendship for granted. This time, she's willing to make an effort to make Starlight happy, and, when having a group hug in the end, she's the one who gets Maud to join, as she knows Starlight would appreciate that and, possibly, because Trixie already considers Maud a friend too.
- There's also the fact that Trixie shared a hug with Twilight, despite their history and the fact that Trixie has shown disdain for Twilight even after her redemption, such as her rubbing it in Twilight's face how Starlight chose to take her with her when she went to visit her old village. Also, when Sunburst is leaving, Trixie is helping Twilight with his very heavy baggage; this, and the above mentioned giant version of the game, shows that they're now willing to work together without any friction, and even enjoy each other's company to an extent.
- The fact that Sunburst and Twilight honestly do try to include Starlight while antiquing, with Sunburst trying let her know that it's okay for her to say if she's bored and Twilight tactfully changing the subject when she sees she's not enjoying it. Credit to Starlight for at least trying to cover up her boredom and act interested.
- The Group Hug at the end is adorable enough, but Trixie pulling Maud into it when the latter expresses (possible) reluctance is the icing on the cake.
- Celestia and Luna never knew what happened to their teacher Starswirl, and tell Twilight they'll be grateful if she can discover what happened to him.
- At the end of the episode the three share a heartwarming reunion. It's as cute as you'd expect.
- Twilight, the rest of the Mane 6, and Sunburst decide to find a way to save the Pillars from Limbo. There are also several moments when the Mane 6 are gathering the materials needed to save them:
- Petunia is shown studying archeology and Rockhoof's old island, following what she got her cutie mark in.
- Rarity cleans an old mare's garden to show there is more beauty to it than just one flower, even though she gets dirty doing it.
- The dragons mention that Ember has commanded them to make peace with the ponies, a sign of her trying to make friendship possible between the two species. When Garble still tries to bully Spike though, Rainbow stands up to him.
- Fluttershy gets help from Cattail to move the Flashbees' hive away from the swamp so the other animals can get to the water. Cattail says she didn't need to do this since she could have just taken the mask, but she insists she had to help first.
- Daring Do and the citizens of Somnambula help Pinkie get the blindfold she was looking for, showing that the friendship between Daring and the town is still strong.
- Despite the trouble that comes with freeing the Pillars, the Mane 6 quickly bond with each legend they have idolized for years. Even Starswirl eventually comes to respect Twilight's knowledge and skills, despite being grumpy with her at first for also freeing the Pony of Shadows.
- Starlight insists on trying to talk to the Pony of Shadows rather than banish him, because she herself was shown the same kindness and understanding by Twilight. In fact, it's worth noting that Starlight has displayed a lot of empathy in this season in general, from her friendship with Maud, to her attempt to reach out to Pharynx, to helping the royal sisters understand one another better. It really shows how far she's come from the borderline sociopath she used to be.
- She is proven to be right when the Pony of Shadows, aka Stygian, turns out to not have been trying to steal the Pillars' magic years ago, but trying to copy them to fight alongside his friends, and was banished from the group due to a misunderstanding. Starlight says if any pony can save him, it is Twilight, because that's what she does, she saves friendships. Starswirl and the other Pillars are grateful that they have their old friend back.
- Despite having been conflicted throughout the episode, the moment Twilight sees Stygian struggling to escape the shadow, she IMMEDIATELY dives right in after him, without hesitation. Twilight may lose her way from time to time, but she simply WON'T abandon a pony in need.
- And it doesn't take long for Starlight to join her. The swirling mass of darkness isn't going to keep her from sticking to her mentor's side if it means there's a chance of helping someone.
- When the truth about Stygian is revealed and Twilight explains Stygian can't free himself from The Pony of Shadows, Starswirl shows no hesitation in rallying the others to save him, showing just how good a heart he does have, and that he can look beyond his stubborn pride.Starswirl: "Then we must help him!"
- When Starswirl arrogantly dismisses Twilight's abilities, the rest of the Mane Six immediately come to her aid, saying how brilliant and dedicated she is, including that she was made an alicorn for finishing one of his spells. Doubles as a moment of awesome.
- For bonus heartwarming points, pay attention to Twilight's expression; she goes from dejected to grateful and hopeful as the friends she's had for years bolster the confidence her idol just tore to shreds.
- Star Swirl's turn around at the end of the episode, where he finally sees the error of his ways and thanks Twilight for showing him the light.Star Swirl: "Long ago you needed our help, Stygian. But instead of listening, we turned our backs on you. Pride clouded my judgement. I owe you an apology. Thank you for helping us see the errors of our ways, Twilight. It seems I never accounted for the magic of friendship."
- He later gives even more praise to Twilight in front of Celestia, which reduces Twilight to happy tears. Really think about it. Her idol, whom she had admired for years, is praising her in front of her former teacher, whom she respects and looks up to more anyone else, except maybe for Star Swirl himself.
- Starlight and Twilight's hug at the end of the episode.Twilight: "It's funny. I thought meeting my idol would give me all the answers I ever wanted. But instead, I forgot what I already knew... Good thing I had a student of my own to remind me."
- At one point, Star Swirl acknowledges to Starlight that he will be handing out a lot of apologies this day. It's a moment that shows that he has grown as a character and can accept when he is wrong, as opposed to his Knight Templar personality when he first returned to Equestria.