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The Beginning of the End
- Tirek taking the time to actually explain who Grogar is to Cozy Glow.
- Discord acts all offended when Celestia announces Twilight will be taking over instead of him, but in reality he's nothing but supportive of the decision. He just doesn't admit it outright. It's a big change from the way he reacted the last time somepony else got a leadership position he wanted.
- The way that the rest of the Mane Six and Spike all comfort Twilight while she's having her continued panic attack in the throne room. Applejack gets special mention for the way she starts the comfort; she gently picks up the still-panicking Twilight and places her down on her throne, all while wearing the warmest smile on her face, like a mother soothing her child.
- Twilight contacting Discord alongside Starlight and the rest of the Mane Six following Sombra's first attack. Not only does she now know how to get into contact with him, but she called him in alongside the rest of her friends. It seems she's acknowledged Discord's problems with being left out, and made an effort to include him.
- When Twilight and her friends seemingly defeat Sombra in the Crystal Empire, Flurry Heart immediately celebrates their victory by hugging her Aunt Twilight, and she is quickly joined by Spike and later her parents. It is touching seeing nearly Twilight's entire family in a group hug together.
- Discord taking a magic blast head-on in order to protect Fluttershy.
- And when he's hurt, all of the Mane 6 are concerned for him, not just Fluttershy. Also a TearJerker, but Fluttershy herself is cradling him, tears in her eyes, begging him to wake up.
- Discord gives a heartfelt speech to all of the Mane 6, inspiring them to stand against Sombra.Discord: You're here, together, willing to give everything you've got for Equestria. Nothing and nopony can ever take that away from you, because that's who you are.
- This becomes a massive CMOH when you compare this scene to Discord's first-ever appearance 7 seasons ago; there, in stained glass window form, he addresses all of the Mane Six by name and the element they represent, but he does so with malicious intent, seeing them as no threat to him at all. Here, Discord does the same, but this time he's saying it with sincerity and even love. He truly has come full circle.
- Meta example - Discord evolving to genuine friendship can also be seen as a parallel to John DeLancie's evolving commitment to MLP:FiM. In the beginning, playing Discord was just another paycheck for DeLancie; a role which he promptly forgot about. But now, he's become so much a part of Friendship is Magic that he evolved from 'Special Guest Star'-status to being a regular voice actor for the show! If you listen to Discord's above speech with this in mind, it becomes a happy Tear Jerker as well.
- The above speech is so inspiring to her that Twilight fully embraces her power as an alicorn for perhaps the first time, seeming to get more and more powerful against Sombra's attacks as her confidence grows, right to the point that she can swat aside a blast that she was initially struggling against.
- Discord freely admits he went so far with the speech and fake injury because he believes Twilight will be a truly great leader and wants her to believe that too.
- A villainous example: while also funny, there is actually something kind of sweet about Cozy Glow making a "best friends rock sculpture" of her and Tirek that she excitedly shows the latter, and about her hiding behind him whenever she feels intimidated. She also feels the need to add "No offense, you look great" after saying that he's really old. She may not understand friendship, but she does seem to hold some real affection toward her centaur mentor. Subverted as all of her affection towards Tirek and her attempts to befriend him are merely her trying to manipulate him.
- And in turn, while Tirek does find her irritating, he still lets her hide behind him when she's scared without a complaint.
- Tirek seems concerned when Grogar gets up in Cozy Glow's personal space because she doesn't know who he is. Chrysalis does too, despite the fact that she absolutely despises ponies.
- Ocellus's entire family signs her permission slip, even the babies.
- This gem of yak wisdom from Yona:Yona: Yaks know things not forever. That's why smash and rebuild.
- The Young Six coming together to make the Tree's remains into something that truly symbolizes what the Tree is and the fact that their efforts and their friendship are powerful enough to help the Tree regenerate as something new and stronger.
- The Tree evidently knows how much Silverstream loves stairs.
- The episode itself is a "thank you" to the voice actors of the main characters. Each chose something they wanted to see their characters do, and the episode's story was written around these ideas. They're credited at the beginning of the episode for writing the script.
- Even though Twilight and Shining Armor had a sibling rivalry in the past, it never corroded their bond as Best Big Brother Friend Forever or Little Sister. In fact, it was such an affable rivalry that it only served to enforce their bond with activities they did together.
- Baby Spike in the flashback.
- Applejack's story about her gig as Apple Chord becomes this when it concludes with Applejack deciding she was happiest performing for her family.
- Remember "Father knows Beast" where Twilight's familial relationship with Spike was left vague, at best? The show outdoes itself by ending the episode with Twilight and Shining Armor finally establishing Spike as their little brother.
- Spike's moment with Fluttershy is actually very genuine. Fluttershy actually notes that her own brother could take notes on being a better sibling from Spike.
- On the subject of Twilight and Shining Armor finally acknowledging Spike as their little brother, flashbacks in the episode reveal that the Sparkle family raised Spike in their own home.
The Point of No Return
- Here's an overlooked meta one: this is the first time we get to hear Derpy speak since her return, in a normal episode which is neither a milestone nor a special. Looks like her character image is finally fully accepted.
- Twilight was invited to Dusty Pages' house for tea all the time when she was younger. Once again, it's shown that pre-Ponyville Twilight had more friends than she realized.
- While it was brief, Twilight and Moondancer seeing each other again was a nice moment. And Moondancer sharing a meal with First Folio proves that the formerly-reclusive pony's social life has gotten even better since we last saw her.
- Dusty Pages actually thanks Twilight for never bringing the book back, as it helped her grow as a person, and drove her to seek out new goals, even if she ended up failing at them. She then imparts the very lesson about perfection she learned onto Twilight, telling her that she doesn't need to be perfect all the time.
- Quibble Pants spends the whole episode trying to get Wind Sprint to like him, because even though Clear Sky loves him, he doesn't want to force himself into their family if Wind Sprint isn't on board. When he thinks Clear Sky wants to end their relationship, he gracefully bows out because he doesn't want her to have to choose between him and her daughter.
- Meta example: Clear Sky and Wind Sprint are voiced by the wife and daughter of Quibble Pants' voice actor Patton Oswalt.
- Also, before even Patton himself was on the show, he talked about how his daughter Alice was just as obsessed with it as he was about Star Wars at her age, so this must have been a dream come true for her.
- And Alice gets her first exposure as a voice actress under the supervision of both her parents and it's clear she had a ball with it.
She's All Yak
- Sandbar asking Yona to be his "pony pal" for the Amity Ball. After Yona agrees, he rushes down the school corridors to buy their tickets, laughing happily.
- In return, Yona wanted to learn everything about how to fit in at a "pony dance" because she didn't want to let Sandbar down.
- When Yona's wig falls over her eyes and she starts running and stomping around trying to get it off her friends all move in to try to help her.
- Yona ends up accidentally whacking them with her loose braids. None of them are upset with her for that later.
- Sandbar knew Yona well enough to know she'd retreat to the Treehouse of Harmony after the dancing disaster. He encourages her to return to the dance by saying he didn't invite her because she was "the best pony", but because she is "the best Yona", and that he never wanted her to be anything else. This leads to Yona hugging him tightly, and agreeing to go back with him.
- All of Yona's friends stand with her when she and Sandbar return to the dance, which is still badly damaged from before.
- Sandbar and Yona being awarded the newly-renamed "Annual Amity Ball Award for Friendship".Rainbow Dash: We all decided you and Yona totally earned this.
Rarity: Your actions tonight exemplify the true meaning of friendship.
Twilight Sparkle: Congratulations, you two!
- The trophy, instead of being of two Ponies, is now a Pony and a Yak in their honor.
- The whole school wanting Yona to teach them the "Yakyakistan Stomp".
- In a minor moment, Rusty Bucket references the Friendship Journal and one of its lessons, stating a real friend wouldn't ask him to do something he wasn't supposed to do. It just shows he is another pony who actually understands the purpose of the journal and is another pony Twilight and her friends helped by publishing it.
- When Tirek and Cozy Glow are arguing at Tirek's campsite, Cozy mentions that Tirek talks to his grandma, or "Gram-Gram" as he calls her, in his sleep. This is the only redeeming quality Tirek has shown in his time in the series to this point, and he immediately shows to be defensive of her when Cozy mentions her, showing that he does indeed love her.Tirek: Don't you dare bring Gram-Gram into this!
- Tirek, Cozy, and Chrysalis are learning to work during their mission and start bonding with each other, (becoming something like friends).
- Chrysalis trusts Tirek enough to lend him her magic so he can create an opening for Cozy. Tirek does not betray her trust and gives her her magic back afterward.
- Tirek also clearly strains himself in maintaining the opening for Cozy, who will be trapped forever if it closes. While he would likely claim he did it so that they could get the bell, there's a definite sense that he actually does care about Cozy's well-being deep down.
- Chrysalis, Tirek and Cozy realizing that Good Feels Good, even if just for a brief moment, shows that perhaps their hearts aren't entirely black after all.
- Chrysalis compares the feelings she's experiencing to ones she felt with her Hive. As awful as she was and still is it seems she did genuinely care about her subjects to some degree.
Sweet and Smoky
- Fluttershy gushing over the eggs and later the baby dragons is just adorable all around.
- The setup for the episode is Smolder being concerned for her brother, as he's been unhappy since she left and she wants to check up on him.
- When Ember sees Fluttershy cooing over the eggs, she gives a bit of a snarky response—"It can't answer you, it's an egg."—but there's no sarcasm or irritation in her voice, and she's even smiling. She also has no qualms with Fluttershy's presence in the hatching grounds, a place you'd think dragons would be hyper-protective of.
- Although the moment is Played for Laughs due to Ember's nervousness and short temper, it is very sweet to see Ember try Fluttershy's motherly approach with the eggs herself and coo the eggs.
- As much as Smolder loves her brother, she's not so deluded about him that she'd be reluctant to call him out for mistreating Spike, which is exactly what she does.
- Smolder and Spike's Ship Tease moments.
- It's underplayed, but Garble is shown to be a Cool Big Bro to Smolder, being excited when he first sees her, the two having a welcoming handshake, and she's the only dragon he opens up to his poerty for until the end. She even nicknames him "Gar-Gar". As much of a jerk as he is to Spike, there's no doubt Garble really loves his little sister.
- Following his Heel Realization, Garble doesn't join in when his gang once again mock Spike's blanket-making abilities. He also congratulates Spike for giving him his Eureka Moment, and calls him by his Affectionate Nickname of "Spikey-wikey" (with no trace of spite or mockery in his voice).
- Garble performing his beatnik poetry in front of the other dragons is both this and an Awesome Moment. Unlike the subverted crowd expectations of "Yakity-Sax", Garble is 100% accurate in his fear that he'll be mocked for his poetry, with the twist that that's the whole point. The game plan is for everyone's laugh-fire to be hot enough to hatch the eggs. He's willing to subject himself to the humiliation and mocking he's dreaded would come with his passion in order to ensure the survival of the baby dragons. And it works.
- When the other dragons begin mocking Garble's beatnik poetry, Dragon Lord Ember doesn't hesitate to come to his defense.Dragon: [...] What kind of weakling writes poetry?Ember: (flies up so her shadow looms over him) The Hero of the Dragon Lands! That's who!
- Followed by Smolder talking about how Garble was able to save the eggs because he found the strength to be who he truly was regardless of everyone else's derision, and how she was taught by her friends to celebrate differences instead of make fun of them. Several dragons actually nod at each other in agreement before Ember makes a royal decree that that's exactly what dragons will do from now on. She then asks Garble to teach her how to write poetry.
- Seeing Fluttershy hugging three of the newly hatched baby dragons.
- The fact that no-one goes Mama Bear or Papa Wolf over her doing this. Even Ember, whose job it is to watch over the eggs, doesn't say a word of protest.
- Look at the baby dragons' expressions as Fluttershy hugs them closer. Contrary to Ember's earlier comment that Dragons aren't into "touchy-feely" stuff, they're clearly loving the affection!
Going to Seed
- Applejack and Applebloom bonding while looking for the Great Seedling.
- When Applejack expresses how guilty she felt that her family was shorthanded for the confluence because she got caught in one of her own Seedling traps when she was a filly, Granny is quick to point out that they were able to finish their harvest just fine and just laughed about the mess later.
- Applebloom's, and later Applejack's, hunting shenanigans cause a lot of work and trouble for Big Mac, but the last time he gets caught in a trap and the former two burst out laughing, he smiles at their amusement, making it clear he's not upset with them.
- In the flashback we see Bright Mac give Big Mac his horse collar, the colt grinning in delight.
- Buttercup carrying foal Apple Bloom around, the baby gumming an apple.
- Even if Maud takes even more liking to Mudbriar after he gets petrified by a cockatrice, she still wants him to be back to normal.
- Mudbriar shows he has Took a Level in Kindness. In his first appearance he refused to apologize for his over-corrections even when it was clear he was annoying Pinkie, now he can tell when they arent welcome and that nobody, even his girlfriend Maud, is interested in them at the moment and he quickly corrects himself to stop from angering anyone.
The Last Crusade
- A minor one, but when the cragadile attacks the classroom, what does Cheerilee do? Grabs Scootaloo, leaps on the top of her desk, and hugs the young filly as a way of protecting her. She really does care about her students.
- Scootaloo's Reunion with her Parents
- The Cutie Mark Crusaders get a big celebration at town hall by all of the ponies/creatures that they have helped out, including Babs Seed, Terramar, Trouble Shoes, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, Gabby, Tender Taps, and the foals from their cutie mark day camp, showing that they are all grateful for all the CMC have done for them. The only pony the Crusaders have helped out who is absent is Cozy Glow, but we all know how the Crusaders' "friendship" with her turned out...
- It's also very cute seeing Diamond Tiara wave at the CMC, showing how she's very grateful for them helping her change her bullying ways.
- Add on to that, this is the first time Babs Seed has seen Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon post reformation. Though Babs almost certainly knew about this beforehand do to staying in contact with the Crusaders, it's still nice for her to actually meet with them again, considering she was friends with them back when they were bullies before she changed. While the three don't interact onscreen they likely did catch up either before or after the celebration.
- Terramar and Gabby claw bumping is significant because it shows two of the non-ponies that the Crusaders have helped proving that their influence goes beyond Equestria, and because Terramar and Gabby must have met at this party and are apparently getting along quite well, meaning that the Crusaders are still helping by bringing others together.
- Scootaloo being allowed to stay in Ponyville.
- Aunts Holiday and Lofty will now be living in Ponyville with Scoots.
- Although it was also tremendously tear-jerking, the scene where the CMC are crying at their supposedly final clubhouse meeting is heartwarming too; that all three of them could ugly cry in front of each other, so openly and messily, just goes to show how much they really do love one another, and how heartbroken they'll be if they have to separate.
Between Dark and Dawn
- Just the premise of the episode is sweet; Celestia and Luna going on a sister-vacation. Initially at least, the two are practically overjoyed to spend time together.
- After Celestia and Luna have their falling out, it doesn't take long for them to start missing each other and eventually reconcile. And this time, they managed to mend fences without a "Freaky Friday" Flip.
- When they next run into each other after their argument, Luna says she was climbing Mount Filly-mane-jaro to watch the sunrise, while Celestia says she was going to watch the moonset. In other words, they were each going to watch the body that the other is in charge of, and this is before they reconcile.
- When they then see both the sun and the moon moving uncontrollably in the sky they immediately deduce Twilight's having trouble with the amulet they gave her and go to help her without hesitation.
The Last Laugh
- When Cheese Sandwich loses his ability to laugh, Pinkie is the one pony he thinks of that can help him out.
- In turn, Pinkie's delight at being able to see Cheese again. It's obvious they both look up to and respect each other.
- While his tone doesn't necessarily show it, Sans Smirk genuinely loving Pinkie's various comedic items for the factory.
- Even though he could have easily been the "money-obsessed business pony sucking all the creativity out of an artist"-type character, Sans Smirk turns out to be a decent pony genuinely worried about Cheese Sandwich.
The Summer Sun Setback
- When Chrysalis goes to tell the others her plan to sabotage the festival, they lean in to listen without hesitation. Compare this to their power struggle in "Frenemies"; whether or not it's the magic of friendship at work, their mutual trust has definitely improved.
- Once the sun is raised, Twilight announces to the gathered crowed that although this is the last Summer Sun Celebration, it will now be replaced by a new holiday. To honor Celestia and Luna for all they have done for Equestria, the holiday will now be known as the "Festival of the Two Sisters".
- Discord actually goes along with Twilight's instructions for him to not do anything "Discord-y" during the Celebration. And though he is clearly annoyed over Twilight not falling into another Freak Out! as he'd expected, he still helps to clean up the mess caused by the Terrible Trio, and privately admits that Twilight may actually be ready for whatever comes next.
- Also, even though Discord was enjoying watching everything fall into chaos, everyone believes him when he says he didn't cause it this time.
- And the fact that Discord genuinely wanted to help with the celebration since he's "known Celestia and Luna longer than any of you".
- Gabby and Spike's friendship is really adorable to see, with the two flying together on Gabby's rounds and sharing shakes.
- The ending implies Spike having a crush on Gabby, visibly blushing when asking to accompany her on her rounds. Especially if one considers this episode as the ending to the "Sparity" subplot.
- While Played for Laughs and deliberately hammy, Rarity was genuinely willing to apologize to Spike when she thought he was upset with her, even if she didn't know the supposed reason why.
- The reason Gabby gets to show up more to Ponyville is because Grandpa Gruff asks for so many updates on Gallus' progress at Twilight's school. Seems the old griffon cares more for Gallus than he lets on.
A Horse Shoe-In
- Trixie standing up for Gallus when Grampa Gruff doesn't show any care towards Gallus' school progress. This shows that Trixie does indeed care about the students and their well-being. While Starlight initially insists that she shouldn't have done this, she later specifies that she's glad that Trixie stood up for a neglected student. Starlight just didn't want a potential vice head-mare to fight with parents/guardians.
- Starlight also states that Gallus told her that no one had ever stood up for him in front of Grampa Gruff like that before.
- At the end of the episode, Trixie gets Starlight's old job as school counselor, while Sunburst becomes Vice Head-Mare of the School of Friendship.