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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S1 E11 "Winter Wrap Up"

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Three months of winter coolness...
Spike: You're good at a lot of things, just not nest-making, ice-skating, animal waking, snow clearing...
Twilight Sparkle: Thanks a lot for making me feel SO much better.

Written by Cindy Morrow

Winter is coming to an end, and Ponyville prepares for its annual cleanup to make way for spring. Since the town was founded by Earth ponies, the tradition is to avoid using magic, leaving Twilight Sparkle with a problem: what non-magical talents does she have?

All of her friends already know their roles. Rainbow Dash's pegasi are either flying off to retrieve the southern birds or clearing away the winter clouds, so Twilight obviously can't join them. Rarity is making nests for the returning birds, but Twilight's inexperienced hooves aren't up to the job. Pinkie Pie is scoring lines into the frozen lakes with ice skates to make breaking the ice easier, but the task proves too slippery for our heroine. Fluttershy's job waking up the hibernating animals seems manageable — until Twilight meets all the snakes, bats, and skunks. Around this time, Spike suggests bending the rules with just a little magic, but Twilight doesn't give in until she realizes she's not strong enough to help Applejack's team on the snowplows. Her spell to 'help' move her plow ends up out of control, resulting in a crash and an avalanche of snow. Applejack chews out Twilight for using magic, and the unicorn runs off, utterly upset with herself.

While Spike tries to cheer Twilight up, they hear the townsponies arguing over what task needs to be done next. It seems the Winter Wrap-Up teams all know their jobs, but they don't know how to coordinate with each other. Mayor Mare despairs that spring is going to be late... as always. Inspired, Twilight leaps into action. She swiftly gets the tasks in order and directs everyone to do their jobs efficiently and as a team. Spring arrives on time, and Twilight is officially designated "All-Team Organizer", finally ensuring that she has a job to do.


  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: "So quietLY and nice", "Help the earth poNY way".
  • An Aesop: Everyone has a talent and can be useful, no matter how specific their talent is.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Caramel makes sounds like a whimpering dog when Applejack berates him.
  • Alone in a Crowd: Twilight at the end of the song, to represent the fact that, at the time, she really has no place in the wrap-up.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Applejack implies that the winter holiday is exactly this.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Happens briefly to Twilight when the sun hits her during the Crowd Song.
  • Brutal Honesty: Perhaps because Twilight refuses to let him sleep, Spike does not pull any punches when it comes to Twilight's failed attempts at fitting in. He tries to back off when she becomes truly depressed, but even that comes out the same way.
  • Catch Your Death of Cold: Happens to Spike at the end of the episode. He falls asleep on a piece of ice in a lake with Applejack commenting that he'll be in for a surprise when it melts. Next time we see him, he's wrapped in a blanket by the fire with fuzzy slippers, looking sick.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Twilight's incompetence at everything is Played for Laughs at first. But as soon as Applejack yells at her for using magic, Twilight runs off crying and the whole thing becomes a bit of a Tear Jerker.
  • Chekhov's Skill: "It's a good thing I'm so organized!"
  • Chores Without Powers: Twilight participates in Ponyville's annual Winter Wrap-Up, where the ponies clear away the snow, awaken the animals, and plant crops to make way for spring. Since Ponyville was founded by earth ponies, it is tradition to do the event without magic. Twilight is a unicorn who relies on magic to do most things, so she struggles to find something she can do without magic. When she sees everyone arguing over the disorganization of the event, it hits her what she can do—coordinate all the tasks and ponies so that everything gets done correctly and on time.
  • Comedic Sociopath: Spike (somehow) falls asleep on a piece of ice in the middle of a frozen lake. The only response to this is a comment that he's going to be surprised and a laugh at his expense. While we don't know much about dragon biology, cold blooded reptiles can possibly DIE from cold if something like that happened. Even if there was no risk of that, he would at the very least get very sick (which he does).
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Being a unicorn bookworm from a town filled with unicorns, and thus used to Winter Wrap Up being done by magic, Twilight simply doesn't have any of the skills or abilities needed to physically tidy away the winter, making her a fish out of water in Ponyville's Earth pony-inspired, traditionally mundane version of the celebration. Thankfully, she has other, less physically-oriented skills which come in handy.
  • Crowd Song: Notable as the first song in the series that isn't just sung by Pinkie Pie.
  • Disaster Dominoes: When Twilight tries her hoof at waking the animals, she runs into a chain of mishaps by fleeing into the nests/dens of other critters.
  • Dramatic Spotlight: The start of the song is all about this trope.
  • Epic Fail:
    • Twilight's attempt at creating a bird nest is so bad that the perfectionist Rarity spends much of the remaining day trying to fix it up. And actually breaks down sobbing in despair partway through.
    • Pretty much everything Twilight tries to do to help in the Winter Wrap-Up results in this in some fashion until the end.
    • Apparently, Ponyville's Winter Wrap-Up has been this on a regular basis.
    • A certain fan-fave pegasus (here called "Ditzy Doo") goes north for the southern birds, and apparently went west for them last year.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: When Twilight overhears from the mayor that everypony is disorganized as they do every year, she realizes how to save the Wrap-Up and organize all the teams so spring can arrive on time.
  • Face Plant: Twilight falls face-first on the ice while trying to skate on the frozen pond.
  • Failures on Ice: Twilight's attempt to help score the ice so it will melt go horribly wrong, earning her some teasing from Spike.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The only thing Twilight is good at when building her nest is organizing the items necessary to build it.
    • Likewise, there are hints that the wrap-up is a disorganized mess even before it's called attention to: Twilight is left to find a job completely on her own, and when we see the ponies clearing the fields for planting, the plows are all moving in random directions. One scene had several moving towards EACH OTHER.
    • Or the lines of Applejack and chorus: "We must work so very hard, it's just so much to do!"
    • Or the way Pinkie scores the ice.
    • A subtle one. When Twilight tries to put on her saddle with her hooves, instead of magically, we watch her struggle and, eventually, end up with her saddle falling off her body.
  • Funny Background Event: You can clearly see some ploughs moving towards each other before it's revealed what a disorganised mess everything is. Likewise when Mayor Mare is describing what a disaster it is, Rarity can be seen sobbing hysterically over trying to fix Twilight's bad nest.
  • Hard-Work Montage: One as the Crowd Song and one (purely instrumental) as the climax.
  • Human Snowball: The result of Twilight's attempt to clear the snow from the fields. Also recurs to an extent when Twilight tries her hand at ice skating, and ends up crashing into Pinkie and Spike.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: In the montage showing the successful Winter Wrap-Up at the end of the episode, the scene where pegasi are leading a large flock of migratory birds home transitions into the next when a bird flies across the camera, obscuring it with its wings and "trailing" the next scene after it.
  • "I Want" Song: At least Twilight's verses.
    I want to belong so I must
    Do my best today
    Do my best to-daaaaaaaaaay...
  • Incredibly Long Note: The example immediately above, as well as the last note of the song shortly afterward:
    'Cause tomorrow spring is HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERE!
  • Irony:
    • "Winter Wrap Up" is the show's first proper musical number, as the previous songs had all been diegetic and performed by Pinkie Pie. It's quite ironic that Pinkie has the fewest lines in the song - with only one in the opening verse and another at the end of the third chorus.
    • Rarity goes into hysterics and spends most of the wrap-up trying to fix the "mess" of a nest Twilight made. Given her materials, Twilight made a nest that's more natural for normal birds than Rarity's team ever makes.
  • Jump Scare: Twilight peers into a cave, wondering what kind of animals will greet her from hibernation...only to see snakes popping in her face.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Spike doesn't do much to help Twilight during Winter Wrap Up. He constantly makes fun of her efforts, laughs at her failures, makes her feel bad about herself, and after he encourages her to cheat using magic he says she has some nerve when she gets caught. Once Winter Wrap Up is over, Spike is victim of a prank where he falls into the lake once the last bit of ice melts and he catches a cold.
  • Ludd Was Right: Shades of this in the episode; Ponyville's Winter Wrap-Up traditionally disallows any magical interference (beyond the innate abilities of pegasi to move clouds), in part due to having been founded by Earth ponies. Meanwhile, Twilight's attempts to use a little magic to help out with the plowing only cause a total disaster and get her angrily chewed out. Finally, Twilight's biggest contribution is not her magical skills, but her ability to organise the chaotic mess that the ill-handled Ponyville wrap-up teams are.
  • Magical Underpinnings of Reality: In Equestria, ponies are responsible for changing the seasons; also see Painting the Frost on Windows.
  • Moment of Weakness: No doubt using magic to make the snow plow move was this for Twilight.
  • Musical World Hypothesis: The "Winter Wrap Up" song is the All In Their Head version - where the ponies are singing about what they intend to do for the annual wrap up, along with Twilight worrying about what role she'll play. This would explain why they sing about it before it happens. Alternately it's Diegetic, and singing is part of the tradition.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Applejack did have a right to be upset with Twilight for breaking the "no magic allowed" rule, but she clearly didn't mean to hurt her feelings, as shown by her reaction to Twilight running off in tears after being chewed out.
  • Mythology Gag: In one G1 two-parter, Megan and the ponies went north to find southern birds—with more success.
  • Never My Fault: Spike suggests that Twilight uses magic to clear the snow. When it ends up disastrous, he joins Applejack in chewing her out.
  • Obsessively Organized: Both Twilight and Rarity show absurdly organized behavior. Twilight immediately lays out all the components of the bird's nest in an orderly fashion before constructing it, and then later her organization skills help to save the day. Rarity, on the other hand, becomes obsessed with trying to fix Twilight's attempt at the bird's nest, leaving her drastically behind schedule.
  • Opinion Flip-Flop: Spike spends a chunk of the episode convincing Twilight to use her magic. When she does to help plow fields and things get out of control, Applejack calls her out on it. Spike immediately changes his position, chiding her for using magic. Granted he feels bad for her when she leaves in tears.
  • Painting the Frost on Windows: The main point of the episode; ponies throughout Equestria have to purposefully manage the turning of the seasons, so the titular Winter Wrap-Up literally brings spring back to each settlement.
  • Portmanteau: At one point, Rainbow Dash tells Applejack to "chillax".
  • Red Armband of Leadership: A few ponies can be spotted wearing an armband as well as star patch on their team vest, although its color matches the team color: Rainbow Dash leads the Blue-Weather Team and Applejack leads the Green-Planting team. Although Rarity and Fluttershy are both on the Tan-Animal team, neither of them have one.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Played with. Twilight is terrified by snakes. They themselves seem harmless and Fluttershy and the rest of the animal team have no problem with them.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: After Twilight says, "Thanks a lot for making me feel SO much better", Spike obliviously says he's glad he could help.
  • Serious Business: Twilight even refers to it by name.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: Twilight's attempt to wake up the animals of Ponyville results in getting a hive dropped on her. She's later shown covered in bee stings.
  • Silence is Golden: An entire two-and-a-half minute Hard-Work Montage of Twilight organizing the teams so winter is wrapped up on time, all without any dialogue.
  • Shout-Out: To the original four-legged ice-skater.
  • Skewed Priorities: Rarity sings that spring must come because her winter boots are going out of fashion. Additionally by the climax, she's spent all day trying to fix Twilight's nest instead of making more on her own.
  • Slipping into Stink: Twilight run away from some bats and end up with a beehive on her head. She then crashes into a skunks' nest and the skunks spray her.
  • Smelly Skunk: Twilight Sparkle ends up in a den of them. The scene then cuts to her receiving a tomato juice bath to get rid of the stench.
  • Somewhere, a Herpetologist Is Crying: When Twilight wakes Spike in the cold open, he responds with "Mommy? You're not Mommy." Since Spike was hatched from an egg, he would have no concept of "Mommy". note 
  • Spring Is Late: The ponies have to wrap up winter or else spring will be late. In fact, it has been late every year, until Twilight Sparkle gets everypony organized.
  • Tomato Skunk Stink Cure: Twilight gets sprayed by a skunk and ends up having to take a bath in tomato juice.
  • Triumphant Reprise: An instrumental version of the Winter Wrap-Up song accompanies Twilight's organized wrap-up as the ponies successfully prepare for Spring's arrival.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: When Twilight wakes Spike up in the Cold Open, his response is a groggy "Mommy?". When Twilight again tries to wake him, he just gives a grumpy "You're not Mommy" and goes back to sleep.
  • Watch Out for That Tree!: Twilight runs into a tree after being scared by bats.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Applejack gives Twilight a good chewing out after the latter uses magic to help clear the snow from the fields, with disastrous results (although she looks regretful when Twilight runs off in tears).
    • The mayor gives one to just about everyone else afterwards, since their arguments and bumbling have delayed spring another year round.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: For Twilight, literally. And bats, and bees and skunks.


Video Example(s):


Winter Wrap Up

The residents of Ponyville work together to change the season from winter to spring, which includes clearing the ice and snow, making nests for and ushering back the southern birds, and waking up the hibernating animals.

How well does it match the trope?

4.31 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / PaintingTheFrostOnWindows

Media sources: