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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S3 E13 "Magical Mystery Cure"

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Something's off the mark.

Rarity: I have to keep on trying, for everyone can see, it's got to be...
Fluttershy: It's got to be...
Pinkie Pie: My destiny...
Applejack: My destiny...
Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Fluttershy: And it's what my cutie mark...
Pinkie Pie and Applejack: It's what my cutie mark...
All: Yes, it's what my cutie mark is telling me!

Written by M.A. Larson

Twilight Sparkle wakes up one bright and sunny morning, cheerily singing about how fine everything in Ponyville is...until a deluge of water dumps on her head. She thinks it's Rainbow Dash playing a mean prank, but the reality is far worse: it's Rarity trying and failing to control the weather with her magic—and she has Rainbow Dash's cutie mark!

A quick trip (and a musical number) around Ponyville shows that the rest of Twilight's friends have also switched cutie marks and jobs: Rainbow Dash (switched with Fluttershy) is trying in vain to rein in a cottage full of unruly critters; Fluttershy (switched with Pinkie Pie) is hosting a borefest of a party at Sugarcube Corner; Pinkie (switched with Applejack) is literally running Sweet Apple Acres into the ground with her inept farmwork; and Applejack (switched with Rarity) is failing to generate any business at Carousel Boutique with her tacky dresses. The strangest part? All of Twilight's friends think that their lives have always been this way, and are resigned to doing what their new marks are telling them. Needless to say, they're feeling pretty down—and the rest of Ponyville is being dragged down with them.

Returning home, Twilight realizes what has happened to her friends. The other night, she received a letter from Princess Celestia along with a journal containing Star Swirl the Bearded's secret, unfinished spell, which Celestia believes Twilight is capable of understanding and rewriting:

From one to another, another to one. A mark of one's destiny singled out alone, fulfilled.

Twilight cast the spell to test it and didn't notice that it caused her Element of Magic to jumble up the other Elements of Harmony, and with them, the cutie marks and destinies of her friends. Because Star Swirl gave up on the spell before he could get it right, there is no counter-spell to fix her mistake!

Soon Twilight gets an idea: though she may not be able to remind her friends of who they are, she can show them what they mean to each other. She starts by getting Fluttershy to help Rainbow Dash deal with her unruly animals. As Fluttershy calms the critters down and rediscovers her ability to communicate with animals, Twilight slaps the pegasus' Element around her neck. Its magic reminds her of her destiny and returns her cutie mark to normal. One by one, Twilight guides her friends to where their destinies truly lie so they can help each other through their troubles. Each time she uses the Elements until all five regain their true selves and everyone in Ponyville is happy again. Twilight remembers Star Swirl's spell and, inspired by her experiences, revises the incantation:

From all of us together, together we are friends. With the marks of our destinies made one, there is magic without end.

As soon as Twilight finishes writing the spell, the magic of all her friends' Elements suddenly funnels into her, and she vanishes from the library in a brilliant flash. Twilight finds herself in a vast expanse of space but she's not alone: Princess Celestia is also there, and she proudly tells Twilight that, by accomplishing what even Star Swirl could not do, she is ready to fulfill her own destiny. In another brilliant flash, Twilight reappears before her friends in Ponyville with...wings?!

Celestia tells Twilight that, ever since she came to Ponyville, she has displayed the charity, compassion, devotion, integrity, optimism, and leadership of a true princess. Now it is her turn to guide Equestria through the magic of friendship, just as Celestia has done for her. A grand coronation ceremony is held for the newly-minted Princess Twilight Sparkle, where she thanks all her friends for what they've taught her. However, everypony is assured that this does not mean the end of Twilight's lessons in friendship or her adventures with her friends—in Twilight's words as she takes off into the sky with her new wings, everything is going to be just fine.

*cue...even HAPPIER credits music than before!!!*


  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • It's never made clear how Starswirl's incomplete spell worked. It seemed like it gave the Mane Six sans Twilight Fake Memories of their swapped cutie marks and jobs, but Twilight stated it was their "true selves" not memories altered when explaining why she can't cure them with a Memory Spell. But if it instead worked by Retconjuration, that seemingly contradicts how Ponyville only started to fall apart as a result after they swapped as opposed to having retroactively already done so. It's also unclear if or to what extent everyone besides the Mane Six were effected; Spike seemed unaffected but everyone else in town despite being upset at the swapped ponies ineptitude seemingly never noticed what was wrong or questioned why.
    • It's unclear what precisely was the mechanism that turned Twilight into an alicorn. Whether it was a direct result of Starswirl's completed spell, an effect of being in the strange astral plane, or a spell that Celestia cast is never clarified.
  • An Aesop: A true friend will help a friend in need and help them find their true selves.
  • Animals Hate Her: Rainbow is terrible at controlling Fluttershy's animals; they try to cook her and eat her after a while.
  • Angry Fist-Shake: Sassaflash does this to Caramel with her hoof; and she happens to be his "very special somepony" from Hearts and Hooves Day.
  • Arc Symbol: Twilight's cutie mark, which also matches the symbol for the Element of Magic. When Twilight has her "Eureka!" Moment figuring out how to help her friends, her eyes flash with her own cutie mark. When the Elements blast Twilight, the burn mark left on the floor is shaped like her cutie mark. After her meeting with Celestia, Twilight returns to Equestria as a mote of light in the shape of her own cutie mark.
  • Ascended to Carnivorism: When Fluttershy's pets have tied up Rainbow Dash and are planning to cook and eat her, several herbivorous and omnivorous animals are dancing around the cauldron waving forks and spoons, including mice, squirrels, rabbits, and chickens.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Temporarily. When Twilight completes the spell it concentrates all of the Elements' power on her, sending her to an astral plane where she meets Celestia. Celestia shows her flashbacks of all the ways she has grown and matured, and tells her she is ready for her next step of her journey. This, incidentally, shows that Celestia can ascend and descend at will.
  • Aside Glance: Derpy winks at the audience while hidden in the crowd during Twilight's coronation.
  • Audience Surrogate: Pinkie's reaction when Celestia announces Twilight is a princess now. See Spit Take.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Twilight's coronation as a Princess of Equestria at the end of the episode after turning into an alicorn.
  • Back for the Finale: After dropping off the radar following Last Roundup in Season 2, Derpy finally makes a few background cameos in this episode.
  • Badass in Distress: Rainbow Dash is tied up by Fluttershy's animals, who are planning to cook and eat her.
  • Ball of Light Transformation: At the end of the episode, Twilight returns to Equestria as a mote of light in the shape of her own cutie mark, before rematerializing as an alicorn.
  • Batman Gambit: Celestia's final test in this episode seems to hinge on Twilight's impulsively casting the spell and kicking off the whole mess.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Deconstructed. The reason Twilight's friends are miserable is that they're convinced their destiny is to follow their cutie marks regardless of their talents or what they want to do.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Twilight and Fluttershy arrive at the cottage just in time to save Dashie's life.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use: Pinkie Pie parodies the Spit Take trope by deliberately getting a drink, only to spit it out.
  • Body Wipe: Done by Twilight during the final chorus of "A True, True Friend".
  • Book Ends:
    • The episode begins and ends with a similar zoom-in shot of Ponyville and Canterlot respectively. The song at the end also functions as a Triumphant Reprise of the Cold Open.
    • The season began with Cadance ascending to her role as the Crystal Princess. The season ends with Twilight's ascension to princess-hood. A short, grade-school length novel details what that entails.
    • The mysterious book from "The Crystal Empire - Part 2" is finally explained. It is Star Swirl the Bearded's journal, containing the unfinished spell Celestia gave Twilight to finish.
    • Another one for "The Crystal Empire - Part 2", or rather, the Crystal Empire episode as a whole in tandem with this episode. When Twilight is first informed of her test, Spike reassures her that everything will be fine. At the end of the episode, he tells Twilight that he knew everything was going to be fine. At the end of "Life in Ponyville", Twilight is interrupted when singing that everything in Ponyville is certainly fine, and as a closing line in the season, she flies at the camera and remarks "Everything's going to be just fine." Related, both songs "I Wasn't Prepared for This" (from the opener) and "Life in Equestria" end with a similar pull-back from Canterlot, the character(s) singing on a parapet at the start.
  • Break the Cutie: The swapped Manes are painfully aware of just how bad they are at their new lives. It's been some time since they were broken this badly. Not to mention Twilight's reaction when she realizes that the whole thing is entirely her fault.
  • Brick Joke: During the cutie mark song, Pinkie Pie complains of being unable to fix a busted water chute. During the "A True, True Friend" song, she is still trying to repair it when her friends come to help.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Pinkie adopts a Southern drawl while working at Sweet Apple Acres.
  • BSoD Song: Twilight sings one upon finding out she unwittingly switched her friends' cutie marks.
  • Call-Back:
  • Came Back Strong: Twilight's completed version of the destiny spell apparently vaporizes her and she reappears on the celestial plane. After Celestia explains what she's achieved, she's sent back down to the mortal plane as an alicorn princess.
  • The Cameo:
    • Derpy — absent for most of the season — can be spotted throughout the Cold Open and in the final act. At the end she winks to the camera with her derped eyes just before Shining Armor arrives. She is also fully visible during the parade near the end.
    • The owner of "Quills and Sofas" in "Owl's Well That Ends Well" appears in the opening number. His store oddity is even referenced in the lyrics: "here's the sofa clerk selling some quills."
    • The bear from "Lesson Zero" and many of the pets Fluttershy offers to Rainbow Dash in "May the Best Pet Win" are among the animals rampaging in Fluttershy's cottage.
    • DJ Pon-3/Vinyl Scratch makes her third appearance, though unlike the last two times she's not DJing, just among the ponies failing to smile at Fluttershy's attempts to make them laugh.
    • A very obscure one: Sassaflash (the turquoise Pegasus with blonde mane) making an angry (and odd-looking) gesture at Caramel (a brown Earth pony). They were seen nuzzling during "Hearts and Hooves Day", and Scootaloo said they were a couple. Seems they have a little falling-out thanks to Pinkie not doing her job.
    • Twilight's parents make a brief appearance during her coronation.
    • Lyra Heartstrings is once again jumping and mugging for the camera during the parade at the end, while Sweetie Drops/Bon Bon stands by the side.
    • Flitter and Cloudchaser: two twin pegasi that debuted in "Hurricane Fluttershy" (with the latter also appearing in "Wonderbolts Academy" and "Apple Family Reunion") appear during the Triumphant Reprise at the end.
  • Captured by Cannibals: Many of the old clichés associated with this trope are parodied when the situation at Fluttershy's cottage reaches the boiling point. Good thing Twilight and Fluttershy arrived when they did....
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Star Swirl the Bearded's journal, which first appeared (but wasn't named) in "The Crystal Empire – Part 2".
    • Twilight's understanding of friendship enables her to finish Star Swirl's spell.
  • Cobweb of Disuse: The Carousel Boutique, under Applejack's care, is full of cobwebs to enforce the look of messy disuse.
  • Continuity Cavalcade:
    • When Twilight changes the rest of the Mane Six back to normal, they all have quick flashbacks play like slot machines through their eyes.
    • Twilight's scene with Celestia has flashbacks to many previous episodes.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Pinkie's mane has once again gone straight rather than its more poofy shape.
    • The Mane Six have easy access to the Elements of Harmony because Princess Celestia left them with Twilight.
    • Twilight brings up Spike's tendency to have seven-hour bubble baths.
    • Spike brings up both the Memory Spell and Zecora's cure for Cutie Pox as possible fixes to the changed cutie marks.
    • While caught in one of her rainstorms, Rarity's wet mane looks as it does in "Sisterhooves Social" when she plays in the rain with Sweetie Belle.
    • Fans might recognize the way Twilight hops around Fluttershy in excitement when she succeeds in restoring her cutie mark.
    • The strings ostinato played under Applejack's section of the Cutie Mark Song is a musical callback to the main riff of Art of the Dress
    • Pinkie Pie initiates another flash mob. She also gets to ride on Applejack's back again.
    • When the Mane Six (minus Twilight), get their true cutie marks back they shine, just like when they first received them in the flashbacks in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles".
    • Crystal ponies can be seen in Ponyville and Canterlot.
    • When Princess Celestia rattles off the personality traits embodied by Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Pinkie Pienote , they each strike poses that exude these traits.
    • Cadance's hair is again in the Royal Ceremonial Headdress.
    • Rainbow Dash clears the sky in 10 seconds flat again.
    • After Pinkie has been restored, her first words are, "Come on, ponies! I wanna see you smile!"
    • Twilight's eyes light up with a spark when she realizes how to fix Star Swirl the Bearded's spell.
    • In both "What my Cutie Mark is Telling Me" and "A True, True Friend", the segments set in Carousel Boutique (sung by AJ and RD respectively) have rhythmic nods to "The Art of the Dress".
    • One to last season's finale; near the end of that episode, Rainbow happily proclaimed, "Best! Wedding! Ever!" Near the end of this one, Pinkie says "Best! Coronation Day! Ever!" in the same tone.
    • During "I've Got to Find A Way", Pinkie is seen bucking a dead tree.
  • Cool Crown: Twilight's Element of Magic is re-tooled into her princess tiara.
  • Cosmic Deadline: The "swapped cutie marks" story is completed in the first two acts, with Twilight figuring out how to fix it at the beginning of the second act. The rest of the episode focuses on Twilight realizing her destiny as an Alicorn Princess.
  • Crowd Song: Twice; "Everything Is Going To Be Fine" and "A True, True Friend". The latter is a far larger example.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: The "swapped cutie mark" plot provides a deconstruction of Twilight's friends and how their destinies tie into their personalities. Each friend trades destinies with the friend she's the least like, causing her character traits to clash with her new task—Rarity is too refined to handle weather like the wild Rainbow Dash, who's too rough to care for animals like the gentle Fluttershy, who's too quiet to host parties like the outgoing Pinkie Pie, who's too scatterbrained and weak to do hard work like the organized and tough Applejack, who's too uncouth to make dresses like the elegant Rarity. It then reconstructs them by showing they're still the ponies they always were and are able to save the day simply by being themselves and helping each other.
  • Determinator: Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Applejack are surprisingly persistent at doing jobs they're absolutely terrible at. Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy gave up during the BSoD Song.
  • Enlightenment Superpower: Twilight gains her alicorn form by completing Star Swirl's unfinished spell, which she realized how to finish from just how much her friends mean to her.
  • Epic Fail: The swapped Manes are attempting to do difficult jobs at a high level of complexity with no talent or experience for the work. It starts out funny. The key word being "starts". Rainbow Dash's try at managing the animals that Fluttershy usually cares for stands out, though: the pegasus ends up tied up in a pot with the critters dancing around it waving forks and spoons, cannibal-style.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: How Twilight realizes the solution to the destiny-switch spell.
  • Expressive Ears: Twilight's ears droop as she watches Fluttershy try and fail to entertain the unimpressed ponies in Sugarcube Corner.
  • Feather Fingers: During the song "What My Cutie Mark Is Telling Me", Rainbow Dash tosses Gummy into a birdcage and subsequently slams it shut using her wing.
  • Fisher King:
    • Without Pinkie Pie around to cheer them up from all the havoc caused by Rarity's "weather patterns", Ponyville deteriorates into a hate-filled nightmare.
    • Without Applejack and the rest of the Apples caring for the farm, the crops at Sweet Apple Acres wilt and die within a day. Pinkie's lack of skill at farming and Rarity's mismanagement of the weather likely didn't help.
  • Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: Twilight flies into the screen at the end, proclaiming that everything is going to be fine.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Back in "The Crystal Empire - Part 1", when Celestia gives Twilight her final instructions regarding her "test", Celestia and Luna are shown with their cutie marks looming behind them, as is Twilight in her reaction shot. It's a rather significant Art Shift hinting at Twilight's destiny in this episode.
    • Twilight's Wingding Eyes show her cutie mark, but with one important difference: it's the six-star cutie mark that descends from the sky when she transforms, not her five-star one.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Unless it's a residual effect of Twilight's spell or Rarity's persistence (which is not without basis in canon), it seems odd that all the other pegasi wouldn't try to fix Rarity's messed-up weather. Rainbow Dash may do the day-to-day work normally, but they're all perfectly capable. The same can be said about the Apples not helping Pinkie Pie on the farm, which is doubly weird because they do help out once Applejack decides to pitch in. This led both depressing and hilarious fan speculation.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • During "A True, True Friend", Rarity can be seen working on the dress she later wears to Twilight's coronation.
    • Each frame in the Wingding Eyes of each pony when they are reunited with their element of harmony is a different snapshot of a previous episode.
    • The scorch on the floor left when Twilight vanishes is shaped like her cutie mark.
    • For a split second, Derpy can be seen winking at the audience.
    • When Pinkie Pie tries to applebuck a tree during 'What My Cutie Mark is Telling Me' watch the way her legs bend. Ouch.
  • A Friend in Need: "A True, True Friend" is this trope in song form and the key to breaking the destiny switching spell.
    Mane Six: A true, true friend helps a friend in need.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Walled-eyed Derpy and Jumping Lyra Heartstrings, two running background gags that had been absent all seasonnote  return during Twilight's Princess Coronation.
    • Gummy's completely unflappable/clueless nature comes through once again when Rainbow Dash stuffs him in a birdcage.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: Rarity's inability to control the weather causes it to play towards the various feelings; in particular, during the grayscale montage of Twilight's BSoD Song, Rarity is shown sadly plodding through one of her own downpours.
  • Heroic BSoD: During Twilight's BSoD Song, Rainbow Dash is shown just sitting in Fluttershy's cottage, having completely given up on trying to control her unruly animals. Similarly, Fluttershy just watches the angry townsponies, knowing she can't help them.
  • Humble Hero: Twilight, not surprisingly.
    • After fixing everyone's Cutie Marks and saving the town, she leads the town in a parade to celebrate. The rest of the Mane Six hoist Twilight up over their heads and she promptly picks them up in her telekenesis to join her.
    • At the end, the newly crowned Princess Twilight gives a speech, citing her friends as the reason for her accomplishment and waves them over to join her on the balcony. Twilight Sparkle is among the few who could remain humble about becoming a pseudo-deity
  • "I Am" Song: Inverted. The point of the song "What My Cutie Mark Is Telling Me" is to show the audience what they're not.
  • In Medias Res: The episode starts with the cutie marks already switched. Twilight does some investigating before she (and the audience) realizes what's happening.
  • Insistent Terminology: Shining Armor insists that his Tears of Joy at the end are, in fact, "Liquid pride... totally different thing!"
  • Instant Expert:
    • Averted. Unlike in "The Cutie Pox", where Apple Bloom became instantly talented in all her ill-gotten cutie marks, Twilight's friends don't really know what their new cutie marks even mean (best exemplified by Rarity doing weather control, when her new cutie mark is stated to mean racing).
    • Played straight with Twilight, who is surprisingly good at flying for someone who cannot have had her wings for longer than a day. This is apparently just an end-of-episode thing, though, since she later expresses difficulty at getting the hang of her wings in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls.
  • It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: Following Twilight's coronation as princess, Pinkie happily cheers, "Best coronation day ever!"
  • Kneel Before Frodo: Princess Celestia and the rest of the Mane Cast do this upon Twilight's transformation into an alicorn.
  • Literal-Minded: The Elements of Harmony react this way to Star Swirl's last incomplete spell, taking Twilight's friends' cutie marksnote  and swapping them "from one to another".
  • Magical Security Cam: During Princess Celestia's song, she and Twilight walk past a bunch of floating screens showing scenes from Twilight's time in Ponyville.
  • Metamorphosis: Twilight Sparkle is transformed into an alicorn princess. Evidently, the transformation can't be reversed, but all that's really changed about her is that she now has wings, a longer horn, and got a little taller, sharing traits of all three pony species.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The switched cutie mark plot starts out funny, but Twilight's BSoD Song immediately paints it in a much more negative light.
    • The whiplash can come during the song as well. Even though the tune is jaunty and there's humor in seeing them doing things they have no talent for, it gradually sinks in how absolutely miserable the girls are in their new lives. It's present in all the segments so the realization could happen at any time, but the most blatant is Pinkie Pie.
    • And in a non-musical example, Twilight's managed to solve everything! All of the Mane Six are cured of their scrambled Cutie Mark problems, there is a triumphant song and dance parade back to the library, everyone is standing proudly around the triumphant Twilight Sparkle... and then the various Elements of Harmony ignite and fire magical lasers at her, apparently disintegrating our heroine. There's even a scorched spot where she was standing! Cut to commercial...
  • Musical Episode: With a whopping seven songs, tied with "Pinkie Pride" for the most songs in any single episode of the series, and more in this one episode than the rest of Season 3 combined.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Twilight is suddenly splashed by water from a storm cloud at the end of the "Morning in Ponyville" musical number. Her backup singers even vanish with the splash.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Uttered by Twilight to Spike while despairing over the heartache her mistake has caused Ponyville.
    • Everypony has this reaction later on when their Elements incinerate Twilight. Sure, she emerges unharmed and as a princess, but that must have been traumatic for her friends.
  • Mythology Gag: In the G3 series, Rainbow Dash was the fashionista.note  In this episode, Rarity has Rainbow Dash's cutie mark and destiny, almost literally making her "the new Rainbow Dash".
  • Neglected Garden: As a result of the cutie-mark swap, Pinkie Pie has gotten Applejack's cutie mark and is now in charge of the Apple family farm. Unfortunately, she's terrible at farming, causing the farm to fall into disrepair. She's seen looking despairingly at an empty, bare-branched apple tree as its last leaf blows away, while in the background there are dozens of similarly empty trees.
  • Never-Forgotten Skill: Throughout the show, they have stated that Cutie Marks represent a pony's special talent and destiny, implying that a pony could never forget the skills associated to that talent. This episode confirms this trope. When the five ponies get their Cutie Marks switched, they try to do what the Cutie Mark represents, only to fail miserably. When Twilight gets them to remember what they are good at, they get their Cutie Marks back where they should be, and their skills remain the same regardless of what Cutie Mark they have.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Twilight casts the destiny-switch spell without knowing what it does, or what's wrong with it. Though it is reasonable to know what something does in order to figure out what's wrong with it, such an investigative method also requires knowing what it's supposed to do first.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Twilight's transformation into an alicorn and subsequent coronation. However, producers and Tara Strong have stated in interviews that this has no effect on her personality, and has little to no bearing on her role in the series.
  • No Time to Explain: After Rainbow Dash's cutie mark is fixed, she asks just what happened. Twilight Sparkle tells her that there's no time to explain. This is repeated a few more times during the song.
  • Obi-Wan Moment: As the other five Elements blast Twilight, she briefly looks confused and slightly panicked. She regains her composure, closes her eyes, and smiles — just before she apparently vaporizes.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Twilight has a moment of this when she sees Rarity with Rainbow Dash's cutie mark.
    • The rest of the Mane Six have one when Twilight vanishes after getting blasted by the Elements of Harmony. Twilight, on the other hand, is not so panicked.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Rarity, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie all have this happen to them after their cutie marks are swapped; Neat Freak Rarity is so distraught that she either doesn't notice or doesn't care that her mane is soaking wet and filthy, rough-and-tumble Rainbow Dash just gives up and Fun Personified Pinkie Pie becomes a dreary Perpetual Frowner who declares that her life is "no fun".
  • Opening Shout-Out: Twilight's picture of the Mane Six over her fireplace is the same one that Spike sends to Princess Celestia in the opening.
  • Palette Swap: The four identical banner mares at the coronation are palette swaps of Fluttershy with different tails. (We don't know if they have wings.)
  • The Plan: Celestia explains that this is the outcome she was hoping for when she sent Twilight to Ponyvile back at the start of season 1. She's been carefully monitoring Twilight's progress in researching the magic of friendship which both developed her character and empowered her as a princess.
  • Power Glows:
    • When Twilight realizes she has to use the Elements of Harmony to help her friends reclaim their destinies, she glows with an aura matching the gem in her tiara; Spike shields his eyes with his forearm, indicating that the glow is diegetic. Likewise, when her friends realize their true selves, they glow with auras matching the gems in their necklaces.
    • When Princess Twilight unfurls her wings for the first time, she's surrounded by a white aura.
  • Rack Focus: Seen when Spike lays his hand on Twilight's shoulder at the beginning of the second act.
  • Regained Memories Sequence: During "A True, True Friend", Twilight helps her friends get their memories and cutie marks back one by one. Each time one of them returns to normal, there's a close-up shot, showing rapid-fire images of themselves flash in their eyes.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: The coronation ceremony is the first time we ever see Princesses Celestia and Luna wearing formal dress, Celestia's including an ermine-trimmed Cool Crown. This emphasizes that Celestia still outranks Twilight, since Twilight's new tiara (based on the Element of Magic) looks more elaborate than the one Celestia usually wears.
  • Rule of Cool: It doesn't make sense that Twilight could be able to use a body part she just got so flawlessly; Equestria Girls and the Season 4 premiere point this out. The main reason why Twilight soars through the sky after her coronation is because it's a neat way to end the episode.
  • Running Gag: Defied with Twilight and Cadence's greeting ritual; the middle of a formal event could hardly be considered an appropriate time to do so.
  • Sand In My Eyes: Shining Armor during Twilight's coronation.
    Twilight: Are you crying...?
    Shining Armor: Of course not, it''s liquid pride. Totally different thing.
  • Secret Test of Character: Princess Celestia reveals that the entire series to that point has been one for Twilight Sparkle, in order to see if she could earn the right to become a princess.
  • Sequel Hook: Twilight's a princess now and Princess Celestia tells her there are things she has to learn about being one.
  • Series Fauxnale: According to M.A. Larson, at the time he wrote the initial script for the episode, there wasn't going to be a Season 4, so this episode was written to end the series. And it has all the trappings of a Grand Finale too; it rounds off the 65-Episode Cartoon format, it has more Continuity Porn than every other episode combined, it's an epic Musical Episode, and it ends with the main character fulfilling her destiny. Then Season 4 came and this episode was re-written as part of a three-episode story arc that continued with the Season 4 premiere.
  • She's Back: Each of the Mane Six gets a moment of this when Twilight is able to restore their rightful cutie marks and destinies.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To The BeatlesMagical Mystery Tour.
    • As part of her comedic attempts, Fluttershy wears Groucho glasses.
    • Spike momentarily entertains the crowd at Sugarcube Corner with some "Gangnam Style" hopping.
    • Twilight's speech at the end after she is introduced as a princess is reminiscent of Lou Gehrig's 1939 speech at Yankee Stadium:
      Twilight: Today I consider myself to be the luckiest pony in Equestria.
  • Shut Up and Save Me!: When Twilight and Fluttershy start singing "A True, True Friend" at Fluttershy's house, Rainbow Dash has to remind them that she's still tied up in a cooking pot.
    Rainbow Dash: Um, hello! Friend trapped inside, remember?
  • Simple Solution Won't Work: When Spike proposes they use the Memory Spell to make their friends realize they swapped each others cutie marks and jobs, Twilight states it won't work as "It's not their memories, Spike. It's their true selves that have been altered!" How that's different isn't explained, but Twilight states it means Zecora's Cutie Pox cure for fake cutie marks won't work either.
  • So Proud of You: Several times. Celestia says it in song, Shining Armor says it word-for-word, and the way Fluttershy tells Twilight they all love her carries the sentiment.
  • Spit Take: Pinkie invokes this when Celestia states that Twilight is a Princess by pulling a glass of water out of hammerspace and drinking it to pull off the effect.
  • Spontaneous Choreography:
    • Even taking into account the musical nature of the episode, the "Morning in Ponyville" number starts out with ponies going about a perfectly normal day. By the end of the song, several townsponies have joined Twilight in her dancing.
    • "A True, True Friend" ends the same way, complete with a parade and several instruments.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • When the Ponyvillians complain about Rarity's weather, she asks them if it's "too last season". Also, the checkerboard of clouds she makes could be considered a weather pattern. Not to mention the checkerboard pattern was used by Discord last season.
    • Pinkie Pie ends up with Applejack's cutie mark after the spell, and we see her attempting to work the farm (and not having a pleasant time of it). No-one goes on to say that she could therefore be thought of as Apple Pie, nor the notion that perhaps the reason she doesn't do well in Applejack's role is because Pinkie is a party animal while Applejack is a workhorse, while in turn Applejack can't create works of high fashion the way Rarity does, because Rarity is a show pony.
    • There's also what happens when Twilight completes the spell. She's sent to a celestial plane, where she meets Celestia.
    • Rainbow's part of the "What My Cutie Mark Is Telling Me" song has "They run around out of control and throw their hissy fits." This line is immediately followed by the "puddy tat" behind her hissing.
  • Stylistic Suck: Applejack's dresses. They're perfectly serviceable working clothes but, as expected, are a complete bomb as high fashion.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: The destiny-switch spell. Lampshaded by Twilight. Her completed version does rhyme.
  • Swapped Roles: A spell Twilight casts switches her friends' cutie marks and destinies — Rarity gets Rainbow Dash's cutie mark and has to control the weathernote , Rainbow gets Fluttershy's and has to care for animals, Fluttershy gets Pinkie Pie's and has to make others laugh, Pinkie gets Applejack's and has to do farmwork, and Applejack gets Rarity's and has to make dresses.
  • Sweetheart Sipping: The Cold Open has Shoeshine and Berry Punch sharing a drink with straws.
  • Synchronization: The Mane Six with the Elements of Harmony. When Twilight casts the destiny switch spell, it resonates with her tiara in the nearby display case, which then casts the spell on the other amulets and thus affects their owners.
  • Tears of Joy: During Twilight's speech at her coronation, her friends are all moved to tears as she says that each one of them taught her something about friendship, which she is grateful for. Shining Armor sheds a few tears as well, which he calls "liquid pride".
  • Tempting Fate: The opening number has Twilight singing about how she's certain that everything is fine. Then the plot happens. She also ends the episode with the same claim.
  • "They've Come So Far" Song: "Celestia's Ballad," where Celestia sings about how Twilight has come such a long way in the context of telling her it's time to fulfill her destiny.
  • Tomboy Princess: Twilight always had the "tomboy" part, this episode just adds the "princess" part. While she's only slightly tomboyish, her focus on her studies is, relatively speaking, not quite as conventionally feminine as Rarity's fashion design, Fluttershy's animal care, or Pinkie Pie's catering, making her more tomboyish than average, at least as far as the main six characters go. And she's certainly the most tomboyish of the princesses; Celestia and Cadence are each clearly shown to be acting according to the in-universe traditions of the lands they have authority over, and Luna at least thinks she is.
  • To the Tune of...: Not an entire song, but the beginnings of Rainbow's and Pinkie's verses in "What My Cutie Mark Is Telling Me" use almost exactly the same tune as one line from The Flim Flam Brothers' song ("Yes sir, yes ma'am, this great machine lets just the very best.") It's hard to see any particular symbolic relevance of this, so there's probably not more to it than the composer thinking the piece of melody deserved a greater role than it had already gotten. It does make some vague degree of sense with Pinkie, as the goal of the Flim Flam brothers was to cause the Apples to lose the farm, something Pinkie very nearly does, though in an entirely different way.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Though the trailers themselves don't outright advertise the fact that Twilight becomes an alicorn princess, they are not subtle with the hints. Other media hasn't even bothered to hide the plot twist, including the title of the event itself. The episode is less about the fact that it happens than the how and why of it.
    • In the trailers Fluttershy says "Wow, Twilight! You look just like a princess!"
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: "A True, True Friend" shifts up a semitone mid-sentence at the end of the chorus before the last verse.
  • True Companions: Twilight fixes her friends by getting them to help each other out using the talents they are supposed to have instead of following their (incorrect) destinies.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: A bunch of ponies switch jobs they're unsuited for? Just another day in Ponyville. A slightly more plausible explanation is that the spell affected everyone but Twilight into thinking that Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Pinkie were always that way, and the spell broke over them gradually with each Element as it was fixed. It would explain why nopony was helping or fixing the work Rarity and Pinkie were doing, or asking what happened with Applejack and Fluttershy's new occupations or where Rainbow Dash was. Further shown by the fact that everypony glare at Pinkie until her hair poofed back up (i.e., the spell breaking over her).
  • Visual Pun: When Rarity gets Rainbow's cutie mark, she starts making literal weather patterns, favoring a checkerboard arrangement of clouds that causes the climate to vary wildly from one spot to the next.
  • Wham Episode: Twilight becomes an alicorn princess.
  • Wham Line:
    Fluttershy: Wow... you look just like a princess!
    Princess Celestia: That's because she is a princess.
    Main Cast: Huh?
    Pinkie Pie: Hold on a second! [pulls glass of water from Hammerspace to perform a Spit Take]
  • Wham Shot: Twilight stands up...and unfurls her wings for the first time.
  • What Does This Button Do?: Upon receiving Star Swirl's book and reading that the last spell doesn't work as intended, Twilight immediately casts it without having any idea of its function.
  • Wingding Eyes: Twilight's cutie mark appears in her eyes during her "Eureka!" Moment. All her friends have their memories flash inside their eyes as they remember their proper destinies.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Shining Armor calls his sister by name rather than the diminutive nickname "Twiley" at her ceremony. It is both a show of pride at her accomplishment, and an indication of genuine respect for her new, elevated position.

A true, true friend helps a friend in need
A friend will be there to help them see
A true, true friend helps a friend in need
To see the light that shines from a true, true friend


Video Example(s):


Princess Twilight Sparkle

As a reward for creating new magic and thus fulfilling her destiny, Twilight is crowned a princess.

How well does it match the trope?

4.14 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / AwesomeMomentOfCrowning

Media sources: