Follow TV Tropes


Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S4 E11 "Three's a Crowd"

Go To

"There's just one other teeny-tiny little request..."

Special Guest Star: John de Lancie as Discord
Written by Meghan McCarthy and Ed Valentine

As Fluttershy prepares for a short trip to visit the Breezies elsewhere in Equestria, Twilight is anxious about the soon-to-be arrival of Princess Cadance. Twilight notes that a few times they've met, the fate of Equestria has hung in the balance, and wants to have one day where the two of them bond as sisters-in-law. A traveling Starswirl the Bearded exhibit seems like the perfect mares' day out. Moments after Fluttershy's train departs, Cadance arrives, excited to see Twilight.

As the two princesses leave for the exhibit, Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash suddenly see a huge blue creature spinning towards them. It's Discord, who's become inexplicably sick with the "blue flu." With Fluttershy gone, Discord asks the other ponies to watch over him while he's sick. However, Rainbow Dash bolts away, Pinkie Pie is distracted by a balloon, and Discord "accidentally" gets Applejack and Rarity sick with the blue flu as well, leaving nopony but Twilight capable of watching Discord.

At the exhibit, Twilight and Cadance are admiring the ancient wizard's artifacts when Discord interrupts, asking for assistance in the name of friendship. Cadance puts herself and Twilight in a magic health bubble to prevent them from getting sick as well, and then the two princesses take him back to the Golden Oaks Library, hoping to make Discord comfortable as quickly as possible so that they can get back to their afternoon.

Discord's ever-growing requests prove maddeningly difficult (topped off with a tiny glass of water). When an exasperated Twilight starts searching all her books for a cure, he informs her that the only way to heal his blue flu is to pluck a flower from a hilltop at the edge of Equestria at sunset and brew its petals into a tea. Towing the prostrate Discord behind them, Twilight and Cadance arrive at the hill, only to find that the flower in question is enormous. They still manage to pluck it from the ground, only to be set upon by an enormous underground plant wurm which apparently eats ponies. Cadance and Twilight save each other from the wurm's grasp, overpower it, and finally seal it back under the ground.

They take the flower down the hill to Discord... who's laughing, dancing, and no longer blue. To nopony's surprise, his illness was bogus the entire time. As Twilight fumes, Discord insists that it was all a Secret Test of Character — that he just wanted to see how far Twilight would go in the name of their friendship. He gloats that she should be proud to have passed his test, even though it ruined the day she'd planned to spend with Cadance. Just then, Cadance speaks up, saying he didn't ruin their day at all. She admits that life in the Crystal Empire, while nice, is a little boring, and some adventure had been just what she needed. As Discord sourly digests this, the flower wurm suddenly reappears... and sneezes on them. Twilight and Cadance are safe in the health bubble, but Discord, unprotected, gets sick for real.

Later, in Fluttershy's cottage, Twilight dictates her entry in the Mane Six's journal: even the most chaotic of days can still be a bonding experience for a pair of good friends. Sick in bed, Discord wonders if he can trouble anypony for just a tiny glass of water.


  • An Aesop: Just because your plans with a friend fall to chaos, doesn't mean you can't still enjoy spending time together, because in the end, that's all that's important.
  • All There in the Script: The Sand Worm, according to Meghan McCarthy, is called a Tatzlwurm.
  • Annoying Patient: Discord plays this role, with all the "requests" and demands to be waited upon, though he's just faking it until the end. He's noticably a lot more subdued whan he got sick for real.
  • Ascended Meme: Similar to the Actor Allusion on the trivia page, Discord also checks underneath a tree for Fluttershy, alluding to the Fluttertree meme.
  • Aside Glance:
    • Twilight gives one while fangirling over the Starswirl exhibit she plans to take Cadance to when she arrives.
    • Rainbow Dash gives a desperate one while she, Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Applejack are being hugged by a blue flu-ridden Discord.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: After saying goodbye to Fluttershy, Pinkie finds herself distracted by a balloon floating by. She also ends up being omitted from the bulk of the episode when Discord distracts her with another balloon a little later on.
    Pinkie Pie: Hey! Who keeps throwing away these perfectly good balloons?!
  • Batman Gambit: Discord analyzes each of the Mane Six's behavior to best figure out how to get everyone but Twilight out of the way: he waits until Fluttershy is out of town, distracts Pinkie Pie with a balloon, correctly guesses that Rainbow Dash won't bother to help, and, knowing that Applejack and Rarity will go out of their way to keep him from Twilight and Cadance, gets them sick as well.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Twilight didn't hesitate to attack the Tatzulwurm when it tried to eat Cadance, and vice versa.
    • Both Twilight and Cadence are really pissed off when they discovered Discord was faking his illness just to mess with them, though the latter is less upset than the former. Twilight seems to really want to punch Discord in the face.
  • Big "NO!": At the end of the episode, when Discord asks Twilight if he can trouble her for a glass of water again, she flat out tells him "NO!"
  • Blatant Lies: Discord claims to be too sick to perform basic tasks, and yet his Reality Warper powers are clearly functioning just fine, making him more than capable of taking care of himself. Nopony calls him on this.
  • Body Horror:
    • Discord's arms, legs, and even wings fall off of him while he's convincing Twilight and Cadance to take care of him.
    • During his song, he also does things like ripping Twilight's horn off (and turning it into a bouquet of flowers) and swapping her and Cadance's manes.
  • Bubble Boy: At the end, Discord is quarantined in a bubble after being sneezed on by the Tatzlwurm and becoming sick for real.
  • Call-Back:
  • The Cameo: Flash Sentry is one of the two guards who escort Cadance at the train station.note 
  • Chekhov's Gun: Cadance's magical sneeze guard ended up protecting her and Twilight against the Tatzlwurm's mucus.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Tatzlwurm has three of them inside its "mouth", using them to entangle Twilight Sparkle and Cadance.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cool Train: Instead of the typical Equestrian train, Cadance rides a high speed train made of crystal!
  • Death Glare: Twilight gives one to Discord to show defiance when he gives her half of a friendship pendant as appreciation for his Secret Test of Character. Discord lampshades it.
    Discord: Why the angry eyes?
  • Defensive "What?": Rarity after Discord asks for a fainting couch and her friends look at her.
  • Deflector Shields: Cadance conjures up a barrier to keep Discord from infecting her and Twilight. Note that the health bubble appears solid to Discord only as long as he's pretending to be sick — he later does a Security Cling to Twilight when startled by the Tatzlwurm, and the bubble doesn't stop him, despite clearly still being here. (Unfortunately for Discord, it isn't big enough to encase him too when the wurm sneezes.)
  • Deus Exit Machina: Fluttershy, the only one who can make Discord behave himself, is out of town when he shows up with his shenanigans. He no doubt does this on purpose.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: The Tatzlwurm. It shows up straight out of nowhere when Twilight and Cadance pick the giant flower, attacks them, and gets sealed up underground. And just to hammer home that it was something not even Discord was expecting, it pops out of the ground again and sneezes on him.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Even Discord was unprepared for a Tatzlwurm; doubly so when he's about to "snap" it away, but then it sneezes on him.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: A more balanced example where mighty Discord, the insane Mad God who more than once held Equestria under his dominion through sheer power alone and previously only the Elements of Harmony could stop him, is lain low by a sneeze from a Tatzlwurm, who are pretty powerful mythological beasts themselves.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Discord's "Glass of Water" song, where he makes insensate requests, whist making bizarre out of nowhere imagery appear. Being the Master of Chaos, a musical number sung by him would have to be this.
  • Drama Queen: Discord becomes quite demanding when he falls ill, even breaking into song at one point. Because of this, Twilight chooses to go find the rare flower to have him cured quickly rather than spending time taking care of him.
  • Duck!: After Rarity tells everypony to duck to avoid a spinning Discord, Pinkie Pie informs her that he doesn't look anything like a duck. Rarity fortunately manages to pull her down in time.
  • Famed In-Story: Fluttershy gets this for once, for she was called on for a major assignment. Prior to this, her talents seemed relegated to odd jobs around Ponyville.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Applejack's reaction when Discord claims his condition has left him helpless, affirming her position as The Spock of the Mane Six.
  • Fetch Quest: Discord indicating the location of the rare flower that will cure his blue flu — it's at the top of a distant mountain and can only be picked when it blooms at sunset.
  • Flower from the Mountaintop: The last demand Discord presents to Twilight and Cadance is that he wants a tea brewed from the petals of a rare flower that grows on a cliff on the furthest edge of Equestria. The flower happens to be the size of a tree and a Sand Worm happens to make its home underneath.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the beginning of the episode, Discord ponders out loud whether or not Twilight and Cadance are still close, given that they've spent so much time apart. Near the end of the episode, he reveals his fake illness was meant to test the strength of his friendship with Twilight. Best to take that with a grain of salt, though.
    • Though it's pretty obvious right from the outset, the fact that Discord kindly rejects Pinkie's offer to willingly take care of him in favor of the more skeptical Rarity and Applejack should ring a few bells.
    • Similarly, Discord claims that his condition has left him so weak that he "can barely lift a spoon," conjuring one to demonstrate. Not thirty seconds later, he pulls an entire tree from the ground while hunting for Fluttershy, proving that he's lying to at least some degree about the severity of his illness.
    • Blue Flu is the name given to a sickness that workers who, for one reason or another, cannot legally go on strike (for example, police officers, who are always on call), and so instead they will call in "sick" en masse to not do their job. ("Is Jim coming in today?" "No, he has Blue Flu.")
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: This episode makes clear that Fluttershy is Discord's only real friend in the Mane Six and that the others only tolerate him for her sake. Needless to say, nopony sans Fluttershy feels particularly sorry for Discord when messing with Twilight and Cadance gets him sick for real.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Something crazy happens every time Discord sneezes (a house floats away, a lamppost gains arms and walks away, hats come to life and chase cosplaying ponies, etc.).
    • At one point at the train station, sick Discord walks in scene with a typical hospital gown and an portable IV stand. As he addresses the remaining Mane Six, he turns his back to them to soliloquize, showing the gown isn't tied up in the back. The ponies all raise a hoof and avert their gaze until he turns back around.
    • During Discord's song, one cutaway scene is of an apparently airport security checkpoint. In the background, there's a unicorn mare with braces looking with great concern at the metal detector she's being guided towards walking through.
    • Another shot during the song, Discord blows a second house off its foundation, leaving a startled Bon-bon (her hair in a towel) behind along with a toilet.
  • Here We Go Again!: The last thing Discord does in the episode is ask for a glass of water.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: One of the things Discord asks for in his List Song is "a firm 'Gesundhoof!' if I sneeze".
  • Hot Drink Cure: One of Discord's cures for his supposed blue flu listed in "Glass of Water" is tea and honey.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Discord states that he's too weak to lift even a spoon; shortly thereafter, he uproots a tree with absolutely no effort.
  • Jerkass: Discord fakes being sick specifically to try and ruin Twilight's day with Cadance.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Discord has pointed out that even though Twilight said that they're friends, she's never proven it. Her befriending him, up to that point, had in fact been solely for pragmatic purposes and she was very open about it.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Discord, who seemed to be unstoppable after the Mane Six returned the Elements of Harmony to their original place, is revealed to be vulnerable to some viral diseases.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Discord spends the episode faking an illness to Troll Twilight and Cadance and even makes Applejack and Rarity sick as part of the act. Then the Tatzlwurm sneezes on him, making him sick for real. Lampshaded in the end:
    Applejack: I don't wanna go sayin' you got what you deserved...
    Rarity: Well, I have no trouble saying it. You got what you deserved!
    • Likewise though, if you choose to believe Discord, as he did actually have a point, being stuck taking care of him for real counts as this for treating him The Friend Nobody Likes.
  • The Long List: Discord's demands. Delivered in song, naturally.
  • Malfunction Malady: What Discord pretends to have. Every time he sneezes, something random and chaotic happens. It quickly becomes obvious he still has the full range of his powers, though, especially during the song.
  • Mythology Gag: Though we'll expect to learn more in a few episodes, Breezies are a G3 species.
  • Never Say "Die": In his Patter Song, Discord says "I'll be grateful for your charity until the bitter end" and falls backwards in Twilight's grasp, clutching a red rose to his chest instead of a white lily.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Discord highly expected his escapades with Twilight and Cadance to ruin their visit. However, Cadance admits she's had more fun than she ever did, and has grown even closer with Twilight because of it.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Discord toward everypony, as per usual. Especially Twilight during the song, when he "faints" into her arms.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: A rare example from Discord who, being capable of teleporting around normally, has little need for this. After Rainbow Dash tries to send Discord packing by pushing him onto the train station platform, by the time she's flown back over, Discord has already teleported himself back to his original position after being out of shot for a few frames. Unlike Discord's standard teleportation, he also pulls this off silently and without the flashy effects that are normally seen.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The Mane Cast's reaction when Discord shows up.
    • Discord when he comes face-to-face with the Tatzlwurm.
  • Orphaned Etymology: Comes up three times during Discord's song: first is the "pastries from Abyssinia", which is the historical name of the African nation of Ethiopia; second is the Pekingese, a breed of dog named after Beijing (or Peking), the capital of China; third is his request for Swiss cheese, named after the country of Switzerland.
  • Patter Song: "Glass of Water", which becomes insanely fast by the end of the song.
  • Pet the Dog: Quite literally, Discord cuddles a big one in fact with no shown intent of trying to harm it in his song.
  • Playing Sick: That "Blue Flu" he caught? It turns out to all be an act... Then he catches a real illness from the aforementioned Sand Worm at the end of the episode.
  • Power Incontinence: Discord's "Blue Flu" seems to make his reality warping powers go haywire everytime he sneezes or coughs. It all turns out to be a lie, of course.
  • Precious Puppy: The "cuddle with a Pekingese" lyric of Discord's List Song.
  • Prehensile Tail:
    • Pinkie once again uses her tail to manipulate objects, this time holding up a used lawn furniture sales flier.
    • Discord picks up Twilight with his tail, which grow noticeably longer for this usage.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Twilight on finding Discord's deception.
    Twilight: You! Were! FAKING!?!
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: This episode emphasizes Discord's embodiment of this trope: he may not be actively using his powers for evil any more, but he's still a gadfly and Trickster Mentor who delights in making trouble in the name of "lessons" about friendship.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: After he replaces the candle in the exhibit box, Discord attempts to invoke this trope.
  • Rule of Three: The ponies react to getting good news in the mail. Twilight is ecstatic that Cadance is coming to visit, Fluttershy is ecstatic she'll get to visit the breezies, and Pinkie Pie is ecstatic that there's a sale on used lawn furniture.
  • Running Gag: Averted; this is the first time Twilight and Cadance don't do their song and dance's meeting.note 
  • Sand Worm: A Tremors-esque Sand Worm happens to make its home underneath the giant flower, and naturally attacks Twilight and Cadance when they uproot it.
  • Schizo Tech:
    • Generally pops up whenever Discord's around, including an electronic heart monitor, an IV bag, and a shot of him pulling tweezers out of a bag in an airport, complete with metal detector, X-ray machine, and TSA-ponies. However, given these were all around Discord's own breed of magic, how many of these really exist in Equestria is anyone's guess.
    • The train Cadance arrives in looks like a modern locomotive, except for a steam exhaust.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: This exchange...
    Discord: While [Fluttershy's] gone. You ponies can take care of me. Isn't that what friends are for? Taking care of each other? [chuckles as he grabs Pinkie, Rarity, Applejack and Rainbow Dash in a hug] Let the healing begin!
    Rainbow Dash: Not it! [zooms off into the distance and isn't seen till the end of the episode]
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Uprooting the huge flower Discord sends Twilight and Cadance after unleashes the Tatzlwurm, which proceeds to attack the princesses, attempting to devour them. Only forcing it back in the hole it emerged from and sealing it with boulders finally ends its attack.
  • Secret Test of Character: Discord claims he faked being sick to test how much his friendship meant to Twilight, and totally not to ruin her day with Cadance.
  • Security Cling: When the Tatzlwurm emerges from the hole (after Discord explains he's been faking illness), Discord clings to Twilight as she and Cadance back up from the wurm.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sick Episode: With Discord playing the sick friend.
  • Some Kind of Force Field: Cadance's health bubble appears as an iridescent glow only when touched or sneezed upon.
  • Soup Is Medicine: Discord asks for pumpkin soup when he claims to have the croup.
  • Smash Sisters: Sisters-in-Law here — Twilight and Cadance against the Tatzlwurm. They both save one another and bring it down together.
  • Stealth Pun: Near the end of Discord's song, during the line "and more and more and more and more of these", three further panels appear on screen without being described. Each of them could be summed up preserving both the rhyme and the cadence of the previous stanza: a bunch of saddled chimpanzees, a tiny circus full of fleas, a Twilight doll for me to squeeze, or even just "Trapeze, monkey, fleas and squeeze".
  • Stock Scream: The Tatzlwurm lets out a Wilhelm Scream when it's forced back underground; it's easy to miss since the beast's normal roaring sounds are layered on the scream.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Discord had no idea Cadance would be in town the same day he happened to get sick, honest—and that Fluttershy would be out of town on the exact same day is equally a shock to him. Definitely.
  • Take That!: During the song, Discord is briefly stopped by TSA agents for tweezers in his bag.
  • Tempting Fate: Exploited by Discord when he first manifests at the train station. He makes a grand show of saying that he certainly hopes nothing will happen to ruin Cadance and Twilight's special day together, all while deliberately setting things up to make sure that's exactly what happens.
  • That's No Moon: Twilight and Cadance search for the rare flower on a mountaintop around what they think is a large tree... before realizing that the flower is the tree. They couldn't realize this while climbing up since the top was covered by a cloud.
  • Third Wheel: As alluded to by the title, Discord's illness gets in the way of Twilight and Cadance's bonding time. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Towering Flower: Discord claims to have contracted an illness called the Blue Flu, which can only be cured by brewing a tisane out of the petals of a type of daisy growing at the very edges of Equestria. When Twilight and Cadance arrive at the daisy's location, they discover a little detail Discord left out: the flower is a good couple of stories tall, with a stem the girth of a good-sized tree trunk and petals big enough to completely cover a pony they fall on top of.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: When the Friendship Express rolls away from Ponyville, Pinkie Pie chases after it as she declares she'll never forget Fluttershy (who is back by episode's end). Pinkie is then immediately distracted by a floating balloon.
  • The Trickster: Discord, to no-one's surprise. He spends the entire episode trolling the Mane Six for kicks, since he can get away with it as Fluttershy is gone. One can also consider this to be the reason he was against Pinkie taking care of him, since Pinkie would have found his tricks funny or not cared. Even his supposed reason for the tricks can be considered another case of trolling since he was rather put out that Twilight and Cadance still had a fun day. Heck, he only found out about Twilight and Cadance by listening to Rarity and Applejack discussing them.
  • Visual Pun: Discord harping on Fluttershy, and many more in the List Song.
  • What Have We Ear?: Discord pulls out a hanky from behind Twilight's ear.
  • Why Are You Looking at Me Like That?: Discord melodramatically asks for a fainting couch, prompting everyone to look toward Rarity.
    Rarity: ...What?


Video Example(s):


Glass of Water

Discord forces Twilight and Cadance to attain to his every need.

How well does it match the trope?

4.43 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / PatterSong

Media sources: