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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S5 E21 "Hearthbreakers"

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Apples meet Rocks... err, Pies.

"I know they have their traditions and we have ours, but I just want them to see how much better theirs could be."
Applejack

Written by Nick Confalone
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It's Hearth's Warming time again, and everypony is getting in the spirit. This year, Applejack and Pinkie Pie's families are going to spend the holiday at the Pie family's rock farm. Pinkie is excited since it'll mean both families get to spend their traditions together, and by the way she describes them, they have a lot in common with the Apple family. Applejack and Apple Bloom, in particular, are looking forward to sharing all of the typical Hearth's Warming Eve traditions with the Pies.

After meeting Maud at the train station, the group arrive at the Pie's rock farm where the Apple meet the rest of Pinkie's family; Pinkie's parents, the very traditional Igneous Rock and Cloudy Quartz, the very shy and withdrawn Marble Pie, and the aggressive Limestone Pie. Limestone even has to warn everypony to stay away from Holder's Boulder, a huge rock that oversees Limestone's quarry and crystal mines. Despite a rough start, Applejack and Pinkie Pie are still confident that their families can get along.

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That evening, the Apples quickly find out that while the two families share many traditions, they do them very differently. Instead of a grand feast for dinner, the Pies make bland rock soup. The next day, instead of raising a flag as a symbol of unity by the youngest family member, they turn it into a scavenger hunt for the flag. But, the split up teams do start to bond with each other all the same. Pinkie Pie finds a picture of a rock, meaning she gets to raise the flag. But, on the way back, Pinkie confides in Applejack that they also hide their presents, and nopony has found one in quite some time. In their room, Applejack is upset at how lackluster the Pie family's traditions seem to be.

Overnight, Applejack redecorates the farm to match their own traditions, but they're met with horror by the Pies. In particular, Applejack placed a flag pole on a fault line, causing Holder's Boulder to fall into the quarry below, causing an angry Limestone Pie to demand that the Apples leave. Applejack apologizes to Pinkie Pie for messing things up as her family leaves on the train. While on the way back, a present from Pinkie Pie hits Applejack in the head. This causes Applejack to realize that they should have been explaining their traditions with the Pies rather than trying to force them to accept them, thus creating new traditions between their families. The Apples have the train stop, and quickly head back to the rock farm, where the Pies are trying to get Holder's Boulder back up the quarry. With the Apples' help, they place the boulder back where it belongs, and start sharing their traditions with each other, coming to an understanding.

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*Cue winter-warming music*


Tropes:

  • #1 Dime: Holder's Boulder, found by the Pie family's patriarch in a dragon's nest and "older than time itself", is the cornerstone of their rock farm. Naturally, Limestone Pie considers anypony touching it a Felony Misdemeanor.
  • An Aesop: Strange as they may seem, there's a meaning behind every holiday tradition.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Pinkie Pie makes one to Limestone as a greeting, but the latter slaps her hoof away.
  • The Anti-Grinch: Applejack, along with her family, visits Pinkie Pie's home on Hearth's Warming Day. Noticing that Pinkie's family traditions differ from Applejack's, to the point that it is literally dull as rocks, she vamps up the place using her traditions to enlighten the Hearth's Warming spirit. It backfires spectacularly when the Pie family landmark, a giant egg-shaped boulder, falls off the edge of the cliff.
  • Applied Mathematics: Pinkie's figuring on how many new friendships will result from the Apple and Pie families becoming friends.
  • Arranged Marriage: A rather smooth-going one, but Igneous Rock and Cloudy Quartz married each other because a rock told them to.
  • Art Shift: The sequence where Applejack explains the origins of Hearth's Warming Eve.
  • As You Know: Subverted. Pinkie starts off with "As everypony knows..." and exposits about the origin of the flag-raising tradition, which everypony agrees with. However, when she continues and explains who will be chosen to raise the flag and where it will be raised, it surprises and bewilders the Apples, whose tradition is very different to the Pies'.
  • Behind the Black: Neither Applejack nor Pinkie Pie notice each other when they are crying at the crystal mines, even though they are very close to each other, until the screen shows both.
  • Berserk Button: Limestone gets antsy whenever anypony steps on Holder's Boulder, even if it's a family member like Pinkie.
  • Big "NO!": Limestone Pie lets out one after Holder's Boulder fell off from the earthquake to land in the quarry.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: From the Apple family side, you can't blame them for being a little put off by the Pies' customs since it's a bit unnatural to them. Likewise, the Pies being put off by what the Apples consider a traditional Hearth's Warming Eve since they've never bothered to celebrate it like that. So neither side really jump at the traditions right away. In the end, though, both sides manage to come to a compromise and mix both traditions.
  • Brick Joke: Applejack's "weird" rock doll shows up again at the end of the episode, placed above the fireplace along with the other dolls.
  • Call-Back:
  • Christmas Episode: Much like "Hearth's Warming Eve", this episode takes place during the eponymous time. Though, ironically, this episode's airing closer to Halloween than Christmas.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Twilight's gift to Spike is a book... yet again.
    • Apple Bloom is seen eating rock candy.
    • In Pinkie's flashback in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", Limestone is seen glaring at Pinkie with a rather grumpy expression. Indeed, she turns out to be a grumpy, territorial mare.
    • Maud is still in school, pursuing her "rocktorate" in rock science.
    • Seems like the eating hard rocks and gemstones are a Pie family trait, since Igneous takes a bite out of a stone just as easily as Maud did in her debut episode.
    • This isn't the first time we hear Pinkie's full name.
    • Maud says about the carols she wrote, "This first one is about rocks. They're all about rocks," right down to using the same cinematography as the first time she said it.
  • Cool Old Lady: As the Apples begin to return to Ponyville glum, Granny Smith's sympathetic elaboration over Holder's Boulder helps pivot Applejack to go back and reconcile the two families.
  • Culture Clash: The central conflict arises from how the Pie family celebrate Hearth's Warming Eve differently than the Apples do.
    Apple Bloom: These are their traditions.
    Big Macintosh: Eeyup.
    Applejack: I know they have their traditions and we have ours, but I just want them to see how much better theirs could be.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: What are the odds that Applejack just happens to plant the Hearth's Warming pole on an active fault line?
  • Dirty Old Woman: Granny Smith wonders if the Choosing Stone could hook her up with somepony.
    Granny Smith: Do you reckon it knows any apple farmin' hunks?
    Cloudy Quartz: Mm-hmm.
    Igneous Rock Pie: Indeed so.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Limestone and Marble were interchangeable in season 1 and most supplementary materials but here they become a Grumpy Bear and a Shrinking Violet respectively.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Applejack telling Apple Bloom the Hearth's Warming Tale when she squees over the gifts and stuffs her face with goodies is similar to some families tradition of having to listen to the Christmas Story before getting to open presents or eat Christmas dinner.
  • Earthquakes Cause Fissures: The quake that results from Applejack having planted the flagpole on a fault line causes a massive crack in the ground that causes Holder's Boulder to fall over the cliff into the quarry below, the crack also extending clear down to the bottom of the pit.
  • Eat Dirt, Cheap: The Pie Family's traditional Hearth's Warming meal is literal rock soup, much to the shock of the Apples. You can even see Igneous Rock bite through his rock and chew on it.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: Holder's Boulder is shaped like a giant egg, and it was found inside a dragon's nest? The fact that nopony considers the possibility that it could be a dragon's egg is either a Sequel Hook or a Red Herring.
  • Epic Fail: Not only does Applejack's attempt to introduce Pinkie's family to the Apple Family's Hearth's Warming traditions offend them, but she accidentally puts the flagpole in the worst possible spot on a fault line and wrecks the rock farm with a small earthquake.
  • Foreshadowing: Applejack's surprised, subtly disapproving reaction to finding out that Twilight and Spike open their presents on Hearth's Warming Eve rather than the following morning hints that she's not very accepting of different traditions.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Pinkie Pie and her sisters form one:
    • Sanguine: Pinkie Pie is the most outgoing, energetic, and social of the sisters.
    • Choleric: Limestone Pie is protective of her family's farm, tends to take the lead on projects, and is quick to lose her temper.
    • Melancholic: Maud Pie has an analytical mind and is highly detail-oriented. She tends to be very blunt in communication and reserved when it comes to her emotions.
    • Phlegmatic: Marble Pie is quiet and reserved and lets her sisters do the talking for her.
  • Forgot to Mind Their Head: Applejack is looking for the obsidian stone Limestone Pie has hidden somewhere in a crystal mine with a low ceiling. She clonks her head from straightening up too fast when Pinkie Pie calls for her attention.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: In this case, used to help conserve interactions between 10 different characters, as noted by Nick. He created the four main groupings and kept them mostly separate as to balance all the characters in the otherwise short show.
  • Frame Break: When Pinkie makes her weird calculations about how many new friendships will result from the two families meeting, she concludes with "Nineteen new friendships!"... while that many pink hooves (including her own) show up from every sides of the screen. The best part is Applejack looking utterly baffled as to how she's doing that, even after a shift of the camera view.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In a literal blink-and-you-miss it moment, the normally unflappable Maud briefly widens her eyes in surprise after first seeing Applejack's redecoration of the farm.
  • Full-Name Basis: Pinkie only refers to Marble Pie and Limestone Pie by their full names, leading to some awkward dialogue.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Igneous Rock shouts "Pinkamena Diane Pie!" to Pinkie after seeing the Apple family decorate their farm without permission.
  • Funny Background Event: At the Hearth's Warming dinner, Boulder gets its own small cup of soup next to Maud's.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Holder's Boulder or boulder holders?
  • Grumpy Bear: Limestone Pie. Gruff, bad-tempered and easily angered.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: Pinkie's father introduces himself as "Igneous Rock Pie, son of Feldspar Granite Pie."
  • I Have the High Ground: Pinkie Pie jumps twice on top of Holder's Boulder to make announcements, despite Limestone scolding her for it every time.
  • Implausible Deniability: When Applejack asks what happened to the partially eaten gingerbread flag, a still-munching Pinkie responds, "I don't know."
  • Innocently Insensitive: Applejack thinks her family's traditions are more enjoyable than the Pies' and puts together a jubilant celebration to demonstrate. Not only are the Pies flabbergasted and outraged (Limestone in particular since Applejack's decorations clutter up the farm), but she ends up accidentally sending the Pies' cherished Holder's Bolder tumbling into a quarry.
  • It's All My Fault: After the fiasco of Holder's Boulder falling down a slope, Applejack and Pinkie Pie sulk off and kick themselves over ruining the holiday: Applejack for forcing her traditions onto the Pies, and Pinkie for roping the Apples into the mess.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Apple Bloom makes a complete mess of herself eating candy, and even talks with her mouth full.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Limestone Pie is fiercely protective of the Pie rock farm and with an attitude to match, but only because she cares so much about her family and their traditions. She starts acting much nicer when Applejack returns to apologize for nearly ruining everything.
  • Kissing Cousins: The Ship Tease between Big Mac and Marble may be this. Of course, if they are related it's distant enough to be negligible, but it was definitely curious to have Pinkie saying "we might be related" to AJ over and over even as Marble and Big Mac were hitting it off.
  • Leitmotif: Igneous Rock and/or Cloudy Quartz speaking is accompanied by solemn organ music.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Applejack says it before summarizing the way the Pies celebrate Hearth's Warming, which is basically eating rocks, no flagpole raising and no presents. To which Pinkie Pie concludes, "Doesn't sound very fun when you say it that way..."
  • Level Ate: The Hearth's Warming tale is quickly recapped using gingerbread cookies of various descriptions (ponies, windigoes, flag); the Fire of Friendship is represented by a stick of rock candy. The gingerbread house and candy cane backdrop presumably represents the castle the three races held council in. Pinkie Pie even takes a bite out of the gingerbread flag.
  • Made of Iron: Applejack realizes how to make amends when a gift Pinkie hid for her dropped on her head. The catch? The gift was a heavy rock larger than Applejack's head, but it only left her stunned for about two seconds.
  • Meaningful Name: Limestone Pie, with her lime and stone Cutie Mark, is as acerbic as the fruit after which she is named.
  • Metaphorically True: Every time Applejack mentions part of how the Apple family celebrates Hearth's Warming, Pinkie says her family does the same thing. She's technically correct that they both place dolls on the fireplace mantle, have a special Hearth's Warming Eve dinner, exchange presents, and raise the Equestria flag, but the details of their traditions couldn't be more different.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Applejack's sudden introduction of her Apple family traditions and planting the flagpole on a fault line causes an earthquake that makes Holder's Boulder fall off into a quarry below.
  • Not So Different:
    • The plot is largely pivoted by this being between Pinkie Pie and Applejack. While this episode and many others tend to show them on the far opposite sides of the spectrum, both are shown to be incredibly passionate about the holiday and overeager for both families to get along. This also places spotlight on both characters' occasionally bullheaded inability to notice their ways and preferences are not always for the best for others.
    • Apple Bloom and Maud Pie actually find they have a bit in common by dreaming about turning into things (Maud as a rock, Apple Bloom as an apple).
    • There is a lot of similarity with Limestone and Applejack, more than either would care to admit: they're both pushy, domineering, and, ultimately, with a huge responsibility complex that they and they alone can keep their respective family businesses going. Limestone takes it up a notch more than Applejack, though.
    • Big Macintosh and Marble Pie also manage to bond over being similarly taciturn and rather shy when talking to others. Multiple times when they're "speaking" to each other they also start to blush.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • Applejack crying alone before she notices Pinkie.
    • Maud making a small but visible smile during the festivities when Apple Bloom hands Boulder a cinnamon bun.
    • Cloudy Quartz and Igneous Rock Pie smile and blush as Granny Smith suggests the choosing stone to be something of a playful hooker up, implying their relationship to be slightly more affectionate than expected.
    • Upon seeing the decorated rock farm, Maud makes a wide-eyed expression for a split second.
  • Odd Friendship: Between the two families, Apple Bloom and Maud have the most positive interaction prior to the reconciliation during the climax. Apple Bloom even gets a small smile out of Maud by being friendly to Boulder.
  • Orphaned Etymology: Maud mentions the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, despite "Mohs" being the German surname of the person who invented it. Also, Andesite is named for the Andes Mountains, which shouldn't exist in this world.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Marble Pie has her mane covering half of her face, further cementing her Shrinking Violet personality.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Pinkie Pie and Marble Pie are twins, but Pinkie Pie is colorful, exuberant, and very social, while Marble Pie is dully colored, reserved, and extremely shy.
  • Prompting Nudge: While Pinkie Pie mostly talks in stead of her sister Marble Pie, she nudges her so that she'd at least nod after a tirade ending with "she wishes you a happy Hearth's Warming."
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: On seeing the rock farm redecorated by Applejack, Limestone lets out a loud "What. Happened. To. My. FARM!?!"
  • The Quiet One: Marble is as every bit as laconic as Big Macintosh. The most she ever says is "mm-hm".
  • Rack Focus: The focus shifts between Apple Bloom and Maud Pie when they bond in the mine while looking for the obsidian stone that Limestone Pie had hidden.
  • Ret-Canon: The names of Pinkie and Maud's family come from the book Pinkie Pie and the Rockin' Ponypalooza Party!. In fact, Granny Smith calls Igneous by his nickname from the book, "Iggy".
  • The Reveal: Granny Smith telling the Apple family "why Holder's Boulder is so danged important".
  • Revisiting the Roots: By the writer's admission, his goal with this episode was to imbue it with the feeling of the show's first two seasons.
  • Running Gag: Yet another gift-giving opportunity, and the Cold Open has Twilight once again giving Spike a book.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Pinkie is introducing the Apples and Pies, Marble makes a run for it the moment Pinkie isn't looking.
  • Senior Sleep Cycle: Granny Smith is asleep for most of the train ride.
  • Sequel Episode: Something of a thematic sequel to "Pinkie Apple Pie, in which Pinkie spent time with the Apple family after learning they might be related to the Pies. Likewise one to "Maud Pie", only on a full family scale this time.
  • Sex Is Good: Puritan ponies Igneous Rock and Cloudy Quartz both have no problem with Granny Smith looking for an "apple farmin' hunk".
  • Sherlock Scan: Maud manages to guess Applejack went sledding just by noting the rocks on her hooves.
  • Shipper on Deck: Pinkie does this to Big Mac and Marble Pie.
  • Ship Tease: Even without Pinkie's help, both Big Mac and Marble Pie act bashful and shy around each other, constantly blushing and frequently making eye contact.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the train, two stallions seen in the opening shot of the interior look exactly like Neal Page and Del Griffith from Planes, Trains and Automobiles. The Griffith pony has a cutie mark of a shower curtain, while Page's is two pillows.
    • Also, there is a mare wearing a coat and her mane colored and styled like Kevin McCallister's mom from Home Alone on the same train.
    • When Pinkie wakes the next morning at the rock farm, she and her sisters are placed into one bed with two heads near the headboard and two near the foot, as depicted in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and its adaptations.
  • Shrinking Violet: Marble Pie, who never says any more that "Mmmm-hmmm".
  • Slasher Smile: Limestone flashes a nasty grin while watching Applejack try the soup.
  • Sleeping Single: Not to much surprise given their morals, Igneous Rock and Cloudy Quartz sleep in different beds.
  • Speak in Unison: Applejack and Pinkie do this on two separate occasions. The first time it ends with a unison Stop Copying Me.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Pinkie's family appear to be based on Quakers. They live in a quarry. Think about that.
    • On Hearth's Warming morning, Pinkie's cheerful outburst wakes up everypony except Maud, who sleeps like a rock.
  • Stone Soup: Averted with the Pie family's rock soup, which is literally soup with rocks in it.
  • Tears of Remorse: Both Applejack and Pinkie cry together in the family mine when they believe they've ruined Hearth's Warming for each other's families. Which is kinda contradictory to the affirmation that Applejack cries on the inside.
  • There Is Only One Bed: While the Apple guests are using the bunk beds upstairs on Hearth's Warming Eve, the four Pie sisters are sharing the same bed. They don't seem to mind and get a good night's sleep, although Pinkie's overactive wake-up call in the morning startle the others, sending Limestone sprawled on the floor.
  • The Treachery of Images: Limestone Pie hid a picture of an obsidian stone.
    Applejack: I've been lookin' for a real stone, Pinkie Pie!
    Pinkie Pie: Um, that would be weird.
  • Twice Shy: Big Mac and Marble Pie are so shy around each other that Pinkie Pie has to speak for both for them. It leads to quite the awkward, er, "conversation" when they're left alone together:
    Marble Pie: Mm-hmm.
    Big Macintosh: Eeyup.
    Marble Pie: Mm-hmm.
    Big Macintosh: Eeeeeeeeeyup.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Applejack and Pinkie both use similar phrases when they feel they've messed up. Appropriately, Applejack's is alcohol-relatednote , while Pinkie Pie's is party-themed.
    Applejack: I really cracked the corn this time.
    Pinkie Pie: I really popped the piñata this time.
  • Visual Pun:
    • Limestone Pie's cutie mark is a cut lime over two stones.
    • Marble Pie's look like three marble marbles.
  • When She Smiles: Limestone drops the mean girl routine and starts giving a genuine smile when she accepts Applejack's apology. Maud also makes a tiny smile when Apple Bloom shares a cinnamon bun with Boulder.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Igneous Pie invokes this when he greets Granny Smith, wondering if she has a first name other than "Granny", since she can't have been old her entire life.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Unlike her big sister Applejack, Apple Bloom realizes from the beginning that it's OK for the Pie family to have their own traditions for Hearth's Warming.
  • Women Prefer Strong Men: Granny Smith expresses an interest in finding an "apple-bucking hunk" and there's a blatant ship tease between Marble Pie and Big Mac.
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: Apple Bloom bemoans that this is the "Worst Hearth's Warming ever..." after Applejack's attempt at an Apple-style celebration ends in fiasco.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Pinkie's parents talk in it, eventually leading to Granny making her own attempt.

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