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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S6 E1 "The Crystalling Part 1"

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The cutest little harbinger of doom you'll ever see.

"Being a father is amazing! And wonderful! And amazing! And confusing! And amazing! But surprising too, you know? I mean, not that you'd know. You wouldn't know, I know... You know?"
Shining Armor

Written by: Josh Haber
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Starlight Glimmer is anticipating her first friendship lesson with Twilight Sparkle, since Twilight has taken her on as her pupil and even given her a room in the castle. Meanwhile, the Mane Six await the arrival of news from the Crystal Empire: a formal invitation to visit because the royal foal is due any day. They are to take part in the Crystalling, a ceremony for newborns in the Empire that empowers the Crystal Heart and strengthens the shield protecting the Empire from the Frozen North's harsh climate. When the invitation arrives, Twilight decide to take advantage of the journey and reunite Starlight with her estranged friend, Sunburst, who now lives in the Empire. Starlight tries to hide her reluctance, but she isn't eager to meet Sunburst again since he's surely become a great wizard by now, and she's still ashamed of her past.

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When the Mane Six, Starlight and Spike arrive, they find an exhausted Shining Armor waiting for them. He takes the Mane Six to the palace while Starlight goes with Spike to find Sunburst. Reluctantly, Starlight prepares to face her old friend, but Sunburst seems embarrassed by any talk about his new life as a "great wizard" — and Starlight is in no hurry to bring up her own past. Their conversation devolves into hesitant small talk, each of them afraid to reveal too much, while Spike goes over Twilight's "lesson plan" to see if anything in it can ease the awkwardness.

Inside the castle, Twilight and her friends finally meet the new baby, only to discover something very unexpected: the new princess is an alicorn! Not even Celestia and Luna have seen this before, and the baby's magic is wildly out of control. Cadance announces to the assembled public that the ceremony will be a bit delayed, while the Mane Six agree to help a very stressed Shining Armor finish the last chores. Pinkie and Twilight watch the new baby, dealing with her chaotic magic as best as they can.

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Just as it looks like things are finally ready, a sudden tantrum from the infant princess causes a magical shockwave which strikes the Crystal Heart, disintegrating it into fragments. Everypony reacts in horror and shock, and the shield around the Empire drops quickly, letting the icy wind and snow of the frozen North into the Empire...

TO BE CONTINUED

*cue creepy unsettling slapstick credits music*

Continued in "The Crystalling – Part 2".


Tropes:

  • 100% Heroism Rating: Spike is still honored and revered as a hero for his past exploits in the Crystal Empire.
  • Accidentally Broke the MacGuffin: Flurry Heart's sudden surge of power shatters the Crystal Heart into pieces!
  • Alien Geometries: The vase portraying the steps of the Crystalling shows one image covering an entire side, but the closeups show no less than seven sides to the vase.
  • Art Evolution: A Downgrade for the sake of simplifying animation. The crystal ponies no longer have the crystal sheen effect even when they're in the Crystal Empire. Instead, the crystal sheen only takes effect when the Crystal Heart is overflowing with the magic of love and hope.
  • Art Shift: The vase used by Spike as visual aid for his description of a Crystalling sports pictures of ponies in the style of ancient Greek murals.
  • As You Know: Pinkie is excited about seeing the Crystal Heart become more sparkley and shiny. Twilight reminds her of its role in protecting the Crystal Empire, which Pinkie should have remembered from the time it was used to prevent King Sombra's return.
  • The Atoner: Continuing on from the last episode, Starlight Glimmer starts her work to move on from her dark past. She's definitely not proud of it.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Shining's mane is in complete disarray from taking care of his daughter, and he's suffering from severe sleep deprivation to the point where he dozes off at the drop of a hat (even while standing up).
  • Balloonacy: Pinkie Pie, once again, inflates a balloon that lifts her from the ground, for no other reason than a party was mentioned.
  • Be All My Sins Remembered: Starlight Glimmer is still reeling by how Easily Forgiven she was by Twilight Sparkle and deems herself unworthy as her pupil, as well as having a new place to stay in the Castle of Friendship.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Lampshaded by Starlight, as she notes how the Castle of Friendship seems smaller on the outside.
  • Blind Shoulder Toss: Starlight tosses her popcorn over her shoulder when she fails to get Spike to tell her what happened in the Equestria Games.
  • Bookworm: This Episode formally introduces Starlight's unicorn colt friend from her fillyhood years in "The Cutie Remark - Part 2" as Sunburst who, just like Twilight Sparkle, is an avid bookreader that is studious and knowledgeable.
  • Call-Back:
    • Starlight Glimmer is reunited with Sunburst, her friend as a filly whose departure after getting his cutie mark left her with anger towards cutie marks.
    • Starlight's main worry about reuniting with Sunburst is because of the shameful actions she committed after he left.
    • "The Crystal Empire" Part 1 and Part 2 are brought up, and Starlight even gets Spike talking about his heroism to delay talking to Sunburst.
  • Captain Obvious:
    • "It appears that her magic is more powerful than that of a newborn unicorn." Thank you, Celestia... but the huge magic beam piercing through several floors of the castle is a bit of a giveaway.
    • Applejack gets into this too once the Crystal Heart is shattered.
      Applejack: I'm guessin' that's gonna make it hard to do the Crystallin'...
  • Continuity Nod:
    • One of Twilight's alternate friendship lesson ideas involves a trip to Griffonstone.
    • Starlight walks in on Spike posing for the mirror.
    • In part to "Baby Cakes", in that newborn ponies appear to have random spurts of magic and/or flying. In this case, as an alicorn, Flurry Heart's random outbursts are much more threatening than either Pound or Pumpkin Cake's could ever be.
    • Twilight empathizes with Starlight — she knows reuniting with old friends can be difficult.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Twilight's list for Starlight's first lesson covers every scenario, including Starlight trying to get out of it with distractions.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Crystalling ceremony is clearly intended to be a Fantasy Counterpart Culture version of a christening (with "crystaller" being equivalent to "godparent"), except that the baby doesn't receive her name during the ceremony; it only happens as an afterthought in Part 2.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The reason why there is even a Part 2. Panicky preparations aside, everything is pretty much smooth sailing until Flurry Heart suddenly wails and breaks the Crystal Heart. Within a matter of seconds, the ponies go from "preparing for a ceremony" to suddenly facing a crisis that threatens their very existence. This goes especially for the Royal Family and the Mane Six as they are Equestria's primary means of defense. If anything happens to them, Equestria would be vulnerable to attack without them to protect it.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Flurry Heart being an alicorn took everybody by surprise, even Celestia and Luna. Apparently ultrasounds haven't been invented in Equestria yet.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Of a sort — Twilight and Cadance separate Pinkie and Flurry Heart when in Twilight's magic field (a cell). To an older viewer, this is the process of mitosis.
  • Dramatic Shattering: The Crystal Heart getting shattered happens first with an Ominous Crack quickly spreading to the whole artifact, and then with it suddenly breaking into hundreds of shards, punctuated with a Mass "Oh, Crap!" from the Royal Family and the Mane Six.
  • Easily Forgiven: Lampshaded when Starlight Glimmer still can't understand how Twilight Sparkle was able to quickly forgive her for all the things she did. Twilight swiftly brushes it off, telling Starlight that she is not one to dwell on the past, and Starlight shouldn't either. This episode also deconstructs it a little bit; Starlight is still massively haunted by her previous actions and she considers everybody deciding not to punish her as Cruel Mercy. Every-pony repeatedly bringing up the stuff she did doesn't help matters.
  • Evolving Credits: Starlight Glimmer appears in the photo shoot in the opening starting with this episode, standing bashfully between Applejack and Big Mac. As well, the Cutie Mark Crusaders show off their Cutie Marks.
  • Exploding Closet: One of the doors Starlight opens when trying to find her way around is stuffed with cleaning supplies that fall on her.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Starlight's mane is slightly different as of this episode. She no longer has split bangs, she now has side swept ones that curl down the side of her head. This could represent her reformation and her willingness to change for the better.
  • Eye Scream: Immediately after Pinkie Pie promises to keep an eye on the alicorn foal, it's hugging her face with its hooves in her eyes. Pinkie, as usual, is just excited about another opportunity to play babysitter.
  • Face Palm: Starlight has this reaction when Spike suggests taking over the friendship lesson when Twilight looks like she's going to be busy helping Shining Armor and Cadance with their child.
  • Fell Asleep Standing Up: As a Furry Reminder, Shining falls asleep while standing.
  • Flashback Effects: The flashback to Starlight's past with Sunburst open with the usual wavy picture effect. It ends in a puff of smoke in the background behind Spike.
  • Flight: Flurry Heart's large wings allow her to fly, as Rainbow Dash predicts, and even Pinkie holding onto her isn't enough to slow her down much.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Starlight's flashbacks to her time with Sunburst, we see Sunburst doing simple versions of spells he researches while Starlight does far more impressive ones, hinting that he didn't become the powerful wizard everyone expected. Similarly it serves as foreshadowing in hindsight for Starlight being incredibly gifted at enhancing/altering existing spells.
    • The Crystal Heart disintegrating into fragments is foreshadowed by Spike's description of the Crystalling, where a new shard is added to the Heart every time a new foal is born.
  • Furry Reminder: Shining Armor makes a number of equine-esque sounds as a result of sleep deprivation from caring for Flurry Heart. He also falls asleep while standing up at one point, something real-life horses often do.
  • Genki Girl: Twilight Sparkle is very happy and excited to have Starlight Glimmer as her pupil, so excited that she becomes completely Oblivious to Hints when Starlight shows her glaring discomfort regarding her first friendship lesson.
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: Flurry Heart's baby scream is powerful enough that it shatters the Crystal Heart into a hundred of tiny shards, leaving the Mane Six and the Royal Family with a horrified reaction.
  • Goo Goo Godlike: If being born as an alicorn wasn't enough, Flurry Heart showcases that she's quite powerful by blasting a hole through several floors of the castle and shattering the Crystal Heart by crying.
  • Hammerspace:
    • Rainbow Dash pulls her gift for Flurry Heart (a Cloudsdale mobile almost as big as she is) out of nowhere from behind her back.
    • Starlight Glimmer also pulls a chair and a bag of popcorn out of nowhere with her magic when she listens to Spike's story.
  • Invisible Subtle Difference: While showing Shining Armor crystals and asking him to choose one for the Crystalling ceremony, Rarity mentions that she arranged them in order of purity. Fluttershy points out that they all look the same.
    Rarity: Now, I know choosing the crystal of purity is a very important decision. So I have gone through the trouble of arranging them in order from incredibly pure to outrageously pure.
    Fluttershy: Um, Rarity, don't they all sort of look the same?
    Rarity: Oh, well, to the untrained eye, perhaps.
  • It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: Twilight proudly proclaims while on the train that Starlight reuniting with Sunburst will be "The best friendship lesson, EVER!" Par for the trope, it's a much more bumpy ride than she anticipated.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Starlight's doubts revolving around how Easily Forgiven she was echo fan criticisms on her redemption.
  • Long List: Twilight creates a very long list of things that Starlight should do to reconnect with Sunburst, shown through the classic cartoon trick of the interminable scroll that rolls on the floor.
  • Loud Gulp: Starlight audibly gulps her last mouthful of popcorn when Spike declines getting roped into more storytelling and insists they fulfill their mission of reuniting with Sunburst.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Shining Armor and Cadance have apparently been hit with this, as shown by their being worn down by the new baby. Apparently they have no staff whatsoever who could take over some childcare duties while they do things like rule the kingdom. On the other hand, ordinary pony nannies would be unable to protect themselves from Flurry Heart's random bursts of power, while her parents do have the appropriate defensive magic. That would explain why they'd prefer doing the task themselves rather than endanger their servitors.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Flurry Heart's wail is loud enough to shatter the Crystal Heart.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": When Flurry Heart's sonic cry shatters the Crystal Heart, the looks on the Mane Six and the Royal Family's faces has this all over. Even Celestia and Luna's expressions make it clear that this is very, very, very bad. Even worse than Celestia's reaction to discovering Discord stole the Elements of Harmony, or learning of Tirek's return.
  • Messy Hair:
    • Cadance and Shining Armor are afflicted with this due to spending several sleepless nights dealing with Flurry Heart, with some stubble for Shining Armor for good measure.
    • Sunburst has it due to being something of a flustered shut-in.
  • Mr. Exposition: Twilight and Spike do a lot of explaining about the Crystalling. Spike even use an ancient-looking vase with Greek-style decorations on it to illustrate his exposition.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Starlight Glimmer has much trouble finding her way around the Castle of Friendship and later humorously tries to exploit this by having Spike filibuster about his and the Mane Six' previous exploits in the Crystal Empire, just so she can put off her reunion with Sunburst as much as possible. Spike knows she's trying to distract him and only indulges in one story.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Cadance taking Flurry Heart away from Pinkie is what causes her to wail and shatter the Crystal Heart.
  • No Antagonist: There is conflict, but very unique among My Little Pony two-parters in which there is no villain whatsoever. Also, unlike "Princess Twilight Sparkle", the disaster wasn't even planned ahead of time or caused deliberately.
  • No Name Given: "The baby" won't be given the name Flurry Heart until the end of the next episode. Her name is given in the episode's credits.
  • No Sense of Direction: Starlight gets lost inside the Castle of Friendship several times.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: In addition to her Heel–Face Turn and becoming the pupil of Twilight, both established in the previous episode, Starlight Glimmer is given a new home in the Friendship Castle to live with Twilight and Spike.
  • Oblivious to Hints: Twilight keeps missing Starlight's obvious discomfort with meeting Sunburst until Spike has Starlight spell it out.
  • Obsessed Are the Listmakers: When Starlight finds Twilight in the library, Twilight has compiled a list of friendship lessons from various books she has strewn about the table. When Starlight notes how concise it is, Twilight clarifies that it merely covers the "A" section, then points to "B" on another table covered in books and such. In a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, Starlight fiddles around with some of the highly-organized lists in the "B" section, causing Twilight's Super OCD to kick in and quickly stop her and send her off to the throne room to meet the others. For Starlight's first lesson, she compiles a Long List covering every possible scenario.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe: Starlight considers both "Our Town" and her attempts to change the past as this, and avoids mentioning it to Sunburst.
  • Painting the Frost on Windows: Nope, this far north the frost does just fine on its own. In fact, weather in the arctic cannot be controlled by pegasi, and alicorn magic can only delay it for a couple hours, tops. The arctic weather is one thing the Crystal Heart protects the Crystal Empire from.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Starlight pulls up a seat and popcorn when she asks Spike to tell her about his heroism.
  • Power Incontinence: Flurry Heart has little control over her infant magic. The problem with that becomes apparent after a Sneeze of Doom unleashes a magic blast that passes through several levels of the palace.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Starlight still has some unresolved feelings over Sunburst, and tries to delay meeting with him as long as possible.
    • Starlight and Sunburst drifted away so long ago that they don't really know where to start trying to reconnect.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: Spike can't help but bring up his heroism at the Crystal Empire when his friends are discussing it.
  • Retcon: Celestia says Flurry Heart was the first pony ever born as an alicorn, while The Journal of the Two Sisters, written by a then-current show writer, claims she and Luna were also born as such. Said writer (Amy Keating Rogers) responded by saying they would rationalize this by it being so long ago that Celestia and Luna came to believe it was now impossible. note 
  • Rule of Funny: When Starlight accidentally walks in on a towel-clad Spike in the bathroom, she looks away, embarrassed, despite the fact that Spike, not to mention the ponies including herself, are naked all the time anyway.
  • Rule of Three: Pinkie Pie interjects "And a party!" three times during the conversation about the Crystalling.
  • Running Gag: Starlight being unable to find her way around the Castle of Friendship.
  • Sequel Episode: To both "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows" (in regards to Shining Armor and Cadance's first kid being born) and "The Cutie Re-Mark" (in regards to Starlight Glimmer's reformation).
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sleepyhead: Shining Armor falls asleep a couple times in the episode. The first time, he does it at the train station while standing up.
  • Society-on-Edge Episode: Invoked. Cadance wonders if the Crystalling should be called off on account of the baby's power incontinence, but Rainbow and Rarity are nonplussed, and Celestia believes "this Crystalling might be more important than ever" when considering this is the first Alicorn born in who knows how many centuries or millennia after her and Luna.
  • Spot of Tea: Sunburst offers Starlight a cup during their first attempt at rekindling their friendship.
  • Stealth Pun: Starlight's new mane-style (her bangs are now side-swept instead of in front of her) represent she's literally "opening up" to everything.
  • Surprise Creepy: The scene where Starlight shows her anxiety over meeting Sunburst again is accompanied by a slow zoom on her dread-filled face and an unsettling, droning buzz that gradually drowns out Twilight's excited rambling. When Twilight snaps her back to reality, the noise and music abruptly stop as her eyes snap wide open.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: While sleeping, Shining Armor vaguely mutters words such as "baby".
  • Tempting Fate: "I've met babies before. I expect this one won't be any different." Oh how wrong you are, Twily.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Every time the prospect of meeting Sunburst is brought up, Starlight is distraught.
    Spike: I'm sure Twilight's got everything covered.
    Starlight Glimmer: Everything, except how I'd rather do anything else.
  • The Titling: "The Crystalling" is a central ceremony.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In the last season premiere, Starlight Glimmer had stolen the Mane Six's cutie marks and imprisoned them in her village to brainwash them, and two episodes ago, she was willing to destroy Equestria in a time travel plot to get revenge against them. Here, Starlight Glimmer is wandering around and living in the Friendship Castle and conversing with all of them on friendly terms.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The new alicorn baby Flurry Heart is not named in this episode, but her name was already revealed in promos well before its premiere.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Follows two story plots: The Mane Six seeing Flurry Heart for the first time and witnessing her uncontrolled powers and Starlight and Spike going to visit Sunburst so Starlight can reconnect with him.
  • Understatement: "I know Twilight can be a little nitpicky..." Sure, Spike, let's go with that.
  • Uniqueness Decay: This episode introduces a fifth alicorn.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Flurry Heart, being a baby, is prone to crying outbursts. Being an alicorn, one such outburst is powerful enough to destroy the Crystal Heart and bring an arctic apocalypse upon the Crystal Empire, threatening also the lives of the Royal Family and the bearers of the Elements of Harmony, Equestria's primary lines of defense against villainy and who without would descend into anarchy.
  • Visual Pun: When Twilight promises Shining Armor and Cadance that she and Pinkie Pie will keep an eye on the baby, Pinkie is then shown smiling with the baby on her face and its hooves in her eye.
  • We Need a Distraction: Starlight tries to put off reuniting with Starburst by getting Spike to tell her about how he saved the Crystal Empire. While it works, Spike declines telling her about his heroics at the Equestria Games, aware that she's just buying time.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Flurry Heart appears to be the first known pony born as an alicorn in Equestrian history. Thus, the shot of her wings springing out of her blanket is treated as one.
    • Another would be everyone in the room, the Mane Six and the Royal Family, recoiling in shock and surprise when Flurry Heart unleashes a powerful burst of her untapped Alicorn magic when she sneezes. Powerful enough to pierce several floors of the Crystal Castle no less.
    • To top it all off, Flurry Heart's crying ends up destroying the Crystal Heart. The expressions on everypony, including the Royal Sisters, make it clear that Flurry Heart just put all their lives in mortal danger.

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