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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S6 E21 "Every Little Thing She Does"

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Magic is easy. Bonding with the ponies you once tried to enslave? Not so much.

Written by Michael Vogel
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Twilight Sparkle tests the magical ability of Starlight Glimmer in the castle. Not only is Starlight able to keep pace with Twilight, but she reveals that she can combine a few spells together to create new effects. Though impressed with Starlight's magical abilities, Twilight notices that Starlight has been slacking in her friendship lessons. Twilight says that now is a good time, since she and Spike are going to Canterlot to give a lecture to Princess Celestia's students. Starlight nervously responds that she'll try before retreating to her room. Just before leaving, Spike finds her pretending to study, while denying that she's nervous about failing a friendship lesson. Instead, Starlight comes up with a plan to impress Twilight by doing multiple friendship lessons all at the same time, much to Spike's chagrin.

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Starlight invites the rest of the Mane Six to the castle after Twilight leaves, each with an activity to do: Pinkie will bake a cake, Rarity will sew a dress, Fluttershy will care for animals, Applejack will scrapbook her old memories, and Rainbow will help them all "chillax." However, their ideas on where and when to do these tasks clash with Starlight's ideas and leave her frustrated. After a quick trip to the library, she devises and casts a combination of spells that put the ponies into a trance, ready to listen to any suggestion she offers.

While Starlight orders her friends to perform tasks, she quickly finds a problem: they do exactly what she tells them and nothing else. She gets them all started and gives them all instructions to keep going without her, but the situation quickly spirals out of control. Pinkie follows every recipe in a cookbook, Applejack reminisces over every photo she has with her, Fluttershy lets the animals run loose, Rarity makes a drawing of a dress pointed out by Starlight, and Rainbow flies all over the castle looking for a place to "chillax." Eventually, the cakes Pinkie has left in the oven catch fire and fill the castle with smoke, prompting Starlight to have Rainbow collect storm clouds to put out the flames. Rainbow puts the clouds inside the castle, causing a flood just as Twilight and Spike return to see the mess Starlight has made.

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Twilight undoes all of the magic and starts cleaning up the castle, questioning why Starlight thought a mind control spell on her friends was a good idea. Starlight admits that she was afraid that she was going to screw up the activities involved, and didn't want to disappoint anypony. However, both Twilight and Spike help Starlight see that she missed the point of the lessons: not to master the activities, but to bond with the others while doing them. Starlight begins to understand and apologizes to the rest of the Mane Six; they are hesitant at first, but soon accept her apology and return to the castle to help with the cleanup. After a busy day of work and bonding, all seven ponies end their day by "chillaxing" together on a balcony, albeit with Rainbow telling Starlight to sit still and be quiet. Starlight asks how long they have to sit, causing the others to break out in laughter.


Tropes:

  • An Aesop:
    • It's not the activity that makes a bonding experience, it's doing it together.
    • Trying to please everyone will end up pleasing no-one. Starlight Glimmer tried to do everything at once to please all parties, but instead wound up getting everyone angry with her instead.
    • Starlight Glimmer tries to "kill two birds with one stone." She ends up snowballing several small problems into a bigger one.
    • Lampshaded by Applejack, who was told by Big Mac, "With a whole lot of power comes a heck of a lot of responsibility." Starlight desperately misuses her magic to make a shortcut that would make her friendship lessons easier but ends up causing a disaster instead.
    • As before in "Dungeons & Discords" and "Keep Calm and Flutter On", friendship requires compromise. Starlight couldn't come to a compromise with Twilight's five friends on what to do first, where to do it, and how it should be done.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Starlight seems to have forgotten about the recent incident where she got reprimanded by Applejack for using magic on her brother Big Mac.
  • Ascended Meme: Rainbow Dash had said "chillax" exactly once prior to this episode, and that was in the context of telling Applejack to calm down in "Winter Wrap-Up". This episode takes the term's more common use of relaxing quietly with friends, which is how it is frequently used in Rainbow Dash fan art, and turns it into one of Starlight's friendship lessons.
  • The Atoner: Starlight does a lot to make it up to the Mane Six for her colossal screw up. First by offering a sincere apology to them, cleaning up the mess she made (With their help as well), and finally, going through with the Friendship Lessons with each of them. The right way of course.
  • Bad Liar: Starlight isn't terribly convincing when she tries to pretend for Spike that she was working on the friendship lessons, while in fact she was idling and procrastinating.
  • Blatant Lies: Starlight claims she only briefly misplaced her friendship lesson flash cards... at the bottom of her wastebasket, buried under crumpled papers, in a condition where Spike has to blow the dust off them. Luckily for Starlight, he doesn't call her out.
  • Born of Magic: During the transfiguration test, Twilight turns an apple into a basket of eggs and one hatches into a living, newborn chick!
  • Bottle Episode: Only the Mane Six, Starlight, and Spike appear in this episode (apart from a brief appearance of weather ponies other than Rainbow Dash), with the entire setting taking place in Twilight's castle (and brief appearances of places Twilight and Starlight teleport to).
  • Comically Missing the Point: Starlight simply can't grasp the concept of "chillaxing", much to her friends' amusement.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cue the Falling Object: After the library is wrecked by Starlight's spell, just as Twilight comments, "There's such a thing as too much studying," a ladder behind her crashes to the floor.
  • A Day in the Limelight: This is the first episode where Starlight Glimmer truly interacts and spends time with the Mane Six as a whole, instead of just Twilight and Spike.
  • Deflector Shields: Twilight and Starlight's magic training in the beginning include magical barriers, and we see several types in display. First Starlight conjures a personal round shield (Captain America-style); then Twilight surrounds herself in a hemispherical bubble, followed by Starlight encasing herself in a crystal-shaped field... which explodes, forcing Twilight to create a full bubble to protect herself from the blast.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Starlight doesn't consider the possibility that using magic to mind-control the Mane Five might cause issues, not to mention her not considering their reactions afterwards.
  • Disappointed in You: Twilight Sparkle bluntly tells Starlight she's disappointed in her over her actions and choices. It cuts into Starlight deep.
    Twilight Sparkle: Starlight, I'm not mad at you, but I am disappointed. You've been doing so well.
  • Dispel Magic: Twilight is able to remove the effects of Starlight's spell on her friends, but notes that it was powerful stuff, hence "they're going to feel it in the morning."
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The morning after Starlight's mind control spell wears off, the affected ponies are essentially hung-over — they're lethargic and tired, their manes are unkept, Rainbow and Pinkie are irritable, and Rarity is extremely sensitive to light and sound due to an awful headache. Applejack even comments on how she "doesn't know what Starlight did to them".
  • Double-Meaning Title: The full title of the song "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" ties in with the episode's Aesop and the overall series concept of Friendship Is Magic.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Starlight misses the point of friendship lessons, thinking of them as activities that need to be done rather than bonding experiences. Twilight and Spike set her straight by the end of the episode.
    Twilight Sparkle: It was a friendship lesson, not a baking lesson.
  • Easily Forgiven: Downplayed. Starlight Glimmer has to endure some harsh (though constructive) criticism from her teacher and earns a few verbal jabs from her friends — Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie go as far as shouting at her while Applejack calmly but effectively makes her anger known — yet a solid apology from Starlight turns them all around pretty quickly. They even help her out for the rest of the day, despite being worn out by Starlight's magic. Though Pinkie does give Starlight the cold shoulder when they bake together — until Starlight covers herself in flour. Finally, Rainbow Dash claims that Starlight isn't off the hook yet — until she "chillaxes" with the Mane Six.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: At the very end, as the whole gang "chillaxes" with Rainbow Dash, Starlight asks how long they're supposed to be doing it, leading everypony else to start giggling.
  • Exploding Closet: Done with a kitchen instead of a closet. When Starlight returns to the kitchen an opens the door, she gets buried under an avalanche of all the food Pinkie made while she was away.
  • Fantastic Aesop: As Rainbow Dash simply and punctually puts it, don't cast mind-control spells on your friends.
  • Fatal Flaw: Starlight's reliance on magic, her lack of social skills, and her poor history with friendship all cause problems here when she tries to brute-force her friendship lessons with the former.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the cold open, the shield competition between Twilight and Starlight gets out of control when Starlight's final shield wrecks the library.
    • When Starlight casts her Mind control spell, a distinct sound effect that is similar to a "wrong answer" buzzer is heard.
    • There's a kite in Starlight's bedroom. Her fascination with kites wouldn't be explored until "Rock Solid Friendship".
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: At the start of the episode, Starlight demonstrates the power of Self-Duplication. However, when faced with a problem where duplication seems the obvious solution (namely, attempting to help Twilight's friends with five different tasks at the same time), she panics and turns to Mind Control instead. That said, she does say the duplication spell is very difficult, so maintaining it long enough may have been a problem. Also, we don't know that the duplicates can do different things at the same time (indeed the fact that the duplicate is stated from the spell's name to be an illusion made more real by the real Starlight using a speed spell to switch places with it would imply that the duplicate can't interact with anything on its own).
  • Freak Out!: Starlight Glimmer starts to slip when Spike talks to her about her friendship lessons, but what really pushes her over the edge is dealing with the Mane Five all at once. Unable to deal with all of the demands and finding out how to tackle the friendship lessons, Starlight loses it.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Starlight has a picture of an equal sign with a ban circle over it in her bedroom, reflecting her moving on from her old "equality" philosophy. A photo of Trixie can be seen near it.
  • Friend to Bugs: When Starlight asks Fluttershy to "round up all the animals", Fluttershy dutifully gathers all her critter friends, as well as several insects, arachnids, and myriapods. And they're crawling all over her. Even after the spell is removed, Fluttershy expresses concern for "all the poor little spiders" that were displaced in the disaster and her bonding time with Starlight involves helping them rebuild their webs.
  • From Bad to Worse: After all the chaos Starlight caused by mind-controlling Twilight's friends, she says it can't get any worse. Cue Twilight and Spike arriving back at the castle.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Starlight gets glowing white eyes when activating the mind-control spell on the Mane Five.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The spell Starlight casts works, but Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rarity and Pinkie Pie obey Starlight's commands down to the literal sense and, when she needs to check on other ponies, keep going in their task without supervision.
  • Gratuitous Latin: The spells Starlight cast all have Latin names all with actual meanings; Fiducia compellus, Cogeria, and Persuaderi means "Compels Trust", "Oblige", and "Persuade". Similarly, the Catadupa Levitata spell she namedrops at the end roughly translates to "Levitate Waterfall".
  • Hand Behind Head: Starlight does this after Twilight explains to her that she totally missed the point of the friendship lessons.
    Starlight Glimmer: Oh. You know I think I might have missed the point here.
    Spike: Told Ya.
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Twilight's friends experience hangover-like symptoms after being cured of the mind-control spell. Rarity in particular wears glasses and a sun hat, and is sensitive to loud noises to the point that even Fluttershy's normal speaking voice makes her wince.
    Rarity: If everypony could speak in a whisper for the next few days, that would be delightful...
  • Head Desk: Pinkie Pie smashes her face flat on the table after stating (loudly, to Rarity's dismay) that until yesterday's fiasco, she had never burned a cake.
  • History Repeats: Twilight has always been one to try and impress her mentor, Celestia, not necessarily with stellar results. Now she has her own student who's likewise attempting to pass all tests, real or perceived, that her mentor has for her, courting disaster in the process.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Once again, Starlight Glimmer has good intentions by resorting to using magic to achieve a good result, which backfires horribly. The Mane Six are rightfully angry and call her out on it. What's more glaring about it is that Starlight really didn't think it was wrong until Twilight told her it was.
    Twilight Sparkle: What made you think that casting a spell on your friends to do your bidding was even remotely a good idea?
    Starlight Glimmer: Well, when you put it that way, it sounds really bad...
    Twilight Sparkle: That's because it is really bad!
  • Irony:
    • When Twilight Sparkle was a student, her social anxiety and neuroticism surrounding her then-mentor Princess Celestia's lessons led to her causing a disaster with her misuse of magic regarding mind-control. Now Twilight is a princess mentor with a socially anxious and neurotic student of her own, who does the exact same thing in this episode.
    • Starlight proclaimed back in "The Cutie Map – Part 1" that being equal with no cutie marks makes everypony a winner. Now she believes that using a mind-control spell to help complete all of her friendship lessons quickly will be a win-win situation that results in a positive outcome.
      Starlight Glimmer: Everypony wins!
    • Using magic on other ponies is a really bad habit that Starlight still hasn't broken yet.
    • Starlight Glimmer is definitely magically talented, but the toughest magic of all that she has a difficult time mastering is the Magic of Friendship.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Starlight cuts off Pinkie Pie's baking song, she says they're on a schedule and there really isn't time for one. She's right when you realize they're on a 22-minute time limit (the length of a single episode).
  • Literal-Minded: The Mane Six, sans Twilight, under Starlight's mind-control spell. They do what Starlight tells them to, but only that. Starlight tries to rectify the problem by telling them to keep going without her, which results in each activity being done to its extreme when Starlight isn't there to tell them to stop.
  • Mind Control: Starlight combines several other spells to subject the Mane Six (minus Twilight) to control them. The spells themselves are more "charms" than "mind control" (by their names, they sound like artificially creating a feeling of trust, being open to suggestion, and easier to persuade) but together they are complete control. She assigns them each different tasks once they're under her power.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Pinkie Pie starts a song about baking cake, but Starlight cuts her off.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Starlight does not take it well when she's called out on her actions and realizes how badly she screwed up.
    Starlight Glimmer: I didn't want to be a disappointment to anypony, and I ended up being a disappointment to everypony...
  • Noodle Incident: Every single picture from Applejack's scrapbooking is summed up in one sentence because Starlight didn't want to hear the whole story.
  • No Social Skills: The main reason Starlight attempts the whole scheme is because she's been neglecting her friendship studies and thinks they are just activities that need to be done rather than bonding experiences, leading to her trying to do five at once with Mind Control, with disastrous results.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Starlight interrupts Fluttershy when the latter is explaining that different animals prefer different environments.
    Fluttershy: Maybe if you spent some time getting to know—
    Starlight Glimmer: In a minute, Fluttershy.
  • Orphaned Punch Line: The first story Applejack tells, after Starlight tells her to sum it up in one sentence, and all the following snippets of story throughout the episode.
    Applejack: Turns out Granny Smith didn't know how to make a pig do the backstroke.
  • Parental Bonus: The post-trance symptoms displayed by the Mane Five are extremely reminiscent of a hangover.
    Rarity: If everypony could speak in a whisper for the next few days, that would be delightful. My head is thumping...!
  • Power Echoes: Starlight briefly gets an echoing voice along with Glowing Eyes of Doom when she triggers the mind-control spell on the Mane Five.
    Starlight Glimmer: Ponies! Hear my voice and listen!
  • Reality Warping: One of Twilight's tests for Starlight in the beginning is about transfiguration spells. Needless to say, even Discord would probably reach for some popcorn to watch the sheer quantity of results.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: As a callback to Starlight Glimmer's friendship with Trixie in "No Second Prances", there are two portraits of Trixie in Starlight's room — one over her desk, and one next to her bed. In the portrait next to Starlight's bed, Trixie has a more luxurious mane and bedroom eyes.
  • Rule of Three: Spike tells Starlight she's "missing the point" of the friendship lessons. A few moments later Twilight tells her the same thing and a few moments after that, Starlight also says the same thing. Spike's response to each repetition: "Told ya."
  • Running Gag:
    • Every story Applejack relates either alludes to or outright copies a famous scene or quote from a real movie or book.
    • Rainbow Dash talking about "chillaxing", and none of the other characters knowing what it is.
  • Self-Duplication: Starlight shows Twilight how she has combined both a Super Speed and a Hologram spell to momentarily create a copy of herself.
  • Serious Business: Cakes, naturally, for Pinkie. She's more angry over the cakes that Starlight made her burn than she is about being mind-controlled.
  • Shout-Out:
  • "Sorcerer's Apprentice" Plot: Surprisingly to the tee of the trope's namesake, with bonus points for the fact that Starlight is a princess's apprentice. Starlight tries to complete all the lessons at once by using a spell to mind-control Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie to get through the tasks quicker. The spell works too well as the five take her commands too literally and cause all manner of disasters. It even ends with the castle getting flooded thanks to Rainbow Dash using storm clouds to put out the burnt cakes. Eventually Twilight returns and undoes the spell before clarifying what she really wanted Starlight to learn: just spend time with the ponies and get to know them.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Spike expresses a fear of spiders. Harry the Bear and the other animals are scared from seeing Fluttershy covered in bugs, too. Although they may be more afraid that something bad will happen to their friend and protector Fluttershy as a result of all those bugs (and snakes).
  • Super Speed: The spell "Accelero", which Starlight uses to quickly shelve every book in the room.
  • Supreme Chef: Pinkie as usual, making numerous cakes in the few minutes Starlight left her alone. Though since she was just ordered to make cakes and not place them properly, the kitchen ends up a mess with the cakes stacked around willy-nilly as she goes to make the next cake.
  • Teleportation: One of the things Starlight is being tested on at the start of the episode is teleportation. A teleportation contest between Twilight and Starlight ensues, sending them to various places all over Equestria.
  • Tempting Fate: After the castle gets flooded, Starlight moans that it can't get any worse.
    Twilight Sparkle: [coming back from her trip with Spike] What is going on?!
  • Titled After the Song:
    • After The Police song "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic".
    • Also, possibly, The Beatles song "Every Little Thing" ("Every little thing she does/She does for me, yeah.")
  • Two-Timer Date: Starlight ends up using magical mind control to do activities with each of the Mane Six sans Twilight at once.
  • Understatement:
    Starlight Glimmer: Things got a little out of hand last night.
    Applejack: Well, ain't that the understatement of the day.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Not said exactly, but Starlight Glimmer has this attitude when she casts her magic spell. The results are predictable.
    Starlight Glimmer: Everypony will probably thank me for getting it all done so quickly. Twilight will be thrilled I completed so many lessons!
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Twilight and her friends are justifiably upset and call Starlight out on her actions. Starlight quickly realizes they're right and apologizes, but it takes her a lot of effort to actually get them to accept it.
    Rainbow Dash: Well, here's a friendship lesson for ya: DON'T CAST SPELLS ON YOUR FRIENDS!
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Starlight's over-reliance on using magic for everything causes her to use it to try and complete friendship lessons quickly, instead of letting things run their natural course.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: The brainwashed Mane Five have shrunken irises (very noticeable considering how big they are in pony eyes normally) all the while they are mind-controlled by Starlight.
  • World Building: The Episode shows a few more places inside the Friendship Castle such as Starlight's room, the kitchen, a disused corridor full of spiderwebs, and a rooftop pool where Twilight and her friends can lounge around and chillax on a clear day.

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