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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S6 E25 "To Where and Back Again Part 1"

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Discord just found out Queen Chrysalis has Fluttershy. Nice knowin' ya, Chrysalis.

"THEY'RE BACK!!"
Starlight Glimmer

Special Guest Star: John de Lancie as Discord
Written by: Josh Haber and Michael Vogel
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While moving boxes of books in Twilight's library, Starlight Glimmer receives an invitation from her old village to take in the Sunset Festival for the town. While Twilight encourages her to go, Starlight is still haunted by the things she did as the town's leader, nervously wondering if the ponies there will hold a grudge. At night, Starlight dreams of the ponies from her village mocking her and insulting her, prompting Princess Luna to step in. While Starlight is relieved that it's all a dream, Luna says that the emotions it represents are real, and she should talk to her friends about it. The next morning, Starlight confides in the Mane Six that she's nervous, so they suggest bringing along a friend to help. To Twilight's disappointment, Starlight chooses to bring Trixie with her, and the two set out.

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Once they arrive at the village, the ponies are actually quite happy to see her. In fact, they begin to ask Starlight numerous questions about how the Sunset Festival should be run. Overwhelmed, Starlight panics, pushing the ponies away with her magic. Trixie uses her smoke bombs to help give her a hasty exit, with a dejected Starlight saying that she doesn't want to be in charge of anything else. Trixie quietly admits that even she makes mistakes, and the best thing to do in that situation is forget about it and move on.

Back in Ponyville, Starlight notices everypony acting strangely, with the Mane Six all behaving incredibly snidely and rudely, along with none of them seeming to remember that Starlight headed back to her old village. That night, another dream has Starlight confronted by her friends, but she realizes quickly that it's another dream. However, a panicked Princess Luna appears and warns Starlight that changelings have kidnapped her and the other princesses, and that she needs to get help. Though frightened, Starlight gets Trixie to spy on the Mane Six in the castle. They use a device to communicate with Queen Chrysalis, the changeling leader, who confirms that the princesses have been kidnapped, and even replaced with phonies. The queen also says that since they thought "too small" in their attempt to claim Canterlot last time, they will now conquer all of Equestria.

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After slipping out of the castle thanks to a cloaking spell, Starlight suggests going to the Crystal Empire to get help from Princess Cadance. However, Thorax the friendly changeling appears, who confirms that Cadance's family has also been taken. As they despair over who else could possibly help them now with both the Mane Six and the Royal Family the prisoners of the changelings, the nigh-omnipotent Discord arrives; he is initially quite uncaring about the whole situation, until he hears that Fluttershy has also been taken, and he transports them to the Changeling Hive. Starlight looks on nervously, unsure of how to proceed...

TO BE CONTINUED

*cue happy credits music*

Continued in "To Where and Back Again – Part 2".


Tropes:

  • All There in the Manual: My Little Pony (Gameloft) explains how the changelings abducted the Mane Six. One used a fake present to abduct and replace Pinkie Pie, then threw a party to lure and capture the rest of them.
  • All Up to You: Starlight is forced to take Trixie, Thorax, and Discord with her to rescue the Royal Family and Friendship Council, and save Equestria.
  • Art Evolution: Starting this episode, Trixie's eyes are now rendered with two catchlights like everypony else, rather than a single catchlight in her earlier appearances.
  • Badass in Distress: Some of the most powerful ponies in Equestria were captured by the changelings, and now they need to be rescued.
  • Bad Dreams: Starlight has two nightmares during the episode. In the first, she is mocked by everyone in her old village for showing up, saying they didn't really think she'd show up and they don't really want her around. In the second, she is confronted by the Mane Six at her village while all of them act strange and not like themselves at all. Princess Luna saves her in the first dream, but warns her in the second that the changelings have returned as Luna struggles to fight off the ones capturing her before she is finally taken.
  • Be All My Sins Remembered: Starlight still doesn't believe she deserves to be forgiven for the things she has done, and especially doesn't want the responsibility of being a leader again.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Discord is normally goofy and mischievous. When he hears that Fluttershy was taken, he gets deadly serious.
  • Big "NO!": Starlight says this when all the requests for for guidance from the ponies of her former village become too much for her.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Trixie lets one out when Starlight tells her the changelings are back.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Thorax being a changeling, he goes beyond just imitating Twilight's mannerisms: he turns into her to repeat the speech she made about him in the Crystal Empire, including mimicking her voice.
  • Broad Strokes: The comic series, which has always had an uneasy relationship with the show regarding its canon status, has its biggest brush with the show's canon so far here. It had depicted another encounter with Chrysalis where she was imprisoned, but then a later issue had her escape and get her power back. None of this is referenced here, but given that she ended up back where she started, the fans are free to imagine it all happened or not as they prefer. On top of that, the Changeling Kingdom presented in this episode is definitely different from the one in the comics. Given the latter was more a temporary base of operations for Chrysalis and her army, however, it can be assumed that this Changeling Kingdom is meant to be the changeling species' homeland.
  • Brutal Honesty: Rainbow Dash says Starlight was "...pretty awful" when she was a villain, prompting Applejack to admonish her.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Trixie, Thorax, and Discord all make a return after having an episode earlier in the season.
    • Queen Chrysalis and her changeling army make an official return after their defeat during the royal wedding and their timeline during Starlight's revenge attempt, this time with Chrysalis seeking Revenge by making sure that Equestria's primary defenses in the Royal Family and the Mane Six, the ones responsible for her previous defeat, are out of the way early on so they can't interfere again.
    • The ponies of Our Town make a return after helping stop Starlight from Stealing the Mane Six's cutie marks and their cameo at the end of season 5.
  • Call-Back:
    • The ponies from Our Town invite Starlight to the Sunset Festival, leading to some discussion about her previously leading the village, and how they had forgiven her misdeeds in "The Cutie Re-Mark – Part 2".
      Trixie: There it is! The town where you—
      Starlight Glimmer: Magically stole everypony's cutie marks, replaced them with equal signs, and forced them all to hide their natural talents? Yes.
      Trixie: I was going to say "where you came from," but yours is a more... emotionally traumatic answer.
    • Princess Luna visits the dreams of another pony to give them advice, then uses it later to warn Starlight of the situation with the changelings before she is taken.
    • Princess Luna also mentions to Starlight how the Mane Six have helped her in the past, and points that they have some backstory in common.
    • Starlight's friendship with Trixie and Twilight's lingering trepidation over it harken back to "No Second Prances" earlier in the season.
    • Thorax directly quotes Twilight's speech about her decision to trust him in "The Times They Are a Changeling", even turning into her and using the audio.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Starlight Glimmer springs awake from her second dream, screaming "THEY'RE BACK!" Considering the especially chilling warning she just received from Luna in said dream, this is no surprise she's having an anguished wake-up.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Starlight, after her previous mistakes with leadership, doesn't feel comfortable in a leadership role, as her reaction to the ponies of "Our Town" asking for her advice on the festival shows.
  • Changeling Tale: Taken Up to Eleven with the changelings ponynapping all the Princesses and their friends and loved ones, then feeding on everypony else's love for the replaced ponies and feeding that love to Queen Chrysalis.
  • Character Shilling: The episode starts with Twilight praising Starlight's development and even claiming it's all thanks to Starlight herself. Considering the limited airtime she's had during the season, the mixed reception from the last episode focused on her, and her still unaddressed topics, reactions to such statements are mixed. However, it must be noted that Rainbow Dash points out how awful she used to be and Starlight herself gives all the credit to Twilight, doesn't think she's nearly as good as her teacher says she is, and generally doesn't believe she deserves the shilling.
  • Cliffhanger: As is the case with the two-parters, this episode ends with the changelings having kidnapped several powerful ponies around Equestria, including the Mane Six and the Royal Family, meaning Equestria is virtually defenseless and leaderless now, and leaving Starlight and her team outside the Changeling Hive to rescue everyone, with Starlight scared of what to do next.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Twilight is hinting that Starlight should invite her to go with her, but she decides to bring Trixie instead, to the Princess of Friendship's annoyance.
  • Commonality Connection: Princess Luna identifies with Starlight, as they both succumbed to the dark sides of their nature in the past, and struggled through redemption.
    Princess Luna: I see much of myself in you, Starlight Glimmer, and I can tell you from personal experience that things do indeed get better.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Derpy wears the mail uniform she was seen wearing in "Crusaders of the Lost Mark".
    • In the first dream, Party Favor makes the same memetic face he did in "The Cutie Map – Part 2" after he was released from the reconditioning shed.
    • The spell Starlight uses to push the ponies away is the same one she used in "The Cutie Map – Part 2".
    • The changeling who had replaced Fluttershy is seen performing a Slouch of Villainy on her throne; Starlight pulled a similar pose on the very same throne in "The Cutie Re-Mark – Part 1".
    • While proving his identity, Discord turns the ground into soap, just as he did in "The Return of Harmony - Part 2".
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: The changelings replacing the Mane Six show varying levels of skill in impersonating them.
    • The worst are the replacements for Rainbow Dash and Spike, who act like straight-up jerkasses and show none of the traits of the characters they impersonate. They seem to hate their job, though fake Spike has good reason to as he is the Butt-Monkey of the group.
    • Applejack, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie's replacements make an effort to fake some of the tics of their originals and try to respond politely when Starlight talks to them, but the ruse eventually breaks down. The fake Applejack and Rarity burst out in derisive laughter when they hear of Starlight's genuine and painful friendship problem, while fake Pinkie doesn't remember Starlight's name and bails quickly on their conversation, whereas the real Pinkie has been repeatedly demonstrated to remember every friend she's ever met and is extremely talkative.
    • The changeling taking over Princess Twilight's role does the best job, successfully faking her way through a conversation with Starlight and hoof-waving away the others' odd behavior. She even offers some confident friendship "advice". The only thing odd about her is the advice itself, in that she tells Starlight to forget her old friendships and simply find new ones to replace them, whereas the real Twilight Sparkle encourages determination and maintaining friendships even through difficulty.
    • Collectively, none of the changelings recognize Starlight or show any knowledge that she's Twilight's pupil. Even the fake Twilight never acknowledges her name or position. Queen Chrysalis later says she knows exactly who Starlight is and even considered having her replaced, but ultimately deciding that she wasn't worth the trouble (which would explain the lack of a briefing regarding her).
  • Darkest Hour: The changelings have returned, and have kidnapped all of the most powerful ponies in Equestria, including every member of the Royal Family and all of Twilight's friends, replacing them with fakes to pave the way for a full-scale invasion in Revenge for the Royal Wedding defeat.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Notably the first two-parter that does not focus on Twilight or the Mane Six.
  • Deflector Shields: Trixie freaks out badly upon meeting with Thorax, forcing Starlight to encase her in a bubble shield that is soundproof. Trixie spends the next few moments floating inside, screaming, panicking and slamming her hooves against the barrier to no avail in complete silence.
  • Destroy the Abusive Home: When you see the wide shot of Our Town, it appears the residents have demolished Starlight’s old cottage and planted a tree in its place.
  • The Drag-Along: Trixie doesn't feel she's particularly qualified to be taking on the changeling horde and would much rather be somewhere else.
  • Dream Walker: Princess Luna, as usual. She appears in Starlight Glimmer's first dream to give her some advice about how to handle her anguish of coming back to Our Town. In the second dream, she use her power to warn Starlight about the changeling attack while struggling to fight off her captors in vain.
  • Easily Forgiven: Contrary to her fears and nightmares, the ponies of Our Town don't bear any grudge against Starlight Glimmer and want her to join in on their celebration. However, being easily forgiven once again only aggravates Starlight's anguish, and she assumes a Troubled Fetal Position before running away.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: The changelings replacing Applejack and Rarity bursts into laughter when Starlight tells them she fled from the Sunset Festival in Our Town. This lack of empathy is a big hint of their true nature.
  • Evil Laugh: Naturally, Queen Chrysalis indulges in megalomaniacal cackling at the end of the communication scene, and her changeling minions follow suit.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Changeling Kingdom Castle is a jagged and gnarled spire fortress surrounded by a wasteland devoid of any plant life. Yes, definitely not a very friendly-looking place to visit. Thorax is terrified when he looks upon it, even though he's from there.
  • Eye Am Watching You: The changeling impersonating Spike, who has been the most hostile of the bunch, makes the gesture twice toward Starlight as she comes back to the Friendship Castle. Not suspicious at all, nope.
  • Eye Twitch: Twilight has some when Starlight brings Trixie to "Our Town" instead of her.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Luna struggling to contact Starlight and the group not teleporting directly to the Hive/where Fluttershy is both lead to an important part of the next episode.
    • Thorax's new wings are also a hint at what's coming.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • When Starlight first sees the impostor Mane Six in the map chamber, the changeling disguised as Applejack is eating a pear.
    • When Thorax appears to Starlight and Trixie, Starlight is forced to seal her inside a soundproof bubble when she won't stop screaming. She remains there for the rest of the following conversation, pulling hilarious faces.
    • When it's Discord turn to appear, he's knitting a mock-up of Angel Bunny for... some reason.
    • When Twilight is telling Starlight that she should bring a friend when she returns to "Our Town", clearly hinting at herself, Spike wears a Disapproving Look, because he knows that Starlight will chose Trixie over Twilight without any doubt. Then we have the Gilligan Cut...
  • Gagging on Your Words: When Starlight asks Trixie to repeat what she'd earlier told her to not repeat to anypony, to make sure she's not a changeling, Trixie's answer first come out as unintelligible mumbling between clenched teeth. Only on Starlight's insistence does she finally admit it was "That even Trixie's made mistakes!"
  • Gilligan Cut: Twilight is telling Starlight that she should bring a friend when she returns to "Our Town", clearly hinting at herself, and the cut shows that she's chosen Trixie.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: With the Mane Six, Spike, Shining Armor, and the Princesses captured, Starlight gets the help of Discord, Trixie and Thorax. She would like to call for the Crystal Empire but apparently they were hit first.
  • Good Costume Switch: Although not a costume, Thorax has new wings that shine like crystal, something that both Starlight, and Thorax himself notice.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Thorax has new, hole-less sparkly wings compared to his old ones, something Starlight noticed right away.
  • Hellish Pupils: Discord's goofy, mismatched pupils narrow into snake-like slits when he hears that Fluttershy was one of the ponies captured by the changelings.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • When the ponies of Our Town bombard Starlight with requests for her guidance, she screams "No!" and pushes them away with her expanding shield spell. Immediately after, she is shown lying on the ground, hooves over her eyes, trembling in anguish.
    • Trixie is terrified of the changelings and panics the moment she hears about them. She doesn't even want to be close to Thorax, despite believing Starlight when she says that he is on their side.
  • Hope Spot: Starlight suggests going to get Cadance and Shining's help, but Thorax reveals that they were captured already, and Sunburst sent him to get help from Twilight.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Discord describes the trio of Starlight, Trixie and Thorax as "a combination of secondary characters".
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The moment Discord learns that Fluttershy has been captured by the changelings, he instantly drops all pretense of goofing off and becomes deadly serious.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: When Thorax turns into Twilight to repeat her speech from "The Times They Are a Changeling", the same solemn music from this scene can also be heard... until Starlight cuts him, at which point the music falters and peters out.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Not the exact phrase Trixie used, but this is definitely what she was feeling when she admitted that even she makes mistakes. Naturally, it gets brought up for Trixie's Something Only They Would Say moment.
  • Literary Allusion Title: To The Hobbit, whose full title reads The Hobbit, or There and Back Again.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: Lampshaded by Discord before the team sets out on a rescue mission to save the Mane Six and the Royal Family.
    Discord: Well, isn't this quite the combination of secondary characters!
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Save the Twilight impersonator, none of the Changelings seem to know Starlight exists. Apparently they have not fully followed history since the Royal Wedding. Although the next episode reveals that Chrysalis herself is well aware of who Starlight is and considered not the trouble of replacing.
  • Mook Lieutenant: The one changeling turned into Twilight Sparkle is ordering around the others, and also seems to be more intelligent than the average drone. He's doing a better job impersonating the princess than his goons are doing with their respective roles — it's still off, but at least he tries giving believable pretexts to Starlight for the discrepancies. He's also the only one seen to talk while in changeling form when Chrysalis contacts them, and nearly sniffs out a hidden Starlight and Trixie.
  • Morality Pet: Fluttershy remains this to Discord; he only reacts to the changeling situation when he learns that she was taken.
  • Mordor: The Changeling Kingdom is a bleak and barren-looking land surrounding a large spire of dark stone.
  • Mythology Gag: Before Starlight wakes her, Trixie is mumbling about peanut butter crackers in her sleep, a snack of which her Equestria Girls self is also noted to be fond.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Queen Chrysalis is back, and wasted no time at all disposing of not only Princess Cadance this time around, but Princess Luna, Princess Celestia, Shining Armor, Flurry Heart, and the Mane Six as well, the only heroes she believes would stand in the way of stopping her plan, and to take Revenge on all of them for her previous defeat at their hooves.
  • The Nose Knows: The changeling posing as Twilight stops for a moment in the castle hallway to sniff around while searching for Starlight and Trixie and follows the trail to where Starlight and Trixie are hiding. However, since Starlight has cast an invisibility spell on them the changeling continues searching somewhere else.
  • No Sympathy Between Mooks: The changelings are seen mocking one of their own (the Spike impersonator) for being slapped around.
  • Not What I Signed Up For: Trixie has a major freak-out when she and Starlight just barely escape being caught by the changelings and says she can't deal with "princess-level stuff" because she is just a performer.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The changelings somehow capturing the Mane Six and all of the Royal Family in the time it took for Starlight and Trixie to travel to Our Town and back.
  • Old Shame: Starlight's opinion of her actions in "Our Town", which she now deeply regrets.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The goofy and silly Discord turns on a dime when the others inform him that the changelings have taken Fluttershy as well. He becomes utterly pissed.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Starlight notices this about the "Mane Six" after coming home, eventually discovering they're not her friends after all.
  • Overly Long Scream: Trixie is somewhat taken aback by Thorax, to the point where Starlight has to trap her in a bubble to stop the noise from giving them away.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Trixie gleefully rubs Starlight inviting her to come to Our Town with her in Twilight's face, while smugly "complimenting" the Princess of Friendship on her "wisdom" and emphasizing how she's Starlight's best friend.
  • Plot Hole: Starlight Glimmer's first dream is strangely up-to-date about the appearance of Our Town, including the exact banners used for the Sunset Festival, and the fact that her cottage has been replaced by a tree. This wasn't the case during her last visit (at the end of "The Cutie Re-Mark – Part 2") and she makes quite clear she hadn't been there back since, and thus she shouldn't have memories of the updated village.
  • The Punishment Is the Crime: Despite being Easily Forgiven by all the ponies around her and wanting to be friends with her, Starlight Glimmer is still too self-absorbed to accept it and doesn't feel she deserves it for all the bad things she did.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Starlight Glimmer has to save Equestria with her own makeshift team of former villains and social misfits: Trixie, a blowhard magician with a bad public image as a one-time evil overlord; Thorax, a friendly changeling who has faced prejudice from the very ponies he wants to get along with; and Discord, a not-quite-reformed prankster of nigh-omnipotent power who only helps when he feels like it.
  • Reality Ensues: In stark contrast to the Mane Six facing various threats with gusto, Starlight and Trixie are much more prone to self-doubt and fear, realizing how in over their heads they are at the threat of Changeling invasion.
    Trixie: I can't deal with this! I'm just a performer! This is... This is princess-level stuff!
  • Reality Warper: Discord demonstrates his powers by distorting things when Starlight asks for proof that he's the real Discord.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Discord's pupils flash an angry red very briefly when he asks, with a growling tone of voice, where they've taken Fluttershy.
  • Red Herring: Trixie's line about pretending something bad never happened, immediately followed by a scene where Pinkie Pie can't remember Starlight's name, may have been an attempt to fool the audience into thinking that the episode was going the way of It's a Wonderful Plot.
  • Revenge: After her previous defeat regarding the Royal Wedding, Chrysalis attempts to conquer Equestria again, this time covertly kidnapping everyone involved in her original defeat, the Mane Six and the Royal Family, so they can't stop her again.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Starlight has a breakdown at her old village, Trixie notices the problem and uses her trademark smoke bomb exit technique to get herself and Starlight out the village.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In addition to the Literary Allusion Title to The Hobbit, the concept of a rag-tag group of heroes and anti-heroes traveling to a mountain belonging to their joint nemesis also borrows from The Lord of the Rings, with the Changeling Kingdom being a decent counterpart to Mt. Doom.
    • The arrival of Derpy parodies some classic Superman lines:
      Twilight Sparkle: Is it a bird?
      Starlight Glimmer: Is it a parasprite?
      Spike: It's... it's... incoming!
    • When Discord makes a demonstration of his Reality Warping, he turns Trixie's wagon into a pumpkin coach.
  • Slouch of Villainy: The changeling posing as Fluttershy invokes this while sitting on her throne, putting its rear hooves up on the map table. It couldn't look less like Fluttershy without abandoning her image entirely.
  • Smoke Out:
    • Trixie uses her trademark exit method to get Starlight and herself out of Our Town, and it actually works: Trixie now uses a more powerful bomb so that the smoke stays for longer, both covering the exit much better than before and making the other ponies to cough and close their eyes for a few moments, and therefore Trixie is already far away when they can finally see again.
    • Trixie seems unable to NOT use her smoke bombs for drama, which gives us one funny moment before they reach Our Town.
      Trixie: Not just a promise, a great and powerful promise! [smoke bombs the area, cue some coughing]
  • Something Only They Would Say: Starlight asks something from all three of her allies to confirm they aren't changelings: Trixie reveals a secret she shared with Starlight earlier in the episode, Thorax recites the speech Twilight made after she accepted him, and Discord shows off his powers.
  • So Much for Stealth: Starlight and Trixie manage to spy on the changelings without being noticed while they are contacting Queen Chrysalis, but at the end of the magic conference Starlight makes the mistake of pushing the door to the throne room a little, causing it to creak. The changelings are immediately alerted and hiss menacingly.
  • Spiking the Camera: When the Changeling impersonating Twilight tries to explain why Spike was acting so off today, her eyes look directly at the viewer audience when she says "I think he missed a meal or something."
  • Spoof Aesop: What Trixie has taken away from her past misadventures is apparently that everyone makes mistakes but that the important thing is to move on from them and pretend they never happened. Starlight admits that that's almost a good lesson...
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land:
    • Starlight is afraid to return to Our Town because she fears she won't be accepted there anymore.
    • Thorax likewise seems terrified to return to the Changeling Kingdom.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Starlight hears Trixie talking in her sleep about performing for Princess Celestia for peanuts butter crackers.
  • Teleportation:
    • Starlight Glimmer teleports herself and a panicking Trixie back to her wagon after a close call with the changelings replacing the Mane Six and Spike.
    • As soon as Discord learns that Fluttershy is in danger, he teleports himself, Starlight, Trixie and Thorax straight to her location. Or at least he tries — he doesn't expect a Teleport Interdiction to be in place, leaving them outside the Changeling Hive.
  • Teleport Interdiction: Discord tries to teleport himself, Starlight, Trixie, and Thorax to where Fluttershy is, but instead only brings them to outside the Changeling Hive. Next episode shows why. This also explains why Luna simply could not teleport away from her captors while warning Starlight earlier.
  • Too Fast to Stop: Derpy's mail delivery system. She crashes through a window of the Castle.
  • Tranquil Fury: Discord gives the impression of being utterly unconcerned with the changeling invasion... until he hears Fluttershy's been taken. Then he drops all pretenses of being bored and demands to know, in a serious tone, where she's been taken to.
  • Visible Invisibility: Starlight uses an invisibility spell to hide Trixie and herself from the changeling impersonating Twilight and company. The eyes, and the outline of their bodies, are still slightly visible. It's likely for the audience's benefit as the changeling neither sees nor smells anything.
  • Vocal Dissonance: The changelings, in addition to not knowing how the ponies they kidnapped act, don't seem to get the voices right, either. The most obvious one is Rainbow Dash, whose voice is noticeably higher and less scratchy than is normal for her.
  • Volumetric Mouth: On seeing Thorax, Trixie starts screaming her head off for a comically long time, which is expressed several times by her wide-open mouth occupying the whole face, complete with a full view of her glottis and tongue twirling like a mad snake.
  • Wake-Up Fighting: Of a sort. Trixie accidentally sets off several of her magical fireworks while getting out of bed when Starlight wakes her up; luckily, Starlight was outside Trixie's wagon, so doesn't get hit.
  • Weirder Than Usual: Starlight is puzzled by the way the fake Pinkie is acting, despite reminders that Pinkie Pie is always weird.
    Starlight Glimmer: That was... strange...
    Trixie: Isn't she always strange?
    Starlight Glimmer: Yeah, but... not like that.
  • Wham Line: After Starlight has seen all of the Mane Six acting suspiciously for no apparent reason, Luna's appearance in her dream, struggling against her captors, finally gives away the game.
    Princess Luna: The changelings have returned!
  • Whole Plot Reference: The plot of this two-parter seems to be one for the premiere of the series, in which the protagonist is a unicorn who leads a ragtag team to fight an evil force threatening the land.
  • The Worf Effect: The Royal Family and the Mane Six are put out of commission by the changelings to underscore just how bad the situation is and ratchet up the pressure on the second-string heroes. We don't see how but it's heavily implied to have something to do with The Reveal of Chrysalis having a Power Nullifier throne which can block their magic that led to being kidnapped so easily. Thorax also mentions that a common Changeling tactic is to use a disguise to lure a target into an ambush, so both were probably used.
  • World Building: The Changeling Kingdom, previously mentioned by Thorax in "The Times They Are a Changeling", finally makes an appearance.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The changelings have kidnapped both Spike and Flurry Heart, both of whom are only babies to their respective races. (To be fair, it wouldn't have been much better to leave Flurry Heart behind after abducting her parents.)
  • You Are in Command Now: Trixie, Thorax, and even Discord look at Starlight for leadership since all four princesses (one of which is her teacher) have been kidnapped. It's something she definitely doesn't feel comfortable with.

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