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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S7 E12 "Discordant Harmony"

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Something normal is going on here...

"Oh, dear Fluttershy. Worry not. I can assure you that for the first time, I'm feeling perfectly normal."
Discord

Special Guest Star: John de Lancie as Discord
Written by: Michael P. Fox & Wil Fox
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Fluttershy has invited Discord over for their weekly tea party. While there, Discord, or more specifically the more rational part of Discord's consciousness, realizes he has never invited Fluttershy herself for tea, and quickly makes the invitation, which Fluttershy accepts.

Discord starts shopping for tea supplies, putting his own spin on things, such as singing tea bags, flying teapots, and glowing, flying, self-folding napkins. While at the party supply store, Discord meets Pinkie Pie and asks for advice for how to throw a good tea party for Fluttershy. Pinkie suggests that since he knows Fluttershy very well, he should arrange the party to be what she would expect.

Discord takes this advice after returning to his realm, realizing that all the more chaotic plans he had made might not be pleasant for Fluttershy. He, along with multiple copies of himself, quickly transform his bizarre house and himself into something approaching normality.

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When Fluttershy arrives, she's surprised and somewhat disturbed at how calm and non-chaotic Discord is. The situation worsens when Discord starts fading out, which Fluttershy thinks is a result of not using his chaos powers. With Discord unable to create chaos himself, Fluttershy tries to do it herself, but small things like knocking over teacups doesn't seem to cut it. She starts thinking like Discord and works to undo the changes he made to his home to what she had expected, each step reverting Discord back to (ab)normal.

Discord thanks Fluttershy for her help, and explains that he made the changes for her. Fluttershy tells him that she wanted to have tea in Discord's realm because it is so different from their normal teas, and that's part of what makes them good friends because they are so different but get along. Discord returns his home to its usual chaotic state, and the two enjoy tea together.

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Tropes:

  • Adorkable: Fluttershy attempting to re-crazy Discord's house is so adorably underwhelming since she's thinking outside her element. Even before that, she excitedly asks what the green tea Discord is serving does.
    Fluttershy: Oooh! Does it actually turn us green? Is it really envious of the other teas? What's it do, what's it do?!
  • Advice Backfire: Pinkie Pie advises Discord to focus on making Fluttershy feel comfortable at his tea party. Discord takes her advice a little too far, and nearly fades from existence from suppressing his chaotic powers while trying to make things "normal" for Fluttershy. As it turns out, making his home "comfortable" is what makes it so uncomfortable for her.
  • An Aesop: A real friend likes you for who you are. Just because you have a different personality or characteristics doesn't mean you're incompatible or have to change your lifestyle as long as you get along and enjoy each others' company.
  • Badass Finger Snap:
    • Discord uses so much his trademark fingersnap to clear up his house of weird and chaotic elements that his thumb starts to glow red, and he has to cool it off by turning his other hand into a fan.
    • When Discord starts to fade away and Fluttershy urges him to do something chaotic, an attempt at a fingersnap only results in his fingers going through each other. A major Oh, Crap! moment: as he is no longer solid enough to use his powers to make everything chaotic again, he would have helplessly continued to fade and ceased to exist if not for Fluttershy having been there to help him.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Discord compliments Fluttershy for remembering to cut the crusts off his sandwiches... and then just eats a crust by itself.
  • Berserk Button: Downplayed, but Discord does not like having his relationship with Fluttershy brought into question. Both the tea shop and china shop ponies show skepticism of the friendship, causing Discord to become highly defensive about it.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The strangeness of Discord's realm and his connection to its chaos becomes a major plot element. Stairs leading to nowhere, tables on ceilings and an absence of gravity is his personal state of "normal".
  • Brick Joke: Discord packs the singing tea bags into a box and ships them off for an "all-expense-paid trip around Equestria." At the end of the episode, he summons them back in the same box, now covered with stamps and postmarks.
  • Character Development:
    • A lot for Discord; far from petulantly trying to get his own way, like in previous episodes, here his whole concern is trying to make Fluttershy feel comfortable. Not only that, but he's perfectly nice to all the ordinary ponies he meets, even when they irritate him by questioning his friendship with Fluttershy. The worse he does to them is casually covering each in bits — which they probably don't mind. Basically, this is the first Discord-centered episode where he never does anything mean or selfish.
    • It also further demonstrates Fluttershy's Character Development, showing she is much open and acceptant to her friends' more eccentric mannerisms and knows full well how important Discord's chaotic personality is to him, while in earlier episodes she was much more timid and rigid, and prone to an occasionally selfish vision of "kindness".
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The episode revisits the pocket dimension that was seen earlier two seasons ago.
    • While at the tea shop, Discord briefly dons the outfit he wore at the nightclub in "Dungeons and Discords".
    • Parcel Post the mailpony seems to still be floating lost in Discord's dimension.
  • Costume-Test Montage: After redecorating his house, Discord tries out various costumes for the tea party. He doesn't test them before a mirror, though, but is judged by his clones (especially the bespectacled one).
  • Didn't Think This Through: Discord decides to make his realm and his appearance "normal" by the standards of the rest of the world outside it, but the problem is that he's trying to fix what isn't broken and is essential to his existence.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Discord continues trying to act perfectly calm even as suppressing his chaotic nature causes him to slowly fade from existence.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point:
    • Discord takes Pinkie Pie's advice to "just make Fluttershy feel comfortable" to mean "make your tea party exactly like one of hers", with near-catastrophic results.
    • At first, Discord doesn't seem to be bothered by the fact that he is slowly fading away, and continues his attempts to be "normal". Only after realizing that he can no longer use his chaos magic does he actually show concern.
  • Eldritch Location: Discord's house, like usual, only he tries his absolute best to make sure it isn't for his tea party with Fluttershy. One could say it is a defied trope, and invoking it is how Fluttershy saves him.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: When Fluttershy comments that she's never been to Discord's house before, Discord offhandedly replies that he's never hosted a tea party before. When he realizes what he just said, it blows his lid off his head.
  • Fading Away: This is the end result of Discord attempting to make himself orderly to make Fluttershy more comfortable in his home. Throughout the later half of the episode, Discord becomes more and more transparent and his behavior more and more bland and robotic, until he fades to the point that his hands pass directly through objects when he tries to touch them and he is no longer capable of performing magic. Fluttershy eventually figures out that, since Discord is a creature of pure chaos, being orderly is quite literally destroying him. She is able to reverse the fading by acting in chaotic, random ways until Discord regains enough physical presence to create chaos on his own again.
  • Fiction 500: Technically — being able to conjure piles of bits out of thin air means that money is no object to Discord.
  • Foreshadowing: After Discord leaves the supermarket, Pinkie asks the clerk for some of the glowing blue flying napkins he made, indicating that he actually has good instincts for what would make for a fun party and foreshadowing Fluttershy's eagerness for a good slice of chaos.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Discord has long been established to have the ability to conjure anything from nothing, and yet he spends the greater part of the first act shopping for tea supplies around Ponyville, making his own alterations along the way. There's some leeway at the tea and china stores since he asks the store clerks for what Fluttershy (a regular customer) would like best, but the supermarket is more iffy.
  • Freaky Is Cool: Fluttershy eagerly anticipates how strange a tea party in Discord's realm could be, is almost horrified by how plain and ordinary it is due to Discord making his home as non-chaotic as possible, and enjoys it once she and Discord return his home to its normal chaos.
  • Glad I Thought of It: Discord (being Discord) does this to himself in the opening when his "idea guy" suggests inviting Fluttershy to his house for their next tea party.
  • Gravity Screw:
    • At one point, Discord's smart self stands on the ceiling of Fluttershy's house. To get rid of him, Discord creates a hole under/above his feet that he falls through, while still standing on the ceiling.
    • A property of Discord's house that he opts to switch off. When Fluttershy is trying to make his home appropriately chaotic again, she expresses a suspicion that he's always hated gravity, that he fervently agrees with.
  • Heart Symbol: After Discord's fingers eat the sandwiches at Fluttershy's tea party, the leftover is in the shape of a heart (seen several times).
  • Heel–Face Turn: Though Discord's official turn was way back in Season 3, this is his first appearance where he's not an antagonist in any sense of the word.
  • Hyperventilation Bag: Discord uses a paper bag (given to him by one of his copies) when he panics about what Fluttershy would like. As is his nature, he inflates and deflates as he breathes in and out rather than the bag.
  • Idea Bulb: Played with. When Pinkie Pie offers Discord some advice on planning the tea party, he shows his inspiration not by having a light bulb come on above his head, but by turning his entire head into a bulb.
  • Inflating Body Gag: Discord inflates and deflates himself when he tries to use a Hyperventilation Bag.
  • Ironic Echo: Many of the actions Fluttershy does to restore Discord to his standard of normal is repeating the same actions and thoughts he did earlier in the episode prior to deciding on a more normal party.
    Discord: It tastes good.
  • Kryptonite Factor: For the first time ever, Discord's life is at stake — the removal of all chaotic factors from his surroundings causes him to start fading away, and seemingly takes a toll on his sanity as well, as he continues to attempt orderly, idle chit-chat while it's occurring.
  • Lava Adds Awesome: Discord turning lava lamps into mini volcanoes with actual lava counts, though he quickly determines that having lava dripping from the ceiling would be a bit hazardous.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Played with. Discord's "idea guy" wears a red hard hat while the assorted other duplicates wear yellow. Discord himself, however, wears orange.
  • Logical Weakness: Discord is the Spirit of Chaos; forcing himself to be perfectly orderly is detrimental to his existence.
  • Makeover Montage: Following the costume test, Discord tries out several hairdos (including a "beehive" one) aided by a hairdresser clone.
  • Meaningful Echo: While cleaning up his place, Discord says that, while they've never discussed it, he's pretty sure Fluttershy likes gravity. When trying to get him back to himself, Fluttershy says that while they've never discussed it, she's pretty sure Discord hates gravity.
  • Me's a Crowd: Conjuring a bespectacled version of himself to have someone to bounce ideas off of is introduced as a habit of Discord's. He does it throughout the episode and Fluttershy is familiar with the quirk. He later conjures up several more duplicates to help with redesigning his house. Fluttershy copies the trick with a bunch of reflective surfaces in order to get into his mindset.
  • Mondegreen: Discord hears "ginseng tea" and assumes it actually sings. He then dons a zoot suit appropriate for a gin joint. He then makes his way of hearing it more accurate.
  • Mood Whiplash: A Slice of Life episode about accepting differences... that just so happens to culminate in a near-Character Death for the resident Mad God.
  • Never Say "Die": Fluttershy addresses Discord's gradual fading as him "destroying" himself.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Discord decides to redesign his realm and appearance to a form that Fluttershy would be comfortable with but this ends up backfiring to the point of endangering himself.
  • Not So Different: When worrying about what Fluttershy will think of his realm, Discord invokes Freak Out! just like Twilight and Celestia.
  • Odd Friendship: Discussed throughout the episode, where other ponies gawk at the idea of Fluttershy and Discord being best friends, since Fluttershy is always so reserved and shy while Discord is gaudy and showoff-ish. This winds up being Played for Drama when the ponies' comments make Discord more self-conscious of how strange and out-of-place he is, to the point where he fears Fluttershy won't want to be his friend anymore.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Between shots of standing on the store floor in front of Discord, Pinkie Pie flits about behind Discord's neck.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Fluttershy is visibly bothered by how orderly Discord's place is, because she knows him well enough to realize it's not right.
  • Poke the Poodle: Fluttershy's initial attempts at causing chaos at Discord's tea party involve tipping over an empty cup, taking bites out of all the finger sandwiches, speaking with her mouth full and making faces.
  • Schizo Tech: Outside of Equestria Girls, MLP:FIM tends to mainly steer away from references to modern technology. One exception is a bit where the Discord clones are judging the original Discord's costume changes, where four of them are seen using lawyer-friendly versions of an iPhone.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    • Referenced with rose hip green tea, which Discord thinks will literally put roses on your hips and turn you green. Fluttershy later assumes teas in Discord's realm will work like this.
      Fluttershy: Ooh, does it actually turn us green? Is it really envious of the other teas? What does it do? What does it do?
      Discord: Well, it tastes delicious.
      Fluttershy: Oh. Okay.
    • Inverted when Discord offers Fluttershy milk toast. Fluttershy was originally characterized as a milquetoast, but she has grown beyond this, partially due to her friendship with Discord.
  • Ship Tease: The Fluttercord ship tease is very strong in this episode. The skepticism of the shop ponies sounds a lot like What Does She See in Him?. In particular, Discord describes his friendship with Fluttershy thusly, which makes it sound almost like a downplayed Star-Crossed Lovers scenario:
    Discord: You and I don't make sense to anypony else!
    Fluttershy: That may be true, but we make sense to me.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Discord's "idea guy" is distinguished from both the real Discord and his assorted other duplicates by his glasses.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Don't force yourself to change to better fit in with your friends or you'll fade out of existence.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: On hearing about ginseng tea, Discord ponders what would it sing, and use his magic to animate the teabags into lalala-ing. Later on, as Fluttershy is doing her best to make the tea party as chaotic as possible, she suggests "ginseng tea that sings".
  • Talk About the Weather: Discord's "normal" conversation during the tea party (which he rehearsed earlier with cue cards) mostly amount to talking about the weather. Which quickly starts to freak out Fluttershy.
  • Team Hand-Stack: Once the changes are done to Discord and his house, all the Discords do a hand-stack with their lion paws... just before the summoned clones are dismissed.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Discord curls up into one fretting on how to make Fluttershy comfortable.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The various salesponies hardly even flinch at being visited by a Reality Warper. If anything, they're more weirded out by the fact he's friends with Fluttershy.
  • Visual Pun: Discord is just a fount of these...
    • Discord animates his fingers and lets them eat Fluttershy's sandwiches, then compliments her on making "the best finger foods".
    • Discord turns a lava lamp into a literal, miniature volcano.
    • His house has a bench designed as a stretch of piano keys, with a sheet music pattern on the back rest. It's a literal piano bench.
    • He conjures up bats to chase the animated piñata out of his house. No, not baseball bats, living bats.
    • During the Makeover Montage, one of the hairdos Discord tries is a beehive. Then actual bees come out of it.
  • What Would X Do?: To prevent Discord from fading away, Fluttershy starts pondering "What would Discord do?" and then acts accordingly. First by using plenty reflective surfaces to bounce ideas over her "other selves", followed by redecorating the place to be as wacky as possible.
  • World of Chaos: Discord's realm as usual with its Alien Sky, floating islands, distorted gravity, and bizarre fauna. However, in an effort to make his home more palatable to Fluttershy, he sanitizes it of those things within, which has unfortunate consequences.

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