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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S7 E1 "Celestial Advice"

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Hail, hail, the gang's all here.

"Spike, I'm a terrible mentor! Why didn't I come up with a path for Starlight?"
Twilight Sparkle

Special Guest Star: John de Lancie as Discord
Written by: Joanna Lewis & Kristine Songco
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Twilight is busily preparing a special ceremony for Starlight Glimmer, Discord, Trixie, and Thorax in honor of their defeating Queen Chrysalis and saving Equestria. However, a none-too-subtle suggestion from Discord implies that Twilight now has to figure out what to do about Starlight now that she's outgrown the concept of friendship lessons. Twilight, not having thought about Starlight's future, becomes suddenly concerned that she has no idea how to handle Starlight's progress. Not helping matters is Discord telling anypony who will listen that Twilight has a big grand plan for Starlight, driving Twilight into a panic.

Running off on her own, Twilight asks Princess Celestia's opinion on what to do next. While reminiscing, Twilight abruptly realizes that Starlight's graduation means she'll need to go off on her own. Thinking on where to send her, Twilight uses a spell to imagine sending Starlight to the reformed Changeling Kingdom, the Dragon Lands, or the Crystal Empire. In every case, Twilight thinks too hard about what could potentially happen, further compounding her anxiety.

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Celestia breaks the mood with a sudden fit of laughter and confesses something: she too dithered over sending her prize student away, afraid of the dangers Twilight might meet but also fearing the loss of her company. In the end, Celestia had to realize that Twilight was ready and send her to Ponyville, with a broad hint that the 'friendship lesson' letters were just a ploy to stay in touch.

Filled with a new confidence, Twilight goes to the ceremony and announces that Starlight has graduated from being her pupil and is ready to make her own way in the world. To her joy, Starlight admits to Twilight that she's not ready to leave either. Twilight also gives Starlight a graduation present: a mirror for her room, filled with pictures of her past victories and friendship lessons, making Starlight feel touched. Twilight promises that even though she may not known what'll come for her, she promises to always be there for her no matter what, as the two embrace each other.

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Tropes:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Pinkie Pie when Discord tells the rest of the Mane Six that Twilight is planning to make an announcement:
    Pinkie Pie: Usually you tell your party planner all your plans for your party.
  • An Aesop: As Celestia so puts it, letting your loved ones spread their wings doesn't mean you won't be an important part of their life anymore.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: During the flashback of Celestia wondering if she should send Twilight to Ponyville or not.
    Celestia: What if she runs into a Manticore? Or what if she gets pulled into Tartarus? Or worst of all, what if she doesn't get along with anypony?
  • Art Evolution: Photographs are depicted in a lineless art style, a shift that subsequent Season 7 episodes have continued.
  • As You Know: Parodied; while trying to distract Starlight as Twilight prepares a surprise, Spike reminds Starlight of how she, Trixie, Thorax, and Discord defeated Queen Chrysalis.
    Starlight Glimmer: Uh, yeah, I know what happened. I was kinda there?
  • Bad "Bad Acting": In Twilight's first illusion, Thorax and Starlight giving a Friendship Lesson on compromising is done through very stilted speech.
  • Body Horror: Discord temporarily decapitates himself so Luna can put his medal on him during the ceremony.
  • Bookends: The episode starts (just before the opening credits) with Pinkie Pie setting up the party in a flash. It concludes with Pinkie Pie cleaning up after the party with her magical vacuum cleaner.
  • Breaking Old Trends: This is the first and only season premiere in the series to not be a two parter.
  • Breather Episode: By season premiere standards. This is a single-part episode with no pressing crisis to assail the Main Characters. The plot stays entirely within Twilight's castle and is spent with Twilight speculating on what Starlight's next step should be as her protege.
  • Breath Weapon: We see dragons challenging each other in a fire-breathing contest in Twilight's second fantasy. If it's any reliable, then Ember's breath weapon is bright pink.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Spike briefly impersonates Rarity's Mid-Atlantic accent while quoting her.
  • Call-Back: Celestia tells Twilight how she was fretting over letting Twilight go to Ponyville. Her story ends with this:
    Celestia: And if you're still worried, you can always make her write you letters.
  • Call-Forward: During Celestia's flashback, one of her worries about what could happen to Twilight when she leaves Canterlot is encountering a manticore. Which did happen to Twilight less than 24 hours of her arriving in Ponyville.
  • The Cameo:
    • Double Diamond, Party Favor, Sugar Belle and Night Glider are in attendance at the party.
    • Several dragons from the Dragonland, including Torch, Ember and Garble, show up in Twilight's second illusion.
    • Young Moondancer appears in Celestia's flashback.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: Both Twilight and Starlight's mirrors are covered in photos of various friendship moments from throughout the series.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Vinyl Scratch's "Wubcart", first seen in "Slice of Life", makes a comeback at the party.
    • The music Vinyl Scratch plays following the award ceremony is the same music she played at the grand opening of Rarity's Manehattan boutique in "The Saddle Row Review".
    • This isn't the first time Twilight had thought about sending Starlight to the griffons...
  • Cringe Comedy: Twilight getting all nervous and sweaty from Discord's sneaky implications, and then freaking out over Starlight's future can be seen as funny, but in a cringe-worthy way.
  • Discreet Drink Disposal: After finding a reduced Discord bathing inside her teacup, Twilight swiftly empties the tea in a nearby flower pot. It's easy to miss if you're focusing on Discord in the scene.
  • Ear Wings: For the short moment that Discord disembodies his head in order to put on the medal, his ears are flapping to keep his head aloft.
  • Evolving Credits: Starlight now has a different expression in the group shot (she is much happier in the new shot, as opposed to cautious optimism from Season 6), and the franchise's updated logo, which features more darker purple than pink, is used.
  • False Flag Operation: Twilight's anxiety about the Changeling Realm involves a recalcitrant changeling impersonating Starlight to turn the hive against her.
  • Fantastic Racism: Twilight fears sending Starlight to the Dragon Lands because some dragons aren't exactly fond of ponies. Naturally, the example her fantasy uses to represent this is Garble, who grabs Starlight and dives into a lava pit with her. Spike doesn't complain about it being out of character, since Garble is really that racist towards ponies.
  • The Gadfly: Discord, of course. He deliberately makes Twilight uncomfortable during the party and tries to get her to develop a grand-scale plan for Starlight on the spot. His intentions were somewhat pure (it turns out that he wanted Starlight to come live with him in his own realm), but he still went about the whole thing in a decidedly mischievous way.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Spike complains that Twilight's imagination is unrealistic, Celestia tells him "This is Twilight's fantasy. There's no wrong way to fantasize."
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: How Twilight imagines sending Starlight to certain places will go. The changelings could impersonate her and get her in trouble, she could have a potentially fatal accident among the dragons, and Sunburst could lead Starlight to trying dangerous magic.
  • Graduate from the Story: Subverted. Twilight worries Starlight Glimmer is leaving due to her proficiency in friendship. In the end, while Starlight does graduate from Twilight's tutelage, her departure doesn't happen.
  • Handshake Substitute: Starlight and Ember do a fist-bump during Twilight's vision of Starlight in the Dragon Lands.
  • History Repeats: Twilight having concerns over Starlight's future endeavors mirrors Celestia's own concerns about sending Twilight herself off.
  • Humble Hero: Starlight casually dismisses praise from everypony and everychangeling for standing up against Queen Chrysalis.
    Starlight Glimmer: Oh, I just did what anypony would have done.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Discord assures Starlight that if she chooses to help him turn Canterlot Castle into cheese For the Lulz, there will be many cheese puns.
  • I Choose to Stay: Despite no longer being Twilight's pupil, Starlight chooses to stay in the castle.
  • Idiot Ball: Twilight grabs firm hold of it when Discord claims that she needs to develop a new plan for Starlight Glimmer instantly, discrediting all the work Twilight's had her do yet. This is at least the fourth time Discord has pulled a trick like this: in "The Return of Harmony" and "Princess Twilight Sparkle" (the second and fourth season premieres, respectively) it was Played for Drama, while "Three's a Crowd" was a lighter take on it. But in every case, the formula is the same: Discord insinuates that Twilight has made a bad decision; Twilight immediately panics and starts planning worst-case scenarios, rather than questioning whether or not the literal embodiment of chaos might be lying; and it turns out that Discord was, for either villainous or trolling purposes, making her doubt herself. You'd think she'd be used to the scheme by now.
  • Imagine Spot: Twilight uses her magic to bring Spike and Princess Celestia with her on her fantasy visions for Starlight's possible future.
  • Irony: The two changelings that are talking to Applejack and Rarity ask a question that is hilarious from the viewer's perspective, given the fact that they've recently changed their appearance last season.
    Changeling: So, uh, you can't have friendship without makeovers?
    Applejack: Eh, not-not exactly.
  • It's All About Me: In contrast to Starlight, Trixie is only too happy to take full credit. Discord, of all people, calls her on it.
    Trixie: It was the Great and Powerful Trixie's pleasure to save you from your imminent doom.
    Discord: Yes, because you did it all by yourself.
  • The Lad-ette: Twilight's hazy memory of the dragon kingdom leads her to imagine Starlight and Ember as a pair of obnoxious bros.
  • Let Me Tell You a Story: How Celestia begins her story of how she agonized over sending Twilight to Ponyville.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Played straight in Celestia's flashback, where she tried to think of any way to force Twilight to socialize with her peers.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: This episode's focus is on the show's central master-apprentice chain (Celestia > Twilight > Starlight), as Twilight feels unsure over the future of her first apprentice and goes to seek advice from her own master, Princess Celestia.
  • Multi-Part Episode: Notably subverted: this is the first season opener to not be a two-parter.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Trixie excitedly tells Starlight that the local newspaper wants to take their picture, then sullenly says "You too, Discord."
  • Mythology Gag: Buried within Starlight's Magi Babble is the name Somnambula, a G1 villain.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The previews told us two things about this episode: 1) Starlight and Sunburst had a magical mishap with a magic circle, and 2) Twilight was going to have to send Starlight away. Neither of these things happened (The mishap was an Imagine Spot and Starlight chose not to leave).
  • Noodle Incident: Twilight digs through a pile of scrolls looking for new friendship lessons to teach Starlight, but she keeps finding unnamed lessons Starlight has already mastered, including one that Starlight taught Twilight.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Discord is as bad ever with respecting ponies' boundaries, especially with Twilight, since he coils around her body like a snake at one point, and pokes her nose. Twilight has to teleport out of his grasp.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Subverted. Starlight Glimmer is no longer Twilight's pupil, so surely the Status Quo is going to be upset, right? Bye-Bye Starlight? Nope. Starlight is sticking around.
  • Not So Different: Celestia finds it hilarious how worried Twilight is about Starlight's future, because she was just as worried about Twilight when she had to send her to Ponyville.
  • Oh My Gods!: The show's tendency to have characters swear by Celestia's name is lampshaded when Twilight does so in front of Celestia.
    Celestia: Hm, I wasn't aware I was an expression.
  • Opening Shout-Out: One of the photos on the mirror in Twilight's bedroom is the one she sends to Princess Celestia in the title sequence.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Discord slowly chews on some popcorn while Twilight is making her graduation speech to Starlight.
  • Person as Verb: Celestia finds out that she is used as an expression, one that she admits is appropriate in the context she hears it.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • All of the award medals have the same size cord, which leads to awkwardness as Princess Luna attempts to put Thorax's on over his large horns.
    • Celestia honestly didn't know what to do when it came time to send Twilight away; she spent a great deal of time struggling with the concern, and wasn't comfortable with the idea of Twilight leaving her.
  • Schizo Tech: As usual in an episode with Discord in it, we see him manifesting such modern technology as a modern film camera, studio lights, and a shotgun boom microphone (connected to headphones) which he bonks Twilight on the head with.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: One of the changelings in Twilight's first Imagine Spot speaks like this.
    Goofy Changeling: Starlight Glimmer is a most apt and perspicacious pony.
    Spike: Yep. Definitely a Twilight fantasy.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Twilight's Dragonlands fantasy, Ember and Starlight saluting each other with a brief arm-wrestling brings to mind a similar scene from Predator.
    • Twilight mentions "Clawchella" as one of the fun dragon activities; this is a play on the annual Coachella music festival.
    • The symbol Starlight and Sunburst draw on the floor (which in turn appears to open up some sort of magical vortex) is highly reminiscent of the rituals from Fullmetal Alchemist.
    • In the flashback to Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns, there is an equation on the blackboard that shows a picture of a sun, a lollipop, and a rainbow, adding to two. This is a reference to the song "Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows", sung by Leslie Gore.
    • The vaccuum cleaner Pinkie uses to clean up after the party bears resemblance to the Henry Hoover vacuum.
  • So Proud of You: Celestia and Twilight share a moment about how wonderful it feels to see one's student excel and accomplish great things.
  • Take That, Audience!: Twilight's idea of a meeting between Starlight and Princess Ember turns into an OOC fanfic, like the show has had to deal with throughout its run.
  • Three... Two... One...: During Twilight's third fantasy vision for Starlight's future, Spike realizes it will take the same pattern as the previous two and counts down to the moment Twilight starts to panic again.
  • Trial by Combat: In Twilight's first fantasy, this is the preferred method by which changelings settle their disputes over matters as mundane as what to have for lunch.
    Changeling: Attack! The winner gets to choose! [the other changelings cheer]
  • Trickster Mentor: Discord fills this role yet again by prodding Twilight into realizing that she needs to rethink what she's going to do with Starlight now.
  • True Companions: This episode briefly but effectively showcases Starlight, Trixie, Thorax, and Discord becoming this. Trixie and Thorax are both happy to help Starlight celebrate her graduation and Discord tries to subtly coax Twilight into sending Starlight to live with him.
  • Uniformity Exception: The changeling who poses as Starlight to cause trouble in Twilight's first fantasy possesses an orange and green color scheme, a combination of colors unseen among the reformed changelings so far. It also has bent-over ears and freckles.
  • Visible Boom Mic: Twilight gets bonked on the head by one manifested by Discord when she takes the stage to make her announcement regarding Starlight.
  • Visual Pun:
    • Discord states that he's "nosy" while putting on Groucho-Marx glasses with a fake nose.
    • Celestia punctuates the expression "letting someone spread their wings" with opening her own alicorn wings.
  • We Need a Distraction: An incredibly minor one, but Twilight gets Spike to distract Starlight so she can measure the space above Starlight's dresser for a mirror.
  • What If?: In-Universe, Twilight keeps thinking of things Starlight could do after leaving (helping the changelings rebuild and restructure after Chrysalis's ousting, going to the dragons, and studying with Sunburst). The thing is, she also imagines these trips all going wrong.

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