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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S9 E3 "Uprooted"

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Sandbar channeling his inner Charlie Brown.

Sandbar: We're back 'cause the Tree of Harmony called us here.
Twilight Sparkle: [gasp]
Gallus: Don't feel bad it didn't reach out to you. We kinda have a special connection with it after last year.
Twilight Sparkle: But the Tree couldn't have called you. It's gone! Sombra destroyed it!
Young Six: [gasp]
Spike: Mmmmaybe next time, ease in with those truth bombs.

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Written by Nicole Dubuc

Each of the Young Six find themselves in a common dream, seemingly summoned by the Tree of Harmony to come at once. They each make their way to Ponyville, to Twilight's surprise, and she explains what has happened to the Tree following Sombra's destruction of it. The six feel that before they return home, they need to pay respects to the Tree. Twilight lets them go, though warns them that the area is now more dangerous.

At the cave where the Tree resided, the Six see the rubble that remains of the Tree, and start to wonder how they can pay respects. Suddenly, Thorax and Twilight show up, angry at Ocellus for having snuck away from the hive. Twilight realizes the students are here without the knowledge of their kingdoms, but agrees they can return and stay if they get permission from their elders. As Sandbar is local, he promises he'll help prepare the cave for when the other students return with permission.

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The other five students get the needed signatures and return, but are shocked to find that Sandbar has completely cleared out the Tree's remains. He shows off a small sapling he has planted to replace it, but the others are not enthused about the idea and start to argue over how to honor the Tree. Gallus puts together a gaudy tourist attraction, Ocellus sets up a meditation garden, Silverstream paints the cave walls and floor to reflect her feelings about the Tree, and Smolder works on a stone monument sculpture. Their individual goals start to get in each other's way, and they end up ruining each other's projects. Yona urges them to work together and remember the role that the Tree played in helping them become friends, and drags out a cart loaded with its fragments - parked out of the way by Sandbar because it was too heavy for him to move alone.

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The group get the idea to make a "tree"house for themselves from the pieces of the Tree. Their project quickly comes together to make a somewhat shaky and chaotic house. As they all go to enjoy it, it starts to glow, and they race out. The crystals of the Tree suddenly expand, planting themselves in the ground and exploding through the roof of the cave. Outside at the Castle of the Two Sisters, the Young Six find the Tree has now grown into a smaller castle made of crystals. The illusion of the Tree of Harmony appears and thanks them for their help, as by using their friendship to construct the "tree"house, it has helped restore her, creating something even more impressive than before. Twilight and Spike arrive, having felt the magical burst of energy, and are also shocked to find the new Treehouse of Harmony there as the Young Six explain what happened when they worked together. All of them decide to tour the new building together.


Tropes:

  • An Aesop: If something happens to a place or thing that's special to you, don't dwell on what it was, but what it stood for, and never lose hope of what it can be.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the shared nightmare at the start of the episode, Silverstream has lots of pressure put on her by Rainbow Dash, Ocellus is panicking about a test she apparently missed a year's worth of classes for, Yona is plummeting from the sky, Smolder is back in her Princess getup having a Spot of Tea and Gallus is trapped inside a closing box. Sandbar, on the other hand, is just faced with an enormous cake stall, and is terrified over having to pick just one.
  • Back from the Dead: The Tree is able to be restored via the Young Six using the broken pieces to build a treehouse together, which the Tree is able to transform and inhabit due to their friendship, restoring it as something greater.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Yona yells for everyone to "QUIET" when the friends argue.
  • Blatant Lies: In his spiel for the Tree of Harmony Museum, Gallus claims that the Tree was grown from the tears of a basilisk and tended day and night by pony magicians. Yona immediately calls him out on it. He claims his version is more interesting than the real story.
  • The Bus Came Back:
  • Call-Back: Several:
    • The shared nightmare at the beginning of the episode includes both Princess Smolder and Gallus suffering from claustrophobia as previously shown in "What Lies Beneath", as does the Twilight-shaped avatar of the Tree of Harmony, and Gallus later says that there's a puppet show about their test by the Tree of Harmony.
    • Twilight and Spike give a brief summary about the events of the season premiere.
    • Ocellus remembers the group running away from school in the Season 8 premiere (and Thorax recalls how them doing so nearly started a war between the other races). Ocellus also changes into the dragon and giant insect forms she took in the Season 8 premiere, and Yona mentions the Puckwudgies.
  • Came Back Strong: The Tree of Harmony regrows into a treehouse far larger than its original form, extending from the base of the cave to a multistory building at ground level. Whether the Elements of Harmony still exist in some form, however, is not shown.
  • The Cameo: Several:
    • Rainbow Dash briefly appears in Silverstream's part of the Young Six's dream.
    • Silverstream's parents and brother Terramar make a brief appearance signing their daughter's permission slip.
    • Thorax shows up looking for Ocellus, chastising her for leaving home without telling anyone. We also later see her family signing her permission slip.
    • Gallus visits Grandpa Gruff to get him to sign his permission slip.
    • Yona gets her mother to sign her permission slip by doing chores around the hut.
    • Smolder gets her permission slip signed by Dragon Lord Ember after winning an arm-wrestling contest with another dragon.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: When the Young Six come across the ruins of the Tree of Harmony, Silverstream suggests that it could be restored if they all close their eyes and think "really strong friendship thoughts". It fails to work, though.
  • Conflict Ball: Once they all realize they have different ideas of how to memorialize the Tree of Harmony, there really is no reason the Young Six can't discuss a compromise — Yona even suggests that they do. They all decline and proceed to work apart from each other.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Yona appears in the dream by falling out of the sky, similar to the beginning of "School Raze - Part 1".
    • Smolder having a tea party and Gallus getting trapped in a confined space in their shared dream references their fears in "What Lies Beneath".
    • After polishing the floors of the School of Friendship, Spike admires his reflection, saying "lookin' good".
    • When Twilight says she has "horrible news", Spike wonders if the Crystal Empire is under attack again.
    • Yona brings up how the Young Six defeated Cozy Glow.
    • When startled by Thorax, Ocellus turns into a rock, similar to how Pharynx took on a rock form in "To Change a Changeling". She later mentions the "Feelings Forum" counselor from the same episode.
    • Star Swirl planting the seed that would become the Tree of Harmony is once again referenced.
    • The Young Six manage to successfully put the broken Elements back together during their song, when Twilight couldn't in the past episode.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When Twilight tells the Young Six to get permission from their kingdoms before starting their project, Gallus asks if she wants the permission slip in triplicate and immediately pulls out three copies.
  • Cringe Comedy: Gallus tries to honor the Tree of Harmony by running a museum complete with praises, propaganda, souvenirs, side shows, and photo ops. Anyone who understands humility as a key component of friendship would realize that this is definitely something the Tree of Harmony wouldn't approve of.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Yona hammers down a nail by using her horns, not realizing until afterwards that doing so would also rattle her brain.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: As the climax of the episode shows, everyone was preoccupied with their own conception of what the Tree of Harmony was instead of coming together over what it represents that they missed the point of it inspiring harmony and friendship.
  • Dream Intro: The cold open is a shared dream between the young six, with the Tree of Harmony calling on them and ending with six Catapult Nightmares.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: Yona lampshades such at one point:
    Yona: Yaks know things not forever. That's why smash and rebuild.
  • Epic Fail: During their Hard-Work Montage, Gallus somehow manages to tie himself to the pieces of the tree he's trying to tie together.
  • Eyedscreen: Smolder and the young dragon she's defying at arm-wrestling have their eyes framed top and bottom before their match.
  • Facepalm: Smolder does one in response to Sandbar having cleared away the remains of the Tree while the others were away getting their permission slips signed.
  • Finger Framing: Smolder looks at the large rock she's about to sculpt through a rectangle made with her claws.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Similar to "School Raze", the Young Six are assigned to a color of the Elements of Harmony as represented by the Mane Six's coat colors. Except for Yona, though, they all get different colors.
  • Hard-Work Montage: After the Young Six manage to sort out their design issues, they sing a song while assembling their treehouse.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Silverstream is shown to be quite a skilled painter. She paints the Cave of Harmony with various impressionist art pieces with how the Tree of Harmony made her feel. Her dream shows that she has aspirations of becoming the first non-pegasus Wonderbolt.
    • Smolder is a decent sculptor, as seen when she carves a stone replica of the Tree of Harmony out of a rock (with no tools besides her bare claws and fire breath, no less).
    • Ocellus has an interest in meditation, wanting to turn the Cave of Harmony into a place where "only positive energy will bloom".
  • A House Divided: The Young Six all agree that they need to honor the Tree of Harmony, but can't agree on how.
  • Hyperventilation Bag: Silverstream uses one when freaking out over the mess she and the others made of the cave when their varied efforts to memorialize the tree all come crashing down.
  • Implausible Deniability: When Ocellus, Silverstream and Yona see Smolder in her princess outfit during their dream, she hastily claims that the outfit isn't hers.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Due to being on summer vacation, the Young Six were completely unaware of the Tree of Harmony's destruction.
  • Loophole Abuse: Smolder attempts to keep Thorax from taking Ocellus away by saying they're on a dragon quest. When Thorax points out Ocellus isn't a dragon, she turns into one. Subverted when Thorax immediately says, "You know what I mean."
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: The burst of magic caused by the tree being reborn is felt by Twilight Sparkle all the way in Ponyville, and she teleports to the Castle of the Two Sisters shortly thereafter.
  • Never Say "Die": The Tree of Harmony is only referred to as "gone" and Sombra as "won't be coming back."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: While the non-pony students were out getting their permission slips signed, Sandbar remained in the cave and cleared up all the mess inside... which also included the remains of the Tree of Harmony itself.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Subverted. While the Tree of Harmony was destroyed in the season opener, the Young Six make an effort to rebuild some of the pieces into a treehouse, which then magically becomes a new Treehouse of Harmony, with the Tree's spirit residing in it.
  • Not Quite Dead: Though the tree was destroyed by Sombra, enough of its essence remains for it to contact the Young Six and bring them to the remains of the tree. When they work together to use its remains to honor it, their friendship allows it to regenerate into a new treehouse form.
  • One-Word Title
  • Only Sane Man: Yona is the only student who does not want to make changes to the cave and becomes fed up with her friends' fighting.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Sandbar fails to explain that in cleaning away the pieces of the Tree, he only left them in a cart deeper into the cave, making the others think the Tree is totally gone.
    • If the Young Six had discussed their plans before they took action, they could have avoided a lot of trouble along the way.
    • Ocellus running off without telling anyone where she was going when she was summoned by the spirit of the Tree earns her a scolding from Thorax when he comes looking for her.
  • The Power of Friendship: Although the treehouse the Young Six build from the Tree of Harmony's remnants isn't all that impressive, the fact they all tried is enough to make it grow into a giant treehouse where the Castle of the Two Sisters once was.
  • Reality Ensues: Sandbar said that he'd thrown the Tree's remains away, but since he is just one pony, there's no way that he could have carried them far out from the sheer weight. Sure enough, they were left nearby instead in a wagon.
  • Remembered Too Late: Turns out Sandbar didn't throw away the Tree's remains. He just piled them in a cart and parked it off to one side because it was too heavy for him to drag away by himself.
  • Shared Dream: The Tree of Harmony pulls the Young Six into a shared nightmare in order to talk with them, and urge them to help it.
  • Split-Screen Reaction: The Young Six are shown waking up simultaneously from their shared dream at the end of the Cold Open, in a screen split in six.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: When the Young Six start arguing about how best to honor the Tree of Harmony, Yona suggests that they listen to each other and make a plan together, but none of the others listen to her.
  • Taken for Granite: Played with. When Thorax shows up, Ocellus doesn't turn to stone from shock. She literally turns into a rock.
  • Three-Point Landing: At the beginning, after some acrobatics with Rainbow Dash, Silverstream makes a typical superhero landing, even cracking the ground.
  • Too Many Cooks Spoil the Soup: The Young Six all want to honor the Tree of Harmony, but can't decide how to do it, each of them getting in each other's way until it ends up in a huge argument. It takes Yona reminding them of what the Tree taught them to resolve the argument.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Discussed briefly when the Young Six first see the tree destroyed. Smolder wishes Sombra was still around so they could get revenge on him for what he did, but Yona sadly points out that won't bring back the tree or the elements.
  • Villainous Legacy: King Sombra's destruction of the Tree of Harmony in the season premiere is the focus of this episode.
  • Visual Pun: Making a house from parts of the Tree clearly makes it a "treehouse".
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The rest of the Young Six have this sort of reaction towards Sandbar getting rid of the remains of the Tree of Harmony.

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