Follow TV Tropes


Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S9 E4 "Sparkle's Seven"

Go To

"No lookout, no distraction, and no word from the ponies inside! I'm starting to think this whole operation might be a giant flop!"
Twilight Sparkle

Story by Tara Strong, Ashleigh Ball, Andrea Libman, Tabitha St. Germain, Cathy Weseluck
Written by Nicole Dubuc & Josh Haber

Spike delivers a message from Canterlot to Twilight from Shining Armor, challenging her to a Sibling Supreme contest. Twilight explains to a confused Starlight that as foals, she and her brother constantly competed to do as many good things as possible and earn gold stars from their parents. The high scorer at the end of each week won the title of Sibling Supreme and a tinfoil crown to wear. Twilight and Spike race off to Canterlot, leaving Starlight in charge of the School of Friendship.

Upon arriving, they find the challenge is not what it seems. Princess Celestia wants to increase the defense of the castle, and has asked Shining Armor to overhaul its security systems (despite Princess Luna arguing that she and Celestia should do it themselves). To make sure these work, Shining Armor wants Twilight to try to steal the Sibling Supreme crown from the throne room. If she succeeds, Shining Armor will name her Sibling Supreme forever, but should she fail, Shining Armor will take that title.

Twilight returns to Ponyville and brings her friends to help out with the plan. They develop a scheme where Pinkie Pie would distract the guards to allow Twilight and Applejack to sneak into the castle through a sealed-off tunnel, while separately, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy would come in via above, grouping with Rarity with a guard's medallion to access the throne room. There, Fluttershy would use her animal skills to tame the last obstacle, angry geese, so Twilight can get the crown. Just then, Spike gets another letter from Shining Armor boasting that he has anticipated Twilight's entire plan. Rarity suggests another route: letting them make plans completely different from their own personalities to keep Shining Armor and the guards on their toes. This includes having Applejack distract the guards with the "final" performance of "Apple Chord", AJ's Country Music star alter ego; having Pinkie take Fluttershy and Spike to the castle via balloon, and then keeping watch (from outer space); using Rarity and Rainbow Dash to suss out where the secret tunnel is from a seedy juice bar; and having Fluttershy and Spike as spies to them steal the crown. The plan further involves Twilight simply not being part of it and seen in public, so that she has an alibi.

The new plan quickly goes afoul. The balloon suffers a leak after Pinkie drops off Fluttershy and Spike, interfering with AJ's "Apple Chord" performance. The seedy juice bar is closed, but while the secret entrance is soon located, they find that Luna has placed Zephyr Breeze to guard it, and Rainbow Dash reluctantly uses his interest in her to distract him so Rarity can reopen the tunnel entrance. While Fluttershy and Spike get inside, they fall into a trap door near the thrones, but Rarity and Rainbow Dash free them while wandering through the underground tunnels in search of a way out. Ultimately they regroup, and Spike suggests that maybe since this plan didn't work, they fall back on Twilight's original plan, even if Shining Armor will be expecting it.

To their surprise, this plan goes out without a hitch, but just as Twilight gets to the throne room to get the crown, Shining Armor, Celestia and Luna appear, having been waiting for them. Twilight complains as Shining Armor taunts her, but then Spike reveals to all that he has the crown. Spike reveals that he had been working with Luna as an inside man, as Luna was also taken aback that Celestia didn't take her input into account. Luna had taken steps to assure that Twilight's original plan would work, getting everyone in the throne room at the same time so that Spike and Luna can make the big reveal. As Celestia goes off and half-heartedly apologize to Luna, Twilight and Shining Armor agree that Spike is the true Sibling Supreme and give him the crown.


  • Actor Allusion: Applejack's alter-ego of "Apple Chord" is a direct reference to voice actor Ashleigh Ball, who is also the lead singer for the band Hey Ocean!.
  • An Aesop: Take heed of all your family members. You might be missing something important without even knowing it.
  • Aesop Amnesia: One would think that Celestia would take concerns about a hypothetical inside job more seriously, given that it already happened.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Deconstructed. Crawling through a tunnel made of metal is bound to make a lot of noise, defeating the trope's purpose as a sneaky infiltration method.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The geese Shining Armor uses to protect the throne room have pink feathers.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Lampshaded. Rainbow Dash straight up asks Applejack if her story about having a country singer alter ego is true or something she made up. Applejack's reaction to this does little to clear things up.
  • Apocalypse How: Implied Class X in Pinkie's Imagine Spot, as the baobabs are on the verge of shattering The Little Prince's planetoid.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Toyed with. Shining's defenses include numerous practical deterrents one would reasonably expect (anti-magic field, fans to make flying in near-impossible, increased guard coverage), and then, out of nowhere, geese as the last stand. Though the geese are then shown to be extremely aware and aggressive.
  • Art Shift: Each of the four Imagine Spots used a different filter/style (according to Jim Miller). While the others use more straightforward filters, Pinkie's is drawn in a flattened style with few-to-no outlines.
  • A-Team Montage: Used when Rarity's "Plan B" is a bust and they all go ahead with Twilight's original plan.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: When Applejack doubts her ability to buck through solid rock, Twilight brings in Maud, who studies the rock for a few moments then marks a specific point for Applejack to kick. One buck causes the whole thing to crumble into rubble.
  • Backhanded Apology: Celestia halfheartedly apologizes to Luna for not taking her earlier concerns seriously.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": When being made to distract Zephyr Breeze, Rainbow contradicts herself several times, stammers over her words, and her voice is spoken with open contempt for the whole situation. Somehow, Zephyr never notices.
  • Bad Guy Bar: Played for Laughs. Even a Bad Guy Bar has to adhere to opening and closing times like any other normal bar and won't always be conveniently open when the plot calls for it. Sure enough, when Rarity and Rainbow Dash try to relive their Noir fantasy, it gets squashed because it's closed.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Shining Armor sending Twilight the note saying that he knows her whole plan was meant to try and keep her from using it.
    • Spike both ensures that Twilight goes through with her plan AND predicts that Shining Armor would let it work up to the last second, allowing Spike to steal the win at the end.
  • Book Dumb: The Flashback to Twilight and Shining Armor's youth shows that he wasn't a very good student (contrasting his sister). But in the present, he puts together a nigh-impenetrable set of defenses, and anticipates every aspect of Twilight's plan.
  • The Bus Came Back: Fluttershy's brother Zephyr Breeze appears in this episode after he was last seen in Season 6 and the comics, having gotten a job as a Royal Guard — a job he loses by the end of the episode.
  • Call-Back:
    • To protect the castle against teleports and other magical attacks, Star Swirl imbues it with fragments of Queen Chrysalis's throne.
    • Zephyr Breeze still has his crush on Rainbow Dash (who still can't stand him), and this is used to distract him from guard duty.
    • After Fluttershy and Spike end up falling through a trap door, Fluttershy mentions her claustrophobia from "Castle Mane-ia".
  • The Cameo:
    • Twilight and Shining Armor's parents appear in Twilight's flashback.
    • Star Swirl the Bearded makes a silent appearance in Shining Armor's flashback assembling fragments of Queen Chrysalis's throne to protect the castle.
    • Maud Pie has a brief, silent walk-on when she helps Twilight and Applejack figure out how to penetrate the stone wall.
  • Chekhov's Gun: During Rarity's plan, Applejack steals a guardpony's star badge. Later, during Twilight's plan, Rarity makes use of it to get through the castle doors, lampshading that it was the only part of her plan that actually worked.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Luna. Her spat with her sister over outsourcing the castle defenses in introduced as a minor filler gag, but later proves crucial in her motivation to team up with Spike to undermine the entire contest.
  • The Chessmaster: In the end, it's Spike who wins the Sibling Supreme crown — by getting Luna to help him exploit Twilight and Shining Armor's own Gambit Pileup, then take it from right under their noses.
  • Claustrophobia: Fluttershy showcases this when she is in the pit under the throne room with Spike. Justified since she still thinks of the events from Castle-Mania.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Since Shining Armor can predict any kind of competent plan Twilight would dream up, Rarity gets the group to come up with one too outlandish and insane for anyone to expect. It fails spectacularly.
  • Cringe Comedy: Rainbow Dash getting volunteered into flirting with Zephyr Breeze, and the latter's unwelcome attempts at wooing her in response, make quite the cringy — and hilarious — scene.
  • Dark Horse Victory: Spike is the one to get the crown due to Luna and him teaming up to undermine everyone and get close to it without anyone knowing. Basically to teach their siblings (Celestia for Luna and Twilight and Shining Armor for Spike) a lesson about listening to them.
  • Death Glare: The goose that Luna is seen petting in her Right-Hand Cat moment glares down at everyone else. Especially startling considering this is when it is calm.
  • Defensive "What?": After Pinkie Pie has an Imagine Spot of her in space jumping around Baby Planets, the others give her puzzled looks, to which she responds with a defensive "Whaaat?"
  • Delayed Reaction: Rarity, while in the middle of an argument with Rainbow Dash about setting off every lever in the underground maze beneath the castle, stops in her argument to say hello to Spike before resuming her conversation without missing a beat. Only then does she realize that Spike and Fluttershy just emerged from a secret passage.
  • Deliberately Monochrome:
    • As in "Rarity Investigates!", the Imagine Spot with Rarity as Shadow Spade and Rainbow Dash as her henchpony is in black and white.
    • Applejack's Backstory for Apple Chord is in sepia tones.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Everyone is shocked when Spike reveals he has the crown, and thus beat both Twilight and Shining Armor, and are even more surprised when it is almost immediately followed by the reveal that Luna was in on the whole plan with Spike.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: When Rarity and Rainbow Dash find Zephyr Breeze guarding one of the secret entrances to the castle, Rainbow bemoans his obsession with her and how they'll need to find some way to distract him, all while Rarity stares at her. Then she puts two and two together.
  • Expressive Accessory: The fake rabbit ears on Fluttershy's hood tend to flop along with her moods as if they were real ears.
  • Eye Am Watching You: Shining Armor lacking fingers, he cannot make the gesture toward Twilight after finding her "sniffing the flowers" in the castle's courtyard... but his body language convey the message pretty well, with him walking backward while glaring at his sister, and then his head poking right back on the frame with his horn pointing at her.
  • Facial Dialogue: Rarity makes a lot of very expressive faces in the scene playing off Rainbow Dash and Zephyr Breeze. First her eyes dart from one to the other and then widen as the idea clinks; then she wiggles her eyebrows at a protesting Rainbow, perfectly conveying her intent. And afterward, when Rainbow is not very convincing with her flirt attempt, Rarity makes frantic gestures followed by a kissy face to egg her on.
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: All the key elements of Spike and Luna's plan are shown to the viewer as the episode progresses.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Rarity wiggles both eyebrows when Rainbow Dash goes into her Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap! speech.
  • Fatal Flaw: Even with all the thought Shining Armor had put into the castle defense systems, Spike and Luna find the one loophole in his plans: none of the defenses will work against a threat that is already inside the castle.
  • Feathered Fiend: Shining Armor's final security measure in the throne room involves a gaggle of geese who keep watch for intruders and start honking wildly if there are any trespassers. Plus, they bite.
  • Fishbowl Helmet: Pinkie's Imagine Spot has her and Gummy wearing spacesuits with the helmets looking like fishbowls. Later, she put on actual fishbowls on her head and Gummy's as she's planning to go to space on the Friendship Balloon.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Luna's sour looks to Celestia at the beginning, and her putting Zephyr on guard duty and reporting a false alarm all hint at her working with Spike behind the scenes before The Reveal at the end.
    • In one of the flashbacks to Twilight and Shining Armor as foals, baby Spike is shown drawing his own gold stars under the chart tracking the stars for the other two, showing he wanted to participate in the Sibling Supreme challenge too. He also mentions feeling left out during his heart-to-heart with Fluttershy.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • During the scene showing the fans installed over the castle to prevent flying creatures from going in, a small red bird is shown caught in the winds. In the next scene, Shining Armor explains how he had all the underground entrances sealed... and the same bird is seen walking on the ground, wings spread and looking annoyed.
    • When Applejack-as-Apple Chord is performing in a theater during her flashback, Granny Smith, Big Macintosh and Apple Bloom are visible in the background peeking in through an open door... before a bouncer kicks it shut in their faces.
  • Furry Reminder: Luna nickers when Celestia continues to defer to Twilight and Shining Armor to improve the castle security.
  • Gilligan Cut: Rainbow initially refuses to distract Zephyr Breeze by flirting with him. The shot then cuts to Rainbow in a fancy dress, being made to do just that.
  • Got Volunteered: Upon seeing that Zephyr Breeze is guarding the blocked entrance, Rarity forces Rainbow to act as a distraction by flirting with Zephyr long enough for her to break in.
  • Graceful Loser: Once Twilight and Shining Armor get over their shock of Spike outsmarting both of them and getting the crown himself, they both happily declare him to be the true Sibling Supreme and their little brother.
  • Group Hug: The episode concludes with Shining Armor and Twilight Sparkle hugging their "little brother", Spike, quickly joined by the rest of Twilight's friends.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Despite Shining Armor's efforts to ramp up the security of the castle, the royal guards still aren't sterling examples of vigilance. Even discounting Zephyr Breeze (whom Luna assigned with the expectation he'd fail anyway), the other guards are easily falling for distractions — twice, by "Apple Chord"'s singing and then by Pinkie Pie's party. Also, one guard getting his medal stolen — which is the key to the doors of the castle — isn't noticed nor immediately reported. And another guard is easily fooled by Rarity's Paper-Thin Disguise when she pretends being here to relieve him.
  • Heist Episode: The episode references Ocean's Eleven in the title, and focuses on Celestia challenging Twilight to steal a crown in order to test out the castle's new security. Twilight gets her friends together in order to do this. The episode also feature's other Eleven hallmarks, such as plans-within-plans.
  • Hollywood Glass Cutter: Spike cuts a hole through a stained glass window in the Canterlot Castle throne room with his claw so he and Fluttershy can sneak in.
  • Humble Pie: Luna helps Spike with his plan to steal the crown due to Celestia not listening to her about the castle defenses and Spike not getting attention from Shining Armor or Twilight. Once Spike explained how he won with Luna's help, Celestia begrudgingly apologizes to Luna for not listening to her and agrees to improve the security further after discussing it with her.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: The flashback to the rivalry between the siblings start with Twilight's kite wiping the screen, followed by the chart, and then a star moving from various directions used for every scene transition.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Shining Armor sends Twilight a letter warning her that he knows her so well, he's predicted exactly what type of plan she'll come up with, and in the letter he lays out an explanation identical to what Twilight just finished thinking of. This freaks her out so much she lets her friends come up with a completely different plan; when that fails, they go with Twilight's plan anyway. And then Twilight's plan works because Shining Armor had presumed that after he warned her he knew what she would be planning, she wouldn't dare try any of it, and even then he knew that after their original plan failed Twilight would likely take over and get to the throne room without a fuss, where he'd be waiting. Then it is revealed that this was actually all part of Spike and Luna's plan from the beginning, who accurately predicted everything Shining Armor and Twilight would do and played them both to get the crown himself.
  • Imagine Spot: The Mane Six each have one while working through Rarity's plan.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Invoked when Rarity questions Twilight's motives.
    Rarity: And all of this to win some fillyhood competition with your brother?
    Twilight: It's more than that! Okay, it's exactly that.
  • Implausible Deniability: Used when Twilight and Shining Armor discuss the "sibling supreme" crown.
    Shining Armor: Look, I know you've always held a grudge because I left home with this.
    Twilight: Grudge? [scoffs] What grudge? Just because you've had it for way longer than you should have and I never got a chance to win it back!
  • Impossible Mission: The entire episode is one with Twilight and the rest of the Mane Six attempting to steal the Sibling Supreme crown from Shining Armor's defensive measures.
  • Informed Species: The vicious birds Shining Armor uses to guard the crown are barely recognizable as geese, with their flamingo-like pink colors and massive, thick bills full of teeth. Oddly, the show featured more realistic geese in an earlier episode.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Twilight, still intent on getting the crown, unknowingly brushes off Spike calling himself her "little brother".
  • Inside Job: Spike collaborates with Princess Luna, who deliberately sabotages Shining Armor's defenses. At the end of the episode, Celestia begrudgingly admits that they'll have to rework the defenses to prevent this in the future.
  • Iris Out: At the very end, a star-shaped iris closes the episode, centered on Spike.
  • Jerkass Ball: Shining Armor takes way too much pleasure in rubbing his victories past and present in Twilight's face. It is also stated that after he won the crown in their last Sibling Supreme contest he took it with him when he moved out of the house, essentially stealing it so Twilight couldn't win it back. He finally drops it once the contest is over and Spike is declared the winner.
  • Large Ham: Shining Armor takes every opportunity he can to brag about his security to Twilight and declare himself the Sibling Supreme. This ends up costing him when Spike uses it to his advantage, talking to Luna to get her to help him while Shining Armor explains the security, and later having Luna teleport the crown to him while Shining Armor drags on bragging after catching Twilight and her friends, wanting his supposed victory to last to the very last second.
  • Laser Hallway: Spike imagines himself and Fluttershy doing an Air-Vent Passageway intrusion to Canterlot's throne room, finding it protected by a laser grid. Fluttershy waltz her way between the beams, throwing the Sibling Supreme crown to Spike, who use its reflective surface to reflect the lasers one by one and disable all the emitters.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The title is based on the Ocean's Eleven film series. Discovery Family used a parody of the Ocean's 8 poster for teasing the episode on social media. The plot of the episode incorporates some of the common elements of the Ocean's films, such as plans-within-plans and having the most likely culprit (Twilight) standing out in the open to give her an alibi.
  • Minion Maracas: Upon finding that the Canterlot juice bar is closed in the day, Rarity (in full Shadow Spade mode) grabs the helpful stallion that informed her by the lapels and shakes him while wanting to know about the secret palace entrance.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: Rarity sneaks behind Zephyr Breeze with a mobile bush while he's distracted by Rainbow Dash.
  • The Mole: Luna acts as one for Spike. She intentionally sabotages several security measures to allow the Mane 6 to continue their plan and keep Celestia out of the throne room. Then while Shining Armor is bragging and everyone is distracted, she simply gives Spike the crown without anyone noticing. Celestia bitterly acknowledges that they need to improve security to stop threats from inside the castle too in order to prevent something like this in the future.
  • Monochrome Past: Applejack's Imagine Spot, which she introduces as a flashback, is sepia-tinted. The picture is even grainy and the sound scratchy, like an old movie.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Never My Fault: Zephyr Breeze blames the guard sergeant relieving him of duty for not telling him exactly what "guarding" entailed, infuriating her.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: Zephyr Breeze had previously graduated from mane therapy school in his last appearance, but now has a completely different job in the royal guard. He ends up fired by the end of the episode due to his incompetence in the position.
  • Nice Guy: The helpful stallion that Rarity and Rainbow meet outside of the Canterlot juice bar. He happily tells them what they need to know and doesn't even get annoyed when Rarity shakes him angrily.
  • Obstacle Exposition: Shining Armor explains every single last security measure to Twilight to see how she can get past all of them. During this, Spike and Luna set up their own collaboration and beat the two siblings at their own game.
  • Once More, with Clarity: After Spike reveals he has the crown and had help from Luna, flashbacks show the two of them making their deal and executing it, including showing Luna putting Zephyr on guard duty and reporting the geese made a false alarm to keep the plan on track and showing that Spike popped Pinkie's hot air balloon.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: When going with Twilight's original plan, Rarity disguises herself in a guard's armor to relieve him of duty and sneak into the throne room. The armor barely fits her and she doesn't even look like any of the other guards since her mane style can still be seen. Despite this, though, the guard still believes her and leaves his post when she says his shift is over.
  • Punny Name: The Seedy Juice Bar, a Bad Guy Bar that serves juice that presumably contains seeds.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": This is Rainbow Dash's reaction to Rarity's (unspoken) suggestion that she'd flirt with Zephyr Breeze to distract him.
    Rainbow Dash: Ooooh, no. Oh, no-no, no way! Unh-unh!
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Rainbow Dash dresses up in a nice dress to distract Zephyr Breeze from his guard post. She's quite unhappy about it.
  • Right-Hand Cat: A variant where Luna emulates the classic "evil overlord stroking a cat" pose, with a goose instead of a cat.
  • Schizo Tech: One of the security measures around Canterlot is an array of cordless fans. Each one being powered by its own battery full of electricity or magic.
  • Shoe Phone: Applejack's guitar has a hidden mechanism that shoots out a suction cup to snag a guard's badge.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title itself is a reference to Ocean's Eleven. While the episode is not quite a Whole-Plot Reference to the film, a handful of other nods to Ocean's Eleven are dropped. For example, Rarity asking if she rushed her speech is similar to dialog George Clooney (as Ocean) gives early on after, and part of the scheme requires Twilight to remain visible to the castle guards so that she doesn't appear to be part of the heist.
    • The title also doubles as a reference to Blake's 7.
    • In the transition from Canterlot to Twilight's castle, the Confused Math Lady meme is spoofed by Twilight's planning thoughts.
    • In Rarity's Film Noir Imagine Spot, alongside already-known ponies modeled on Josephine Baker and Betty Boop, we see a new one inspired by Marlene Dietrich.
    • In Pinkie's Imagine Spot of space travel, we see the planetoid from The Little Prince.
    • "Apple Chord"'s outfit is based on the types of outfits that Dolly Parton would wear during her career in the '70s.
    • Spike and Fluttershy's Imagine Spot is a Mission: Impossible spoof with requisite music. No cable drop, though. The show's intro leitmotif is heard when Twilight, Spike and AJ reach the throne room with the others.
    • When Pinkie starts to have problems with the balloon, she calls out "Canterlot, we have a problem."
    • The outfit Rainbow Dash wears to distract Zephyr is similar to Megara's outfit (and hairdo) from Hercules.
    • Zephyr's gloating to show off his armor to Rainbow Dash mimics the same moves used by Kuzco in The Emperor's New Groove, which is unsurprising given the egocentric nature of both characters.
  • Show Some Leg: Poor Rainbow Dash is forced to lead Zephyr astray by using her feminine charms (or lack thereof). To say she doesn't enjoy this would be an understatement.
  • Sibling Rivalry:
    • Between Twilight and Shining Armor, and Spike as well as an adopted member of Twilight's family. Flashbacks reveal that Shining and Twilight competed over a "Best Sibling" crown quite often.
    • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry between Celestia and Luna, with Luna upset that Celestia felt her security measures weren't up to par when they were supposed to be.
  • Spanner in the Works: Just about every step in Rarity's plan gets jammed up. Pinkie's balloon gets popped, none of the guards buy Applejack's 'alter ego', the Juice Bar is closed, once Rarity and Rainbow get into the catacombs they immediately get lost, and Fluttershy and Spike forgot about the goose behind the crown and the pit trap.
  • Splash of Color: Rarity's black and white Imagine Spot is interrupted by Pinkie Pie showing up straight inside it without being monochrome, her bright pink standing out.
  • Split Screen:
    • As Twilight is setting up her plan A and giving her five friends a specific task, each one appear on a screen split in an increasing number of panels; then a scroll conjured by Spike shows up in the foreground. Note this might be a reference to the original Ocean's 11 poster.
    • As their plan B is starting to go south and Twilight frets over this, we see the screen split in four, each with a location showing a part of the team, and Twilight over them in the foreground. As she reaches her conclusion and make a funny face, her friends turn toward her to look through their own panels in a minor Frame Break case.
  • Stealth Pun: In Pinkie Pie's Imagine Spot, she's seen moving along the ring of a planet by... moonwalking.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Spike and Luna avert this, much to their success. While Shining Armor is explaining the security to Twilight, Spike secretly sneaks over to Luna and explains his plan to her, and she agrees to help him. Then while Shining Armor is bragging to Twilight and the others when they are caught, Luna teleports the crown to Spike, securing him the win.
  • Teleport Interdiction: Star Swirl the Bearded enchants the palace exterior with fragments from Queen Chrysalis's Anti-Magic throne, preventing any creature from using magic to penetrate the throne room.
  • This Explains So Much: Starlight's reaction upon learning about the Sibling Supreme competition between Twilight and Shining Armor.
    Starlight: Guess that explains your love of charts... and so much else.
  • Time for Plan B: Inverted. Twilight receives a scroll saying Shining Armor already knows what to expect from the Mane Six and gives up, Rarity gives her a pep talk and prepares an alternate plan B. They're forced back to Plan A when Rarity's plan doesn't work.
  • Toothy Bird: The guard geese have very sharp teeth. This is Truth in Television though, as geese really do have something resembling teeth in their beaks.
  • Traitor Shot: Luna is revealed to be Spike's accomplice by petting one of the guard geese with her Face Framed in Shadow.
  • Tranquil Fury: Luna has it in the beginning, while she says she thought she and Celestia could make the security improvements themselves but Celestia overruled her. Celestia and Luna both have it at the end after it revealed that Luna helped Spike win, with Celestia agreeing to improve the security further and Luna snarking if she feels it is worth discussing, with both wearing forced smiles. Looks like Twilight and Shining Armor weren't the only ones with a sibling rivalry.
  • Unflinching Walk: The envisioned plan involving Fluttershy and Spike have the two walking calming away as the laser devices explode behind them, e.g. "cool ponies and dragons don't look at explosions".
  • Unreliable Expositor: Played with. Applejack never does confirm or deny the truth of her story about performing as Apple Chord when she was younger.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee:
    • The Mane Six's plans get hit with this twice. Rarity attempts to avert it by taking charge of the plan, which consists of sidelining Twilight and letting the others make their own individual plans, but every part of it backfires. When Twilight takes command and puts her original plan in motion, everything works beautifully until Shining Armor steps in to stop Twilight just short of stealing the crown.
    • The scheme between Luna and Spike plays this straight. Their plan to get the crown to Spike happens entirely off-screen, and it goes off without a hitch.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Shining Armor spends a lot of time gloating to Twilight, bragging about his security to her, sending her a letter that predicts her entire plan, and smugly bragging when he catches her in the act. It eventually costs him the competition and the crown when Spike and Luna use it to their advantage. Spike tells Luna his whole plan while Shining Armor explains his defenses to Twilight, and since he drags out his supposed "victory" to the last possible second, Luna simply gives Spike the crown while everyone else is distracted.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: Subverted. Rarity's original plan for the heist was to have Twilight do nothing at all, knowing that Shining Armor would suspect Twilight of organizing the plan to break through his security. However, it doesn't work, and Twilight has to get more directly involved as things go south.

Alternative Title(s): My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic S 9 E 4 Twilights Seven