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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S9 E5 "The Point of No Return"

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Twilight Sparkle, not returning a library book? The horror!
Written by Gillian M. Berrow
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Princess Celestia sends Twilight a box with some of the items she had left from her quarters after she had moved to Ponyville. While many of them bring back good memories, Twilight realizes one of the items is a book she borrowed from the Canterlot library and never returned. She immediately starts to panic, as she had long been the library's best book-borrower, and knows this will ruin her reputation. She and Spike immediately set off for Canterlot to return the book.

Twilight hopes to quietly return the book to Dusty Pages hoping to clear up the matter with her librarian friend, but finds a new librarian there. As Twilight dallies, Spike goes ahead to return the book, and they are told that it is so overdue they need to go to talk to First Folio in the basement of shame to discuss the fee. Unfortunately, First Folio is out to lunch. Twilight insists they go look for her, as to stop incurring fees. By chance, they happen upon Moondancer who is having lunch with First Folio. First Folio recalls that Dusty had to leave her job as a librarian after some pony failed to return a book. Now aware she probably cost Dusty her job, Twilight sets out to find Dusty to return the book to her as to give Dusty her old job back.

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Twilight and Spike go to Dusty's old house in Canterlot, but its current owner only knows she long moved out to someplace with Silver in the name. Twilight and Spike visit several places in Equestria and eventually end up at Silver Shoals, a retirement community. After confirming she lives there, they start trying to track her down, but keep missing her as she goes from activity to activity. Eventually they catch up to her, and after reuniting, Twilight presents Dusty with the book. To her surprise, Dusty refuses to accept it, wanting nothing to do with her old job, and walks off.

Twilight mopes for a bit but Spike encourages her to talk to Dusty again, and find out what happened in the past. Finding her at a mock food fight, Dusty calls for a time out and spends a few minutes to talk to Twilight. She tells her that when Twilight didn't return the book, breaking her own perfect record as a librarian, she realized that her striving for perfection was holding her back, and she instead started to try new things, even knowing that she might fail, and has been enjoying her life greatly after that. Dusty then points out that the book that Twilight's been trying to return, which Twilight had never read, is about the impossible pursuit of perfection, a lesson Twilight takes to heart.

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Back at Canterlot, Twilight and Spike meet with First Folio to return the book, finding that the late fee was capped after a month and only 28 bits, though they will have to take down Twilight's picture as the perfect book-borrower. Since the library has already replaced the book with a more recent edition, Twilight is allowed to keep it as a souvenir of her adventure.


Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: The Tasty Treat restaurant in Canterlot is visited again, however Saffron Masala and Coriander Cumin don't show up.
  • An Aesop: Perfection Is Impossible, so stop trying to be perfect all the time; learning from your mistakes is a good way to help you grow.
  • Aesop Amnesia: You'd think after all that craziness with the Friendship Journal in Season 7, Twilight wouldn't freak out over something so small as an Extremely Overdue Library Book. Though this is less about how she thinks others perceive her and more about how a pony's life was seemingly ruined due to her negligence, the fact that worrying about things never helps Twilight totally slipped her mind.
  • Between My Legs: We get a brief shot of Twilight and Spike between Dusty Pages' legs when she lands on the ground after jumping down out of a tree at the food fight arena.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Downplayed. Dusty is fine with no longer having her library record and being able to do new things with her life, absolving Twilight of her guilt. She still has to pay the fee for the overdue book and she gets her perfect-book borrower title revoked as consequence. Twilight actually tries to talk Folio out of the last one, but no such luck.
  • The Bus Came Back: After making cameos in the first part of the season 5 finale, the movie, and the second part of the season premiere, Moondancer returns with a speaking role.
  • The Cameo:
    • Smolder, Gallus and Silverstream make a brief appearance during Twilight's montage of finding Dusty Pages.
    • The dragonsneeze tree-cutting pony from "Princess Spike" makes a brief cameo in the library (albeit without his uniform and equipment).
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Twilight suggests checking restaurant row to find First Folio, Spike initially assumes she means they should get some food.
  • Continuity Nod: Several.
    • Spike initially thinks the heavy delivery is a deluxe set of special edition Ogres & Oubliettes figurines that he's been hinting to Twilight about "forever".
    • When he learns the delivery is actually stuff from his and Twilight's old home, he asks if his Smash Fortune comic is in there.
    • Twilight recalls how she used to live in a library.
    • A flashback from the first episode of the series shows that the library book central to this episode is one of those knocked away by Twilight while she was looking for Predictions and Prophecies.
    • A scene showing Twilight checking out said book changes the color of Twilight's levitation aura back to how it appeared in Season 1.
    • The Tasty Treat from "Spice Up Your Life" is where Twilight and Spike find First Folio. The place is still thriving as well.
    • Twilight finally locates Dusty Pages at Silver Shoals.
  • Cool Old Lady: Dusty Pages has become this since leaving her job at the library. Although in a retirement community, she's busier than ever — including doing wind surfing, painting, playing the guitar in a band and acting as the lead in several plays. She's also extremely athletic, and has become a real dare devil.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Twilight could have avoided all the stress she went through in this episode if she had actually read the book she was freaking out over not returning. The book is called Perfection: The Impossible Pursuit, which Dusty Pages points out once the misunderstandings are cleared up.
  • Covered in Gunge: Twilight and Spike get caught in the crossfire of the Food Fight and end up covered in tomato juice, banana pulp, and other fruits. Twilight avoids a lengthy clean-up by teleporting away and leaving the mashed fruits behind.
  • Creepy Basement: First Folio's office is at the end of one, which heightens Twilight's fears in meeting her and paying the late fee.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Or triple, in this case. The "point of no return" refers to Dusty not wanting to return to her old job, to Twilight learning the "point" of accepting imperfections like losing her status as the best book borrower, and to First Folio refusing to return the book to circulation because it's out of date.
  • Extremely Overdue Library Book:
    • Twilight borrowed a book from the Canterlot Library before she moved to Ponyville, and never returned it. The crux of the episode is not only Twilight trying to return the book, but thinking she got the librarian Dusty Pages fired because of it.
    • Twilight spends the episode also worrying about how big the late fee will be from the book being so late. While it's never stated how long Twilight had the book, it's implied to be several years. Her bill is only 28 bits, because the library's late fees cap at a month late.
  • Face Palm: Twilight facehooves, dragging down her face, after Spike tallies up her estimated overdue fee, and tells her "You don't wanna know".
  • Food Fight: Dusty Pages is in one mixing this and airsoft paintball when Twilight asks her why she doesn't want to return to the library.
  • Gag Nose: One of the ponies practicing masked theater at the retirement home reveals a long pointed beak-like muzzle behind his beak mask.
  • Gasp!: Twice.
    • When Twilight tells the Canterlot librarian that she doesn't want any books today, the other patrons all gasp in surprise.
    • This happens again at Silver Stable Community when Twilight tries to make up for her mistakes by promising Dusty Pages that she'll never to take a book out of the library again.
  • Head Desk:
    • Twilight slams her head into the librarian's desk when the librarian tells her the book returns office is in the basement, "because of the shame".
    • She later does it again on a bar top when trying to figure out why Dusty Pages was upset about the prospect of returning to her old job at the library.
  • Irony: Twilight spends the whole episode stressing over how she accidentally ruined her and Dusty's perfect records by forgetting to return the library book. It turns out she never actually read the book itself or looked at the title of it, Perfection: The Impossible Pursuit, which actually lampshades the moral of the episode.
  • Jerkass: The stallion that moved into Dusty's old home definitely qualifies. He might have been annoyed at getting Dusty's mail, but he was still pretty nasty about it.
  • Missed Him by That Much: At Silver Stable Community, Twilight and Spike keep narrowly missing Dusty Pages as she moves from one activity to the next.
  • Mistaken for Servant: Spike gets mistaken for a waiter by one of the customers at the Tasty Treat. He actually takes her order and delivers it, offering advice as well, and manages not to drop another customer's order even after Twilight blasts by him at top speed, spinning him around.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Twilight hears that Dusty Pages seemingly left the library over her overdue book, she is wracked with guilt.
  • My Greatest Failure: Twilight considers not returning her book on time as such. It later gets compounded when she believes Dusty Pages retired from the library because of it.
  • Mythology Gag: One of the items from Twilight's old home is her "G1 Star Swirl figure". "G1" is the fan-coined term for the original My Little Pony series (which did, in fact, include a character by the name of Star Swirl).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Twilight forgot to return a library book because Princess Celestia sent her to live in Ponyville, and it ended up costing Dusty her perfect record. Subverted as this mistake actually gets Dusty to realize she has been wasting her life stubbornly clinging to a perfect record, and she gets out of the library to try new things and have fun.
  • Only Sane Man: Spike spends the whole episode reining in Twilight's perfectionist tendencies.
  • Overly Long Name: After finding out just how late Twilight's book is, the librarian directs her to the "Grossly Overdue Book Return Office for Ponies Who Should Know Better".
  • Perfection Is Impossible: The core of the episode's lesson. The book that Twilight borrowed even uses this as its title.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Twilight was worried about getting a Shockingly Expensive Bill for the late book, but it turns out that the library caps off the overdue fee after a month. The reason the library doesn't tell its patrons this fact is to keep them from taking books for too long.
    • The book Twilight has is so old that by the time she tries to actually return it, it's out of circulation because of newer editions being printed. As a result, First Folio allows Twilight to keep it after she pays the late fee.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: As oppressive as the name of her office sounds, First Folio turns out to be one of these. She doesn't charge Twilight through the nose for the late book, puts her account back in good graces once the fee is paid, and allows Twilight to keep the book because the library now has a more recent edition.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Moondancer appears in an episode that's also about Twilight reconnecting with a friend she had before her life in Ponyville — who acts as a Foil to her. Although this time it's Twilight who needs to learn the Aesop.
  • Rule of Three: To find the "Silver"-place where Dusty Pages went to, Twilight goes to an isolated island, a silver mine and Silverstream herself.
  • Schizo Tech: The Canterlot Library basement has piping, ventilation, and at least three doors labeled with an "electrical utility" sign.
  • Sequel Episode: Like "Amending Fences", this episode serves as one to the first half of the very first episode, with Twilight trying to return the library book she knocked over before she was sent to Ponyville.
  • Series Continuity Error: In the old portrait Twilight finds at the beginning, she is a blank flank. However, Spike is present in the picture, and Twilight got her cutie mark the minute she hatched him, so she should have her cutie mark in the photo.
  • Serious Business: As per Twilight's general Super OCD and bookworm attitude, forgetting about an overdue library book is something unforgivable to her. Turns out that the rest of the library staff treats the matter the same way.
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill: Subverted. Twilight is worried about how extravagantly high her overdue late fee on her book is, but First Folio tells Twilight that the fee comes to just twenty-eight bits. Turns out the library caps its fees at one month late.
  • Shout-Out:
    • An illustration in Mooncurve's Seven Theories on Bending Time is of one of the melting clocks from Salvador Dalí's The Persistence of Memory.
    • Twilight's library card photo is of the same similar awkward pose as the Bad Luck Brian meme.
    • One of the "Silver" names the meathead pony mis-remembers Dusty Pages might have gone to is "Surfer".
    • Twilight says with snark that the door on the overdue book office must read "Abandon hope, all ye who enter."
    • First Folio is the name commonly given to the 1623 collection of 36 of William Shakespeare's plays.
    • The name of Twilight's overdue book, Perfection: The Impossible Pursuit, references the board games Perfection and Trivial Pursuit, both owned by Hasbro.
  • Sustained Misunderstanding: First Folio believes that Dusty Pages was forced to leave the library because of Twilight's long-overdue book. When Twilight gets the full story, it turns out that Dusty left of her own accord.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Spike reacts to Derpy crashing into one of the pillars outside the school with a nonchalant "Twilight! Mail's here!"
  • Watch Out for That Tree!: As is usual for Derpy/Muffins, the mailmare opens the episode by crashing into something — this time, a pillar next to the school's entrance — while carrying a large box mailed to Twilight
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Moondancer disappears from the narrative after Twilight bails on her suggestion for lunch with Folio.
  • World Building: Silver Stable communities.
  • You Do NOT Want to Know: Said by Spike when Twilight asks him how much she owes in late fees after Dusty Pages refuses to take the book back.

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