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Tear Jerker / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - Season 3

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     The Crystal Empire, Part 1 
  • Celestia and Luna overthrew King Sombra for his treatment of the Crystal Ponies...and he made the Crystal Empire vanish as he was being banished. Judging by Celestia's reaction to being told it had returned, she clearly didn't expect it would return someday. Imagine what it must've felt like to have the thing you just fought a villain to save disappear right in front of you.
    • And if you dig in deeper, it's likely Celestia still has a lot of guilt and hang-ups about this. She could very well regard losing the Crystal Empire as one of her biggest failures, second to banishing Luna.
  • Cadance looking so uncharacteristically weak and sad is quite depressing. Shining Armor too, with all his worry for her.
  • The Crystal Ponies. They are absolutely miserable, with Dull Eyes of Unhappiness to show. They remember nothing of their lives before King Sombra came to power, and they're horrified by the very thought of him.
     The Crystal Empire, Part 2 
  • Seeing Twilight's and Spike's worst fears.
    • Twilight's is failing the test and Celestia disowning her as a student. This isn't the first time we've seen Twilight crying. It is, however, the first time we've heard her crying. She was having an existential crisis when Spike snapped her out of it.
    • We don't get to see what Spike saw, but he says it involved Twilight dismissing him because she no longer needed him. He started crying and didn't stop even after he'd looked away from the door. It's worse once Fridge Horror sets in. Spike, although it can be easy to forget, is a small child. He knows nothing of his origin or his species, (sans for a brief confrontation with some cruel teenage dragons who may or may not be representative for dragons as a whole). Living with Twilight is everything he's got, and all he knows. From his perspective, there would be absolutely nowhere he could turn if he was sent away.
  • Rarity laments the loss of the effect that the Crystal Heart had on their appearances, to which Applejack replies that "Good things are better when they're a Rarity." Rarity chuckles appreciatively, while Spike crosses his arms and looks from side to side.
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     Too Many Pinkie Pies 
  • While most of this episode is hilarious, seeing Pinkie Pie worry then finally breaking down is so depressing.
    • The fact that she is driven to so much distress that she questions if she is the real Pinkie Pie is especially tear-jerking. It gets even worse when she stops caring about proving herself; almost missing the test because she won't move from one spot where she is digging at the ground with her hoof.
    • At one point, Spike says he misses the real Pinkie Pie, who was next to him and Twilight. Still not sure if she's the real Pinkie Pie, she quietly says she's sure the real Pinkie Pie misses her friends too.
  • The first Pinkie Pie clone crying and the way her voice sounds genuinely on the verge of tears. Just look at this without tearing up a bit. The amount of stress she goes through after failing to have fun with Fluttershy is also kinda hard to watch.
  • A lot of the episode is funny, but it's also really morbid towards the end. It's hard to not feel sorry for some of the seemingly more developed clones, especially the first one. Not that the writers intended this.
     One Bad Apple 
  • Sweetie Belle: "Then, why do I feel like...crying...?"
    • Then she finally does when Babs takes away the CMC clubhouse. Why Babs, Why?
    • We've seen the CMC sad before, we've seen them somewhat hurt by Diamond and Silver's bullying, but this is WORSE. It's clear Babs' bullying cuts deep and the poor fillies are genuinely hurt by it. To cap it all off, Sweetie Belle finally breaks down crying...poor fillies.
  • The premise of this episode could be one, for anyone who has been teased and bullied.
    • What makes it worse is that, it's a family member that's bullying them. Rather than stick up for her own cousin, she becomes her tormentor.
    • "We never did anything to you!"
    • The worst part? They were so excited about making friends with her. And then she turns into a WORSE bully than the ones they've already dealt with.
    • This verse of the song sums it all up:
    Can't you be nice? Can't we be friends? Isn't it sad, is this how it all ends?
    • Though the rest of the song is upbeat, this part is pretty somber. Again, the CMC showed nothing but kindness to her, and she makes their lives miserable. Even in the midst of her bullying, the CMC hold no ill will against her (Not initially) and wonder "why can't we be friends?"
  • One could feel sorry for Babs after learning that she was bullied herself. If what she did to the CMC was bad, imagine how much worse she was treated by herself in Manehattan.
    • The bullying was so violent that she turned to Sweet Apple Acres for sanctuary. Let that sink in for a minute.
    • There's the part near the beginning where the CMC mention she's a blank flank, and how uncomfortable she looks. It was great foreshadowing for the later reveal, but also shows just how sensitive bullying can make someone..
    • After finding out Babs's was bullied back home, some of her lines seem to have more meaning once she arrives in Ponyville.
    Scootaloo: This is gonna be the best week of your life!
    Babs: Sure hope it's gonna be —
    • Her covering her flank while doing the bullies' Secret Handshake.
    • The bullying was so bad, she hides her flank with her tail subconsciously. Even when surrounded with family and friends who don't care about it, or think it makes her even more special then if she weren't a blank flank, her tail still covers her flank whenever somepony mentions cutie marks.
  • Also, the CMC being too hard on themselves by calling themselves bulles after finding out what they did.
  • Apple Bloom saying that Babs had thrown her out of her own bed! Where does she sleep then? On Hay! The poor filly...
     Magic Duel 
  • Twilight didn't have time to say a proper goodbye; Trixie literally threw her out of town and, to ensure no one would go after her or that she wouldn't come back, sealed Ponyville off in a giant bowl. To see Twilight's hoof pressed against Spike's claw, separated by the barrier...
    • Imagine what Spike would be going through. Twilight hatched him; she's like his mother!
  • While it by no means justifies anything she does in the episode, it is rather sad to see Trixie's life was ruined by the Ursa Minor incident. Jerk or not, she did not deserve having her caravan vandalized.
  • Trixie's rule of Ponyville, which gets worse and worse as Alicorn Amulet further corrupts her. Amongst the things she does is force the mouthless Pinkie to dance against her will and trap the Mayor in a cage.
    • Rarity is forced to design tacky clothing for Trixie. While sewing something she accidentally pricks her hoof with the needle, and makes a very saddened face.
  • Pinkie Pie driven to tears from being unable to eat.
     Sleepless in Ponyville 
  • Scootaloo tearing up as she finally confesses to Rainbow Dash that's she a scaredy pony who's afraid of her ghost stories but didn't want to admit it because she was especially afraid of losing Dash's approval. In fact, as Luna points out, losing Dash's approval scared Scootaloo more than any of her nightmares.
    • Especially heartbreaking is the escalating desperation in Scootaloo's voice as she explains how she wanted Rainbow Dash to fill a big sister role for her.
  • It was rather hard to watch Scootaloo struggling with her fears for the most part by herself in this episode. It was always known how much Scootaloo idolized Rainbow Dash and that, unlike Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom, she didn't have a Mane 6 character as a sibling. But to see the contrast of Applejack and Rarity acting the part of a legitimate Cool Big Sis to their younger siblings while Scootaloo fretted about her nightmares and impressing Rainbow Dash without that same comforting figure was sad to see.
    • What maybe was even worse was the sheer look of panic on Scootaloo's face when Rainbow Dash doesn't initially appear when Apple Bloom, Applejack, Sweetie Belle, and Rarity do. The whole camping trip was her big plan to get closer to Dash, and for a moment it looked like it was going to utterly fail. How depressing would the camping trip have been had Dash decided not to come along...
  • Scootaloo resorting to humming all night in an attempt to comfort herself after her first nightmare. You have to feel sorry for the poor little filly.
  • Rainbow Dash's reaction after saving Scootaloo from the waterfall. Her expression and tone make it easy to see she was worried sick about Scootaloo.
  • Scootaloo's reaction after her first nightmare and her running into the woods to retrieve some twigs. How she screamed, it's absolutely heart-wrenching. Scootaloo is known that she "normally" brushes over fear, but here, she was utterly terrified!
  • Heck, Scootaloo confessing her insecurity to Luna. The poor filly sounds so ashamed of herself, it's no wonder she's kept it locked up until now.
     Wonderbolt Academy 
  • The moment after Rainbow Dash tells Spitfire off and says that if being reckless would get her into the Wonderbolts she didn't want it anymore. The door closes behind her and she sags as the realization of what she just did hits: She just walked out on her lifelong dream.
    • It's not just that, either. Not only her dream gone, but there's a serious element of Broken Pedestal involved. Rainbow Dash has looked up to and idolized the Wonderbolts for her entire life, and for that moment she's lost all respect for them because she believes that they don't value the safety of other ponies. She's been spending her life pursuing something only to realize that she can't respect what it stands for. Which makes it all the more heartwarming when Spitfire catches up to her and explains that she was completely right.
  • Spitfire didn't know what was going on. She didn't even know about the tornado until Rainbow Dash storms into her office and informs her that she no longer respects the Wonderbolts. It's obvious Spitfire respects and enjoys working with Rainbow Dash and fully expects her to earn a place in the Wonderbolts when she's grown up a bit. From her prespective, the most promising of all the cadets just quit because she thinks the Wonderbolts don't care about anypony's safety. If Spitfire hadn't been furious at the reveal of just how reckless Lightning was, it wouldn't just be a moral disagreement that made Rainbow leave; in that moment, Rainbow Dash genuinely thinks that her heroes wouldn't care if her friends had died. That's a deal-breaker for good.
    • Arguably doubles as a Crowning Moment of Horror. This is the academy for the best flyers in Equestria and oversight is so lax that nobody noticed that a student was endangering everyone. What else is going on there?
  • While it's mostly played for laughs, Pinkie Pie seriously believed that Rainbow Dash would forget her and all of her other friends the longer they stay out of contact, even if it's only been a few days. How fragile is Pinkie's confidence in keeping friends??
  • Rainbow Dash clipping her wing during the flag exercise. Just from the expression on her face you can tell that she was really in pain.
    • Also her nervousness about attempting the move at all makes perfect sense, given how many times she's badly injured her wing in the past trying moves that she knew weren't safe. It's made only worse since Spitfire, Dashie's favorite hero, doesn't care about Dash's well being and rewards Lightning Dust for breaking the academy record.
  • While you might not feel for Lightning, her expression of horror when Spitfire takes her badge is just sad. Seeing her completely crushed, heartbroken and devastated afterwards makes it only worse.
  • Lightning was going to be redeemed, but time contrast caused that to be cut. The poor pony was going to get another chance...
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     Apple Family Reunion 
  • After all of Apple Bloom's excitement at the chance to hang out with Babs again, seeing that give way to exhaustion and her repeatedly thwarted attempts to just make small talk is pretty sad. Especially in light of how when they first met where most of the week was wasted by poor communication. Here they have a second chance to spend time together, and again it's torpedoed — and this time, it's because AJ, the same pony who told them they could've avoided all the heartache last time, isn't listening!
  • Applejack getting teary-eyed after accidentally destroying the barn.
    Applejack: Oh Granny Smith, here you let me be in charge of creatin' great memories, and the only thing anypony's gonna remember about this reunion...is that it was the worst one we ever had.
  • Might be more of an example of a Fridge Tearjerker during this episode, every member of the Apple family came to the reunion, and Applejack's parents were nowhere to be seen. At the end of the episode, you see two shooting stars side by side. Since Lauren Faust considers Applejack's parents to be dead...
    • Another idea by Faust was that they were traveling sales-ponies, and traveled all around the world. Which means that they'd be too busy to see their own kids, and other family members. While this alternate backstory wasn't used, it's still pretty tearjerking (for anyone who wants to read more about it, it appears in this FAQ).
  • The shooting stars also appeared near the beginning when Granny Smith was talking about how "Not everyone would be able to make it" the next time. Then Applejack looks up at the sky and sees the two shooting stars which later appear at the end.... it seems that it's confirmation that Applejack's parents are indeed dead.
    • Confirmed by Sibsy on her Twitter.
  • Babs casually mentions that she's started a new school. It wouldn't be the first time a kid had to move schools to escape bullying.
     Spike at Your Service 
  • Throughout the episode you see Spike do work for Applejack to repay her for saving him from the timberwolves, by following the noble dragon code, which is very sweet of him to do. Then you realize that there's more to the code than helping Applejack. This scene gives us a good example of what it is:
    Spike: (talking to Applejack) Maybe you need help remembering your favorite song. A dragon is the finest creature ever! There's more to them than just guarding treasure.
    • It then makes you realize that he's doing all this to show everyone that dragons aren't just beasts. He's willing to follow this code just to prove his point.
  • When Applejack keeps trying to tell him that she doesn't need his help, the poor little guy looks so upset whenever she tries to do this. It shows his desperation to show her that he's noble.
  • When Spike tells Twilight that he's going to serve Applejack forever you can tell he's broken up about telling her this. When he does and she says yes (only because she wasn't paying attention, and was reading a book) you see tears in his eyes, as he leaves.
    • It's subtle but after she finally realizes what happens from Applejack (met with a horrified Big "WHAT?!") and admits she wasn't really paying attention to him, she looks noticeably ashamed of herself. This is probably one of the most evident cases of Twilight realizing how much she takes Spike for granted.
      • This is made all the worse after you remember what Spike's greatest fear was in "The Crystal Empire". When Spike tells her that he's leaving for Applejack's, the way he says it sounds like he's hoping Twilight will say no or talk him into staying. Because she's so distracted from reading, the way she says yes makes it seems like she doesn't care that he's leaving and would be fine with it. His one real parental figure is unintentionally saying that she doesn't want him with her anymore... meaning that said fear technically came to pass. This puts his desperation to serve Applejack into a much harsher light.
     Keep Calm and Flutter On 
  • Discord's My God, What Have I Done? moment, realizing he truly doesn't want to lose Fluttershy's friendship. John de Lancie's performance in this brief moment is incredible.
    Discord: Well played, Fluttershy. Well played. (Listen here)
    • Not only the Heel Realization moment, but the one preceding it in Fluttershy's cottage. Listen to Discord's voice after Fluttershy calls him her friend, the utter disbelief at that single statement. Look into his eyes and hear his voice crack a bit when John de Lancie reads the line that follows. You can tell from that how sincere he is, that this is truly the first time someone's ever considered him their friend. Poor guy...
    Discord: Oh... Well, I've... Never really had a friend before...
    • Seeing Discord tear up is something, to say the least.
  • More of a Fridge Horror type of tear jerker than anything else, but, Discord saying that he's never had a friend before. Imagine being thousands of years old, having no understanding of friendship, and due to your actions in the past, everyone sees you as an evil monster. Intense loneliness (and the Nightmare Force) is the same thing that turned Luna into Nightmare Moon.
  • Nobody in the world except Fluttershy ever thought there was any good in him. When nobody reaches out to you, how can you yourself know whether you're capable of redemption. In the end, when he sacrifices his World of Chaos in exchange for keeping Fluttershy's friendship, you can tell that despite his reluctance to go soft there's an It's All Junk revelation in his voice when he admits that being friends is more important to him.
  • Just the point of view shot of the skates he offered Fluttershy that she thrown on the ground. Discord has his World of Chaos and is free to do anything he wants, but all he can focus on is that he has no one to enjoy it with.
  • A Fridge Horror tearjerker: Discord is immortal. Fluttershy is not.
     Just For Sidekicks 
  • When Spike mentions to Fluttershy that he wasn't invited by Princess Cadance to join Twilight and the others in welcoming the important Equestria Games inspector (for the next episode), you really feel bad for the little guy. You can clearly tell that he feels left out. He helped save the Crystal Empire and the fact that he wasn't invited to participate in doing anything with the Princess of the Crystal Empire is insulting.
  • In the beginning, we find out that Peewee was given back to his parents.
  • Poor Spike never did finish that cake.
    • While Spike lost most of his gems to pay for the trouble his plan to get the gems caused, Zecora promised aide and then gave the gem away. She had good intentions but the look on Spike's face is awful.
  • The increasing revelation of Spike being a No Respect Guy (and to some extent required to). He lost his own housepet offscreen, and can't have even a small number of cherished possessions without his greedy instincts kicking in (as karmic as it was, you have to feel his frustration at having part of his earnings taken from him to prevent this). His best redeemer is being "rich" in love and respect, and as shown in this episode, he sometimes gets short changed ins that as well. The poor guy Literally can't have nice things.
  • One can't help but feel a bit sorry for Angel when Spike keeps him from getting to Fluttershy and drags him back to the train. Angel was squeaking and apparently crying all the way. He most likely really missed her and wanted to see her again, not just to get Spike in trouble.
     Game Ponies Play 
  • Rainbow Dash's memory of Cloudsdale not being picked. She looked so excited then when she learned Cloudsdale wasn't she was clearly heartbroken. She was just a filly at the time...
  • Twilight initially was going to take the blame and explain to Cadence she screwed everything up. Given how terrified Twilight is of letting down her peers, this is a rather painful sight, making sense why Rainbow took the fall for her.
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     Magical Mystery Cure 
  • Seeing Sweet Apple Acres and Carousal Boutique in boarded up and diminished conditions is unsettling considering they're normally very busy and populated places. It's very nostalgic. Twilight is lamenting (in what could be considered the saddest song in the entire series) how everypony is struggling with their new destinies and have given up hope, which causes Ponyville to rot away while the Mane 6 look on helplessly. The whole sequence could be considered one of the saddest moments in My Little Pony history, previous generations included.
    • Moreover, watching Applejack board up Carousel Boutique is very unnerving.
    • At the start of the song, Spike looks at Twilight as she goes up the stairs with a sad face that looks as if he might cry. The spikes on his head even droop.
      Spike: Well, maybe it won't be so bad. Maybe our friends will grow to like their new lives.
      Twilight: No Spike, they're not who they meant to be anymore. Their destinies are all changed! (sounding like she is about to start crying) It's All My Fault! (trudges sadly to her room)
  • The position that the Mane 6 sans Twilight is in sucks. Imagine something that you're horrible at. Now imagine being suddenly compelled to do it as a living. Furthermore, you and everyone else knows this is what you're destined to do, for the rest of your lives. Oh yeah, and because you're horrible at your job, you can never really be happy doing it. They apparently forget that they ever had their previous lives, thus thinking they were born to do something they're bad at. Ouch.
    • Fluttershy, the pony with anxiety and fear in crowds has something that compels her to be the center of attention. She felt that it's better to move back to Cloudsdale than stay. Note that Cloudsdale is a place where she was bullied as a filly for being a weak flyer. Granted, she's a stronger flyer now and those three stallions are the only known bullies, but still.
    • When the gang comes to help them, Applejack and Rarity are both in tears, as no matter how hard they try, everything they do falls apart around them. How many other times have they all been reduced to tears with how horrible their lives were?
      • Applejack takes great pride in hard work and perseverance. Having her fail at something she hates but compelled to do adds another layer to this onion of a problem. This is Applejack. Tough, dependable, stable supportive Applejack. Even when she was at her lowest in other episodes, she never cried. Seeing Applejack of all ponies on the edge of a breakdown was heart-wrenching.
    • The previously joyous Pinkie Pie is increasingly frustrated and declares that her life sucks. Despite working as hard as she can, the farm is dying around her. Especially heartbreaking is that she was miserable during her childhood on the rock farm (at least up until she got her cutie mark), and now believes she's doomed to live through that childhood for the rest of her life.
      • Oh yeah, and her mane is flat again. Just seeing Pinkie with her sad flat-hair look again is depressing.
      • Heck, Pinkie Pie, happiness personified, uttering the words "it's no fun being me" is heartbreaking. If this were anypony else it wouldn't be so bad, but this is PINKIE PIE!
      • Note that Pinkie doesn't smile even once until her cutie mark returns.
    • Rarity's inability to manipulate the weather properly is angering the other ponies in town. It's hard watching her flinch under everyone's glares. Some ponies literally slam doors at her. Her lowering her head in despair during her own rainstorm after that display is horrible to behold.
      • Watch when Rainbow clears the cloud above her: Not only is Rarity in tears, but she actually flinches, recoils, and starts trembling like she thinks her own friends are going to hit her until the rain stops above her head. Just what have the citizens been doing to her for her poor handling of the weather? There's also the fact that in Twilight's song, she doesn't care that her mane is wet, something she often freaks out about even in a light sprinkle.
    • Rainbow Dash has had such a bad time with the animals that she simply stops trying. The most brash, most loud, and most fearless pony of the Mane 6 is reduced to a depressed heap on the cottage floor. Now THAT'S sad.
      • Even worse: she doesn't even try to escape when the animals tie her up and put her into a pot.
    • Twilight isn't spared either, since it was her spell that caused all the unhappiness. Her "What have I done?" moment at the end of her lament song is absolutely heartbreaking. In fact, she might be the most miserable of them all because she knows what's truly going on. Just imagine watching your friend's lives go to hell, them being miserable beyond all reason...and there's no one to blame but you.
    I have to find a way
    To make this all okay.
    I can't believe this small mistake
    Could have caused so much heartache.
    • Everyone's reaction when Twilight reverses the magic. Their Cutie Marks are restored but the magic immediately re-surges back onto Twilight and she disappears, leaving an enormous scorch mark on the ground resembling her Cutie Mark. To the lay observer, it looks like the magic OBLITERATED their close friend from existence. Many have noted the potential Tear Jerker Alternate Ending [1].
      • Additional Tear Jerker given Twilight's expression before she disappears. She's alarmed by the Elements firing and encircling her in magic but then she simply smiles and bows her head, as if accepting whatever will happen (even if it means death) as long as she knows she undid her mistake and restored the life purpose's of her dearest friends.
  • Celestia's Ballad. The scenery, the continuity montage, Nicole Oliver's beautiful voice....
  • "Does this mean I won't be your student anymore?" Bonus points for Tara Strong's sad sounding delivery on the line.
  • Twilight's transformation and coronation. It's guaranteed to touch your heart. And make you shed tears at the same time. Especially her brother's reaction.
    Twilight Sparkle: Are you crying?
    Shining Armor: Of course not. It's... liquid pride. Totally different thing.
  • Twilight addressing Ponyville. It can be hard not to tear up, knowing it's based on Lou Gehrig's farewell speech:
    Twilight Sparkle: A little while ago, my teacher and mentor Princess Celestia sent me to live in Ponyville. She sent me to study friendship, which is something I didn't really care much about. But now, on a day like today, I can honestly say I wouldn't be standing here if it weren't for the friendships I've made with all of you. Each one of you taught me something about friendship, and for that, I will always be grateful. Today, I consider myself the luckiest pony in Equestria. Thank you, friends! Thank you, everypony!
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