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Princess Twilight Sparkle, Part 1
- Twilight and her friends are both sad that they can't spend the Summer Sun Celebration together, Twilight even mentioning that it's what brought them together.
- Celestia reveals that for a thousand years, the Summer Sun Celebration was a reminder that she'd had to banish her own sister, and that she's glad that it isn't like that anymore.
- Celestia and Twilight nuzzling, after she promises to always be there for Twilight and hopes that Twilight will do the same for her.
- The revelation that the Everfree Forest had become so overgrown that Zecora had to flee from it. Recall that Everfree is her home.
Princess Twilight Sparkle, Part 2
- Twilight witnessing Luna's corruption and Nightmare Moon's origin via Flashback, and how Celestia was forced to banish her own sister.
- In particular, Twilight sobbing over the body of a (temporarily) defeated Princess Celestia, before she realizes it's not real.
- It's even worse in hindsight: Up until Celestia summoned the Elements of Harmony, Twilight had no idea she was a thousand years in the past. She thought that Luna had become Nightmare Moon a second time. For all Twilight knew, Celestia was dead.
- It's made even worse by the fact how Celestia screamed when she was defeated by Nightmare Moon. That scream wasn't the scream of someone wounded, it was the scream of someone in their death throes!!
- Luna's corruption was already horrible, but look at the elements she used against Discord. One of which is Loyalty, and another being Laughter.
- Take a close look at Celestia when she banishes Nightmare Moon. She's◊ crying.◊
- Celestia's voice actor does a spectacular job of delivering her lines, especially as she begs Luna to lower the moon and insists she will not fight her sister. It only adds to the emotional impact of the scene and does an excellent job of portraying a normally stoic and calm character as desperate and remorseful.
- Watch this whole sequence again. Then go back and watch Celestia and Luna's reunion at the end of episode 2 of season 1. Cry an ocean.
- After Twilight's done witnessing the Nightmare Moon flashback via the potion, she sees her friends looking very disturbed. They tell her that she was talking to herself and sobbing uncontrollably during it. Imaging being Twilight's friends and witnessing that.
- Twilight and her friends manage to save the day again, but have to give up the Elements.
- Even worse, earlier when Twilight was worried about her new duties affecting her friendships, Applejack says that the Elements are what keeps them all connected. When Twilight tells her friends they need to give up the elements, Applejack brings this up again. It seems like she believed the Elements were the only reason someone in Twilight's position could still be friends with her. Thankfully, Twilight gives a heartwarming speech to reassure her.
- Also, Twilight's friends feel she should keep out of it. Because supposedly Celestia and Luna might not even return if they succeed in their mission, Twilight will be the only princess to take the throne in Canterlot, and they don't want anything to happen to her. Though she feels they're right, she's still saddened by their decision. It pains them to have to do this too.
- A bit of Fridge Tear-Jerker occurs when Discord taunts Twilight over choosing to go back to Canterlot instead of joining her friends to help save the Tree Of Harmony (Granted, he was doing so to get Twilight to help them). It may come off as him being a jerk at first, but then you realize that one of the ponies out in the Everfree Forest is Fluttershy. Not only is Discord essentially teasing Twilight over thinking her duties as a princess come before her friends, but he's also berating her for allowing said friends to get themselves into danger without her there to save them. In other words, we have Discord essentially showing concern for the other ponies (especially Fluttershy's) well-being and him calling Twilight out on her actions.
- Fluttershy worrying about Angel, especially when we know he's fine.
- Fluttershy sobbing over what she thinks is Angel crushed by a pillar. Even though we know from the start it's fake, it's quite startling to see the show go somewhere so dark.
- The diary entry mentions how much Celestia and Luna loved their castle. Then you remember about the previous episode: prior to becoming Nightmare Moon, and even prior to blocking the Sun, Luna's first act after her FaceHeel Turn was to angrily tear the castle apart without giving a damn about it. After becoming Nightmare Moon, she keeps destroying it for lulz. It's somewhat subtle, but this just underlines all of Luna's bitterness towards Celestia.
- On a related note, after imprisoning Nightmare Moon, Celestia chose to move to Canterlot instead of repairing the destroyed castle: the former place of happiness became just a reminder of pain and regret.
- Rainbow's Heroic BSoD over her failure to help Daring Do. After Daring gets captured, Rainbow Dash ends up sitting still in a depressed state for several hours. It's daytime by the time her friends find her and by that point Rainbow Dash is more than ready to just go home and leave Daring Do be. It says a lot about Rainbow's insecurities when this is how she reacts to letting down somepony she respects.
- Dr. Caballeron's background mentions that he wanted to go exploring with Daring Do and found out the hard way that she works alone. With Caballeron Not Good with Rejection, he shows malice and resentment towards her when they interact. It's disheartening to see this happen to somepony who was implied to be a huge fan of Daring Do.
Flight to the Finish
- Spike throughout the whole episode can be considered one big tearjerker.
- To elaborate a bit, it is made pretty clear that the reason Spike dislikes Humdrum in the comic is not just because the character is for comic relief or is rarely helpful... it's because it reminds him of himself. That's the opinion he has of his own status on his own little 'team', meaning his self-esteem is suffering. Even sadder, things only go back to the same as before after this episode.
- At the beginning when the others are cleaning the castle, they say they don't need him. The poor guy looks over to all of them working together, and walks off feeling useless.
- When Spike realizes he's been turned into the powerless sidekick he's too afraid to help because he doesn't think he could be useful.
- To make things worse, when Mane-iac kidnaps the Power Ponies, they could very well be killed, and Spike would be stuck in there permanently, had he not gotten over his fear and tried to save them.
- When it looks like Mane-iac is about to spray Spike with the hairspray to freeze him, she tells him that he isn't even worth it.
- You'll cry tears of joy with Spike when Twilight says even if they don't always need Spike's help, he always comes through for them, and they have faith that he'll save them.
- The mane six, sans Fluttershy, agreeing with Applejack that the vampire fruit bats need to be stopped, proceeding to parade around Fluttershy while ominously chanting "Stop the bats, stop the bats, make them go and not come back!" while she just looks on in shock and fear. And at the end of the song, Applejack marches up to Fluttershy and practically yells in her face as she crawls backwards on the ground to get away from her. Oh, and in case you didn't read that properly, let me remind you that this is Fluttershy they're all yelling at.
- And later on, they practically force her into using the Stare despite her obviously not wanting to.
- There's also Fluttershy's apology right before she uses the Stare on the bats, and you can really hear the pain in her voice as she prepares to do so.
- The sequence seems to be shown from Fluttershy's point of view, so she's probably distorting a normal disagreement into outright aggression, which means that she sees every other conflict like this (if the way she acted in said conflicts didn't make it obvious already).
- In regards to Fluttershy's transformation being her (and the others') fault:
Applejack:...I just want my friend back.
- This exchange takes on a whole new meaning in light of Spike's doubts in the last episode:
Applejack (to Fluttershy): I wanna thank you for your help. I couldn't have done it without you.
Spike: Aw, don't mention it, Applejack. It was my pleasure! Really!
- It's clear that he's still feels so useless that he has to take credit for something that he had absolutely no part in. That's pretty damn sad.
- Applejack sacrificing her giant apple, which was going to be entered into a contest, to lure Flutterbat in so she could be returned to normal. The look on her face before she's about to cut it open (and after Rainbow Dash reminds her of what she's giving up) is obviously her holding back being upset in favour of getting her friend back to normal.
Rarity Takes Manehattan
- You can't help but feel bad for Soarin for most of the episode. While injuring his wing was bad enough, his teammates decided to not only not visit him, but also considered outright replacing him with Rainbow Dash.
- Not to mention that he sounds so sad when he tells Rainbow that no one's visited him, but then plays it off as them being too busy practicing.
- And not just his teammates, in his own words, no pony has visited him, period. No family, friends, team staff, not even a fan dropping by for the chance of meeting one of the Wonderbolts. Poor guy...
- What about Dash herself? A pony as competitive as Dash had to be seriously looking forward to the event, but upon being forced to choose a team, she thinks it'd be better to miss the event entirely by faking injury.
- This episode seems to confirm that Spike's crush on Rarity is essentially hopeless. This wouldn't be as bad if it weren't for an earlier episode confirming he has self esteem issues. For anyone who's been in his situation in real life, it can be pretty depressing.
- What may actually be a positive tearjerker though is that it isn't entirely hopeless. Unlike how Rarity was treated by Trenderhoof, Spike was never treated like he needed to change who he was for Rarity. She likes him, no matter who he is. It shows how sincere their feelings are for one another (romantic or platonic).
- Except that she's always known about how he feels; even though everyone already knows about it, not much is said about his essentially hopeless chances.
- Fluttershy's Heroic BSoD upon realizing everyone just saw her singing. Even though the audience's reaction is nothing but positive, her fears distort it into staring blank faces cruelly mocking her and she runs away in fright.
- May or may not count, but notice Big Mac's face after his flashback. He looks so sad and disappointed, possibly because he knows he's letting his friends down, but also because he was beaten in the turkey call contest after being undefeated for 6 years. Imagine how he must feel, having something he was very proud of, judging by his grin, and then suddenly having that something taken away from him.
- The CMC are just so happy that all the other kids are paying attention to them, suggesting that usually they get glossed over or ignored or made fun of by them - probably because of Diamond Tiara's influence.
- The CMC try really hard to prove to Twilight that they did really want to learn from her, but they almost screw it all up.
- Twilight's disappointment that the other kids and the CMC aren't really there to learn and are just hanging out with her because she's a princess. She wants to be valued for what she knows, not because of her status. When she says to the other fillies "Well... neither did any of you", you can feel the sadness based on the tone of her voice.
- Fridge Tear Jerker - Maybe Twilight understands what the CMC went through because she was used to having other foals try to befriend her just because she was friends with a princess.
- Another Fridge Tear Jerker. Twilight has worked really hard to gain respect and acceptance in Ponyville for who she is. Her popularity due to being a Princess may have forced her a few steps back on progress.
It Ain't Easy Being Breezies
- At first, it seems as though Seabreeze is a Jerkass who can't lighten up, but once he's gone out into Ponyville on his own and is nearly killed by a falling acorn and has to face an angry swarm of bees, it's hard not to feel bad for him. And then, you find out why he's really so anxious to get home — he's got a wife and child waiting for him.
- That makes the moment he burst into tears in Fluttershy's home a tearjerker in hindsight.
- Even worse, the way Seabreeze breaks down and shouts "That's what I've been trying to tell them all along! But they won't listen to me! Nobreezie ever listens to me!" makes it particularly Harsher in Hindsight. The poor guy must've been a nervous wreck thinking about what might happen to his family if he didn't get home in time.
- Spike's guilt over causing the Breezies to be left behind.
- Fluttershy bursting into tears after she orders the Breezies to leave her house.
- Just the fact that she holds it together until Seabreeze gives her a thank you bow. Even if it was for a good reason, being cruel to be kind to the Breezies was clearly very painful for her.
Somepony To Watch Over Me
- Given that Word of God has already confirmed Applejack's parents are indeed dead, her overprotectiveness of Apple Bloom can take on a rather dark edge.
For Whom The Sweetie Belle Toils
- Rarity's breakdown sequence in Sweetie Belle's dream was very painful to watch.
- All the while Sweetie is begging Luna to end the nightmare. That was equally as painful. Seriously, Luna didn't pull any punches with that dream, but it was necessary to show Sweetie Belle that nothing good comes from petty acts of jealousy.
- The worst part would have to be when Fluttershy knocks on Rarity's door asking her to make her a dress, and Rarity refuses, informing her that she no longer makes dresses. This incident was apparently so horrible it got her to stop doing what she loved. Not just as a career, but altogether, even for her closest friends.
- The last image of Rarity that we see in the Bad Future is of her sitting alone in the dusty, cobwebbed ruins of her shop, with a Twitchy Eye and a Thousand-Yard Stare. It could also count as Nightmare Fuel, but it also has a tear-jerker element to it, like that look on Rarity's face is saying, without words, "I have wasted my life. I have wasted my life."
- Sweetie Belle's fifth birthday. Both for Sweetie Belle's tears in response to her friend's insensitive remarks but also for Rarity's determination to try and keep the party going even when Sweetie is a no-show.
- Luna confiding with Sweetie Belle that she knows, all too well, what it feels like to be in the shadow of an older sister who always seems to outshine you. She shows Sweetie that Bad Future scenario to make sure this little filly doesn't experience the same downfall she did, letting her jealousy consume her.
- Rarity's treatment by Sweetie Belle. After Rarity goes well out her way to help with the costumes at the last minute, despite working on an order for an extremely important client, it gets thrown back in her face. She may have her flaws, but Rarity clearly loves her little sister very much and has always tried to look out for her.
Leap of Faith
- Applejack's dilemma. On one hoof she blows the lid on the tonic and takes away Granny Smith's happiness that came from it. Or she sits on standby and watches as Granny spends bit after bit on tonic and performs increasingly life endangering stunts. Not to mention having to "endorse" the product so other ponies to keep up the charade many of which will probably only barely benefit from what is essentially vegetable juice, causing the lies to build-up and grow while wearing on her conscience.
- Hey, wait a moment!
- As someone pointed out in "Somepony To Watch Over Me", since we have Word of God on AJ's parents being indeed dead, imagine what was going on in her mind as she watched Granny leap from a diving board to trying to land in nothing but a pie pan. Let's just say that AJ might have been experiencing some PTSD flashbacks as she was rushing to rescue her Granny.
Testing Testing, 1, 2, 3
- Rainbow Dash's reaction when she finds out that she just sold Fluttershy. She feels terrible over what she has done.
- The background of the lamp trader Stellar Eclipse - designed and voiced by an 18-year-old brony with spinal muscular atrophy, who got the gig via Make-A-Wish Foundation - just might make you shed a tear of bittersweet joy.
- Rarity being told that her idea for the puppet theater was no good. While once again, her breakdown was played for laughs, she took it pretty badly.
- The way Spike talks when he says that he will tell Rarity the truth about how she is getting carried away with the spell and how he fears that when he tells her, she won't be his friend anymore. Giving that he has a huge crush on her, you can tell that what he's about to do is painful for him.
- The fact that it was his fault that his friend began to act in this manner is a bit sad and terrifying in itself.
- You can't help but feel bad for the young fillies after Rarity changes their party. Some of them even look like they're about to cry. (Hopefully Pinkie and her reality warping party powers were able to save the day.)
- Seeing Spike look totally dejected after Twilight tells him that she lit the torch and refusing to even come out of his room because he's so embarrassed over the anthem incident.
- Twilight's library got destroyed by Tirek. Seeing a character's home get obliterated (something often threatened but never actually done) is just heart wrenching.
- The look on Twilight and Owlowiscious' faces upon seeing the wreckage makes it even sadder. Think about it. All the memories they had inside the library. All the things that she found joy in and the memories associated with them. All gone. To anyone who's lost their home and their belongings to a tragedy such as this, this scene hits close to home. And unlike the frequent destruction of the Apple family's barn, which is Played for Laughs, this one is played entirely straight.
- This image really sells it.◊
- Fluttershy's reaction when she discovers that Discord betrayed them for Tirek. And Discord's expression when Tirek imprisons Fluttershy. AND Discord's reaction when Tirek betrays him.
- Fluttershy's reaction is even more poignant if you compare it to how she reacted the last time Discord betrayed her trust. Back then, she was fully aware that he intended to trick her into believing he had reformed - so when he confirmed that suspicion and failed to keep his word, she was understandably pissed and revoked their friendship. This time, however, she genuinely considered him a friend (to the point that she was openly happy to see him and greeted him with a Glomp on his arrival), so his betrayal was much, much more painful to her — and instead of getting angry, she is just crying unconsolably, admitting that she never saw that coming. There is no room for anger anymore, only sorrow and despair...
- Her words probably made Discord realize the depth of his betrayal. By the nonchalant way he says "surely you saw this coming" you can tell that this was his way of coping with guilt. That he convinced himself that Fluttershy was taking his eventual treason into account, like she did before. When she denied it and claimed that she truly trusted Discord, the realization of how greatly he failed her — his first real friend — must have hit him like a ton of bricks.
- Discord's entire demeanor from his betrayal up to the final musical number is this. When he and the others are trapped in Tirek's bubbles, he's slumped and keeps looking away from everyone. He is completely and utterly broken by what he has done. Not only has he doomed Equestria, but he thinks he's lost his friends as well.
- The whole business of Discord's treachery. Tirek's offer works because he claimed he could give Discord something that he'd lost. His betrayal works because Discord has learnt of friendship and truly believed Tirek considered him a friend. In his mind, Discord perhaps thought he was getting the best of both worlds - a friend and the freedom to cause chaos - and Tirek played him. If Discord hadn't been affected at all by his friendship with Fluttershy, he never would have trusted Tirek or given him the chance to take his magic.
- The reason why it works is a sobering look into Discord's mentality. Discord was brought back out of stone because Celestia wanted his power on her side. He heard her say that. Furthermore, during his other appearances, it's really clear that aside from Fluttershy and possibly Pinkie, he doesn't have many people who actually seem to like him. Given his taunt 'Surely you must've seen this coming', it's possible that another reason Tirek could sway Discord like that was that he convinced him that he doesn't have any friends at all, that he's just being used until his masters think he's too inconvenient. That Tirek was able to do so in just one exchange of dialogue is either dramatic convenience or a sign that Discord really does think he's just a tool for the princesses to use. Then Tirek uses him.
- Right after the moment above, Discord softly says he's sorry to Fluttershy, who simply answers with a sad "I know." while in tears.
- Twilight is genuinely crestfallen when she learns of Discord's betrayal. And this was just after the others had found their keys to the box - which was only possible due to Discord bookmarking the corresponding pages in the Friendship Journal. Twilight was truly starting to feel like Discord was being a real friend... which made the news that he betrayed Equestria sting all the worse.
- This particular Ironic Echo:
Discord: Surely you saw this coming.
Fluttershy: *openly crying* I didn't. I really didn't.
Applejack: Surely you saw this coming.
Discord: *sounding utterly heartbroken* I didn't. I truly didn't.
- Seeing DERPY get drained of her magic and rendered flightless.
- Early on in part one, Discord asks Fluttershy about tea later on, she agrees and he says "I'll bring the cucumber sandwiches" yet after his heel-face turn when he reveals he returned to evil, how does he do it? He summons up a plate of cucumber sandwiches and lets them drop face-down on the ground. This especially hits close to home for kids or adults whose friends suddenly turn into jerks for unknown reasons causing the person who lost said friend to question if it's their fault
- Seeing Celestia, Luna, and Cadance giving up their magic to Twilight. All three look broken and drained, and in a subtle move, Celestia and Luna's manes have been rendered static. When Tirek barges into the throne room, they don't even put up a fight as he attempts to drain them and then they get shunted off to Tartarus.
- Twilight's reaction says it all - she's silently weeping when she sees all three of her mentors in this state. The hug she gives Celestia is enough to drive one to tears.
- Ponies drained of their magic looking down where their cutie marks used to be. Seeing that cutie marks are a sign of adulthood for ponies, it's like they're being robbed of their own identity. Twilight looking down at Celestia's erased cutie mark and Luna and Cadance seeing their own gone as well provides an extra punch that not even they, the enlightened rulers of Equestria, are safe.
- An underlying one. Much like Celestia's banishment of Luna, Scorpan tried to reason with Tirek and convince him to stop. In the end, Tirek refused and left Scorpan with no choice but to alert the Princesses and get Tirek sealed away. It isn't touched upon, but one can only imagine how that had to feel for Scorpan to be forced to do that. Even worse, unlike Luna, Tirek truly was evil at heart, meaning the two brothers are never going to reconcile.
Discord: "But you said this was a sign of your gratitude and loyalty! A gift from someone close to you!"
Tirek: "My brother who betrayed me. It is as worthless as he is."
- More heartbreaking still is that Scorpan is seen wearing his medallion in the story sequence and it seems Tirek had the medallion during his imprisonment. This implies that Scorpan still wanted his brother to know that he still cared for him and gave him a token of their brotherly love. The fact that Tirek at least kept it for long time might indicate that Tirek never did get over the rift.
- The brief pained expression on Discord's face when he imprisons Twilight's friends, indicating that he feels bad about betraying them even before Tirek betrays him.