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Tear Jerker / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - Season 7

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     Celestial Advice 
  • Though it's done in a heartwarming fashion, the flashback in the episode provides a rather sad insight into Celestia's past.
    • Even during Twilight's early school days, Celestia could see that Twilight was so focused on her studies that she wasn't making friends. She was so determined to get Twilight to make friends that she considered closing the library.
    • What gave Celestia the idea to send Twilight away? Glancing up at the Mare in the Moon. In essence what forced her decision was the knowledge that Twilight NEEDED to meet the rest of the Mane 6 before Nightmare Moon returned.
      • Looking at that scene closely you realize that Celestia had to send away somepony that she loved again. Her tears are not without cause.
    • Celestia was worried about all the bad things that could've happened to Twilight when she left Canterlot, but the one she considered the worst was that she wouldn't get along with anyone.
    • Celestia watches Twilight go, and not even a second after she's out of sight the tears start flowing.
    • After the flashback, Celestia admits to Twilight that the reason she kept her in Canterlot far longer than she should have was because she didn't want Twilight to go. Even worse, she was afraid that if Twilight made friends, she wouldn't need Celestia anymore.
      • The above sentiment is bad enough, but consider that Princess Luna was still imprisoned on the moon, her only family in Canterlot was Prince Bluebood (and possibly Princess Cadance), and it's implied that outside of Twilight and Spike she didn't really have any friends. Her reluctance to let Twilight leave really hits home how lonely she was back then.
      • And keep in mind that this is someone who is effectively immortal, had already been that alone for a thousand years, and faced the real possibility of staying that way for the rest of eternity. The amazing part is that Celestia is still sane.
      • Shown with painful clarity by the fact that Twilight in the present at least has Spike to try to talk her down as she's freaking out. In the flashback where Celestia is having the same freakout, her only company is a pair of guards who clearly don't feel comfortable intruding on her personal worries. It was Lonely at the Top.
    • To top it all off, Celestia has always been seen as a motherly figure to Twilight. Any mother who's tried to get their child to make friends and/or had to watch them leave home will be able to relate to Celestia pretty well.
  • Twilight's reaction to the imagined Starlight falling into the wormhole, exclaiming "It could happen!" She's acting like an overprotective mother, and much like Celestia, is afraid of becoming superfluous.
  • The entire exchange between Twilight and Starlight at the end of the episode. Starlight is afraid that she's being dismissed as Twilight's student, and even when it becomes clear that she's actually graduating, she's still scared about leaving.

     All Bottled Up 
  • Despite their best efforts, and having fun along the way, the Mane Six fail to get the record because they were too busy singing. Not that that bothers most of them much.
  • Starlight's continued exasperation towards Trixie forces her to constantly hold in her anger. By the time the climax rolls around, Starlight just looks physically and emotionally exhausted from having to put up with Trixie. You just want to give her a hug.
    • The reason she bottled up her anger at that too? She was afraid that she'd lose Trixie if she voiced her anger towards her. And then the line she delivers when she finally lets out her anger:
    Starlight: And the worst part is, YOU DIDN'T EVEN SAY YOU WERE SORRY!
  • The worst part is that it was obvious Trixie didn't mean to piss off Starlight, seeing that...well,....It's Trixie, and by the time Starlight finally tells her how she feels, Trixie not only apologizes but assures her that she'd never lose her as a friend.

     A Flurry of Emotions 
  • At the schoolhouse, when Twilight quickly erases the chalkboard picture Flurry Heart had proudly presented, Flurry looks so sad. She doesn't cry, scream, or throw a tantrum. She just makes a small, sad whine and looks down as her work is destroyed. She understands she did something wrong (but probably not why) and that her favorite aunt doesn't appreciate her gift. For a child so small, it must be an awful feeling.
  • Poor Flurry frantically searching the hospital for her beloved Whammy the Snail doll. By the time she gets back to the children's ward, she seems close to a panic attack; A baby should not be having a panic attack.
  • Flurry crying after Twilight yells at her. Seeing her favourite aunt get angry at her must've been very heart wrenching for the little filly.
    • Of course, Twilight feels terrible for yelling at her little niece. But when she tries to apologize, Flurry moves away from her and looks at her with a look of fear in her eyes, which makes Twilight feel even worse.
    Twilight: You're scared of me. Because I yelled at you. Like a big scary bear.
  • Seeing poor little Flurry begging Twilight to play with her is just heart-wrenching.
  • Shining Armor and Cadance both leave the art show early because they miss Flurry and they were actually crying over how all the art was reminding them of her. When they see her again though, Flurry breaks out of their hug to go back to her Aunt Twilight. Both parents are shown to be a little saddened by this, thinking their baby didn't miss them at all.
  • The very fact that the foals are sick and have to go to hospital.

     Rock Solid Friendship 
  • You can't help but feel bad for Rarity when she frantically examines and throws away all of her gems after Maud tells her that they aren't rare at all.
  • Pinkie tries to help Maud make new friends, but she's so over the top about it she just ends up driving Maud away. What's worse, she doesn't even notice she'd been doing anything wrong until Starlight spells it out for her. And when that happens, Pinkie looks completely ashamed of herself, realizing she'd just hurt her "Best Sister Friend Forever" in a terrible way.
  • Maud in general, it is revealed to us that Maud is actually lonely:
    • Tying in with this is that Maud implies that she partially feels that Pinkie is only friendly with her because they're family.
    • There's also a bit of Fridge Tearjerker here when you remember how reluctant Maud was to befriend Pinkie's group when she first introduced her to them. Her above dialogue heavily implies that she was afraid they'd reject her for being different.
    • Additionally, another line of dialogue quickly tells us that she has always been alone.
    Maud: I don't belong in Ponyville. It only proved that I'm better off by myself, like I always have been.
    • Then there's the fact that the only ponies who attended her graduation are her sisters and parents. Even the rest of the Mane Six didn't show up.
    • Another fact upon that is that she was the only one to graduate, implying that she was studying alone without any class mates, no wonder she is lonely.
  • As Pinkie and Maud run, Maud outright lies, telling her that she was "just fine" on her own.
    Maud: You didn't need to come. I'm having a great time on my own.
  • Maud's loneliness ends up being another reason why she bonds with Starlight. They both know how it feels to be judged by others.
  • The look on Starlight's face when Pinkie runs out of her room makes it clear that she was not trying to intentionally hurt Pinkie's feelings when she said that Pinkie was being too nosy by trying to force Starlight and Maud to get along.
  • When Maud says that she knows Pinkie was acting out of love, and proclaims that they're 'Best Sister Friends Forever', Pinkie breaks down crying and sobs "Oh Maud, I love you bigger than all Equestria!". Huge props to Andrea Libman for making that line sound like it came right from the gut as well as the heart.
  • You can see that Starlight is incredibly uncomfortable as the subject of her Dark and Troubled Past is brought up yet again. The poor girl just cannot catch a break. She's even helped to save all of Equestria, including the Mane Six and the Royal Families, without the use of her magic, and she still has to hear about her less than stellar beginnings.

     Forever Filly 
  • Rarity realizing that so many of her most joyful moments with Sweetie Belle can never be truly recaptured, because Sweetie herself is no longer the filly she used to be. (One reviewer describes it well.)
    Rarity: The last time we did all of those things together, I... I didn't realize it was going to be... the last last time.
  • A minor one but when the balloon pony tries to cheer Rarity up with a heart shaped balloon, she gently rejects it and it immediately deflates with a sad look on his face.
  • The Crusaders try to help Zipporwhil reconnect with her puppy Ripley, who doesn't seem interested in playing with Zipporwhil anymore. She is heartbroken that her pet doesn't seem to love her anymore and is completely uninterested in playing.
  • The fact that Sweetie Belle has grown up and doesn't wanted to be treated like a young filly anymore means that a lot of time has passed in-universe. This kind of revelation can make one realize that the show really has come a long way and cause them to feel old and sad with nostalgia for days long gone.
    • This is particularly hard hitting for parents of the show's target demographic. A kid who was six years old when the show started was thirteen by the time this episode aired.

     Parental Glideance 
  • Rainbow eventually has enough of her parents embarrassing her with their annoying cheering and yells at them to stop it. This drives the two of them to tears.
    • What they say to her in response is just heartbreaking. The fact that they're still trying to come off as being supportive of her makes it worse.
    Windy Whistles: First of all, great job yelling at us, sweetie. No one can make their parents feel more worthless than you!
    Bow Hothoof: Your words were direct, clear, and... so painful! Is there nothing you can't do?!
    Scootaloo: I met your parents hoping to learn more about you, but I don't like what I found out! I'll find somepony else to do my hero report on.
  • A flashback shows Rainbow's parents cheering for her even when she didn't win, but Rainbow says things got worse when she finally started to win. Their cheering starts to sound like Unsportsmanlike Gloating, and all other competitors just glare at Rainbow and fly away, leaving her alone.
    • Which becomes an inverted Harsher in Hindsight moment considering how her parents are hardly malicious about it. They are just overenthusiastic about their daughter's accomplishments and an earlier scene showed that while they proudly boast about her being the best flyer ever, they acknowledge it's just a case of them being supportive parents, and believe the rest of the Wonderbolts are great flyers too.
  • As overenthusiastic as Rainbow Dash's parents appear to be, their excitement over every little thing she does becomes considerably more understandable when you realize that Rainbow Dash is an only child. Unlike the rest of the Mane Six, Rainbow Dash has no siblings. No wonder her parents were so devoted to her.
  • Scootaloo asks Rainbow's parents why they don't have any headlines commemorating their daughter becoming a Wonderbolt. It's because Rainbow Dash never told them. Think about that, she achieved her goal in life and told literally everypony else except for her own family.
  • Another one built on fridge sadness is when Scootaloo tells Rainbow Dash that she would've loved to have her parents because she never had anyone tell her that she could be the best at anything. This gets even worse if you subscribe to the fan theory that Scootaloo is a cripple and/or an orphan.
    • Even if you think that Scootaloo's parents are still alive and didn't give her up for adoption, this doesn't get any better, as this suggests that her parents are unreasonably distant from their child's life at best, or downright abusive at worst.
      • Or working day and night to earn money to fix her wings, not realizing what their daughter really needed was just some emotional support.
    • Worse, seeing Rainbow Dash disregard her parents for their over-affection causes Scootaloo to lose her respect for Rainbow Dash until she makes up for it. Scootaloo's devotion to Rainbow Dash is one of her defining character traits, think about that.
  • Derpy Hooves of all ponies gets a bit of a Cerebus Retcon. In the flashback to Rainbow's days at flight camp, Derpy is seen as being the best flyer, with her eyes normal. But as Derpy starts to drop in the rankings, she gradually adopts her infamous wall-eyed look. It's also a real-life condition called Strabismus.
    • And the final Pegasus to get dethroned by Rainbow Dash? Lightning Dust.

     Hard To Say Anything 
  • Big Mac looks so depressed when Feather Bangs first appears and flirts with Sugar Belle before he has a chance to say anything.
  • Big Mac and Feather Bangs get carried away with their gestures and not only annoy Sugar Belle during their songs, they wreck her display case. She snaps at both of them and tells them to leave her alone. Made worse when Feather Bangs high-tails it out of there but Big Mac sits there and lingers staring at her longingly before slowly leaving.
    • Which is followed by the CMC looking sad and Apple Bloom claiming she feels terrible, and they walk up to Big Mac, who is looking dejected and claiming not to be okay.
  • The happiness of Big Mac winning over Sugar Belle is dampened slightly once you realize how far away their respective homes are. Either one will have to leave their home and friends/family (see "The Perfect Pear" below for how that could work out), or they're gonna be a long-distance couple without the luxury of instant messaging or video calls with which to keep in touch. That's assuming it's even able to last.

     Honest Apple 
  • Rarity gets distraught at Applejack's unfiltered opinions spoiling her fashion show. Of all the melodrama she's prone to, this is one time that her tears are pretty genuine. And for all the spotlight-mongering she likes to chase, you can't say she isn't genuinely passionate about the world of fashion and Applejack messed all of that up.
  • Seeing the three fashion designers of Rarity's show react to Applejack's honest opinion. These are three ponies who wanted to break into the fashion industry and when they thought they finally got their chance to showcase their work to experts of the field, they had their hard work and creative vision insulted harshly by one of the judges. Lily Lace in particular shows some heartbroken reactions when Applejack tells her her honest opinion and later, destroys a hat she worked very hard on simply because it wasn't practical in a work environment.

     A Royal Problem 
  • Starlight's guilt nightmare about switching Celestia and Luna's cutie marks. As Nightmare Moon and an evil version of Celestia duke it out in the dream, Starlight eventually starts sobbing and berating herself for having such an idea, to the point where she's basically either frozen with anxiety or bawling her eyes out with little in between.
    • Starlight just kept having more and more pressure put on her throughout the episode, especially due to Twilight not leaving her alone and since Starlight tends to suffer from bad anxiety when under pressure that is not a good thing. Seeing her suffer in the resulting nightmare, especially when she broke down crying, is just hard to watch and Luna saying that the nightmare could damage Starlight's psyche made it worse.
  • While it's funny to see the princesses argue, there is something rather sad about one of the things Luna says to Celestia during their fight, which seems to suggest that she still has some issues with her.
    Luna: Is that what exhausts you!? Smiling and being adored by everypony!?
  • Seeing Celestia of all ponies cracking under the pressure of having to govern the dream realm in Luna's stead is quite heartbreaking.
  • A subtle moment happens when Starlight reminds Daybreaker why she can't outright destroy Nightmare Moon. Look at Celestia a few seconds after Daybreaker screams that she should've just outright killed her sister: she bows her head, closes her eyes and just has this quiet look of sorrow on her face. She had to have been thinking "Do I really have the potential to turn in that? Do I really have that much suppressed anger towards Luna? I'm a horrible sister."
  • The Freeze-Frame Bonus that is Applejack's dream—we see her as a baby in the arms of two ponies who are implied to be her parents.
    • Derpy's dream from the same scene shows her not only sitting on a throne, a perfectly normal dream, but with uncrossed eyes indicating that her condition does bother her.
  • While taking pictures with school ponies for a fund raiser, Luna ends up scowling (from smiling TOO hard) in the picture for the newspaper. While said picture is actually a humorous sight to see, it results in the school ponies being unable to raise the funds needed to attend a field trip.
    • Luna wanted to fix the problem as soon as possible but thanks to Celestia's schedule, she had to leave them behind to deal with other ponies' problems. You can tell just how much this was eating away at her when she has a nightmare of the children criticizing her smile and crying because she cost them their field trip.

     Not Asking For Trouble 
  • What makes Pinkie realize that the festivities of the Yaks aren't what is best for everyone? Hearing two young yaks, no older than the CMC at that, talking about how unhappy they are and how they can't say anything because it will upset the adults. Contrast this to how pony foals, while not always as open as they should be, have minimal fear of saying "This is upsetting me; can we please stop?" Small wonder Pinkie Pie was devastated to overhear this and determined to find a way to fix things.

     Discordant Harmony 
  • Seeing Fluttershy so distressed as she watches Discord slowly but surely starting to phase out of existence when he stops being chaotic for her sake. You can see and hear how frantic she is when he starts fading and how fast her thoughts are racing to help him.
    • Also of note is that this is not like the comic storyline where he is transformed by magic into a creature of pure order against his will, because he at least has a small part of his usual, chaotic self to keep him tethered to existence. When he's willingly orderly through-and-through, he destroys himself.
  • Discord worrying that Fluttershy might not want to be friends with him anymore if she saw his place and realized just how different they were. Heck, he starts hyperventilating at the mere thought that she'll drop him as a friend. That's not worry- that's panic and terror at work; something that Discord has never come close to showing.

     The Perfect Pear 
This entire episode is seen as one of the most heartwrench-y, bittersweet episodes in the series so get some tissues:
  • The big one: though it is never said plainly, there is little doubt that Bright Mac and Pear Butter died before the events of the series. They're spoken of entirely in the past tense, and Apple Bloom talks about having the trees they planted to "remember them by." And more than just dying, they died tragically young by pony standards.
    • Even worse: while Granny Smith at least made reparation, it's implied Grand Pear—Pear Butter's own father—did not. Granny Smith apologises to him for "not telling him about her before" implying he probably found out about his daughter's death after the fact from a third party who probably wasn't related to them. He does reforge connections between himself and accept the Apple siblings as family, but still, it means he Never Got to Say Goodbye.
  • After discovering the hidden wedding between Pear Butter and Bright Mac, Grand Pear gives Pear Butter an ultimatum: move to Vanhoover with the Pears and lose Bright Mac because he's an Apple, or stay with Bright Mac and lose her original family because she declares herself part of the Apple family. She chooses to stay with Bright Mac and take up the name "Buttercup", but it clearly pains her to do so, the only solace being that Granny Smith quickly accepts her despite the feud between the families.
    Grand Pear: You can't be serious. Are you choosin' to be an Apple over being a Pear?!
    Pear Butter, tearing up: Are you makin' me choose?
    Grand Pear: Yes. I am.
    Pear Butter: Then yeah. I guess I am.
    Grand Pear: Fine!
    • Given Grand Pear's lengthy stay in Vanhoover and Pear Butter cutting her ties to the Pears, this was likely their last interaction before Pear Butter's death. In spite of Grand Pear coming back to Ponyville to make amends with the Apples, he completely missed his chance to reconcile as well as owe his daughter an apology, meaning that he'll have to forever live with the guilt and that Pear Butter died believing her father hated her.
      • There's also another reason why Granny Smith was so quick to accept Pear Butter after she declared the Apples as her new family. That likely made Granny realize that the feud was damaging her relationship with her son, and witnessing her daughter-in-law get disowned for her choice helped her see that Grand Pear probably never showed Pear Butter any love or affection beforehand.
    • For a split instant right before he disowns her, he has the most wounded expression on his face, indicating that even he's heart-broken it's come to this, but his pride gets in the way of admitting his daughter is more important than some feud.
  • Burnt Oak is the only one of the ponies telling the story who has never been seen before, and Applejack knows of him but isn't very familiar with him. When the Apple siblings approach him, he immediately asks if they're here to ask about their dad. This indicates he's been waiting for this moment for a long time, for his best friend's kids to approach him. That they didn't know him very well is a tragic oversight, the sort of thing that could happen to anyone. He's the most emotional of the storytellers, clearly misses his friend very much, and his scene comes to a very bittersweet conclusion when he implores the Apples to come back for more stories sometime.
    • Then Big Mac asks him if it would be okay if he or the others visit any time to talk about their father, which Burnt Oak is perfectly okay with. What makes this sad is because of how much Big Mac and Apple Bloom look like Bright Mac, which is likely a sad reminder to the older pony. He even starts to tear up at the mention of the idea.
    • Another layer of Tear Jerker: Big Macintosh is the adult son, and he's the one who rather wistfully asks if he can hear more stories about his dad. Being around the longest and likely knowing their parents the best, Big Mac likely has the hardest time with their being gone and yet never asked about his parents before.
  • In hindsight, the fact that Mrs. Cake is around the same age as the Apple Sibling's parents. That means that they likely married rather young and had the kids rather quickly, given how grown up they already are. Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Cake themselves had only recently had their foals. That means that Mrs. Cake got to watch her best friend's children grow up... and her friend can't do the same for her.
  • Grand Pear's condition in the present is quite a shock, considering the proud, arrogant pony he used to be. He mumbles most of his dialogue, barely speaks a few words to a sentence, and struggles whenever he has to communicate complex emotions, all of which can be signs of conditions such as Parkinson's disease. He must truly believe he hasn't got much time left, which is likely why he's chosen now to try to fix the regrets of his past.
    • He can barely keep from breaking down as he expresses how his anger blinded him for so long, very much giving the impression of a broken pony who wishes he had been able to tell his daughter he loved her one last time.
  • Possibly the biggest example of all is how William Shatner's role in this episode is a reflection of his relationship with his co-stars on Star Trek: The Original Series. He is known to have fallen out of favor with most of them for numerous reasons, although he has made efforts at making amends with them, with varying but mostly good degrees of success. Here, he plays a bigoted parent who alienated himself from his own daughter and missed every opportunity to patch things up before she tragically passed away. It's easy to see Grand Pear not only as a tragic yet ultimately redeemed figure, but also as a means for Shatner to express his real-life regrets.
  • Now that all the parents of the rest of the Mane Six have been introduced on the show, Applejack stands as the only pony whose parents weren't as fortunate as the rest. Especially when it comes to her mother, Pear Butter. To think that the union of their true love was cursed by the dividing hatred of blood differences...
  • Grand Pear only reveals the truth about his relationship to the Apples when pressed. Its very likely he was scared of admitting who he really was (due to not knowing what Granny told the Apples about him). He moved back to Ponyville to learn about his grandchildren... and is too scared to actually be family with them, because he believes that he doesn't deserve a place in their lives after what he did to his daughter.
  • If you recall "The Cutie Re-Mark", then in at least 7 different timelines, Grand Pear has it even worse. In the Sombra timeline, there's a war, and Grand Pear probably can't find the time of day to visit Ponyville and see his grandchildren. They would be too jaded to care. In the Queen Chrysalis timeline, Ponyville's been taken over by changelings, and at least one of his grandchildren (Applejack) has already been captured, if not outright killed. In the Nightmare Moon timeline, Equestria is, well, no longer in a cheery condition for visiting Ponyville. The Tirek and Discord timelines are wallowing in too much danger for an old stallion like Grand Pear to return. The Flim Flam timeline has the Apple Family swindled of their farm and already run out of Ponyville before Grand Pear can come. And the last timeline, his daughter's entire family is dead. Even he's dead. It's only a relief that in this timeline alone, he finds redemption and peace.
    • And then, there's the trees Buttercup and Bright Mac planted together. It remains forgotten in the first three timelines, vaporized by Tirek in one, warped by Discord in the other, cut down by the Flim Flam brothers in the next, and outright dead in the final timeline. Again, the only relief comes from how that tree is safe in the main timeline.
  • The hate between Granny Smith and Grand Pear when both clans were in Ponyville can be described as petty and frivolous as can be expected with family rivalries. But when Grand Pear disowned his daughter, Pear Butter, that gave Granny Smith a passionate and justified reason to hate Grand Pear and Pears in general which is the worst kind of hatred a living being can be capable of. Her only balm from feeling so much hatred was the love she shared with her grandchildren; yet it was also a source of bereavement, as they reminded her of the son and daughter-in-law she lost.
  • Grand Pear and Granny Smith have finally reconciled with each other after many years of personal enmity. But what about the other members of the Apple Clan and Pear Clan? Would they be willing to make peace with each other as easily as they did?

     Fame and Misfortune 
  • The stress the book inadvertently gave the Mane Six, as many ponies didn't understand about the lessons that they were trying to teach them.
    • In a Meta sense, this is also what happens with the fanbase as many people seem to not understand the lessons or just find something to complain about instead of taking it how it is.
  • Rarity has so many haters, it emotionally destroys her for most of the episode.
    • Just the magnitude of spite her haters have for her. It's one thing to boycott a business, but to boycott her? Ouch!
  • Poor Granny Smith, she looks so tired and downcast, having to slave to feed the Sweet Apple Admirers.
  • If you recall in the previous episode that Applejack is the only one of the Mane Six whose parents are no longer alive, then the song "We're Not Flawless" takes on a sad and dark meaning.
    • Makes it Harsher in Hindsight that the Sweet Apple Admirers wanted to become part of the Apple family. She's admitting her family in itself isn't perfect because it's missing both parents.

     Triple Threat 
  • An in-universe example when Thorax helps Ember understand how her approach at leadership makes her subjects feel. On one hand, succeeding at winning an argument makes her feel "great". But then she describes how her subjects must feel when they lose the argument: "humiliated, ashamed, they probably want to bury themselves under a rock and... (beat)...never come out."
    • What's more, it doesn't help when you bear in mind Ember promised her subjects she wouldn't rule them with an iron claw like Torch used to. It was only last season when she set out to teach the dragons friendship and kindness, just as Spike taught her. Instead, she's saddened to realize she's no less tyrannical than her (partly ironfisted dad, dueling her subjects for the sake of an argument and making them feel inferior. Thankfully, Thorax gives her advice to help her adjust her approach.
  • After Ember and Thorax finally meet each other and Spike explains why he didn't want for the two of them to meet, because he thought they wouldn't get along, both Ember and Thorax are hurt that Spike thinks so little of them and both angrily fly off. Spike feels that even if he didn't start a war, he may have just lost two friends.
  • A bit of fridge Tear Jerker, but Thorax is so excited when he thinks the party preparations are for him... because he's never had something like that done for him due to being a changeling. Even if you count the ponies honoring him for saving them in "Celestial Advice", this would have been the first time it was specifically for him and would have confirmed the warmer feelings wasn't a fluke.

     Campfire Tales 
  • In-Universe, in Applejack's story, Rockhoof being told by the Mighty Helm (his heroes) that he's too scrawny and weak to join them.
  • In-Universe, in Rarity's story, Mistmane returns to her village upon learning her friend has become Empress. But upon her return, she finds her home not only in poor condition, but her friend is behind this devastation.
    • What's more, Mistmane permanently sacrifices her own beauty to restore her home to its former glory, and to restore her friend's youth and beauty as well. In other words, she shortened her own lifespan for the sake of her friends and family!
  • The way Sweetie Belle puts it, it's awfully disheartening that all their hard work building the camp was lost to the Fly-ders.

     To Change a Changeling 
  • Anyone in Thorax's position could relate how hard it is to deal with a family member who's a Black Sheep, even though you truly love them.
  • Granted Pharynx isn't so touchy-feely, it's hard to deny his position isn't exactly a happy one either. Think about it: One minute, you fit in with everyone else, your only worries are finding your next meal and watching out for your oddball brother. And then the next instant, you're the oddball, everybody hates you, and your brother's the popular one. It's a pretty miserable situation, Pharynx just happens to be better at covering his feelings.
    • It's not hard to see Pharynx as a soldier that has grown so used to war that adjusting to life without it is difficult. Him going after the Malworth only adds to it.
  • Upon learning that Pharynx apparently left the hive for good, the other changelings cheered. It's Played for Laughs, but it's still surprisingly mean-spirited that they'd celebrate one of their own leaving the hive.
  • Think about Pharynx for a moment. He secretly loves the hive and his brother, Thorax, yet he actively airs his grievances with polarizing behavior that antagonizes the other changelings, messes up the hive decor, and even gives a bad influence to the younger changelings. The reasons Pharynx does all of this aren't just because he "misses the old and hates the new" and "considers the hive to be defenseless", it's also because he could never bring himself to hurt Thorax's feelings. Essentially, Pharynx is indirectly fighting Thorax over the changes he made to the hive.

     Daring Done 
  • Rainbow Dash reading that A.K. Yearling is writing her last Daring Do book. Anyone who has ever had their favorite book franchise or TV series cancelled knows this devastating feeling all too well.
  • Daring Do herself is utterly broken and distraught upon reflecting on the kinds of calamity that follows her when she sets out on one of her adventures. Much of the episode is spent trying to shake her out of her funk and make her remember who she is again. It isn't until Caballeron is revealed to have been stoking the fires against her deliberately that she gets her self-confidence back and accepts the responsibility of her cavalier adventuring.
  • From their position, the ponies of Somnambula must've been pretty devastated to see the statue of their beloved hero and legend knocked down by Daring Do. It must've also hurt to harbor so much hatred towards her all this time, even if she was in the wrong for being reckless.
    • Another posthumous one for Somnambula. Sure, Daring Do (accidentally) destroyed her statue, but it's nothing compared to how the ponies have come to hold a grudge against Daring Do. This goes against her teachings that they carry hope in their hearts, not hatred. Contrary to what Caballeron preached, Somnanbula wouldn't have wanted this.
  • Before angrily confronting (disguised) Caballeron, Rainbow Dash is in tears at seeing how much the ponies of Somnambula truly think Daring Do is a menace.

     It Isn't the Mane Thing About You 
  • After her mane is ruined, Rarity tries to go about her day, but between her wearing a black hoodie and acting less confident, the other ponies don't recognize her. From Rarity's view point, it seems like no pony can recognize her without her mane. She can't realize that it's because she's acting less fabulous than usual that they don't know it's her.
  • Rarity's plight with her mane is sadder when you realize it resembles a cancer patient's hair falling out from chemotherapy.
  • You would easily think from the amount of desperation that Rarity shows in her eyes and voice that she's going insane from having her mane ruined. And the fact that she wanted to isolate herself inside a darkened Carousel Boutique clearly points towards the onset of depression which could've only gotten worse if she didn't have the emotional support of her friends.
    • It looks as though she was nearing dangerously close to the "lesson zero" zone.

     A Health of Information 
  • This is the first time in the series that Zecora and Fluttershy were in actual danger of dying.
    • Contrast this with what almost happened to Discord: He nearly gave himself a painless death while Zecora and Fluttershy could've went through a slow death with some significant levels of pain and discomfort. And depending on how the symptoms of confusion can be interpreted, they would've suffered from either amnesia or insanity.
  • This is the first time in the series to show that actual ponies have died to a dangerous contagion.
  • In-Universe, the celebration of Meadowbrook earning her healer's mask was cut short by visitation of the first ever pony to catch Swamp Fever. If not scary, it's sad when a happy occasion is followed up by a crisis. Worse yet, Meadowbrook's mother eventually caught Swamp Fever herself. She faced, not only the prospect of losing her friends, but losing the only family she had.

    Marks and Recreation 
  • Rumble's Big Brother Worship of Thunderlane leads to a mild case of this: he idolizes Thunderlane so much he's afraid of getting a cutie mark that doesn't follow in his brother's hoofsteps of becoming a Wonderbolt.
    • It was at the point where Rumble resented any activity that wasn't Wonderbolt training, case in point when he crumples a flyer for the cutie mark camp he was handed.
  • Rumble's Kick the Dog moment when he points out how Apple Bloom's cutie mark (to be a Cutie Mark Crusader) has kept her too busy to visit and make potions with Zecora. Poor Apple Bloom looks so heart-broken at hearing his stinging remark. (And to twist the knife more, he's right, she can't recall a recent time she's visited her zebra friend).
  • When the Cutie Mark Crusaders come to him with their problem, Thunderlane admits he was afraid this would happen. It mirrors a fear of sending a child some place to help them through their problem, only to hear it's grown worse.
  • As Thunderlane helps more and more colts and fillies join the Crusaders' side, Rumble becomes lonely, even a little jealous: all these campers get to spend time with his big brother, and he's stuck on his side of camp.
    • Ironically, the reason he wants to stay a "blank flank forever" was so he could be a Wonderbolt and be closer to his brother. But here he is, separated from his brother by his own philosophy.
  • Rumble became antagonistic because of his perceived fears of the uncertainty of his future and inability to control and change it. Then again, who hasn't been afraid of the future and felt a dreadful sense of helplessness like he has?
  • Pip being upset that he didn't get his cutie mark after a day of activities, and fearing that he's not good at anything else.

    Once Upon a Zeppelin 
  • After missing out on seeing the Northern Stars with her family thanks to trying to please everypony on board the airship by signing autographs, Twilight finally explodes when Star Tracker gets too close to her (again) and she ends up stepping on his hoof, causing her to viciously chew him out over getting in her personal space. The poor guy is bawling his eyes out by the time she's done.
    • Seeing Twilight finally breaking down in tears over how miserable her 'vacation' has turned out.
    • She shouts at her family a bit about how she is the only one on the entire cruise that isn't happy. Her family is a little shocked by this and even Flurry Heart looks a little scared.
    • Then, after her blow-up, Cadence finds Twilight moping on the railing, drained and miserable over everything that's happened.
    Twilight: "I just wanted everypony to be happy."

    Uncommon Bond 
  • Starlight's remark "Nothing was better than just you and me playing this game together when we were foals" is in and of itself quite poignant due to what it says about how she sees herself. That is, as happy as Starlight is with being redeemed and her new life, she’s also plagued by guilt and the various psychological issues her years of bitterness and obsession created. One can see why she has idealized her past with Sunburst as being the best time of her life, it was after all before she made all those horrible choices and she only had the comparatively simple worries of being a young child to deal with. But clinging to this is also a sad and unhealthy way of thinking.
  • Sunburst is clearly distraught when he realizes just how big the problem is. While he had gotten caught up in making friends with Twilight, Trixie and Maud, the second he understands how Starlight is feeling, he too starts to worry that they've grown too far apart to remain friends.

    Shadow Play 
  • Twilight finally meets her idol, the most powerful unicorn wizard in history, after releasing him from limbo... and Star Swirl turns out to be a Grumpy Old Man who thinks little of the heroics she and her friends have performed (at the time doubting they are telling the truth) and brushes off her attempts to help him because he blames her for releasing the Pony of Shadows and endangering Equestria (which she is admittedly at fault for, which makes it sting all the more for Twilight). Twilight admits to Starlight that her attempt to rewrite Star Swirl's banishment spell to improve upon it is as much an effort to defeat the Pony of Shadows as it is her desperation to earn some sort of recognition from him.
    • Said rewriting of the spell is so that instead of six ponies focusing it, it would only take one. Twilight was so desperate for Star Swirl's approval and so guilty over releasing the Pony of Shadows, she was fully intending to perform a Heroic Sacrifice to fix her mistake (possible, though the episode never makes that clear, and the final version of the spell is set to sacrifice the Elements of Harmony instead).
  • Star Swirl quite obviously believes in Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids! and shoots down any idea that the Pony of Shadows/Stygian could be redeemed, saying there is no going back from the path Stygian has taken, and Twilight is so hesitant to defy him that she doesn't say a word when Star Swirl sneers at Starlight suggesting that they try to reason with Stygian (though her expression shows she is conflicted). Starlight's tearful response to Twilight when Star Swirl leaves?
    "I guess I'm lucky your idol wasn't around when you decided to be my friend. I might have been banished to Limbo, too."
  • Twilight does eventually manage to get to Stygian, who has become trapped within the spirit of the Pony of Shadows. He reveals that he never wanted to steal the Pillars' artifacts, but rather he had hoped to replicate them so he could become a Pillar too. But instead of letting Stygian explain his true intentions, they all labeled him as a villain and banished him instead. Even Somnambula, who represents Hope, had lost faith.
    • Plus, there's also the Pillars' horrified reactions when they hear this and realize how wrong they'd been.
      • Star Swirl's reaction, though understated, is nonetheless regretful, the realization dawning on him that he'd made a grievous error in assuming Stygian to have ventured down a path of darkness, a realization punctuated by Starlight's I Told You So glare.
      • Just the fact in and of itself that Star Swirl is so adamant about "once a villain, always a villain" that he believes banishment in the only option.
  • Fridge Tearjerker: The Pillars might have some form of Survivor's Guilt upon learning what became of their home, family, and friends. Even though they committed themselves to sealing away the Pony of Shadows for 1000 years, probably aware of the fact that they would never see them again, it will probably still be a hard pill to swallow.
  • In-Universe, Starlight is clearly upset at Star Swirl's assertion that "once a villain, always a villain", and by Twilight's continued support of her icon.
  • Another Fridge Tearjerker moment: Celestia and Luna's beloved teacher simply vanished without a trace one day, leaving them without his company, or his guidance. We can only imagine how hard that must have been for them, or how long it would taken for them to build up the courage to take Star Swirl and the other Pillars' place as the protectors of Equestria.
  • The sheer fact that the entire reason the Pony of Shadows (whatever it is) took over Stygian was over A LITERAL MISUNDERSTANDING. If the Pillars had just let Stygian explain, he would have never fallen prey to the Pony of Shadows. Makes it worse that the one who immediately denounced him was Starswirl..
    • Fridge Tearjerker can also come into play that Stygian probably saw Starswirl as a father figure, which makes what he did utterly heartbreaking.

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