- Accidental Aesop: Although the episode doesn't have an apparent Aesop, there is a nice lesson in there somewhere about how acknowledging loss and sadness are essential parts of the grieving process.
- Bellisario's Maxim: "Hearth's Warming Eve" (a typical winter holiday) aired several weeks after "May the Best Pet Win." Although the episodes are (usually) written so they can be watched in any order, it can be a little difficult to just accept that this episode represents the first winter since Rainbow Dash got Tank.
- Base-Breaking Character: Rainbow Dash is either seen as a misguided, but well-intentioned friend who just wants to not have to say goodbye to Tank or an entitled Karma Houdini that got away with damaging the Cloudsdale Weather Factory for selfish reasons.
- Broken Base:
- The episode itself is either loved for being a comedic and emotional roller coaster with a powerful message about how you shouldn't be afraid to say goodbye to someone you love or hated for seemingly justifying Rainbow's behavior and believing the epsiode's emotional core was used to gloss over the fact that she recklessly damaged the Cloudsdale Weather Factory for completely selfish reasons and didn't face any consequences for her actions.
- Rainbow Dash's song. Fans who loved it thought it was a treat to finally hear a solo song from Rainbow Dash and an awesome one to boot. On the other hand, fans thought the lyrics about Rainbow intentionally preventing winter were unsettling and that Ashleigh Ball's singing could have been put to better use.
- Crosses the Line Twice: Rainbow Dash finally breaking down goes from sad to funny and back again with the way it keeps dragging on, until it pulls the others in.
- Ear Worm: Rainbow Dash's "I'll Fly", though a borderline Villain Song about her sabotaging winter so that Tank won't have to hibernate, is very catchy.
- Harsher in Hindsight: The official comics had Rainbow Dash criticize how someone who tried to destroy Ponyville for the sake of her friends would be so Easily Forgiven. She's lucky that this is the case, now.
- Idiot Plot: The problem that happens within the episode only unfolds due to two events: Rainbow Dash vehemently refusing to accept the fact Tank brumates on winter (even though it can be avoided with a heat source, and Equestria's Schizo Tech makes portable heat sources very likely to exist) and her friends not trying to take her back to her senses, even though they've faced something similar before, only worse.
- Informed Wrongness: Rainbow Dash not wanting to cry, followed up by Fluttershy reminding her of her mistakes is supposed to be seen as a firm but necessary reprimand that lets Rainbow finally let her feelings come out. While far from blameless, RD seemed to have understood her mistakes, and the way Fluttershy said it can come off as harsher than intended, making her look a bit unsympathetic. While it does work, there's no indication that crying so openly was the best way for Rainbow to cope, being less openly expressive like Applejack meant she might have been better left to deal with her grief more privately. The fact that the rest of the Mane Six only cry after Shy has herself and that Rainbow has to comfort her when all said and done, doesn't help.
- Narm Charm: Tank and Rainbow Dash wearing slippers with likenesses of each other looks so silly, but it only serves to make the scene all the more poignant.
- Pandering to the Base: Fans of Rainbow Dash have been clamoring for her to have a solo song (Not sung from her parallel human counterpart). They finally get their wish with this episode.
- Scapegoat Creator: Invoked for Laughs when M.A. Larson offered himself as a scapegoat for the "winter is coming" quote on Twitter. He had even offered a mea culpa the day before the episode aired, claiming full responsibility.
- Stoic Woobie: Lampshaded For Laughs when Pinkie points out to Twilight that she doesnt need to cry for Applejack because she cries on the inside.Applejack: Its true.
- Suspiciously Similar Song: Fans have noticed a lot of similarities between "I'll Fly" and "Defying Gravity". Both are villainous in nature, are sung in the same key and have a flying theme.
- Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Rainbow Dash was supposed to be reluctantly sabotaging inter to avoid being separated from her pet Tank while he hibernated. But in the process she wrecks the weather factory endangering many workers and Ponyville, something Rainbow shows no regret for nor faces concesqunces over (besides losing Tank for the winter which would have happened anyway).
- Wangst: Rainbow Dash spends the entire episode freaking out over the fact that she won't get to spend time with Tank during Winter. Which is kind of the point, as the episode's lesson is about not being afraid to say goodbye, especially if you know you'll see that person again very soon.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Tanks For The Memories is just an episode about Tank having to hibernate for Winter and Rainbow Dash overreacting to it—in other words, a typical Sanity Slippage episode for Friendship is Magic. But due to moments like Tank being taken to see Fluttershy (essentially a doctor), the allusions towards the five stages of grief, and Tank being buried at the end, this has led many people to believe that the episode is really an allegory for someone having to come to terms with the inevitable death of their pet.
- The Woobie:
- Tank. He badly needs sleep, but he still wants to have all the fun Rainbow Dash wants to have with him, just like she does, and she keeps waking him up when he nods off. His (silent) vow to return post-winter—despite her selfish rampage—is just the icing on the cake.
- Rainbow Dash. Although her plans to sabotage winter were selfish and irresponsible and seriously damaged the Cloudsdale weather factory, Dash realizing that Tank, who has quickly become one of her best friends in addition to being her pet, is going to have to hibernate and her spending most of the episode trying to stop it is just heartbreaking. In the end, Rainbow gives up entirely and finally breaks down crying, causing Fluttershy, Rarity and Pinkie Pie to cry as well.
YMMV / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S5 E5 "Tanks for the Memories"