My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic/Recap/S1/E02 Elements of Harmony

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Continued from "Mare in the Moon".

You haven't seen the last of Nightmare Moon! And Princess Luna.

Also known as "Friendship is Magic, part 2".


Twilight: Look, I appreciate the offer but I'd really rather do this on my own.
Applejack: No can do, sugarcube! We sure ain't letting any friend of ours go into that creepy place alone. We're sticking to you like caramel on a candy apple!
Pinkie Pie: Especially if there's candy apples in there!

(Other ponies nod in agreement. Pause. Twilight Sparkle glares at Pinkie Pie.)

Pinkie Pie: What? Those things are good.


Written by Lauren Faust


Picking up from the last episode, Nightmare Moon departs as dramatically and suddenly as she arrived, leaving the citizens of Ponyville wondering what to do. Twilight Sparkle returns to her house to do some research, putting the baby Spike to bed beforehand. As she searches frantically for information, Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Rainbow Dash show up at her library in the hopes of getting some answers. She informs them of her studies on Nightmare Moon and the only thing that can possibly stop her: the Elements of Harmony. With the help of Pinkie Pie, Twilight manages to find a book on the Elements of Harmony which names the five known ones (Honesty, Kindness, Laughter, Generosity and Loyalty) and pinpoints their last known an abandoned castle in the Everfree Forest.

Twilight sets out for the ruins, and reluctantly allows her new acquaintances to tag along. This proves fortunate, as Nightmare Moon is following them and her attempts to thwart their quest give Twilight's companions a chance to show her their strength of character:

  • When a collapsing cliffside leaves Twilight in a Literal Cliff Hanger situation, Applejack uses her honesty to reassure Twilight and convince her to let go...dropping her into the waiting hooves of Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash.
  • When a rampaging manticore attacks the group, the kind-hearted Fluttershy breaks up the ensuing fight and pacifies the manticore by removing a thorn stuck in its paw.
  • When the girls are threatened by terrifying illusions conjured up by Nightmare Moon, the happy-go-lucky Pinkie Pie teaches her friends to literally laugh in the face of danger with a catchy song and helps dispel the illusion.
  • When the path over a river is blocked by a foppish sea serpent lamenting half of his mustache getting cut off, Rarity sympathizes with his ruined look and cheers him up by generously offering a sizable chunk of her tail as a replacement.
  • When a broken rope bridge over a deep gorge bars the path, Rainbow Dash is tasked with flying to the other side and fixing the bridge. Nightmare Moon takes on the form of a trio of performing Pegasi and offers Dash fame and fortune on the condition that she leave her friends behind. Rainbow Dash is tempted... but chooses to remain loyal to her friends.

On finally reaching the keep, Twilight investigates the Elements of Harmony and tries to trigger the "spark" that is said to make the sixth Element appear. Just then Nightmare Moon appears and steals away with Twilight and the Elements in an effort to keep them from being activated. Much to her surprise, Twilight refuses to be cowed:


[Twilight Sparkle paws the ground, preparing a desperate charge]
Nightmare Moon: You're kidding. You're kidding, right?


A brief struggle ensues as Twilight tries to recover the elements but eventually Nightmare Moon simply smashes them to bits. All hope seems lost...

...But as Twilight hears her friends coming to her rescue, she has an epiphany and the seemingly-destroyed elements activate. As Twilight explains to a baffled Nightmare Moon, the real power of the elements was within her five friends and her realizing just how much they meant to her was the "spark" needed to awaken the Sixth Element, Magic. With the combined powers of the Elements of Harmony, they make swift work of Nightmare Moon.

As the sun finally rises, Princess Celestia reappears to congratulate Twilight and her friends. She was aware of the prophecy and knew Twilight had the power to save the world but only told her to make friends, hoping that her student would learn the power of friendship and allow its power to spark the Elements. She proceeds to reconcile with Nightmare Moon who has returned to her original form... Princess Luna, Celestia's long-lost sister. Turns out the two sisters in the original legend of Nightmare Moon were Luna and Celestia. Go figure!

Celebrations are in order, Luna is ready to resume her duties of raising the moon at night and Twilight Sparkle is ready to return to Canterlot...or not as the once-antisocial unicorn is reluctant to leave her new friends so suddenly. With Celestia's blessing, Twilight decides to remain in Ponyville and continue her studies on the magic of friendship.


  • Ambiguously Gay: Steven Magnet, the sea serpent who throws a complete hissy fit because half his mustache gets cut off.
  • Androcles' Lion: The manticore.
  • Aside Glance: While Rarity is talking about having just cut off her own tail, Pinkie Pie turns her eyes briefly in the direction of the camera.
  • Battle-Interrupting Shout: Fluttershy stops her friends from fighting the manticore with a shout of "WAIT!"
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: There seems to be a hint of this with Twilight Sparkle at first not wanting to make new friends only to find out later that "just when I learn how wonderful it is to have friends, I have to leave them." That is a milder case though as it turns out Celestia lets Twilight stay in Ponyville with her new friends anyway.
  • Beneath the Mask: Turns out that the evil Nightmare Moon was really just a lonely pony who missed her sister.
  • Big No: Nightmare Moon lets one out before getting blasted with the Elements Of Harmony.
  • Care Bear Stare: Basically how Nightmare Moon is defeated and probably one of the coolest goddamn things you'll ever see.
  • A Chat with Satan: Nightmare Moon does this to Rainbow Dash when she's off alone, attempting to tempt her into forsaking her friends for the chance to live her dream. Rainbow Dash is quick to refuse and help her friends.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Twilight seems to cross this when Nightmare Moon smashes the Elements Of Harmony, the only thing capable of defeating her, right in front of the poor girl. Thank goodness Twilight's friends showed up...
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Nightmare Moon would have gotten away with the Elements scot-free if she would have just stopped trying to trip up the Mane Six.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Twilight Sparkle and her True Companions manage to defeat a insane lunar goddess who plunged the world into The Night That Never Ends.
  • Easily Forgiven: After one thousand years, a bit of magic and one "I'm sorry" are enough to reconcile Princess Luna. Not too surprising considering she was the one who spent that time imprisoned which Celestia can't have wanted but was forced to do; Word of God states something was corrupting Luna and the corruption seems to be finally driven out when (as mentioned in another episode) the heroines activate the full potential of the Elements.
    • Keep in mind that the first thing that Nightmare Moon wanted to do when she returned was to cause a second ice age for the entire planet. If she suceeded in doing THAT even if NM was somehow expunged from her afterwards she would be the only pony left in the entire world. Luna is smart enough to understand why Celestia did what she had to do and, if their positions were reversed, would've been forced to do the same.
      • The fandom still likes to joke about Celestia sending ponies to the moon over trivial things though.
  • Evil Is Hammy: But still scary.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Friendship is magic. Devastatingly powerful magic.
  • Face Your Fears: The message of Pinkie Pie's song.
  • Fire-Forged Friends
  • Foreshadowing: For every Element Twilight lists off, the camera centers on the pony that represents it.
  • "Friend or Idol?" Decision/Leave Your Quest Test: Nightmare Moon forces this on Rainbow Dash...unsuccessfully because Rainbow Dash isn't a complete Jerkass.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Nightmare Moon does this to Twilight after smashing the Elements Of Harmony right in front of her,, telling her that she never had a chance of stopping her and has failed to save the world. Twilight's friends provide her with a very effective Shut UP, Hannibal.
  • Hidden Depths: The quest for the Elements Of Harmony reveals these in the group to Twilight Sparkle and the audience.
  • High Fantasy: Only this first story out of the whole series and the first episode still consisted largely of a kind of social comedy. Not counting that part, the story is like freaking The Lord of the Rings in half an hour. With ponies.
  • Hope Spot: Twilight manages to feint her way past Nightmare Moon and seemingly activates the Elements Of Harmony with her magic. Then Nightmare Moon crushes it and the Elements to bits.
  • How Did You Know? I Didn't.: Fluttershy's response when asked how she knew that the manticore had a thorn in its paw.
  • Pony Traffic Jam: When Pinkie Pie stops abruptly in front of the agitated river.
  • I Choose to Stay: After making friends in Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle doesn't want to go back to Canterlot. Luckily for her, Princess Celestia is more than supportive about her decision.
  • Kirk Summation: Twilight delivers one of these just before she befriends the hell out of Nightmare Moon.
  • Last Second Chance: Princess Celestia to Nightmare Moon/Luna after she has been defeated. For once, she accepts. Ironically Celestia's offer is phrased much like the trope name for the villain-to-hero counterpart of the trope.
  • Literal Cliff Hanger/Take My Hoof: How Twilight manages to do this without fingers isn't quite explained.
  • Love Redeems
  • Mundane Solution: How did Pinkie Pie find a book on the Elements of Harmony? "It was under 'E'!"
  • Mythology Gag: The rainbow-colored beam produced by the Elements of Harmony seems to be a nod to the Rainbow of Light from the G1 special "Rescue from Castle Midnight".
    • In "Rescue from Castle Midnight", the ponies have to cross a raging river and a rickety bridge to get to a castle.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Nightmare Moon unwittingly puts all six of the Mane Cast in situations which test and ultimately prove their worthiness as bearers of the Elements of Harmony.
  • Nice Job Guiding Us Hero: Nightmare Moon allows the group to discover the location of the Elements Of Harmony for her by waiting and watching outside their window.
  • The Night That Never Ends
  • Ocular Gushers: Pinkie Pie is so touched by the reunion of Celestia and Luna, she briefly does this.
  • Pals with Jesus: Upon encountering Princess Celestia, the ponies instantly kneel in silent reverence, even Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash...but not Twilight Sparkle who goes for a hug (or at least the pony equivalent), being a long-time student of Celestia who is particularly affectionate towards her.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Seen during the adventure through the Everfree Forest with each of Twilight's new self-proclaimed friends demonstrating an important virtue of theirs.
  • Police Are Useless: Justified by Nightmare Moon blasting three Royal Pegasus Guards with lightning.
  • The Power of Friendship: Both figuratively and literally. The title of the show is not lying; friendship is literally magic with enough power to defeat a Physical God.
  • The Quest: To find the Elements of... you know.
  • Rampage From a Nail: Fluttershy realises that this is the case with a monster that's attacking them, and is able to calm it down. The first part of the trope was Invoked by Nightmare Moon, who was the thorn in its paw.
  • Secret Test of Character
  • Single-Stroke Battle: Twilight sets this up and then immediately subverts it, charging at Nightmare Moon but feinting by teleporting away at the last second.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Dear Princess Celestia, no matter how strong and smart you may be, there are some things you just can't do alone. Friends have a special bond that has more meaning than you can find in any book. So cherish your friends, nurture your relationships with them and always hold them near and dear to your heart because together you can smite evil with a badass goddamn rainbow Wave Motion Gun. Because magic.
  • Shout-Out: The Mayor sending her guards to attack Nightmare Moon, only for her to erupt and frighten them are reminiscent of the scene in Sleeping Beauty where Maleficent curses baby Aurora. Even the dialogue is almost word-for-word.
  • Stab the Salad: Rarity yanks a scale from the sea-serpent's neck with her teeth and...cuts her own tail off with it.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: As Twilight is delivering her speech about how the ponies all represent the Elements of Harmony, Nightmare Moon does nothing to try and stop all six from being activated.
  • Tearful Smile: Twilight, upon realizing that these five quirky ponies, who insisted on helping her in her quest, are indeed her friends.
  • This Is Something I've Got To Do Myself: Twilight doesn't want her self-proclaimed new friends tagging along on her hunt for the Elements of Harmony but they insist on coming along. Good thing they did too.
  • Twinkle Smile: Pinkie Pie during her song, although the twin sparkle is in her eyes, not teeth.
  • Unmoving Pattern: The end of Rainbow Dash's tail gets ruffled from Applejack pulling it, but the stripes of colour on it don't.
  • Verbal Judo: Ironically involving nonverbal communication, but anyhow: Fluttershy calms the manticore by walking up to him and acting friendly.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Nightmare Moon's Smug Snake personality goes away really fast once the Elements of Harmony are activated...unsurprising considering that, since the last time it was used on her, she spent 1000 years imprisoned in the moon.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Rainbow Dash is tempted by Nightmare Moon to leave the quest and abandon her friends to get hers life dream. She's alone; no pony can see what she's doing. And she still chooses her friends over her dream. She's loyalty for a reason.
  • Xanatos Roulette: Princess Celestia knew what was going to happen with Nightmare Moon returning but the only action she took was to send Twilight Sparkle to get out more because she knew she would find a group of friends matching the Elements of Harmony and make it through Everfree Forest with them and then figure out how to work the Elements. And as mentioned above, the bad guy randomly does a wonderful job contributing to this outcome too. At least Word of God has stated that she was grooming Twilight specifically for the role [dead link], but even if she were wholly omniscient, it would still be a Xanatos Roulette.
  • You Are Not Alone: Twilight is facing Nightmare Moon alone, and the only thing that's capable of stopping Nightmare Moon was just shattered to bits right in front of her...then her friends come to her rescue...
  • You Fool!: "Stand BACK, you FOALS!"
    • "You little foal! Thinking you could defeat me?"