My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic/Recap/S2/E02 The Return of Harmony Part 2

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Continued from "The Return of Harmony Part 1".

He's got the best seat in all of Equestria.

Twilight Sparkle: We've got the liar, the grump, the hoarder and the brute! That just about covers it!

Written by M.A. Larson

When we last left our heroes, Twilight's friends had all fallen under the influence of Discord and become their opposite selves: the honest Applejack is a compulsive (and transparent) liar, the generous Rarity is greedily obsessing over a boulder she thinks is a giant diamond, the fun-loving Pinkie Pie is a grump, the kindly Fluttershy is a Jerkass, and the loyal Rainbow Dash has run out on her friends. Equestria is doomed!

*cue happy theme music*

Twilight starts to call out Discord on not playing fair in his little "game" by removing the labyrinth prematurely; Discord points out that he never said the Elements of Harmony were in the hedge maze, and that Twilight misinterpreted his riddle and fell into his trap as a result. He stays around just long enough to mock Twilight and "the magic of friendship" before leaving to cause more chaos.

Twilight finally has an epiphany about the meaning of Discord's riddle, and concludes that the Elements of Harmony are hidden where her first adventure with her friends began: Ponyville. She drags the others back to Ponyville, which is showing Discord's influence: among other weirdness, buildings are randomly floating, the dirt roads are turned into soap, and day and night cycle seemingly at random. The attitude of Twilight's friends (which is getting progressively worse) isn't helping things at all, especially when they decide to play Keep-Away with her copy of The Elements of Harmony: A Reference Guide.

Twilight, her patience with her "friends" wearing thin, finally gets her hooves on the book, and finds the Elements hidden inside. She forces the Elements onto the others (with Spike acting as a hasty stand-in for Rainbow Dash) and heads out to confront Discord, who seems resigned to give the ponies a shot at defeating him. Twilight powers up the elements, there's a familiar glow of power, and...

Nothing happens.

Without the bonds of friendship, the Elements are powerless, and Twilight's former companions leave in a huff. Twilight, utterly dejected, finally falls under Discord's corruption; she despondently walks home through the surreal madhouse that is now Ponyville, convinced that her friends (and any hope of defeating Discord) are lost for good.

When Twilight gets home, however, she finds Spike in quite a state, nauseous from burping up countless letters from Princess Celestia. They're copies of all the friendship reports she's sent to the princess during her stay in Ponyville. Reading over them, Twilight is reminded of her lessons of friendship, which breaks Discord's corruption and inspires her to redouble her fight. Tracking down Applejack, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie, she frees them from Discord's influence by using a memory spell to remind them of all their good times. When they find Rainbow Dash clinging to a cloud that she thinks is Cloudsdale, the five endure a harrowing aerial chase before finally returning her to normal.

Once again, Twilight Sparkle and her friends are set to take on Discord, who fails to realize that they've broken free of his influence.

Discord remains smugly confident that the Elements of Harmony are still powerless, only to learn otherwise when they hit him head-on, trapping him in stone once more. Back in Canterlot, the bearers of the Elements receive much-deserved congratulations from Princess well as a new stained-glass window commemorating their defeat of Discord.

*cue epic promos*

Tropes (see here for YMMVs)

Pinkie Pie: You better THINK before you laugh at the PINK! (*pause*) Pie!

  • The Bad Guy Wins: Subverted. Discord's belief this is true is ultimately what leads to his downfall. Discussed Trope by Twilight, who uses the threat of this to trigger a Let's Get Dangerous moment in Fluttershy.
  • Bad Liar: In addition to Corrupted Applejack, Corrupted Pinkie Pie turns out to be this. She's tries very hard to be taken seriously, and as such denies when she's having fun.

"This may look like it's fun, but it's not!"

"Necklace, necklace, necklace, necklace, and... big crown thingy! All right, let's do this!"

  • Butt Monkey: Twilight, as usual (and maybe even worse)...
    • Also, Spike. Celestia decided to mail back every letter Twilight ever sent about friendship, which means he spent the better part of the day coughing up letters over and over. In Celestia's defense, she had no way of knowing when to stop sending them, since Twilight was off saving Equestria and didn't try to send a return letter.
  • Call Back: Twilight recalls her attitude on friendship when she first arrived in Ponyville: "The fate of Equestria does not rest on me making friends." She of course realizes now how wrong she was.
  • Cassandra Truth: Happens again with Applejack when she tells Discord he couldn't break apart their friendship for very long, which ultimately leads to his downfall for not believing her. Deliciously, he doesn't believe her because of he'd turned her into a liar before and doesn't realize she's turned back.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Those Friendship Reports she keeps writing to Celestia? She sent them all back to Twilight, which inspires Twilight to shake off Discord's corruption and get her friends back.
  • Closest Thing We Got: "Congratulations Spike, you're the new Rainbow Dash!"
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: Played straight for the viewers, teased in-universe. Upon arriving back in Ponyville, Spike notes that the corrupted ponies appear gray, and Pinkie Pie has a good laugh about her odd coloring after she's been redeemed. Yet for some reason it never occurs to Discord that the mane cast are a serious threat when they show up fully-colored again, just as Twilight didn't notice anything physically odd about them earlier.
  • Companion Cube: Rarity starts calling her "diamond" Tom.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: The Elements of Harmony book really stands out against the others on the shelf.
  • Continuity Nod
    • Twilight's Exposition Beam contains flashbacks to numerous episodes.
    • The buffalo from "Over a Barrel" dance across the foreground a few times.
    • When Discord turns the roads into soap, Pinkie is able to "skate" along them easily, calling back to her job in the Winter Wrap-Up.
    • When the mane characters use the Elements of Harmony, they release a sonic rainboom.
    • Spike sending a hundred scrolls to Princess Celestia by accident was funny. Not so much the other way around.
    • The first time the girls (and Spike) try to use the Elements, their poses are surly/apathetic versions of the way they posed when defeating Nightmare Moon.
    • A subtle one in one of the old "friendship reports": "And like the path cut through the orchard, there'll always be a way through" isn't from any episode, but it still recalls "Over a Barrel", where the solution involved a literal path cut through an orchard, and where the actual report contained a close paraphrase of some lyrics from Pinkie Pie's song, the same song that ended with "and there'll always be a way through."
    • Rainbow Dash lounging on a cloud and idly waving a hoof is a duplicate of her introduction in the premiere, except this time she doesn't care about anyone else.
  • Crap Saccharine World: Discord's reign pretty much turns Equestria into this. While it looks silly on the surface, everyone seems to have gone insane and it's getting progressively more chaotic by the moment.
  • Cruel Mercy: Discord doesn't break or Mind Rape Twilight himself and leaves her be... so that the crushing weight of the situation she's in can break her slowly and more completely than he did to the others.
  • Darkest Hour: Carried over from Part 1. Discord turns Equestria into a World Gone Mad that's getting progressively worse by the minute, the Mane Cast try and fail using the Elements Of Harmony to stop him, causing them to break up for real, and Twilight crosses the Despair Event Horizon and gets ready to pack up her bags and leave. Thankfully, things start looking up from there.
  • Death by Irony: Discord exploited the group's personality flaws to break them and their friendship, in order to neutralize the Elements of Harmony. In the end, it's his own personality flaw -- being too prideful to believe they're actually a threat to him -- that blinds him to the fact that the group's friendship has been restored until it's too late.
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: Discord sarcastically tells the heroes to "friend me" with their Elements of Harmony. He knows as well as we do that that's not what they do.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After seeing the Elements of Harmony fail to work and her friendship completely shattered, Twilight Sparkle pretty much gives up hope. She was preparing to pack up and leave town before Celestia returning her letters renewed her hope.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Discord had planned for just about everything... except Celestia sending back Twilight's letters to break her Heroic BSOD, and that it was possible for her to reunite her friends. It's likely the former was something he couldn't expect while the latter was something he simply didn't consider possible.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Mane Cast effectively takes down the embodiment of chaos!
  • Dramatic Irony: Played much more sweetly this time around in that it's Discord who doesn't know a key this case, that the heroines have broken free of his Mind Rape and can actually use the Elements Of Harmony again...while the audience does. This makes his downfall due to that fact all the more satisfying.
  • Driven to Madness: All of Equestria pretty much after Discord takes over.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Over the course of the two-part premiere, the Mane Cast has been broken and Mind Raped (except Twilight), Twilight driven over the Despair Event Horizon, and had their homeland turned into a chaotic World Gone Mad around them. Twilight has to literally fight and physically subdue her friends to get them back to normal. But in the end, they manage to pull back together and put Discord in his place. They saved all of Equestria and got their happy ending, but they really had to earn it!
  • Eldritch Location: Discord turns Ponyville into this. He changes the dirt roads into soap, has several buildings floating in mid-air, the water is pink, the ground is painted like a checkerboard, and cotton candy clouds hover over the city yet only rain on half of it. The worst part? This is just the opening act.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Discord seriously underestimated the Power of Friendship, assuming he'd completely broken the Mane Cast's friendship so it couldn't be fixed. Because of this, he refuses to believe they did it until it was too late.
  • Evil Is Petty: Discorded Fluttershy pretty much runs on this. If she sees the opportunity to be a jerk, she'll act on it in a heartbeat.
  • Exact Words: Twilight protests when Discord removes the maze without giving them a chance to find the Elements of Harmony. Discord responds by pointing out that he never said they were in the maze. Meanwhile, the maze was certainly part of his master plan as he said.
  • Exposition Beam: How Twilight undoes her friends' brainwashing, by reminding them of all the good times they'd had together.
  • Facehoof: Done by Twilight when Fluttershy actually asks Rainbow Dash if she can restrain her.

Fluttershy: Um ... I'm just wondering if it's okay if I hold you down against your will for a little bit?

  • Final Exam Finale: Twilight is only able to overcome Discord's corruption thanks to being reminded of everything she's learned about the magic of friendship throughout the first season by her own letters to Princess Celestia.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Discord exploits Twilight's love of her friends to break her by turning them against her. In the end, it's his flaws that enable them to defeat him.
  • Floating Continent: Discord suspends several buildings in Ponyville on top of floating islands in the air.
  • For the Evulz: Not just Discord, but also Fluttershy under her new mandate to be cruel. Applejack gets a bit like this, too, but not really beyond the level of It Amused Me.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Rather than just Twilight, the entire mane cast sports these when using the Elements of Harmony to put Discord back in his can.
  • Heroic BSOD: After spending half the episode trying to stop Discord, Twilight is finally corrupted after the initial attempt to use the Elements against him fails and her friends' behavior proves too much for her.
  • She's Back: All the mane ponies. Princess Celestia encourages this in Twilight with the letters.
  • Hollywood Darkness: When the night randomly comes.
  • Humiliation Conga: Discord's downfall. Not only is he defeated by the six ponies he'd spent the past two episodes viewing as inconsequential, he has just enough time before being Taken for Granite to realize that his entire plan has been completely undone and he was dead wrong about the Elements Of Harmony, something that Applejack and Twilight pretty much told him to his face, but he didn't believe them due to his own manipulations involving both of them. Oh, and he gets his Oh Crap face permanently frozen on his face in the process. All this happens in under a minute.
    • And if you believe he's conscious in his stone prison, then he also witnessed the World-Healing Wave that washed away his chaotic kingdom.
  • I Meant to Do That: Corrupted Applejack is still a Bad Liar.
  • Ironic Echo: Twilight quotes that "the fate of Equestria does not rest on me making friends" after recovering from her Heroic BSOD, realizing how wrong the statement was.
  • It's Personal: By the time all is said and done, Discord has pretty much done everything he possibly could to make his confrontation with the Mane Cast personal. Case in point, Fluttershy actually insults him. Sure, calling someone a "BIG. DUMB. MEANIE!" isn't exactly the worst thing you could call someone, but getting Fluttershy to say something insulting about him at all shows just how far Discord has pushed everypony.
  • Jerkass: All of the corrupted ponies, but corrupted Fluttershy deserves special mention. Her Fan Nickname is Flutterbitch for a reason.

Fluttershy: Hey, Twilight! What's soaking wet and clueless?
Twilight Sparkle: Fluttershy, I've just about had enough...
(Fluttershy dumps a bucket of water on Twilight's head)
Fluttershy: Your FACE!
(Fluttershy slams the bucket on Twilight's head)

  • Kick the Dog: Discord does this a lot, but his Big Yes/Victory Pose when he sees he's broken Twilight completely is the most notable. It stands out because out of all the horrible things he does, this is the only time he doesn't use his Faux Affably Evil act to hide the fact he's taking sadistic glee in the act.
  • Kirk Summation: Twilight gives one when confronting Discord, telling him that no matter what, friendship is worth fighting for.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Fluttershy is able to catch up to Rainbow Dash when Twilight reminds her that the fate of Equestria is at stake.

Twilight Sparkle: If you can't catch her, Discord wins!
Fluttershy: (*gasp!*) That. Big. Dumb. MEANIE!

Rarity: How in Equestria can she think that tiny patch of cloud is Cloudsdale?
Applejack: The same way he got you to think that cheap rock was a bona fide diamond?
Rarity: ...I thought we agreed never to speak of that again.

  • Little No: Discord says one just before a Big No when he notices he was very wrong about the Elements Of Harmony and realizes what is about to happen.
  • The Load: Tom.
  • Made of Explodium: Discord's chocolate milk of glass. He drinks the glass, not the milk, and the leftover milk blows up when he tosses it aside.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Twilight's letters to Princess Celestia from the first season help her recover from Discord's corruption. In a more metaphorical sense, the memories of their friendship help Twilight save the others.
  • Mind Screw: Nearly every aspect of Discorded Ponyville, though it's to be expected.
  • Mood Dissonance: After her failed attempt to defeat Discord, Twilight sadly walks back to the library, her head hung low...while all sorts of madness goes on around her.
  • Mood Whiplash: All the creepiness of the "Previously On..." followed by the cute-as-hell theme song.
    • Also done in-story when Twilight realizes her "friends" aren't interested in helping her stop Discord.

Twilight Sparkle: (dejected) I never thought it would happen. My friends...
Twilight Sparkle: (angry) ...have turned into COMPLETE JERKS!

  • Eucatastrophe: Literally the only reason Discord doesn't win out is Celestia sending Twilight's letters back to her to break her out of her Heroic BSOD. Had that not happened, Discord would've won without question.
  • Never Say "Die": After the first failed use of the Elements, Discord declares harmony in Equestria to be "officially dead." It's hard to call the trope averted, though, since "is dead" is a fairly common expression for the end of a concept.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Twilight's guess that Discord's riddle meant the Elements were in the maze was dead wrong, meaning she led her friends on a wild goose chase and right into Discord's trap. Discord reveals this to her and then openly mocks her for it.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: At the end of part 1 when Discord gives everypony their horns and wings back. Discord actually gave Twilight the means to defeat him by doing this, as Twilight uses magic to bring her friends back to their senses and bring back the Elements of Harmony.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Everything goes back to normal pretty quickly after Discord gets re-petrified.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now: Discord pretty much gives one of these speeches after the Elements Of Harmony fizzle out when the Mane Cast try to use them on him and gets the mentality to go with it. Naturally, this comes back to bite him in the end.

Discord: Bravo ponies! Bravo! Harmony in Equestria is officially dead. Discord rules, Celestia drools.

  • Not Quite Flight: Unicorn Twilight Sparkle appears to use this when teleporting directly into the air and projecting the force field around her friends.
  • Oh Crap: Discord gets a very satisfying one upon realizing that the Elements of Harmony will actually work this time and he's about to get put back in his can.
  • Out-Gambitted: Discord has destroyed all of Celestia's defenses against him via impossible theft and by manipulating and breaking her champions. Celestia arranges his defeat by sending some letters.
  • Painting the Medium: During a pan of Ponyville in chaos, a pony runs along the edges of the frame.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Discord finds the ponies fighting most entertaining.
  • Personal Chocolate Raincloud: Twilight gets one when she walks home sadly after her failed first attempt to confront Discord with the Elements. Discord was most likely invoking the trope in order to be a dick.
  • Pensieve Flashback: Discord takes Twilight on a brief one.
  • Pet the Dog: Subverted. After Twilight has been corrupted, lost all of her friends and is walking dejectedly through Ponyville, Discord seems surprised and concerned for a few seconds, making an attempt to cheer her up by saying that she should learn to have fun in her new home. When she walks away, still dejected, and says that it isn't her home anymore, he stops and looks after her for a moment. Cue Big Yes.
  • The Power of Friendship: Even Twilight had forgotten just how powerful this could be.
  • Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: Twilight gives one to Discord right before the Mane Cast lets him have it with the Elements Of Harmony.

Twilight: All right, ladies. Let's show him what friendship can do!

(after the day abruptly turns to night) Wow, I can see so much better now.

  • Sealed Evil in a Can: One of the few examples where the evil is not defeated outright, but actually put back in its can.
  • Shout-Out: A band of heroes being commended by the ruler of the land in a grand hall in front of a crowd in a mostly non-verbal scene and a swelling score, and then an Iris Out to the credits may remind you of something... (And if you need any more help...) Doubles as a Call Back to the way the corresponding episode in season 1 mirrors The Phantom Menace.
    • And directly before that Discord attempts something quite similar to a Force Choke on the Mane Cast.
      • All of this is a bit ironic, considering the guest star of this two-parter is a Star Trek actor.
    • Additionally, Discorded Equestria seems to take a whole lot of cues from Wackyland.
      • Discorded Equestria also bears a resemblance to Skaia.
      • And the Special Zones in Sonic the Hedgehog.
      • In one "nighttime" scene, we see several buildings in Discorded Ponyville on floating islands, including a floating windmill.
      • Discord finishing his drink, then throwing it out before the final battle could be a Shout-Out to Castlevania
      • "Girls! I found the Elements of Harmony... You don't even care, do you?"
      • When the ponies unite using the Elements Of Harmony, their power forms a rainbow that turns Discord back to stone. It then turns into a double rainbow that restores Ponyville all the way back from what Discord had done to it.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: Discord tries to start another lecture when he telekinetically grabs the ponies by their necklaces. Twilight teleports in and rescues her friends, cutting him off then combining this trope with Kirk Summation. Bonus points for stating the episode's aesop while doing so.
  • Shut Up, Kirk: When Twilight complains about Discord not playing fair, he reminds her that he's the spirit of disharmony.
    • He also responds to Twilight's Kirk Summation with disgust and telling them to just hurry up because he has some chaos to get back to. Subverted, however, because not listening ended up getting him Taken for Granite. Again.
  • Slippery Skid: Discord turns the dirt roads into soap.
  • Sneeze of Doom: Discord sprinkles Berry Punch with pepper making her sneeze which causes every tree and house around her to topple like pieces of cardboard.
  • Someone Elses Problem: Corrupted Rainbow Dash's philosophy on chaotic Equestria in general and Discord in particular.
  • Taken for Granite: Was there ever any doubt Discord would be defeated like this?
  • Team Mom: Twilight takes the position for most of the episode. Considering the circumstances, it's no wonder it's not working out at first.
  • Tempting Fate: Discord telling the Mane Cast to take their best shot at him with the Elements Of Harmony. He's quite surprised when they actually do.
  • Ten-Minute Retirement: When the Elements fail to work on Discord and her friends seem to be irrevocably corrupted, Twilight Sparkle is ready to throw in the towel.
  • That Liar Lies: When Twilight wants to know where Rarity took the book on the Elements.

Twilight: Where is she? Where's Rarity?
Applejack: Beats me!
Twilight: Lies!

  • That Poor Cat: Lets out a yowl when Twilight begins fighting with her friends.
  • This Cannot Be!: Discord has this reaction upon realizing too late that his spell has been broken and he's about to get blasted head-on with the Elements Of Harmony.
  • This Means War: When Fluttershy calls Discord a "Big. Dumb. MEANIE!" and gets downright furious at the mere possibility of him winning, you know he's in for it.
  • Title Theme Drop: A very brief and understated one (it's literally just a staccato piccolo playing the intro) when Fluttershy wakes up Rainbow Dash.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Played with. When the ponies power up the Elements of Harmony after reuniting, Discord just sits there on his throne not interfering, as he believes the Elements have lost their power. He's wrong, and he doesn't take it too well when he realizes it. However, he did actively try to steal them prior to that; Twilight cut his attempt off with a quick teleport and a barrier spell.
  • Victory Is Boring: Subverted; Discord seems disappointed when Twilight Sparkle refuses to react to the chaos around her and simply gives up, only to cheer loudly as soon as Twilight is out of earshot.
  • Villain World: Discord pretty much rules Equestria most of the episode, turning it into a chaotic World Gone Mad where everypony is Driven to Madness, with Ponyville as his "chaos capital of the world".
  • Wacky Sound Effect: Everything Discord does is punctuated by a weird sound effect! His umbrella meows, his claps are a series of random sounds, and his chocolate milk squeaks.
  • Wasted Song: The end credits use a modified sequence meant to go with the Star Wars shout out above... but The Hub's standard credit squeeze blocks it out. Some repeats and the iTunes version use the full sequence.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: "This is my book, and I'm going to READ IT!"
  • With Friends Like These...: Said almost word for word by Twilight when dealing with her corrupted friends.
  • Word, Schmord: The brainwashed Rainbow Dash does this with "loyalty."
  • World-Healing Wave: After being used to turn Discord back into stone, the Elements Of Harmony let off one of these to undo his chaotic reign. It takes the form of a pair of rainbows tracing a huge domed shell over Ponyville, and then letting off a huge pulse of light.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The Main Cast are all back to normal, everypony is in a Group Hug... and bison ballerina dance across the foreground, indicating that there is still Discord to deal with. Twilight even lampshades it.

Maybe it's a little early for a group hug.

  • X Must Not Win: Where in this case, "X" refers to Discord. It's a major driving force for the main ponies, especially Fluttershy.

Rarity: Oh Fluttershy, would you be a dear and fly faster please!
Fluttershy: I can't!
Twilight: If you can't catch [Rainbow Dash], Discord wins!

Fluttershy: That big... dumb... MEANIE!

  1. He conjures a glass, fills it from top to bottom with chocolate milk, and drinks the glass, leaving the chocolate milk intact.