|The Return of Harmony Part 1|
|Season episode №:||1|
|Overall episode №:||27|
|Original airdate:||September 17, 2011|
|Written by:||M. A. Larson|
|Storyboard:||Tom Sales & Sabrina Alberghetti|
|credits • transcript • gallery • allusions|
animation errors • statistics • speculation
The Best Night Ever
The Return of Harmony Part 2
The Return of Harmony Part 1 is the first episode of the second season of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic and the twenty-seventh episode overall. Princess Celestia tasks the ponies with retrieving the Elements of Harmony and defeating Discord, only for the draconequus to manipulate the ponies with his mind games. It is the first half of a two-part episode.
The show's director, Jayson Thiessen, has stated that while the two episodes were produced at the tail-end of the first season, they were always supposed to be part of season two. This was done to shorten the production hiatus and to keep on as many of the show's staff as possible. Lauren Faust notes that the episode's writing was completed before the series premiered, and was not created or altered as a reaction to the fanbase. The two episodes' writer M.A. Larson has stated that Applejack was to have said a line that was cut from the episode, "Hope everything's ok back in Ponyville. I don't know if Big McIntosh and Granny Smith have enough butter for all that popcorn." A line that "got cut early on, and with good reason" ("Doesn't really fit 'in universe.'") was Rainbow Dash saying "Get off that cloud and put 'em up! I'm not afraid of you! Come on, Marquess of Queensbury rules! Let's go!" instead of "Get off there and put 'em up! Come on! Let's go!"
Prologue: the statue of Discord
The episode begins with Cheerilee taking her students on a field trip in the "world-famous" Canterlot sculpture garden. Her class consists of Apple Bloom, Diamond Tiara, Scootaloo, Silver Spoon, Snails, Snips, Sweetie Belle, and Twist. Cheerilee points out statues representing friendship and victory. When Scootaloo remarks how cool a cutie mark representing victory would be, Apple Bloom snidely says that Scootaloo is not "victoryful" at anything. Sweetie Belle says “victoryful” is not a word, and Scootaloo indignantly asks her, "What are you, a dictionary?"
Cheerilee interrupts their bickering by describing a statue of a "draconequus," a creature with “the head of a pony and a body made up of all sorts of things.” She asks her students to guess what the statue represents. When Scootaloo guesses "chaos," Sweetie Belle calls her a "dodo." Apple Bloom jumps on her friends' heads and tells them they’re both wrong, and the three start fighting. Above them, a small circle on the draconequus statue glows briefly. They stop fighting when Cheerilee pronounces all three correct, saying that the statue represents discord, or "a lack of harmony between ponies.” Cheerilee says that each of them will have to write her an essay about discord. As the class leaves, a large crack spreads across the draconequus statue and a cackle is heard.
The first signs
After the introduction, Rainbow Dash is flying above Ponyville when a fast-moving pink cloud sends her spinning. She discovers that the cloud is made of cotton candy, and the sky fills with cotton candy clouds that rain chocolate milk. Applejack is harvesting corn when Rainbow Dash alights and complains about the crazy weather. Suddenly, the kernels on the corn start popping, and popcorn fills the field. Pinkie Pie is delighted by the delicious abnormalities. Rarity shows up in a purple rainsuit and matching umbrella. Even as she speaks, the apples on the trees swell, making the trees sag with their weight. Applejack yells at Fluttershy to control the squirrels and rabbits who are feeding on the enormous apples, but the forest creatures' legs elongate (like the legs of creatures in Salvador Dalí’s paintings ).
Twilight Sparkle arrives with Spike, and says she has a new "fail-safe" spell to reverse the strange changes to the weather and animals. She casts the spell and a bright purple band of magic sweeps the land, but nothing happens. Undeterred, she tells Rainbow Dash to corral the clouds and Applejack to lasso them. Twilight instructs Fluttershy to coax the animals into eating the cotton candy clouds and popcorn instead of the apples. Not long after, Spike receives a letter from Princess Celestia, telling the six ponies to come to Canterlot immediately.
They meet the Princess in a corridor lined with stained glass windows. Celestia explains that the strange weather is being caused by Discord, a creature that existed in Equestria long ago. Discord’s rule caused unrest and unhappiness for all ponies until Celestia and Princess Luna defeated with the Elements of Harmony. However, since the two Princesses cannot wield the Elements any more, Celestia tells the six ponies that they must use the Elements once again to defeat Discord. When Twilight promises that the princess can count on them, Pinkie interrupts, saying that chaos is a good thing if chocolate rain is involved.
- "Eternal chaos comes with chocolate rain, you guys. Chocolate rain!"
- — Pinkie Pie
Princess Celestia opens a locked door with her horn and takes out a box, but she and the friends discover that the Elements are missing from it. Suddenly, Discord's voice echoes around the room, and he animates a depiction of himself in one of the stained glass windows. Discord comments on each element that the six friends represent, and poses a riddle:
- "To retrieve your missing Elements just make sense of this change of events. Twists and turns are my master plan. Then find the elements back where you began."
- — Discord
Twilight deduces that Discord has hidden the Elements inside the castle's outdoor hedge maze.
As they approach the maze, Rainbow Dash confidently flies up to get a view of the maze, but her wings vanish and she crashes to the ground. A moment later, Fluttershy's wings and Twilight and Rarity’s horns go missing. In a flash, Discord appears, and explains that they are going to play a game to find the Elements of Harmony. The two rules are:
- No flying and no magic.
- Every pony has to play, or the game is over and Discord wins.
Hedges spring up and separate the friends, who agree to meet in the middle of the maze.
Applejack the liar
As Applejack tries to navigate the maze, she spots three apples, like the ones on her cutie mark, rolling away from her on the ground. She follows them to the edge of an apple orchard. Apples start falling off the trees and animating themselves; they tell her to look in a pool nearby to learn how their journey will end. She does so and sees a vision of the six friends arguing and agreeing to never speak to each other again. The camera pans up, showing Discord using puppet crosses to animate the apples. Applejack cannot accept the idea that she needs to lie to preserve her friendship with the other ponies, and Discord hypnotizes her, draining her of color. Almost immediately the orchard fades, and a section of hedge vanishes behind her, revealing Twilight. Twilight tells her friend that she heard talking, and asks her who she was talking to; Applejack denies speaking, looking around shiftily. Twilight wonders whether she lied but determines that "Applejack wouldn't lie."
Pinkie Pie the grump
Pinkie hops merrily through the maze until she stumbles upon a garden filled with balloons similar to those on her cutie mark. The balloons have smiling faces and are laughing. She giggles with the balloons until one of the balloons' strings trip her. She tumbles into a puddle of mud and stops laughing, but the balloons start jeering at her. Discord appears to Pinkie and tells her that the balloons, like her friends, are actually laughing at her, not with her. She initially denies it, but when Discord makes her friends' faces appear on the balloons, she sees that laughter can be cruel and hurtful. Discord hypnotizes her and turns her gray. The balloons pop to reveal Twilight and Applejack. Pinkie rejects Twilight’s greeting and walks away. Applejack lies again, saying she didn’t notice anything wrong with Pinkie. Twilight decides to pick up the pace before the stress "gets the better of all of [them]."
Rarity the hoarder
Rarity is complaining about having to do "outdoor sports" when she finds a large rock blocking her path. Embedded in it are three diamonds shaped like her cutie mark. Discord appears in the diamonds' reflections and tells Rarity it's her lucky day for finding the beautiful diamonds, "the one thing in Equestria that could rival [his] face for sheer beauty." He starts to hypnotize Rarity, but she resists and tries to walk away. However, she succumbs and runs back to the rock, losing her color as she chips away at the rock. She unearths what appears to be a huge diamond. As she starts to carry it away, the remainder of the rock breaks apart, revealing Twilight, Applejack, and Pinkie. Twilight’s greeting is cut short when she sees Rarity carrying a large boulder. Rarity becomes very protective of her "diamond," refusing to share it with the others.
Fluttershy the brute
Fluttershy cautiously climbs out of the hedge she has been hiding in, and starts giving herself a pep talk. Three butterflies like the ones on her cutie mark appear. Not wanting to be left alone, she decides to follow them. The butterflies turn out to be Discord in disguise. He tries to convince her that her friends think she is helpless and laugh at her behind her back. Fluttershy accepts the fact that she is helpless and that her friends are kind enough to understand. Again, Discord tries to corrupt her, and Fluttershy resists, saying that her friends want her to know of her flaws so she can improve on them. Frustrated, Discord gives up and hypnotizes her by simply prodding her head.
A section of hedge disappears, revealing the others. When Twilight greets Fluttershy, she insults Twilight and smacks her with her tail. Fluttershy even knocks Pinkie Pie into a hedge. As Applejack laughs at Pinkie and Pinkie retorts, Twilight realizes that something is happening to her friends. She tries to assist Rarity with moving her rock, but Rarity warns her that the rock belongs to her.
Rainbow Dash the traitor
Rainbow Dash runs through the maze and suddenly spots a cloud that looks like her cutie mark. Believing it to be her element, she chases it, only to find Discord lying on a hammock made of clouds. Ignoring Discord's attempts to be civil, Rainbow Dash tells him to prepare for a fight. Discord tells her that he is only there to deliver a riddle about the consequences of picking the wrong choice. He hypnotizes her by showing a vision of Cloudsdale collapsing. He drains her color and makes a box appear, giving her the choice of taking her wings from the box and leaving, or staying in the maze forever.
Discord wins the game
Meanwhile, Twilight tries to reassure herself, saying that Rainbow Dash would never let them down. However, Applejack spots Rainbow Dash flying away from the maze. Discord appears and tells the ponies that Rainbow Dash broke the "no wings, no magic" rule. He declares that the game is over and says:
- "Looks like we might be due for a big old storm of chaos!"
- — Discord
Reuse of backgrounds
- For more quotes, see the episode's transcript.
- Scootaloo: How cool would it be to have that for a cutie mark?
- Apple Bloom: Cool, if you were actually victoryful at somethin'.
- Sweetie Belle: That's not a word!
- Scootaloo: What are you, a dictionary?
- Sweetie Belle: It's not chaos, you dodo!
- Scootaloo: Don't call me things I don't know the meaning of, and it is too chaos.
- Sweetie Belle: Is not!
- Apple Bloom: You're both wrong!
- Pinkie Pie: Hold on a second! Eternal chaos comes with chocolate rain, you guys! Chocolate! Rain!
- Rarity: You can keep the elements. I'll take that case!
- Pinkie Pie: Oh well, if anyone needs me, I'll be outside in the chocolate puddles with a giant swizzle straw!
- Discord: Making sense? Oh, what fun is there in making sense?
- Discord: Oh, I've forgotten how grim you can be, Celestia. It's really quite boring.
- Rainbow Dash: Hey! Nopony insults the princess!
- Discord: Oh, you must be Rainbow Dash, famed for her loyalty, the element of harmony you represent.
- Rainbow Dash: That's right! I'll always be loyal to the princess!
- Discord: We'll see about that.
- Pinkie Pie: [laugh] He's dancing on your head!
- To retrieve your missing elements
- Just make sense of this change of events.
- Twists and turns, are my master plan
- Then find the elements, back where you began.
- Rainbow Dash: My wings!
- Fluttershy: [screams]
- Twilight and Rarity: Your horn! My horn! [screams]
- Discord: You should see the looks on your faces! Priceless!
- When all the truth does
- Is make your heart ache,
- Sometimes a lie
- Is easier to take.
- Discord (as butterflies): Fluttershy, looks like you've been left behind by your so called friends, huh?
- Fluttershy: Oh no, I'm certain they're doing their best to find me.
- Discord (as butterflies): Well it must be so upsetting to know how weak and helpless they think you are.
- Fluttershy: Not at all, I AM weak and helpless and I appreciate their understanding.
- Discord (as butterflies): Yes well, I'm sure it burns you up, that they're always pointing out your flaws right?
- Fluttershy: Not really. In fact, I think I'm awfully lucky to have friends who want me to be the best I can be.
- Discord: Oh, for goodness sake! [mesmerizes Fluttershy] You've been kind for far too long, my dear! Time to be cruel! Arrivederci!
- Rarity: ...But don't get any ideas about my gem. I know where you live.
- Rainbow Dash: Get off there and put 'em up! C'mon! Let's go!
- A weighty choice is yours to make,
- The right selection or a big mistake.
- If the wrong choice you choose to pursue,
- The foundations of home will crumble without you.
- Discord: Looks like we're in for a big old storm of chaos!
- The Return of Harmony, Part 2, the continuation of The Return of Harmony Part 1.
- Friendship is Magic, part 1, the first season's opening episode.
- Discord, the main antagonist of The Return of Harmony Part 1 and 2.
- Raven Molisee's DeviantArt journal (2012-02-23). Retrieved on 2012 February 23.
- Equestria Daily interview with Thiessen (2011-09-13). Retrieved on 2011 September 15.
- Lauren Faust (2011-09-20). Completion of season two opener's writing. Retrieved on 2011 September 21.
- M.A. Larson on Twitter (2012-07-24). Retrieved on 2012 July 24.
- M.A. Larson on Twitter (2012-07-24). Retrieved on 2012 July 24.
- M.A. Larson on Twitter (2012-07-24). Retrieved on 2012 July 24.
- M.A. Larson on Twitter (2012-08-01). Retrieved on 2012 August 2.
- Salvador Dalí (1946). The Temptation of Saint Anthony. Retrieved on 2013 June 20.
- Salvador Dalí (1948). The Elephants. Retrieved on 2013 June 20.
|Equestria Girls||Rainbow Rocks||Friendship Games||Legend of Everfree|
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