The world wasn't prepared when My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic premiered seven years ago. Viewers were floored by how much heart was put into the writing and the impact that had on each character. As the show went on, it garnered a massive fanbase. It was being watched by people of all ages — from the first grader, to the college senior. In fact, the show became so big that it's even getting a theatrical release later this year. To prepare you for that then, let's look at the best moments from the show so far.
There have been over a hundred episodes to date, but which ones stand as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic's ten greatest adventures?
Note: Two-parters will be considered as one episode!
Honorable Mention: 'Sisterhooves Social'
Sibling relationships are important, and it's something My Little Pony has explored often. Easily the greatest episode on the subject is "Sisterhooves Social."
In the first act we see Sweetie Belle constantly trying to do nice things for her sister, Rarity. Told from Sweetie Belle's perspective, we know that she's constantly trying to please Rarity, but her kindness is met with annoyance. Yet then we're given insight to Rarity's perspective, where all she sees is Sweetie Belle ruining things instead the sister who's trying to be closer to her older sibling.
One of the most emotional scenes within the entire show comes in the second act of this episode, when Sweetie Belle realizes that Rarity won't go to the Sisterhooves Social event. We see Sweetie Belle fighting back tears as she says she'll do it without a sister. This is a perfect example of how great the writing is at showing genuine emotion. The resolution in the climax is touching, and overall "Sisterhooves Social" will always remain a fantastic episode showcasing the importance of a sibling relationship.
10. 'Green Isn't Your Color'
Why it's great: Season 1 of My Little Pony was tasked with exploring the different characters. They were nicely introduced in the epic premiere two-parter; subsequent episodes would showcase their diverse personalities and how they play off one another. "Green Isn't Your Color" is primarily a Rarity and Fluttershy story. The two play off each other well, with Rarity being an outgoing pony whom loves the spotlight, whereas Fluttershy is more subdued. Fluttershy makes for a great listener and Rarity loves to talk, so they work well together as seen in the opening scene at the spa.
Later in the episode, Rarity makes Fluttershy become a model, which leads into interesting dynamics. Photo Finish, a photographer whom Rarity hopes to impress, chooses Fluttershy to be the star and tells Rarity to leave. This makes Rarity feel a guilty kind of jealousy, which she admits to another friend, Twilight, while Fluttershy is left to deal with crowds of adoring fans when she likes quietness. It's a sweet and powerful episode, and the excellent writing from Meghan McCarthy shines throughout, giving dimension to these characters.
9. 'Flight To The Finish'
Why it's great: The Cutie Mark Crusaders appear in many episodes, but out of the trio the character who develops the least is Scootaloo. Beyond her tomboyish personality and looking to Rainbow Dash as the ultimate role model, she was rarely explored. That changed in "Flight to the Finish," the episode that saw the Crusaders training for the Equestria Games. Everything is fine until the school bullies mention that Scootaloo can't fly, despite being a Pegasus. This is an interesting subject as its never really been a major focus, and the viewer can see the sadness on Scootaloo's face as she contemplates what the bullies said about her wings. The last part of the episode is what makes it one of the best of the show.
In a heartfelt exchange, Rainbow Dash talks with Scootaloo about her inability to fly, and it becomes one of Rainbow's finest character portrayals. We're used to seeing her as quite a brash chracter, but in "Flight to the Finish" she shows more of a soft, caring side as she explains to Scootaloo that flying doesn't make a pony better. This is one of those scenes that stays cemented in the viewer's memory.
8. 'Amending Fences'
Why it's great: One of the best things about My Little Pony is the continuity. A lot of the stories are episodic, but there are references to past events and character developments throughout. There's no greater example of this than in "Amending Fences." Way back in the very first episode of the series, Twilight tells three of her friends that she can't come to Moon Dancer's party and then runs off. Nobody ever thought this scene would be revisited, but "Amending Fences" brought it back in the most perfect way — by demonstrating how one small decision can have a long-term effect.
This particular episode at first is about Twilight going back to Canterlot and reconnecting with her old friends. We see Twilight explaining to them how she didn't appreciate her friends back then, but after everything she's experienced she now knows what friendship is truly about.
As the episode progresses, we're given insight to how Twilight's rejection of the party invitation effected Moon Dancer — she felt deeply betrayed, with her emotions exploding in the episode's climax and delivering one of the most emotional sequences in the entire show.
7. 'Return Of Harmony'
Why it's great: Right from the get-go, My Little Pony told epic stories. The show is mainly known for its day-to-day life stories, but it does set aside episodes to tell massive adventures. The very first two-parter had the ponies meet up and band together against Nightmare Moon. Already we could see a sinister antagonist. It wasn't, however, until Season Two that the show would give us a different kind of villain. This villain is called Discord, and he was the primary antagonist of the second season's opening two-parter: "Return of Harmony." This mini saga remains a My Little Pony one of the best examples of the show's writing.
The story at first revolves around the Mane 6 going through a maze created by Discord in search of the Elements of Harmony. Every scene with Discord is outstanding: Unlike Nightmare Moon, whom was more of a "textbook villain," Discord is constantly sarcastic and manipulates the cast with mind games. He's based on the Star Trek character Q, and amazingly the show got the same actor — John de Lancie — to voice the character. Eventually Discord manages to turn the ponies into opposite versions of themselves thanks to the mind games. This leads to them separating with even Twilight giving up. For the first time, we got to see the magic of friendship turned upside down. "Return of Harmony" is one of the most engaging sagas in MLP history; it challenges the strength of friendship against a villain whom is able to toy with the characters' minds.
6. 'Crusaders Of The Lost Mark'
Why it's great: There's a lot to love about "Crusaders of the Lost Mark." The first thing is how it gives character development to Diamond Tiara. For four seasons, Diamond Tiara had been nothing but the stereotypical bully. That changed in this episode; it showed us why Diamond is so mean, and despite everything she has done in the past, the writing makes the viewer feel genuinely bad for her. The Cutie Mark Crusaders, despite having been attacked with her insults throughout the series, begin to show Diamond Tiara compassion.
The episode's climax featured one of the most unexpected things in My Little Pony history. The Crusaders decide that their mission shouldn't solely revolve around finding their Cutie Marks — they should be helping others, too. The characters show that they care more about helping others than fussing over their original mission. It's at this moment when their Cutie Marks appear. It's not some deus ex machina moment; the Crusaders' talent is helping other fillies find their Cutie Marks. It was an awesome way to bring a close to the Crusaders' arc, and made an already great episode into one of the best of the show.
5. 'Slice Of Life'
Why it's great: My Little Pony is one of the few shows — maybe the only show —— in which background characters are just as loved by fans as the main cast. Hasbro knew this and that's why we got the episode "Slice of Life." It is an outstanding achievement and just another example showcasing how much heart the writers put into the series.
"Slice of Life" puts the Mane 6 on the back-burner. They're still there, and their scenes are great (they battle a monstrous creature called a "Bugbear") but the focus is on the various background characters whom have appeared throughout the show's run.
The story's pace is excellent. It's fast, but it gives quality screen time to various characters, and the plot thread bringing everyone together is a classic: a wedding. We have Derpy, who is given an adorable voice; Dr. Hooves, whom you just can't get tired of; and who could forget DJ Pon-3's duet with Octavia? There's so much to love about this episode. It all ends with a sweet scene of Twilight telling her five friends that she loves them all. There couldn't have been a better way to celebrate the show's 100th episode than with "Slice of Life."
4. 'Rarity Takes Manehattan'
Why it's great: In the latter seasons, My Little Pony started to branch out and create bigger settings. In "Rarity Takes Manehattan," we get to see the Mane 6 in a parody of the Big Apple. The setting is fun as it pokes at the generally cold reputation New York has. Manehattan's location makes the episode unique, but it isn't the only reason why the episode is outstanding: This is Rarity's finest story and has one of the best lessons on friendship.
First, one has to give credit to Tabitha St. Germain's portrayal of Rarity. We see some of her best work as Rarity breaks down in her friend's hotel room after realizing another pony copied her fashion line. Rarity's entire character is explored here. Her grandest element is generosity, and that's seen throughout the episode — yet when creating a new fashion line become her sole focus, she treats her friends poorly. Despite that, they continue to work on her line. Rarity doesn't realize how badly she treated them until later, when she sees that they didn't attend the show. The overall message here is to never stop being generous to others, even when someone else takes advantage of it. Also, friends should never use one another. The writing is five star quality throughout. "Rarity Takes Manehattan" is a masterpiece.
3. 'A Canterlot Wedding'
Why it's great: My Little Pony's second season started strongly with "Return of Harmony." Somehow, the season ended with an even better two-parter — "A Canterlot Wedding" has it all: a mystery, an epic villain, and a satisfying conclusion.
Before this saga, we didn't know Twilight had a brother by the name of Shining Armor. He's introduced into the cast nicely. He's also just a fraction of what makes this story great. The plot is about his marriage to a princess named Cadance, who knew Twilight as a filly. As Twilight and her friends arrive in Canterlot for the upcoming ceremony, Twilight notices something off about Cadance. It isn't until the end of Part One when "Cadance" starts to unveil her true self — she's actually Queen Chrysalis.
Queen Chrysalis is one of the show's best villains. She's similar to Nightmare Moon, but takes that "textbook villain" portrayal and makes it better. She remains one of the few evil antagonists left in the show. So, while Part One is pretty much the setup, Part Two features some of the most epic moments of the show. We have a brief, awesome battle between Chrysalis and Celestia; plus we get a major war scene with the ponies against the Queen's army of Changelings. It all comes together in the climax, as the real Cadance and Shining Armor demonstrate that true love can defeat evil. Beautiful, just beautiful.
2. 'Twilight's Kingdom'
Why it's great: "Twilight's Kingdom" is the saga that showed how far a TV-Y rating can be pushed in the action department. Twilight's climatic showdown with Tirek is on caliber with some anime. This is just one reason of many why this two-parter is one of the finest things to ever air on television. It has the most epic storyline full of unexpected developments and even a Sailor Moon-like transformation for some characters.
In one of the episode's most memorable scenes, Discord puts Tirek — the show's most evil and powerful antagonist — in chains, and the two discuss the pros and cons of being evil. It's a great dynamic and later we see just how powerful Tirek is when he betrays Discord, amplifying the tension for the final battle against the ponies.
The climax is the most epic of any My Little Pony episode: Tirek blows up Twilight's home and throws her into a mountain. It's not completely one-sided, as Twilight gets some kamehameha-like shots in there. For those very few people whom were left calling My Little Pony nothing more than a "little kids show," "Twilight's Kingdom" proved it can be on par with the best action shows. Combine that action with the amazing writing and showcasing the magic of friendship, this two-parter remains one of the greatest things to grace the television screen.
1. 'The Best Night Ever'
Why it's great: As we've seen, there are quite a few epic My Little Pony episodes. What the show does best however are the smaller scale, everyday life stories. This is best exemplified in the Season 1 finale, which is the only season finale to not have something huge happen. "The Best Night Ever" is simple, nice, and showcases what makes My Little Pony one of the greatest shows of the 21st century.
The plot follows the friends attending the Grand Galloping Gala in Canterlot, and of course, things don't go as the friends planned. The best night ever turns into the opposite; but in the end, they see that being together can make even a bad night fun. Things may not have gone as planned, but sometimes being together is all that's needed to make a night memorable. "The Best Night Ever" is expertly paced with a lot of heart. Sometimes an epic finale isn't needed — and with My Little Pony, a simple story concept can be made into something wonderful.
an event that was talked about in prior episodes — in "Suited for Success" for example, Rarity designs the dresses they would wear for the event. There are plenty of songs in "The Best Night Ever," with its most notable, 'At the Gala,' being one of the show's finest.
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