The Return of Harmony, Part Two
Picking up where the last episode left off, Discord laughs himself silly over how easily the ponies were defeated, which gets Pinkie Pie all up in his face. Seeing how laughter sets her off, Fluttershy mocks Pinkie Pie, while Applejack gets on Rarity's case. Twilight still can't figure out what's going on, and accuses Discord of not playing fair. Discord points out it's illogical to expect a being of chaos to play by the rules, but Twilight continues to rail against him for taking away the labyrinth before they could find the Elements of Harmony. So Discord takes her back to when he gave her the original clue, and tells her that at no point in time did he ever mention a maze. He blinks off to wreak havoc elsewhere, leaving behind only more chocolate rain.
Twilight tries to think of what Discord meant by "back where you began," but her friends going at each other in the background is not exactly conducive to critical thinking. With chocolate milk trickling down her back, she just longs for home. Which, she realizes, is the answer! She leads the others on a charge for Ponyville, only to get trampled by the giraffe-bunnies. "Good boy, Angel," Fluttershy coos. Suddenly, day becomes night, the roads become soapy and slick, and night is once again day. All the work of Discord, of course, who arrives to tell Twilight of his intention to make Ponyville his homebase, then blinks out again.
At long last (or maybe not, who can tell?), Twilight and the others make it to the library. Twilight begs her friends to please just go inside, and they all do, turning from desaturated versions of themselves to completely grey as they go in. Rarity refuses to go in without her "gem," now named Tom, certain that the second she leaves him alone, Twilight will sic her "minion" (i.e. Spike) on him. So Twilight takes it upon herself to drag Tom into the library, which Spike just finished cleaning. He gets a rude awaking via Fluttershy, and is completely confused by everyone's behavior and lack of color. Twilight has no time to explain, though, and sets to work finding "The Elements of Harmony: A Reference Guide." Or tries to, but is hampered by Fluttershy. But Spike knows the book's exact location, though the moment he pulls it out, Fluttershy steals it from him and instigates a game of Keep Away. Her efforts hindered, Twilight's last nerve snaps, and she pounces on anypony who gets near, until finally she gets her hooves on the book. With Spike standing guard, she flips through the pages, only to find the Elements of Harmony hidden inside! Twilight crows happily, but her joy is short lived, as the others are incredible blase about this turn of events. Not quite realizing what this means, Twilight places each Element on the proper pony and calls for them to go defeat Discord. Spike points out Rainbow Dash is missing, so Twilight dubs him the new Rainbow Dash, complete with matching Element necklace. Spike shudders to think what the real Rainbow Dash will do to him when she finds out, but Twilight is unsympathetic. She gets everyone moving with the promise that they'll never have to speak to each other again once their task is over with, and finally thinks to use magic to move Tom.
Discord is already outside the library, waiting for them. He claims to be ready for his defeat, even giving them a clearly marked target. Twilight calls for everyone to get into formation, and the Elements appear to be working just fine. But then the glowing stops and everypony falls to the ground. Twilight just can't figure out what went wrong, and Spike gets the heck out of there, citing the library needing to be cleaned again. Discord officially declares his reign and skates off on the soapy road. Pinkie Pie takes off in a huff, and the other grey ponies do likewise. Twilight is glad to see them go, declaring, "With friends like you, who needs enemies." With their friendship completely over, Twilight herself turns grey.
As Twilight wanders a chaos-filledPonyville, Discord shows up to rub her face in his victory, telling her to get used to her new, improved home. But Twilight can't see Ponyville, new or old, as her home anymore, which was apparently Discord's plan all along? At any rate, he's very glad to see her decide to leave.
Back at the library, Twilight tells Spike to get packing. She doesn't know where they'll go, but they can't stay here. Spike, however, is in no condition to do much of anything, as Celestia has been sending Twilight letters ever since he got back. Twilight is surprised to find that they're all the letters she's sent to Celestia over season one, but she rereads them anyway. As she does, she remembers why she and her friends were friends in the first place, and regains her color. She finally gets that Discord was responsible for her friends' change in attitude, and that it's friendship that will win the day. Throughout her whole triumphant realization, she swings Spike around, which he doesn't appreciate in the slightest, so she leaves him to rest while she goes forth to fight for her friendships!
First stop, Sweet Apple Acres. Discord's touch is apparent, as Big Mac pants like a dog and burrows like a gopher, and Granny Smith tap dances nonstop. Applejack continues to only be able to lie, so Twilight tackles her and uses a memory spell to remind her of all the good times they all had as friends. The spell works, and her color returns. When she comes to, she confesses that she started lying because she couldn't face the truth that their friendship would break up. Twilight easily forgives her, and the two take off for the next stop, Fluttershy's. One by one, Twilight works her magic on the girls, returning them to their former selves. ("Let us never speak of this again," says Rarity, once her eyes are opened to Discord's trickery.)
There's just one problem: Rainbow Dash isn't at her house, and the other ponies have no idea where she might have gone. Fortunately, Pinkie Pie spots her lounging on a cloud not too far from her house. It seems that Discord worked a spell similar to the one he put on Rarity that makes her think the cloud is Cloudsdale, where everything is awesome. Since Rainbow Dash won't come down on her own, Twilight pulls out Plan B: Fluttershy will hold Rainbow Dash down, then Applejack will lower Twilight down from the hot air balloon so she can cast the memory spell. Of course this hinges on Fluttershy being able to hold Rainbow Dash down in the first place, so the fact that it fails isn't a huge surprise. Rainbow Dash takes off, cloud in tow, so Twilight hitches up Fluttershy to chase after her.
Seeing the other ponies following after her, Rainbow Dash switches to displaying some aerial maneuvers too fast for them to follow. Applejack manages to lasso the pegasus, but this doesn't stop Rainbow Dash for a minute, since Pinkie Pie forgot to secure the rope, leaving her and Rarity dangling behind Dash. This manages to slow Dash down, but not enough for Fluttershy to catch up. Twilight reminds her this is all Discord's doing, bringing forth a righteous rage in Fluttershy, which gives her the speed she needs to get them close enough for Applejack to lasso Dash again. This is enough for them to get her down to the ground, but it still takes four of them to keep her in one place long enough for Twilight to give her the memory spell. With Rainbow Dash back to normal, the others embrace her in a group hug, but a passing herd of ballerina buffalo remind them that it's too soon to celebrate.
The ponies don their respective Elements and confront Discord once again. Discord is not impressed, apparently not caring that they've all regained their color and proper attitudes. Or perhaps not even aware that they've broken off his spell, as he tells Applejack not to lie to him. He uses his powers to drag all the ponies toward him against their will. But Twilight is able to create a protective bubble around them, creating a small patch of normalcy in the chaotic landscape. She also tells him that they've learned friendship is worth fighting for, but Discord still isn't buying that they've actually thrown off his hypnosis. He's so confident that they'll fail, in fact, that he just sits on his throne, waiting for the their beam to fizzle like it did earlier. Twilight calls for the others to "show him what friendship can do," but Pinkie calls for a time out so she can get one last drink of chocolate rain.
Like part one, this felt a little rushed, but it was still very good. I especially love the animation when Rarity says "Fluttershy, would you be a dear and fly faster, please!" It's just so fluid...
I'm a little surprised that Discord was defeated the same way that he was in the past. I was expecting something different, since the last time the mane six used the Elements of Harmony, they didn't just repeat what the last user did. But I guess Discord's reality warping powers are just too powerful to be removed, so he had to be neutralized. It does bring up the question of what will happen when Twilight and her friends are no longer connected to the Elements of Harmony, either by death or some other reason, but as this is a kids show, I guess we don't really have to worry about actually getting to that point.