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S02:E01+E02 - Return of Harmony

  

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  Twilight looses hope and turns grey too, WHICH MAKES NO SENSE. She wasn't corrupted by Discord nor does she represent hope, so I think this was just put in for visual effect even though it doesn't make sense.

 

Even though her element is magic, she did become the friendship princess. I rather thought that her greying out was because she was losing the connection to her friends.

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This post has been deleted, sorry.

Edited by Arctofire

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Don't get me wrong, this episode is great in lots of ways, however there is one major flaw, and thats Twilight turning grey. The reason for this is that she wasn't corrupted by Discord in any way, so her turning grey makes zero sense.

 

It makes sense in the notion that Discord had turned her friends against her, thus causing her to lose her friendship magic, which is what her Element draws its power from. Honestly, The Return of Harmony is still my favorite two-parter since Discord still remains the most competent villain the show has ever had. McCarthy seriously sucks at villains...

 

And personally, the biggest problem I have with two-parters is that it sometimes seems like they're the only things of actual substance that happen during a season. Almost everything that actually advances the plot of the show occurs in a two-parter. 

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Eeepp EPIC! Can't really describe these episodes any better. I felt like everything worked so well, and after the first one I was genuinely sad over the way the ponies had turned on each other... Really well done. Loved it :D

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I partially agree w CleverClover.  This is BY FAR the best Discord episode.  Here, he is a serious threat not just by sheer power but because he has a 3 digit IQ.  His only mistake was underestimating T.

 

I think the turning grey thing was to symbolize that the pony had lost touch with her element.  T was losing touch all along.  Remember the 1st time she tried to use the Elements? She said something to the effect "Let's get this over with so I can never talk to my friends again -the jerks".  IMO, the closer the Element holders are to their ideal, the more powerful the magic.  T wasn't feeling much friendship, so it was pretty powerless.  IMO, afterwards T fell into despair & gave up on her friends & thus turned grey.

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I partially agree w CleverClover.  This is BY FAR the best Discord episode.  Here, he is a serious threat not just by sheer power but because he has a 3 digit IQ.  His only mistake was underestimating T.

 

Everything you said I agree with. My point is that the others were corrupted directly by Discord whereas Twilight just lost her friends. When she didn't have friends before the first episode she wasn't grey, so why is she turning grey now if Discord didn't corrupt her.

 

This episode is really good, and I really do mean it. I think that what a lot of writers struggle with is the sudden jump from slice of life to fantasy, which is why two parters often have flaws, but this one has the least out of all of them until season 4.

 

Don't think I don't like this episode, because I really do. I just think there are some noticeable flaws that need to be addressed. 

Edited by Arctofire

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Everything you said I agree with. My point is that the others were corrupted directly be Discord whereas Twilight just lost her friends. When she didn't have friends before she didn't turn grey, so why is she turning grey now if Discord didn't corrupt her.

She didn't have friends before she went to Ponyville, but she was content with that, focusing on her studies. By the time of this episode she'd spent all of Season 1 bonding with the others, and then Discord caused her to lose their friendship. It's not the same as before. It's also very appropriate, considering she only became the Element of Magic because the other five were there, so it's a pleasing symmetry that she resisted Discord until she lost the support of all her friends.

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I just found it very hard to believe, as it was approaching care bears level of sillyness. When I loose friends I don't turn grey. But again that didn't ruin the episode for me and I still thought Discord was fantastic, as well as a lot of other stuff in the episode.

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Losing her friends, who she'd come to cherish and love over the previous season, was obviously what caused Twilie to go grey. They'd become such a huge part of her life and the elements only originally worked when she discovered what friendship was, thus uncovering her own element in the process, so it makes total sense for her to go grey. It was a good plan by Discord as he knew that this was how to get at Twilight, indirectly through her friends rather than directly at her as Twilight would possibly have been too clever for him. Although, I think there's the option there that he could've used Twilight's cleverness against her to turn her grey, which he did kinda do at the start with his riddle making her assume that the elements were in the maze.

 

I still love these episodes and think they're probably two of the best and most important in the show. I actually think the most "interesting" part isn't about how he turned Twilight grey, but rather, how he couldn't trick Fluttershy into turning grey. He had to forcefully turn her, because her element is just too strong for him to overcome. Which when you look back at it was an early seed for setting her up as the one to make him turn over a new leaf.

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I just found it very hard to believe, as it was approaching care bears level of sillyness. When I loose friends I don't turn grey. But again that didn't ruin the episode for me and I still thought Discord was fantastic, as well as a lot of other stuff in the episode.

My point is, she was corrupted by Discord, just in a rather more roundabout way than with her friends. And even among the five others, Fluttershy stands out because Discord had to brute force the corruption in her case. Rarity also resisted her corruption longer / more than RD, Pinkie or AJ did (she even shook off the hyno-eyes... at first). So Twilight is not the only one whose corruption is different.

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Guys, I love these episodes too. Please forgive me for saying that they were bad (although I didn't) but it upset me that an episode could be that entertaining and interesting but have reached flaws that it made me mad. I do love it though and I hate it when this show doesn't explain things fully so that we have to try and work it out ourselves.

 

I'm getting really upset now because I really want to love this episode. But it makes me angry that this shows gets away with leaving so many plot threads hanging and things not being explained. This was a million times worse in Friendship is Magic but it is here to a point as well. You could excuse it as being part of the fun of the episode, as Discord is the master of chaos, but it leaves so many things unexplained and it upsets me.

 

This is probably my second favorite 2 parter but I can't say its the best.

Edited by Arctofire

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How can I try and like this episode more, because I really want to like it. I wish I had never made this post, its like the Cutie Mark Chronicles, episodes that people seem to love and I do to for various reasons, but have really big flaws that I can't get round but others just ignore.

Edited by Arctofire

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It's not a big flaw.  Discord rewrites the rules of reality on a whim.  Why is it unbelievable that he could make it so that Twilight discords herself?  He himself doesn't have to change Twilight directly.  He could just change the laws of reality so that Twilight just *becomes* discorded when she loses faith in her friends.  

 

It's like the difference between making objects fly upward through telekinesis and objects flying upward because the law of gravity was reversed.  

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Well, she lost her color even though she is the element of magic but I think that could mean she lost the magic of friendship. When her friends weren't really friends the magic of friendship left her, that's why she became so upset towards the other characters, she was no longer friendly. At least that's what I believed

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Discord needed to get rid of the qualities which made each of the six represent their respective elements.  Applejack needed to lie to cancel out Honesty, Pinkie Pie needed to get angry to cancel out Laughter, Fluttershy needed to start being mean to cancel out Kindness, Rarity needed to be greedy to cancel out Generosity, and Rainbow Dash needed to abandon her friends to cancel out Loyalty.  The element of Magic is a result of friendship, hence Friendship is Magic.  So, Discord needed to cause Twilight to stop being friends with everyone, and the best way of doing that is by ruining the other elements.  Once she was no longer friends with them, the element of Magic was canceled, finally turning Twilight gray.

 

She wasn't gray before inheriting the element of Magic because she hadn't discovered friendship, so there was no element to lose.

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The other guys are right about Twilight becoming grey by losing touch with her element, she gave up on friendship and lost sight of the value of her friends, which is why she turned grey. The difference was that it happened "naturally" for her rather than by supernatural means.

 

Wanna hear something interesting though? With every other character, Discord specifically attacks their weakness of character: Applejack's unwillingness to face a harsh truth, Dash's conflicting loyalties, Pinkie's insecurity about her friends, Rarity's greediness, and (after failing on Fluttershy's insecurity about her friends because she doesn't actually have that weakness) aiming for Fluttershy's doormat-ness, how she can be pushed into things with little resistance. But with Twilight, he seems to never target her, simply letting her friends wear her down after they're discorded. BUT, that's actually not true! Twilight was targetted before all the other ponies, she was the first one whose weakness of character is exploited by Discord! Twilight's weakness (at the time, she hardly displays it anymore) was her cockiness. In season 1 it was "Oh I'll just check everything for the celebration, not talk to anypony, and figure out how to find the elements of harmony and stop Nightmare Moon all on my own!" In season 2, it's "Don't worry, as long as we're together, our friendship is absolutely unbeatable, nothing can separate us!" What Discord does is manipulate Twilight by using her overconfidence to get her to make several deadly assumptions. First of course is getting her to think of going to the hedge maze for the elements. That one was actually stated outright but is also the least interesting. The second thing he does is, this is very important, tell Twilight they're playing a game. There's an interesting tendency among Lawful aligned characters that they take games very literally and make assumptions based on that. Lawful characters are easy to manipulate when you present them with a game, and Twilight is probably the most Lawful character in the series. When presented with a game, she assumes that 1) the game is fair, and 2) the game is a game. In truth, neither of these is true, and if she'd been more attentive she would have known it.

 

Remember the rules of Discord's "game"?

1. No wings and no magic

2. Everypony plays or Discord wins.

And that's it. There are two huge problems in that ruleset that Twilight should have noticed, but was too busy being cocky. First, there is no win condition for the ponies. The rules say how Discord wins, but there's no way for the ponies to win. So much for fair, or even being a game. But there's something missing that's even more important than that! Not only is there no way to win, Twilight also fails to realize that there are no stakes! The villain presents a game, the natural assumption is that if you lose something bad happens. But really, if they lose, what could even happen? Discord is already doing whatever he wants, and he never made a threat about them losing. The game has no purpose. This means that Twilight and her friends would have been better off just refusing to play, or giving up. Of course in hindsight, the game's purpose is clear, it was simply a ploy by Discord to separate the ponies and pick them off one by one, because as Twilight said, they have nothing to worry about as long as they're together. But Discord never cared about winning, the game itself was as pointless to him as anything, but a brilliant tool for manipulating the smartest pony of the group. And remember, Twilight is the leader, it's she that says "We're going into the hedge maze, but there's nothing to worry about."

 

In this way, Discord used Twilight's character faults against her before going after the others, and only because Twilight fell for it did all her friends pay the price. Did you have any more reason to think Discord, and the writers, are geniuses?

Edited by Dulset Tarn
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Posted Yesterday, 08:38 PM

The other guys are right about Twilight becoming grey by losing touch with her element, she gave up on friendship and lost sight of the value of her friends, which is why she turned grey. The difference was that it happened "naturally" for her rather than by supernatural means.

 

Wanna hear something interesting though? With every other character, Discord specifically attacks their weakness of character: Applejack's unwillingness to face a harsh truth, Dash's conflicting loyalties, Pinkie's insecurity about her friends, Rarity's greediness, and (after failing on Fluttershy's insecurity about her friends because she doesn't actually have that weakness) aiming for Fluttershy's doormat-ness, how she can be pushed into things with little resistance. But with Twilight, he seems to never target her, simply letting her friends wear her down after they're discorded. BUT, that's actually not true! Twilight was targetted before all the other ponies, she was the first one whose weakness of character is exploited by Discord! Twilight's weakness (at the time, she hardly displays it anymore) was her cockiness. In season 1 it was "Oh I'll just check everything for the celebration, not talk to anypony, and figure out how to find the elements of harmony and stop Nightmare Moon all on my own!" In season 2, it's "Don't worry, as long as we're together, our friendship is absolutely unbeatable, nothing can separate us!" What Discord does is manipulate Twilight by using her overconfidence to get her to make several deadly assumptions. First of course is getting her to think of going to the hedge maze for the elements. That one was actually stated outright but is also the least interesting. The second thing he does is, this is very important,tell Twilight they're playing a game. There's an interesting tendency among Lawful aligned characters that they take games very literally and make assumptions based on that. Lawful characters are easy to manipulate when you present them with a game, and Twilight is probably the most Lawful character in the series. When presented with a game, she assumes that 1) the game is fair, and 2) the game is a game. In truth, neither of these is true, and if she'd been more attentive she would have known it.

 

Remember the rules of Discord's "game"?

1. No wings and no magic

2. Everypony plays or Discord wins.

And that's it. There are two huge problems in that ruleset that Twilight should have noticed, but was too busy being cocky. First, there is no win condition for the ponies. The rules say how Discord wins, but there's no way for the ponies to win. So much for fair, or even being a game. But there's something missing that's even more important than that! Not only is there no way to win, Twilight also fails to realize that there are no stakes! The villain presents a game, the natural assumption is that if you lose something bad happens. But really, if they lose, what could even happen? Discord is already doing whatever he wants, and he never made a threat about them losing. The game has no purpose. This means that Twilight and her friends would have been better off just refusing to play, or giving up. Of course in hindsight, the game's purpose is clear, it was simply a ploy by Discord to separate the ponies and pick them off one by one, because as Twilight said, they have nothing to worry about as long as they're together. But Discord never cared about winning, the game itself was as pointless to him as anything, but a brilliant tool for manipulating the smartest pony of the group. And remember, Twilight is the leader, it's she that says "We're going into the hedge maze, but there's nothing to worry about."

 

In this way, Discord used Twilight's character faults against her before going after the others, and only because Twilight fell for it did all her friends pay the price. Did you have any more reason to think Discord, and the writers, are geniuses?

 

Thank you Dulset Tarn and everybody else that answered. Now I can finally enjoy the episode and think its fantastic without being plagued by issues that I have with it. It is a great episode and I'm sorry for sort of asking for attention with my last few posts. You can still post on this thread but my point is that my question is answered.

 

Thanks everypony.

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Remember the rules of Discord's "game"?

1. No wings and no magic

2. Everypony plays or Discord wins.

And that's it. There are two huge problems in that ruleset that Twilight should have noticed, but was too busy being cocky. First, there is no win condition for the ponies. The rules say how Discord wins, but there's no way for the ponies to win. So much for fair, or even being a game. But there's something missing that's even more important than that! Not only is there no way to win, Twilight also fails to realize that there are no stakes! The villain presents a game, the natural assumption is that if you lose something bad happens. But really, if they lose, what could even happen? Discord is already doing whatever he wants, and he never made a threat about them losing. The game has no purpose. This means that Twilight and her friends would have been better off just refusing to play, or giving up. Of course in hindsight, the game's purpose is clear, it was simply a ploy by Discord to separate the ponies and pick them off one by one, because as Twilight said, they have nothing to worry about as long as they're together. But Discord never cared about winning, the game itself was as pointless to him as anything, but a brilliant tool for manipulating the smartest pony of the group. And remember, Twilight is the leader, it's she that says "We're going into the hedge maze, but there's nothing to worry about."

 

In this way, Discord used Twilight's character faults against her before going after the others, and only because Twilight fell for it did all her friends pay the price. Did you have any more reason to think Discord, and the writers, are geniuses?

Well, technically, there was a win condition for the ponies - find the Elements and use them against Discord. He just didn't correct Twilight's assumption that the Palace Labyrinth was the place where they could be found. Or, if you prefer, the area for the game. In his mind, all of Equestria was the game area. He was relying on Twilight being "clever" and "figuring out" from his words "twists and turns are my master plan..." that the Elements were in there. My own view is that he was being perfectly honest... his plan relied on "twisting" each of the Mane Six and "turning" them against each other in order to make sure that even when they found the Elements, they would no longer be able to use them. But he also was counting on Twilight making that mistake, since he takes such delight in rubbing in her face in it.

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Well, technically, there was a win condition for the ponies - find the Elements and use them against Discord. He just didn't correct Twilight's assumption that the Palace Labyrinth was the place where they could be found. Or, if you prefer, the area for the game. In his mind, all of Equestria was the game area. He was relying on Twilight being "clever" and "figuring out" from his words "twists and turns are my master plan..." that the Elements were in there. My own view is that he was being perfectly honest... his plan relied on "twisting" each of the Mane Six and "turning" them against each other in order to make sure that even when they found the Elements, they would no longer be able to use them. But he also was counting on Twilight making that mistake, since he takes such delight in rubbing in her face in it.

Doesn't make much sense to me. When Dash flies out of the labyrinth, the game ends and the labyrinth collapses, with Discord declaring that they lost. But the search for the elements goes on as if nothing happened. The game was just never about the elements in the first place, Twilight just assumed it was.

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Doesn't make much sense to me. When Dash flies out of the labyrinth, the game ends and the labyrinth collapses, with Discord declaring that they lost. But the search for the elements goes on as if nothing happened. The game was just never about the elements in the first place, Twilight just assumed it was.

You make a good point. If you consider the game only beginning once Discord explains the rules, then you’re right that what I said earlier doesn’t really apply. And I think many other fans would agree with you.
 
I guess it made sense to me because I consider the game starting when Discord first gives his riddle to the group, not when they arrive at the Labyrinth itself. He sarcastically wishes them “good luck”, but he never says anything about the game starting.
 
The game “ends” when Dash breaks a rule, but it’s not actually the rule about “everypony playing” that she breaks first, it’s the rule about “no use of wings [or magic]”. Discord even says as much: “Well, well, it seems somepony broke the no-wings-no-magic rule.” Which is logical, she couldn’t leave the game until she first gets her wings. Or I guess one can think of it as breaking both rules simultaneously, since in getting her wings, she is implicitly announcing her intention to quit.
 
Also, the way both Twilight and Discord speak afterwards implies that the game is still continuing, in a way.
Twilight: “Stop it, Discord, you’re not playing fair!”
Discord: “I’m not playing fair? Perhaps we haven’t met. I’m Discord, spirit of chaos and disharmony. Hello?”
Then he invites her to “keep trying”. To me, this implies that despite what he said, the game is still continuing.
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You make a good point. If you consider the game only beginning once Discord explains the rules, then you’re right that what I said earlier doesn’t really apply. And I think many other fans would agree with you.
 
I guess it made sense to me because I consider the game starting when Discord first gives his riddle to the group, not when they arrive at the Labyrinth itself. He sarcastically wishes them “good luck”, but he never says anything about the game starting.
 
The game “ends” when Dash breaks a rule, but it’s not actually the rule about “everypony playing” that she breaks first, it’s the rule about “no use of wings [or magic]”. Discord even says as much: “Well, well, it seems somepony broke the no-wings-no-magic rule.” Which is logical, she couldn’t leave the game until she first gets her wings. Or I guess one can think of it as breaking both rules simultaneously, since in getting her wings, she is implicitly announcing her intention to quit.
 
Also, the way both Twilight and Discord speak afterwards implies that the game is still continuing, in a way.
Twilight: “Stop it, Discord, you’re not playing fair!”
Discord: “I’m not playing fair? Perhaps we haven’t met. I’m Discord, spirit of chaos and disharmony. Hello?”
Then he invites her to “keep trying”. To me, this implies that despite what he said, the game is still continuing.

 

Also a good point. That's certainly one way to interpret it. It's a little muddled though for a few reasons, almost certainly intentional too because of Discord's obfuscations. For instance, he says breaking the second rule explicitly means they lose, but never says anything about the consequences of breaking the first. Not to mention he's constantly breaking the first rule himself. Personally I explain it by the whole game being more or less a lie in the first place, simply for Twilight to fall for. It was just to make her think she had some understanding of what was happening when something else was happening right under her nose.

 

Though as for when the game started, if we're assuming it can be figured out, it would have to have been after he took their wings and horns, right?

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For instance, he says breaking the second rule explicitly means they lose, but never says anything about the consequences of breaking the first.

 

True, if one is assuming that the consequence of "losing the game" only refers point 2, and is not meant to be referring to both point 1 and 2 at once. Putting one rule with consequences and one without doesn't seem very sensible (but then, what fun is there in making sense?) :umad:Also, if only point 2 ends the game, why didn't he refer to that rule first when informing them that the game was "over"? He explicitly notes rule 1 was broken... unless he secretly used rule 1 to enable him to end the game without ending the game... oh, no, I've gone cross-eyed... :muffins:

 

Though as for when the game started, if we're assuming it can be figured out, it would have to have been after he took their wings and horns, right?

 

Not necessarily. He states his reason for taking them away as to ensure "no cheating", right after Rainbow points out that she can just fly over the maze. Even if the game was already underway and the rule already "set", he could still  choose that moment to inform them of it, because it was the first time the Mane Six attempted to use either flight or magic to their advantage.

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Not necessarily. He states his reason for taking them away as to ensure "no cheating", right after Rainbow points out that she can just fly over the maze. Even if the game was already underway and the rule already "set", he could still  choose that moment to inform them of it, because it was the first time the Mane Six attempted to use either flight or magic to their advantage.

 

But that implies that 1) the hedge maze is the game (if flying over it is an advantage) and 2) that using wings to straight up leave the game entirely is also considered an advantage?? :blink:

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But that implies that 1) the hedge maze is the game (if flying over it is an advantage) and 2) that using wings to straight up leave the game entirely is also considered an advantage?? :blink:

Not the implication I got. It's all part of his "twists and turns" plan. Both rule 1 and 2 are designed to split up the Mane Six so that he can divide and conquer them. Rule 1 prevents them regrouping by RD flying over the walls or Twi teleporting. Rule 2 forced all of them to continue playing so that he a) has more victims for his fun and b ) they would all be mindwashed. No contradiction there.

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Am I the only one who found this similarity really funny?

 

Applejack: I'm the get-alongiest pony there is!

Rarity: That's not even a word.

 

Applebloom: Maybe, if you were actually victoryful at something!

Sweetie Belle: That's not a word!

that's just freakin adorable!

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