|YMMV • Radar • Quotes • (Funny • Heartwarming • Awesome) • Fridge • Characters • Fanfic Recs • Nightmare Fuel • Shout Out • Plot • Tear Jerker • Headscratchers • Trivia • WMG • Recap • Ho Yay • Image Links • Memes • Haiku • Laconic|
Twilight Sparkle: Who are you? I mean, you're me, but I'm me too. How can there be two 'me's? It's not scientifically possible. You are not scientifically possible!
Written by M.A. Larson
Spike is leading the love of his life, Rarity, through a wonderful world made of ice cream... until he hears the clopping of hooves, whereupon he wakes up to find Twilight nervously pacing at 3:00 am. Turns out she's discomforted because, after planning her schedule for the month, she didn't allocate any time to work on next month's schedule, so now her whole year could be thrown off. Annoyed, Spike returns to bed in hopes of returning to ice cream land.
Later that morning, Twilight is still fixing her various schedules when a burst of purple magic abruptly goes off in the middle of the room. It subsides to reveal a purple unicorn with a torn spy suit, an eye patch, a disheveled mane, a bandaged head, and a scar on her face -- Twilight herself! Now there are two Twilights, except one's from the future, and looks like she just walked off the set of Escape from Manehattan. Is she perhaps from some distant time, when Equestria is embroiled in some sort of epic pony war?
Future Twilight: Actually, I'm from next Tuesday morning.
Future!Twilight has an important message to convey, but Present!Twilight is so excited at the prospect of Time Travel that she's full of questions. Future!Twilight has to put a hoof to her mouth to get her past self to shut up, but before she can deliver her message, she disappears in a flash of light. Suddenly realizing that she should have listened to herself, Twilight is charged up to prevent whatever unspecified cataclysm that's about to befall Equestria!
Rushing outside, Twilight warns Ponyville of the impending calamity; everypony laughs at first, but she soon convinces them to take her warning seriously. The pegasi search the skies across Equestria, while everypony else fixes every crack, loose bolt, and stray hair across Ponyville. But even taking every preventive measure doesn't seem enough...
Suddenly, Cerberus, Guardian of the Gates of Tartarus -- where all the evil beings of Equestria are kept -- appears in the middle of Ponyville! He must be the disaster! Steeling herself, Twilight prepares for battle... until Fluttershy tames the beast by tickling his tummy. Realizing that Tartarus is still unprotected, Twilight borrows a ball from Pinkie Pie, then lures the big lug home.
Twilight Sparkle returns home the next morning, whereupon Spike burps up a "lost dog" flyer from Princess Celestia, which gives her a paper cut on her cheek -- the exact same one her future self had! Since this means the future hasn't changed and the great disaster is still to come, Twilight decides to do nothing at all until Tuesday, not even move. Spike and Rainbow Dash decide to have fun at her expense, with Spike eating ice cream by the tubful and tickling her. Twilight telekinetically tosses Spike away, causing him to accidentally belch fire and scorch Twilight's mane, giving her the same style her future self had! Pony Armageddon is still underway!
Spike suggests a visit to a fortune teller, "Madame Pinkie". With her gypsy magic, Pinkie Pie tells Twilight that… she will get a really awesome birthday present next year. Twilight asks her to use her Pinkie Sense instead, but Pinkie explains that it's only for vague, immediate events -- like a flower pot suddenly falling out of the sky onto Twilight's head.
Pinkie Pie visits Twilight the next day, who has an epiphany (as well as a bandage) -- disaster can be averted if she monitors everything until Tuesday! But when Pinkie reminds her that Tuesday is actually tomorrow, Twilight gets into a panic, then ends up looking at the sun through a telescope and blinds herself. While Pinkie provides an emergency eye patch from her secret stashes around town, Twilight decides there's only one thing left to do: Stop time itself.
Remembering that Future!Twilight said that the time spells were locked away in the Star Swirl the Bearded Wing of the Canterlot Archives, Twilight takes Spike and Pinkie with her to Canterlot. After donning black catsuits, eating ice cream, sneaking past guards, going in a circle, eating more ice cream, and having a helpful guard let them into the wing, the trio begin a frantic search for the time spells -- but they're too late! Dawn is breaking, Tuesday morning is here! As Twilight realizes she now looks exactly like her future self, she panics, bracing for the impending disaster...
...and nothing happens. Princess Celestia walks by and says hello. The sun is shining. It's a pretty nice day, actually.
Twilight finally realizes that she's been worrying too much, and pledges to solve problems as they come and let the future handle itself. As Twilight muses that it would have been better if only she had learned this sooner, Pinkie Pie shows a scroll that she found, which can send someone back in time for a few minutes. Twilight decides to use that to warn her past self not to worry about the future.
...oh, so that's where Future Twilight came from! Oh well, it's Past!Twilight's problem now. After a few laughs, the girls head home, especially now that Spike has a stomachache from eating too much ice cream. He had assumed that would be Future!Spike's problem... until he became Future!Spike.
Tropes present in this episode. (YMMV tropes here.)
- The Alcatraz: Implied with the Gates of Tartarus, as it houses all manner of Equestrian monsters.
- Aesop: An interesting two-fer. Twilight learns not to worry so much about what might happen tomorrow-- while Spike (by way of an ice cream stomachache) learns not to just shuck off consequences to the future.
- All Just a Dream: Spike during the Cold Opening.
- Amusing Injuries: Twilight is the recipient of all of them this episode, slowly turning her into Future Twilight until she catches up with herself.
- Both Future and Past Twilight play up the injuries for all they're worth, even calling a paper cut a "scar." Possibly justified in that a week-old paper cut could be mistaken for an older scar at first glance.
- Anticlimax: Twilight stands ready to face off against Cerberus all by herself with gusto, only for Fluttershy to tame it easily.
- Twilight also enter full disaster preparedness mode, protecting herself and Spike, as the sun rises on Tuesday, expecting the worst, until Princess Celestia trots by and says hello.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Twilight's checklist for disaster-proofing Equestria includes patching a dam, fixing a bridge, and trimming Pinkie Pie's bangs.
- Baby Talk: Fluttershy to Cerberus. "Who's a good boy?"
- Bad Future: Comically subverted. Future Twilight just wanted to tell Past Twilight not to worry about the future.
- Bathos: Twilight's dire warning kind of loses its effect with the novelty Groucho glasses.
- Behind a Stick: Twilight hides behind a tree that clearly should not be able to hide her while sneaking around. Pinkie and Spike don't bother.
- Big Friendly Dog: Cerberus, once Fluttershy is involved.
- British Royal Guards: The way Spike and Rainbow Dash act toward Twilight when she decides not to move.
- Call Back: The basic plot is that Twilight's going mad over something that happens on a Tuesday (specifically, the next Tuesday). Sound familiar?
- Star Swirl the Bearded is mentioned once again, and the Star Swirl "wing" in the Canterlot Library that was mentioned is basically just an extra-secured room—which is as big as the entire Ponyville library.
- Once again, Pinkie Pie uses her Pinkie Sense, and once again, it targets Twilight.
- Twilight thinks something is not scientifically possible.
- The dam makes a reappearance, having sprung another leak. They should probably get that checked out further.
- Twilight's organization skills are used to disaster-proof Equestria.
- This wouldn't be the first time Twilight started teleporting more often when she got worked up over something.
- Fluttershy easily tames another mythical creature with a little kindness.
- Ponies sneaking around in black spy catsuits. Now with added dragon.
- Pinkie Pie loves being scared. "Does anypony else want to panic with me?"
- Applejack and Rarity working together. With Applejack doing most of the work and Rarity keeping her clean.
- This isn't the first time one of the Mane Six went a week without sleep.
- Pinkie Pie is called a genius again!
- Cock-a-Doodle Dawn: We don't see the bird, but we do hear it in the distance when the sun comes up on Tuesday.
- Compressed Hair: Pinkie manages to fit her unruly mane into a tight-fitting costume again.
- Compressed Vice: Spike seems awfully fixated on ice cream this week. Unlike candy in "Luna Eclipsed", there's no real motivation here. He just does it because it'll be Someone Elses Problem. Specifically, Future Spike's.
- Continuity Nod: Even though most of Ponyville laughs at Twilight when she says she received a message from the future, the rest of the Mane 6 are more than ready to listen to her. Why? Probably because of what happened the last time they didn't take her concerns seriously.
- Crazy Prepared: Pinkie Pie has stashes of balls and eye patches all over Ponyville in case of ball or eye patch emergencies.
- Twilight attempts to be this to avoid the disaster. The town being well-prepared to jump in to help is probably due to experience from being around the Mane Cast.
- Deadpan Snarker: Spike toward Twilight, as usual.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Actually averted for once. Twilight doesn't make the best start to explaining to the town that she just got a warning about some unknown disaster from her future self (probably because of what she was wearing at that time), but once it's clear that she's serious, she's afforded all the respect a pony who saved the world twice deserves.
- Also, when in Canterlot Castle, a guard recognizes Twilight and lets her into the restricted archive wing she was trying to get into without any grief.
- E=MC Hammer: Averted. While at first glance, the equations on Twilight's blackboard as she tries to understand how to stop time look like rubbish, they're actually legitimate physics equations on time dilation.
- Everypony Hates Hades/Sadly Mythtaken: Averted, for the most part. Instead of going with the underworld as the usual Greek stand-in for Hell, they mention Tartarus the actual Greek equivalent. Of course, Cerberus is the one guarding it instead of the underworld, but that can be overlooked; after all, the Hydra is busy marauding Froggy Bottom Bog.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Eyepatch After Time Skip: Future Twilight: Turns out it's because she looked into the sun with a telescope.
- Eye Scream: That eye patch on Future Twilight? She trusted Pinkie to calibrate her telescope so it would be safe to look at the sun. You can connect the dots from there.
- Face Hoof: Twilight, upon finally realizing that her time traveling is what caused her ordeal.
- Failed a Spot Check: Twilight doesn't notice that the Star Swirl the Bearded Wing is right across the hall from where they came in.
- Fan Girl: Twilight, of herself, and why Future!Twilight can't get a word in edgewise.
- Flower Pot Drop: When Twilight asks the gypsy Pinkie Pie if she can use her Pinkie Sense to detect what will happen in the future, Pinkie explains that it's only for immediate emergencies. Cue "twitchy tail" and flowerpot to Twilight's head.
Pinkie: Like that. (pause) Where did that even come from?
- Fluffy Tamer: Fluttershy has always been one, but this episode makes it comically literal.
- Also an implied trait of Princess Celestia. She sends out lost dog flyers for Cerberus, meaning he's apparently her pet.
- Forgot I Could Fly: Twilight could have just teleported through the locked door to the Star Swirl Wing. She's also teleported both Spike and Pinkie before, so she could have brought them with her.
- Maybe the room was teleport-proof. As for that Time Travel spell, that's probably much stronger.
- Fortune Teller: Pinkie turns out to be working as one.
- Future Badass: Parodied. Future Twilight comes from only a few days in the future, and she only looks the way she does because of a series of random accidents.
- Future Me Scares Me / I Hate Past Me: Future Twilight's appearance scares Twilight a bit before she becomes thrilled with the whole Time Travel thing. Future Twilight, in turn, is frustrated by her past self's refusal to calm down and listen to what she has to say.
- Go Mad From the Revelation: Twilight drives herself crazy with worry over her future self's vague warning.
- Gross Up Close-Up: When Twilight says she has to monitor. EVERYTHING.
- Hammerspace: After finishing her checklist for disaster-proofing Ponyville, Twilight puts her scroll away. The hammerspacing comes in because Twilight doesn't have anything else with her that would store the scroll.
- Hard Work Montage: While everypony is disaster-proofing Ponyville.
- Hell Hound: Cerberus makes an appearance in this episode and is quickly tamed by Fluttershy before he can do any harm.
- Help Your Self in the Future: Twilight tries, but quite literally gets in her own way.
- Highly-Visible Ninja: Twilight, Pinkie, and Spike aren't quite as sneaky as they think. Downplayed for Twilight, as she does spend most of the sneaking actually out of sight.
- Hypocritical Humor: When Spike addresses that Twilight's pacing has worn a groove into the floor.
Twilight: I don't have time for another one of your lectures, Spike! This is serious!
Spike: My lectures?
- I Need You to Shut Up: Unfortunately, Future!Twilight invokes this too late.
- Insane Troll Logic: Twilight first assumes that Future Twilight's warning is dire simply because of her appearance, and then goes through four phases to avert the future: Do something to try to stop it, do nothing to cause it happen, use magic to try to figure out what happens, and use science to try to figure out what happens. Finally, she decides the only way to stop the disaster is to stop time itself so Tuesday morning never comes.
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Twilight pronounces Tartarus as Tar-Tar-Os and not Tar-tur-us like is most common.
- The name can be spelled with a U or an O.
- It Only Works Once: The time-travel spell is specifically stated to work only once, and Twilight wastes it in perpetuating the Stable Time Loop.
- YMMV if it was wasted; would you rather she rip the universe apart with a paradox by NOT completing the time loop?
- Lampshade Hanging: Quite a lot in this episode.
- Pinkie: (Flowerpot falls from nowhere.) "Where did that even come from?"
- Twilight: (Notices the Star Swirl the Bearded Wing is right across the hall.) Huh, how did I miss that?
- Twilight: "Why isn't anypony surprised to see me sneaking around in here?"
- Madness Makeover: Inverted, as instead of Twilight's looks becoming more wild as she loses it, it's her madness that increases as her appearance approaches that of Future!Twilight.
- Magic A Is Magic A: Why Pinkie Pie's Pinkie Sense isn't useful in Twilight's situation. It works to predict vague and immediate events, nothing else.
- Mind Screw: Just a little bit, which is probably for the best since we have the target demographic's sanity to watch out for. At the end of the episode, Twilight just wanted to warn her past self about not worrying the future, a lesson she would have not learned if her future self didn't make her paranoid. Even worse is how Twilight got the knowledge of where the scrolls are: Future Twilight got it from Past, who got it from Future, who got it from Past, who got it from Future, who got it from Past...
- Mundane Fantastic: In Princess Celestia's mail to Twilight, she refers to Cerberus having left the gates of Tartarus as a "lost dog" matter.
- Mundane Utility: Unicorn horns can be used as flashlights. It's not the first time we've seen this utility, either.
- My Future Self and Me
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Twilight's incessant questions about time travel cause her not to hear what her future self wants to warn her about. On the other hoof, if Twilight hadn't gone back in time in the first place, none of this would have happened.
- At the same time, Averted: The town has probably had a thorough maintenance period to be ready for the next major disaster, and Cerberus, the Guardian of the Gates to Tartarus, is back where he belongs. All are unrelated to Twilight's original goal, but they have beneficial side effects.
- Nopony Here But Us Statues: Twilight, Pinkie, and Spike pose as statues in order to hide from the guards, even though they didn't really need to.
- Noodle Incident: Twilight apparently considers trimming Pinkie's mane to be an important part of disaster-proofing the town. Knowing Pinkie, there's probably quite a story behind that.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Twilight's journey to return Cerberus to the Gates of Tartarus is never shown, but considering how disheveled she is upon her return, it wasn't easy.
- One-Scene Wonder: Princess Celestia walks by and delivers only one line in the entire episode.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Twilight's voice is a bit off in a few scenes, sounding more like Tara Strong's natural voice. Rainbow Dash's is unusually deep in the scene where Twilight is trying not to move.
- Parental Bonus: While a certain other wizard has probably helped the target demographic know about Cerberus, the mythological concept of Tartarus holding back ancient evils is likely a tad above them.
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: Averted. Before Twilight can actually kick some ass, Fluttershy calms the beast down.
Twilight: Hey Cerberus! You look like you could use some obedience training. Magic obedience training!
- The Princess Who Doesn't Do Anything: Celestia sends out a "Lost dog" memo to Twilight, at least a day after Cerberus's escape and return to where he belonged.
- Punctuated for Emphasis:
Twilight: I. DON'T. KNOW.
- Also "Monitor. Everything."
- Punny Name: This episode gives us two new towns: Las Pegasus and Baltimare.
- Ripple Effect Indicator: Twilight's physical appearance over the week.
- Running Gag: Spike eating ice cream.
- Pinkie Pie seems to insist that Twilight is searching for her "really cool birthday present" as opposed to the meaning of her future.
- Sanity Slippage: Poor Twilight can't catch a break.
- Schizo-Tech: That hydroelectric(or hydroarcanic) dam is back again.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: All of Twilight's worrying results in her acquiring all the ominous physical differences that Future!Twilight had.
- Shaggy Dog Story: The episode is a week's worth of worry, strife and grief, which all led up to the dramatic reveal of a very pretty sunrise. It was all caused by Twilight using magic to warn herself (unsuccessfully) to not commit a bunch of worry, strife and grief over the next week.
- Future Twilight's arrival is reminiscent of Terminator.
- Future Twilight herself to Solid Snake from the Metal Gear games, including a sneaking mission and posing as a statue. All that's missing is the cardboard box. Also, by extension, that other guy named Snake.
- Twilight's pacing makes a groove around a statue.
- The music playing during Twilight's encounter with herself is a rendition of the Doctor Who theme "I am the Doctor". Also, before Future!Twilight materializes, the iconic "house key scraping piano string" sound of the TARDIS can be heard.
- This episode shares some similarities with the Duckman episode "The Once and Future Duck." In both episodes, the main characters get warnings from future selves, try to avert disaster by not moving, and learn in the end not to stress out about the future.
- Shown Their Work: Those equations on the blackboard, actually from Time Dilation. From astronomy, Twilight's telescope directions are not Techno Babble, and the Horsehead Nebula really exists.
- Spy Catsuit: Twilight, Pinkie Pie, and Spike all don one each.
Spike: "I don't know why we have to wear these things, either."
Pinkie Pie: "Aren't we wearing them for fun?"
- Stable Time Loop: The reason Twilight freaks out about the future is because her future self comes back in time in order to tell her not to freak out about the future.
- Stealth Pun: Spike: "Twilight! It's over!" Said to Twilight when twilight is, um, over.
- Stock Episode Titles: Two other shows have used this as an episode title: Phineas and Ferb and The Penguins of Madagascar.
- Super OCD: Twilight obsessing about not scheduling time to schedule her next schedule.
- Suspiciously Similar Song: The music that plays from the point when Future Twilight first appears to Past Twilight to her return to the future sounds like "I Am the Doctor".
- Talking To Herself: Quite literally, as Twilight converses briefly with Future!Twilight.
- Temporal Paradox: Of the "Information Loop" variety: Future Twilight tells her past self where she found the spell to travel in time, which is why Twilight knows where to look for time manipulation spells when she needs one, which is why she ends up sending herself to the past and telling her past self where she found the spell to travel in time, which is why Past Twilight knows where to look for time manipulation spells, oh, no, I've gone cross-eyed...
- But wait, there's more! Future Twilight herself is a causal nightmare. After all, if Twilight had never gone back, she would never have started to worry, thus never deciding to go back and prevent herself from worrying. So what caused her to worry the first time around?
- Tickle Torture: Spike does this briefly to Twilight when she attempts to avert disaster by not moving at all.
- Time Stands Still: Invoked, but doesn't actually happen.
- Time Travel
- Time Travel Tense Trouble: Some of the dialog raises this issue, and Spike's ice cream tummyache is a direct play on that, assuming that it would have been Future Spike's problem.
Present Twilight: What a mess she is! Or I am. Or…will be!
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: Comically subverted. After Twilight tries hard to sneak into a locked library section containing powerful magical artifacts, a guard she bumps into just lets her in…except that as Princess Celestia's protégé, she's apparently allowed in there, which Twilight herself forgets.
- Took a Level In Badass: Twilight, in appearance and sneaking only.
- She has taken several since the beginning of the series, as she is ready to face Cerberus all by herself and apparently thrilled at the prospect. Compare her performance against a Hydra in Season One.
- She also moves extraordinarily fast throughout the episode. Compare this to early Season 1, when she couldn't even get up after lying down.
- Twenty Minutes Into the Future: Twilight at first thinks her future self is from the distant future. She's from next Tuesday.
- Unnecessary Combat Roll: Twilight does some while sneaking around the archive.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Twilight assumes the Canterlot Archives will be heavily guarded and thus she'll need to sneak in, hence the Spy Catsuit. She seems to have completely forgotten that it isn't out of place for Celestia's personal student to be seen there.
- Unwitting Aesop of Doom: Indirectly provides the trope image. Twilight learning not go get worked up over what seem like warning of impending doom end up causing her to ignore legitimate warning of impending doom later in the series.
- Urine Trouble: Narrowly Averted when Twilight calls Cerberus away from doing his business on the ice cream store.
- You Already Changed the Past: Everything that Future Twilight tried to warn Twilight about came to pass anyway.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Twilight attempts to change the future in order to prevent a perceived catastrophe, only as the days progress, signs keep appearing in the form of injuries, leading Twilight to believe the catastrophe is still on its way.
- You Can Panic Now: Pinkie Pie tries to encourage everypony to panic when Cerberus approaches.
Pinkie Pie: Okay everypony, follow my lead: AAAAHHHHHHHH!
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Rule-Obsessed Twilight insists on sneaking into Canterlot and breaking into the locked Star Swirl The Bearded section of the Canterlot Archives, assuming she'd get in trouble if she was caught there. Turns out as Princess Celestia's personal student, she pretty much has the run of the place. A guard that catches her helpfully unlocks the door for her, and the Princess herself turns up to wish Twilight a good morning while she's knee-deep in unshelved books.
- Whole Costume Reference: As mentioned in the Shout-Out section, Twilight ends the episode in Old Snake's costume, complete with end game battle damage. The only thing missing was his Badass Mustache.