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Written by Meghan McCarthy
Twilight Sparkle is picnicking with her friends, when Spike produces a list of instructions from Princess Celestia for the Mane Six to organize and support a wedding in Canterlot. They are confused until Spike produces the previous message announcing that Princess Mi Amore Cadenza is marrying Shining Armor -- Twilight Sparkle's older brother.
Twilight takes it very hard that her brother, with whom she was very close, didn't give her the news in person -- or even tell her he was seeing someone. She fears their relationship will never be the same now that she lives in Ponyville and he's getting married. Her worries preoccupy her all the way to Canterlot.
When she confronts her brother, he is very happy to see her and clarifies her understanding. The mysterious princess is actually Twilight's much-beloved old foal-sitter, who Twilight knew as "Cadence". Shining Armor goes on to explain that due to a threat to the city, all his concentration is going into the constant upkeep of a spell of protection for Canterlot. Once he asks Twilight to be his Best Mare, Twilight is more than mollified; she's pleased, and very happy to see her old friend -- until Cadence arrives and brushes off the Secret Handshake from their youth. Twilight is set on edge by this cool reaction from her old friend, but lets it go ...
...until she sees Cadence fake appreciation of Applejack's cooking, sneer at Rarity's beautiful wedding gown design, and diss Pinkie Pie's reception planning. Twilight sits down with her friends and voices her concerns, but the other five ponies assure Twilight it's just bridal nerves. Unconvinced, she goes to talk to Shining Armor. But before she can voice her suspicions, Cadence arrives and demands his attention. Twilight eavesdrops on the ensuing conversation between the Princess and Shining Armor. Peeking through the door, she witnesses Cadence cast a spell on Shining Armor, cementing her concerns.
As the rehearsal for the wedding begins, Twilight calls out Cadence, declaring her evil, describing all she's seen, including the spell. To Twilight's dismay, nopony treats her suspicions with credulity. Cadence bursts into tears and runs from the room. Shining Armor is then angry with his sister because of her actions and reprimands her, picking apart each of her accusations (he explains that Cadence's magic was to alleviate the migraines he keeps receiving from casting the barrier over Canterlot) and that she shouldn't bother to come to the wedding.
The Mane Six and Princess Celestia walk out with disappointed glances at Twilight, with the latter simply telling her, "You have a lot to think about," before leaving Twilight alone to contemplate her actions. Fearing she has irreparably damaged the relationship with her brother, Twilight reflects sadly on losing her BBBFF. Cadence suddenly appears in the darkened hall, to whom Twilight murmurs "I'm sorry." The Princess gives a warm smile... before her eyes flash malevolently green.
Hellish green flames encircle Twilight and drag her down through the floor as Cadence gives an evil grin! She really is evil, and who knows what has become of our little pony heroine!
TO BE CONTINUED
Continued in "A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2".
Tropes present in this episode (YMMV tropes here):
- Actor Allusion:
- Of a sort. At one point, Princess Mi Amore Cadenza smiles in a very similar way to one of Trixie's expressions back in season one. Once she's revealed as the Changeling Queen and returns to her true form, she shares a voice actor with Trixie.
- Shining Armor's is "Captain of the guard", a profession once shared by Jaller in Bionicle, whom shares the same VA as Shining Armor.
- Affectionate Gesture to the Head:
- Shining Armor gives Twilight an affectionate hoof noogie during the Flash Back accompanying the "B.B.B.F.F." song.
- Princess Mi Amore Cadenza reaches out with a hoof and strokes Twilight's mane right before casting the fire circle and sending her under the castle.
- Alpha Bitch: How Princess Mi Amore Cadenza acts. But it's not her.
- Art Shift: During Twilight's Dark Reprise of her earlier song.
- Ascended Fanon: While it wasn't exactly hard to guess, Luna is shown to switch places with Celestia at night while Celestia rests, confirming the common fan theory that Luna is nocturnal. It also explains Luna's comment at the end of Part 2 -- she missed the wedding-day ruckus (or fracas) because she slept through it.
- Barrier Stallion/Barrier Warrior: Shining Armor serves as one here, as he's the only one who could erect a force field strong enough to protect Canterlot against an unknown threat, and the force field requires constant upkeep from him.
- Behind the Purple: While Twilight and her friends are gathered around a table, Applejack peeks over Twilight's head so she can be seen... by the camera.
- Best Mare: Shining Armor asks Twilight to be this. Until she accuses the bride of being evil.
- Bridezilla: Mi Amore Cadenza acts like this, and Rarity theories it's due to the wedding planning pressure. She did want her day to be perfect, but she was also literally not herself.
- Broken Pedestal: Twilight's first reaction to being told her brother is marrying Cadence is nothing more than absolute glee that her childhood friend and the "best foalsitter ever" is marrying her brother. Then she sees the Jerkass Cadence has become (or seemed to). In the end, thanks to Impostor Cadence, she ends up becoming this in everyone else's eyes to some degree.
- Call Back:
- Applejack is the caterer for the wedding like she was for the Summer Sun Festival in the very first episode.
- Fluttershy's bird choir makes a return.
- Twilight is the organizer.
- Rainbow Dash is called to perform her Sonic Rainboom.
- Pinkie plays the Parasprite Polka while demonstrating to Mi Amore Cadenza.
- She was using it to portray The Chicken Dance, an old wedding tradition in some circles.
- We see that force field that Twilight conjured in "Ponyville Confidential except this time Shining Armor's the one who made it. (Maybe she learned the spell from her big brother.) The Anti-Magic bubble from "The Return of Harmony Part 2" also looked the same.
- Twilight does her joyful jumping around thing both as a filly and an adult, like she did in The Cutie Mark Chronicles.
- The Smarty Pants doll makes a brief reappearance in Twilight's flashback to Cadence. Twilight is pulling Smarty Pants out of a toy chest with her magic just before Cadence walks into the room. When Twilight sees Cadence, she drops Smarty Pants to get a hug. Smarty Pants is even seen with her quill and notebook!
- In the same scene, near the roof is a kite exactly like the one Apple Bloom tried to learn to fly in Call of the Cutie.
- Call Back to "Suited For Success", possibly mixed with Character Development. This time Rainbow Dash is able to articulate what she doesn't like about her dress and how it can be improved, and Rarity is more pleasant about making changes to it.
- The Cameo: Luna appears several times throughout the two-parter, though she has no bearing on the plot.
- Cassandra Truth: Zig-Zagging Trope. Everypony dismisses Twilight's claim that Cadence is evil. But then Cadence is revealed to be incredibly nice. The jerk-Cadence was an impostor.
- Chaste Toons: Mi Amore Cadenza is Celestia's niece, despite Luna having come down from the moon only short while ago. Presumably she's like Celestia's nephew Blueblood, whom Word of God specifies to be "the great great great great great great great great great great great (and probably even more greats) nephew on Celestia's and Luna's mother's side, about 52 times removed, roughly speaking."
- Chekhov's Care Bear Stare: Cadence's signature spell (Seen in flashback) becomes very important next episode
- Cliff Hanger
- Comically Missing the Point: When Cadence dismisses Pinkie's plans as being perfect for a six year-old's birthday party, Pinkie thanks her. Also see Insult Backfire.
- Control Freak: Mi Amore Cadenza -- understandably, since it's her wedding and she has to do all the preparations by herself with her groom tied up with the upkeep of the protection spell. But it's not really her.
- Creator Cameo: The female Pegasus in the flashback is a creation of SIBSY.
- Crying Wolf: Twilight's habit of making mountains out of molehills comes back to bite her in the flank, big time.
- Damned By Faint Praise: Twilight see's Princess Cadence's actions towards the other ponies like this, though none of the other five notice it.
- Dark Reprise: Of Twilight's "B.B.B.F.F." song, after she's alienated her brother.
- Deflector Shields: The whole city of Canterlot gets one, courtesy of Shining Armor.
- Defictionalization: The cake served at the Hub's office party very closely resembles the wedding cake Applejack makes, only with three tiers instead of five.
- Downer Ending: Part 1 ends with literally everypony, including Celestia, abandoning Twilight after she accuses Mi Amore Cadenza of being evil. And then the Princess kidnaps her. But it is a Cliff Hanger.
- Dragged Off to Hell: Fake!Cadence's spell to drag Twilight down into the mines definitively brings this to mind.
- Fainting: Rarity does it twice, once when she found out she was making dresses for a princess' wedding and again when she learns that she'll be making dresses for the wedding of a princess and the captain of the royal guard. Twilight magically produces a pillow for the second one.
- Force Field Door: The only way anybody can get into Canterlot, as "we don't know who's responsible" for the threat made against it.
- Shining Armor mentions early on that there was a threat made against Canterlot and he has been busy maintaining a shield. We also see his migraine reaction at doing it, which comes up later.
- Cadence's absolute confusion when Twilight greets her for the first time.
- In Twilight's Flash Back we see that Cadence's magic aura is a light, silvery blue. In the present day, Princess Mi Amore Candenza's aura is a Sickly Green Glow.
- Each song in the episode, as well as the following one, ends on a minor note rather than a major one. In musical terms, this is known as a Deceptive Cadence.
- Also, the billboard for the episode, which shows Twilight looking very suspicious.
- While the ending of Part 1 bluntly reveals that Twilight's accusations of Cadence being evil were perfectly correct, only a split-second unnatural green flash in Cadence's eyes hints that she is not the real Cadence (nor even a pony) at all!
- When Pinkie Pie goes over the games with Cadence, she rolls two dice. A close look at the dice reveals that she rolls two ones, or Snake Eyes. This roll is usually associated in most games with bad luck, and snakes themselves are associated with deceit and betrayal.
- Fun with Acronyms: Twilight's B.B.B.F.F. and Applejack's countering P.F.F., both of which require explanation.
- Furry Reminder: Twilight snorts during her fit of rage towards the beginning.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- Spike talking about the Bachelor Party.
- Rainbow Dash covering her loins as the train passes through the barrier.
- Hope Spot: During Twilight's My God, What Have I Done? moment, Cadence appears and gently strokes her mane. Twilight tearfully says that she's sorry, and it seems like the two are going to reconcile... until Cadence pulls out her Slasher Smile and imprisons Twilight beneath the castle.
- Humiliation Conga: A rare, heroic, undeserved example. After Twilight accuses the Princess, her brother gets angry at her, revokes her status as best mare and her invitation to the wedding, her friends walk off, very disappointed with her reckless behavior, all of which is topped off by Celestia, her mentor, telling Twilight "you have a lot to think about."
- "I Am" Song: "B.B.B.F.F." is a song that both describes what kind of pony Shining Armor is and also gives us more insight into Twilight's childhood.
- Imposter Forgot One Detail: Twilight first becomes suspicious of Cadence after she scoffs at their Secret Handshake. Strangely, no one notices Cadence isn't using the right color magic.
- In-Series Nickname:
- Twilight's brother calls her "Twily."
- Princess Mi Amore Cadenza is called Cadence by Twilight Sparkle.
- Insult Backfire: The Princess says Pinkie Pie's reception would be great... if they were hosting a six-year-old's birthday! Pinkie beams and thanks her.
- Ironic Echo: A nonverbal one; in Twilight's "BBBFF" song, she's shown absentmindedly crashing into Shining Armor, who scowls and then breaks into a grin. After Cadence runs out of the chapel crying, the same scenario happens, only this time Shining Armor is absolutely not smiling.
- Irony: Twilight says in her song that she and her brother "never had a single fight", but that's clearly no longer the case by the end of the episode.
- It's the Best Whatever Ever!: Best wedding ever, as cited by Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie.
- Lampshade Hanging: No doubt the audience is confused about Twilight having a brother they never heard of until this episode.
- Meaningful Name:
- Shining Armor should be obvious.
- Cadence, on the other hand, is a variation of not only a musical term, but a heraldic one -- cadency marks denote the birth order of sons or daughters of a given line. So her name connotes nobility, just like Blue Blood. It also has a connection to the military, as the classic boot camp Sound Off is properly called a Cadence.
- Also, there's a really obscure meaning for the music experts: the song "B.B.B.F.F." was sung in the key Db minor. That means the root key was a Db major chord. Usually, an Ab major chord would lead into a Db major at the end of the song; this is called a V-I chord progression and is musically termed as an "Authentic Cadence". However, the song resolves on Bb minor, the relative minor of Db, to give it a sadder tone at the end. When a chord progression seems to be heading to a root chord but instead ends on the relative minor, that is called a "Deceptive Cadence". First documented here, and subsequently confirmed by Daniel Ingram.
- Bilingual Bonus: Princess Cadence's full name is Mi Amore Cadenza, which is like "my love cadence" in a mix of Italian and Spanish. This is fitting given her cutie mark and special talent.
- Mood Whiplash: Yep, they do it again with the happy theme music at the end first half of a two-parter.
- Musical Spoiler: B.B.B.F.F. has a subtle but major one which could only be spotted by people well-versed in musical theory. The song ends with a chord progression known as a Deceptive Cadence. Confirmed by Word of Composer.
- My Brother Is Off Limits: Everyone else thinks Twilight is just doing this trope and being jealous, whereas she thinks she has reason to think there's something badly wrong with the bride. The viewer may well be able to see in advance that Twilight is right, even if there is probably a little bit of this trope there too.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Twilight after everyone walks out on her and she thinks she messed up. Unfortunately, this time she was right.
- Nice Hat: The Mane Six's hats -- both in the episode(s) and in promotional material (see, for example, the billboard image).
- Non Standard Character Design: Princess Cadence is a Winged Unicorn with black-rimmed eyes like Celestia (either eyeliner or just trait of the family's royal lineage), gradient wings, and an unusually shaped face.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Celestia's looking worried again? We're doomed.
- Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: The episode ends with every last one of Twilight Sparkle's friends -- and her mentor! -- on the outs with her. Luckily, the status quo is back to normal almost as soon as the second part begins.
- Properly Paranoid: Twilight.
- Poor Communication Kills: If Twilight had explained herself better and on a better occasion, rather than declaring Cadence "evil" and bursting in at the rehearsal to do so, the others might not have brushed off her concerns so easily, not to mention got so angry. Princess Celestia in particular had apparently never once doubted her before. Ironically, however, this may have worked better in the long run because it scared the villain to reveal herself unambiguously; as recounted by Shining Armor, Cadence did have an excuse ready for every accusation.
- Reality Subtext: It has not been lost on the fandom that Twilight and Cadence's relationship has an awful lot in common with this particular story.
- Remember The New Pony: The use of this trope for both Shining Armor and Cadence takes up so much screen time that it practically overshadows the entire episode. Cadence is more blatant though, being both an alicorn and retroactively built up as the epitome of sweetness and light during Twilight's childhood.
- Season Finale
- Secret Hoofshake: Twilight and Cadence have one.
- On the billboard image, Pinkie is wearing the same ridiculous hat that Princess Beatrice wore for the British Royal Wedding. In fact, all of the Mane cast save Applejack are wearing various hats photographed during the wedding, and even the flower in Applejack's hair resembles a hair decoration from the wedding.
- Shining Armor's outfit has the same colors and overall design as Prince Williams' wedding attire.
- Sickly Green Glow: Impostor Cadence's spells and Shining Armor's Mind Control Eyes.
- Single Tear: Twilight at the end of "BBBFF," lamenting what she sees as the growing distance between herself and her brother.
- Slasher Smile: Cadence gets one after summoning a circle of flames to drag Twilight away.
- Stealth Pun: Applejack asks a downcast Twilight "Why the long face?", the punchline to that terrible old horse/barman joke.
- Suddenly Voiced: Though very briefly, fan-favorite Lyra Heartstrings speaks for the first time outside of a group scene (in English). Oh, and Minuette/Colgate/Romandadhorsatrelundar talks, too.
- Surprise Creepy: The Downer Ending. While there were some creepy moments before it, Cadence suddenly donning a Slasher Smile and summoning a circle of flames to drag Twilight down to who knows where is horrifying.
- Theme Tune Cameo: Very subtle, but the last "forever" Twilight sings in "BBBFF" (not the reprise) is sung in tune of the My Little Pony theme.
- Trampled Underhoof: When Cadence returns to the hall near the end, she steps on and shatters the Twilight figurine from the "graphics" for the Dark Reprise of "BBBFF" as she approaches Twilight. Naturally the trampling is only as real as the figurine itself, working as a metaphor either way.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
- Pinkie Pie sneezes confetti. The others seem to just shrug it off and nopony comments on it. Bonus points for coming right after Rarity's line: "Royal Weddings attract the strangest of ponies..."
- The defensive shield around Canterlot is clearly visible from Ponyville, and no-one seems even slightly worried about it. They only comment on it when they arrive, assuming it must be to do with the wedding.
- Villain Ball: What chance would have Twilight -- despodent, regretful, not believed by anyone -- had to ruin the imminent invasion if the villain had just left her alone instead of acting against her? Almost certainly not as much as now.
- Walking Spoiler: The impostor Cadence, or if you prefer, Queen Chrysalis of the Changelings, since this is revealed in part 2.
- Wedding Day: Shining Armor to Princess Cadence.
- What The Hay, Hero?: Twilight gets quite a heavy one at the end of the episode by Shining Armor after she accuses Cadence of being evil on bases he can easily counter, and sends her out crying.
- Wham! Line:
Twilight: I'm sorry...
"Cadence": You will be.
- What Could Have Been: According to the writer this was supposed to be a one-shot, slice-of-life episode without any villain. But it was rewritten as a two-parter with an adventure aspect.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: The imposter Cadence breaks down in tears to alienate everypony else from Twilight.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Twilight easily picks up on the cues that Cadence is up to no good -- but the notion that her former favorite foal-sitter who suddenly acts as though they never met before might simply be an impostor never even occurs to her until she finds the real Cadence in the next episode.
- You Have to Believe Me: Twilight really doesn't do a very good job of explaining why Cadence is evil to the rest of the wedding party (except for the spell she cast on Shining Armor, which was explained away) -- it just makes her look possessive and unstable.
- ↑ Big Brother Best Friend Forever
- ↑ Pony Friend Forever
- ↑ Note: the image is somewhat incorrect in that it is B.B.B.F.F. that does that little trick, not This Day Aria.
- ↑ It would be "Il mio amore Cadenza" in Italian, and "Mi Amor Cadencia" in Spanish.
- ↑ some of the foreign dubs voiced her in earlier appearances