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Lesson Zero

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Lesson Zero
Clock is ticking S02E03
Season №: 2
Season episode №: 3
Overall episode №: 29
Original airdate: October 15, 2011
Written by: Meghan McCarthy
Storyboard: Raven Molisee & Nicole Wang[1]
See also
transcriptgalleryallusions
animation errorsstatisticsspeculation
Episode guide
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The Return of Harmony Part 2
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Luna Eclipsed
Lesson Zero is the third episode of the second season of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic and the twenty-ninth episode overall. In this episode, Twilight realizes that she has not written her weekly letter on friendship to Princess Celestia. She struggles to find a friendship problem and decides that her only option is to create a friendship problem herself.


Production and airing

The episode is the first to use the remastered theme song.[2] It is the first episode of the second production span, which includes all of season two except for the first two episodes.​[​citation needed​]​

The episode was #7 in the We Heart Ponies Fan Favorite Mare-a-thon, in the leadup to Hearts and Hooves Day.

Changes in magic

Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, and Princess Celestia have new colors for their magical horn glow in this episode. Twilight's magic glow color has changed from purple to light raspberry, Rarity's from blue to vivid blue, and Princess Celestia's from light blue to gold. The new glow colors more closely match the colors of the characters' cutie marks, instead of using their eye color, as has been done in previous episodes.

Summary

Checklist: Check!

Twilight Sparkle checking off stuff on her to-do list S2E3

Twilight is checking if everything is fine.

The episode starts off with Twilight and Spike walking through Ponyville, collecting items on a checklist for a picnic. Twilight goes to pick up her order of cupcakes, and finds out that Mrs. Cake added one extra cupcake whose icing was touching another cupcake's icing. Worried that her friends might get jealous of whoever gets the cupcake with the "extra" icing, Twilight hastily tries to "fix" the icing problem, leaving only a tiny amount of icing on each cupcake. Spike is left covered in frosting, which he licks off. Afterwards, they head home to Golden Oak Library, with their checklist complete. Spike points out that Twilight has not written a letter to Princess Celestia this week, causing the unicorn to panic. 
"Bad? BAD? Of course it's bad! I'm supposed to send Princess Celestia a letter every week, telling her about a lesson I've learned about friendship! Not every other week, not every 10 days, every single week!"
— Twilight Sparkle
Twilight Sparkle Magic kindergarten S2E3

Twilight imagining herself sent back to Magic Kindergarten.

Twilight checks her calendar and finds out it has been exactly one week since her last letter to the Princess, and is terrified of the possibility of being tardy. In a state of extreme anxiety, Twilight speculates that the Princess could punish her with an exam to prove she has been taking her studies seriously, which Twilight fears she would fail, prompting the Princess to send her back to Magic Kindergarten. Twilight envisions herself sitting in classroom surrounded by mocking foals, but the thought is 'popped' by Spike as he reasons that the Princess would never allow such a thing to happen. Ignoring her assistant's words of wisdom, Twilight becomes determined to solve a friendship-problem and have a letter written to Princess Celestia before sundown. She first drills Spike on his problems, but when he is revealed to have none Twilight goes out to find a friend in need. An exasperated Spike groans and states, "This won't end well."

Off to find a problem

Fluttershy wrestling a bear S2E03

If she wasn't the caretaker of animals, Fluttershy would have had what it takes to be an Equestria Wrestling champion.

While looking around Ponyville, Twilight overhears Rarity crying at her shop, having lost some diamond ribbon she requires for a dress. Before Twilight can help her, however, Rarity finds the ribbon she needed, much to Twilight's disappointment. While searching for her other friends, Twilight finds Rainbow Dash, destroying an old barn on Sweet Apple Acres. Twilight, thinking that Rainbow Dash and Applejack are fighting with each other, stops Rainbow Dash. However, Rainbow Dash informs Twilight that Applejack asked her to destroy the old barn to make room for a new one, which Applejack confirms before Dash finishes off the demolition by diving into the barn and creating a colorful mushroom cloud explosion.

Still determined to find a problem, Twilight decides to visit Fluttershy. However, when arriving at her cottage, Twilight sees Fluttershy fighting a bear and decides to back off, exclaiming, "Of all the days she had to stop being such a scaredy-pony, she had to pick today?!" As Twilight leaves in despair, it is revealed that Fluttershy was actually aiding the bear with a tense shoulder and giving it a massage.

Crazy picnic

Main 5 ponies looking at worried Twilight S02E03

Twilight's friends are unsure about her behavior.

Twilight, growing more worried and rapidly becoming unhinged, starts to tearfully talk to her own reflection in a puddle, adopting two separate tones, one terrified that she will not make the deadline, the other insisting that it is still possible to solve a problem in time. She starts hallucinating small filly ponies laughing at her before Spike intervenes, revealing that the "laughing ponies" are just some fillies innocently playing jump rope nearby. Spike then reminds Twilight about the picnic and she heads off to meet up with her friends.

A very agitated and slightly crazed Twilight arrives at the picnic and explains to her friends that she needs them to help her find a lesson about friendship to write about to Princess Celestia. The other five ponies brush off her issue as nothing, laughing and claiming Twilight has nothing to worry about, and she angrily runs away to continue her search for a problem.

Clock, is, ticking!

"If I can't find a friendship problem... I'll make a friendship problem!"
— Twilight Sparkle
Twilight Sparkle with a bird's nest on her head S2E03

Twilight is crazy about making a friendship problem.

With the sun about to set, Twilight, now sporting a disheveled mane and an insane-looking grin, decides the only option left is to create a problem so she can solve it. She spots the Cutie Mark Crusaders playing with a ball, which begins growing until it pops with Twilight inside it, a visual gag added by Raven M. Molisee.[3] Twilight approaches the Crusaders to try and get them to take her old toy, Smarty Pants, in the hopes that the fillies will argue over who gets to play with it first.  When they instead react negatively to the doll, she casts a "want it, need it" spell on it, making the Crusaders want the toy so badly they resort to physical blows. She tries to break up the fight, but is unable to. She asks Big McIntosh, who is passing by, to get the doll. However, upon easily retrieving it, he too falls under the spell and runs away with the doll. Eventually, nearly all of Ponyville falls for the spell and begins to fight over the doll. The sun finally sets as Princess Celestia intervenes to undo her student's spell, returning all of the ponies to normal. She sternly instructs Twilight to meet her at the library before leaving. Twilight tearfully bids farewell to her friends, who realize they may never see her again.

Apology to the Princess

Twilight "I'm tardy" S2E03

Twilight: Okay, so accidentally charming Ponyville, just to find a lesson in friendship, wasn't one of my better ideas.

Once in the library, Twilight explains her actions to Princess Celestia while Spike overhears. Princess Celestia shows her immense faith in her student, and says that she does not require a letter every week. Twilight's friends barge in and plead for the Princess to be merciful to her student: they admit that they were wrong for denying Twilight's help when she needed it most, and they apologize. In lieu of a punishment for Twilight, Princess Celestia requests that all of Twilight's friends write her letters about friendship from now on, but only when they actually find one. Before she leaves, she tells Twilight that Spike made her aware of Twilight's fears getting the best of her, and after she leaves, Twilight gives Spike a loving hug.
"From this day forth, I would like you all to report to me your findings on the magic of friendship, when, and only when, you happen to discover them. "
— Princess Celestia

The episode ends with all the ponies, as well as Spike, offering a collaborative report, showing that they learned about taking a friend's worries seriously, even if it does not seem so, and not letting problems go out of proportion in order to fix them.

Quotes

For more quotes, see the episode's transcript.
Twilight Sparkle: Great. Now that we've completed the checklist of things we need to create a checklist, we can make my checklist of the things I have to get done by the end of the day. Ready?
Spike: Ready.
Twilight Sparkle: Item one: Create checklist of the things I have to accomplish by the end of the day.
Spike: [sigh]
Twilight Sparkle: We haven't sent a letter to Princess Celestia this week?!
Spike: Why? Is that bad?
Twilight Sparkle: Bad? BAD? Of course it's bad! I'm supposed to send Princess Celestia a letter every week, telling her about a lesson I've learned about friendship! Not every other week, not every 10 days, every single week!
Twilight Sparkle: She's my teacher. Do you know what teachers do to students who don't pass? They send them back a grade! But she won't just send me back a grade. She'll send me back to... magic kindergarten.
Rarity: And of all the worst things that could happen, this is the! Worst! Possible! Thing!
Twilight Sparkle: [Watching Rainbow Dash destroy barn] Rainbow must be angry with Applejack! She must hate her guts. How wonderful!
Twilight Sparkle: Now, why don't you tell me all about your issues with Applejack.
Rainbow Dash: I don't have any issues with Applejack.
Twilight Sparkle: You don't? Then...why are you destroying her property?
Rainbow Dash: Because she asked me to.
Twilight Sparkle: It's fine. It'll all be fine. The day isn't over yet. But it will be over soon! [groans] It'll be all over! My time in Ponyville! My advanced studies! No, no. You're a good student. You can do this. Ooh! But what if I can't? You can. You just have to keep it together. Keep. It. Together!
Twilight Sparkle: [Looking at sun starting to set] Clock is ticking, Twilight. Clock. Is. Ticking!
Twilight Sparkle: Hi girls!
Sweetie Belle: [Looking at Smarty Pants doll] I really like her... mane?
Twilight Sparkle: I'd hate to cause a rift between such good friends.
Twilight Sparkle: Big McIntosh! Thank goodness! You gotta help me get that doll away from those girls!
Big McIntosh: Eeyup.
Twilight Sparkle: Oh, thank you so much! Now, if you could just give her to me—
Big McIntosh: [muffled] Eenope.
Princess Celestia: Meet me in the Library.
Rarity: Of all the worst things that could happen, this is the! Worst! Possible! Thing!
Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy and Applejack: [giving her a dirty look]
Rarity: What? I really mean it this time!
Princess Celestia: Looks like you all learned a pretty valuable lesson today.
Twilight's Friends: Uh-hm.
Princess Celestia: Very well. I'll forget Twilight's punishment, on one condition: from this day forth, I'd like you all to report to me your findings on the magic of friendship, when, and only when, you happen to discover them.
Twilight's Friends: [cheer]

Gallery

Ponies trying to grab Smarty Pants from Big McIntosh S02E03

Lesson Zero image gallery

References

  1. Raven Molisee's deviantART journal (2012-02-23). Retrieved on 2012 February 23.
  2. Daniel Ingram (September 17, 2011). Twitter. Retrieved on 2011 September 17.
  3. Everfree Radio interview with Sabrina Alberghetti and Raven M. Molisee (2012-08-31). Retrieved on 2012 August 31.
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