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The Crystal Empire - Part 1

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For the location, see Crystal Empire.
The Crystal Empire - Part 1
King Sombra shadow creeping up behind main characters S3E1
Season №: 3
Season episode №: 1
Overall episode №: 53
Original airdate: November 10, 2012
Written by: Meghan McCarthy
Storyboard: Tom Sales and Johnny Castuciano[1]
Featured characters: King Sombra
Crystal Ponies
Songs: The Failure Song
The Ballad of the Crystal Empire
See also
transcriptgalleryallusions
animation errorsstatisticsspeculation
Episode guide
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A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2
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The Crystal Empire - Part 2
The Crystal Empire - Part 1 is the first episode of the third season of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic and the fifty-third episode overall.[2] In this episode, a curse that caused an empire to vanish for a thousand years has finally ended. Princess Celestia orders Twilight Sparkle and her friends to help defend the newly awakened Empire against King Sombra, the evil unicorn who had cursed the empire. It is the first half of a two-part episode.

Summary

Prologue

Twilight angry at Spike S3E01

"Just a test?!"

In the royal Canterlot castle, an Earth pony royal guard dashes into the throne room to inform Princess Celestia that "it has returned". Celestia, now deeply worried, orders the guards to find Princess Cadance and Shining Armor, and writes a letter to Twilight Sparkle telling her to come to Canterlot at once.

Beginning the test

In Golden Oak Library, Twilight Sparkle rushes to pack quills, flash cards, and reference books. Spike tries to calm her down and says that it's just a test, but Twilight indignantly asks, "Just a test?" Spike puts on a helmet and shields himself with pillows before reluctantly answering "Yes". Applejack says, "I think she handled that pretty well, considering-" but Twilight screams and launches the entire library into the air to vent her frustration.

Meanwhile, in Canterlot Castle, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna look at a new stained glass window depicting Princess Cadance and Shining Armor saving Equestria with the power of love. Celestia tells Luna that she should not go to the Crystal Empire because Twilight and her friends will join Princess Cadance and Shining Armor there. Luna fears for the collapse of the Crystal Empire again. Celestia reassures her that Twilight will succeed at her task, bringing her one step closer to "being ready". Twilight walks in with a saddlebag of quills, paper, and books, ready to take a written test. With a soft assurance from Celestia to trust her, Luna leaves the room to let the two speak alone. Celestia solemny tells Twilight that she will not be taking the kind of test she is expecting.

Princess Celestia shows Twilight how the Crystal Empire looks like S3E01

Celestia showing Twilight a map of the Crystal Empire.

Princess Celestia tells Twilight that the Crystal Empire has returned. Twilight doesn't remember reading about the Crystal Empire, and Celestia says that very few actually remember its existence. She uses a pink crystal to create a three-dimensional model of the Crystal Empire, admitting that her knowledge about the empire is limited to the fact that it contains a powerful magic. Celestia describes how King Sombra, an evil unicorn with a heart "as black as night", conquered the Crystal Empire and ruled tyrannically over its citizens. Celestia and Luna defeated King Sombra and banished him to the "ice of the arctic north", but not before King Sombra cursed the Crystal Empire and caused it to vanish.

Celestia tells Twilight, "If the kingdom is filled with hope and love, then those things would spread all across Equestria." Celestia fires a beam of her golden yellow magic at the crystal, illuminating the room in a rainbow of colors. She grimly continues, "But if hatred and fear take hold..." At which point, her horn glows purple and her eyes turn green (like those of King Sombra's) as she fires a pitch-black beam at it. The crystal casts a black shadow, and tall black crystals spring up around Twilight. Celestia shatters the black crystals and explains that she needs Twilight to protect the Crystal Empire.

As Celestia escorts her student out of the throne room, Twilight sees that Luna has been waiting by the double doors, but she only returns Twilight's look with a serious expression. Twilight fears that she will fail, but Celestia is confident in Twilight's abilities and guarantees her that she will move on to the next level of her studies after she saves the empire. Celestia gives her one last piece of information: in the end, it must be Twilight, and her alone, who ultimately helps her sister-in-law and brother protect the Crystal Empire. Receiving Twilight's affirmation, Celestia sends her on her way.

Twilight steps out of the castle and sings The Failure Song to express how she doesn't feel prepared for the mission. She and her friends take a train to the outskirts of the Crystal Empire and disembark in the middle of a snowy, windy, wasteland. Shining Armor, wearing a scarf and goggles, meets them and tells them to hurry because it is dangerous beyond the empire's borders. King Sombra suddenly appears in the form of great clouds of black smoke and starts pursuing the ponies. The friends break into a run and Shining Armor stops to confront Sombra. Sombra's black smoke dodges the beams of magic that the prince shoots at it and plunges straight at him as he braces for the attack.

Meeting Shining Armor and Princess Cadance

The friends reach the safety of the Crystal Empire, passing through a bright blue bubble surrounding the empire. Shining Armor joins them, but his horn has become encrusted with small black crystals. He tries to cast a spell, but the crystals impede his magic and he sadly shakes his head at Twilight. The ponies gaze at the resplendent city and Pinkie Pie exclaims, "Sparkleriffic!" As the ponies walk through the deserted streets towards the castle, Rarity is dazzled by the crystalline roads and buildings, but Rainbow Dash is not wowed. Applejack reminds Rarity that they are here to help Twilight, not admire the scenery.

Cadance and Twilight doing the

Twilight and Cadance greet each other

In a room overlooking the Empire, the friends find Princess Cadance slumped on the throne. Her horn is constantly emitting blue magic and she has bags under her eyes. Cadance is excited to see Twilight, and they sing their "Sunshine, sunshine, ladybugs awake!" childhood rhyme. Suddenly, thunder strikes outside, and Cadance's magic flickers. Shining Armor sadly explains that Cadance is exhausted from constantly maintaining the magical barrier to keep Sombra out. Cadance is so tired, she hasn't been able to get any sleep and barely eats any food. Cadance insists she's fine, but her husband tells Twilight that she can't keep the shield up forever. He says that they have been too busy to gather information about the Crystal Ponies. (Rarity is ecstatic at the mention of "Crystal Ponies".) Twilight is more than happy to embark on what she calls a "research paper".

Gathering information

Twilight interviews a Crystal Pony S3E1

Twilight interviewing the locals.

Twilight and Spike attempt to interview a glum Crystal Pony. The mare says she can't remember anything from the time before King Sombra came to power, nor does she want to remember. Apologizing for being unable to provide further assistance, she retreats to her house and closes the door. Rainbow Dash asks another Crystal Pony for information on how to protect the empire, but the pony responds in the same listless manner, saying that even though she wants to help, she has no information. Fluttershy is too shy to talk to the ponies passing by. Pinkie Pie, who is wearing a black suit and "night vision goggles", descends on a rope to eavesdrop on two Crystal Ponies, but scares them away. Rarity is engrossed in imagining how beautiful her mane would be if she were a Crystal Pony too, and the ponies around her uncomfortably back away.

The friends reconvene at the base of the castle. Pinkie Pie, dressed up as Fluttershy, tiptoes up to Twilight and looks around before taking off her costume. Pinkie hisses, "My cover has been blown. I repeat, my cover has been blown!" Applejack says that the Crystal Ponies seem to have some kind of "collective amnesia", but one pony said something about the local library. The friends head to the library, an impressive three floor facility. Twilight asks the librarian Amethyst Maresbury where the history books are located. Amethyst Maresbury can't remember where the history texts are located, and says she isn't even sure if she works there. The friends look for the book and Twilight finally finds the book they need: History of the Crystal Empire.

Twilight brings the book to Princess Cadance and Shining Armor. She reads aloud a section about the Crystal Faire, an annual festival that was established by the first queen. The annual Faire was held to restore the spirit of love and unity in the empire so they could protect it from harm. With Shining Armor's encouragement, Twilight takes on the task of setting up a Faire for the Crystal Ponies with her friends.

Setting up the Faire

Main 6 singing around a table S3E1

Planning the Crystal Faire.

The main six sing The Ballad of the Crystal Empire while setting up the Faire. In keeping with tradition, Twilight crafts a crystal heart to showcase at the center of the Faire. With the preparations complete, Twilight announces the beginning of the Faire from the castle balcony.

The Crystal Ponies eagerly walk to the base of the castle where the Faire is located, and one by one, regain their beautiful crystal colors as they partake of the food and games. The same glum pony that Twilight had interviewed earlier tells her friend that she's starting to remember how life was like before the king. They look at each other, cry "The Crystal Heart!" and delightedly smile as they regain their former colors. When they wonder if the Crystal Heart is really present at the Faire, Rainbow Dash assures them that they do: "Can't have a Crystal Faire without a crystal heart, right?" Amethyst Maresbury comments that the light within the Crystal Ponies powers the Crystal Heart and protects the empire. She regains her own colors as she remembers that she does work in the library.

Rainbow Dash anxiously asks Amethyst Maresbury what she means by "powering" the Crystal Heart. Amethyst Maresbury, not knowing that the real Heart is missing, merely says she's glad they found it, considering Sombra said he hid it where nopony could find it. As she walks off for some funnel cake, Applejack and Rainbow Dash become extremely worried when they realize the significance of the actual Crystal Heart. Rainbow Dash tears a flag from a pole and covers the useless heart-shaped crystal with it, lest the Crystal Ponies find out that it is a fake. She tells Twilight that they have a problem.

King Sombra emerges from the shadows S3E01

King Sombra appears.

Rainbow Dash and Twilight meet the royal couple on the balcony. Twilight exclaims that the book said nothing about the Crystal Heart, and discovers that the last page was ripped out. Princess Cadance tells her it's okay, but suddenly faints into Shining Armor's arms and gasps for air as the magical shield fades. Black smoke rushes across the perimeter of the Empire, weaving its way to the castle. King Sombra's face appears as he viciously growls.

Quotes

For more quotes, see the episode's transcript.
Spike: Twilight, calm down. It's just a test.
Twilight Sparkle: Just a test? Just a test!? Princess Celestia wants to give me some kind of exam and you're trying to tell me to calm down because it's just a test?!
Spike: Uh... yes?
Applejack: I'd say she's handlin' things pretty well, considering.
Applejack: Twilight! Did you pass?
Pinkie Pie: Are we gonna celebrate your awesomeness with Princess Celestia?
Twilight Sparkle: Not quite.
Pinkie Pie: Sparkleriffic!
Rarity: It's gorgeous! Absolutely gorgeous! [mumbles incoherently] There are no words!
Applejack: Focus, Rarity. We're here to help Twilight, not admire the scenery.
Rainbow Dash: Eh, I don't see what the big deal is. Just looks like another old castle to me.
Rarity: A- p- guh! Another old...! Have you lost your mind?! Look at the mag-
Applejack and Rainbow Dash: [laughing]
Rarity: Very funny.
Princess Cadance: One of these days, we need to get together when the fate of Equestria isn't hanging in the balance.
Rarity: Crystal Ponies? Hahaha, there are Crystal Ponies?! Umm, hmm. Please continue.
Applejack: Sorry, Twilight. These crystal ponies seem to have some kind of collective amnesia or something. Only thing I was able to get out of them was something about a library.
Twilight Sparkle: [gasps] A library? Well why didn't you say so?
Applejack: Uh... thought I just did...
Female Crystal Pony #3: It just feels like something is missing.
Male Crystal Pony #1: I know. It looks the same, but it doesn't feel the same.
Pinkie Pie: Because it isn't!
Female Crystal Pony #3: [gasps] A spy!
Pinkie Pie: Aaaah!
Pinkie Pie: A spy? How did they know? Ah! Must have noticed my night vision goggles. Ooh! Night vision-y!
Pinkie Pie: [draws deep breath] [blows flugelhorn] Flugelhorn! [takes deep breath]
Twilight Sparkle: Hear ye, hear-
Pinkie Pie: [blows flugelhorn] Flugelhorn! [laughs nervously] My bad.
Rainbow Dash: Of course we have it! Can't have a Crystal Fair without the crystal heart, right?
Librarian Crystal Pony: Of course you can't. The whole purpose of the Crystal Fair is to lift the spirits of the crystal ponies, so the light within them can power the Crystal Heart, so that the empire can be protected! [gasps] I do work at a library!

Gallery

The ponies enter the Crystal Empire S3E01

The Crystal Empire - Part 1 image gallery

References

  1. Raven Molisee's deviantART journal (2012-10-12). Retrieved on 2012 October 12.
  2. Amazon.com listing of Adventures in the Crystal Empire DVD.
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