When I first set out on making this list, the original idea was to simply dig up 10 interesting episodes that people seem to agree are the most rewatchable, and analyze each. After many a battle between close friends and various pony Skype rooms, I quickly discovered that it just doesn't work like that. No one could agree on anything, and when we did, another faction would disagree. Tiny episode based cliques started to form, and a war of words, best ponies, best writers, best themes, and a slew of other things caused the entire concept to collapse.
It really all boils down to one question: What exactly makes an episode rewatchable? The common theme I ran into was simply personal experience. Some episodes hit others harder, based on what was going on in the fandom at the time, how they watched it, or even relatability to the actual story. A few episodes won just based on how well they worked, but that wasn't usually the case.
And so, out of the fires of a failed post comes a different style. You are still going to get your top 10, but It's going to be a more personal list than originally planned. Head on down below for the episodes I've rewatched the most, and why I do it!
Cutie Mark Chronicles
Season one was a special time. Everything was so fresh and new. The Mane 6 were absolutely fascinating, and their butt symbol origin stories only helped solidify that interest. Everything from Applejack's trip to Manehattan and attempt at city life to Twilight's YESYESYESYESYES helped make us love these characters even more.
I'm sure I'm not the only one back in the day that rewatched this episode a stupid amount of times. Sure, most of us were mindlessly repeating the hell out of everything due to the desperation for MORE PONY in a fandom that wasn't quite producing anywhere near the scale it does now, but this episode in particular was special. Even years later, as burnt out as I am on the mane 6 and blinded by new ponies (GLIMGLAM), going back and diving into Cutie Mark Chronicles is still 22 minutes well spent. There is a reason why these characters are so ridiculously appealing, and it's definitely not just for the plot!
I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of the direction they took with Moony following her appearance in Luna Eclipsed. In my opinion, this was the near perfect version of her. A pony out of place, completely unaware of modern day customs with a thousand years of history and knowledge to learn. As badass as her new ominous dream-walking characterization is, silly and confused Luna was just so much more interesting.
Could she have taken a crash course in everything in a few weeks after this episode? I suppose so. I really would have liked to join her on her path to reintegration into pony society though. The official comics are a great example of what we missed out on. Playing live chess with her subjects as pieces is still my favorite Luna idea of all time.
This is why I rewatch Luna Eclipsed. It's the silly Luna I was excited for in the coming seasons. The episode itself ends a bit quickly, but Luna's lines are funX2.
Return of Harmony
Here is one that not a lot of people agreed with me on, and I admit, I'm heavily biased with. When Return of Harmony aired, I was at the 2nd annual BronyCon. Back then, it was in an emptied out dance studio in the middle of China Town without air conditioning in the middle of summer. Despite this, they managed to not only show the episode live in front of 200+ bright eye'd, early fandom bronies, but also snag Jayson Thiessen for his convention debut.
Since then, I've watched a lot of episodes in crowded auditoriums at conventions, but nothing beats this one. It was the perfect storm of a comedy episode combined with the earliest of fans. Back then, everything was awesome. We didn't analyze plots into the ground. We didn't nitpick every little thing. It was just excitement at cartoon ponies doing cartoon pony things, and Discord swooped in for the ultimate start to season 2. The laughter on the second half with the constant slapstick jokes and Twilight's impatience fueled snark made for one of the most memorable episodes ever. To this day, I still get a kick out of Fluttershy slamming her with a bucket of water.
Unlike Luna, I'm alright with the direction they took Discord. A few of his episodes have been flops, but overall the humor and snarky Twilight banter battles are still there. Nothing beats his debut though. In my opinion, this was the best.
Crusaders of the Lost Mark
Lets leave Nostalgialand for a bit. I'll be revisiting that later. The Cutie Mark Crusaders got their flank stamps finally after five seasons of chasing them, and... Diamond Tiara stole the show! In all my years of pony, I never, ever expected Ponyville's #1 rich douchebag to grow on me. I really wasn't prepared for that kind of tragic backstory. Sure, it's a trope that has been done before; but they tackled it masterfully with Crusaders of the Lost Mark. I can also kinda relate. Parents can set some pretty high bars!
The songs were epic, the pacing was excellent, and everything was topped off with excessive amounts of feel-goodness. I've always preferred the mane 6 over CMC episodes, but this one is by far my most rewatched of season five, and that's not counting the terrifyingly large replay count of the songs on my music playlists.
A Canterlot Wedding
While Discord was over there starting off the season with a bang, A Canterlot Wedding rolled in and ended it with a nuke. With early teasers revealing a horrifyingly pink 3rd alicorn princess with the obvious goal of selling max amounts of toys, many feared for the future of pony. Lauren Faust had stepped down long before this one aired, and fears of a generation 3.5 style flood were perpetuating. Top it off with Twilight suddenly having a surfer-dude sounding brother, and people feared the future before it aired.
Luckily they worried for nothing. An absolutely epic song and the introduction of the coolest looking villain in My Little Pony history turned this one from a possible stinker into one of the most well loved season finales in the show. In the months following during the great pony hiatus, I and many others rewatched this episode an unhealthy amount of times.
The only major complaint was that the ending was too sudden.
Slice of Life
There are groups of people in the fandom who would give me hell for picking this one, but they can pack up their cynicism and dive into the nearest volcano. If ever there was a thing to celebrate from the pony fandom, this is it. Characters who wouldn't exist without us given their very own 22 minutes to shine.
Derpy's wandering through The Doctor's lab, Lyra and Bonbon's heavy friendshipping, and Octavia rockin it out with her roomate Vinyl Scratch are some of the most fun scenes in the show. This episode was all about just having a blast, and you can tell the writers, animators, boarders, and everyone else did just that.
I've rewatched some of these scenes more times than I care to admit.
As if I wasn't going to have some Trixie in here. She doesn't have to be in the honorable mention section every time! This one isn't on the list just because an obnoxious blue unicorn is holding me hostage until she's included though. It really is just an overall excellent episode.
What impresses me the most is how much they managed to pack in with Magic Duel. It feels like one of the most complete pony episodes, where many of them make a habit of ending too soon. The finale with Twilight trixieing Trixie trixed even me.
That being said, Trixie really was excellent throughout. M.A. Larson rocked it with taking her Trixieness to new heights via the alicorn amulet. Everything from her spell hurling introduction to the sudden aversion to wheels kept the episode flowing perfectly. If you liked Trixie at all beforehand, this one was the ultimate candy.
I have a strategy that has worked tremendously well over the years for getting people into pony; Skip the intro, and start them on Lesson Zero. In a world where everyone is wondering why you are into a thing their little sister watched back when they were in gradeschool, nothing works better than this one at showing them the exact opposite.
Variants on the plan above have never been successful for me. Something about that MLP jingle immediately kills your average tough-guy's will. Fortunately, Sending them right into the action with rainbow nukes and a pony hitting level 30 on the madness scale works wonders at getting them over the initial "show for little girls" rut.
I've watched Lesson Zero a million times just due to how successful it is at changing people's perspective on the show.
If you are an extrovert, you are probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Introverts get it though. Moondancer is super relateable to anyone out there that skipped having a celebration for something out of fear of no-one showing up, or spent summer break being an anti-social recluse with piles of books and games to devote to. Final Fantasy 7, 8, 9, and 10 weren't going to beat themselves! Moondancer is representative of a lot of us who find more joy in solo activities than group ones.
You might also find yourself obsessed with Minuette and watching this scene
Amending Fences is yet another solid episode from the mind of M.A. Larson. I'm really hoping he returns for season 7!
The Best Night Ever
I bet most of you weren't expecting this one at the top. I bet most haven't even watched it more than once! If you were around back when pony began though, this was it. A plethora of emotions filled everyone's hearts as the credits rolled on the Best Night Ever back during it's season one premiere. A future of uncertainty clouded the months to come, as we hoped that it wasn't actually the end.
Many feared that the very early fandom would break up and go their separate ways now that episodes were no longer airing. Could we keep it together with fan content? Most, including the swarms of people still not comfortable with its growing popularity around the internet, had their doubts.
And so, into the very first episode hiatus we rode, a 6 pony strong song stuck in our heads as we ventured into the unknown. There wasn't an epic final villain for the mane 6 to defeat. No giant drama bomb as one of our beloved characters suddenly sprouted wings. Just a happy little episode tying up a very minor story that permeated throughout the season. It was the quintessential theme early pony.
Apologies if this got a bit wordy. I apparently had a lot more to say about these episodes than I thought! Thanks to Bill Ames over on Patreon for the editorial topic.
QUICK HONORABLE MENTIONS
The Cutie Map
I rewatched Glimglam at least 15 times.
No Second Prances
I DOUBLED that for Glim and TRIX!
Flutterbutter's cool too.
Party of One
All these too:
Tanks for the Memories
AND IM OFF!