|The Return of Harmony - Part 1|
|Date:||September 17th, 2011|
|Written by:||M.A. Larson|
|Previous Episode:||The Best Night Ever|
|Next Episode:||The Return of Harmony (part 2)|
The Return of Harmony is the two-part premier episode of season 2, originally airing on September 17th, 2011. When the Cutie Mark Crusaders go on a class trip to the Canterlot gardens, they see the statue of Discord, a Draconequus imprisoned in stone millenea before by Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. Cheerilee explains that this creature is a chaotic, malign being. As they leave for the next part of their tour, he begins to break free of his prison as a devious laugh issues forth.
As Rainbow Dash enjoys a carefree flight around Ponyville, she finds herself accosted by a cloud of pink cotton candy. Defying her protestations that a storm is scheduled for the following day and that it can't just start pouring immediately, it begins to shower directly over her head. These clouds of cotton candy are filled with chocolate milk, however.
Leading the cloud to Sweet Apple Acres, where Applejack is busy tending a corn field, she explains that all of Equestria is currently experiencing inexplicable weather phenomona. The corn begins to pop of its own accord. Pinkie Pie approaches as she happily traipses through the food. Rarity shows up with an offer to help if she doesn't have to do anything. Twilight Sparkle arrives with Spike shortly thereafter, forming a plan that uses all of their talents to reign in the chaos in their immediate vicinity. Spike belches a letter from the princess requesting their presence before they can celebrate this minor victory.
At Canterlot Castle, Celestia explains to them that Discord is once again preying upon the world, and that she is now powerless to stop him. She and her sister imprisoned him using the Elements of Harmony, but they are no longer "connected" to the elements since they were manifested in the six friends. The elements were stored in a tower of the castle after they were used to stop Nightmare Moon. Celestia leads them to the tower only to discover that they have been stolen from behind what she believed to be an impregnable magic field. Discord arrives as a figure on a stained-glass window to taunt them and reveal that he somehow knows all about the mane 6. He poses a riddle implying that he has hidden the Elements in the castle maze.
When they reach the maze, Discord arrives and uses his formidable magic to steal the horns and wings of the unicorns and pegasi. After removing them, he states that this is all a game to him, and they only win if they can complete it without using magic or flight. As they proceed through the maze - each by herself after Discord separates them by magically creating hedgerows to keep them apart - they begin encountering illusions designed to corrupt them into the opposite of their respective Elements. Discord manages to turn all of them: Applejack becomes a liar, Pinkie loses any semblance of humor, Rarity becomes Greedy, Fluttershy becomes cruel; and after Discord convinces Rainbow Dash to abandon her friends, he gives her the option to get her wings back so she can leave the maze. Twilight alone remains untainted. Citing that Rainbow's voluntary reclamation of her wings technically violated one of the rules, he dispels the maze and declares himself the winner. After Twilight protests that the Elements weren't where he assured them they would be, he gives her a flashback the riddle, pointing out that he never explicitely said they were there.
The episode concludes with a triumphant laugh from Discord.