My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic “The Fault in Our Cutie Marks” Review

Another week brings in another My Little Pony episode. Like “28 Pranks Later,” this one’s title is a reference to another piece of media. This time The Fault in Our Stars is parodied, though the actual plot of the episode has nothing to do with it. The Cutie Mark Crusaders haven’t had much luck in terms of quality adventures this season. Both “On Your Marks” and “The Cart Before the Ponies” were on the mediocre side. Thankfully, this streak ends with their best installment in a long while.

An enthusiastic young griffon asks the Crusaders to help her get her very own Cutie Mark; the Crusaders encounter a seemingly impossible problem.

This episode is sort of the antithesis to the Crusaders’ general plots. The fillies’ mission is to help others find out their purpose in life and result in a Cutie Mark springing to life. This time however, the question is posed: “What if it’s basically impossible for someone to get a Cutie Mark?” In this case, a griffon by the name of Gabriella has shown immense interest in getting a Cutie Mark of her own. As viewers and the Crusaders themselves suspect, it’s incredibly unlikely for that to be possible since it seems like only ponies can have Marks. The Fillies are thrown in for a loop because for the first time they think a situation for them to solve is helpless. The viewers can feel their genuine sadness as Scootaloo proclaims to Gabby that the Crusaders “can’t help you.”

Gabby is a very fun character to have around, and in many ways the griffon version of Pinkie Pie. Depending on the viewer’s tolerance for the latter, one will either find Gabby cute or annoying. Personally, I thought her dialogue was good and once again the viewer can feel her genuine sadness when she learns that she won’t be getting a Cutie Mark. One of my favorite scenes was the early flashback, which recalled the events of “The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone.” It was a neat callback, but the greatest aspect of it was the fact that one’s actions (in this case Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash’s) can have unseen positive effects. Because of Gabby witnessing the heroic actions of the two ponies, she was inspired and that inspiration eventually led to her realizing her purpose.

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Overall, “The Fault in Our Cutie Marks” starts a little choppy but ended up being a great episode. The Crusaders face a problem that seemingly doesn’t have a solution, and the viewer can hear the despair in their voices when things seemingly take a turn for the worst. Writer Ed Valentine makes great use of Gabby as a fun character looking to bring light into her rather mean-spirited city. Twilight appears, though it would have been nice to see her offer some advice. She just explains the impossibility of a griffon getting a Cutie Mark, and that’s it. The song was very good, and all the voice work was especially great in this episode.

9/10

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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic “On Your Marks” Review

Since my very first exposure to My Little Pony was a Cutie Mark Crusader episode, (“Call of the Cutie” to be exact) I’ve always looked forward to episodes starring the fillies. For the most part each installment has been filled with quality and development for the young characters. Last season in “Crusaders of the Lost Mark” featured the biggest development for them: they finally acquired their Marks. It was the end of an era for the show, and everyone would be looking forward to seeing what comes next. “On Your Marks” is the direct continuation. Unfortunately it’s all over the place in terms of focus and probably the most mediocre of the CMC episodes.

Here’s the official episode description from Discovery Family:

With their cutie marks finally acquired, the Cutie Mark Crusaders struggle with the question of what to do now. Apple Bloom suggests they embrace their destinies, but she and her friends don’t exactly agree on how.

The first 25% of the episode was a bit on the slow side. We see the fillies contemplating what they should do now that they don’t need to be searching for their destinies. The problem is they had already established in “Lost Mark” that their mission would be helping other ponies get their Marks. When they finally come back to this realization in the title episode, in theory the story should flow smoothly. From here on out the episode takes a bizarre path. They go in search of Cutie Mark problems, even questioning Big Mac. (Keep in mind Apple Bloom has lived with Mac her entire life, so she asking him if he wasn’t content with his apple Mark was pretty off.)

Next, apparently it’s nearly impossible for the three fillies to find something for them to have fun with together. (Which in itself is hard to fathom.) So Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle come to the conclusion that it’s okay for each of them to do things on their own sometimes. Sounds reasonable, but this upsets Apple Bloom for almost the rest of the episode. We must suspend disbelief that Bloom does nothing by herself. Unfortunately, suspending that disbelief is too difficult.

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Apple Bloom spends most of the episode moping around. The turnaround comes so unnaturally later because she apparently mistook what Scootaloo said when the latter’s dialogue was extremely plain and clear.  At the very least, the first song of the season sung by Michelle Creber is very heartfelt. It makes you forget for a few minutes how unreasonable Bloom is. Before we get to the climax, the story takes some more right turns. It brings in Bulk Biceps and makes the viewer think he’s going to be a focus. Then Zecora’s first appearance of the season and she has no lines to accompany it. By the time the story dives into the actual helping of a Cutie Mark problem, the viewer has to ask, “Why did all this happen before we got to this part?”

Overall, Dave Polsky delivers perhaps his worst episode. There’s no reason why we had to endure Apple Bloom learning it’s okay to do stuff on her own. The best part besides the song is the final act when she and the others help a shy pony overcome his fears and realize his destiny. This is good stuff and should have been the focus for the entire story.

5.5/10