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Episode guide
The Cutie Mark Chronicles is the twenty-third episode of the first season of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. In this episode, the Cutie Mark Crusaders learn how each of the Mane Six acquired their cutie marks. This is the first episode in which all of the members of the CMC and all of the leading characters have a speaking role.


Cutie Mark Crusader ZiplinersEdit


File:CMC ready to zip-line S1E23.png
The episode begins when Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle try to zip-line in the forest. Since the tension of the rope is too low, they lose momentum and get bunched up in the middle, while the friction between their carabiners and the rope causes the rope to burn through. They tumble down and get covered in pine needles and sticky tree sap, but they don't get their cutie marks. While washing off the sap, they agree to spend the rest of the day investigating how other ponies got their cutie marks, a safer alternative to going on adventures. Scootaloo is intent on getting Rainbow Dash's story, because Dash is "fast, tough, and not afraid of anything."

Applejack: The cityEdit

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle ride on a cart attached to Scootaloo's scooter to get back to Ponyville. Suddenly, three rabbits holding apples cross the path, and Scootaloo brings her scooter to a halt. It turns out that Applejack had been chasing the "thievin' varmints." Apple Bloom asks her older sister how she got her cutie mark, to the disappointment of Scootaloo who reluctantly agrees to hear the story.

File:Filly Applejack in Manehattan 3 S01E23.png
Applejack says that when she was a filly, she left Sweet Apple Acres for the metropolitan city of Manehattan to live a glamorous life. Her Aunt and Uncle Orange take her in and are amused by her saying, "y'all," promising to turn her into a proper "Manehattanite" in no time. The scene cuts to a formal dinner. A pony asks Applejack for her opinion of Manehattan life. Applejack smiles and says that it's "simply divine," but she lets slip that roosters crow in the morning in her hometown. The high-class ponies have no idea what a rooster is. Dinner is served, postponing Applejack's embarrassment, but there are only a few disappointing morsels on the plate.

As she watches the sun rise the next morning, she says out loud how much she misses her family and the apple orchards. Just then, she hears a loud bang and sees a beautiful rainbow stretch across the sky towards home. She realizes that she truly belongs at home on the farm. Gladly returning to the farm and greeting her grandma and brother, her cutie mark springs into existence: a trio of red apples. After Applejack runs off to continue pursuing the rabbits, Scootaloo presses the group onwards.

Fluttershy: The fieldsEdit

The crusaders narrowly avoid colliding with Fluttershy, who is guiding ducklings across a road. She tells them that they should be more careful, and asks them why they are in such a hurry. When they tell her that they're on their way to get Rainbow Dash's cutie mark story, Fluttershy says that she owes her cutie mark to Dash.

File:Filly Fluttershy surrounded by her new friends S1E23.png
Fluttershy recalls that when she was little, she was very shy and the weakest flier in her summer flight camp. After failing at an attempt to fly through some cloud rings, two male Pegasi start making fun of her. Fluttershy calls it "the most humiliating moment of [her] life." Suddenly, Rainbow Dash lands in between Fluttershy and the bullies, telling them to leave her alone. The bullies and Dash agree to a race to determine who's the "big shot." Fluttershy, standing on another cloud, waves a checkered flag to start the race. As they take off, Fluttershy is knocked off her cloud and into free fall. Unable to fly, she keeps falling until a dense swarm of butterflies gently carries her to the ground. She had never been near the ground before and so had never seen butterflies before, but she finds them and the surrounding meadows beautiful. She starts singing to express her admiration of the little creatures and sights in this new world. At the end of her song, there is a loud bang in the sky, accompanied by an enormous expanding rainbow-colored ring. The bang frightens the animals, and they run for cover. Fluttershy kindly calms the quaking animals, discovering her innate ability to communicate with animals on a "different level." This earns her the cutie mark of three pink butterflies.

Since Fluttershy did not witness the rest of the race, Scootaloo wants to find Dash. Sweetie Belle suggests that maybe Rarity knows. Somehow, they end up being Rarity's assistants. Hearing of their ongoing pursuit of their cutie marks, she recalls the time she got hers.

Rarity: The geodeEdit

File:Filly Rarity looking up at the rock S1E23.png
Rarity says that when she was a filly, she was put in charge of costumes during a school play. The day before the performance, her teacher calls them "very nice," but they aren't good enough for Rarity; they need to be spectacular. In her workroom, Rarity tries every trick she knows, but the costumes won't work. She wonders if her dream of being a fashion designer is dissolving before her very eyes. Her horn begins to glow brightly and drags her to a desolate, rocky area, right into a large boulder. She is less than pleased at the possibility that a rock might have to do with her destiny and yells at her horn. She is interrupted by an explosive rainbow ring, exactly like the one that Fluttershy witnessed. The shock waves split the boulder, revealing a cavity filled with multicolored gems. On the night of the performance, the dancers wear dazzling gem-studded dresses. Rarity's inspiration, not to mention her new ability to track hidden gems, gives her a cutie mark of three blue diamonds.

Scootaloo pushes her friends out of the shop, tired of Rarity's "namby-pamby" story. She hopes to find Dash and hear a more exciting tale. They encounter Twilight, however, and they end up listening to hers.

Twilight Sparkle: The examEdit

File:Twilight reading book S01E23.png
Even as a filly, Twilight has her knack for magic. After witnessing Princess Celestia raise the sun with magic at the Summer Sun Celebration, Twilight is inspired to extensively study magic. She is seen in her bedroom with a pile of books, performing magic for the first time when she is able to magically turn the pages of her book. Her parents enroll her into Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns. The entrance exam is to hatch a dragon's egg using magic. Under the scrutiny of the judges, she is too stressed to cast a successful spell. Just as she gives up and apologizes for wasting the testers' time, she hears an ear-shattering boom outside. Inexplicably, it triggers her magic and she directs her beam of magic towards the egg. The egg hatches, revealing baby Spike. However, she immediately loses control, causing her eyes to glow white. Magic and lightning fills the whole room, levitating judges, turning her parents into potted plants, and making Spike gigantic. Outside, Princess Celestia sees Spike's head bursting through the tower roof. She places her hoof on Twilight and Twilight withdraws her magic and profusely apologizes. Celestia says that she has never seen a filly with such raw ability. She offers to take Twilight as her personal protégé to teach her how to control her magic. Twilight's parents eagerly encourage her to take the offer and Twilight is overjoyed. Celestia points out that a cutie mark, a violet-colored star with five small white stars surrounding it, just appeared on Twilight's flank.

Lauren Faust has suggested that there is more to Princess Celestia than has been depicted of her in the series. She says, in relation to the events of the flashback, Celestia sensed that Twilight Sparkle is connected to the Elements of Harmony and arranged the dragon-hatching test for her. Celestia then raised and trained Spike, and assigned him to be Twilight's assistant.[1]

The Crusaders leave a cheerfully-skipping Twilight, hopping on their cart to find Dash once again.

Pinkie Pie: The partyEdit

File:Pinkie Pie smiling as a filly S1E23.png
Pinkie Pie unexpectedly appears inside their wagon, complete with riding helmet. She offers to tell them how she earned her cutie mark if they join her in Sugarcube Corner, to which the fillies reluctantly agree.

In a flashback, Pinkie is shown as a filly, living on a rock farm with her family outside of Ponyville. According to her, there is no talking and no smiling, just rocks. One day, after her family goes inside their barn without her, she hears an explosion from the sky and sees a rainbow ring. The blast of wind fluffs up her straight mane and tail. The rainbow arching across the sky gives the grey world around her color and she feels a joy that she had never felt before. She is so overwhelmed that she wants to "smile forever" and, even more so, wants to spread this happiness. The next day, as her family is heading out to move rocks from the south field, they hear muffled music from the silo, and Pinkie Pie beckons them inside. Her mother calls her by her full name: "Pinkamena Diane Pie." Inside, there are party decorations, balloons, streamers, music, and cake. At first, the family seems completely out of its element and surprised by this "party." Their expressionless faces start changing as their mouths wiggle...and they finally break into huge smiles. Pinkie exclaims, "I'm so happy!" as she dances with her family, and her cutie mark (blue and yellow balloons) appears.

Back in the present, the Cutie Mark Crusaders and Pinkie reach Sugarcube Corner. Pinkie finishes her story by saying, "And that was how Equestria was made!" and says that she will tell them her cutie mark story on the way home. Sweetie Belle assures Scootaloo that that was just Pinkie "being Pinkie." The Cutie Mark Crusaders finally find Rainbow Dash, who is with her friends. Having heard of the fillies' interest in her cutie mark, Dash tells them her story.

Rainbow Dash: The raceEdit

File:Filly Rainbow Dash sonic rainboom S1E23.png
Taking place where Fluttershy's story left off, Rainbow and the two bully Pegasi begin their race. They are to fly through the cloud rings toward the finish line. Rainbow Dash is already in the lead, and soon one of the bullies crashes into a cloud-pillar. Dash is bumped by the other bully and veers off course, but she catches up and takes the lead again. She tells the Cutie Mark Crusaders about how she found a love for the adrenaline and excitement of gaining so much speed. Her desire to win helps her beat the bullies and, most of all, perform the ultimate trick that was only told in legends: the sonic rainboom. She wins the race and obtains her mark: a rainbow colored lightning bolt. Rainbow Dash mentions in a previous episode, Call of the Cutie, that she was the first in her class to get a cutie mark.


File:A big group hug S1E23.png
As the story ends, Dash's friends suddenly remember hearing, or seeing, that very blast from their stories. Eventually, an epiphany forms: Dash's race led to the inspiration of their goals and helped them earn their cutie marks. They believe that they were destined to be friends, even before they knew each other. They gather for a group hug, while Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle pull a reluctant Scootaloo into a group hug of their own. As Fluttershy suggests another song, Scootaloo cries out in despair.

By the end of the day, Spike writes Twilight's latest report of how one's connection can lead to a future friendship, while sarcastically commenting about the letter's sappiness. She simply replies, "Just write it, Spike."

Hubworld pollEdit

Before the episode premiered, visitors of were presented with a trailer and a chance to vote on how they think Rainbow Dash earned her cutie mark. The results had no effect on the episode; voters simply guessed which was accurate. There were three possibilities:

  • Sonic Rainbow Template:Sic - Rainbow Dash challenges Fluttershy's bullies for a race. She enjoys it so much that she almost forgets about winning. Trying to catch up with the competitors, she breaks the sound barrier and performs the first sonic rainboom ever.
  • Born to Fly - Rainbow Dash practices to impress the Blue Thunders with her flying tricks. She doesn't get into the team, but discovers her true talent is good enough.
  • Dash of Lightning - Rainbow Dash retells the Arthurian legend about retrieving the Lightning Bolt in the Stone. Nobody believes her until they see that she indeed got a lighting bolt cutie mark. (This story would not have worked, as another Pegasus has the same cutie mark of a regular lightning bolt).

Flashback character designsEdit

Many of the characters in the flashbacks share the same design or color scheme with "modern-day" show characters, and some of the incidental young ponies share the same design as the main characters' young versions. One of the fillies that young Rarity designs a costume for appears to be a young Cheerilee. Two of the fillies wearing young Rarity's costumes share the same design of young Applejack and young Pinkie Pie, with different color schemes.

Twilight Sparkle's mother shares "modern-day" Twilight's character design and the color scheme of original Twilight, from the first generation of My Little Pony.

The blackboard on the wall behind Twilight features the same diagram and the same equation as the blackboard in the episode Call of the Cutie.

Spike's egg isn't purple and green as claimed in Friendship is Magic, part 1 by Spike. The egg consists of two different colors of purple instead.

Fluttershy in her flashback is noticeably taller and more gangly than the other fillies of the main cast, and her wings fold like those of an adult Pegasus and not like those of a filly like Scootaloo or young Rainbow Dash. This is consistent with her saying that she is one year older than Pinkie Pie in Griffon the Brush Off. The show's developer, Lauren Faust, suggested that Fluttershy might have gone through an "awkward phase."[2]



Apple Bloom: See anything?
Scootaloo: Tree sap and pine needles but no cutie mark.
Sweetie Belle: Plan "B"?
Scootaloo: Yeah... You know where we can find a cannon at this hour?
Scootaloo: It's no use. No matter what we try, we always end up without our cutie marks. And, surprisingly often, covered in tree sap.
Scootaloo: We can start with the coolest pony in Ponyville...
Apple Bloom: Applejack!
Sweetie Belle: Rarity!
Scootaloo: No, you guys. I said "cool". You know what I'm talking about. She's fast. She's tough. She's not afraid of anything.
Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle: Pinkie Pie?
Scootaloo: No! The greatest flier to ever come out of Cloudsdale.
Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle: ...Fluttershy?
Scootaloo: NO! Rainbow Dash!
Fluttershy: You'd never guess, but when I was little I was very shy. And a very weak flyer.
Young Hoops: You're going down!
Young Rainbow Dash: In history, maybe! See you boys at the finish line!
Scootaloo: How did we get roped into this? We'll never hear Rainbow Dash's story!
Rarity: I had no idea where my horn was taking me, but unicorn magic doesn't happen without a reason. I knew this had to do with my love of fashion, and maybe even my cutie mark. I knew that this was... my destiny!
Young Rarity: A ROCK?! That's my destiny?! What is your problem, horn?! I followed you all the way out here for a rock?! Dumb rock!
Princess Celestia: You have a very special gift. I don't think I've ever come across a unicorn with your raw abilities.
Young Twilight Sparkle: Huh?
Princess Celestia: But you need to learn to tame these abilities through focused study.
Young Twilight Sparkle: Huh?!
Princess Celestia: Twilight Sparkle, I'd like to make you my own personal protégé here at the school.
Young Twilight Sparkle: HUH?!
Princess Celestia: Well?
Young Twilight Sparkle: YES!!!
Princess Celestia: One other thing, Twilight.
Young Twilight Sparkle: More? My cutie mark! Yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes...
Twilight Sparkle: ...yesyesyesyes...
Apple Bloom: Okay, okay.
Sweetie Belle: We're happy for you, Twilight.
Scootaloo: Yeah, thrilled. Let's get out of here while we still can.
Scootaloo: Why don't we ever smash into Rainbow Dash?!
Pinkie Pie: You're looking for Rainbow Dash? If I was her, I'd be at the Sugarcube Corner! Of course, if I was anyone I'd be at the Sugarcube Corner. Hey! I have an idea. Wanna go to the Sugarcube Corner?
Young Pinkie Pie: Surprise! You like it? It's called... a party!
Pinkie Pie: And that's how Equestria was made!
Scootaloo: Wha... Huh?
Apple Bloom : Look we're here!
Pinkie Pie: Maybe on the way home, I can tell you how I got my cutie mark. It's a gem!
Sweetie Belle: Oh c'mon. She's just being Pinkie Pie.
Scootaloo: Rainbow Dash! You're here!
Rainbow Dash: And that, little ones, is how you earn a cutie mark.
Cutie Mark Crusaders: Wooooow...
Fluttershy: Wait a second. I heard that explosion. And I saw the rainbow too. Rainbow Dash, if you hadn't scared the animals, I never would have learned I could communicate with them and gotten my cutie mark.
Pinkie Pie: I heard that boom! And right afterwards there was this amazing rainbow that taught me to smile.
Applejack: When I got my cutie mark, I saw a rainbow that pointed me home. I bet it was your sonic rainboom!
Rarity: There was an explosion I could never explain when I got my cutie mark.
Twilight Sparkle: This is uncanny! If that explosion didn't happen when it did, I would have blown my entrance exam. Rainbow Dash, I think you helped me earn my cutie mark too!
Pinkie Pie: We all owe our cutie marks to you!
Fluttershy: Do you realize what this means? All of us had a special connection before we even met.
Rarity: We've been BFFs forever and we never even knew it!
Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle: Awwww...
Scootaloo: Ewwww... Gimme a break.
Fluttershy: Hey. How about a song?
[cries of approval]
[Pinkie Pie: Definitely!]
Scootaloo: NO!!!!!


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