My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Hasbro.
Episode directed by Denny Lu and Tim Stuby
Oh hey! It looks like we’re finally getting another Cutie Mark Crusaders episode that’s ACTUALLY about them being the CMC! It’s unfortunate that they still can’t seem to carry an episode when it isn’t explicitly about cutie marks, but until the writers figure out that mystery, I guess we should take what we can get. Does this episode bring back some of that CMC magic in a new and interesting way, or are we gonna keep dipping back into the same well until it completely runs dry? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with the CMC LLCTM doing what they do best, which I guess means assuring waspy white ponies that their kids aren’t going to grow up to be serial killers. I’m sure this is EXACTLY what they pictured their lives would be when they got their Cutie Marks.
In this case however, there might be a cause for concern as the kid’s new Cutie Mark is a bunch of bones; a cutie mark I’m sure would have shown up on Kevin’s ass if there was some horrifying crossover between My Little Pony and Sin City. It’s alright though because while Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle are talking to the terrified parents, Scootaloo and the at risk youth named Petunia manage to find Pony-sarus bones in their backyard. She’s an archaeologist! Oh what a hilarious misunderstanding!
Wait, what the hell is a Pony-sarus? Are there extinct hybrids between dinosaurs and ponies? Wait; are dragons different from dinosaurs!?
So after that… odd opening, the CMC head back to their tree house feeling quite accomplished and even get to walk past some of the ponies they’ve helped such as Bulk Biceps who’s teaching a group of seven year olds how to overwork their glamour muscles and Tender Taps who will probably be busking for his meals til the day he dies! It looks like everything is coming up roses for the Cutie Mark Consultants (they should really change their name to that) which makes it all the more obvious that something bad is about to happen. And what is that bad thing? There’s a griffin waiting for them at the tree house! OH NO!! Wait, what? That doesn’t sound very bad.
This trepidation towards Griffons seems to be borne from the stereotype that they all cranky pricks, which might be an interesting topic to discuss (how society ingrained these negative perceptions of others into children) but I guess they’ll save that for another episode as they break the ice rather quickly and find out that this newcomer known as Gabby is basically a CMC fan girl which means she’s totally harmless. Annoying perhaps, but harmless.
So it turns out that Gabby’s story is not that dissimilar from Thorax’s, in that they’re both the only nice creatures in their entire species. Back in Griffonstone, Gabby’s super helpful and always trying to look out for others which I guess only raised the ire of her peers who are perfectly fine being total assholes to each other. Then The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone happened and Gabby got her first glimpse of friendship from Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash as well as their cutie mark which Gabby took to be the only true signifier of… being a good pony I guess? So now Gabby wants a cutie mark of her very own and wants the CMC to help her out! So on top of ponies being racist against Griffons, we’ve now got a griffon trying to appropriate Pony Culture. Beautiful. ANYWAY! Gabby found an excuse to go to Ponyville (she’s a letter carrier and is delivering a message for Gilda) and asked around town about the best way to find a cutie mark. Naturally they all pointed to the CMC, and so she’s ready for them to bestow one upon her! The CMC are skeptical, but promise to do what they can to help out Gabby. If you ask ME, they should probably go to Twilight and see what she has to say. After all, she WAS the one who figured out that Cutie Mark spell thingy that Starswirl the Bearded couldn’t figure out which led to her becoming a princess! Wait, the CMC are actually going to do that? Well it’s about TIME somepony in this show started taking my advice!
Alright fine. That didn’t actually go anywhere, but it’s nice that they actually managed to address an issue in a way that I felt was satisfyingly handled! So now that we have CONFIRMATION that Gabby doesn’t have a chance of getting a Cutie Mark, what will the CMC do now!? The same thing they always do! Help somepony (or in this case, somegriffon) find their super special talent! Just because someone doesn’t get a mystical brand on their ass doesn’t mean that they don’t have a place in the world! They meet back up with Gabby and TRY to explain the situation, but Gabby has a bad case of selective hearing and doesn’t get the whole “no cutie mark” part of the conversation. Oh well. They’ll give it a shot anyway, and considering that ancient beings of Chaos can be reformed, ponies can be banished to the moon which doesn’t have any oxygen, and Pinkie Pie has yet to tear the multiverse apart, who’s to say that she won’t be the first Griffon to get one? It’s montage time!!
The quest to find what Gabby is good at (isn’t she already a letter carrier?) goes a lot better than any of them could have expected… which turns out to be a HUGE problem. How the hell are they supposed to find out what her super special talent is if she’s so gosh darn good at everything!? It’s not like she can be crowned greatest creature alive considering that honor has already gone to Lin-Manuel Miranda, so the Cutie Mark Crusaders are stumped. I mean… Gabby DID just show that she can do anything she wants with her life and excel at it, but no cutie mark means no reason to celebrate.
Gabby storms off in a huff after hearing the bad news that Griffons will continue to not have Cutie Marks, and it leaves the CMC feeling pretty lousy about the whole affair. That is until Gabby waltzes back into the clubhouse and displays her brand new TOTALLY legit cutie mark for them to see! Uh huh.
I guess the Cutie Mark Crusaders are too busy patting themselves on the back to notice how fishy this whole situation is (and how Gabby is sweating bullets the entire time), so when they tell Gabby she needs to see Twilight, they don’t bat an eye to how evasive she is about the subject. She mumbles something about an errand before zipping off towards Ponyville as the CMC (none the wiser to the obvious shenanigans) make a bee line for Twilight’s Doom Fortress. By the time they get there though, Gabby has already come and gone; leaving a letter for the CMC telling them how awesome they are and that she’s going back to Griffonstone. Seems a bit odd to be running away right after getting what they always wanted. Then again, seeing Twilight’s reaction to hearing that Gabby has a cutie mark makes it a bit easier to understand why she’d be concerned about getting E.T.’d by overzealous science ponies.
Okay, NOW the CMC start to think that something is up and decide to find Gabby who hopefully hasn’t made it all the way to Griffonstone yet. Fortunately, she’s stuck helping some poor sap who got his wagon stuck in the mud because she’s too awesome to NOT help somepony in need, and in the process her Cutie Mark gets smudged off; revealing the true nature of her deceitful ploy! Twilight is going to be SO disappointed! So what was the reason that Gabby faked her cutie mark? Well it’s not the obvious reason that her sense of self-worth was relying on a her getting a meaningless symbol tattooed on her butt; rather it’s that she’s SUCH an awesome griffon that she couldn’t bear the thought of the CMC thinking they failed. Fair enough I guess, but that doesn’t change the fact that she was lying her ass off (hee hee hee) to ponies she considered her friends. Eh… they seem okay with it, so who am I to complain? The CMC tell Gabby to meet them at the clubhouse, and when she gets there the CMC present her with here very own Cutie Mark buttons to clip onto her mailbags! On top of that, she’s now an official Cutie Mark Crusader, whose ranks include Babs Seed from the Manehattan chapter, and a Mimicker called Imp from the comic book series. I think Discord might be an honorary member too? I’m not sure, but at least she’s still the first GRIFFON member! Go diversity! And so the episode ends with Gabby becoming a new missionary of Friendship for the glorious pony empire, and she even gets her on Cute-ceañera to send her on her way! The CMC franchise continues to grow strong!
I actually liked this episode a lot and honestly have very little legitimate criticisms to levy against it. It feels a bit light overall, with not much in terms of stakes or character building (Gabby is pretty one dimensional), but the jokes tended to work more than they didn’t and the few moments we get of Twilight were quite delightful. I felt that it was kind of skirting some uncomfortable topics about being infatuated with another group of people and trying to co opt their culture (Weeaboos, Ganguro) or even the accusation of doing such to erase someone’s identity and reinforce stereotypes (Oreos, Twinkies), but it didn’t really go there and I guess it’s for the best. Something like that would have been too easy to screw up. Just ask the Powerpuff Girls reboot (*cough* Horn, Sweet Horn *cough*). If nothing else, it is leaps and bounds better than the awful The Cart Before the Ponies episode which was a complete waste of time and not funny to boot. This isn’t anything deep or meaningful either, but it gives us a new character that may show up again in the future, and manages to be a lot of fun all the way through. Now if only we can find out what the heck a Pony-sarus is…