Yeah, it’s high time I finally veer off the path of video games and write something movie or TV-related. What better way to kick that off than with one of my favorite cartoons on TV as of now, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? Now, before I even get started, let me repeat: this is a MLP article. If you don’t like this show, don’t read it. I’m protected from the whole “ponyfag” debate, being as I’m a girl, and therefore part of My Little Pony’s targeted audience.
So without further adieu, let’s jump right into this.
If you are a Brony, you know what this episode is. The finale of season three, entitled ‘Magic Mystery Cure’, was controversial from the start. Long before the episode aired, we knew how it would end due to leaks. Twilight Sparkle, the unicorn who serves are the main character in Friendship is Magic, was destined to spread wings and fly. To put it in plain terms, she becomes an Alicorn. Real quick, to anyone unfamiliar to MLP (though I have no idea why you’d be reading this is you aren’t), an Alicorn is a taller-than-normal pony princess with both wings and a horn, capable of both flight and magic.
There are three in the series, Celestia, the princess of the day and Twilight’s mentor,
Luna, the princess of the night and Celestia’s younger sister,
and Cadence, the princess of love and Twilight’s sister-in-law.
Of course, with the conclusion of season three, we also have princess Twilight Sparkle.
I’ll just make this quick: I liked ‘Magic Mystery Cure’. I really liked it. In fact, it was my favorite episode of the series. I felt a sense of pride for Twilight when she finally got rewarded for all her trials, saving the world at least three times (with the help of the rest of the Mane 6). She deserved this. Also, it was fucking implied through the entire series. Celestia sent Twilight to Ponyville to make friends, and it was only through them that she “earned her wings”. Also, her Element of Harmony is a tiara, versus the rest on the Mane 6’s being necklaces. That’s a not-so-subtle hint there, Bronies.
Either way, Alicorn Twilight is not the only thing many fans see wrong with ‘Magical Mystery Cure.’
A Cutie Mark is, in plain terms, the insignia each adult pony has on their back flank, and the season three finale has the MLP fandom divided on what a Cutie Mark actually means. In season one, Cutie Marks played a big part in many episodes. There were first featured in ‘Call of the Cutie’ , where Applejack’s filly sister, Apple Bloom, is desperate to find hers. From what her teacher, Cheerilee, is saying in her lesson to the class, Cutie Marks are a coming-of-age thing. A pony receives their Cutie Mark when they discover their true natural talent. Some are literal, like Rarity’s three diamonds, which signify her talent for finding gems with her magic.
Others are more obscure. Cheerilee’s Cutie Mark is three smiling flowers, which represent her ability to make students “bloom” through her teaching.
Another episode in season one, ‘The Cutie Mark Chronicles’, further cements this idea. Each of the Mane 6 recalls how they received their Cutie Marks, which also confirms their talents. That’s an important detail in my analysis. Here’s basically how it happens:
Twilight: She learns that her talent is the strength of her magic while taking a school entrance exam. Her Cutie Mark is a star with five smaller sparkles surrounding it.
Pinkie Pie: She learns that her talent is making people smile by throwing her boring family a party. Her Cutie Mark is three blue and yellow balloons.
Rarity: She learns that her talent is detecting gemstones when her horn, unwillingly, drags her to a stone filled with precious gems. She uses these gems in her dress-making, which is where she truly excels. Her Cutie Mark is three blue diamonds.
Fluttershy: She learns that her talent is communicating with animals when she has to settle down a huge group of them. Her Cutie Mark is three pink butterflies.
Rainbow Dash: She learns that her talent is racing, speed, and competition when she performs the Sonic Rainboom during a race. Her Cutie Mark is a rainbow-colored lightening bolt falling from a cloud.
Applejack: She learns that her talent is apple farming after moving to the city and realizing that she missed her country lifestyle. Her Cutie Mark is three red apples.
These are their talents. That’s important to remember. Now, in ‘Magic Mystery Cure’, Twilight performs a spell that accidentally switches the colors on the Elements of Harmony necklaces. In doing so, it also alters her reality, so that her friends get their Cutie Marks and lives switched. Twilight immediately feels guilty, claiming that she’s changed her friends’ destines. And then we are treated to this song.
The word ‘destiny’ is thrown around a lot in this episode, and there’s where the problem comes from. Up until this point, a Cutie Mark was nothing more than a symbol on their butts that represents what they’re good at in life. It didn’t control their fates or their lives. Having one Cutie Mark didn’t mean you were destined to do one thing for the rest of your existence. And, clearly, they aren’t capable of doing each other’s talents. All five struggle completing even the simplest task. So therefore, if they’re not good at what their Cutie Mark says, then this episode makes no sense. It contradicts the very idea of a Cutie Mark. Also, they aren’t actually doing each other’s ‘talents’.
Let me explain.
Fluttershy’s talent is her relationship with animals. She lives among them and understands them on a personal level. Rainbow Dash has them all stuffed in her house, putting them in cages and trying to forcibly control them.
Rainbow Dash’s talent is her love for competition. Rarity is merely doing her job, which is weather control.
Rarity’s talent is her fashion sense. She sees dress-making as an art. Applejack is just slapping them together with no attempt to make them visually pleasing.
Applejack is a workhorse who excels on a farm. She sees pride and value in hard work. Pinkie Pie just bitches about how its ‘no fun’.
Pinkie Pie’s talent isn’t throwing parties, contrary to popular belief. Her talent is making people smile in any way she can, either by parties or by being a friend. Fluttershy just makes a clown out of herself.
When I look at this, I don’t see ‘bad writing’ like most people do. I think that the jobs each do is based on their perception of their friend’s talents.
Fluttershy is a shut-in, and therefore wouldn’t know how to make people laugh in any way but making a fool out of herself. Rainbow Dash probably doesn’t care enough to see Fluttershy’s deeper relationship with her animals; she just sees her as someone that lives with them. Applejack is Rarity’s polar opposite. She doesn’t see the “art” in fashion like Rarity does, she just cares about how efficiently they perform what they’re meant to do. Rarity tries to put an art in weather-making, not understanding that Rainbow Dash just gets it done fast. Pinkie Pie is too childish and free-spirited to see the value of hard work like Applejack does. I actually think this is very clever writing, not that the writers didn’t understand their characters. They understood them better than some of the fandom does, apparently.
This is all fixed, however, in this scene.
Here my belief is proven. The Cutie Mark truly is but a symbol that represent nothing but what a pony is good at. It doesn’t control or change their lives. How do I come to this conclusion? Well, watch that scene again. How does Twilight fix things? Each of the Mane 6 rediscover their talents by helping each other. Therefore, their talents never actually changed. What changed was their memories. For example, by clearing the skies, Rainbow Dash discovered she was good at it, and then Twilight used her Element of Harmony to restore her memories. Her talent itself never actually changed, just the way she remembers it. It was the same with the rest of the Mane 6.
So, therefore, we can conclude that a Cutie Mark is, indeed, nothing but a symbol.