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On Your Marks

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On Your Marks
CMC with papers showing what they could do crossed out S6E4
Season №: 6
Season episode №: 4
Overall episode №: 121
Original airdate: April 9, 2016
Story by: Dave Polsky
Written by: Dave Polsky and Josh Haber
Storyboard: Ward Jenkins and Hanna Lee
Featured characters: Tender Taps
Song: Out On My Own
See also
transcriptgalleryallusions
animation errorsstatisticsspeculation
Episode guide
Previous
The Gift of the Maud Pie
Next
Gauntlet of Fire

On Your Marks is the fourth episode of season six of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic and the one hundred and twenty-first overall. The title is a reference to "on your marks, get set, go", the expression used to start a race.

In this episode, the Cutie Mark Crusaders struggle with the question of what's next after receiving their cutie marks.

Production

Sweetie Belle's costume at the beginning of the episode is loosely based on one of Dolly Parton's.[1]

The episode's "art nerd references" were by Charmaine Verhagen and Kora Kosicka.[2] Furthermore, the "Tree Hugger masterpieces" during the art class scene in Out On My Own were designed by Verhagen, Kosicka, Fernanda Ribeiro, Kristen Lobb, and Matt Herring.[3]

This is the first episode that marks the complete absence—outside of the My Little Pony theme song—of the entire Mane Six and Spike; they are merely depicted via drawings, and Rarity is also mentioned.

Summary

Post-cutie mark meeting

Apple Bloom sees that her friends are staring at their cutie marks S6E4

"Is this all we're gonna do now?"

At the Cutie Mark Crusaders' clubhouse, Apple Bloom calls to order their first meeting since receiving their cutie marks. Unfortunately, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo are so enamored with their cutie marks that they are unable to focus. Before Apple Bloom also gets distracted by her own mark, she proposes they go out and try new things, such as square dancing and mountain climbing.
"And the more things we try, the more chances we'll have to finally get our cutie marks!"
— Apple Bloom

However, as Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo point out, the Crusaders already have their cutie marks, much to Apple Bloom's embarrassment. The three fillies realize that crusading for their marks is all they have ever done, and they wonder what to do next. Apple Bloom suggests they do what their cutie marks symbolize: helping other ponies find out or rediscover what makes them special.

Finding ponies to help

The Crusaders travel around Ponyville to find ponies with cutie mark-related problems—from Big McIntosh to Pound Cake and Pumpkin Cake to Mayor Mare—but all of the ponies they meet appear to be perfectly content with their special talents and lives. As the Crusaders start to question how special they truly are, they encounter Bulk Biceps, who says he has a cutie mark problem.

Apple Bloom says yeah S6E4

The Crusaders' first "client".

The Crusaders invite Bulk back to their clubhouse—despite the cramped space—and he explains that his cutie mark is a dumbbell, but he has lifted every dumbbell in Ponyville. When they suggest he find other things to lift, he asks what to do after that. They then suggest that he teach other ponies to lift things, and this quickly satisfies him.

Apple Bloom worries that there aren't many ponies in Ponyville with cutie mark problems and those that do have problems are too easily solved. Because of this, she wonders if the Cutie Mark Crusaders have any reason to exist.

Out On My Own

Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom's ears irritated S6E4

Scootaloo still can't carry a tune.

The Crusaders take stock of their situation—too few ponies to help and easily solvable cutie mark problems—and Apple Bloom proposes expanding their search to all of Equestria. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo believe that's too much for them to handle and they should instead focus on helping ponies in Ponyville. Until then, they can just do things for fun without the pressure of getting their cutie marks.

The three fillies try out several activities around town, such as scootering and singing, but they find it difficult to think of something they are all interested in. Despite Apple Bloom's reservations, the three decide to pursue separate interests. Suddenly on her own, Apple Bloom tries to find something fun to do, all while singing a heartfelt ballad. Unfortunately, she can't, particularly because she doesn't have Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo to do it with.

Apple Bloom and dancing colt tango S6E4

Apple Bloom takes up dancing.

For a brief time, Apple Bloom discovers an interest in dancing in a class taught by Hoofer Steps, and she substitutes for a shy student named Tender Taps. Due to her lack of dancing talent, however, she struggles to fit in. As Apple Bloom leaves, she talks with Tender Taps, who has a lot of tap-dancing talent but suffers from stage fright.
"I bet some day my cutie mark will even be about performing! But I could never dance in front of an audience the way I do in class. That's t-t-t-t-terrifying!"
— Tender Taps

You don't need to be good

Apple Bloom's walls of failed interests S6E4

What good is fun if you have no one to share it with?

Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo return to the Crusaders clubhouse after an afternoon of fun spent crocheting and bungee-jumping. Inside the clubhouse, they find Apple Bloom sitting alone in the dark. After trying dozens of activities and failing to find anything that interests her, Apple Bloom despairs about finding happiness now that she and her friends don't hang out anymore. Scootaloo corrects her by stating they can still hang out, but they don't have to do everything together.

Apple Bloom admits that she did like dancing, but she wasn't very good at it. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo tell her she doesn't need to be good in order to have fun. When Apple Bloom mentions Tender Taps and his performance troubles, Sweetie Belle asks if he had his cutie mark.

Sweetie Belle "you'll be just fine!" S6E4

The Crusaders help Tender Taps.

At the Ponyville dance theater, the Crusaders find Tender Taps backstage, and Apple Bloom tries to convince him to perform. When Tender Taps expresses fear from performing in front of an audience, Apple Bloom says she'll perform with him so he'll look good by comparison.

While Sweetie Belle provides them with costumes and Scootaloo assists with the stage backdrop, Apple Bloom and Tender Taps perform a tap-dancing act together. Apple Bloom mostly embarrasses herself, but Tender Taps manages to overcome his stage fright and impress the audience with his dancing. As the ponies cheer for him, he earns a tap-dancing cutie mark.

Epilogue

Apple Bloom "we'll be better!" S6E4

A new chapter in the Cutie Mark Crusaders' lives.

Tender Taps thanks the Cutie Mark Crusaders for helping him realize his tap-dancing potential. He tells Apple Bloom that he hopes she continues dancing, and Apple Bloom says she will. Apple Bloom apologizes to her friends for being so silly about them trying new things on their own, and Sweetie Belle says by doing so, they'll be three times as likely to find ponies to help.
"Well, one thing is for sure. The Cutie Mark Crusaders will never be the same. We'll be better!"
— Apple Bloom

Quotes

For more quotes, see the episode's transcript.
Apple Bloom: This is ridiculous! We need to go out and do somethin'!
Sweetie Belle: Wow, you're right!
Scootaloo: Yeah, we need to go try new stuff like we used to!
Apple Bloom: Exactly.
Sweetie Belle: Like square dancing!
[square dancing music]
Scootaloo: Or mountain climbing! [stock yodel]
Apple Bloom: Or square dancin' on the mountain we just climbed!
Sweetie Belle: But are you sure you feel content?
Big McIntosh: Eeyup.
Scootaloo: Not even a tinge of dissatisfaction?
Big McIntosh: Nnnope.
Apple Bloom: Not even the slightest naggin' sensation that you don't really know what your purpose is in life or why you have a big apple as a cutie mark?
[thump]
Big McIntosh: [grunts] [spits] [annoyed] Nnnope.
Sweetie Belle: [blows tone] Do... Mi... So... It's just a simple harmony.
Scootaloo: Harmony, huh?
Sweetie Belle: [tapping with stick] And a-one, and a-two, and a-one two three! [on-key] Do...
Apple Bloom: [simultaneously, off-key] So...!
Scootaloo: [simultaneously, very off-key] Mi! Wow, that was simple!
Apple Bloom: ...and even though Scootaloo thinks bungee jumping is the bee's knees...
[pen squeaking]
Apple Bloom: ...Sweetie Belle would rather keep bees.
Apple Bloom: I don't see how I'm supposed to be happy that we're not hanging out anymore!
Scootaloo: Wait, I never said that. I just said we don't have to do everything together.
Sweetie Belle: Like when there's something one of us wants to do that the others don't.
Apple Bloom: Oh. [beat] Well, I guess that changes things.
Apple Bloom: Well, one thing is for sure. The Cutie Mark Crusaders will never be the same. We'll be better!

Gallery

Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom, and Scootaloo disappointed S6E4

On Your Marks image gallery

References

  1. Jim Miller (2016-04-09). Big Jim on Twitter: "SB's costume is loosely based on one of Dolly Parton's. #MLPSeason6". Twitter. Retrieved on 2016 April 9.
  2. Jim Miller (2016-04-09). Big Jim on Twitter: "Art nerd references courtesy of @charmainevee and @kkosicka. #MLPSeason6". Twitter. Retrieved on 2016 April 9.
  3. Jim Miller (2016-04-09). Big Jim on Twitter: "@InmanAlex It's our design team! @kkosicka @charmainevee @fe_rib Kristen Lobb and Matt Herring!". Twitter. Retrieved on 2016 April 12.
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Episodes, films, and animated shorts
Season one
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Episode 1
Friendship is Magic, part 1
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Friendship is Magic, part 2
Episode 3
The Ticket Master
Episode 4
Applebuck Season
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Griffon the Brush Off
Episode 6
Boast Busters
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Dragonshy
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Look Before You Sleep
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Episode 9
Bridle Gossip
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Swarm of the Century
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Winter Wrap Up
Episode 12
Call of the Cutie
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Fall Weather Friends
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Suited For Success
Episode 15
Feeling Pinkie Keen
Episode 16
Sonic Rainboom
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Stare Master
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The Show Stoppers
Episode 19
A Dog and Pony Show
Episode 20
Green Isn't Your Color
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Episode 21
Over a Barrel
Episode 22
A Bird in the Hoof
Episode 23
The Cutie Mark Chronicles
Episode 24
Owl's Well That Ends Well
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Episode 25
Party of One
Episode 26
The Best Night Ever
Season two
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Episode 1
The Return of Harmony Part 1
Episode 2
The Return of Harmony Part 2
Episode 3
Lesson Zero
Episode 4
Luna Eclipsed
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Sisterhooves Social
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The Cutie Pox
Episode 7
May the Best Pet Win!
Episode 8
The Mysterious Mare Do Well
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Sweet and Elite
Episode 10
Secret of My Excess
Episode 11
Hearth's Warming Eve
Episode 12
Family Appreciation Day
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Baby Cakes
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The Last Roundup
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The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000
Episode 16
Read It and Weep
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Hearts and Hooves Day
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A Friend in Deed
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Putting Your Hoof Down
Episode 20
It's About Time
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Dragon Quest
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Hurricane Fluttershy
Episode 23
Ponyville Confidential
Episode 24
MMMystery on the Friendship Express
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Episode 25
A Canterlot Wedding - Part 1
Episode 26
A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2
Season three
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Episode 1
The Crystal Empire - Part 1
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The Crystal Empire - Part 2
Episode 3
Too Many Pinkie Pies
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One Bad Apple
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Magic Duel
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Sleepless in Ponyville
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Wonderbolts Academy
Episode 8
Apple Family Reunion
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Spike at Your Service
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Keep Calm and Flutter On
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Just for Sidekicks
Episode 12
Games Ponies Play
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Episode 13
Magical Mystery Cure
Season four
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Episode 1
Princess Twilight Sparkle - Part 1
Episode 2
Princess Twilight Sparkle - Part 2
Episode 3
Castle Mane-ia
Episode 4
Daring Don't
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Episode 5
Flight to the Finish
Episode 6
Power Ponies
Episode 7
Bats!
Episode 8
Rarity Takes Manehattan
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Episode 9
Pinkie Apple Pie
Episode 10
Rainbow Falls
Episode 11
Three's A Crowd
Episode 12
Pinkie Pride
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Episode 13
Simple Ways
Episode 14
Filli Vanilli
Episode 15
Twilight Time
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It Ain't Easy Being Breezies
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Somepony to Watch Over Me
Episode 18
Maud Pie
Episode 19
For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils
Episode 20
Leap of Faith
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Episode 21
Testing Testing 1, 2, 3
Episode 22
Trade Ya!
Episode 23
Inspiration Manifestation
Episode 24
Equestria Games
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Episode 25
Twilight's Kingdom - Part 1
Episode 26
Twilight's Kingdom - Part 2
Season five
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Episode 1
The Cutie Map - Part 1
Episode 2
The Cutie Map - Part 2
Episode 3
Castle Sweet Castle
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Bloom & Gloom
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Tanks for the Memories
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Appleoosa's Most Wanted
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Make New Friends but Keep Discord
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The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone
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Slice of Life
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Princess Spike
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Party Pooped
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Amending Fences
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Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?
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Canterlot Boutique
Episode 15
Rarity Investigates!
Episode 16
Made in Manehattan
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Brotherhooves Social
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Crusaders of the Lost Mark
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The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows
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Hearthbreakers
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Scare Master
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What About Discord?
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The Hooffields and McColts
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The Mane Attraction
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Episode 25
The Cutie Re-Mark - Part 1
Episode 26
The Cutie Re-Mark - Part 2
Season six
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Episode 1
The Crystalling - Part 1
Episode 2
The Crystalling - Part 2
Episode 3
The Gift of the Maud Pie
Episode 4
On Your Marks
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Episode 5
Gauntlet of Fire
Episode 6
No Second Prances
Episode 7
Newbie Dash
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A Hearth's Warming Tail
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Episode 9
The Saddle Row Review
Episode 10
Applejack's "Day" Off
Episode 11
Flutter Brutter
Episode 12
Spice Up Your Life
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Episode 13
Stranger Than Fan Fiction
Episode 14
The Cart Before the Ponies
Episode 15
28 Pranks Later
Episode 16
The Times They Are A Changeling
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Episode 17
Dungeons & Discords
Episode 18
Buckball Season
Episode 19
The Fault in Our Cutie Marks
Episode 20
Viva Las Pegasus
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Episode 21
Every Little Thing She Does
Episode 22
P.P.O.V. (Pony Point of View)
Episode 23
Where the Apple Lies
Episode 24
Top Bolt
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Episode 25
To Where and Back Again - Part 1
Episode 26
To Where and Back Again - Part 2
Feature films
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Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks Friendship Games Legend of Everfree
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My Little Pony: The Movie
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