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Oliver


Let R = { x | x ∉ x }, then R ∈ R ⟺ R ∉ R... or is it?

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Sep
10th
2016

Points of Canon: S6x19 - The Fault in Our Cutie Marks · 8:00pm Sep 10th, 2016

Cutie marks are important. Particularly in how the show staff is very undecided what they really are. :pinkiehappy:

Let’s see what they brought us today…

Kind of a lot, starting from the very first minute and never letting up. Most of it new unanswered questions.

  • The CMC are established as surprisingly serious cutie mark consultants, enough for adults to defer to them. This is pretty much a first event of this kind for the entire show. Adults don’t normally do these things. I’m an adult, I should know. This involves some rather high profile events.
  • The pony Earth had dinosaurs at some point. Which is far, far from a given, knowing what we don’t know about their history. Notably, the fossil is not referred to as a “dragon” at any point. One interesting question is how this fossil wasn’t found when the house was constructed.
  • The parents immediately chorusing “She’s an archaeologist!” is either wrong, or implies that those dinosaurs were sapient, because archeology is the study of the activity of sapients, not animals.
  • The parents seriously considered supporting their daughter’s career in piracy. Is this socially acceptable or do they just love her so much, that they don’t care it isn’t? If it’s the latter, how is it that were not aware of the possibility of their daughter being interested in fossils? Just how did this happen?
  • Gabriella’s coloration, as well as the coloration of background griffons shown, breaks the previously established patterns for griffons entirely, they have always followed the standard base color for the lion on the lion’s side. Ever seen gray lions? Me neither. Gabriella still follows the naming convention that at least the majority of griffon names start with a G, though.
  • The establishing shots in the flashback, while maintaining the same general style of lodgings, don’t match Griffonstone, even though it is unambiguously said that it is. Apparently, the last time, the camera would deliberately show us the worst looking angles available, as well as the worst-off griffons. Could this be viewpoint character bias or something?
  • 1. It’s obvious she isn’t culturally normal for a griffon, but is she physiologically normal? How would someone like that emerge in griffon society if they were?

    Three words. Direct Delivery Mail. Gabriella flies all the way to deliver a letter herself, instead of, you know, handing it over to the sorting center. It probably isn’t normal practice, and Griffonstone might not even have an international mail system working, but Gabriella has apparently been okay with going missing for the minimum day or two that trip would require. Considering that she brought an entire bag of mail, either she’s completely and utterly scatterbrained, which is a possibility,1 or she’s couriering the entire supply of international mail for Griffonstone…

  • Even though Gabriella constantly calls the CMC “world famous,” they aren’t, she only knew they existed upon arrival to Ponyville.
  • Twilight makes a very firm statement that creatures other than ponies do not get cutie marks. It’s not entirely clear if zebras count as ponies for the purpose of this statement, though, but signs point to no.
  • Scootaloo’s statement “I know what it’s like to want something that’s out of reach” while flapping her wings still leaves the question of whether she will ever fly open.
  • 2. Well, I have a plausible explanation of corsets, now I just need to figure one for halters…

    The first line of the song says “Like the racer at the starting line, you’re chomping at the bit,” and unless ponies have a tradition to chew money while racing, halters are part of traditional racing attire.2 I shudder to think of what the spurs seen on Appleloosa pony cutie marks are actually for, though…

  • For once, the mathematical syntax on the board in school isn’t alien.
  • Bulk Biceps carries boxes in his front legs rather than on his back. Huh.
  • Ponies play baseball. And since just about everypony on screen is a known Ponyville resident, there’s a baseball field somewhere in town we don’t know about. For ponies, this has to be a rather difficult game, that requires moving in highly unnatural ways…
  • Sifting through their activity list had to have taken multiple days. See the above comment regarding direct delivery mail.
  • What exactly is Doctor doing with that cart, anyway?…
  • Scootaloo’s statement “Finding your special purpose doesn’t have to be about being good at something, it’s about feeling good about something” fits well with my previously explained cutie mark theory, at least.
  • Starlight Glimmer never shows up and is never mentioned. Rainbow Dash never shows up, and is never referred to as a Wonderbolt. At the same time, the action is centered on CMC and background characters, so it could have happened anytime, provided some reasonable time elapses after On Your Marks for the Crusaders to acquire a reputation.

Well, that turned out better than I expected.

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Comments ( 23 )

What's really weird is that the fossil is apparently of the genus Ponysaurus. I don't know if that refers to the equinoid skull or the possible name of the discoverer. And in the former case are we to believe that this "pony lizard" is an ancestor of the modern-day, clearly mammalian ponies? Or is it just a case of convergent evolution?

As for the Doctor, I assume he was deliberately stuck in the mud to stall Gabby long enough for the Crusaders to catch up. :trollestia:

4203361

What’s really weird is that the fossil is apparently of the genus Ponysaurus.

I really wasn’t sure I heard that right.

Looks like I did. :/

I don’t know if that refers to the equinoid skull or the possible name of the discoverer. And in the former case are we to believe that this “pony lizard” is an ancestor of the modern-day, clearly mammalian ponies? Or is it just a case of convergent evolution?

Hypothesis: it’s an ancestor of dragons, called so because unlike dragons, it was pony-scale.

Rule of Minimum: Only use the minimum number of characters you need in a scene. (Carefully note the number of M6 characters missing, which shows they're doing it right.)
Rule of Funny: Explains the pirate gag, and several others.
Rule of Common: (i.e. use the word most common) Explains why they used Archaeology instead of paleontologists. Most eight year old girls probably know the first word better than the second.

House construction doesnt seem to require foundations. As Big Mac pulled one across town.
But then that opens up a whole lot of other questions.

4203413

Rule of Fridge logic: Ponies do not actually care about writers applying rules. :P :)

It’s not entirely clear if zebras count as ponies for the purpose of this statement, though, but signs point to no.

Perhaps the marks that zebras receive aren't called "cutie marks", thus making Twilight's statement accurate while still allowing zebras to gain a magical marking of their own. I've always thought of them as rune marks, though I don't recall if I thought that up myself or if I read it in a fanfic somewhere. I'm guessing the latter.

4203740

Possibly. Me, I think it works better if zebras do have magical markings, but it doesn’t count as a cutie mark because they make them. I.e. Zecora’s mark is an actual magical tattoo, produced for one or another arcane purpose.

This was a meaty episode for world-building!

The CMC are established as surprisingly serious cutie mark consultants, enough for adults to defer to them.

Parents look and dress wealthy, have a nice house, supports the idea that wealthy ponies are moving to Ponyville now that they can commute to Canterlot via train. Also that earth ponies be rollin' in it.

The parents seriously considered supporting their daughter’s career in piracy. Is this socially acceptable or do they just love her so much, that they don’t care it isn’t?

It does seem like ponies can do almost anything they want if they have a corresponding butt-tattoo, which is terrifying. Or there's an alternative possibility: The parent's cutie marks are a pearl in an oyster, and crossed fencing swords. The cutie marks of upper-class twits, possibly. But they could also be the cutie marks of a pair of pirates who made good, retired in secret to the suburbs and are excited to see their daughter take up the family trade.

Ever seen gray lions?

There are grey panthers. I thought as we saw more Griffons, there would be more bird and cat-types shown. On the other hand, the song does specify "lion" and "eagle."

Apparently, the last time, the camera would deliberately show us the worst looking angles available, as well as the worst-off griffons. Could this be viewpoint character bias or something?

I noticed that too. Either the Friendship summit at Griffonstone worked really fast, or Grandpa Gruff acted almost as an unreliable narrator, despite the audience getting a direct view of the town. Either way, Griffonstone as a functioning society/economy is the single biggest change we got here.

Three words. Direct Delivery Mail. Gabriella flies all the way to deliver a letter herself, instead of, you know, handing it over to the sorting center.

It looked like Gabby stood around badgering Gilda into writing that letter immediately, just so Gabby had an excuse to deliver it. There's a regular train service, that seems like it would be the normal way to move mail.

Twilight makes a very firm statement that creatures other than ponies do not get cutie marks.

This actually seems important to me: Twilight says "I've read every book on the subject, and only ponies can get cutie marks." So Twilight was doing exhaustive research on whether or not non-ponies can get cutie marks. It's not hard to guess who she would be doing that kind of research on behalf of :moustache: , that would be great material for a fanfic. Heck, when are the CMC going to give Spike an honorary cutie mark?

Scootaloo’s statement “I know what it’s like to want something that’s out of reach” while flapping her wings still leaves the question of whether she will ever fly open.

It leaves it open, but it closes it to a crack, I would say. It certainly suggests which outcome is more likely.

Scootaloo’s statement “Finding your special purpose doesn’t have to be about being good at something, it’s about feeling good about something” fits well with my previously explained cutie mark theory, at least.

"I really enjoy this" probably works better at triggering a moment of epiphany than "I'm really good at this."

At the same time, the action is centered on CMC and background characters, so it could have happened anytime, provided some reasonable time elapses after On Your Marks for the Crusaders to acquire a reputation.

Timing on this one is almost impossible. Has to happen after the Tender Taps one, plus reputation to spread. On the other hand, from Gabby's flashback, it really looks like the second Rainbow Dash and Pinkie left Griffonstone, Gabby went to Gilda and badgered her into writing a letter, then flew straight to Ponyville. So maybe the Griffonstone episode needs to be moved to the middle of season 6? Twilight's comments about Griffons being difficult to befriend could be based off the time Gilda came to Ponyville.

Oh, and one other thing: Lots of people have pointed out how Gabby comes off as an annoying Mary Sue for being good at everything. I kind of agree with them, but here's my theory on why: Almost everyone except Gabby in Griffonstone is a selfish jerk who doesn't help others, right? So Gabby has spent her whole life running herself ragged doing everything for everyone else, almost singlehandedly keeping their society going. In the process, she's gained tons of proficiency and aptitudes for things, because she has helped some Griffon somewhere with almost everything.

The comics also previously had dinosaurs in Reflections and Discord's Magical History Tour. Chalk up another instance of primary canon and the expanded universe agreeing on something.

4203740

This is the explanation I'm going to go with, too (personally, I've always thought of them as glyph marks, because that's what Fallout: Equestria called them).

The discussion of zebras reminds me of an old joke:

3 Americans are on a train through Scotland: an economist, a physicist, and a mathematician. They all see a brown cow out the window.
The economist says "Oh, cows in Scotland must be brown!"
The physicist says "Well, we know there's a brown cow in Scotland."
The mathematician says "Not quite! We know there is at least one cow in Scotland, and at least half of it is brown!"

Since Zecora is the only zebra to have appeared in the show (don't know if other zebras have appeared in the comics), it's unclear the extent to which we should generalize about zebras based on Zecora. She is very clearly an exceptional zebra and probably not representative of other zebras.

About the archaeology thing, the credits list Petunia's last name as Paleo. So I guess the writers knew they were making a mistake when they did it...?

4203855

It does seem like ponies can do almost anything they want if they have a corresponding butt-tattoo, which is terrifying.

That it is, but what does the guy with Vegemite on his butt do? :)

Or there’s an alternative possibility: The parent’s cutie marks are a pearl in an oyster, and crossed fencing swords. The cutie marks of upper-class twits, possibly. But they could also be the cutie marks of a pair of pirates who made good, retired in secret to the suburbs and are excited to see their daughter take up the family trade.

That certainly sounds like a pony thing to happen – amusing, endearing, and with darker connotations. I suppose what they wanted from the CMC was a cover story, then.

There are grey panthers. I thought as we saw more Griffons, there would be more bird and cat-types shown. On the other hand, the song does specify “lion” and “eagle.”

The original mythical gryphons are explicitly a mix of those two. Eagles come in somewhat more colors than lions, but still it’s a bit odd.

It does liven the place up though.

I noticed that too. Either the Friendship summit at Griffonstone worked really fast, or Grandpa Gruff acted almost as an unreliable narrator, despite the audience getting a direct view of the town. Either way, Griffonstone as a functioning society/economy is the single biggest change we got here.

Considering that the shot shows the exact same day, or at least wants us to think it does, I think we have to posit that it was Rainbow Dash’s view of the situation, and she had a rather particular perspective on griffon society. We never got a shot of the castle on the mega-tree, because she didn’t care about it, even though she couldn’t avoid seeing it.

This actually seems important to me: Twilight says “I’ve read every book on the subject, and only ponies can get cutie marks.” So Twilight was doing exhaustive research on whether or not non-ponies can get cutie marks. It’s not hard to guess who she would be doing that kind of research on behalf of :moustache: , that would be great material for a fanfic. Heck, when are the CMC going to give Spike an honorary cutie mark?

Considering how directly important cutie marks – both her own and other ponies’ – are in Twilight’s life, she would be stupid not to have become an expert by now, anyway. I don’t think Spike ever seriously wanted one, or at least, I don’t think he wanted one for long…

“I really enjoy this” probably works better at triggering a moment of epiphany than “I’m really good at this.”

One wonders why there aren’t any lewd cutie marks. Or maybe those spurs are…

Timing on this one is almost impossible. Has to happen after the Tender Taps one, plus reputation to spread. On the other hand, from Gabby’s flashback, it really looks like the second Rainbow Dash and Pinkie left Griffonstone, Gabby went to Gilda and badgered her into writing a letter, then flew straight to Ponyville. So maybe the Griffonstone episode needs to be moved to the middle of season 6? Twilight’s comments about Griffons being difficult to befriend could be based off the time Gilda came to Ponyville.

Considering that On Your Marks has to have happened within a month after Crusaders of the Lost Mark, and that has to precede The Cutie Re-Mark, I think this works better by falling through to before that, than otherwise. I.e. Starlight Glimmer is not present not because she didn’t have anything to say on the subject of cutie mark surgery,¹ which kind of is her shtick, but because she was still busy stalking Twilight from the shadows.

——————————————
1. Now there’s an idea: Griffons can’t get cutie marks, but can you transplant a cutie mark onto a griffon?

4204149

Since Zecora is the only zebra to have appeared in the show (don’t know if other zebras have appeared in the comics), it’s unclear the extent to which we should generalize about zebras based on Zecora. She is very clearly an exceptional zebra and probably not representative of other zebras.

The variation of that joke I always tell is about sheep, though…

We also have the Journal of the two Sisters which is nearly the only place in canon that has zebras other than Zecora, and it explicitly says that Luna thinks they have cutie marks at the time. They never become a topic of detailed discussion, though, Luna just remarks on it and moves on.

4204303

About the archaeology thing, the credits list Petunia’s last name as Paleo. So I guess the writers knew they were making a mistake when they did it…?

Probably. The credits are notoriously unreliable as a source of information, though, we’ve seen them misspell names, forget names that were previously established, and in general make a mess out of things.

Maybe her parents really are successful retired pirates, and the only sort of scientist digging in the ground that interested them really is an archaeologist… ;)

4203855
I think it's more likely Twilight has been done a bunch of cutie mark research since the Mane Six's first encounter with Starlight Glimmer back in Cutie Map. Magic that allows you to snatch a pony's cutie mark away and replace it with something else while keeping the mark captive? That's got to make Twilight giddy with all the arcane possibilities!

4204505
I was about to say that we did see the castle in LToG, only in a dilapidated state... but checking the episode gallery at the MLP wiki, I see you're right: we didn't. Huh. I wonder if I'm thinking about some fanart or something? Anyway, given Gabby's relentlessly sunny nature, I kinda think she saw her hometown in a better shape than some visiting ponies would see it as.

4204505

We never got a shot of the castle on the mega-tree, because she didn’t care about it, even though she couldn’t avoid seeing it.

Good point. I suspect there's got to be some kind of Regent or Council or something, just because there does seem to be a functioning society that requires at least some government.

Starlight Glimmer is not present not because she didn’t have anything to say on the subject of cutie mark surgery,¹ which kind of is her shtick, but because she was still busy stalking Twilight from the shadows.

Hadn't thought about that. Yeah, the absence of Starlight Glimmer, and no one saying "hey, Starlight has to know a lot about cutie marks, we should ask her" does make this pretty likely to be in season 5. We seem to be packing a lot of extra episodes into season 5, but as long as we move up The One Where Pinkie Knows, that actually makes the timeline flow more sensibly.

4204530

I think it's more likely Twilight has been done a bunch of cutie mark research since the Mane Six's first encounter with Starlight Glimmer back in Cutie Map.

The amount of books on cutie marks in general written in Equestria has to be staggering, similar to all the books on adolescent development ever written. It seems incredibly unlikely even Twilight would be certain she had read all of those many thousands of books. Books written on the possibility of non-ponies getting cutie marks, on the other hand, is a much narrower sub-section, the equivalent of incredibly rare adolescent development disorders. I can see Twilight feeling confident she has read all of those couple dozen books written on the subject.

Now, Spike may never have wanted to get a cutie mark, but that doesn't mean a teenage Twilight, raising an infant Spike, may have investigated it on her own as a research project.

4206184

Good point. I suspect there's got to be some kind of Regent or Council or something, just because there does seem to be a functioning society that requires at least some government.

...Come to think of it, if they have a Regency Council, that would explain perfectly why they're still in such a state, and they could remain in it indefinitely, placing the story of Arimaspi an arbitrary time into the past. I mean, griffons and a council? :pinkiegasp:

4206392 ....... I feel like this is referencing something I'm forgetting. :twilightblush:

4207041

Not really. Just try to imagine a council of griffons, the way they are portrayed on Griffonstone streets in The Fault in Our Cutie Marks.

Can you imagine anything useful coming out of such a committee? :)

4207102 You're right, that would be hilarious. It's too bad Carabas has already written a Griffon nation that is substantially different from canon for his Palaververse, he's the author who could best do it justice.

Viewpoint character bias is something I've long considered to be a thing in MLP. For example, how Fluttershy episodes tend to have Equestria be a terrifying place filled with awful ponies, while Pinkie episodes tend to make things (even more) surreal.

4207102

Can you imagine anything useful coming out of such a committee? :)

Fixed that for you. :trollestia:

This episode looooves its continuity. Unusual. (To the point it doesn't include prior events that never were shown. It's a very pat, no-loose-threads-in-backstories episode.)

The parents immediately chorusing “She’s an archaeologist!” is either wrong, or implies that those dinosaurs were sapient, because archeology is the study of the activity of sapients, not animals.

:rainbowderp:

Twilight makes a very firm statement that creatures other than ponies do not get cutie marks. It’s not entirely clear if zebras count as ponies for the purpose of this statement, though, but signs point to no.

also in that gray area: changelings.

1. Now there’s an idea: Griffons can’t get cutie marks, but can you transplant a cutie mark onto a griffon?

Now you're thinking with transponyism!
❧"unsettling" cutie marks CAN happen.
❧❧…skull and two bones associated with the Jolly Roger associated with piracy. Not even crossed bones, this time.
4203855

and crossed fencing swords.

Metal swords are at least moderately available. okay, seems reasonable it was already in the house, rather than a custom order on a possible mark interpretation.

I thought as we saw more Griffons, there would be more bird and cat-types shown.

❧Many beak/face patterns in that flashback: eagle (standard), owl, parrot, raven (and Gabby's kinda parakeet)
❧…but Gabby still calls gryphons out as "lion + eagle"
❧That song…so many "exists" bits in it: baseball, braces, clarinet,

For once, the mathematical syntax on the board in school isn’t alien.

❧❧precalculus (which is trigonometry, here as there)
❧❧❧which hard-implies the existence of calculus, too!
❧A stronger bid for a trans-speciesism than IAEBBreezies (RD's ‘Hey, would you turn me into a gryphon? A dragon?’), but..averted, kinda?
"chomping at the bit?" *shakes head*

ed:Gryphons (griffins) still have really, really long wings compared to ponies. Or even themselves, those wings go past her haunches folded.
I suppose if I'm noting all the winghanding pterippi have been doing, I should note Gabby as being very comfortable in bipedal or semi-bipedal poses.

4522138

also in that gray area: changelings.

None of those were ever seen to have a cutie mark of their own yet, though. Zecora does have a pattern on her rump.

My guess it’s not a cutie mark, but rather, a tattoo of shamanic status, because we do know tattoos are possible on ponies, why not zebras.

…skull and two bones associated with the Jolly Roger associated with piracy. Not even crossed bones, this time.

Was previously referred to in My Little Pony #13-14, they have a whole pirate storyline.

Gryphons (griffins)

The spelling used all over the canonical texts, consistently, is “griffons.”

Don’t ask me why. :)

4522201
Changelings're quadrupedal ungulates even if they're English…er…thinko, insects.
(Technically, they can magically gain cutie marks, too…)

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