Apple Bloom: And we wanna crusade for our cutie marks!
Sweetie Belle: And we... um... yeah, what they said!
Rarity's got a big order to fill at her boutique, and her little sister Sweetie Belle keeps getting underhoof. Fluttershy shows up to drop off a freshly-groomed Opalescence, but things get hectic again when Apple Bloom and Scootaloo show up for the big Cutie Mark Crusader Sleepover the girls have been planning, and Sweetie Belle shows off the capes she'd made for her and her friends. Unfortunately, said capes were made with the special gold fabric Rarity had been using, forcing the frazzled unicorn to pull an all-nighter to get the order done, and preventing her from chaperoning the sleepover. Fortunately for the CMC, Fluttershy volunteers to let them stay at her house, despite warnings from both Rarity and Twilight that the Crusaders might be more than Fluttershy can handle.
This quickly proves to be the case, as the Cutie Mark Crusaders proceed to turn Fluttershy's house upside down with their efforts at finding their special talent and making their cutie marks appear. Nothing seems to work, whether it's Cutie Mark Crusader Chimney Cleaners, Cutie Mark Crusader Creature-Catchers, or Cutie Mark Crusader Carpenters, and poor Fluttershy is run ragged trying (and failing) to calm them down; the Crusaders prove to be even too savvy to fall for the "Shh" game trick.
Scootaloo: I lose!
Sweetie Belle: Me too!
Apple Bloom: Me three!
Finally, Fluttershy tries to put the Crusaders to bed with a lullaby, but Sweetie Belle insists in joining in, and as good a singer as Sweetie is, her version is rather more energetic and a good deal louder, loud enough to startle Fluttershy's chickens out back. The Cutie Mark Crusader Chicken-Herders try (and fail) to round up the birds, and Fluttershy is forced to use "The Stare" on the chickens to subdue them and get them back in the coop.
Later that night, the Crusaders are just settling down for bed (or so they let Fluttershy think), when they notice one of Fluttershy's chickens has broken loose and wandered off...into the Everfree Forest. They sneak out to chase down the wayward chicken, but Fluttershy quickly discovers they're gone and tries to track them down. Then Fluttershy runs into Twilight, who had earlier gone to visit Zecora...only to discover her Unicorn friend has been turned to stone!
Turns out there's a cockatrice on the loose. When Fluttershy tries to warn them, however, the Cutie Mark Crusaders are dismissive of the beast based on its silly-sounding description.
They quickly change their tune after witnessing the beast turn its petrifying powers on Fluttershy's chicken... followed by it going after them! Fortunately, Fluttershy is able to use "The Stare" to not only scare off the beast, but brow-beat it into turning Twilight and the chicken back to normal, earning her the respect and gratitude of the Crusaders after saving them. The next day, all is well, Fluttershy has learned her lesson about biting off more than you can chew, and Twilight has learned once again not to underestimate Fluttershy.
- Adult Fear: The CMC disappear during the night and go into the Everfree Forest. That would unnerve any babysitter.
- An Aesop:
- Don't do a task that is much more than you can handle.
- A secondary one: being good with animals does not automatically make you good with kids.
- The All-Solving Hammer: The only tool the Crusaders use to "fix" Fluttershy's broken table.
- Argument of Contradictions: Apple Bloom and Scootaloo do this. "Maybe that's our special talent: arguing." "Is not!" "Is too!" "Is not!" "Is too! Anything yet?" "Darn." A YouTube video parodies this by having the logo of Fox News appear as the cutie mark, suggesting that this is the type of behavior the network encourages with its style of reporting.
- Audible Sharpness:Sweetie Belle: Ooh, ooh, oh, oh, oh, oh! Maybe I can be good with animals, too!
Opalescence: *Shing!* ([smirks as though she'd just eaten Hummingway)
- Babysitting Episode: Fluttershy offers to watch the Cutie Mark Crusaders, greatly underestimating how energetic they can be. She eventually does earn their respect and obedience by saving them from a monster in the Everfree Forest.
- Badass in Distress: Twilight Sparkle, who took out an Ursa Minor on her own, is turned to stone by a cockatrice which leaves Fluttershy to protect the Cutie Mark Crusaders and save Twilight.
- Badly Battered Babysitter: Fluttershy is exhausted by the CMC. Rarity also experiences this when Sweetie Belle wrecks her workroom, and implies that she's been through it before with the trio.
- Basilisk and Cockatrice: A cockatrice (having the head and feet of a chicken, lizard body, and bat wings) is the main threat of the episode.
- Beyond the Impossible: Fluttershy wins a staring contest with a cockatrice, i.e. a creature that turns ponies to stone by staring at them.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: The cockatrice doesn't look threatening, but its ability to petrify anything makes it one of the most dangerous monsters in the show.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Sweetie Belle says "I know this one!", she looks directly at the camera instead of at Fluttershy.
- Brick Joke: The Japanese dub does one with Fluttershy claiming to be the "world shush champion" — by the end of the episode, the Cutie Mark Crusaders declare her the "world stare champion".
- Catchphrase: "CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS SHOUTING WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS! YAY!" Mercifully, it didn't stick, though they're still very well known for it in the fandom.
- Cats Are Snarkers: Sweetie Belle wonders if she could be good with animals. Opal responds by cutting off part of her mane, and...
- Cat Smile: ...sports an amused grin after thoroughly deflating Sweetie Belle's notion.*
- Comically Missing the Point: Sweetie Belle, the point of a lullaby is to lull.
- Cute, but Cacophonic: The Cutie Mark Crusaders, who seem to insist on screaming their desires as much as possible. Of particular note was Sweetie Belle, who managed to invoke Oh, Crap!/This Is Gonna Suck from the others (see below).
- A Day in the Limelight: This episode mainly focuses on Fluttershy and the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
- Death Glare: In-universe, Fluttershy's Stare is infamous before this episode. It's a plot point.
- Delayed Causality: Opal giving a claw swipe to Sweetie Belle's mane and the severed bang falling two seconds later.
- Disaster Dominoes: Sweetie Belle's attempts to help Rarity during the Cold Open make a big mess.
- Don't Tell Mama: Fluttershy threatening to tattle to the Cockatrice's mom makes it revert her and Twilight to normal.
- Dude, Not Funny!: Scootaloo's deadpan response to Apple Bloom comparing her to a chicken.Scootaloo: That's so funny I forgot to laugh.
- Eat the Camera: Sweetie Belle, during her rendition of "Hush Now Quiet Now." The scene immediately transitions to the sky, where we see her (a unicorn) on a cloud.
- Epic Fail:
- The Cutie Mark Crusaders attempt at fixing Fluttershy's table; it no longer resembles a table.
- Sweetie Belle's attempt to fetch her sister some ribbon trashes the entire shop.
- Go Through Me: Fluttershy orders the Crusaders behind her then stands between them and the Cockatrice to protect them.
- Hair Reboot: Opal swipes a chunk of Sweetie Belle's mane. It reappears intact in the next shot.
- Holy Halo: Appearing on the Crusaders' heads each time Fluttershy refers to them as "sweet little angels" (talking first with Rarity, later Twilight). They raise enough of a ruckus to drive her crazy.
- It's Quiet
Too Quiet: This is how Fluttershy realizes the Cutie Mark Crusaders have snuck off into the Everfree Forest. The crusaders haven't been quiet all day.Fluttershy: Aah, peace and quiet... *ear flicks up* too quiet!
- Just in Time: Downplayed. You see that Fluttershy is rapidly turning to stone, covering half of her body, but in the next scene the transformation is put to a halt (even turning the transformation backwards a little) and the stone breaks without reaching her neck.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: Shortly after explaining to the Cutie Mark Crusaders that they should never look a cockatrice in the eye, the cockatrice makes a move to attack the fillies. Fluttershy gives it "The Stare", knowing full well there was a chance she could lose.
- Letter Motif: Everyone of the Crusader's new jobs begins with "C" - Creature Catchers, Carpenters, Coalminers, Chicken Herders, Cottage Cleaners, Chicken Rescuers
- Mama Bear: When the CMC are threatened by a cockatrice, Fluttershy brow beats it into backing off.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: "A cockatrice! It's a terrifying creature with the head of a chicken and the body of a snake...." However, the cockatrice as it appears also has bat wings and two legs, which make it look more like it has the head of a chicken and the body of a wyvern.
- Noodle Implements: The CMC's hammering attempt to fix the table includes jackhammer and buzz-sawing sound effects.
- Off-Model: Scootaloo's wings are missing during the scene where the CMC chase the chickens.
- OOC Is Serious Business: We all know Fluttershy normally can't raise her voice to save her life. So when, during the chickens scene, she shouts "GIRLS!!", it's clear that her patience does have limits.
- Parrot Expo-WHAT?:Fluttershy: There's a cockatrice on the loose!
Apple Bloom: A cocka-what-now?
- Protectorate: The Cutie Mark Crusaders, to Fluttershy's Mama Bear when the cockatrice threatens them.
- "Psycho" Strings: When Rarity realizes what Sweetie Belle did to her golden silk that she needed for a big order.
- The Quiet Game: Fluttershy proposes this as a game to the Cutie Mark Crusaders, telling them that she's a champion. They all immediately say that they've lost.
- The Reveal: It's rather off-handedly revealed in the opening scene that Sweetie Belle is Rarity's sister, which hadn't been mentioned in "Call of the Cutie."
- Repeat to Confirm: Parodied when the CMC attempt carpentry:Apple Bloom: Hammer.
Scootaloo: Hammer. (passes Apple Bloom a hammer)
Sweetie Belle: Hammer.
Scootaloo: Hammer. (passes Sweetie Belle a hammer)
Scootaloo: Hammer. (takes her own hammer)
- Rousing Lullaby: The lullabye Hush Now, Quiet Now is gentle and sweet when Fluttershy sings it, but when Sweetie Belle sings along, the other girls batten down the hatches because she sings it at the top of her lungs with inexplicable gospel music backup.
- Sidetracked by the Analogy: Rarity confesses she's bitten off more than she can chew with her big dress order. Sweetie Belle points out that she's not eating.
- Simple, yet Opulent: Rarity lines the cloaks she's making for a client in Trottingham with a "special gold silk".Rarity: It took so long to make, but I think it adds just the right touch, don't you?
- Soundtrack Dissonance: In-universe. Sweetie Belle sings a lullaby with lyrics such as "hush now, quiet now, it's time to go to bed"...in an up tempo gospel style.
- Squee!: Fluttershy makes one. It's become ungodly popular.
- Staring Down Cthulhu: Initially averted as Fluttershy shivers and won't look at the cockatrice, but when she has to, she stares it down so hard that, it gives up and concedes to her demands out of fear.
- Surprise Creepy: Starts out with Rarity and later Fluttershy becoming a Badly Battered Babysitter and the Cutie Mark Crusader's antics... Then Fluttershy finds Twilight turned to stone...
- Taken for Granite: This is what makes the cockatrice so dangerous. (Perhaps unrelated, but thankfully, the petrification doesn't start at the eyes, or Fluttershy's Death Glare wouldn't have worked as long as it would have.)
- Tempting Fate: The CMC all say a cockatrice sounds silly, and Apple Bloom even says she'd just laugh if she ever saw one. Then they actually do see it...
- Theremin: The sound effect accompanying Fluttershy's Death Glare.
- This Is Gonna Suck: May not be as bad as expected, but the faces Scootaloo◊ and Apple Bloom made◊ when Sweetie Belle offered to sing says it all.
- Title Drop:Scootaloo: [to Fluttershy] You're like the Queen of Stares!
Cutie Mark Crusaders: You're the Stare Master!
- Too Many Cooks Spoil the Soup: The cause of the CMC's failed attempt to repair Fluttershy's table. (If it wasn't implied one of them would have been perfect to do the props in "The Show Stoppers", it could just be concluded they're all bad at improvised carpentry.)Sweetie Belle: Um... that doesn't look like a table.
Scootaloo: We were making a table?
Apple Bloom: Somepony needs to put this thing out of its misery.
- Totem Pole Trench: Performed by Scootaloo and Apple Bloom.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: Sweetie Belle's rendition of "Hush Now, Quiet Now".
- Twitchy Eye: Rarity near the beginning, upon witnessing the mess left by Sweetie Belle, and later Fluttershy, once she's back at her cottage with the Cutie Mark Crusaders and she realizes what she got herself into.
- Wacky Sound Effect: Despite having only hammers to fix the table, we hear a saw and a jackhammer as the CMC attempt to revive it.
- With Catlike Tread: Sweetie Belle's rendition of the lullaby; she has quite a powerful instrument.