Follow TV Tropes


Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S5 E19 "Crusaders of the Lost Mark"

Go To
Cutie Mark Crusaders Forever!

"Well, what do you think, Crusaders? Were these cutie marks totally worth waiting for or what?"
Apple Bloom

Written by Amy Keating Rogers

The Cutie Mark Crusaders are holding a meeting in their clubhouse, wondering what to try next to get their cutie marks, when Pipsqueak suddenly bursts in, asking for help. He's running for class president at their school, but he needs campaign managers to help him. Thinking that they could get their cutie marks in campaign managing, the Crusaders agree to help him.

Pipsqueak runs on a platform that focuses on getting the playground's equipment fixed after Twilight Sparkle's battle with Tirek destroyed it. Diamond Tiara interrupts, saying that the students should vote for her instead, because she can use her influence and money to build a statue of herself. It helps that Diamond Tiara's mother, Spoiled Rich, is on the school board. Silver Spoon tries to speak up, but Diamond Tiara quickly tells her she doesn't need any help. When the students start turning against her, Diamond Tiara tries to resort to blackmail and bribery to sway the election in her favor. None of it works; Pipsqueak wins the election in a landslide. Diamond Tiara is incredulous, but Silver Spoon tells her off and walks away. A frustrated Diamond Tiara screams in fury and storms off the school grounds. The Crusaders, worried about her, soon follow.

While in Ponyville, Diamond Tiara bumps into her mother, Spoiled Rich, who browbeats Diamond Tiara for losing the election to a "transplant" like Pipsqueak. As Spoiled Rich leaves, Diamond Tiara laments to herself that she feels alone, and that she's having trouble figuring out who she is after nothing seems to go right for her. As a token of friendship, the Crusaders invite her to their clubhouse, where Diamond Tiara sees the long list of things that the Crusaders have tried to earn their marks. She's actually somewhat impressed, since it means they can try to find their special talents their own way. Pipsqueak bursts into the clubhouse once again, saying that the school board rejected his proposal for the playground's new equipment, since there wasn't enough money in the budget. Diamond Tiara, seeing an opportunity, rushes towards the schoolhouse.

The Cutie Mark Crusaders follow Diamond Tiara, begging her not to go through with it, saying that she can be a better pony than she was before. Diamond Tiara appears to ignore all of their pleas, rushing to the schoolyard. There, Spoiled Rich is leaving the schoolhouse for a meeting, telling Diamond Tiara not to associate with blank flanks like the Crusaders. Diamond Tiara, however, stands up to her mother, saying that the Crusaders are her friends, and that whatever they get their special talents in, it will be amazing. She even makes her mother deliver a letter to her father, Filthy Rich, to have him donate money for the new playground equipment.

As the new equipment arrives, Diamond Tiara reveals that her special talent is to get others to do what she wants, but until the Crusaders decided to befriend her, she didn't understand how to properly apply it. She coordinates her fellow classmates to clean up and repair the area and then set up the equipment.

After the new playground is up, Apple Bloom confides in Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo that they always bomb miserably at trying for their own cutie marks, but never have any trouble helping others find their talents. So, instead of trying for their own marks, the three fillies resolve to make it their mission to help others. As the three clap hooves, they're surrounded by a sudden light, floating into the air with a bright flash. When the three come down to the ground, the Crusaders discover they gained their cutie marks, their special talents finally revealed. Their sisters all congratulate them and tell them how proud they are as the Crusaders get their own cuteceñeara. At the end, the Crusaders pose for a picture with their friends, sent in a letter to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, the Cutie Mark Crusaders at the forefront.


  • 0% Approval Rating: Quite literally, in Diamond Tiara's case. She got exactly one vote in the school's election: her own. Not even Silver Spoon voted for DT thanks to a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal.
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Averted — Pipsqueak wins the election for class president, but when he tries to get the playground fixed, it's shot down because the school doesn't have the funds to do so. And unlike Diamond Tiara, who is rich, he can't provide his own pocket money as an alternative.
  • Abusive Parents: Spoiled Rich is the emotional type of abuser, berating Diamond Tiara when she loses the election. She also says that Diamond Tiara's cutie mark means she's good at bullying other people into doing what she wants, which is both untrue and causing Diamond Tiara untold amounts of stress.
  • Adults Are Useless: When Cheerilee sees Spoiled Rich emotionally abusing her daughter Diamond Tiara and insulting the CMC, she does nothing. Granted, Spoiled Rich is head of the school board, but Cheerilee could have stepped in and threatened to tell the other members what she saw to try and get Spoiled Rich fired. She earlier bears witness to Diamond Tiara's bullying and disrespectful attitude amongst her peers, and does absolutely nothing about it.
  • An Aesop: If you take some time off to appreciate yourself, you might realize you've had a true talent with you the whole time.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Rainbow Dash does one with her hoof, tussling Scootaloo's hair while congratulating her for her brand-new cutie mark.
  • All Elections Are Serious Business: At least for Diamond Tiara; for her, losing the election means she will have failed her perceived talent and her parents. The CMC and Pipsqueak see it as more than that; as Diamond Tiara has been a long-time bully to the others, her winning would be a bad thing for their schoolmates.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The final rendition of "We'll Make Our Mark" has the CMC looking forward to all the ponies they'll help with cutie mark issues, actually coming close to referencing the trope by name.
    Scootaloo: Now we know what it took all along
    Sweetie Belle: And our journey here is never really done
    Apple Bloom: For it is more than just a mark
    It's a place for us to start
    Together: An adventure that has only just begun
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Diamond Tiara telling her mother that she wants something her mother doesn't have (friends) actually seems to affect her.
  • Assumed Win: Spoiled Rich had a party ready assuming Diamond Tiara would win the election. She's not happy when it turns out that Diamond Tiara not only lost, but lost in a Landslide Election.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: When Pip interrupts the CMC for the second time.
    Applebloom: We know you want to change, and we think we can—
    Pipsqueak: HEEEEEEELP!
  • Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: Silver Spoon votes for Pip after Diamond Tiara mistreats her.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Diamond Tiara initially sounds like she's going to make fun of the Crusaders for their clubhouse activities, but then she explains how lucky they are to still be able to explore and discover their identities. (This was exactly the same thing Twilight said to her at her cuteceañera.)
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Randolph getting flattened by the Diamond Tiara statue.
  • Be Yourself: Because Diamond Tiara was always a mean bully to live up to her mother's expectations, she lost not only the election, but her only friend as well. Diamond Tiara learns that she doesn't have to act like her mother to gain the respect of her classmates, which makes her much more popular.
  • The Big Board: In the opening scene, the Crusaders are reviewing their misfires. The pictograms on the poster indicate the various activities in which they tried and screwed up at achieving their marks. They end up making a second board because they've filled this one.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Diamond Tiara lets out a loud one (that even makes the ground shake) when she realizes she got only one vote... her own. Even Silver Spoon didn't vote for her.
  • Blackmail: As she starts to lose the attention of the other foals, Diamond Tiara starts resorting to blackmailing them in order to try and keep the voting lead.
  • Bookends:
    • For the CMC cutie mark story arc, which started at a cuteceañera (Diamond Tiara's in fact) where the three met one another and ends with one now in their honor after they finally receive their cutie marks.
    • Within the episode, Diamond Tiara first ridicules two previously unseen students about traits they have that they seem to avoid showing off — a filly that is incredibly strong, and a colt with a large overbite. But during her redemption song, she calls back to the same two, now complimenting them on their unique abilities and getting them to help with the new playground (the filly to help carry away the broken merry-go-round, and the colt to help lift a see-saw).
  • BSoD Song: "The Pony I Want to Be" for Diamond Tiara, being her Villainous BSoD in song form.
  • Call-Back:
    • Pipsqueak's main platform runs on fixing the school playground which was damaged during Twilight Sparkle's battle with Lord Tirek.
    • Just before they receive their cutie marks, Apple Bloom reminisces how the Crusaders have been helping other ponies realize their talents.
    • Apple Bloom (and the other two fillies) had worries and nightmares about what would happen if one of the trio got her cutie mark before the others, and if a pony would still be a CMC with a cutie mark of her own. This episode puts all those worries to rest, and answers the question with a resounding yes.
  • Calling the Old Woman Out: Diamond Tiara finally confronts her mother over everything she has raised her to be and stands up for the Cutie Mark Crusaders, cementing her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Chekhov's Skill: A two-fer. Diamond Tiara knows a lot about everyone in the playground, specifically that one filly has super strength and one colt has big teeth. When she's helping rebuild the playground, she suggests those two use their skills to help out.
  • The Conscience: After seeing how her mother treats her, the CMC end up acting as this for Tiara which ultimately pays off.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Sweetie Belle's magic is still improving; now she can lift a small colt and Diamond Tiara off the floor.
    • The CMC get their cutie marks by helping the pony that helped them form the group in the first place.
    • One of the shortcuts Diamond Tiara uses to try to remove Pip from office is similar to "The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well".
    • An indirect one to "Bloom & Gloom", assuaging Apple Bloom's fears that when she gets her cutie mark, the Cutie Mark Crusaders will disband or simply kick her out. Turns out their talent is working as a team to help other fillies find their cutie marks (or the meaning thereof, as in Troubleshoes or Diamond Tiara's case). Same to having a cutie mark that is not related to apples and being shunned by her family — her badge cutie mark does have an apple on it.
    • Also to "One Bad Apple", where once again, a bully is revealed to be the way she is because of the abuse they received from others, leading to the Crusaders trying to mend fences with them.
    • The opening sequence shows Celestia reading a letter and Luna next to her looking at it. When that scene is redone at the end of the episode, Celestia turns to Luna and moves the letter closer to her, likely due to Luna's closer relationship to the Crusaders. She helped them personally with their nightmares ("Sleepless in Ponyville", "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils", "Bloom & Gloom") and their worries in general.
    • The damage caused by Tirek at the end of last season is apparently still being repaired.
  • A Day in the Limelight: This is technically Diamond Tiara's episode, though the CMC play a hoof in her development and in turn Diamond Tiara unwittingly helps them get their cutie marks.
  • Death Glare: After Diamond Tiara calls Pipsqueak "Pipsweak", the CMC all shoot her dirty looks.
  • Demoted to Extra: Diamond and Silver after this episode, before being reduced to non-speaking cameos.
  • Dénouement: Indicated by the Crusaders' cutie marks.
  • The Dog Bites Back: It was already a Landslide Election for Pipsqueak anyways, but Diamond Tiara is shocked to find out that nobody else voted for her, not even Silver Spoon. When DT asks why, Silver Spoon throws DT's words back in her face about not being allowed to speak, giving DT a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal.
  • Dope Slap: During "The Vote" song, Diamond Tiara smacks the back of Pip's head while mocking him at one point.
  • "Down Here!" Shot: At the start of the episode, the shot moves to the empty doorframe of the CMC's treehouse... before going down to reveal Pipsqueak (which, as his name can hint, is the smallest pony around).
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
    • The CMC finally earn their cutie marks and get a public congratulation from Rainbow, Rarity, and Applejack.
    • Karma tends to catch up to Diamond Tiara in her CMC-related appearances. This time, she's convinced to change her ways and gets a much happier ending for the effort.
  • Easily Forgiven: Even after she's spent the past several seasons repeatedly mocking, tormenting, and making fun of them, the CMC forgive Tiara once they find out most of her problems stem from her mother and Tiara stuck up for them after her mother insulted them. Sweetie Belle lampshades this after "The Pony I Want to Be" asking if it's weird to suddenly feel sorry for her. It's worth noting that the rest of the school doesn't forgive her until after she's paid to have the new playground equipment brought in and helped everyone else set it up.
  • Fauxshadow: The hints about the Crusaders' true talents that were seen in "The Show Stoppers" are disregarded, with their true talent being helping others find/better understand their talent. However, their cutie marks also include various hints at their prior skills such as Sweetie Belle's singing, Apple Bloom's farming-related talents, and Scootaloo's athleticism.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: In her Calling the Old Woman Out speech, Diamond Tiara says that she thinks the CMC's talents will be amazing when they finally get their Marks. Two minutes later, and she's the first to tell the Crusaders about it, saying they are amazing.
  • Food as Bribe: Diamond shoves candy into a colt's mouth to bribe him to vote for her.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Diamond Tiara's redemption is hinted at early in the episode. While running for school president, after threats and blackmail fail, Diamond instead tries winning her classmates over by offering them gifts, claiming she can provide them with things they can't afford, and straight-up asks, "Who says that I can't be nice?" She quickly trashes her own strategy by insulting Silver Spoon, but the groundwork is all there. When she eventually pulls her Heel–Face Turn, she does exactly what she said she would: She provides the school with funds for the playground they couldn't afford, and starts being nice to the classmates she was quick to insult before.
    • The events of "Appleloosa's Most Wanted", in which the CMC help Trouble Shoes recognize what his cutie mark really stands for, becomes incredibly poignant for this episode; the trio effectively do to the same for Diamond Tiara, and realize their talent for helping others to find/better understand their talents, thus bringing about their own well-earned cutie marks.
    • The lyrics to "Hearts as Strong as Horses" from "Flight to the Finish", that talk about how "we are a trio, work as a team" also hint at the fact that the CMC's special talents involve them working together.
    • The trio's cutie marks still have singular indications of their own unique talents.
      • Sweetie Belle has a musical note with a star, highlighting her singing voice which has been her strong talent.
      • Apple Bloom has an apple with a heart, highlighting the Apple family's mutual love and support of her.
      • Scootaloo has a wing with a lightning bolt in it, a reference to her speed, skill, and agility.
    • In "Bloom & Gloom", Apple Bloom flat-out says "I know it's silly, but I'd always hoped we'd get our cutie marks together."
    • Silver Spoon mentions she regularly had to follow Diamond Tiara's drama. The next scene demonstrates exactly what that drama is.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Diamond says "That's a weird question!" in response to Apple Bloom asking if she's sure about what her cutie mark means, she makes a face that almost completely resembles Spoiled Rich's face.
  • Freudian Excuse: Diamond Tiara's attitude is due to her mother's emotional abuse. Namely, warping her understanding of her tiara cutie mark from "inspire others to work together under your direction" to "manipulate and threaten others in doing what you want through bullying".
  • Fruit Cart: Diamond Tiara upsets an apple cart to slow down the CMC when they're chasing her.
  • Gasp!: Several scenes in this episode have a group gasp.
  • Genre Mashup: "The Vote" swings back and forth between the CMC singing to a jaunty march with drums and Diamond Tiara accompanied by a sinister waltz with a harpsichord.
  • George Jetson Job Security: Diamond Tiara tries to invoke this by attempting to have Pipsqueak removed from office because the school board couldn't buy the playground equipment he wanted. It looks more like this was Tiara's last desperate attempt to regain her mother's favor, since it's unlikely anypony would think this was legitimate grounds to dismiss Pipsqueak, Tiara wouldn't automatically be reinstated as president even if Pipsqueak was removed, and if Tiara hadn't had a Heel–Face Turn, the CMC would probably have proposed some kind of fundraising activity for buying the playground equipment.
  • Good Feels Good: Diamond Tiara looks positively giddy when she's helping everypony rebuild the playground.
  • Good-Times Montage: Shown at the end of the episode as the CMC recollect their experiences in earning their cutie marks, starting from the day they first met at Diamond Tiara's cuteceañera.
  • Got Volunteered: A variant. When Diamond Tiara turns to ask the filly with the Super-Strength to help, the foals around her rush off in fear, leaving her alone.
  • Grew a Spine: Diamond undergoes it in the climax, learning to call Spoiled out for abusing her and that she would rather make true friends for a change.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: At first, it seems like the school election is going to be the crux of the plot. Then Diamond loses barely halfway into the episode.
  • Hammerspace: Diamond Tiara resolves this episode's conflict by pulling out a note from below the bottom of the screen and giving it to her mother. She didn't have any way of carrying the note, nor was she seen writing it beforehand.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Diamond Tiara stands up to her mother and considers the CMC her friends, which changes her attitude for the better.
    • Silver Spoon also shows a side that she could only take Diamond Tiara's snootiness for so long before her turn. This had been previously hinted at their Friends Forever comic issue.
  • Heel Realization: Subtle, but the thing that seems to trigger this in Diamond Tiara is her actions alienated Silver Spoon, her only friend. She even tells her mother such:
    Diamond Tiara: You've spent your life acting like a high horse, and raised me to follow in your hoofprints! At first I thought this was fine... but then I realized I wanted something you don't have! Friends!
  • Hey, You!:
    • Diamond Tiara refers to the Super-Strength pony and the pony with huge teeth as "you with the amazing strength" and "you with the super teeth," respectively. (She had previously described those abilities as "creepy super-strength" and "freakish large teeth" while trying to blackmail her way to a win.)
    • Again with Diamond Tiara, when she retorts to Spoiled Rich calling the Crusaders "blank flanks". In defiance of her own nickname, Diamond refers to the trio as the Cutie Mark Crusaders, the first time she's ever done so, solidifying her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Hidden Depths: When Silver Spoon explains to Diamond Tiara why she didn't vote for her, her voice is noticeably deeper and lacks her typical Valley Girl accent. This could be hinting that her valley-girl role is possibly just an act.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: It's revealed that Diamond Tiara's Rich Bitch attitude and series-long bullying of the CMC is all a front so she can deal with the pressure her mother puts on her for maintaining the family reputation. Behind it all, she envies the CMC and dearly wants to be friends with her classmates but was never able to express it until she finally had enough of her mother's attitude.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs:
    • "Student Pony President" is an unusual variation on the series' convention of replacing "-body" with "-pony", but technically fits.
    • Where a snobbish human might be described as "on a high horse", the pony equivalent is being one.
  • Humiliation Conga: Part of this episode puts Diamond Tiara through the wringer. Her attempts to persuade and blackmail her classmates so they'd vote for her in a class election against Pipsqueak (who she insulted) fail. Also, they lose respect for her, and Pip's campaign manageresses are the ponies she routinely bullies. Upon checking the votes, Diamond Tiara realizes she lost by a landslide as she had only one vote and it wasn't from her bestie Silver Spoon. After learning this, Silver Spoon ends her friendship with her and mocks her. Later, Diamond Tiara's Jerkass mother (Spoiled Rich) yells at her for losing.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Part of Diamond Tiara's "I Want" Song has her wishing she could have friends and a loving family.
  • Ironic Echo: Silver Spoon delivers one to Diamond Tiara after she loses the election:
    Diamond Tiara: I don't recall asking you to speak.
    [two minutes later]
    Silver Spoon: Sorry. I'm not allowed to speak.
  • Irony:
    • Spoiled Rich expresses disappointment in Diamond Tiara for losing to Pipsqueak, a "transplant from Trottingham", but notes that it would be even worse if she had lost to a "blank flank" (the CMC). Pipsqueak is a blank flank.
    • For all the previous times Diamond Tiara made fun of the CMC for being blank flanks, it's ultimately helping her that allowed Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo to finally gain their cutie marks.
    • For five seasons, the CMC have tried an overabundant amount of ways to get their cutie marks in every subject imaginable, yet it's when they finally decide to stop worrying about it and essentially retire the Cutie Mark Crusaders do they immediately get them.
  • "I Want" Song: "The Pony I Want to Be" where Diamond Tiara wishes for friends and a loving family.
  • I Warned You: When Diamond Tiara demands a recount, Cheerilee assures her that Pipsqueak won and that she should just drop it. Diamond Tiara goes to see the results herself and finds she only got one vote (her own).
  • Jaw Drop: Diamond Tiara, after getting a The Reason You Suck speech from Silver Spoon, ending their friendship. Silver Spoon sarcastically pushes it shut with a hoof before turning her back on Diamond Tiara.
  • Jerkass: Spoiled Rich who, in contrast to her husband Filthy Rich, is very overbearing, haughty and thinks she's above everypony. Not surprising her daughter became like this as a result.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • While it's clear she has no interest in upholding her promises in her campaign, Diamond Tiara raises a good point about Pipsqueak not having enough money to keep his own promise of fixing the playground, either. This is proven when the school board shoots down the project because they couldn't afford it, which the Crusaders must begrudgingly concede.
    • She might have overreacted by forbidding Silver Spoon from even speaking as punishment, but if Diamond Tiara really did intend for the statue to be a post-election surprise, it's understandable why she'd be upset at Silver Spoon for spilling the beans on it beforehand.
  • Karmic Jackpot:
    • The CMC helping Diamond Tiara, in spite of her being nothing but rotten to them prior, lets them finally earn their cutie marks.
    • Diamond Tiara herself winds up with a whole field of new friends and allies when she decides to stop being mean and help her classmates.
  • Landslide Election: Pipsqueak gets every vote except Diamond Tiara's. For her part, Diamond Tiara is incredulous that not even Silver Spoon voted for her, but Silver Spoon pulled a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal over the fact that Diamond Tiara wouldn't listen to her.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Diamond Tiara receives only one vote; her own. Even Silver Spoon doesn't vote for her, as Silver is ticked off that Diamond didn't let her contribute to Diamond's campaign.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The fact that the CMC finally get their marks in this episode was widely spoiled almost immediately. Including with the image on this very page. Plus, every appearance of the CMC after this episode will showcase their cutie marks, which makes it kind of hard to avoid.
  • The Leader: It's been heavily implied, but this episode shows that leadership and charisma are Diamond Tiara's actual calling after seasons of her acting as a haughty and manipulative Alpha Bitch.
    Diamond Tiara: Obviously I've known since I got my cutie mark that my talent is getting other ponies to do what I want.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Right after Diamond Tiara berates Silver Spoon for revealing Diamond's little surprise, Apple Bloom says the following. Bonus points for facing the camera as she says it.
      Apple Bloom: Haven't we all had enough of Diamond Tiara?
    • In "The Pony I Want to Be" song, we have Diamond Tiara asking something that could easily be directed at the audience:
      Diamond Tiara: Would you believe, that I've always wished I could be somepony else?
    • Right after Diamond Tiara's BSoD Song, Sweetie Belle echoes what most fans must have been thinking:
      Sweetie Belle: Is it weird that I feel bad for her?
    • After Diamond Tiara has announced that she asked her father for the money for a new playground, after the scene made it look like she was going to use Pip's failure to get approval for it to get him kicked out of office.
      Diamond Tiara: I know you were worried there for a second, weren't you?
    • Apple Bloom asks a question directed at her friends, but also addresses the audience who have been waiting five seasons for the CMC to get their cutie marks.
      Apple Bloom: Well, what do you think, Crusaders? Were these cutie marks totally worth waiting for or what?
    • The line "You don't even know me at all! You don't even understand the meaning of my fall!" could easily be directed at the fandom, who had considered Diamond Tiara to be nothing more than a rich spoiled brat until this episode.
  • Leitmotif: Aside from the back-and-forth campaign number, the lyrics of each song's chorus and melody get reprised in each successive tune. The lines "be somepony else" and "the pony I wanna be" frequently appear in different contexts throughout the latter half of the episode.
  • Literary Allusion Title: To Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Luminescent Blush: When Rarity sings "And you've inspired me, too," Sweetie Belle blushes and smiles.
  • Malicious Misnaming: During the election, Diamond Tiara points out how small Pipsqueak is and calls him "Pip's weak".
  • Manly Tears: Big Mac lets out the water works in the background when his littlest sister gets her cutie mark.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Diamond's mother, who is named Spoiled Rich, is a Rich Bitch. Perhaps even an unfortunate name, as her cutie mark is a wedding ring, giving implications that unlike Filthy Rich, who is a savvy businesspony, she is inclined to mooch off that wealth.
    • Diamond Tiara reveals in her songs that her name has an additional meaning never explored before: she's named after diamonds because of her mother's demands for her to be perfect, hard, and unyielding.
  • Mid-Season Twist: The CMC getting their cutie marks seems more like the kind of major plot twist for a season (or series) finale, not episode 19 out of 26.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Silver Spoon votes against Diamond Tiara for not letting her help in the campaign. When Diamond Tiara asks Silver Spoon why she voted for Pipsqueak, Silver Spoon throws DT's words about "not being allowed to speak" back in her face.
  • Moment Killer: If Pipsqueak hadn't shown up when he did, it's pretty evident that Diamond Tiara would've burst into tears, thus opening herself up to the CMC. Fortunately though, Diamond does reform herself in her own way later.
  • Musical Episode: The episode doesn't take long to get into song and goes on from there. Considering the last time this happened without the involvement of a special guest was "Magical Mystery Cure", this should've been an indication that something big was going to go down.
  • Musical World Hypotheses: You'd think that "The Pony I Want to Be" is just a representation of Diamond Tiara's thoughts, but the plot hinges upon the CMC overhearing her singing, even though nopony else around her can.
  • Name-Meaning Change: The Cutie Mark Crusaders decide to essentially retire the CMC, and instead decide to focus on helping other ponies find and understand their cutie marks. However, as they learn immediately afterward, helping ponies with their cutie marks is their special talent. So the Cutie Mark Crusaders now gets rebranded to helping other ponies crusade for their cutie marks rather than crusading to find their own.
  • Never Say "Die": Applejack's comment to Apple Bloom about their parents is just shy of outright calling them dead. AJ says "if Mom and Dad were here, they'd be So Proud of You", without actually saying that they're dead.
  • Never Trust a Title: Nopony actually loses a cutie mark in this episode, per se; Diamond Tiara had lost sight of what hers was supposed to mean and what purposes she was supposed to build her life around from it.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Just what would Diamond Tiara have said in her announcement had her mom not shown up and berated her at just the wrong moment?
  • No Endor Holocaust: While already averted with Twilight's house, the episode continues to show that Tirek's attack had long-lasting consequences in the form of the battered playground.
  • Noodle Incident: Discord is responsible for why Diamond Tiara had one of the schoolhouse windows replaced with a stained glass one of herself, but what Discord did, we don't know.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Not that anyone was really buying her claims of being nice, but Diamond Tiara yelling at Silver Spoon to shut up (for offering useful advice, no less) was really the final nail in the coffin. Sweetie Belle lampshades it.
    Sweetie Belle: Well, if that's how you treat your best friend, I'm voting for Pipsqueak!
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore:
    • The Cutie Mark Crusaders finally get their cutie marks, upending their series-long string of Failure Is the Only Option endings. Their mission thus changes from getting their own marks to helping others earn theirs.
    • Diamond Tiara goes through some pretty drastic changes of her own. She is now a friend of the Crusaders instead of a bully.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The CMC use it several times while pursuing Diamond Tiara (while singing) to get ahead of her.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: This is the first time we've heard Silver Spoon singing. When she starts belting it out, Shannon Chan-Kent slips back into her usual Pinkie Pie singing voice (compare "If you show them all you real[ly care]" with "Show them a time of their life like they've never known" from "Pinkie Pride".)
  • Opening Shout-Out: The episode ends with Spike sending a photo of the CMC with their new cutie marks to Celestia and Luna, exactly as seen in the opening.
  • Opposites Attract: Spoiled Rich is a Rich Bitch who wants her daughter to be just like herself; in contrast to Filthy Rich's caring about his daughter and trying to make her a better pony.
  • Pet the Dog: Even though they know Diamond Tiara wouldn't do the same for them, the CMC follow her after she loses the election to make sure she's okay.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: One of the Earth fillies lending a hoof on the playground is strong enough to lift the house.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Silver Spoon turns against Diamond Tiara after being yelled at by the latter. They reconcile after Diamond Tiara's Heel–Face Turn.
  • P.O.V. Cam: When Diamond Tiara is running in direction of Ponyville, we get a shot from her viewpoint, along with the screen shaking from her movements.
  • Power Floats: When they get their cutie marks, the CMC glow and float in the air for a few seconds.
  • Rack Focus: When the CMC try to convince Diamond Tiara to think hard about her decision, the focus shifts from the CMC to her as she thinks about it.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Silver Spoon gives one to Diamond Tiara:
      Silver Spoon: Am I? 'Cause I tried to help by mentioning your "surprise" statue, and suddenly I wasn't even allowed to speak! You could have actually won this election if you just listened to me. You wanna know how? [whispering] Sorry. I'm not allowed to speak.
    • Diamond Tiara gives one to Spoiled Rich, her mother:
      Diamond Tiara: You've spent your life acting like a high horse and raised me to follow in your hoofprints! At first I thought this was fine, but then I finally realized I wanted something you don't have — friends!... These are the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and they are my friends! You need to stop calling them such mean and hurtful names! They are working harder to get their cutie marks than anypony I've ever seen! And they will get them exactly when they discover their true talent, which I guarantee will be amazing!
  • Redemption Promotion: Diamond Tiara is able to use her cutie mark to its full potential now that she's able to be herself, quickly leading the class in renovating the playground with ease.
  • Redemption Rejection: Subverted. Diamond Tiara is given a clearly marked dark path or light path to follow. It looks like she's taken the dark path when instead she gives a "Reason You Suck" Speech to her mother, cementing her redeemed status.
  • Rich Bitch: Spoiled Rich, Diamond Tiara's mother, is completely different from Filthy Rich in that she's a socialite elitist who looks down on those who aren't rich and actively refers to the CMC as "blank flanks".
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Princess Twilight stops by to help construct the new playground. It's not like she has anything else to do.
  • Scooby Stack: The CMC spying on Diamond Tiara and her mother are stacked on the side of a house.
  • Screen Shake: Happens when Diamond Tiara yells "WHAT?!" upon finding out that she only received one vote in the election—from herself.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Diamond Tiara's mother has this mentality and chastises her daughter for losing the campaign.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The lyrics for "We'll Make Our Mark" are inspired by "You Can't Stop the Beat" from Hairspray.
    • The original lyrics for "The Vote" are inspired by the song "What Is This Feeling?" from Wicked.
    • The lyrics for Diamond Tiara's song, "The Pony I Want to Be", are inspired by "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2.
    • The Cutie Mark Crusaders' cutie marks all resemble heraldic shields carried by knights of The Crusades.
  • Sinister Schnoz: Spoiled Rich is drawn with a prominent snout that curves upward. Doubles as Stealth Pun.
  • Sky Surfing: It is part of the final song, so it's more metaphorical than really happening, but after the flashback montage, the CMC are seen flying on top of their brand-new cutie-mark shields like they were sky surfs.
  • So Proud of You:
    • Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash express a great deal of pride when their respective younger siblings/little buddy finally earn their cutie marks, telling them how proud they are now that they've passed such a milestone in their lives. AJ also comments that her parents would be proud of Apple Bloom too.
    • Even if they don't actually say it, the townspeople's reactions show that they are also very proud of the CMC for finally getting their cutie marks.
  • Status Quo Is God: Averted; the CMC get their cutie marks, and it sticks. It comes as a genuine surprise for a lot of viewers, who never expected to see the Cutie Mark Crusaders get their cutie marks in the run of the show.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Spoiled Rich is drawn with an upwards-pointed snout, sometimes more prominently. She is literally turning up her nose at everypony else.
    • At the end, Diamond Tiara is literally mending fences with Silver Spoon.
  • Stepping Out to React: After Pipsqueak wins the election for class president, Diamond Tiara is livid and wonders why she didn't win. She politely excuses herself to go inside and check the vote count; once she gets in and realizes she only got one vote, we hear Diamond scream out a Big "WHAT?!".
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Which is made even funnier by the triumphant crescendo Silver Spoon is leading up to until Diamond Tiara interrupts her.
    Silver Spoon: I've a tiny suggestion
    That you should be aware
    You could probably win this election
    If you show them all you real

    Diamond Tiara: I don't recall asking YOU to speak!
  • Super-Strength:
    • An Earth Pony filly at the school is strong enough to lift up the building. Diamond Tiara tries to use it as Blackmail.
    • Another has massive teeth that allow him to pick up a teeter-totter and the filly on the other end.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When asked by the CMC whether she learned who she really was, Diamond Tiara's response has strong shades of this trope.
    Diamond Tiara: Yeah, 'cause I have my cutie mark! And I'm not struggling at all to figure out who I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing with this mark that's already on my flank!
    Apple Bloom: Uhhh... Are you sure about that?
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: The CMC decide to stop worrying about getting their cutie marks in favor of helping others get their own cutie marks. Immediately afterwards, the Crusaders get all three of their cutie marks at at the same time. Played with in that helping others ends up being what their cutie marks are about.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: After Diamond Tiara loses the election and is abandoned by her only friend, the CMC follow her to see if she's alright. After seeing her getting yelled at by her nasty mother and hearing a song about how she doesn't know what she wants in life, they're convinced to help her change.
  • Tears of Joy: Applejack, Big Mac, and Granny Smith are all seen shedding "liquid pride" as they congratulate Apple Bloom for getting her cutie mark.
  • Theme Naming: So far, each member of Diamond Tiara's family (excluding Diamond Tiara herself) has a name ending in "Rich" (Filthy Rich, Stinkin' Rich, Spoiled Rich).
  • Time-Compression Montage: The story is implied to take place over the course of several days, but exactly how long it takes is given in broad strokes. During The Vote song, one of the lines in the lyrics takes this literally.
    The CMC: It's now another day!
  • Tragic Villain: "The Pony I Want to Be" reveals Diamond Tiara wants to be a better pony, but doesn't know how. She finds out how this episode.
  • Transformation Sequence: In contrast to the normal cutie-mark appearances, which is just a glowing flank with little fanfare, the CMC are surrounded by a magical aura and float for a bit.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Pointed out by Sweetie Belle when she explains to Diamond Tiara about the Crusaders overhearing her sorrow the other day.
    Sweetie Belle: We were just worried about you when you lost the election, and then you lost your friend, and then your mom yelled at you.
  • Triumphant Reprise:
    • "The Pony I Want to Be" is a sad "I Want" Song where Diamond Tiara laments how lonely she is, while "The Light Of Your Cutie Mark" is a back-and-forth number with the Crusaders trying to convince Diamond Tiara that she doesn't have to be stuck in her old ways. After she's reformed and helps rebuild the playground, she gets a triumphant reprise of both songs.
    • The prelude to "We'll Make Our Mark" kicks off the episode with the CMC hopeful that they'll be able to make progress toward gaining their cutie marks. The episode ends with the Crusaders looking to the future and wondering what's next in store for them now that they finally gained their marks.
  • Tsundere: Diamond Tiara's dere side starts to emerge when the CMC invite her to the clubhouse, though she still tries to hide it behind the bullying facade.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: The Crusaders are concerned for Diamond Tiara and try to befriend her after she loses the election and gets berated by her mother for it, despite her tormenting them for so long.
  • Two Roads Before You: After the CMC try to convince Diamond Tiara not to try to oust Pipsqueak from the class president, they come to a fork in the road. To the left is the schoolhouse, covered in darkness, representing the choice to keep being mean. To the right is a well-lit gazebo, the path to being a better person. Diamond Tiara keeps heading for the school, but then throws expectations to the wind when she decides to stand up for her friends. A section of the finished playground equipment looks identical to the gazebo, including a tiny little yellow flag on top. Diamond Tiara poses inside of it, showing which choice she really picked in the end.
  • Villainous BSoD: Diamond Tiara goes into one after losing Silver Spoon's friendship. She screams at first, but then she's seen by herself over a bridge, lamenting Silver Spoon's words.
  • Villainous Lament: "The Pony I Want to Be", which is Diamond Tiara admitting she's realized how awful she is and wants to be different, but has no idea how to change.
  • Villain Song: Diamond Tiara gets several, most of which are Counterpoint Duets with the Crusaders. The one that isn't is between Diamond Tiara and Pipsqueak as they campaign for the school's votes, where Pipsqueak lays out what he intends to do and Diamond Tiara insults him.
  • The Voiceless: Twist makes an appearance in this episode but is completely silent. M.A. Larson confirmed at a convention that this is because her voice actress moved away from Vancouver.
  • Volumetric Mouth: Sure, it's common in the show, but this episode uses it at every turn. A mouth occupying the whole face happens to Pipsqueak calling for help, Diamond Tiara yelling in frustration, the Cutie Mark Crusaders rejoicing or singing (again, usual for them), and at the end their sisters reprising their song.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Diamond Tiara has spent most of her life as an Alpha Bitch to earn the respect of her Rich Bitch mother and failing because she was never good enough.
  • Wham Episode: Diamond Tiara has a Heel–Face Turn, and the CMC earn their cutie marks. Neither of these changes is undone by the end of the episode, and both of them stick throughout the series. As a result, the CMC's focus changes from earning their cutie marks to figuring out what to do with them.
  • Wham Line:
    • In-Universe: the CMC consider this line from Diamond Tiara this: "You three are... really lucky."
    • From Diamond Tiara: "These are the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and they are my friends!"
    • Also from Diamond Tiara: "It's your cutie marks! They're amazing!"
    • From Applejack: "If Mom and Dad were here, they'd be so proud of you."
  • Wham Shot: This page's image is indisputably the biggest show-altering shot since Twilight's ascension.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The CMC say this to Diamond Tiara in song form, as she races to the schoolhouse to sabotage Pipsqueak. The Crusaders sing that Diamond Tiara doesn't have to do this, despite how conflicted she is about it.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good!: After her Heel–Face Turn, Diamond Tiara uses her natural leadership skills (her cutie mark is a crown, after all) as seen in "Ponyville Confidential" and "Twilight Time", not to bully or harangue people, but to lead them to efficiently work towards a common goal of fixing the playground.
  • You Were Trying Too Hard: The CMC get their cutie marks when they finally realize that they're uncommonly good at helping others figure out their cutie marks, and that they really shouldn't worry so much about getting their own.


Video Example(s):


The CMC earn their cutie marks

The Cutie Mark Crusaders realize they're good at helping others figure out their talents rather than trying to find their own, and with that, they finally earn their cutie marks.

How well does it match the trope?

4.09 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / YouWereTryingTooHard

Media sources: