|"The Cutie Mark Chronicles"|
|My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Written by||M.A. Larson|
|Featured music||"So Many Wonders"|
Performed by Andrea Libman
Composed by Daniel Ingram
Orchestrated by Steffan Andrews
|Original air date||April 15, 2011|
|Running time||22 minutes|
"The Cutie Mark Chronicles" is the twenty-third episode of the first season of the Canadian-American animated television series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. The episode was written by M.A. Larson and directed by supervising director Jayson Thiessen. In this episode, the "Cutie Mark Crusaders", three fillies looking to earn their cutie marks, learn from the older mares of how they earned their own cutie marks; in the process, the older mares realize they share a common destiny. The episode has been praised as having a complex plot for a children's program that emphasizes the core values of the overall show.
While the Cutie Mark Crusaders fillies—Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle—continue to try to earn their cutie marks, they come up with an idea to try to learn how other ponies in town got theirs, with Scootaloo insisting they talk to her idol, Rainbow Dash, first. On the way into town to find Rainbow Dash, they encounter the other five main characters and learn of their cutie mark stories (each told in flashbacks when they were younger fillies), much to Scootaloo's impatience:
The Crusaders finally make it to Sugarcube Corner where Rainbow Dash is waiting for them. She goes into her own story, continuing from Fluttershy's: as she continued to race the bullies, she put on a burst of speed and executed her first Sonic Rainboom (a combination of a sonic boom and a rainbow-colored effect), gaining her cutie mark as well as winning the race. The Sonic Rainboom has allowed Rainbow Dash's friends to earn their cutie marks, and after they realize this, the Mane Six conclude that they are much closer than they all expected. Though Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle empathize with the older ponies as they share a hug, Scootaloo feels the entire effort was all for naught and suggests another activity to get their cutie marks, before being dragged into a hug with her friends.
Emily VanDerWerff, writing on the overall show for The A.V. Club, used "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" as an example of the show's overarching theme of "the way that little kids often look up to and emulate teenagers, even though those teenagers don’t have it all together" and letting the viewer "in on their insecurities and problems". She further praised the episode as one that "boasts a surprisingly complex story (for kids TV) where all of the flashbacks tie together and reinforce the sense of destiny". Sherilyn Connelly of SF Weekly considered the episode as "one of Season 1's most complicated, carefully constructed stories, working with what we know about the characters and expanding their backstories while continuing to build the show's world". Connelly continued that it was "a confident episode that would have been a great season finale".
The episode is part of the Season 1 DVD set, released by Shout Factory, on December 4, 2012. It is also part of the "Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders" DVD, which was released on February 24, 2015.