And we begin with Goldengrape, Shoeshine, and Amethyst Star conversing outside the castle.
Wonder what Cheerilee's talking to Truffle Shuffle about.
"Let's go through this one more time."
"We've been over it like a million times, Twilight!"
"We found all six keys..."
"...and got this sweet castle! End of story!"
"Maybe it's just your new house and there ain't nothin' more to it than that."
"I must say, speaking strictly on aesthetics, there really doesn't need to be more to it."
"It's all simply divine!"
"And Rarity. And Applejack. And Rainbow Dash. And Pinkie Pie."
"Oh, and probably Spike."
"As princess, I've been chosen to spread the magic of friendship across Equestria."
"So why would the Tree of Harmony want us to sit in a castle in Ponyville?"
"It doesn't make any sense!"
Twilight's cutie mark starts to glow...
...and so does the symbol on her throne.
All of the other thrones follow suit.
"Is that new? I like it."
"It's got all of Equestria!"
Look! It's the rock farm I grew up in!
STOMP! Run! It's Spikezilla!
Uh, Pinkie, you do know that's just a hologram, right?
Just in case you didn't know...Twilight still has wings.
And Godzilla has been defeated.
"But if this is Ponyville..."
"...why are our cutie marks over there?"
"I don't know. But it seems like the map wants us to find out."
"The Tree, the chest, this castle, and now the map."
"How can we not follow it?"
"There's a ton of room..."
"...for dangerous adventure along that route."
"Aw, shoot! I reckon you're right."
"I was planning on organizing my baking sheets."
"Um, maybe I'll stay here with Spike."
"Me and Big Mac have a huge weekend ahead of us..."
"...talkin' hoofball, and... and trading hoofball cards..."
"...and arguing about hoofball stats..." (What's the matter, Fluttershy? Don't you like hoofball?)
"...maybe I'd better go with them."
"Looks like it's time for a road trip."
"Well, suit yourself. But he's got a Hock Fetlock rookie card I plan to sweet-talk right into these hot little claws."
New model of the Friendship Express.
Pretty sure we never saw the train from this angle before.
The town is so isolated, even the train can't stop there.
Reverse of Reverse, the train is so out of here!
Notice how the two rows of houses resemble an equal sign.
"That's it! That's the place on the map!"
"Right. Let's get down there and find the spa."
"Wait. We don't know why the map sent us here."
"We shouldn't just walk right in. It could be dangerous."
"Stay behind me, everypony!"
Whoops! That wasn't careful!
Cue the Mission Impossible tune here...
"This is where the map sent us? It looks like the most boring place in Equestria."
"It's just an ordinary village full of ordinary pony folk."
"It could certainly use a few more architectural flourishes. Or any architectural flourishes."
"I don't like it one bit!"
"And those smiles? They're just not right."
"Forget the smiles. Look at the cutie marks."
And Rainbow Dash called Pinkie's insane state
The houses look like power outlets!
"An entire village with the same cutie mark? How can that be?"
"I bet there's some sort of horrific monster behind it."
"What makes you say that?"
"'Cause fighting a horrific monster..."
"...would be super-awesome!"
"I reckon we just ought to head into town and talk to some locals, find out what's goin' on."
"Those smiles are bad news."
Doesn't this pony bare a resemblance to Meghan McCarthy's OC?
"This must be the most pleasant place in Equestria!"
"Ugh. Thanks a lot, map."
"Pardon my forwardness, but are you an Alicorn?"
This is how normal smiles look like.
"That there's the Princess of Friendship!"
"Well, you've certainly come to the right place for friendship."
"What brings you to town?"
"We're not entirely sure."
"I see. Well, all are welcome here in our little village. My name is Double Diamond, and this is Party Favor."
"Howdy, Double Diamond. I'm Applejack..."
"...and this here's Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity, Rainbow Dash..."
"...and Twilight Sparkle."
"And you all have your own unique cutie marks."
Has Pinkie been taking lessons from Babs Seed?
"If you don't mind, has there been any sort of... trouble here, lately?"
"Trouble? Why, I don't think we've ever had trouble in our little village."
"It's true. You'll see. Hm."
"Perhaps you'd care to speak to our founder Starlight Glimmer."
"I wish everypony in Equestria was as friendly as these ponies are."
"I've got my eye on them."
"Something's rotten in..."
"...whatever the name of this village is that we're in right now!"
"Starlight, we have some new visitors."
"Be ready to fight. We don't know what's gonna come through that door."
"I'm so pleased to have you here."
You were expecting maybe Nightmare Moon?
"This is Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Rainbow Dash..."
"...and Twilight Sparkle."
Meet the Handicapper General.
That wing ruffle. So cute.
"Forgive my bluntness..."
"...but I'm assuming it's Princess Twilight Sparkle?"
"We don't get many Alicorns around here." (Did she mean to say many or any?)
"Yes, but 'Twilight' is fine."
"So! How did you hear of our little village?"
"It's kind of a long story. Let's just say we found it on a map."
"Technically, it's a Tree-chest-castle-map!"
Oh, wait, I forgot, I hate it here.
"Well, however you found us, we're happy to have you!"
"We're happy to have anypony who wants to experience..."
"...true friendship for the first time."
"Say what?" (Our thoughts exactly.)
"Oh, indeed. That's what's so unique about our village, you see."
Starlight adjusting a picture frame.
"Around here, we don't flaunt our special talents..."
"...because we don't have any special talents to flaunt."
"Is that why you all have those cutie marks?"
"Perhaps it would be easier to understand if I gave you a tour of the village!"
"Heads high, ponies! Marching proud!"
Forgot to take away the good singing voices, did she?
"Life is so grand in Our Town"
"We're always filled with cheer"
"We never have to look around"
"To know that we're all here"
"In Our Town, in Our Town"
"To find out that our destiny"
"Let's see those big, happy smiles!"
"Life is a smile in Our Town"
Double Cheshire Pony Mash!
"Our cutie marks the same"
"Because we do not separate"
"Ourselves by more than name"
"Winning only breeds the worst
But... if everypony wins, then... everypony loses too!
"Life is a joy in Our Town
We're all equal here"
"And no one shakes in fear"
I am completely equal and this is fine. Fine.
"In Our Town, in Our Town
We work as a team"
"You can't have a nightmare
If you never dream"
And with those lines, the entire fandom was creeped out.
"Do you ever wonder why?"
"When you think your talent's special"
"You don't see eye-to-eye"
"There's just too many differences
"That lead to disarray" (Huh? Oh, sorry. Wrong dance.)
"But when you learn to act as one"
This is, admittedly, a rather catchy tune.
Catchy shmatchy. Real songs have syncopation.
"Join in our utopia
Come out of the dark"
Insert here any flag of any human country and make a joke about it.
"Give up our cutie marks?"
"...don't be so rude. I don't think we should judge them."
"They all seem perfectly happy with their choice."
"Don't believe their smiles, Fluttershy."
"I'm sorry, I guess we're just a little confused by all of this."
"We have no judgments here in our village. Each of us was confused once as well..."
"...blinded by the false promise of our cutie marks."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa. Is she for real?"
"When we were sent to this village, we assumed it was to help in some way."
"But, well, it doesn't seem like you need any help."
"Have you considered perhaps that you might have been sent here..."
"...so we could help you?"
"After all, nopony has ever come to our village and wanted to leave. Why should you be any different?"
Maybe because we are main six characters of this show?
"But that is entirely..."
"Please enjoy our little corner of Equestria. We're all quite fond of it."
"No doubt you will be as well."
"Double Diamond, please help our guests with whatever they might need."
"Well, this will certainly provide a boost to our little community."
"When the rest of Equestria sees that a princess gave up her cutie mark to join us..."
"...they'll finally understand what we're trying to accomplish."
"A cutie mark is a representation of a pony's unique talents and skills."
"What in the name of Equestria is that?!"
"Care to sample some local fashion?"
"We've got cloaks this month!"
Missing from this image, some hilarious retching noises courtesy of Tabitha St. Germain.
"Wha— Ooh, er, perhaps another time, good sir, thank you."
"No wonder nopony's wearing anything!"
"Really, girls! They may do things a bit differently than we're used to..."
"...but that's no reason to be rude."
"No, the reason to be rude is that they all keep staring at us!"
"Fluttershy's right. If we're going to get to the bottom of why the map sent us here, we'll need the help of these ponies."
"I think we ran off to the end of Equestria..."
"...before we even knew what that map was!"
"If we were at the end of Equestria..."
"...we'd be sitting on a big 'A'!"
"Oh, please, Miss Pie! This is hardly the time for jokes!"
"We've come all this way and for what?"
"Maybe you're right. But we're here now..."
"...and it sure feels like something's wrong."
"That and two bits'll get you a cup of cider."
"We shouldn't be bickering like this in front of our new friends. Really, Applejack, you're almost as bad as Rainbow Dash!"
"Don't drag me into this!"
Pay no mind to those ponies, kiddies.
"Is your friendship ending?" (What kind of waitress asks something like that?)
"We'd never let a disagreement get in the way of food!"
"O-kay, well, my name is Sugar Belle."
"What can I bring you? We have: muffins..."
Speaking of muffins, why isn't Derpy in this episode?
"Then I guess we'll take six muffins!"
"Come on, girls. We've got to stick together. It doesn't matter what happened before, we're here now."
"I guess you're right. And the sooner we figure out why, the sooner we can go home."
Even Derpy'd dislike these muffins.
"Forgive me for overhearing, but just a moment ago you were disagreeing,..."
"...and now it sounds like you're... agreeing."
"Well, you had such differing opinions – and cutie marks."
"We have differing opinions all the time, darling."
"But you look like you're friends."
"We are friends. A simple disagreement wouldn't change that."
"I'm just having a hard time understanding."
"Different talents lead to different opinions..."
"...which lead to bitterness..."
"So...why aren't you bitter and...?"
"It's all right. I know I'm not a very good baker."
"At least, I know I'm not any better than anypony else in the village."
"Well, I...hope you enjoy our little village!"
"Come inside before you go! Meet me downstairs!"
"Okay, that was weird too."
"Let's all sit here and eat these muffins and act normal."
"I think we're being watched."
Which raises the age-old question: Who cuts the barber's hair if there is only one barber?
"I mean somepony here doesn't want us talking to Sugar Belle."
"But you gotta eat all of them muffins, Pinkie."
"You got a stronger stomach than any of us..."
"...and that filly in there might be our best chance at findin' out..."
"...what the hay is goin' on round here."
Note: Do not try this at home. (Too bad she asked for 12 instead of 6.)
Poor Pinkie. Eating so much muffins has never been that difficult.
"I can't believe you ate all our muffins, Pinkie Pie!"
"We'd best go inside and get some more!" (And the Daytime Emmy for Best Worst Acting in an Animation Series goes to...)
Expect a barrage of disturbing fan art of Fatty Pie.
"I've accidentally eaten cardboard tastier than that."
"Why did you want us to come down here?"
"...what's about to happen."
Usually when someone says that, there's about to be a whacking.
Rainbow's cutting the dash by her facial expression.
One of us! One of us! One of us!
To horns and hooves, everypony!
"Are you really the Princess of Friendship?"
"Do you know Princess Celestia?" (Who is not appearing in this episode.)
Please, tell Sugar Belle it's very rude to grab other ponies' flanks.
"How can you be friends with different cutie marks?"
"Don't you end up hating each other?"
"I'd love to have my special talent back even just for a day!"
"Make something besides those disgusting muffins..."
"So what's stopping you? Go get your cutie marks back."
"Daydreaming is one thing, but you mean actually having it put back on? That seems extreme."
Pfff! I know much better what is actually extreme!
"I'm not sure Starlight would like that. She wants us all to be happy in our sameness."
"How do you take somepony's cutie mark anyway?"
"The cutie unmarking is a beautiful experience!"
"Starlight uses the Staff of Sameness to magically take them away..."
"...and replace them with these.""
"But nopony should keep you from your cutie mark."
"It represents such an essential part of who you are."
"Oh, we're not kept from them. They're in the vault up in the caves."
"We can visit them any time we like to remind us of the heartache of a life with special talents."
That moment when one of good characters comes up with a really bad idea.
"Can we visit this cave?"
"I'm delighted you're interested in our cutie mark vault."
Equality propaganda stuff. You go, Starlight.
"This must be the reason we're here."
"No, helping those ponies get their cutie marks back."
"Oh, are you sure, Twilight? Maybe they miss them a little, but even they didn't seem all that unhappy."
"Then why did they want to meet us in secret?"
"And why did they ask us not to tell Starlight who told us about the vault?"
"Behold! Our cutie mark vault!"
Look at all those cutie marks that were collected! And notice that there are six blank spots! Wonder who those could be for?
Starlight Glimmer has a cutie mark app for that!
There must be about 100 of them.
We'll see these four again later.
"And here is the Staff of Sameness."
"It was one of the great Mage Meadowbrook's nine enchanted items."
"We are incredibly fortunate to have it here."
"This is the tool that allows us to free ourselves from our marks!"
"...how did the subject of the vault come up?"
"Oh, some ponies were telling us how much they missed their cutie marks, and—"
Pinkie, you're mistaken. Your element is Laughter, not Honesty.
"Were they? Well, it seems you inspire all sorts of free thinking, don't you?"
"Well, w-we certainly didn't intend to cause any disruptions to your charming little—"
"Good. Let's just make sure of that, shall we?"
I will not let my friends down!
You are going right there.
Oh no, they took away Twilight's individuality!
This doesn't look like a "beautiful experience".
"Aw. I don't blame you for what you tried to do here today. You've spent your whole lives thinking those marks are a good thing."
"Well, now you can spend the rest of your lives here with us!"
"And we'll teach you just how much better life can be..."
"...without your cutie marks!"
Really pushing it with the equal sign imagery, aren't we, DHX?