• "Marks and Recreation": Episode Followup - Is Rumble Starlight 2.0?

    WeAreBorg here with a Followup to the season's last Cutie Mark Crusader episode and Sweet Celestia does Rumble make them crusade hard. I can best sum up this episode with a haiku:

    Foals need Cutie Marks.
    They want fun, joy and purpose.
    Will a Mark bring these?

    Join me below for haikus, red circles, heptapods, Wonderbolts, history lessons, Zen, band cutie mark camp, and one of the best sibling relationships of the show.

    Moral lesson time: Rumble's issues with cutie marks were three part. We've seen the first issue before in "Bloom and Gloom" where Apple Bloom is afraid of getting the wrong cutie mark. A cutie mark that would define her as something she doesn't want to be. Rumble's second issue is a ponies cutie mark might not line up with what a pony enjoys doing. And finally, Rumble made a rather convincing argument that a cutie mark will prevent you from doing anything else, especially something you love to do.

    A lot of these issues stemmed from living in his brother's shadow. A rather large shadow given how high he can fly as a Wonderbolt. It's fun to watch these issues get resolved.

    In addition to Rumble's obvious issues, there is one lesson that Kettle Corn points paints out for us in this episode, though I'm rather sure it was unintended. This one was fun to spot so I'll explain it when we get to her at the day camp.

    A lot of fans, including myself have been drawing parallels between OG Starlight Glimmer and Rumble. I started to write a big long thing about that but honestly, I'd like to save it for its own editorial.

    Besides I'd rather talk about circles...

    Reminiscent of Cézanne. He could never figure out a tablecloth either.
    That orange in the still life is inspiring. Sort of a roundish shape. Also, nice photos from previous episodes.

    Let's find out why this filly is painting fruit and moo-moo juice...

    Named Kettle Corn becuase she's sweet and explodes into starch.

    Meet Kettle Corn, a Generation 4 original I believe. With a coat the color of kettle corn and a mane and tail reminiscent of a popcorn bag, she is super cute the whole episode. Like Toola Roola and Cocunet Cream from "Fame and Misfortune," it will be a real shame not to see her in future episodes.

    Let's check out her still life...

    "I can make it rounder!"

    Most of this followup is about these red circles of hers. I don't know why. Also, if you draw in school using nothing but red you get sat down in front of a counselor or principal. That lady wouldn't let me explain a red pen and pencil was all I had! Anyway, for those of us who saw "Arrival", we were reminded of this throughout the episode...

    It's clear that Kettle Corn communicates with heptapods. I will now write the rest of this Followup in these logograms.

    Just kidding...

    "Yeah...Okay...That's - that's enough for today..."

    Given where these fillies live you'd think their threshold for surprise would be a lot higher. Also, I just noticed that The Movie style of ears is growing on me. They briefly mention one of the points of the episode, that on the way to finding your cutie mark, you'll find all sort of things you'll like.

    Let's shove Korn out the door...

    "Ahh...but we wanted speaking roles too."

    It's almost hard to believe that it's taken this long for them to get these many clients at once. Twilight just needs to show them how to make schedules. That one colt in the back looks kinda sickly. Speaking of colts, with that many followers, Starlight Glimmer could give them some lessons on how to make one, a cult that is.

    Let's see if they come up with a better idea on how to handle the workload...

    Ponies have telepathic powers that require nose touching.

    Even in season 7, I giggle a little inside every time they use an equine term like "herd". Also, during this scene, they drop the term "blank flank" like 20 times. I know a few viewers were concerned that "blank flank" is a derogatory term but like all languages, words can have different means depending on how you say them. Anypony who studies communication will tell you the words spoken are only a part of the communicated idea along with body movements, tone, and context.

    Let's have some groupthink...

    "Cutie Mark Rehabilitation Camp!"

    I guess it's summertime if there's no school to worry about. I like how quickly they can rent time at an established day camp. Also, if ponies have day camps, how is this not already a thing? I can't answer these questions but I do know that business tycoon Rarity definitely bankrolled this whole thing along with some Princess money.

    The new "Chicken Blush" by PUR

    What her face would look like if anypony complimented her wings. That's a big 'if'.

    Vistaprint branching out its market.

    I want to see the chemical plant that makes the rudder or latex for these balloons. We need chemical worker ponies!

    Marks and Recreation

    So it's interesting to note the "Blank Flank affiliates" here. We see Minuette with a colt we learn is named Skeedaddle, Sea Swirl with another colt, and Rainbow Stars with Kettle Corn (behind Rumble) and another filly we'll Algae Swirl. It's interesting to think that just like Thunderlane that we see in a second, these background ponies have their own lives getting a better job and having foals.

    Let's talk about one colt in particular...

    Out of the corner of your eye, you spot him. Shia Labeouf Rumble.

    Ah yes, Rumble. When we first saw the clip for Rumble and his song we'll get to later at HasCon, our very own IllustriousQ was quick to point out it was the same voice used by Vincent Tong on the MLP Christmas album.

    Anyway, AppleBloom wants him to come to blank flank camp...because he's a blank flank...

    Rumble is a jerk to flyers.

    Actually, he's mad that it wasn't Sweetie Belle that came to talk to him. I wonder if there is some teasing at DHX like "Hey Daniel, we need a flyer that looks like it was colored by a 6-year-old. Thought the task fitted your skill set." Friendship is teasing.

    Let's talk about this trash can...

    Ponies in...socks?

    ...and his brother. It's great to see Thunderlane with such a big role in this episode. Bringing background ponies to the foreground a few times a season really add dimension to the world. Also, you always know when a sibling is lying...

    'Wonderbolt caught digging through the trash! See this flyers downward spiral inside!'  

    Scheming Thunderlane is scheming. Also Mayor Mare needs to do something about the trash in her streets. 

    Welcome to Camp Everfree Cutie Mark.

    The Crusaders have a thing for branding. Honestly, who wouldn't want to be at a day camp without adults? I think most days would be better if I didn't have to do any adult responsibilities at all like doing the dishes, fixing plumbing, pretending I care about a customers problems, or waking up to write this Followup.

    Anyway the Crusaders have a lot of fun for activities like...

    Magnet hooves.

    "Circle Painting!" Is this a heptapod logogram meaning "Earn your Cutie Mark"? I will apologize in advance again for all talk of her circles I'm about to do.

    Let's see who just landed.

    Take a few moments and just stare into his eyes.

    Why it's Wonderbolt Thunderlane and his brother Rumble. Suprise, surprise. Actually, some fans were surprised that Thunderlane is a Wonderbolt, and it's no wonder why since it was just glossed over...

    Unisex changing rooms.

    Some of y'all didn't notice during "Parental Glideance" that Thunderlane is a Wonderbolt now. He gets all the mares attention.

    And all the foals attention too...


    The Crusaders are just used to famous ponies in their lives now. They just roll with it. Also, +1 to Thunderlane for tricking his little brother. That is what brothers are for.

    Scootaloo you look a little shocked...

    "I'm sort of not related to a Wonderbolt too."

    Poor Scootaloo. A crippled orphan foal who lives under a bridge gets no respect. Hate messages can be directed to my twitter. I love Thunderlane's response "Be good and try some stuff." Like morning glory.

    Add some wings and it's Spotlight Splash's Cutie Mark.

    Soarin Thunderlane has got game. Another reminder ponies can be good at multiple things and not have a cutie mark in it. For instance, Applejack and Pinkie Pie are good at baking but their cutie marks are balloons and apples.

    Take that Bernoulli's principle.

    We'll see him later. For now he's got a date with Flitter...

    "Wow, you're impressively bad at that."

    "Whoops." His attitude and mannerisms reminds me a bit of Kuzco from The Emperor's New Groove. You ain't fooling me, Rumble. You're not even trying!

    Let's start a camp montage...

    Welcome to Lake Placid

    The camp is smaller than you think it is. I mean it only has one outhouse.

    What's the next activity...

    She's pretending she has wings.

    Props to the animators for showing how to demonstrate and practice technique on the land without the risk of drowning.

    The foals look like they're having fun. What about Rumble?

    (╯°□°)╯︵  <≗>

    Where did get that hay shake from? Also, that sounds really gross. Let me know in the comments if you want me to do a review of a homemade hay shake.


    In a world where your cavalry are also your archers.

    I think we saw in Equestria Games that the gryphons were better archers. Claws work wonders. Just ask Twilight.

    How is Rumble doing?

    Not exactly cupid.

    Sweetie Belle is all like, Button Mash shoots better than you and he's playing Minecraft.


    I'll just nope this way.

    "Whoops." This is true dedication to suck at all things. College is going to be fun for him.

    On to our last activity of the day...

    Equestria earsers are made to kill bacteria.

    This is what would make a camp like this fun is the creation of activity by campers for campers. The true Cutie Mark Crusader way.

    Haikus are fun. How is Rumble doing?

    Every student ever.

    I'm building up an urge to slap this kid. It's alright though. We find out what his issues are later, er... that I just told at the begging of the Followup. Whatever, Rumble it's fine nopony gets a cutie mark in Haiku anyway...

    Shiny and chrome new.

    Or maybe they do...

    Kettle Corn makes all the colts blush.

    I like the foals bobbing along to the syllables. Cute. The whole idea of foals helping each other to get their cutie marks means Kettle Corn gets to come back...

    Thinking with portals.

    ...To draw circles. Sweet Celestia the circles. I can totally believe they got a Cutie Mark on the first day. I demand plot advancement.

    Speaking of advancement, what about Rumble?

    Your face when you first try whiskey.

    "Aye remember the nightmares." Hahaha. This is a great callback to "Bloom and Gloom" when she had nightmares about being a bug zapper pony. I love their dedication to help one pony whom they think is really struggling.

    How dedicated?

    "He's gonna get a cutie mark if I have to stamp it on him myself!"

    Maybe intensively dedicated. Let's hunt him down...

    Equestrian Quidditch field.

    Welcome back to Ponyville's stadium. Rumble mentioned something about Thunderlane practicing for a Ponyville show. Also, this place is likely an offseason and secondary training facility thanks to Rainbow Dash, Thunderlane, and maybe even a little royalty if your headcanon permits.

    Lofty goals.

    Starting to get a feel for what Rumble problem is. He's big brother is a lot to look up to. Literally, Thunderlane is way up there.

    "Have you tried not flying? It's fun!"

    "I'm not frustrating." Hehehe. I wanted to believe was a purposeful slip of child's grip on language tenses. I know I've been slipping this whole Followup.

    "I'm gonna eat all of the ice cream!"

    "I don't wanna get my cutie mark!" I love the fillies' reaction. Rumble's concern that Cutie Marks can force you into one thing your whole life should honestly be a more common thought. Though fighting against the inevitable sounds a bit angsty.

    I mean Rumble might have a point. Applebloom when was the last time you made potions with Zecora?

    When you call her sister a background pony.

    A while ago it seems. Rumble it's not nice to be mean to fillies.

    Anyway, Rumble is not a cat and does not want to be in a box.

    Let's see what he does want...

    "Imma be the best cloud mover ever!"

    This location for this upcoming scene is actually quite a neat choice. Likely just a happy accident, but this is the same track from "Hurrican Fluttershy" where the pegasi training took place. That as the episode when we learned that Rumble is Thunderlane's brother so its fitting that we get this brotherly moment between the two pegasi.

    Time to be awesome!

    Some pegasi foals are born for the skies. Others are Scootaloo.

    Let's interrupt this fun...

    Wing hugs

    "You're not the only pegasus in the family you know." I love Thunderlane's big brother logic he pulls on Rumble about not having to worry about looking bad followed by telling him he's going back regardless.

    The antagonist is strong with this one.

    Blank flank forever you say...

    "Now after filling the jars with the blood of the sacrifice..."

    To make jam you have to boil it. Are these foals being unsupervised with a heat source?

    We never find out the flavor.

    Another real fear for foals: Not being good at anything. Don't worry Pipington, you're good at wearing jam. We need a Venn diagram showing things you like in relation to things you're good at and where the cutie mark lies.

    For a Venn diagram, we need circles. Anypony here good at drawing circles?

    Seven days...

    I didn't catch it until she got her cutie mark in Haiku but her circle drawings are very much related to her cutie mark. While Haiku is a well-known form of Japanese poetry, only those who spent more than a high school writing class learning about it would recall Haiga, a combination of Haiku and a simple painting related to the poem's subject. Starting as a natural evolution to doodle on the same page with the same brush used to stroke the poem, some Haiga combined another form of painting and Japanese expression, the Ensō...

    Created from one or two brush strokes, using the same tools and discipline used in Japanese calligraphy, the Ensō symbolizes elegance, strength, enlightenment, the universe, and "the void". The painting of the ensō when closed represents perfection while unclosed, in Kettle Corn's case represents imperfection. The practice of drawing the ensō for self-realization is called hitsuzendō ("way of the brush") established as a Zen practice to find one's true self through calligraphy.

    And that is exactly what Kettle Corn and the rest of our foals are looking to do. Trying to find themselves. At least until Rumble comes along...

    Cool guy in a cool guy pose

    "Saw good goodbye to painting circles." Yeah, Kettle Corn is never gonna stop with the circles.

    After the sacrifice, we will speak in tongues.

    It doesn't matter who the expert is on the subject, if they got a song about it then they are the authority.

    The Shining
    Rumble is a jerk to jam. Let's start this song. It's really good!


    Cynder says these snake charmer stereotypes are true. Lookin' for that tourist money.

    If Rumble wants to turn ponies down the path of rejecting cutie marks, Starlight needs to give him some lessons.

    More unsupervised heat source usage.

    Okay, no colt is gonna just turn down cake. It's cake! Anyway, ♫ Blank Flanks are better! ♫

    The face of frustration.

    At the season 8 panel at HasCon where this clip was shown, the crew joked about the foals snapping their hooves in this clip. Pipsqueak is upset about this.

    Staring Rumble

    Rumble, you can be my Cutie Star. He's so cute. Likely due to his filly muzzle that's currently being cut by his sunglasses clipping his face.

    I will become the circle!

    They need to keep her away from the paint. Also, Starlight needs to give her some lessons.

    Overlook Hotel, July 4th Ball, 1921

    I would have laughed my ass off any one of these foals suddenly got a cutie mark in musical performance. Especially Rumble.

    Blank Flank Forever Camp

    I love Rumble getting into the dirty arguing tactics, pulling out all the fallacies. Also, "blank flanky-ness".

    Eye spy...

    Still drawing circles. While I had to do a little research on the Japanese practices I mentioned earlier, my years studying art in school threw up a red flag when I first saw Kettle Corn's circles. There was art history connection here besides the Ensō.

    I know I already made you read like 200 words of circle related things but trust me this is worth it. I'll be brief.

    Back in the day a pope wishing to commission the greatest artist in the land for a project sent an interviewer into the country. This interviewer spoke with many artists, gathering samples of their work to take back to the pope. He came across a man named Giotto. Rather than give this guy a sketch of angels and other biblical imagery, he stood and with a single steady hand painted, in red paint, a perfect circle and sent this with the interviewer who thought he was being trolled. The pope though, learning he had painted a perfect circle without the use of a compass, considered Giotto a master and gave him the job. The expression "Rounder than the O of Giotto" is still used today.

    At the beginning of the episode, we heard Kettle Corn say "I can make it rounder" implying she might indeed be trying to make a perfect circle. While she very much enjoys drawing her circles she is certainly not Giotto's equal. This can teach us and the foals that while you may enjoy something it doesn't mean you're good at it nor get a cutie mark in it.

    Just some circles for thought. What does Sweetie Belle think of this...

    Calm and serenity

    I love Sweetie Belle method for remaining calm. This is usually how calm I am while given a big project with only 2 hours to do it by. Rumble continues his box metaphor which we'll see used later.

    Anyway, Sweetie Belle notices something about Kettle Corn.

    Her mom is gonna flip out

    "I'm blank flank again, keeping my options open, I'm more than haikus." That is a haiku. Kettle Corn cracks me up. Also, again, I love Rumble's dirty tactic of fending off a logical argument with "don't let them get into your head."

    Rumble might get a cutie mark in cult leadership.

    Fun days of tossing shoes at sticks

    "Cracking good" This colt is going to be in films. Too bad Rumble makes them stop doing fun things in case they get a cutie mark in doing fun things.

    This is my yellow period
    That "oh well. Too late now" face. I have to imagine that she ran out of red paint and is using the still fresh yellow paint from her flank. Also, she'll go on to make the Equestrian version of "The Ring" later staring Pip.

     Sweetie_bot.exe has crashed...

    Thunderlane can't believe his brother started an anti cutie mark cult camp. We learn that Rumble likely wants to follow in his brother's hoofsteps and become a great flyer. It's understandable he's scared of being destined for something else by a cutie mark.

    "I'm gonna put him in a box."

    Props to AppleBloom for figuring it all out. Our Crusaders are growing up and are getting smarter.

    In a month when we're waiting on Season 8.

    It's too bad Rumble's logic of "don't do anything you like so you don't get stuck not doing something you like" is backfiring. Seems pretty logical to me. Also getting a cutie mark in being bored might be my wife, Cynder's cutie mark.

    Sounds like the CMC have one of the oldest tricks in the book up their sleeve...

    Do a barrel roll!

    That's right. Hiring a celebrity to endorse the message. A skillful tactic made even dirtier by the fact it's Rumble's own brother.

    The CMC are winners and Rumble is just in the way...

    Thunderlane is a jerk to foals

    Seriously, Thunderlane should be "that guy" and let go of the rope and make them fall. Also, I would be legit upset if I got a cutie make in horseshoes or rope pulling.

    Twilight's castle

    Nopony makes Canterlot castle anymore. It's just fallen out of style. Now that the CMC has the foals back under control, it's time to convert Rumble...

    This time on Ninja Warrior...

    ...With an obstacle course. Apple Bloom knows his weakness.

    Scab breaking through a union's picket line (c. 1884 colorized)

    Look how happy he is to do something he really wants. What a little pain in the flank this brat is lol.

    Thunderlane's new extreme energy protein shake!

    Thunderlane is all like "Real gansta flank pegasi don't flex wings, 'cause real gansta flank pegasi know they got 'em." He then goes on to explain how he's the next Chef Ramsey, he loves cooking, and there is more to him than flying. Like he loves making pie for Soarin. Like a nice caramel apple pie. I'm hungry now.

    Does Rumble buy it?

    Please, sir. May I have some more?

    The kid eats it upFirst, the idea of holding something metal in my teeth gives me the heeby geebies. Second, Thunderlane is the best brother for ditching work and saving him from cult leadership helping him get over his fear of getting a cutie mark he won't like.         

    How is the rest of camp?

    Hope they have showers

    Kettle Corn is like Zecora 2.0 and will forever speak in haiku. Looks like the Crusader's day camp is a success!

    "He only thinks this is edible"

    Well Rumble learns his lesson and does a 180 and wants to try stuff now.

    Hello, mares.

    Thunderlane is one smug stallion. Also, how does his mane fit under that hat? Anyway, guess that's a wrap. Roll credits...

    Your voice actors everypony!

    I hope everyone enjoyed the followup and episode. Sorry if it was long. That's kinda my thing I guess. You know what to do int he comments.

    Crusading for Marks,
    On a quest to discover,
    What makes us special.