Sunday, December 16, 2012

Picking Apart "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", Season 3 Episode 7

How many of you airheads honestly thought that Rainbow Dash would achieve her crowning moment in this episode?  ...Well, not technically at least.  But to my surprise, this episode brings her one step closer at the very least.

Okay, this is the halfway episode of Season 3, so let's take a minute to review what's happened so far.  For starters, Ditzy Doo has been notably absent or barely showing up, possibly due to the controversy, meaning she was somehow edited out due to Season 3 being in production before the controversy, and seems to be replaced by the duo of Lyra Heartstrings and Sweetie Drops and due to the number of times they've been seen together in the series so far, fans have turned them into lesbians for some reason.  Now it's fine by me, but I really don't know the reason why that is.  Another thing is that this season has been pretty much devoid of friendship letters written to Celestia, the only one so far being in the episode "Too Many Pinkie Pies".  I guess it seems that these so-called friendship reports are being discovered in other ways and no letters have to be written in these circumstances.  Well, whatever the case, so far Season 3 has, as I expected, not been able to make up for the horrendous events that transpired in the Season 2 finale, what with the continuity kicking the bucket at all, but there have been a number of surprises like in the past two episodes that I didn't really expect.  In the episode "Magic Duel", Trixie reforms and in the episode "Sleepless in Ponyville", Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo bond for the first time in the entire series.  Now in this episode, I initially believed that due to the given synopsis, Rainbow Dash would be flat-out not fit to be a Wonderbolt due to self-doubt.  Well, it turns out, she doesn't get self-doubt until she meets another cadet willing to kick things up one more notch beyond even her.  So let's find out what happens.

Wonderbolts Academy
So Rainbow Dash is accepted into this Wonderbolt academy, never mind that she fools her friends at first about it.  When she arrives, we see Spitfire like never before, a drill sergeant running a boot camp who tests the others to see if they are worthy cadets.  Well, here's what she says to Rainbow Dash.

Spitfire: You look like you're the worst flyer in the whole academy! You'd probably quit after the first day!
Now before we jump the gun here, it should be noted that this is an academy and that Spitfire is doing her job not singling out any Pegasus here or picking favorites.  Besides, she may still not know Rainbow Dash personally, but she is testing her here to make sure her guts are in top form.
That's when we're introduced to this gutsy Pegasus gal named Lightning Dust.  She becomes fast friends with Rainbow Dash and it seems that they're gonna get along.  So to me, when I first heard of the episode synopsis, I assumed that Lightning Dust was gonna get all the glory while Rainbow doesn't get jack.  Well, it turns out there's a little more to this episode than just being fit for flying under any extreme contingency.

Meanwhile, Pinkie Pie is practically worrying herself sick because Rainbow hasn't written her a letter yet and after three days, she gets pretty desperate.  I have to say the relationship between the two hasn't been touched upon this much since the episode "Griffon the Brush Off".
Well, with Pinkie Pie playing the role of Rainbow's girlfriend, the others propose that they deliver a care package in person, so they decide to pay a visit.  But things don't exactly go as planned.

You see, we learn that Lightning Dust is even more of a hothead than Rainbow Dash by pushing herself beyond expectations and initially believing only the best of the best get into the Wonderbolts while Rainbow Dash ends up becoming a wing pony under her leadership, leading her to question if she's really cut out for the academy.
Not to mention, Lightning Dust decides to cheat by slowing down the other cadets for the chance to benefit her own personal goals.
Eventually Rainbow Dash decides to try to follow along with Lightning Dust's philosophies, but their pooled efforts create a tornado that rips out of control and nearly kills Rainbow's five friends in the process.

She's able to save them by solidifying a cloud, bouncing them into the hooves of the other cadets who are able to come to the rescue.
Now I don't know why Fluttershy falls with the others when she's a Pegasus and she could try to save Rarity or any of her friends.  But at least when she gets "rescued", she simply starts hovering again.  And after she helped with that tornado in the episode "Hurricane Fluttershy", what's Cloudchaser gonna think of her now?  I really didn't get that part, so I'm just gonna leave it alone. 
Rainbow Dash then gets mad at Lightning Dust, saying that her way of trying to being the best is putting others at risk, including herself, but she shrugs it off undauntedly, reminding her that Spitfire assigned her the lead position and not Rainbow.
So Rainbow Dash ultimately reports to Spitfire that if this is the way things are, she wants nothing to do with being a Wonderbolt at all.
Rainbow Dash: I quit.

But just before she leaves, Spitfire catches up to Rainbow Dash and tells her that she was in the right the whole time.  After all, Rainbow Dash has something that Lightning Dust doesn't.  She's got heart.
So with that, Lightning Dust is stripped of her position and promptly escorted away by securities while Rainbow, having proved her worth, becomes lead pony of her own team, reprising her fan girl cry of...
Rainbow Dash: OhmygoshOhmygoshOhmygoshOhmygoshOhmygosh!

But guess what?  The episode ends right at that!  We don't get to see if she passes the academy or not, never mind that we probably don't need to.  But I guess this is how Hasbro is gonna end things.  But heaven forbid they should make Rainbow Dash a Wonderbolt and continue with the series.  After all, the Season 2 and Season 3 episodes have been fixating less on the Mane 6 as a whole, so what would be so bad about Rainbow Dash being a Wonderbolt while the series is going on?

Well, that was Episode 7, and again, for the third episode in a row, I get pleasantly surprised with the outcome.  It's got a nice slice of life attached to it which isn't just a friendship lesson.  It's a life lesson.  No matter how good someone is, if that someone does anything potentially stupid, risky, treacherous, or any of the sort, that someone is not gonna make it anywhere, regardless of skill level.  You know, I honestly take back everything bad I said about the episode what with ol' Dusty proving that there's always someone worse than Rainbow Dash.  Now, it wasn't better than the last episode, but at least it's a small comfort to know that Hasbro isn't totally bent on disappointing its fans as I thought they would be.  But the Cutie Mark Crusaders are another story, so that's a good reason for me to stay ambivalent about the series so far, even with its occasional turning points.  Oh, and one more thing.  This episode was apparently leaked somehow and found its way to YouTube some two days before it was supposed to air.  Pretty cool, huh?  I mean, it was nice to find out early that Hasbro was not about to make a huge disappointment out of Rainbow Dash anytime soon.  So how many of you still think she's a jerk now?

This is it, people.  We're halfway through Season 3 and there's no visible signs of stopping now.  And with pleasant surprises for three episodes in a row now, who knows what could potentially be in store for us for the rest of the season.
[Pinkie Pie]
'Cause I love to make you smile, smile, smile
Yes I do
It fills my heart with sunshine all the while
Yes it does
'Cause all I really need's a smile, smile, smile
From these happy friends of mine


  1. I didn't like this episode as much as the last two, but it was still pretty good. Maybe Wonderbolt training is going to be an ongoing thing or something.

    When I first watched, I didn't expect Spitfire to come back and say that Rainbow was right, so that was a surprise (but I should have saw that coming when I really think about it, to be honest). It's not really clear whether Lightning Dust was just demoted or thrown out of the academy altogether, but the scene seems to really suggest the latter.

    There wasn't any song in this episode either, which means that (including this episode) there's been three episodes without one (the last one was "Babs Seed"). It's not really much of a problem, but there really seems to be less songs this season overall. I can't remember how many episodes in the first two seasons had them, so I could be wrong here.

    Despite the rumors for a fourth season (it hasn't been confirmed officially yet), it really seems like the writers are wrapping things up so to speak. I mean... Trixie coming back (and ending on good terms with Twilight), Scootaloo getting her own episode and truly bonding with Rainbow Dash like she's wanted to for a long time, and Rainbow Dash getting closer to her dreams than ever before? True, it could just be the writers giving the fans what they want, but it could also be a sign that the series is coming to an end. It's not likely given the popularity (and money being made), but you never know.

    But yeah, good episode. Personally I'd rank this one 3rd best of the season (so far). And of course there wasn't any appearance or even a mention of Scootaloo, but that was expected.

    1. I agree with you wholeheartedly on everything here.

      As for the next episode, I can see it being much like the gist of the Disney film "The Princess and the Frog" because the synopsis of "Apple Family Reunion" says that Applejack loses sight of what's really important, which is what happened to Tiana in the Disney film and it took the whole movie for her to finally understand the gist. So yeah, I'm not really expecting a completely original plot here.

      The one thing that bugs me is that there's a "missing" episode in between "Apple Family Reunion" and "Spike At Your Service". It used to be between "Wonderbolt Academy" and "Apple Family Reunion", until the latter was placed on the wiki as the official eighth episode of Season 3. Now I could be totally wrong, but I thought I might have heard something about an actual Christmas special besides "Hearth's Warming Eve". But my critiques will end up stalled if I don't hear of a gap-filler real soon.

      The surprise for me was when I first saw that Lightning Dust was getting the boot as she didn't seem like the kind of character who could have such audacity. I think in some cases, Equestria Daily is considering her to be an antagonist, though I only believe ol' Dusty was just misguided by her own personal beliefs.

      Well, if Season 3 is where things all end, that's fine by me. Fans really shouldn't be too upset about that because they'll always have comics and other stuff.

      For some crazy reason I keep thinking Discord won't show up until the Season 3 finale and might have ties to the dystopian Ponyville, that is if Discord really is showing his face again.