Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Episode 34

It's back-to-back Rainbow Dash, as this episode has her in the focus again, proving that no matter how many lessons she may learn, "not being a jerk" is not one of them.
The Mysterious Mare Do Well
Scootaloo, in her quest to spread Rainbow Dash's awesomeness to the world, has put together an official fan club which has a pretty good number of members, including Snips and Snails.  First order of business: which adjective properly conveys all that is Rainbow Dash?  A voice from the crowd suggests "Super-ultra-extreme-awesome-mazing" which is voted for unanimously.  Considering it came from Rainbow Dash herself, how could it not?
After trolling the kids, Rainbow Dash relaxes in the clouds, until she hears a voice calling for help coming from a nearby abandoned well.  Without hesitation, Dash leaps into the fray and rescues a young filly, attracting quite a crowd in the process.  Surprised by the cheering crowd, Dash modestly tells them it was nothing, though the filly she rescued disagrees.  With the cheers of the crowd echoing in her ears, she flies off.
Sometime later, a scream pierces the air, as a mother watches her baby go careening wildly down the hill in her carriage.  Once again, Rainbow Dash leaps into action, managing to stop the carriage just before it went over a cliff.  And once again, she attracts a cheering crowd, though this time she plays it up for them a bit.  When the newsponies start taking her picture, she casually tosses the rescued baby to her mother so she can pose.  Twilight and Applejack think she might be overdoing it, but then again, she is pretty awesome.
Later still, the balcony at the old ponies home starts to crack, but luckily, Rainbow Dash is ready to save the day, even alerting the crowd that their "friendly neighborhood Rainbow Dash is here!"  And just in time, she catches the balcony and gently guides it (and the ponies on it) to the ground.  As the surrounding crowd cheers, Rainbow Dash fully embraces their adulation, showing off some aerial tricks for them.  And showing her friends that she may be getting a little full of herself.
Or a lot full of herself, as she tells the story of her recent rescues to her adoring fans over at Sugar Cube Corners.  She's even hired Spike to ghost-write her autobiography.  It's painfully clear to her friends (even Pinkie Pie) that Rainbow Dash's ego is going out of control, as she poses for pictures with all her fans, never once shutting up about what an awesome and heroic pony she is.
Out in Ponyville Square, Rainbow Dash signs autographs for her fans, and seemingly ignores a cry for help from a luckless hot air balloonist.  But no, she just wants squeeze in a few more autographs, knowing she still has time to make it.  Finally, Rainbow Dash takes to the sky, but as she flies, a masked mare suddenly appears.  Leaping across the rooftops, the mare manages to reach the falling balloonist before Rainbow Dash, and receives the crowd's applause.  As the mare gallops off into the sunset, the mayor declares her the town's new hero, dubbing her The Mysterious Mare Do Well.  As far as Rainbow Dash is concerned, the town only needs one hero: her!
Case in point, who shows up when a wagon full of tourists goes out of control on the same hill the baby carriage was careening down earlier?  Rainbow Dash!  However, stopping a baby carriage is one thing, but a wagon is considerably heavier, especially when it's full of tourists.  Despite her best efforts, Rainbow Dash is unable to stop it.  As the wagon heads straight for the cliff, Mare Do Well appears out of nowhere and stops the wagon, then takes off as soon as the tourists are safe.  Rainbow Dash is astonished that this interloper is stronger than she is, but reminds herself that there's more to being a hero than being strong.
Down at the construction yard, the equipment suddenly goes haywire.  Seeing this, Rainbow Dash starts to give her catchphrase, but is interrupted by a falling piece of lumber, which hits the tower under construction, sending it toppling to the ground.  Rainbow Dash attempts to save ponies, but there's just too much falling debris.  And once again, Mare Do Well appears, leaping into the fray and navigating with ease.  Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash saves a pony from being squashed by a falling load of bricks and gets him out of the danger zone.  She gloats about this to Mare Do Well, only to find out that in the time it took her to save one pony, Mare Do Well saved four.  Faster than Rainbow Dash?!  How can this be?
Rainbow Dash resolves to beat this newcomer, and flies off in search of something heroic to do.  She spots a crack in the Ponyville dam, and figures the valiant thing to do is block it herself, unaware that in doing so, she actually made it bigger.  Unfortunately, she failed to alert any ponies of her heroic deed, and thus has to congratulate herself herself.  Which unblocks the now bigger crack, sending forth a torrent of water, washing the pegasus down the river.  Rainbow Dash calls for help and is answered, but is displeased to see her savior is the dreaded Mare Do Well.  Before Dash has time to get two words out, Mare Do Well reveals a unicorn horn, and uses rocks to repair the dam, once again disappearing once the deed is done.  Rainbow Dash wonders how she's supposed to compete with somepony who is stronger than her, more agile, and has magical abilities, until she realizes that a unicorn doesn't have wings.  Her glee is short-lived, as she is suddenly passed by Mare Do Well in flight.
Back at Sugar Cube Corner, Dash sulks while her friends praise Mare Do Well's recent actions.  However, when Applejack points out MDW's modesty, Rainbow Dash loses it, vowing to prove herself the better hero.  She flies about town, looking for trouble, but finds only normalcy.  Then she spots Granny Smith, and figures helping a little old lady across the street has to count for something.  But rather than praise, she gets a whack from Granny's purse, as the elderly pony didn't want to cross the street.  Not one to give up, Rainbow Dash hears the sounds of a pony in trouble and leaps into action, even if the trouble was simply opening a jar of peanut butter.  She calls for praise, but as she didn't really do anything, the unicorn she "helped" is loathe to give her any.  But Dash is off to bigger and better things anyway, as she spots a lawn mower and mows all the grass!  She plays this up like she saved the grass by mowing it, but no one is buying it, and she is left alone.
Her day officially ruined, Rainbow Dash broods on a storm cloud, wondering how Mare Do Well stole her thunder.  After all, as far as she can tell, she's still as awesome as ever, yet everyone has abandoned her.  Not everyone, it seems, as Scootaloo calls her down.  But is she there to apologize for her lapse of fangirling?  Actually, no, she's there to invite Dash to the town's parade in honor of Mare Do Well.  Dash, of course, turns her down flat, until a thought strikes her and she comes along.  She bides her time until the Mayor introduces the guest of honor, Mare Do Well herself, and then confronts the mysterious pony, demanding to see under the mask.  Mare Do Well takes off, and Rainbow Dash chases her through the streets and back alleys of Ponyville.  Somehow, Mare Do Well stays a step ahead of Rainbow Dash, even appearing to be in more than one place at once.  At last, Rainbow Dash manages to tackle the masked mare, and pulls off the mask.
To her utter astonishment, she finds none other than Pinkie Pie under the mask, smiling sheepishly.  Even more surprising, another Mare Do Well stands just a few feet away and reveals herself to be Twilight Sparkle.  And yet another one steps out, this time revealing Applejack.  They explain that they each were the Mysterious Mare Do Well at different times: Applejack stopped the tourist wagon with her apple-buck-strengthened legs, Pinkie Pie saved the construction workers using her Pinkie Sense to avoid the debris, and Twilight fixed the dam.  Fluttershy chimes in that she did the flyby afterwards, and of course Rarity made the costumes.
Rainbow Dash is confounded by her friends' actions; wasn't she enough of a hero?  Applejack points out that a real hero doesn't brag about it.  Rainbow Dash concedes that she got carried away with the adulation, and the others continue on that while it's natural to want to be praised, you shouldn't force anyone to acknowledge your accomplishments.  The important thing is be gracious and humble.  Rainbow Dash finally gets it, and adds that acting with humility and grace when you're outdone by someone else is important, too.  Twilight tells her that sounds like Grade A material for a letter to the princess, but Spike, still on Dash's payroll, has a letter already on hand.  Rainbow Dash distracts him, and then takes up the quill to write her letter herself.
This is another episode that doesn't quite add up to the sum of its parts.  While there's a lot of fun and interesting things and scenes, the episode as a whole just doesn't do it for me.  And a big part of that is because it's mostly All Dash, All the Time.  Really, a little Dash goes a long way, and the last episode being so Dash-centric doesn't help, either.  But I loved seeing all the new background ponies, the RD fan club, and other little things like that.  And this ep had some really awesome expressions, seriously:

I wonder whether the mayor was in on the whole "Mare Do Well is just a thing to teach Dash a lesson."  She was pretty quick to declare the town's new hero.  Hm....

Misc. Screenshots
Blushing Dash
Peeved Dash
Opening Peanut Butter
Mare Do Well fans


Bernadette the all n' all awesome said...

I think that the faces are seriously cute. Btw, how do you feel about Dash any way? Do you not like her personality or something? And how did you feel about her ego in this ep?

The Zany Bishojo Evalana said...

I don't have anything against Dash, but she's not my favorite, either. She can get some of the best lines, but really, she's at her best when she's part of the group.
As for her ego in this ep, it seemed perfectly in character for her, so I didn't really think about it. In fact, her being all modest and *blushing* (cute though it may have been) at the beginning seemed more out of character than her ego tripping.

Bernadette the all n' all awesome said...

ah, thanks for answering my question. :)

Myrddin said...

i always like looking at the pics you make, and those faces were very cute, especially the 2nd one at the bottom. the one the purple unicorn is making. [i can never remember the names]