After last week’s return to form for the series, we get a Rainbow Dash centered episode. Now she can be pretty hit or miss when it comes to having her own episode, what with lackluster outings like The Mysterious Mare Do Well and Daring Don’t, but hopefully the writers have been able to learn from past mistakes and give us another stellar episode with everyone’s favorite egomaniacal Pegasus. Will they pull off something nuanced and compelling examination of this character, or will we fall back on old tricks and wind up with another disappointment? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Rainbow Dash who is helping everyone get ready for winter. While doing so, she’s chatting excitedly with her pet turtle Tank about all the amazing things they’ll get to do during the snowy season!
Unfortunately for her, Tank seems to be a lot more sluggish than usual which is saying something for a turtle. Uh oh. I don’t know how well I can take sick pets. Rainbow Dash decides to take him to Fluttershy (better safe than sorry after all) but it turns out that something IS different about Tank.
Wait a minute. They’re not gonna kill off Tank, ARE THEY!? There’s no such thing as death in this universe!! Oh no wait, he’s simply going into hibernation. Good! At least we don’t have to deal with THAT emotional trauma. Rainbow Dash however is not at all excited about the good news and instead decides to get a second opinion. So Rainbow Dash, who is already an arrogant blowhard, has decided to doubt science and is looking for any ignorant fool who will back up her dumbass views.
Unlike in our world though, she’s unable to find someone to back up her stupid ideas (in this case about turtle biology) and starts to lash out at everyone around her who is trying to tell her she needs to accept what’s about to happen.
I get what they’re going for here, but Rainbow Dash’s lousy attitude is incredibly unpleasant to watch play out and we can tell she’s going to go completely off the rails before she realizes her mistake. The thing that’s probably bugging me the most though is that no is doing anything about it. The rest of the Mane6 have seen her mistreat Tank by forcing him to stay awake and yet don’t seem concerned enough to stop her. Because of their inability to do anything, Rainbow Dash is allowed to revel in her own delusions until she can rationalize whatever her next hair brained scheme is. Her brilliant idea is to stop winter entirely so that Tank won’t have a chance to hibernate. Okay…
What is she, a Captain Planet villain? You see what happens when you let narcissistic ponies run wild!? So she spends the next few minutes in a “destroy the environment” montage while singing about how much she loves Tank. It’s… odd.
The disconnect between the song and the actions onscreen are clearly supposed to be intentional, but that doesn’t make the scene all that enjoyable to watch. I can’t really get into this episode because everything that our main character is doing is causing more and more trouble for everyone else around her. When you’re writing a story about a character that does bad things, it’s important that you at least like them or understand why they’re doing it. Rainbow Dash’s reactions since finding out that Tank is going to hibernate have been childish and short sighted in a way that causes us to lose all sympathy that we may have had for the character when this (sort of) unfortunately event happened to her. All that said, this part of the episode DOES have a scene that is absolutely hilarious where three Pegasus do a “Who’s on First” riff while Rainbow Dash is screwing things up in the background.
Despite her best efforts to tame the elements, her Sisyphean task proves as expectedly futile as you’d image. Still, she caused quite a bit of damage along the way (those ducks she led in the wrong direction are probably dead by now) so we can’t really give her a free pass for her temper tantrum against the gods. Besides, she’s not done scheming just yet. The city of Cloudsdale is responsible for making the clouds that bring snow to the region. She comes to the conclusion that if she destroys the factory that makes the winter weather, then all her problems will be solved! Sure, she’ll cause lots of ponies to lose their jobs and may even kill a few along the way, but it’s all worth it to keep her turtle from sleeping!!
A bunch more shenanigans occur as Rainbow Dash infiltrates the factory and starts destroying government property. So we’ve gone from an obnoxious punk messing with people’s hard work to a terrorist trying to destroy vital infrastructure.
As expected, her slapstick fueled quest to cripple the environment backfires and while the factory takes a pretty severe walloping, the malfunction only speeds up the onset of winter in the town of Ponyville. Hopefully the instant onset of freezing temperatures doesn’t affect the animals and plants that rely on the natural transitions between seasons TOO much and everything works out in the end for the small town.
We cut to sometime later where Rainbow Dash (presumably under house arrest) is stuck in bed feeling sorry for herself and presumably still trying to keep Tank from hibernating. This is actually the best part of the episode and there are SEVERAL reasons why. First of all, while it’s clear that Rainbow Dash is still depressed about losing Tank for a couple of months, at least she’s no longer destructive about it. I’m no expert in psychology or anything and have no idea if Rainbow Dash lying in bed for hours on end is a HEALTHEIR way to process her grief, but the fact that no one else is getting hurt at least makes it easier for me to sympathize with her plight. Second, her friends are actually coming by to support her instead of just leaving her to her own devices which is one of the things that made the second act so hard to sit through. Not only was Rainbow Dash being a dick without a second thought to anyone else, her friends weren’t around to knock some sense into her and instead stayed out of it once she started snapping at them.
So now that the rest of them are here to help, what is it they plan to do? Not much apparently, considering they tell her that it’s getting kinda sad to just sit around all day. Fluttershy is ultimately the one to figure out how to fix this, and that’s to flat out tell her that she’s going to lose Tank for a bit and that she has to deal with it now, or spend the next few months torturing herself. With such great advice, Rainbow Dash does just that.
She finally has a chance to release her anger and anguish in a healthy (I think) way instead of being destructive to everyone around her including herself. This outburst of emotion though starts to get to everyone and they join in. Everyone except Twilight for some reason.
Don’t see Applejack? Well trust me. She’s just as broken up as everyone else. She just doesn’t show it because she’s too BADASS to cry!
When the sadgasm finally burns itself out, Rainbow Dash seems willing to accept what’s going to happen to Tank. You know. Sleeping for a couple months. I get the feeling they’re trying to make this more about the death of a pet rather than hibernation considering how over the top Rainbow Dash’s feelings on the issue are (I WILL KILL ALL LIFE ON THIS PLANET TO STOP YOU FROM SLEEPING!) but it really doesn’t fit in the context they’ve put it in. He’s gonna be back soon enough!! We cut to the next day where everyone is enjoying the winter weather that Rainbow Dash dropped on the town like a nuclear warhead. Rainbow Dash shows up with Tank who she’s ready to let begin his hibernation. And so the episode ends with everyone saying their goodbyes to Tank as he buries himself in the ground. Rainbow Dash stays behind so she can read to him one last time.
I’m very conflicted about this episode. On the one hand, the idea’s and lessons they’re trying to get across are admirable and defiantly worth exploring in a kid’s show. What drags it down for me is how Rainbow Dash responds to the situation. On the one hand, she’s doing a lot of things that can endanger pretty much any living thing that depends on certain weather conditions to live. On the other, it’s not like any of the consequences came to pass and I might be thinking too hard if I’m worried about government infrastructure and severe climate change in a show about magic horses. If we take away the distressing context of Rainbow Dashes actions throughout most of this episode, they are pretty well done sequences with lots of great slapstick and twisted moments. Rainbow Dash does indeed get plenty of punishment during these scenes so there is at least a little bit of comeuppance for her throughout the episode. If you can get past her odd obliviousness to everything around her and the irreparable consequences if she were to succeed (and to a limited extent, she did), then you’ll probably enjoy this episode much more than I could. Thankfully the third act did in fact pull everything together into a satisfying and bittersweet conclusion which makes this episode far from a failure. Unlike Castle Sweet Castle, this one’s biggest crime is being a bit tone deaf, which I will take over being intolerably boring and repetitive. It’s been a bit up and down this season, but hopefully it will find it’s place soon enough and start to live up to its potential!
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