My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Hasbro.
Episode directed by Denny Lu and Tim Stuby
We’re back with another episode of Everybody Hates Dash! Now the episode from last week was pretty disappointing and felt like a script they had rejected three seasons ago but decided to fish out of the junk drawer to fill out this season. Sure, the episode before that was pretty excellent, but this is still not how you want to come back from a mid-season hiatus. Can this episode make up for that lackluster effort, or did they expend all their creative energy bringing Patton Oswalt into an episode? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins on a DARK and (not quite) STORMY night where Fluttershy is trying REALLY hard to ace that slasher movie audition by getting into character and walking through the woods at night. Her excuse for this is that a picnic went on too long (things got WAY too crazy when they brought out the Dijon mustard!) but you’d think the ONE person who’d be looking out for that would be the one who’s already terrified of everything!
Obviously there’s something lurking in the woods to scare the daylights out of Fluttershy, but it turns out to be less of a pony eating monster and more like one of friends acting WILDLY out of character; namely Rainbow Dash. Seriously, why is she doing this? She should know more than ANYONE that Fluttershy is off limits for pranks! Hell, they had this shit figured out WAAAAY back in season one with Griffon the Brush Off, so what’s the point of completely erasing character development that was there from the very beginning!? Well HOPEFULLY they’ll explain this at some point, but for now she’s in deep shit with the Friendship Council who are ready to hand down a reprimand for pranking against her own kind! Well… most of them.
For the record, Pinkie Pie AS WELL should know that pranks are to only be used on willing targets, yet she doesn’t seem to be grasping this concept and why Rainbow Dash was in the wrong here. Then again, it’s not like the other ponies are conveying their disapproval all that effectively considering that Rainbow Dash’s takeaway is to start a full blown prank war against all of them and the citizens of Ponyville. Now the thing is that this premise here could have worked REALLY well if it was a lot more like the opening of Griffon the Brush Off, in that everyone who she pranks is a willing participant. The scenes that follow this meeting are pretty clever, what with Rarity’s sowing machine being replaced by a cake replica and Applejack’s bed somehow ending up in the pig pen, but considering how cross they get when they feel the wrath of Rainbow Dash (as opposed to in Griffon the Brush Off where they weren’t really bothered by her pranks), it’s hard to enjoy them all that much. It’s exactly the kind of crap that got Gilda run out of town, yet they’re having Rainbow Dash sink to that level, when it would have been WAY more fun if it was a series of attacks from both sides in an ongoing quest to see who the best pranker is or whatever. The answer of course would be Celestia who should school all of them after she gets hit with some friendly fire that strangely enough is EXACTLY the same prank from Griffon the Brush Off.
Fine. Let’s just pretend that episode never existed and this is the first time pranking has been brought up in this series. Rainbow Dash’s reign of shtick based terror continues for what has to be several days (considering how many pranks she’s pulled against so many ponies) and the time comes to get someone with real authority to take her down once and for all. I would have voted for Rex Bannon (RANDOM SIMPSONS REFERENCE!!) but instead they go to Pinkie Pie and plead their case.
For some reason, Pinkie Pie is hesitant to tell Rainbow Dash to stop pranking everyone even though it’s just common sense to keep pranking from turning into bullying (and if we WEREN’T pretending that Griffon Brush Off doesn’t exist, I would point out that she does exactly that in that episode), but she knows what the right thing to do is and heads to Rainbow Dash to convey the message. Actually, she doesn’t do that AT ALL. Instead, she tries to convince Rainbow Dash that her latest plan which will hit every pony in town is not a very good prank. The prank in question by the way is for Rainbow Dash to switch out the CMC’s Filly Guide Cookies (even the Girl Scouts of this universe are running that racket!) with joke cookies that somehow turn the eater’s muzzle into a rainbow stain. I’m not sure how that would happen if unless the ponies eating them were inexplicably smearing the cookies all over their faces before doing so, but we’ll just say it’s magic. Now at this point Pinkie Pie COULD just say that the townspeople are sharpening their pitchforks and lighting up their torches as they speak, but instead she tries to delay the next prank by telling Rainbow Dash it needs a bit of work shopping. Now OBVIOUSLY this doesn’t work as trying to tell Rainbow Dash her plan isn’t perfect is like telling her she needs to be twenty percent cooler (her ego deflects all criticism), so Pinkie Pie has to come up with another way to stop the next prank. I mean, BESIDES telling Rainbow Dash that everyone is starting to hate her. That seems like a good enough plan, but I’m sure Pinkie Pie has something MUCH better in the works.
So she’s pretending to be sick which I guess is supposed to persuade Rainbow Dash into not going through the with the plan, but she doesn’t make it explicit enough for Rainbow Dash to see the connection between the cookies she’s eating and the illness she’s obviously pretending to have. Again, a more direct approach would PROBABLY help matters but I guess we wouldn’t have an episode if they didn’t make everything as laboriously circuitous as possible. So I guess the plan doesn’t work as Rainbow Dash moves forward with the prank; either undeterred by the possibility of ponies getting sick or unaware that that was the implication of the scene we just saw. Rainbow Dash (who has already switched out the cookies) goes back to the CMC to help them go door to door with Applejack and Rarity; neither of them aware that Rainbow Dash is up to something.
The ponies hand out their cookies for cash with Rainbow Dash snickering the entire time and no one seemingly suspicious enough of her to question this. By the end of their day of cookie hustling, which takes them well into the night, Rainbow Dash is beside herself with her sense of accomplishment, yet it’s somewhat muted because no one has run screaming out of their house with rainbow crap all over their face. In fact, this lack of a reaction is enough for Rainbow Dash to do a bit of investigating to see what the heck is going on with these ponies. Turns out… nothing good.
So I’m pretty sure that this is what Pinkie Pie’s REAL plan is (not to trick Rainbow Dash into thinking the cookies made her sick, but to think the cookies turned everyone into zombies) which is even more unnecessarily complicated than any other plan she could have come up with, but I am impressed that they’re ACTUALLY living up to the title of the episode. Apparently these zombies are not of the flesh eating variety and are simply after cookies, but then again Hasbro can’t have cannibalism in a kids show so Rainbow Dash is ACTING like they want to munch on her brains even though they just want sugary snacks. She eventually heads back to Applejack, Rarity, and the CMC to warn them of their impending doom, and locks them all in a farmhouse because that’s OBVIOUSLY the best place to hide from the zombie apocalypse. Doesn’t she have a sky castle or something? I mean, I GUESS some of the ponies who ate the zombie cookies are pegasi, but neither Rainbow Dash nor the audience have seen them take flight yet! When questions about how any of this is happening, Rainbow Dash comes clean about the cookies being pranked and takes the blame for them ALSO having zombification powers; though I’d blame the manufacture first, but whatever. Unfortunately, it turns out that the ponies INSIDE the barn had ALSO eaten the cookies and are now zombified too! Of course, they had to have eaten them AFTER getting into the barn (the muzzle staining effect is instantaneous) which should have been Rainbow Dash’s first clue that she’s being punked. That, and Rarity’s overacting isn’t helping things.
Not only that, but the ponies outside have finally broken into the barn and Rainbow Dash, rather than fly away (her pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking), just backs herself into a corner and begins cowering. Fortunately for the other ponies, she hasn’t grabbed a pitchfork or a hand saw yet which gives them another thirty seconds of pants wetting horror (rather than Rainbow Dash trying to kill them all) before finally saying GOTCHA!
So the whole point of this was for Rainbow Dash to regret playing this prank so that she’ll stop playing pranks in the future… which is really messed up. That’s like A Clockwork Orange messed up, though probably more so considering that at least Alex VOLUNTEERED for his aversion therapy! I mean, I guess there’s an argument to be made for fighting fire with fire, but then I don’t know if you can really take a moral high ground when you do that as the Ponies of Ponyville seem to be doing after giving Rainbow Dash PTSD. I’m reminded of probably my least favorite episode of this series which is the Mysterious Mare Do Well where Rainbow Dash is taught a lesson about humility by being humiliated which seemed really out of character for ponies who are SUPPOSED to be her friend and completely unnecessary to get the point across. The same unfortunately applies here as I can’t imagine any of the stuff we saw Rainbow Dash doing being comparable to all her friends and loved ones coming at her to eat her flesh, but hey; Rainbow Dash gets it and is happy to have been taught a lesson! ALL IS WELL!!
It’s been a rough two weeks of this show, but I think this one is the bigger disappointment because it actually HAD potential to be something much more. There doesn’t have to be a moral to the story every single episode, and frankly trying to shoehorn one into this story is an active detriment; not only because of the awful conclusion, but because of how it backpedals on Rainbow Dash’s character development for seemingly no reason than to fit the episode’s message. A less serious and way goofier prank war between the denizens of Ponyville (or even just the Mane 6) would have been fun to watch as the pranks we DO see in this episode are creative and entertaining, but this giant city wide plan to teach Rainbow Dash a lesson is just obnoxious and smugly self-satisfied. EVERYONE ends up looking like a jerk in this and I’m just as happy to forget this one exists the same way I’ve already nearly forgotten the last one did. This may be a bit better than what we got last time, but in the end it’s far less palatable.