The Wonderbolt Test: “Wonderbolt Academy” review

In order to be successful in life, one must first understand what success means to them.

For me, this is easy: I want to become a published novelist. For others it might involve making a shitload of money, or winning some award. But there’s always something they need to aspire to.

Once that’s done, you must then understand how far you’re willing to go.

We all have our limits, things we simply won’t do no matter what the consequences, or what we may get out of it.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. Not everyone has those boundaries. In fact, some don’t have any boundaries. These people are known as psychopaths, and on this week’s episode of My Little Pony, we learn they also exist in Equestria.

The episode opens with the whole gang waiting in front of Rainbow’s letterbox for some reason. Turns out she applied to the Wonderbolts Academy, and they’re waiting for her acceptance letter. So, why is everypony there and how’d they know it’d arrive today? Well oddly enough, it does; and after a bit of dramatic tension, she’s accepted and takes off immediately. Apparently she already packed. Bit presumptuous, yet expected. But if classes start that day, shouldn’t she have gotten her acceptance letter weeks or months ago? Da hell!?

She arrives at the school, which I’m guessing is at the top of the mythological Mount Olympus, and it appears classes are ongoing. I’m surprised nopony told her the term started a week ago. Best guess: Classes are constantly active and these ponies already passed the first level.

We even spot a jet black pony who I shall call Pegasue. She reminds of all those crap creations from General Zoi’s Pony Creator.

Drill Sargent Spitfire arrives to greet the new recruits with a dressing down. We see Cloudchaser, Thunderlane, and Anabolic Steroid among the recruits. What are the odds?

We also meet a new character, Lightning Dust, who’s the first pegasus to give Rainbow Dash a run for her money. They both manage to keep up with each other as the entire group is assigned 500 laps around the…I want to call it a peninsula.

Anyway they manage to develop a bond of mutual respect during this exercise. Which forms the basis for the episode.

I find it odd that they both manage to have the same skill level. What are the chances!? Especially considering Rainbow’s supposed to be miles ahead of everypony else.

Meanwhile, back in Ponyville, Pinkie Pie is repeatedly checking her mailbox for a letter from Rainbow Dash, even though the mailpony hadn’t been by in the three seconds since she last checked it.

Apparently Pinkie’s worried that if she doesn’t reply to the hypothetical letter immediately after she receives it, disasters’ll follow. Which is doubtful.

Back at the Academy, the recruits are trained on the Diz-a-tron, designed to force a spin-out, which they are to then recover from. Both Rainbow and Lightning get the best times of 6 and 6.5 seconds, respectively. But Lightning requested the device cranked to maximum settings, which is undoubtedly more impressive. I’m surprised it didn’t kill her.

After this, Spitfire announces that the group will be split into pairs, with one assigned as leader, and the other assigned as wingpony. Assignments are posted the next day, with Lightning and Rainbow as partners. Which is good, I guess, personally I’d place them on opposing teams, just for the sake of balance. But Rainbow doesn’t notice that. All she’s focused on is the fact that she’s not the leader, but the wingpony.

She goes to confront Spitfire on the issue, who responds by saying she partnered them so they’d be an unstoppable team, which would make sense in a military situation, but they’re in training. She then explains that Lightning was made leader because she likes to push herself as hard as she can, hence the Diz-a-tron scene.

You know, Spitfire comes off as a bit of a bitch in this episode. This is in sharp contrast to her earlier appearances, where she was friendly and approachable. This is probably because she has a separate ‘training persona.’ Where getting the best results from the cadets would require a bit of tough love. But, if you ask me, they should’ve created a new character for this role, one that we’ve never met, and hadn’t already gotten to know Rainbow Dash on multiple occasions. Yet, here we are. But I think I know why they used Spitfire. It’s fan-service, pure and simple. After all, everybrony loves Spitfire!

After this, the recruits receive their first training exercise as partners: A flag hunt. The four teams are split into two groups, and each group has to find as many of the opposing team’s flags as possible, which is a bit of an odd structure considering there’s very little connecting each team to their flags. Except: their opponents are trying to collect them. If anything, you’d think you’d collect your own flag, that’d make more sense!

One of the most important rules at this stage is that one must stick by their partner at all times, no exceptions.

So they take off, Rainbow sticking to Lightning like glue, and eventually they spot their first flag. But to get it, they have to pass through a narrow passage. Rainbow suggests they slow down, but Lightning barrels forth without a care, and Rainbow’s required to stay with her. She nicks a wing on the side of the passage, significantly impairing her. But she limps along behind her partner anyway, in search of the next flag. It appears Spitfire’s speech about pushing herself really got to the mare.

Not that she was wrong. Pushing the limits of your abilities is the only way to improve them.

Back in Ponyville, Pinkie’s still obsessing over the mailbox. You know, given Scootaloo’s newly developed relationship with Rainbow, I’m surprised we don’t see her doing the same thing. Well, regardless, no mail has come, which causes Pinkie to assume Rainbow forgot all about them, literally. Someone should tell her absence doesn’t cause amnesia.

Then Twilight’s horn starts glowing for no reason as she suggests Pinkie write a letter. But Pinkie one-ups the idea and suggests a full-on care package. Then, paranoid Pinkie is suddenly worried it’ll get lost in the mail, so they decide to personally deliver it.

Back at the Academy, it’s time for the next exercise: Your standard obstacle course. Spitfire makes it clear that this is not a race. A few of the teams get taken down, but Rainbow and Lightning breeze through, until they get stuck behind two ponies that are much slower, taking their time and annoying the ever-impatient Lightning Dust.

Eventually it becomes too much for Lighting, and she bolts past the team in front of her, Rainbow required to stick by her. She knocks them off course, causing them to take out the other two teams, as Rainbow and Lightning cross the finish line.

Spitfire praises their record-setting time. I thought this wasn’t a race.

So as Spitfire takes off to help the other teams recover from their wipeout, Rainbow decides to confront Lightning on her reckless and inconsiderate behaviour, which is how you know she’s really fucking up here. It’s like when your lush of a friend asks for your keys at a party. But Lightning responds by saying, “It’s not our fault we’re so much better than those other guys!” Wow, she’s a bitch, and I think Rainbow knew that.

The next day, another training exercise: Cloud Busting, and Lightning and Rainbow are dominating. But in spite of their significant lead, Lightning concocts a plan to move even further ahead. Rainbow reluctantly joins in, Spitfire’s words echoing in her head, and they generate a tornado that clears the sky in a matter of seconds.

Unfortunately, two things happen at this point: They lose control of the twister, and Rainbow’s friends arrive with a special delivery. Their balloon is quickly torn apart by the cyclone, and thankfully, Rainbow doesn’t sit idly by. She quickly gathers a bunch of clouds together to give them a soft landing…wait, that shouldn’t have worked. Best guess, the high-density of the cloud allowed them to remain supported, if only for a few seconds, or Twilight used the cloud-walking spell before they left.

So everypony’s safe and sound, and no one’s happier with the results than Lightning Dust, but Rainbow isn’t. After all, Lightning’s recklessness nearly killed her friends, and that’s the final straw. But after Rainbow chews her out, Lightning points out that she was made leader, which means the Wonderbolts must approve. So Rainbow goes to Spitfire’s office, and turns in her badge and gun…uh, wait…anyway, because if that’s what the Wonderbolts support, she wants no part of it.

Go Rainbow! Stand up for what’s right! Though, I guess now she’ll need to find a new dream.

But just as she’s about to leave, Spitfire stops her and explains that Rainbow was right. Apparently she was unaware of the damage Lightning caused, which tells me this new Spitfire is incompetent as well.

So Lightning is expelled, and Rainbow is assigned as leader…of…everyone? Alright, whatever.

So with that, we end the episode, and it was a fine one. Obviously it had a few issues, but I liked it.

Though what I liked even more was the fact that, for the second time, we got an early release. Someone at HubWorld, the Hub’s official website, set the wrong airdate for the episode, accidentally releasing it early. Which I appreciated, since my recent hand injury has made it very difficult to write, so I made the most of the time I was given.

Next week, the Apple Family Reunion…good, a reason to sleep in!

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5 responses to “The Wonderbolt Test: “Wonderbolt Academy” review

    • Well, why not create a new character? It actually makes little sense for the Captain of the Wonderbolts to also operate as Academy Dean or whatever. You’d think one job would keep her busy enough!

  1. I wasn’t even sure that was spitfire in the beginning because she was so out of character. 2 things unrelated to that: I think this episode had some weird pacing/audio mixing at times. Was I the only one who noticed that? And also, twilight’s horn was glowing because she was closing the mailbox.

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