Fictional Quandries: “Daring Don’t” review

Well, that old knee jerk reaction to bullshit plot points is coming back like a boomerang with a knife taped to it.

Let’s be clear, writers: If you’re going to go against earlier plot points in a story, you’d better have a damn good reason to do it! It should either make sense in context, be necessary to the plot, or be extremely interesting. But if it doesn’t fit in any of those categories, or if it only barely fits into that last category (because I’m not even sure about that one), don’t do it!

Even if the plot point is just hinted at, like a plot point that can be taken as red because it’s the only logical assumption. Even then, you’d better have a damn good reason to go against it. For instance, if you’re gonna take a character that was previously existent only in novels within the context of the story, turning them into a real character within the context of the story, is probably a bad idea!

Which so eloquently leads me into the latest episode of My Little Pony.

You see, this week, the writers had the bright idea to turn Daring Do, introduced in season two’s Read It and Weep and star of the Daring Do books, which we’ve never seen identified as anything other than fiction, into a real character. WHICH MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE!!!

The first problem is the episode’s opening, where we see Rainbow Dash excited for the release of the next book. And as we know, Daring Do is a story about one pegasus saving the world from the brink of destruction. Given what we learn later, one should not be excited about that!

Take the Avengers, for instance. If the story of the Avengers was real, would anybody be excited to see the film, or hear all about the details? NO! No one would go, “Oh, yes, I’m very excited to hear about that one time millions died and the earth was nearly taken over by hideous aliens from the far end of the universe!”

And even if the event hadn’t happened yet, you’re looking forward to the earth nearly being destroyed! The main reason most of these shows are so exciting is because we know it’s fiction. If it was real, we’d be less thrilled.

But when Rainbow learns the book’ll be delayed another two months, she gets a bit distressed. And when Twilight reveals that she knows more about the author than her fucking biographer, Rainbow get’s an idea: Stalking!

Okay, not exactly stalking, but she plans to track the author down, and offer whatever help she needs to finish the book sooner.

By the way, the author’s name is A.K. Yearling… Ha…

And it turns out she lives on literally the other end of the country! And they actually go there!

But once they arrive, it seems the place has been visited before.

Yep, seems someone decided to trash the joint. And when Yearling arrives, she’s shocked and horrified.

… I think… But even though the dialogue implies she suspects our heroes, she doesn’t actually try to fend them off, and actually starts to ignore them. Instead, she searches her house for a particular book, that turns out to be a secret vault, that’s unlocked with her hoofprint.

She opens it and hides the valuable artifact that was much safer within the book, under her cloak, because she’s an idiot.

Then, as Rainbow begins doing what she came to do, Twilight drags her out, because she assumes Yearling’s rudeness means she want’s to be left alone.

Then, Pinkie notices someone breaking into her house.

So Yearling sheds her outfit, revealing her true identity!

This is stupid. And the reasons are many. But the big one right now is the fact that Rainbow and Twilight are shocked that the two of them are one in the same. Not that Daring Do is real! So it begs the question: Did they always know there was a real Daring Do? If so, the first third of this episode doesn’t make any sense. Not just for the reason I mentioned earlier, but because Rainbow assumed the book was delayed because the author was too busy. Not that there was just no world-ending crisis to write about!

Cue epic fight scene between three burly stallions and a single pegasus, that our six heroes merely watch. They don’t join in at any point. Even after Daring gets her ass handed to her, they stand there like lemons, and don’t try to stop the bad guy from stealing the artifact. THERE’S SIX OF YOU, YOU MORONS! It gets even worse once we see that Daring broke a leg!

So once the bad guy gets away, Fluttershy, the only smart one in this episode, finally suggests helping the injured pegasus, that could have used their help five minutes ago, but now it’s kinda pointless.

Daring puts her leg in a splint, and flies off, refusing their help. But not because they’re idiots who should’ve helped her sooner, but because, ‘she works alone.’

It’s an old trope, but I’m okay with it.

Then Rainbow and Twilight argue about whether they should actually help her, by having a nerd-off, where they discuss Daring Do canon. Except, they don’t know how much of those books are actually true. As far as they know, Daring embellished most of the plot for dramatic effect.

Anyway, Twilight eventually caves, and Rainbow Dash flies off before Twilight can come up with a proper plan.

Eventually, Rainbow catches up with Daring, whose leg has miraculously healed for some reason. I guess she hid behind cover for a few minutes.

But before Rainbow can actually meet up with Daring, she starts to get a bit star struck. But it ends when Daring tackles her.

It’s at this point Rainbow becomes Daring’s annoying sidekick. So she’s Short Round, essentially. Or that annoying whiny girl from the same film. The one who was supposed to be a love interest for some baffling reason… Willie!

Anyway, it’s at this point we reveal the third problem with turning Daring Do into a real character. As Daring Do explains why she works alone!

My work always involves secrets. And since you never know who you can trust, it’s best never to trust anypony.

Except for the millions of ponies for whom you document every adventure you’ve ever been on.

When you publish your secrets, they’re not secrets! You twat!

Nonetheless, Rainbow tags along, and when they finally catch up with the bad guys, Daring dons a disguise and tries to buy the artifact back from them.

Then, Ahuizotl the Ahuizotl shows up!

He pulls a bunch of cats out from hammerspace, triggering yet another epic fight scene.

Then, Rainbow, like an idiot, reveals her position and is nabbed by Ahuizotl, which distracts Daring long enough to cause this to happen:

Dammit, Rainbow!

So as Daring is carried off, Rainbow stays to mope in self-pity.

Then the other five catch up, and Rainbow decides to leave. Then Twilight offers this gem:

There’s more going on here than meets the eye. In every Daring Do book there always is!


Anyway, after a quick pep talk, Rainbow changes her mind, and they go in.

Meanwhile, Daring’s caught in an over-elaborate unsupervised death trap.

Hey, Ahuizotl! Here’s an idea: Stab her! Evil villains, never big fans of efficiency.

But just as she’s about to escape, then sink into the piranha-infested waters with four heavy weights tied to her hooves, Rainbow Dash swoops in and saves her.

Then the other five confront Ahuizotl, just as he’s beginning the evil magical ceremony that’ll do evil stuff.

Rainbow and Daring arrive to dismantle the ceremonial tower, while the others provide a distraction.

They remove the final ring, the temple collapses for some reason, and victory is theirs.

So that’s the story, and yeah, it’s pretty stupid. It feels more like a shitty fan story, rather than a well-thought-out, professionally made script.

Where have I said that before? Oh, right! It feels like a season three episode!

Goddamnit, I didn’t think they’d start backsliding so soon! And the worst thing is, with only a minor change, it could’ve been brilliant.

Cut down the opening a bit, and have them arrive at Yearling’s cottage with her explaining she just has a bad case of writer’s block, but she recently bought a magic pen that should help her out.

Then she steps into the kitchen to get some tea, and the pen sucks the six ponies into the book.

The entire episode would be about our heroes trying to help Daring save the day, because a happy ending is their only way out. A few scenes would briefly cut to Yearling, first realizing what happened to her guests, then trying to write them out of tight situations, while the pen forces her to keep everything logical. It would be a great meta-story about how difficult writing actually is! How to keep the characters you want where you want them, while keeping them in-character, and getting the ending you want.

Writing ain’t easy, people!

It would’ve also been great because we’d then get a scene with Twilight going: “I recognize that pen! It transported us into the book!” Then cut to Yearling, lifting the pen off the page, going: “What? Did I? … Oh… horseapples!”

One could even include Spike, who’s mysteriously absent in this episode, as Yearling’s assistant during these proceedings. He could even write a passage, including himself in the narrative, as a way of communicating with the ponies. His self-insert would obviously be a glorified version of himself, but we’d then get a scene with Spike attempting to write line explaining Rarity’s attraction for him, only for the pen to levitate out of his claw, and erase what he wrote. Then we cut to Rarity looking deadpan, obviously unaffected by Spike’s attempts.

It could’ve been a great episode, instead, it was sh-… actually, it wasn’t bad.

The truth is, it was enjoyable, and I didn’t cringe at any stage, which has to be worth a few points.

All in all, I’d classify this episode as mediocre at best. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t like it either. Yes, there was the wasted potential and plot holes, but they’re not significant enough to completely ruin my enjoyment.

So, let’s just all agree at this moment to forget this episode. Not because we want to, but because at some stage, we will anyway. Might as well get started on that.

What were we talking about again?

Oh, right! The episode! And one last thing!

She is Short Round! I was joking!


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