Rainbow Wins!

I never understood the appeal of sporting events. Right now, the Olympics are happening in Russia somewhere, and I couldn’t care less. No, literally, I’ve tried, I’m pretty sure it’s physically impossible for me to care less than I already do.

The only thing that’s attracted my attention was the fact that it’s apparently taking place in some third-world country, with their medieval attitudes regarding homosexuals, among other fuck-ups.

But the sporting events, I just don’t care for. I tried getting into sports, but I just couldn’t follow the plot. When I was studying Journalism, one of my many assignments was writing about a basketball game, and I had no idea what to write about. Turns out there was a harrowing scene when two numbers were really close together and another number was really low, and I completely missed it. Oh, how exciting.

However I do understand the appeal of sport for those who participate. Actually being in the middle of the game can be quite fun. You build up a bit of adrenaline, and find yourself in the middle of a competition with your ego on the line. It can be quite a ride. That is, unless, you’d rather be doing something else.

The thrill of victory can be quite exhilarating. I won’t deny that. But what exactly are you winning?

Well, if you’ve spent a good part of your life training to be an athlete, you won the satisfaction that it all paid off, and you win the respect of both your peers, and all those who came before you.

It’s like winning a contest for writing, or winning a quiz show. Of course generally, in those cases, you win something a bit more substantial that a piece of gold-plated silver.

Regardless, there is appeal there. The thrill of competition and the desire to win. But at what point does your desire to win overshadow certain other desires? At what point do you say, ‘to hell with self respect’?

Well, if you’re a psychopath, there are no other desires are there? As was so eloquently demonstrated on a previous episode of My Little Pony. We all remember Lightning Dust, the psychopathic athlete who didn’t mind putting the safety of either her competitors, or her partners, on the line in the name of victory.

You can’t trust someone like that.

So, can we still trust Rainbow Dash, after her recent outing? I think so. I know what you’re thinking: What am I talking about?

Our tale begins in Ponyville, as the local aerial relay team is preparing for the Equestria Games

Seriously? Fluttershy and Anabolic Steroid?

No, actually his name is Bulk Biceps. I like ‘Anabolic Steroid’ better, but whatever, I’ll accept it.

Well, at least we know Anabolic Bulk is a decent flyer, right? I mean he was accepted into the Wonderbolts Academy, right?

Well, no, turns out Scootaloo’s a better flyer than this beast. Which makes sense given the laws of physics, but why it wasn’t established sooner is beyond me.

And also, his voice. It’s not as… what’s the word… it’s just different than it was before. Not as much energy.

But enough talk about this one character who has what is essentially a minor role in the episode.

Let’s talk about Fluttershy instead, why is she into sports now!?

I guess to help Rainbow Dash, because no one else is. It seems no other pegasi wanted to join the Ponyville relay team.

Yeah, these are the only two Ponyvillians who wanted to help out Rainbow Dash. Which begs the further question: Why is Rainbow Dash on this team since there appears to be several other aerial teams that she could’ve joined.

Best guess, it was the only one that had no members when she joined. Or maybe it only had one member, Anabolic Bulk.

Regardless, Rainbow figures she can pick up the slack for the rest of the team. Obviously not enough to get them to win, but they only want to qualify for the actual games. I guess competition isn’t very tight for this event. In the really competitive sports, the difference between times can come down to milliseconds.

Anyway, they head off to the games, with Pinkie, Rarity, Applejack and Twilight accompanying them. Pinkie is the designated cheerleader, Rarity is coming to make the team uniforms, Applejack is catering, and Twilight is… um… I have no idea. She apparently is only there to give a condescending gaze to her friends, and to judge them arrogantly.

Suddenly, I hate Twilight too.

By the way, love Pinkie’s outfit.

The train finally arrives at the end of its journey, at a dead-end, and train station.

How the hell is that train gonna go anywhere after that? You can’t easily back-up a train. I assume they use unicorns to magically levitate the train and rotate it.

So they arrive in a small, nameless village that happens to be embedded in a cliff face, and has rainbows flowing from the clouds above. Odd design choice. But it makes me think of a random town in the Swiss Alps. With the location, and the backdrop, and the house design.

Anyway, all the teams wanting to participate in the aerial events have gathered here, is this town. Ah, what better neutral ground is there than Switzerland? However, we won’t be seeing much of this town, I should mention. Since most of the episode takes place in the field below.

The team sets up camp, as ponies gush over Rainbow Dash’s presence.

Also in attendance: The Wonderbolts!

They’re here to represent Cloudsdale. Wait, what? Oh, that’s fair.

See, the great thing about the Olympics is that all the competitors are amateurs. None of them get paid for being athletes, so they have day jobs and real lives. It makes their achievements more reachable for the average person. Or at least, that was how it used to be. Then they started letting pros in and that fucked it up. Some people say it makes it more interesting, I find it makes it more pointless. You’re already making millions of dollars, also you’re competing against countries who don’t have plumbing. How gratifying is it to win in those cases?

But this isn’t the Olympics, is it? This is the Equestria Games! Still, it doesn’t seem fair that a team of professional flyers, who get paid to devote every minute of every day to training, get to compete against Fluttershy, an animal caretaker.

Not only that, but Cloudsdale has better cheerleaders, and better caterers. As insinuated by Pinkie and Applejack. This just isn’t right!

It’s not long before Rainbow feels dejected. What with the less than stellar performance her team is giving. So she decides to drag them over to the Cloudsdale training area so they can watch the masters at work. And I’m surprised no one on the Cloudsdale team objects to this.

But as Soarin is flying around, giving a performance that does not impress his teammates, he gets a bit distracted, I assume by their comments, causing his wing to catch on a hoop. So now he’s gonna die. Yeah, fuck you Fleetfoot, it’s your fault!

So anyway, of course his teammates decide to try to catch him-oh wait, no, they just stand there like lemons.

Holy crap! He’s falling! Should we catch him? Nah!

Thankfully, Rainbow’s in the area, and she actually gives a shit. So she saves his life, but his wing is still badly injured.

So an ambulance comes by, which makes very little sense since his legs still work, and he’s taken away for treatment.

But now there’s a vacancy on the Cloudsdale team. So Spitfire tries to recruit Rainbow Dash. Yeah, because it’s not like she’s already on a different team. So basically, they’re trying to poach her, which we all know isn’t legit. Are they trying to get us to hate Spitfire? Because it’s working!

Regardless, Rainbow decides to practice with the Wonderbolts, and hides it from the others. I don’t know how she manages to keep it secret, given that they’re flying in the open air, and not in a private stadium.

Well, turns out, she can’t keep it secret, since Twilight confronts her on the issue. She was the only one who noticed? I guess because she was the only one with nothing to do. Seriously, why is she there? Doesn’t she have royal duties or something?

But it’s not like anyone’s suffering, right? Rainbow’s practicing with the other team, because they invited her, and she’s having more fun. And she’s confident that regardless of anything else, she’ll still be able to pick up the slack for Bulk and Fluttershy, and they’ll still qualify.

Which is true. Then Spitfire and Fleetfoot reveal that Soarin’s still in the hospital, and he won’t be out until after the competition. So they ask Rainbow Dash to join permanently.

Okay! That is certainly not on! And their attitude is so smug, it’s ridiculous. We’re supposed to hate them aren’t we?

It gets worse when Rainbow actually considers it, and asks Twilight for advice. It’s obvious! You don’t abandon your team! Think of it this way: You’re playing a game of footy, and your team is losing. Do you just switch teams in the middle of the game!? NO! And this goes with any team-based competition. Team Fortress 2, Family Feud, University Challenge, Nevermind the Buzzcocks, what have you. You don’t switch teams just because you’re losing.

But I guess since they invited her, it’s a bit different. That doesn’t happen often.

So Rainbow, suddenly caught in the middle of this, decides the only possible option is to…

…fake an injury so neither team wants her.

I fail to understand the logic. Because this just means you’re not flying with the Wonderbolts, and the Ponyville team will lose. It’s the worst of both worlds. I guess she just didn’t want either side to hate her for choosing the other.

So, since her “injuries” are so severe, they bring her to a hospital, where the doctors can find nothing wrong. And no one, other than Twilight, suspects she’s faking it. Probably because they’re thick.

Fluttershy and Bulk arrive, and explain that they already found a replacement.

Hey, look! It’s [Picture of a Muffin]! Haven’t seen her in a while! That’s right, her name is now [Picture of a Muffin]. I actually have an official source on this.

You see, a while ago, Toys ‘R’ Us started selling a new collection of MLP toys, one of whom happened to be our favourite lazy-eyed pegasus. Of course I bought it, and I noticed this on the back of the box:

See, it clearly states her name is not Derpy, but [Picture of a Muffin].

Of course this was only done because some idiots took offence to the name ‘Derpy.’ And because giving her a different name would piss off the fans, like it did last time, they decided to refuse to acknowledge she even has one.

In fact, in this episode, which features her most prominent appearance since the series began, they don’t even refer to her by name. They just call her “Rainbow Dash’s Replacement,” rather than make some type of commitment that would piss off either the idiots, or the bronies. Two insane groups that both need to pull their heads out of their asses!

This is why we can’t have nice things, dammit!

So, now that [Picture of a Muffin]‘s on their team they’re sure to win! Okay, they’re not, but Fluttershy says that if they do, she’ll give Rainbow her medal. Aww, that’s so sweet.

And you have to think at this stage that Rainbow would suddenly decide that the decision was easier than she thought, but that doesn’t happen. Instead, everyone leaves, and we meet Rainbow’s roommate, Soarin, who’s all alone. No one came to visit him.

Yeah, we are supposed to hate Spitfire and Fleetfoot. It gets worse when he says his wing is actually fine, and they told him they didn’t want him to reinjure it, so someone else took his place.

Then the same rainbow effect that made an appearance in Rarity’s eyes a few episodes ago, makes an appearance Rainbow Dash’s eyes, here. And I think I know why now, but I’m gonna hold onto it.

Anyway, at this point, Rainbow and Soarin go back to the field, to confront the jackasses.

She tells them off, and Spitfire acts all apologetic, as if we’re not gonna notice that she’s full of shit.

Yeah, I don’t believe her. I think she just apologized because she wanted to get a full team going again, since she immediately asked Soarin if he wanted to rejoin. And I’m surprised he didn’t respond with, “Fuck you, I have self-respect.”

So the day of the race, and Cloudsdale wins by a landslide, and as Ponyville is trying to catch up, everyone is cheering them on… so they can qualify. Yeah, because they all know they’re not gonna win. They suck too much.

Everyone cheers them on, even Cloudsdale’s cheerleaders and-

Who the fuck is that!? Twilight!? Huh, didn’t recognize her at first. Well, at least she’s finally doing something.

Anyway, they qualify for the games, by a fucking hair, since they were apparently competing against the clock. Spitfire gives Rainbow a Wonderbolts pin for some reason. I still don’t like her. And finally, the episode ends.

So, my conclusion? Fantastic!

This is one of those episodes that I love for several reasons. Number one: It expands on earlier stories. Throughout most of the series, Rainbow has been keeping to her goal of wanting to join the Wonderbolts. But when she actually gets accepted to the Wonderbolts Academy, she suddenly starts to have second thoughts. And this episode expands on that by having Rainbow straight-up reject the Wonderbolts. Sure, it wasn’t the official Wonderbolts team, but that’s beside the point I’m getting at. I’ve always wondered where exactly they were gonna go with this plot thread, and now I know. She’s never gonna join the Wonderbolts. She’s gonna realize she’s too good for them. I could see her joining the royal guard or something, however. A proper military position. But I don’t think the Wonderbolts are in her future. Not after all she’s seen.

Number two: It’s expands the story. This is the second episode this season to deal with the Equestria Games, which forms its own little arc that I kinda like. I’ve never been a fan of the Olympics, but I like that the episodes are building toward something.

Number three: It was well-written. Okay, it didn’t start, nor end, very strongly, but overall I thought this was a very well-written episode. And there were no musical numbers, so that merits a point right there.

Number four: It really got me to dislike certain characters, while appreciating other characters just a bit more. This wasn’t Rainbow’s finest moment, to be sure, but she still turned in a great performance. And overall, I think she actually learned something valuable, which I’ve found is rare for these characters.

Then there was Fluttershy and Rarity, both of whom left their comfort zone to help their friend. Fluttershy isn’t much of an athlete, but she signed up anyway. And it quickly becomes obvious that Rarity never designed athletic outfits before.

But she gave it a shot, and that’s worth more than you might think.

Meanwhile, Twilight acted a bit condescending, and apathetic. I just don’t understand why she didn’t decide to tell Rainbow off. The fact that she even considered joining the Cloudsdale team should’ve been enough to get Twilight to slap the stupid right out of her. But that didn’t happen, and my mind is boggled by that.

And Spitfire reinforced her portrayal as a consummate bitch. So much for the ‘training persona’ theory. So because of this, I’d like to think that between seasons two and three, Spitfire was replaced by her evil twin, Spitfyre. Since the original was friendly, laid back, approachable, and this one was arrogant and bitchy. I like that theory, it works.

And yes, this episode was great. Which, given what’s come before, tells me this season is on a sine wave. So next episode should feature a high-quality story, followed by two more shit stories. Something to look forward to.

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