This is the episode where RD must take her test to become a Wonderbolt Reserve. I haven't seen any good episode since Maud Pie. But there are some funny ideas on the way. Next episode is two weeks away after the Season Finale of LPS. 6/10
Out of all the Mane 6 ponies this season, Rainbow Dash has probably been the one played down the most. While she does have her moments on the sideline, she's been mostly in the background for the most part. So another episode about her was bound to show up, but this time we go back to her pursuit of becoming a member of the Wonderbolts. Odd though, I thought after Wonderbolt Academy, she would've been in it. What happened there?
Amy Keating Rogers is the writer this time, who does have a pretty good track record in terms of writing Rainbow. However, she was the one behind the weakest episode of the season, to me anyway, Filli Vanilli. So can Rogers bounce back from that letdown, or will this be another disappointment?
We open to outside the library, where Twilight is reading a book. Suddenly, Rainbow flies by and messes up Twilight's book, much to her annoyance. She mentions that Rainbow should be studying for the upcoming Wonderbolt test, which will allow her to become part of the newly found Wonderbolts Reserve. Okay, something bothers me about this. Rainbow proved in Wonderbolt Academy that she was Wonderbolt material. A season later, she's now got to take a test? What happened then? Shouldn't Rainbow have been required to do the test while she was at the Academy? Did everything she do there mean nothing at all? I'm really confused on how things are run by the Wonderbolts.
Anyway, getting back on track, Rainbow surprises Twilight, who tries to talk to the pegasus, by telling her friend that she heard what she said and saw the stink eye she gave. Rainbow tells Twilight that she doesn't need to study, but her friend insists and decides to show her the way she studies for a test. We see Twilight try to teach Rainbow certain things about studying like highlighting important things, flashcards, but none of it works. One thing I want to point out is that in one scene, Rainbow, Spike, and Owlowiscious all do a funny skit with them creating a bit of a beat. That was really good.
Eventually, Twilight gives Rainbow a pop quiz and, unsurprisingly, fails it. Rainbow blames Twilight because her methods don't work out for her, and it quickly escalates into an argument. Fluttershy then comes in and breaks it up before things get out of control. She decides that since Twilight's way didn't work, she'd try her way to help Rainbow study. We cut to a field where, in possibly one of the most hilarious moments this season, the pets are dressed up like certain characters. Angel being Celestia, Opal being Luna, with Spike being director. I got to say, even though Spike has no lines this entire episode, he does a really good job as a director. Maybe he can go big time? Things quickly go out of control when the play's stage falls apart, making Rainbow frustrated even more.
Suddenly, Pinkie shows up and offers her own way of studying. What is it you ask? A very cheesy 90s style rap song about the Wonderbolts. I'm not kidding, Pinkie goes back to the 90s on us. The song is pure cheesiness with a nice beat, and even the quality of the rap video seems very similar to something out of the 90s. This is a very nice throwback and I appreciate it. Rainbow still doesn't think the method works and walks away. She suddenly runs into Rarity, who's wearing the first uniform of the Wonderbolts. Rarity takes Rainbow and shows her some of the clothing of the Wonderbolts, who are all worn by her friends and tell her the name of each famous Wonderbolt they're supposed to be.
Once again, Rainbow shrugs it off and walks away. Applejack then offers her idea of studying, which turns out to be nothing but apples. Eventually, the group get into an argument about which of their methods are the best. Rainbow then tells her friends that none of them will work, and that her dream of being on the Wonderbolts are finished. She flies off, feeling bummed out.
Twilight catches up to Rainbow, who is sulking about how she can't do the test because she can't study. Twilight tries to break her friend out of it, but to no avail. During the conversation, we see, on the ground, the CMC running out of Sugarcube Corner and Filthy Rich buying some apples. Remember this scene. All of a sudden though, Rainbow pushes Twilight out of the way of an oncoming . . . helicopter? Okay, aero technology is now confirmed in Equestria. How long before see a giant plane? Rainbow tells Twilight that a pegasus has to multitask and scan everything around them. She mentions she saw the CMC running out and just had some cupcakes, Big Mac sold a large amount of apples to Filthy Rich, and heard the sound of the helicopter coming, but Twilight didn't. This gives Twilight an idea and make her leave Rainbow, which she doesn't mind since she's going to flunk.
The gang meets up with Twilight, who decides that since all the other ways don't work, it's time to make Rainbow study her own way. Twilight offers Rainbow to fly home, which she reluctantly accepts. During the flyby, Twilight has an odd conversation with Rainbow that seems more like a distraction and comes off weird at first. Eventually, they get to the house and Twilight asks what Rainbow remembers. She says nothing important at first, but soon recalls certain things like who the first Wonderbolts were really called, some of the important leaders, etc. This makes Rainbow happy since she now knows all this stuff, but is confused as to why. Twilight tells her that since Rainbow scans everything and takes in information she sees, she used that to her own advantage. We see that all of Rainbow's friends, the CMC, and even the town helped Rainbow with visuals and other important facts about the Wonderbolts. Rainbow goes over to thank her friends, which they accept and encourage her to go do the test. This prompts Rainbow to quickly say though that she's awesome. You know, it may be just me, but it gets really tiring seeing Rainbow just simply say, "Thanks guys, I'm still awesome!" Granted she showed some gratitude, but she could've just left that last bit out.
So Twilight herself writes in the journal and says she's learned a lesson herself. She says that not everypony studies the same way and that even though some of the methods don't work for others, it shouldn't stop somepony from following their dream. Rainbow is then seen taking the test, with a classroom that's oddly empty. You'd think there'd be more pegasi wanting to try out, but I guess not. She gives the test to the teacher, and the episode ends with Rainbow getting a perfect score and her giving a triumphant smile.
So how do I feel about this episode? Well in terms of a story, I was actually pretty surprised with what they went with here. At first, when I heard Rainbow was using "unconventional methods", I thought it'd be a story about Rainbow cheating her way through the exam. What we get instead is an episode focusing on how other ponies have different study methods. This is something I, and I'm sure others, can easily relate to. As a kid, I hated studying and none of the methods worked for me until I found my own method. I really applaud the team for tackling such an issue because I know that studying isn't really fun and there are other ways to do it.
The jokes are well handled in this episode. As I said, the play the animals put on for Rainbow was really funny. I know it was supposed to help Rainbow prepare herself, but I cracked up at that. Also that bit with Rainbow, Spike, and Owlowiscious doing that impromptu bit with making that beat up was pretty funny. And, of course, that rap song Pinkie did. There are a lot of laughs here in this episode.
Speaking of Pinkie, the song she sings is actually kind of average if you ask me. It's not bad and I do think it had a good beat. The major issue has to be that the lyrics weren't that good. I understand that it was because it was her attempt to teach Rainbow about the Wonderbolts, but it comes off awkward instead. It's not horrible, but this wasn't exactly one of the best. However, to the credit, the song screams extreme 90s, which appealed to me.
Another big positive is that we learn more about the Wonderbolts' history. Granted most of it was through some unconventional means, but we do learn more about them. How they came to be, the important figures, and their first uniforms, it's a nice touch. I'm glad to see that the writers gave us back story on them and develop them more.
Finally, the biggest issue has to be Rainbow herself. Now she's not horrible or a complete airhead like in Daring Don't, but there were some things that bothered me. For one thing, Rainbow went a little overboard when it came to her argument about Twilight. I mean saying her methods are horrible and didn't do anything, calling her a liar, and even saying she's a bad flyer, when she can clearly fly, irked me. I understand she was frustrated, but she could've toned it down there. Another issue is that at the end, as soon as she tanks her friends, she practically goes around and says she's awesome. Way to show some gratitude there, Rainbow. About the only good thing is that she wasn't in our face about it.
Regardless of it though, the episode is very well done and probably my favorite Rainbow Dash episode of the season. The moral is handled exceptionally well and can be easily related with others, there are plenty of jokes to be found here that'll make you laugh, and the insight of the Wonderbolts' history make this a really good episode. It's an episode many can relate to and something that I highly recommend watching.
Next time, Scoot Sonneborn returns, with a story involving Spike going to a Trader's Exchange, but is joined by his friends, and things soon get out of control. So three Spike episodes in a row? I welcome this.
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