Rainbow Dash gets a rather rude awakening to her afternoon nap when she sees the rest of the girls and their pets run into the park for a pet “play date”. Shortly after they carry on, she decides she wants to have a pet of her own so she can join in. Fluttershy introduces her to a wide variety and, while she dismisses most of them, she’s still left with a number of pets to choose from, and decides to hold a contest to see which one should be her pet. However, to the unease of the others, she’s only focusing on the physical and “cool” traits of the animals she’s testing instead of faithfulness and affection. And in spite of being an animal she literally kicked away from her, on Fluttershy’s insistence, she allows a rather slow tortoise to participate with the other possibilities. The competition is rather fierce for all competitors, but the tortoise comes in dead last in every event, naturally. At last Rainbow Dash narrows it down to an owl, an eagle, a falcon, or a bat, and as the final challenge has them fly through Ghastly Gorge with her, a long, twisted chasm that’s full of hazards, announcing whoever crosses the finish line with her will become her pet. Again, the tortoise tries to compete in spite of being dismissed a second time by Rainbow Dash, but brings up the distant rear during the race. However, getting too confident, Rainbow smashes into a cliff and causes a rockslide that leaves her pinned and trapped at the bottom of the gorgo while the other animals abandon her to reach the finish line. She begins to despair until the tortoise comes up on her and is able to pry off the boulder holding down her wing, and then carries her all the way to the finish line. The falcon won the race and is everything Rainbow Dash said she wanted, but following the incident she realizes that having a dependable and loving pet is more important than one that’s “athletic” and “cool”, and so, realizing that she said the winner would be the animal who crossed the finish line with her, she declares the tortoise the winner and, in honor of his determination, names him “Tank”. She writes to Celestia about the importance of valuing good character traits over shallow things, and, to enable Tank to keep up with her, rigs up a device that transforms him into a small helicopter.
This is another episode that is, to me, “good not great”. It’s definitely more entertaining than the previous one. And while most of Season Two had been focusing on a dramatic turn even in the more “humorous” episodes and this one was no exception, it shifted to more humor here. There had really only been one Rainbow Dash centered episode in the first season, and that had been “Sonic Rainboom”. Out of all the members of the Mane Six, her character was probably the least developed as a result. This helped flesh it out more. However…something is still “missing” in this episode to me. I like this episode…it’s just not good enough to be one of the greatest in the series.
This is another one of those “walk the line” episodes to boot. Rainbow Dash gets rather repulsive. Because her character is the least developed, she’s the character that oscillates between two types of negative traits, depending on the writer and the episode. In “Sonic Rainboom”, it was revealed that for all of her boasting and bragging, she’s highly insecure and afraid of not being the best. Yet in episodes like this one, it’s her arrogance and pride that gets the better of her. She’s downright mean to Tank in more than one scene, not only insulting him but actually smacking him aside. Yet in truth, she’s really kind of mean to every animal. She clearly only seems to want a pet to enhance her own prestige, which is rather selfish and, in her own words, “shallow”. However, it’s forgiveable to a large extent because she does indeed “learn her lesson the hard way”.
In a sense, this whole episode looks like a “modern retelling” of an Aesop’s Fable, both in how the tortoise’s “slowness and steadiness wins the race”, as well as how Rainbow Dash learns a lesson about what’s a truly valuable character trait. She even admits in her letter that she originally thought the same thing about her friends too, but it seems she learned her lesson for that way back in “Griffon the Brush-Off”.
So, yes, it’s a good episode. Probably not a “gateway” episode as it has all of the Mane Six but focuses almost exclusively on Rainbow Dash aside from the song “Find a Pet”, but I’d recommend it to a newcomer after one that did feature all six. Just…you know…needed to be about 20% cooler. 😛
Naturally, the first episode to feature Rainbow Dash’s pet: Tank the tortoise.
I’m not sure what the writers were thinking with the opening to this episode. Something tells me they were sleep depraved trying to come up with something and this was all they could come up with…
“Find a Pet” was the first “big” new song of Season Two, and ended up winning the show an Emmy. Like many songs in this season, it has a very “musical” vibe to it, alternating between conversation and song. Those work well for the series and I’m surprised Ingram hasn’t made more of them. That said…this personally isn’t one of my favorite songs. I feel Season Two had much better ones.
A wasp as a pet? …I’d train it to attack my enemies. 😀
Rainbow Dash leaves a flaming rainbow trail behind her when she dashes off and says: “Speed!” That might be an allusion to “Back to the Future”.
That catnip mouse Opal has is the same as from “Owl’s Well That Ends Well”. Apparently Rarity restitched it. Also…the butterfly hypnotizes Opal. WTF?
The bat plays the G1 Theme of “My Little Pony” on the water glasses.
The song playing in Ghastly Gorge is “Ride of the Valkyries” by Wagner. Rainbow Dash even whistles along at one point.
Rainbow Dash was a bit melodramatic about being stuck in the gorge. The girls saw what had happened shortly after the pets crossed the line and would have come to her rescue.
The fourth wall gets broken in this episode. FLUTTERSHY: “Should we sing about it again?”
3 Stars out of 5