Rainbow Dash goes from hyped to disappointed on getting the bad news that the latest “Daring Do” book is going to be delayed two months, and ends up roping the girls into going with her to visit author A.K. Yearling with the intent of helping resolve whatever is causing the book to be stalled. On arrival, the girls soon make a surprising discovery on seeing the house trashed, and when Yearling returns she hastily begins searching for something while shooing the girls out. Not long after, thugs break into Yearling’s house looking for a ring artifact, and she sheds her outer clothing to reveal she is Daring Do, who is apparently not a fictional character at all but was merely transcribing her autobiography. The ring is stolen by “Dr. Cabelleron”, who wants to sell it to her old enemy Ahuizotl to curse the valley with 800 years of heat. She goes off to reclaim it and Rainbow Dash, eager for the chance to be alongside her idol, tags along ahead of the girls. However, her own feelings of inadequacy, Daring’s angry insistence that she “works alone”, and finally the fact that she seemingly distracts Daring Do at a crucial moment, leading to her and the ring getting taken by Ahuizotl, leaves her feeling depressed and useless. At Twilight’s insistence that Rainbow is thinking so much of her idol that she’s losing sight of her own value, however, her spirits lift and she goes after Ahuizotl and his group once again, rescuing Daring Do from one of his “deathtraps” in the process. The girls and Rainbow herself end up aiding Daring in stopping Ahuizotl’s latest plan and destroying the ring, causing Daring to admit Rainbow was a help to her and thank her for her assistance. Rainbow Dash writes in the diary how she regained her own confidence and how she showed Daring Do the value of putting your trust in someone else, and soon after gets a copy of the latest book in the series a week before its release…featuring herself as a character in it.
This episode essentially suffers from the same problems as the first two: a poorly contrived plot quickly slapped together to create a situation to advance the story. However, unlike the previous two, there were “glimmers of hope” in this episode. The premise they were in a rush to set up was an entertaining one rather than a “meh” one as in the previous two episodes, and the humor was starting to “work” again in this episode. At the time, I was still of the opinion that if this was the “best” the fourth season could do, it was still in a lot of trouble. But…this started getting me to think fourth season had some value.
The writers again demonstrated how they were able to work around the Y-rating to get more action into an episode. Unlike the previous foray with Daring Do in Season Two, this episode made her seem like she really could be an action hero and not just a damsel in distress or a character constantly in peril. It has that going for it. Furthermore, I know what they were “going for” in this episode. Rainbow Dash had few episodes devoted to her at this point, and given her character type it seemed what would be a good idea would be to put her in a situation where she gets a chance to be next to her idol but her own insecurity starts making her sink into that idol’s “shadow”. It was a good idea, but it had one big problem: Rainbow Dash didn’t have an idol. She’s already proven herself to be as good if not better than the Wonderbolts, so putting them in would seem “odd”. That left Daring Do, who was a fictional character. So they decided to get around that in a rather unconventional way…
I simply can’t enjoy this episode that much because of the whole deal where Daring Do ends up being real. There’s just too much that goes along with that which the girls just “ignore”…and, if you think about it, it raises some questions in the upcoming “Power Ponies” episode. Does that mean Daring Do should get more credit since all of her adventures are real? If they are, how come the minds of the girls aren’t really “blown”? Why do they spend some parts talking about the books themselves as if Daring Do wasn’t so much “real” as a “character in a story who magically came to life”, yet in others are shocked to see A.K. Yearling actually being her own title character? It’s just…the whole feel of it seems to disconnected and “unreal”, as if it isn’t something really “cut and dry” but rather is some strange situation where a fictional character has ended up in the “real world”, or a real character looks for an “escape”. A lot could have been done with it…the least of which was simply “being surprised”…and none of it happened. It’s an elephant in the room that can’t be overlooked simply for “plot convenience”. As a result, it ruined my enjoyment.
Still, between the humor, the action, and, at long last, a feeling of “fun” in an episode in Season Four…it’s worth more than the standard set.
When Rainbow Dash crashes in the opening, the two birds that Fluttershy was teaching to fly circle her head in a “Looney Tunes” nod.
The return of the “squee”.
When Twilight Sparkle stands opposite Rainbow Dash, you can really see the subtle “height increase” she’s gotten following becoming an alicorn.
A.K. Yearling, the author of the Daring Do books, is obviously a takeoff of J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books.
Daring Do’s second appearance, as well as Ahuizotl’s and his cats.
Just as in “Read It And Weep”, this episode is loaded with Indiana Jones allusions. The fact Daring Do pretends to be a mild-mannered writer “part time” is an allusion to how “Dr. Jones” seems to be a mild-mannered professor part time. When going to Yearing’s house, Pinkie Pie painting a trail of red paint behind them is an allusion to the Indiana Jones trademark of tracing his path on a map with a red line. Dr. Caballeron is likely a takeoff of Belloq from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, although there are several character types similar to him in various Indiana Jones films. Finally, in the book “Daring Do and the Ring of Destiny” that features Rainbow Dash as the sidekick, on the cover art she’s wearing a baseball cap…similar to Indiana Jones’ own sidekick Short Round.
That typewriter… XD I guess ponies type “in Morse Code”.
The “back story” in this episode isn’t terribly important, as pretty much everything in it is a MacGuffin, but the story they give is a mishmash of different fandoms. The ring itself is likely a nod to “Lord of the Rings”.
The face that Rainbow Dash makes after Daring Do makes a quip to Ahuizotl became an instant meme.
Another Wilhelm Scream during the “cat fight”.
When the girls try to get Rainbow Dash, anyone who knows how these shows work knew she was going to go back to help. However, I think it was a nice little touch how they fade out on Rainbow while she’s still indecisive, and when they cut back only the five other girls are seen.
Where exactly is Rainbow Dash at the end? Also, it seems that messenger service debuted in the season opener goes everywhere.
2.5 Stars out of 5