Rainbow Dash’s pranking of Fluttershy fails to go over well with the pegasus, prompting the prankster to be confronted by the Mane Six. When the girls point out to her that if you don’t make sure a prank is done to someone who can appreciate it and will enjoy it that you’re being “lazy”, Rainbow misinterprets it as a challenge and starts pranking everyone in town…mostly to get a laugh at their expense rather than something they would enjoy. The only individual who seems to think her prank spree is fun is Pinkie Pie, so the girls send her out to Rainbow Dash to get her to stop. In doing so, she learns Rainbow plans to prank the whole town by swapping out Filly Guide cookies that the CMCs will be selling tomorrow for joke cookies that turn the mouths of anyone who eats them rainbow-colored. In spite of Pinkie suggesting that this is a prank only she will find funny or clever, Rainbow insists on going forward with it. After the next day, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Applejack, and the CMCs have sold cookies to everyone in town, but when Rainbow Dash goes around to see the results of her prank, she finds the town desolate. When she looks closer, she soon makes a horrific discovery: the joke cookie batch has affected everyone who’s eaten them, turning them into cookie-eating zombies. Soon they begin roaming the town demanding more. The only ones who don’t seem to have been impacted are those who were with Rainbow Dash, so she quickly runs back to them and gets them to barricade themselves and the remaining cookies in the barn at Sweet Apple Acres until the cookie effects wear off. Only once inside, the others reveal that they’ve eaten the cookies as well and turn zombie-like too. Soon the zombie mob is closing in on Rainbow Dash and the cookies, but just before grabbing them…the town suddenly reverts to normal, revealing they were playing a prank on Rainbow Dash the whole time. On proclaiming she didn’t enjoy the prank experience, Rainbow realizes how she’s been treating other ponies without regards to their feelings. For the “lesson” she learned, she announces to the town she’ll have to work extra hard to get them all back…before saying: “Gotcha”.
I suppose it was only a matter of time before the show would parody zombies, even if it was harder to work in. Zombie movies, after all, do tend to be for more mature audiences, and a Y-rated show can’t very well do the living dead, even in the most juvenile capacity. Yet the show still managed to not only pull it off but did so with a few nods to material the older fans would get.
Nevertheless, in terms of plot, this has to be one that you solidly see coming a mile away. While the episode itself was written with a few things that would have made it hard to seem like it could be a prank, such as the Cake twins being in on it and Applejack and Rarity having a casual discussion when Rainbow Dash isn’t present as opposed to talking about how the prank is going, the synopsis for this episode directly said that Ponyville was playing a prank on Rainbow Dash in retribution. I’m guessing they had to put that out in order to do zombies in this episode, as parents at home might have gotten upset unless the show explicitly warned that all of this was just a prank, but it still would have been fairly easy to figure out. Therefore, most of the enjoyment comes from the events throughout the episode and character reactions and interactions.
This episode was another divisive one among fans. I’m not the biggest zombie fan in the world, but the nods here were enough to make me crack a smile more than once. I liked the atmosphere in a lot of this episode, and a lot of the side characters get some screen time with some amusing reactions as well. However, a lot of fans didn’t care too much for zombie material and so that didn’t grab them, and I think what was more polarizing is this was the second week in a row Rainbow Dash has had to learn a lesson after letting one of her negative character traits run away with her. Especially since it was one she supposedly learned way back in Season One.
Personally, I think it was fitting. Rainbow Dash does tend to have an egocentric perspective at times. Even if she’s not egotistical, she tends to think anything she likes everyone will like rather than being more empathic. What more, she was kind of missing the point of pranking in the first place and starting to treat it as another competition, namely to be able to “get” everyone in town, and once it reached that point its understandable how she would get carried away.
I’ll give it one other compliment, too. The “Standard Child Cartoon Playbook” would have normally had Rainbow Dash doing a prank to Pinkie Pie that she didn’t think was funny and that would have been “the straw the broke the camel’s back” and turned her against her to join with the others in counter-pranking her. I always compliment a kid’s show when it doesn’t “go for the obvious”.
So combined with the funny and entertaining moments, I’m in the camp of those who definitely thought this was a good one. I kind of wish it would have played with the idea of “pony zombies” more and not spent so much time setting it up, but still a fun episode.
The title is a knockoff of “28 Days Later”, one of the movies that reignited the 2000s zombie craze.
This episode actually has a lot of ties to Season One’s “Griffon the Brush Off”, which was the episode where Rainbow Dash first really connected with Pinkie Pie via their mutual love of pranks. The whole setup for the start, in fact, is Rainbow Dash finally breaking the unwritten prank rule that Pinkie Pie had said in that episode: never prank Fluttershy because she’s not the sort of individual who would be amused by the experience.
This is an episode that tries to cover every character in town, but what’s interesting about that is that Starlight Glimmer is absent. I’ve noticed that she seems to only appear in episodes in Season Six in which she’s either the focus or her appearance is necessary for a plot device. It makes me think, even among the show writers, there are some who dislike her character and purposely omit her from episodes.
“Filly Guide” is an interesting take on “Girl Scout”. It could have just been “Filly Scout”, but they went the extra effort with it.
Rainbow Dash went to the trouble of moving Applejack’s bedside furniture into the pig pen as well.
One of my personal favorite parts of the episode is a confused Princess Celestia looking up from all the scrolls Spike is sending her. 😀
I can’t recall exactly, but this might be the first episode in which one of the characters calls the Cutie Mark Crusaders: “the CMCs”, just as the fans have been doing for years.
The scene where Rainbow Dash walks into Sugarcube Corner and runs into the “zombiefied” Ms. Cake is almost a direct ripoff of Claire Redfield’s arrival at a diner in “Resident Evil 2” for Playstation.
Andrea Libman sounds honestly rather unsettling in a zombiefied voice. O_O
I have no idea how in the world Mrs. Cake got Carrot and Pound to “go along with the prank”. 😛
In the shot with all of the “zombie” ponies, after Rainbow Dash says: “I don’t want the cookies!”, Cranky is making a rather unsettling face. Also, way in the background is “zombie” Octavia.
No ending theme again this time.
3.5 Stars out of 5