Zecora gets a surprise visitor in the form of Spike with an emergency: everyone in Ponyville has come down with a mysterious illness, and as everypony is too sick to do it themselves and the Canterlot Disease Corps is days from being able to help, only Zecora and Spike are still up to find a cure. After putting on some protective gear to keep from getting infected as well, Zecora follows Spike into town and the two begin examining/caring for everypony. As they work, both of them share how they have feelings of being “transplants”; individuals who have been accepted as “ponies” by the citizens of Equestria but who aren’t truly ponies. Spike feels this fact rubbed in when he realizes he’s the only individual in town who didn’t get sick, which he attributes to being a dragon. Zecora at first attributes her own immunity to simply living in isolation from everypony, but when Fluttershy accidentally sneezes on her and she fails to get sick, she begins to feel as uncomfortable as Spike. After a day of fruitless searching for a cure, Spike and Zecora sit down to dinner for a break when Zecora suddenly comes down with the same illness. Although Spike is left on his own, Zecora’s sudden catching of the illness allows him to release she only got sick after eating the local hay for dinner, leading him to discover the disease is not bacterial or viral but is a fungal infection that has tainted the hay. Spike passes on the news to the CDC and they administer the cure to everyone, and, on recovering, Zecora moves to head back to the Everfree Forest. Before she goes, however, she lets Spike know it was good to find common ground in being “fish out of water” with him, and to remember no matter how different they are Ponyville is still their home.
I liked this arc pretty well. Both Spike and Zecora don’t get, in my opinion, enough “love” in the series proper. Spike unfortunately usually ends up being the whipping boy in any story arc he highlights. As for Zecora, I like it whenever she appears, but it’s almost always for a quick cameo or a bit of advice. She hasn’t actually highlighted an episode since her original appearance all the way back in Season One’s “Bridle Gossip”, and zebra culture remains something of an enigma. That’s a pity because Zecora is one of my more favorite side-characters, and I think she has a lot of untapped story potential in her.
This story did a good job of hitting on both. Both Spike and Zecora had a chance to shine, they had a chance to get into their own thoughts and personalities for things that were perfectly in character for the show, they played off each other well just as they would if this was in the main series, and there were good bits of humor throughout. Although the series and the comics alike have touched on the sensitivity Spike might feel about being the only dragon accepted among ponies as “one of their own”, it hasn’t really stood out so much that Zecora might actually feel the same way. And yeah…that’s definitely common ground you can see them bonding over. Everything about this clicked in what you would expect in one of the better episodes of the series. Sure, it didn’t make any particularly monumental revelations about Zecora or Spike, but the chemistry they had together was spot on, and that’s the main point of the “Friends Forever” series to begin with.
Another solid entry.
Spike mentions the “Canterlot Disease Corps” at one point. Note that the acronym for that is CDC, which is a knockoff of “Center of Disease Control” in the United States. A bit of an extended knockoff, that one.
In a rather dark knockoff, one sick pony is holding up an SOS sign on a roof…a knockoff of the Hurricane Katrina flooding aftermath.
A severe tissue shortage is going on in Ponyville in one panel, prompting Derpy to air-deliver more boxes, one pegasi to hide a stash in a straw roof, and Cheese Sandwich (:O) to throw down a box to Lyra and Bon Bon only for them to fight over it.
When Spike talks about being the only dragon, he flashes back both to “Dragon Quest” from Season Two, and to the events of Friends Forever #14.
When Fluttershy sneezes on Zecora, Angel Bunny makes a sound of a biohazard symbol…somehow. :X
When Zecora gets sick, she loses her ability to speak in rhyme. 🙂
The book Spike looks up the disease in is called “Spores, Molds, Fungus”. This could be an allusion to Egon Spengler in “Ghostbusters”: “I collect spores, molds, and fungus.”
3.5 Stars out of 5