While eavesdropping on the latest meeting of the Rainbow Dash Fan Club, Rainbow Dash is shocked to see Scootaloo abruptly adjourn so that she can inaugurate the first meeting of the Washouts Fan Club: her new idols. Upset that she’s been supplanted as the object of Scootaloo’s fan affections, she goes with her to see a show and discovers that they’re Equestria’s only troupe of pegasus stunt ponies, focusing on flying through dangerous situations rather than air shows, and grudgingly admits their act is impressive. However, that changes when she discovers that the team is made up of pegasi who were rejected from the Wonderbolts due to lack of safety concerns and was founded by none other than Lightning Dust. To try and dissuade Scootaloo from idolizing them (and not-so-secretly wanting her to idolize her again instead), Rainbow Dash takes her to see Spitfire for a “scared straight” talk before trying to destroy all of Scootaloo’s Washouts memorabilia in favor of her own. However, this only angers Scootaloo further as Dash failed to realize the reason she idolized the Washouts over the Wonderbolts is because the Washouts are into stunts without requiring its members to be great fliers, something Scootaloo can do, whereas being a Wonderbolt requires its members to be the best fliers, something Scootaloo cannot do due to her disability. She ends up joining up with the Washouts to stand in for an injured member on a new stunt in spite of Dash’s warnings, who reluctantly stops trying to pressure her afterward as she realizes Scootaloo needs to make her own choices. However, at the next show, when setting up for the new stunt, Scootaloo realizes it will be far more dangerous than she initially expected and learns Dust only cares about her doing an extreme stunt to make the show look good and nothing for her safety. She forces her to do the stunt involving a rocket-powered scooter anyway, which goes wrong soon after, but Dash leaps in to save her while Dust accidentally gets carried off into the horizon by the same rocket. Scootaloo apologizes to Dash for not listening to her, but Dash, in turn, apologizes for not acting more like a good role model to begin with. Dash forms a new fan club for the pony she admires, the Scootaloo Fan Club, which Scootaloo promptly starts eavesdropping on as well.
Most Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash episodes ends up being pretty good and tugging on a bit of the heartstrings, and this one is no exception. Again, it manages to deal with a theme unexplored on the show although one geared a bit more to the adult persuasion: what to do when the younger member of a mentor/child relationship asserts their independence by idolizing behavior that is unsafe.
The big scene in this one to me is near the end when Scootaloo finally vents her frustration and cries: “I. Can’t. Fly!” Not only is it a bit of an emotional punch in the gut, it signifies a touch of bleak reality. Back in Season Four, Rainbow Dash still seemed to at least encourage the hope that one day Scootaloo would be able to fly, but after this episode it’s a bitter pill that the characters are finally accepting that the day will never come when Dash gets to pin a pair of Wonderbolt Wings on an older Scootaloo. It seemed to come a little out of nowhere the first time I watched the episode, but on rewatching it I now realize the real reason Scootaloo loved the Washouts was because she realized it was something she could not only idolize but actually aspire to. And on that note, the ending is a nice touch too as Dash finds a way to respect what Scootaloo can do rather than get her to look up to something she can’t become; that there’s a way she can have the best-of-both-worlds without sacrificing her safety.
I honestly hoped that if Lightning Dust ever returned she’d get a redemption; especially since, as I pointed out in “Wonderbolt Academy”, she was encouraged to have an attitude that disregarded safety of others for her own glory. Obviously that didn’t happen and, furthermore, it seems as if she will be one of the few “villains” to not get a redemption. That being said, I actually liked how the writers handled her for most of this episode, especially in regards to Rainbow Dash. It would have been so easy to go the opposite extreme with Dust and Dash and just have them at each other’s throats about “Wonderbolt Academy”. I like that Dust actually doesn’t have any hard feelings toward Dash (well…except for her last line which seemed almost tacked on…); and is grateful for not being a Wonderbolt so she had a chance to become a Washout. There’s even a moment where the two seem a little good-natured toward each other.
If I had to fault this episode for anything, it seems to try and jam pack a few too many issues in at once to where the bigger ones are missed. It was hard to tell on the first viewing if Dash really thought the Washouts were a dangerous influence or if she was just jealous that Scootaloo wasn’t idolizing her anymore. Likewise, I didn’t pick up until the second viewing that Scootaloo didn’t want to follow the Washouts just for the “ooo-aah” factor but because they represented a goal she could achieve. Because of that, this episode is another one that I rate as a “smudged” moral rather than a “muddled” one.
Another minor complaint I might make is that I’m not sure many people got the jokes in this episode. The “Mike Foley” jokes from Spitfire would likely only be appreciated by the members of the audience in their 30s. Otherwise Spitfire just seems to act weird (normally she’s “drill sergeant”). Another one is Short Fuse, who’s meant to be mostly for anger-related jokes, as it’s hard to make out what he’s saying in most of this scenes.
Other than those, though, it’s a good episode and has lots of the best thing of a Rainbow Dash/Scootaloo episode…namely Rainbow Dash/Scootaloo cuteness. 🙂
Bon Bon is a member of both the Rainbow Dash Fan Club as well as the Scootaloo Fan Club at the end. (She also sees the Washouts with Lyra. Maybe she’s just a fan of pegasi.)
“Only 20 bajillion percent cooler”…which blows away Rainbow Dash’s original “20 percent cooler” bit from the first season. 😛
Three of the Student Six are in the audience for the Washouts: Silverstream, Gallus, and Smolder.
A lot of prehensile wings in this one; something we haven’t seen from a pegasus in a while.
Lightning Dust first appeared way back in Season Three’s “Wonderbolt Academy”.
Spitfire’s “talk” with Scootaloo is a parody of the old Saturday Night Live skits featuring Chris Farley as motivational speaker Matt Foley. The bit with her continuously repeating “a full-body, wing-and-hoof cast drinking through a straw” is a joke on that character’s continuous threat that the youths he’s speaking to will end up “living in a van down by the river”; as his her “whoop-de-doodle-do” is a parody of his similar taunt: “lah-de-frickin-dah”.
Oh boy…Pinkie Pie’s own prehensile mane impales food and brings it to her mouth.
Scootaloo’s Washout name is “Half-Pint Dynamite”. I guess “Scootaloo” didn’t sound extreme enough.
When shooting away on the rope, Lightning Dust yells: “Rivals for life!” (Just threw that in because I couldn’t make it out the first time…)
Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles cameo as, naturally, members of the Scootaloo Fan Club.
3.5 Stars out of 5