• "28 Pranks Later": Episode Followup

    The Trotting Dread! Night of the Mobile Bed! Army of Cuteness!

    These and other titles popped into my head whilst watching this episode. 

    Find out what other insanity goes on and share your own thoughts after the break.

    Before we dive in, I want to talk about that little "Y" up in the corner. Having read the summaries for this episode I wondered, Why are they spoiling the twist? Older fans are familiar enough that they likely saw it coming, but why state it for the younger fans?

    Best answer I can think of is that "TV Y" rating. If one has to advertise an episode about ponies being turned into a mindless horde, I'm betting the staff has to make it clear to parents and watchdog groups that this isn't going to be anything too intense for young minds.

    Of course, that doesn't spare Fluttershy. I know many are frustrated by her cowardice, but I find her reactions comically extreme. Harry's own reactions just add to the humor.

    Look, Dashie scared the eyelashes straight off Fluttershy!

    Discord! No, wait. Changeling!

    Um... Change-cord!

    Sorry, I have Changelings and Discord on the brain lately.

    See? I love cartoonish reactions. But here's a thought, do you really want to trigger a bear's fight-or-flight instincts?

    Riddle me this! Did Rainbow improvise this while spotting the wayward party? 
    Or did she plan their route, track their progress, set the weather, and script the scene?

    One answer shows some decent improvisation. The other shows Rainbow has waaaaaay too much free time. 

    Neither answer tells me how she got her eyes to glow.

    Lots of folks compared the synopsis to The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well, and I do see the parallels. Yet here's one thing this episode did better. The ponies sit Rainbow down and try to talk things out. It's not going to work because of Rainbow's character.

    Rainbow Dash lives so much in the moment that a lot of factors that others take for granted, like empathy, might not register. She's currently too thrilled by the outcome to realize how much her joke could have hurt her friend. 

    Pinkie's encouragement likely doesn't help. Can you really accept something isn't funny if the #1 Party Pony is endorsing you?

    Uh... Pinkie? I'd get that checked.

    Wait? Does Granny Smith only look that way because she's thirsty? For the love of hydration, get her a glass of water!

    Here's the second reason this talk doesn't work: Applejack. Loath though I am to call out my second-fave, she handles this all wrong. By calling Rainbow "lazy" or implying she's not thinking her jokes through, she's damaging Rainbow's ego and pushing her to go further. Rarity follows up, but it's AJ who sets the stage.

    And I will admit, Twilight and company are being pretty rigid. A whoopee cushion is funny. If humor is indeed a reaction to pain, few things are more awkward or more painful than wounded dignity.

    Why do you think I tease Celestia so much in my videos?

    Anywho, the talk has the reverse effect. Instead of getting Rainbow to dial it down, she's actually going further, alone. Let's do a little compare and contrast:

    Way back in Griffon the Brushoff, the pranks were all startling, but short-lived. The worst aftermath was having to wash off Applejack's orchard, which looked to be pretty easy. The initial shock done, the ponies had the chance to laugh at themselves. 

    But now let's take Pinkie out of the equation. Don't lie now, some of these are impressive in their execution. A giant cake and sewing machine cake? Transporting a bed? Moving that boulder? Rainbow is hardcore.

    But the after affects are more damaging. Several huge messes to clean up. Skunk stink. Chipped teeth. Celestia is still looking for the exit! I think we're seeing what Griffon the Brushoff would have been if not for Pinkie's moderating care. She understands the consequences of a prank while Rainbow's fixated on the prank herself.

    I guess it's more a prank on the audience that Pinkie's event is so underwhelming. 

    This was just a happy accident. Turns out that's Gummy's meditation chamber.

    Still, the greatest prank has to be on Cheerilee. Rainbow's a better illusionist than Trixie.

    I'm not taking that back, Seth!

    Although, if you really wanted to take things to the next level...

    Don't ask how. Just appreciate the artwork by Vector Brony.

    Now, when the same #1 Party Pony as before tells you an idea isn't that funny, you'd best listen. I think Rainbow is calculating the bits she wasted on trick cookies as she hears this.

    Pinkie Pie sick in bed...

    That actually bums me out. I'm feeling the blue. This is something no one should have to see. Can I get a little jolt out of the doldrums?

     Thank you, Pinkie. I'm no longer sad, just terrified.

    Hey, is one of those for Starlight Glimmer? You know, that new friend who lives in your castle and would totally want some cookies as well? Probably not.

    Really hoping she's visiting Sunburst in the Crystal Empire right now.

    Forget this Olympics! This is prime coordination right here! With one flaw in the final part.

    Why are you standing on the cookies? You're gonna crush them!

    You tell 'em, Harry!

     Way to be subtle, Rainbow.

    Feels like a lot of setup to get to the main event: Zombified Ponies! Love the atmosphere they created leading up to the big reveal. All the classic horror tropes. I'm wondering if anyone in the audience cried, "Don't go in there!" at the TV's or computers.

    Here, pick your favorite zombie pony:

    Though I wonder, what did Rainbow do to Vinyl Scratch, Octavia, the Mayor, or Time Turner?

    At first I thought Pinkie got the whole town in on the gig, but the group chasing them is pretty specific:

     Wow, Cranky is really selling it.

    I was tempted to shout one thing while viewing. "Don't improvise, Applejack! You're breaking character!"

    There's only one zombie tale I can remember where the undead tried to talk down to their victims. "The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror" by Christopher Moore. It's a really good book.

    Okay, so here the question that's going to determine how many a fan enjoys this episode: did the other ponies go too far? Rainbow scared Fluttershy and could have hurt others. But does that justify this level of fear?

     Though I do enjoy the before and after looks for everyone. Ponyvillians are great actors.

    But this? This look is even scarier than the zombies! Just for a minute, imagine that this is how they'd look if they had devoured Rainbow Dash.

     Of course we end on a group laugh to make sure the air is cleared. 
    Although there's a fresh terror in the audio. Hearing a bear laugh is... unnerving.

    "Poor foals! You don't realize that you've raised the bar. Now I'll have to get you all back twice as much!" 

    All in all, I found this episode okay for a lot of cartoon extremes and an innocent take on the zombie trope. Less enjoyment from the moral because I'm not a fan of forcing a lesson. If you're going to say an act is bad, what does it say when you use the same tactics? There's too much of "it's okay as long as it benefits me" thinking. 

    Rainbow's best lessons come from a foil. Someone who takes her own vices or virtues to an extreme. Remember Lightning Dust?

    Lighting Dust was Rainbow's drive taken to an extreme, and Rainbow learned by seeing the consequences. I think it better when foil characters come in to teach the ponies a lesson organically rather than having them engineer a situation. 

    That's my two cents. What are your thoughts? 
    Think Rainbow is ready to face the comments section?