• "Daring Done?" Episode? Followup?


    So here's the thing about Sphinxes: I don't get how they're cute. Like, obviously a cat is cute, and so the simplistic logic would follow that a giant cat would be giant-ly adorable. But have you ever considered the non-cute parts of a cat? Imagine giant hairballs. Giant litter boxes. Giant hemming and hawing about whether they really want to go outside or just sit in the pyramid entrance and contemplate existence. I could go on.

    The point is, I just don't think you all are thinking this through. Sure, you could make Sphinxy here chase a church bell on a rope and rub her belly with your entire body, but at what cost? Is it worth cleaning up after her with a backhoe, or having to solve a riddle every time you want to get her off your bed? I rest my case. And/or digress.

    Here's a followup of the latest pony episode or something.

    So how many different little kids actually are there in Ponyville? I mean, from all the different ones we've seen, Cheerilee's gotta have multiple classes' worth to get through in a day. (And, on a directly related note, a blood-caffeine level of at least 0.6.)

    An American citizen looks on with disdain as their friend tries to convince them that print media isn't totally dead yet. (c. 2017)

    So here's a "fun" callback: apparently it took Fillydelphia roughly six seasons (read as: almost seven real-world years) to get completely rid of the parasprites that Ponyville passed their way back in "Swarm of the Century". If I recall correctly, these were also potentially a magically enhanced breed that fed on buildings instead of food. So the implication of that throwaway reference is that the best case scenario for a major Equestrian city is either over a half-decade of famine, or a widespread housing crisis.

    I was looking for a good image to caption "Y'know, for kids!" to pair with that last paragraph, but this is better. This is so much better.

    On a much more positive note, though, Josh Haber is back in the saddle (I had to, I'm sorry) in a story editing role for this episode. Salutations, ponybro.

    I have mixed feelings about Dash's decision to go sprinting off to A.K. Yearling's house. On the one hand, it's not exactly her place to go meddling in her idol's personal affairs, especially since she's at best a superfan that said idol considers an acquaintance . On the other hand, Rainbow seems to know her well enough to recognize concerning behavior when she sees it, which is something you should ideally be able to depend on both friends and acquaintances for. I guess since it all worked out in the end, I can pass on judgement for now.

    My question isn't why Daring Do has a golden idol shaped like a bunny in her house. My question is why she has more than one.

    "No, Rainbow."
    "You are blue, Rainbow."

    Add to the ever-growing list of things I would never have expected: Pinkie Pie being the voice of reason in a group. I mean, any group. And any variety of reason. Ever.

    And add to the list of things I notice on a second watch and turn out to love a whole bunch: Pinkie Pie dramatically vocalizing the colon in the anti-Daring-Do headline she reads aloud. I forgive you for briefly rising above your comedic-foil station, Ponk. More of that, please.

    Then again, I guess it's hard to be your normal self when A.K. Yearling is borrowing all your innate chaos magic to keep her glasses on her face in defiance of all physical laws.

    Hey, just like... oh, what was that old franchise about a sardonic explorer fighting evil and collecting ancient treasures? Uncharted? That sounds right.

    Part of the pitch meeting for this episode must've gone like this: "Hey, you wanna do an episode set in pony Arabia?" "Hell yeah, dude! What will be the plot be?" "I dunno, make something up for Daring-Do, I guess." To be clear, I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I'm just saying that's what I would've personally said to end a conversation where the end result was me getting to write an episode set in pony Arabia.

    In all seriousness, though, major props to the background artists for this one. Subjectively speaking, this is one of the coolest locations we've seen in the show yet.

    Another thing worth noting is the character designs for this episode, and what they say about Equestria as a kingdom/continent/whatever the hell it actually is. In comparison to Mistmane and her fellow townsponies back in "Campfire Tales", Somnambulans look and sound more or less like your average Equestrian marshmallow horses, save for a few hieroglyph-esque haircuts and a bit of strategically placed eyeliner. In general, that says to me that there really aren't that many physical differences between different pony groups based on geographic location. More specifically, it tells me that microanalyzing My Little Pony on the Internet hasn't totally ostracized me from society yet, so damn you all, I'm gonna keep doing it.

    What's a little saddle-cramping between totally reasonable and definitely not stalker-y friends?

    Is this mare the Marion to Daring-Do's Indy? Because if she is... uh... ew.

    I'll never not get a kick out of fictional characters trying to explain to other fictional characters how the totally fictional-sounding thing they're describing totally actually happened. It's one misplaced glance away from a fourth-wall break, and the dance around that thin, ephemeral line is always great fun to watch.

    "When Daring Do comes to Somnambula, she's bringing destruction, she's bringing desecration, she's a thief...and sometimes, I assume, she's a good pony."

    You know, up to this point I was thinking, "Okay, Daring-Do knocked over a statue. That's bad, but not irredeemable." But that is a lot of rubble left over after the scene at the inn. That's gonna be a little more than your good neighbor State Farm can handle, I think.

    All she has to do is go up there and explain to everypony how wrong they all are? Huh. Maybe Dash is into politics after all.

    Missed opportunity for Rainbow Dash to say "about neigh big" there, G.M. It wouldn't have flowed as well or really been all that funny, but it would've amused my dumb ass, and I assume that's really the priority here.

    I guess this is as good a time as any to advise Dash to lay off the hashish a bit next time. Might make it a little easier to recognize the guy who's already kidnapped you once before when you're staring him right in the face.

    The stop-motion feel to this part of the Somnambula story is a neat touch. You'd expect something in the vein of classical Egyptian art, but extending that motif to the animation as well is that extra step that really makes it that much more interesting.

    Apparently, the name "Hisan" is Arabic in origin and means "handsome", "beautiful", or "good". Not gonna lie, I expected it to be something horse-related, but if that was actually where the name came from in the showrunners' minds, it'd be interesting for Arabic to be a confirmed language that exists in some capacity in Equestria. Really inks in the notion that Equestria is an analogue for not just North America, but the entire human world.

    If Seth's opinion on the Sphinx is anything to go by, this is the single cutest-smartest-all-around-best scene this season. I'm not really that inclined to disagree. Evilness notwithstanding, she's pretty precious.

    There's a bit of conflation here between "hope" and "faith" that I'd touch on more if I didn't remember what happened when "Feeling Pinkie Keen" raised a similar debate back in Season 1. Let's just agree that pony magic is weird and everyone generally just works out for them.

    Is there a, uh... non-platonic part of this story that we're missing here?  Because it kind of looks like there is. Especially considering Prince Hisan seems to have a wife already when we get back to the hieroglyphic parts.

    Back in the real world, boy are these folks loose with their opinions. To be fair, I suppose ponies are herd animals deep down.

    So something I'm not clear on (and I'll go ahead and forgive Rainbow not flying away from Dr. Cabelleron as a side effect of shock and despair): was Dr. Cabelleron not planning this exact result all along? He thanks Dash for leading Daring Do back to Somnambula and says he knew his nemesis wouldn't be far behind her biggest fan, but A.K. was already retiring before any of that happened. His plan, as far I understand it, already worked before the episode really even got going. So doesn't this just complicate things, or does Cabelleron consider this to be the nail in the coffin he was looking for? I don't know. I'm just a drunk guy with a laptop. You guys are the ones with all the analysis in the comments.

    We should probably also talk about the lack of confidence Daring Do apparently had in going to save Rainbow that we never really saw, but I'm happy to file that one under "Dude, if you go any farther down this path, you will actually have trouble assimilating back into your normal social life".

    "What if I cause more trouble?"
    "You won't!"
    "How do you know?"
    "'Cause if you do, we're screwed!"

    Uh-huh. Sure, Discovery Family. "Slime". That's what that bubbling green stuff eating away at the base of that pillar is. Right.

    Oh, come on, give 'em a break with the steam-vent ex machina here. They couldn't very well give us a scene where Daring-Do figured out the Equestrian spelling of "Jehovah".

    "Should we really be dragging a giant bag of loot through the middle of the town we stole it from?"
    "Dude, we're henchmen. Villainous plotting is, like, two pay grades above ours."

    "Okay, but he definitely shouldn't be explaining the entire plan in front of everypony, right?"
    "Look, if you want to get in the boss's grill about it, be my guest. I'm just doing this to pay for college."

    "Okay, okay, that's enough," says the mare who just has a retirement-level crisis of self-confidence over a few ponies not approving of her actions, to those same ponies now celebrating her achievements. I mean, yeah, these guys are basically sentient waffles given equine form, but don't stand there and try to tell me there's not a lot to unpack here, Ms. Yearling. 

    Maybe share a group therapy session with Rainbow "Near-Death Experiences Are The Coolest Thing Ever" Dash over here.

    At last, the real moral of this episode: if you have enough money, you can buy your way out of pretty much any problem.

    And that's enough of that, I reckon. While this episode may have gotten a little silly at times, it was still a good amount of fun, not to mention an excellent expansion to the world of Equestria we've grown to know and love. I've been your follow-up-er Aquaman, and if you'd be so kind, please allow me just this one last Indiana Jones reference:

    "What do you mean you named yourself after your dog?"

    'Kay, I'm done. See y'all next time.

    ~ Aqua