Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 24: Magic Duel + Sleepless in Ponyville


< Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 >

Season 3, Episodes 5-6

Pointless trivia: I worked on my review of Magic Duel entirely within my own house, whereas I worked on my review of Sleepless in Ponyville entirely within a hotel room at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. Pandemic restrictions or not, I’m happy to report I had a great time at MAGFest 2022 (though as of this post’s publication, it already ended a few weeks ago).

Season 3 Episode 5: Magic Duel

In five words: Boast Busters’ much better sequel.

Premise: After getting brutally owned in Boast Busters, Trixie returns to Ponyville with a desire for revenge and a special magical amulet.

Detailed run-through:

The intro portion of this episode teases viewers with loose hints of a familiar face. A hooded figure goes to a shop to obtain a dangerous magical amulet, and while she’s denied it at first, she gets it after giving the shopkeeper a big bag of money. Trixie is a fan favorite character, so it makes sense that her return would start off subtle.

After this, we get a scene of Twilight Sparkle practicing her magic skills much like she did at the start of Boast Busters, showing that she’s sharpened her magic prowess since then. She uses a magic spell to levitate Fluttershy’s animals in a gentle looping formation, keeping them calm and happy despite Fluttershy’s extreme nervousness. Again like Boast Busters, this scene shows that Twilight takes great pride in her magic skills. Twilight then mentions Celestia hired her for the entertainment in an upcoming special event. She’s clearly referring to magic tricks here, and that was the one thing Trixie thought she was so good at.

Note that Trixie briefly looked happy successfully hammering the rock apart.
Maybe she liked this job a bit more than she let on.

Cementing this episode as a sequel to Boast Busters, Trixie shows up and performs magic tricks on Twilight’s friends (and Snips and Snails) more powerful than last time, then has a confrontation with Twilight, who again insists she isn’t interested in challenging Trixie.

Twilight Sparkle: Why are you doing this?
Trixie: Why? Because you humiliated me!
Trixie: After you showed me up with that Ursa Minor… I became a laughing stock. Everywhere I went, I was laughed at and ostracized.
Trixie: I even had to take a job on a rock farm just to earn a living. A rock farm!

Oh, how easy it is to forget that Trixie has feelings too. At least, Twilight Sparkle certainly forgets it. I would go at length about how their dynamic shows that Twilight has a haughty side, but I would just be repeating what I said in my review of Boast Busters. So instead of treading the same ground, I’ll discuss things I hadn’t talked about before… how about Trixie’s stint working on a rock farm?

Although Trixie’s reputation was ruined after the events of Boast Busters, Pinkie Pie’s family was at least willing to take her in; we see Pinkie’s father in the flashback above. This suggests that as traditionalist as the Pies are, they are also a very non-judgemental family, willing to hire an unlucky former magician whose magic powers surely proved useful. But still, Trixie didn’t enjoy this job, and the absurdity of the concept of “rock farms” disguises how tragic it is for her to suffer this fate.

The arrow dragging Pinkie Pie’s mouth resembles a mouse cursor. Interesting to see the show reference computers!

When Pinkie Pie says Trixie is lucky that a rock farm would take her in, Trixie removes Pinkie Pie’s mouth so she shuts up. She sees no use for this loudmouth in her grand act of revenge, and especially doesn’t need anyone randomly talking her down like they did last time.

Trixie gets Twilight Sparkle to agree to the duel by flipping the Golden Oak Library upside-down, then she reverts all her magic spells except the removal of Pinkie’s mouth, presumably due to oversight. The condition of the duel is that whoever loses has to leave Ponyville. I can tell that Twilight Sparkle is lowkey excited to show off her magic and use it against her rival, and she’s far less hesitant this time.

Twilight and Trixie’s magic duel is fun to watch and has quite a few callbacks to prior episodes, but I don’t have much to say about it except for the last part, where Trixie uses an age spell on Snips and Snails. Twilight is befuddled and claims that only the highest level unicorns can do it, then she tries and fails to undo the spell. The fun thing about Twilight Sparkle having such a potent nemesis is that the nemesis brings out some of her strongest negative qualities. Specifically, Trixie makes it clear that Twilight is full of herself in an unaware way when it comes to magical skills.

Twilight Sparkle loses the duel and is forced out of Ponyville, with Trixie even surrounding the city with a protective dome. Twilight can tell there’s something strange about Trixie, which is interesting because she only met Trixie once before. I guess Trixie really left a lasting impression on her, huh? When two characters in a show have a petty rivalry, one of which is a main character and the other a recurring character, chances are that the recurring character knows exactly how to get under the main character’s skin, and that the recurring character insists the main character is deep down obsessed with them.

Since Spike isn’t around to deliver a letter to Celestia, Twilight Sparkle visits Zecora’s place to learn about advanced magic spells and one-up Trixie yet again. But as we see at the end, that’s not what she ends up doing. Through the time of this visit, Zecora gradually figures out how to best solve this problem, and the solution isn’t quite what Twilight thinks.

Having imprisoned Mayor Mare, Trixie takes over Ponyville and makes the city’s population her subjects. Although Trixie is far more villainous here than ever before, I feel like the amulet didn’t overwrite her personality entirely, but rather amplified existing traits. She was already self-absorbed, just now a little more so. And her jealousy (or perhaps fear?) of Twilight Sparkle has increased to the point where she’s banished Twilight out of Ponyville.

With Zecora’s guidance, Twilight Sparkle practices meditating and concentrating on magic, but she loses focus when she starts thinking about Trixie. She then admits that she can’t stop thinking about Trixie, and it’s hard for me not to think she has a bit of a crush on Trixie. A very twisted and warped crush buried under a lot of aggravation and jealousy, but a crush no less.

The rest of the Mane 6 and Spike search Twilight’s place for books about Trixie’s magic, and after some struggling, Fluttershy finds it and tries to explain it only to keep getting interrupted. Then Spike snatches the book and everyone starts paying attention. Normally I’d feel bad for Fluttershy in such a scene, but this time I can’t help but find it hilarious how soft-spoken she remains. She tries to interject further as Spike reads the book but is only interrupted more. The ponies learn that only the wearer of the amulet can take it off, which presents a conundrum.

After being constantly interrupted, Fluttershy is suddenly put in charge of sneaking out to the Everfree Forest, and she reacts by trembling with fear. I feel like putting her in charge was partly done for the sake of humor, but on an in-universe level, the ponies may have genuine reason to give her this role. Fluttershy is easily the quietest of the Mane 6; if any of them can sneak outside a dome unnoticed, it’s her.

Trixie forces Snips and Snails to pull her on a cart without wheels, even using a whip on them (but in a kid-friendly way where the whip doesn’t hit them). Maybe Trixie is deliberately punishing them since they’re responsible for ruining her image by bringing an Ursa Minor to Ponyville? She’s taking her anger out on Snips and Snails in an especially cruel way. While she views Twilight Sparkle as a worthy rival, she views Snips and Snails as the idiots who ruined her life.

Even though Fluttershy was reluctant to sneak to the Everfree Forest, she made it work in her own Fluttershy way. Trixie notices beavers banging on the dome and lifts it so that they get out of there, and they carry a log that happens to have Fluttershy inside. Then after more reluctance, Fluttershy gets out of the log, and a bunch of birds carry her to the Everfree Forest. You have to appreciate Fluttershy’s cleverness when it comes to working with animals.

After being extremely nervous, it’s nice to see Fluttershy calmly sipping tea with Zecora.

With this new information about the Alicorn Amulet (that’s what the amulet is called), Zecora provides a cryptic rhyme that Twilight Sparkle easily deciphers:

Zecora: If Trixie’s tricks have you in a fix, you must mix your magic and use the six.

“The six”, you say… how many main characters does this show have again? Six, if you don’t count Spike. Zecora is saying that the solution to Trixie’s villainous rampage lies in the Mane 6 working together, but with a different kind of magic from before.

Twilight Sparkle comes back to Trixie, proudly and convincingly presenting an amulet that’s supposedly even more powerful than Trixie’s. She knows that Trixie returns Twilight’s lustful maybe-romantic feelings for her, and teases her as follows:

Twilight Sparkle: Care to put your amulet where your mouth is? How about another duel?
Trixie: Why should I? I already beat you.
Twilight Sparkle: That’s up to you! But I guess you’ll never see the totally awesome magic from beyond the Everfree Forest! Come on, Zecora.
Trixie: Wait! (destroys the dome)
Trixie: Okay, okay, you’re on. A second duel.

I feel like Trixie’s motive for agreeing to a second duel isn’t only to get an even more powerful amulet. She also clearly enjoys partaking in these magic duels, as does Twilight. They both take joy in competing against each other but would never admit it, like any good rivalrous pair.

Trixie starts the duel with an age spell on Snips and Snails, and Twilight Sparkle responds by performing multiple age spells on Applejack and Rarity… or so it seems. If you pay attention to the builds of Applejack and Rarity as their ages change, the truth about the “age spell” is foreshadowed: these are just Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Granny Smith cosplaying as their Mane 6 relatives.

Next up is a duplication spell on Rainbow Dash, which is foreshadowed as fake by the fact that only one of the Rainbow Dashes talks. The one who never says a word is actually Fluttershy, who is already good at keeping her mouth shut.

Aww, look at Lyra and Bon Bon covering their ears together.

Twilight Sparkle then uses a magic spell to make Pinkie Pie play ten instruments at once. Attentive viewers will remember Swarm of the Century, where she was already able to do that. What good is a surprise twist in any work of media without some sneaky foreshadowing?

Twilight Sparkle’s final magic spell is turning a mare into a stallion. While Applejack puts on a convincing act of trying to run away in panic then looking woozy when changing back, Big Macintosh dressed as Applejack endearingly slips out of character when he says “eeyup”. He doesn’t interact with most of the Mane 6 much, so it makes sense that he feels a little awkward in this scene.

Fooled by this magic act, Trixie snatches the amulet from Twilight Sparkle and takes off her old one, preparing the world for “an even greater and powerfuller Trixie”. Her self-absorbed mindset hasn’t gone away after taking off the old amulet, because she was already self-absorbed to begin with. But then she realizes the amulet is a fake when she accidentally tickles Rainbow Dash, and Twilight reveals the truth.

Can these two just admit they love each other already?

Twilight Sparkle: By the way, Trixie… the amulet around your neck? It’s one of Zecora’s doorstops.
Trixie: But, (grunts)… how did you do those spells? Nopony can do those spells!
Twilight Sparkle: You’re right. Not even me.

Pay close attention to the phrase “not even me”. Twilight Sparkle is haughty about her own magic skills too! On some level, she probably thinks she’s the most powerful unicorn there is, rivalling even Celestia and Luna. I easily accept Twilight Sparkle having a haughty side in this episode, because her rivalry with Trixie is picked up again in season 6.

Some fans like to think Applejack’s hat is a keepsake from her parents, but as a practical-minded pony, it makes much more sense that she has multiple copies of the same hat.
And I like to think her father did the same.

Twilight Sparkle reveals that all her magic spells were illusions (except the one with Pinkie Pie, which was just her being Pinkie Pie), but she chalks it up not to skill in illusory magic, but rather the power of friendship. It’s fascinating (and a little tragic) that Twilight Sparkle has beaten Trixie in both real magic and illusory magic. Internally, I’d bet Trixie is stunned to learn her nemesis is so good at fake magic, and her desire to beat Twilight has only been fueled further by this duel.

Twilight Sparkle performs the entertainment at Celestia’s event as planned, then Trixie adds some fireworks to the mix, saying it’s the least she could do. While she apologizes to Twilight in this scene, it’s clear from their expressions that their rivalrous feelings haven’t gone away. Trixie runs away with a botched dust cloud like last time, but this time she clumsily falls on her face.

And this episode ends with Pinkie Pie breaking the fourth wall. She squeezes her way out of the camera closing in on the moon and enters the black space where the credits take place, then Twilight Sparkle joins her and gives Pinkie her mouth back. This is a fun way to tie the last loose end, and a rare case of someone other than Pinkie Pie breaking the fourth wall.

Overall thoughts:

This episode is a massive improvement over Boast Busters, which was the last time we saw Trixie. Instead of clumsily painting Trixie as the bad guy, this episode makes it clear that she isn’t villainous, just very self-absorbed, and her villainous actions are all while corrupted by her amulet. The episode doesn’t hide that Twilight Sparkle can be haughty too, and her magic duels with Trixie are fun to watch and have a clever plot twist at the end. It’s also worth noting that this episode doesn’t have a letter to Celestia at the end, instead making its friendship moral more implicit (friendship is the most powerful magic of all), which demonstrates the show’s gradual evolution away from formulaic friendship lessons.

Grade: B

In case it wasn’t obvious by the existence of these posts, I love MLP:FiM so much.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • Twilight Sparkle bringing out parasprites in the first duel and then banishing them is a fun callback to Swarm of the Century, demonstrating that she has quite a sharp memory of all her experiences in Ponyville so far.
  • I hope it’s not weird that I find the idea of Twilight Sparkle and Trixie having rivalrous romantic feelings for each other to be kind of adorable. But it’s nowhere near as adorable as Trixie’s later friendship with you-know-who (unless you haven’t seen season 6, in which case it’s you-don’t-know-who).
  • I thought for sure “powerfuller” wasn’t a real word, but apparently it is after all. When used in a context other than augmenting “the Great and Powerful Trixie”, the word sounds far less dorky.

While this episode was all about illusory magic, the next one focuses on illusions that the brain produces during certain phases of sleep, colloquially known as “dreams”.

Season 3 Episode 6: Sleepless in Ponyville

In five words: Scootaloo’s sisterhood undergoes rocky start.

Premise: The Cutie Mark Crusaders and their big sisters (counting Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo as sisters) go on a camping trip, and Rainbow Dash tells stories that give Scootaloo horrible nightmares.

Detailed run-through:

Before we begin, let it be known that it is extremely mildly annoying to me that despite its title, this episode does not take place in Ponyville. By “extremely mildly annoying”, I mean “mildly annoying”, but extremely so. My level of annoyance about this is extremely mild.

This episode starts with Scootaloo performing a bunch of scooter stunts just like near the start of The Show Stoppers. The main differences are that her scooter skills have improved a lot, she jumps over an eager Granny Smith with her scooter running beneath the old lady instead of annoyingly getting in her way, and at the end, Rainbow Dash compliments her skills in that cocky, too-cool-for-school way that Scootaloo admires so much. This callback to season 1 is arguably lazy, but it effectively shows that Scootaloo has been slowly honing her skills. Take note of the fact that she doesn’t have a scooter-themed cutie mark; she doesn’t know it yet, but she’s meant for greater things that just athletic stunts. But I already said that in The Show Stoppers.

Scootaloo: Then, all of a sudden, I’m airborne! And then Rainbow Dash looks over and is like… “Nice moves, kid!”
Apple Bloom: [I can’t decide if she’s saying “wow” or “woah”, sounds kind of halfway between]
Sweetie Belle: She really said that?
Scootaloo: I mean, it’s like she practically told me she wanted to take me under her wing, teach me everything she knows about, and become, like, my big sister!

Scootaloo’s extreme interpretation of Rainbow Dash’s three words sounds to me like all her life, she wished she had a big sister, and she considers Rainbow Dash the perfect big sister for her. There are many loose hints at Scootaloo not having much of a family, and they’ve caused fans to jump to conclusions, much like Scootaloo is doing here. Still, it’s pretty heartwarming that since neither of them have any biological siblings, Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash become each other’s siblings—siblings in all ways except genetics.

Scootaloo says she wishes she could spend more time with Rainbow Dash, and Apple Bloom mentions the two could join a camping trip she and Applejack are going on. Sweetie Belle decides to invite Rarity over…

… but Rarity says she despises camping. In response, Sweetie Belle takes advantage of her extreme cuteness and makes a face that her big sister can’t say no to. I bet this girl could get even the most vile, gruesome villain in Equestria to do as she pleases simply by making this face.

The camping trip goes reasonably well at first, with Rarity packing an absurd amount of luggage and making her little sister carry it. Although she has a comically bad understanding of what camping is supposed to be like, it’s character development to see her willing to participate in such an activity at all. Still, while Rarity’s portrayal shines bright in episodes focused on her, this is another episode where her characterization feels rather flat.

Rainbow Dash tells a scary story to the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and while all three of them react with fear, Scootaloo denies it shortly after:

Scootaloo: (coughs and clears throat) Something in my throat. I wasn’t scared at all, haha. Good story!
Rainbow Dash: Knew you wouldn’t be scared.
Rainbow Dash: The way you jumped that cart the other day… you’re like me. Fearless.

Scootaloo thinks she is less like Rainbow Dash than she thought, but she is actually even more like Rainbow Dash than she thought. Rainbow Dash has trembled with fear before too: remember how nervous she was about her performance in Sonic Rainboom, to the point where she secretly swapped numbers to delay the inevitable? Or how scared Rainbow Dash was of being seen as an egghead in Read It and Weep?

The further we get into this show, the more episodes we’ll have focusing on one Cutie Mark Crusader instead of all three.

Rarity and Applejack comfort their little sisters, but Rainbow Dash doesn’t do the same with Scootaloo. And to rub salt in the wound, it turns out Rainbow Dash snores very loudly, which is hypocritical given what she had asked from Scootaloo earlier. This is a relatable scene for anyone who has had to endure sleeping next to someone who snores loudly—I know I have. Putting aside snoring, it’s clear that part of why Scootaloo wished she had a big sister was so that she could have someone to protect her and tell her everything is going to be OK, and Rainbow Dash is failing to live up to that role.

And that’s when Scootaloo’s nightmares begin. They’re all based on Rainbow Dash’s story of the rusty horseshoe, and it’s clear that she was a little too good (which is to say, WAY too good) at telling scary stories. After a cameo of Princess Luna, hinting at a new role for her in the show (and that this is a dream), Scootaloo checks on Rainbow Dash only to find the scary rusty horseshoe pony in her place, then wakes up screaming. At this point, she views Rainbow Dash as a total disappointment of a big sister; someone who isn’t there for her in times of need.

Rainbow Dash: I don’t know about you, but I slept like a filly.
Scootaloo: Best night ever!
Rainbow Dash: Glad you’re rested up, because we’ve got a long trek ahead. Totally gonna be worth it when we get to Winson Falls.
Scootaloo: Yeah. Totally. (eye twitches)

I don’t think Rainbow Dash is unaware that she terrified Scootaloo with her stories; there’s no way she can’t see Scootaloo’s bloodshot eyes right now. Instead, I think Rainbow Dash is trying to avoid the truth that she’s not being a good big sister and keeping up the act that everything is fine, which is an extremely Rainbow Dash thing to do.

While carried in a luxurious chair, Rarity is horrified to realize that she’s displaying the slightest trace of sweat. I think this may be another indication that Rarity doesn’t go outside a lot and tends to lock herself inside while other ponies are focusing on outdoor seasonal events, like we saw a lot of in season 1. Yes, this is probably just a one-off gag, but overanalyzing one-off gags is so much fun!

Scootaloo goes ahead of the others with her scooter but falls asleep, and after a few slapstick sequences, she ends up back where she started and falls off her scooter. She’s very jumpy and panicky, but she tries to deny it and make up a bunch of lies, which is highly reminiscent of Rainbow Dash. While this episode at first seems to contrast Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo, it ultimately shows how much they are alike.

After more shaky nervousness and faltering lies, Rainbow Dash gets ready to tell a scary story, but Scootaloo interrupts.

Scootaloo: Hey, I have an idea! How about I tell tonight’s story?
Rainbow Dash: Alright. Just make sure it’s a horrible one.
Scootaloo: There once was a really, really nice pony who lived in a bright and sunny land, where there are rainbows every day, and lots and lots of happy friends and—
Rainbow Dash: No offense, but it’s not a real campfire story unless somepony’s shaking.

Scootaloo’s attempt at a nightmare quelling story feels like satire of what My Little Pony was like before this show. A lot of fans of this show (like myself) tend to dismiss the prior shows as probably just a bunch of hyper-girly sugar nonsense, and yet Scootaloo, one of the show’s most boyish characters, is genuinely trying to use this type of setting to cure her nightmares. It’s like the show is telling us that even its stuck-up male viewers deep down love the show’s heartfelt moments.

Rainbow Dash tells another spooky story, this time with Applejack stopping to point out a few inconsistencies and plot holes, and once more Scootaloo is terrified the most of the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Sweetie Belle then sings a parody of “99 bottles of beer on the wall” with buckets of oats instead, and while most of the ponies fall asleep, Scootaloo stays wide awake, suggesting that she will take anything no matter how inane to cool off her nightmares.

While the other ponies are about to sleep, Scootaloo keeps proposing a bunch of new activities for them to try, and Applejack realizes that Scootaloo doesn’t want to fall asleep. There’s a clear analogy here: by refusing to go to sleep, Scootaloo is refusing to face her fears head-on, even though she will eventually have to do so. While in real life, the science behind dreams is murky and eludes understanding, in just about any fictional media, dreams are loaded to the brim with metaphors and symbolism.

Scootaloo has another nightmare, this time where she’s chased by the headless horse, but then she has a face-to-face encounter with Princess Luna. I find those dream scenes where Luna appears incredibly cool and enthralling, and given how popular Luna is among fans, this is not an uncommon opinion.

Luna: I assure you that you are asleep. But when you wake, the thing that frightens you most will still exist.
Scootaloo: Uh… the headless horse?
Luna: Hmm… is the headless horse really what frightens you the most?
Scootaloo: Mm-mm.
Scootaloo: I’m afraid Rainbow Dash will find out I’m not as tough as she thinks I am.

Scootaloo is experiencing a common phenomenon where children perceive their seniors as completely fearless and confident, free of any insecurities. She sees only the best in Rainbow Dash, and that means she can’t process the idea that Rainbow Dash could possibly ever be insecure or doubt herself. She’s soon to learn otherwise, but her idolization of her newfound big sister will be sharper than ever.

Luna tells Scootaloo that everyone must face their fears in their own way, and shouts “face your fears” as the dream fades. Her seriousness on the topic of facing fears makes sense considering her millennium of banishment as Nightmare Moon and gradual return to Equestria’s society.

After waking up, Scootaloo initially misunderstands the dream, thinking that her fears will be solved if she finds the headless horse. This is believable because normally when you have a dream, your memory of it quickly fogs up after waking up; that’s just how dreams work. But then this happens…

… and then THIS happens:

This is where Rainbow Dash proves firsthand that she’s a dependable big sister after all. She loves and treasures her sleepy time, but she won’t hesitate to spring to action if someone’s life is at stake—especially an honorary family member.

And then comes the big reconciliation, where we see that Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo really are like sisters.

Scootaloo: (inhales and sighs)
Scootaloo: I’m so, so sorry, Rainbow Dash. I just wanted you to hang out with me and see how cool I was so you’d take me under your wing, teach me everything you, and become like my big sister! But then you started telling those spooky stories and I got scared.
Scootaloo: (pants) I thought I heard the headless hose, so I ran out here by myself and, well… (whimpers) I guess you know the rest.
Rainbow Dash: Hey. I’m gonna tell you something, but, if you ever tell anypony else… I’m gonna deny it.
Rainbow Dash: First time I heard those stories… I was scared too.

Let’s take a moment to unpack the way Rainbow Dash opens up to Scootaloo. While Rainbow Dash normally revels in the attention fans give her, she views Scootaloo as not just a fan, but also a sister. It’s very plausible that when Rainbow Dash was little, she kept excitedly telling her parents that she wished she had a little sister, but that never came to pass… perhaps due to some agreement between them that two children would be far too intensive to manage? Or that Rainbow Dash wouldn’t like it nearly as much if she had a little brother? In any case, for one reason or another, Rainbow Dash grew up without siblings, and Scootaloo is filling that void in her life.

It’s also worth noting that Rainbow Dash admits to Scootaloo that she tends to deny her fears and insecurities. It’s much like a brony telling his younger sibling that he adores MLP but would deny it if anyone else knew.

Scootaloo: (sniffs) You were?
Rainbow Dash: Sure! I mean, I got over it because I realized pretty quick that if there was such a thing as a headless horse, I could totally take it on.

The way Rainbow Dash got over her fears matches her character very well: she’s brave and action-oriented, and if she thinks about how to best approach a problem, she steps in without fear. A few more words of conversation lead to a hug that I insist you appreciate:

Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo being sisters is cuter the more I think of it.

Have you appreciated this hug yet??? If you have, let’s move on.

The catharsis after the hug is rather quick: Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo race against the other sister pairs to the top of Cloudsdale, and then in Scootaloo’s dream, Rainbow Dash gives the scary pony her rusty horseshoe, finally resolving those nightmares. A wink from Princess Luna ends this episode.

Overall thoughts:

What can I critique about this episode? Not much other than minor nitpicks or slightly weird pacing. This episode is a great way to start Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash’s sisterly relationship, first with a conflict that suggests contrast between them, then with a reconciliation that shows how like-minded they are. It’s also a joy to see Luna play a new narrative role that perfectly ties in with her night theming.

Grade: B

Season 3 is on quite a high streak so far!

Miscellaneous notes:

  • I’m obligated to mention that Rainbow Dash imitating Rarity reminds some viewers that before this show, the name “Rainbow Dash” was held by a fashionista pony who says “darling” a lot. Oh, how the times have changed.
  • While writing this review, I realized that all three Cutie Mark Crusaders have an episode focusing on their bad dreams where they talk to Luna. Scootaloo has Sleepless in Ponyville, Sweetie Belle has For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils, and Apple Bloom has Bloom & Gloom.

While Rainbow Dash spends most of this episode downplaying her own fears, the next one gives us a good hard look into her biggest fears and worries.

See you next week as I review an episode that reminds me of some of my most embarrassing childhood memories! And some other episode too.

>> Part 25: Wonderbolts Academy + Apple Family Reunion

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