I’m going to have fun with this TL; DR. If “Read it and Weep” was “Raiders of the Lost Arc”, then “Daring Don’t” is definitely more “Temple of Doom”. Good thing there is not a trace of “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” here. And if you want to figure out my analogy please keep on reading.
The episode starts with Rainbow Dash losing her mind because the newest book of the Daring Do series is yet to be released, and it’s four months before it arrives. It doesn’t help ease her anxiety when, while visiting Twilight to share her enthusiasm, she is informed that the book’s release date has been pushed by two months. I am not a fan of Valve or Half-Life 3, but I’m pretty sure a lot of Bronies were chuckling when they saw this scene. Getting release dates pushed is like increasing the level of torture in that device from “The Princess Bride”. Rainbow Dash then does what every normal fangirl would do in a situation like this: Panic. She thinks A.K. Yearling, author of the books, is experiencing writer’s block and so she decides to grab her friends and go help her!
|She discovered that the "Fire, fire, fire!" technique didn't work all that well.|
|Seriously, this part is comedy gold.|
|Yeowch! You kitten-punching pegasus bitch!|
|She paid for the book in snuggles.|
|Mmm, your mane smells like the back of a postage stamp.|
However, this episode is not completely flawless.
First of all I think I should thank Dave Polsky for answering my questions and doing a very interesting AMA during the episode premiere and afterwards. It showed that he cares for his work and how we will perceive it, and it shows that his heart is in the right place, but this
episode is not absent of some big problems.
|I shan't be blinded by the shinnies.|
For example, all the established plot points are never addressed again. Fluttershy and her birds? Never addressed again. Pinkie Pie’s holiday part? Never addressed again. The three guys that get inside A.K. Yearling’s house? Never addressed again. That weapon of mass destruction? Never addressed again. And that mysterious book out of which she takes the ring? Yepp, never addressed again, which by the way it kind of pisses me off. This is two Dave Polsky scripted episodes where we have had a book being mysterious and holding a plot McGuffin and they haven’t been explained!
Also, the episode’s structure is very wonky. I already
mentioned how it keeps you guessing until the end, so once everything is
wrapped up I was still wondering if what happened was real or not. I will
admit, this is something that can go away after several viewings, but first
impressions are very important and this episode only had the chance to make
one, and this one is that the structure is not very good.
|Suck it Frodo, mine's bigger.|
|I'll show you structure-! Ouch, I hurt my narrative.|
|I am not a princess, piss off!|
|"Weee, I have a total disregard of my own safety! I'm a Princess, LOL!"|
|Aside from showing ponies doing the spread-eagle.|
|Fed-Ex is refusing to ship your package, Dash. Stop insisting.|
I wasn’t seeing all this when I was watching the episode though, but I gave it time and thought and came up to that conclusion. This shows exactly why I think those involved had their hearts in the right place.
But enough beating around the bush, is the episode good or is it bad? Well, the episode’s quality, and whether you liked it or not, depends on how hard the issues I already brought up damage your suspension of disbelief. My suspension of disbelief is plot-hole proof, and nitpicky proof so, despite all these problems, I can safely say I still enjoyed the episode. It has good comedy in it, good writing, good dialogue, the characters stay in-character, the action is very thrilling, and I can still appreciate the artistry in the production design and the effort in creating a fun and adventure-esche atmosphere. I can take all these things with me and have fun with them, despite having the major problems stare at me directly in the face.
It’s just like in “Temple
of Doom”, my favourite Indiana Jones movie. Is it perfect? No. Does it have
a lot of weaknesses? A lot. Can it be compared to the original? Oh, hell no. Is
it fun, enjoyable, has good characters, great action scenes and an undying
sense of adventure and peril? Hell, fucking, yes. This is going to be one of
the most memorable My Little Pony episodes of the season, and for bad or for good we will always remember when the fiction within the fiction became reality.
|Yes, my fanfic is finally complete! Now lets see if those smug-faces of Daring Daily publish it.|
- Defining Moment: Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash engage in a battle for the ages, to find out who is the biggest Daring Do nerd.
- Moral: Just because you think the feats of your heroes are big doesn’t mean your own feats are insignificant.