My Little Pony has had a few instances of this before in the past. Like "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" or "Magical Mystery Cure," both episodes that seem like good ideas in your heads, but when watching the actual episodes you can't help but notice things to take issue with that reveal the episode didn't perhaps go as smoothly as hoped. Like "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" proved to have some flawed methodology in teaching a lesson, or how "Magical Mystery Cure" turned out to have losing pacing.
This isn't to say they aren't still good episodes in terms of entertainment, nor that there isn't any good to get out of them from watching them (I personally loved "The Mysterious Mare Do Well," for instance), but they are still episodes that, when you get right down to it, stand to be better.
And I feel this week's "Daring Don't" is one of those episodes.
More after the break.
Though, that being said, I was actually kind of hoping that instead of A.K. Yearling (in other words, the J.K. Rowling equivalent in the pony world) proving to be the for-real Daring Do, she'd prove to be another ordinary pony of close acquaintance to the Mane 6 in some shape or form, or at least for Rainbow, and having the ponies have to come with terms that this pony they had known was actually their favorite author. But that's just personal opinion, and yes, would've resulted in an entirely different plotline, so...I'm not going to be holding any sort of grudge or anything over that.
And anyway, this episode's plot idea was nonetheless intriguing.
Too bad it came out sort of...muddled.
The idea was obvious. Have Rainbow get teamed up with Daring Do, only to have her fangirling mess things up for everypony. Seems easy enough to do, right?
And, to be totally fair, they DID pull it off...just not clearly.
Part of the problem is that Daring is very anti-help in the first place, and is kind of shunning Rainbow to begin with, and because she's keeping Rainbow deliberately out of the loop, well of course Rainbow is going to mess things up, because she doesn't know the plan.
Which...really wasn't much of a plan to be honest. I mean, true to the adventurer style, Daring's probably just flying by the seat of her pants (well, if she wore pants, of course) and making up the plan as she goes along, and it works out, true but...it was all sort of vague. And really seemed to rely a LOT on both precision timing, which Daring really couldn't predict, AND on the Mane 6's participation...only Daring made it clear that was NOT planned. So...there are a few holes I could poke in that sketchy plan of Daring's, and there seem like it had WAY to much chance to fail horribly.
Then there's the presence of the rest of the Mane 6. This is probably the ONLY time you're going to see me say this, but...we actually probably could've stood to do without them for this episode. Save for disrupting the bad guy's (sorry, I'm not even going to TRY to spell his name) ceremony, a brief pep-talk that could've been handled by anypony, and a little comic relief, the only pony really needed is Rainbow. Rarity, Fluttershy, Applejack, and probably Pinkie, do not seem to be well versed in the Daring Do mythos and really just stand to one side and look on, not really knowing what else they can do. Twilight, of course, is well-versed in the mythos, but save for an argument with Rainbow and misgivings about Daring about wanting help (which she later retracts entirely anyway), she's barely even needed as well. And then the pep talk they give could've easily gone to somepony else, an extra even, if not permitted RD to give herself the pep-talk. I mean, it's not like they haven't done that sort of thing before, right? And RD felt like she was on the verge of making the same deductions herself, and I don't really think she really could've let herself sit back and do nothing after that point anyway. And them disrupting the ceremony wasn't especially needed; it just enabled things to go smoother. I could see it working just as well without that, if reworked a little. So the other mares all just kind of get in the way. I feel it would have been better if we had just left them out and stuck with Rainbow as the sole pony of focus...because she WAS the sole pony of focus. And anyway, I really wanted to see more screen time for just one-on-one with RD and Daring.
And then there's the fact that after setting up the scenario of Rainbow messing things up for Daring because she was too busy fangirling, they don't really feel like they resolve it. Basically all Rainbow does is to assist Daring speed up an escape from a trap that, as Daring herself said, she was already in the middle of handling rather okay herself...and suddenly they're good. All's forgiven. Best of buds now. But personally, that's not enough for me, because it seems clear Daring really COULD have handled everything on her own, and actually may have gotten through better had Rainbow not been there to get in the way...which kind of defeats the point of the whole episode, and seems to support Daring's stance on working alone being preferred, also not the intent of the episode. All Rainbow did was just speed things along and help lift a few heavy rings...not really enough to earn a major supporting role in the subsequent novel based upon the adventure in my opinion.
And speaking of Daring's books...if her life really was supposed to be kept all so secret "for the betterment of ponykind" or whatever...
...why the hay is she writing books based upon those adventures so perfectly that merely reading them gets you adequately up to date on Daring's regular affairs?
For that matter, do the princesses know anything about this?
Of course, that DOES lead me to make the obvious reference...
-- "We have top ponies working on it right now."
So yeah...all in all an okay episode. But not without a few wrinkles that could use some smoothing over.
Still, looking forward to the other episodes in season four yet to air...well not the "Power Ponies" one, but I'll wait and see it before I explain why, 'cuz they just might surprise me still. Guess we'll see.