MLP:FIM – Review – S4Ep21 – Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

Posted: April 6, 2014 in My Little Pony- Reviews


So… there’s rap?

Rainbow Dash is in a pickle, for some reason her course to get into the ‘Wonderbolts reserves’ involves a written test. Why? I don’t know! Plot contrivances and nonsense like this really take you out of a lot of immersion. At first I thought “hey, well there’s a written exam for a drivers license too!” Except that’s to learn the rules of the road, we aren’t aware of any rules within Pegasus flying… it’s about… history? So they explain this by saying she needs to know the history to represent the wonderbolts, instead of some crazy interesting and unique flying test, she needs to know the history…

Again, this is an ongoing gripe I have with this episode, which makes the first act pretty incomprehensibly dull. However, thankfully it picks up within the second act to make for some entertaining scenes involving the rest of the cast trying to teach RD their ways to study. It’s pretty obvious that this will lead up to her finding her “way” to study and acing the test, but I suppose the path to success is what makes this episode fairly solid.

Each character has their own unique way of studying, for example, Rarity thinks that learning through the way they dress is the easiest, and Pinkie thinks… rapping is the best way? I don’t know, that scene was pretty out of the blue and out of place. But it was quite funny, so i can let it slide.

There’s an understandable balance within these scenes that makes for entertaining dialogue. I’ll say it again, RD is perhaps the one consistently well written character in this show now, as she has developed the most “natural” personality within the show. She is no longer OVERLY cocky, and her tone is more lackadaisical and relaxed most of the time. What i mean is that out of all the characters, she’s the most… human?

She no longer has this niche that makes her “oh look, that’s who SHE is,” and while many may not like this, I find it much better. She’s not extremely loud and mostly abrasive like Pinkie, she isn’t switching between princess and nerd like Twilight, and just like the other character that has been getting positive changes (Applejack), she has a more human tone to her actions.

While she still has her ego, it’s much more tame and realistic, rather than “80’s school bully” bullshit that we sometimes saw within the previous seasons. It’s really great seeing her interact and change as the episodes progress, since this show, although more continues than SOME other animated programs, still tends to hit the ‘reset’ button at the end of every episodes with only brief callbacks to previous adventures and lessons. What i’m trying to say is that RD is the one character that has remained constantly changing.

The episode itself was saved by RD, since if it surrounded one of the other characters, it’d (in my opinion) be much too static and predictable. For example, Fluttershy would be shy, Rarity would be over dramatic, and Twilight would be far too into books. If this episodes conflict surrounded anyone BUT Rainbow Dash, i’m afraid it would have made the other characters be even less three dimensional and instead riff on their most notable traits.

Overall, although not perfect, the third act wrapped it up well, showing RD’s own style of studying, and having her ace the exam (as predicted). We are rounding out this season with fairly solid episodes, here’s hoping the finale won’t disappoint.

Grade: B

  1. shuriken95 says:

    Btw, if you want to know the direct reference the show was making with Pinkie’s rap (because that fedora wasn’t for nothing) then just watch this video:

    They even make an absolute nod to the 1:42 point of that video with her little dance.

    • narrator007 says:

      I think it’s more likely that that PSA guy was a bad imitation of someone else. Pinkie Pie’s comically large clock chain reminded me more of Flavor Flav.

      This song isn’t exactly representative of his style, but it was the only music video of his I could find on short notice.

  2. narrator007 says:

    Something that I really like about this episode is that it was the first instance, outside of the season premiere, to use Twilight’s class change in a way that is pivotal to the plot. The writers utilized her wings to have her interact with Rainbow Dash in ways that she could not have before, and even managed to integrate that aspect of the interaction into the resolution. This is exactly the kind of thing people were complaining that we weren’t seeing enough of, making use of the changes to Twilight’s character.

    I’m really surprised that nobody seems to have brought this up yet.

    • QuietPonder says:

      Didn’t realize that until now, so you get all credit for bringing it up.

      Kind of funny that this was the episode that Twilight was finally truly flying around yet Rainbow was sitting down a huge portion of it all. Need to do a timer or something of how long she’s sat in total.

    • mattstheman says:

      The problem with that is this, the more ‘right’ something is, the less people notice it. Since people could complain about this problem, they did. However, they couldn’t do that with this episode because it just fit perfectly and got kinda glossed over. What your saying is absolutely right and I, as well, did not notice but in a way that just proves how good the show is getting with this sort of stuff.
      Well that’s my opinion anyway.

    • Honestly, correcting a mistake isn’t worthy of a compliment, i wouldn’t think. It’s like “lets give her wings, then not use them”, ok, that’s a mistake, one that is endlessly being pointed out by everything. By having them use her wings it’s less like “wooow, great!” and more like “well it’s about god damn time…”

      • Matt Swales says:

        I don’t think, or at least I, personally, don’t feel as though we’re going “oh my god the show’s doing everything we asked right away, OH MY GOD” to me it’s more like a realization that the show is finally starting to do something with these wings instead of “ooooooooooooh, PRINCESS Twilight”. Yes it’s happened about 20 episodes too late but I guess it would be more insufferable if they waited till next season – if there will be one at that.

      • narrator007 says:

        I might be more inclined to agree with your attitude on this issue Awkward, if Twilight’s alicornhood were one of the writers’ own ideas. But because it was an idea forced upon them by the ones footing the bill for the show, I would not automatically expect them to build upon the continuity of this foreign idea. To the contrary, I feel it is praiseworthy for them to make efforts to incorporate the mandated change into future episodes in a meaningful way, even if only occasionally.

        Again, if this were a case of the writers ignoring their own continuity, such as Pinkie’s behavior in Filli Vanilli (just two episodes after Pinkie Pride), I would probably feel completely differently.

        • Well then i’m sort of confused. If this was the case then i’d be even more frustrated with the writers for being SO immature about the show they are writing for. I mean… i get it, they got the shit end of the stick, doesn’t mean they have to completely ignore an aspect, which therefore makes it WORSE for the show in general.

          I never really praised this show for it’s continuity, shows like Adventure Time have bigger worlds, more characters, absolutely stunning continuity, and impeccably written characters. I’d like to think MLP:FIM’s writers would just embrace this shit end of the stick and actually try to do something with it.

          Especially with this upcoming finale, where i’m sure they’ll try their best (since clearly it wasn’t their idea, it was Hasbro’s), and then what? Ignore whatever developments occurred while the fifth season is running like some seven year old prepubescent girls, only to give a slight nod to this in the twenty-something’th episode and have countless people praise them for their continuity?

          This behavior is pretty terrible for a writing staff.

          • desertambition says:

            Actually Awkward, I think you are being a bit too cynical about this. Adventure Time is good-not impeccable. Your comment about the history thing also doesn’t make any sense. The Wonderbolts are essentially the equivelant of the United States Navy flight demonstration team, known as the Blue Angels. To join the Navy, or any part of the army you need to pass a history exam. Since they are part of the military wouldn’t it make sense for them to take military tests? That was an uninformed and rather useless gripe.

  3. MLP 222 says:

    Just curious, when are you going to post the Leap of Faith review?

    I agree with you about Rainbow Dash being the character who has gone through the most positive character development.

  4. Did you just stopped making Reviews on this Website.

  5. indyjon3s says:

    Bye, Awkward. You’ll be missed.

  6. AwkwardFan says:

    No 😥 , he deleted his youtube account. I loved watching those mlp commentaries. You will be missed awkward. Thanks for the good times, I will never forget them.

    Forever Your Fan, ~AwkwardFan

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