Recap: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S2 E16 "Read It and Weep"
Written by Cindy Morrow
Twilight Sparkle finds Pinkie Pie and Rarity watching Rainbow Dash performing a new stunt flying routine. The girls are impressed... but less so, and even a little worried, when Rainbow Dash suddenly crashes.
Rainbow Dash awakens in the hospital, with her concerned friends huddling around her bed and one wing in bandages. Sentenced to a few days' bed rest, Dash is convinced she'll be bored to tears with nothing to do and nopony to talk to except her room-mate, who's in a full-body cast and obviously not the best conversationalist. This gives Twilight the idea to pluck a book from a passing book cart, and recommend it to Rainbow Dash. Despite all her friends insisting that she'll enjoy the adventurous tale of Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Statue
and that reading is something anypony can enjoy
, Dash refuses to give the book a try.
No thanks! I so
don't read. I'm a world-class athlete! Reading's for egg-heads like you, Twilight... no offense, but
I am not
reading. It's undeniably, unquestionably uncool
After her friends leave, however, the tedium of her hospital stay quickly gets to Rainbow Dash, and she starts reading. She's quick to identify with the adventurous Pegasus protagonist, and is taken in by the description of Daring Do's escape from a pack of ferocious wild cats.
I would hate to admit it to myself, and I would really
hate to admit it to my friends, but... I love this story! I love reading! ...I'm an egghead
Dash reads on about Daring Do navigating the many traps of an ancient temple, and finding the treasure she's been seeking, the titular Sapphire Statue... only to be pulled back into reality by the arrival of Twilight and Fluttershy, who've brought her favorite board game and offer to play it. Rainbow Dash agrees to play, but ends up throwing the game in order to get it over with as soon as possible so she can go back to reading her book without
revealing to her friends that she's into reading after all.
Daring Do manages to navigate the traps guarding the treasure, and snatches it from its pedestal... only to set off another big trap that causes the room to fill with lava! She manages to escape by climbing to a hole in the roof using collapsing pillars, but just when she thinks she's in the clear she's confronted by the evil Ahuizotl, who also has designs on the statue... and Pinkie Pie's voice?
No, it's just Dash being interrupted by her friends again, this time by Pinkie, Applejack and Rarity. Fortunately, it's also dinner time, and Dash manages to drive them off with her messy eating so she can get back to the story.
Daring Do puts up a brave fight against Ahuizotl and his feline minions but is captured and tied to an ancient death trap
: spiked walls closing in, spiders, snakes, and sand flooding the room for good measure. Unfortunately, Dash gets interrupted again, this time by the doctor. Not only has Rainbow Dash been up all night reading her book, she's being discharged from the hospital soon — right now, in fact.
Desperate to see how the cliffhanger is resolved, but equally desperate to keep her new love of reading a secret, Rainbow Dash tries to get back into the hospital by playing sick. When that doesn't work, she dresses up in a black cat-suit and sneaks into the hospital, slipping under the bed of her former hospital room (which is occupied by a new patient). She manages to find the book, but before she can get to reading the hospital staff is alerted to her presence!
A frantic - and eerily familiar
- chase ensues, which ends when Rainbow Dash is cornered outside Twilight's library. Confronted by the hospital staff and her friends, Rainbow Dash is forced to admit that she had enjoyed the book after all and needed to know how it ended.
Wow... I knew the book was good, but I didn't know it could drive a pony to petty theft. Rainbow Dash:
"Good"? Try "awesomely amazing"! That book is undeniably, unquestionably un-put-down-able
Fortunately, Twilight is willing to loan Rainbow Dash her copy of the book, along with the other books in the Daring Do
series. Rainbow Dash admits she's learned that you shouldn't knock something until you've tried it, and that you shouldn't be ashamed of your interests... though she's too busy rushing off to finish Quest for the Sapphire Statue
to really put it into the form of a letter to Princess Celestia.
Dash finally finishes her story, reading how Daring Do manages to escape the death trap through judicious use of her explorer hat, then snatch the Sapphire Statue out of the paws of the evil Ahuizotl and escape. Which means now Rainbow Dash is free to start the next book in the series, Daring Do and the Griffon's Goblet
The Daring Do
has an actual page on here now!
Tropes present in this episode (YMMV tropes can be found here):
- A bored Rainbow Dash bounces a ball like Steve McQueen's in The Great Escape.
- Pinkie Pie wonders if Dash gained spider powers from crashing. The doctor then states she did not, nor did she gain healing powers.
- Pinkie's earlier reaction before Dash crashed? Alpha 5 would be proud.
- The game Twilight and Fluttershy bring for Rainbow is pretty much Battleship (also a Hasbro-owned property) with a Pegasus-appropriate theme.
- When Rainbow Dash first starts reading the book, the musical cue and narration echo Bastian's first look into The Neverending Story.
- Also, this episode is about a pony named Rainbow discovering the joys of reading.
- Applejack says the food in the hospital is "hoof-lickin' good", arguably a reference to a long-time slogan of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
- Sickening Crunch: The noise that Rainbow Dash's wing makes when it snaps again is quite cringe-worthy.
- Sick Episode: Broken-wing episode.
- Sidetracked by the Analogy: Pinkie Pie doesn't think her head is shaped like an egg. More like an apple, or an orange — but a really big orange! Or more of a grapefruit, maybe...
- Sounding It Out: Rainbow Dash being unused to books, she apparently needs to read out loud.
- Spy Cat Suit: Rainbow Dash dresses in one to sneak into the hospital and finish the book.
- Stealth Pun
- What does the mentally ill pony have for a cutie mark? A screw. A single screw. In other words, a "loose screw". She's also quite literally barking mad.
- Dash is literally reading "tales of derring-do" (stories in which the title character's name is Daring Do).
- Her "blowing out" the lantern, which consists of trapped fireflies.
- The aesop, "Don't knock it 'til you try it", is another way of saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover."
- Stock Parodies: The sneaky thieving bit.
- Stock Femur Bone: The X-Ray of Rainbow Dash's wing.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Rainbow Dash denies wanting to read the Daring Do books when Twilight says "do", even though she wasn't even talking about the books.
- Take Our Word for It: We see none of the dazzling, daredevil flying tricks Rainbow Dash was performing at the start of episode save for a single loop-the-loop, nor her apparently horrific crash at the end. Probably wise, because it would have to be pretty horrific to be worse than everything that's happened to Dash on-screen so far.
- Time-Compression Montage
- The whole episode is pretty much a giant montage, as time passes extremely quickly between transitions of Rainbow reading the book and events outside of the story.
- Subverted with Dash's Boredom Montage; the montage ends up taking up the same amount of time in-universe as it did on the screen (about 60 seconds).
- Twisted Wing: The reason Rainbow Dash was running instead of flying, making it possible for the ponies to catch up to her.
- Unmanly Secret: Rainbow Dash feels that nobody can know that she, being the sportish flying pony that she is, likes something egg-head like such as reading and she goes to increasingly elaborate lengths both to hide it and to get her book back.
- Urgent Medical Alert: The "she's stealing my slippers!" alarm brings the entire hospital staff (and one mental patient) running.
- Vocal Dissonance
- Played for laughs. Pinkie Pie greets Rainbow Dash just when she first reads about Ahuizotl, causing the character to temporarily speak with her voice.
- And later we discover that the attack dogs we kept hearing during Rainbow Dash's chase scene were just the barks of a mentally disturbed mare who used the confusion to leave the hospital.
- Waking Up Elsewhere: Rainbow Dash awakens in the hospital after her accident.
The Book Within the Show Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Stone provides examples of the following tropes:
Note: For an in-universe trope page of the series, click here
- Abnormal Ammo: One death trap that Daring evades are ravaging crocodiles — from the ceiling.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Daring Do braves a jungle and a temple of doom and a Bond Villain to find a priceless artifact. No wonder Rainbow Dash fangirls her.
- Animal Assassin: Spiders and cobras are part of the Death Trap.
- Arrow Outline: One trap triggers a volley of arrows that form the shape of a pegasus pony on the opposite wall.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Daring Do is attacked by a cheetah, a panther, a tiger, a lynx, and an adorable pussycat.
- Aztec Mythology: You might think the villain Ahuizotl was made up for the episode, you'd be wrong
- Big "NO!": Ahuizotl lets one out after Daring Do steals the Sapphire Statuette away from him.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Ahuizotl captures his nemesis and puts her in a Death Trap.
- Booby Trap: Of course, being an Indiana Jones parody, this includes...
- Character Name and the Noun Phrase: The pattern for the titles of the Daring Do books.
- Cliché Storm: The book is an in-universe example, condensing every Adventurer Archaeologist cliché into a few minutes and boasting a more generically extremely clichéd villain.
- Convection Schmonvection: Daring Do's escape from a room filling with lava, at one point with her standing inches above it (bare-hooved, even), without harm. She even gets a face-full of steam with no ill effects.
- Covers Always Lie: In-Universe. The scene on the cover of Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Statue never occurs. Also, the title appears to read Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Stone, as this is what Rainbow Dash calls the book when she's holding it (near the end of the episode, she says "statue" instead of "stone"). The MacGuffin in the book is most definitely a statue, not a stone.
- Death Course: Daring Do goes through two of them one after another, but only one is ever shown on-screen.
- Death Trap: Ahuizotl puts Daring Do in one after he captures her, instead of just having his animals just maul her to death. Then again, it was a really, really good death trap.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Daring-Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Stone is a tautology. "Sapphire" already means "dark blue precious stone". Unless it's the adjective sapphire, which just means "dark blue".
- Evil Is Hammy: Ahuizotl loves to gloat and then shout how his heroine nemesis has foiled him.
- Eyes Do Not Belong There: Ahuizotl's eyes are a little too close to his nose. Or, if you compare his head to a canine's, he has eyes where his nostrils should be (with his real, small nose crammed between them).
- Failed a Spot Check: The book opens with Daring Do "surrounded by the sounds of predators", upon which one particularly nasty-looking cat appears RIGHT IN HER FACE.
- Handicapped Badass: Daring Do spends the whole story with a damaged wing, unable to fly.
- Homage: Daring Do and her whole adventure is a pony version of Indiana Jones. The story Rainbow Dash reads includes references to the "step on the right tiles" puzzle from Last Crusade followed by a gesture-by-gesture recreation of his stealing the idol from the opening of Raiders.
- Improbable Weapon User: One of Ahuizotl's cats is holding a mace as they corner Daring Do.
- In Medias Res: The book Rainbow Dash reads is supposed to be the first one in the Daring Do series. It begins with her as an already established adventurer, in the middle of an adventure, and talks about her nemesis as if the reader should already be familiar with him.
- Indy Hat Roll: A variation, as Daring doesn't have to rescue her hat.
- Irony: Ahuizotl (who, as in Aztec Mythology, is dog-like) surrounds himself with cats, and even has a cat whistle.
- Large Ham: Ahuizotl has a presence as big as Rainbow Dash's ego.
- Long Runner: Assuming that giant stack in the final scene is completely made up of this series. It's enough to induce Archive Panic by proxy.
- MacGuffin: The Sapphire Stone/Statue. Apparently Ahuizotl wants it as part of his plan to take over the world, but it's far from clear how.
- MacGuffin Delivery Service: In true Indiana Jones fashion, Ahuizotl captures Daring Do and steals the Sapphire MacGuffin as soon as she escapes from the temple with it.
- Mayincatec: The architectural style of the temple where the Sapphire Statue is kept. (However, the statue itself looks like a two-headed Anubis.)
- Meaningful Echo: The story Rainbow Dash reads starts out exactly the same way as the episode itself, with Daring Do injuring her wing in a crash landing and unable to fly for a few days.
Rainbow Dash/Daring Do: A few days? It might as well be a few months, or a few years...
- Meaningful Name: Daring Do (derring-do, being a word for heroic escapades) is a perfect description of what said character does.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Parodied — a lynx, a panther, a cheetah, a tiger, and an adorable putty tat all chase Daring Do through the Equestrian analogue of the South-American jungle. Possibly justified as they're actually Ahuizotl's henchmen.
- Nice Hat: Which turns out to be a useful tool as well, thus making it even nicer.
- Mythology Upgrade: Ahuizotl goes from being a mindless predator to a Bond villain. Then again, considering his Bond Villain Stupidity, it might be a downgrade.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: God knows how an ancient being of vaguely Mesoamerican background would speak, but it's probably not with a phony-baloney Hispanic/Transylvanian vampire accent.
- Oh, No... Not Again!: Daring Do says "Uhhh, not again." when Ahuizotl flips a switch and leaves her tied up in a Death Trap.
- Palette Swap: Daring Do is a palette-swapped Rainbow Dash; specifically, a yellow coat, gray-scale mane, different eye color, and a different cutie mark. Probably, this was done to highlight the similarties between them, as Twilight notes.
Twilight Sparkle: I think you'd like Daring — she's a lot like you!
- Also, one of the times Rainbow Dash is drawn out of the story, the background fades into the hospital room, and an actual color morph from Daring Do to Rainbow Dash occurs.
- Panthera Awesome: Ahuizotl employs a pack of them, including a tiger, a panther, a cheetah, a lynx, and an adorable little white kitty cat.
- Pinball Projectile: Daring Do's safari hat when she launches it to release the lever in the deathtrap is one of these.
- Pressure Plate: All over the Temple of Doom, naturally.
- Raiders of the Lost Parody: Obvious Indiana Jones parody but a weird example in that Rainbow Dash (and Twilight) think it's awesome.
- Red Herring: Admit it: you were expecting the giant boulder when the idol stealing scene started.
- Retraux: The whole Indiana Jones motif is furthered by utilization of film grain and color fading, to make it look like it's being played by a film projector. Additionally, the 2.35:1 aspect ratio is emulated with letter-boxing.
- Right-Hand Cat: The fluffy white kitten from earlier in the episode, to Ahuizotl.
- Say My Name: "CURSE YOU DARING-DOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"
- Show Within a Show: Daring Do is a book series in Friendship is Magic.
- Ahuizotl and his little white cat to the James Bond villain Blofeld.
- At the end of the episode, Dash begins reading the second book in the Daring Do series. Its title? The Griffin's Goblet. Also worth noting that this is the sequel to The Sapphire Stone.
- The way Daring Do escapes from the deathtrap might be a shout out to Xena: Warrior Princess.
- After Daring clears the picture-tile trap, the music briefly sounds like something out of The Legend of Zelda.
- When Daring Do stumbles across the temple, and later when first walking into it, the music is reminiscent of Aladdin. Also, the temple itself has jewels for eyes, a gaping maw for an entrance, and disturbing the treasure inside leads to the floor crumbling into lava.
- Stock Parodies: Indiana Jones, of course.
- Perhaps even a parody of a parody, as Daring-Do's method of "carefully" retrieving the Stone are about as, er, meticulous as when "Weird Al" Yankovic does it in his stock Indiana Jones' parody in the film UHF.
- Sudden Name Change: When the book first appears, it's explicitly name-dropped as "Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Stone". When Dash first begins to read it, it's suddenly "Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Statue" and remains as such for the rest of the episode (though the cover still says "Stone").
- Temple of Doom: The ancient looking temple with the sapphire stone and the death traps.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Ahuizotl traps Daring Do in a room with closing spike walls, poisonous spiders, and cobras. All while the room is filling with quicksand.
- Two-Fisted Tales: If the "Quest for the Sapphire Statue" is any indication, the Daring Do series of books would fall under this genre.
- Visual Pun: The cat whistle. Would that make it a cat-call?
- Weight And Switch: Spoofed when Daring Do makes a big show of preparing for it then just grabbing the idol off the platform.
Rainbow Dash:: And so, with Ahuizotl defeated and the Sapphire Statue secured, the world was safe and sound once again. Thanks to Daring Do!
[set book aside, picks up another]
Rainbow Dash: Daring Do and the Griffon's Goblet... Awesome! /)^3^(\