Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S6 E7 "Newbie Dash"

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Altius Volantis — Soaring Higher!

Story by Dave Polksy and Dave Rapp
Written by Dave Rapp

Rainbow Dash is set to help the Wonderbolts as part of the Wonderbolts Reserves, happily telling Scootaloo that she's looking forward to it. Just then, Spitfire flies down from above to inform Rainbow Dash that a spot opened up on the team. As such, not only will Dash be flying with the Wonderbolts, she's now an official member. Rainbow ecstatically prepares to head off to Wonderbolts HQ, where Spitfire starts introducing her to the rules and regulations. Rainbow enthusiastically puts on a Wonderbolt uniform, preparing to make a good first impression. But, as she leaves the barracks, she forgets to check for other flyers as they come down the runway. Rainbow leaps out of the way, but smashes headfirst into a garbage can. The other Wonderbolts immediately saddle her with the nickname "Rainbow Crash," the same nickname that Rainbow was bullied with in flight school.

Throughout practice for the show, the other Wonderbolts continue to refer to Rainbow Dash as "Rainbow Crash," breaking Dash's concentration and causing her to mess up the routine. Afterwards, Rainbow is saddled with cleaning the entire compound by herself, since she was the worst flyer that day. Rainbow, dejected that her first day went so badly, heads home to a surprise party thrown by the Mane Six and the Cutie Mark Crusaders. While she reveals what happened, the Mane Six encourage Rainbow Dash not to let a bad first day sour her whole time with the Wonderbolts, and to think of them like the Mane Six; a team. Rainbow takes this advice, but starts applying traits of the rest of her friends around the Wonderbolts instead of trying to be herself. The Wonderbolts all find this behavior strange or annoying, and continue to refer to her as "Rainbow Crash," even embroidering a patch with "Rainbow Crash" into a Wonderbolt jacket for her. Rainbow takes this badly, thinking she needs to do something unforgettable in the routine at the show, or else be stuck with her nickname forever.

Before the show begins, Rainbow Dash takes Scootaloo aside, telling her to kick a storm cloud in Dash's way at just the right time, letting Rainbow fly through a thunderbolt for a grand entrance. As the show begins, Pinkie Pie gets cotton candy while the Wonderbolts, Dash included, perform their aerial stunts. The routine goes well until the end, where Dash breaks formation to head towards the thundercloud. However, Dash misjudges the distance, and ends up spectacularly crashing, including smashing through Pinkie's cotton candy. After Dash is patched up, Spitfire incredulously demands to know why Dash broke formation. Rainbow admits that she's caused nothing but trouble, and says that maybe she's not Wonderbolt material after all. Soarin counters that she's a great flyer with Fleetfoot adding on how Rainbow has saved Equestria repeatedly, and the Wonderbolts admit that all of them have embarrassing nicknames, many from a terrible experience on their first day. However, Spitfire says that she needs to learn how to act as part of a team without being a showoff. Spitfire lets Rainbow Dash stay in the Wonderbolts... but, as punishment for breaking formation, Rainbow is on cleaning duty probation for a month.

That night, as Rainbow cleans up the show grounds by herself, the Mane Six and CMC come over to try and console her, only to find that she's in a good mood. After all, Dash says, now she's a Wonderbolt.


Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: Starlight Glimmer, despite her ignorance of the Wonderbolts coming up in the last episode, is mysteriously absent from the episode.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In Dash's flashback to flight school, even the teacher can't resist a chuckle at the name "Rainbow Crash".
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Dash's imitation of Pinkie Pie is named "Dynamic Dash".
  • Adults Are Useless: Rainbow Dash's flight school teacher not only allowed the other foals to bully her — she actually laughed along.
  • An Aesop:
    • Actually achieving your dreams will never be exactly as you envisioned it. It won't be perfect, but focus on the positive and be thankful for what you have achieved.
    • If you make a mistake and others make fun, just learn from your mistake and move on. Don't let the incident personally affect you so that you try to compensate, or you'll just make things worse.
    • Being a part of a team means doing your job, not standing out.
  • All Animals Are Dogs:
    • Rainbow Dash whimpers as she's being berated by Spitfire after her first crash. After her "Dynamic Dash" impersonation she pants like a dog, complete with her tongue lolling out of her mouth.
    • Spitfire gives a distinctly canine-esque growl when Dash is doing her "Care-Mare" impersonation.
  • All There in the Script: The Wonderbolt with the white coat and yellow mane is named "Wonderbolt 1" in the credits, though she had previously been given the name "Surprise" in the merchandise. The Wonderbolt with the fan nickname "High Winds" is still unnamed and credited as "Wonderbolt 2".
  • Appropriated Appellation: Invoked within the Wonderbolts, who all wear the embarrassing nicknames they earned as newbies on their flight jackets with pride.
  • Break the Haughty: Rainbow Dash thinks impressing the Wonderbolt squadron will be easy. After making bad impression after bad impression, she realizes how wrong she was.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Aside from their mannerisms, Rainbow Dash also imitates her friends' vocal characteristics in front of the Wonderbolts. Bonus points when she imitates Applejack's Texan drawl as both ponies are voiced by Ashleigh Ball.
  • Call-Back: Fluttershy mention Dash's flight camp days after Dash tells them of her nickname.
  • Captain Crash: Rainbow gets the "crash" title by jumping out of the way of some other fliers into a trash can, and her apprehension about her nickname causes her to lose focus and crash in a routine. Fleetfoot and Soarin's nicknames of "Flatfoot" and "Clipper" were earned from similar incidents on their first days as Wonderbolts.
  • Captain Obvious: Rainbow Dash's brief imitations of Applejack and Twilight Sparkle are met with this kind of response.
    Spitfire: [yelling through a bullhorn at "Reading Rainboom"] We all know how wings work, newbie!
  • Chilly Reception: Rainbow Dash eventually learns that the harsh treatment and Embarrassing Nickname she receives from the Wonderbolts are something all the others have gone through and gotten used to. She just needs to do the same now.
  • Clueless Aesop: The adult and controversial concepts of rookie hazing, embarrassing nicknames, and insults as an expression of camaraderie are tackled in a TV-Y show centered around the magic of friendship. It's just as questionable and awkward as one would expect.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Rainbow's friends tell her to think of the Wonderbolts like the rest of them, the six of them are all a team but stand out in their own unique way. Rainbow takes this as standing out from the others by acting like her friends.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Rainbow still remembers all the Wonderbolt history she had to study up on for her Reserves exam.
    • Spitfire reminds Rainbow Dash that she has drummed flyers out of the Wonderbolts for less trouble than Rainbow caused.
    • Scootaloo is still running the Rainbow Dash Fan Club.
    • For the third time, Rainbow is called "Rainbow Crash".
  • Contrived Coincidence: Rainbow ends up in a trash can on her first day as a Wonderbolt, with a flashback showing that she ended up in the exact same position during her first day in flight school.
  • Cool Shades: Discussed by Rainbow Dash, who ponders whether she would stand out more by wearing sunglasses or not.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Rarity covers Sweetie Belle's eyes with her hoof during Rainbow Dash's spectacular crash.
  • Cringe Comedy: Rainbow Dash doing impressions of her friends to try to get a new nickname can be either hilarious or just embarrassing. Seeing as the Wonderbolts react poorly to it, they may agree with the latter.
  • Dénouement: This episode brings an end to the series-long arc of Rainbow Dash becoming a full-fledged Wonderbolt, opening with her officially getting a position.
  • Disaster Dominoes: In an effort to clear herself of the nickname, Dash tries to move a rain cloud float into the Wonderbolts' path so she can save them. It backfires and she winds up breaking formation and crashing into a number of objects, including said rain cloud, before finally landing in giant cotton candy and carving a trench in the ground when she crashes, earning an angry reaction from Spitfire for her rule-breaking and hot-dogging.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Averted. The many times Rainbow Dash has helped save Equestria is cited as a reason why the Wonderbolts bumped her up to the top of the reserve list.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: The main conflict of the episode is Rainbow Dash getting one of these on her first day as Wonderbolt and being unable to shake it off — "Rainbow Crash", which was also her nickname in flight school, and brings back some painful memories. She finally gets over it when several of the the other Wonderbolts admit they have their own, such as "Clipper" (Soarin, who clipped his wing on his first day), "Flatfoot" (Fleetfoot, who accidentally landed on Spitfire's hoof), "Daisy" (Misty Fly), "Slowpoke" (Surprise), and "Hoof-in-Mouth" (High Winds). Even Spitfire has one, but it's so terrible that only Rainbow Dash gets to hear it.
  • Epic Fail: Not only does Rainbow Crash fail to impress anypony with her storm cloud stunt, she also puts other ponies in danger and gives Spitfire an opportunity to "tease [her] for years about this catastrophe".
  • Expressive Hair: When Rainbow imitates her friends, her front mane takes the shape of the style they each have. All except Twilight, that is (even though Dash already imitated Twilight's mane before).
  • Eye Cam: Soarin waking up to see Rainbow Dash (in Pinkie Pie mode) is seen from his viewpoint, with eyelid opening and momentarily blurry vision.
  • Failed a Spot Check: What starts all the trouble. Rainbow is so excited to be walking around in a Wonderbolts uniform that she forgets the very first rule of the place, to always check that no one is using the runway before you cross.
  • Fangirl: Scootaloo, as usual. Rainbow saying that she only really expected to be doing crowd control or something does little to deter her enthusiasm.
  • Feather Fingers: Pegasi use the feathers of their wings to hold things quite often in this episode. The X-Ray Sparks scene actually shows they do have bones in them, in the form of four finger-like structures stretching from the shoulder all the way to the wingtips.
  • Flanderization: Soarin's backstory is a retroactive example. His first major appearance after "The Best Night Ever" had him clipping his wing in "Rainbow Falls"; the incident that earned him his nickname makes this an establishing character trait.
  • Flashback: After the Wonderbolts start calling her "Rainbow Crash", Dash flashes back to her flight camp days and how she gained that nickname, in a similar incident where she crashed in a trash can.
  • Foreshadowing: When explaining that all Wonderbolts have their nicknames on their jackets, Spitfire addresses Soarin as "Clipper", setting up the reveal that all the Bolts have gone through what Dash is going through.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: As seen during the X-Ray Sparks, Rainbow Dash has a cloud-shaped bone above the pelvis.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: During the Wonderbolts' training montage, their raincloud-and-bolt logo is used to wipe the screen for transitions.
  • I Meant to Do That: Rainbow Dash tries to pretend she was just testing the other Wonderbolts by not looking left and right before crossing the runway. None of them are fooled.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • Pinkie's comments about Rainbow Dash's "Crash" nickname don't help the situation.
      Pinkie Pie: Well look on the bright side, at least they didn't call you "Rainbow Trash"!
    • The "Crash" nickname, which the Wonderbolts don't see as a big deal (having their own embarrassing nicknames themselves), is very hurtful for Rainbow, as it was used as an insult from the bullies in Flight Camp.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": The Wonderbolts eventually admit to Rainbow Dash that they're just as excited to have her join them as she is, with Soarin saying "you're the most talented flier we've ever had", Fleetfoot acknowledging how many times Dash and her friends have saved all of Equestria, and Spitfire saying the Bolts have been eagerly anticipating an opening for Dash to join.
  • Mark of Shame: Downplayed. Spitfire shows Dash her very own flight jacket with an embarrassing badge alluding to her "Rainbow Crash" nickname. This isn't to disgrace her, though, just a reminder to never forget, similar to the other Wonderbolts when they got their embarrassing nicknames. Rainbow, however, sees it played straight.
  • Mythology Gag: When Rainbow Dash imitates Rarity, her voice and mannerisms are similar to her previous generation's incarnation.
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe, Rainbow Dash's big motivation for trying to remove her Embarrassing Nickname.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The promo clip released online showed Rainbow Dash's Epic Fail of a stunt involving a thundercloud and her crashing into cotton candy, suggesting that it was the bad first impression she made with the Wonderbolts. In actuality, this scene takes place near the end of the episode, and is the ultimate attempt by Dash to remedy the reputation she had already earned much earlier.
  • Nom de Guerre: The Wonderbolts' newbie nicknames become their call signs.
  • Noodle Incident: Spitfire's reason for her Embarrassing Nickname (and the nickname itself) is not divulged to the audience.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: After five whole seasons and six episodes, Rainbow Dash is now officially a Wonderbolt, achieving the goal she's sought out since the very first episode.
  • Not So Different: As it turns out in the end, each of the Wonderbolts have their own Embarrassing Nickname. Spitfire's is apparently so embarrassing that she only whispers it into Dash's ear.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Pinkie Pie, as usual. This time, she appears behind the door of Rainbow Dash's house just as the latter is about to leave, complete with full party implements (cake, balloons, gifts, party cannon...) while she was inside the room a few seconds ago.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Rainbow's impression of Applejack comes very close to Ashleigh Ball's real Applejack voice a couple times.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • If Dash had simply explained why the name "Rainbow Crash" was so offensive to her, the Wonderbolts probably wouldn't have called her that. Granted, they would have called her something else, but at least not something with such emotional baggage.
    • Likewise, if Spitfire had explained the Wonderbolts' pseudo-military protocol and traditions up-front (or, ideally, given her a rulebook), she wouldn't have gotten the wrong idea.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: This episode reveals the Wonderbolts' motto to be "Altius Volantis", which is translated to "Soaring Higher!" This is similar to the Latin mottoes of the United States Armed Forces, such as Semper Fidelis for the USMC, or Semper Paratus for the USCG.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Rainbow Dash's attempts at trying to emulate her friends in an effort to impress her fellow Wonderbolts come off as either pathetic or unsettling, and get her reprimanded by Spitfire.
    • Rainbow's breaking formation to perform her own trick, being reckless and dangerous behavior, is not Easily Forgiven despite her sympathetic reasons and a touching moment where she bonds with her teammates over her shame and frustration. She still gets a month's probation and cleaning duties as punishment for the stunt.
  • Rebel Relaxation: Spitfire briefly strikes this pose in a doorway (despite the pose looking a bit too human-like for a pony) before telling Rainbow Dash that, as the day's worst flier, she has to clean the compound by herself.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: Rainbow Dash believes that her ability to pull off Sonic Rainbooms means she can easily learn any of the Wonderbolts' routines.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: When Rainbow Dash says "Guess who was at the top of the reserve list...", Pinkie Pie enthusiastically raises her hoof and ask to be picked, since she knows the answer.
  • Rule #1: "Always check both ways before crossing the runway." Rainbow forgets Rule Number One on her first day and almost gets run over by Soarin and Fleetfoot coming in for a landing.
  • Rump Roast: Following the X-Ray Sparks.
  • Running Gag: Dash ending up in a trash can after each of her mishaps.
  • School Bullying Is Harmless: Averted. The nickname "Rainbow Crash", that Rainbow's old bullies used as an insult, is still very hurtful for her. With the Wonderbolts, ponies that Rainbow had admired for years, using the same nickname for her, she takes it as a very personal offense, specially since they stop using her name and only call her "Crash" when talking to her. This also reflects very negatively on her performance.
  • Shaped Like Itself: The Bolts Call Signs are all based on ways they embarrassed themselves as newbies.
  • Ship Tease: The scene where Rainbow Dash does an impression of Rarity can be seen as her flirting with Soarin.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Rainbow Dash calls her imitation of Fluttershy "Care Mare", sounding similar to Care Bears.
    • While Rainbow Dash does an impression of Twilight Sparkle, she tells Spitfire that she can call her "Reading Rainboom".
  • Shown Their Work:
    • As viewers with military backgrounds can attest to, the Wonderbolts' hazing of Rainbow Dash is just a rough yet sincere expression of friendship, rather than something done out of spite or mean-spiritedness.
    • The similarities between the Wonderbolts and real-life military aerobatics teams is further reinforced in this episode; the Wonderbolts perform several maneuvers common to such teams (including Buzzing the Deck and the Opposing Knife-Edge Pass among others), and the logo seen on the Wonderbolts' lockers looks very similar to that of the Blue Angels.
    • When Soarin passes Rainbow Dash on her left, he tells her to "check your nine", which is clock position terminology commonly used in the military and aviation for "look out on your left".
  • Squee!: Rainbow Dash's face after she's told that she's officially a Wonderbolt.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Fleetfoot comes up with the same "Rainbow Crash" nickname that the bullies gave to Rainbow Dash years ago, after a similar incident in her youth.
  • Stuka Scream: During part of the airshow when a crash-fakeout is used.
  • Three-Point Landing: Spitfire makes a dramatic entrance with textbook "superhero landing" in the opening scene. Iron Man would be proud.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Played with. The Wonderbolts giving Rainbow Dash her Embarrassing Nickname and teasing her about it can be seen as this. However, it is shown that Rainbow isn't singled out on this because every Wonderbolt has one themselves, and hers isn't even the worst of them all.
  • Tree Buchet: Dash lands on the tree Scootaloo is near during her Disaster Dominoes which literally catapults her to the next mishap.
  • Trigger: Rainbow Dash's nickname "Crash" triggers flashbacks to being teased by bullies at Flight Camp. It doesn't help that both incidents involve crashing into a garbage can.
  • Truth in Television:
    • Embarrassing nicknames or callsigns are common practice in the real life military for pilots. They're always assigned by someone else as a way to make sure that the pilot never forgets a really bad day. Also, like the Wonderbolts, it's done in the name of rough friendship or camaraderie, not out of malice.
    • It's common for newly activated reservists to go through a probationary period.
  • The Unreveal: Misty Fly, Surprise, and High Winds don't tell Dash how they earned their nicknames, and we never hear Spitfire's embarrassing nickname since she whispers it into Dash's ear.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Invoked by the Wonderbolts' tradition of creating embarrassing nicknames for members after embarrassing acts of theirs.invoked
  • X-Ray Sparks: Rainbow wanders into a thundercloud which zaps her with a lightning bolt and lights up her skeleton in the process.
  • You Do Not Want To Know: Spitfire to Rainbow Dash about her nickname; funnily enough, she tells her anyway.

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