Recap My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic S 2 E 8 The Mysterious Mare Do Well Discussion

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03:34:04 AM Feb 12th 2017
I’m not so much of an RD fanboy that I believe she can absolutely never be in the wrong or need to be taught a lesson herself. I’ve come to terms with my stance on the episode:

(Who was in the wrong?)

Looking back on it, I acknowledge that RD was in the wrong,there were points in the episode where lives were at risk and her showboating could’ve been saved for later. And while I understand that she kind of needed to be taken down a peg when lives were in danger, but the mane five were also in the wrong, and the way they conveyed their message was very poor and came off as VERY mean-spirited and hypocritical!

Not mention that Fluttershy didn’t even DO anything in the grand scheme of things aside from said flyby when RD expressed the joy that flying was the one thing she was the best at. So what? RD wasn’t allowed to be proud that she could fly?? That is NOT humbling someone, that’s just pouring salt in the wound.

(The Hypocrisy)

Let's see, aside from the fact that RD has bragged before, the Mane Five bragging about their own accomplishments behind her back and then laughing at her is just downright cruel. You don't just do the exact same thing you're trying to teach your friend NOT to do, if you're gonna teach her to be humble then that involves being humble yourselves and actually complimenting the others work instead.

Also, how can they call her out on bragging and saying she should be humble if they showed up at the parade? That comes off as more hypocritical since the episode practically begins with her enjoying the fact that she has a fan club and the Mane five get on her case about her huge ego while she’s at a gathering of said fans at Sugarcube Corner, which was technically after her heroics. And yet it was ok for Mare Do Well to attend her own parade under the same circumstances?

They both technically EARNED that praise.

Not to mention that with episodes like Applebuck Season, The Last Roundup, Bats, Sonic Rainboom, and Sweet and Elite(which takes place AFTER this one!) under their belts, AJ and Rarity are the LAST characters I want teaching someone about humbleness!

(If they did try talking to her, would she have listened?)

No, she probably wouldn’t listen, but it would’ve been a nice gesture of faith if we saw that her friends trusted her enough to at least TRY that first! Just jumping into the Caped Crusader scheme shows a lack of respect towards their friend; they were basically saying "Why bother?" instead of "We have to try!", and that just isn't the way they roll. Even the BRIEFEST attempt to talk Dash down (even if it failed utterly) would have PROFOUNDLY changed the feel of this episode.

What would the others have said if Dash had asked "Why did you do all this? Why didn't you just TELL me I was being a jerk?" What COULD they have said that wouldn't have gravely damaged their friendship?

"Well, gee, Dash... we assumed you wouldn't listen, because you're a cocky jerk. So we didn't bother!”

Another one of the biggest problems I have with the episode was the aspect of "SHOW DON’T TELL" being ignored. "28 Pranks Later" worked better with that reason because of that solitary aspect. We actually SEE them SIT HER DOWN AND TALK WITH HER. And when that fails they have Pinkie confront her one on one. It’s one of the reasons why I was able to genuinely enjoy "28 Pranks Later" despite having a similar premise. For me, if we had seen the two scenes where they talk it out with her and she didn’t listen in place of the flyby and Sugarcube Corner scenes then it would’ve worked a lot better in my opinion. That way it doesn’t feel like they all just jumped in on the plan without thinking of other options, but instead the gang DIDN'T talk to her, then messed with her behind her back, then praised THEMSELVES (instead of Twilight praising the runaway vehicle save, AJ praising the Dam rescue, etc) in front of her. Even if she was too stubborn to listen, why can't they at least make the ATTEMPT? Then, if Dash rebuffs them, they are JUSTIFIED in their actions!

But no, her friends made it clear to her that believe she's too thickheaded and stupid to even TRY to reason with, and they duped the entire town into worshiping a made-up Pony who promptly vanished forever.

Twilight and the others contradict themselves by saying bragging is bad when they've clearly done it more than a few times in the past. Even Twilight tried to talk to Applejack when she was doing the harvest by herself in Applebuck Season. But Twilight and the others never did that when it came to Rainbow's bragging. If they'd acted this way in Applebuck Season, they would have snuck around taping apples back up on branches and letting AJ keep working and working and working until she woke up in the hospital... and THEN given her the aesop. But instead Twilight spoke with her immediately.

Why doesn't Dash deserve the same respect?

AJ is stubborn. Everypony KNOWS she is stubborn. Later on, she nearly abandons here entire LIFE in The Last Roundup because she's stubborn. But TS still TRIES to talk to her in Applebuck Season. Even if it doesn't work for several attempts, she actually TRIES.

So Twilight can repeatedly try to talk with AJ during Applebuck Season even though her antics were causing trouble throughout the entire town and yet RD’s completely unreasonable to the point where instead of trusting and talking with her, her friends talked behind her back and formulated a conspiracy whose sole purpose was taking her down a peg?!


(Not much would've changed)

Many people like to point out that she put many lives at the list due to her bragging. With the hot air balloon I can understand, if RD stopped signing autographs she could have saved the mare before MDW popped up.

But with the rest? Even if she had been super-modest and humble, nothing would've been different at all! For example:

Runaway carriage - Nothing more RD could have done with this one than she did. RD did not have the strength to even slow it down at all. She even hurt herself trying to stop it. AJ would've had to step in anyway.

The construction site- Nothing more RD could have done with this one than she did. She barely saved one of workers and only got out unhurt due to his help. Again, Pinkie would've had to step in.

The dam- If the theme is so fragile that simply leaning against it too hard caused it to give away, it was definitely gonna collapse anyway.

Being modest before then wouldn't have altered a thing. We never see Rainbow's over-confidence directly leading her to making a mistake. The times she wasn't able to save ponies in the second half of the episode (the construction workers, the runaway carriage, the dam) wasn't because she was overconfident. The way they set those up, she couldn't have handled those on her own regardless of whether she went in humble or bragging. So that doesn't support the lesson they were (allegedly) trying to teach.

(Mare Do Well’s creation was well-meaning, but selfish and pointless)

More crucial are the issues that the Mane Five conceived of this plan -before- the balloon incident or anything like it occurred and most importantly, that was NOT their motivation for it. Their motivation was that "heroes don't brag."

If you want to argue that Rainbow's intention outweighs the fact that she was saving ponies, what does that say about her friends then? They didn't do a single thing to help until after they became annoyed with Rainbow's attitude. If their priority was saving lives, they wouldn't have bothered with the costumes and the charade. They would've just went out and helped, period. Instead, they put teaching Rainbow Dash a lesson over saving lives. How is that any better than what Rainbow did?

If anything, it's worse.

The episode never established why arrogance or over-confidence was bad beyond the fact that the attitude that came along with it was abrasive and unpleasant, and even then, it was only her friends who took issue with said attitude, no one else did. The reason why we generally consider arrogance and ego as flaws isn't because of the attitude in and of itself: it's because over-confidence leads to making mistakes that could've been prevented. The connection between bragging and getting over-confident was never made in the episode, so the only conclusion a viewer can take away was: her friends didn't like her attitude. That was it.

The argument since Rainbow Dash's ego could've risked lives, therefore what her friends did was correct, fails because her friends NEVER said a word about trying to prevent Rainbow from making mistakes or pointing to how over-confidence can lead to messing up. The ONLY justification they gave in-show was 'heroes don't brag.' As far as rationales go, this is far from convincing.

Why did her friends bother with costumes at all? That was done SOLELY so Rainbow Dash wouldn't know who they were. It served no other purpose and I'm sure took time and energy that could've gone to helping ponies sooner. But they prioritized teaching a "lesson" over saving lives. This isn't like super-heroes safeguarding their identities in DC or Marvel. They had no secrets or love ones to protect. They only bothered with them for the purposes of messing with Rainbow Dash. So she was not out of bounds in trying to unmask them.

If you're saying that “Rainbow should've just been content with ponies being saved”, then her friends should've been just as content and have NO objections to Rainbow Dash's attitude so long as she was saving lives. Which. She. Was. The rest of the Mane characters showed absolutely zero interest in helping Rainbow Dash out, or saving lives on their own—they ONLY got involved because they objected to Rainbow's attitude. If Rainbow's attitude hadn't rubbed them the wrong way, they would've sat on their plots the entire time. An endless parade of implausibly close-together disasters still doesn't validate shattering a friend's self-esteem and driving them into depression without even TRYING to talk to her.

I'm not saying they shouldn't have leaped to the rescue. I'm saying they should have sat Dash down before any of that, as a group — maybe even with some of the pestered townsfolk tagging along — and given her a firm but gentle talking-to. The exact one they gave AFTER emotionally torturing her. Tell her that it's okay to be proud, but not to rub others' faces in it. Tell her somepony is going to get hurt while she brags, and then NOPONY will cheer. All that stuff. Maybe even mention how bad Shimmer-Wing-Rarity made HER feel back in Cloudsdale.

(Final Thoughts)

So yeah, with everything that's been pointed out, I can safely and confidently say that MMDW is a bad episode. It may have had a well-meaning moral, but that moral falls flat when the one on the receiving end is turned into a victim and the ones giving it come off as hypocrites.

That being said, I don’t hate it like the majority of the fandom, I just think it could’ve been done differently to help the message flow better. I may dislike the episode, but I am not opposed to MDW coming back in the future… but only as long as she's not just an unbeatable rival for RD.Maybe have RD don the mantle herself for some superhero antics or something?

I don't hate mare Do-Well as a concept, but her debut episode was just BAD.
07:16:24 AM Jul 8th 2012
No Blink-and-miss Bishie Sparkle?
06:08:51 PM Dec 11th 2011
So what was up with the scene where the Mane Five loudly praise Mare Do Well in front of Rainbow Dash and then laugh at her? I've officially switched over to seeing their intentions as basically benevolent - RD is their friend, there is no way they'd actually want to hurt her feelings. But it's pretty hard to see what they were hoping to accomplish there.

Also, the tearjerker and CMOF pages imply they aren't actually laughing at Rainbow Dash. So what are they laughing at then?
12:10:33 AM Mar 13th 2013
I still see that as an intentional chain-yanking, to see if RD would catch on: Twilight, AJ, and Rarity each are bringing more attention to their OWN feats. But RD fails to put it together, and even Spike joins in with some selective quotation, which means RD has been completely bamboozled. Game on!
07:06:09 PM Dec 2nd 2011
edited by Voided939
Did anyone else notice the Batman: TAS signs seen at Mare-do-Well's celebratory parade have "Marduwelle" or something similar written across the bottom?
01:16:13 PM Dec 2nd 2011
Wait... Did the summary just get longer!? Not sure what everyone thinks, but i think we should cut out some of the more trivial things. I remember adding every little detail when I first wrote the summary, then people started cutting out unnecessary things, which I was okay with—made the summary shorter and brought the point across all the same. but now it's back to what it was before!?
10:14:02 AM Nov 29th 2011
The Breaking the Fourth Wall entry on the main page... It's definitely not breaking it; all she does is wink But it's not exactly Painting or LLeaning either... nor an Aside Glance...

Fellow tropers, what do you think?
02:24:48 PM Dec 1st 2011
If a character does something that shows they're aware of the audience, it's breaking the fourth wall. Dash's wink meant she was at least temporarily aware of the audience. So it is actually breaking the fourth wall.
04:45:20 PM Nov 28th 2011
I'm just a tad disappointed that nopony suggested awesomeriffic as the word to describe Rainbow.
12:18:06 AM Nov 28th 2011
Since this topic got derailed by peanut butter I just need to say this one thing. How did the moral of this episode seem like it was "Never EVER feel proud of your accomplishments," when Twilight LITERALLY SAID; "Its natural to feel proud of your accomplishments..." to which AJ continued, "But rubbin' it in ponies' faces, is NOT"

IT WAS COVERED IN THE DAMN EPISODE. Come on you guys, you're smarter than this.

03:33:21 AM Nov 28th 2011
Because everyone loves rainbow dash too much and will slam on anything that comes across as a possible insult. Yes, even her friends. In-universe, no less.

Plus, it's like the time people thought that Feeling Pinkie Keen was about Religion. just let it go and fade away as we wait for ep35.
05:48:19 AM Dec 1st 2011
I seem to recall a similar catfight over "Boast Busters" with Twilight and Trixie. It's par for the Internet whenever an Aesop that isn't black and white comes into play, although the one with Boast Busters was much stupider.
01:14:24 PM Dec 2nd 2011
To drive the point further, i believe "Boast Busters"s Aesop was similar to this one's: "You should feel good about your accomplishments AS LONG AS YOU DON'T LET YOUR EGO TAKE OVER."

except this episode focused more on the ego part
06:42:15 PM Dec 4th 2011
I imagine part of the reason is that before they said that they threw around things like 'a real hero doesn't brag' and 'it's important to act with grace and humility.' These are weird phrases to use for a group three of whose members are constantly claiming to be the best in all of Equestria at something.

They really needed to find a different way to say 'it's perfectly okay to mention you're awesome, but it's not okay to spend the entire day doing nothing except talking about how awesome you are.'
01:39:02 PM Jul 6th 2012
"Rubbing it in ponies' faces...." by, say, running around dressed up in a garish costume? Trying to upstage someone else who was already helping folks and saving lives? Making a big flashy entrance at a parade in your honor?

Oh wait....

11:37:38 PM Jul 16th 2012
Good thing they didn't go any of those things than. The costume was designed to make the hero faceless. They didn't didn't upstage Dash they simply saved the lives that she couldn't due to her own ego. Ponyville decided to throw a parade and they used the opportunity to reveal themselves to Dash.
11:52:57 AM Nov 27th 2011
edited by EpikuriousOranj
Rainbow Dash with her finger in the dike is surely an inversion of the self-sacrificing story of The Little Dutch Boy? First published in 1865, making the reference Older Than Radio. And stop sniggering at the back.

(Possibly YMMV, possibly taking it further, but her "you've gotta be kidding me" to the Mysterious Mare-do-Well's suddenly revealed magic sounds awfully like the ascended catchphrase of one of the characters in The Shield: Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach, specifically.)
11:28:56 AM Nov 27th 2011
Why did Disproportionate Retribution come back to the main page? shouldn't that go in YMMV? person who added it back said he put it there (in ymmv) originally, but...
01:37:27 PM Nov 29th 2011
I originally moved it to YMMV (I don't know who originally posted it), but then somebody else deleted it.

I think it's fine there, the YMMV page's entire purpose is for tropes not everybody necessarily agrees on, after all.
10:59:10 PM Nov 26th 2011
Nice to know someone else thought of Darkwing Duck. A while back I drew Darkwing as a pony, then I about died when I saw this episode.

The resemblance is really only in the hat and maybe the cap, but y'know...
09:55:04 AM Nov 26th 2011
edited by NoChorus
Am I the only one who thought that what the rest of the Mane Six did to show Rainbow Dash the error of her ways qualifies for Moral Dissonance?

I mean, their way of solving Rainbow's ego problem is show her up at every occasion possible, and then make her feel bad about it. . .classy.

10:01:06 AM Nov 26th 2011
Agreed. The aesop for the episode seems to basically be "Never, ever feel proud of your accomplishments, because obviously that means you're just an arrogant blowhard".
11:29:53 AM Nov 26th 2011
I don't think it's "never, ever feel proud". Rainbow was clearly being extremely arrogant earlier on (to the point of strutting on a stage and hiring Spike as a "ghostwriter" autobiographer), which visibly annoyed the others. So it's less of the actual "being proud" issue than "being an arrogant blowhard about it".

On a lesser note. I doubt that's a jar of peanut butter that was being opened, since, well, it's probably a bit hard to make it without machines, or to spread it on bread without fingers. I think it's just a jar of whole peanuts.
02:02:38 PM Nov 26th 2011
The unicorn is seen spreading it on bread right afterwards.

I hope you're not suggesting that peanut butter didn't exist before machinery was invented to expedite the process of creating it. And anyway we have seen factories (weather factories, but still) and in this very episode there is a hydroelectric plant.
06:02:12 PM Nov 26th 2011
Well, Drakrrth, the show does show characteristics of taking place in a late industrial era type setting. Hell, they've even spoken of power tools, tanks, and computers. It could be very possible that they have the machinery required to process peanut butter. Also, like the pony above said, it is possible to create peanut butter without mechanical assistance.

Also, in regards to our lovely little Aesop, they didn't exactly directly say the type of "Feeling proud of your accomplishments is bad and you should feel bad" that the fans are making it out to be. Applejack did make note of a kind of "While celebrating your accomplishments is fine, don't overblow it" type of thing in the report.
05:57:09 AM Nov 27th 2011
Sure, the others did show up Rainbow Dash every time, but they never directly interacted with her to put her down. Rainbow got as depressed as she did because she viewed Mare-do-Well as a direct challenge to her, when really her own arrogance was what caused her to fail. The whole episode focuses on that aspect rather than pride in your good deeds but I don't think they were intended to overlap.

The technology required for peanut butter is actually really simple; what I want to know is who the pony equivalent of George Washington Carver is.
10:28:18 AM Nov 27th 2011
edited by Canonier
Their actions made me incredibly upset at first too, until I saw this episode compared to "Party Of One" and realized there is no way Rainbow Dash's reactions were what the others wanted. They meant to make her jealous, yes, but if they realized just how depressed they were making her, they'd probably feel horrible about it.

Once I got that and watched the episode again, it became just another case of ponies not realizing how badly one of their number was freaking out. A little thoughtless, yeah, but much less malicious than if you assume they meant to make her feel bad.
10:31:48 AM Nov 27th 2011
I think the question is not why they have peanut butter, but why they put it in containers that need twisting when they lack opposable thumbs.
11:29:35 AM Nov 27th 2011
edited by Ryonne
Uh, have you perhaps considered mouths or horns?
12:46:11 AM Apr 6th 2012
It's more that the mane 6 didn't even bother to try talking to Dash. They just went straight to trying to "humble" her. That, and "we need to take this hero down a peg" has got to rate as one of the WORST heroic motivations ever.....
01:36:50 PM Jul 6th 2012
Let's also add that they tried to teach her to be "humble"—- by grandstanding and hogging the spotlight themselves.
11:35:02 PM Jul 16th 2012
Yes,because talking to Dash would have worked. Because that always works in these types of episodes. Also, they didn't grandstand, they saved the day, generally while Dash was busy risking the lives of ponies by grandstanding, and then they left.
01:15:34 AM Nov 20th 2012
Irrelevant. YOU TALK TO YOUR FRIEND, FIRST, then do something drastic only AFTER that doesn't work. That's how friends do thing!
08:26:39 AM Nov 26th 2011
Why is it necessary to check out the article? It just makes it more annoying for us tropers who just want to add stuff.
11:17:52 AM Nov 26th 2011
Because checking it out is how edits...and additions...are made.
08:22:14 AM Nov 26th 2011
Regarding the costume similarities, aside from the hat, Mare Do Well really doesn't resemble Darkwing in any way. I agree with whoever posted the edit that the similarities are closer to Spoiler rather than Darkwing, down to the hoof-gloves and full face mask.
07:30:18 PM Nov 26th 2011
Darkwing Duck is a part of the classic 90s renaissance of animation which the staff would have watched in some of there formative years much like Lauren Faust herself based the ponies on the ones for G1 she played with in the 80s. Heck there's B:TAS so obviously referenced this episode of the same period.

Stephanie Brown is a minor comics character who's only recieved something like larger attention in recent years for briefly being Robin and then "dying" only to not. However point being she has not been adapted to other media, despite Batman appearing almost continually on TV for how long now?

The only reason there is a resemblance is a full body coverage, which is required by the plot involving multiple masquerading ponies, and the overall color scheme. And the color scheme is equally similar to Darkwing Duck. Knowing that the hat has to be there for a reason, Darkwing is the simplest explanation for the costume.

A great cartoon giving a shout out to another great cartoon. Occam's razor favors this and none of the other costume nonsense.
02:38:30 PM Nov 27th 2011
The hat is probably the most explicable part: the costume is visually intended to be an amalgam of The Shadow, Zorro, or maybe a more ninja'ed and caped version of Carmen Sandiego. And yes, the duck. Occam's razor is best applied to the notion that it's a reference to just one particular hero, wouldn't you say? The general "mysterious hat, cape and mask" profile is deeply ingrained in popular culture since the advent of B&W cinema and pulp novels.

(She's wearing Spidey's mask and ninja-like cloth leg bindings / puttees, which must make a quick-change act difficult. I'd like a visual ref for that collar though. It's fabulous.)
05:42:34 PM Nov 27th 2011
All of which I would put above Stephanie Brown/Spoiler personally.

The hat and color scheme combined favor Darkwing foremost, though as you say the duck is has several elements from an array of classic pulp heroes. The Spidey connection can be substantiated by "Friendly Neighborhood RD" being shouted across the episode, and Spidey is a big superhero in his own right. Though we start to get increasinly unworkable beyond that.

By the time we'd get to Carmen Sandiego we'd might as well list Alucard who also wears the hat in red and everybody else with a huge brimmed fedora-esque Nice Hat we can find. Are there resemblances, sure. Does this all rank as some explicit shout out, is a separate more dubious level.

At the very least we don't need the costume taking up five bullets so it needs clean up. Which I shall do in the hopes I can get a slot.
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