Follow TV Tropes


Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S5 E5 "Tanks for the Memories"

Go To

"Let me handle this, Rainbow Dash, your winter is going to be... petless!"

Written by Cindy Morrow

The sky city of Cloudsdale begins to float over Ponyville, a signal that it's time for winter to come. As the Running of the Leaves starts the preparations for winter to arrive, Rainbow Dash excitedly starts planning her first winter with her pet tortoise, Tank. However, Tank seems lethargic and sleepy, even more so than usual. Rainbow takes Tank to Fluttershy, who tells Rainbow that Tank has to hibernate for the winter and will wake up in the spring. Refusing to believe it, Rainbow asks Spike for a second opinion, who tells her that even though he doesn't know anything about hibernation himself, he trusts Fluttershy's judgment. Frustrated and angry, Rainbow continues trying to push Tank to stay awake, despite the protests of her friends that Tank needs his sleep. Thinking it over at home, Rainbow eventually decides that if Tank needs the heat to stay awake, she'll just have to stop winter from coming.

Rainbow does her best to revert Ponyville back to fall, but she quickly finds that she can't keep up with the many ponies working to bring winter as scheduled. As she looks up into the sky in frustration, Cloudsdale catches her eye, giving her the idea to stop winter at its source. She sneaks into the city's weather factory with Tank during the workers' lunch break, making it all the way to the winter lab. There, she decides that the most effective way to sabotage winter is to drain all the water from the cloud-making machine so it can't make any more. She ties Tank's leash to a large magnifying glass to keep him out of trouble, but while she's draining the water, Tank's lethargic flying causes the magnifying glass to be sucked into a fan, which starts a massive chain reaction. The rest of the factory workers attempt to get things back under control, but it's too late. The weather factory launches a massive snowball toward Ponyville, instantly blanketing it in snow upon impact.

At her home, a depressed Rainbow Dash lies disconsolately with Tank on her bed. When the rest of the Mane Six arrive to cheer her up, their attempts are met with immediate dismissal by Rainbow. Finally, Fluttershy bluntly tells Rainbow that she'll have to spend the winter without her pet. This causes Rainbow to burst into tears, sobbing that she doesn't want Tank to go. Rainbow's friends try to console her, but Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy all end up crying too... sans Twilight and Applejack. Applejack's reason?

Pinkie Pie: Applejack cries on the inside Twilight!
Applejack: It's true.

Rainbow eventually calms down and accepts the fact that she and Tank must part. As the rest of the Mane Six play in the snow, Rainbow arrives to bring Tank to his resting place. She asks him one last time if he really wants to hibernate, he nods, and the ponies say goodbye as he buries himself under the dirt and snow underneath a tree. Rainbow Dash stays by him for a little while longer as the others leave, saying that she wants to read him a bedtime story to help him fall asleep.


  • An Aesop: As Rainbow Dash goes through the Five Stages of Grief as detailed below, she learns the episode's moral:
    Rainbow Dash: It's best to accept nature the way it goes, and it's not worth it to try and change it.
  • Airvent Passageway: Rainbow and Tank sneak into the weather factory this way.
  • All There in the Script: Out of the three arguing Cloudsdale weather ponies, Sunshower is the only one who is unnamed in the episode, but in the credits.
  • Animation Bump:
    • Cloudsdale and Rainbow Dash's house look a lot more detailed than they did previously.
    • Rainbow's Comical Angry Face and her Slasher Smile are two expressions the first season didn't have the power to animate.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • The characters keep stating tortoises "hibernate" when hibernation is practiced only by warm-blooded animals. The correct term would be "brumate".
    • Similarly, Tank is seen shivering at one point during "I'll Fly". Cold-blooded animals don't shiver when cold.
    • Rabbits and tree squirrels are shown as examples of hibernating animals in Fluttershy's book. Neither of them hibernate in reality.
  • Bathos: The scene where Rainbow Dash starts crying is a mixture of sadness and humor. In addition to cartoony Ocular Gushers, there are jokes between all of the crying about how Applejack cries on the inside, and the over-the-top nature of Rainbow's bawling is meant to cause some awkward laughter.
  • Behind the Black: After Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie's argument, Rainbow seems unaware the rest of the Mane Six are right in front of her watching them until the camera angle flips to her perspective.
  • Beneath the Mask: If, by this point, anyone was still doubting that Rainbow's "dumb, tough, emotionless" exterior she presented (especially in the early seasons) was a façade... well this episode is the final straw for that doubt. This shows that she's actually as sensitive, caring, and emotional as Fluttershy on the inside, she just really doesn't like showing it to others. This is Character Development for her, as after this episode she drops her shell much easier, at least around those she cares about.
  • Berserk Button: All it takes for Rainbow Dash to go ballistic is Pinkie saying the word "hibernate".
    Pinkie Pie: Shhh! Don't say that word! That's what started this all!
  • Bittersweet Ending: Rainbow is unable to stop winter or Tank's hibernation, but they'll see each other again in spring.
  • Brutal Honesty: When Rainbow won't admit that she is sad, Fluttershy lays on some tough love by saying she'll be spending her winter petless. (And when Applejack, of all ponies, is on your case for that...)
  • Call-Back:
    • Fluttershy, of all characters, is the one who confronts Rainbow Dash with the truth (that she'll have to be apart from Tank for the winter) and makes her cry, all for her own good. It's evident that Fluttershy has taken to heart what she learned from dealing with the Breezies.
    • The Cloudsdale Weather Factory is a prominent plot point.
  • Cathartic Crying: When Rainbow Dash is despondent over her failed attempt to stop winter from coming, Fluttershy bluntly tells her friend that she's going to have to spend the winter without Tank. This leads to Rainbow wailing with vigor over her soon-to-be loss. Rainbow Dash is not known for crying an awful lot, only shedding a few tears in the episode "The Last Roundup" and weeping silently in "May the Best Pet Win!". Adding her grief over Tank hibernating to her "tough girl" exterior only makes her bawling in this episode all the more cathartic.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Running of the Leaves is seen in the Cold Open in preparation for the coming of winter.
    • Though it's not seen, we can assume Twilight used the cloud-walking spell from "Sonic Rainboom" on Applejack, Pinkie and Rarity, to allow them to enter Rainbow's house.
    • AJ is also seen using her back hooves to launch a projectile (a snowball in this case) as she's done in a couple other episodes.
    • Rainbow's stunned shock at finding out Tank needs to hibernate/brumate comes from a lack of research, which we know she's not good at from "Testing Testing 1, 2, 3".
    • We also know Rainbow hates being alone from her having said just that in "The Mysterious Mare Do Well".
    • Once again, Rainbow Dash pulls an undercover mission somewhere she isn't supposed to be.
    • Since this is Tank's first winter, this episode seems to fall somewhere late in the year Rainbow first got Tank in "May the Best Pet Win!"
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Fluttershy's justification for her use of Brutal Honesty on Rainbow Dash is that she won't be able to move on until she faces the truth head on.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Dash tries to be subtle in her sabotage of the Cloudsdale factory, but Tank's sleep-deprived flying ends up making more of a mess than she intended.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The whole deal of Tank hibernating and Rainbow Dash going through the steps to cope with it is treated as a fairly deliberate stand-in for the death of a beloved pet and the sadness that comes with it. Tank even winds up getting buried in the end.
  • Double Standard: When Rainbow Dash cries, the others awkwardly try to comfort her, not knowing what to do since she almost never cries. But when Fluttershy starts crying as a result, everypony starts crying with the exception of Applejack and Twilight. (Although with Applejack, she said she was crying on the inside.)
  • Drama Queen: This characteristic of Rainbow Dash's rears its ugly head again as she has a huge breakdown over the fact that Tank is going to hibernate.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: To infiltrate Cloudsdale's weather factory, Rainbow Dash dresses in a worker outfit she finds in a locker... as well as putting one on Tank. Why they keep tortoise-shaped and -sized worker outfits there is a mystery.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The locker in which Rainbow Dash and Tank hide has a picture of a unicorn who looks like the big pony at the end of Canterlot Boutique.
  • Everything Makes a Mushroom: The giant snowball fired from Cloudsdale makes a big, snowy mushroom cloud when it hits the ground.
  • Fantastic Racism: Spike is not amused when Rainbow says all reptiles are the same.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Rainbow Dash goes through each of them over the course of the episode. To summarize:
    • At first, she doesn't believe Tank has to hibernate and even goes about her business preparing winter, only for him to keep falling asleep (Denial).
    • Then she gets visibly upset despite claiming she's not angry (Anger).
    • She proceeds to try to stop winter from coming, first by sabotaging the ponies' efforts, and then by going straight to the Cloudsdale Weather Factory to stop it at the source (Bargaining).
    • When these attempts fail, she breaks down in tears as the realization Tank must hibernate sets in, and it takes the rest of the Mane Six to comfort her (Depression).
    • In the end, she finally gives in and allows Tank to hibernate, although she insists on keeping him company for a while by reading him a story (Acceptance).
  • Floating Continent: Cloudsdale moves from location to location to make its scheduled season changes.
  • Fourth Wall Psych: After an argument between Rainbow Dash and Pinkie, both suddenly turn to look directly at the camera. The scene then cuts to the rest of the Mane Six looking on in uncomfortable silence.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Rainbow Dash sneaks into the Weather Factory in an attempt to stop winter but winds up creating a giant snowball which completely blankets Ponyville in a matter of minutes.
  • Got Volunteered: Twilight uses her magic to push Applejack forward to get her to comfort Rainbow Dash while she is crying.
  • Group Hug: Rarity, Fluttershy and Pinkie have one with Rainbow Dash after she finally accepts that Tank will have to hibernate.
  • Hates Being Alone: Part of the reason Rainbow tries so hard to keep Tank from hibernating is a desire to avoid being alone.
  • He Will Not Cry, so I Cry for Him: Played for Laughs; Pinkie Pie says she's crying because Twilight isn't.
  • Hibernation/Migration Situation: This episode has Rainbow Dash dealing with the fact that her tortoise, Tank, has to hibernate soon. Initially, she tries preventing winter (since in this show, seasons and weather are artificial), but then comes to terms with the fact that she can't and Tank will need to hibernate.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Rainbow's plan to sabotage the Cloudsdale Weather Factory to stop winter only ends up bringing winter to Ponyville early.
  • Human Snowball: Rainbow Dash and Tank become a part of the giant snowball that crashes into Ponyville.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Rainbow Dash, still in denial after hearing Fluttershy's assessment of Tank, takes him to Spike in the hope of getting a second opinion from a reptile. Spike says he can't help her because dragons don't hibernate, despite Rainbow's far-fetched claim that he and Tank are practically twins. When Spike tells her to take Fluttershy's word for it...
    Rainbow Dash: Well, what would you know? You're a dragon!
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Part of Rainbow Dash's song features her admitting that her trying to stop winter is wrong, but if stopping it will keep Tank from hibernating, then it's what she has to do.
  • Ignored Expert: Rainbow Dash takes Tank to see Fluttershy, Ponyville's animal expert, immediately after the title sequence. Fluttershy then assures her that nothing is wrong with Tank and he just needs to hibernate for a few months. Because she doesn't like this answer, Rainbow Dash takes increasingly desperate measures towards her own solution before ultimately accepting what Fluttershy said in the first place.
  • Implausible Deniability: After Rainbow learns about Tank hibernating, she briefly goes into full I Reject Your Reality, refusing to even say or hear the word "hibernate".
  • Inelegant Blubbering: When Rainbow Dash breaks down crying in the third act, she starts loudly bawling her eyes out, and it doesn't take long for Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity to start crying with her.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Rainbow's attempts to convince everyone that tortoises don't actually hibernate are all this.
  • Instant Cosplay Surprise: Rainbow Dash uses a "rainbow tornado" to change three ponies from their winter gear into summer getup, to their puzzlement.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Rainbow Dash briefly goes into this state, denying that Tank has to hibernate despite Fluttershy telling her so.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Rainbow Dash is not angry. Not at all.
  • Large Ham: Ashleigh Ball gets to do it for once, with both Rainbow's tirade against hibernation and her final breakdown.
  • Meaningful Background Event: As the three pegasi discuss the placement of clouds and get confused over each others' names, Rainbow Dash is quietly sneaking off with the clouds they placed.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: Rainbow Dash pulls this off to sneak in Cloudsdale, but with a cloud instead of a shrub.
  • Mood Whiplash: The episode is mostly light-hearted and comical until the accident in the weather factory. The following scene has most of the main cast in tears (sans Twilight and Applejack) as Rainbow Dash comes to terms with (temporarily) being separated from her beloved pet, and the episode ends with Rainbow Dash bidding an emotional farewell to Tank.
  • Musical Pastiche: The Background Music when Rainbow Dash enters the weather factory is similar to the theme from Mission: Impossible. Keen-eared fans have also noted that it shares the same tempo and rhythm to WoodenToasters' theme for Rainbow Factory.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Subverted. Rainbow Dash's efforts to sabotage the Weather Factory ends up creating a blizzard that speeds up winter. Though considering it stifled her goal, it sorta counts.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The weather factory has many safety hazards that, in part, lead to the chain reaction Rainbow sets off, such as no covers on the fast-moving fans, or storing hair-trigger explosive lightning bolts in fragile glass jars and stacking them on shelves with no means to secure them.
  • Obviously Not Fine: Rainbow Dash says that she's not angry about Tank hibernating, despite wearing a huge scowl.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Rainbow Dash when she sees a bottle of lightning about to break.
    • Twilight, when she realizes the factory is about to blow.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Ashleigh Ball briefly slips into sounding like Applejack while making Rainbow Dash cry her eyes out. When Twilight pushes Applejack forward to comfort her, no less.
  • Painting the Frost on Windows: The idea that Ponyville manually changes the seasons comes into play as Rainbow Dash wants to prevent a season from occurring.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: At one point, Rainbow puts on a fake duck bill to lead a group of birds back north.
  • [Popular Saying], But...: Rainbow mentions When Life Gives You Lemons... in her song, though no lemons appear; instead, "life gave [her] Tank".
  • Prompting Nudge: Twilight uses telekinesis to push Applejack forward so she'd talk to Rainbow Dash. Applejack glares at Twilight, but she tries to comfort Rainbow anyway.
  • Pun-Based Title: The episode title is a reference to Bob Hope's signature song, "Thanks for the Memories", although younger viewers might be reminded of Fall Out Boy's "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs" instead.
  • Sanity Slippage: It's Rainbow Dash's turn to experience it, after she enters a complete state of denial about Tank needing to hibernate.
  • The Scottish Trope: Once Rainbow Dash learns that Tank has to hibernatenote , she insists on nopony using that word.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The bag of winter hats that Fluttershy is putting on the animals look like the hats which are worn by the main characters of South Park.
    • Rainbow Dash's smile when she starts forming her plan to stop winter would make the Grinch proud.
    • The picture on the locker door that Rainbow and Tank hide in looks much like a ponified fsjal meme image.
    • "Prepare yourselves, everypony. Winter is coming."note 
    • The way Rainbow Dash and Tank get sucked into one of the factory's tubes brings to mind Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
    • "I'll Fly" does sound a lot like "Defying Gravity" from the musical "Wicked". It even includes the line "Nopony's gonna bring me down".
    • The use of the five stages of grief is similar to the Frasier episode "Good Grief", especially the resolution where one of the characters has to bluntly remind the main character of what they've lost to provoke an emotional outburst and allow them to properly vent.
    • The hockey-playing ponies are decked out in the colors of the Vancouver Canucks, the local NHL team for DHX Media.
    • The music that plays while Dash sneaks into the Weather Factory makes her seem like an IMF agent.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • There are indeed tortoises that burrow into the ground and brumate for the winter, as Fluttershy teaches a skeptical Rainbow Dash.
    • The room full of bottled lightning features various real colors lightning can appear in, as well as examples of the very real (but extremely rare and mysterious in real life) "ball lightning".
    • Tank's digging motions when Pinkie Pie sees him preparing for hibernation are realistic for burrowing turtles and tortoises, including the pause between strokes.
  • Snowball Fight:
    • Mentioned by Dash as one of the activities she planned to partake in with Tank during the winter.
    • AJ also seems ready to engage in one, as she has a whole stack of snowballs ready and fires one off at Pinkie, who dodges it.
    • A couple of pegasi can also briefly be seen partaking in one in mid-air.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: An upbeat anthem worthy of Disney when Rainbow Dash is committing eco-terrorism.
  • Spiking the Camera: Twilight looks directly at the audience twice just before winter hits Ponyville. The first time can be dismissed as a Fourth Wall Psych, but the second time she stares at the camera in terror while running from the incoming season.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The weather factory keeps their lightning in bottles, referencing the figure of speech "catching lightning in a jar" and "bottled lightning".
    • The last giant snowball to hit Ponyville is large enough to explode with a snowy mushroom cloud and covers everything in snow. It's a nuclear winter.
  • Stock Scream: One of the pegasi trying to stop the overload of the Cloudsdale weather factory lets out a Wilhelm scream when he's sent flying.
  • The Stoic: Applejack comes off as this when the Mane Six visit Dash's house. Even lampshaded by Pinkie Pie.
    Pinkie Pie: Applejack cries on the inside, Twilight!
    Applejack: It's true.
  • Temporarily a Villain: Dash plans to avert winter — which would cause Equestria-wide collateral damage — in desperation to keep Tank from leaving (though the original plan was to just stop it in Ponyville). And while she regrets sabotaging her fellow pegasi, she still sees no choice but to do so.
  • Tempting Fate: Rainbow expresses the sentiment that it'll be easy to stop winter. It isn't.
  • Tender Tears: Fluttershy winds up crying for Rainbow Dash when she doesn't stop crying, while Rarity and Pinkie start crying because they can't stand the sight of Fluttershy crying.
  • There Was a Door: When Rainbow Dash's friends enter her home through the door, Pinkie Pie instead goes through the adjacent wall, which closes up behind her. After all, it is a house made of clouds.
    Pinkie Pie: Knock-knock.
  • Unable to Cry: Applejack "cries on the inside", according to Pinkie Pie.
  • Volumetric Mouth: Rainbow Dash does this a lot in the episode, whether while yelling angrily, singing, or crying.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We don't really see the fate of the weather factory after what Rainbow Dash does to it.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Applejack and Rarity both chastise Fluttershy when she uses Brutal Honesty to make Rainbow Dash cry. However, Fluttershy tells them it had to be done to help her get over it.
  • Who's on First?: Three weather pegasi get confused because two of them are named Open Skies and Clear Skies. The distraction allows Dash to steal some fluffy clouds. (But not Fluffy Clouds, yet another pegasus.)
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Rainbow Dash attempts to delay an entire season, and sabotages Cloudsdale's weather facilities, so she doesn't have to part with Tank even for a few days, much less three months.
  • "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: Rainbow Dash is in denial and manages to get it wrong even though there's no ambiguity at all.
    Rainbow Dash: It's the same thing, all right?
    Spike: NO!
    Rainbow Dash: I'll take that as a "yes".
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Naturally, Rarity has this happen when she starts crying for Rainbow Dash.