Follow TV Tropes
Nova's the protagonist, not the villain. He's not like Aku or anything (though they both have a streak of being goofy during otherwise-serious moments).
The villainess is Envy, and stuff generally gets serious when she's around, outside of the occasional moment of Black Comedy or Evil Is Petty.
Rather predictable, but I did enjoy the first half. In all honesty, though, I feel that "we have to give everyone a platform, even if they aren't telling the truth" is one of the less intuitive morals of 2016-19.
Because not every side to an argument should be heard. What value do those who deny global warming bring to the discussion?
Often, the truth is not gained from the middle ground. One side can just be objectively wrong.
That's where I was hoping this was going in the first half of the episode, then...
Wish the episode had more practical advice on what to do if a criminal is using nitpicking and slander to discredit their accuser so people won't focus on their real crimes instead of just "If you're really nice they'll see the error of their ways".
Well, another episode where we will see one or more characters for the very last time. I'm sure we will see the CMC and Big Mac in the finale, but there's a good chance there won't be any room left for Daring Do to make an appearance (perhaps a background spot in a group shot, but don't expect much more than that - the finale will be packed with characters).
It's a strange experience to hang over an episode, when you know this is likely a character's final appearance.
Flutters visits Dash to return a Daring Do book she borrowed, and we see more use of wings as hands. I wonder if this will carry over into the next series.
Fluttershy reveals that a new book has come out, and Dash has never heard of it.
"The True Story of a Thieving fraud Known as Daring Do." With a title like that, I'm surprised Fluttershy didn't catch on. That author doesn't even try to hide their intentions.
Also, this seems like lawsuit fodder, but the episode probably won't go there.
"Why would AK Yearling write that about herself?" Yeah, what she said.
"This says it was written by Groom Q. Q. Martindale." Oh, you mean as in George R. R. Martin? The Game of Thrones writer? This seems more than a bit We're Still Relevant, Dammit! from the show. Yearling, of course, is named after J. K. Rowling. Let's see if there are any similarities.
"I guess he's a new writer." Why? You KNOW Daring Do isn't actually fictional, but a secret biography by Yearling. Obviously there can be no such thing as a "new" writer for the series. I'm surprised they don't bring this up right away.
"The only thing worse than Daring Do's destruction of temples is her cruelty to the mild mannered Doctor Caballeron?" Yeah, that's obviously written by the villain, or one of his stooges. It's a very obvious slander piece.
"It WAS written from his point of view." And you didn't think this was a dead giveaway that it wasn't written by Yearling? Flutters is being unusually dense this episode.
Oh, and the author also reveals the truth about Daring Do being a real life pony. Which, really, was kind of inevitable with how publicly Daring Do operates. I'm surprised it took anyone this long to figure out, really. Or, y'know, for Caballeron to make that revelation. I mean, he's real too, after all.
In hindsight, Caballeron seems to have been surprisingly accomodating to Yearling's secret identity over the years. You'd think he would have caught on once the books about him and Daring Do started appearing.
"That's supposed to be a secret!" Is it, though? I mean, Yearling is not exactly trying her hardest to keep it secret, both in her capacity as Daring Do (like I said, she operates pretty publicly, and is rather famous down south, where clearly no one reads any books or something), and as a writer, detailing her own adventures, which could very easily be revealed as real by any reader who bothers to travel to the south of Equestria, or even have family down south to tell them about the legendary Daring Do. Applejack, for one, could have easily found out from her southern relatives.
Really, the longer you think about it, the less sense this secret identity double life makes.
But clearly the episode is going with the notion that no one knows this secret, or has figured it out on their own.
"If other ponies read this book, how long will it take them to figure it out?" What, that Daring Do is a real pony? As I said, they hardly need to read this book for that.
Also, the book already spells it out for them, Dash. They wouldn't need to figure anything out after reading that.
Why a book, by the way, and not simply a newspaper article? In the real world, journalists would kill for a scoop like that. Imagine finding out that Indiana Jones is a real person, and living somewhere in California. The press would be all over it. But journalists barely seem to exist at all in this world.
Flutters still wants to read the book, even knowing it's not a real adventure.
By the way, for all the talk about Faust not mattering anymore, her name is still prominent on the credits reel. Someone not knowing about her leaving could be mistaken for thinking she was still a part of it.
Dash wants to go off and warn Yearling, but Flutters is unsure.
"Don't you think you should read Martingale's book first, to get both sides of the story?" Why? That title and first page Dash read really tells you all you need to know. It's very obviously a work of slander designed to discredit Daring Do and elevate Caballeron. And they have met Caballeron. They already know what he is really like. There really isn't any room for "two sides to the story" here.
Clearly the episode wants to go for that two sides narrative, but I don't see how they are going to pull that off when they've already stacked the deck so heavily towards Daring Do, both in the cold open and her previous appearances.
"There's also a lot of insight into Doctor Caballeron's life choices." So? He's still a villain. Are we suddenly giving him a freudian excuse, now?
Oh. I see what they're going for. They are going to redeem him, aren't they? Can't just let a minor villain slip by, I guess. Odd, though, since they didn't do that with Flim Flam.
Daring Do wrecks spiderwebs, and Fluttershy thinks this is animal cruelty.
At Yearling's book signing, there are a lot of idiot fans who criticise Yearling for what she supposedly wrote (which should easily be countered by I DIDN'T WRITE THAT, mind you). Why is Yearling even doing a book signing of a book that she didn't write? I'm confused.
"I always feared that someday everypony would learn that Daring Do was real." I mean, you WERE kind of asking for it by writing about it so much. Hoist by His Own Petard, much?
Also, what's wrong with these fans complaining that Daring Do is a real person? You'd think they'd be ecstatic by the prospect of being able to meet a previously fictional hero. To go back to Indiana Jones, imagine him being real, and then his fans scoffing at the movies for not being fictional, because how dare you be a real person?
"But why, aren't you proud of your invention?" WHAT invention? Daring Do is not fictional, so obviously it's not her invention, it's literally her.
"Of course, but I'm not in it for the fame." Bwuh? What? Then why did you write books about it and risk exposing your true identity? This seems like a bit of misplaced humilty.
"The stories just seem too good to keep to myself." Well, yeah, but isn't that alos looking for fame, then? If you don't care about fame, you wouldn't really care about no one knowing about your adventures.
"I wish I knew who this Martingale author was." It's Caballeron. It's transparently Caballeron. It's telegraphed so glaringly obvious that I'm surprised no one is accusing him off the bat.
I mean, have you forgotten the last time he tried to slander your name, Yearling? This is not exactly a new thing for him. Caballeron really should be first place on your suspects list in any case.
"And why he's determined to ruin my character." Because you have enemies who would loving nothing less than to ruin your character, and have already tried to do so in the past. It's like Yearling herself has forgotten about her own character. Why is everyone acting so damn oblivious in this episode?
"No way. He's doing a signing across the street?" How convenient! It's almost like this guy is trying to slander you on purpose, and is unnecessarily inserting himself into the plot to endanger his own scheme, just like Caballeron loves to do, and has already done before, again.
"You'd better go without me. I can't risk the chance that Martingale might recognize me as Daring Do." I'd say it's probably way too late for that. If he's figured out Daring Do is a real person, it would be only a small step to concluding the real identity of the author who keeps writing books about her, and given that he is camping out right across the street from you, I'd say he's already on to you.
"I's not Maringale, it's Doctor Caballeron in disguise!" Oh, so NOW you can see right through his disguise, I see. Well, at least we're not doing that whole Paper-Thin Disguise thing again.
"Now it all makes sense." The obvious culprit was, indeed, the obvious culprit. Brilliant detective work, Dash.
"Daring Do's arch nemesis created a fake alter self so he can write books that make him sound like a hero." Alter EGO. The term is alter ego. You can't just change up an idiom like that, it just makes it sound more confusing. And if it's done to make it more clear for the kids, well, you kept 'alter', so it still wouldn't be clear what you meant if you didn't know the idiom already. Either use the idiom, or find an alternative way to say it. This half baked compromise really doesn't help anyone.
Also, yeah, creating an alter ego to write books that make you sound like a hero... sound familiar? Clearly the episode is going for a Not So Different plot here, though I don't think it really works here, since we've already been shown multiple times that Daring Do is, indeed, a hero, and Caballeron a villain. There really is no ambiguity to work with here, which this plot really needs to work at all.
"Who does that?" "Uh, A. K. Yearling?" Yeah, what she said!
"Up to your old tricks again, huh? Just like with Somambula, spreading lies to make Daring Do look bad." Oh, so you DO remember that. That doesn't exactly make your earlier confusion about who would do this dastardly deed to Daring Do look any better, though. This is basically the episode acknowledging that Dash should have known better.
Caballeron keeps on to his story that he is providing the other side to Yearling's stories (not even bothering with trying to deny his identity, by the way), claiming that some minor mistakes means that other things could also be untrue.
Of course Caballeron plays the bleeding heart card about being "misunderstood", and Fluttershy falls for it hook, line, and sinker.
Caballeron has a whole story about being an innocent archaeologist, and Daring Do thwarting him and refusing to work together, but this obviously rings rather false with everything we already know about him, and by extension with what the characters know about him. Why is Fluttershy suddenly being so gullible?
What is this episode going for? That Dash draws hasty conclusions, and that Flutters is right for listening to Caballeron and hearing both sides of the story? That doesn't really work at all though when it is applied to two already firmly established characters. Again, a plot like this needs ambiguity, and that simply doesn't exist for these two characters.
"Fluttershy, two t's." What an odd running gag. She's never needed to specify how to spell her name before. Also, the gag doesn't really work when there really is only one way to spell "flutter". This isn't a Thomson/Thompson situation, really.
"I am Doctor Caballeron." I think that was already clear enough. Also, why even bother with the alter ego when you are perfectly willing to reveal yourself to complete strangers, anyway? Especially since this is specifically about telling his side of the story?
And then Caballeron outright recruits Fluttershy, who is of course too naive to see through the ruse. Angel's time in her body must not have been too good for her intellect.
"I decided to find out which author is really telling the truth." It's Yearling. This is not hard, Fluttershy. You've met these people before. You should know this.
"So Daring Do doesn't kick puppies?" "That was one time! Accidentally!" Oh, I see what the writers are doing. They can't really make Caballeron look better, so they instead make Daring Do look worse so she will be Not So Different to Caballeron.
Dash tells Yearling about what happened, and she concludes Caballeron is after some talisman that needs pegasus wings to get it (because magic, I guess). Not sure why he would need Fluttershy for that, though. It's not like Pegasi are in short supply in Equestria, or anything. Now if it required an alicorn to get it, and it was Twilight picking his side, that would at least make more sense that way.
"Then it's up to us to stop him!" And then she changes into Daring Do right in front of a fan, and presumably the entire bookstore. What was that about a secret identity again? Does she suddenly not care about that anymore?
Meanwhile, with Caballeron and his Crew of Obvious Thugs... I mean, if you are going for a Both Sides narrative, maybe don't have all the characters on the side you are trying to nuance scowl like a bunch of Scooby Doo villains? One looks like a mobster, another like an Irish thug with an evil scar, and the third one looks like a villiain straight out of a Western. It's a very odd collection of stereotypical goons.
I mean, you could go for a "don't judge a book by it's cover" moral, but cartoon shorthand is usually that when a character always scowls, they are up to no good.
"Watch where you put your hooves, everypony. We do not want to disturb the jungle's fragile ecosystem." Can you tell Caballeron is playing to Fluttershy, specifically?
"Fool! Don't you know that's poison? Uh, I mean, I don't want you to get hurt, my friend." Well, if there's any doubt, this little moment shows that Caballeron is, indeed, still the villain, playing up his niceness for Fluttershy.
Fluttershy brought food, though.
"You are... willing to share." Evil Cannot Comprehend Good.
And then they are attacked by three big cats... and a house cat. I think we've seen this gag before, long ago.
Everyone runs, but Fluttershy stops to talk to the animals.
"Have you ever tried just talking to them?" "That's crazy, you're on your own!" This seems cowardly, but to be fair, with any other pony, this WOULD be crazy. Though it's odd that Caballeron doesn't know about this, seeing that he seems to know enough to play to her sensibilities.
Of course Fluttershy instantly tames them.
"How did you do that?" "Every creature likes to be listened to. You just need to take the time to understand them." What an awful lesson to teach children, Hasbro. Wild anilas aren't dangerous, you just need to stop and talk to them, and they won't hurt you at all! Yeah, stuff like this is why people keep getting mauled by wild animals. Don't do as Fluttershy does, kids. This only works in cartoons, and even then only for very specific characters.
Daring Do reveals that the Truth Talisman has the power to make ponies tell the truth. Exactly What It Says on the Tin, then. Also, how very convenient! I can already see where this is going. Caballeron gets a hold of the talisman, and it reveals that he is telling the truth after all. Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and call that a complete ass pull here and now.
Meanwhile, Caballeron and his goons squabble, and Fluttershy is obliviously nice to them They arrive at the temple, with Dash and Daring Do on their heels.
Oh, hey, it's Ahuizotl (hope I got that right). Clearly the writers wanted to include all the Daring Do villains one last time. He is easily foiled, though, so that's over quick.
Of course the temple has some crazy, overcomplicated door mechanism, and everyone gets inside just in time before it slams shut again.
Caballeron enters a room and immediately swats away a cobweb. So much for the animal cruelty to spiders.
"Oh no! I knew the Truth Talisman could not be moved by magic, but I never realized we had to fly to retrieve it." How did you not know this? Daring Do clearly knew. I mean, when you need wings to get at it, it seems rather obvious that you can't just walk over to it. Or is he just doing this spiel to act surprised? Not sure why he even needs to.
Again, Evil Cannot Comprehend Good, as Caballeron tries to manipulate Fluttershy into retrieving the talisman, even though he could easily just ask her, and Fluttershy would obviously do anything when simply asked nicely.
Of course the thing is booby trapped, because they always are (it's like Fluttershy has never read an adventure story, which is especially ironic considering what this episode is about). Caballeron saves Fluttershy and the amulet at the last second.
Of course Caballeron puts on the talisman moments before the heroes arrive. I'm not quite sure what his plan is, though. I mean, it's not like it gives him any powers besides telling the truth.
Fluttershy tries to convince Dash and Daring Do that Caballeron only wants to study the talisman and bring it to a museum, but the talisman makes him deny it.
Interestingly, the talisman glows green when doing it's magic, which on this show is usually an indication of evil magic. Not sure if that's supposed to mean anything.
Caballeron admits that his original intention was to just use Fluttershy to get the amulet, but that he has grown to admire her friendship and kindness.
"Didn't see that coming." Oh, really, Dash? This yellow and pink pony can tame wild animals at a moment's notice. She's befriended Discord. Discord. Her kindness is relentless. Of course she won them over. It would be hard not to, really.
And then Ahuizotl shows up, and orders his winged magical statues to attack. Hey, look! They have bat wings! It's the return of bat winged ponies, like the ones that pulled Luna's chariot that one time.
Fluttershy tries to stop them, but of course they are just stone and magic, so it has no effect.
"Caballeron, do you still have the diamond of lapisluck?" "Yes, I mean yes, I mean, aargh, how do you know I stole it?" Because you are always stealing shit?
Also, why is he even wearing that thing if he doesn't intend to be forced to tell the truth? What IS his plan, here? Why not just take it off?
The diamond strengthens the light from Daring Do's flashlight, driving the monsters off. Of course, this is a bit difficult to portray, what with this brightly lit room.
"Wow, you two are a great team." You're kidding, right?
"A truce until we escape? How can we trust you?" "I cannot lie." Well, he is a pragmatic villain, if nothing else.
Ahuizotl is waiting for them, and chases them around. We get a few gags about ponies being forced to confess their secret thoughts as they toss around the amulet, and eventually get trapped.
"Nopony ever asked Ahuizotl what his side of the story is." Oh, nice dodge, there, episode. A bit of a bait and switch moral at the end.
"Or maybe he's just a bad guy." Well, I guess this would make a bit more sense than Caballeron getting a redemption. Ahuizotl is more of a guardian than anything else, at least from what I remember.
Ahuizotl explains, with the Truth Amulet to show he is telling the truth (clearly the narrative doesn't quite trust the guy to tell the truth without magical aid), revealing he is the guardian of the jungle, and will be in trouble if any more artifacts go missing.
Daring Do and Caballeron come forward as well, Daring do saying that the only reason she took the artifacts was to protect them. Caballeron, of coruse, has to admit that he was stealing them to get rich.
"I thought you were just a monster." "I get that a lot." The huge teeth do not exactly help. Or the agressive demeanor, for that matter.
Ahuizotl lets them go, on the condition that they swear to never steal from the jungle again (with the convenient MacGuffin ensuring that they tell the truth, of course).
"I'll even write that in my next book." "YOUR next book? You mean you're actually A. K. Yearling?" "Don't tell anypony!" Wait, so he didn't know after all? How does that make any sense? He clearly knows about the books. How has he not figured this out? And what was the whole point of his alter ego, then?
So apparently they decide to co-author the next book, which seems like an... odd choice, since Caballeron is still the villain. That must have been an awkward writing process. Though Caballeron seems to have promptly forgotten he is Daring Do's arch nemesis.
Their book is outdone by a new author, though: Ahuizotl. Who appears in person for book readings. What an... odd ending. I guess the masquerade has truly fallen now.
Well, this sure was an odd episode. It was enjoyable enough, but the moral seems a bit muddled. It seems to go for a villain redemption of Caballeron at first, but then does a bait and switch and redeems an entirely different villain altogether.
The moral of "there's always two sides to a story" is handled a bit oddly. It does not work at all for Caballeron, who is still an obvious villain with no redeeming nuance for the moral to latch on to, but is then more succesfully used for a character that wasn't even a part of the original conflict. And it only really works because Ahuizotl is suddenly being very reasonable about things.
The whole fake author plot had little to no stakes, being resolved almost immediately, and then being dropped altogether as the adventure goes a different direction.
It's still a pretty decent story, though, and a nice conclusion to the Daring Do arc.
This episode's redemption of Caba and Ahui both felt rather forced, if you ask me. Like, not everyone is going to have a valid reason to be against you, and they aren't just gonna be good guys because you heard them out.
Edited by Rytex on Sep 21st 2019 at 12:23:40 PM
Excuse me, Caballeron is supposed to be reformed now? That's not really what I got from the episode, at least up until he suddenly was reformed. It's not really clear why he would suddenly redeem himself now. Also, he apparently succeeded in ruining Yearling's reputation as a writer. I'm not sure why she even agreed to co-author a book with him after all that. Just because the guy is supposedly reformed doesn't mean she has to put up with him or write a book together.
This seems like a sudden bout of Redemption Equals Friendship, from a show that tends to subvert that sort of thinking.
This was like the ending of KH 3.
"I am not actually evil anymore, I am just a misguided good guy."
"That is the dumbest thing ever, who could possibly believe—"
"OKAY WE BELIEVE YOU."
Well, Discord, for instance, was redeemed, but he didn't automatically become friends with the mane six, except for Fluttershy, and even then that didn't really sink in until the Tirek episode.
Starlight was (and arguably still is) in the same situation. She is redeemed, but she is pretty much The Friends Who Never Hang with the mane six, if not an outright pity friend who is largely kept around because of how dangerous she is (Discord is similar, really). It gets better as the show goes on, but you still never see anyone from the main cast hang out with Starlight.
I feel like trying to say that show doesn't believe in "Redemption Equals Friendship" might be ignoring that the redemption often comes hand-in-hand with understanding friendship. They wouldn't be counted as "redeemed" if they hadn't shown the ability to actually be not dicks. They wouldn't have even come close.
Then again, I haven't watched the show in months. Also, discord didn't (questionably) redeem himself until the one time he actually helped Equestria with Starlight and pals.
Edited by fredhot16 on Sep 21st 2019 at 1:03:41 AM
So on to the final Daring Do episode:
Man, wing hands will never stop looking weird. I wish they didn't have to cheat so much.
I bet GRRM is actually Cabeleron.
Edit: Well that was pretty interesting. It seems like it's basically an attempt to deconstruct all the Indiana Jones tropes as well as the whole secret author thing. I thought it was pretty good.
Edited by storyyeller on Sep 21st 2019 at 4:22:09 AM
I always feel like people miss out on a key aspect of what made the gang treat Discord like an asshole.
... the fact that he ACTS like a complete dick.
I think Sunset is one of the only examples of a character who completely changed their demeanour and yet was still treated harshly by others. Trixie and Discord and the like, they are obnoxious braggarts even as "good guys" and it doesn't ingratiate them to the Mane 6. They act like they're up to no good, so the gang has little patience for them.
Edited by GNinja on Sep 21st 2019 at 8:32:47 AM
. I'm not sure why she even agreed to co-author a book with him after all that.
Presumably, it would help repair her reputation, if they had a book written by the same person who criticized her before saying actually she's not so bad or whatever.
I think this makes Caballeron possibly the most easily reformed villain of the entire show. All it took was to be forced to work together because of circumstances this one time.
Yeah, I like it too as a deconstruction of Indiana Jones and secret author tropes. Though I don't think it neccesarily says anything new about the adventure archaeologist trope, namely that Indiana Jones types generally do more damage than good to the places they explore, and that they are little more than grave robbers. That whole idea of the adventurous explorer was already pretty dated by the time Indy became popular.
As for redemptions, sure, they learn about friendship, but that does not equal becoming friends with the main cast. Trixie is a great example of a minor villain who was redeemed but did not lose her personality (which honestly was a good choice), and who still doesn't hang out with the heroes much. Starlight similarly was redeemed, but treated like Twilight's student who could slip up any moment by the others, and I don't think she's ever hung out with any of the main cast. It's always on semi-professional terms, or in the context of being Twilight's student.
I'd add a qualifier. Twilight seems genuinely happy to hang out with Starlight. The few times Star has hung out with the Remane 5 casually, it's been in a big group activity where Twilight likely invited her along. Like the Mean 6.
Edited by GNinja on Sep 21st 2019 at 9:17:21 AM
Right, you could argue that Starlight is Twilights personal friend, but more like an acquaintance/colleague to the other mane six. This seems to be reinforced by Starlight apparently living in Twilight's castle.
She's the only one in Ponyville trying to help Glimmer of her own volition as part teacher, part parole officer.
Pretty much, yeah. Until she got a job as student counselor, and since then she seems to be largely independent of the mane six. Most of her interactions still tend to be with Twilight.
I think that was for the best. Season 6's episodes showed she really didn't mesh well with the Mane 6 in general, only Twilight. Then she got her own circle of friends who turned out to be perfect for her, and helped her grow as a character.
I agree, having her befriend Trixie was a brilliant move. It also turned out to be rather revealing of Twilight's motives towards Starlight, which were not exactly altruistic, helping Twi grow in turn.
Basically all three grew in that episode: Twilight moved past how she was attempting to use Starlight for her own ends and moving past her grudges against Trixie, Starlight actually made her own friend for the first time rather than someone befriending her (and had the presence of mind to call out Trixie for attempting to use her to get petty revenge on Twilight because that's not something a friend does) and Trixie moved past her hatred of Twilight and became an actual friend to Starlight.
Well, I don't think Twi is particularly fond of Trixie, but she has learned to accept her for who she is.
Though it is a bit hard to tell, really. I don't think Trixie has interacted with the mane six much if at all since that episode where she befriends Starlight.
I can see Daring and Caballeron burying the hatchet because the backstory of both characters states they started the whole adventurer archeologist business as partners, and then turned rivals when their end goals diverged (basically, Caballeron got greedy, and then started jumping off the slippery slope).
But I can't blame anyone for finding it forced and sudden.
I think it somewhat robs the setting of future potential. Just because it is the final season it doesn't mean EVERYTHING needs to have an ending.
Community Showcase More
How well does it match the trope?