EPISODE REVIEW: Friendship is Magic: May the Best Pet Win!

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Fluttershy has Angel, Rarity has Opalescence, Applejack has Winona, Twilight has Owlowiscious, and Pinkie has Gummy. So who's Rainbow Dash's pet?


Recap: Rainbow Dash is flying through the clouds, when Twilight's owl, Owlowiscious, passes her. They race for a little while, but when Dash catches up, the owl has the head of Applejack's dog, Winona. The surreal owl gains parts of the other ponies' pets until it vomits forth Rarity's cat. Dash awakes with a start, to find Opalescence hissing at the other pets from the branch she was sleeping on.

The other ponies gather up their animals and explain that they're on a pet playdate, and they didn't invite Dash because she doesn't have a pet. When Dash expresses possible interest in having a pet someday, Fluttershy drags her off to her cottage to look for one among the animals she cares for.

After examining many possible choices, Dash decides to hold a series of games to select one. Fluttershy enters a tortoise that Dash doesn't want, since it can't fly, but agrees to allow to compete.

Dash informs the animals that the winning pet will be selceted based on speed, agility, guts, style, coolness, awesomeness, and radicalness. (When Twilight asks if the last few are the same thing, Dash says that she would think that.) A series of events are held, with different animals winning each category and the tortoise coming in last.

Dash decides the final selection will be a race with her through Ghastly Gorge, a rather dangerous canyon. The tortoise shows up, despite not making the cut. The animals try to keep up as Dash leads them through a variety of perils. Unfortunately, she hits a wall and starts an avalanche. One of her wings is pinned beneath a boulder and the animals fly on, intent on winning the race.

Eventually the tortoise catches up to Dash, and manages to free her wing. It then carries her, slowly, to the finish line. When they arrive, the other ponies inform her that the falcon had won, and congratulate her on her new pet. Dash considers it briefly but decides that since she had actually said that the animal that crossed the finish line with her the winner is the tortoise, which she dubs "Tank." Dash has Spike take a letter to the princess, and she says she's learned the virtue of tenacity. Fluttershy belatedly reminds her that she wanted a pet that could fly, and we cut to the next playdate with Tank following Dash via a set of strapped on helicopter blades.

Review: This was a nice reworking of the 'tortoise and the hare' fable, although Rainbow Dash should get points deducted for being the Element of Loyalty and missing that trait in her pet criteria.

It seemed odd to me that Fluttershy wasn't championing Tank at the very end, but on rewatch it appears that she didn't expect him to win when she introduced him. She appeared more concerned that he get chance to participate and promised Dash that "he won't get in the way."

We finally get a song, with Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash singing a duet while trying to select a pet. It works really well here, since it sets up Dash's criteria for a good pet, and allows Fluttershy to indulge in some comedic deafness to those criteria. Season two is supposed to have the same number of musical numbers as the previous one, so they should be fairly common going forward.

There are a lot of nice animation touches, particularly with Tank. He quickly dons sunglasses when Rainbow Dash declares her pet must be 'cool,' and his helicopter contraption at the end has a magical glow around the rotor's spindle (interestingly, judging by the glow it isn't Twilight's work.) The animators are again willing to go off model when it suits, such as during Dash's and Fluttershy's duet. It's amusing to note that the Canadian artists of this American show managed to include an image of Dash and a bald eagle curling.

It's worth noting that one of the playsets for the actual toy line has Dash with a companion turtle. It was introduced about the time this episode was written, so the reference may be intentional. On the other hand, pairing the speedster with a slow animal may just be an obvious joke.

Brony Notes: This is Derpy's smallest cameo yet, with her just sticking her head out of Fluttershy's chicken coop for a few frames at the end of the song (about seven minutes in.)

A new song means a slew of remixes are in the works right now, although I haven't seen any show up yet.

Tank is sure to be a fan favorite too. Fans love anything that's named in show--there's fan art of "Tom" and he's just a rock--and Tank comes with a canon steampunk iteration. The above, by deviantArtist FoxInShadow runs with that idea.

The next episode is, again, in a week. It looks like we'll keep a weekly schedule until at least mid-December.


Church also reviews fan films. You can contact him at church@republibot.com