I hate to admit it to myself, and I’d really hate to have to admit it to my friends, but… I love this book! – Rainbow Dash
Twilight, Rarity and Pinkie are watching as Dash practices some of her precision flying. However, during a particularly difficult maneuver, Dash loses control and crashes into the ground, breaking one of her wings in the process.
Confined to the Ponyville Hospital to rest and recover, Dash finds herself going nutty from boredom. When she complains about this to her friends during one of their visits, Twilight grabs a book from the library cart entitled Daring Do and the Sapphire Statue, and suggests Dash read it, as it’s one of Twilight’s favorite series of books and the protagonist, the eponymous Daring Do, is a lot like Dash herself.
While she holds off for a while, she is eventually driven to open the book and start reading. Quickly becoming absorbed in the story (a basic Indiana Jones knockoff) she is surprised and embarrassed to find she does actually enjoy reading after all.
As she works her way through the story, her friends occasionally come to visit her, but she is so hooked on the book that she would rather get rid of them… by means of messy mealtime manners, gratuitously giving up at games and shamelessly simulating slumber.
Unfortunately for Dash, her wing heals pretty quickly, and she is discharged from the hospital before she can finish the book. After unsuccessfully attempting to persuade the doctor she is still injured, she resolves to break in. However, the new patient in her bed thinks she is a thief, and sounds the alarm. The doctors, nurses and night watch-pony all give chase, waking up the whole of Ponyville with the hue and cry.
Finally cornered, Dash comes clean about her new literary habit, expecting that she’ll be made fun of, but Twilight assures her she’s just as cool, whether or not she is a reader. She even agrees to let Dash read her copies, and the episode ends with Dash curling up with the second book in the series.
Thoughts on the Episode
This ended up being one of the shortest summaries of an episode I’ve ever done. I could pad it out by including the story of Daring Do, but really, if you just say “Indiana Jones as a pony”, that’s all you really need to know. Not that the story within the story isn’t competently told, but there really is not very much you aren’t going to predict ahead of time.
One of the better parts of the episode is how it weaves the story into Dash’s experience, which can get pretty surreal, such as when the menacing villain Ahuizotl gives his nemesis DD a bright and cheery greeting in Pinkie’s voice. There are a few other times this sort of linkage is done, which is really very cleverly interwoven.
The humour in this episode is mostly quite subtle, like Dash getting bored within a literal minute, and her antics in trying to get rid of her visitors. Less subtle is the joke that drops after the chase: while trying to catch the “thief”, the hospital staff appear to be accompanied by a tracking dog, complete with excited barking. On bringing Dash to bay, the barker is revealed to be a pony in a straitjacket, one of the hospital patients. The joke does make me laugh, but it also makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. Making fun of the mentally ill is not something I would condone, but perhaps the very silliness of the idea vitiates the offense.
The moral is standard, but appropriate considering the brony fanbase: like what you like, and don’t let how others’ perceptions of it dissuade you. Overall, the episode is just a fun romp.
Rarity describes a good book as “almost as good as silk pajamas”. Guess what she’s wearing when woken up?
Pinkie has one of her moments:
Pinkie: Yeah! I love reading, and my head isn't even close to the shape of an egg! It's more the shape of an apple, or maybe an orange, but a big orange! More like a grapefruit really...
Pros: Some good jokes. The two main stories are interwoven well. An unexceptional but fine moral.
Cons: The Daring Do story is bog standard, even though it’s set in a jungle. A possibly insensitive joke about the mentally distressed may offend some.
5 – Daring Do Rank: A great episode. A tip of the pith helmet to this one.
4 – Circle of Jungle Cats Rank: A good episode, but might have a weak link or two somewhere.
3 – Housecat Rank: Aww, it’s so cute about how hard it’s trying. Not succeeding, but trying.
2 – Easily Escapable Death Trap Rank: Worth watching once. After that, assume it all went to plan and leave the room.
1 – Ahuizotl Rank: Hand it off to someone else, fast!
Well, that was short! There’s just not that much to cover in this episode, I guess. You are of course welcome to point out anything you think I missed, or make any other comment you wish. Next time, Love (Potion No. 9) is in the air… until then, stay safe, read a book, and stay sunny side up.