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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic ‘Wonderbolts Academy’ Review


It’s not just about pushing ourselves. It’s about pushing ourselves in the right direction.” ~Spitfire

This week’s Friendship is Magic episode stars Rainbow Dash. The thing here is that she finally enters the Wonderbolts Academy to become, well, a Wonderbolt. This episode has been getting a considerable amount of hype. (It was also leaked a few days ago, but I waited until its official premiere date.) It looked to be a character defining story for Rainbow, character development for the Wonderbolts, and maybe the return of the elusive Derpy. (That doesn’t happen.) This episode is still very good, but probably my least favorite of the season yet.

Here’s the official episode description from The Hub:

Rainbow Dash can’t believe her luck when she gets an exclusive invitation to enroll at Wonderbolt Academy, but soon she is wondering whether she is really cut out for the school and whether someone else would be a better fit.

This one starts out with the Mane 6 having a picnic and Pinkie Pie going all crazy wondering if Rainbow had been accepted into the Academy or not. Twilight funnily comments “Pinkie Pie, you’re more nervous than Rainbow Dash.” Once the Mailpony arrives, Rainbow receives her proof of entry and flies off to the Academy in hopes of becoming an elite flyer. Inside the Academy she meets Lightning Dust, a Pegasus whom is very similar to Rainbow in personality and ability to fly amazingly good. First off, it’s important to mention none of the Wonderbolts appear other than Spitfire. A missed opportunity for sure, the Wonderbolts are the elite flyers of Equestria, yet in their few appearances we don’t get to know much about them. But, with that said, we see that Spitfire is a tough-as-nails drill sergeant. This episode has made me a fan of her, I hope she and her two teammates get to do more in the show. Also, despite saving them in Sonic Rainboom and meeting up with them in The Best Night Ever, Spitfire doesn’t seem to recognize Rainbow as the Pony that had saved them once. In fact, it’s almost as if they’re meeting for the first time! Lightning Dust is the new character here, she was seen in the promos for Season 3, so fans were curious of who she would be. She’s not exactly a polar opposite to Rainbow, rather she is what Dash could be if the latter wanted to be the best without any regard for the Ponies around her. It’s a great dynamic as the episode goes on, we see Rainbow noticing how reckless Lightning Dust is of her surroundings.

The rest of the Mane 6 get a few appearances, with Pinkie Pie being a focus. I’m a fan of her, but sometimes she could be written as rather annoying, this episode is an example of that. Does she expect a letter to appear out of thin air in the mailbox? I did not like her portrayal in this episode. The hot air balloon from the theme song makes its triumph return, and it gets shaken when struck by a twister. It’s a pretty funny scene for sure, although, I didn’t like how Fluttershy didn’t fly. She’s a Pegasus, she knows it, yet there she was falling down with the rest of the non-winged Ponies. Of course, it is admittedly funny when a Pegasus ‘saves’ Fluttershy then the latter blushes at the fact that she could have been flying and the other Pegasus looking annoyed at her. Funny, but doesn’t excuse her not flying in the first place.

Overall, this episode was rather disappointing in that I was expecting more with the story. In the end however, it’s a pretty good story and maybe the best Rainbow Dash-centered one. Sadly the Wonderbolts don’t appear, other than Spitfire, whom was definitely a highlight. Lightning Dust was a good character, this will probably be her first and last appearance, but she serves her purpose as a ‘meaner version’ of Rainbow. Pinkie Pie’s annoying portrayal aside, this was a good story for especially Rainbow Dash fans. (No Derpy though.)


S#!T Talking Central

  • Kchishol1970

    In this episode, Spitfire is on duty as a military instructor and she can’t let her previous history with Dash influence her training. So, her gruffness with this ace is more a sign of her professionalism to see if this obviously good flier can function within military discipline.

    • http://twitter.com/Destroyer_199 Daniel Alvarez

      I understand that. Still, I felt she came as too gruff to Dash in some scenes, without her the Wonderbolts would have been Wonderbolt soup!

  • H3adNutn3r

    One Bad Apple was the episode I thought was bottom of the barrel in this season,
    reguardless of the flaws of this episode It was one of the better episodes in the season and in my opinion, this was my most favorite of the season so far.
    (Sleepless in Ponyville comes in close second)
    Spitfire has never been anywhere as cool as
    she has been in this episode so far.
    P.S.- I agree with Kchishol1970, in many ways the wonderbolt academy is like an airforce boot camp, she’s suppose to be really rough to harden the trainee’s.

    I give this episode a 9/10, It truly was awesome.

    • http://twitter.com/Destroyer_199 Daniel Alvarez

      I think the writing between Dash and Spitfire could have been better so that it didn’t seem like they had never met. I understand it was a boot camp…but to me, it came off as rather extreme as if Rainbow hadn’t done anything in the past. Still, probably Rainbow Dash’s best episode. (Well, not counting the always classic Sonic Rainboom.)

      • Assassinated23

        I think it might have been better if it was explicitly stated that their past accomplishments would mean nothing at the academy, and only their performance there would determine their Wonderbolt status. Having it only implied has clearly led to misunderstandings and dislike of the episode.

  • http://twitter.com/jordanolling Jordan Olling

    Parachute? Don’t you mean hot-air balloon?

    • http://twitter.com/Destroyer_199 Daniel Alvarez

      Actually yeah, thanks for pointing that out.

  • Juvy_genius

    Here is my biggest problem with the episode that I am surprised was not addressed. Why was Lightning Dust kicked out and Rainbow Dash a hero? Didn’t RD have as much involvement with LD in the incidents towards the other pegasi and the other 5 of the Mane 6? Do not get me wrong, I did not like LD’s attitude. However, RD being sympathetic should not have been grounds for her being rewarded. At the very least LD should have been demoted to a wing pony if Spitfire really wanted to move things in the correct direction. A ponies dream ruined simply because of plot convenience. If it really wanted to go for a positive ending, I think it would have been better if RD stuck to quitting which would have been honorable. Yet Spitfire could have offered for them to return to the academy when they were ready which would have opened a possibility of more episodes delving with the Wonderbolts and not breaking up the Mane 6.

    • dancressman

      I don’t think it’s likely that Lightning Dust would have been kicked out. While the ending was the part I liked the least because it didn’t show exactly what happened to her, I don’t think the Wonderbolts would kick out a pony with that amount of talent. She was probably reprimanded and demoted but not removed from the academy.

      • Juvy_genius

        Guess it will just come down to if she returns in an episode. The way I see it though, she started out as a cool character. As it progressed though it seemed like she was forcibly turned into a dislikable character and in the end had nothing to say to round it out. Rainbow Dash was right the whole time, she learned nothing and yet should not have been rewarded like she was. Spitfire seemingly learns a lesson, but without taking the time to round out LD (such as saying sorry or continuing to act like she was right) how can we know that Spitfire really learned her lesson about “going in the right direction”. And again, LD was tossed to the side in the end so we have no clue if she learned a lesson or what the deal actually was for her punishment.

        • http://twitter.com/Destroyer_199 Daniel Alvarez

          Yes, I will say that Lightning Dust was a cool character in the beginning. But for the story and moral’s sake, she was turned into a much meaner version of Rainbow. I think in the end she did learn her lesson and was sad about the whole thing. Hopefully she does get another episode appearance.

    • Assassinated23

      It is unclear if Lightning Dust was truly expelled, or rather just demoted. The reason she’d borne the brunt of the blame is because she was the lead pony, and therefore responsible for both herself and her wing pony Rainbow Dash.

  • Arix

    Fluttershy not flying makes perfect sense – it’s been well established that she “locks up” when scared or in distress.

    • http://twitter.com/Destroyer_199 Daniel Alvarez

      Sure, but by now, two seasons later, I would think the thought of her and her friends about to pretty much die will get some braveness going.

    • Assassinated23

      Also, there is quite a difference between flapping to take off, and having the floor drop out from under you. Even Rainbow Dash has been portrayed falling through the air after a shock.

  • Berlioz

    In regards to Fluttershy, it’s actually pretty much in character that she didn’t fly since the series has repeatedly made the point that she’s not really all that good of a flier and has no confidence in her abilities. And when placed in a distressful situation, the terror in her mind has a tendency to shut out everything else in her head. In many ways, Fluttershy is much more an earth pony than a pegasus and her simply forgetting she can fly is pretty much in keeping with her established character.

    • Soarinjack

      Though it’s also been a pretty consistent part of her character, that all those mental blocks come crashing down, when her friends or someone she feels responsible for are in danger. “Dragonshy” and “Stare Master” comes to mind.

    • http://twitter.com/Destroyer_199 Daniel Alvarez

      I think eventually in mid-air she would come to realize the situation. When push comes to shove in extreme situations, she always pull through like in the ‘Stare Master.’