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TOM: THAT. WAS. AMA– wait. hold on now. Gotta stay cool and collected. To give a calm, clear analysis… WAIT, THIS WAS A NEW WRITER?! THAT’S… stop. Professionalism Tom. Keep those emotions in check. Overall, it was kinda sorta…
DIGI: It was FUCKING AWESOME!
TOM: I KNOW RIGHT?!
DIGI: Miss Harshwhinny’s amazing facial expressions totally make up for Games Ponies Play.
TOM: First song in season 4!! And it’s a great one!
DIGI: I… I LOVE IT!
TOM: You see, this is an episode, THIS IS A FUCKING EPISODE! You thought we were only gonna harp on about the negative shit in Season 4? FUCK NO. This ep makes my dick ROCK HARD
DIGI: You remember my opinions video: “what I can like about this episode, what I can hate?” Fuckin’… please. This is: WHY FLIGHT TO THE FINISH IS THE BEST FUCKING EPISODE OF SEASON FOUR.
TOM: NUMBER ONE. RAINBOW DASH.
DIGI: Remind me to do a video sometime about why Rainbow Dash is one of the best-written characters in TV history, because I’m starting to believe it. Rainbow is in coaching mode again and trying her hardest not to reach a hyperbolic event horizon over it. Her little side-plot of trying to stay calm and professional to keep out of trouble with Harshwhinny is hilarious, a great use of her character, and has a big payoff at the end.
But what makes her special in this episode is of course the way she handles the CMC on the train. She scolds Applebloom and Sweetie Belle bluntly but appropriately, and then PERSONALLY goes back to get Scootaloo. If this was Applejack or Rarity, they would’ve sent the remaining CMC to go back and apologize and bring Scoots, but Rainbow Dash shows Scootaloo a whole new level of her importance through the gravitas of teaching her a lesson herself.
Rainbow Dash comes in and with utter confidence tells it like it is. It doesn’t matter that you can’t fly. “That was me. You’re you.” She says it as if the thought of trying to be her instead of being yourself is completely daft, and puts aside Scootaloo’s anxiety with a gale force. She isn’t patronizing or looking down on her as a child, but speaks to her as an equal with part disappointment and more parts concern, over her very real investment in the quality of the play on an emotional level. It’s Rainbow Dash being mature, teaching a valuable lesson, and most importantly, staying completely in-character while doing it. It’s good. IT’S GOO–
TOM: NUMBER TWO. SCOOTALOO.
TOM: This little filly is killing it. She may have only two episodes under her belt, but both of them have proven to be fantastic (and both from at the time new writers. Is Scootaloo like, DHX’s proving ground for new staff, or something?). Flight to the Finish finally addresses the elephant in the room that has been lingering for the last three seasons and change : Scootaloo not being able to fly. The fact that Scoots takes the prodding from Diamond and Spoon so hard just goes to show that being earthbound is a soft spot for her, as one would expect. The funny thing is though, is that until this episode, the show never really commented on this. Even at the end of Sleepless in Ponyville, when Dash takes Scoots flying, there’s nothing to suggest that Scootaloo was upset at the fact that she couldn’t be flying side by side with Dash. This whole aspect of her carrying emotional baggage from lacking the ability to fly was purely a fanon perception until this episode, but here its finally put on display in full force. Scootaloo doesn’t know how to fly, and its abnormal for a filly her age, and by the end of the episode with Dash’s redirect, it seems pretty clear that she never will, either. She is bothered by this fact, and when its brought back to the forefront of her mind, she becomes caught up in her own insecurities and how her perceived weakness will negatively impact her friends chances of winning the competition, and becomes obsessively fixated on remedying the matter, to the point where her obsession ends up doing more harm than simply shrugging off the words of her antagonizers.
DIGI: Just like in Sleepless In Ponyville, Scootaloo is stubborn and grapples with her own inauthenticity. While her struggle in that episode was silent, this time the other CMC know of it and they’re response is, well, annoyed! They pretty much tell Scootaloo to get over herself at one point, which is fascinating. It shows that even though Scootaloo is facing the main emotional conflict in this episode, the repercussions it has on others is also important. Scoots’ obsession over her inability to fly doesn’t just hurt herself, but those close to her as well.
TOM: The fact that Scootaloo poorly hides this insecurity under an air of false bravado again reinforces her idolization of Rainbow Dash, as this is exactly how Dash would, and has, dealt with this kind of problem herself. Another behavioral parallel sprouts up when Scootaloo eventually decides that, when faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, to just go to the extreme and sever ties with the source of her problem completely, as opposed to simply attempting to work something out. Scootaloo ditches her friends at the train station in this episode, and in Wonderbolt Academy, Rainbow handles her issue with Spitfire in essentially the exact same way, choosing to bail when things seem hopeless.
TOM: NUMBER THREE (*cough*). DIAMOND TIARA.
DIGI: Diamond Tiara is a fuckin’ biiiiitch~ like oh my god, this girl is evil. She literally schemes on how to make the Cutie Mark Crusaders feel miserable and insecure, and decides to achieve this by making massively ableist remarks at Scootaloo and shaming her over things she can’t help. This is like, the shit they teach you in bullying 101 at the University of Total Assholes.
By the way, Silver Spoon’s remark, “we already called them Blank Flanks!” was the best joke of the season so far. It reminded me of something out of Friendship is Witchcraft.
TOM: NUMBER FOUR. THEMING.
TOM: Scootaloo’s revelation in this episode is exactly the kind of progression that the Cutie Mark Crusaders as a whole represent thematically, and are long overdue for: It’s a moral all about self-identity. Scootaloo feels that, by not being able to fly, she is disconnected from the defining characteristic of her tribe, and as such, is worth less because of it. The fact that she idolizes Rainbow Dash, a super athlete and arguably the best performance flyer this side of the Wonderbolts, only goes to further intensify her already deeply rooted obsession with flight, and the fact that she’s been acting exactly like Rainbow Dash the entire episode just goes to further strengthen the point of this moral. A moral about not letting your race, or your idols define you, but to define yourself. The fact that the trio isn’t focusing on looking inwards and discovering their inherent selves is the reason they’re stuck Crusading in the first place. A lesson like this for Scootaloo, that dials back her fangirling for Rainbow Dash a few levels, and starts making her more of a fan of herself, is a step in the right direction for eventually getting her cutie mark.
Unlike trying to get a mark in flag carrying, which I’m guessing won’t work
DIGI: Oh, but we aren’t done here yet, folks, let’s talk about the repercussions the handling of Scootaloo’s flightlessness has on the ethical mindset of this society. Lets think about this for a second. What does the climax of this story insinuate in terms of the mindset of all these characters? The show basically all but states that Scootaloo is handicapped, and how do the characters respond.
TOM: They don’t. And that’s the beauty of it.
Let’s go back to that first scene with Diamond and Silver for a second. When they decide to call Scootaloo out for not being able to fly, how does Sweetie and Bloom react? Do they get uncomfortable? Do they try and make excuses? No, they shrug it off with casual indifference, all but calling the bullies bullshit as they see it. Even Rainbow Dash, a pony whose entire life goal centers around flight, recognizes that this isn’t something to consider when it comes to Scootaloo. She sees her for who she is, not what her limitations are.
This episode implies that everyone in Ponyville have been acutely aware that Scootaloo can’t fly, and that its uncommon for a filly her age, for the entirety of this show’s duration. And not once, has she ever been treated differently, looked on with a sense of pity, or given preferential treatment. She was just another pony. And that’s exactly how the situation should be handled, in a land of magical ponies, or anywhere else.
THIS IS WHAT WE COME TO THE SHOW FOR. Characterization. Theming. FFFFUCK.
DIGI: Now, it’s gonna rest on my conscience here if I don’t mention anything wrong with this episode. The pacing in the first half is a little wonky with a lot of repetitive dialog. The song, while nice, doesn’t get anything done in the story, and the imagery throughout isn’t terribly interesting. But, like, fuckin’, I don’t even care, this is just nitpicking.
TOM: So thats it…just…go on iTunes, buy the episode, unless you already *burp* stole it off YouT-fuck. JUST GO! WATCH FLIGHT TO THE FINISH ALRIGHT? Its good.
DIGI: I swear, it’s fuckin’ good. If this makes me that excited… if I can tear down, fuckin’ Castle Mane-ia, which, people have been like, “oh it’s a good episode.” And I’m like “FLIGHT TO THE FINISH IS THE BEST EPISODE OF SEASON 4.” Then you better, fuckin’, whatever.
RIDIN’ ON SKIS!