It’s been a while since we’ve picked up a Dash of Awesome. The last time, I looked at a Dash episode was in July before the old site got shut down. Thankfully, those reviews have been saved, unlike some other retrospectives that I plant to continue with this year. Anyhow, the plan right now is to use the first couple of days of November to finish out this retrospective, and then I am taking a nice long break from character retrospectives for a while as these are always a lot of work. Today, we are starting with a season seven episode, Daring Done?
Watching this episode and knowing that AK Yearling’s name is a play on J.K. Rowling is rather interesting in a sad light. I won’t get into it too much but Rowling revealed her true colors in being a transphobic jerkwad. Why am I bringing this up? Well, consider that when fans of hers called her out on her bullshit, instead of taking time to reflect and be responsible for what she said and did, she double-downed on her transphobia with a rather abhorrent letter defending it.
This episode deals with taking responsibility for one’s actions and learning to be better than who they are. It is nice to see that a cartoon pony could learn this lesson when so many people in the real world can’t learn this lesson.
The episode opens with Pinkie and Dash going through Ponyville and picking up a newspaper and this is where we learn that Yearling has decided to retire. Why? Well, it turns out that after the last town that Yearling visited as Daring Do, she had gotten some bad press. Yeah, as the MLP Wiki points out.
Yearling explains that her latest adventure in Southern Equestria turned up multiple news articles disparaging Daring Do and blaming her for the damage that her adventures cause. This has caused her to lose confidence in herself as both an adventurer and as a writer.
The losing confidence part is perhaps one of the biggest elements that ties back into taking responsibility for the actions of oneself. The fact that Yearling feels bad speaks to the fact that Yearling understands this but it does take Dashie and Pinkie to pull her out of the dumps. So, Dash and Pinkie decide to take Yearling to Southern Equestria to see that they don’t think Daring Do is a bad pony. How does this go?
About as well as you might think as every pony they talk to has disparaging things to say about the adventure pony. It turns out that there is a red-cloaked pony that is easily convincing the ponies of this desert village that Do is a monster.
Yeah, it’s Daring Do’s old enemy Dr. Caballeron, who has been doing this because he feels as though Do has ruined his life. Oh and this is also an episode involving the Pillars and we get the story of one of the Pillars that would become even more important in future seasons as the Pillars would come back to help fight against a great evil. Anyways, quoting from the MLP Wiki, this is the story of this particular Pillar.
Somnambula volunteered to try and solve the sphinx’s riddle: “I shine brightest in the dark. I am there but cannot be seen. To have me costs you nothing. To be without me costs you everything.” Somnambula correctly answers “hope”, enraging the sphinx. Fearing that the sphinx would go back on her promise to release Hisan, Somnambula asks for another challenge and tells the sphinx to leave the kingdom forever if she completes it. The sphinx challenges Somnambula to walk across a bridge to Hisan—blindfolded and without the use of her wings.
Guided by Hisan’s voice and the power of hope, Somnambula succeeds, and the sphinx flies off in a rage. Hisan replaces Somnambula’s pearls with a string of glowpaz as thanks for saving him, and glowpaz became the village’s symbol of hope from then on.
This is important because what happens in the story is true and Caballeron uses this as he kidnaps Dash knowing that Daring Do has to be nearby. And she is. but she’s still in her funk. Pinkie helps to get over this and using what was learned from the story, our adventure pony gets her groove back as she goes through dangerous obstacles and can save Dash. The town soon learns the truth and forgive Daring Do. Though Daring Do also learns that she could be more careful in the future and to respect things as she notes here.
… I’m glad I realized that even if you’re fighting for something good, you’re still responsible for your actions.
This ties into something that I brought up in the beginning, authors have fans and these fans follow and are influenced by what these authors say. When Rowling doubled down on her transphobia instead of thinking about her actions, she told fans of Harry Potter that it was okay and that one does not have to be responsible for what they do or say. Whereas Yearling/Daring Do here shows that taking responsibility is one of the most important things that anyone can do as it will only help to make you look like a better pony… I mean person.
AK Yearling/Daring Do voiced by Chiara Zanni
This is a great episode for Daring Do and more so her Yearling persona as we see how she is able to reflect on taking responsibility for her actions at the end after realizing that she may have been in the wrong with the things that she did. While it does take a while for her to get to where she does, I believe that this shows that she understands what she needs to do in the future.
Rainbow Dash voiced by Ashleigh Ball
This episode really brought out the fangirl in Dash as most Daring Do episodes do. However, I think it’s handled a bit differently here than in most Daring Do episodes except for the next Daring Do episode that he will look at in that this shows her as the fan that never gives up and believes in her favorite author and doesn’t want to see her just stop. This speaks back to how fans are influenced by what the people they look up to have to say. Yes, we shouldn’t put our heroes on a high platform but it is understandable why fans do this because, in many regards, fans have a parasocial relationship with the people they follow believing they know them. However, this is a bit different as Dash actually does know Yearling and they are friends. Therefore, this goes beyond just being a fan but also wanting to help a friend after they’ve been besmirched.
Pinkie Pie voiced by Andrea Libman
Pinkie is Pinkie and that’s all she needs to be. She’s not overly Pinkie like can be in bad episodes as she is just fun and is the one that helps Daring Do to get out of her funk to save Dash.