I hope this is a romcom with a guest appearance by Tom Hanks.
Cut to daredevil Scootaloo on her speedy scooter of doom. Even Dashie thinks it's cool, but that's too much praise for Scootaloo. Also is it bad that I wish the MLP opening changed each time, like the Simpsons?
Is Scootaloo so desperate for a family that she has fixated on Dashie as a replacement for the mother who abandoned her because her wings are nascent instead of fully formed? PROBABLY. Apple Bloom and Applejack are going camping, and Apple Bloom invites Scootaloo to come while Apple Jack will invite Dashie. Rarity and Sweetie Belle will go too, because there are few things funnier than dramatic prissypants Rarity in the great outdoors. I unironically love seeing Rarity camping - never change, girl, never change. After the episode where Sweetie Belle and Rarity fight over stupid things before realizing they are sisters and value each other, it's a cinch for Sweetie Belle to guilt her big sis into camping.
Everyone's ready to go – they have backpacks (Are they technically saddlebags?), bug spray and a canteen. Aren't they ponies? Can't they drink from a stream? Or was this just another opportunity to show how freakily alike Apple Bloom and Apple Jack are? Fortunately Rarity came prepared with a wagon full of beauty goods, because the one thing the wilderness demands of us is curled eyelashes. FEMINISM.
At the campsite they meet Dashie uses her super awesome flying skillz to get firewood and make a campfire circle (showoff). Scootaloo tries hard to play it cool – and fails. Does Dashie know why she's on this trip? To be an older sister figure, or even mother figure, to the apparently family-less Scootaloo? I doubt it, because she's just being her normal semi-douchebaggy self.
Can we take a moment here to reflect on what exactly Scootaloo’s family situation is? She obviously has no mentor figure, but yearns to find a place in the adult world (i.e. get her cutie mark.) She’s well-adjusted enough to have two good friends, who probably feel bad for her based on their conversation in the Cutie Mark Crusaders clubhouse, but is obviously left out when it comes to having a family to fall back on. We’ve never seen her parents or siblings, which presumably she doesn’t have. What is this? The darker side of Equestria? Discuss.
Rarity brought an inflatable palace tent! It's just like the Quidditch World Cup.
After Apple Jack uses her Pony Scout skills (I assume that's a thing) to get the fire going, everyone gets comfortable. Rarity brought her fainting couch, because she could not deign to sit on a log. Around the campfire, Rainbow Dash announces that she is going to tell them a story, but not the one about the one time Rarity was basically Icarus. Rainbow Dash's story telling style is super dramatic, like Peter O'Toole dramatic (I got it right away, Res), and in the end she scares Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle, but not Scootaloo! Well, she does, but Scootaloo is learning the value of bravado. You know, that thing Rainbow Dash excels at.
Scootaloo is not willing to face the fears inspired by Dashie's story, AND THAT IS WHY HER FEAR WILL CONTROL HER. Children, this is as close to Yoda as you're going to get at age five (if your parents are lame) so pay attention.
Doc: Wait, is this the second Yoda reference in as many episodes? Maybe someone at the hub is anti-Disney (you think?) and wants to stay true to the Lucas-y roots.
Res: But South Park told us that Disney will treat Star Wars right, not pepper it with minstrels and plot holes. (The Res believes in you, Disney!)
Scootaloo enters a waking nightmare (snicker) where the Oldenmare appears as the Equestrian version of Freddie Krueger and chases Scootaloo through the forest. And Princess Luna is in the background, for some reason. (Because she controls the demons of the night, obviously.)
Scootaloo awakens from her dream and refuses to go back to sleep that night. The next morning they hit the road again, and Scootaloo catches some z's on the back of Rarity's wagon (where no one can see her). Poor Sweetie Belle is going to be thin as a rail from pulling that thing all the way to the next campsite – some of her sweat even lands on Rarity. On the other hand, the girl’s gotta have some pretty good delts and glutes or whatever horsey muscles are called. Small but mighty!
The possibility of being outside after nightfall propels Scootaloo into action – she volunteers to scoutaloo ahead on her scooter. (Booooo, Res, booo.) She has a hard time staying awake at the... handlebars (hoofbars?), but manages to avoid all sorts of calamity in a Looney Tunes-esque series of events. She catches up with the rest of the gang, sans scooter (Continuity problem: DID SHE EVER GET HER SCOOTER BACK!?). Her jumpiness is noticed by Apple Jack, but she brushes off the older pony's concern.
They reach the campsite, which is actually just a cave. Scootaloo is less than happy at the prospect of spending the night in a cave and another scary story from Dashie. She volunteers to get firewood from the forest, which does not go well. What she finds is good enough for Apple Jack, who is not an insensitive mare like Rainbow Dash. Scootaloo tries to divert the story to happier themes, but Dashie is determined to 1) be the star and 2) tell a scary story. I know everypony thinks Dashie is cool, but most of the time she just comes off as a bitch.
(Doc here: I think it’s more that she’s self-involved to the point of narcissism. She doesn’t try to hurt others in the process of being self-centered, she just does. It comes off as bitchiness, but I’ll give her credit for not being actively cruel to the people around her- it’s Scootaloo’s fault for not speaking up for herself. But we’ll get to that.)
(Res with the rebuttal: empathy is something Dashie should have learned by now. It's part of becoming a functional adult pony. Just saying, although I don't think she has parents either.)
Dashie tells a new story, this time about a headless horse (get it?). Apple Jack tries to poke fun at the story by asking how a headless horse can do anything (she's trying to keep Apple Bloom from being too scared) but Dashie cannot be deterred. While Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle have someone to comfort them, Scootaloo is left to comfort herself. This is some really dark stuff. Scootaloo tries to delay bed time by getting everyone to sing campfire songs. Sweetie Belle sings a loud and somewhat off-key rendition of Equestria's version of 99 Bottles of Beer (i.e. buckets of oats), but that's all the reprieve Scootaloo gets. Everypony else is tired and ready to go to bed.
Scootaloo passes out and heads into another nightmare where she is chased by the Headless Horse. Princess Luna shows up in her dream, which is part of her duties as princess of the night, and lays some psychology on Scootaloo, who admits that she is most afraid of Rainbow Dash knowing that she is afraid. Luna implores her to face her fears, and Scootaloo wakes up.
She thinks she hears the whinnies of the Headless Horse and hightails it out of the cave. (It was actually Rainbow Dash snoring.) She falls into a river, where she almost goes over the falls until she is saved at the last minute by her heroine. Dashie asks why Scootaloo was out in the woods at such a late hour, and with a little nudge from Princess Luna (literally, the moon winked at her) she admits her fear. Dashie surprises the Res by not being a bitch and agreeing to take Scootaloo under her wing. (Which she does literally, which is adorable. Also, this goes along with Doc's earlier point - if someone reminds Dashie that the others around her have feelings, she’ll be there for them. She’s not trying to hurt anyone. Loyalty and all that. She just needs a little… okay, big nudge from time to time.) (Wow, Doc, identify with her much?)
The rainbow falls are pretty spectacular, and when Scootaloo dreams again that night her fears are conquered, presumably by the part of her brain that thinks it's Rainbow Dash. The superego maybe? Meanwhile, we are still left to wonder what gave Scootaloo such profound abandonment issues.
Next week: Please, something more Rarity-centric. She's the Res's favorite!
Written or Contributed by Dr. Improbable and The Resident