Sorry for the delay on this. Besides struggling with writers’ overflow block* this week, for a long time, I couldn’t figure out what was up with this episode. Had Celestia finally gotten wise to my muck raking and learned to more carefully guard the secrets of Equestria?
Well in all honesty, this was the episode that first opened my eyes to the insidious mind control techniques. Yes, this was the episode that dragged me kicking and screaming into bronydom. Sure I thought the show was “entertaining enough” but then that opening cheer was just so funny and adorable I couldn’t stay a casual fan.
But then… that’s what this episode is about, isn’t it? The best tyrants know that you can’t run an empire on 0% approval rating, you need to keep the population entertained with bread and circuses. Isn’t it funny how in all these competitions, we keep seeing Celestia showing up? Equestria must be a big place, surely other places need her attention…
Then it hit me: what is near Ponyville? The Everfree Forest – a bastion of freedom and liberty that does not bow to the princess’s rule. As we saw before, there is already a concentrated effort to keep the town from getting “infected” by the ideas of the forest, but how can one be sure? Why send an unwitting pawn! Thus we see Celestia’s true motivation for having Twilight Sparkle sent to Ponyville, TS even provides her princess with handy spy reports that no one would possibly suspect is informing on the populace.
And from these, what does Celestia realize but that if the insurrection was to begin, who would start it but Rainbow Dash. Of the mane 6, RD is clearly the one most enticed by the lure of freedom. So, when competitions arise which might fuel that desire (such as the Running of the Leaves or this episode’s Best Young Flyer contest), we see Celestia come in person. That way, she can best play on RD’s loyalty and keep her from getting any funny ideas. Celestia even institutes a uniformed corp (loyal to her of course) and gives RD many incentives to want to join it. All to get her hoofs deeper into the young pegasus.
Now the real scandal is obviously Rarity. Why did her wings burn off? Some might say the sun, but she wasn’t that much higher than Cloudsdale and her wings had never melted off before. A scientist at MIT confirms for me that there shouldn’t be that much of a noticeable heat increase in Rarity’s position when the wing failure happens. If the wings were that delicate, they should have been shredded long beforehand (it’s a miracle they survived Rarity’s show preparation).
No, there it is clear what happened. Celestia (who was in the audience) saw an opportunity to teach her “problem pegasus” a lesson about those who “fly too high” or “who get the wrong ideas”. The wings were magic, so obviously Celestia used her own magic to dissolve them (and in such a way it looked like the sun did it). No wait… Celestia controls the sun. Of course! At that moment she used that control to intensify the heat to hasten the dissolution. After all, when Rarity plummets, do we see Celestia lift a feather to help? No! The order of things was challenged, and the princess cannot abide it. Thus the “all-powerful” princess just watches her subject drop. The wonder bolts are unable to help her (perhaps interfered with by Celestia?) so there’s no hope but Rainbow Dash!
And oh it’s a cunning plan. There should be no way for RD to save her friend, she probably Rainbow “Crash” into the ground, ridding the princess of her problem pegasus once and for all. However, RD has more skill than Celestia realizes and reaches the falling ponies in time, executing a badass rainbow in the process. Oh what a pain for Celestia, for there’s no way now she could eliminate Rainbow Dash and make it look legit. But ah the cunning tyrant has a plan: she gives RD the BYF award, giving RD a chance to spend time with the loyal, uniformed corp of Celestia. She will quell the lust for freedom, by feeding the pegasus’ pride.
And all Rainbow Dash can do, is call it the best day ever, and thank Celestia for the suppression.
OR maybe it’s about not letting your horn get so stuck up your hindquarters you make a donkey of yourself. (This episode does share a lot with the opening to my favorite of the Narnia series: the Silver Chair.)
*A form of writers’ block referencing a common computer error. Basically, when you are brimming with the impetus to write, but it’s NOT anything that you need to be writing. In this case, I’ve had a script idea that’s refusing to leave me. Hopefully ya’ll end up liking it.