#18: Flight to the Finish
Writer: Ed Valentine
Storyboard: Steve Sanderson, Jocelan Thiessen, and Tim Packford
Season: 4, episode 5
Characters: Applebloom, Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle, Rainbow Dash
Summary: The Equestria Games are underway, and Ms. Harshwhinney has come to the elementary school with Rainbow Dash to announce the Flag-flying competition for the children. The team with the best routine will be able to represent their town, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders want in. But can they compete even if Scootaloo can’t fly?
Review: One of the things that surprises me about this show is how they handle Scootaloo’s disability. Up until this episode, his inability to fly was never mentioned, nor was it a plot point. But here, it is. They never made a big deal about it, and it never needed to be a big deal.
I like the song for this episode a lot. The songs for the show fall into three categories: There’s character songs (“The Smile Song”), “Plot Songs” which advance the plot (“This Day Aria”), and songs that are a combination of both. “Hearts as Strong as Horses” falls into the final category, and its rousing feel fits the Crusaders’ determination.
I also like the development of the Crusaders as well. Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon show up to do their usual ridicule of them for not discovering their cutie marks yet, and it doesn’t even faze them. Sweetie Belle even has this look that says “This is all you got? Really?” This causes Diamond Tiara to up the stakes and hit Scootaloo where it really hurts: her pride.
But the best scene in the whole episode is when Scootaloo decides to quit the whole thing. Applebloom and Sweetie Belle decide to go without her because she’s a quitter, but Rainbow Dash won’t have it. (Then again, she is the element of Loyalty, so I was expecting this) They rush to Scootaloo’s house and we get a great heartwarming moment when Rainbow Dash says that yes she flew when she did the routine as a filly, but that’s because “That was me, and you’re you! Maybe you’ll fly, and maybe you won’t. You’re all kinds of awesome anyway.!”
For me, this is the highlight of Season 4’s Equestria Games arc. It wasn’t the best of the two arcs of the season (maybe doing two arcs at once wasn’t a good idea), but this episode is one of the best of the whole season, tackling the issue of ableism in a mature and dignified way.