I think it would be best here to go through this review in five stages and then a conclusion:
1. Denial – Rainbow Dash cannot stand the thought of not having Tank at her side for the winter months. So when Fluttershy tells her that hibernation is natural for tortoises like Tank, she tries to seek a second opinion. Unfortunately, that second opinion is Spike and just because he and Tank are technically reptiles, that doesn’t mean their habits are the same.
2. Anger – Rainbow Dash does not even want to hear the word “hibernation” and really flies off the handle. Clearly, she is not thinking clearly. She desperately wants to find a solution.
3. Bargaining – That solution? She must stop winter from coming to Ponyville! Despite a great song and her best (or is that worst?) efforts, she cannot stop the pegasi from starting winter. So, she goes to the source in Cloudsdale and her plans fail disastrously creating a simulation of the conditions this winter in Boston and a Game of Thrones reference.
4. Depression – Perhaps one of the saddest moments in the show itself. Dash is in bed depressed with Tank. Before she can lie in bed just like Brian Wilson did, Fluttershy becomes her most blunt ever and that drives Dash to tears, followed by Fluttershy herself, then Rarity, and then Pinkie Pie. Applejack is crying on the inside while Twilight is in a state of disbelief.
5. Acceptance – It turns out that was what Dash needed as she finally comes around and accepts the fact that she won’t be with Tank until spring. Her winter fun will be without her pet. So Dash takes Tank to his hibernation spot and reads him presumable one more bedtime story for the winter.
On a side note, it will be inevitable that people will call “Karma Houdini” on Dash since it is unlikely she will suffer consequences for damaging the Weather Factory. Indeed, some of Dash’s actions are objectionable in this one. All things considered though, while it might distract, it does not deter the fact that this was another excellent episode.
It’s been well established that Dash does not like being alone. Not having her pet around for a long time (and yes, this is as close as the show will likely get to actually depicting the loss of a loved one—even when you consider AJ’s parents), that can be very devastating. So having her go through the five stages of grief was handled very well. There is a consensus that the show really let loose in Season Two starting with “Lesson Zero,” but I’m starting to wonder if the mantra for Season Five is to abandon all pretense and put out stories like this one. Right now, it’s working.
Pluses and Minuses:
- + Best Dash episode!
- + World-building
- + Emotions and five stages handled well
- + Dash song!
- – Some of Dash’s actions were objectionable.