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  Twilight Sparkle: I think you'll like Daring [Do], she's a lot like you! Adventurous, fierce, and undeniably, unquestionably unstoppable!

  Written by Cindy Morrow

Twilight Sparkle finds Pinkie Pie and Rarity watching Rainbow Dash performing a new stunt flying routine. The girls are impressed... but less so, and even a little worried, when Rainbow Dash suddenly crashes.

Rainbow Dash awakens in the hospital, with her concerned friends huddling around her bed and one wing in bandages. Sentenced to a few days' bed rest, Dash is convinced she'll be bored to tears with nothing to do and nopony to talk to except her room-mate, who's in a full-body cast and obviously not the best conversationalist. This gives Twilight the idea to pluck a book from a passing book cart, and recommend it to Rainbow Dash. Despite all her friends insisting that she'll enjoy the adventurous tale of Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Statue and that reading is something anypony can enjoy, Dash refuses to give the book a try.

 Rainbow Dash: No thanks! I so don't read. I'm a world-class athlete! Reading's for egg-heads like you, Twilight... no offense, but I am not reading. It's undeniably, unquestionably uncool!

After her friends leave, however, the tedium of her hospital stay quickly gets to Rainbow Dash, and she starts reading. She's quick to identify with the adventurous Pegasus protagonist, and is taken in by the description of Daring Do's escape from a pack of ferocious wild cats.

 Rainbow Dash: I would hate to admit it to myself, and I would really hate to admit it to my friends, but... I love this story! I love reading! ...I'm an egghead.

Dash reads on about Daring Do navigating the many traps of an ancient temple, and finding the treasure she's been seeking, the titular Sapphire Statue... only to be pulled back into reality by the arrival of Twilight and Fluttershy, who've brought her favorite board game and offer to play it. Rainbow Dash agrees to play, but ends up throwing the game in order to get it over with as soon as possible so she can go back to reading her book without revealing to her friends that she's into reading after all.

Daring Do manages to navigate the traps guarding the treasure, and snatches it from its pedestal... only to set off another big trap that causes the room to fill with lava! She manages to escape by climbing to a hole in the roof using collapsing pillars, but just when she thinks she's in the clear she's confronted by the evil Ahuizotl, who also has designs on the statue... and Pinkie Pie's voice?

No, it's just Dash being interrupted by her friends again, this time by Pinkie, Applejack and Rarity. Fortunately, it's also dinner time, and Dash manages to drive them off with her messy eating so she can get back to the story.

Daring Do puts up a brave fight against Ahuizotl and his feline minions but is captured and tied to an ancient Death Trap: spiked walls closing in, spiders, snakes, and sand flooding the room for good measure. Unfortunately, Dash gets interrupted again, this time by the doctor. Not only has Rainbow Dash been up all night reading her book, she's being discharged from the hospital soon -- right now, in fact.

Desperate to see how the cliffhanger is resolved, but equally desperate to keep her new love of reading a secret, Rainbow Dash tries to get back into the hospital by playing sick. When that doesn't work, she dresses up in a black cat-suit and sneaks into the hospital, slipping under the bed of her former hospital room (which is occupied by a new patient). She manages to find the book, but before she can get to reading the hospital staff is alerted to her presence!

A frantic - and eerily familiar - chase ensues, which ends when Rainbow Dash is cornered outside Twilight's library. Confronted by the hospital staff and her friends, Rainbow Dash is forced to admit that she had enjoyed the book after all and needed to know how it ended.

 Twilight Sparkle: Wow... I knew the book was good, but I didn't know it could drive a pony to petty theft.

Rainbow Dash: "Good"? Try "awesomely amazing"! That book is undeniably, unquestionably un-put-down-able!

Fortunately, Twilight is willing to loan Rainbow Dash her copy of the book, along with the other books in the Daring Do series. Rainbow Dash admits she's learned that you shouldn't knock something until you've tried it, and that you shouldn't be ashamed of your interests... though she's too busy rushing off to finish Quest for the Sapphire Statue to really put it into the form of a letter to Princess Celestia.

Dash finally finishes her story, reading how Daring Do manages to escape the death trap through judicious use of her explorer hat, then snatch the Sapphire Statue out of the paws of the evil Ahuizotl and escape. Which means now Rainbow Dash is free to start the next book in the series, Daring Do and the Griffon's Goblet.

The Just For Fun book series has an actual page on here now!

Tropes present in this episode: (YMMV tropes can be found here.)

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Pinkie Pie and Rarity call Rainbow a "dazzling daredevil."
    • Daring Do, Sapphire Stone/Statue, Griffon's Goblet...
  • Adorkable: Twilight Sparkle as she tries to get Rainbow Dash's attention by poking her with the book... And her desperate smile when she admits to owning the entire series.
    • Rainbow's reaction before reading the next book about Daring Do also qualifies.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Played with, apparently it's a mental disorder.
  • An Aesop: "Books are for everyone, not just eggheads", "Don't knock it 'til you try it", and "Don't be ashamed of the things you enjoy". Dash is too preoccupied to write the Friendship Report herself though.
  • Artistic License Biology: The X-ray of Dash's wing does not resemble the bones of any bird (granted, we ARE talking about magical talking horses).
  • Audience Surrogate: It's pretty easy to identify with Rainbow Dash if you're one of those people who spent some time laughing at your Brony friends, before checking out the show yourself.
    • Or even simply just prefer to hide your fondness for the show from those you know.
  • Bad Bad Acting: Rainbow Dash, when she's trying to get back into the hospital. Doctor Caramel isn't fooled.
  • Bandage Mummy: The pony resting in the bed next to Rainbow Dash.
  • Battleaxe Nurse: The second nurse had elements of this.
  • Book Within A Show: Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Stone. (See the separate section below.)
  • Boredom Montage: Dash gets one, which eventually drives her to give the Daring Do book a try.
    • Parodied; after the 60-second montage, the clock on the wall ticks forward one minute.
  • Breather Episode: Dash reads a book, and... scene.
  • Call Back: Rainbow Dash called Twilight an egghead in "Fall Weather Friends".
    • Twilight and Fluttershy are suspicious when Rainbow Dash is nonchalant about losing the board game they play with her, noting that she normally hates losing.
    • The last time a Griffon was even mentioned was in "Griffon the Brush Off"
    • The old nickname from her youth in Cloudsdale, "Rainbow Crash", gets an overdue Deconstruction.
    • "Barking Mad/Screwloose" shares some of Twilight's facial tics.
    • At the beginning of the episode, Rarity mentions silk pajamas. Later in the episode, Rarity is shown wearing silk pajamas.
    • During the previous episode's Cold Open, Fluttershy found Rainbow Dash pulling the covers off her while she was in bed. This episode, she's apparently begun wearing a nightie to avoid the same thing happening again.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The pony doctor tells Rainbow as they are dismissing her from the hospital not to use the wing for a few days as it is still healing. Then, later, when Rainbow is trying to steal the book from the hospital, she attempts to take off and fly away but the wing appears to snap (quite painfully, in fact) and causing Rainbow to crash into the book cart.
  • Closet Geek
  • Continuity Nod: When Rainbow Dash crashes into a bookcase during her hospital escape and loses the book, one of the other books that falls on the floor is Super Naturals.
  • Crashing Dreams: A version of this occurs twice, both times when Rainbow Dash is engrossed in reading her book.
  • Damned By Faint Praise: Rarity tries to reassure Rainbow Dash by pointing out "The hospital gowns, they... match the curtains!"
  • Doctor Jerk: More like Doctor Stern; Doctor Caramel is a bit of a hard-ass, especially when Rainbow Dash tried faking illness. Justified, since he could tell Rainbow was malingering; he has an obligation to free up resources for ponies who need them; and up until that point Rainbow had hated being there.
  • Even the Rats Won't Touch It: Not surprisingly, the hospital food given to Rainbow Dash. It looks plain enough, but when she starts eating it, even the gelatin looks as if it were made of red gruel.
  • Fan Nickname: Some fans are already calling this the Reading Rainbow Episode. As it turns out the original name of the episode was "Reading Rainbow" but it was changed for an as yet unknown reason, probably rights reasons.
    • Other suggested nicknames have been "Appleaday" for the doctor and "Barking Mad" or "Screwloose" for the mad-pony.
    • Still others brought up the names "Reading Rainboom" and "Sonic Rainbook," playing off of Dash's signature move "The Sonic Rainboom."
  • Fan Girl: Rainbow Dash for Daring Do, very quickly. Also, Twilight as well.
  • Fauxshadow: The Bandage Mummy pony who shares the room with Rainbow Dash gets a few minutes of focus but has little relevance to the plot.
  • Flexing Those Non-Biceps: Spike.
  • Grey's Anatomy Emergency Medical Response: The "she's stealing my slippers!" alarm brings the entire hospital staff running.
  • Guilty Pleasures: The whole premise of the episode. The ultimate lesson is that you don't need to feel guilty about them.
  • Head Desk: Rainbow Dash to the back board of her hospital bed after the Boredom Montage.
  • Heel Realization: Rainbow Dash takes her sudden realization that she really enjoys reading the same way that others might take a pang of conscience.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: Rainbow Dash gets in a ninja costume to steal the book... which fails to hide her face or her very distinctive and showy rainbow tail.
  • His Name Is: The name of the Battleship parody played by Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Twilight Sparkle is cut off just before the latter names it.
  • I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: Rainbow Dash in regards to reading. Complete with "shouldn't knock something until you've tried it" aesop.
  • Impairment Shot: We see the rest of the Mane Six and the Doctor out of focus in the eye-shaped shot indicating Rainbow Dash is returning to consciousness after her crash.
  • Insistent Terminology: There's a brief debate over whether Rainbow Dash was causing a ruckus or a fracas.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Rainbow Dash invokes this, hoping her friends will leave her alone so she can get back to reading. It works.
  • Karma Houdini: Rainbow Dash suffers no apparent consequences from breaking into the hospital, trying to steal a book and frightening a patient.
  • Life Imitates Art: Several scenes during Rainbow's stealth-mission into the hospital and subsequent escape mirror scenes from the story. Mostly played for laughs, as some of the things she does were completely unnecessary, such as swinging over a stream when a perfectly fine bridge was already next to her.
  • Made of Iron: The ponies exhibit this quite often, but this episode really drives it home. Rainbow's wing is shown on the x-ray clearly with a fracture, yet was released after only a few days without even a cast.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: The cold open has Rainbow injure herself off-screen while Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Twilight watch. Pinkie's response? "So much for dazzling..."
  • Match Cut: Appropriately enough, a shot of Daring Do's face cuts to a shot of Rainbow's at the exact same angle when Rainbow's reading is interrupted.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: When the doctor and company finally catch Rainbow Dash, we find out that the angry dog barks heard during the chase were made by a mentally disturbed mare who took the chance to join the chase for fun. She's quickly chased back to the hospital by a security guard.
  • Mythology Gag: When Rainbow rips the juice glass off, her face morphs into an old G1-style elongated snout, complete with wink-at-the-audience Title Theme Drop.
  • Not So Above It All: Rainbow Dash initially scoffs at the idea that reading is fun, but she eventually gives in when the boredom becomes too much to handle.
  • Orphaned Punchline: During Rainbow Dash's Boredom Montage.

 Rainbow Dash: ...to get to the other side! (Beat) Get it?

  • Palette Swap:
    • The trainee nurse is a recolored Twist with a nurse's cap instead of glasses and a different cutie mark.
    • Daring Do is a recolor of Rainbow Dash. The varying shades of black on her mane and tail are what gives it away.
  • Pastimes Prove Personality: The aversion of this trope is the aesop for this story as Rainbow Dash realizes that simply because she learned that she likes to read doesn't change essentially who she is.
  • Playing Sick: Rainbow Dash does this to get back into her hospital room and finish the book. The doctor doesn't buy it for a second.
  • Product Placement: What do you know? Rainbow Dash's favorite board game happens to a pony version of a certain Hasbro property.
  • Reaction Shot: We never exactly see how Rainbow Dash lost control and crashed, we can only rely on her friends' reactions.
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop
  • Running Gag: "It's undeniably, unquestionably un________!"
  • The Runt At the End: When Rainbow is trying to escape the hospital, she finds her way blocked by Dr. Caramel, two fairly imposing nurses, and... an adorable little trainee nurse.
    • This mirrors the scene in the Book Within a Show where Daring Do is pursued by a tiger, a cheetah, a lynx, a panther, and...an adorable but very angry kitten.
  • Schizo-Tech: The hospital can take an x-ray of Rainbow Dash's broken wing, but she has to use fireflies in her lantern to read at night.
    • The hospital staff also have flashlights.
    • The doctor's cutie mark is an EKG screen. For that matter, we can hear an EKG beeping in the hospital room, but don't actually see it.
  • Separate Scene Storytelling: How the "Daring-Do" story is presented.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A bored Rainbow Dash bounces a ball like Steve McQueen's in The Great Escape.
    • Pinkie Pie wonders if Dash gained spider powers from crashing. The doctor than states she did not, nor did she gain healing powers.
    • Pinkie's earlier reaction before Dash crashed? Alpha 5 would be proud.
    • The game Twilight and Fluttershy bring for Rainbow is pretty much "Battleship" with a Pegasus-appropriate theme.
      • Which is oddly fitting, considering who owns the rights to make Battleship and its variations over the years.
    • When Rainbow Dash first starts reading the book, the musical cue and narration echo Bastian's first look into The Neverending Story.
    • Also, this episode is about a pony named Rainbow discovering the joys of reading
    • Applejack says the food in the hospital is "hoof-lickin' good", arguably a reference to a long-time slogan of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
  • Sickening Crunch: The noise that Rainbow Dash's wing makes when it snaps again is quite cringe-worthy.
  • Sick Episode
  • Sidetracked by the Analogy: Pinkie Pie doesn't think her head is shaped like an egg. More like an apple, or an orange -- but a really big orange! Or more of a grapefruit, maybe...
  • Spy Catsuit: Rainbow Dash dresses in one to sneak into the hospital and finish the book.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • What does the mentally ill pony have for a cutie mark? A screw.
      • A single screw. In other words, a "loose screw".
      • She's also quite literally barking mad.
    • Dash is literally reading "tales of derring-do" (stories in which the title character's name is Daring Do).
    • Her "blowing out" the lantern, which consists of trapped fireflies.
  • Stock Parodies: The sneaky thieving bit.
  • Stock Femur Bone: The X-Ray of Rainbow Dash's wing.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Rainbow Dash denies wanting to read the Daring Do books when Twilight says "do", even though she wasn't even talking about the books.
  • Take Our Word for It: We see none of the dazzling, daredevil flying tricks Rainbow Dash was performing at the start of episode save for a single loop-the-loop, nor her apparently horrific crash at the end. Probably wise, because it would have to be pretty horrific to be worse than everything that's happened to Dash on-screen so far.
  • There Was A Bridge: Rainbow Dash chose to swing over a river, instead of using the perfectly good bridge a few feet away.
  • Time Compression Montage: The whole episode is pretty much a giant montage, as time passes extremely quickly between transitions of Rainbow reading the book and events outside of the story.
    • Subverted with Dash's Boredom Montage; the montage ends up taking up the same amount of time in-universe as it did on the screen (about 60 seconds).
  • Vocal Dissonance: Played for laughs. Pinkie Pie greets Rainbow Dash just when she first reads about Ahuizotl, causing the character to temporarily speak with her voice.
    • And later we discover that the attack dogs we kept hearing during Rainbow Dash's chase scene were just the barks of a mentally disturbed mare who used the confusion to leave the hospital.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: The entire crux of the plot. A non-egghead being into reading? Perish the thought!
    • Also, when Rainbow Dash is discovered after sneaking into the hospital, the patient thinks she was trying to steal his slippers.
      • Which causes a chase involving Dr. Caramel, two nurses, a number of hospital security guards, and the barking patient.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Rainbow Dash awakens in the hospital after her accident.
  • Working Title: Apparently "Reading Rainbow" was the working title early on.
  • Wrongful Accusation Insurance: Rainbow Dash may have convinced everyone that she wasn't trying to steal a patient's slippers, but the fact remains that she should still be in trouble for breaking and entering into the hospital after hours to steal hospital property (the book).
    • Well, more just "entering" than "breaking". And she did at first just try to finish reading the book where she found it (under the bed), and only after she was suddenly busted did she combine her denial of slipper stealing with her reflexive grasp on the book into "...I'm stealing this book!"

The Book Within The Show "Daring Do And The Quest For The Sapphire Stone" contains the following Tropes

Note: For an in-universe trope page of the series, click here.

 Rainbow Dash/Daring Do: A few days? It might as well be a few months, or a few years...

  • Meaningful Name: Daring Do (derring-do, being a word for heroic escapades) is a perfect description of what said character does.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Parodied -- a lynx, a panther, a cheetah, a tiger, and an adorable putty tat all chase Daring Do through the Equestrian analogue of the South American jungle. Possibly justified as they're actually Ahuizotl's henchmen.
  • Nice Hat: Which turns out to be a useful tool as well.
  • Mythology Upgrade: Ahuizotl goes from being a mindless predator to a Bond villain. Then again, considering his Bond Villain Stupidity, it might be a downgrade.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: God knows how an ancient being of vaguely Mesoamerican background would speak, but it's probably not with a phony-baloney Transylvanian vampire accent.
    • It's probably just being filtered through Rainbow's imagination.
    • It's actually more of a really, really bad Hispanic accent.
  • Oh, No, Not Again: Daring Do says "Uhhh, not again." when Ahuizotl flips a switch and leaves her tied up in a Death Trap.
  • Palette Swap: Daring Do is a palette-swapped Rainbow Dash; specifically, a yellow coat, gray-scale mane, different eye color, and a different cutie mark. Of course, this could just be Rainbow Dash inserting herself into the story, as Twilight had highlighted their similarities.

 Twilight Sparkle: I think you'd like Daring -- she's a lot like you!

    • Not to mention Daring can't fly on account of a broken wing, which Rainbow projects onto immediately.
    • Also, one of the times Rainbow Dash is drawn out of the story, the background fades into the hospital room, and an actual color morph from Daring Do to Rainbow Dash occurs.
      • Except, Daring Do is on the cover of the book as well, looking exactly like she does in Rainbow Dash's imagination.
  • Panthera Awesome: Ahuizotl employs a pack of them, including a tiger, a panther, a cheetah, a lynx, and an adorable little white kitty cat.
  • Pinball Projectile: Daring Do's safari hat when she launches it to release the lever in the deathtrap is one of these.
  • Red Herring: Admit it: you were expecting the giant boulder when the idol stealing scene started.
  • Retraux: The whole Indiana Jones motif is furthered by utilization of film grain and color fading, to make it look like it's being played by a film projector. Additionally, the 2.35:1 aspect ratio is emulated with letter-boxing.
  • Right-Hand-Cat: The fluffy white kitten from earlier in the episode, to Ahuizotl.
  • The Runt At the End: Ahuizotl has the aforementioned deadly feline predators, and...the adorable little kitten.
  • Say My Name: "CURSE YOU DARING-DOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"
  • Show Within a Show
  • Shout-Out:
    • Ahuizotl and his little white cat to the Bond villain Blofeld.
    • At the end of the episode, Dash begins reading the second book in the "Daring Do" series. Its title? The Griffin's Goblet.
    • The way Daring Do escapes from the deathtrap might be a shout out to Xena: Warrior Princess.
    • After Daring clears the picture-tile trap, the music briefly sounds like something out of The Legend of Zelda.
  • Stock Parodies: Indiana Jones, of course.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Ahuizotl traps Daring Do in a room with closing spike walls, poisonous spiders, and cobras. All while the room is filling with quicksand.
  • Two-Fisted Tales: If the "Quest for the Sapphire Statue" is any indication, the Daring Do series of books would fall under this genre.
  • Up to Eleven: Ahuizotl's death trap: The walls begin closing in. Then spikes come out of the walls. And then spiders come out of the spikes.
  • Visual Pun: The cat whistle.[1]
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Not word-for-word, but Daring's expression clearly said this.
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