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Rainbow Dash: How would you describe what I just did? Would you say I was amazing?
Amethyst Star: Aren't you milking this a bit?
Written by Merriwether Williams
One morning, helmed by Scootaloo, the Rainbow Dash Fan Club begins a hearing to officially declare Rainbow Dash as the most awesome pony in all of Ponyville. When Snips objects, preferring to call Rainbow Dash the most stupendous pony, a short argument unfolds, eventually resulting in an anonymous suggestion of "superultraextremeawesomemazing" by a certain cyan Pegasus.
Satisfied with her work, Rainbow Dash begins a relaxing cloud-swim…only to be interrupted by the sounds of a distressed filly coming from a well below. Without hesitation, she dives into the well, easily rescuing the filly, and is met by a crowd of cheering ponies as she emerges. Blushing, she flies off, to the praise of Scootaloo, Snails and Snips.
Later in the same day, a baby carriage goes careening off a steep road, heading straight for a cliff. Once again, Rainbow Dash is on hand to save the baby, and one again a cheering crowd meets her. This time, the praise goes to her head, and she poses and shows off to the crowd and cameras, to the bemusement of Applejack and Twilight. Yet another disaster strikes soon afterwards, wherein a group of elderly ponies find themselves on a collapsing balcony.
Rainbow Dash: Never fear, your friendly neighborhood Rainbow Dash is here!
By this point, Rainbow Dash is actively egging on the crowds, while her friends lament her increasingly inflated ego. As she gives interviews and poses for the paparazzi in Sugarcube Corner, she even hires Spike to ghostwrite her autobiography. Twilight and Applejack are less than amused with her bragging and arrogance, however...
Later, as she signs autographs for a line of waiting fillies, a plummeting Twinkling Balloon carrying a screaming mare gives Rainbow Dash another chance to perform feats of heroism. Before she can get to the balloon, however, a mysterious pony in a mask and cape appears and saves the panicking pilot, leaving Rainbow to crash into the deflated balloon. As the heroic pony vanishes as quickly as she came, the mayor declares her to be Mare Do Well, Ponyville's newest hero, to which the crowd cheers...except for Rainbow Dash, who bitterly snubs the new hero.
Things quickly become worse for Rainbow Dash, as Mare Do Well outperforms her in almost every regard. When a carriage filled with tourists goes flying down the steep road, Rainbow completely flubs the rescue whereas Mare Do Well effortlessly stops the carriage with her superior physical strength. A construction site quickly devolves into pandemonium as a haywire crane and a collapsing structure put the workers in danger, and although Rainbow Dash manages to rescue one colt, Mare Do Well saves four in the same span of time, displaying an uncanny level of prediction. A leaky hydroelectric dam is easily plugged by Rainbow Dash, only to completely burst when she stops to compliment herself, leaving Mare Do Well to not only rescue Dash, but use unicorn magic to single-hoofedly repair the dam. Rainbow Dash's frustrations are only increased when, as she shows off her ability to fly, unlike Mare Do Well, the caped crusader herself flies by as well, now sporting pegasus wings.
Back at Sugarcube Corner, Twilight, Fluttershy, Applejack and Rarity sing praises about Mare Do Well. An agitated Rainbow Dash refutes their claims, declaring herself to be a better hero than Mare Do Well, only to be called out on her jealousy by the others, including Spike. Unfortunately, there aren't any disasters that need heroism to be found, leaving Rainbow Dash to perform acts of heroism such as pushing Granny Smith across the street (she didn't want to cross), opening a jar of peanut butter (Amethyst Star easily opens it with her magic), and mowing the lawn.
Dejected and alone, Rainbow Dash sulks on a raincloud, only to be interrupted by Scootaloo, who invites Rainbow Dash to Mare Do Well's thank-you parade. Quickly formulating an idea, Rainbow Dash follows her, and when Mare Do Well appears on stage, Rainbow confronts her and demands to remove her mask. A chase quickly begins throughout a secluded alley, and although Mare Do Well manages to lose her several times, Rainbow eventually corners and pounces on an unassuming Mare Do Well, and unmasks her, to reveal…Pinkie Pie?
Not only that, but two more Mare Do Wells appear and reveal themselves to be Twilight and Applejack, soon joined by Fluttershy and Rarity. The five reveal that they all had a hand in the scheme; Applejack's strength saved the bus, Pinkie Pie used her Pinkie Sense to save the construction workers, Twilight magically repaired the dam, Fluttershy performed the fly-bys, and Rarity made the costumes. Rainbow questions why they would force her out of the spotlight, and they reveal that although they enjoyed seeing Rainbow as a hero, her constant bragging and arrogance was uncalled for.
Realizing her mistakes, Rainbow Dash begins to write a letter to the Princess, only to be cut off by Spike, who had already penned a letter in advance. When he insists on using his version, Rainbow Dash scares him off with a lighthearted prank, and begins writing her own version.
Tropes (YMMV items can be found here):
- A Day in the Limelight: The second one in a row for Rainbow Dash. It's been suggested that the episode's middling reception was due to the "May the Best Pet Win"(considered superior) still being fresh in people's minds.
- Acquired Situational Narcissism: The episode in a nutshell. It's not like Dash is normally humble, but once she's the town hero, her attitude goes from "I'm awesome" to "I'm awesome and everyone should admire me for it."
- She does like to be admired and cheered on, but this episode shows what happens when the attention gets to her head.
- Alliterative Name: The Mysterious Mare Do Well.
- Always Someone Better: To Rainbow Dash's dismay, Mare Do Well outdoes her in many ways, such as being stronger than her, being able to see what's about to happen, and her powerful abilities in magic and being able to fly.
- Attention Horse
- Baby Carriage
- Blush Sticker: Rainbow Dash gets these after her first couple of heroic acts.
- Break the Haughty: The character development Rainbow Dash goes through over the course of the episode.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Just before the iris out to end the episode, Rainbow Dash winks at the camera.
- Brought to You by The Letter "S": The Mysterious Mare Do Well has an M on the brooch holding her cape closed.
- But She Sounds Handsome: Twilight, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Applejack in Sugarcube Corner when they are complimenting various aspects of the Mysterious Mare Do Well.
- Call Back:
- Pinkie Sense is mentioned again for the first time since "Feeling Pinkie Keen".
- Also, when pressed for time, Rainbow Dash responds, "Yeah, yeah. I've got a good ten seconds to spare."
- Pinkie Pie and Spike are easily scared, which is a nod to them being afraid of "zombie ponies" in "Bridle Gossip". Though Pinkie might just be pretending to be scared for fun, like she did for Nightmare Night.
- Catch Phrase: Rainbow Dash assigns herself one (or rather, use Spider-Man's and Underdog's.) Unfortunately, it turns out talking is not a free action.
- Collective Identity: The truth behind Mare Do Well: She's really the other members of the Mane Six teaching Rainbow a lesson in humility. Sans Rarity, who instead provides the costumes.
- Color Coded Magic: Part of Mare Do Well's identity is hinted when she uses magenta-colored magic to repair the dam.
- Compressed Hair: Mare Do Well's costume (seen above) leaves no space for her mane or tail.
- Comically Missing the Point: When Rainbow Dash chooses Spike to ghostwrite her autobiography.
Twilight Sparkle: Autobiographies are supposed to be written by the pony they are about.
- Construction Zone Calamity: Mare Do Well saves construction workers from a collapsing construction site.
- Contrived Coincidence: Pony society has a rash of sudden disasters when it's necessary for Rainbow or the Mysterious Mare Do Well to show off.
- Lampshaded by Rainbow when she's actually looking for disasters.
- Cool Shades: This is practically becoming a character trope with Dash.
- The Cowl: Mare Do Well is a rather lighthearted version.
- Crapsaccharine Town: Despite its general happiness, disasters in Ponyville happen surprisingly frequently in this episode.
- Crazy Prepared: The other Mane Cast are apparently this, as they just happen to send just the right pony to play Mare Do Well for every disaster that comes along, and happen to show up exactly when they're needed.
- The Pinkie-sense surely helped forecast the kind of disaster that was going to happen.
- Spike having the friendship letter ready for Rainbow Dash by the time she's ready to write it. Justified, as he has been literally recording everything she says.
- Danger Is My Middle Name: "Rainbow Danger Dash!"
- Deadpan Snarker: Amethyst Star (the purple unicorn with the peanut butter), when asked to compliment Rainbow's "heroic" jar-opening skills, albeit interrupted.
Rainbow Dash: Would you say I was amazing?
Amethyst Star: Aren't you milking this a bit?
Rainbow Dash: Please, just answer the question. Was I or was I not amazing?
Amethyst Star: Oh, you're amazing, alright. An amazingly—
Rainbow Dash: Oh, look!! *goes off to save the grass*
- Deconstruction Fic: Spawned three in less than a week;
- Disproportionate Retribution: The rest of the mane cast go to the trouble of creating a composite superhero identity just to teach Rainbow a lesson in humility.
- Everypony Did It: A rather downplayed version. The masked hero turns out to be Twilight, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy using their various talents to outdo Rainbow Dash, while Rarity provided the costumes.
- Handbag of Hurt: Granny Smith's reaction to Rainbow Dash providing her with unsolicited help crossing a street.
- Fair Play Whodunit: There are deliberate clues throughout the episode to Mare Do Well's identity, though it does require some knowledge of the series continuity to puzzle out correctly.
- The Mare Do Well is established as being stronger than Rainbow Dash, particularly in her hind legs. "Fall Weather Friends" established that Applejack's hind legs are stronger than Rainbow Dash's.
- During the construction scene, Mare Do Well proves to be very agile, easily dodging every piece of falling debris. Rainbow Dash notes that she is fast, strong, and able to predict upcoming events - the last of which Pinkie Pie can do with her "Pinkie Sense."
- While Twilight's magical aura color is seen in many episodes, one could point to "Boast Busters" as an episode that established her as one of the only unicorns capable of the large-scale magic necessary to move the rocks and repair the dam.
- From the same scene, the Mare Do Well is seen with a unicorn horn, and then a moment later with pegasus wings as she buzzed past Rainbow Dash. Apart from Celestia, Luna, and Cadence (who are all ruled out for size considerations), no other winged unicorns are known to exist (at least in this generation, given the picture in Hearts and Hooves Day), indicating that more than one pony is posing as the Mare Do Well.
- The Mare Do Well is a skilled and fast flier. "The Return of Harmony, Part 2" showed Fluttershy's ability to match or top Rainbow Dash's air speed when she has to.
- Flower Pot Drop: During The Reveal that Mare Do Well is some of the Mane 6 teaching Rainbow Dash a lesson, Pinkie Pie says she stopped the building collapse with her Pinkie Sense. She then detects a falling flowerpot with it, and dashes away to avoid it.
- Foreshadowing: After the balloon rescue, Twilight seems awfully pleased to hear someone loudly praising Mare Do Well.
- I Call It Vera: Applejack has named her hind legs Bucky McGillicuddy and Kicks McGee.
- Ineffectual Loner: Parodied and subverted. Rainbow Dash comes to realize she's upset that no one's paying attention to her and that she's lonely, but when Scootaloo tells her about Mare Do Well's thank-you parade, Dash says she wants to be alone.
- Innocently Insensitive: Scootaloo, in a sincerely polite and enthusiastic tone, asks Rainbow Dash if she wants to come to a thank you parade for Mare Do Well, her new idol.
- Instant Fanclub: Turns out that Rainbow Dash has one. And who else to be the leader but Scootaloo?
- Intrepid Reporter: Spike, even when everypony's ignoring Rainbow Dash in favor of Mare Do Well.
- Well, he did get hired to write her autobiography.
- Lampshade Hanging: "Buses and baby carriages are always careening down this hill. Where is an out-of-control vehicle when you need one?!"
- Lightning Bruiser + Magic Knight: Rainbow Dash, on Mare Do Well, "So she's strong, agile, knows what's going on beforehand and magic. How am I supposed to compete with that?"
- Line-of-Sight Name: More like "line of hear" name, but the Mysterious Mare Do Well is named when the Mayor says "This mysterious mare has done well by our town!" The name stuck.
- Magic Color Spoiler: The scene where the Mare Do Well uses magic to repair the dam probably gives away what's going on to older fans, though a later scene does restore some ambiguity (see Red Herring below).
- Mundane Utility: Unicorn magic…also useful for opening jars of peanut butter.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If she had kept plugging the hole in the dam with her hoof instead of taking it out to pat herself on the back, Rainbow Dash would have at least been recognized as a hero again. In fact, Dash could have resolved most of the later situations had she been taking them seriously instead of bragging, wasting time, showing off and such. It is also implied that Rainbow made the crack in the dam worse by leaning on it.
- In the larger scheme of things, the Mane cast (outside of Rainbow) initially cheer and support Rainbow's heroic efforts, and only after Rainbow lets this go to her head do they decide she's taking the hero thing too far.
- No OSHA Compliance: A crane with a stuck lever goes haywire when a little force is applied to get it moving. A road inexplicably leads to the edge of a cliff (leading to two different disasters). A hydroelectric dam apparently has no one monitoring it for the obvious crack Rainbow spotted from the air.
- Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Granted, Ponyville has been host to some weird and catastrophic problems before, but it gets to almost Discordian levels of chaos all at once when the superheroing starts.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Rainbow Dash realizes just how far from grace she has fallen after seeing that Scootaloo has switched her fan allegiance to Mare Do Well.
- Pun-Based Title: "Mare Do Well" is a play on "ne'er-do-well".
- Also possibly on Dudley Do Right.
- Quote Mine: Spike when he's writing Rainbow Dash's "autobiography":
Applejack: And she's modest and humble. She lets her actions speak for themselves. Gotta admire that.
Rainbow Dash: I don't have to admire that! I don't think she's all that great!
Spike: She's... great.
Rainbow Dash: I didn't say that.
- Red Herring: Though the color of the magical aura that the Mare Do Well uses matches Twilight's, we see that Amethyst Star, whom Rainbow Dash helps with the jar of peanut butter, also has a magical aura that color. Coupled with her particular annoyance with Rainbow Dash, this may have been a deliberate Red Herring. It may have worked more effectively if it hadn't already been established that Mare Do Well could fly.
- Also, it would have worked better had Twilight not stated that the dam-sealing spell was indicative of heavy studying. Who else but Twilight would have had the dedication?
- After the construction site scene, Rainbow Dash comments that Mare Do Well "somehow knows what's gonna happen ahead of time". This might lead to suspicions that Mare Do Well were setting up these disasters. Turns out this was not the case; those accidents really were all coincidences. Contrived Coincidences, of course, but still.
- That was actually a reference to the Pinkie Sense.
- Ringer Ploy: The multiple Mare Do Wells running around Ponyville after Rainbow tried to unmask the hero.
- Schizo-Tech: The Hoover-style dam.
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: Rainbow's chase of Mare Do Well. Justified in that four ponies play her at different times.
- Secret Identity Change Trick: If you pay attention, you'll notice that both Twilight and Applejack are in the crowd when Rainbow Dash confronts Mare Do Well on stage. This must mean that they took advantage of Rainbow Dash distracting everypony by chasing after Mare Do Well to sneak away and quickly change into their own Mare Do Well costumes.
- Same with Fluttershy: one of the Mare Do Well's in the chase scene is clearly a Pegasus, but when we see Fluttershy next, she's out of the outfit.
- Shout-Out: "Never fear, your friendly neighborhood Rainbow Dash is here!"
- Without the Spider-Man part, it becomes: "Never fear, Rainbow Dash is here!"
- Mare Do Well's look is one to Darkwing Duck, Zorro, and Batman. And the lens and slick spandex portions match Spider-Man's costume.
- Posters of the Mare Do Well in the style of Batman: The Animated Series. When Mare Do Well starts playing Stealth Hi Bye with Rainbow Dash, a take of Danny Elfman's legendary Batman theme for the series and movie can be heard.
- Mare Do Well's Leitmotif might also be The Jimmy Hart Version of Jerry Goldsmith's theme music from the 1994 movie version of The Shadow.
- During the Rainbow Dash fan club meeting in the prologue, among the posters is one of Rainbow Dash that depicts her as a Nyan Cat.
- As Rainbow pulls off the Mare Do Well's mask.
- Sidetracked by the Analogy:
Twilight: Call me silly, but I think this whole hero thing might be going to Rainbow Dash's head.
Pinkie Pie: You may be right, (Beat) silly.
- Done again (and lampshaded) at the end of the episode.
Pinkie Pie: The only thing that should be rubbed in anypony's face is chocolate cake! *starts imagining this*
Applejack: I think we're getting off topic here.
- Spider Sense: Pinkie Sense shows up again.
- Stop Helping Me!: Ponyville's attitude towards Rainbow Dash after she starts trying to outdo Mare-Do-Well.
- Superhero Episode: Many of the heroic (and not-so-heroic) tasks performed between Rainbow Dash and Mare Do Well borrow from the common superhero trope, such as Baby Carriage and Construction Zone Calamity, and with nods of the heads to similar heroic deeds from notable superhero films series like Superman and Spider-Man.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Averted. The reason Rainbow Dash can't save the construction workers is because she insists on shouting "Never fear, Rainbow Dash is here!" and keeps getting interrupted by falling pieces of rubble and bricks.
- Seems to be played straight with the well scene, as she talks quite a bit before reaching the bottom. Or it's just a very deep well.
- Through a Face Full of Fur: Rainbow Dash manages to blush through her blue coat.
- Title Drop: Done by the mayor after the introduction of the mystery hero.
- Took a Level In Badass: Pinkie Pie, who up to this point had been portrayed as one of the less physical ponies (unless she's angry), uses speed, agility, and her Pinkie Sense to good measure in saving the construction workers.
- Took a Level In Jerkass: While Rainbow Dash is often egotistical, it usually doesn't go past being a playful braggart. This instance shows what happens when it goes completely to her head. She becomes incredibly vindictive when someone steals her spotlight as well. Like most examples in the show however, she snaps out of it by the end of the episode.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Opening a jar of peanut butter is very dangerous work! And so is saving a lawn from weeds! And don't forget about escorting Granny Smith across the (not very) busy street (even though she didn't want to cross it)!
- What Happened to the Mare Do Well: Though the mane cast explains which role they played during the whole episode, it is never explained which of the mane cast as Mare Do Well saved Cherry Berry from her falling air balloon.
- Also, we never find out what happens to the parade after it's left behind or if anypony other than Rainbow Dash ever learned about Mare Do Well's true identity.
- Winged Unicorn: Mare Do Well appears to be this after fixing the dam. It's just Twilight and Fluttershy switching places. Thanks to the hat and cape, no one can tell the Mare Do Well doesn't always have a uni-horn or pegasus wings all the time.
- Your Other Left: Said by the construction worker Rainbow Dash is carrying while rubble falls around them. Interestingly, he's facing the same way as her.
- ↑ although the ending is absolutely adorable, and includes the line "This hug needs more ponies! Stat!" from Pinkie Pie.