After reading a strange book with a horrible twist Twilight must rely on her friends and the CMCs to help reverse the spell before it turns everypony into foals.After reading a strange book with a horrible twist Twilight must rely on her friends and the CMCs to help reverse the spell before it turns everypony into foals.After reading a strange book with a horrible twist Twilight must rely on her friends and the CMCs to help reverse the spell before it turns everypony into foals.
Before I get into why this episode is one of my least favorites of the show, though, I'd like to point the many things I did enjoy about it.
For starters, the humor and comedic-timings revolving around the Truth Talisman and the ponies wearing it were nicely done and funny. As a matter of fact, I couldn't help but laugh SO MUCH at the part where one of the henchponies says he wants to be an opera singer.
Along with that, Caballeron's reformation and development throughout the episode was surprisingly well-worked. Even though he was one of the last villains I expected to have a change of heart, it was amazing to see how much of an impact Fluttershy's kindness had on him and his lackeys. It was also interesting to see Caballeron's henchponies be upgraded from mere minors to ponies with a sense of life and personality.
And like many episodes of the show, Fluttershy's acts of kindness throughout were a pleasant thing to see. I admired her determination and how far she was willing to go for her friends. Plus, she sure did look cute with the hat she had on after joining Caballeron on the expedition.
I'd also like to point out that the episode's message to "treat others with kindness no matter what" was definitely a meaningful one to live by.
In spite of these positives, though, the episode...was nothing but a muddled mess. Sad to say, the biggest blame for it all goes to the writing by Nicole Dubuc.
Some have told me that the other messages of the episode was to "give others the benefit of the doubt" and "listen to their side of the story". But if that really was the case, I find that the former message was done much better in Season 3's "Keep Calm and Flutter On", and the episode hardly did a great job at getting the latter message across.
In terms of the latter message I mentioned, it seemed more like the episode was saying that we should immediately trust strangers without being cautious or thinking about if the stranger can be trusted, which was completely immoral and wrong. Much of that particularly comes from how everything was playing out and how befuddling the narrative was. The reason I'm saying that the narrative was confusing is because amidst trying to prove whatever points Fluttershy and the episode were trying to make, Nicole Dubuc left behind a great many plot holes that made the story implausible and questionable.
In addition to that, Daring Do seemed to be getting painted as one of the biggest dunderheads around. I get that before she met Rainbow Dash and the rest of the Main Six, she didn't trust anyone or think to ever talk and listen, but still...Caballeron and Ahuizotl hardly gave any reason to be the trustworthy types before. The lesson regarding the whole thing even painted Daring Do's epic adventures as a list of mistakes and debts she made in the long run, which was a lot like saying she should never have been an adventurer to begin with or ever existed.
The way Daring Do's reputation was getting tainted again, especially compared to Season 7's "Daring Done?", felt completely mean-spirited and heartless, like Nicole Dubuc apparently hated the character and didn't care about how she was treating her. A prime example comes from the part involving her "kicking puppies", which was frankly a flat and cruel joke for her to incorporate.
Plus, despite the episode's references to Season 4's "Daring Don't", it carried little acknowledgement or continuity with it. In this case, it contained a lot of contradictions with its predecessor.
If I recall correctly, Fluttershy met Caballeron and Ahuizotl in "Daring Don't" and got to see firsthand what they were like outside of the books. And believe me, I studied the episode closely and made comparisons between it and this episode to know.
How could Fluttershy suddenly forget all about Caballeron, Ahuizotl, and the adventure? Or act like she hardly knew them and what happened then? Or be so careless enough as to fall for Caballeron's lies?
And yes, I thought that Fluttershy's heart was in the right place to be extending kindness and friendship to Caballeron and Ahuizotl, but still...she was WAY too naive and gullible, which was completely out of character of her. Fluttershy is a kindhearted individual, but she would never be quick to trust someone outside of her friends or without getting to know someone new for longer periods of time. Considering Caballeron was up to no good again, I'm pretty sure she'd suspect that foul play was afoot by making comparisons between both his and Daring Do's books instead of being easily duped by Caballeron's treachery.
The biggest elephant in the room, though...was when Ahuizotl said that he was a guardian of artifacts after touching the Truth Talisman.
Everything about what he said hardly tied in at all with his previous appearance in "Daring Don't" and his aforementioned intention in Season 7's "Daring Done?", each of which showed him to be a villain through-and-through. It was literally one of the biggest retconnings since the one in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 3", where the Sandman was apparently suspected and confirmed to be the one who killed Peter Parker's Uncle Ben. Especially despite the fact that there were witnesses in the first movie that saw Ben get killed by the robber from the boxing match and never saw the Sandman.
How does Ahuizotl being a guardian tie in at all to the fact that he tried to bring 800 years of sweltering heat onto Equestria in "Daring Don't"? And was mentioned to be trying to cause eternal night in "Daring Done?"? If he really was supposed to be guarding the jungle's artifacts, then why was he traveling outside of it? Wouldn't he have known that bringing eternal night and 800 years of sweltering heat would cause more harm than good and do more than just keep thieves away?
Even if he really was a guardian, there's no justification behind all that he did. None of what he did wouldn't have benefited him at all in his duties. If part of being a guardian of artifacts would literally include putting the world on the verge of destruction or endangering the lives of others...then I'm sorry to say he truly is a monster, is unfit to be a guardian, and has proven himself to be no better than the thieves who try to steal the artifacts. With all that said, I'm pretty sure his boss and co-workers (if he had any at all) would've been displeased by what he was doing.
All in all, it was like the episode was saying there's no such thing as right and wrong, and that it's okay to be doing bad things as long as you have a good reason for doing it, which is completely incorrect. There's no excuse for committing acts of villainy, no matter what one says. The worst part is that it goes against everything the show was teaching before, which is that there's such a thing as right and wrong.
In the end, there were things about "Daring Doubt" that I enjoyed, but the episode as a whole...was one of the worst I ever saw. And because of the gigantic amount of plot holes created, everything about it felt like the beginning of an incomplete story that Nicole Dubuc and Allspark were either too lazy to finish or didn't care to complete. Until they actually do something to fix what they messed up, and since there are no references and acknowledgements in any episode after it, I refuse to count "Daring Doubt" as officially canon.
- Aug 4, 2020