Tanks for the Memories
Welcome back and here’s the latest installment in the 5th season of MLP. As many of you know our writing team seems to be understanding (or at least being let off the leash) deeper storylines. This one is so far my favorite! It’s Rainbow Dash, who is as usual more action then brains, and her pet, Tank! (You remember Tank right? He came along after someone in the writer’s room realized Dashie didn’t have one sometime after the first season 😉 )
Opening remarks show us Winter is on the way, and an interesting point Dash makes is that Cloudsdale moving closer to Ponyville is indicative of the changing of seasons. This seems to re-inforce the idea that Cloudsdale isn’t entirely stationary all the itme, though we haven’t honestly had any elaboration on it’s flight patterns (Is it like the Floating island on Mobius with a constant path or is it similar to the traveling weather platform?) After we establish this is a Rainbow Dash/Tank episode we find out the main theme of this show is Tank having to go and hibernate. This opens the portal for the writers to tell viewers a great deal about denial, and personally, I see this episode being about Death.
Yes, I’m hearing ALOT of backlash from that idea so far, but, I think it’s on a fundamental level about death and I’ll tell you why as I go! Stay with me I didn’t pull it outta my rear.
After the intro, we have Fluttershy telling Dashie that point in fact, Tank needs to take a loooong nap. Hibernate until spring. Bury himself underground. This seems to TERRIFY Rainbow Dash but she quickly throws up an emotional barrier of non-acceptance, seeking a second opinion, which she also casts aside. This begins Dashie’s descent into the first stage of grief / loss:
She moves forward from this one rather quickly and steps right into a deep puddle of stage 2, one we all know as:
She starts snapping at everyone who dares bring up the idea of Tank leaving at all or the concept of them being seperated. The very MENTION of the word ‘hibernate’ sends her into a spin. Interestingly still is that she cannot bring herself to even SAY the word.
Rainbow Dash then gives us a look into the deeper interworkings of her mind, or lack thereof. It seems that without proximity to her friends, her rational thinking always tends to lose out to baser mental thoughts. She enters the more dangerous of the stages:
Where we will do ANYTHING to keep our loved ones alive, bring them back, or keep them from leaving. The last one applies here of course. Dash comes to the final conclusion that if Tank hibernates in the winter, then she just needs to stop winter. Totally reasonable! Right?
So, Rainbow Dash and the ever more sleepy each scene Tank head to Cloudsdale, the headquarters of all weather, and head to the winter section of the factories. Several moments in the new set make me want to know where the Rainbows are made. Those of you who read “Cupcakes” and “Rainbow Factory” will chuckle at that idea of Dashie running smack into the heart of the dreaded Rainbow Wing.
A set of almost Acme / Warner Bros chaos ensues and Dashie overloads the factory inadvertently creating one GIANT dose of…well…winter! In the form of a giant snowball it fires forth from Cloudsdale and hits Ponyville and gives new meaning to the term “Nuclear Winter”.
After facing the fact she now can’t stop winter, and in the end, accelerated the process, our dear Dashie is not the same one we saw just last week. She’s dressed in sleepwear and so is Tank, both in the bedroom of the house many of the fans fantasize about being asked into! Then, her friends, ALL of them, come in and try to both cheer her up and make her face reality. (No one really makes an attempt to explain why the Earth Ponies are able to walk onto a cloud house. A decent theory lends itself back to my question about furniture in Cloudsdale. Mainly it requiring a spell or just the fact a Pegasuses set it down on the cloud, it maintains it’s ability to support any and all types of ponies. That leads to a while new road of question I may address later.)
Dashie finally comes spiral down the grief and loss pit and hits…
She bawls at the final realization
that Tank is going to die and there’s nothing she can do to stop it. I mean that Tank is going to leave for a while and there’s nothing she can do to stop it. It’s very humanizing to see this finally hit one of our characters, personally I find them much more real when faced with situations that humble them from this world of Happy Happy. This really was a tear jerky for some on Twitter from what I read, some folks were very upset the writers hurt Dashie.
Finally, after this long 30 odd minute train of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, and Depression…we hit the final stage. The one we hit when we finally realize our Uncle or Cousin or Mother or Best Friend just isn’t going to come back.
Dead is dead. You need to let go and despite the fact Dashie is as Awesome as She Wants to be she’s still emotionally driven like most of us. She gets through the stages quicker then most of us who are awesome 😉 (Heck, Darth Vader takes WAY longer then Dashie). She brings the very sleepy Tank to a place near a pond, where he bids her farewell and she sits with him until he goes to sleep.
So, sure one could say this episode is about Acceptance, and I wouldn’t really argue against that, but personally I see this entire episode about what we go through with Death. Rainbow Dash’s reactions are very close to those of a near-psychotic break but despite that, her friends are there to help her, playing into the entire overall arc of Friendship being point in fact, Magic.
The song was nice too, I enjoy the harmonic style that’s present, not sure what it is, despite it being a solo piece, she’s singing with herself several different layers of her voice if I hear it correctly.
Overall I give this a 8 out of 10. I was pleased with the message, consider which you think it is, and I was happy the song wasn’t entirely forced on us like it was a union rule. Character wise I learned ALOT more about Dash and her mental state and sadly, I can see Rainbow Factory being more possible 🙂
Stay tuned, I’ll be doing these faster and faster! Like Me, Post me, Hit me with your thoughts on anything and more!