As My Little Pony Friendship is Magic enters its final season, it’s that time again for what could probably be my last review for an Equestria Girls special.
That doesn’t 100% confirm that the Equestria Girls spin-offs would come to a conclusion, per say. It can exist in its own entity as an annual special that Hasbro could conjure up to peddle merch and toys. Besides, Dan Povenmire and Jeff Marsh essentially mashed Phineas & Ferb into Milo Murphy’s Law, so I don’t rule anything out anymore.
Like Rollercoaster of Friendship, Spring Breakdown is fairly lowkey, light on stakes endeavor that doesn’t aim to be in the ballpark of Legend of Everfree or Friendship Games. However, this one is Rainbow Dash centric. Rainbow Dash, I consider the least developed of the Mane 6 throughout the series’ run and plots based around her focus on her boisterous and haughty attitude, generally landing her into her own plights. Yes, you can make a case where Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie episodes are fairly similar, but they hit on different notes. Fluttershy is more likely to stand up for herself as seasons moved on, and in the season 7 episode Rock Solid Friendship, Pinkie’s anxiety got the best of her, as her constant safeguarding of Maud failed to realize at first that there can be room in her life for other friends to interact with. Even Starlight Glimmer has gone through better character arcs since joining the cast. I guess what I’m saying is while she occasionally has moments, Rainbow Dash is too much of a one-note character that teeters on annoying because her character takes so many steps backwards. And for the sake of transparency, while technically Applejack’s development hasn’t been monumental, it’s because she’s the one pony who is the most tucked in and responsible, so there’s seldom room for growth. Roughly translated: the boring one.
I didn’t intend for this to be a Rainbow Dash burial, but Spring Breakdown could easily have had the subtitle “Rainbow Dash Ruins Things, But Will Be Vindicated”. The plot is the student body is enjoying a relaxing cruise and Rainbow Dash is looking for conflict, yet nothing at the time appears to ruin the fun.
Going full Daring Doo, she’s determined to seek out any wrongdoing, and it’s probably about halfway through this special, I almost thought nothing was going to happen. The subplots include Rarity meeting a charming lad with a hearty Irish accent named Ragamuffin while on a shopping spree and she’s taken by his bumpkin charm throughout the cruise.
Applejack spends a majority of the runtime seasick and upchucking. Fluttershy is caring for animals at the petting zoo (cruise liners have those? *Google search* Apparently they do. Learn something new everyday). Pinkie Pie is determined to get her hands on a special bundt cake. Sunset Shimmer, still the most proactive and rational character, tries to talk sense into Rainbow Dash once her antics begin to drive everyone crazy. This is one of those plot devices that I take umbrage with, when the hero acts as their own catalyst to push a plot forward. Everyone will begin to doubt the credibility of their friend, harsh words are exchanged. They then venture out into their own, making the rest of the cast realize they were probably too harsh, only to land themselves into even more danger than they initially were, but wraps up with a neat moral at the end about never losing trust in those closest to you. I might seem a touch cynical and wry, but that is more or less the entire plot in a nutshell, for better or worse. It is on par with Rollercoaster of Friendship in that regard, other than the lack of an actual antagonist. Unless you want to consider the leftover evil magic from the Storm King, the villain of the MLP movie, a bad guy.
The cruise liner (which Twilight financially organized somehow. I’m guessing, at least. She’s got more resources, connections, and funds than the students of Angel Grove, because Celestia and Luna are nowhere to be seen here) begins being struck with more calculated bolts of lightning. Twilight and Sunset depart towards an island to find Rainbow Dash, who got stuck in quicksand. I can’t recall the last time I saw quicksand in a cartoon series
But WAIT!!! This sand is a portal that takes the trio to Canterlot where they explain what’s happened to Princess Twilight. Through conversations, it suddenly becomes apparent to EG Twilight that the girls’ actions over the specials legitimately paint them as superheroes. Twilight then understands why Rainbow Dash is so determined and steadfast all the time, even if it comes off a little strong in the face of the others. I still feel it would’ve helped Rainbow Dash to sometimes rationalize than to act on haste as often as she does, I don’t think Twilight learned much of a lesson here.
So Rainbow recognizes the rune as a remnant of magic that could grow and become more dangerous. Taking the staff from the movie, the three head back to their world, seal the remaining magic, and defeat the accursed evil in the same way Simon Belmont defeated Dracula in Simon’s Quest by bringing his bones back.
With the storm taken care of, the Mane 7 transform to save the sinking cruise liner and get everyone to the island safely. Stranded, they guide everyone back to Princess Twilight via the sand portal in hopes of finding a way to return back home. I took it initially as them being stuck in Canterlot with no way back, giving the Equestria Girls series a send-off, but that’d be a touch grim, as a whole universe’ set of parents would be wondering where their children went.
Overall, Spring Breakdown is an enjoyable viewing. The main plot isn’t grandiose and there aren’t original characters in this one to place a central focus. It sticks with everyone that fans are already familiar with, so if you’re a Rainbow Dash fan, this will suit you.
Since it inadvertently became a tradition for me to write these every year and this possibly being the finale, I will miss doing these for MLP. Equestria Girls was never supposed to be amazing, but an entertaining non sequitur to welcome in the latest season of the show and present the characters in a different setting that made it feel a touch like Ever After High. It also gave me one of my favorite characters in Sunset Shimmer, who just shined in every special. The musical numbers from The Friendship Games were super catchy as those improved with each one, along with the animation. Time will tell if I get a chance to talk about another one of these, but at least my wife will rest easy knowing that I’ll finally shut up about this.