17 September 2020 | TheLittleSongbird
Am a fan of 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' and Rainbow Dash had some wonderful episodes centered around her ("Sonic Rainboom" is one of the show's best ever episodes in my view). The subject is quite an interesting if familiar one, and you don't have to be a sports fan to find value in the setting. Although not the biggest of fans of the Wondebolt characters, it was interesting to see them returning with a character arc. Most of the previous Season 4 episodes are good and more, "Rarity Takes Manehattan" being brilliant.
"Rainbow Falls" sadly sees a decline in quality, going from solid enough with "Pinkie Apple Pie" to very average and with very conflicted feelings in so short a time. While "Daring Don't" and "Flight to the Finish" disappointed me too, they were still above average and middle of the pack episodes. "Rainbow Falls" is not Season 4's worst but it is towards being in the bottom tier when ranking the season. Didn't hate it but it should have been a lot better than it turned out.
There are quite a few things done well. The animation is full of vibrancy and rich detail in the backgrounds. The character designs are better and more consistent than in "Pinkie Apple Pie", the movement is a lot more natural here. The music fits beautifully and is fun and pleasant to listen to. The action in the last act excites and there are moments of amusing humour in the slapstick, like with Bulk Biceps and Fluttershy (the mountain scene really brought one of not enough smiles to my face).
While the characterisation has been much better in other episodes, Rainbow Dash carries the episode beautifully and Soarin is less of a jerk luckily compared to before. Did like the rest of the Mane 6's support for Rainbow Dash and Derpy's appearance was great. The voice acting is very good, especially from Ashleigh Ball. The moral is another important and worth relating to one.
Sadly, "Rainbow Falls" for me did have a number of big drawbacks. While the last act was exciting, it sure did take time to get there, the first two thirds had too much all over the place pacing. The middle act is rushed from trying to cram too much in and the first took far too long to get going and felt padded. The writing has been much better in previous and succeeding episodes, some of the dialogue is pretty redundant and most of the humour falls flat. Rarity deserved a lot better than the tired material she got, which really frustrated me as she is one of the biggest overall high-points of this season.
Other than Rainbow Dash and a few other exceptions, the characters are not written well. Pinkie Pie was annoying and dumbed down and Rarity deserved better. The rest of the Mane 6 are not out of character but are fairly bland. Didn't like the Wonderbolt characters on the whole apart from Soarin. Fleetfoot especially is so excessively villified for reasons not made clear, her mean-spirited personality taken to a whole new level in a not very tasteful way. While Fluttershy was fun, her presence struck me as a little pointless. Everything here is resolved far too easily and with no subtlety whatsoever.
In summary, disappointingly average. 5/10