Brief synopsis: Rainbow Dash is looking to qualify for the Equestria Games for Ponyville in the Aerial Relay race; her teammates are Bulk Biceps (aka Snowflake/Horse Power/Roid Rage) and Fluttershy, hardly the best fliers, so it's up to her to carry the day. Meanwhile, the Wonderbolts (Spitfire, Soarin' and Fleetfoot) will compete for Cloudsdale. While training at the tryouts, Soarin' nearly plummets to his untimely demise: Dash saves him in a heroic swoop, but his wing is hurt. The remaining two Wonderbolts offer Dash to train with them; she accepts, and tries to make training with two teams work, but secretly feels bad about neglecting her own team. Finally, offered a permanent spot on the Cloudsdale team, and torn between her loyalty to her old team, her friends and her home on one hand and the desire to win on the other, unable to reach a decision, she fakes injury; Derpy takes her place in the Ponyville team. Twilight refuses to solve Dash's conundrum for her, but after Dash finds that the Wonderbolts lied to her about Soarin's state, she realizes that winning is not worth giving up your friends for, and chooses Ponyville. The Wonderbolts are completely surprised, but quickly realize that they have just been taught an important lesson, and welcome Soarin' back. Both teams then do the qualification race; literally everyone cheers for the Ponyville team when it's their turn, and both teams qualify. Spitfire sticks her Wonderbolts badge on Dash; back at home, Dash writes about the whole thing in the friendship journal, while the badge glistens foreshadowingly with a rainbow sheen.
OK, first of all and just to get it out of the way: DERPY! Finally, you're back, you silly mare — not with a speaking role this time, but with a very prominent appearance nonetheless, including derped eyes and everything. Welcome back; you don't know much we missed you.
As for the rest of the episode: as I said, I loved it. The plot was convincing, flowed naturally and kept just the right pace; it didn't feel like 22 minutes, it felt like an hour or more, with a complex tale being told without anything ever getting squeezed or cut short for a lack of time, and with ALL the Mane Six getting their share of airtime, and ditto for many other ponies. Big props to everyone involved, you did a sterling job.
Seeing more of Bulk Biceps (did we hear this name in the series before?) was neat. Wasn't he a better flyer in Wonderbolts Academy, though? Either way, he was quite funny, especially when flexing his pectorals and (later) juggling Applejack's apple brown bettys using his
The Wonderbolts were as competitive and professional as you'd expect; at the same time, they were surprisingly asshattish, initially just Fleetfoot (her first speaking role, BTW, wasn't it? Liked the lisp, that was a cute touch) and later Spitfire as well. Spitfire already had a bit of a mean streak in Wonderbolts Academy compared to Best Night Ever; it could be said to have been part of her job there, but maybe she really just is like that. 'course, with the episode's resolution, she's apparently learned a lesson, and so has Fleetfoot, so it's all good. (And there's no hard feelings on Soarin's part, either: he's a pro like them, and likely understands that it's nothing personal. OTOH, not even getting any visits in hospital... really, you'd expect THAT much care even among pros.)
Speaking of the Wonderbolts, Dashie was adorable in those goggles. And with her hooves shined. And in that flightsuit they had made for her. And she had her shades again, too. Swagilicious!
And doing wing-ups with the Wonderbolts while a pony is sitting on your back, without even breaking a sweat? That girl's gonna go far. (Especially if she keeps saving the Wonderbolts' flanks like that!)
Spitfire's badge is going to be another key to the box, isn't it? It's interesting how all these keys seem to have rainbows on them, too, like the spool of thread Rarity got from Coco Pommel.
Random other thoughts: lots of horse noises throughout this episode, heh. "Kick tail" is officially part of pony lingo. Rarity's had... more inspired designs before, shall we say. The location of the tryouts looked lovely. And Twilight looked really cute in that cheerleader outfit she was wearing when they took the group photo in the end.
And finally: where was Spike?
Elsewhere: discussion in broniesaremagic. Episode follow-up on EqD. Rainbow Falls in a nutshell by *Mattings.