FimFiction Link - Short ID: 392597/the-point-of-no-return
Published: Nov '17
'The Point of No Return' is a fourteen-thousand word shortfic about abuse.
Rainbow Dash after years of absence return to Ponyville, more specifically to Fluttershy's home for a seemingly casual visit, but their happy reunion is quickly soured by RD's weird behavior. She acts unlike she usually does, evades questions and eventually has a panic attack in the middle of the night that nearly seriously injures her friend. I have to admit, I have thankfully basically no experience with the kind of abuse that's portrayed in the story, so I can only rely on assumptions and gut-feelings for how realistic it is. And frankly I was not sold on it. Rainbow is supposed to be the Element of Loyalty, the kind of character who would mop the floor with the nameless abuser of the story the moment it started doing anything shady. Especially if it concerned her friends. Yet here she acts nothing like her show self and the explanation we're given ("It happened over years!") feels extremely lackluster. The OOC doesn't end here, Rainbow also suddenly became a talker, who just spends paragraph after paragraph spewing exposition on poor Fluttershy, who at least is portrayed a lot more faithfully. Another thing that can't go without mention is the shoehorning of swears. Of course I'm not offended by the usage of "retarded," but hearing RD suddenly drop it out of blue was very immersion breaking...and then just a paragraph or two later she does it again. It just kind of feels like a case of the author going:
>I will use adult words because my story is very serious!
Another thing I don't really like is that the author relies on color coding the flashbacks to show which character is talking. It's an insult towards the readers' intelligence and a pretty blatant admission of lack of self-confidence. What the characters actually say is not bad, but the aforementioned editing choice kind of sours it.
Finally let me touch a bit on the ending. Fluttershy standing up for Rainbow was admittedly a satisfying escalation of the conflict. However, the bear-ex-machina, who literally takes the abuser, does a spin and then throws them the hell away is just like something straight out of a shitty Tumblr comic, where the artist, engaged in power fantasy, shames a strawman of their opponent. It is simply put an extremely silly cop-out and totally takes out all pretensions of seriousness from the rest of the story. If the author wanted to go for realism, I think having Fluttershy reassure RD that with her friends she'll be able to fix things would have been much better. Or if the author wanted a feel-good ending, then RD should have simply stood up for herself, instead of the limelight being stolen by a totally unimportant side-character.
Overall: 4/10 The concept has potential, the execution is severely lacking. Fluttershy is alright, RD is a mess, the ending is kind of terrible. Can't recommend with a good heart.