If it's crap ... We'll tell you
This is a strange little episode... on the front it looks pretty standard in the FIM universe, but it also has a lot of callings to the fans. That isn't an unusual thing for them to do, but this has them in spades. How does the combination work out? Let's take a look.
This week's offering deals with standing up to humiliation, and centres on Fluttershy's embarrassment in flying during performances. The Pegasi of Ponyville are given the task of providing water for Cloudsdale, an important part of the yearly missions for Equestria done by the Pegasi creating a hurricane to draw water from a reservoir, to the cloud city. (No, not that Cloud City) Rainbow Dash want them to score the record for the highest wind speed, or, wing speed, during this, and needs all to be at their best in fitness for the day.
But, Fluttershy doesn't want to take part at all, she's haunted by the teasing and embarrassment she had to endure during Flight Camp when she was younger because of her weak flying and stage nerves. Despite RD's best attempts, she simply can't take the preasure, and doesn't meet to what is asked of her. With the day to create the Hurricane fast approaching, and with every Pegasus needed to obtain the record, Fluttershy must find the courage and confidence she lacks to face her torment and help everypony in their effort.
These are the type of episodes I enjoy the most, as I have stated several times before. Where one of the characters is faced with a major internal conflict that they must overcome, not just for everypony else, but mainly for themselves. It's what gives the Mane Six in FIM so much depth and character, what keeps me coming back to see the episodes. Choosing Fluttershy for this one works well, because you can't help but feel so sorry for her, seeing her struggle to cope with facing her fears. For the first third of the episode, it really had me invested, setting up an interesting premise, giving some background, and showing that conflict, to the point where Fluttershy even completely breaks down in a stream of helpless tears. I have to admit, that moment really got to me, with all we've seen her go through and for her to collapse in sorrow; it made me even shed a tear...
It's after this that it.... kind of lost me, at least in terms of strong investment. We see her regain her confidence and willpower in what felt like a rather cheesy solution, followed by a montage. Now to be fair, the montage had 80's written all over it, and was a little humorous to see, but didn't live up to where the story had set out to go. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, it was just a little.... normal. Nothing spectacular that held your attention. It ends on the Pegasi attempting to form the Hurricane and provide the water for Cloudsdale, and it did have some nice effects, and wrapped things up in a satisfactory way. I had no complaints about it, it felt just how the episode should have ended and resolved itself.
The core theme of overcoming humiliation or teasing by others was a great choice; many shows have tried it before and ended up making it look like filler. But with Fluttershy, the idea works perfectly with her already-shy and timid personality, and it does it in a way that ids could relate to very easily. The animation is its usual high level of attention and just enough visual effects to make it stand out, and that opening really does leave a mark with you. It's a pity that the middle lost some of its weight and momentum, but that's hardly something to bash a kid’s show over at the end of the day.
And as for the fan inclusions... wow, they're everywhere in this episode. From Derpy returning to her former glory and appearing in several scenes, to Fluttershy being a tree, to new characters getting some attention and the return of Spitfire, this was certainly giving back to the fans of the show. They weren't so much like the usual Easter Eggs of previous episodes, but still really enjoyable to see. It’s always a pleasure to know that the animation team appreciates the fan community as much as they do, to them all; I raise a glass to you.
So, how do I rate this? Despite the predictable middle section, it was a very enjoyable episode, dealing with some meaningful conflicts for Fluttershy, and including plenty of characters for out enjoyment. Although it's not quite as good as "Putting Your Hoof Down", it is still definitely a good one to check out.
thanks for reading! ^__^