• "Flutter Brutter": Episode Followup


    Long have I waited for this day. This day of Fluttershy’s promised brother. We knew of him since season 5 but only now do we know him as a pony.

    Let’s talk about spontaneous sibling appearances after the break! 


    Little known fact: this home got featured in Better Clouds and Rainbows.


    FLUTTER PARENTS! They exist! Granted, this kills my “pod pony” headcanon, but c'est la vie.

    When I saw the trailer for this episode, I wasn’t sold on their designs. But getting a better view, I see how Fluttershy is a compromise between their various shades. A nice blend of Mom and Dad. 



    Rainbow: “It’s great to relax someplace quiet.” 

    Fluttershy: “Weren’t you relaxing at the spa last–“

    Rainbow: “You saw nothing!” 


    Anybody else feeling this way? Just me? 


    And there he is, folks! The latest sibling! This year's model is named "Zephyr Breeze".  

    Although compared to Shining Armor and Maud, it’s gonna be easy to see why Fluttershy rarely talks about him.


    “Big sis?” Huh. I genuinely thought he’d be Fluttershy’s big brother. While the show’s shown the Mane Six being big sisters for the CMC and maybe Spike, older brothers until now have been the norm. Probably so they could act as independents.  

    "Zephyr" and "independent" don't really go together.


    Funny how one shot can sum up the character dynamics for the rest of the episode. 


    Zephyr appears to be a mutant. He has the power to sprout and retract eyelashes at will. It’s like a very tiny Wolverine. Snikt! 


    So if you didn’t like this episode, you can say you, “Got a bad Rapp!” 

    ...

    I’m not sorry! 


    Honestly, that’s not a bad look. Zephyr may indeed have an eye for mane styling. 


    Or not. Meanwhile, in Ponyville, Rarity suffers an inexplicable pain. 


    “Who’s trying to start shipping with me?” 


    Many a fan criticizes Fluttershy’s repeated struggle. Presented with a challenge but nervous about attention. This episode was a nice change. Fluttershy is still gentle, but a viewer can sense her edge and she makes her feelings known. She’s more comfortable expressing herself around family, which is also a compliment to the Mane Six.


    “We may not be as bold as you, Fluttershy…”

    She’s the bold one in the family? How do the rest of you even manage to leave the house? 



    Personal space. Respect it!


    Oh snap! You did not just say the P-word! 


    Om-nom-nom! Orange marshmallow yummy!


    I get most of the photos Pinkie has but when did Iron Will pose for her? Just before throwing her off a cliff?


    Whoa. She learned a thing or two from Cadance, even though they've never spoken together on-screen. 


    Let’s get Zephry’s attitude out of the way. This episode did a very effective job on getting us to share Fluttershy’s frustration. It’s clear why Zephyr drives the normally forgiving Fluttershy nuts. 


    What’s not coming across is Zephyr’s potential. I think the audience needs a glimmer of what he could be in order to cheer for a resolution. Seeing him take his family for granted, I’m more eager to see him punished than to see him triumph. 

    But at least it’s easy to pick a theme song for him. 


    What is coming across is that his family does want the best for him. They love him, and that love is hurting them.


    Casa de Fluttershy. Amazing who Fluttershy has hosted. Chaos Spirits. Breezies. Loafing siblings!


    “I shall name you… Cousin Sven.”


    “Why does this keep happening?” 


    I’m not a fan of defining characters by their Element of Harmony, but how many times now has Dash bolted on her friends? 


    “You have to get a job.”

    No argument here… but what’s your job, Fluttershy?


    Surprise reaction shot or the next horror film? You decide!


    Opal for best Rainbow Dash cosplay! 


    Remember in Maud Pie where each character got a chance to contrast? This seemed similar at first except our heroines kept leaving Zephyr to do a job and fail. But it gives Rainbow Dash an excuse to deal with his re-volt-ing advances. 


    I should praise Zephyr for his Tom Sawyer tactics. Classic manipulation skills. But between this and The Crystalling, I’m starting to think Spike’s easier to play than a kazoo. 



    “I’m on a never-ending quest to save my girlfriend!” Wait, sorry, wrong show

    But seriously, he likely vandelized several homes to steal that loot. The scoundrel.


    “What’s that, Constance? Little Zephy's trapped a well... of self-doubt?” 


    See, this is what I mean about needing to see Zephyr’s potential. Fluttershy believes in him because they’ve grown up together. We’ve known him for 16:39. This is the hard sell with second-tier characters. We’ve got a limited time to get to know them, and if that meeting is at their absolute low then it’s harder to envision their best.


    But I do like this message. There’s nothing scarier than that starting point. As bad as trying and failing can feel, the void left by a non-event can be worse. Even your worst failure is still more than zero. 


    And that first step is worth celebrating. 


    There we go. Sibling love.


    Which is not even remotely close to Rainbow’s feelings.


    Wait. He had a graduation ceremony and none of you attended? I withdraw my previous family bond statements!


    I think a lot of people’s enjoyment for this episode will hinge on their view of Zephyr Breeze. He fulfills his role of being a character stuck in the path of least resistance, which is mostly surrender. It is uncomfortable and frustrating to see the impact he’s having on his family. Cheering for him is harder because of this introduction. 


    Fluttershy, however, is wonderful. This is one of her best episodes. She is determined, caring, assertive, firm, both affectionate and exasperated all at the same time. She is a dynamic character. I think this episode did her justice.

    For Zephyr, I hope he won’t be a one-shot character. Having seen how far he can fall, a great follow-up would be witnessing his ascent. 

    And if that Millenial song seems too harsh, please remember this: the Baby Boomers said the same things about Generation X. Every generation worries about it successors. Just give the future your best effort.

    I’m Silver Quill. Thanks for reading. Now let's get to talking!


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