• "Fluttershy Leans In" - Episode Followup - and Canada hates Rectangles!


    Oh, Canada! What the hay?

    I can handle you accelerating the release dates so that I get write an episode followup on a Monday. But nobody, and I mean nobody, messes with geometry!

    What? The ol' rectangle wasn't good enough for you? Had to add a dozen other sides while you were at it? Your iconic maple leaf is lovely but you've crossed a line.

    I mean, what's next? Aside from spoilers, should I expect you go after another classic shape after the break?


    Gah! You win this round, Canada! But you can't touch the circle. It's already shaped like a puck!


    So either Fluttershy's pulling a Twilight and had an all-night reading session or...


    Well, here's a sight I never thought I'd see: Parkour Angel Bunny.

    Thrill at his amazing stunts!


    Laugh at his ultimate downfall and then ask yourself, "What have I become?"


    I admit I'm not the biggest Angel Bunny fan out there, but even I think laughing at his pain would make me too much a sadist.

    So I brought in a special guest to do it for me.


    Thank you, Megatron. You are the one true purple T-rex.

    Barney was not a part of my childhood.


    But anyway, I can't delight in Angel's comic comeuppance too much. Fluttershy is in full caretaker mode and being ever-so-nurturing.


    Fun to see the little mouse wheelchair from A Bird in the Hoof again.

    Might not be on par with what we'll see later, but it's a fun callback.


    Oooh, speaking of callbacks! We're about to see a pony we haven't seen in some time. And she's already gotten an upgrade. Now named "Doctor Fauna", we get to see a shot of her digs.

     Plus I don't know if those background buildings have been featured before.


    I'm grateful for opposable thumbs. Because I could check to see if the door is locked with just a squeeze.

    Don't mess up your heart-shaped mane, Fluttershy! Rarity would tell you it's not worth it!


    There are two ways one can react to this screenshot:

    1. AHHH! Jay Fosgitt is drawing the episode!

    2. You maniacs! You made Fluttershy even cuter! Do you know the power with which you meddle?


    So here's a tidbit I learned at Babscon. According to Andy Price, the show cannot feature an animal unless DHX invests time and money to create an animation rig for each critter. Dr. Fauna is about to bombard the audience animal animations new and old.

    I point this out because I hope we might one day see Luna's pet possum, Tiberius, in the show as well. Thinking of a encouraging a twitter campaign. #DrawTiberius.


    This might be a stretch and I'm sticking my neck out on this one, but is this the first time we've seen a giraffe in this show?


    Ah, I get. You two say "Oh dear" and then there's a dear. It's a fine pun. I love you for trying.


    Okay, let's break this down. We've got returning cockatoo, flamingo, bird, fruit bat, beaver, and racoon animation rigs. A brand new bear rig, a deer that might have been featured back in Filli Vanilli, and a strange soulless duck that up there in the corner.

    Seriously, that duck is freaking me out!


    Oh my gosh! That is so adorable! I wonder how long Angel can keep this level of sympathy?


    Three seconds! I felt bad for your for three seconds! That's a world record. Don't ever expect it to be broken.


    Anybody else getting an Odd Couple vibe here?


    "Oh, why did my episode's followup have to be written by someone old enough to remember The Odd Couple?" Next he'll be making puns of his own.


    Okay, yes, I getcha. "Ducks in a row". It's cute. It's some fowl humor, but it's cute.


    "A friendship problem?"

    Do you see a big ol' table map here, Twilight? Heck no! You're in Fluttershy's house now. I mean that quite literally.


    Fluttershy is a mare with a mission. And a dream. A dream that sets this apart from most Fluttershy episodes.

    I say this as a Fluttershy fan: her old episodes usually followed a steady formula. She'd have a goal, but the real problem was getting over her own social fears before pursuing it. This episode shows her fully motivated and working within a trusted sphere, so the usual roadblocks aren't present.


    What pony wouldn't put their life on the line for a face like that?


    Um, Mr. Treehouse logo? Could you not camp out on my tail? You're violating my personal space."


    And you might think I'm overdoing the cuteness angle. But I ask you, if Fluttershy isn't cute then how has the mighty Rainbow Dash been reduced to tears?


    I'm just going to put this idea out there. Instead of an animal sanctuary, how about Fluttershy open an animal cafe? Rupert there is one high-class waiter.


    You could make a fortune and then finance a dozen animal sanctuaries!


    So Fluttershy's friends recommended Hard Hat, Wrangler, and Dandy Grandeur here to make the preserve. Problem is that they're making a very common mistake. Folks like to assume that because someone works in a specialized field, they must be skilled at a similar subset.

    It's like having a friend who is a skilled story writer, and assuming that they would be great as a sports columnist. Both technically involve the written word, but each is a specialized field and it wouldn't be a seamless transition. That's not even considering the writer's technical knowledge.

    It doesn't help that Fluttershy is committing a mistake of her own.


    I've gotten to work in both video and print media. A lot of folks developed grand ideas but hadn't invested the time to make their dreams understandable. It's a mistake to assume that a dream will speak for itself. Fluttershy's doing that here.

    She's clearly done her homework. Sketches, samples, photos. But instead of a guide book or presentation, she's throwing it at her team all at once. Now suddenly the samples are obscuring the overall design.


    I can't blame these ponies for being confused and hesitant.


    Though I will ask you to stop staring into my soul. You're creeping me out almost as much as that duck from before.


    Oh, no fair! How could anyone with a pulse say no to that face?


    Yeah, that's what I thought!


    Huh. Fluttershy's a pretty good artist. Not quite production-level skilled but certainly better than some scribbles I've seen. She should have started with this and gone into detail with each team member.


    Of course, the three ponies aren't blameless here either. They all make the mistake of assuming they know better than their client. It's one thing to be an expert in a field because that allows you to offer insight others haven't considered. But the ego that comes along with that can doom many a professional.

    Just as Fluttershy didn't properly communicate her idea, these three aren't showing her the respect needed to get the job done.


    The end result being a mess for which no one can be proud.


    You have angered the Fluttershy! Your lives are now forfeit!


    If this story had happened in seasons 1 through 4, I imagine it'd be more about Fluttershy getting walked all over by these ponies' egos. But here, she's making her frustration known and standing firm because she really cares about this project. I wasn't a huge fan of Putting Your Hoof Down, but the stories that came after all benefited from Fluttershy learning assertiveness.

    So while I feel like these three were set up to fail, I'm glad Fluttershy is letting them go.

    Sometimes the job and the professional don't sync.


    "Hey Boo-Boo! They set me up! Take the pic-i-nic basket and live like a king! Attica! Attica!"


    Another way this episode differs from past Fluttershy adventures. Though things look bleak, she's quick to rally and try again. Our little Fluttershy has come a long way.


    "We should call you Flutterbold from now on."

    Hm... I like it, but have you considered Flutteritalic? How about Flutterstrikethrough?

    Nah, I like Fluttershy if only in name.


    Now Big Daddy McColt's a good choice. Dude knows animals and building construction for animals. And he's a trusted friend so he's the perfect blend of skill, experience, and interaction.

    I'm a little sorry yon Princess of Friendship didn't think to call him. Still, between the mouse wheelchair, Dr Fauna, Fluttershy's growth, and Big Daddy McColt, this episode is chalked full of...




    Love this building scene for who it includes.


    Spike gets to contribute without being the butt of a joke. Starlight is helping without having to show that she's the most magically powerful. This is the kind of thing that's going to win folks over. Not showing her performing above the rest of the cast, but showing her work with them.


    Even the Crusaders get in on the project. A far better goal than killer apple floats, wouldn't you say?


    And the end result is beautiful.

    Though there's that creepy duck again. Seriously, that thing looks like it should be the final villain of this season. Never mind Grogar or whomever. Soulless duck is Equestria's true nemesis!


    Sweet Feather Sanctuary is amazing and a great addition to have Fluttershy show off her animal caretaker skills. I'm still not sure how she receives an income to fund all of this, but that's not my big focus.

    I most enjoy Fluttershy's statement that "We all move at our own pace". It's taken Fluttershy several seasons to reach this level of assertiveness. It took some time and many complained about repetition, but I think this episode is more gratifying for having witnessed the journey.

    And you may say, "Silver, you vloging vulture, does this mean that Fluttershy's done growing?" I'd say no. Because working with Hard Hat, Wrangler, and Dandy Grandeur shows that Fluttershy still has a ways to go in cooperating with ponies outside her close circle. Now that she's taken on a bigger responsibility, she might have to learn to work with ponies she's not met before.

    Time will tell.

    Those are my thoughts. How about yours?

    I'm Silver Quill. Thanks for reading!



    For archival purposes, you can find the IntenseDebate comments for this post (if any) archived over here