Princess Celestia is visiting Ponyville for brunch at Sugarcube Corner and is using the opportunity to get to know Twilight Sparkle’s friends better, including Fluttershy. While visiting, she brings her own pet, a rather sickly and wretched-looking bird named Philomena. Fluttershy is naturally inclined to want to help the bird feel better, and so she takes her without asking when Princess Celestia leaves early to talk to the mayor. Unfortunately, all of her TLC doesn’t make her any better, and her condition continues to deteriorate. When Twilight Sparkle comes over and sees that Fluttershy took the bird, she immediately fears that Celestia will inflict a harsh punishment on Fluttershy and takes charge of trying to improve Philomena’s condition before bringing her back…but the bird not only continues to deteriorate, but Twilight’s “aggressive therapy” makes her run off. When she’s finally tracked down, the bird suddenly keels over and dies…before bursting into flame and burning into ashes just as Celestia walks in on the scene. Luckily, Celestia isn’t miffed and it is revealed, soon after, that Philomena is a phoenix and is reborn periodically from her own ashes as a much more beautiful and healthy-looking bird. Fluttershy admits to Celestia that though she was eager to help, she should have known to ask for assistance rather than trying to do everything on her own. Celestia takes that as the “lesson” for this week and doesn’t bother Twilight with writing a letter about it.
This was probably another episode that contributed to the idea of “Trollestia”. Princess Celestia herself only has one “troll” scene…where she pretends to drink from her teacup so that the Cakes will purposely overfill it. I kind of sympathize with her there as I wouldn’t want to be “fussed over” continuously myself. However, the fact that even Philomena is a troll for most of this episode makes things a lot worse, implying that she trains her own pets to mess with ponies. This also helps make Twilight Sparkle’s neurosis even more explicit. She even admits in this episode that being thrown into a dungeon after being banished is a bit “extreme”, but she doesn’t “want to take the chance”. Even Fluttershy, who’s normally scared of everything, seems to think she’s “overdoing it”, something that would be reflected in Season Two’s “Lesson Zero”.
Again, this is pretty much a “one-joke” episode, but it works a bit better in my opinion. The Benny Hill sequence is great and this episode had lots of “memeable” moments to it. It’s also one of the few episodes where Princess Celestia appears and not just to “act like a goddess”, which is good. There needs to be more episodes like that. It would help mitigate the “Trollestia” thoughts.
All in all, another fairly good entry to the series.
Angel Bunny running in with a pocketwatch, as well as Fluttershy saying “I’m late for a very important date!”, is obviously a parody of the White Rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland”.
Brunch at 4:00 PM…with no breakfast items… Maybe it was supposed to be “Afternoon Tea” but they figured kids wouldn’t get it(?).
There appears to be a ham sandwich on the table at Sugarcube Corner…for the “vegetarian” ponies. So THAT’S why they raised the pigs…
Philomena’s whole “joke” in this episode is somewhat of an extension of a similar scene in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” involving Fawkes the Phoenix.
Philomena’s bit with the birdseed is similar to the Road Runner eating birdseed. (And yes…my dog is able to eat everything but the pill too. :()
Fluttershy is singing the G1 key of “My Little Pony” during the scene with the hummingbird.
In one of the “grosser” allusions in the episode, the close up of the sick Philomena is a throwback to “Ren and Stimpy”, of all things.
This was the first real episode that showed just how neurotic Twilight Sparkle was about Princess Celestia. Technically, she started in “Swarm of the Century”, but her fear in that one was that they’d attack Celestia. Here was where it was revealed she always fears the worst about Celestia…that if she messes up one time she’ll be “condemned” by her. This was pretty much explicit long before the Season Three opening, which showed that was indeed her worst fear. At any rate, recycled scenery was used for Twilight’s fantasy. The “banished” region is the Everfree Forest, while the dungeon is where the Diamond Dogs reside.
Twilight Sparkle holding up the pill with a smile is one of the more “memeable” scenes in the entire series, although it’s fair to note that it was Fluttershy who initially tried giving Philomena the pill.
This is the second “Benny Hill” sequence of the series (the first was in “The Ticket Master”), and it’s even funnier this time.
Another “memeable” scene is Fluttershy crying over Philomena’s ashes.
Yet another episode in the first season where someone besides Twilight Sparkle gives the “letter to Celestia”.
3 Stars out of 5