A visit with Fluttershy’s parents turns sour for Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash when the former’s brother, Zephyr Breeze, an egomaniac, chronic dropout/slacker, and dependent, moves back in with his now-retiring parents after having dropped out of Mane Therapy school. When Zephyr starts ruining his parents’ things to make himself at home, Fluttershy convinces them to evict him so he can learn self-reliance and independence, but that backfires when Zephyr immediately moves in with Fluttershy. Reluctantly, she agrees to let him stay on the condition he get a job, but although she sets him up with three separate jobs with three of her friends, Zephyr’s propensity for quitting anything the slightest bit difficult soon ruins all three opportunities. As a result, Fluttershy evicts him as well, but soon after he moves into the Everfree Forest, and his total inability to care for himself finally becomes so undeniable he reaches a breaking point. Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash approach him and make it clear that if he always dismisses everything as too hard to even try, he’ll never do anything his entire life, and make him realize that being a quitter isn’t too different from being a failure. Fluttershy agrees to let him move back in on the condition that he pass the basic styles for Mane Therapy school and, with her and Rainbow Dash preventing him from quitting, he successfully makes the style and does the first independent thing he’s ever accomplished. Not long after, Zephyr manages to graduate Mane Therapy school and thanks Fluttershy for teaching him not to quit…right before asking his parents if he can stay with them for a few days until he finds a new place.
This episode ended up being (rather surprisingly to me) controversial.
There’s evidence to indicate this episode was supposed to air as early as Season Five (with no indicator being greater than the fact it was penned by Megan McCarthy, an earlier writer in the series who has since promoted to executive producer), but for whatever reason never aired until halfway through Season Six. That whole time the fandom was subject to speculation about Fluttershy having a brother who would be revealed in an episode. Most of us were abuzz with wondering what he would be like. I thought it might be the first autistic character. Others thought he’d end up being a bully who caused Fluttershy to be as timid as she is today. What we ended up getting was…interesting.
This is yet another episode meant to cater specifically to the adult fans…perhaps a bit too specifically to the Brony demographic, as it turned out. Little kids don’t have to deal with issues of “failure to launch” or the difficulties associated with becoming independent…or, more succinctly, what happens when certain family members fail to reach that point of independence. This is something only the older age groups could get. The core lesson is also for them: if you avoid trying to succeed at anything in your life in spite of the difficulty, you’ll never do anything.
I myself lived with my parents longer than I should have. Long story short, there comes a point where depression starts settling in when you realize that you’re still stuck living with your parents long after you should have been out on your own. It’s personally insulting and degrading. The best part about finally landing a full time job and moving out was the feeling of independence. Before then, I didn’t even feel like a man. Even when I had a crappy job there was some sense of satisfaction that I was at least generating income, paltry as it was. That I wasn’t useless and good-for-nothing. I like to think most people stuck living at home, or even without a job, feel that way. That we all want to have the dignity of work and taking care of ourselves and not the humiliation of being dependent on someone else.
Ok, with that out of the way…
Zephyr Breeze is, to me, the most repulsive character ever put on the show. This isn’t just a character stricken with “failure to launch” or who has let a chronic fear of failure drive him to be a quitter his whole life. He’s a caricature and mockery of the “Millennial”, right down to his stubble, college philosophy ranting, and “man bun” (which is pretty much a hair style I hate more than spiders and public speaking combined). He’s lazy, he’s selfish, he’s egotistical, he never stops BSing, and he thinks he’s God’s gift to women. To me, he doesn’t have one likable thing or characteristic about him. He’s 100% repulsive and he only grows more repulsive as the episode goes on.
Nevertheless, the episode did give an opportunity to show off just how assertive and mature Fluttershy has become…although if she couldn’t be assertive with Zephyr I’d think something was wrong with her. And while I found him loathsome, I’m sure many thought Zephyr’s over-the-topness and Rainbow Dash’s constant aghast reactions to people suggesting she’s actually attracted to him were entertaining. And it did hold my interest well. Hence, I figured people would simply rip into Zephyr Breeze for this one and leave the rest of the episode be.
Well, that’s when I learned something about the Brony fandom that confirmed a stereotype about us all.
Zephyr was surprisingly liked by the fandom. Some fanartists actually did ship him and Rainbow Dash. Sure, there were those who despised him like me, but not nearly as many as I thought. I thought it would have been a stretch just to tolerate him, let alone admire him. And the reason ended up being fairly obvious. The majority of bronies, sadly, are in Zephyr’s position. They’re stuck living at home with their parents and many of them are, apparently, also so afraid of failure or put off by the challenges of life that they’ve been resigned to their positions as well. As a result, they actually identified with him.
While I can understand a poor economy or job market leaving one in such a position, however, Zephyr didn’t have to suffer from either of those things. And even if he did, there was still the fact that he was passing off moving back in with his parents as if he was doing them a favor and even expecting them to move his stuff back in for him, not realizing that he had a privilege and needed to act like it. Furthermore, Zephyr wasn’t trying to do anything to better his position. He wasn’t actively job-seeking, he wasn’t going to school part time, let alone full time, and he wasn’t holding a sub-par job just so he could pay his parents something in rent. He was just being a deadbeat and expecting his loved ones to accommodate him being a deadbeat. I’m ashamed to admit that there have undoubtedly been some times in my life where I was Zephyr Breeze myself, but that doesn’t mean I was doing the right thing at those times and I’m not embarrassed by them now.
Well…this particular review turned into a bit of a personal rant. In my opinion, Zephyr Breeze is repulsive enough of a character to drag this episode down. But Fluttershy is at the top of her game and Rainbow Dash is good for more than just a couple gags to boot. Plus, this is an episode a lot of the older fans needed to watch. So…alright, I’ll give it a bit higher.
At long last, we meet the other members of Fluttershy’s family. She is the last of the Mane Six to have her relatives introduced, although Rainbow Dash’s father has yet to say a line.
Apparently, most pegasi do not live apart like Rainbow Dash. Rather, Cloudsdale is set up as a more modern suburb, whereas Ponyville itself follows more of an Eastern European architecture and places like Manehattan are turn-of-the-century urban.
The point was made back in Season One that Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy have probably been friends the longest out of the Mane Six, but now it’s clear that Dash has been a family friend for years too.
Fluttershy’s mane hue is a combination of the colors of that of her mom and dad.
Zephyr’s nickname for Fluttershy is “Flutter Butter”. She doesn’t seem to care for it. 😛
Fluttershy is normally sympathetic and overly kind to everyone on the show, even characters like Discord. Zephyr and her own family are the only characters she can innately be “assertive” toward.
Rainbow Dash is reading the Daring Do book she featured in.
In Equestria, “peeved” is apparently profanity.
Although this is Zephyr’s first
and hopefully only appearance on the show, all of the other girls already know him by reputation.
Fluttershy uses the same relaxation technique Twilight and Cadance used back in “Games Ponies Play”.
There’s not much reinforcement for this, but Rainbow Dash excusing herself to go “help Pinkie Pie sprinkle…something” has been considered possibly an allusion to the morbid-yet-infamous fanfiction “Cupcakes”. Please don’t look it up if you don’t know what I’m talking about.
After the scene cuts from the Palace of Friendship, in the scene with Fluttershy and Zephyr walking down the road, a pony version of Link from “The Legend of Zelda” franchise walks by behind them. It’s not obvious at first, but he has a green hat, his coloration is the same a Epona (even having face paint like her), his Cutie Mark is a half-full Heart Container, and his wagon is full of rupees rather than gems.
Such a pity I didn’t get to see Rainbow Dash actually zap Zephyr with the storm cloud. 😦
In his half-crazed state, Zephyr names his head model “Wigford” and it becomes his only companion. This is similar to Tom Hanks’ character in “Cast Away” when he names a volleyball Wilson as the sole interpersonal contact he has while stranded on a deserted island.
How do ponies use those scissors? They’re built for human hands.
3 Stars out of 5