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Synopsis:

Twilight Sparkle has a busy day ahead of her as she’s made last-minute plans to entertain a class full of foals sick with the “Horsey Hives” with a special visit of treats, toys, and a story reading; only to get a second surprise when Shining Armor and Cadance show up on her doorstep needing her to babysit Flurry Heart at the last minute. In spite of Spike’s insistence that they don’t have time for both, Twilight, eager to show off she’s a good aunt, agrees to watch Flurry as well as handle the hospital visit. After getting a slow start due to wanting to entertain and feed Flurry before leaving, Twilight ends up spending most of the rest of the day constantly ignoring Flurry as she struggles to get all of her preparatory errands done. This, in turn, makes everything worse as Flurry, in attempts to entertain herself, causes mischief that slows down Twilight even more everywhere she goes. Finally, at the hospital itself, Flurry loses her favorite toy but Twilight is too preoccupied with the sick foals to notice, and in an attempt to find it herself she uses her powerful alicorn magic to turn the hospital upside down looking for it. Twilight ends up yelling at Flurry for causing all the trouble, scaring her and causing Twilight to realize she agreed to take Flurry on without having the time to give her the attention she wanted. She apologizes and the two reconcile. After cleaning up, Twilight and Flurry head back to the Castle of Friendship to play until Shining Armor and Cadance arrive. Both end up apologizing to one another: Twilight for agreeing to watch Flurry when she didn’t really have time, and Shining Armor and Cadance for springing it on her at the last minute. The episode closes revealing Spike took over at the hospital, reading from his own favorite book and giving the foals a treat in the form of a three-layer “apology cake” from Twilight.

Review:

While this episode was generally well-received, it got a lot of hate as well for being a case of a muddled moral that I don’t feel was deserved. Rest assured, it was a case of a muddled moral; just not one as bad as everyone seemed to make out.

Surprisingly enough, Flurry Heart actually seems to work as a character in this episode by doing nothing more than being a baby. It sounds simple enough, but most kids cartoons that use a character that is a baby either do the old Looney Tunes gag of the baby constantly wandering into mortal peril and requiring their caregiver to go through numerous slapstick bits in order to save them or have the baby be absolutely inconsolable (which is what they did in Season Two’s “Baby Cakes”). By comparison, Flurry Heart is just a normal baby, and a fairly good one. She’s actually pretty well-behaved as far as babies go, and she even shows some early signs of empathy. Maybe she really did deserve to be an alicorn at birth…

As another odd turn of who works as characters, Cadance. Note that I’m not using the “princess” title with her, because it’s become clear that finding a good place for Cadance as a show regular has nothing to do with her being the ruler of the Crystal Empire and everything to do with her being a regular, average sister-in-law to Twilight Sparkle.  If you want proof, look no further than here. In Season Seven, when Cadance plays the role of a millennial mother in a relatively new family she seems far more realistic and personal. In the movie, when Cadance plays the role of an alicorn princess, her only purpose is to get Worf Effected like Celestia and Luna. She’s not the most outstanding or charismatic character on the show, but she does offer some good moments as the show’s opportunity to portray a wife, mother, and sister-in-law.

On the other hand, Shining Armor started to degenerate as a character in this season. At first it was the running gag that Flurry Heart kept him so busy he could barely see straight. Yet in his other big episode this season, Shining Armor’s own Worf Effect began to be enhanced by the fact he’s not only usually goofy but childish. Watching him makes me scratch my head as why they constantly feel it’s a good idea in Equestria Girls to try and pair one of the Twilights with a guy…

I thought the story to this episode was pretty good and, thanks to Flurry Heart, was surprisingly entertaining. It even had a bit of G1 lore mixed in it. Nevertheless, some people disliked this episode. One might think Twilight is a touch out of character in this, for one thing. Usually she’s a panicking, nervous wreck when it comes to trying to meet deadlines and accomplish things. However, Twilight has shown, in the right situation, she can play the role of an overconfident “know-it-all”. I think it was done a bit too heavily in this one, with her constantly exclaiming how she was such a great aunt, though; and the fact of the matter is Twilight has more problems with self-confidence than ego. So it was an odd turn, but not necessarily out of place.

The major thing people keyed in on was the resolution. A lot of fans complained that Twilight had every right to yell at Flurry and should have, saying that she needed to be firm with an unruly child and not cave into them throwing a tantrum.

I think those people need to watch this episode more closely. The thing is this episode gives the false sense that Twilight was giving Flurry the attention she deserved because of the bits in the first third of the episode with them playing and Twilight showering her with gifts. I think that was a touch of a gaffe on the part of the writers, as they had good ideas for some scenes of Twilight and Flurry playing and interacting but had nowhere else to put them for the progression of the episode so they just put them in front. But in the next part of the episode, as soon as they take off Twilight stops paying attention to Flurry and keeps trying to distract her with something or someone else.

I think some of these fans either don’t have children of their own or don’t remember what it’s like to be a child. When you have someone that you see as your “favorite playmate”, even as a little kid what you value more is time you get to play with them. Flurry Heart was expecting a day of fun with her aunt yet she kept pushing her aside. She kept trying to get Twilight’s attention but got ignored. So, she tried to entertain herself as best as she could and kept getting stopped and forced to sit still and wait. Finally, she lost her favorite toy, Twilight wasn’t paying attention enough to help her get it back, so she tried to find it on her own and, for that, the pony who had been ignoring her all day only gave her attention to yell at her.

And on that note, most importantly…Flurry Heart. Is. A. BABY. Not a child, not a toddler, not even somepony who can understand what you’re telling her all the time. Babies don’t go around thinking about how what they’re doing might impact other individuals. Babies don’t understand concepts about sitting still and waiting. Babies have yet to learn the concepts of cause and effect for their behavior and instead simply go for whatever makes them feel better. I want these fans to try and raise their voice to their own kids when they’re still babies to try and tell them what they’re doing is wrong. Odds are they’ll probably get Flurry Heart’s reaction because all they’ll understand is their parent is angry at them, and an angry parent is very scary to a baby.

The only real muddled moral came in the end out of left field when Twilight said the lesson she leaned wasn’t about the amount of time you spend with loved ones but the quality of time. It makes the whole episode a roundabout metaphor for single parents constantly at work who only get to see their kids a few hours each day, when the moral should have been about not taking more responsibility than you’re ready for. However, that was the moral of the last baby-themed episode, “Baby Cakes”, so I can understand trying to shoehorn that one in. And…it’s not too bad of a muddled moral so I overlook it.

All in all, a pretty cute and nice episode, and, surprisingly, makes you feel good Flurry Heart joined the cast.

Fun Facts:

In the class picture, Ms. Cheerilee is shrinking away uneasily. One student doesn’t seem to mind. I’m a little surprised they’re all there if they have “Horsey Hives” as it seems to be a severe-enough illness to merit hospitalization.

As in her first appearance, Tabitha St. Germain provides the voice of Flurry Heart. It’s almost shocking how good she is at it. In some scenes you’d swear they’d just recorded a baby babbling.

Like most over-baby-fond-extended-family-members, Twilight has bought Flurry so many gifts she’ll end up spoiled rotten if she stays with her too long. 😛

Unlike real horses, ponies apparently need to learn how to walk.

Is Cadance just being over-protective with the massive amount of extra diapers she leaves off or does Flurry Heart have such irritable bowels that she really needs all that? Do ponies even use indoor toilets as adults…?

I don’t want to sound like I’m endorsing male stereotypes in regards to ponies doing royal guard duty, but given Spearhead’s choice in a career after the royal guard and how (let’s be honest) Shining Armor has been a bit Flanderized toward being less “stallion-y”, I kind of take this episode as endorsement of a fact that’s become clear this season and with the movie: ponies in general are wimps. While they have incredible power, none of them have the fortitude or presence of mind to use it due to their constantly peaceful and happy society. It would explain why they constantly get conquered and need the Mane Six to save them.

I totally understand the bit with the peas. I’ve seen children before whose “favorite” changes on a daily basis. :/

The toy store has toy parasprites.

When the toy shopkeep complains that the toys were organized by color, Twilight lets out a horse snort for a sigh.

The tale of “Gusty the Great” is from the G1 Series of “My Little Pony”. Gusty was a character in that series, as was the villain, Grogar, who was considered the second-most evil villain on the original series after Tirek. Needless to say, this episode dashed hopes that he would make an appearance on the show.

Seriously…a whole order of apology cookies to make up for Flurry Heart writing on a chalkboard? There wasn’t even a whole lot there to rewrite… I guess when you don’t have hands chalkboards are a serious matter. And she fixed the mess Flurry Heart made at the toy store…

Rating:

3 Stars out of 5