While taking Angel Bunny to the local vet, Dr. Fauna, to get a foot injury tended to, Fluttershy makes the discovery that her office is overrun with animals who have no place to go to get treated for ailments or to stay after they recover. Fluttershy takes this as the perfect opportunity to make a dream of hers become a reality and build an animal sanctuary. After talking to the Mane Six, they suggest a trio of ponies to help her with her vision: Wrangler, Hard Hat, and Dandy Grandeur. She explains her ideas to all of them of what she wants, but, as the ideas are unconventional and things they aren’t used to, rather than try to enact them they all impose their own ideas instead thinking Fluttershy doesn’t know what she’s talking about and will like them better. She ends up with a sanctuary that’s absolutely nothing like what she wanted, and she dismisses all of them. After composing herself, Fluttershy tries again but insists that this time anyone helping her respect her knowledge of caring for animals and follow her concept exactly, and with the help of her friends and Big Daddy McColt, she builds the sanctuary exactly the way she wants it…and the animals too, for that matter. She ends up remarking on the importance of holding true to your convictions when you know your idea is right–the end result is well worth it.
Well, the run had to end sometime. Usually it holds out for a Spike-themed episode, though. We’d get good Fluttershy-themed episodes this season, but…I don’t feel this is one of them. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not “bad”. There’s nothing that’s actually wrong with it and it does actually have a bit of a lesson in it. It’s just…not that good.
It has all the feeling of an episode that should be better. This is one episode that definitely shows how far Fluttershy has come, even though it kind of smacks the audience over the head with it a little bit by having the other members of the Mane Six actually call it out. Fluttershy is assertive yet polite from start to finish in this episode. The old Season One and Season Two Fluttershy would have probably easily caved to the pressure of the various ponies brought in to assist with her project, but in this one she stuck to her guns. Even though she nearly lost her temper once or twice, in the end she managed to stay very mannerly even when expressing her dislike and dismissing them.
The lesson it gave won’t be understood by everyone, but for people like me it hits close to home. As an amateur fanfic writer, and one who has been called in to help edit other writers’ work before, I’m ashamed to admit I have been in the same shoes as Wrangler, Hard Hat, and Dandy Grandeur before. I’ve gotten to the point where I stopped trying to help make a writer’s vision a reality and instead tried to impose my vision on them because I thought they’d like it better…because it’s what I liked better. I have a feeling I’m not unique in that regard. The important thing to realize if trying to bring a concept to life, whether you’re in the position I was in or in the position Fluttershy was in, was that your vision is ultimately your vision and you have a right to see it through how you want. It might very well be that your idea isn’t the best in the world, but there’s a difference between calling in someone to help point out faults in your idea or calling in someone to help make it a reality, which was clearly what Fluttershy was doing. Like I said, this lesson doesn’t apply to everyone, similar to how “Canterlot Boutique”‘s lesson didn’t apply to everyone, but it’s still solid.
The problem is this episode was a simple story to tell. A bit too simple. It’s the first one this season that’s clearly padded. A lot of dialogue is nothing but chatting or middling around until we get to where the plot needs to advance. All four voice actors who provide the voices for all six members of the Mane Six are in this episode, but it seems the main purpose to their lines is to stretch things out. It’s not the worst problem in the world. In fact, it’s one endemic to Season One episodes. But it does drag the episode down a little.
It’s a bit too bad because, as this episode and “Fame and Misfortune” would address, the writers were clearly trying to get rid of Fluttershy’s “perpetually timid” nature this season and have her advance as a character. And this did take a step forward. Just not a terribly memorable one.
Angel Bunny needs “theme music” for when he practices parkour. Yet the fact he even practices parkour makes it clear why Fluttershy goes through so many bunny foot braces. 😛
As an interesting animation detail, giraffes have the same eye shape and style as ponies. Perhaps they’re equine-enough to where they’re semi-sentient, but still beneath goats. (Although since goats appear in the vet’s office…maybe not. :P) It’s interesting to note that, almost at random, after the giraffe shows up a stag leaps by in the background, appearing to be a totally normal stag. The thing with that is that IDW Comics actually made deer a sentient species like ponies and zebras, which is especially interesting as they paired with DHX Media this season.
The squirrels are eating cotton balls in Dr. Fauna’s office. This might be a nod to “Elf”. Smoky and his family (from “The Saddle Row Review”) also cameo.
The ducks imprint on Angel Bunny. 🙂
Oddly enough, Rainbow Dash actually gets emotional at Fluttershy’s description of the animal sanctuary.
More trivia for you: Fluttershy’s snake is named Rupert.
While some people might think Wrangler resembles a pony version of Indiana Jones, I think that’s simply a coincidence. The real pony who would resemble Indiana Jones would be in the season finale. 🙂
Wrangler’s cages weren’t that great. The bear busted right out again. 😛
The only place left in the vet for the fish to stay is a cup that barely fits it. Poor fish. He seems reluctant to leave later in the episode though.
To accent how assertive Fluttershy is in this episode, Pinkie Pie suggests they change her name to “Flutterbold”.
Big Daddy McColt returns from “The Hooffields and the McColts”. I thought it was a bit surprising, but…fitting, for the reasons Fluttershy points out.
Although Starlight Glimmer doesn’t appear in either house meeting, she does end up helping actually construct the sanctuary along with Big Macintosh and the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
Nicole Oliver, who normally only does Princess Celestia and Ms. Cheerilee, provides the voice of Dr. Fauna. Also, Kazumi Evans, whose most notable roles include Rarity’s singing voice, Adagio Dazzle, and Moondancer, did the voice of Wrangler.
2.5 Stars out of 5