Nightmare Night has come and Fluttershy is ready to do what she does every Nightmare Night: hide under her bed until the next day. However, Angel Bunny is out of food and she heads out to get more from her friends. While out, Spike points out that she’s already outside and suggests she take a shot at Nightmare Night this year. She decides to give it a try with the girls, but her constant fear of absolutely everything and her terrible ability (or lack thereof) to “be scary” ends up with her not only failing to have a good time but ruining it for the Mane Six as well. After apparently throwing in the towel, however, she asks her animal friends for advice in another shot. Unknowingly, the rest of the girls head to the Apple Family’s haunted hay maze but unexpectedly run into a lot more additional frights that leave them terrified. It turns out these are additions Fluttershy made with the help of her animal friends. Although the girls compliment her highly after realizing it’s her, Fluttershy answers that she hates seeing her friends scared even if it’s just for fun and declares she just doesn’t care for Nightmare Night and will continue to sit it out. The girls accept this, and Fluttershy, happy with herself, retires under her bed to hide.
This is just my opinion, of course, but forget “Princess Spike”. This is the worst regular episode of the season. For once, it was an episode I hated more on the second viewing. Once again, we get a case of a Muddled Moral. But more than that…
Most people admit they have an episode where they just plain hate Fluttershy and she never bounced back from, leading to a progressively dimmer view of her as a whole. For most fans, that’s “Putting Your Hoof Down”. For me, it’s this episode. All of the girls have kind of clung to their more negative qualities for five seasons rather than really permanently grown past them. (About the one exception is Twilight Sparkle with her epic freakouts.) For Fluttershy, however, her negative traits stand out more because her very character is supposed to be too shy and somewhat cowardly even at the best of times, so that when her negative qualities show she has a fully cowardly and violent side, it kind of adds bad on top of bad. Until this episode I was able to overlook it, but the muddled moral brought it out.
The lesson itself is good and something that hasn’t been touched on: that just because all of your friends do one thing doesn’t mean you necessarily have to join in if it’s not your interest. That’s all well and good, but there’s multiple problems with how it was handled in this episode.
- This has been implied throughout the entire series already. No one expects Fluttershy to love farming like Applejack or athletics like Rainbow Dash, just as Fluttershy doesn’t expect any of the girls to love caring for animals. One can make the argument that they’re referring to group activities in which she’s the odd one out, but they’ve already done that too. She sat out of the Great Dragon Migration in “Dragon Quest”. Granted, Rainbow Dash tried to force her to do that one. But why did she try to force her? Because Fluttershy had already forced her to do another activity Rainbow Dash had no interest in. So…Fluttershy is a hypocrite. 😛
- At no point did any of the girls pressure Fluttershy into joining in. This was all her decision. Even Spike only suggested it, and she timidly came in and said she wanted to try out joining. After that, the girls all tailored their activities to match her as best as they could. This moral might make more sense if the girls were trying to drive Fluttershy to join in. Yet they were fine ever since the start of the episode with her sitting it out. So, at best, this moral was more one she had to learn for herself. But seeing as she didn’t like participating in Nightmare Night before and didn’t again once it was done, the lesson is more like: “Don’t try anything you don’t think you’ll like, because you won’t like it.”
- Let’s be honest…Fluttershy doesn’t spend most of the episode disliking Nightmare Night because she hates the idea of scaring other ponies for fun; she dislikes it (and I’m saying this in the most loving way possible) because she’s a big coward. Going around getting scares and frights from haunted mazes and spooky attractions is one thing, but she was too terrified to wear any costume that might keep her from running away or seeing around her. One would think she would want a mask that did block her vision because she knows full well nothing out there is going to hurt her; just scare her. Seeing less scary things would actually help. And the fact she was too scared to pin the horn on Nightmare Moon, bob for apples, or even (for crying out loud) eat candy in the safety of Sugarcube Corner around her friends knowing none of them would try and scare her is just plain cowardice. It’s amazing she feels enough bravery to do anything. And on that note…
- There are plenty of things Fluttershy can do that are perfectly safe. Most of the activities the girls suggested are safe. Dressing up is safe. Passing out treats to children so they don’t prank your house is safe. She could have at least hung around the girls for their indoor activities and then wished them well when they headed out to any scary attractions. But no…she plans to hide under her bed. *cough*Coward*cough*
Fluttershy has had multiple episodes where she’s had to conquer her own fear, timidity, and unease about new situations. The fact that she is this level of a scaredy cat and ends up pretty much right where she started is, frankly, a degeneration of her character. The moral might be a good one and a valid one, but is presented so terribly that it tears down everything else in this episode. Even the interesting costumes and the nods to horror films and even manga can’t save it.
The episode where Fluttershy revealed her power of the “Stare” was called “Stare Master”. This episode might be the first to takeoff the title of an earlier episode.
This episode was accidentally leaked an entire month early and went viral on YouTube. It premiered on TV on Halloween 2015.
One filly is dressed as a Changeling. 🙂
Ponyville suddenly got covered with green mist…
Last year, Spike went as a dragon. 😛 Now he’s going as a two-headed dragon. 😛 😛
Fluttershy ends up bringing back “Flutterbat”, but only as a costume, again in this episode. The irony is that Rarity dismisses it as a joke earlier in the episode.
Rainbow Dash dressed up as an astronaut. Does that mean they have astronauts in Equestria? Or is it just science fiction?
This episode has one crazy part in it. When Fluttershy drops down the “unplanned guests”, they’re all pony versions of famous manga/anime characters. From left to right: Usagi from “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon”, Rei from “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, Utena from “Revolutionary Girl Utena”, Bulma from “Dragonball/Dragonball Z”, and Ranma from “Ranma 1/2”. Considering the fact the rest are female, there’s a chance it’s him after he’s been splashed by cold water. 😛 Who knew Fluttershy was such an otaku?
Naturally, it’s Angel who comes up with the really scary stuff.
Anyone else find it a bit…unsettling…that Fuzzy Legs could make a web strong enough to catch full grown ponies?
Granny Smith wearing a horse mask might actually be a parody of the still-screen in “Slice of Life”.
When the girls are running, we get a brief shot of Derpy. This year, she’s gone as Princess Twilight Sparkle. 🙂
The covering up of the tunnel is similar to the covering of the well in “The Ring”. Similarly, the Granny Smith skeleton (which is never really explained, even by Fluttershy…) is a nod to “Psycho”.
Sweetie Belle went as a period lady, knocking off of Rarity’s favorite. Scootaloo went as a Wonderbolt, knocking off of Rainbow Dash’s ideal. Apple Bloom went as a duckbill platypus…and I have no idea how that ties into Applejack.
The show can’t fool me. On closeups, there was no seam or strings on Flutterbat’s ears. 😛
Angel Bunny resembles “Bunnicula”, a character from kids’ literary novels in the 1980s.
“Actually, I’m not afraid.” Um, yes. Yes you are. That’s why you hid under your bed afterward.
1.5 Stars out of 5