The Weather Forecast predicts a possibility of a TL;DR with a high chance of a whole review after it. For those who wish to enjoy the rest of the day off and not read the entire review they can check the TL; DR which will include the answer to two questions. Is this a good episode in Friendship is Magic standards? Yes, it definitely is. Is this the best episode of the season? Let me clarify, it's not my favourite but it's going to be many people's favourite episode and for good reasons, and if we are objective about this it can very easily be the best. And if you hang around and read my review I will tell you all why.
So the episode starts with Rainbow Dash flying over Ponyville as she bombards everypony with pamphlets about how she's tired of Princess Celestia's dominance over Equestria, and her plans to assemble an army of pegasi to take over Canterlot. No, of course not, but don't tell me you didn't have some sort of propaganda flashback when you saw that scene. She flies around Ponyville dropping pamphlets announcing a meeting at Twilight's library that night, and all pegasi must attend. What is this meeting for though we will have to find out after the intro. She even has the power to summon James "The Mule" Wootton back from Season 1, and I have to say that made me happier than it should have. To her pleasure all the pegasi attend the meeting. Well, almost all of them. Fluttershy doesn't want to for some reason and she hides into a tree costume. This is the show makers throwing a brick joke at us and hitting in the right spot. How many kids will link Fluttershy dressed as a tree with her line from "Over a Barrel"? It is certainly one of the best cosplays I have ever seen. Or is the correct term "Leaf Suit"?
|It also brings nightmare fuel memories from The Wasteland - Spoilers, Spoilers, Spoilers.|
|Things turned awkward when she asked her to read a shipping fanfic starring Dash and Soarin'.|
We then cut to what I assume is Froggy Bottom Bog (it looks like it and it has the same pale greens and browns) as we see Fluttershy crying her eyes out while Angel tries to comfort her. I want to think Angel changed after the last episode he was on and is now being kinder to Fluttershy, but I actually think this is him just being him. He can be a jerk to Fluttershy and he can force and abuse her, but when she's really down he is going to take care of her and make sure she's fine. Otherwise, who will get him his food? I'm kidding, it's pretty obvious that Angel does care for her, as well as all the other little critters that try to cheer her up. It was a nice role reversal to see all the squirrels, bunnies and badgers nursing Fluttershy when she is the one who usually takes care of them. That was a really neat touch. So, after a rather short but effective confidence building session, Fluttershy puts on the head and legs bands, plays "You're the best around" in her iPonyPod and starts the training montage. I'm not the biggest fan of training montages but this one was actually pretty funny. There is something about a winged horse getting pulled by a butterfly that makes me giggle. Besides it ends with a beautiful shot of Fluttershy against the sun, and I'm a big sucker for beautiful visuals. With all the power of the eighties in her wings, Fluttershy races the track again and manages to quadruple her previous mark! The only problem was that her previous mark didn't even reach 1. With a tiny 2,3 Fluttershy gives up and goes away, defeated and broken, but she's not the only one. When Spike tells Dash not to worry about it, since they have enough wing power to move the water, Rainbow simply replies:
"If only we could have enough power to move Fluttershy"
Once again their friendship pokes out! That was great. That little allusion right there says that Rainbow Dash doesn't care for the record or the water, she cares for her friend Fluttershy. Those of you who say that she isn't the element of Loyalty, I will always refer to you to this clip to make you shut up. She is loyal and she cares for her friends.
|She also cares for how well The HUB's ratings are doing.|
"If I'm going down, I'm going down flying! Come on ponies! Let's make it happen!"
I had my heart jumping, and my inner child applauding and cheering. That was awesome and so in her style. So she gathers her team again and they get rolling once more. Fluttershy gets thrown against the machine as Twilight keeps checking the readings. The speed is steady at seven hundred and ninety five, but it doesn't get higher. Twilight shouts to Fluttershy that she has to break through her fears and do this for them, for Cloudsdale, and for herself. Swallowing hard, Fluttershy takes the goggles Twilight gives her and steps inside the tornado. Slowly but surely she starts flying and making the wind go faster. But she is left behind, the memories assaulting her again. Those kids laughing at her, echoing in her ears, mining her confidence. But then she says stop. She just had enough and with a growl of confidence turns those fears into strength. She flies faster, leaving the others behind and making the anemometer pass the eight hundred barrier, thus pumping up the tornado and sending a column of water into Cloudsdale's Weather Factory. The tornado dissolves as the pegasi break formation and they all go to celebrate a job well done. Rainbow Dash rushes to Fluttershy to tell her that without her help they couldn't have done it. In Spitfire's words, even if they didn't break the record they proved to have a lot of guts. The episode ends with Fluttershy delivering a moral that many of us should consider, especially in this day and age. Even if our contribution is small it does count, and we should never give up in giving our best even if we think it's not worth it. Keep your head up, believe in yourself and you will discover that great things will happen to you.
So that was "Hurricane Fluttershy". What do I think about it? Well guys, if I had to use one word to describe this episode I would go for strong. Because this episode is one of the strongest, most powerful episodes of the entire series. Cindy Morrow's writing here is like a punch that breaks through walls of steel. There is no other better word to describe it but solid and striking. Morrow's work shines like gold and that's not surprising because, well guys, I apologize to those who check my reviews to see what I hated about this episode because I didn't hate anything! This is something that has happened to me with every single episode she has written (yes, even with "Gryphon the Brush Off"). I didn't hate anything of this episode, not even a little bit. There are things I liked a lot, and there are things I liked a little, and since there's a lot of liking let's focus on what I really, really liked.
First of all, Fluttershy. Those who know me and talk to me know that I've been hating Fluttershy a lot lately and that's mostly because of "Putting your hoof down". I don't care how adorable you are, you don't make Rarity cry like this. So I was prepared for this episode to bring back my appreciation for Fluttershy. It did. It so did. The episode didn't even have to finish for me to love Fluttershy again. Half way through I was already invested into what she was going through. It's amazing how well it builds up Fluttershy's lack of confidence, her childhood trauma, her efforts to break through it and finally her victory over her fears. When she runs away and then turns around, with her face covered in tears and her voice broken, I had to choke a gasp. That shocked me, I love when cartoons get brave when portraying mental breakdowns. Like I already said, I'm pretty sure I was getting into it because I know what it feels like to get picked on in school and having those experiences haunt you for the rest of your life. I wasn't a strong guy back there, heck I'm not a strong guy right now, so it didn't take me long to side with the meek pegasus on this one.
|Especially in this part. Sweet mother of Luna!!!|
It's great to see Spitfire showing up again, even if all she did was just standing there and look badass, but then her work is to supervise and make sure that the water gets transported on time, not transport it. So those who might have called her lazy or irresponsible for staying there and not giving a hoof to the Ponyville pegasi, it wasn't her job to do so. She is the supervisor, and she was blown away with the results. If anything she was great for congratulating Rainbow Dash on a job well done. It's awesome to see Twilight bringing in technology and science, always keeping the irony of a magical unicorn talking like a scientist. Spike's acting during the whole episode is hilarious, even if at the end it was kind of weird to see him playing a flute like a satyr, but then again I think there is a mythological reference there somewhere, you guys can tell me in the comments. However, the Grand Winner of the Funniest Thing in this Episode award goes to that Bulked-up White Pegasus with more muscles than wings who could only say "YEAH!". Anytime he showed up in the scene I couldn't control my laughter, he is hilarious. I like how they use him as a background joke instead of giving him dialogue or making rude to the other characters. He is just super motivated and he looks hilarious with his tiny bitty wings and those blood-red injected eyes. It was a lot of fun. It was also pretty funny to know that Twilight doesn't know how to speak squirrel (even though Tara Strong does know how to speak it). And of course, it's pretty cool to see Derpy hanging around the background so much during this episode.
It is a pretty gorgeous episode too! This is probably one of the best looking and most distinctive episodes of the series. The training montage has really good looking visuals, with Fluttershy's silhouette cut against the glowing sun, or her dancing in a field of dandelions. There were a lot of different pegasi in the screen without evidently noticeable clones, but then again I am not one of those people who pauses and freezes every frame in the hunt for goofs. That hallway made out of red eyes was terrifying. I know there had been instances where this show has given some good nightmare fuel (like Discord's head detaching itself and turning into a balloon, or Opal coming out of Angel Bunny's throat) but man... I have to throw an ellipsis there, there's no other way to describe it! Eyes terrify me, they horrify me, so Fluttershy's ghastly expression very well reflects mine when I see that. Jayson Thiessen, guys at Studio B and DHX, your cartoon for little girls just terrified a 27 year old guy who falls asleep watching "Alien". And you guys are proud of it! You rock. It still looks great and makes it a memorable punchy moment. But of course, the star of the show here is that tornado. It appears that anything that looks cool and is cool in the Friendship is Magic universe comes from weather or seasonal events: The Sonic Rainboom, The Zapp Apples, Winter Wrap Up, The Running of the Leaves, and moving the water to Cloudsdale is no exception. "Twister" is my third favourite film of all time (not even kidding, it totally is) and that tornado was awesome. It's sad we couldn't see more of it, but what we got was radical. Pegasus ponies are a bunch of tough guys and girls, no wonder they are so resilient. They must be made out of Chuck Norris or something.
Overall, it was a fantastic episode. My friend called it "Fluttershy's Sonic Rainboom" and I can very well see why. This is going to rank as one of the best episodes of the entire show for how strong the writing is, how beautiful the visuals are and the powerful character relationships. It's one of Rainbow Dash's best episodes, definitely Fluttershy's best episode next to "Stare Master" and "Dragonshy", and without a doubt one of my favourites. If things were as good as this episode is, well, we might as well remove the word "bad" from the dictionary, forever.
|We should add "bro-wing" instead.|
- Defining Moment: My heart is split between that nightmarish mental break down where Fluttershy warps into a tunnel of eyes, or the whole ending segment with the tornado. Either of those.
- Moral: It doesn't matter how important, how big or how strong you are. Your contribution, though small, will always count and it might even be the one that makes the difference to achieve things.