Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 6 (Flutter Brutter)

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Hasbro.

Episode directed by Denny Lu and Tim Stuby

We’re back with another episode of Fluttershy in the Middle as this is an episode that drops a pretty sizable bombshell on us which is that Fluttershy actually has a family!  PONY SHOCK!!  For such a big revelation to put in an episode, does this manage to do all it can with this latest development, or is it too little too late to be of any significance?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash (the latter decided to tag along to get a break from the Wonderbolts) having a nice lunch at her parents’ house which is still something I’ll have to get used to.  Seriously, of the three major pegasi in the series (Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Scootaloo), none of them have had families that have shown up in the six seasons this show has been running.  Hell, now that THAT cat is out of the bag, I guess we might as well move onto the tragic death of Applejack’s parents!  Her mother doesn’t seem to have much going on design wise, but Dear old dad is basically if you took Mr. Rogers and Ned Flanders and put them in the teleporter from The Fly.  Not OG Ned Flanders who was kind of a pompous ass or modern day Ned Flanders who has stopped taking Homer’s crap; the middle Ned who was a total pushover.

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“Well howdily doodily Flutter-rino!  I would let you borrow our lawnmower, but the neighbors been borrowing it for about seven years now.”     “SHUT THE HELL UP OVER THERE!  I’M TRYING TO DRINK!”     “You’ve got it best buddy!”

So why exactly are they visiting her parents for the first time in like five years (or at least the first time we’ve SEEN her visit them in that time frame)?  Well the reason Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash came by is that Flutter Dad is retiring soon which I guess means this is the celebratory luncheon, but it looks like they failed to mention that her younger brother Zephyr Breeze would also be moving back in with them that day as well.  This fucking guy by the way looks like he’s in his mid-thirties and has a man-bun (yuck), so he basically acts like Matthew McConaughey.  Not the post McConaissance McConaughey; PRE-McConaissance.  Hell, if you still don’t see the connection, there are freaking BONGOS playing whenever he talks.

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“We’ve got guests?  Well alright alright alright!  Who wants to go buy me some pot!?”

Everything is starting to come together now!  Whipped and useless parents means the young one runs wild and the older sibling has to grow up super-fast just to keep the little bastard alive!  The spoiled little brat has now returned after flunking out of Barber School (probably due to his stupid haircut) and is reestablishing his dominance over his wimpy parents who let him walk all over them.  Fluttershy is having NONE of this and neither is Rainbow Dash who has the added bonus of having the skeevy jerk hit on her CONSTANTLY.  The fact that she doesn’t grab his awful bun, fly his ass over an ocean, and let him drop is a testament to the endless source of patience that she must have.

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What I like right off the bat is that they don’t hold back in the slightest in portraying this guy as an unlikable leech that sucks the life and joy away from everyone around him which is not a characterization we see that often in this show.  Hell, even villains can be somewhat respectable, but this guy?  HELL no!  He truly is a toxic individual who needs to be booted out the door and forced to work as a ditch digger or something until he gets a modicum of perspective.  Sadly that’s never gonna happen because Fluttershy’s parents don’t have the backbone to do it and Fluttershy frankly shouldn’t have to clean up their mistakes or take ownership of his bullshit.  That’s actually another thing that’s REALLY good about this episode so far.  Fluttershy is NOT letting him walk all over her.  This isn’t gonna be an episode where we have to watch her take his abuse in stride for fifteen minutes before a crisis point at the end fixes everything.  Screw that!  She just leaves her parents to solve this on their own!  Well, sort of.  She certainly leaves, but she can’t help taking some of the frustration with her as she silently vents all the way home before exploding at Rainbow Dash about what a bum her brother is.

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“The guy acts like he owns the place and it just gets me so ANGRY!”     “Yeah, well I’m unfortunate enough to not being related to him which means he tries to flirt with me… again, and again, and again, and again…”

On their way back, they JUST SO HAPPEN to run into Pinkie Pie and Applejack who find out that Zephyr Breeze is back at the house; a situation they’re all too familiar with because OF COURSE they know about her family even though no one has brought it up in six years.  What, are we supposed to ASSUME this was all common knowledge that we just weren’t privy to!?  I guess there’s no way around that issue, but it’s still annoying that it’s taken them six years to give us this very basic bit of information (her family couldn’t have been in the background or even in a photo at her house in ANY of the episodes?) but it’s still annoying that we’re all of sudden back filling continuity that should have been there all along.

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“Like I was telling to my twin sister who lives in the attic, you can’t just let people walk all over ya’.”     “How is Belial doing anyway?”     “Meh.  She’s still working on that book of hers.”

After a rousing speech of familial responsibility (because of COURSE that’s the point of view Applejack would have), Fluttershy returns to her parents’ house to find that that it’s already been turned into a shit hole due to their dear own son’s selfish behavior.  CLEARLY these two aren’t so much gonna learn a lesson as they are gonna get murdered in their sleep at some point (I don’t doubt for second he wouldn’t do that for any number of greedy reasons), so it’s best to leave them to cry themselves to sleep about what terrible parents they are while Fluttershy does the work kicking him out once and for all!

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“Things are most certainly not alright alright alright…”

It doesn’t work out QUITE that well unfortunately because he has NO WHERE ELSE TO GO, so he ends up staying at Fluttershy’s place.  That being said, she’s not the same pushover who let Discord run rampant through her house when he was staying there, so this worthless waste of space is getting a job no matter what!  Of course, she PROBABLY should have figured the guy would do anything to justify NOT working, but she still gives it a shot by getting him to do odd jobs for her friends.  Rarity is the first victim who simply requests that he dye some cloth for her and the end result is an absolute nightmare.

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“Well at least he got the tie-dye piece looking good.  That’s something… right?”     “There shouldn’t be ANY tie-dye pieces!  That is SO last season!!”

Well that certainly went about as well as expected.  Who’s next in line to waste a day trying to deal with the worthless sponge?  That would be Twilight who simply wants him to wash the windows (big windows mind you, but hardly a challenging job) and has Spike there to supervise.  Clearly Twilight never got around to reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyearling because the dude has no trouble tricking Spike (who was very nearly KING OF THE DRAGONS just a few episodes ago) into doing the work for him.

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Oh don’t even start with that judgmental bullshit Twilight!  Why don’t you talk to your assistant who couldn’t even outsmart THAT idiot?

Anyone else want to take a crack at this?  Well I would hope that Applejack would give him a shot at the Apple Farm (one day there and Zephyr would come back either more considerate or missing a few teeth), but instead Rainbow Dash is gonna take him to the Wonderbolt Academy to be a janitor.  As you’d expect, that doesn’t go very well only this time they don’t even bother wasting animation to let us see it.

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“If she doesn’t stop zapping me with storm clouds and punching me in the face, I might just have to break up with her!”

Fluttershy gave this guy more chances than he deserved and has decided that now is the time for him to leave.  Good!  A night on the streets should knock at least a bit of the entitlement right out of him and he’ll be crawling back to apologize any day now!  Unfortunately that’s not exactly what happens as one of Fluttershy’s animal friends informs them that Zephyr is living in the woods and has already gone full Tom Hanks in a matter of hours, so he may not be capable of crawling all the way back once he realizes that he better shape up.

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“I would rather take my chances out in the real world than to stay here and die in this miserable forest spending the rest of my life talking TO A GOD DAMN MANNEQUIN HEAD!!  …  Oh who am I kidding?  I’ll die wherever I end up.  Maybe jail would work out.  I’d at least get three meals a day and a bed.”

Since he’s now at the breaking point (didn’t seem to take all that long), Fluttershy goes up to him (with Rainbow Dash) and gives him one more chance to get his life on track.  He begrudgingly accepts and we get a musical montage of him learning to cut hair properly so that he can get back into Barber School, though his behavior in this looks closer to a junkie going cold turkey.

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“I don’t feel the sickness yet, but it’s in the post.  That’s for sure.”     “Oh quit being a wussy!”

Well I guess everything’s all better now!  All Zephyr needed was an encouraging power ballad and all his problems are over!  So much so that not long afterwards (it’s actually not clear how much time has passed) the dude has graduated from Barber School!  Boy isn’t that convenient!  Wait, now he’s asking to move back in again!?  This is how the episode ends!?  I thought we got past this!!

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“This had to have bought me a LITTLE bit of goodwill… right!?”     “Yeah, well I think you’ve already lost it.”

I really do like this episode and it’s definitely one of the boldest episodes the series has ever done, but it doesn’t quite stick the landing.  For about ninety percent of this, it’s damn near perfect in its depiction of someone who feeds off of others and spends all their time justifying their failures and the misery they cause.  It’s really a dark turn for this show to take considering how rare it is for someone to be a straight up loser in this series (which is hard to pull off what with the whole Cutie Mark thing dictating everyone’s destiny).  It works even better because of how amazingly Fluttershy portrays someone who knows what the hell their doing in this situation, even though what they have to do isn’t easy.  She’s determined and strong while also clearly hurting with each decision she has to make to ensure he gets exactly what he needs.  All that is phenomenal, but I just don’t get the ending.  At first it starts off a bit too happy (he’s all better now!) which doesn’t feel consistent with the brutally honest tone here, but then that ending is undercut with the weird fallback he has at the end which is treated like a joke rather than a serious problem.  I guess you could argue that the fact that it ends with him asking to move back in for a while indicates that things didn’t end as well as they had depicted moments ago (sort of a bait and switch) but that’s not exactly what they did here.  If they wanted to go with a bittersweet ending, they would have left things a bit more ambiguous about whether or not he was going to be okay which can then bring the focus back on this being Fluttershy’s story and about how she feels about what they had just gone through.  Instead, it feels like they wanted to do BOTH endings (happy ending and not so happy ending) so they tried to smoosh them together which made things confusing rather than poignant.  Still, it’s another example of the show taking chances instead of resting on their laurels (*cough* season five *cough*) and hopefully they will continue to move in that direction for the second half of the season.

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One thought on “Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 6 (Flutter Brutter)

  1. ArthurCrane

    Short Version: “Fly away, oh my Zephyr.”

    Great, the one time I get a chance to make a RHCP reference and that’s the best I have.

    Longer Version:

    -Exploration on the extended families of the Mane 6 has been, for the most part, limited to their siblings, and while this episode continues the trend, it’s still welcome to learn a little bit more about the girls outside their circle of friends. This time, it’s Fluttershy’s turn (Now if we could only get the same for Rainbow Dash…). While it’s true that stuff like this only seems to come up when it’s needed in a story, I appreciate how several conversations among the girls hint at how this is something they already knew about and probably talked about offscreen, as opposed to dumping the exposition on them as well as the audience. Compare this to, say, the introduction of Maud Pie, where she might as well have been a pony they didn’t knew existed before to everyone other than Pinkie Pie (No, I’m not discrediting the scene, I’m just saying it’s nice for this episode to handle the introduction of a yet-undisclosed-to-the-audience family member with some variety). Also, it’s a good thing that any necessary exposition on Fluttershy’s parents, Zephyr Breeze and what they’re deal is is handled either right away at the beginning or right after the title sequence.

    -It’s always welcome to get a Fluttershy episode that doesn’t default to solving one of her insecurities, especially when said episode is about showcasing one of her strengths, which don’t come as often. While I don’t have a problem with the former, since they can be a good source of watching a character grow stronger and more confident, it’s always interesting when Fluttershy gets to show the strength of her morals, hiding under her otherwise meek demeanor. Her dynamic with Zephyr is very intriguing, as her various signs of irritation at him (both vocal and physical) show the history of this relationship, and how she’s the one who’s probably have had to put up with him the most, likely more than her parents. It’s also worth poitning out how her actions at him feel more like “tough love” than being just straight-up harsh for the sake of it due to her exasperation at him. Going too far in that latter direction could’ve made the entire episode fall apart. I don’t think fans talk about this often, but between getting both Zephyr and Discord on the track to better living, she’s likely to be the most patient of the Mane 6.

    -Sill, what will likely make or break this episode for people is Zephyr Breeze himself. I won’t fault people for finding him annoying or unlikeable, because he IS very much both of those things, but I find him compelling because of how, for a lack of a better word, “real” he feels. I’m sure we’ve all met a Zephyr in real life before. He’s a greedy, arrogant, jerkish slacker that abuses the generosity (or rather, the meekness) of his parents to coast through life with minimum effort and blames his shortcomings on others rather than taking responsibility for them. Remember that one episode of The Simpsons where Bart has a vision of himself 30 years in the future where he’s a broke, lazy, wannabe musician who mooches his way through life? That’s pretty much Zephyr. The big difference, of course, is that his behavior is rooted in a fear of failure. While it doesn’t get much exploration, I’m glad that this is something presented as very matter-of-fact, rather than have it rooted in some specific aspect of his past. Speaking for myself, I’ve experienced some aspects of this mentality firsthand and I’m grateful I was able to get pulled out of it, whether by me or someone else, before it consumed me. This kind of thing just happens to some people, they’re doesn’t need to be an explanation, the same way we probably don’t need an explanation for, for example, why Applejack can be so stubborn at times.

    -Having met Fluttershy’s parents, it suddenly makes perfect sense why she turned out the way she did confidence-wise. I’m not sure how fitting it would be for this show to have an episode that points out how, as far as we know, it’s very evident that Fluttershy has grown as a person far more by herself or with the help of her friends than with her biological family. It kinda sucks that the parents are basically here just to be doormats for Zephyr, though. I get why it’s like that, but still.

    -I find it funny how Fluttershy is the bold one in the family. Then again, she has been instrumental in saving Equestria multiple times, can stand up to ferocious beasts without fear, and is best friends with the living embodiment of chaos, so…yeah, it checks out.

    -Don’t lie. You also thought that Fluttershy was gonna say something else when she started dropping the “P” word.

    -Rainbow Dash is prominent here, but gets to more or less be an extension of Fluttershy’s behavior (and get hit on by Zephyr, which did make for some funny reactions). That’s not a criticism, just an observation.

    -I loved the bit with Pinkie Pie’s wallet, though I wonder if kids are gonna get what that’s supposed to be about.

    -As for the issue with the ending, he cleary states he only finished barber training, so he’s technically still unemployed and needs a place to live in while he takes care of that.

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