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 Flurry Heart’s Day Out! Oh yes, the little rascal who we’ve barely seen since her debut in season six and is cute to a weaponized degree! Feels like a wasted opportunity if you ask me! Well wait no longer, fans of all things cute and baby related, as the writers have heard your pleas and we now have another episode with the extremely marketable bundle of joy! Does this episode bring the adorable goodness that we require along with an interesting story about being a good parental figure, or will Flurry Heart turn out to be just as uninteresting as poor Nicky Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Twilight in her Doom Fortress talking to one of the nurses from the Ponyville Hospital about a possible appearance by the Princess to cheer up some foals who managed to get something called The Horsey Hives. Technically hives are a symptom rather than the root cause of an illness and often caused by allergic reactions (meaning that the entire class must not only be allergic to the same thing but must have been exposed to it at the same time), but I guess they’re MAGIC hives and can be spread any number of ways. Twilight is easily convinced to help out by delivering food, gifts, and reading materials, which of course spells DOOM for everyone as Murphy’s Law is just as stringent a rule in this world as gravity is; meaning something is gonna come RIGHT through those front doors and screw everything up!
So this is going EXACTLY where every last one of you expects. Twilight, eager to give these two a much needed break while also getting a chance to see little Flurry Heart (schoolyard nickname confirmed to be Flart) takes on way too many responsibilities and shenanigans ensue. More specifically, Cadence and Shining Armor have a friend in town that is having an art exhibition and are using it as an excuse to get away from the baby for a few hours. I mean they COULD take her if they wanted to as EVERYTHING in this world is family friendly already (it’s not like they’re going to a showcase of Robert Mapple-horse photos), but better to leave her with the aunt who’s all alone in a big castle that clearly hasn’t been baby-proofed! Spike is there to play the moral authority once again as he’s the one who knows EXACTLY where this is going yet prefers to be a pessimistic whiner than do something about it.
So the parents are off for their day of baby-less fun, Twilight is doing her darnedest to spoil the kid rotten, and Spike is trying to make sure nothing gets lost in the shuffle; including Flurry Heart’s favorite toy called Wammy that I’m guessing is gonna be super important later. For the most part, this is a rather light episode as a lot of the runtime is seeing how many cute things the animators can do with Flurry Heart which means the plot itself comes off as secondary and peripheral; much like Spike himself who’s constantly being ignored by Twilight in favor of more baby time. Now the primary focus, which is cute baby stuff, is… fine. Flurry Heart is given a lot of personality, even if it feels generically adorable, and I like the idea of Twilight having to deal with a small child given how controlling she tends to be. The other aspect of the main plot line, which is the ticking clock to the hospital visit, feels rather contrived in comparison, and sadly I have to say the main reason this does not work is Spike himself. He’s the one CONSTANTLY calling attention to the ticking clock, yet he’s doing nothing to help the situation. Here’s an idea! While Twilight is taking care of the baby, why doesn’t HE get the stuff Twilight’s gonna bring to the hospital!? He keeps brandishing the list over and over again so he knows what they need to get, and he’s been Twilight’s Gofer since he could walk! There’s no reason that the baby AND the shopping should be put on Twilight’s shoulders while all he does is tsk-tsk-tsk in the background whenever something doesn’t go right!
At least when we aren’t dealing with those three, we get amusing vignettes of Cadence and Shining Armor recreating the museum scene from Farris Bueller’s Day Off, though with much less of that inappropriate PG-13 kissing! The best part is the ARTIST-BRO named Spear Head (interesting name…) who was part of the Canterlot Royal Guard when Shining Armor was there but is now letting his spirit fly free as an artist!! Fine, the jock turned hippie stereotype is an overplayed joke, but it’s done pretty well here and they even manage to throw in a Spinal Tap reference!
As much fun as these scenes of Cadence and Shining Armor doing something NOT involving Crystal Kingdom duties, we eventually have to go back to Twilight who’s zooming around town to get free stuff for children in a hospital with little Flurry Heart in tow. What a monster, I guess. We’ll touch on the moral of this story once we get to the end, but before that they have to go to Sugarcube Corner to pick up delicious treats for sick children. Oh hey! What a perfect segue into a different reason this episode isn’t quite coming together for me! ALL THE WAY BACK IN SEASON TWO (when dinosaurs roamed the Earth!) there was an episode where Pinkie Pie was begrudgingly given the opportunity to babysit the two baby foals of Mr. and Mrs. Cake, and that episode is a perfect example of where the story goes wrong here. In that episode, they took the time to explain why the Cake’s NEEDED Pinkie to watch them (the conflict is believable) and why Pinkie felt she had to do this on her own (our protagonist is properly motivated). In here, they never go into why Cadence and Shining Armor don’t have paid babysitters in the Crystal Kingdom, and the idea of Twilight calling in extra help from here friends (or how about that former student of hers who’s still living in the castle, presumably rent free?) is never brought up once, so how is this anything but an artificial conflict? On top of that, Pinkie had a genuine character flaw in that episode (she was too prideful to ask for help when it was offered) which led to a genuine moment of character growth. Here? Twilight’s trying too hard to be the best pony possible! Oh no! I hope she gets knocked down a peg for THAT! Okay, before everyone starts but-but-butting, is there a bit of pride involved here? Sure, but I’m still not convinced it’s actively holding her back from what she needs to be doing; nor is her split attention all that egregious of (or uncommon) of an issue!
We’ll touch more on the moral once we reach the climax which we are swiftly rushing towards as Twilight FINALLY makes it to the hospital with all the toys and free baked goods that the children could ever want; brightening their day to end no end after facing such misfortune. Twilight starts reading a book to all of them (because she’s just that awesome), and this is really the ONLY time I will say Twilight MIGHT have made a mistake or was being SLIGHTLY irresponsible. Not in a malicious or even all that noteworthy way, but more of “hindsight is 20/20” situation as Flurry Heart starts to get fussy but Twilight can’t break away from the book just yet to give her some attention.
During the tantrum (which only lasts about eight seconds), Flurry Heart sends her Wammy flying into the hallway (see? Planting and payoff!) which only makes things worse and she starts searching frantically looking for it. During her search throughout this horse hospital she manages to find quite a few big bucks, but no Wammy (nyuk-nyuk-nyuk) and decides the next best course of action is to throw beds up into the air to see if that’s where she lost it. I know she’s supposed to be strong considering she’s a freaking Alicorn, but we’re reaching Dark Phoenix levels of OP here!!
Twilight manages to get a handle on the situation but Flurry won’t stop trying to toss other ponies into the air just to find her Wammy which means that Twilight has to use a STERN VOICE (GASP!!) to tell her to stop. Flurry does end her rampage (good thing too before these kids have hives AND broken spines) but cries in a corner because Twilight yelled at her and then Twilight feels super guilty about everything that happened today and… eh… no. I don’t like it. It PROBABLY wasn’t their intent, but the message comes across as ONLY DO WHAT THE CHILD WANTS AND NOTHING ELSE OR YOU ARE A TERRIBLE CAREGIVER, which is the same kind of moralizing crap that people put on parents all the time (usually in Disney movies). For some people, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day or dollars in the bank to separate parenting and their grown up responsibilities as much as they would like to, so having Twilight moralize to the audience about not being there for Flurry when she CLEARLY WAS (she doted on her at the castle and tried to make the errands at least somewhat fun) feels incredibly judgement and I had hoped a show like this would be much more nuanced about this kind of message. Hell, we don’t even get mandated Maternity Leave in this country which has mothers having to go back to work within TWELVE WEEKS of having a child (unpaid weeks by the way) lest they risk losing their job entirely, so an episode of a family minded TV show telling kids their parents aren’t good enough because they can’t be with them every second of every day MIGHT be the tiniest bit gauche. Now obviously I would agree that Twilight made a mistake at the hospital when Flurry Heart needed attention and she didn’t give it, but that’s not what she’s saying now as she’s casting the ENTIRE DAY as one big neglectful disaster which it simply was not in my opinion.
Of course, Flurry is perfectly fine after Twilight castigates herself (I guess the baby who can understand when someone feels guilty about improper time management) and everything works out in the end! We cut to sometime later where Twilight is back at the castle flying Flurry Heart all around the place (something I would think is much more dangerous than taking care of her while busy) and Cadence and Shining Armor burst through the door; unable to bear being apart from Flurry Heart another second! Twilight confesses that she probably shouldn’t have taken her when her schedule was so bad and the two of them also apologize for dropping this on her at the last second; a moral that feels WAY more on point than what we got a few minutes ago. Not only that, but they ended up taking my advice and just had Spike do it, which is how the episode ends; with him reading to the ponies in the hospital about a heroic dragon warrior!
There’s plenty to like about this episode, but it gets dragged down by the fact that they feel each episode NEEDS to have some sort of moral underpinning rather than just watching characters we like go through a tough day. Heck, the problem isn’t necessarily that there IS a moral as the final part with Cadence, Shining Armor, and Twilight would have been perfect all on its own! The main message that is being imparted feels depressingly simplistic and judgmental which didn’t need to be the case if they put a bit more nuance into it. Sure, this was far and away not an ideal situation, but maybe if they even touched upon the urgency of Twilight being the one to babysit Flurry Heart despite her busy schedule (everyone else is too busy to help with this situation) to at least to at least show that what happened was NECESSARY even if it played out in an unfortunate way, then I wouldn’t be bothered so much by it. If you can get past that, there’s a decent Twilight episode here that has an enjoyable guest appearance by an underused supporting character. Hopefully we’ll see more of Flurry Heart in the future, especially if it’s all about her and her parents. How do we know THEY aren’t total screw ups as caregivers too!?