SPOILER ALERT! Those of you who have not seen the show, be warned. This review is going to contain spoilers about the episode. If you have not seen it yet, watch it right now and read my review in 20 minutes, or prepare to have some of the critical plot mentioned before you view it. I am assuming many of you are bronies, or fans of the show, and you are reading this review for an interesting insight on an episode you have seen countless times already (as have I), in which case, continue reading, and enjoy!
This episode really got me hooked on the show. Along with “Applebuck Season,” I felt that I related to one of the characters and what they were going through. My high-school self would often make mental connections between real life and this episode. I told my best friend what a great episode it was and was beginning to talk constantly about my love of MLP. (She just recently decided to start watching and she enjoys the show too, though not as much as I do.)
The episode begins with Fluttershy and her bunny, Angel. Angel is a stubborn brat and even Fluttershy’s way with animals doesn’t work with him. As Angel disobeys and runs around, he coughs. The coughing is the result of a huge cloud of black smoke. Fluttershy runs around trying to get help, but she is unable to get anypony to listen or give attention since she is so quiet and shy.
Twilight Sparkle is louder, and therefore able to get everypony to notice the heavy smoke cloud. Twilight informs the crowd of ponies that the smoke is thankfully not from a fire… it is from a snoring dragon. Fluttershy seems horrified to learn that a dragon is the cause. This is kind of a shock, since she was so excited to first meet Spike. When the Mane Six decide they need to take it upon themselves to ask the dragon to relocate, Fluttershy is less than thrilled.
We then witness a comical montage of the Mane Five (Twilight’s five pony friends) preparing to encounter the dragon. Everyone has their battle face on, except for Rarity (who just looks glamorous) and Fluttershy (who is still very afraid.)
Twilight has the whole journey to the top of the mountain mapped out and this includes Fluttershy. Even though Fluttershy is literally afraid of her own shadow and others object to bringing her along, Twilight insists that the pony’s way with animals will be essential for their mission’s success. All six of them head to the base of the mountain, but Fluttershy does not climb with the rest of them.
Her friends encourage her to fly up, but a loud snore from up above causes her to freeze up in fear. Applejack decides to lead Fluttershy around the mountain a different way. That’s definitely the kind of friend I would like to have. By the time Applejack and Fluttershy finally make catch up to the others (Applejack dragging Fluttershy by the tail), Pinkie Pie had already beat Rarity in 35 consecutive games of Tic-Tac-Toe.
The ponies continue on their journey to the dragon. Along the way, they encounter a chasm which they must cross. Rainbow Dash confidentially flies across and the other ponies jump it with ease. In order to help Fluttershy cross the gap, Pinkie Pie sings a song. I have this song on my MP3 player, but every time it comes on, I skip to the next one. Anyway, Fluttershy attempts to cross the gap and fails. Thankfully, it is not as wide as she made it seem and her friends help her across.
When passing through an avalanche zone, a leaf lands on Fluttershy’s flank. This makes her think there is an avalanche, so she screams. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; her loud noise creates an avalanche after all. Everypony survives the avalanche, but they are left with a large pile of dirt and debris to climb over.
Finally, they arrive at the top of the mountain. Twilight devises a back up plan but hopes Fluttershy will be able to accomplish the task without the back up plan. Twilight heads into the cave, but to no surprise, Fluttershy does not follow. She pulled the exact same thing at the bottom of the mountain.
Her friends all try to force Fluttershy into the cave to get the dragon to leave, but she is incredibly and surprisingly good at resisting them. She then admits she is scared of dragons. (The exception is Spike, since he is just a baby.) She did not admit her fear earlier because she was afraid. Applejack assures her they are all afraid of that dragon, but reminds her it is a job. Since Fluttershy still can’t overcome her fear and go in the dragon’s cave, Twilight returns alone.
Twilight is reasonable and polite in her efforts to get the dragon to leave, but he does not do as she asks and returns to sleep. Rarity tries to get the dragon to relocate using charm. Uh oh. As she heads into the cave all I can think is that Rarity is going to seduce the dragon. I have had the misfortune of seeing enough weird fan art to know what happens next. Okay, maybe it doesn’t go quite as I expected. Rarity does seem to make progress in getting the creature to leave, but when she mentions looking after his jewels, he gets very angry and all progress is lost.
Pinkie goes in to try and make him laugh, but she doesn’t last long. Rainbow Dash follows her failed attempt by agressively barging in and yelling at the dragon to get out. She kicks him and he gets extremely mad. He comes out and tries to hurt Fluttershy’s friends. This is where she draws the line and faces the dragon. She is stern with the dragon and ends up making him cry. She then comforts him and successfully convinces him to take his nap elsewhere. Way to go, Flutters!
When back at home, Twilight writes a letter to Princess Celestia explaining what had happened and outlining the lesson of the story. It is important to never lose faith in friends, since they can provide the strength needed to overcome fears. Twilight is brought outside and she sees Pinkie Pie prank Rainbow Dash by pretending to be the dragon. Although Rainbow was cocky the entire time, she admits the prank scared her and she is afraid of dragons. Fluttershy responds to this by saying that not everyone can be as brave as she is.
Bravery is not being unafraid or acting fearless. Bravery is facing your fears. Some of the most afraid people can also be the bravest. I am pretty sure Harry Potter taught this lesson first, but this episode was a great take on it. Friends can certainly provide strength to overcome fears and I have experienced this firsthand many times. The lesson was great and seeing a different side of fearful Fluttershy was exciting. It was after this episode that she became my favorite pony, and she still is. Okay, I love them all equally, but her maybe just a little bit more equally…