This is the type of episode that really highlights the world and characters that Faust created and has been nurtured by Thiessen and his team, providing a strong moral lesson without subverting it.
It's easy to see the overall episode as one that is visually stunning with many moments that are just memorable and humorous themselves. But its when you get past the visuals that a strong character-driven story is present, highlighting both Fluttershy and Rainbow in positive light.
Fluttershy's scenario is completely believable and I can guess most kids and members of the older fans can relate to. And no, they didn't make it easy to resolve. She was teased by the older pegasus, even going as far as to make Spike a Jerk Ass Straight Man
specifically to set some of these up. And the resolution: no, she doesn't magically show a Hidden Depths
of being able to generate the tornado by herself, but just eking by 2.3 and giving moral support to the rest of the pegasi team - that's a rather interesting, unexpected, and more realistic way to resolve that line. She still has the potential to be a great flyer, but they've established a necessary character trait - the challenge of performing in front of an audience.
But more interesting is Rainbow Dash. She's a hard character to write for being as forward as she is: both "May The Best Pet Win" and "Mysterious Mare-Do-Well" are rather brash RBD episodes and have no real character resolution. But here, we start with RBD wanting to break the record, impress Spitfire, and thus putting every pegasi to a strict training regiment - classic RBD. But then she gets to Fluttershy, and quickly realizes that her friend has to be handled differently, and suddenly we get a whole new light on the relationship between RBD and Fluttershy (no, not shipping). You can tell that RBD really really wants Fluttershy to break out of her shell, and could care less that if she can put forth a 10.0 effort. It would have strengthened the episode a bit if we saw RBD turning the tables on the taunting ponies, but good enough that RBD made every effort to welcome Fluttershy to join. Her meekness at the end, calling Fluttershy her "#1 flyer", is a moment of tearful joy.
No, every episode won't be this mushy, but it shows that the team behind this show have a great sense of creating realistic, imperfect characters.