Reviews: My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic S 2 E 19 Putting Your Hoof Down
I'm generally a calm and easygoing brony. I shrugged when people were bashing "Mysterious Mare do Well". I rolled my eyes at "Derpy is being censored!" rage. But this is the first episode that I actively dislike. I was off-put by the amount of meanness in this episode. Since the beginning, it feels like this is not the same setting the previous episodes established. Rather, it's like some fan-made A Day At The Bizarro piece, where everyone, including Pinkie and Rarity, is being a jerk to one another for no reason at all. Like Friendship Is Witchcraft, though without the spark. Why would they put this in an official episode? Well, the answer is probably "Lazy Writing 101: We Don't Have Time To Introduce Proper Conflict, So Let's Just Exaggerate Stuff To The Point Of Absurd." Unfortunately, most of the episode's humor revolves around those displays of jerkiness (and a Looney Toons gag repeated over and over), so I didn't find it amusing at all. Well, except for Iron Will himself - I found him a great and funny character. That appears in only two scenes. Way to throw away your best card. It all culminates in a scene where Fluttershy aggressively humiliates Pinkie Pie and Rarity and seriously insults their lifestyles (as the two of them criticized her "new" personality), than in a fit of self-hate she locks herself in her house and decides to never come out. Wow guys. Those that theorize about Fluttershy being abused in the past can pat themselves on the back. Sorry, writers, but you can't just open a whole can of seriously unpleasant implications about Fluttershy's issues, then go ahead and never address it again. Or for the matter, call out no one but Fluttershy on the crap they were doing. And all's magically well and good, as soon as the ponies find a scapebull to blame for, basically, everything that happened in the episode. Funnily, Iron Will's approach would plainly appear to be too extreme, if only the bullying of Fluttershy by other ponies wasn't so grotesquely exaggerated, that her reactions seem almost justified. Maybe I'm taking it too personally. But even disregarding all that, it's just a mean-spirited, unfunny episode.
This episode was overall fantastic. Great voice acting (Iron Will... hoo boy!), that one scene in the cottage was jaw-dropping, and the plot was decent as well! 9.5/10 Other notes:
- I can safely confirm that the producers are well aware of us. This may have been obvious before, but still...
Solid but not Spectacular
This episode seems to be getting a lot of heat, which is fairly understandable, though part of it might be knee-jerk dislike because it was written by Merriwether Williams. Now, I did not enjoy "The Mysterious Mare do Well", but I think "Hearth's Warming Eve" gets a bit of a bum wrap. But she definitely is getting better. Of the three episodes that she has written so far, this is probably the best and my favourite. First of all, I'm very happy that Fluttershy finally got another episode dedicated to her. She's my second favourite character (after Rarity and tied with Pinkie Pie), and I was getting a little worried that the writers couldn't think of any roles for her besides "quiet pony in the back". I agree that the beginning of this episode is really mean-spirited. Though, this is nothing new. We have seen the townsponies be overly impressed by celebrit], won over by cheap tricks and showmanship, and even be simply racist. Jerkassness is nothing new, and it's over-emphasised here to get the point of the episode across. It's not the best storytelling method, but I can deal with it. Additionally, in previous episodes centred around her, Fluttershy is a pushover. If the world of MLP:FiM is populated by actual characters and not just cardboard cutout generic cuties, she's bound to be taken advantage of. What I like about Fluttershy's transformation to Flutterbitch is that it's not instantaneous. She asserts herself, rightly so at first, but gets carried away with it. This is a very easy, very human thing to do. Power over others feels good, and even the best of us can take it too far. For the record, this is the second (third if you count Discord!Fluttershy) time that we've seen Fluttershy loose it. I'm now convinced that she has a major anger problem. She bottles up her emotions, and eventually, she looses it. I'm hoping that Fluttershy's emotional problems will come up again. In any case, I enjoyed this episode quite a lot. There are definite problems with it, eg using the Rabbit Season Duck Season joke twice. But overall, the pluses outweigh the minuses. Iron Will was hilarious and actually a fairly well-thought out character despite having only two scenes. Rarity and Pinkie Pie are in top form. I give it 8/10.
Seems like a few people have really strong opinions on this episde. I think part of it is how we see some pretty jerkass behaviour from a lot of people - including Angel and Fluttershy. Personally? I loved it! Pinkie Pie was hilarious without going over the top like in her recent episode, Rarity was as dramatic as ever but was still gracious, and it was nice seeing Fluttershy kick some ass. Iron Will was also entertaining and whoever was V Oing him seemed to be having fun. Definitely worth a watch!
I liked this episode alright, but it felt like there was something off about it. I hated Angel's behavior like anyone would but I feel like this episode was claustrophobic in the way it was just only three mane cast members and two main locations, three if you count the maze. It worked better in "Super Cider Sqeezey 6000" because really the Apple Family ranch was the only place worth mentioning but here it felt wrong, like a bad play. Also in the middle the whole "Flutterbrute" turn seemed almost too instant, like it had no real build up whatsoever. Also the chewing out of Pinkie and Rarity... Is there something your hiding Fluttershy? That seemed like you were holding in something that could be pretty dire and change the fundamental understanding of your character. I'm really glad that Iron Will wasn't really a villain but just an overzealous guru. Though I have to wonder why the ponies called him a monster so casually, kinda racist, isn't it? I guess Merriweather really can't step up her game. I miss Faust.
Yo! Da Flutterrage returns
Fluttershy is tired of being pushed around so she teams up with a macho minotuar that learns her to be stronger. Then Fluttershy shows her new strenghts but it backfires. Gone are the good old days of Ponyville like in the CMC episodes in this episode. And at last the Flutterrage is used at Rarity and Pinkie Pie that breaks down. Be prepared for another pony rage in next episode as it's Twilight's time. OK episode and not one of the very best but still worth a watch.
A Great Episode from Middle to End
I, like many, was waiting for a Fluttershy episode for quite a while before this episode came out. When I watched it, I found that I disliked the beginning, but loved the rest of the episode. The beginning was unusually cynical and followed the saying "there's three kinds of people in this world: dicks, pussies, and assholes". All this really did is make me want to grab many of the characters by the goddamn throat. This actually happens several times in the series, with characters such as Gilda and Prince Blueblood; when trying to make characters antagonists without making them super-villains, the writers tend to make them complete assholes that make much of the audience want to hurt them. This episode solidified my hatred of Angel in particular. Physically abusing Fluttershy and throwing her out of her house? I find that to be unforgivable. I started to like this episode at the introduction of Iron Will. I found him to be both likable and entertaining, being like a combination of Mr. T and various pro wrestlers. As an exception to the rule above, I felt that, while he can be seen as something of an antagonist, he didn't really do anything that can make him seem like a genuinely bad person. After the scene with him, I found it fun to see Fluttershy feel genuinely accomplished with herself (and found joy in seeing people like those from the beginning get what was coming to them) and found it tear-jerking when she began treating herself like a monster. The ending felt satisfying. Having Fluttershy learn to assert herself without using force or intimidation was both interesting and a satisfying moral. It was a good development for Fluttershy's character and is one that I hope persists throughout the series. Infuriating beginning aside, this episode reaffirmed my love of Fluttershy and her spot on the "Best Pony" position on my list.
This is the first Fluttershy centric episode we've had all season. It's been over a year since an episode has had a focus on Fluttershy and I was honestly starting to think she had been reduced to being a bit part. I now realize that the reason it took so long to get a new Fluttershy episode is because it took that long to gather enough manliness to put together the episode. Iron Will was hugely entertaining and the references to Mr. T and Jimmy Hart version of Eye of the Tiger were greatly appreciated as I am a fan of both things. The episode's moral is also quite good, being that it's possible to be assertive without being a jerk. It was saddening to see Fluttershy hurting her friends, but they pulled it off without making hard to watch, and often angry Fluttershy seemed to be channeling a psychotic Clint Eastwood Batman, which was pretty fun. A lot of parallels can be drawn to the Walking Small episode of Spongebob, which happened to be one of the best episodes of that show as well. All in all, a great episode.
Fluttershy shows us that she rocks
Right before this episode aired, I discovered that I like all of the Fluttershy-centered episodes, but don't like any episodes written by Merriweather Williams. So when I watched this episode and saw the writing credit, I got a little worried. That feeling was replaced with satisfaction pretty quickly. For those of you that doubted Fluttershy was a meek pony, she gets slapped in the face by Angel Bunny within the first minute, and she takes it without complaint. Rarity and Pinkie Pie want her to stand up for herself so she attends a self-help seminar from a monster (minotaur) named Iron Will. This works, but in a very wrong way; Fluttershy acts really nasty to everypony, even her friends. After she drives Pinkie Pie and Rarity away, she realizes the error of her ways and boards herself up in her house to prevent herself from being mean to everypony. Can she ever be assertive without becoming a monster? My first praise goes to Iron Will. In a season with Discord and the Flim Flam Brothers, Iron Will is low-key for a villain; he doesn't do anything more evil than a threat of violence, and only appears in two scenes. Yet he still manages to be memorable because he's a respectable villain, not to mention a hammy one. It's too bad he's far outclassed by Fluttershy in the evil department, at least in this episode. One has to wonder how far the "Element of Whatever" titles stretch in this episode. Pinkie Pie is a laugh riot as usual, but Rarity manages to charm a pony into handing over something pretty easily (though she does compensate him for it). Those are nitpicks, however, compared to Fluttershy's cruelty. She tosses a tourist pony through the air for something that wasn't even his fault. It's entertaining, sure, but it's frightening as well. To be fair, she stops once she realizes what effect she is having, and emerges at the end of the episode as a far better pony than she was. The biggest problem I have is with the population of Ponyville. After the whole cider debacle and how they act in this episode, I'm convinced that everypony is a jerk. I realize their behavior is exaggerated to get the point of the episode across, but the town still comes off as a pretty bad neighborhood. Still, this episode is a great way to kick off the next block of pony episodes, and I hope Williams can keep up the good work.