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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S5 E15 "Scare Master"

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Nightmare Night is about to take on a whole new meaning.

Fluttershy: You all may love Nightmare Night and I may be good at being a part of it, but it's no fun for me to see my friends feel like they're in danger, even if I know they're not. I really don't like it. It's just not my cup of tea.
Pinkie Pie: Spoooooooooky tea?
Fluttershy: No. Just regular tea.

Written by Natasha Levinger
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Fluttershy and her animal friends secure her cottage for Nightmare Night, making sure that nothing scary can get in. As is tradition for the timid pegasus, she is attempting to avoid setting a hoof outside at all so as to not be scared, including making a hiding spot with provisions under her bed. However, in her haste, she forgot to buy any food for Angel Bunny. While scared, Fluttershy nonetheless faces her fears by going out into Ponyville to search for vegetables.

While in Ponyville, Fluttershy is scared by all of the spooky decoration and Granny Smith's description of the corn maze she's setting up on the Apple family farm. Fluttershy runs to Twilight's castle, where she finds Spike, who invites her to go out with the rest of the Mane Six. Fluttershy tries to turn him down, but Spike points out that she's already away from home, so she should hang out with her friends. Fluttershy agrees, and finds the others up in the library, telling ghost stories. While the Mane Six are excited to have Fluttershy with them, she's still rather reluctant to join in. Rarity helps Fluttershy pick out a costume, and Pinkie Pie creates bags of candy for everypony, as well as getting some non-scary Nightmare Night games for them to play. But, at every turn, Fluttershy comes up with increasingly worried reasons not to participate.

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Fluttershy is disappointed that she's not getting into the spirit, until Twilight Sparkle suggests that Fluttershy be the one doing the scaring instead of being scared. Fluttershy likes the idea, and invites the Mane Six to her cottage after an hour of preparation. Despite Fluttershy's best efforts, none of her plans turn out the least bit scary, despite the Mane Six's attempts to play along. Finally, Fluttershy tells them to go have fun without her, and they leave her cottage, disappointed. While Fluttershy sulks, Angel comes up with an idea for how she can be really scary...

At the Apple family's corn maze, the Mane Six are all enjoying the normal spooky delights, until they start seeing something stalking them out of the corner of their eyes, along with ghosts flying at them. Eventually they fall down a hole and are sealed in by a large rock. While Applejack tries to play down her fears, she admits that none of it was part of the maze that she drew up. Finally, while in the hole, a giant monster chases them onto a cliffside, where none other than Flutterbat swoops in over them, terrifying her friends. Suddenly, Fluttershy drops the act, apologizing for scaring them so badly, revealing that she and her animal friends set everything up with Granny Smith to make the maze more scary. But, the Mane Six are happy that Fluttershy finally came out of her shell. Still, Fluttershy admits to them that Nightmare Night will never be her cup of tea, even if she enjoyed this one. Back at her cottage, Fluttershy reads a book in her hiding spot, saying that she wasn't sure why she ever doubted herself.

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Tropes:

  • 20% More Awesome: Rainbow Dash starts to say that Fluttershy took "just like 90% of the fun" out of Nightmare Night.
  • Adult Fear: In-Universe; Fluttershy's initial attempts to frighten her friends are surprisingly cerebral, focusing on things like being a social outcast or loneliness, which can actually be pretty sobering concepts if you think about them too hard. Too bad her attempts fly right over the heads of the rest of the Mane Six (and clash with the more Halloween-esque fears of Nightmare Night).
  • An Aesop: This episode actually provides three.
    • Don't avoid something because you think you won't like it or are scared to try it.
    • Alternatively, the phrase "don't knock it 'til you try it" doesn't guarantee someone will like something new once they try it.
    • There will be things your friends find fun that you don't and that's okay.
  • Animesque: Fluttershy's "uninvited guests" are manga-style drawings hung from the ceiling.
  • Anti-Humor: Rarity mentions an anecdote that, at first, sounds like the beginning of a Ghost Story. Turns out it's the whole story.
    Rainbow Dash: What happened??
    Rarity: I just told you, darling. A mannequin came to life; haunted all the costumes.
  • Ascended Meme: Granny Smith wears a realistic horse head mask, an item that has been popular in the brony fandom as well as used by the show staff in a Freeze-Frame Bonus during the episode "Slice of Life".
  • Aside Glance: Rainbow Dash rolls her eyes at the audience when Twilight suggests it'll be a "scary tea party".
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Fluttershy rejects Rarity's costume options because she keeps finding details on them that would make hard for her to detect a potential danger, or run away if necessary. Confirmed later in the Broken Heel incident.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the cold open, Fluttershy turns in the direction of the bear and asks "Fuzzy Legs" if he can secure the windows. The camera then pans down to show she was actually talking to a spider, who closes the window with an impressive web-shooting trick.
  • Bear Hug: As part of a Group Hug, courtesy of a bear.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: A trio of such ghosts pursue the ponies (and Spike) inside the corn maze. It's later revealed those were Fluttershy's bird friends in disguise.
  • "Be Quiet!" Nudge:
    • When Fluttershy asks to join her friends' Nightmare Night activities, Rainbow Dash is voicing some serious doubts until Rarity urges her to shut up with an elbow jab.
    • Rainbow Dash starts saying that Fluttershy is just taking "Ninety per—" of the fun when a candy hit her in the helmet. She corrects herself to "some of it".
  • Bittersweet Ending: Fluttershy succeeds in scaring her friends and spending a night of Nightmare Nights with them, but in the end she ultimately states the holiday still isn't for her and she'll continue to spend it at her house when it rolls around.
  • Bling of War: Twilight's costume consists of stylized golden armor, reminiscent of the goddess Athena.
  • Blush Sticker: Fluttershy gets these several times during the episode.
  • Brick Joke: Fluttershy warns Rarity about her impractical gaudier costumes which would limit a pony's ability to escape from danger. Rarity dresses up as a mermaid and, while she and her friends are being chased by ghosts, she trips over the tail of her costume.
  • Broken Heel: Discussed by Fluttershy when she points out that one of Rarity's gaudier costumes would make it difficult to run from danger without tripping and falling. It later happens to Rarity herself when she trips over the tail of her own mermaid costume while being chased by ghosts.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: When Rarity and Spike venture into a very dark part of the corn maze, only their eyes stay visible in the darkness until Rarity lights her horn.
  • Call-Back:
    • The episode revisits Fluttershy's fear of Nightmare Night from "Luna Eclipsed".
    • Fluttershy's lesson in "Filli Vanilli" is directly alluded to when she says she'll give spending Nightmare Night with her friends a chance like she gave singing in front of them. She even declares it's time to stop taking "baby steps" and start taking "grown-up ones".
    • Flutterbat makes another grand return, this time as a Nightmare Night costume Fluttershy wears to scare her friends.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The vampire fruit bat costume in Rarity's collection comes into play when Fluttershy wears it as part of her Nightmare Night act.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Fluttershy's critter friends in the opening scene all show up later to put on her horror attraction: her birds float around in ghost sheets, Harry the Bear dresses up as the cave monster and Fuzzy Legs the Spider makes the giant web her friends get stuck to.
  • Compressed Hair: The skintight cap of Rainbow Dash's spacesuit completely hides her mane.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • One establishing shot in front of Fluttershy's cottage has four ponies dressed in the costumes of a griffon, a dragon, a changeling, and a timberwolf, creatures the ponies have encountered before.
    • Scootaloo is dressed in a Wonderbolts outfit (this may be a bit of Hero-Worshipper given Rainbow Dash's own aspirations).
    • Among Rarity's costume selection is one of a "headless pony" that consists entirely of a cloak similar to the ones worn by "equal ponies" from the season premiere. Rarity dismisses it rather fast.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Fluttershy at the end comments that she didn't know why she doubted herself about staying in for Nightmare Night, while happily reading a book with her animal friends.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Fluttershy's anxiety makes her think through every potential way the activities she and her friends are doing could go wrong, however ridiculously unlikely.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: The episode title is a play on the Season 1 Fluttershy-centric "Stare Master".
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Fluttershy bringing up every single bad thing that has a remote chance of happening and ruining the fun might end up reminding people of Moral Guardians.
    • Fluttershy's fearful dislike of Nightmare Night may allude to people who don't like Halloween and avoid it because it's a "devil holiday".
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: An establishing shot of Twilight's castle as Fluttershy seeks out her friends' help is at a Dutch Angle, with appropriately spooky lighting. It's further punctuated with a bolt of lightning as Fluttershy approaches.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Fluttershy attempts to make her tea party as scary as possible to her friends (no sugar for the tea, no friend to the left of Pinkie Pie, fake model stand-ins of "uninvited guests", etc.). None of her friends are scared; at best, they're all confused.
  • Fantastic Light Source: Rarity and Twilight lighting up their horns in dark places. It's common enough by now that very little attention is brought to it.
  • Flat "What": Pinkie's reaction to "her best friend" skipping Fluttershy's tea party.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Spike is once again dressing up as a dragon. A two-headed dragon, to be precise.
  • Foreshadowing: Among Rarity's costume collection is... a "Vampire Fruit Bat Costume" (complete with a slinky black dress). While Rarity immediately rejects this costume, Fluttershy's Facial Dialogue shows that she likes it.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Zigzagged; Twilight panics for a while in the maze's web before remembering she can teleport.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • When Fluttershy runs away from the foals wearing fake teeth, the smoke she leaves behind is shaped like a chicken.
    • At Sugarcube Corner, Pinkie hands out her customized bags of candy. As Fluttershy frets about it, a shot of the other four is shown where Rainbow Dash has simply poured the contents of her bag into her costume's helmet.
    • Derpy Hooves can be seen in the corn maze dressed up as alicorn Twilight Sparkle, with a fake horn (toilet paper tube), fake wings and a wig.
  • Furry Reminder: A mildly confusing example. Fluttershy's worry about being able to see to the left and right through a mask. Equines are prey animals, after all. Though the mask might have actually been a good idea, as horses are often made to wear blinders specifically to keep them from being startled by unexpected movement to the sides and rear.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Downplayed. Fluttershy succeeds in putting together a scary Nightmare Night attraction that gives her friends the time of their lives, but before they learn it's just fun and games, they are all genuinely terrified rather than playfully scared.
  • Group Hug: The episode's conclusion, with Fluttershy deciding that Nightmare Night isn't her cup of tea, ends up with one — which also happens to be a Bear Hug thanks to Harry.
  • Haunted Castle: Twilight's castle briefly plays this role, complete with the obligatory shot of lightning striking behind it and a dangling sign with a crown on it that was not there before.
  • Hidden Depths: Who knew Fluttershy was a fan of 1990s anime?
  • The Igor: Played with: when Fluttershy first arrives at the castle, she sees Spike's shadow approaching her, which looks like a hunchback character. Turns out this was his costume's second head playing in the shadow.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Fluttershy's "scary tea party" amounts to this; Fluttershy thought it was the most mortifying event possible. Her friends are just annoyed.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • Several characters, including the Mane Six, fall victim to this, inadvertently terrorizing Fluttershy in their attempts to get her into the spirit of the holiday.
    • Granny Smith gets this too, big time. When she asks Big Mac if she scared Fluttershy too much, Big Mac looks at her with an expression that can be translated as, "What do you think, dummy?"
  • Jabba Table Manners: Rainbow Dash dumps the entire contents of her candy bag into her helmet, apparently planning to just suck them into her mouth from there.
  • Jump Scare: Fluttershy's improvements on the Apple Family Maze involve a lot of horrifying things suddenly jumping out at unsuspecting ponies.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: At the end, Fluttershy realizes that she genuinely does not enjoy Nightmare Night, and bows out of future participation.
  • Little Black Dress: Played With. The "Masquerade" dress that Fluttershy chooses for her Nightmare Night costume is "a simple black dress" that, without the mask, is "so plain it's frightening".
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Double subverted. After the ponies get trapped in the underground tunnel, Applejack thinks it's just Granny Smith or Big Mac spicing things up without her knowing until she overhears them above ground, completely oblivious to where she is. It later turns out that Fluttershy got permission from Granny Smith to use the tunnel exclusively for her friends.
  • MST3K Mantra: In-universe, Rainbow Dash starts pointing out what things are making scary sounds in the corn maze. Applejack scolds her to "try and keep up the illusion."
  • Mundane Ghost Story: Fluttershy's "scary tea party" touches on many things that could give a party host nightmares. They fall flat on Nightmare Night because everypony expects more supernatural horrors.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Fluttershy wants to give her friends a fun time by giving them the scariest horror attraction she and her animal friends can muster. When she sees her friends fearing for their lives before her, she realizes she's made it too scary and immediately drops the act to apologize to them.
  • My God, You Are Serious: Rainbow Dash guffaws at Twilight's suggestion that Fluttershy should try scaring them. She stops when she realizes Twilight is being serious.
  • Nightmare Retardant:
    • Big Mac's mummy costume, which tends to make ponies laugh more than scare them (though it's probably because he made his "Boo" noise part of his Catchphrase).
      Big Macintosh: Boooooooo...yup.
    • Fluttershy invokes this In-Universe when she sincerely apologizes to her friends for scaring them (in other words, starts acting like her usual self) while still in her Flutterbat costume.
  • Offscreen Crash: Pinkie Pie barreling on her rollers results in her crashing out of frame a couple times.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Fluttershy's friends panic when they realize they're not in Applejack's maze anymore.
    • They get an even bigger one when Fluttershy says Nightmare Night is not for her.
  • Orphaned Punchline: The spooky tale told by Pinkie Pie. We'll never know what's so scary about a story ending with "... and then it got very, very quiet. Somehow... they realized... the balloon had never been inflated!"
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Fluttershy has a skeleton disguised as Granny Smith scare Applejack.
  • Reality Ensues: Just because Fluttershy tried something new (like Nightmare Night) doesn't necessarily lead to her automatically liking it. And in the end, she doesn't have to like it either.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Played With. Either Fluttershy's vampire pony costume includes red contacts, or Rarity had enchanted it to make its wearer have red eyes, because Fluttershy has them throughout the Climax.
  • Running Gag:
    • Roller-skating Pinkie Pie frequently rolling across the screen or being pushed out of view by somepony, usually Fluttershy.
    • Rarity accidentally slapping Fluttershy in the face with the tail of her mermaid costume.
    • Once again, Derpy is seen wearing a poorly made Nightmare Night costume.
  • Security Cling: When Flutterbat corners the Mane Six on the edge of a cliff, Rarity and Spike hold onto each other for dear life.
  • Series Continuity Error: In this episode, the foliage on the roof of Fluttershy's cottage has turned brown by Nightmare Night, unlike in "Luna Eclipsed" when it was green. The Season 5 production team seem to be under the impression that Fluttershy's house is a treehouse, but it's actually a sod-roof cottage, and grass is supposed to stay green in autumn.
  • Sexy Whatever Outfit: Pinkie Pie's costume is a glammed-up Roller Derby outfit.
  • Ship Tease: Spike goes back for Rarity when she suffers a Broken Heel moment, as expected. What isn't so expected is that Rarity hugs Spike when everypony is cornered by Flutterbat.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slasher Smile: Angel sports a toothy one when Fluttershy asks him for ideas on how to be scarier.
  • Status Quo Is God: After spending her first (and probably only) Nightmare Night with her friends, Fluttershy goes back to her usual traditions of hiding in her cottage the whole time.
  • Stealth Mentor: Angel implies that he sent Fluttershy out to get snacks for him in an attempt to get her involved with Nightmare Night, after Fluttershy sadly realizes her "scary" tea party was not so scary. He encourages her to keep participating, and apparently provides some terrifying ideas.
  • Stealth Pun: The Apple Family corn maze — or should we say, "maize maze".
  • Sticky Situation: All five ponies and Spike end up stuck in a giant spiderweb while pursued by the cave monster. Twilight gets them out through teleportation.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • The candy bags that Pinkie Pie made for her friends all have amateurishly-drawn caricatures of her friends.
    • Fluttershy's "unplanned guests" are drawn to look like stereotypically bad anime fan-art.
  • Tail Slap: Accidental ones to Fluttershy's face, courtesy of Rarity's mermaid costume.
  • Toilet Paper Prank: The Cutie Mark Crusaders engage in this as part of the night's festivities. At least they're considerate enough to TP only the tree next to Carousel Boutique instead of the boutique itself.
  • Visual Pun: The episode ends with a literal Bear Hug, courtesy of Harry.
  • You Can Panic Now: Invoked during the "scary tea party".

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