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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S7 E5 "Fluttershy Leans In"

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"I've got a dream, I've got a dream
You see, I'm not as meek and bashful as I seem!"

"Other ponies may be experts in their fields, but animals are my field of expertise. And if I say this is what I want, then this is what needs to happen! Oh, um... for the animals of course."

Written by Gillian M. Berrow

Angel Bunny hurts his paw while doing a stunt in Fluttershy's cottage, and as she's out of bunny foot braces, she takes him to see Doctor Fauna, the local veterinarian. However, Fauna's office is swamped with critters of all types, thanks in part to Fluttershy's recommendations to others about how excellent a vet she is. Fauna notes it's not so much dealing with the injured animals, but clearing out the ones that are just recuperating, taking up her space and time.

Fluttershy gets an idea and gathers her friends to show them a dream that she's had for some time: to create an open-space animal sanctuary near Ponyville. Pinkie, Applejack, and Rarity all suggest she get help from some ponies they know: Hard Hat, one of the fastest construction ponies in the town; Wrangler, who knows how to handle animals; and Dandy Grandeur, an interior designer. When they all arrive to see about Fluttershy's idea, she presents them with a "dream board" idea of what her sanctuary would look like. The three balk, seeing that Fluttershy seems to lack any concrete plans, but still agree to help.


The experts privately disagree with the ideas that Fluttershy presents to them and instead start designing the sanctuary as they see fit. Hard Hat reuses his blueprints for the Ponyville hospital, Dandy puts up ornate curtains, and Wrangler sets up cages with pillows inside. Fluttershy becomes upset with their efforts and fires all three, just before Fauna arrives with several of her animals to see the progress. The animals run amok and destroy the half-built project.

Later, Fluttershy meets again with the Mane Six, with Pinkie, Applejack, and Rarity apologizing for their associates' behavior. They all agree to help, and Fluttershy calls in a favor from Big Daddy McColt to help with the construction. The ponies quickly get to work, now following Fluttershy's concept, and soon the sanctuary is completed. Fluttershy brings Fauna and the animals back, and they are all impressed with the work, with Fluttershy especially pleased to have finally achieved her dream project.



  • An Aesop: If at first you don't succeed, try and try again. Also, don't let your dream vision get clouded by someone else telling you the "right" way to do it if you want to follow your heart.
  • Agony of the Feet: When the books fall of Angel's foot, it turns red and swells up.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: In-Universe. The three experts each have ideas proven to be unfit for an animal sanctuary or the welfare of animals: Hard Hat builds a building-like structure with an entrance too small for a large animal such as a giraffe to fit through, Dandy creates curtains which block out sunlight, and Wrangler brings in cages too cramped. Fluttershy is right to tell them off for this, especially when none of the animals agree with the project, and they literally bring it down.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Koalas are shown with only one thumb rather than two.
    • The coconuts hanging from the palm trees in the finished sanctuary are brown, when they should be either green or yellow, as that's the color of the husks that cover coconuts while they're still on the palm. Possibly justified if they're mature coconuts.
  • Ascended Extra: Doctor Fauna, the vet who appeared for a single scene in "Secret of My Excess", plays a major role in this episode.
  • Baby Talk: Dr. Fauna uses this on Angel Bunny after tending to his paw.
    Dr. Fauna: Now, does my favowit wittle bunny want a carrot pop?
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The three experts Fluttershy's friends recommend are a subtle case. They're pleasant and friendly enough around the Mane Six ponies, but the moment their backs are turned, they prove themselves to be egotistical, close-minded know-it-alls who are convinced Fluttershy doesn't know what she's doing, and make their own "improvements" to her project without bothering to consult her. The Mane Six are downright upset to learn about this, with Fluttershy's friends saying they never would've recommended them in the first place, had they known they would act this way.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Doctor Fauna reappears after being absent for 4 seasons.
    • Big Daddy McColt reappears from Season 5 at the request of Fluttershy.
  • Call-Back: Several in this episode:
  • The Cameo: Starlight Glimmer, Spike, Big MacIntosh and the Cutie Mark Crusaders are seen helping when the ponies build the sanctuary according to Fluttershy's vision.
  • Character Development: Fluttershy is no longer a doormat and is willing to be very direct when she sees something she is not satisfied with. Pinkie even jokingly suggests calling her "Flutterbold" because of her newfound assertiveness.
  • Conflict: This episode has perhaps the least amount of conflict of any in the series. Fluttershy's previous character development has already helped her be more assertive, so she learns nothing. Basically, Fluttershy has a vision, experts have different ideas, Fluttershy is completely right and tells them they are wrong, and Fluttershy's vision turns out to work perfectly. Nothing bad happens due to any character flaw of Fluttershy's, so she undergoes no arc and nopony learns anything.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Each of the experts the Mane Six recommends is an expert... but only in their specific fields. The problem is, they think this makes this more qualified than Fluttershy and they don't consult with her or work together very well, and the shelter ends up a mess as a result.
  • Cuddle Bug: Lola, the three-toed sloth at the vet's office, hugs Fluttershy's leg and clings onto her all the way to her cabin overnight. Truth in Television as sloths cling onto their mothers as babies, and they are also known to embrace their handlers in captivity as well as stuffed toys and even other animals.
  • The Dandy: Dandy Grandeur is a classic dandy with his high class clothes and makeup. It's even in his name.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Applejack recommending Wrangler to help in the project. While Wrangler is skilled at corralling and containing animals, she clearly does not know anything about taking care of them, with her idea of "comfort" involving adding cushions to the inside of the cages she planned to put the animals in. Rarity and Pinkie Pie's suggestions are minor examples, since an animal sanctuary has little need for buildings or interior design.
  • Fish-Eye Lens: Happens when Dr. Fauna sees Fluttershy through the peephole of her front door.
  • Funny Background Event: In Carrousel Boutique, Opalescence can be be briefly seen clawing at Rarity's couch.
  • Genial Giraffe: One of the animals recuperating at Dr. Fauna's office is a cute-looking giraffe calf.
  • Goal in Life: Fluttershy says building an animal sanctuary has always been a goal in her life.
  • HA HA HA—No: Fluttershy asks Rarity if "the perfect pony to capture the essence of your vision" is Rarity herself. Rarity laughs, says "no", and explains she's talking about an interior designer stallion.
  • Ignored Expert: The three so-called experts continue ignoring Fluttershy, despite the fact she's both an animal expert and their employer; they even get offended when they consider themselves the ignored experts.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Zig-zagged with the experts. They're clearly the best at what they do—Wrangler with building animal cages, Hard Hat with constructing buildings, and Dandy Grandeur with interior design—but they think this makes them more knowledgeable about making an animal shelter than Fluttershy, the real animal expert. When Fluttershy confronts them about this, they openly insult her ideas and leave convinced her project will fall apart without their help, not bothering to stick around to see their work literally fall apart when the animals come to check it out.
  • Leg Cling: Lola the sloth does an affectionate variation of this with Fluttershy.
  • Meaningful Name: "Fauna" is latin for "animals". A fitting name for a veterinarian.
  • Moral Myopia: The experts are offended that Fluttershy doesn't appreciate their so-called expert advice and work, despite the fact they're the ones who keep ignoring her instructions and changing them without consulting first.
  • Never My Fault: The experts refuse to acknowledge that their own actions have made a mess of the sanctuary, with Dandy Grandeur even suggesting that Fluttershy was the one at fault.
    Dandy Grandeur: Maybe your "vision" wasn't all that it was cracked up to be, you know?
  • Ocular Gushers: Angel cries streams of tears when he hurts his foot on the home-made parkour course.
  • Le Parkour: The episode opens with Angel running through a parkour course he's set up in Fluttershy's cottage, and subsequently injuring himself when one of the improvised platforms collapses under him.
  • Pretty Butterflies: Several times when Fluttershy gets passionate about her vision for her animal sanctuary, a butterfly or several flit about in front of her.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Fluttershy gives an absolutely adorable round of these when trying to convince the three builders that her friends recommended to build her sanctuary her way. It doesn't work, even though they pretend it does.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Fluttershy gives one to the experts for refusing to follow her orders and then insulting her ideas when she protests.
  • Scenery Porn: The finished Sweet Feather Sanctuary is absolutely beautiful, and brings to mind open-range enclosures in zoos and safari parks that emulate the animal's natural habitat and offer them enrichment.
  • Shout-Out: Lola the sloth is named after an actual sloth of the same name from the Wildlife Learning Centre.
  • Sudden Name Change: Doctor Fauna had appeared earlier in the series ("The Secret of My Excess") but not named; in the collectable card game and Gameloft mobile app, she was given the name "Mane Goodall". But now she is officially named as "Doctor Fauna".
  • Synchronous Episodes: With the comic series issue #54, set to be published within two weeks of the Discovery Family airing of this episode. The comic story deals with Angel Bunny managing the animals while Fluttershy and the other Mane 6 are constructing the sanctuary in this episode's second half.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: All of Dr. Fauna's patients, including the ones with minor ailments that would typically be outpatients, never want to leave her clinic.
    Fluttershy: They do seem to have made themselves right at home here.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Angel as usual goes back to being a Jerkass the moment his injury has been tended to, blowing a raspberry at Dr. Fauna after his foot is bandaged.
  • Unsatisfiable Customer: Fluttershy is this from the experts' point of view. Her solution is to fire them and find somepony else who can satisfy her.
  • Unwanted Assistance: The episode's main conflict revolves around it, since the three experts all try to "improve" on Fluttershy's suggestions instead of just doing what she's asking them to do. This leads to the sanctuary being woefully inadequate for its intended purpose and being easily torn down. She even briefly gets it from the other Mane 6 when they themselves try to suggest some improvements to the sanctuary, which she immediately and strongly rebuffs.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Fluttershy was the reason Dr. Fauna's clinic became overrun with critters.
    Fluttershy: You're the best vet pony in Equestria; at least that's what I've been telling everypony!
    Dr. Fauna: Uh, you did what?
  • Upper-Class Twit: Dandy Grandeur seems to be one, judging by how little he cared about Fluttershy's vision in favor of what he preferred to do.
  • Verbal Tic: Dandy Grandeur has one almost every time he speaks, you know?
  • Visual Pun:
    • At the end of the cold opener, Fluttershy laments with Doctor Fauna's predicament, sighing "Oh, dear". A deer bounds across the background a few moments later.
    • Fluttershy talks about helping Doctor Fauna getting all her ducks in a row. Meanwhile, a line of ducklings line up after Angel Bunny as he starts hobbling out of the clinic.
  • Worldbuilding: Sweet Feather Sanctuary now exists near Ponyville.