Monday, 6 June 2016

Episode review: S6E11: "Flutter Brutter"

The Shy family (and Rainbow)
"I have had it with the peeved ponies in this peeved house"
We saw the return of an old friend in the opening credits for "Flutter Brutter" – the story for this episode was by a certain Meghan McCarthy. It was written, however, by Dave Rapp of "Newbie Dash" fame/infamy (delete according to taste). All the buzz before the ep went out was about the fact that we were finally going to see that Fluttershy had actual, living family. Was it worth the wait? After the break, we'll see.

It turned out rather well, and better than I'd feared, though with one factor that may stop it being an episode I'll watch again and again. That is, of course, Zephyr Breeze. Fluttershy's brother is, until the last few minutes at least, more or less irredeemably awful. This being the show it is, almost nopony is truly irredeemable – although his sudden improvement is rather rushed. I'm glad Rapp showed that it wasn't entirely complete.

The best thing in this episode is Fluttershy. Admittedly I'm biased, but I really enjoy how she behaves here. We've seen her assertiveness go horribly wrong in "Putting Your Hoof Down", but here she gets it right. It's rather more like the tough love she showed to Rainbow Dash in "Tanks for the Memories". She proves that she's grown as a character and turns in her best starring role since "Filli Vanilli". This also gives us some cherishable Flutterfaces.

Real and fake Angel Bunny
"Come on... I promise they're not laced with strychnine this time"
A million headcanons cried out and were suddenly silenced in the opening shot, where we meet Fluttershy's parents for the first time. Quite why ponies called Mr and Mrs Shy would name their daughter Fluttershy is beyond me, but maybe it's some weird Cloudsdale tradition. :P They're mildly pleasant and mildly dull, which suits them. I like their house, though, and I like the rainbow fence around their garden.

As for "our" Rainbow... it seems that she's a regular guest at the Shys' house, which seems reasonable given how long she's known Fluttershy. Dash enjoys being there, but clearly hates it when Trenderhoof Zephyr starts hitting on her. Quite frankly, who wouldn't? I'm surprised it took so long for her to zap him with a storm cloud. Still, Rainbow's aghast looks when Zephyr chats her up are another fun part of the episode.

Trivia: the two non-Hearth's Warming songs this season have both had "on my own" in the title. The one in this episode is a solid but unspectacular affair. I love to hear 'Shy sing, but sadly she only gets a couple of solo lines. At least she's able to duet with Rainbow for a while, and some of the animation in those sections is adorable. Zephyr doesn't have a bad voice, either – perhaps he should consider that job!

Zephyr Breeze comes on to Rainbow Dash
"And have you noticed that our eye colours match too?"
Quite a bit of the nervousness in the fandom before this episode went out was because the synopsis made it seem as though it would be having a go at "the typical brony". I don't think it came across that way: Zephyr isn't told off by Fluttershy for his five o' clock shadow (shame), for wanting to live in her house or for having toy animals. he's told off by Fluttershy for not trying. The moral is actually that it's okay to fail as long as you try.

This leads me on to one of the things I feel is less successful: the sequence in which Fluttershy takes Zephyr around her friends for jobs. You can see the idea, but it's awfully convenient. It would have been fun to see him working for Mayor Mare or the spa ponies or Octavia or something. On the plus side, at least it means we get to see Opal with a Rainbow Dash-coloured tail and (better still) Zapped!Zephyr.

Other things: "peeved" is apparently a pony swear word. Must remember that for future fics! There was a Link pony, complete with heart cutie mark and cart full of rupees. The Shys' living room wallpaper is G3 Dash's cutie mark. That head/wig is surely a reference to something, but I don't know what. We even got a very brief glimpse of Cheese Sandwich in Pinkie Pie's wallet of a thousand friends.

Zephyr gives up in the Everfree Forest
Zephyr Breeze, mime artist extraordinaire
I had trouble rating this episode, as I really wanted to give it a four-star rating for its very satisfying portrayal of Fluttershy. Here we have an episode where 'Shy isn't facing her own fears, but helping someone else to face them. Shades of what the CMC are doing now with cutie marks. I knocked it down to a top-end three in the end, simply because Zephyr is so annoying – but I'm still not sure that's the right decision.

Best quote: Fluttershy, angrily: "Zephyr Breeze!"

  • The best Fluttershy we've seen for ages
  • 'Shy putting her assertiveness to good use
  • Nice, if slightly forgettable, song
  • Nice Legend of Zelda reference
  • Solid, relatable moral
  • Zephyr is almost unbearable at times
  • The "get a job" segment is a bit dull
  • That title pun is truly terrible
  • "Mr and Mrs Shy"? Come on


  1. I will have to say that this episode is growing on me even if Zephry reminds me far too much my youngest brother, I mean he's 23 and he's never had a job cos he's a very spoiled brat.

    1. There's nobody close to me who's like Zeph (thankfully!) but yeah, it may be growing on me as well. It might get an upgrade to four stars eventually.