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Lifelong Nerd. Lifelong practical Catholic and firm believer that an egg is an egg. Amateur fanfiction auteur elsewhere and maker of YouTube videos.

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Mariusioannesp Reviews: "Fluttershy Leans In" · 5:33am May 12th, 2017

WARNING!!! The following contains SPOILERS for the latest MLP episode “Fluttershy Leans In”.

Now, without further a-Fluttershy-coming-into-her-own-do, here is my review of “Fluttershy Leans In”.

Fluttershy seeks to alleviate the overcrowding of animals at her vet’s office by fulfilling her lifelong dream of opening an animal sanctuary. She enlists a little help from her friends of course who then suggest a couple of experts who could be useful in her endeavor. However, these so-called experts have different ideas about how this sanctuary will work compared to Fluttershy’s vision. Will Fluttershy be able to stand up for herself to make her dream a reality?

So what’s the verdict?

This is a Fluttershy episode like we’ve never seen before. It is truly the culmination of everything Fluttershy has learned these past seven seasons.

So yeah, I liked it.

We begin with Angel Bunny injuring himself in a makeshift obstacle course as he was apparently training for the Ponyville Paw-kour Contest. Paw-kour. Parkour. Get it? Is parkour still a thing? Never mind. Fluttershy is fresh out of bunny foot braces so she takes Angel to her vet Dr. Fauna. However, she’s unable to open the door to the vet’s office. She soon discovers why when Dr. Fauna finally manages to get the door open and a whole menagerie of animals bursts from the door. Let’s talk about Dr. Fauna for a second.

You may recognize Dr. Fauna from a very brief appearance in the episode “Secret of My Excess” way back in Season 2. She went unnamed back then. (She was however named “Mane Goodall” or “Mane Cureall” in some merchandise since then.) Interestingly enough, there was a G2 pony toy named “Prince Fauna”. Not sure if her name is meant to allude to that though.

Dr. Fauna is able to bandage up Angel’s hurt leg, but she can’t keep him overnight like she’d like to because of all the animals in her office.

It seems that everyday more and more animals show up at her office. Most of them have minor injuries, but even after they’re cured, they don’t leave. Such as this bear which has totally made itself at home.

She can’t understand why these animals flock to her office. It turns out Fluttershy has been telling everyone that Dr. Fauna’s the best vet in Equestria so this might actually be her fault. Well, Dr. Fauna doesn’t mind if animals want to come by, but now things are so crowded, she barely has room to properly treat the animals truly in need of care. Fluttershy realizes this is a big problem, but she assures Dr. Fauna that she’s going to fix it so she’ll have all her ducks in a row.


Fluttershy calls the Remane 5 to her house to listen to her proposal. She explains how Dr. Fauna’s office is overrun by adorable animals, and she has taken upon herself to fix this problem by making a lifelong dream of hers a reality. Fluttershy has always wanted to build a real animal sanctuary. One where every animal is welcome, and where they can stay until they’re once more ready to face the world. Twilight Sparkle is impressed to hear Fluttershy speak with that much conviction, and the rest of their friends agree.

Look Rainbow Dash is even teary-eyed. Her longtime friend has come so far.

Fluttershy responds that they all taught her so much about building her confidence over their years of friendship that she finally feels she can make her dream project a reality. Well, I’m glad to see all those friendship lessons, some of them rather repetitive, finally bearing fruit. The Remane 5 then all agree to help Fluttershy with her project in any way they can. Applejack then suggests that somepony she knows might be able to help them with this. She’s a pony named Wrangler, who Applejack met during her and Winona’s sheepherding competitions. You know Applejack and Winona participating in sheepherding competitions was mentioned in G.M. Berrow’s MLP chapter book Fluttershy and the Fine Furry Friends Fair. That’s interesting. Anyway, this Wrangler is an expert in animal enclosures. This talk of experts reminds Pinkie Pie that she might know someone who can help their cause as well. He’s a construction pony named Hard Hat. Pinkie recommends him as the best construction pony in Ponyville. This talk of experts also reminds Rarity that she might know someone who can help their cause as well. He's an interior designer named Dandy Grandeur. He’s the premier interior designer for the Canterlot elite and helped Rarity when she set up her Canterlot Boutique. With all that, they're right on track to building the most wonderful sanctuary in all of Equestria.

Next, Fluttershy has a meeting with all these experts her friends recommended: Hard Hat, Wrangler, and Dandy Grandeur.

Quite the cast of characters indeed.

Fluttershy is looking forward to working with them, and they’re happy to help. Fluttershy presents them with her dream board for the project.

I’ll admit, at this stage in the game, it might be helpful if Fluttershy had something more concrete to present them with. Hard Hat seems confused because it doesn’t really look like an animal hospital. Fluttershy corrects him that it’s not a hospital, but a sanctuary. It’s meant to be a place where animals can come and go as they please. Fluttershy asks them if they can do this. They seemingly agree, but it’s clear they’re not too sure.

Fluttershy, Pinkie, and Hard Hat go scout the location for the sanctuary in this clearing in the middle of the forest. Fluttershy doesn’t want the sanctuary to have any walls or anything like that. She wants it to blend in with the natural environment. Hard Hat’s not too sure about this as it doesn’t seem to have any kind of cohesive structure. He suggests that he could just build something like the Ponyville Hospital, which he designed. He’d just have to clear some of the trees. Fluttershy insists the trees not be cleared and used as part of the sanctuary itself. Fluttershy is certain this plan will work, and Pinkie agrees. However, when Hard Hat meets with his construction crew, he decides he’s going to build a structure like he suggested, insisting Fluttershy will appreciate it when she sees how much better it is.

Fluttershy, Rarity, and Dandy Grandeur meet to discuss window treatments for the sanctuary. Fluttershy clears up the confusion around this as the sanctuary won’t have any curtains. She wants everything to resemble the animals’ natural habitats. Dandy Grandeur balks at idea of making everything drab shades of green and brown as the natural look isn’t in. He insists his more garish prints will be better. Fluttershy appreciates his input, but she feels the animals will be happier with dirt brown pillows with leaf green accents. Rarity agrees with following Fluttershy’s vision. Though Dandy says he’ll consider it, once out of earshot, he decides he might have to steer them away from Fluttershy’s vision.

Fluttershy, Applejack, and Wrangler meet to discuss the cages for the sanctuary. However Fluttershy doesn't really want cages, but something more akin to a warm hug. Instead, she wants some basket things that would be the perfect bases for nests and anything else that animals could burrow into. Wrangler questions whether Fluttershy wouldn’t prefer something more secure. Applejack actually agrees, noting that she wouldn’t want a bunny wandering into the wrong cave. Fluttershy is firm on the no cages though as she wants the animals to be able to come and go as they please. Applejack accepts Fluttershy’s decision, but Wrangler doesn’t seem so sure.

Some time later, Fluttershy goes to check on the progress on the sanctuary and to her shock sees Hard Hat constructing a building, Dandy installing some garish-colored curtains, and Wrangler rolling up with some cages. They’re all quite proud of what they’ve done and want to know how much Fluttershy loves it.

And this is the part of the episode where Fluttershy in her shyness acquiesces and politely accepts what these so-called experts have done. They’re all experts so surely they know better than Fluttershy does. Then Fluttershy sulks over her dream not coming true the way she expected. Then, one of her friends encourages her not to give up on her dream and stand up for herself. And she does so in the climax, but then decides this isn’t the right time to fulfill her dreams but still everything works out somehow. Yet, Fluttershy still learns a friendship lesson about not letting shyness get in the way of your dreams. This is a Fluttershy episode. That’s what always happens in Fluttershy episodes.

Except that’s not what happens here at all.

Fluttershy very justifiably puts her hoof down.

She reams these so-called experts out for not doing anything that she asked them to do. A giraffe can’t fit through the doorway Hard Hat built, Dandy’s curtains block the light so birds can’t sing in the sunshine, and Wrangler’s cages are nothing like a hug! The experts try to defend themselves though. Hard Hat used the trees like Fluttershy asked in the lumber to build the building. Dandy’s curtains are organic and made from natural fibers. Wrangler put pillows in her cages so that it would feel like a hug. Fluttershy admits she’s not an expert in construction, interior design, or wrangling, but she is an expert in the care of animals. What animals need is not what they did. Dandy has the audacity to suggest that Fluttershy’s vision isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. For Fluttershy, her vision isn’t the problem. It’s the fact that she told them exactly what she wanted them to do, and they disregarded it. With that, she no longer requires their service, and they walk off. That’s right. Fluttershy just fired their rumps! She’s gone full Trump on them.

Fluttershy for President! Make Equestria Great Again.

Then a rather excited Dr. Fauna and her menagerie arrive at the build site. Fluttershy tries to warn them that the sanctuary’s not quite ready yet, but the animals rush in and end up destroying everything.

I just want to say that this proves that Fluttershy was completely right about everything in case anyone thought she was being too unyielding or uncompromising. Some things are not worth compromising for.

Later that night, Fluttershy laments the failure of the sanctuary as she’s putting all the animals in Dr. Fauna’s office to bed. Dr. Fauna is sure they’ll find a way to make do, but Fluttershy is not giving up yet. Fluttershy is determined to provide a sanctuary for these animals. The next day, Fluttershy has another sit-down with the Remane 5. Pinkie, Rarity, and Applejack are apologetic for their recommended experts. Fluttershy understands they were trying to help, but in the end she knows letting these so-called experts go was the right call. All Fluttershy can do now is start again from the drawing board, but this time, she’s going to make sure it’s done the way she wants it. Then her friends start making their own suggestions of things to include in the sanctuary, but Fluttershy quickly nips it in the bud.

Fluttershy appreciates their input, but animals are her field of expertise. If she says this is what she wants, then that’s what has to happen. Pinkie says they should call her “Flutterbold” now. Yes, they should. To get things back on track, Fluttershy called in her own expert. However, this expert is one she can trust, and he knows his stuff when it comes to building and caring for animals.

It’s Big Daddy McColt! From “The Hooffields and McColts” back in Season 5!

With that we get a montage of Fluttershy and her assorted friends building this sanctuary.

Hey’s Starlight Glimmer. She’s sort of in this episode. And there’s the Cutie Mark Crusaders. This is the first time we’ve seen them this season. I understand they show up in the next couple of episodes.

Soon enough, the Sweet Feather Sanctuary is complete!

Fluttershy relates that sometimes you have to believe in your dreams, and when you finally reach your goal, it’ll be better than you ever imagined. That’s a lesson I can stand behind. And that’s pretty much it.

This episode was written by one Gillian M. Berrow aka G.M. Berrow, the author of the MLP and Daring Do chapter books. You know like Fluttershy and the Fine Furry Friends Fair that was alluded to in this episode. She got her debut writing for MLP proper in the Season 5 episode “The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows”. This is a decidedly different episode than that one. That one was far more manic, befitting a Pinkie Pie episode. This episode is as Slice of life as you can get. That's actually more in line with Ms. Berrow’s MLP chapter books. Those books aren't particularly epic in scope. Ms. Berrow is set to write a second episode for this season. I predict it's the recently revealed “Daring Done” as it would fulfill my prediction that she’d be writing a Daring Do episode this season.

This episode is the culmination of Fluttershy’s development over the past seven seasons. We were first introduced to Fluttershy as a mare so timid, she couldn’t tell Twilight her name out loud. Now, she's successfully holding her own as she works to make her dream of this animal sanctuary come true. This is great as many of Fluttershy’s episodes in the past have suffered from what I’ve termed the “Revolving Door of Development”. It used to be that in some Fluttershy episode, despite seemingly moving past her shyness in the course of the episode, she would go back to the way she was by the end. It seems now in this case that all those friendship lessons she’s learned really stuck with her.

In my initial speculation over this episode, I had suspected that this episode would be making an attempt at adding a new facet to Fluttershy that might have come too far out from left field. Especially given that the initial synopsis referred to Fluttershy’s “career dreams”. However, it turned out that Fluttershy’s “career dream” was opening an animal sanctuary. The fact that Fluttershy has always wanted to open an animal sanctuary is a perfect extension of her already established interest in caring for animal life.

This episode featured a surprise appearance by Big Daddy McColt from “The Hooffields and McColts” from Season 5. On top of that, this episode also featured Dr. Fauna who had a one-off appearance in “Secret of My Excess” way back in Season 2. Just like in last week’s episode, these instances in this episode continues a possible trend of making connections between disparate episodes. I do wonder if this is something we’ll be seeing throughout this season.

There was also a minor appearance by Starlight Glimmer. That means that so far this season, Starlight has at least appeared in all but one episode. This is actually an interesting development. Last season, Starlight’s existence was barely acknowledged if she wasn’t the focus of an episode. (It was only two episodes where she was just there like in this one.) I think this means that this season will be better at integrating Starlight than last season.

As for what I didn’t like… I got nothing. I’m a sucker for a good Fluttershy episode. This was quite the solid episode. I don't know what the title “Fluttershy Leans In” means but whatever.

I do wonder though how do Hard Hat, Dandy Grandeur, and Wrangler even have jobs if they’re going to disregard what they’re asked to do like this. Then again, it might become necessary in their lines of work to guide their clients away from something they’ve asked because it's too unfeasible. And of course, their actions here don't necessarily indicate that they're bad at what they do. They were just the wrong ponies for this particular project.

Overall, “Fluttershy Leans In” was a great episode for Fluttershy. Fluttershy truly has come a long way. I certainly look forward to how far she can really go now that she’s grown more.

What did ya’ll think of “Fluttershy Leans In”?

God bless you. God bless America. And God bless Equestria.

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Comments ( 1 )

I liked this episode as well. It's really nice to see a good Fluttershy episode that shows just how far she's come. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that the moral of the episode completely went over my head when I first watched it (which you can probably see more of through my own quick review of it). I originally expected this to be some sort of compromise story. Fluttershy bringing her expectations to more realistic standards with the other three learning to expand their horizons and adhere to someone's vision as faithfully as possible. But the moral of "don't let experts ruin your dreams" is a good one too. Even so-called experts don't know everything. Just look at Bill Nye and his now tanking Netflix show...but that's a rant for another day. :twilightsmile:

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