MLP Friendship is Magic, Season One, Episode Twenty-Two, "A bird in the Hoof" Review

Welcome back everybody.

Once again this review will contain spoilers. Those of you who haven't watched this episode yet, you have been warned.

So the episode starts with Fluttershy at her home tending to the needs of an injured mouse. Before long, her pet rabbit, Angel, comes in to remind her of something important. After several attempts on Angel's part to remind her, Fluttershy remembers that she was invited to a meeting at the local cake shop where Princess Celestia herself is meeting with the other main ponies and a few others for a casual get-together. The nervous Fluttershy worries for a bit before finally going off to the party, leading into today's title screen.

When the episode begins proper, we see Rainbow Dash just outside the cake shop attempting to make the Princess' royal guards laugh. But, much like the famous guards of Buckimgham Pala, they do not respond. Rainbow becomes bore and goes back inside. It's then that Fluttershy arrives and after a brief confrontation with the guards, gets let in. Twilight it seems is nervous over the prospect of her mentor spending time her close friends, especially given how much she's written about them in her letters. And she's not wrong to be worried. Rarity is obsessing over the possibility of her dress being stained, Applejack is flummoxed over the wide variety of fancy foods in front of her and as for Pinkie Pie, she just goes ahead and eats the Princess' cake right in front of her, much to everyone's horror.

Celestia on the other hand is pretty calm throughout the whole thing. She starts speaking with Fluttershy about her interest in animals. During the conversation, Fluttershy's attention is drawn to a nearby cage Celestia brought with her, containing a very sickly looking bird. This is Celestia's pet Fillomena (I hope I'm spelling that right). Fluttershy is of course aghast at the sight of this creature. Celestia soon gets word that the Mayor of Ponyville has requested an audience, which means the party will have to be cut short. Once everyone leave's, it becomes clear that Fluttershy has taken Fillomena to her home to try and help the poor creature.

Once at her home, she tries doing many things to try and alleviate the creature's sickly condition. She offers medicine, which the bird refuses, she tries getting her temperature up (then down, then up again), offering hot soup, getting her to sing (not sure doctors would recommend that as a viable treatment, but okay), aromatherapy and everything else she can think of but nothing seems to make Fillomena's condition any better. The situation soon becomes even worse when Twilight shows up to thank Fluttershy over being so good at the party earlier. When she sees Celestia's pet there she completely freaks out over it, stating that while Fluttershy's intentions were good, simply taking the bird without asking was a huge mistake. If that wasn't enough, soon the royal guards themselves come along to state that they're been asked by the Princess to find her missing pet. Twilight convinces them to leave but it's clear that they'll be found out soon.

With the situation becoming more desperate, Twilight endeavours to help Fluttershy with the bird's condition before returning it. However, once again the bird manages to make things difficult by either not taking or being completely unaffected by the treatments provided. In the middle of one such treatment, Fillomena gets out of her cage and run out of the door. Twilight and Fluttershy chase after her in another "Benny Hill-Style" chase sequence like from "The Ticket Master". Unfortunately for the two of them the bird outwits them at every turn. They eventually meet up at the fountain in the town square where the other four main ponies happen to be. They find Fillomena on top of the fountain before she falls off. Fluttershy tries to catch her, but not before the bird bursts into flames and lands in her hoofs as a pile of ash (I know this show wanted to be more mature than the 80's version but JESUS!).

After this, Celestia herself appears on the scene, demanding and explanation for what's going on. After Fluttershy and Twilight take turns in claiming responsibility, Fluttershy admits to having taken the bird. She directs Celestia's attention to the ash pile on the ground and apologises for leading Fillomena to this fate. Celestia however is unworried and asks her pet to "stop fooling around". The ash pile rises up into the sky to become a magnificent firey bird. When Flutterhsy asks where Fillomena is, Celestia explains that this more impressive-looking bird IS Fillomena. She explains that Fillomena was a phoenix and that growing sickly before bursting into flames is all part of the bird's regular lifecycle.

With all that said and done, Celestia states that she appreciates the fact that Fluttershy's heart was in the right place but that she could have simply asked her if her pet's condition was bothering her, leading to the end of the episode.

So how does this one do?

Well, this one is a bit more light-hearted than last week's entry. But that's no strike against it. I found it to be a very entertaining episode with plenty of good character moments, a relatively simple story and a feel-good conclusion. Having said that though the story, as I said, is a simple one and like before I was able to guess early on how the story would end. The two main characters in this one, both Fluttershy and Twilight, come off very well.

This was a very good Fluttershy episode as her trademark kindness actually ends up getting her in trouble. That's not to say that she was wrong for her decision, after all if any of us saw some weak and dying creature we would probably feel sympathy for it. So her wanting to take care of Fillomena felt very genuine. Also good was her hrowing frustration with trying to take care of the creature. I don't know how many of you out there have pets, but I can tell you from first-hand experience how difficult it is to look after them sometimes. Many of the issues that Fluttershy went through in this episode, like getting the bird to eat it's medecine, were issues that really felt familiar to me and helped to give the story a bit of realism to it.

Twilight on the other hand, while not in a bad light per se, did have some moments that were a bit off for her. For example, her worry that Fluttershy would get banished for her actions seems out-of-character given that she's known the Princess for most of her life so she should have known that outcome was unlikely, although you could argue it was simply a case of overwhelming nervousness on her part. And speaking of nervousness, this was yet another case of the episode reminding me of something I've been through in real life. I have, on several occassions, been in situations where I was under the impression that something might go wrong and cast me or others in a negative light in the eyes of others. As such I found Twilight's fear of something going wrong throughout this entire episode, both at the party and throughout the rest of it, to be very believabe. As I saw her, practically falling apart over nervousness of "what MIGHT happen", I couldn't help but think to myself, "yep, that's how I would have been".

I want to take this time to talk about the character of Celestia for a moment. Most of the time when I talk about her in my review it's usually an appearance she makes at the end of the episode or if the characters mention her in passing. Here, not only do we see far more of her than in most episode but in a far more laid-back and casual environment than we usually see her in. As such I was able to gauge her character a bit better here than in most episodes. She comes off very well in this episode, seeming like a genuinely kind monarch who cares for her subjects and enjoys spending time with them. She has a good sense of humour and you really get the feeling that she'd be a fun person to hang out with. As with any show or movie I do reviews for I try to look at fan-reactions and opinions regarding characters or episodes and althought I usually avoid putting those things into the reviews themselves, here I feel I need to bring that up for the first time. The reason is that Celestia, despite the positive light she's often show in, is frequently derided by the fans and portrayed as a cruel tyrant. Normally I can put up with some pretty strange fan-theories but this one just flummoxes me. There is no reason given in the series for people to view her this was and the fact that they do is not something I can understand.

The character of Fillomena was, for the most part, very annoying. If it was simply a case of an unintelligent animal that was unaffected by the various attempts to cure it, I might possibly be able to feel empathy for it. However, it's made clear that it's an intelligent creature than was purposely making things difficult for the main characters and knowing full-well that she'd get better. That does not endear this character to me. She comes across because of this, as being unlikeable and bitter. Sure, Celstia may say she was just "having a bit of fun", but after all the trouble she put Fluttershy and Twilight through, that's not an apology I can accept.

No song this week so I won't be talking about one.

Humour now and unlike last week's episode, this one in very funny. There were plenty of amusing moments throughout the episode, from the start where Angel tries to get Fluttershy to leave, to where she tries to cure Fillomena , to the antics at the party all the way to the end of the episode. It's clear comedy was the name of the game when this episode was in the works. However, for me, the biggest laughs came during the aforementioned chase sequence, once again with re-styled Benny Hill music. Chase sequences, when done right, can be one of the funniest things in an episode and this one's no different. We even get a MLP version of the classic "crazy hallway of doors" that you'd find in a few dozen Scooby-Doo episodes. All in all this is one of the funniest episodes of the show I've watched so far.

Moral of the story now and this week it seems to be that you need to ask before taking problems into your own hands. Not a bad moral and it's good to teach kids not to get carried away with things. However, the whole issue once again could have been avoided if a particular character had explained things better. In this case it's Celestia. When Fillomena is first introduced, she's shedding feathers and coughing all over the place. Celestia must have known how this would look to others and yet did not try to alleviate people's concerns. Still, that classic argument of "then we wouldn't have an episode" is surely in the wings if I go on too much about this so I'll just stop there.

Overall this was a very amusing episode with some funny character moments, a relatively simple story and a chance to expand on a character that, until this point, hasn't really been looked into that much. While it certainly had it's flaws, it's good characters and light sense of humour is probably going to have me coming back several times for this one.

Join me next week when we delve into the past in episode twenty-three, "The cutie mark chronicles".

See you then.

TopazFusion:
[quote="thejboy88" post="326.364120.14242268"]

This KYM article explains it in more depth . . .
http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/trollestia-molestia-tyrant-celestia

Molestia? Okay, I've seen some pretty disturbing fan-creations in my time but that's just sick.

thejboy88:
Celestia, despite the positive light she's often show in, is frequently derided by the fans and portrayed as a cruel tyrant. Normally I can put up with some pretty strange fan-theories but this one just flummoxes me. There is no reason given in the series for people to view her this was and the fact that they do is not something I can understand.

Well, there was the whole deal with Luna/Nightmare Moon. Luna gets upset that nobody seems to like or care about her, and makes a cry for attention. So Celestia locks her in the moon for a thousand years of solitary confinement.

When Luna is finally able to free herself from the moon, Celestia's response to Luna's rightful anger is to 'hire' a group of mercenaries to find the pieces of a weapon to beat her back down. When she's beaten, she frightfully apologizes to her sister, who pretends to accept her back. And she is never heard from again.

Buretsu:

thejboy88:
Celestia, despite the positive light she's often show in, is frequently derided by the fans and portrayed as a cruel tyrant. Normally I can put up with some pretty strange fan-theories but this one just flummoxes me. There is no reason given in the series for people to view her this was and the fact that they do is not something I can understand.

Well, there was the whole deal with Luna/Nightmare Moon. Luna gets upset that nobody seems to like or care about her, and makes a cry for attention. So Celestia locks her in the moon for a thousand years of solitary confinement.

When Luna is finally able to free herself from the moon, Celestia's response to Luna's rightful anger is to 'hire' a group of mercenaries to find the pieces of a weapon to beat her back down. When she's beaten, she frightfully apologizes to her sister, who pretends to accept her back. And she is never heard from again.

Exactly. It's for similar reasons that I can's see Discord as a villain. What did he do that was evil? I'll give you a hint: NOTHING!

He did not exact revenge on Celestia and Luna for locking him away for goodness knows how long. He did not destroy the Elements of Harmony. He knew they weren't his, but, he also knew they were what would lock him away again, so, he chose the happy medium and just hid them. He even gave clues as to where to find them. He played games with the ponies. He never harmed, let alone killed, anypony. And when he went to show Twilight what he had done with Ponyville, he wasn't all "Your home is now mine, forever!" No, he was all "Hey, look what I just did here! Isn't it cool?"

Discord seems... rather mature. To a degree. In fact, because of how he chose to respond to certain situations and what he did with his freedom, I'd say he's one of the most heroic characters in the entire show.

 

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked