Before I get started on this review, I want to state that I originally was kind of indifferent about this episode. Just from the title of the episode, Filli Vanilli, and the synopsis, I thought it'd be an episode involving Fluttershy performing with a rock band. Now that's not to say it wouldn't have been bad, but I can't really see Fluttershy doing that. As more clips of the episode appeared, I was generally surprised to see that instead of the band, The Ponytones, being a rock band, they looked more like a barbershop quartet.
Even with that, it was an interesting plot for a Fluttershy episode. She's really come far from the first season. No longer is she that really shy pony, she's been emerging from her shell more and more. With an episode about her and a band, it did sound very interesting to say the least.
We open up to Fluttershy's cottage, who's feeding the animals. It's here we get a song off the bat(Anypony else getting flashbacks of Magical Mystery Cure with that opening?). The song itself is nice and all, but I felt it was a little too short. It was at the most a 30 second song. Fluttershy's friends here her singing and they say they've never heard her sing so beautifully before. Already, I have a problem with this issue. Fluttershy has sung before and performed with the others. They've never mentioned how good her singing is before. So why the sudden acknowledgement here? This feels like a huge plot hole to me.
Rarity offers Fluttershy a chance to perform at the animal fundraiser tomorrow with her favorite band, The Ponytones. They consist of Rarity, Big Mac(When did he have time to learn to sing?), and two other ponies named Toe-Tapper and Torch Song(The blue one reminds me of Noteworthy for some reason). Fluttershy declines because she has stage fright. The others ask what she finds scary about it, but Pinkie comes in and goes on about how her performance can go completely wrong and all of Ponyville would shun her. I don't know about any of you, but this is extremely OOC for Pinkie here. She'd never make Fluttershy so nervous to the point where she's ready to cry. It was established in Griffon the Brushoff that she'd never want to scare Fluttershy. So why the sudden 180 here with this act? Rarity understands about Fluttershy's fears and doesn't push her to perform.
Later on, we see the animal festival being put together and see The Ponytones rehearsing for their performance. We get another song, this time led mostly by Big Mac himself. His singing voice is really good and what you'd expect from a country pony with a deep voice. The song itself is really good, but nothing I'd be listening to all day. Fluttershy herself sings a little when she hears the song, but is still too scared to sing out loud. She congratulates them and says she can't wait to see them perform tomorrow.
The next day, The Ponytones are assembled and ready, except for Big Mac. Turns out he lost his voice doing a turkey call contest, as well as the title from Pinkie Pie. One thing I do need to bring up is this. How come none of the Apple Family checked to see if Big Mac was really ready, especially after the contest? I mean wouldn't they have noticed that he's more silent than usual? Again, this feels like a plot hole to me. Fluttershy is naturally upset about this and decides to take Big Mac to Zecora's. At the hut, Zecora says she can make a cure, but that it won't cure him in time. She does an alternative though, Fluttershy performs, but not as herself. She says that she remembers how when Fluttershy got infected with Poison Joke, it made her sound like a guy. One thing to the episode's credit I will definitely give is the past reference to an episode. It's a really nice touch. Fluttershy still doesn't want to do it, but Rarity comes up with the idea that she can perform backstage while Big Mac "sings" so to say.
Back at the fundraiser, The Ponytones go forward with this plan and Fluttershy does her part. The whole thing goes off without a hitch, but then another pony, whose name I don't know, and his daughter, again don't know name, and want The Ponytones to perform at her party for getting her cutie mark. They turn it down, but FlutterGuy convinces the band to do it. We get a small montage of The Ponytones and FlutterGuy perfoming several gigs like the party, Mayor Mare's ribbon cutting ceremony, the spa(I don't think I would want a band to perform in a spa. Don't you go to a spa for relaxation and solitude? Not to listen to some band?), and then to Sugarcube Corner. Rarity tells Fluttershy that Big Mac's voice is cured, but Fluttershy wants one last performance. They let her perform one more time, but Fluttershy accidentally rips the curtain off to reveal she's been the one singing the whole time, much to the shock to her friends.
Fluttershy is cowering in the corner and while the crowd cheers for her, she thinks in her mind they're laughing at her and runs off crying. Applejack demands an explanation from Big Mac and, in a rather funny way, they both quickly put together the events of what happened from the Turkey Calling Contest to the present. The group decides to go off and find her, but oddly enough when Big Mac follows them, he disappears for some reason. What was that all about? At Fluttershy's house, we see that she's taken the antidote bath to cure her Poison Joke and feels bad about what happened. Pinkie decides to once again egg on Fluttershy about her performance and how the others could judge her for what she did, making Fluttershy finally break down crying. Way to go Pinkie, way to go.
Fluttershy decides to run off again while the others scold Pinkie for her poor choice of words. They try to catch her, but she keeps running away from them. They praise her for her actions, except Pinkie is constantly still making her feel uncomfortable(Why doesn't Twilight zipper her mouth to stop her?). Eventually, Fluttershy thanks them for supporting her performance, but she vows to never sing in front of anypony again. Rarity then steps forward and points out it was Fluttershy who wanted to do the gigs in the first place, making the yellow pegasus realize that she knew Rarity wanted her to perform. Fluttershy does decide that it's time to step up and becomes part of the band.
The next day, we see The Ponytones doing a performance for Fluttershy's friends and animals. After a good performance, Pinkie decides to step in again and says another poor choice of words. The others stop her and ask Fluttershy if she's willing to move up, but she says she wants to take baby steps. We then get our lesson that being scared shouldn't stop you from doing something and that hiding behind your fears won't do you go. So our episode ends with Fluttershy singing to another bird.
Well I don't really need to ask you all how I felt about this episode because the review pretty much said it all. This was just a weak episode overall. The entire concept had a lot of good potential and it could've been really solid, but the execution leaves a whole lot to be desired.
One of the episode's biggest failures is that we've seen this kind of setup before. Remember Hurricane Fluttershy and how Fluttershy was too afraid to perform in a crowd? This feels very similar to that. It's not really bad that for some plots to be reused, but I at least expect something a little different. This just feels like it was almost completely recycled.
Another issue is the two plot holes I brought up. Again, the others have heard Fluttershy sing before and even Rainbow sung a duet with her. So why is it that they're suddenly realizing how good she sounds? They never brought it up before, so what makes this so different here? The other one being Big Mac and why the Apple Family never checked on him after the contest. I mean wouldn't they check to see if Big Mac didn't strain his voice? Don't tell me it's because he's so silent. They should've made sure he was ready to go and perform.
Then there's Pinkie Pie. I'm going to be blunt here, she just sucked in this episode. I mean what did they do to her? How did Amy Keating Rogers, the writer of this episode, write Pinkie so well in Pinkie Pride, but make her so OOC in this episode. Seriously, I haven't seen Pinkie THIS OOC since The Mysterious Mare Do Well. She'd never make Fluttershy cry or so uncomfortable. She was just downright awful in this episode and there's no excuse for her behavior here.
The songs themselves, like I said, are really good. The one in the intro is nice, but there's not many lyrics and it lasted at the most 30 seconds or so. The one that was constantly sung by The Ponytones was better and really nice, but it's nothing I'd be humming to myself a whole lot. It's catchy, has a good beat, and the lyrics are nice, but it's nothing amazing.
Not much to talk about humor here, since there was pretty much little of it. I did laugh at how Pinkie slid up next to Big Mac during the Turkey Calling Contest and the explanation between Applejack and Big Mac.
I was surprised though there was no key at the end. Some say there was a pattern of one episode not involving a key and then the next does, and so on. I guess the team felt it was getting predictable and changed it up.
Overall, this episode was a huge misfire. The concept was really good and there was a lot of potential, but the entire episode was riddled with plot holes, Pinkie being extremely OOC, and the entire plot is overall recycled. This feels like a huge letdown considering how good its story sounded. Pretty much, everything in this episode is very weak and it feels like a step down from the other episodes. If you like Fluttershy a lot, then you'll be disappointed by how the episode handles. This episode was just a big letdown to me.
Next week though, it's Twilight Time! Which I welcome since we haven't seen a Twilight episode in a long time.
Flashback s to the good old 1980s when I was a teen. Fluttershy sings by herself one day, but her friends hear the singing. Later under a festival are Fluttershy too shy to sing, but Zecora can fix it. Here are a lot of fun, drama and retro. 10/10
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