Good afternoon everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews." Today we've got the first normal episode of Season 7 proper, following the two season premiere episodes, and I'm very pleased to say that this was a delightful episode indeed. That's particularly important for the third episode of a season because, in past seasons, I've noticed that very often the third episode of any given season very much sets the tone for the general level of quality one encounters or can expect to encounter throughout the season. This was definitely one of the best third episodes of a new season the show has had in some time, so without further ado, let's begin. This is "A Flurry of Emotions."
Hi, I'm Batbrony, and this is Flurry Heart... welcome to 'Jackass'!!!
Alright, so the most important aspect of this episode was the first really full-episode feature of Flurry Heart since her first debut in "The Crystalling" last season. While I found her to be perfectly harmless when she first showed up last season, there were a fair number of bronies who, to this day, weren't too crazy about her. They thought she was just there for the sake of having an annoying baby character and weren't crazy about her being an alicorn either, and I always thought that was a little unfair to her as a character, even if the threat she presented in her debut was a little ridiculous. That said, we didn't really get much else of her after those two episodes, so the show hadn't really given her defenders much of a chance since then to really justify her existence. Today I'm glad to say that that has been fully rectified with this episode. Flurry Heart was not only even more adorable and hilarious than when she first showed up, but was also still believable as a young foal while clearly having grown and developed (at least by baby standards) quite a bit since when we saw her in her debut when she was only days old. She has long-term memory now, better control over her magic, and even something of a personality, and given the passage of time since she first appeared, this all makes sense. But despite these new additions to her, she still behaved as a foal her age should, and what we got was a foal character that felt very natural and well-put together. I was also very impressed that the show didn't try to pretend like Flurry Heart even had to learn a lesson here; oh sure, Twilight lectured her at the end, but that was largely just to calm her down in the moment because, well, she's a baby still and can only learn so much at this point in time. Overall, I thought that Princess McFlurry was an absolute treat to watch this time around, and Tabitha St. Germain's splendid voice work on her did not hurt in the slightest either, hay, I'd even say it was a better job than her first time around! So all in all I was very pleased with how Flurry Heart's return went, and I do hope we get to see more of her going forward (although I should note that I really hope the show at some point lets foal characters actually get older, because it makes NO sense that the Cake Twins are still around Flurry's age. Heck, the first episode of the season pointed out why it makes no sense; Celestia mentioned that it has clearly been years since the show started in Equestrian time, and the Cake Twins have been around since Season 2, WHEN ARE THEY GONNA GET OLDER IN THE SHOW?! But I digress).
Oh, also, before we move on, if you thought this show couldn't find anymore ways to jam-pack adorableness into a 22 minute episode of MLP, then you were quite pleasantly surprised by how cute this episode was. I mean, come on, take a look at this!
Sweet Celestia, that's A LOT of cute!!!
Anyways, moving on we come to the main character of this episode, Twilight. Through this first three episodes of this season, I've actually been quite pleased to find that the lessons that Twilight's been learning don't seem to be (1) redundant for her, or (2) something she should have learned already. I bring this up because last season, while an excellent season all around, had quite a few instances of characters in the Mane 6 learning lessons that they really should have known by that point in the show, and oftentimes they came off as either jerks or stupid because of it. Now while it may still be early in the new season, the fact that Twilight has been handled so well in the lesson department is an encouraging sign, to say the least. Both lessons make sense as being ones she might have to learn at this point in the show. She'd only just gotten used to being Starlight's teacher last season, so obviously having to let a student go on to her next step in life was something which she'd never done before and needed to learn how to do. Likewise, in this episode we see that Twilight still has a lot to learn about being a responsible aunt, especially when she doesn't see Flurry Heart all that often, which can make it easy for her to just want to be a fun aunt for the young filly, but as we saw today, she doesn't have much experience with full-time care of a foal that age, much less a relative, and couldn't just try to squeeze her into her already packed schedule. A foal Flurry's age needs 24/7 monitoring and care, and Twilight clearly underestimated how hard that'd be to do in this instance, especially while trying to juggle other responsibilities. But like I said, this did not seem like a Season 1 or Season 2 Twilight problem, I could totally buy that she'd need to learn this now. And the best part of it all in execution was that she learned it as the episode went on, not just all in one bunch at the end. Season 1 or Season 2 Twilight would've tried to grin and bear it from start to ugly finish, maybe even deny until she absolutely couldn't any longer that anything was wrong at all. But this is Season 7 Twilight, and by the time she got to the hospital, Twilight was already readily admitting that this day had gotten out of control and was quite the nightmare already, that she'd bucked up. She was just trying to make the best of it at that point and get through the rest. The only difference in the hospital scene was that Flurry finally caused enough of a disruption that Twilight needed to calm her down quite a few notches and admit to Flurry that she couldn't and shouldn't keep trying to drag her to all these places and just keep her off to the side. It wasn't fair to Flurry, nor was it fair to the ponies Twilight was supposed to be helping or who were going out of their way to help Twilight, as evidenced by the toy store clerk, poor Cheerilee (whose mouth must just reek of chalk now, poor earth ponies and pegasi with no digits or levitation magic), and Pinkie Pie in Sugarcube Corner, along with the hospital staff and the sick fillies and colts at the hospital. All in all, while not the deepest of lessons, I still really liked it just because I didn't mind that Twilight was learning it since it all made perfect sense. Twilight's got a lot of experience in a lot of things at this point, but one thing she still doesn't have too much experience in is being a responsible aunt to her alicorn niece. Very good lesson and very good characterization of Twilight.
Off to supporting characters, we had quite a bunch of good stuff to go around. First, Spike was awesome. I've really enjoyed his rising maturity levels over the last 3 seasons now, and I feel like mentoring Starlight to a certain extent (in a big brother kind of way, even if he's younger and smaller than her) has really contributed to that. He's much more confident in his ability to have a situation under control now and he's still Twilight's #1 assistant as always, if not even better than ever, and here he just wasn't messing around. He knew the second Twilight proposed letting Flurry tag along that it'd mess up their entire schedule and he also knew that wasn't a good idea for many reasons; sadly, because Twilight needed to learn a lesson and (more likely connected to show canon) because Twilight still has a bad habit of not usually listening to Spike's advice until it's too late, Twilight did not listen, but still, Spike was very enjoyable all the same. He didn't seem too phased by Twilight not listening to him, which means he's either getting used to it or was just perfectly happy to watch everything blow up in her face instead. He also had some fun bits with Flurry Heart, like this bit with the Cake Twins where Flurry and Spike desperately tried to intervene to no avail and get the Cake Twins to stop fighting...
"You see this s*** going on over here, dragon-dude? Mannnnnnnnnn, it's not good!"
I mean, c'mon, how funny is that s***? Besides Spike we had a very fun subplot with Princess Cadance and Shining Armor, and I must say it's about damn time. We've really only seen these two as a couple during season premiere or finale episodes, usually in the middle of some kind of a national crisis, so I was very gratified that we finally got to see these two, extensively, JUST as a couple doing couple things as they tried to get an afternoon to themselves to get a break from Flurry Heart. Even better, I loved very much that the show was very real in that they went to something, an art show, which neither of them were particularly crazy about, but it was better than nothing at all and Twilight just happened to be in Ponyville too, so it worked, because that's just how much they needed a break from parenting a foal this age. That was delightful in its accuracy, as I've heard of many a parental couple who get to a point when they have a young baby that they're willing to do anything if it means they're out of the house and get a day or an evening of a break from their parenting, even if it's not something they really like! What was even more fun was the art show itself, namely because of Spearhead, Shining Armor's old Royal Guard buddy. This guy was a blast! As I said earlier, he's that rare type of "dude-bro" who, rather than being insufferable, was kind of awesome and hilarious; he wasn't full of himself, he just loves being a dude bro in every sense of the word, and I totally dug that. His approach as an artist as well really worked for me. Not the pieces themselves, but I kept seeing throughout this thread people commenting that they thought the writers were being snarky about modern art and people not liking it. I think that's true to an extent, but I think it changed when Spearhead came in. I don't think the writers were critiquing modern art, I think they were critiquing how some modern artists insist that their art have one interpretation alone. THAT is what makes modern art really insufferable; not so much what it looks like (even if much of it is nowhere as impressive as classic pieces of art) but the idea that such vague and general art can only have one interpretation, which some insufferable modern artists do insist. Spearhead here, however, made his art very accessible for others by insisting that enjoying his art was all about his patrons interpreting it as however they wished, injecting meaning into it that meant something to them. His art meant something very specific to him, but he wasn't going to begrudge others having it mean something else to them, but rather encouraged it. For such a seemingly simple character, and in a subplot no less, this was actually quite a nuanced and subtle message about how to appreciate art no matter what form you encounter it in. For that, I have to give major props to the writers on such a well-written and fun new character. I doubt we'll see more of him this season, but I wouldn't complain if we did, Spearhead was a blast!
You're cool in my book, Spearhead, you're cool. Dude-on mah dude-bro!
To close out the supporting characters we had some fun appearances from Nurse Redheart (I seriously can't remember the last time she had a speaking role, and it was fun seeing her softer side this time around as opposed to when she made herself Pinkie's mortal enemy when the Cake Twins were born), a new toy store clerk who absolutely unloaded some sass on Twilight about proper organization (and yes, I loved it ), Cheerilee who, as I mentioned earlier, got quite the shaft from having to write all those equations on a chalkboard all over again with the chalk in her mouth (but hey, at least Twilight is getting her apology cookies), but I do love getting to see Ponyville's favorite teacher getting small little bits like that now and then, really helps further bring the town alive when the supporting and background ponies there get to play more active roles, and finally a really funny scene with the Cake Twins and Pinkie Pie in which Flurry Heart had the most adorable, failed attempt ever at trying to teach the Cake Twins how to share (I'd count the hospital scene but there were so many background and supporting characters there that none really stood out aside from Redheart, and I guess we learned what the horsey hives are as well). All in all, for a single episode, it was a pretty darn solid one as far as activity from supporting characters goes.
Besides that, I don't have too much else to mention. The animation as usual was lovely and I continue to appreciate the experimentation we continue to see the animators engaging in, ESPECIALLY in some of the faces they throw into the show (which I should also credit the storyboard artists for considering that's where a lot of that starts I'm sure). I mean, get a load of this face, can you even imagine seeing something like this in Season 1 or Season 2?
That's hilarious... OK, one more
Besides the facial animation, I was quite impressed by some of the magic animation in this episode, it was unusually ambitious for a slice-of-life episode. Think about it, we had not one but two very powerful magic users (three if you count the few times Cadance used magic, but she barely did here), oftentimes using magic at the same time and sometimes on the same things, and one of them was also an infant, which meant that the magic had to look as though it were being employed, to some extent, by a baby who doesn't entirely know what she's doing all the time. Very impressive, if I do say so myself, and it's hard to believe we've gotten all the way to this point in their magical animation since Season 1. There was also a pretty neat reference to the G1 villain, Grogar (considered the second most evil G1 villain behind Tirek) in the story Twilight was telling to the fillies and colts at the hospital, but whether anything else comes of that remains to be seen. He may be a canon character who shows up at some point, but for right now he's at the very least a fictional character in Equestrian lore, if not an actual historical one, we don't know. If something more comes of that, it'll be very cool indeed that they mentioned him earlier this season.
Overall, this episode was a blast and a very, very, VERY solid third episode of the season, which bodes well for the entirety of Season 7. I can't wait to see what comes next, but for now I'll settle for rewatching an episode as immensely enjoyable as this one. This has been another edition of "Batbrony Reviews," everypony! Until next time, everypony, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off! *cue dramatic exit*