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Season 1's "A Bird in the Hoof" probably wins my award for "Most Pleasant Surprise". While it isn't my favorite episode, all of the ones that I think are better than this have better premises to begin with. This took a premise that was just "okay" and did something great with it. "Fluttershy takes care of a sick bird" doesn't sound like it'd be that good on the surface. But the antics that ensue from this were incredible. Yes, it was obvious that Philomena was a phoenix and wasn't really "dying" to anyone who is familiar with mythology (or has just read Harry Potter), but that's okay. To be honest, I think that this episode is the IDEAL Fluttershy episode. Like, I want to see Fluttershy taking care of more animals as a plot point. Why can't this be the standard Fluttershy episode instead of the "assertiveness" plotline? I actually would love to see an episode that is just "Applebuck Season" again, with the "don't bite off more than you can chew without getting help from your friends" plot, but with Fluttershy's "taking care of animals" job instead of Applejack's apple-bucking. That'd be so good.
On the topic of Fluttershy episodes, here's one that doesn't work. "Hurricane Fluttershy". Rainbow Dash recruits all of Ponyville's pegasus ponies to create a tornado. One, if it's a TORNADO, why is it called Hurricane Fluttershy? Two and more importantly, what exactly gives Rainbow Dash the right to do this? Managing the weather is her job. Not Fluttershy's job. Not anyone else's job. HER JOB. She just drafts all of these ponies just because of their race. That... kinda.... has some implications... Furthermore, we just got "Putting Your Hoof Down" a mere three episodes ago. It's like they weren't even trying to hide the fact that they were re-hashing this plotline.
And Season 4 gives us "Trade Ya!". While I didn't have all the problems that Dusty had with this episode, I still had one major problem with it: The episode makes no sense. You have bits. As in, currency. Because of that, this barter system is completely pointless. Rainbow Dash wants to trade her horseshoe for a book, but can't, because the pony selling it doesn't want that. So instead she has to trade the horseshoe for a chalice, trade the chalice for a stone statue of a chicken, trade the chicken statue for a Discord lamp, trade the Discord lamp for a two-headed dog, and then trade the dog for a book. Well, it sure is convenient that this chain of items happened to work out the way it did. But to make it easier, you could always have something that universally everybody wants. Like, you know, currency. So yeah, the entire reason for this exchange market is pointless. Because of that, I basically didn't really care about anything in the episode. Which is a problem.