Fluttershy decides to face her fears and participate in Nightmare Night with her friends.Fluttershy decides to face her fears and participate in Nightmare Night with her friends.Fluttershy decides to face her fears and participate in Nightmare Night with her friends.
"Scare Master" unfortunately was not one of those episodes and saw Season 5 return to disappointment after a step in the right direction with the previous episode "Hearthbreakers". It is not a bottom 3 episode of the season but as far as the season goes, "Scare Master" to me was down there with the lesser ones. Which was really unfortunate seeing as the premise itself on paper was one of the most interesting and easiest to relate to, which sadly did not translate in the execution of it.
Up to this point of 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' there was not an episode that didn't have redeeming qualities. Even episodes that did little for me, which in comparison to the large volume of decent to outstanding episodes are not that many. "Scare Master" does have redeeming qualities still. The animation is still great, very vibrantly coloured, atmosphere and rich in detail. Particularly well done were the creative expressions for the characters when they're scared and the wonderfully spooky visuals for the haunted maze. The music is a nice mix of upbeat, haunting and emotion-filled.
Andrea Libman is particularly good conveying so many emotions of the uniformly strong voice cast. The ending is fun and beautifully staged, if somewhat resolved too quickly and easily, and where the episode does come to life, while there are moments of spookiness and moments of good writing. Notably Fluttershy and Spike's dialogue when they're together, a short scene but very heartfelt. Most of the characterisation is fine.
With sadly one big exception- Fluttershy. Personally did not find her endearing or easy to relate to here, this is a situation that should have resonated with me being somebody with fears myself (i.e. stage fright before performing, phobia of wasps). What stopped that from happening was because of the episode being another example of an episode that exaggerated a character's negative characteristics, Fluttershy's flaws were really overdone here where she comes over as too much of a coward (especially when in past episodes we have seen her doing brave actions amidst adversity, and more significant in those cases than here) and at times mean-spirited towards the rest of the Mane 6 when that was not deserved when they did nothing to influence her decisions.
Despite really liking the premise, "Scare Master" for my liking did overdo it to quite big extremes with the whole facing fears aspect that sadly dominated too much of the episode to ignore it. Instead of scary or relatable, it came over as silly and Fluttershy being that scared over so many things that wouldn't threaten anybody a bit, especially considering she was in a situation where she actually had a choice in not being part of, and how she acts as a result didn't ring true. Her weariness of Nightmare is understandable but most of everything else was too extreme. The writing has good moments but was rather silly and over-written most of the time, while the pacing in the first act felt off (draggy). The message was a great one on paper and is an important one but the execution of it was rather muddled, it would have been more believable if Fluttershy's flaws weren't exaggerated so much, if there had not been a prior history already of her being braver over far worse things and if the way Fluttershy behaved towards everybody else was within reason.
Overall, a watchable episode but a disappointing one. 5/10
- Jan 25, 2021