MLP:ER – Bats!

Oh look we see Fluttershy’s true self revealed as Twilight’s spell inadvertently rid FS of self control.  Now she must be extra careful to keep her true, power-hungry self hidden all the more from her future subjects friends.

Ok, I can’t do this, even by magical standards and weirdness of Equestria this episode makes little sense.

  • Fluttershy says that the seeds from the fruits the bats eat grow into “better trees”.  How?  First, apple trees can take anywhere from 3-8 years (depending on factors) to bear fruit, so how does she know?  Second, how does that even work?  The seeds would land clumped together, meaning their sprouts would be competing for space and resources vs the careful, organized orchard growing where each seed would be given the best amount of space and tended to.  I think this was intended to be a parallel with some bats & birds that eat seeds than poop them out, but that has the advantage of spreading the seeds out and providing ready fertilizer for them.  How bat-spit is supposed to accomplish that is beyond me.
  • I get that maybe this is supposed to be a “rah rah Environment”! episode but it’s disgusting how much it glosses over the problem of pests in food cultivation.  People don’t hate pests out of some blind hatred, but because for each ear of corn eaten by them is one less ear of corn for everyone else.  Not a problem if one or two are lost, but unless there is an outside force striking their numbers, the pests will eat as much as they can and breed as much as they can.  You can’t just toss out a few ears of corn and satisfy the locust hoard, they want it all with no concept of seed-corn, rationing, or sharing.  In reality the bats would quickly spread out of the “section” marked off for them and continue to ravish the rest of the crop.  (Yes, “Swarm of the Century” was more realistic than this episode.)  Look I get the appeal of “the wild”, even I feel tempted by it at times, but there are reasons humans historically went to the trouble of cultivating crops – we like to eat.  When pests could be described as a “plague” if they grew numerous enough, they could literally be the death of entire societies.  Control over our food allows more of us to live than ever before, and losing that control isn’t something to be wished for.
  • No really, how badly did this impact the Apple family’s finances?  In the show it’s shown as somewhat lucky what with their fields seemingly infinite but in reality where would Applejack & family make up the revenue loss?  Selling apples and their products (cider, pies, etc) is how the family earns a living.  If their product is reduced for a year until the next harvest, what then?  Does Applebloom end up having to miss out on school activities since they can’t pay for them?  Or do her grades suffer as supplies must be forgone?  Will Granny Smith get any treatments and medicine that a pony her age would need?  Would Winona have to be given away now that the family couldn’t afford her dog food?  Now the Apple family might be lucky enough (the farm being a long family ownership) to not have any outstanding loans liened against their property but if they did then this disaster could be the end of Applejack and her family having a home.  Next season: AJ has to move in with Twilight while Applebloom is sent to an orphanage, Granny Smith to a retirement home, and Big Macintosh to a factory for work.  Have fun, kids!

Don’t get me wrong, I really do think we should take care of the environment and I would love for the woods around my house to grow for generations to come so kids can always play and explore, but there seems to be a growing message of “if farmers just make a tiny sacrifice…” nowadays without the realization that often farmers live lives by their fingernails where one bad season can result in the loss of family land and home.  Even many “industrial” farms are the result of decades of planning, effort, and luck by families to build up a bit of a “buffer” that other businesses have in order to survive lean times.

No this isn’t the worst episode ever for the show, but it does disappoint.  Kids these days could certainly use a little less romanticizing of the wild and a bit more instructing in how challenging and near-miraculous it is to get food to them.  Maybe then they’ll realize how fortunate and blessed they are to live during a time where farming is a career choice, not a survival necessity, and pests are a curiosity, not a death sentence.

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