Hurricane Fluttershy has been called by many as among the top of their favorite episodes, for it being one of the deepest in the show. Whereas many others were very indifferent about it.
So how is that? How can I find the core of the episode empty, where others think it was full of depth?
The core of either argument is: 'The conflict of her fear vs her civic duty...' is deep/not deep.
For a character (arc) to be 'deep', it means that the character is complex, or what they go through is complex...
The problem I had was that after the first ten minutes her core motivations and conflict were obvious enough to me. I knew:
She was anxious
She had a civic duty
Trying to get out of it shows that she's in conflict between these 2 motivations
Ok, now it's time to DO something with these 3 points.
We don't flesh out how/why she finds the ponies scary. They come across as generic bullies that rely on playground taunts. We don't explore how/why she needs to do this civic duty. We are just mostly told that she does (because she's a pegasus).
She hides it because he is anxious, and doing the competition means that she'd have to deal with ponies. How she hides it, is by acting sick, and running away crying.
There was opportunity to make what makes her anxious; have something to do with her character or other motivations. We don't explore why Fluttershy feels like she needs to do this civic duty, what the duty means to her. Just that she has to because she's a pegasus. There wasn't much depth explored/revealed in how she feels about pretending to be sick (and hiding being anxious). There could've been interesting complex character interactions with other pegasi which shed a light on her motivations, backstory, and feelings for/on everyone.
Instead, we are just told repeatedly that she's nervous, has a civic duty, and tries to get out of it. What did the flashback convey other than bullies are mean? What significance did the others' actions have on her core character arc? Not much, and her resolution comes around from a deus ex machina: suddenly getting enough speed to move the tornado.
The story should've after all that time and focus left us with a better impression of what Fluttershy's core character traits. Beyond being a pegasus who is afraid of other ponies.
I'm not sure why people claim they found this story deep. Depth is about being complex, which should require time and effort from the show, or require its audience to spend time thinking about its subtleties. But the story spent too long on the most obvious character motivations and conflict. We didn't get a complex story told to us, nor when thinking back, did we have depth hidden in her actions. The story has a character arc that is ironically shallow not deep. We didn't actually learn anything about Fluttershy.
The story is all about 'Fluttershy is conflicted.' Which sounds deep, but on reflection it was obvious from the first moment that was her conflict. They didn't do anything complex with it. The premise of the whole episode sounds deep, but by no means was it actually deep.
I just hope that one day people will realize that there's a difference between having a deep sounding concept. Over a story actually 'being' deep...