Fashion is a harsh mistress, no matter your species.
(By the way, the first season is now available on Netflix. Get caught up, already!)
Episode 19: "A Dog and Pony Show"
Rarity is putting the last of her jewel supply on a new, Elvis-in-Vegas-esque outfit when she gets a surprise visit from none other than Equestria's own Pony of Pop, Sapphire Shores!
Ms. Shores -- please, call her Sapphire! -- has read good things about Rarity in Clothes Horse magazine and wants Rarity to design a new look for her upcoming tour. Like Rarity's Elvis outfit.
It's perfect! Except that Sapphire wants her to make five more of them, each with a different gem. (Upper-class ponies always want many of everything, don't they? Totally unlike humans.) And Rarity is fresh out.
Thankfully, her horn can dowse jewels -- hence her cutie mark, which we'll get to in a few episodes.
She also has Spike along for digging and cart-pulling. Spike's on-again, off-again crush on Rarity is back on in a big way in this episode, and for as much as he loves to eat gemstones, when Rarity gives him one as a thank-you, he's too overcome with his love for her to eat it.
The "Spike Loves Rarity" musical cue contains hints of Maurice Jarre's Lawrence of Arabia theme. There's some Lord of the Rings going on as well, as Rarity and Spike are stalked by creatures with Gollum-like gem obsession.
But they aren't Hobbits who've been warped by the malevolent force of the One Ring. Instead, appropriately enough for poachers that hide behind trees, they're Diamond Dogs. (The Venture Bros. isn't the only show that gets to make Bowie references, thank you very much.)
When the Diamond Dogs capture Rarity and take her underground, Spike rounds up the other ponies -- whom I will finally start calling The Mane Six -- to launch a rescue mission. Once they figure out what the hyperventilating baby dragon is trying to tell them, that is.
The first stage of the rescue mission does not go well, because neither ponies nor baby dragons are stronger than dirt.
As they struggle to get underground while getting repeatedly pranked by the Dogs, Applejack imagines that Rarity is freaking out due to the presence of domestic dirt.
Spike has his own fantasy of rescuing Rarity, one that speaks volumes about his latent self-image.
Sadly, Spike gets jolted out of his reverie right before he gets to kiss fantasy-Rarity.
I know the feeling, pal.
The Mane Six Minus Rarity Plus Spike finally make it down (the elevator's broke, so they slide down a rope) (okay, not really, but I'm going to get as much mileage out of the lyrics as I can), where the reality is that Rarity's been put to work dowsing gems for the Diamond Dogs. Worse, they want her to dig.
Rarity digs. A little. Slowly. Gingerly, even. And she has her reasons, to the Dogs' increasing exasperation. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic uses the comedy trope of the slow burn quite a lot, and well.
Fine, then. If she won't dig, she'll pull.
But will she stop complaining, which she has been doing nonstop since she arrived? No, she will not, and that is her greatest weapon, especially considering the musty dampness and the suffocating air and the smell of the dogs and her terrible thirst and and and --
They demand that she stop her whining. Rarity's more than a little insulted at the use of the word, so she demonstrates the difference between "complaining" and "whining." She makes a valid point, if'n you ask me.
In addition to accusing her of whining, y'know what else you don't do? Call Rarity a mule.
The Mane Six arrive, and Spike gets to live out his rescuing-Rarity fantasy with the aid of a reluctant Twilight Sparkle.
But his damsel is no longer in distress. The Diamond Dogs are sableized, and Rarity is aleady on her way out with more than enough jewels for Sapphire Shores' outfits.
Twilight tells Rarity that the Shoehorn will be that being ladylike is not the same thing as being weak. Damn, I like that message.
And it isn't even blunted by the Everybody Laughs Ending.