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Recap: Lunaverse S 1 E 14 A Hard Bargain
aka: Lunaverse S 1 E 13 A Hard Bargain
Written by Zap Apple Smash

It's early morning in Ponyville, and Ditzy is doing her rounds. She arrives at Trixie's house, where Trixie is busily singing in the shower. Ditzy enters the house and surprises Trixie in the shower, saying she needs to sign for a package. Trixie ejects Ditzy from her house and through the window, but does sign (and throws the clipboard after her).

A little later, Trixie and Pokey are bantering on their way to a Town Council meeting. They come across Big Macintosh and say hello. Pokey comments that Big Macintosh is out of town a lot, which is why Trixie hasn't met him yet. Meanwhile, Big Macintosh is joined by a friend. They comment on how Trixie is the Element of Magic, how her cutie mark matches another pony's, and how they should check it out. Still elsewhere, at Ponyville train station, three ponies disembark. One of them buys two return tickets to Canterlot, saying they're for a Ditzy and Dinky Doo, and that the tickets are one way.

Big Macintosh passes Dinky and Archer playing with a ball on his way to see Cheerilee. Apple Bloom bursts in panicking, worried that Big Macintosh is there because of something she did that Cheerilee wants to tell him about, but they quickly get rid of her. Big Macintosh gives Cheerilee a sandwich (which turns out to be her favorite flavor), then says that he wants to ask her about something related to Fillydelphia.

After lunch, Cheerilee tells Big Macintosh that, while she appreciates the offer, she doesn't want to take a new job in Fillydelphia, even at higher pay. Big Macintosh accepts this and leaves. Trixie enters just as he does so, and Cheerilee fills her in on what transpired. Trixie begins to wonder if this is another Night Court plot, like with Octavia, but Cheerilee tries to head that off. Trixie says that it's safer to assume that any job offers of that sort have ulterior motives behind them. She steals Cheerilee's apple and leaves. Dinky hurries in a few moments later, saying that the foals realized that Trixie stole Cheerilee's apple, and they've tied her up and are talking about how to force her to confess.

Ditzy happily returns to the post office where she runs into the ponies who got off the train in Ponyville. The leader introduces himself as Parley. The other two try to hang back, but Ditzy sees them and cheerily asks who they are as well. Parley says their names are Plata and Plomo. He tells Ditzy that she's there to offer her a job with a construction company in Manehattan; her special talent of noticing and dealing with air currents would be useful to them. He offers her a munificent salary. He also says that the job would be easier and would let Ditzy spend more time with Dinky, and adds that his mother worked herself to death and regretted not spending more time with him. The only catch is that the Doos will need to move to Manehattan. Ditzy says she needs time to consider it, so Parley asks her to tell him her decision tomorrow. As she leaves, he remarks to Plata and Plomo that she'll take the deal.

Parley and his group return to their motel. Plomo complains in a foreign language, Cavallian, that they should have just abducted the Doos, but — after Plata translates — Parley says that he aims to avoid unnecessary hostility, so as to avoid angering the other Elements and possibly Luna. They reach the room, which is crowded, so Plata and Plomo leave to scout the town.

Pokey sees a disheveled Trixie entering the house. She complains about foals and says that Pokey should cancel her appointments for the day; she needs some liquor to get over what just happened to her. Pokey says that she has no appointments, but Big Macintosh did walk in earlier and is waiting for her. She enters her office and sees Big Macintosh admiring a picture of her grandfather; it turns out that he saw Quartermoon perform a long time ago. Trixie tries to threaten Big Macintosh in case Cheerilee's job offer is a scheme from the Court or Apple Trust, but Big Macintosh intimidates her into falling backwards. He says that he wants to renew his bounty hunting license. Trixie can't get rid of him until she does so, so she reluctantly finds his file in the bounty hunter registry, then files the paperwork. After he leaves, though, she decides to do some more research on Big Macintosh.

Ditzy arrives at Ponyville Elementary to talk to Cheerilee while Dinky spends some time with Amethyst Star. She asks how Dinky is doing, and Cheerilee says that she's doing fine. Ditzy wonders if Dinky would be happier if Ditzy worked less, and Cheerilee basically says that Dinky would be happy, but doesn't mind that Ditzy works hard now. Ditzy wants reassurance that she'd still be a good mother if she remains a hard-working mailmare, and Cheerilee tells her that, while Ditzy might not spend all that much time with Dinky, the time they do spend is very well spent. She says that Ditzy clearly showers Dinky with love and devotion in the time they have together, and that's enough. Ditzy accepts this.

In the market, Big Macintosh talks to Caramel, one of the Apple family's farmhands. Caramel wants a day off to help a potential marefriend move, but Big Macintosh won't go for it. The two notice Plata and Plomo, and notice how they are new and don't look like tourists. They decide to have Caramel investigate them, so Caramel pretends to be running off with a delivery and sprints right into Plomo. Plomo screams at him in Cavallian and pins him up against a wall. Big Macintosh grabs Plomo's hoof before he can hurt Caramel, and Plata leased Plomo away. Caramel tells Big Macintosh that the two were fast, most likely enforcers for a criminal group. He also stole a business card; it's for the construction company that Parley said wants to employ Ditzy. He also saw their motel key. The two wonder why construction workers from a foreign town are in Ponyville, and are suspicious.

Ditzy is at home, doing dishes, when Sparkler brings Dinky home. Dinky chatters a bit, then goes to put her things away. Sparkler and Ditzy chat about Dinky, with Ditzy thinking that Dinky has a lot of fun, wholesome things to do in Ponyville. Dinky comes back in and wants to show off her new light spell. The spell is blindingly bright; fortunately, Sparkler warns Ditzy to shield her eyes first.

Cheerilee enters Trixie's home and declines Trixie's offer of a drink. Trixie tells her that Big Macintosh is a bounty hunter, which she thinks makes him suspicious. Cheerilee comments that her dad used to have one, then adds that bounty hunting is legal, and most big farms have one to scare away criminals. Trixie shows Cheerilee the registry and says that Big Macintosh has collected the three biggest bounties in Ponyville history. Cheerilee acknowledges this, but says the ponies those bounties were for were extremely dangerous. Big Macintosh, she said, helped the town by catching them. Trixie objects that Big Macintosh made money doing it, but Cheerilee points out that they got money for defeating Corona too. Trixie says that she's worried that someone might have put out a bounty on the Elements. Cheerilee responds that such a bounty would be illegal, not being government sanctioned, and he could lose his license as well. The two argue over whether Trixie is paranoid or Cheerilee is naive, with Cheerilee finally saying that not only is Big Macintosh one of the most moral decent and kindest ponies she knows, but that Trixie is making it harder for her to teach Apple Bloom in an unbiased manner. She chastises Trixie, who realizes she deserves it and gives in.

Late that night, Big Macintosh is looking over his file of active bounties. He can't find anything on Plata or Plomo, but Caramel also couldn't find any evidence that their construction company exists. Granny Smith arrives and they chat happily, with Big Macintosh saying that Cheerilee turned down the job offer, and Granny Smith saying that it's probably for the best.

The next day, Ditzy meets Parley outside the post office. She turns down his offer, even when he offers more money. Parley becomes angry and has Plata and Plomo trap her against the wall. Post Haste (another postal worker) and Silver Script (the postmaster) come out of the post office, Silver Script carrying a baseball bat. Silver Script threatens Parley, and Parley leaves with his companions, saying only that he's staying at the motel. Silver Script verifies that Ditzy is okay, then says that she's taking the day off and he's escorting her to Trixie's.

Nearby, Parley tells his companions that it's time for Plan B.

Trixie opens the door to find Silver Script and Ditzy. Silver Script leaves once he verifies that Ditzy is safe. Ditzy begins to tell Trixie the situation.

Silver Script goes to Sweet Apple Acres. She gets Applejack to get Big Macintosh, who in turn summons Caramel. He tells the two what happened to Ditzy, and they recognize the two ponies besides Parley as the two they saw in the market. Silver Script asks them to urge the trio to leave town. Silver Script leaves, and the two go to get their bounty hunting gear. Big Macintosh says they'll ask first, but if the trio won't leave, they'll use force.

At Ponyville Elementary, someone throws a smoke bomb into the classroom. The bomb thrower sneaks into the classroom, stuffs Dinky into a bag, and flees.

Back at Trixie's home, Trixie tells Ditzy that she and Dinky need to lay low until they can figure out who Parley and his companions really are and how to get rid of them. She thinks to herself that she's not good in a physical fight, having been beaten soundly by a musician a short while ago. She tells Dinky that they need to take Dinky out of school for the day, but Ditzy sees a plume of smoke rising from the school and rushes towards it. The two reach the school, followed shortly by Big Macintosh and Caramel, but they only find that Dinky is missing. Apple Bloom finds them and says that she heard Dinky scream and then saw a gray pony running past her. She begs Big Macintosh to save Dinky, and he agrees, though he just wants to stay close to Apple Bloom.

In the motel, Ditzy bursts into Parley's room. Parley threatens to have Dinky dismembered unless Ditzy listens to him. He says that they will both leave on the train to Manehattan that departs in an hour, while Plata and Plomo take Dinky there by an alternate route. Once the train arrives, Dinky and the others will meet them at the platform. If Ditzy refuses, they will kill Dinky. Ditzy reluctantly agrees and leaves to pack. She meets Trixie on the way.

Plomo watches Ditzy and Trixie leave, but is surprised by Big Macintosh, who demands answers. When Plomo answers his Cavallian, Big Macintosh responds in kind.

Ditzy tells Trixie what's going on as she packs. Trixie urges her not to go with them. Ditzy pretends to listen, then bucks Trixie in the face and knocks her out. She apologizes to Trixie's form, then leaves.

Trixie wakes up later to see Cheerilee, who is mad that Trixie is napping. Trixie explains the situation and says that they need to reach the train station as quickly as they can.

Ditzy boards the train with Parley. Parley insults Dinky, and Ditzy grabs him and flies him out of the train and up into the sky. Parley blusters that his boss will hurt the Doos if Ditzy hurts Parley, but Ditzy says that his boss won't care as long as she goes to Manehattan as planned. Parley says that Ditzy won't really hurt her, as she's the Element of Kindness, but Ditzy won't back down. Parley finally says that Plata was in charge of taking Dinky to Manehattan, and he doesn't know anything more. Ditzy drops Parley, who screams that Plomo might know. Ditzy catches Parley just above the ground, then knocks him out. She then sees Trixie, Cheerilee, and Silver Script approaching. They bind Parley with some rope that a passing Pinkie Pie happens to have, then begin to leave to find Plomo. Caramel shows up, though, and says that Big Macintosh is on it. He says that Big Macintosh can handle the job himself, and that they need to leave, because he broke the train's engine so that it couldn't actually leave with Ditzy and doesn't want to be caught.

Plata takes the bagged Dinky to three pegasi in a clearing. Dinky tries to escape by blinding them with her light spell, but Plata catches her and threatens to break her horn. Big Macintosh shows up at that moment, and fights and defeats all four hostile ponies.

Trixie, Cheerilee, Ditzy, Caramel, and Silver Script wait at Trixie's house. Silver Script and Cheerilee take turns beating a bound Parley with a bat. Big Macintosh shows up with Dinky, and the Doos embrace. He jokes about killing the other thugs, but two bulls yell from outside that they found the other thugs — Plata, Plomo, and the pegasi — and have custody of them. Big Macintosh gives Trixie his report, which details their crimes and explains that his actions were justified as being in defense of the Doos. With everything taken care of, everyone leaves.

Big Macintosh returns home and greets his family, who is proud of him. Caramel again asks for time off, but Applejack says no, since he's already getting vacation (and during the run-up to the Trottingham Farming Contest besides). Caramel leaves, and Apple Bloom and Applejack go to do chores. Granny Smith says that Big Macintosh did his parents proud. He winces, and Granny Smith realizes that Big Macintosh got hurt in the fight. She checks him over, then prescribes him apple pie.

Later that night, Trixie shows up at Ditzy's apartment with ice cream. They begin to have an ice cream party. Trixie fills Ditzy in on who Parley and his crew really were; so far, her best theory is that it was one of the Manehattan crime bosses, who wanted to control an Element and ransom her back for a fortune. Ditzy asks why Luna isn't trying to protect them, but Trixie says it's politically impossible — any protection is admitting that they aren't safe, which allows various nobles to claim they could keep the Elements safer. Trixie also criticizes Ditzy for refusing to let her help, and Ditzy apologizes. Ditzy says that she did a bad thing, and also almost murdered Parley. She adds that she didn't know in advance that she'd be able to catch Parley before he hit the ground; because of her vision, she lacks the depth perception to do that reliably. She wonders if she's a bad pony because of that, but Trixie reassures her that she's a great pony and the greatest mother Trixie's ever known.

Ditzy feels better, but asks Trixie to hit her, to make it even. Trixie reluctantly agrees, but only hurts her hoof. Then she gets an ice cream headache when she eats more ice cream, and complains about how unfair it all is.

A few days later, Ditzy again interrupts Trixie in the shower. This time, they both sing until Pokey shows up and tells them that the weather team has a report for them.


Tropes

  • Badass Teacher: Cheerilee. She takes threats against her students just as seriously as a parent would.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ditzy smashes a door down, pins a bad guy against a wall, knocks her own friend unconscious for getting in her way... and then somepony makes her even angrier than that. It doesn't go well for him.
  • Book Ends: The episode opens with Ditzy interrupting Trixie singing in the shower to deliver her mail (and getting thrown out of a window for her trouble). It ends with Ditzy interrupting Trixie in the shower a second time, only this time it's because she likes the song.
  • Bounty Hunter: In a notable difference between the Lunaverse and the Maneverse, it turns that this is a state-registered profession, albeit one that nobody appears to take seriously any more. Except Big Macintosh. Caramel also turns out to be quite a skilled bounty hunter.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Pinkie Pie points out to the other characters that the only reason she's there is for a cameo and a running gag.
  • The Cameo: Pinkie describes her appearance as a 'pointless cameo', although it isn't, as she is actually a character in the Lunaverse.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Early on, Dinky shows off the 'sparkle spell' that she learned from Sparkler, which produces a blinding light because she can't control the power of it yet. After she gets kidnapped, it turns out to be the perfect way to distract her kidnappers so she can escape.
  • Cunning Linguist: Cheerilee, who can speak perfect Callaberian. Of course, this being Cheerilee, she actually refers to herself as a cunning linguist.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Ditzy.
  • Dance Party Ending: The episode ends on a musical number with Trixie, Ditzy, and Pokey.
  • Fastball Special: Big Macintosh and Cheerilee can perform this move together. Which is unfortunate for the pegasus who thought he could escape two earth ponies.
  • Mama Bear: Trixie learns the hard way that you don't get in Ditzy's way when her foal is threatened.
  • Made of Iron: Ditzy seems more resilient than most ponies, considering that she smashes through two windows in this episode with no apparent harm whatsoever. In fact, when she offers Trixie a free opportunity to hit her (to make up for hitting Trixie earlier), Trixie hurts her hoof.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Caramel believes this is happening to him.
  • Mundangerous: Big Macintosh shrugs off blows to the head and kicks to the face like they never happened, but as soon as he's alone with Granny Smith, he whimpers in pain and asks for whipped cream on his apple pie to make him feel better.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Pinkie Pie lampshades her own appearance in the episode.
  • Oh Crap: Plata runs after Dinky, catches her, and threatens to snap her horn off. Then he notices Big Macintosh is right in front of them.
  • Percussive Pickpocket: Apparently one of Caramel's talents (he calls it the Caramel Special). Caramel's seems to be more percussive than most, as it involves literally crashing a cart of apples into the victim. Then again, he is a bounty hunter.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Kidnapping Dinky makes Ditzy seriously angry, but strangely, it's not until Parley insults her foal that Dinky breaks, in spectacular fashion.
    Parley: You won't kill me, you're the element of Kindness.
    Ditzy Doo: Kindness has limits. And I've reached mine.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Trixie is annoyed about being knocked unconscious simply for trying to help.
    Trixie: Oh sure now you decide to actually start punching the bad guys.
  • Tap on the Head: Ditzy knocks Trixie unconscious with a quick punch to the head.
  • The Stoic: Big Macintosh, of course.
  • Too Much Information: Trixie doesn't want to know about Cheerilee's father being a bounty hunter.
    Cheerilee: You know my father used to have a bounty hunter license. I don't think he ever caught anyone though. I think he just kept renewing his license cause mom liked it. I remember she would shake her flank at him, saying 'I've got your bounty right here'. Then they'd send me to go play at the neighbour’s house.
  • Running Gag: Pinkie Pie appearing out of nowhere to provide assistance.
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alternative title(s): Lunaverse S 1 E 13 A Hard Bargain
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