Spike is eagerly making a jewel-encrusted cake all for himself, but thoughtlessly eats his entire stash of jewels before he can get started. And if he weren't feeling bad enough, he wasn't even invited to the Crystal Empire with Twilight and friends to welcome the head of the Equestria Games. Just then, Fluttershy comes over and lifts his spirits by offering him a big, juicy jewel for his cake...if he looks after Angel Bunny while she's away, that is. Without a second thought, Spike gets the brilliant idea of convincing everypony else to let him watch their pets in exchange for more jewels. By the time the six ponies ship out to the Crystal Empire, Spike has a small stash of jewels of every shape and size—and a library full of critters that he has no idea how to take care of!Spike would much rather finish his cake than look after the unruly pets, particularly Angel, who bounces away the first chance he gets. Spike chases Angel to the Cutie Mark Crusaders' clubhouse and finds the bunny better enjoys the company of Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle, so he gets another idea: leave all the pets with the Crusaders so they can "get their critter-sitting cutie marks"! But Apple Bloom demands one of Spike's jewels in return so they can pay for petsitting supplies. Now not only is Spike short one jewel, but he later discovers that the Crusaders are (shockingly) no better petsitters than he is and have already spent the jewel on a giant pet hairdryer.The day keeps getting worse for Spike as he tries to find more ponies to shift his responsibilities onto: Zecora takes a jewel in an offer to relieve him of his "bad mojo", which turns out to be his dragon greed and not the pets as he hopes; and he bribes Granny Smith with another jewel to keep her mouth shut about his questionable petsitting methods. Soon Angel Bunny gets loose again and boards a train, and Spike pretends to chaperon the Cutie Mark Crusaders to convince the conductor to let him and the pets board, giving up yet another jewel for payment. Unfortunately, they only catch Angel right as the train departs—straight for the Crystal Empire, no less!Once they get to the empire—and Spike gives away his second-to-last jewel to pay for a wrecked donut cart—Angel sees Fluttershy and friends at the station, and once again gets loose to reunite with his owner. Spike desperately throws his final, biggest jewel and knocks down a tower of luggage to block Angel's path so he can catch the bunny. Spike, the pets, and the Crusaders all board the train back to Ponyville but, unluckily for them, all have to hide in the same car as the six ponies.Angel threatens to expose Spike to the oblivious ponies, but overhearing Twilight compliment what a great petsitter Spike is makes the guilty dragon realize he's been anything but and deserves to get caught. Angel has a change of heart, but Spike's sudden stomach-rumbling threatens to expose them all instead, so Angel saves everyone by fetching the big jewel and feeding Spike half of it. They all return to Ponyville and get off the train in time to meet Twilight and their friends, who remain none the wiser to the sidekicks' misadventures. Spike finally goes back to making his jewel cake...only to thoughtlessly eat the rest of his last jewel.Note:This is the eighth episode of the third season, but the eleventh aired.
Aesop Amnesia: Played with. Despite how awful he felt at the time, Spike seems to have forgotten the disastrous events resulting from his greed on his first birthday in Ponyville, until Zecora pointedly reminds him. It's possible that Spike doesn't feel he's being too greedy himself since he's not getting the jewels by force but as payment for a service he's offering.
Amusing Injuries: As it usually happens in Spike-centered episodes. The most common one is Tank crashing into him.
Babysitting Episode: Spike pet-sits for all the mane six. He's mainly interested in the gems he received as payment, and he spends the bare minimum of time actually watching the pets. This comes back to bite him when one of the pets, Angel Bunny, resents being ignored and runs away; Spike is run through the wringer trying to get Angel back.
Big Word Shout: Spike screams "WHY?!" twice when he realizes he's out of gems.
Book Ends: The episode begins and ends with Spike eating the gems for his cake, prompting one big WHY!?
Bratty Half-Pint: Angel Bunny's defining personality trait. Justified in this episode because he realizes Spike doesn't know how to take care of the pets, so the rabbit feels No Sympathy for the dragon and therefore sees no problem on giving him a bad time on purpose.
In the opening, Spike keeps eating the gems he is planning to add to the cake to the point there are none left; at the end, he eats the single one remaining he got for critter-sitting.
Rainbow Dash advises Spike to get a helmet, saying that he would only want to get hit in the head by a turtle once. Later, before he goes looking for Angel, Spike gets hit in the head by Tank: cue a scene cut to Spike walking all the animals with a helmet on his head. Further on, as soon as he hands over the rest of the pets to the CMC, he dumps the helmet on Scootaloo's head, who then is promptly hit by Tank.
True to his inherent dragon nature, Spike's main concern at the start of the episode is for jewels. As he crosses more ponies who demand jewels for helping him through his misadventures, Spike becomes more and more willing to give them away until the end, when he finally sacrifices his last jewel to get out of a mess all on his own.
All the ponies' housepets now have established distinctive personalities to some extent.
Chekhov's Lack of Skill: The sequence of photos with Peewee show that Spike isn't that great a pet sitter even if his heart is in the right place.
Comically Missing the Point: It's doubtful the CMC will reach terminal airspeed velocity needed for skydiving by jumping from the top of the Ponyville bridge.
Comically Small Bribe: Played with. Rarity pays Spike with the tiniest jewel, so it's the smallest payment he gets, since he wants to use it for food. Later, the Cutie Mark Crusaders use that same gem to buy a humongous and obviously quite expensive hairdryer, so this jewel obviously has a very high monetary value. For comparison's sake, Spike used two of the biggest gems to pay for train tickets (though cross-country, round-trip train tickets for four people and a bunch of pets wouldn't be at all cheap) and a tray of donuts. explanation This is Fridge Brilliance, however, when you consider that the size of the gem doesn't indicate its monetary value. The jewel that Rarity gave to Spike could be a Pigeon Blood Ruby, which is one of the rarest gems in existence, and therefore valuable. What Fluttershy gave Spike looked like an emerald◊, and emeralds are more common than rubies. At the same time, as a dragon, the monetary value of a gem doesn't matter nearly as much as its size and taste. Spike using the smallest gem as payment to the CMCs is much less a sacrifice to him than would be the largest.
In "The Last Roundup," Golden Harvest (a.k.a. Carrot Top) and a gray unicorn stallion (nicknamed Written Script by the fandom) were in a few scenes together and implied to be a couple. In this episode, they can be seen nuzzling affectionately at the Crystal Empire train station.
Cruel to Be Kind: Zecora takes one of Spike's gems and gives it to charity... in order to prevent his natural greed from getting the better of him. As mentioned above, for good reason.
Devil in Plain Sight: Angel. The CMC love him, while Spike and the other pets (even Gummy) react with disdain.
Dog Walks You: Spike bringing the pets along on leashes is a strange sight. Naturally, Winona is the one plowing ahead while the others keep up (and Opal being dragged along). As seen in the page image, Tank and Owlowiscious are keeping Spike hovering slightly above the ground, meaning Winona gets total control over where Spike and the other pets go.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: Spike helped Cadance save the Crystal Empire, yet she doesn't invite him to help the others with welcoming the Head of the Equestria Games.
Scootaloo:(from inside the CMC clubhouse): Has anyone seen Tank's head? Where's his head?! (Spike barges into the clubhouse) Spike: What have you done to the turtle?! (Tank's head pops out from inside his shell) Scootaloo: Oh, I totally forgot he could do that.
Empathy Pet: Throughout with Owlowiscious, and by Angel in the finale. All the pets, save Angel, also give a glare at the bunny when he jumps the Friendship Express, mimicking Spike's own feelings towards Angel.
Everyone Has Standards: All the pets indirectly cause havoc for Spike, but loathe Angel, who deliberately tries to give the dragon a hard time.
Eyedscreen: Twice. Both punctuated by Spike's "Angel!"
Face Palm: Spike, at the sight of the industrial-sized pet hairdryer.
Fascinating Eyebrow: Owlowiscious gets one in reaction to Spike's "now you see 'em, now you don't" trick.
Fawlty Towers Plot: Spike uses one gem after another to cover up his lie about being a good petsitter. It would have come crashing down on him at the train if Angel didn't decide to cut him a break.
Foreshadowing: For "Games Ponies Play"; Twilight's comment on being a good leader by being calm and collected foreshadows her own lesson on keeping calm in that episode.
From Bad to Worse: Spike's problems to keep the pets under control and save his jewels.
Fluttershy doesn't even notice Angel pretty much begging her to save him from Owlowiscious.
While Spike is walking the pets, Screw Loose, the patient from "Read It and Weep" who thought she was a dog, now lives in a house. The nurse outside turns away from her for a moment, hears Winona's barking, and turns back to her patient in alarm. Screw Loose gives her a look that seems to say "It's not me this time!"
At the end, when Spike shouts "WHY?", Winona howls along with him.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Spike and Angel towards each other. Spike has previously shown that he doesn't like Angel, and Angel's antics throughout the episode don't really change that. Then at the end, when Spike confesses that he should have been taking care of pets instead of focusing on his cake, Angel grabs Spike's last gem and feeds half of it to the hungry dragon to save them all from being caught by the Mane Six.
The Klutz: Tank hasn't gotten the hang of flying around; an excuse for why he gives Spike as much trouble as the others. Justified because Tank is a tortoise and lacks the quick reflexes to make him an effective pilot.
Laser-Guided Karma: Spike selfishly persuades his friends to give him jewels just so he can make a cake for himself. So each time he finds himself in a mess and needs to get out of it, he fittingly loses a jewel.
Loose Lips/Saying Too Much: When greeting Rarity, Sweetie Belle mentions the snow globes at the Crystal Empire's train station. Rarity immediately gets suspicious of this, and it's obvious she doesn't buy Sweetie's excuse.
Lower Deck Episode: Lampshaded by the title. Due to some organizational changes in the sequencing of the season episodes, the episode this one plays lower deck to airs after it.
Ludicrous Precision: Rarity proclaims that Opal requires a precise 81.4 degrees (scale unspecified, presumed to be Fahrenheit) to be comfortable. When she is in the library to hand Opal off to Spike, she states, "It's a chilly 81.2 in here."
Rainbow Dash: All I'm saying is that you might wanna think about a helmet. You only wanna be hit in the head by a flying turtle...once.
Also, what happened at the CMC clubhouse between when Spike leaves the pets with them, and when he runs back fearing that Tank's literally lost his head after hearing Scootaloo's comment. How did Owlowiscious end up stuck to the wall like that?
No Sympathy: Spike and Angel both bounce this off each other. Spike is preoccupied with his gems and doesn't care about caring for Angel, who misses his owner, which the latter is vehement on reuniting with and couldn't care less what trouble he causes Spike in the process. Averted by the end of the episode, where they both seem to undergo a Jerkass Realization.
Not So Stoic: This episode marks the first time both Owlowiscious and Gummy convey clear facial expressions. Owlowiscious acts as a Silent Snarker while Gummy shows subdued but visible angry and happy emotions.
Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Twilight, who doesn't realize Spike and the pets are hiding in their train cabin, reassures Applejack with her faith in Spike as a petsitter. Seeing how Spike's been anything but a good petsitter throughout the entire episode, this really hits Spike where it hurts.
Odd Friendship: It seems Spike and Owlowiscious have become pretty friendly to each other since their earlier friction between each other. Similarly, among the pets, Tank and Opal spend most of the episode together; they even rub heads as a sign of affection, and when the pets board the train, Tank (thanks to his flying device) carries Opal so she doesn't need to walk. Owlowiscious spends a good bit of time carrying Gummy as well.
The Oner: The shot where the Mane Six bid farewell to their pets before leaving.
Only Sane Pet: Owlowiscious seems to have the most sense out of all the pets, not to mention more sense than the petsitter.
Practical Currency: Played with; Spike is getting paid with jewels, something that isn't that practical in Real Life but, in-universe, is a dragon's favorite food. They're also valuable to ponies as well, but their individual worth is very difficult to calculate; the tiniest of Spike's gems (which would likely fit in even Angel's paw) is worth enough bits to buy an industrial-sized pet hairdryer, while the bigger gems are used to pay for a few train tickets and a tray of donuts.
Pro Bono Barter: As said above, Spike is getting paid with food (jewels) instead of bits, the show's normal currency.
The Punishment Is the Crime: When Spike apologizes to the pets for neglecting them, Angel decides that Spike has suffered enough and helps Spike evade the Mane Six and further punishment.
Shaggy Dog Story: Spike goes through all sorts of crap to make his jewel cake, only for him to continually have to spend the jewels to get himself out of trouble, until he's only got one left... which he eats prematurely... again.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Averted. Peewee, Spike's adoptive phoenix from "Dragon Quest", is shown in a series of framed photographs in the library during the Cold Open to have been returned to a set of phoenix parents (presumably his original parents) by Spike. Likely because of an incident involving ice cream and Twilight's mane.
Wingding Eyes: When Fluttershy shows Spike the Jewel that she was carrying, Spike's eyes turn into the jewel.
Yank the Dog's Chain: Yanked by the "dog" himself. Spike, after having to put up with the pets and having to give away all but one of his gems, unknowingly eats his last gem... again!