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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S4 E19 "Trade Ya!"

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Time to wheel, deal and steal. Err, well, the first two anyway.

Written by Scott Sonneborn
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The Mane Six head to the Rainbow Falls Traders Exchange, a massive trading festival. Twilight is there on royal duty as the princess designated to oversee the proceedings, making sure that every trade is fair, and that both ponies in a trade get what they want. Rainbow Dash wants a first edition of a Daring Do book, so Fluttershy offers to help Rainbow get it by offering her bear whistle, which she wants to trade for a bird call. Applejack and Rarity pool their resources to get a vintage item they can't live without, Spike has a mint-condition comic book he wants to trade for another one, and Twilight wants to trade away books she doesn't need anymore.

Rainbow Dash offers her lucky horseshoe for the Daring Do book, but the trader turns it down, instead wanting an Orthros for it. Over at the ancient beast stall, Fluttershy quickly befriends the Orthros, but its trader isn't interested in Rainbow's horseshoe either. However, the Orthros breaks one of its trader's lamps, causing him to admit that he could use a new one. This leads to a rapid chain of deals, with Rainbow finally trading her rusty horseshoe for a crystal chalice, the last thing she needs to start the trade. Meanwhile, Applejack and Rarity each find a very rare vintage item that they want, but either item would cost all of their pooled trade resources to get it. Neither Applejack nor Rarity sees the value in what the other wants, and they quickly begin to argue over who should get to make her trade. Elsewhere, Pinkie Pie stops Twilight from trading away her books just to get rid of them, setting up a booth near Twilight's exchange post where she constantly boasts how the books made Twilight a princess, which Twilight doesn't like.

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As the day progresses, Applejack and Rarity try to one-up each other, claiming to be the better friend by giving all of their trade stash to the other. Rainbow and Fluttershy finally get the Orthros, but they're blocked by a crowd. Fluttershy uses her bear call to disperse the crowd, dropping it in the process, though Fluttershy says there's nothing more valuable to her than Rainbow Dash. But, when the pegasi finally make it to the Daring Do trading stand, the book's owner no longer wants to trade for the Orthros, unless Fluttershy trains the Orthros to be a household pet. Fluttershy agrees to get the Orthros trained, which gets Rainbow Dash her book. However, Rainbow realizes, only too late, what she's agreed to.

Pinkie Pie's constant overselling of the books as the possessions of a princess makes everypony no longer want them, seeing them as far too expensive. This also makes Twilight realize how valuable her books are and decide to keep them all. Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash pleads her case before Twilight that her trade wasn't fair to get the Orthros back. Twilight's hooves are tied, but Rainbow says that there is nothing more valuable than a friend to her, even though she may have forgotten it for a time. The Daring Do fan is moved, and she agrees to trade the Orthros back for the book.

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On the train ride home, Applejack and Rarity reveal that they each traded their stash for a small trinket similar to what the other wanted. They start to argue again over who is the better friend, but Rainbow interjects, saying that they should be happy that they were willing to trade away their things for each other. Rainbow also reveals she traded away the Orthros for a bird call, which she gives to Fluttershy. Twilight also digs out an old paperback copy of the Daring Do book Rainbow wanted from her stash, which she gives to Rainbow as the Mane Six gather around to hear Rainbow read it.


Tropes:

  • All Animals Are Dogs:
    • The filly that asks Princess Twilight for an autograph wags her tail from side to side like an excited puppy.
    • After the Daring Do fan finally agrees to trade for the Othros, there is a double shot of Rainbow Dash and the Orthros panting and drooling in unison.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Many Real Life vegans enjoy oat burgers, which are often greasier than other "veggie burger" recipes, and easily as greasy as typical hamburgers; hence the grease stains on the bags from the oatburger stand.
  • Art Shift: The chicken in the mosaic looks a lot more cartoonish than anything else on the show.
  • As You Know: The first few minutes of this episode consist of the Mane Six telling each other things they already know.
  • Big, Friendly Dog: The Orthros, after Fluttershy's attentions calm it down, proves to be a friendly, slobbery pup... around twice the size of a pony.
  • Brutal Honesty: When the Daring Do collector refuses Rainbow Dash's horseshoe for her book, Fluttershy asks how Rainbow is going to get the book. The answer? "She's not."
  • Call-Back:
  • The Cameo:
    • Among unique ponies in the background of the fair including Bill Neighnote  from "The Crystal Empire, Part 1", the stallkeeper that Fluttershy tried to buy cherries from in "Putting Your Hoof Down", Hayseed Turnip Truck, Gizmo/Poindexter, "The Dude" (who is working the oatburger stand), and Cranky Doodle Donkey (with his old toupee).
    • The background ponies don't just contain the usual suspects: a very good chunk of the extended Apple family as seen in the series premiere and "Apple Family Reunion" is here.
    • In the scene where Rarity and Applejack are talking ponified versions of The Lutece Twins can be seen carrying a cage in the background.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Fluttershy uses her bear call, initially introduced as just an item she wanted to trade, to part a crowd that was blocking her and Rainbow Dash's path close to the end of the Traders Exchange.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Princess Twilight initially declares her role at the Traders' Exchange as completely ceremonial. Her role as arbiter proves crucial when Rainbow Dash realizes she's made a deal she can't live with.
  • Chain of Deals: Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy wind up running to every corner of the Trader's Exchange in order to complete one. To get her hooves on a signed first-edition copy of Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Statue, she must get an Orthros. For the Orthros, she needs a lamp. For the lamp, she needs an antique chicken. The chicken requires a crystal chalice, which Rainbow is finally able to obtain in exchange for her lucky horseshoe.
  • Clucking Funny: Apparently there's a market for antique chickens. The guy running the booth even has a mosaic of a sexy chick.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • One of the stalls is selling comic books, which Spike eagerly runs to so he can trade his mint-condition Power Ponies comic for another mint-condition comic.
    • Twilight mentions the memories that she associates with her old books: one of them is the book she was completely engrossed in during "Spike at Your Service". Another is the book she read on the day she first came to Ponyville.
    • The beast master has some of the beasts from "The Scariest Cave in Equestria".
    • There's a whole stand of Discord-shaped lamps, one of which looks identical to the broken lamp Discord put back together in his own visage in "Keep Calm and Flutter On".
    • Numerous crystal ponies are among the crowd.
  • Cross-Dressing Voice: Minuette's voice in this episode sounded male.
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: One of the items up for trade for Twilight's books is a green pony Daruma doll. The Japanese luck charm is somewhat common in Japanese media but not in Western media.
  • Delayed Reaction: Twice by Rainbow Dash:
    • After being turned down so many times for trying to trade her horseshoe, one pony actually asks for it, which Rainbow takes a moment to realize.
    • When she finally gets the Orthros, only for the book's owner to say that she doesn't want an Orthros anymore, Rainbow freezes with her manic grin still plastered on her face. Several seconds later, she reacts by fainting.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Pinkie puts "princess" in every sentence during her sales pitch.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Applejack tries to prove to Rarity that the broach she wants is identical to the one she already has by switching them up and challenging her to tell which is which. Rarity picks one immediately...whereupon Applejack realizes that she has no way to tell if Rarity's bluffing or not.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: All Fluttershy came to the Traders Exchange for was to trade her bear call for a bird whistle. She loses the bear call, but after the Chain of Deals she and Rainbow Dash were working falls apart, Dash trades the Orthros for a bird whistle, which she gives to Fluttershy, making her the only one (apart from Spike) who actually got what she wanted.
  • Face Palm: Twilight's reaction to Pinkie Pie's attempt to sell her books.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: This is the second time Applejack does this after she did it in "Three's A Crowd".
  • Feather Fingers: When Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash walk away from the Daring Do memorabilia stand to begin their Fetch Quest, Dash waves to the stand keeper with her flight feathers.
  • Fetch Quest: Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy's subplot: the Daring Do book's owner will only trade it for an Orthros, and acquiring the Orthros quickly expands into a Chain of Deals.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Fluttershy calmly walks right up to the snarling Orthros and plants a hoof on one of its muzzles.
    Fluttershy: Yeah, such a good two-headed boy, yes you are!
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: The episode has a grand total of four simultaneous plot threads: Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy on a Fetch Quest to get a book; Applejack and Rarity fighting over which of them should trade; Pinkie Pie helping Twilight clear out her books; and Spike getting a Power Ponies comic. Of the four, the RD/FS plot gets the most development, followed by the TS/PP plot, while the AJ/R plot peters out midway before getting resolved in the final scene, and the Spike plot barely gets any attention at all.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: In a sense; Rainbow will get the book, but as part of the deal Fluttershy has to go away with the owner to Manehattan to help train the Orthros, which could take months. Not surprisingly, she chooses her friend over the idol, though she does get rewarded when Twilight parts with her old copy of the Daring Do book, which Rainbow sees as just as valuable.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • You can see Spike and comic book stand owner trying to haggle over the comics in a few passing shots. Ultimately they reach a deal by the end of the day.
    • At one point, as Applejack and Rarity are arguing, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy can be seen flying back and forth to complete their fetch quest, including at one point struggling to pull Orthros across the field.
    • Rainbow licks her lips at the prospect of finally getting the Daring Do book. Just behind her the Orthros licks its lips in exactly the same way.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The chicken artist's mosaic has the chicken in the "Draw me like one of your French girls" seductive pose, but given that it is a cartoon chicken, comes out much more comical than sensual.
  • "Gift of the Magi" Plot: Played With in the AJ/Rarity subplot. They both have their hearts set on a special item that the other deems silly, but would cost them their pooled goods to trade, and try to argue to the other why they should get that. Then they swap positions and argue, just as ardently, that they should get what the other one wants. Finally, they split their pool and each get an item—less expensive but similar to what the other wanted in the first place—and exchange these gifts on the way home.
  • Growling Gut: Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy catch one of the vendors on line for a concession stand. His stomach rumbles and he tells them the trade is off unless he gets some food.
  • Hell Hound: The Orthros, at first, presents itself as a very vicious two-headed hound, snarling and aggressive; it calms down considerably after Fluttershy gives it a few tummy rubs.
  • Hidden Depths: Rainbow and Fluttershy make surprisingly effective fast food cooks.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Keeping with Twilight's character, she states that, while she's there to help resolve any trading conflicts as part of her princess duties, she really just wishes to enjoy herself and trade like any other pony. She's clearly uncomfortable when Pinkie hypes her status as princess in order to advertise the books she's trading.
  • I Meant to Do That: What Pinkie claims with helping Twilight realize the books are too valuable to sell. It's... not convincing.
  • It's All Junk: Twilight initially sees her used books this way—she just wants to be rid of them, and doesn't care what she gets in exchange. Before Pinkie Pie intervenes, Twilight almost trades them all for a broken quill.
  • Kitsch Collection: Many of the booths at the Traders' Exchange have these, ranging from a Daring Do bookstand to a booth with nothing but Discord-shaped lamps.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Pinkie explains the rules of trading by reaching up and pulling a list from offscreen to recite from.
  • Leonine Contract: The pony with the first-edition Daring Do book ends up making one with Rainbow Dash. After Rainbow says "yes", the trader amends the deal by insisting that Fluttershy go to Manehattan with her until the Orthros is housebroken. This is what drives Rainbow to ask Twilight to declare the trade unfair.
    Rainbow Dash: I did want that book. A lot. I said I wanted it more than anything in all of Equestria. But there's no thing that's worth as much to me as a friend.
  • Multiple Head Case: The Orthros, naturally. Doubles as Two Beings, One Body... or Mix-and-Match Critters, since unlike Cerberus, each of the Orthros' heads looks like a different breed of dog.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Rainbow Dash when she realizes Fluttershy will be leaving Ponyville for Manehattan to train the Daring Do trader's new Orthros for Celestia knows how long.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Fluttershy's first reaction to seeing the two-headed Hell Hound Orthros is to call it "cute".
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • The ancient chicken art vendor was intended to be modeled and voiced after Charles Nelson Reilly; though the appearance came out clearly, his voice ends up sounding like a distinctive Paul Lynde impersonation- appropriate, considering how both were on rival game shows in the 70s, the former on Match Game, the latter on The Hollywood Squares (both shows got merged at one point, but that was a disaster).
    • One stallion appears in several background shots, having a brown coat, grey mop-top hair, wearing a purple shirt/vest and with purple-tinted, round glasses with a music note cutie mark, and strongly resembles a ponified Elton John.
  • Noodle Implements: It's up to our imagination why anypony would specifically want "a slightly rusty old horseshoe."
  • Off-Model: During the arbitration scene, several well-established background ponies appeared to be missing their cutie marks.
  • Older Is Better: Rarity's excuse for wanting a brooch that is otherwise identical to the newer one she's currently wearing.
  • Outhumbling Each Other: What Rarity and Applejack's conflict evolves into; they each demand the other get what she wants to prove they're the better friend.
  • Out of Order: Episode 22 in broadcast order, 19th in production order.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Applejack and Rarity become increasingly angry as they each try to insist on buying what the other wants.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Both Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash try these on the lamp trader so he could return to his stall to complete his part of their Fetch Quest. It fails.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Twilight acts as one to oversee the proceedings. It's the duty of the Princess on Duty to make sure every deal is fair. Rainbow invokes this in order to nullify her trade.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: When performing her royal duty as arbiter, Princess Twilight dons her tiara. In keeping with her insistence on not being treated differently than anypony else, she only wears it in this one scene.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Discussed by Princess Twilight when Pinkie Pie suggests heading to her "royal box seat".
      Twilight Sparkle: I may be the princess on duty, but I don't think that means I have to sit up there all alone doing nothing.
    • And played straight when she actually has to settle a dispute over Rainbow Dash's trade of the Orthros for the book. Apparently this is the first time a dispute actually happened, since the only rule is both parties have to be happy with the trade.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Twice occurred, both subverted:
    • One with the crystal chalice which instantly breaks once Rainbow lays her hoofs on it. Fluttershy and she glue it back together... only for the pony they were trading it to to instantly smash it once acquired to use the pieces in an art portrait he's making. They still get the statue they need out of it, so it's all good.
    • Once they get the Orthros, only for the Daring Do collector pony to decide she doesn't want it anymore. However, Fluttershy convinces her it's worth keeping.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: A mythological example with the Orthros, which is not as popular as its bigger, scarier brother, Cerberus.
  • Shell Game: Applejack tries to prove that there's no difference between the two brooches by swapping them rapidly and asking Rarity to identify the antique one. Rarity confidently picks one and insists it's the antique, even though she can't explain how she knows, while in her zeal to prove Rarity wrong Applejack herself is no longer able to tell which is the original.
  • Shout-Out:
    • While AJ and Rarity are talking about sharing their trade goods, a pair of unicorns (a stallion with a bow tie and a mare wearing a dress) with identical coloring and carrying an empty bird cage can be seen, bringing to mind the Lutece Twins from BioShock Infinite. And Ken Levine noticed.
    • The trader who owns the Orthros looks like Kratos, fittingly.
    • The scene with pedestrians blocking Rainbow Dash's path to the book dealer was a nod to Frogger. Confirmed by Jim Miller.
    • The discussion Rarity and AJ have about the historicity of objects is very similar to Wyndham-Matson's lecture about Franklin Delano Roosevelt's lighter in The Man in the High Castle.
    • The chicken in the glass mosaic is posed like Rose when she asks Jack to draw her.
    • The comic trading colt has a tee-shirt on that has the diamond-shape that is the background of the Superman logo.
    • Spike's comic that he wishes to trade has a cover layout similar to the Watchmen series.
    • The Chain of Deals subplot, involving swaps for increasingly bizarre items, bears a suspicious resemblance to a similar subplot in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Tri-State Treasure: Boot of Secrets".
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Pinkie becomes one while trying to sell Twilight's books, hyping them up as having been owned by two princesses. She eventually goes too far and makes them seem more valuable than anyone is willing to pay, which works out for Twilight.
  • Speak in Unison: Applejack and Rarity engage in this for a bit:
    Applejack/Rarity: I found a super valuable vintage item I just have to have, and all it's gonna cost is all our stuff! (beat) Uh-oh.
  • Spiking the Camera: When Rarity says "Who could say no to exchanging a single object for such a huge assortment of items", the mare at the cupcake stand glances directly at the audience.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Rainbow Dash hangs a lampshade on the improbability of a stand filled with Discord-shaped lamps.
    • After Twilight Sparkle rules in favor of the trade being unfair, Rainbow Dash jumps on Fluttershy happily, followed by the Orthros landing on them and licking their faces. It's a dog pile.
  • Surprise Creepy: Pinkie Pie making sure the little filly won't tell anyone that Princess Twilight almost broke the rules by accepting a broken quill, which she didn't really want, for her stack of old books.
    Pinkie Pie: But you're not going to say anything, are you? Ha ha, just kidding! Or am I? Sometimes I can't even tell!
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Twilight treats her presence at the Rainbow Falls Traders Exchange as a formality and assumes no-one will care. She barely finishes that thought before she notices that they've set up a big welcome.
    • Twilight also points out that her position as arbiter is largely ceremonial because both ponies have to agree to a trade, hence both parties must consider it fair, so there's never been a dispute. So of course she ends up having to mediate one.
  • They Don't Make Them Like They Used To: Applejack is willing to pay quite highly for an antique pie pan for this reason. Even in bad shape it cooks pies a whole five seconds faster.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: How often, especially in season 4, does Spike appear to have a better time of it than the Mane Six? His one slight Butt-Monkey moment involves tripping and almost dropping his comic book in the mud.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Twilight to Pinkie's Surprise Creepy moment, especially to a little filly.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Rainbow Dash's irises visibly shrink, coupled with her eager smile being frozen on her face, when the Daring Do collector tells her she no longer wants the Orthros she spent the whole day trying to get.
  • Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: After trying (and failing) to trade her lucky horseshoe for every prior item in the chain of deals, Rainbow Dash is taken completely by surprise when the crystal chalice salespony just wants "an old, slightly rusty horseshoe" in exchange.


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