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Recap / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S5 E6 "Appleoosa's Most Wanted"

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"Upside-down horseshoe — bad luck. Follows me wherever I go like sour on old milk."

Written by Dave Polsky
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Applejack and the Cutie Mark Crusaders are in Appleoosa for a rodeo competition, with Applejack competing in the hay bale-stacking contest in place of her cousin Braeburn, who has injured his foreleg. The Crusaders, meanwhile, are looking to enter an event as a way to get their cutie marks. As Apple Bloom is about to ask Applejack for permission to compete, a hay bale tower from a practice session falls over, nearly flattening the Crusaders beneath it. Upon investigation, Sheriff Silverstar finds a large hoofprint in the dirt and identifies it as that of Trouble Shoes, a notorious outlaw who's been sabotaging rodeos all over Equestria.

At a meeting of the townsfolk, the sheriff says that, despite the interference of Trouble Shoes, the rodeo will go on as planned. However, Applejack insists that the Crusaders return to Ponyville for their safety, and she even considers going back herself. Braeburn talks Applejack into staying and promises to keep an eye on the Crusaders. That night, after Braeburn falls asleep in his chair, the Crusaders sneak out of Braeburn's house to go find Trouble Shoes, under the assumption that they can earn their cutie marks by bringing him to justice. When Braeburn wakes up, he finds the Crusaders gone, and he sheepishly tells Applejack at her practice session. The two report the Crusaders being missing to Sheriff Silverstar, who heads off to find them.

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The Crusaders wind up lost in the forest, and a sudden downpour of rain prompts them to seek shelter in a nearby cabin. Soon, the owner of the cabin enters: none other than Trouble Shoes, whose surprise at the Crusaders in his home causes a mess. Trouble Shoes turns out to be anything but a vicious outlaw. As Trouble Shoes leads the Crusaders back to town, he explains that he always had a passion for the rodeo, but his clumsiness caused no end of accidents, despite his practicing. On the day he was trying out for rodeo school, he got his cutie mark, an upside-down horseshoe, causing him to mess up his routine. The judges burst into laughter, and he ran off without even finishing his routine. To this day, he could never keep away from rodeos and loves to watch them , but at every rodeo he would cause an accident due to his klutziness, leading to his bad reputation. Trouble Shoes bemoans his bad luck, but the Crusaders talk amongst themselves about how he's looking at his cutie mark all wrong, realizing that his true calling is being a rodeo clown. Just then, the sheriff and company find Trouble Shoes, and he's arrested for ruining the rodeos and filly-napping the Crusaders, despite their pleas.

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The next day, the Crusaders trick the sheriff into leaving the jail to watch the rodeo and break Trouble Shoes out, bringing him to the rodeo disguised as a rodeo clown. Applejack and her team win the hay bale-stacking contest, and the rodeo clowns come out to entertain the crowd in-between the events. The Crusaders tell Trouble Shoes to join the clowns, but Trouble Shoes is hesitant. They insist that he's been looking at his cutie mark the wrong way, and that his talent is for making people laugh. Trouble Shoes joins the clowns in the rodeo ring, prompting all kinds of klutziness that makes the crowd laugh with delight. Trouble Shoes is initially delighted, but removing a water barrel that fell on his head causes his clown makeup to wash off. Exposed, Trouble Shoes apologizes for all the trouble he's caused, saying he never meant any harm, and that entertaining the crowd was the most fun he's ever had. Sheriff Silverstar says that he can understand the trouble at the rodeos but still has to put Trouble Shoes back in jail for filly-napping the Crusaders, prompting the Crusaders to confess that they ran off on their own. As punishment, the Crusaders end up having to clean up after the rodeo is over, with Applejack watching them. She says that though the Crusaders may not be going home with cutie marks, they at least helped Trouble Shoes understand his own better.


Tropes:

  • Adult Fear: Three fillies sneaking out in the middle of the night which leads to the town thinking they were kidnapped by Trouble Shoes. This also goes for the haybales that almost fell on them. Also at one point, Trouble Shoes nearly kicks the Crusaders out of his home with the thunderstorm still raging.
  • Adults Are Useless: Applejack pulls a Not Now, Kiddo when the Crusaders try to speak up in Trouble Shoes's defense. Braeburn also lets the Crusaders get away from his watch twice.
  • Amusing Injuries:
    • Trouble Shoes gets a Cranial Eruption after three bowling balls fall on him.
    • Happens en-masse to the rodeo clowns when Trouble Shoes joins their act. Even Braeburn, who's way up in the stands, isn't safe.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Small hay bales that would be used for competitions (packed on the lighter side) average in weight from 40 to 70 pounds. Being hit on the head by one falling on you would result in much more damage than just being momentarily stunned. Chalk that up to Cartoon Physics or Earth Pony resilience. Curiously, when the stack collapses the first time, threatening to land on the CMC, it is treated seriously and even realistically crushes a set of wooden bleacher seats and part of a corral fence.
  • Banana Peel: Among the many mishaps Trouble Shoes experiences, there's of course the classic banana peel slide.
  • Big "NO!": The CMC yell one when Trouble Shoes is arrested.
  • Big "WHAT?!": When Applejack finds out the Crusaders have gone missing.
  • Born Unlucky: Trouble Shoes Clyde has an upside-down horseshoe as cutie mark. He blames his constant accidents on it, believing himself to be unlucky, but he's actually just a klutz (a fitting trait for a natural-born rodeo clown).
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Despite Big Mac not appearing in the episode, AJ once again borrows his iconic "Nope" line when the Crusaders ask to be released from their punishment.
  • Catchphrase: Trouble Shoes saying "Just my luck" when something doesn't go quite right.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Applejack hits Braeburn's injured foreleg similarly to how she hits Big Macintosh's injured ribs in "Applebuck Season".
    • Sweetie Belle's still practicing her magic, and, while not readily adept at it, she is able to use it without too much struggle.
    • A couple of buffalo from "Over a Barrel" can be seen watching Trouble Shoes' rodeo audition during his flashback.
  • Cranial Eruption: After Trouble Shoes crashes into a shelf and catches three bowling balls on his head, a big lump grows from underneath his hat.
    Trouble Shoes: Typical.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Trouble Shoes has a dry and apathetic tone when commenting about his assorted mishaps.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Trouble Shoes's acceptance of his jail time for criminal mischief has him state:
    Trouble Shoes: If I done wrong, I'll take my medicine and square my accounts.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Primarily when Trouble Shoes enters his wagon for the first time and is surprised to find the Crusaders there. However, other scenes both from his flashbacks and from the last act are similar chain reactions of unfortunate events alongside his klutziness.
  • Distant Reaction Shot: Coupled with the Big "WHAT?!" mentioned above when Applejack finds out Braeburn lost the Crusaders.
  • The Eeyore: Trouble Shoes is very much aware that he can't catch a break and is very pessimistic, to the point he seems to take his bad luck for granted. His slow and deliberate voice and depressed mannerisms mark him as an Expy of the original Eeyore.
  • Eye Cam: After knocking himself out, Trouble Shoes slowly comes back and opens his eyes to see a worried-looking Apple Bloom.
  • Fall of the House of Cards: Both during practicing and the rodeo itself, the haybale-stacking event leaves a rather tall pile of hay barely balanced, and in both cases, Trouble Shoes inadvertently causes the stack to fall; fortunately, the second time is after the stack has been judged and AJ's team named the winners.
  • Foreshadowing: While morosely introducing himself to the CMC, Trouble Shoes mentions how he had just baked a pie, which is most likely ruined due to his 'bad luck'. Now, what sometimes goes hand in hand with pies? A clown.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Braeburn's left foreleg is injured prior to the episode, allowing Applejack to take his place in the Appleoosa rodeo.
  • Gentle Giant: Trouble Shoes is among the biggest ponies that have appeared on the show. He's also a very nice guy.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: While in his panic at his trailer, Trouble Shoes says "Dang it".
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Sheriff Silverstar is lured away from the jail and his prisoner when Apple Bloom reminds him of the hay bail stacking contest.
  • Head Desk: One of Silverstar's deputies does this when he loses the card game they were playing.
  • Impairment Shot: The Eye Cam is all out of focus as Trouble Shoes comes back from being stunned after a series of mishaps in his home.
  • The Klutz: Trouble Shoes makes things accidentally topple over, break, or otherwise end up ruined wherever he goes. He chalks this up to inherent bad luck. Turns out it's just his talent for slap-stick comedy.
  • Left the Background Music On: When some foreboding music comes on at a dramatic point, the Sheriff, Braeburn and Applejack give the camera a disapproving look. The view pans to reveal a rodeo clown playing a harmonica beside them. He stops and sheepishly moves off-screen.
  • Made of Iron: Trouble Shoes has this, possibly as a result of his clownish propensities.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Trouble Shoes to a capital T. He loves the rodeo and just wants to be around them, even though he can't compete in them. His klutziness tends to cause accidents, which then forces the rodeos to shut down, so he lives by himself.
  • Nice Hat: Scootaloo's cactus sombrero.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The CMC manage to help Trouble Shoes realize his true talent and get the people of Appleoosa to see he's not a threat. However, since in doing so they disobeyed Applejack's orders to stay with Braeburn, they're forced to clean up after Trouble Shoes's mishaps as punishment for sneaking out.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: Trouble Shoes becomes a rodeo clown.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Trouble Shoes is the second pony in the series, after Pipsqueak, to have a patterned coat modeled off of a real horse breed — in his case, a Clydesdale. Though the credits only give his name as "Trouble Shoes", pre-release material call him "Trouble Shoes Clyde" for this reason. He's also twice as tall as an ordinary stallion, making him the biggest pony ever seen in the series, including Celestia. He even has a distinct "thump" sound to his hoofsteps (as opposed to other ponies' conventional "clop") to further emphasize how massive he is.
  • Noodle Incident: It's never really explained how Braeburn broke his leg.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: When the sheriff and his posse arrest Trouble Shoes, Applejack cuts the fillies off before they can explain that he didn't abduct them.
  • Off-Model: Braeburn's injured forelimb switches from his left to right when he and Applejack confront Sheriff Silverstar.
  • Oh, Crap!: The ring-holding rodeo clown freaks out when he sees Trouble Shoes charging in for the ring jump, which he is entirely too large to perform.
  • Only Sane Man: Sweetie Belle comes off as this when she is extremely reluctant to follow Apple Bloom and Scootaloo into a dark forest to try and find Trouble Shoes. She only follows due to not wanting to be left behind and possibly peer pressure.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Nopony initially recognizes Trouble Shoes under his disguise as a rodeo clown (not even after he loses his wig), despite him being the only equine around way bigger than the average pony. It takes his clown makeup being washed off by water and his red nose falling off for the public to finally recognize him.
  • Patchwork Map: There is a lush forest right next to the desert.
  • Pig Latin: Trouble Shoes yells "Amscray!" to the Crusaders before he nearly kicks them out of his home.
  • Police are Useless:
    • Initially subverted. When Applejack and Braeburn initially tell Sheriff Silverstar that Trouble Shoes kidnapped the CMC, Silverstar initially says that Trouble Shoes has never done something like that, making him an unlikely suspect. When Applejack asks if he's willing to take that chance, however, Silverstar and his officers are off and running after just a few seconds of thought and are able to find Trouble Shoes before too long.
    • Then it's played straight when Apple Bloom tricks Silverstar into abandoning his post so she and the other Crusaders can free Trouble Shoes.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A downplayed version, as Applejack rushes the CMC away before they can explain what Trouble Shoes is really like, but the next scene shows that they wouldn't have been able to help much anyway due to their reluctance to admit to sneaking out.
  • Prompting Nudge: In the beginning, Scootaloo nudges Apple Bloom so that she'll ask her sister if they can participate in the rodeo events.
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: Upon seeing Trouble Shoes come in the door of his cabin, the Cutie Mark Crusaders scream, startling him and making him scream back in a panic.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Despite apologizing at the episode's conclusion, Trouble Shoes still has to spend time in jail for all the mischief he's caused. Trouble Shoes himself doesn't even dispute the idea.
    • The Crusaders also have to make up for running off and scaring AJ and the others, and are forced to help clean up at the rodeo.
  • Rock Bottom: While wandering the forest in the rainstorm, Apple Bloom says "We're pretty much completely and totally lost. How could this get any worse?" Cue the Crusaders falling off a cliff into a mud slide and then landing in a mud hole.
  • Security Cling: The Crusaders during the thunderstorm. Then, Sweetie Belle to Apple Bloom when the three first encounter Trouble Shoes.
  • Shell-Shock Silence: Heard when Trouble Shoes awakens after being knocked out during his first meeting with the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Show Must Go On: Rodeos have been shut down across Equestria due to Trouble Shoes's activity, but Sheriff Silverstar is determined that the Appleoosa Rodeo will not be one of them.
    Sheriff Silverstar: Appleoosa ain't gonna be intimidated!
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • The town formerly spelled "Appleloosa" now seems to officially be "Appleoosa".
    • Pre-release synopsis gave the name "Troubleshoes Clyde" but the end credits and spoken dialog only give it as "Trouble Shoes".
  • Torches and Pitchforks:
    • A few ponies are holding them at the town gathering, but Sheriff Silverstar says he "called for a meeting, not a mob scene". The ponies look disappointed that they can't use them.
    • They gleefully pick them back up again when Trouble Shoes is exposed at the rodeo, but nothing comes of it. It does beg the question of how Properly Paranoid the townfolks are for having lit torches and pitchforks at the ready while spectating at the rodeo...
  • Unusual Euphemism: Sheriff Silverstar mutters "sugar and saltlicks" as a curse when he discovers Trouble Shoes's hoofprint.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Trouble Shoes himself, in that nobody seems to call attention to the fact that he's about four times the size of the average pony.
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: Sweetie Belle mutters to herself that the Crusaders trying to track down Trouble Shoes by themselves is the "worst idea ever."
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Applejack and the Appleoosans fear that Trouble Shoes would kidnap the Cutie Mark Crusaders and they think just that when they see the Crusaders with him. Turns out Trouble Shoes becomes friendly with the Crusaders and listens to their help into accepting his cutie mark.

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