|Spike at Your Service|
|Season episode №:||9|
|Overall episode №:||61|
|Original airdate:||December 29, 2012|
|Story by:||Dave Polsky|
|Written by:||Merriwether Williams|
|Storyboard:||Mike West and Emmett Hall|
|credits • transcript • gallery • allusions|
animation errors • statistics • speculation
Apple Family Reunion
Keep Calm and Flutter On
Spike at Your Service is the ninth episode of the third season of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic and the sixty-first episode overall. After being saved by Applejack from timberwolves, Spike insists on fulfilling the Noble Dragon Code by repaying her with excessive help around the farm.
Production, development, and release
The episode is listed on both the iTunes Store and Zap2it as the tenth episode of the third season, and the keywords of Hasbro's YouTube upload of a clip from the episode include "Ep 310". Show layout supervisor Tim Stuby wrote on Twitter "Apple Fam Reunion is 309" in response to an Equestria Daily post that, at the time, listed Apple Family Reunion and Spike at Your Service as the respective eighth and ninth episodes of the third season, show storyboard artist Sabrina Alberghetti wrote on deviantArt that Apple Family Reunion was slotted as 9 when she "did it, but stuff like that changes all the time", and show storyboard artist Raven Molisee listed the episode as number 310 on DeviantArt.
When asked about the Dragon Code, Dave Polsky admitted that Dragon Quest had shown Spike knew little about being a dragon but "[I] felt it credible he'd taken initiative to learn about his dragon heritage since".
In the episode's early stages, it was a Rarity and Spike episode. However, it was re-written because Rarity was too mean to Spike in the original script. The final version uses Applejack instead.
Spike's day off
The episode opens at Twilight Sparkle's library in Ponyville. Princess Celestia has assigned twelve books for Twilight to read over the course of a weekend. Realizing how busy such an assignment will be keeping her, Twilight gives Spike the day off. Spike jumps at the chance to do things he's been wanting to do, such as touching his nose with his tongue, playing bongos on his belly and smelling his own feet, but quickly runs out of things to do when it turns out he's not as good at putting together to-do lists as Twilight is.
Attack in the Everfree
Bored, Spike wanders through Ponyville for a bit before deciding to take a ride in the Twinkling Balloon. In his excitement though, he accidentally undoes the balloon's rope tether, and it takes off without him. He chases the runaway hot air balloon across Ponyville, nearly crashing into Granny Smith in the process, and eventually catches it as it floats over the Everfree Forest. Spike re-tethers the balloon to the ground before realizing where he's ended up. The horrors of the Everfree Forest are quickly made apparent to Spike, and he's confronted by a pack of three timberwolves. They chase him through the forest and soon corner him. Just before the timberwolves can make a quick meal out of the dragon, however, Applejack comes to the rescue. She distracts the beasts so that Spike can get away, and the timberwolves chase after her. Applejack, proving to be far more resourceful than Spike, dispatches the wolves and leaves them as piles of leaves and tree bark. Spike marvels at Applejack's skills and thanks her immensely for saving his life. It turns out that Applejack was in the Everfree Forest because she'd seen the runaway hot air balloon and came to investigate. With the balloon retrieved, Applejack and Spike leave the forest together. Behind them, the shattered remains of the timberwolves magically come alive.
The Dragon Code
Applejack thanks Spike for walking her home and goes to see to her chores. Still thankful to her for saving his life, Spike offers to do Applejack's chores for her. She initially turns down his gesture, dismissing her actions as something friends do for each other, but relents when Spike is insistent. Finally, Applejack tells Spike that he can help Apple Bloom with whatever she needs. Spike ends up helping Apple Bloom wash a dirty pig. At first, Spike's services—while somewhat clumsy—are indeed helpful, as far as Apple Bloom is concerned. But as time goes by, and Spike becomes ever more determined to assist, and as a result, large messes are made.
Applejack once again tries to send Spike on his way, but the little dragon will hear none of it, explaining that his intent to help is part of his 'dragon code'; he owes his very life to Applejack. Granny Smith mentions Twilight, and Spike comes to a realization: he has to "break the news" to her. He returns to the library and finds Twilight studying. He explains to her that Applejack saved his life and that, according to his dragon code, he must now serve her for the rest of his life. Unfortunately, Twilight did not pay any attention due to her obsession with studying and simply said "Mhm". Heartbroken and teary-eyed, he leaves to start his new life at Sweet Apple Acres.
Applejack and Granny Smith are beyond surprised to hear that Twilight's given Spike her "blessing", and Spike, still committed to serving Applejack, proceeds to make a mess in the kitchen that Applejack and Granny Smith just got through cleaning. The two look to each other in profound worry.
A not-so-number-one assistant
Applejack explains to Spike that she respects his adhering to his dragon code, but she's uncomfortable with his devout servitude to her. Spike disputes that the dragon code is a part of him, that he must be true to himself, and that defying it means he's no longer a "noble dragon". Applejack has no intention of belittling Spike's integrity and quickly looks for something for him to do—something that won't end up with him making a mess or getting himself hurt. They decide to take the pie he helped make to Rarity.
Rarity eyes the pie Applejack and Spike brought her with a wince, but a facial cue from Applejack tells her she shouldn't disappoint him. She samples the pie (which, judging from her expression, is clearly inedible), and Spike—at Applejack's behest—excuses himself to do Rarity's dishes. Applejack gives Rarity the full story: she saved Spike's life from timberwolves, and now he's forever indebted to her. Instead of being sympathetic to Applejack's plight, Rarity expresses envy. This sentiment doesn't last long, as Spike quickly makes a mess of Rarity's kitchen as well, to which Applejack comments "sometimes Spike's help isn't that helpful".
It's at this time that Rainbow Dash makes her entrance and is too given an explanation of Applejack's predicament. Rainbow believes she has the solution: task Spike with something exceedingly difficult and drive him to quit. She gives Spike such a task: build a large tower of rocks for Rainbow Dash to smash through. Believing this to be a request of Applejack's, Spike naturally accepts. To Rainbow Dash's surprise though, he doesn't give up, and ends up stacking a large tower of rocks as requested. Rainbow Dash follows through on her bluff and brings the tower down, leaving her in a daze. With that done, Applejack takes Fluttershy's advice and tells Spike she can't think of anything else for him to do. Desperate, Spike rationalizes that maybe she needs help thinking of things she needs help with, like her back needs itching, to remember her favorite song, even breathing.
Applejack is at her wit's end. She seeks out Twilight, who's still muzzle-deep in a book. When Applejack manages to finally get Twilight's attention, she explains what she believes Twilight to already be aware of: that Spike is following his dragon code and serving her forever for saving him from timberwolves. This is news to Twilight, who was too distracted to be aware of anything that was going on around her. But now that she's brought up to speed, she has the answer. Applejack keeps Spike occupied while she convenes with her friends (now including Pinkie Pie) in the barn. The plan: have Spike save Applejack's life from a timberwolf!
The staged timberwolf attack
Just outside the Everfree Forest, Applejack and the others make ready to put their plan into action. Before Rarity could call into question her believability as a "damsel in distress", Spike approaches, prompting everypony to take their places. As Spike is put to the task of gathering leaves, the plan is put into motion. Rainbow Dash roars like a timberwolf, Rarity flees and screams past in terror (while Pinkie Pie screams for the fun of it), Twilight brings a timberwolf puppet to life with her magic, and Fluttershy (with buckets tied to her hooves) makes the "timberwolf's" clomp sounds. During this, Applejack pretends to get her hoof caught in a pile of rocks, unable to get away. This appears to have Spike fooled at first, but he soon catches on, citing the lack of timberwolf breath as a dead giveaway. But when he catches the whiff of an actual timberwolf's breath, and Twilight and Rainbow Dash panic, the fake threat is made genuine: real timberwolves have appeared!
As Applejack and Spike run away from the attacking wolves, Applejack climbs to the top of a pile of rocks and pushes a large boulder onto them as they run past; they're smashed to pieces. Suddenly, the rock pile collapses underneath her, and she takes a tumble and actually gets her hoof stuck. Like before, the remains of the timberwolves come alive and assemble into a single, much larger Timberwolf King. Applejack tells Spike to run, but Spike resolves to stay and save her. He chucks one of the smaller rocks at the giant timberwolf, and it becomes lodged in the beast's windpipe. The timberwolf starts choking. Spike pries Applejack's trapped hoof loose, and the two run away as the giant timberwolf "dies" of suffocation.
"That's what friends do"
Applejack's friends are surprised to hear that she'd actually gotten herself stuck, and she both thanks Spike for saving her and apologizes for attempting to trick him. Reconciling, the two agree if one ends up saving the other's life in the future, to say "that's what friends do" and leave it at that (on the condition that they try to avoid such situations). They seal the deal with a hoof/claw-bump.
That evening, Twilight is back in her library studying in the dark. Spike walks up with a lit lantern, and she thanks him. Spike hugs her leg, saying he's "really really really happy to help", and Twilight laughs.
- For more quotes, see the episode's transcript.
- Spike: "Touch nose with tongue." Eeeng... done! "Play bongos on my belly." Done! "Smell my dirty feet." [sniffs] [sigh] Done!
- Rainbow Dash: AJ, Rarity, what's happening?
- Rarity: Applejack saved Spike's life and now he has to serve her forever.
- Rainbow Dash: Sweet! What are you having him do? Wash your laundry? Clean your room? Help you with your unfinished novel? Mine's about this awesome Pegasus who's the best flyer ever, and becomes the captain of the Wonderbolts!
- Rarity: [unimpressed] However did you come up with that ingeniously woven intricate plotline?
- Rainbow Dash: Just came to me.
- Rainbow Dash: Huh. I was sure he'd give up after, like, three rocks.
- Fluttershy: Oh goodness. If it'd been me, I'd've just pretended I didn't have anything for him to do.
- Spike: Maybe not! Maybe Applejack needs help realizing what she needs help with! Like, maybe her back itches!
- Applejack: Huuuuh... that does feel... good...
- Spike: [laughs] See? Or you might need help remembering your favorite song! "Dragon is the finest creature ever, there's more to him than just guarding treasure..."
- Fluttershy: I don't think that's her favorite s-
- Spike: Or you might need help breathing!
- Applejack: Breathin'? I certainly do not-
- [bellows pumping]
- [air being let out of balloon]
- Applejack: Alright, y'all, here's the deal. Spike needs to save my life.
- Pinkie Pie: And you want us to shoot you out of a cannon towards a hornet's nest and give Spike a butterfly net so he can catch you mere seconds before you hit the nest and are stung by a thousand angry hornets! I'll wear this mustache.
- Applejack: ...No. I am gonna be attacked by a timberwolf!
- Rest of main 6: [gasping]
- Pinkie Pie: Can I still wear the mustache?
- Pinkie Pie: Just one question.
- Applejack: Yes? [Pinkie has the mustache again] No.
- Pinkie Pie: Ehh, suit yourself. [knocks away the party cannon full of supplies]
- Rarity: We are all ready to play our parts, but are you sure you are ready to play yours, Applejack?
- Applejack: What d'you mean?
- Rarity: Show us your best damsel in distress move.
- Applejack: Uh... Oh, well, aheh, how's this? Hooooooo.
- Rarity: Absolutely horrendous. Okay, this needs some serious work! Now, first, you must lift your foreleg up to your forehead, like so-
- Spike: And, as a noble dragon and follower of my Dragon Code, I-
- Rainbow Dash: [roars imitating timberwolf]
- Fluttershy: That was very convincing!
- Applejack: [unconvincingly] Oh no! I seem to have gotten my hoof caught in between two rocks! I cannot run away! I am a damsel in distress! Help me, Spike!
- Spike: Wait a minute.
- Applejack: No, no, don't wait a minute.
- Raven Molisee (2013-01-01). MLP #s 305 306 307 308. DeviantArt. Retrieved on 2013 January 1.
- Jim Miller announcing the storyboard artist (2012-12-29). Retrieved on 2012 December 29.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Vol. 5. Retrieved on 2013 February 6.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S03E10. Zap2it. Retrieved on 2012 December 20.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - "Spike at Your Service" (TV Clip) (2013-01-09). Retrieved on 2013 January 9.
- Tim Stuby on Twitter (2012-11-17). Retrieved on 2012 November 18.
- Sabrina Alberghetti on deviantArt (2012-12-18). Retrieved on 2012 December 20.
- Clip. Entertainment Weekly clip. Retrieved on 2012 December 28.
- http://www.allspark.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=91229&st=20&p=2215211&#entry2215211 Archived locally.
- Jayson Thiessen (2012-12-31). One of our layout supervisors, John Cantlie, modelled and animated them himself. saved doing it in flash.. Retrieved on 2012 December 31.
- Jayson's second answer on Twitter.
- Polsky's Twitter, 31st December 2012
- Unicon 2013; Writer's Room.
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