The girls go in search of Applejack hoping to understand why, after a Canterlot rodeo competition, she has decided to never return to Ponyville.
Applejack is soon to compete in the Equestria Rodeo Competition in Canterlot which, as the name suggests, is the biggest competition in the circuit. Being the pride of Ponyville, Applejack finds that she has much to amount to: she has earned several blue ribbons from past rodeos and is confident that she'll bring home the top prize. Additionally, to show her gratitude for all the support the townfolk had given her over the years, she has promised to donate the prize money to help fix town hall, which was damaged extensively by Derpy when she was "helping" Rainbow Dash set up Applejack's send-off ceremony. The next day, Applejack boards a train for Canterlot, promising to bring home the honors, money, and make her town proud.
One week later, Twilight Sparkle, her friends, and the Apple family are setting up a surprise victory party in honor of Applejack. But what they don't know is that Applejack has not returned to Ponyville. Instead, another pony is sent to the party to deliver a telegram on her behalf. In the letter, she tells her family and friends that she will not be returning to Ponyville and that she will send back money to fix the town hall. The news shocks her friends and family since the revelation is out of her character and never explained in the letter.
So Twilight and the gang set out for Canterlot to find her. They go to the stadium and ask around, but no one seems to know where she had gone after the rodeo. But, luckily, they pick up a lead that points them in the direction of Dodge Junction; there, they immediately run into Applejack.
The girls learn that, for suspicious reasons, Applejack had taken a job at a cherry ranch. Her new boss, Cherry Jubilee, explains that after seeing Applejack's performance at the rodeo, she approached Applejack with a job offer and also claims that Applejack was looking for a "change in scenery". To understand Applejack's decision, the girls decide to work as cherry sorters at the ranch. However, Applejack stubbornly refuses to answer any questions regarding Ponyville or what happened at the rodeo.
Having failed in the sorting barn to get answers, the girls bring out the big guns: Pinkie Pie. They send Pinkie to help Applejack pick cherries from the orchard and encourage her to talk about nonsense until Applejack breaks. The plan works: Applejack finally agrees to talk and makes a Pinkie Promise to explain her reasons at breakfast.
That morning, the girls go up to Applejack's room only to find that she has left the ranch, infuriating Pinkie Pie. (Because to break a Pinkie Promise is to commit the ultimate cardinal sin.) They rush back into town where they see Applejack about to take the next train out of Dodge Junction. Applejack hops on a nearby stagecoach and has the hitched mares ride her out of town. The girls, finding a nearby wagon, hitch Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy up and take chase.
After chasing her out into the desert, the girls catch up with Applejack and get close enough for Pinkie Pie to boards her stagecoach. Pinkie demands that Applejack apologizes for breaking her Pinkie Promise, but Applejack retorts that she didn't break her promise since she never came to breakfast. Once again, she tells the girls that she is just "sorry" that she cannot come clean about what happened. Pinkie, having heard the "sorry" part, accepts what she sees as a temporary apology and jumps back onto the cart, knocking Rarity and herself off and leaving them behind.
Applejack's stagecoach approaches a railroad track and she has the stallions speed up just so she can barely allow an oncoming train separate her from her pursuers. The stagecoach ponies, calling her "trouble", leave Applejack by the tracks. Applejack sees that she had gotten away, but didn't count on the fact that Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy would jump the cart over the train itself.
Applejack tries to run on foot, but is swiftly knocked down by Rainbow Dash. When she knocks her down, all the ribbons Applejack got from the rodeo fall out of her bag, revealing what the reason was all along: she didn't win the Equestria Rodeo Competition. Applejack finally admits to the girls that she was ashamed by only walking away with second to fourth place ribbons and, after the all the support Ponyville gave her, felt that she let them down. Additionally, having won no prize money, she tells them that she was working on the ranch in order to earn the money for town hall. The girls comfort Applejack by telling her that they could always find another way to fix town hall and, being her friends, they don't care what place she came in: she's still "number one" in their book.
Applejack returns to Ponyville with open arms and, in a monologue, Applejack writes her letter to Princess Celestia; telling her lesson of never running away from your problems. Meanwhile, back in the desert, Rarity is forced to travel by handcart by to Ponyville and listen to Pinkie Pie talk about cherries for what may end up being the longest trip of her life. (Punchline!)
In the ultimate sign of fan service, Amy Keating Rogers was asked by producers to write the fan-favorite background character, Derpy Hooves, into the episode's plotline: turning her into an official character. In her "debut" scene, she has a dialogue with an aggravated Rainbow Dash as she continually causes additional damage to Ponyville town hall. According to Rogers, Derpy was initially named "Ditzy Doo", an character mentioned in a previous episode.
The scene has received mixed to positive reactions from the community. Recorded live streams and comment boards have shown a surprised and ecstatic reaction to not only Derpy being referred to by her fan name, but being given a voice. However, the end depiction of the character in the show has been a subject of enormous controversy. In the episode, Derpy is portrayed as clumsy and her voice has been compared to that of a handicapped person. While many fans have defended Derpy's cameo, some of argued that the scene--even Derpy herself--promotes ableism and is offensive to the disabled. While Rogers received a massive amount of positive feedback for the cameo, as a mother of a severely mentally handicapped child she was "hurt" by the fewer angry e-mails she received and the irony of writing a character whose name has been linked towards slurs against people with Down's Syndrome.
Such criticisms reached Hasbro who then began, one week after the episode aired, to remove Derpy from licensed merchandise on WeLoveFine.com--bringing it back after mass support for Derpy--and indefinitely pull the episode from iTunes. Tabitha St. Germain, who played Derpy, has even gone so far to remove the character's name for her blog.
Further controversy arose when the episode returned to iTunes with the scene edited. In the new version, Derpy's voice is made more feminine and Rainbow Dash no longer refers to Derpy by name. The changes outraged the fan community and caused further infighting. In response, Amy Keating Rogers explained in an email that the choice whether or not to edit the episode was "a no win situation" for the producers. Because of her work in the handicapped community, she was contacted for her input though the final edit wasn't her call. However, DVD releases with the episode still have the original scene intact.
Currently, the debate over the edit and the "political correctness" of Derpy remains heated. Fans for Derpy's canon-status continue to write emails and petitions that claim her role isn't offensive; some of these fans claiming to be handicapped themselves. The largest petition, "Save Derpy" currently holds 40,000 signatures, though never touched its goal of 50,000. Meanwhile, Studio B have assured fans that Derpy will remain unchanged in all past and future episodes.
|Name||The Last Roundup|
|Air Date||Jan. 21, 2012|