There truly is nothing like a Rarity episode, and this one is no exception.
There are certain perks to being friends with Princess Celestia's personal protege, such as getting to stay in a suite at the castle when you're in Canterlot. That doesn't mean that Rarity expected such a thing, though, and she can only express her gratitude through excessive kissing of the princess' hooves. The bellhop, meanwhile, collapses under the weight of Rarity's excessive luggage.
Though Rarity is in Canterlot for business purposes, she takes some time to enjoy the hustle and bustle of Canterlot life with her kitty, Opalescence, and muses that she should make Twilight an outfit for her upcoming birthday to thank her for getting her the room in the castle. As she sips her cafe au lait, she's approached by two unicorns who introduce themselves as Jet Set and Upper Crust, inquiring about her lovely hat. Before Rarity can hopefully impress them with the fact that she made it herself, she's interrupted by a window-washing pony, A.C. Turnip Truck, who recognizes her from last fall's hoe down. He embarrasses her in front of the Canterlotters, but Rarity is too nice to say anything. Hearing that she's from Ponyville, the two unicorns reverse their initial thoughts on her hat and walk off with their snoots in the air.
Burning with indignation, Rarity designs her fanciest dress ever, and immediately writes to Twilight to let her know about the forthcoming gift. She rushes out to buy the materials, but on her way back accidentally bumps into Fancy Pants, the most important pony in Canterlot society! In the course of apologizing and picking up her things, Rarity offhandedly mentions that she's staying at the castle and knows the princess. This garners her an invitation to Fancy Pant's VIP box for the Wonderbolts Derby that afternoon. Stunned, Rarity can only mumble out "Sure."
Back at her suite, Rarity weighs the pros and cons of going to the derby versus working on Twilight's dress: though making connections in Canterlot could be very good for her and her business, her friends appreciate her work more than anyone, so shouldn't she throw her whole self into making the dress? In the end, she decides that going to the derby will still leave time for the dress, and so she goes! Jet Set and Upper Crust are also at the derby, in the regular seats, so they are shocked when Rarity is welcomed into the VIP box by Fancy Pants himself. She is, of course, roundly ignored by Fancy Pants' other guests, until he drops the word that she's staying at the castle. But the race is about to begin, and according to Fancy Pants, Rapid Fire is the one to beat. His guests all agree, except for Rarity, who thinks Fleet Foot will come out the winner. Her treacherous words are proved right, and she credits her prediction to her friend Rainbow Dash. When questioned about this "Rainbow Dash," Rarity, rather than lose face by admitting she's just a pegasus from Ponyville, says that Dash is the Wonderbolts' trainer. This ruse works, and Fancy Pants declares her his new favorite. As his other guests cheer for her, she winks at the utterly gobsmacked Upper Crust and Jet Set.
puppy-dog-eyes that she can't say no, though she wonders how she'll have time to pull off such a fancy dress and attend all their functions. She justifies all this to Opal by explaining the dress is still her top priority, but she can't stand to disappoint the VIPs of Canterlot by turning down their invitations.
And thus, Rarity's ascent into the Canterlot Elite begins, set to a montage song. She attends art house openings, charity auctions, dinner parties, the opera, yacht parties, even christens an airship. And each event has a specific wardrobe:
exceedingly little time for working on Twilight's dress, and on the day of her return to Ponyville, it is merely a simple frock. She intends to finish it up once she gets back to Ponyville, but just as she's about to leave, an invitation to the Canterlot Garden Party arrives from Jet Set and Upper Crust. At first she's ecstatic, as it's the most premiere party after the Grand Galloping Gala, but in the next moment she remembers that it's at the same time as Twilight's birthday party! She can't miss that, but if she doesn't go to the garden party, then her all her function-attending was for naught. Caught between a rock and a hard place, she makes the only decision she can: she writes to Twilight, but blames her inability to be at her party on Opal being sick.
The next day, Rarity gets herself ready for the garden party, only to find Twilight Sparkle herself outside her door, quickly joined by the rest of her friends. The shock knocks her out, but only for a moment. It's still a few moments more before she can properly express herself to ask what the hay they're all doing there. Twilight explains that, considerate friend that she is, she asked Pinkie Pie if they could move the party to Canterlot so Rarity wouldn't miss it. Rarity is touched by this gesture, but then Rainbow Dash demands to know what she's wearing such a fancy outfit for. Rarity, remembering her initial lie, claims it's to bolster poor Opal's spirits, and Fluttershy asks to see the sick kitty. To her friends' confusion, Rarity shuts her door, claiming to need a minute, and, apologizing to Opal, runs her under the shower to maintain her lie. This manages to fool Fluttershy, and reveals that Rarity actually puts eye shadow on her cat. As the other ponies filter into the suite, Twilight spots her dress, but much to Rarity's surprise and relief, she actually likes it for how simple it is.
Party. Cannon. Rarity hides again when she sees that the castle grounds, where the garden party is being held, is clearly visible from the ballroom windows, but she doesn't have time to dwell on it, as Pinkie Pie declares it time to get this party started! And so the friends celebrate as only they can, which includes cake fights and conga lines.
Rarity, however, finds her attention divided. No matter how much fun she's having with her friends, she can't help but notice the garden party outside. So she sneaks away to make an appearance at the garden party, then sneaks away from there just as quickly. She continues to go back and forth between the two parties, sneaking off either when no one is looking or by inventing excuses (and even using the "what's that over there?" trick). And no one is the wiser, until she accidentally brings a croquet mallet back with her to Twilight's party. Twilight figures out that Rarity was at the garden party, but surprises Rarity once again by not being upset by this. She assumes Rarity was just there to drum up some business (the Grand Galloping Gala is coming up, you know), and gives Rarity full permission to go to other party. Rarity is once again touched, and thanks Twilight for being an awesome friend, then heads off to the garden party.
Rainbow Dash, however, insists that they all go and show those Canterlotters how to party Ponyville-style, much to Rarity's horror. The other ponies agree, and they crash the garden party, party cannon in tow. Rarity watches, helpless, as Rainbow Dash takes over the croquet game and knocks off a lady's wig, Fluttershy attracts all the birds, Pinkie Pie devours the snacks, Applejack puts actual gardening into the garden party, and Twilight dances like a dork. As Rarity downs a drink to get her mind off her friends, Jet Set comments on the plainness of Twilight's outfit, unaware he's talking to its creator, and Rarity can't bring herself to correct him.
approached by Fancy Pants, who asks about her dress. Twilight is quick to let him know it was made for her by a very close friend from Ponyville, causing Rarity to spit-take all over Jet Set and Upper Crust when she hears this. She rushes over to get Fancy Pants away before Twilight can mention her name, but Fancy Pants, used to being dragged away from talking to ponies by other ponies who think they're more worth his time, gently brushes her off. And once Twilight drops the bomb that Rarity made the dress, there's shocked gasps all around from the Canterlot elite. Not reading the mood, Twilight adds that all her friends think it's a lovely dress, and the rest of the Ponyvillians gather around. "You know these ponies?" Fancy Pants asks Rarity, and as the gossip starts to buzz around her, Rarity turns from her friends to the Canterlot ponies and answers, "Yes." She gives them all a speech about how her friends may not have status, but they are the most important ponies she knows. Jet Set and Upper Crust don't buy it, and laugh at them until Fancy Pants tells them he finds these Ponyville ponies "charmingly rustic." He also compliments the dress Rarity made for Twilight, predicting that it may become the next big thing, and asks to be formally introduced to Rarity's friends.
On the new day of her return to Ponyville, Rarity begins writing a letter to Princess Celestia to tell her what she learned while in Canterlot (never be ashamed of where you came from), but the princess shows up to hear it in person. While they both agree it's a good lesson, the bellhop would have appreciated it if they could have finished up a little sooner, as he collapses under Rarity's luggage yet again.
One thing I loved about this episode was that Rarity essentially got away with it. Normally I hate episodes where a character tells a lie and has to go to lengths to keep it up, since I'm always waiting for that moment when it comes crashing down, and everybody is all disappointed with that character. But that doesn't happen in this episode. Rarity flakes on making Twilight's dress...and Twilight actually likes it better than the super fancy dress Rarity had planned. Her "Opal is sick lie" isn't found out, and even though her sneaking between parties is, Twilight isn't upset at all. I guess the more important thing for Rarity to learn was to stand by her friends, so she was allowed to get away with it, but it was very, very refreshing.
Fancy Pants and Girlfriend
Canterlot Race Track
Did I mention it's for charity?
The Canterlot Bunch
Wrong move, Rainbow Dash
Upper Crust and Jet Set change their tune