In the show, Rainbow Dash clearly wasn't listening.
People in Manehattan really like their indentured servitude contracts. Okay, okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but trading ponies for a specified period of time to complete a task is apparently a common form of payment -- Coco in Rarity's episode, Fluttershy in this one. I guess Rainbow could have gotten her book and kept Fluttershy if she found some other pony willing to spend a few dozen moons training the Orthos?
Hey, Applebloom. How are you doing on that cutie mark hunt? You know, Applejack got her cutie mark by running off to Manehattan...
And... Pinkie Pie. "You won't tell anyone, WILL YOU? Just kidding. OR AM I? Sometimes I don't even know!" And the 'double princess' thing. Apparently wearing multiple hats is a motif. Is it possibly symbolic of the many different ponies Twilight Sparkle aspires to be simultaneously, that don't work at all together and end up just making her look silly?
Okay, it's probably just a visual gag.
Man, they really should have kept the Orthos.
Most of the Rainbow/Fluttershy arc was pretty good. The glued-together chalice that the guy immediately smashes, the oatburgers (except for that vendor's voice actor), the discord lamps. I wonder if anyone was selling Twilicanes?
Rarity/Applejack, on the other hoof...
Yeah, I got nothing. It was just sort of there. It wasn't really dragging the episode down but it wasn't as good as the other parts. What dragged the episode down was actually the bad parts of the Rainbow sequence where they played for drama.
...but they didn't drag it down that far. I'm giving it a 2/3 because none of it was really awesome and not because the bad parts were super-bad.