LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu Episode 2 Review
SEASON 1 EPISODE 2: HOME
After a quick recap of the previous episode, we open to a basic repeat of the opening of last episode. Except this time it turns out instead of playing video games the guys really are training. Zane in particular suddenly switches from meditating to cavorting about the training ground like the others aren’t even there.
Jay: It’s like he’s in his own world. I bet he can’t even hear us!
Kai: Sensei, Zane’s… Weird.
Sensei: What is weird? Someone who is different, or someone who is different from you?
Cole points out that Zane is his own special breed of weird. From casually walking into the bathroom while Cole’s still on the toilet, to laughing during the sad part of a movie, to leaving a… well, weird note in the fridge after finishing off the ham.
Yeah, this is the first of many Zane-centric episodes, and they’re actually some of the best in the series because he’s so weird. It’s interesting to see the series develop why he acts the way he does and how this effects his relationship with the others. Zane gets the most character development of our four leads, and maybe out off any character in the series, which is probably why he’s the most popular with the fans.
Kai explains that they all like Zane just fine, he’s just a little “off” sometimes. Sensei basically tells them ‘Well, he’s your brother now, and brothers are weird. My brother turned evil, I think you can deal with this.’
This discussion is disrupted by the arrival of the mailman. Jay gets a letter from his parents, Kai gets fan mail, and Cole gets a letter from his dad and a box of treats for his dragon. But Zane doesn’t get anything. Apparently he never gets anything because he’s an orphan who can’t remember his parents. I know this is one of the most clichéd character back stories out there, but it just makes me want to give the poor guy a hug. (And trust me the payoff for this plot point is not clichéd)
The snake isn’t taking this info to the General, however. No, he plans to use this to his own advantage. Speaking of the General, he’s still under Lloyd’s control, and orders the Hypnobrai to build a giant treehouse fortress for the kid.
Me: Yep, if I had an army of snake people under my control, that’s what I’d do!
Lloyd: I want more boobie-traps!
Back with the ninja, it’s Zane’s night to cook, which is apparently much better than when it’s Cole’s night to cook.
Cole: Hey, I didn’t hear any complaints about my duck chowder last night.
Kai: That’s because it glued our mouths shut. You really thought Jay was speechless all through dinner?
Jay: Yeah, please don’t make that again.
Zane comes out to serve the main course wearing a frilly pink apron, which causes the others to bust up laughing.
Zane: You laugh because I take steps to ensure I am clean after cooking?
The guys try and explain why it’s so funny, which leads to a food fight. While everyone else is laughing and throwing food, Zane just stands there, confused.
Later that night, he’s taking out the trash when he spots a bird imitating him. After playing around with this a bit, the bird flies off and Zane follows. It leads him to Lloyd’s new treehouse fortress.
And before we go on, I gotta say, the music and atmosphere in this scene are great. It gives the short chase after the bird a real sense of mystery and wonder. That’s one of the things that really impresses me about this show: it can pack a lot of emotion and atmosphere in just a few minutes or even seconds. And it has to; there’s a lot of plot and characters to cram into one 13-episode season. Major props to the composers for the show’s music, Jay Vincent and Michael Kramer.
Zane takes the rest of the ninja out to see the treehouse the next morning. The others are a little incredulous when they hear he found the place by following a bird, but they find the treehouse, just like he said. Obviously they can’t let their enemy build a large fortress nearby but Jay is reluctant to destroy it.
Jay: Woahohoho, are you sure? It looks like a pretty cool treehouse! There’s a ropes course, an elevator, a tree swing…
Me: I agree with Jay, you guys should totally keep it for yourselves.
But nope, they gotta bring it down. There are three main support ropes they’ll have to cut. They sneak in unnoticed, because they may be multicolored, but they’re still ninja.
Meanwhile, Lloyd is testing out more boobie-traps. (I think the kid may have an obsession)
Back to our heroes, who have reached the support ropes and begin cutting them. With the first two gone, the treehouse begins swinging wildly. Lloyd orders the Hypnobrai to attack, but Skales orders them to retreat. The snakes choose to listen to Skales because they aren’t idiots. Kai calls to Cole to wait until the ninja are clear before cutting the last rope, but Skales is within earshot, and chooses this time to reactivate his control over the black ninja.
It’s been established by this point that Cole is the most physically strong of the four ninja, bordering on super-strength, so fighting him is going to be no mean feat. On top of that, the treehouse is falling apart around them. This gives the Serpentine the chance to escape.
Meanwhile, Lloyd is practically begging Skales and the rest of the snakes to stay and protect his treehouse.
Skales: Your treehouse!? It’s about time we did this! -Pulls lever, trapdoor opens beneath Lloyd-
Back with the ninja, the guys aren’t quite sure how to deal with Cole. The anti-venom is back at the monastery and they can’t talk him out of it. Zane suggests using Jay’s lightning to shock him out of it, but unfortunately electric attacks have no effect on ground types.
The Serpentine have all gotten away, so Cole is about to cut the last rope, which would send the other three crashing to their doom, when Sensei Wu and Nya arrive on the fire dragon. It turns out Sensei has a flute that can negate any of the Serpentine’s powers.
Unfortunately, they had to leave the monastery unguarded while they saved the guys’ butts, and let’s just say the snakes made a not-so-friendly visit on their way out. When the team gets back, their home is in flames. They at least manage to let the other dragons out of their pens before the poor things get hurt, and the ice dragon puts the fire out, but it’s too late. All that’s left are charred beams. The snakes also stole their staff back, so no more anti-venom.
Kai kinda loses it and starts yelling at Zane that it’s his fault for following the bird and getting them involved with the crazy treehouse-fight in the first place. Jay and Cole soon join in.
Zane: This is a teaching moment… We must learn from this.
Cole: A teaching moment!? What’s wrong with you? Don’t you get it? Everything is gone!
Sensei yells at them all to stop playing the blame game and apologize, but when the three turn back to do so, Zane is gone. (Sheesh, they literally had their backs turned for ten seconds and he’s gone. That guy is a really good ninja)
Back with the Serpentine, they’ve gotten the staff back and tied Lloyd on a wrist leash. (Times Lloyd gets tied up/ put in a cage= 2) The General is still under the kid’s control, but Skales has got the staff now, and challenges him for his leadership position via that time-honored Serpentine tradition, the Slither Pit! It basically boils down to whoever beats the other guy senseless is in charge. While all the snakes are watching the battle, Lloyd takes the opportunity to swipe a map of the locations of the other Serpentine dens. Skales kicks the General around and is declared the winner, so he gets to switch his legs for a nice long snake tail. As the new general, Skales breaks the spell on the old guy and basically tells Lloyd ‘I’d better not see your face again brat!’ Poor kid.
Our heroes, meanwhile, have camped out on a cold windy peak. And as much as having no warmth or shelter and eating mud newt stinks, the worst part is that Zane’s gone.
But what’s this? Now that they’ve regretted their words long enough, Zane has returned! It turns out he didn’t leave because of what the others said, but because he saw the Falcon again. And this time it led him to their new home: an awesome shipwreck in the middle of a desert!
Zane: I can’t explain it, but I feel a strange connection with the Falcon. I think he’s trying to show us the path to take.
Turns out the boat is actually pretty cool, and what’s more, Zane made pie, so everyone is happy again! Sensei promises that one day they’ll find Zane’s family, but Zane’s just like ‘I already have, it’s you guys!’
Sensei: I feel there is more to you than meets the eye.
Me: He’s a Transformer!
Zane asks if that means he’s gonna be the green ninja, but Sensei just replies ‘Oh I dunno, we’ll see.’ So we close with this weird little family eating and laughing together… And pan out to see Lloyd watching as he gives a depressed sigh.
Man, I know the kid’s the villain, but I just wanna give the poor guy a hug.
Wanna give character X a hug: Zane=1, Lloyd=1
This is, in my opinion, the first really great episode. This is the first time we see this show go above and beyond what you’d expect from a LEGO-based CGI cartoon for little boys airing on Cartoon Network. This episode has a lot of heart, and while a lot of it is somewhat clichéd, (The team gets mad at one member who leaves, then they want him back) the way it plays out isn’t quite what’s expected (Zane didn’t leave because he was mad, and the others didn’t want him back because they were losing a fight, they were just sitting around missing him).
The villains are also pretty interesting. They may be card carrying villains, but the Serpentine have been pretty smart so far, and we get a quick look into their social structure. Lloyd is also an interesting case. He’s a bit of a brat, but most of the “evil” he does is just normal bratty little kid stuff. Plus all the crap he goes through just makes me feel sorry for the guy.
Character corner: Skales (VA Ian James Corlett)
No, we are not doing Zane today. I’ll save that for another episode.
I like Skales. He’s kinda like Starscream meets Admiral Zhao. He’s clever, conniving, and rises up through the ranks rather quickly by overthrowing and plotting against his superior.
When the monastery burns down, I think part of the reason Zane takes it better than the others is because before he started ninja training he had nothing. So, sad to say it, when everything was gone, it wasn’t exactly a new experience for him. Geez, can I add another one to the hug counter even though this didn’t happen in an episode? No?
Overall Episode Quality: Great
The first episode to go above and beyond my expectations. This is also the first episode to go into one of the side-plots for the first half of season 1: where does Zane come from?