LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu Episode Four Review

SEASON 1 EPISODE 4: NEVER TRUST A SNAKE

 

We open watching the falcon from episode 2 land on a power line, and then suddenly zoom in on it talking.

Falcon: Wake up Zane, I know where you come from.

Me: Yikes! That thing is suddenly freaky!

Yes, it appears that Zane is dreaming. The freaky bit with the falcon wakes him with a start. He gets up and has a weird conversation with Sensei Wu and Nya, then goes out to the deck of the flying ship to train with the others. Only he doesn’t find the others outside. He finds the falcon.

Zane: You were in my dream last night little friend. Last time I saw you, you lead me to good fortune. What reason have you returned?

The falcon flies off and a familiar shadow falls over Zane. It’s Lord Garmadon! The two exchange blows, but Zane gets thrown around pretty easily. The dark lord is about to drop a crate on him when a ninja dressed in green suddenly appears, catching the crate before it crushes them.

Zane: The green ninja… the legend is true!

You/ yeeeah you/ yeah/ you are the legend and the legend is true!

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

The green ninja proceeds to have an awesome fight with Lord Garmadon, finally pulling out the golden nunchucks and hitting the baddie so hard he flies overboard. He stands there with one fist aflame, and the falcon perching on the other arm.

That is so freaking epic.

That is so freaking epic.

Zane wakes up with a start… again. Yeah, yeah, dream within a dream, insert Inception joke here. The guys tease him for sleeping in. He asks why nobody woke him up, but they didn’t want to disturb his dream.

Zane: How do I know this isn’t a dream?

Cole: –Whacks him with a pillow– Does that feel like a dream?

Zane: No. –With just a hint of sarcasm– Thank you.

Me: Look how well that sense of humor is coming along!

As they start the training, the guys ask Zane what his dream was about. They get understandably excited when he says it was about the green ninja. Sensei tell them all to focus on their training, darn it! When the four students continue to not pay attention, Sensei decides they need some discipline: No free time and no videogames (Oh the humanity!) until they can figure out the best way to defeat your enemy.

Kai: Easy. With a sword.

Jay: Your fist!

Cole: Spinjitzu.

Zane: Tornado of Creation?

Sensei just sighs and says they’ve got a lot of training to do. As soon as he’s gone, the guys go back to questioning Zane about the dream.

Next we cut to the Fangpyre army marching through the snow with their snakecontraptions. On the next hill over the Hypnobrai have gathered their own army.

Lloyd: The Hypnobrai! Now to teach them a lesson for betraying Lloyd Garmadon!

Unimpressed look from the Fangpyre general

Lloyd: Uh, do your thing Fangpyre. I let you outta your hole for a reason.

Fangpyre General: Attack!

The two armies are about to clash… when this happens.

Fangpyre General: Skales, my old chum! I didn’t think I’d be fighting you! Moved up in the world, have we?

Skales: If it isn’t the Fangpyre! Of all the cold-blooded to creep up on us! I’m glad that it is a friend.

Lloyd: Wait… I thought you were enemies, not friends!

Fangpyre General: We were at war, but seeing how Skales is now leading them, I don’t see why we can’t be comrades.

Skales: Had you released the Constricti, the Venomari, or heaven forbid the Anacondri, then we would have had a tussle.

Needless to say, Lloyd is a little peeved about this. The two snake generals discuss what to do with the brat. The Fangpyre General suggests turning him into a snake, but Skales is all ‘No, we don’t want him, he’s lame.’ Lloyd tries to run away, but the snakes close in on him. Luckily a snaketruck whacks him with its tail, sending him flying several meters face first into a snowdrift. Poor kid. 

Meanwhile, back with the ninja, Zane has just finished retelling his dream to the others. Everyone is certain that the dream means they are the green ninja. Kai thinks It’s him because the guy used fire, Cole thinks it’s him because the green ninja had super-strength, Jay thinks it’s him because of the nunchucks, and Zane thinks it’s him because it was his dream.

Sensei finds them not training and is all ‘If you’re not training that must mean you have an answer for my question, right?’

Kai: Uh… the best way to defeat your enemy… is to train?

Sensei: Feeble and incorrect!

Me: There you go with that negativity again!

The guys complain that they can’t focus when they don’t know who the green ninja is, but Cole suggests they work together to figure out the riddle.

Back to Lloyd, the kid has somehow made it all the way from a snowy mountain to a hot windy desert, and is following the map to the Anacondri prison. He deduces from Skales’ last comment that this tribe of Serpentine must be the most powerful of them all. Inside the prison there are a lot of skeletons. An especially long purple snake person sneaks up on him.E4.2

Snake: My sincerest apologies young man. Due to my unfortunate appearance, I tend to have an unsettling effect on people. I believe you dropped this, there you are.

Lloyd: Uh… th-thank you… uh… w-what happened to the others?

Snake: Poor unfortunate souls. All those years locked away down here with nothing to eat! Must have slowly starved away until they were just scales and bones. –His stomach gurgles

Me: Ok… either they are implying that this guy here ate the other Anacondri, or that he’s planning on eating Lloyd. Or both. Geez, that’s kinda dark!

 

The snake introduces himself as Pythor P. Chumsworth, and true to his name he acts really chummy with Lloyd. He seems like a nice guy. You can totally trust him, Lloyd. He may be a snake and all, but his name’s Chumsworth! That’s a name you can trust!

Still, Lloyd’s not a complete idiot, and is a little wary after being betrayed by the last two tribes of Serpentine he freed. Pythor asks why he would trick the kid when he doesn’t have any other friend options. Lloyd is all ‘Hey, I don’t have any friends either!’ 

Wanna give character X a hug: Lloyd = 2; Zane = 1.

Lloyd asks Pythor if he wants to help him get revenge on the other Serpentine tribes and the ninja, and Pythor is all ‘Sure thing Floyd, I love revenge!’ However, the snake looks the kid over and seems awfully interested in his map.

Our heroes, meanwhile, are still training, and trying to figure out Sensei’s riddle.

Cole: That bothers me. Because while we’re here working, the enemy is playing.

Cut to Lloyd giving his best evil laugh… while he and Pythor crash into things on a scooter. We then get a rather adorable montage of the snake and the kid causing low-key havoc, like standing on the grass in front of a “do not walk on grass” sign, throwing rocks at some other kids’ model boats, and literally taking candy from babies. Back in the Anacondri lair the two of them are hanging out, eating candy, when Pythor asks Lloyd why he doesn’t have any friends.

Lloyd: Well, I could’ve had friends back at my boarding school for bad boys, but I decided to run away and never let them see me again. Muahaha!

Pythor: Really? Why would you run away from making friends? Everybody needs friends, even tyrants!

Lloyd: Well… maybe I didn’t run away… maybe I… uh… got kicked out.

Pythor: From the boarding school for bad boys? I don’t believe it! I hear they are the breeding ground for the truly despicable, and if you ask me, you are a handful!

Lloyd: Why thank you Pythor! But they told me I wasn’t bad enough. They said I ‘lack the immoral ambition to be one of tomorrow’s masterminds’.

Wanna give character X a hug: Lloyd = 3; Zane = 1

Pythor suggests they go give the boarding school a taste of revenge, and then when the ninja come to put a stop to it, they’ll spring a trap on the goodie-two-shoes.

Pythor: And one more thing.

Lloyd: Yes?

Pythor: I’ll be your friend.

Lloyd goes to sleep, and we see Pythor give an evil chuckle and try to grab the map out of the kid’s pocket.E4.3

Unfortunately for the snake, he rolls over onto it.

Back on the boat, our heroes think they’ve come up with an answer to Sensei’s riddle.

Cole: It’s, on three guys, one, two…

All: Teamwork!

Sensei: Is this what you all think?

All: Yeah.

Sensei: Then you’re all wrong.

Thankfully they are saved from more training by a distress signal from Darkly’s Boarding School for Badboys. They convert the boat into its airship mode and spring into action.

At the boarding school all the students and teachers are tied up, and Lloyd is setting as many boobie-traps as he can.

The ninja arrive above the school and discuss how they’re going to enter. Jay says he has an idea, but they’re going to have to trust him.

E4.4

Yeah, Jay’s idea is to come crashing in on the boat’s anchor. To be fair, it does get them inside. Our heroes find the students and cut them loose. The teachers, it turns out, are those two annoying henchmen from the pilot. Thankfully they’re only on screen for about 15 seconds and they have no lines.

The anchor crashed them down to the second floor, and Lloyd’s still on the roof, so the guys are going to have to climb up there and get him. Cole climbs up the anchor’s chain, Kai and Zane take the stairs, and Jay takes the elevator. (Complete with elevator music. Jay, I freakin’ love you, always stay awesome) Kai and Zane get caught in a goop boobie-trap, and Cole gets in a fight with Pythor. Jay… stands in the elevator, chillin’. The snake trips Cole up with another boobie-trap, just as Jay’s elevator reaches the top floor. Pythor slips away to the roof where Lloyd is freaking out.

Lloyd: –running around in panic– They’re coming! They’re coming! They’re coming!

Pythor tries to block off the door to the roof, but Jay kicks through it. Lloyd tells the snake to do something, and he does. He takes the kid’s map and leaves.

Lloyd: W-what are you doing? I thought you were my friend!

Pythor: All you wanted was to make the Serpentine your slaves! Well sorry, my dear boy, I have other plans. –He becomes invisible

Me: Yeah, Pythor’s got a good point there.

So that leaves the kid on the roof with nowhere to go. The airship hovers down to the level of the roof, and Sensei steps out.

Sensei: Lloyd Montgomery Garmadon, you come here right now!

Me: Ooooh, somebody’s gonna get a time-out!

The guys discuss what kind of punishment they should give the kid, but Sensei is all ‘He’s my nephew, I’ll take care of him.’ And how does he take care of him? By taking the kid home and reading him a story!

Sensei: …and that is why Jack the Rabbit never trusts a snake.

Lloyd: Aaah… If my dad had read me that book, I never would have made that mistake. Uh… I’m sorry uncle.

Sensei: Oh, you don’t need to apologize. I’m sure that if your father were still here, it would be the first book he’d read.

Me: Aaaaw! That’s so adorable/sad!

They guys are all a little ticked that the kid doesn’t get punished for all the crap he’s done, while they had to train all day just because they weren’t paying attention that morning. It’s then that Sensei reveals the answer to the riddle and this episodes Aesop: The best way to defeat an enemy is to make him/her your friend.

And then the guys are all like ‘Ooooh. Yeah, that makes sense, why didn’t we think of that?’

This is a pretty good episode, even if it is more of a villain episode. We finally get some real character development for Lloyd and see a bit of his motivation. I’ve just felt sorry for the kid the whole time, so it’s nice to see him join the party. Pythor is also a really interesting villain, and I look forward to seeing him in future episodes. Our heroes actually don’t do much, but the time we spend with the villains is interesting enough to elevate the episode.

Character Corner: Pythor (VA Michael Dobson)

Pythor is played brilliantly by Michael Dobson. (I have no clue if he’s related to Paul Dobson, who plays Sensei Wu) He’s got this Sheer Kahn-esqe tone that make you want to like him even though he’s obviously a villain. His plan is actually really interesting and well-done. He kind of uses the evil version of this episode’s Aesop; he befriends Lloyd in order to get what he wants. What’s more, you can’t really blame Lloyd for trusting the guy. Yeah, if you’re even a little bit genera savvy it’s obvious that Pythor is bad news, but as it’s established at the end, Lloyd doesn’t know these things. Everything Pythor says and does to the kid does make him seem like a friendly and trustworthy guy. He relates to the kid, helps the kid, gives the kid advice, all until he finally has the opportunity to take the map, and then he drops the poor boy like a hot potato. That’s pretty diabolical.

Head-canon Corner

It’s interesting that Lloyd obviously knows his father. He doesn’t just know who his father is, he talks about him like they’ve at least met. Yet from the book-reading scene at the end it’s obvious that his dad hasn’t been there a lot. My theory is the Lord Garmadon visited the kid in his shadow-form every so often while banished to the underworld. However, as a shadow he couldn’t really do much, probably just stopped in to say hello and check in on the kid. We’ll have the opportunity to speculate more on their relationship in a few episodes.

Over-all Episode Quality: Well above average

We’re introduced to a great villain and get some good character development for Lloyd.

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