LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu Episode Five Review
SEASON 1 EPISODE 5: CAN OF WORMS
This episode opens with Lloyd, who joined our heroes at the end of the last episode, going around to each of our four mains and telling them how one of the other guys screwed with their stuff. The kid claims that Cole beat Kai’s high score on his favorite game, that Jay ruined Cole’s soup, that Zane messed with Jay’s training robot, and that Kai left his red ninja suit in with Zane’s white laundry. (See, he’s learned from episode 2 that pink isn’t cool)
This gets the guys arguing worse than we’ve seen them argue since the pilot. But, surprise, surprise, it was all actually Lloyd. The guys are about to tear the little brat limb from limb when Sensei Wu intervenes. This was apparently today’s training lesson: the power of rumors, and the danger of jumping to conclusions.
Cole: Yeah, no offense Sensei, but let me jump to this conclusion: today’s lesson is lame.
Jay: Yeah, why can’t you teach us how to paralyze your enemy with one finger? Or find out if a man is lying by the twitch of his nose?
Sensei: Because not all lessons are about fighting!
Me: I think that’s a pretty good lesson in and of itself.
Also Lloyd stole his lesson book. You’re not doing much to make them want you to stay, kid.
Nya calls in on the intercom to tell them to come to the bridge for a new mission. Kai is all ‘Lloyd is bad enough, we’ve gotta keep my sister here too? Ew cooties.’ Unfortunately for him, it’s a two-way intercom and she hears every word of his sexist stupidity.
On the bridge, Nya explains they need to find the last two Serpentine prisons before Pythor.
Jay: But those tombs could be anywhere! Without the map of dens, we might as well just throw darts at a map.
Nya: Good idea, why don’t we? –Throws darts, narrowly missing Kai-
Nya’s figured out where the two other tombs are based on the location of the first three. They line up with a serpent symbol. (I can’t really tell from the map they show on screen) So, since there are four ninja and two tombs left, they split off in pairs. Lloyd and Nya are all ‘Hey, what are we, chopped liver?’ And Sensei’s just ‘Nya you can watch Lloyd.’ Neither of them are particularly pleased with this prospect.
Cole and Zane (who’s uniform is still bright pink) head out to the Constricti tomb, which is on top of a mountain. Cole decides to carry Zane up the mountain; since he’s super-strong and used to be a mountain-climber it’ll be faster that way. Inside the tomb, it looks like Pythor has already come and recruited the tribe, but they do find a cave painting depicting a legend about one tribe uniting them all and unleashing a giant, world-ending snake called the Great Devourer.
Suddenly, Cole feels something in the ground. They get on their guard, but weren’t expecting it to come out of the wall. It’s the Constricti General, who lashes out and starts strangling Zane with its tail.
Constricti General: I’ve been waitin’ for you. Pythor sends his regards.
Zane: –Choking– Did you stay behind just to tell us that? Pathetic!
Me: I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but that line is awesome. Maybe it’s Brent Miller’s delivery.
Cole saves Zane with his scythe, but the snake comes after him instead. The black ninja tries to use the special flute (from episodes 2 and 3) to stop it, but the General manages to catch him in its tail, and it’s kinda hard to play a woodwind instrument when you can’t breathe. Zane gets a hold of the flute and tries to play it, but the General grabs him by the throat (with one hand! This snake is brutal!). Impressively, the white ninja is still able to play enough to drive the snake off. With the snake gone, the two leave, commenting that if they were expected, the other prison is probably a trap too.
Speaking of the other prison, Kai and Jay find it in a toxic bog. The prison is empty, and very echo-y, which Jay has way too much fun with. Kai checks out the surrounding area, and runs into the last Serpentine tribe: the Venomari. It spits in his eyes like the frilled dinosaur from Jurassic Park. Only instead of it making him blind, it makes him hallucinate. This is bad because the rest of the Serpentine soon appear and it’s hard to fight when you can’t tell what’s real and what’s not. It doesn’t help that Jay’s too busy playing with the echo effect to notice they’re under attack until the snakes are right on top of him.
Luckily Cole and Zane come to the rescue! Zane tries to play the flute again, but Pythor grabs it with his tail before we get more than a note. This is bad because the guys are seriously outnumbered. Without the flute they get backed up against the toxic swamp. They hop onto a log in hopes of getting away, but it can’t support their weight and it starts sinking slowly.
Finding themselves without room to fight or a way to escape, it looks like the end for the guys.
Zane: For whatever it is worth, it was an honor to fight beside you all.
Cole: Yeah… me too.
Jay: Yeah. Ditto.
–Kai is too busy trippin’ to say anything coherent–
Me: I don’t believe for a second that you guys are goners, but this is still rather sweet.
Suddenly a giant mechanical samurai flies in with a rope for them to climb to safety. It proceeds to kick all of the snake tail. The chest-compartment opens up to reveal an armored pilot.
Samurai: Pythor. Target confirmed. Time to bag. And tag. –Hits him with a tracking dart–
Me: Not bad. Your delivery is great, but you’re going to need better one-liners.
The guys gather ‘round to thank the mysterious warrior. Jay says it’s the coolest thing he’s ever seen, and I gotta agree.
But when Zane approaches, the armored pilot knocks the poor guy out with some kind of gas. The other three soon get the same treatment. The samurai leaves the guys just lying there, alone and unprotected in the dangerous swamp… possibly to die.
Nah, the airship comes along and finds them almost as soon as the mystery man leaves. That night they retell the misadventure over dinner.
Me: Geez Lloyd, were you raised under a rock? Or, wait, his dad’s Lord Garmadon, maybe he was raised in the underworld. I need to save this for a Head-canon Corner.
Kai is amusingly still trippin’.
Kai: Look at Sensei’s beard! It’s moving like snakes!
Nya: When is this Venomari stuff supposed to wear off? It’s starting to get annoying.
The really important thing, though, is that all the Serpentine are loose now. Lloyd feels pretty guilty about it, since he started the whole mess. Sensei is all ‘the past is the past, we need to focus on the now. We can use the special flute to…’
Jay: Yeah… -cough– about that…
Zane: Pythor… sort of… stole it.
Me: Oh no, the plot convenience is gone!
This sobering news is interrupted by an alarm going off. The “cold-vision” (get it? It’s like heat-vision, except snakes are cold-blooded so it’s-) has picked up a lot of snakes in Ninjago City, the biggest city in Ninjago. They guys get suited up, but Kai’s still pretty out of it.
Jay: Don’t worry, it’ll wear off soon. For now, you’re coming with me.
Ok, this is something I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while now. I think part of the reason I like this show so much is because the team actually acts like a team! I know that sounds obvious, but think about it. How many other shows are there out there where the ‘team’ is constantly fighting? It’s the whole “We’re not a team, we’re a time bomb” idea from the Avengers. And don’t get me wrong, I actually like bickering teams when it’s done well. I love the Avengers, and I actually write the Nicktoons the same way (especially Jimmy and Timmy) but these ninja have the team thing down. Back in episode two Sensei was talking about how they’re all brothers now, and they really are. It’s not like they don’t argue, heck, at the beginning of this episode they were arguing worse than they have in a while, but they generally get along, and they are always looking out for each other, for the big things and the small things. It makes sense when you think about it. In the pilot they were more of a bickering team, but this is several months later and now they’ve been training and living together long enough to really get to know one another.
Ok, ramble over, on with the episode.
The ninja skydive down into the city where they notice a distinct lack of snakes.
Nah, the Serpentine are gathered in the Subway (totally different) where Pythor plans to give a speech to unite the five tribes. He opens it up with a few jokes.
Pythor: What is it with the Constricti and their vice-like grip? Let it go already!
Me: Ok, I’ll admit that made me smile.
Pythor gets around to trying to convince the Serpentine that they should band together and take over Ninjago as revenge for being sealed away. The snakes seem to be open to the plan, but the ninja sneak in and sow a little dissent.
Kai: That sounds like a great plan, but you know the Hypnobrai are gonna screw it up.
Jay: Those buck-teeth can bite my rear end.
Cole: I bet they’re drinking their own venom.
Zane: All that digging must have given them dirt for brains.
I actually like how they bring back the lesson from the beginning here and use it against their enemies. You don’t often see Aesops used in that way. This gets the snakes arguing amongst themselves, but Pythor and Skales spot the ninja on their way out, and send a few underlings to take care of them. Cole, Kai, and Jay get captured pretty quickly, but Zane manages to escape by blending in with a pink poster.
Pythor: Did you take care of them?
Skales: All but one.
Pythor: Search every nook and cranny. If he’s a ninja, you’ll never find him in plain sight.
Random Snake: Look, a pink ninja!
Me: Zane defies your preconceptions!
Yes, by breaking convention, Zane catches the snakes by surprise, knocks the two Generals off a subway car, and cuts the others loose. The snakes are close behind, but Zane freezes over the hallway, making it too slippery for the Serpentine to follow, but perfect conditions for his motorbike, which is apparently also a snowmobile.
Our heroes return to the airship and remark that Lloyd’s prank actually kind of saved the day. They used the idea to keep the Serpentine from uniting, and they were only able to get away because Zane was able to hide using his pink suit.
This episode is fun, but nothing special. There really isn’t much in the way of character development or atmosphere, but we do get a quick introduction to the mysterious mechanical samurai, who will be back in future episodes. We also get to see how Lloyd is adjusting to life with the ninja and… he’s not adjusting super well
Character Corner: Lloyd (VA Jillian Michaels)
I guess this is as good a time as any to go over his character basics, but the kid’s still got a lot of character development ahead of him, so this is not the last time he’ll be here. Lloyd starts out as a sort of Big Bad. He’s certainly not the most dangerous or impressive villain, but he is the one making things happen, what with releasing the Serpentine and all. Still, even in the first episode you just feel bad for the kid. It’s a little sad. It’s clear that no one around really likes him; heck, even his school of evil kicked him out. And yet, what “evil” has the kid done? Stealing candy, setting boobie traps, and general bratty little kid behavior. Oh, and plotting revenge, that is admittedly evil. Still, it’s not surprising when he says he got kicked out of evil school because he wasn’t evil enough, because the kid doesn’t seem that bad. Now that he’s switched over to the side of good, it’s fun to see him have trouble adjusting. Lloyd feels bad for causing the trouble with the Serpentine, and he wants to do what he can to help fix it. But considering he’s only, what, nine…ish? There really isn’t much help he can give. Plus, he’s still being a brat to the guys, which, given how much trouble the guys gave him in the past, I can’t really blame him for.
I’m actually saving my idea from earlier for a later episode, so for now I’ll have to talk about something else. Let’s see… Pythor! He’s really the best candidate for uniting the five tribes because his tribe is gone. All the other Generals have to worry about the needs and wants of their people, but Pythor has nothing to lose, so this crusade to unite the Serpentine is really all he has left. Yeah, that’s all I got, this episode is rather unremarkable.
Over-all Episode Quality: Average
It’s a fun episode, but nothing really makes it stand out from the rest of the series other than the brief introduction of the samurai.