LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu Episode 9 Review
SEASON 1 EPISODE 9: THE ROYAL BLACKSMITHS
We open inside an Aztec-style pyramid with a snake motif, where Pythor and the Serpentine are searching for the second fang-blade. Like any good Indiana Jones-type temple, it’s full of boobie-traps. And we all know who loves boobie-traps!
Yep, the snakes are using the poor kid to spring traps. Poor Lloyd, we haven’t even seen the kid for two episodes. Who knows what he’s been through? Pythor tells him they’ll let him go if he gets them the fang-blade. He goes through every Indiana Jones-type trap in the book, save the giant rolling bolder, only to find that the relic in question is already gone.
Lloyd: Do I still get to be free?
Meanwhile, with the ninja, they’re trying to figure out where to find another fang-blade. We also get some not-so-subtle hints that Kai is jealous that Jay and Zane have unlocked their true potentials.
Cole: I got it!
Kai: You’ve unlocked it!? Aaaaugh why am I the only one!?
Cole: No. I figured out where I recognize the fang-blade from!
Kai: Oh… is that it? Heh, good.
Me: Kai, buddy, you need to relax.
Turns out that the fang-blade is mounted on a trophy that goes to the winner of a big competition back in Cole’s hometown. His dad has won it multiple times. And what kind of competition are we talking about? A musical competition! Cole’s dad is a dancer in the group called The Royal Blacksmiths.
Kai: But how did the fang-blade become a trophy?
Cole: Well, supposedly the cup was made by this guy who collected priceless artefacts. His name was something like ‘Dutch’… no, Clutch, Clutch Powers!
Me: Heh, LEGO referencing itself. Silly LEGO.
The others are all ‘Cool, let’s call up your dad and ask him if he can get us in touch with whoever has the trophy this year.’ Cole is reluctant to do this. Y’see, his father wanted him to be a singer and dancer too, and thinks Cole is going to some prestigious music school in Ninjago city. His dad doesn’t know he’s a ninja, and if they call and ask about the fang-blade, his dad will know Cole’s been lying in all his letters to home. The black ninja is all ‘Go ahead, laugh because my dad’s a dancer.’ But the others are fine with it, and Kai suggests they put their own act together to win the cup.
Next we check in with Lord Garmadon and Sensei Wu in the dark world. They’re still a ways off from the summit of the mountains of madness, and the moon has risen. Garmadon says this is bad news because the “craglings” come out around this time. Really, the whole place is bad news.
Garmadon: Sometimes, one must revel in shadows to truly see the light.
Sure enough, the craglings appear. They’re rock monsters about twice as tall as the minifigs. The two brothers battle the creatures, but are soon surrounded.
Sensei: Just like old times?
Garmadon: Just like old times.
Me: This is so BA!
The ninja, meanwhile, have arrived in Cole’s hometown. Cole’s got a carrying case for them to keep the golden weapons in, and everyone is in civilian clothes. He still doesn’t want his dad to know he quit the music school.
Cole: Alright, hand them over.
Jay: Ah-ah, “No mortal shall possess all four.” Heheh.
Cole: Very funny.
So they knock on the door, and Cole greets his dad warmly. Cole’s dad… not so much.
Coles’ Dad: What, you’re too good for the doorbell?
Me: Oh dear. This is going to be awkward, isn’t it?
After ringing the doorbell (it’s one of those fancy singing ones), Cole’s Dad is a lot more friendly and lets them all in. Dad (I’m just gonna call him that from now on, I don’t know his name) starts talking about his dance group and how he just broke his foot, but Cole says they didn’t come here for his stories. Dad asks how things are going at the music school, and the guys have to waffle for a bit because Kai and Jay forgot the name of the school, but they eventually get to the subject of the Blade Cup.
Dad goes into a long rant/lecture about the importance of this valued prize, how you can’t just get it, you have to earn it! He’s obviously very passionate about the competition. He assumes that the guys have come here to take the place of his old group, the Royal Blacksmiths, since they retired, and asks to hear them perform.
They’re… well, they’re not the worst I’ve ever heard… but they do suck. Buuuuut they’d probably be ok with some proper training.
In fact, that’s exactly what Kai proposes. He asks Dad to train them to prepare for the competition.
Dad: I’ve never been more proud! If you’ll excuse me, I need to write a song about my feelings.
–Closes the door–
Cole: What are you doing?
Kai: Look, we enter this competition so we can get close enough to the Blade Cup. Once we get the fang-blade, we leave town. How hard can this be?
Cole doesn’t look too comfortable with the idea of just taking the trophy though.
Back with the Serpentine, two underlings have found a poster for the competition and realize it’s the fang-blade.
Music training has started, and the guys still sound like a mediocre middle-school talent show act.
Dad: Kai. Love the enthusiasm, hate the hair. Jay, you’re giving a lot, but I need more. Zane, you’re a machine, don’t change a thing. And Cole! Try to act like you actually want to be here.
Me: Phahaha! Oh, that was perfect.
We finally learn why there’s so much tension between Cole and his dad. Apparently when he was seven, Cole was given a routine with the most difficult dance move ever, the “Triple-Tiger-Sashay”, by his dad. Unsurprisingly, seven-year-old Cole was unable to do it, and fell on his face in front of everyone, humiliating him. Cole is still bitter about his father’s expectations, and his father is apparently still a bit disappointed.
The snakes appear in town, and spy the ninja practicing from an alleyway. Skales is all ‘Well, we’ll never get it with them here’, but Pythor assures him that, as snakes, they’ll find a way to sneak in.
Back in the dark world, Sensei and Lord Garmadon have reached the top of the mountain, where there is a vortex to the overworld.
Sensei: Though we live in two different worlds, I still see good in your heart, brother.
Lord Garmadon soon throws that out the window by pushing Sensei over the cliff overlooking the vortex. Sensei is all ‘What the heck? I came here to ask you for help with your own son!’
Lord Garmadon: See you on the other side. –Kicks Sensei into the vortex, then jumps in after him with an evil laugh-
Me: You troll.
That night, the ninja are practicing their routine just before the competition starts, but they’re still pretty rough.
Cole says they shouldn’t worry about the dance; once they steal the Blade Cup, they’re just going to get out of there and hopefully never come back. Unfortunately, he says this right as his dad enters.
Dad: You… you’re going to… steal it?
Cole: Dad… I didn’t mean for you to hear that… but I’m glad you did. There’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you. All these years I haven’t been training to be a singer or a dancer. I found something new that I’m really good at! –Spins into ninja uniform- Dad, I’m a ninja. And the truth is, if we don’t steal that fang-blade, I mean Blade Cup, there’s other people that will. Bad people. Serpentine. We need it to save the world. I know how ridiculous this sounds, but I’m proud of who I am, and I want you to be proud of me too.
Dad: I can’t be proud of any son who thinks stealing is right.
Me: Ouch… but, well said.
Wanna give character X a hug: Zane= 3; Lloyd= 3; Jay= 1; Cole= 1.
I gotta admit, I agree with Cole’s dad here. To quote Darkwing Duck, “Stealing’s stealing.” Dad’s words are harsh, but he’s right, and it’s a good lesson to put in a kids’ show: Stealing is wrong, even if it seems like you have a good reason.
The guys try to comfort Cole, but he mostly just shrugs it off. They have more important things to worry about, after all. Speaking of which, the Serpentine arrive in ridiculous wigs and shades, going by the band name ‘Treble Makers’.
Pythor, meanwhile, has taken the place of one of the judges, who we hear calling for help from inside the snake’s belly. It’s official, Pythor eats people. Yikes.
The guys get a little nervous seeing all the Serpentine infiltrating the place, and Jay suggests they just steal it now.
Cole: We’re not gonna steal it. We’re gonna win this competition, but we’re gonna do it our way.
Guys: Our way?
Me: You mean like a bunch of middle-schoolers?
We get a taste of the Serpentine’s act, which is almost as bad as Chuggaaconroy singing. Everyone boos them, and the judges are going to give them very generous sixes until Pythor threatens them into turning the signs around to nines.
Up next are our heroes, who have changed back into their ninja uniforms. This is what Cole meant by doing it “our way”.
Zane: I have butterflies in my stomach.
Jay: Ah Zane, that’s just nerves.
Zane: No, I really do have butterflies in my stomach. –Opens up chest panel, letting butterflies out–
Me: … That was stupid.
… How did that even happen!?
The guys dance to the show’s theme song, which is a nice touch. The Serpentine hidden in the audience storm the stage and attack, but they just incorporate the fight into the routine. It’s kinda cool, kinda corny. Finally, Cole bounces off three of the Serpentine’s heads and lands it, which is apparently how you perform the Triple-Tiger-Sashay. Huh. No wonder it’s the most difficult dance move ever.
The judges give them perfect tens, except for Pythor, who tries to give them a zero. The judge the snake ate sticks his arm out of the Serpentine’s mouth and writes a one next to the zero, making it a ten.
As the crowd goes wild, Cole scans the audience for his father, but can’t find him anywhere. Backstage, the others are pretty exhilarated from all the praise, but the black ninja is understandably just not feeling it. That’s when his dad comes from around a curtain. He did see the performance! And he’s most proud because he saw Cole stand up against the Serpentine; stand up for what’s right. Dad apologizes for pushing Cole so hard, and says he’s proud that his son’s a hero.
Pythor decides this is a good time to crash the party, and dramatically pulls off his beard disguise. The guys are all ‘Yeah, we all knew it was you, idiot.’ The Serpentine aren’t about to let the fang-blade go so easily, and drop a ton of lighting equipment onto Cole’s dad. Cole makes a diving save, dropping the Blade Cup, but he and his father are still buried under the wreckage. Pythor grabs the fang-blade and skedaddles while the others try and dig the father and son out.
While they’re digging, the golden scythe begins to glow, signaling that Cole has unlocked his true potential. He easily lifts off the ton of rubble, and pulls his dad up while the old man questions how they survived that. The others explain it’s a ninja thing. Meanwhile, Kai mopes that he really is the last one to unlock his own potential. Really man, really? Your friend just almost died, could you maybe save the angsting for later?
This episode is exceedingly silly, although I do like the message about stealing. I actually love music, but Phineas and Ferb this show is not. The musical competition shtick just didn’t do it for me. Plus there were a lot of really stupid jokes in this episode. I mean, it’s a cartoon for little boys, there are always going to be a few stupid jokes, but there just seems to be a higher concentration of them in this one. The scenes with Lord Garmadon and Sensei Wu are great, as always, but they’re pretty short in this episode. At least we have a good family story to hold the episode up, even if it is a bit clichéd.
Character Corner: Cole’s Dad
I actually didn’t like the guy at first. He’s just so harsh and demanding! He seems very abrasive when we first meet him. Then, in the second half of the episode he rebukes Cole’s big speech with one line: “I can’t be proud of any son who thinks stealing is right.” I really liked that. It changes this from your typical “Why won’t you accept me/why do you have to push your dreams on me?” plot to a moral dilemma. Is it ok to steal if it’s to stop evil, or should you find another way? It also implies that Cole’s dad would have accepted the whole ninja thing if Cole had just told him under better circumstances. So he goes from being one of the episode’s weaknesses in the first half, to being one of its biggest strengths in the second half.
Well, obviously Ninjago takes place in the same universe as Clutch Powers. Somehow. Wouldn’t that be an interesting crossover? But, moving on to stuff that actually has to do with this episode, this is the first time we get hints that Lord Garmadon’s turn to evil wasn’t an over-night thing. The incredibly BA “Just like old times” scene implies that the two of them fought together, on the same side, at some point in the past.
Over-all Episode Quality: Average
This episode is a fairly good representation of the series. It has some really strong parts and some really stupid parts.