LEGO: Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu Episode 10 Review

SEASON 1 EPISODE 10: THE GREEN NINJA

 Well, finally, this guy has only been built up since episode one!

We open with Cole, Jay, and Zane training with their elemental powers, which have all gotten much stronger since unlocking their true potentials. Nya asks where Kai is, and they find him in Sensei’s room. He’s swiped the green ninja uniform and is trying to unlock his true potential. The others tell him that has pretty much no chance of working and Sensei would be steamed if he got caught wearing the uniform. Kai explains he feels left out since the other all have cool powers now, and he doesn’t.

Kai: Besides, Sensei’s gone, and we don’t know when he’ll be coming ba—

Sensei: Helloooo? I’m home!

Others: Sensei!

Kai quickly hides in the closet

They meet Sensei Wu out on the deck of the airship and welcome him home. Jay tries to bring him up to speed.

Jay: Oh-ho, Sensei, have you missed a lot! Zane is a nindroid, Nya’s the mysterious samurai, Cole’s a dancer…

Sensei: Zane is a… what?

Me: Yeah, that would be my reaction too.

Kai comes back from changing into his regular uniform just in time for Lord Garmadon to show himself to everyone. Everyone understandably freaks out. Kai charges the dark lord with his sword and Zane throws himself between the two brothers. It would be cool, except they had to do it in stupid over-dramatic slo-mo.

Sensei yells at everyone to stop, and explains that he brought his brother here to help save Lloyd. The guys all insist that is a horrible idea, and I can’t really blame them. We know, and Sensei Wu knows, that Lloyd is the one thing Garmadon cares about, but the guys didn’t see all those scenes we did. They just know the evil Lord Garmadon who tried to kill them and steal all the golden weapons for himself. Sensei firmly tells them that as long as Pythor has Lloyd, the dark lord is their guest, and will be treated with respect. Our heroes reluctantly agree. Lord Garmadon smirks at Kai as he leaves.

E10.1

On the bridge, Sensei gets up to date with the fang-blade search. They don’t have any leads on the whereabouts of the last two, but Zane’s falcon is out looking. Sensei tells Kai and Nya to go and get the ship ready to land as soon as they find something. Where the Serpentine are, that’s where they’ll find Lloyd.

Outside, Kai complains to Nya that this is totally bogus, but she reminds him that Lord Garmadon is Senesei’s brother, and the dark lord is still close to his heart. Kai somehow takes this to mean he needs to stand up to Lord Garmadon to unlock his true potential and become the green ninja. Nya is all ‘No, that’s not what I meant at all, how did you even get that?’

We next get a hilarious montage showing life with Lord Garmadon as a roommate. He sharpens his teeth instead of brushing them, eats condensed evil (it’s supposed to be low in fat), flips channels while Jay and Nya were watching a romantic movie to a horror and starts laughing, and lies out on the deck sunbathing while the airship flies through a storm. Oh, and he keeps everyone up at night.

Pure. Evil.

Pure. Evil.

Basically he’s the worst roommate ever. The best part is, the dark lord is clearly trolling Kai the whole time, just being as evil as possible to get on the red ninja’s nerves.

The others note that, when not focused on evil, Garmadon doesn’t seem like that bad of a guy. Kai insists that it’s all a trick, and he’s not fooled for a second.

Meanwhile, the falcon has spotted the Serpentine headed for the same fire-temple where the golden sword was kept during the pilot. This time, the snakes have Lloyd with them.

Times Lloyd gets tied up/ put in a cage= 5

Times Lloyd gets tied up/ put in a cage= 5

We transition back to the bridge, where Kai is too busy being a dork and fantasizing about becoming the green ninja to notice what the falcon has found flashing up on the screen. What does catch his attention is overhearing Sensei talking to Nya. Apparently he thinks she might be the green ninja! Kai is listening in at the key-hole when Lord Garmadon comes down the hall.

Lord Garmadon: What areyou doing out here?

Kai: Woah! What are you doing out here?

Lord Garmadon: Evil never sleeps.

Kai: Yeah? Well good never rests.

Lord Garmadon: Maybe we should take care of this right now.

Kai: I was hoping you’d say that!

They begin shoving each other

Me: –Sigh– Really guys, really? You’re both better than this. If you’re going to ‘take care of this right now’, I want you two to go get your swords and have a proper duel, not shove each other like kids on a playground.

Nya and Sensei hear the racket and step out to break up the fight before it escalates to actual blows. Nya isn’t too happy about her brother spying on her. Kai asks if she really is the green ninja, but it turns out she didn’t even want to find out.

Nay: First, all I wanted was to be like you, but after seeing how obsessed you’ve become, and discovered what I can do on my own, I’m happy being a samurai.

Jay suddenly bursts in, berating Kai for leaving his post, because the falcon has found the Serpentine. When he learns that the fang-blade is in the fire temple, Kai and Lord Garmadon start arguing about the battle the two of them had there in the pilot. Cole tells them to knock it off. Things are going to be hard enough without in-fighting, because the volcano has become active, likely near eruption. (I could go into everything that is wrong with this volcano, but that’s not what you’re all here for)

They ninja are getting ready to leave when Kai notices that both Lord Garmadon and the four golden weapons aren’t on the bridge. He rushes down into the hull and finds the dark lord holding said weapons. Kai shouts ‘I knew you couldn’t be trusted!’ And Lord Garmadon is all ‘Bring it on, fool!’

Uhg, really, slo-mo again? We really don’t need it here. The two fight, and once it goes back into real-time, it’s actually pretty awesome. Everyone else comes downstairs looking for them, so Kai locks the door. He thinks this is the key to unlocking his true potential. Luckily Cole just knocks it in with his super strength. Once inside, they find Kai standing over Lord Garmadon, asking if he’s unlocked his true potential yet. Sensei says ‘No idiot, he let you win.’ Turns out Sensei asked Garmadon to go and get the weapons for the ninja.

In Kai’s defense, Lord Garmadon totally trolled him into it.

In Kai’s defense, Lord Garmadon totally trolled him into it.

The airship finally reaches the fire temple, which has changed a bit since the pilot. It’s got even more lava than before, and there are frequent tremors. (I’m impressed, that’s actually accurate of a volcano on the verge of eruption. The tremors, not the lava, you almost never find completely molten lava outside of the caldera)

Since the place is so unstable, they need to not use their weapons. Kai is reluctant to put away his sword.

Kai: Yeah, yeah, no fire-sword. But only because I wouldn’t want anything preventing us from getting that fang-blade.

Garmadon: Or my son.

Me: Yeah Kai, get your priorities straight.

And here we come to the crux of Kai’s problem, I think. He’s become too selfish, which is interesting. At first he was only concerned with keeping Nya safe, but as the series has gone on he’s become more and more focused on unlocking his own true potential and becoming the green ninja. It’s a shift in his character motivation, and I think that selfishness is what’s holding him back. He wants to become the green ninja, but for the wrong reasons.

In the volcano, they find the Serpentine and Lloyd just as the snakes uncover the third fang-blade. Pythor is admiring the blade when he spots the ninja reflected in its surface. So much for stealth. An awesome small-scale battle breaks out.  Kai gets cornered, so he pulls out his sword. The sword of fire. In an active caldera. I hope I don’t have to explain why that’s a bad idea.

To make things worse, Pythor’s leaving with the fang-blade, and tells the Constricti to dig into the walls of the caldera, further compromising the volcano’s structural integrity. Jay says they need to get out before the place explodes, but Garmadon insists he’s not going anywhere without his son. The dark lord leaps across the chasm of lava to where the Serpentine are escaping, and fights off a whole horde in a truly BA scene. Pythor realizes Lloyd has become a liability with Garmadon around, and tosses the kid’s cage down into the lava below.

Lloyd: Daaaaad!

Garmadon: Lloyd!! –He grabs a charging snake’s spear, tosses said snake over the side, and uses the spear to pole-vault over the other oncoming snakes. He pulls the cage back up. The bottom has melted off, by Lloyd is ok-

Lloyd: Dad!

Garmadon: Son!

Me: -Explodes from feels and pure awesome-

 

Kai runs after Pythor and the fang-blade, against the others’ protests that it’s too dangerous!  He throws his sword, knocking the fang blade out of the snake king’s hand and embedding both in the wall. Pythor tugs at it for about two seconds before Skales says ‘Screw the blade, if you stay here you’re dead!’ So the snakes make their get-away.

Jay: Leave it Kai, it’s not worth your life!

Kai: Not without that fang-blade!

Geez, the guy really has become obsessed! Everyone is yelling at him to come back, but he just won’t listen. Lloyd in particular gets too close to the edge and the rock crumbles beneath him. Sheesh, they just got done saving the kid, now plot convenience has gone and thrown him into danger again. The kid really can’t catch a break. Garmadon just misses grabbing him, and Lloyd falls onto a floating rock below. The rock is slowly melting/sinking though. He won’t last long. To make matters worse, a rock-fall blocks the others off from the caldera. It’s just Lloyd and Kai in there now.

Kai has pulled his own sword out, but the fang-blade has fallen down to the lava-level. He reaches down, and can almost reach the relic, when he hears Lloyd calling him for help. And it’s while looking between the little boy in danger and the blade, he finally realizes how messed-up his priorities have become. He jumps over to the kid.

Kai: Come on, we need to get you out of here.

Lloyd: But the fang-blade—

Kai: Forget it! This place is coming apart!

Kai uses his spinjitzu to hop the two of them from rock to rock, but the eruption has started good and proper now, and the lava has started gushing in sheets, completely blocking off their path.

Back outside, Zane and Cole have to drag Garmadon out of the volcano as the eruption starts. They get to the airship just in time, as lava bombs start raining down, and the volcano blows its top.

Nya: Kai…

Garmadon: Son…

Man, I can’t believe I’m doing this… but…

Wanna give character X a hug: Zane= 3; Lloyd= 3; Jay= 1; Cole= 1; Nya= 1; Garmadon= 1. 

Suddenly, a particularly large and glow-y lava bomb flies towards the airship. It’s Kai! He’s unlocked his true potential and saved Lloyd. The two pass out from the experience though.

Lloyd wakes up on the bridge in his father’s arms.

Lloyd: Dad… is it really you?

Garmadon: It is, son.

Lloyd: Dad… why do you have four arms?

Me: D’aw, that’s adorable.

Zane asks how Kai was able to unlock his potential right in the nick of time. Kai says he figured it out when he had to make a choice between the fang-blade and Lloyd. He finally understood that all his training wasn’t to become the green ninja, but to protect the green ninja. He looks straight at Lloyd, and the others’ faces soon light up with understanding.

Lloyd: Uh, what? What’s everybody looking at me for?

Yep, Lloyd is the green ninja, and our four heroes are his protectors. How many of you saw that coming? I sure didn’t.

Garmadon: But that means…!

Sensei Wu: The battle lines have been drawn, brother. Sadly, our family has only become more divided. Brother against brother, and now… son versus father.

Wanna give character X a hug: Zane= 3; Lloyd= 4; Jay= 1; Cole= 1; Nya= 1; Garmadon= 2 

We close out with the Serpentine leaving the volcano when Pythor spots the fang-blade floating in a lava-flow. (I’m assuming the blade is fine because it’s magic and junk) He knocks it out of the molten rock using his staff, and tells a couple of henchmen to cool it and clean it. Three down, one to go.

This episode is both funny and filled with feels, and that combination works surprisingly well. The first half of the episode is mostly the shenanigans of Lord Garmadon trolling Kai, but it escalates from funny to a legitimate conflict for the episode. When we get to the climax of the episode in the volcano, Kai’s become downright obsessed with proving himself until he thankfully has a moment of clarity.

The climax is also a great pay-off to Garmadon’s character development over the past few episodes. We’ve heard the dark lord worry over his son; seen him partner with his worst enemies to find the boy, and when he finds his son, we get an awesome, action-packed fight-scene topped with a perfect, feels-loaded reunion.

The reveal that Lloyd is the green ninja is pretty cool. At first it’s just surprising, then it becomes downright heartbreaking when you realized what it means. The poor kid’s going to have to fight his dad. When Sensei Wu lays it out for them, neither of them look very happy. We’ll have to wait for future episodes to see where this goes.

Character Corner: Kai

I know I’ve already done Kai twice, but I’m saving Lord Garmadon for a later episode. Anyway, Kai goes through an interesting character progression in this episode that’s been building since episode one. In the first episode when our four heroes first hear the legend of the green ninja, we get a lingering shot of Kai wondering aloud if it could possibly be him. Ok, big deal, everyone was excited that the green ninja could be them. But as everyone started unlocking their true potentials, they started moving on from the idea, while Kai clung to it. I think it’s because Kai expects a lot of himself. Think about it; Zane’s the wisest one, Jay’s the fastest one, Cole’s the strongest one, and what does Kai have? He’s the well-rounded one. Since he’s not the best at anything, he feels he has to try harder at everything. This drives him to prove himself in any way he can, whether it’s becoming the green ninja or claiming the fang-blade. But this drive to prove himself turns his focus inward, and he becomes selfish. Remember back to the pilot when I said Kai’s greatest strength and weakness is his single-minded determination? This is very much an example of it being a weakness.

Head-canon Corner:

There’s more fuel for my “Garmadon visited Lloyd in his shadow form” theory here. When Lloyd comes-to on the airship, the first thing he asks his dad is if it’s really him. As opposed to a shadow, perhaps? And Lloyd is surprised to see his father has four arms, so it’s unlikely Garmadon visited him between the pilot (the last time we saw him with two arms) and when we first see him with four arms.

Over-all Episode Quality: Great

Great feels, great character developments, great fight scenes.

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