LEGO: Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu Episode 14 Review
Quick note. They keep the numbering going through season two, so I’m going to use the total episode number like on the title cards in the show.
SEASON 2 EPISODE 14: DARKNESS SHALL RISE
Oh look, Lloyd’s in the opening theme now!
We open with the guys helping clean up Ninjago City after the great devourer attack. Kai laments that, with their golden weapons gone, most of their elemental powers are gone too. (Which means we don’t get to see Jay turn into electricity and travel through wires again. What a waste of an awesome power!) On top of that, the dragon(s?) is (are?) still injured and their airship is destroyed, which means they have no place to stay.
Nya arrives with a potential solution for the housing problem. She knows a girl who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a girl who knows a guy who knows a real-estate agent who can help them find a place to live. She can’t help look at apartments because she and Sensei Wu are going out of town to pick up some components and medicine for the dragon(s?). Uh-huh. I’ve been apartment hunting, I know you’re just trying to get out of it Nya. And I don’t blame you.
Jay comments that, once they have a place to stay, the ninja can get started on training Lloyd, which is pretty urgent considering Lord Garmadon and the Serpentine are all still around and probably just waiting to cause trouble.
Speaking of the Serpentine, Skales has gathered them together in the canyons where the great devourer ate the airship, and is trying to unite them again, under his own leadership. The snakes aren’t too keen on uniting again after Pythor almost got them all eaten and destroyed the city of Oroboros. The snakes call Skales’ motives and qualifications into question. Skales is all ‘I’m the one who told you guys not to awaken the great devourer.’ (Uh, no you didn’t) The other Serpentine are still skeptical. A perfect time for another candidate to enter.
Lord Garmadon: You want a home? I’ll give you a home.
Skales: Lord Garmadon!?
Lord Garmadon: Forgive me. I haven’t been myself lately. But now that I have the golden weapons, it’s time that I got back to my roots.
Me: It’s like his evil personality is kicking the original personality in the face with that line.
The dark lord tries to recruit the Serpentine army, saying that the skeletons have been played out. Skales says not to listen to him, but the snakes all gravitate to Lord Garmadon. The dark lord impresses them further by using the power of the four weapons to rebuild the airship from the scraps lying around on the ground.
Skales: You blindly follow him because of his wizardry!? He’s not even a Serpentine! Rule with me, and we rule as brothers!
Lord Garmadon: Rule with me –Pulls out sword of fire- or else.
Well, the Serpentine can’t argue with that, so they leave Skales and the three other generals in the dust as they fly away on the airship. On the bridge, a few of the snakes meet with the dark lord and ask why they’re flying away from the ninja, when they should be attacking. The evil mastermind explains that his son is there, the one who’s destined to defeat the dark lord, and taking over Ninjago wouldn’t be of much use if it got taken back by good almost immediately. One of the snakes is all ‘So, why don’t we just kill Lloyd then?’ Garmadon ain’t too happy about that. Luckily for the snake, killing isn’t allowed in this show, so he’s just locked in the brig.
Lord Garmadon’s plan is to get rid of Sensei Wu and the ninja, leaving no one to teach Lloyd, so the kid never reaches his true potential. That’s actually really smart. It also gets rid of the usual ‘Why don’tcha just shoot ‘im?’ argument.
The evil airship is flying to the golden peaks, where the four golden weapons come from, and where Lord Garmadon hopes to re-forge them into one super-weapon.
Back with our heroes, the real-estate agent brings them to a “One bedroom, one half-bath, cozy retreat.”
The agent explains this is all she could find in their budget. Cole says they can make due. As long as they can focus on training Lloyd, it doesn’t really matter how nice their apartment is. Jay and Kai protest that if training Lloyd is so important, the kid should have a decent place to come home to. Zane is all ‘Technically that doesn’t matter…’ but Jay elbows him to shut up.
The next place the agent shows them is the complete opposite of the dump. It’s huge, it’s fancy, it’s got a dragon keep on the roof, and a state-of-the-art training facility.
Jay: Maybe we can get a hero’s discount. After all, we are the ninja who saved the city.
Agent: I thought Lord Garmadon saved the city.
Kai says they can work day jobs to pay for the place. And so they do. Jay becomes a pizza delivery guy, Cole becomes a security guard at a bank, Zane becomes a cook at a swanky restaurant, and Kai becomes a birthday entertainer. (Wait, Kai, you used to run a blacksmith shop, why don’t you do that instead of humiliating yourself?) All this is covered in a montage set to a corny pop-song that is probably by the same group as the theme song. It’s stupid, but it doesn’t stay long enough to really detract from the episode. It’s close though.
The problem is, with the guys so busy working, there’s no time to train Lloyd. When they get home from work they’re too tired to even play video games. (Oh the humanity!) To make things worse, rent is due tomorrow and they don’t even have half the money. Everyone is going to have to work extra shifts. Which means Lloyd is going to have to spend more time alone. Poor kid, no wonder he has abandonment issues.
We cut to the Serpentine Generals, who are meeting in an abandoned subway station. Skales asks them to brainstorm ideas on how to win the other Serpentine back to their side.
Constricti: … Release the devourer!
Skales: No you idiot! We’ve already done that!
Venomari: Release… a swarm of… evil bees?
Skales: Ugh… Where would we even get evil bees?
Me: Ask the Amazons.
Meanwhile, Jay has to deliver some pizzas across town in five minutes, or it comes out of his pay. He’s pulling every trick he can to get there on time, when he notices a girl getting mugged. He runs the thugs down with his scooter, probably breaking some of their bones. It’s pretty cool, but has nothing to do with the episode.
Once he arrives at the address, Jay finds there’s no building to deliver the pizzas to. He looks around and hears some voices down a man-hole. Hmm, a ton of pizzas delivered to a seemingly deserted man-hole…
Nah, it’s the Serpentine Generals. (Aw man!) Jay overhears them discussing a plan to rob the bank.
Constricti: But boss, when are we going to get pizza? I’m hungry.
Jay: –Whispers– Rob the bank?
–Venomari grabs him from behind, he drops the pizzas down the manhole–
Constricti: Hey look, pizza!
Me: Hahaha, that was a good one. But… what on earth would the Serpentine do with money?
So the snakes tie Jay up and leave him in their lair while they leave to enact their plan. Not the smartest move. What’s more, they’ve left their plan written out on a map for him to see. So Jay begins his long hop to find the others and warn them.
At the bank, the snakes burrow in from underneath, setting off the alarms. Cole runs to investigate, but by the time he gets into the vault, the Serpentine are already gone.
Outside, Kai sees a police cruiser zoom by with its sirens on. He tries to leave the party to investigate, but the angry mom grabs him and reminds him she’s hired him for another hour. He skips out anyway, but he’s not getting paid.
We next cut to Zane in the restaurant. He gets distracted by one customer discussing the bank robbery and accidentally dumps eggs on a kid’s face. The head chef declares that he’s fired, and the poor guy gets so flustered his face starts to peel off, revealing the circuitry underneath. Well. That kid is scarred for life.
So everyone is fired. At least this means the three of them are free to pursue the Serpentine. They find the snakes on a subway train, and jump on the roof from a ventilation shaft above.
Cole: Isn’t there an easier way to get inside?
Kai: Not without a ticket.
–Serpentine punches a hole in the roof and pulls Kai inside-
Zane: I believe Kai just found it.
Me: Now is not the time to be experimenting with your humor switch Zane!
Unfortunately, the guys have a hard time fighting the Serpentine without their weapons. Still, they can’t let the snakes get away. Except the snakes aren’t trying to get away. They’re the distraction so Skales can kidnap Lloyd. (Oh, that explains why they’d rob the bank!)
Checking in with Lloyd, the kid is playing video games. Because it’s not like he has anything better to do. You can only do so much training on your own when you’re nine-ish. We get a scene that’s part creepy, part funny, where Skales slowly comes down a window-cleaners lift to the window while the kid just keeps on playing, blissfully unaware. Eventually, Lloyd notices the snake’s reflection on the televisions screen.
He throws the controller and runs for the door, but he can’t get the state-of-the-art security system to unlock. Meanwhile, Skales cuts a hole in the window with his staff and slithers in menacingly.
Lloyd: What do you want with me!?
Skales: You seem to be the only thing your father cares about. With you as my hostage, he’ll have no other choice but to let me lead the Serpentine!
Luckily for Lloyd, it’s at this exact time the Sensei Wu and Nya come back from their errand.
Rather than see what they do to save the kid, let’s check back in with the ninja! Zane has the bright idea of taking apart the bars and handles in the subway car to use as weapons. The tides quickly turn and the snakes are subdued. Plus, they found Jay! He’s hopping down the track toward their speeding train!
Cole and Zane find the break, but they’re not strong enough to slow it down enough on their own. (Bull, Cole has super-strength!) Kai has to go and help them, letting the Serpentine escape. The red ninja’s added strength stops the train just centimeters from Jay’s feet, and they untie him.
When the ninja get back home, the apartment appears empty. Were they too late? I would actually maybe think that, except they showed Sensei and Nya knocking on the door at the end of the last scene! This could have been great atmosphere, but you totally botched it!
Nya: I go away for a day and everything falls apart!
The guys have learned their lesson. The nice stuff is not nearly as important as being there for their friend. So they move into the dump from the beginning of the episode. And what happened to Skales when Sensei and Nya were done with him? He’s in jail now.
We end off the episode at the golden peaks with Lord Garmadon and the rest of the Serpentine. The dark lord re-forges the golden weapons inside a lava-bubble. There’s an explosion of energy, and a single new weapon appears.
We zoom back across Ninjago to Sensei Wu meditating while everyone else sleeps
Sensei: I fear there is a great disturbance in the Force.
Me: Pbth! Haha, really? Really? You just really did that? This show doesn’t derive enough from Star Wars already?
Anyway, this was an ok episode, but not really a strong start to season two. That’s really season two’s problem. It starts out meandering, without really doing much plot-wise, until about half-way through we finally pick up the pace again, and it gets really good. It’s a shame, I feel like season one was paced almost perfectly.
Huh… we don’t have any new characters to look at, and I just overviewed everyone last episode… I guess we’ll skip it today.
If this show were aimed at a slightly older age-group, and killing mooks was ok, I’m pretty sure Lord Garmadon would have killed the snake the suggested ‘destroying’ Lloyd. We don’t see much of the dark lord in this episode, but what we do see is interesting. Like at the beginning of the episode where he says he hasn’t been himself lately? It’s like a cruel irony. Clearly his original personality has been showing through more in the past few weeks than it has in years, but that original personality has likely been buried for much of his life.
Over-all Episode Quality: Well Below Average
Not a great start to season two, or a good representation of how good it will get. Hardly anything happens in the episode, it’s really padded out, and they ruin a perfectly good suspenseful scene before it even happens.