LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu Episode 18 Review
SEASON 2 EPISODE 18: CHILD’S PLAY
We open with the reclaimed airship, where Lloyd is distracted from his training by some kids playing (soccer/football/adjust for your region) below. The guys tell him to focus, but he complains that they’ve been training all day. And he’s got a point, the last four episodes have opened with Lloyd training. That’s a lot for a nine-ish-year-old.
So they start sparring, and the funny part is, even though it’s four-on-one, Lloyd is clearly bored, and easily knocks the others around. That is, until Cole charges him from behind. Then Jay says the kid is usually better than this. What, so he usually beats up all of you easily? This kid is totally over powered!
Lloyd says he’s distracted because the latest issue of his favorite comic, Starfarer, just came out. The last issue was a cliff-hanger, and this issue is a limited run, so it’ll sell out soon. Kai is all ‘That’s too bad, but your training is more important than a comic book.’
Training is interrupted when Nya rushes on deck, reporting a break-in at the museum. And guess who was on the security camera? Why Lord Garmadon, of course.
Lloyd: Yeah-yeah-yeah, I can’t go, and it’s safer if I stay here and train.
Everyone else: Mm-hmm.
Lloyd: –Sigh of irritation– Too old for comic books, and too young to fight. When are they gonna make up their minds?
Me: Poor kid.
Strangely enough, it’s evening when the ninja arrive at the museum, even though they were just training in broad daylight. Inside they find the Serpentine looking around and discussing why they’re here. Skales complains that they shouldn’t even be working for the dark lord; all his plans have failed so far. Lord Garmadon suddenly appears and is all ‘Oh really? Well this one won’t!’
What is his new plan? To bring an extinct reptile, Dromesauriderapod grundalicus, aka the Grundal, to life. It’s a dangerous predator, with huge, sharp claws and heightened senses that could track its prey from miles away. The perfect monster to hunt the ninja.
Skales: Yeah, right! Well show us then!
Lord Garmadon: Rise Grundal, and feel the strength of the mega-weapon! I wish to have the power to make you young! Turn back the clock, so that you are no longer extinct!
The skeleton is bathed in dark magical energy, and begins shake. (Boy is he going to be disappointed that the display is just casts of the bones and the real ones are in storage)
Obviously, the guys can’t let a giant monster like that roam the streets, so they try to interrupt the spell. By jumping onto the display’s back.
Zane: This is not a solid plan, Cole!
Me: I agree with Zane. Those displays can’t hold a person’s weight!
Kai manages to throw his sword and knocks the mega-weapon out of Lord Garmadon’s grasp, cancelling the spell. The dark lord has to call a retreat, but the Serpentine don’t want the night to be a total loss. Skales and the other generals make off with a golden sarcophagus shaped like a snake. The guys give chase. Luckily, the snakes are really stupid and try to fit the thing down a man-hole. When they see the ninja coming around the corner, they abandon the artefact and flee.
Jay: Uhg, I can’t believe we couldn’t catch up with them. I’m usually faster than that. It’s as if my legs were half the size.
Kai: I don’t remember that thing being so big. Did it grow?
Zane: Or did we shrink?
Kai: –Beat- Uh, guys… –Points to their reflection in the window across the street-
Jay: –Gasp- We shrunk!!
Kai: We—we’re kids!
Yep, apparently jumping on the Grundal display during the spell de-aged them. Everyone freaks out and starts screaming.
Cole: We must be dreaming! Tell me we’re dreaming Zane!
Zane: Nindroids don’t dream!
Me: Umm… episode four opens with Zane dreaming. So… that’s a lie.
Yep, poor Zane hurts himself trying to figure out how the spell even did this to him, considering he was never a kid to begin with. The freak-out is interrupted by a police cruiser pulling up. The cops think these four kids stole the golden sarcophagus, and they’re going to bring them in for questioning. Kai tries to get away using spinjitzu, but he’s not used to doing it with such a small body. The officers throw the kids in the police cruiser and drive back to the precinct.
The next morning, Nya is worried that the guys haven’t gotten back yet, and Lloyd has snuck the last issue of his comic book into his lesson manual. Sensei and Nya decide to go look for them, leaving Lloyd to look after the airship. But really, he’s gonna read him comic. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: You can’t leave a nine-ish-year-old in charge of a flying airship with weapons, even if he is the green ninja.
Back with the ninja, they’ve been brought back to the museum to apologize for stealing.
Zane: But we didn’t! I don’t understand—
Kai: Shhh! The quicker we get outta here, the faster we can return our bodies back to normal!
The museum curator is all ‘Thanks for bringing back the sarcophagus, but what’d you do with the Grundal bones?’
The officers tell the kids to sit tight while they find the kids’ parents. That could be potentially awkward…. Luckily a tour group from an elementary school walks past, and our heroes blend in and sneak away by ‘borrowing’ some extra shirts and jackets. Once the class reaches the doors, the four bolt, looking for a way back to the airship.
It’s a good thing they did, because as the teacher calls them back, the Grundal appears.
The guys find a working pay-phone (those still exist?) and try to call the airship. The phone rings for quite a while, because Lloyd is too busy playing a video game and he apparently doesn’t know what a pause button is. He eventually manages to knock the phone off the hook and continue playing his game at the same time.
Jay: Lloyd, it’s Jay! Let me talk to Sensei!
Lloyd: Jay? Where are you? Why haven’t you returned? Sensei’s out looking for you.
Jay: Uhg, apparently you need parental permission to take the bus, and we can’t seem to get out of the city!
Lloyd: Uh… what?
Jay: Uhg, never mind, it’s a bit complicated. Just meet us at Buddy’s Pizza in ten minutes! And bring our weapons!
Lloyd complies, but he can’t find the guys in the pizza place. One kid tries to flag him down.
Lloyd: Beat it brat, I’m on a mission!
Me: Pbt! Oh, you are one to talk!
Kai: It’s me, Kai!
Me: How could you not recognize him? Literally no one else has that hair!
Lloyd’s a little freaked out by the change in his friends at first, but he’s soon laughing about it. Now they know what he feels like all the time! Kai says they need to find someone who would know how to defeat a Grundal, and Lloyd’s all ‘I know a guy.’
Said guy is the owner of the local comic book store, a dude called Mother Doomsday. Lloyd asks him how to defeat a Grundal, and he’s all ‘Well, theoretically, based on how it’s been portrayed in movies and comics, it’s hide is impervious to steel, so your cheap plastic weapons will do less than nothing. Also it’s nocturnal, so it’s weak to light. I’d use a lightsaber. I mean illumisword. (But really, it’s a lightsaber)’
The light swords are up for grabs in a trivia contest based on the comic Lloyd’s been reading, so he enters to win them.
Back on the airship, Nya and Sensei have returned to find the airship empty, but Lloyd at least left a message on the answering machine.
Lloyd: Sensei, we’re at Doomdsay Comics. Garmadon’s turned the others into kids and we’re about to face a real-life Grundal! If you get this message, this isn’t a prank! Come quick!
Sensei: Oh dear.
Me: That’s an understatement.
Sensei goes to see the crotchety old tea lady and asks her for a special tea that will turn someone older. Luckily she’s got one left… somewhere around here.
Back at the comic shop, it’s starting to get dark, but the trivia challenge is down to Lloyd and one other kid.
Mother Doomsday: What is Fritz Donagain’s famous catch-phrase?
Lloyd: “Fair? Fair is not a word from where I come from!”
Me: It’s the final round and they’re asking about the catch phrase? This isn’t a very good trivia challenge.
The final question is about the newest issue of Starfarer, the one Lloyd hasn’t read yet, so the other guy answers it.
Kid: By reversing the polarity of the ship’s gravity transducer!
Me: Way to go man, you just spoiled it!
So, our heroes have lost. And it’s dark out now. The Grundal is on the prowl, and it’s found its prey. The lights shut off in the shop, and the sign outside crashes to the ground. The Grundal steps onto the roof, cracking the skylight windows. Unfortunately, the exit is blocked by the fallen sign, and what’s more, the monster has crashed in through the roof.
The bright side of all this is now our heroes can take the lightsabers, I mean illumiswords, because I’m sure the other kid is much more concerned with living right now. They hold the glowing blades out, and it does seem to push the creature back. Then they try to hit the creature with the illumiswords. Except the things are just plastic toys. They break rather quickly.
The Grundal swipes all four of them over with one claw, and corners them on a counter. Lloyd comes to the rescue, and tries to use his powers on the thing, but it just bounces the energy back with its tail, knocking the green ninja back with the others. Is this the end?
Of course not! Nya and Sensei bust open the door, allowing the civilians to escape. Unfortunately, the Grundal is between our heroes and the exit. Sensei throws them the magic tea that’ll turn them back to normal, and reduce the Grundal back to a skeleton.
Jay: Grundal, prepare to be extinct!
Cole: No, wait! What’ll happen to Lloyd? He’ll turn old too!
Lloyd: Just do it!
Jay: You’ll miss out on the rest of your childhood dude!
Kai: We can’t do that to you! It’s not fair!
–The Grundal snaps at them, the special tea falls into Lloyd’s lap–
Lloyd: Fair? Fair isn’t a word from where I come from!
Me: Lloyd, you are a nerd after my own heart.
Lloyd throws the jar at the creature, where it shatters and releases the magic. The creature dissolves away until it’s just a pile of bones. The guys get up from the rubble, back to normal.
Sensei: But what about Lloyd?
Me: His voice hasn’t really changed though… oh dear, he skipped over puberty. (Also, the others’ looks of horror in that screenshot are unintentionally hilarious)
I joke, but really, it’s kinda sad. Lloyd’s spent the whole episode complaining that he doesn’t get to do kid stuff… and now he’s sacrificed a good chunk of his childhood to save his friends.
Wanna give character X a hug: Zane= 3; Lloyd= 7; Jay= 1; Cole= 1; Garmadon: 2
As they leave, Mother Doomsday stops Lloyd.
Mother Doomsday: Here Lloyd, you can have my copy of Starfarer. You deserve it.
Lloyd: That’s ok. I already know how it ends.
Me: Yeah, ‘cuz that little twerp spoiled it.
We end with an actually kinda epic and thoughtful voice over by Sensei Wu.
There comes a time when we all must grow up. When that time comes, it’s important not to forget the lessons of our childhood. Because our childhood is the greatest training one can ever have.
I really like this. With so many kid shows today taking the stance that growing up stinks, and that everyone should try and be a kid forever, this takes a more realistic middle ground. We all have to grow up sometime, and we need to be ready for it, and accept it, but that doesn’t mean turning our back on our childhood. It means taking all the lessons from our childhood to heart.
This is a really important episode, and also kinda sad. Poor Lloyd’s had a crappy childhood already, and now it has to be cut short. Still, I like that it was his choice to make the sacrifice, and he seems to be accepting of it for now. His age-up is going to be pretty important for the end of season two. This is about where the plot picks up and we stop meandering.
It’s also pretty funny to watch the guys deal with being kids. They’re all distressed about it at first, especially Cole. (Oh no, bed times!) Interestingly, Jay seems to be enjoying himself toward the end, buying cotton candy and browsing the comics. It makes sense, he’s usually the most immature of the four leads.
Character Corner: Lloyd
I think now is a good checkpoint to look over how Lloyd’s character has developed. In the last season we saw him change from an enemy to an ally, and in this season we’re seeing him change from just a bratty kid to the green ninja, quite literally in this episode. He isn’t trying to fix his own mistakes anymore. He’s training to fulfil his destiny, and we’ve seen him go from getting kicked around by the training equipment in episode 12, to easily holding his own against the others in this episode. He’s also become a little less bratty. Just a little. Also, I loved that he quoted his favorite comic before saving the day. That’s the sort of thing I would do, given the opportunity.
They talk about the Grundal like it was around at the same time as humans. Is it like a wooly mammoth, where it was around at the same time as ancient man but it was killed off by climate change? Or is it like a dodo, and it got killed off by over-hunting and habitat loss? It’s hard to believe people killed it off if it was such a dangerous predator. This one seemed to do fine in the city.
Over-all Episode Quality: Great
A funny episode with some great character development and a scary atmosphere with the Grundal.