LEGO Ninjago: Master of Spinjitzu Episode 27 Review
I’m back again, and about time too!
Anyway, let’s get on with it!
SEASON 3 EPISODE 27: THE SURGE
So, there was about a year in between the end of season two and the beginning of season 3. Apparently season two was successful enough to warrant another season after the planned ending of the show but… Cartoon Network had a funny way of showing it. Season 3 is only eight episodes long, and they were all aired two at a time, months apart. It got really frustrating to wait so long, especially when the finale got rescheduled from the beginning of October to late November, Thanksgiving to be precise.
So, will season 3 be as good as its predecessors? Let’s find out.
Well, let’s take a look at the new opening theme… Ehhhh, I don’t like the techno remix that much. And now Zane’s name comes first when they’re listing off the characters. Methinks the creators realized who the most popular character is. Ooh! Garmadon’s in the opening! I can’t wait to see what they do with his character!
The episode opens with Kai narrating a recap of the end of the last episode, and how Ninjago City has been rebuilt into New Ninjago City, which is super futuristic with flying cars and other Jetsons type stuff. Then the film reel cuts to a home-video of Jay catching Kai in the shower. (Oh Jay, always stay awesome)
Yes, this was all a video that Kai was showing to his class. He and the guys are all teachers now. Apparently they, Nya, and Sensei Wu converted Darkly’s School into an academy. Class is interrupted when a kid runs in yelling that Zane’s gone on the fritz.
It turns out one of the kids got a special remote control in the city, and he’s using it to control Zane. It’s played for laughs but… man, that is messed up! Zane’s a person! How would that kid like it if someone came in and played with him like a puppet?
Moving on from that scene of horror, Jay complains during their lunch break that the guys are stuck teaching school while Lloyd gets to travel around accepting awards and stuff for their good deeds. Y’know, given that Lloyd’s a lonely kid with abandonment issues who hates to be away from his friends, I’m sure the he’d gladly trade you spots, Jay.
Next Nya bursts into the room to avoid some of the boy students who are pining after her.
Nya: Why is it that when I teach, I get the feeling that none of the boys are listening?
Jay: Hi Miss Nya, hu-huh, I saved you some pudding.
Nya: What did we talk about?
Jay: Oh, right! Boundaries.
Me. Hu-boy, they’re at that stage of the relationship.
Nya goes on to announce that she has good news. The guys get excited for a second, thinking they might get a chance to be heroes again, but no, it’s just a fieldtrip to Borg Industries. The other guys are just like ‘Oh. Whatever.’ But Jay starts geeking out. Borg Industries is the company that spearheaded the futuristic improvements to New Ninjago City, headed by Cyrus Borg. Hmm, seems pretty dodgy. Whenever there’s a big futuristic company with ‘Industires’ or ‘Corp’ in the name that isn’t owned by one of the main characters in fiction, chances are it’s the bad guys.
Kai is all ‘Eh, fancy technology is just a fad.’ But all the kids are excited to go. This is apparently the first time the guys have been back to Ninjago City since the end of season 2, which is weird, because at the beginning of the episode Kai says it feels like ages since they defeated the Overlord. But if it’s the biggest city on the continent, it seems weird that they’d go so long without visiting. How long has it been since the end of season 2? A year? Three?
Anyway, once in the city, everyone marvels at the new technology and tall buildings and flying cars and such. Nya gets so distracted by it that she drives through an intersection and hits the mail-truck. Cole tries to help by lifting the crashed truck out of the way, but a big robot steps in and is all ‘mechanical work only, stand down pedestrian’. Luckily their destination is just across the street, so the class walks the rest of the way.
Once inside, they’re greeted by a pretty robot girl.
PIXAL: Welcome to Borg Industries, I am PIXAL, Cyrus’s Primary Interactive eXternal Assistant Life-form. –Zane is staring at her, open mouthed– I am sorry to hear about the traffic accident.
Cole: Wow, news travels fast!
PIXAL: Everything in New Ninjago City is fully automated and interconnected. Your antiquated bus should be ready shortly. –turns to Zane– You are Zane, a droid like me. What does ‘ZANE’ stand for?
Zane: I stand for peace, freedom, and courage in the face of all—
Jay: She means your name, tin head!
Me: Oh, you adorable dorks. This kind of stuff is why I love this show.
Zane gets flustered and says his name is just his name, it doesn’t stand for anything. PIXAL asks if she can scan him, and the poor nindroid stammers out ‘Yeah, uh, I mean, yes, I mean uh…’ Yep, Zane’s clearly taken with this robot girl.
I’m not the only one to notice, as Jay elbows Nya in the ribs and goes on about Zane’s new girlfriend.
Once done scanning him, PIXAL comments that Zane’s hardware and model are outdated compared to the stuff Borg Industries is making. Uh excuse me? Zane is an android so close to human that he himself did not know he was a robot! His hardware is so advanced he can speak and feel emotions like a normal human being, not the generic robo-speech we’ve seen all the Borg-bots use so far. PIXAL also notes that Zane doesn’t have any batteries or charging plug, and asks what powers him. Zane’s just all ‘I-I dunno’ and oh my gosh this is too cute to handle. (Personally I always figured he ran on a mini Mr. Fusion Reactor. He eats food, after all)
Finally, PIXAL takes the class on a tour of the building, but tells the ninja that Mr. Borg would like to talk with them on the top floor. In the elevator a camera scopes them out and notes that the golden ninja isn’t present, while the guys stand around, blissfully unaware that they are being watched.
Meanwhile, on the tour, PIXAL shows the kids and Nya some of the inventions they’re working on.
PIXAL: Even now, he is working on a digiverse where the gamer will be digitally scanned in to take gaming to another level.
Me: And you know before the season’s done we’re going to go there. And I will make all of the Digimon references.
Another invention is a “Perfect Match Console” and it’s just one of those dumb romance match-making machines you see in diners and casinos. The girls in the class beg Nya to try it and she’s all, ‘I doubt these things actually work, but I’ll humor you’. The thing identifies her as a strong independent woman who can take care of herself and matches her with…
Still, it’s just a dumb arcade cabinet, it’s not like Nya’s actually going to take that thing’s results seriously, right? …Right?
Moving on from that weirdness, up on the top floor the guys finally meet Cyrus Borg. Jay immediately begins nerd-gasming.
Jay: –Gasp– Oh my gosh! Is that—are you–?
Borg: Cyrus Borg? Eh, yes. Unfortunately when my parents gave me a name like that, my future in technology was… predetermined.
Me: Heh, I like this guy already. And PIXAL seemed to be pretty nice, if a little blunt. Maybe they’re an exception to the rule.
Borg comes out from around his desk, revealing he has a mechanical wheelchair. Well… wheelchair probably isn’t the right word for it, as that implies it has wheels. It’s actually a little spider-like walker that he sits on.
Borg: Ah yes, these. Sadly, I’ve been disabled all my life… uh, but it’s nothing my mind couldn’t fix. Uh, speaking of which, my deepest condolences Zane. I heard about your father. Oh, he was a brilliant mind. He would have fit right in!
Zane: Thank you, but loss is inevitable.
Me: What!? I… what… Dr. Julien is dead? I mean, yeah, I was wondering where he was, but we haven’t seen Lloyd or Garmadon yet, I figured the guy was just somewhere else doing his own thing… Oh man…
Wanna give character X a hug: Zane=7; Lloyd= 10; Jay= 3; Cole= 1; Garmadon: 4; Kai = 2
I think what hurts the most is how out of left field this revelation comes… and how coolly Zane talks about it. Maybe it’s because he already thought his father was dead before and has gotten used to the idea?
Kai point out that this building is built on exactly the same spot where the Overlord was destroyed, and Borg fidgets a bit before explaining that he did it to show that he won’t be scared off by evil. I like that sentiment. I like this Cyrus Borg guy a lot.
Borg notes that the golden ninja isn’t there and the guys are all ‘Yeah, Lloyd’s kinda busy with stuff’ but Borg is all ‘No no, I’m glad it’s just you guys, I got a present for ya!’ Cole asks if it’s cake. It’s not.
Kai: Oh wow. A statue. Of yourself.
Me: Thank you Kai, you make my job easier.
The guys crowd around to take a look at it when Borg grabs Kai by the arm and pulls him to the side, whispering in his ear.
Borg: Please, protect them with your life. All of Ninjago depends on it!
Kai: Protect? Protect what?
Borg: You were right, I should never have built here! You must go! He’s listening.
With that cryptic warning, the industrialist shoos the guys away, and Kai mentions that Borg is being weird.
Jay: They’re called ‘artificial limbs’ Kai. I know you hate machines, but you don’t have to be rude! We’re his guests!
Me: Uh… since when has Kai hated machines? I know he used to be a blacksmith, but he seemed to like that mini-mech his sister made for him pretty well.
In the elevator Kai explains what Borg told him, which causes the guys to drop the statue, shattering it. Inside there are new ninja uniforms and four strange thingies. As soon as Kai holds them up, an alarm in the elevator goes off, declaring that the technoblades have been found. When the guys refuse to give them up, the elevator suddenly drops into free-fall. And remember, they’re on the top floor of the tallest building in the city. They use spinjitzu to break out of the top of the elevator and jump to an oncoming up-elevator. In the brief rest, Jay realizes ‘Oh crap, what about our students!?’
The class is with Nya and Sensei Wu, checking out the assembly line, when things go very, very wrong. All the robots in the room, including PIXAL, go red-eyed and surround the tour-group.
Luckily the students have Nya and Sensei to protect them but the kids try to make a break for the exit instead of staying down like Nya told them.
Nya: No! Why don’t boys ever listen to me?
Me: Sadly, because we live in a male-dominated society. But that’s changing. Fight the power, girl!
The fight scene in the factory is only a few seconds long, but it’s pretty good.
Back upstairs, the guys have put on their new uniforms and are about to test their new technoblades on some security robots that have started attacking them. Unfortunately, the ninja don’t know how to make the technoblades work…
Kai: What’s with these things? How do we turn them on?
Zane: Here, let me try… –attempts to cut a power line, nothing happens– It’s not sharp! Why even call it a blade!?
Me: … Yeah, he’s got a point.
A stray laser blasts open a window, which somehow sucks out heroes outside. How? They’re not in a pressurized airplane or anything! They’re just in a skyscraper! If you want them outside, have them run outside to escape the killer robots!
We cut to Borg, who is in his office being yelled at by a familiar voice.
Overlord: You fool! You tried to give them the only thing that could defeat me, and thought I wouldn’t notice!? I’d get rid of you… if I didn’t still need you. Don’t think… to ever betray me again!
Me: Oh snap, the Overlord’s back.
Borg: Of course not! I promise! I-I promise!
Overlord: A promise isn’t good enough!! –Mechanical arms drag him to an operating table, screaming.-
Me: … Oh crap.
Yeah, I didn’t see that one coming. Should have, but didn’t. I was expecting Borg to be the bad guy, but as the episode went on, I really liked him, so I was hoping I was wrong… and I kinda was. The Overlord is back and using Borg, for reasons we’ll discover as the season goes on.
Back with our four leads, the guys are wondering if the “he” in Borg’s “he’s listening” does in fact refer to the Overlord.
Cole: But how? We all saw Lloyd defeat him!
Zane: Defeat, yes, but can he be destroyed?
Their speculation is interrupted by a police hover-car attacking them. Zane and Cole pull a fast-ball special and once on top of the vehicle, Zane pulls out his technoblade. The thing starts glowing blue, and when he touches it to the hover-car, the vehicle changes in a flash to reflect Zane’s color-scheme.
Kai: What just happened?
Jay: The technoblade must have hacked the hover-copter’s system! Zane controls it!
Me: I don’t know a thing about hacking, but I’m gonna guess that is not even remotely how it works.
Back on the assembly line, Nya and Sensei are trying to herd the kids safely to the exit, but with lasers, blades, crushers, and conveyor belts everywhere, it’s not easy. They’re almost to the window when they find themselves on a conveyor belt quickly pulling them to a fiery furnace of doom. Luckily, the ninja show up with Zane’s new hover-copter and shoot away both the deadly robots and the switch for the conveyor belts, turning the system off. Although it is a near miss.
Once all the kids are safely back on the bus, Kai tells Nya to hurry back to the academy and contact Lloyd ASAP, while they stay in the city and protect the people from the rioting technology.
Needless to say, the guys are excited to be in the action again. Kai hacks a jet, and somehow activates a message from Cyrus Borg. The message explains that the Overlord somehow survived in the form of a computer virus, which has corrupted all of Borg’s systems. The technoblades are important for some reason, so they need to get the things out of the city ASAP. Borg also explains that the new outfits are to thwart the facial recognition software in the secutrity cameras, which is a good excuse to get new outfits… except that it covers less of their faces than before.
Other than that logical fallacy, I actually really like the new outfits. They’re simpler than the last two incarnations and I like the bandanas because then we can see the guys’ hair, which is kind of a big part of the character design when you’re dealing with minifigs.
While the guys deal with the killer robots, Nya rushes back to the school and spots someone in the break room.
Nya: Lloyd! The ninja are in trouble and—
Dareth: Oh hi Nya. Can you believe it? I’m watching my favorite game show, the one with jujitsu dogs, y’know, when bang! The cable just dies on me.
Me: … Dareth, I have never hated you more.
Back in the city, the guys and Sensei have been surrounded. Just when it looks like they’re toast, there’s a flash of golden light, which overloads the machines’ systems. Yup, Lloyd’s finally here! Took him long enough. Our heroes get in a big group hug, happy to see their friend again, but the good times are interrupted by the Overlord’s glowing eyes appearing on every screen in the city.
Overlord: So… you couldn’t help yourself. The golden ninja… we meet again!
Lloyd: Overlord. I defeated you once, I’ll defeat you again!
Overlord: Oh… I don’t want to fight… I just want your power!
All the security robots and other machines that had been taken out by Lloyd’s energy surge suddenly blink back to life, absorbing the power of the golden ninja. Oh dear.
When our heroes realize they’ve just played right into the baddie’s hands, they have to come up with a plan to get Lloyd and the technoblades out of the city. The six of them split up, with Sensei taking the technoblades. The old man jumps from roof top to roof top like he’s a freakin’ Ninja Turtle until he’s finally caught… only he doesn’t have the technoblades anymore. The security footage rewinds to find that he slipped them to Kai while he jumped over a street.
Sensei’s distraction is enough for the five ninja to get out of the city, but he’s been captured, and the Overlord is not happy with the little trick he pulled. I wouldn’t want to be in his position. Lloyd wants to go back for his uncle, but as the others point out, that’d defeat the purpose of getting out of the city in the first place. They’ll be back when Lloyd and the technoblades are safely out of the way, but for now, they need to hide.
Back at Borg Tower, we see that the Overlord has taken over poor Cyrus, and is using the information from PIXAL’s scan of Zane earlier to build a whole army of nindroids.
This episode is a great introduction to the new season. It’s not exactly a good jumping-on point for new viewers, as it builds a lot on old plot points, such as Lloyd’s powers, the Overlord, and the fact that Zane’s a robot. Still, it’s exciting, shows us what most of our characters have been doing in the time between seasons, introduces some new, fun characters, and sets up a new mystery and plot. The Overlord is back and wants Lloyd’s power, but we don’t know why. The technoblades are important, but we’re not sure exactly why, and Sensei Wu and Cyrus Borg have both been captured and we’re not sure what’s going to happen to them.
Character Corner: Cyrus Borg (VA Lee Tockar)
I like this guy’s attitude. It’s hard for me to convey it in writing, because it’s portrayed more in the delivery than in his actual words, but he’s played like a typical socially awkward geek who’s suddenly become rich and famous for the things that used to get him mocked. He’s the type of guy who sees any obstacle as a challenge that he can tackle through technology. Born paraplegic? Build robot legs. Evil dragon monster trashes your city? Rebuild it ten times better with your own headquarters where the Overlord bit it as an ‘up yours’ to evil. I love that kind of can-do attitude. He’s also got a decent sense of humor. Unfortunately his cockiness got him in trouble when the Overlord took over his systems. It’s unclear exactly how the Overlord got Cyrus to work with it, but I’ll go into my ideas in a later Headcanon Corner.
How long has it been since the last season in universe? Is it just over a year like in real life? I find it hard to believe that they built this huge new city in a little over a year. And yet, the guys haven’t been to the city since it was rebuilt, and Lloyd’s still going around getting rewards and what-not, so it can’t be that long after. I can’t imagine people still giving out awards after a whole year. Future episodes make it even more unclear, so I’m just going to chalk it up to the fact that Ninjago has a totally whacked-out timeline.
Over-all Episode Quality: Great
The new season is off to a fantastic start with an interesting new plot and fun new characters, mixed with a return of characters we love doing things we love.