[We still have no votes for Once Upon a Time‘s Who’s Your Baddy poll. 😦 C’mon, I know there are fans out there! Don’t be shy.]
Now, let’s continue our rating of the Dragons: Riders of Berk episodes.
In Dragons We Trust (105)
There’s a rash of vandalism on Berk, and that pesky Mildew blames it on the dragons. Hiccup gets proof that Mildew, using dragon-like accessories, is actually the real culprit, but Mildew throws away all the evidence before Hiccup can make his accusation.
The result? The Vikings banish the dragons to Dragon Island.
Alvin and the Outcasts (106)
(Sounds like a boy band doesn’t it ?)
With the dragons banished, Berk’s most feared enemy, Alvin the Treacherous comes looking for the “Dragon Conqueror.” That would be Hiccup, of course; even though Alvin is skeptical that “Stoic’s little embarrassment” can really control dragons. When it’s explained that Hiccup has conquered all the dragons (including the feared Night Fury) and exiled them, Alvin kidnaps Hiccup and heads off to Dragon Island.
When they arrive, Toothless greets Hiccup by jumping on him with glee, although Hiccup makes it look like they’re wrestling. He’s able to put Toothless’s saddle on him, and together they take to the sky to assault the Outcasts.
Meanwhile, Stoic has armed his ship for a mission to bring Hiccup home. (And maybe to kick Alvin’s butt, too.) When the Hooligans arrive at Dragon Island, the teens mount their dragons. The dual attack from sea and sky is too much for Alvin and his Outcasts. The Outcast ship sinks, stranding them on Dragon Island (sans dragons). Although defeated, Alvin is excited to learn that dragons can be ridden, and vows to capture Hiccup so that the Outcasts can learn to ride.
How to Pick Your Dragon (107)
Stoic decides he needs a dragon. He wants a Night Fury, but the only one on Berk is Toothless, and Toothless is Hiccup’s. When Stoic discovers the dragon that’s been attacking Berk’s fishing fleet is a Thunderdrum, he decides that’s his kind of dragon. hiccup tells his father that he needs to bond with the dragon, but neither Stoic nor the Thunderdrum is particularly touchy-feely. Not to fear, though, the two do bond (in typical Stoic style) when they fend off a herd of wild boars from attacking an injured Thunderdrum.
What I particularly love about “How to Pick Your Dragon” is the father/son dynamic. Throughout the episode, Stoic appears to be ignoring Hiccup, but in the end, he’s heard every word. In a nod to the movie, Hiccup takes Stoic on a scenic ride above the clouds and over Berk. And just like Astrid, Stoic is awestruck to see his isle from this new perspective. The episode ends with Stoic and Hiccup flying their dragons through the archipelago, enjoying the ride and each others company. What’s not to love?
Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Man (108)
When the time-honored Berk “Chief and Son” portrait depicts a muscle-bound Hiccup, the real Hiccup worries that’s the kind of son Stoic would prefer. When the teens find a map to the fabled treasure of Hamish the First (stolen and hidden by his son Hamish II) Hiccup decides to try to find the treasure; even though many Vikings, including Stoic and Gobber, have tried and failed to find the treasure.
With the help of the gang and Toothless, Hiccup finds the treasure. And discovers that Hamish the Second was also a “hiccup” (the runt of the litter).
This episode is highly reminiscent of Cressida Crowel’s How to Be a Pirate, the second book in the How to Train Your Dragon series (which reveals the significance of Hiccup being left-handed). It’s my personal second favorite book of the series (after the bittersweet How to Break a Dragon’s Heart). In both the book and the episode, Hiccup opts to leave the treasure behind and untouched. We learn that gold isn’t everything, and that great Vikings come in all sizes.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas or any other Winter Solstice Holiday celebrated.
[And yes, all screenshots are from the fabulous Berk’s Grapevine.]