Here’s a quandary: Is it better to review the more current episodes and skip the older, probably forgetten episodes? Or is it preferable to write about all the episodes in chronological order? Probably the former, but I’m doing the latter.
Riders of Berk: We Are Family, Part 1 (119) and Part 2 (120)
The season finale of Riders of Berk nicely set the stage for season 2, Defenders of Berk. Through subterfuge, Berk’s most fearsome enemy, Alvin the Treacherous (voiced by Mark Hamill) has learned some basics of dragon training, and is preparing to attack our beloved isle.
Now, if you want to read more about “We Are Family,” you can. Or, you can just jump ahead to Defenders of Berk‘s first two episodes.
Part 1: Hiccup and Toothless go in search of other Night Furies. We learn about dragon calls (which the Cartoon Network is now reenacting with live actors), Toothless protects Hiccup from falling rocks with his wing (something the Windwalker does in the books), and Toothless uses a new radar-like skill to find the way out of a collapsing cave. Sadly, the island full of Night Furies was all a ruse designed by Berk’s resident dragon-hater, Mildew. Hiccup and Toothless are taken hostage by Alvin the Treacherous. At least I’m comforted that Hiccup and Toothless are together.
Part 2: Alvin has kidnapped Hiccup (again) to force him to train the wild dragons he’s captured. This time, Alvin’s leverage is Toothless, who is bound and chained elsewhere. For some reason (perhaps just because he’s “treacherous”), Alvin also imprisons Mildew. Because both our heroes are clever, they’re able to escape; and because Hiccup isn’t heartless, he also frees Mildew. As they search for Toothless, Hiccup teaches Mildew how to handle the dragons.
Stoick, Gobber and the teens go in search of Hiccup and Toothless. Their search leads them to Outcast Island where they’re reunited with the missing duo, plus Mildew. Alvin attacks. The Berk gang is out numbered and retreats, but Mildew is recaptured.
Oh crap, even that’s a ruse! Mildew was working for Alvin all along and now knows how to train the dragons. The season ends with Alvin establishing rapport with a Whispering Death.
Defenders of Berk
Live and Let Fly (201)
In fear of an attack by Alvin, Stoick bans all dragon flying on and around Berk. He’s trying to protect Hiccup and the teens, so he patrols the island on Thornado (his Thunderdrum dragon.) It’s a nice contrast of Stoick the father versus Stoick the Chief. But the teens aren’t happy and the dragons are restless. So of course they go behind Stoick’s back. It’s fortunate all the dragon riders are in the skies, because they discover Alvin is on his way to attack Berk. Father and son and their dragons Toothless and Thornado work together to deter Alvin’s fleet.
Darned if Alvin’s thwarted attack isn’t all a ruse—again! While the defenders are kept busy with Alvin’s fleet, his lieutenant Savage, with guidance from Mildew, plant Whispering Death eggs in a cave underneath Berk. Bad Alvin! Bad Savage! Bad, bad Mildew!
The Iron Gronkle (202)
The whole How to train Your Dragon universe (books included) is about misfits finding their way in the world. In the movies and television series, Hiccup has found his calling, but others are still searching.
Even with the other teens, Fishlegs remains a misfit; and Meatlug, his Gronkle, isn’t quite up the the speed (literally and figuratively) with the other dragons. But Meatlug becomes in demand when she produces a type of lava that can be forged into light but strong metal. Sort of like shiny titanium.
Of course, all good things must come to an end, but the manner in which they end is hilarious. In trying to determine which rocks produce the “good” lava, Meatlug becomes magnetized. With all metalic objects adhering to her hide, Meatlug becomes understandably frightened. When Hiccup tries to comfort her, his metal leg becomes attached to her underbelly, and she flies off in a panic. This leaves Fishlegs to ride to the rescue on Toothless. Although Fishlegs asks for more Night and less Fury, he eventually gets the hang of it, rescues Hiccup, and manages to sink an Outcast ship.
Just as in “Gem of a Different Color,” Fishlegs rises to the occasion and becomes a valued member of the dragon-riding team once again. Proving that even misfits have their merits.