Defenders of Berk: Continuing Season 2

Please don’t think my penchant for reviewing DreamWorks Dragons: Defenders of Berk every other week means my love for the series is waning.  It’s not!  (Although I am sad that Mulch [voiced by the legendary Tim Conway] is nowhere to be seen this year.)

The Night and the Fury (203)

Tuffnut stands guard with his Zippleback dragon.

Barf, Tuffnut, & Belch. Or is it Belch, Tuffnut, & Barf?

The teens go on a training mission to Dragon Island to test their survival skills against wild dragons (without the help of their own dragons).  Once there, Hiccup runs into Dagur the Deranged, the chief of the Berserkers.  You may remember him from last year’s “Twinsanity” when he wanted to kill Barf and Belch (Ruffnut and Tuffnut’s Zippleback) as a peace pact wtih Berk.  This time he’s killed a Gronkle and Monstrous Nightmare (although its skull looks more like a Typhoomerang to me), and now he’s hunting for a Night Fury.

Fortunately, Toothless and the other dragons are sequestered away from the humans, and Tuffnut is assigned to look after them.  T.J. Miller Ithe voice of Tuffnut in both the movies and the series) takes full advantage of the opportunity to shine as he tells the dragons ghost stories.  (They’re not moved.)  Actually, Tuffnut does a good job of keeping Toothless from escaping to help Hiccup.  Until he falls asleep.  That’s when the dragons escape.

When Hiccup and Dagur run into Toothless, Hiccup tries to continue the ruse that the Vikings of Berk still hunts dragons.  But when Toothless becomes entangled in Dagur’s rock-rope-throwing thingy (what are those things called??), Hiccup reveals, “We have the dragons.  And we’re not afraid to use them.”

Up until now, the series has been focusing on Alvin the Terrible and the Outcasts, but we must remember they’re not the only enemies of Berk.  It looks as though things will become more and more dire for our favorite Vikings as the season progresses.  In fact, things become quite intense in the next episode…

Tunnel Vision (204)

Remember when the Alvin’s lieutenant Savage and the Outcasts, with Mildew’s help, placed Whispering Death eggs in the caves beneath Berk?  The problems are now beginning.

When Berk’s water supply runs low, Hiccup and Toothless scour the tunnels underneath Berk.  Actually, Hiccup falls down the well, and Toothless quickly follows.  Hiccup discovers the hatched Whispering Death eggs and their tunnels, and realizes this is the reason for the water shortage.

The hatchlings finally make their presence known by attacking Berk.  Just as they’re driven off the island, the village is besieged by an enormous white dragon with red eyes.  It’s actually the rogue dragon featured in the new season announcements.

This dragon turns out to be a fearsome enemy.  Its roar disorients the other dragons, thus Tuffnut christens it the Screaming Death.  Most alarmingly, it shoots flames like a machine gun.  In fact, the battle with the Screaming Death is actually more intense than the penultimate action sequences of most  Sleepy Hollow episodes.

Whispering Death dragons attack Berk.

Fluid animation doth not good screen captures create.

There appears to be a hierarchy in the Death class dragons.  When the Screaming Death becomes injured in a rock fall, the Whispering Deaths rescue it and carry it away from Berk.  As it recuperates in a distance cave, the Whispering Deaths bring it food and wait anxiously for the Screaming Death to heal.  The symbiosis is quite interesting, and nothing like we’ve seen before.  This could be very grave news, indeed.

The animation for this episode is stunning.  Fishlegs tells us Whispering Death hatchlings are more dangerous than the adults because they don’t have control of their tails.  And sure enough, as they fly, their tails spiral and wave through the air fluidly.  It’s mesmerizing.  (So much so, screen captures seemed to capture two frames at once.)

Could this lead to another Emmy Award?

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