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Dragons: Riders of Berk – “Alvin & The Outcasts” Recap

With their dragons in exile and their armory destroyed, the residents of Berk find themselves incapable of defending their land. Coincidentally, Alvin the Treacherous, leader of an outcast group of vikings, decides that it’s time for him to launch a raid into Berk in order to capture the legendary Dragon Conqueror. He and a small number of his men depart for Berk, only to be spotted by Astrid and Hiccup as they arrive. They tell Stoick, who quickly organizes the vikings into two separate groups: Bucket and Mulch take the vulnerable villagers to the beach in order to hide, while he and Gobber lead the warriors into the forest in order to ambush Alvin. The plan goes awry, however, when Alvin makes his way to the village, learns of the two groups, and decides to pursue the beach group. Hiccup tells Fishlegs, who had been intimidated by Alvin, to go warn the forest group while he goes to warn the beach group. In the forest, Gobber and Stoick make use of their limited arsenal to take down a group of outcasts, and nearly take down Fishlegs, but stop in time for him to tell them about Alvin. They then set off for the beach immediately. At the beach, Alvin threatens the villagers in hopes of finding the Dragon Conqueror, an act which prompts Mildew to sell out Hiccup, but he is stopped by Astrid before he can succeed. Astrid then attacks Alvin by throwing her weapon at him, which doesn’t work and prompts him to threaten to harm her unless he gets the information that he wants. Hiccup, not wanting to see her harmed, reveals himself but is merely laughed at by Alvin, who believes that the Dragon Conqueror couldn’t possibly be a boy. Hiccup asks him to take him to Dragon Island so that he can approve it, which Alvin agrees to do, so they set sail. Stoick and the others arrive, learn of what happened, and form a rescue party to follow them. At Dragon Island, Hiccup pretends to get into a fight with Toothless, only to re-attach his saddle and fly off. Alvin orders his men to attack Hiccup, who are then attacked by Stoick and the Riders of Berk. During the fight, Astrid falls off of her dragon and is captured by Alvin, but a strategy devised by Stoick causes the dragons to form a steam-screen and they attack his ship under cover, allowing them to rescue Astrid and sink the ship. As they fly off, Alvin marvels at the dragons, imagining how much conquering he and his men could do if they flew dragons. Back at Berk, the dragons are once again accepted with joy. While Mildew has gone unpunished as no evidence was found, Hiccup vows never to forget what he did.

I said that this episode needed to be good, and that the villain needed to be great, in order for this series to recover. While this episode didn’t quite accomplish that, I am pleased with the result. Alvin proved himself to be a capable villain, willing to do harm to others and threaten to kill them – even trying to kill them towards the end. It was reported that Nickelodeon passed up on this series because it was too dark for them, something which hasn’t seemed to prove true until this point. Frankly, I’m not still not sure if this proves that, but I would like Cartoon Network to allow him to be more vicious in future episodes, when he attempts to put his plans into motion. Mark Hamill did as good of a job as could be expected, considering how many of these types of characters he has voiced in the past, and I would consider his addition to the cast to be a step in the right direction.  It remains to be seen, however, just how many episodes will feature him.

While I was a bit disappointed that Mildew didn’t get punished, I give the show credit for implying that his actions were purely coincidental and that he wasn’t working for Alvin. Granted, it’s possible that the show will later reveal more and have him be an agent of he outcasts, but I think I like him more as a rogue agent. I found his framing of the dragons to be tiresome in my last recap, but that was only because of the unnecessary drama brought about by it. That unnecessary drama continued in this episode, and Hiccup’s speech at the end, about how the dragons only want to protect people, struck me as redundant because he’s made the exact same speech in several episodes already. I can only hope that the residents of Berk will finally accept that as a truth so that we can stop having episodes about the dragons not being trusted, as Stoick can only threaten to banish the dragons so many times before it just becomes annoying. That said, this was still the best episode to date and I hope the show has finally turned a corner.

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