Dragons: Riders of Berk – “Dragon Flower” Recap
Due to their isolation, the residents of Berk relish every opportunity they get to exchange goods with the outside world. One day the trader Johan arrived to capitalize on their fervor, and sure enough, nearly everybody in town showed up to the docks in order to see what they could get. Of note, Stoick acquired a sword so that he could present it as a gift to a chieftain, as he has to leave town on a diplomatic mission for a few days, while Fishlegs trades a necklace he had made for a book on botany; Mildew also acquired some undisclosed items, which appeared to make Toothless nervous. The following day, Hiccup goes to the Dragon Training Academy and notices that Toothless has been sneezing a lot recently, but he doesn’t think much of it and the Riders of Berk fly to the town square, where Astrid makes a remark about the unusual flowers that are growing around. Shortly thereafter, Toothless becomes too sick to continue flying, and soon after that, all of the dragons in town start getting sick. They go to the town’s seer in order to see what’s wrong and she discerns that they must be allergic to something new that was brought to town, and in an effort to save their dragons, every villager agrees to throw away the items that they had received from Johan. Unfortunately for them, the dragons don’t appear to be getting any better, but after Stoick returns from his trip and his dragon also gets sick, they realize that the unusual flowers must be to blame and that Mildew was responsible for planting them. They go to speak with him, but find themselves unable to take much action because there is no evidence that he intended for this to happen, but they make him dig up all of the flowers all the same. Fishlegs, remembering the flowers from his botany book, learns that one dragon, a Scauldron, might have hypothetically been able to save the dragons if it only produced venom, something which the Book of Dragons says it doesn’t. Gobber corrects him, saying that it does, and after a short discussion, he sets out to sea in order to collect the venom along with Stoick, Hiccup and Mildew. At sea, they use the flowers to lure the Scauldron to their ship, and after several attempts to collect the venom, it overpowers them and runs away – but not before biting Mildew in his rear end. Realizing that they can use the venom inside him to save the dragons, they take him back to Berk where Gobber uses several devices to pump the venom out of him, traumatizing him in the process. He heads off into the forest in order to scream, leaving Hiccup to cure the dragons. As hoped, the antidote works and Hiccup celebrates with Toothless, saying that he would do anything for him.
Based on early descriptions I had hoped that this episode would have been more adventurous, but for the most part it reminded me far too much of the earlier episodes that were generally hit-and-miss. Mildew may no longer be in any position to drive the dragons from Berk, as that ship has thankfully sailed, but it really feels like the show is grasping at straws in an attempt to keep him relevant now that Alvin has been introduced. I did like how they were more subtle about his intent – I could believe that Stoick had no means to arrest him – but I didn’t like how incredibly dense the characters were in figuring out that he was responsible. And between the botany book, Toothless’ strange reaction to Mildew’s package and Astrid’s remarks about the flowers, the foreshadowing about him was far too thick and it nearly suffocated the plot.
With all of that said, this was still a good episode. The last act did deliver the adventure that I hoped for, and Stoick forcing Mildew to come along was a nice touch. His behavior on the ship was realistic, and his personality led to some very amusing dialogue. I also enjoyed seeing him run around in a desperate attempt to stay alive. Having the characters fail to collect the venom from the Scauldron was a nice touch, as it was emphasized in both the movie and the show just how dangerous this dragon actually is. One viking even got knocked overboard and was sent flying for who knows how long. While I would like for this show to portray an injury in a serious manner, I got a chuckle out of it and it did serve to demonstrate the dragon’s power. I just wonder what sorts of dragons they’ll introduce next, as I can’t remember very many others that were mentioned in the movie that have yet to be introduced in the show. I suppose we’ll find out sooner or later.