Dragons: Riders of Berk – “When Lightning Strikes” Recap
The residents of Berk find their homes to be constantly compromised due to the weight of dragons sitting on them, so the town comes together to build a series of metal perches on which the dragons can sit. All goes well with that plan until nightfall, when a storm blows in and lightning begins to strike at the perches, causing many homes to catch on fire. After the damage is contained, Mildew says that the town must get rid of Toothless because it is clear that Thor is punishing the town for harboring such an unholy beast. Despite the crowd joining his side, Stoick refuses to give in to their demands and says that Toothless isn’t to blame. The next day, the Riders of Berk build a statue of Thor in hopes of appeasing him, but when the lightning gets worse that night, the town revolts. Stoick orders Hiccup to take Toothless and hide, but the angry mob isn’t content to let him roam free, so they begin to form a search party. As Toothless tries to avoid the mob, he gets struck by lightning and his artificial tail piece burns, causing him to fall to the ground. Hiccup deduces that the metal in his tail piece, and all around the village, must have been to blame for the damages, but the angry mob captures Toothless and prepares to dump him into the sea before he can make his case. He returns to Berk to get a piece of metal, goes to the dock, and demonstrates to all of the town’s residents that the metal was to blame – getting shocked in the process. He falls into the sea, causing Toothless to break free from his chains and rescue him. The next day, the residents of Berk tear down all of the metal perches and apologize to Hiccup profusely, and the giant statue of Thor is placed next to Mildew’s house, resulting in him getting shocked whenever a storm rolls in as punishment.
How many times is this show going to have this plot? It’s past ridiculous at this point, as I have complained about this several times already and yet there’s always another episode that deals with the exact same thing. I am giving the show an ultimatum this time: cut it out. I know Mildew is going to keep being Mildew, but after the fifth time, you would think that the residents of Berk would stop agreeing to join his angry mobs. If he succeeds in turning the town against dragons one more time, I’m going to stop watching the show. It can do so much better than that tired plot. It worked the first time, but there is absolutely no point in trying to keep using it. I don’t see why Stoick just doesn’t banish Mildew from the town, especially since he was openly rebelling against Stoick’s orders. But at least Stoick was smart this time around, refusing to place any faith in Mildew’s claim and defending Toothless as much as possible. A small improvement, although a better improvement would have been to not have this episode at all.
With all of that said, however, this episode was more enjoyable than the other episodes that dealt with that exact same thing, even if it was painfully obvious from the very beginning that the metal dragon stands were the cause of all of the problems. I complained about this show’s lack of subtlety in the past, and it’s true yet again – when the show makes it extremely evident what the problem is, but has the characters stumble around in the dark trying to figure it out, it really hurts the quality of the episode. Now, I did appreciate the religious take on the episode, with it having no problem showing that the characters believe in Norse Gods and worship the likes of Odin and Thor. Some of the emotional scenes between Hiccup and Toothless were also among the best in the series, even if it was more of the “inconsequential drama” that I complained about in one of the earlier episodes that dealt with their forced separation. There is no more drama to be had from having Hiccup think Toothless is being taken away. After this episode, the cow has been milked dry. This show deserves better, so again, cut it out. Let’s have some epic adventures. Let’s have some dragon vs. dragon combat. Mildew can go jump off of a cliff.