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Dragons: Riders of Berk – “Defiant One” Recap

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While looking for a fishing vessel that was blown off-course during a storm, Snotlout has a disagreement with Hiccup and heads off in another direction. Reluctantly, Hiccup goes after him, and the two of them get caught in a water sprout and are forced to land on an island. Toothless’ artificial tail gets damaged in the crash, while Hookfang flies off, leaving Hiccup and Snotlout stranded together. Hiccup makes plans to repair Toothless’ artificial tail, but when Snotlout breaks an integral part, the boys are forced to come up with other options. Those options are made all the more important when they find that they have landed on Outcast Island, where Alvin the Treacherous is. Worse for them: Savage has found a satchel that Snotlout left behind, causing the Outcasts to get sent on full alert in order to capture any residents of Berk that they come across. Meanwhile, Astrid and the other Riders of Berk inform Stoick of what happened, and seeing how long he’s been gone, form a rescue party in order to go find them. Back at Outcast Island, Hiccup goes off with Toothless in order to silently raid the Outcast’s smithy and forge a new rod for Toothless’ artificial tail, only to be captured by the Outcasts in the process. Toothless runs back to Snotlout, eventually getting him to come with him, and the two of them ambush Savage and free Hiccup. Hiccup attaches the rod that Snotlout had picked up after going with Toothless, and the three of them fly off as soon as Alvin arrives. They fly away and coincidentally meet up with the other riders who were looking for them, and return to Berk with Hiccup admiring how well he and Snotlout worked together, despite hating every minute of it.

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When a movie is turned into a television show, certain liberties have to be taken in order to make it work. One of those liberties is often expanding upon the supporting cast, whose roles aren’t defined well enough in their movie appearances. Unfortunately, in this instance, the show is doing a disservice in its attempts. I remarked in a recent recap about how unlikable Snotlout has become, and this episode came close to making me outright hate him. He kept making the problem worse and worse, and never even apologized for it. He may have “saved the day”, with Toothless’ help at least, but that shouldn’t excuse the fact that he was responsible for just about everything going wrong. I know the show has made efforts to humanize him as of late, such as showing how little love he gets from his father, but they really need to stop making Snotlout that bad of a character.

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Getting past Snotlout’s idiocy is difficult, but setting that aside, this episode was less than impressive. It would have been a whole lot better if it had shown that the Outcasts were making progress on their dragon training, but they’re still right where they were a while back – lamenting the loss of the Book of Dragons and their inability to capture Hiccup. If they don’t get their act together soon, this show is going to ruin Alvin’s last ounce of credibility. I already think Dagur the Deranged is more threatening than him and Dagur is an insane teenager. At least with news that the second season of the show will be called “Defenders of Berk” instead of “Riders of Berk”, it’s implied that they’ll be doing some defending. Hopefully the writers don’t disappoint my expectations.

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