(Banner image by Ryan Campbell)
Welcome to The DRAGONS TV Recap, a Rotoscopers series in which we recap and discuss the DreamWorks Dragons television series!
Today, we will review and recap episode four (“When Darkness Falls”).
(WARNING #1: This recap/review will contain SPOILERS for episode four. Do not read if you haven’t watched these episodes yet).
(WARNING #2: Only spoilers for this episode can be discussed in the comment section. If I see spoilers from other episodes, you will be put on notice).
I don’t know if I find this surprising in hindsight, due to Race to the Edge‘s more serialized nature, but I am rather intrigued that it took this long for the Riders to collectively decide to build a temporary base of operations (four episodes in, to be exact). As such, “When Darkness Falls” (directed by Elaine Bogan and written by Jack C. Thomas) sees the culmination of that particular set-up, almost right after the Riders come up with the idea at the end of “Imperfect Harmony.”
We open the episode with a pretty neat montage of the riders trying to look for the perfect island to house their home base. Their efforts aren’t very fruitful (at least, not at first) as they come across wild boar, Blue Oleanders (from Riders of Berk), and a few Screaming Deaths to name a few. Their bad luck doesn’t last forever though, as the Riders eventually come across an island that is supposedly “safe, secure, inhabitable for both humans and dragons.” Tuffnut, being the practical man that he is, feels suspicious of the island (“Yeah. Too perfect.”).
Problems arise when the gang starts to clash with each other over what their idea of a home base should be like. Hiccup puts the problem to rest (temporarily) when he orders the gang to set up camp for the night. When they do, Tuffnut decides to have some fun by talking about scary creatures in the dark (to varying reactions from the gang). How fitting that Tuffnut is the one who wakes up to strange noises in the woods and decides to investigate (while scared out his mind). It is here that we come across not only another new dragon (or what has the shape of a large dragon), but also an unexpected new companion for Tuffnut: a chicken.
To best sum up the relationship that blooms between Tuffnut and his chicken, I present you with this:
No, Tuffnut doesn’t eat the chicken at the end (that would have been funny and tragic). But he does grow very close to it. I don’t know how they were able to manage it, but the interactions between Tuffnut and his chicken got the biggest laughs out of me. Oddly enough, a big part of this is because the chicken exudes a lot of character without having any actual dialogue, thus becoming the perfect mirror for Tuffnut’s ranting and boasting. Kudos to the writers and animators that they were able to make a chicken one of my all-time favorite characters in Race to the Edge.
Tuffnut arrives back at the camp (with his chicken) as Hiccup’s efforts to get everyone to cooperate on building the perfect base fail in spectacular fashion. Unsurprisingly, Ruffnut give Tuffnut a hard time about the dragon. So, in order to finally settle the matter once and for all, the twins enact a ‘Thorston Challenge’ and go on a search for the dragon (Hiccup and Toothless pitch in).
Later that night, the search is about to end (with Ruffnut the victor) when the mysterious dragon appears. The twins (and the chicken) make an attempt to rush the dragon only to find out that it isn’t really one dragon, but multiple dragons that form the shape of one large dragon (with its leader as the eye). The twins capture the leader (later named Smidvarg) and head back to camp.
Out of all the new dragons we have seen thus far, the Night Terrors might be the most visually impressive species of the bunch. Through the Night Terrors, we get to see more of the impressive visual imagery that is present throughout Race to the Edge. They also add extra flair to a great action sequence near the end, as the Riders reunite Smidvarg with it’s pack and help the Night Terrors fight off a group of Changewings.
After dealing with this ordeal, Hiccup finally comes up with a solution that will assure everyone gets what they want: one big outpost that combines the ideas of each person and allows them to design their own hut however they like. The Riders all agree with this plan and Hiccup names the outpost Dragon’s Edge.
We end the episode with a very cool visual from the Night Terrors as they make a formation that resembles Toothless, as a way of simultaneously thanking the Riders for their help and welcoming their presence on the island.
– Astrid giving the thumbs up to Hiccup (after ragging on him with Snotlout) was a nice touch.
– When Hiccup (confronted by angry boars) says, “W-weapons. We need weapons,” and Snotlout (looking at Hiccup’s metal leg) says, “Got one!”
– Astrid (to Snotlout): “Snotlout, what is that?” Snotlout (to Astrid): It’s an S, for Snotlout. I think aesthetically it would look nice flying over it.”
– When Tuffnut (when asked about the boar pit) says, “Everybody needs a little entertainment every now and then, don’t they?” What are you trying to say, Tuffnut?
– Ruffnut (to Tuffnut): “You’re scaring me, bro. Okay? And we shared a womb.” That’s just cold.
– Snotlout intentionally belly flopping on Fishlegs’s model and destroying it was also cold, but hilarious. “And there’s your architectural marvel.”
– That ominous chicken sound when the screen goes black gets me every time I see it.
– I think a Night Terror is a little bigger in size than a Terrible Terror, but they are both small dragons.
– When Ruffnut and Tuffnut wear each other’s clothes. It doesn’t sound very hygienic (but it’s not surprising either).
Video Recap #3
Thanks for reading! Check back next week for the recap/review of Dragons: Race to the Edge episode five, “Big Man on Berk.”
What are your thoughts on this episode? If you have seen this episode, discuss it in the comment section below!
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes