Welcome to The DRAGONS TV Recap! This is a Rotoscopers series in which we recap and discuss the DreamWorks Dragons television series!
Today, we will review and recap episode eight (“Quake, Rattle, and Roll”).
(WARNING #1: This recap/review will contain SPOILERS for episode eight. Do not read if you haven’t watched this episode 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.)
Out of all the character-based episodes of Race to the Edge, “Quake, Rattle, and Roll” (directed by Jae Hong Kim and written by F.M. De Marco) might just be one of the best ones in this particular set. It was a great episode because we finally see Fishlegs step into his own as a well-rounded character and a great episode in terms of how his interactions and dynamics with other characters influenced his actions. It also expands on the background of a particular dragon species, delivers a last minute twist that could only be predicted by eagle-eyed viewers, and gives us a neat new dragon.
The episode begins with everyone doing their own stuff around Dragon’s Edge. Hiccup and Toothless build a long-distance telescope as a scouting mechanism, while Ruffnut and Tuffnut do the impossible: build a seemingly perfect watchtower. They get the rest of the Riders (to show them the watchtower), only to to see that it mysteriously disappeared. Naturally, Fishlegs calls for Hiccup after the twins start to engage in a catfight.
As we saw in earlier episodes, Fishlegs feeds Meatlug different rocks that make her spew different color flames in order to reveal new maps inside the Dragon Eye. He eventually deciphers and unlocks all the maps, which point to a location that he has tried to find: Dark Deep, the ancestral home of the Gronckles. Dark Deep is mentioned nowhere in the Book of Dragons and is only briefly mentioned in Bork’s papers in relation to a different species. This naturally gets Fishlegs all excited, as he’ll be the first Berkian to set foot on the island (with Hiccup tagging along as the second). Hiccup and Fishlegs leave for Dark Deep, but not before the twins try to surprise Hiccup with their rebuilt watchtower (which is gone once again).
Once they arrive on Dark Deep, Fishlegs is beside himself with excitement (singing and all). But, after a while, they (or, at least, Hiccup) notice that there are no Gronckles around. They eventually find a few Gronckles in a cavern when they are met by a boulder-like object that hurtles toward them. They manage to get out of its way…only for the boulder to start to come back up. They escape it by finding another route and attempt to escape, only to have Fishlegs’ stomach growling cause the boulder to appear and reveal itself to be a dragon called the Catastrophic Quaken (in what is probably one of the best introductions of a new dragon ever). Hiccup, Fishlegs, and their dragons escape from Dark Deep (along with the stray Gronckles).
A new problem grows on Dragon’s Edge as the outpost is met with a sudden infestation of wild Gronckles from Dark Deep. While Ruffnut and Tuffnut take charge of rounding them up, Snotlout gets an idea in his head and encourages Fishlegs to be more aggressive in fighting the Catastrophic Quaken. Fishlegs wants to be able to fight against the dragon and “win,” but he doesn’t want to do it the way Snotlout suggests. Things get complicated when Hiccup suggests (while he fixes Toothless’ tail rod) that there is nothing that they can do about the situation. This leaves Fishlegs in a difficult place. He doesn’t want to be aggressive, but he’s simply not content with inaction. After he wakes up from a dream that involves the Catastrophic Quaken, he decides that enough is enough and goes to Snotlout for his help.
Snotlout begins to train Fishlegs in a series of defensive moves in order to prepare for the second confrontation with the Catastrophic Quaken. Hiccup (being the smart man he is) catches them in the act and tries to convince Fishlegs that Snotlout’s way isn’t the right way to go. Afterword, Fishlegs does something we’ve never seen him do before: he disobeys Hiccup’s orders and goes to Dark Deep with Snotlout.
This is the number one reason why I like this episode so much. We get to see Fishlegs’ character tested in a real, difficult situation. All the while, he is pulled in both directions by conflicting ideologies (Hiccup and Snotlout’s) and has to reconcile these ideologies with the person he really is. It’s surprisingly meaty stuff and it makes for some effective character development.
Once Fishlegs and Snotlout arrive back on Dark Deep, they are met with the Catastrophic Quaken again. Snotlout skitters away (ironically), which leaves Fishlegs and Meatlug to deal with the Catastrophic Quaken. Seeing no escape, Fishlegs decides to hold his ground against the dragon and brace for the worst, when suddenly the dragon is stopped by Meatlug in what amounts to a staring match between the two. Surprisingly, the Catastrophic Quake drops its tough attitude and reveals that it was only defensive due to being scared and alone. Hiccup and the other Riders arrive at the island with the Gronckles, who befriend the Quaken as well.
One very neat thing about this twist is that, for those who are really paying attention, you can see it coming from the moment that Ruffnut and Tuffnut first lose their watchtower (which was made out of rock).
Again, I love this episode. Not only did all the elements of this episode come together beautifully, but it makes Fishlegs all the more admirable as a character in his own right.
– When Snotlout trains Fishlegs and tries to convince him to use aggressive methods (as well as to remind Fishlegs how big he is compared to him) is definitely a knowing nod to the events of “Big Man on Berk.”
– Another reference from Riders/Defenders: Bork’s papers, which were handed to Hiccup at the end of Riders.
– Tuffnut (to Riders): “My comedy can be very complex”. Sure it is.
– By the way, it was very nice of Tuffnut’s Chicken to make an off-camera guest appearance.
– I like how Fishlegs turns Snotlout’s sarcastic comments on him at the end. It was a neat way to bring the episode full circle.
– The Catastrophic Quaken has a very unique look (it has two mouths!) and, as apropos with Race to the Edge, his design mirrors the island he inhabits. These are all very nice touches.
Video Recap #8
Thanks for reading! Check back next week for the recap/review of Dragons: Race to the Edge episode 10!
What do you think? What are your thoughts on this episode? If you have seen this episode, discuss it in the comment section below!
Brandon is your average nerd with a love for nerdy things (games, comics, anime/manga, etc.). He also loves reading and writing and plans to be an author someday. For now, he writes with passion and curiosity about the world of animation. He lives with his family in North Carolina and is currently attending college.