(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 review and recap episode three,”Imperfect Harmony”.
(WARNING #1: This recap/review will contain SPOILERS for episode three. 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.)
After two movies, four short films, and – of course – two seasons of the television series, we’re well-acquainted with the world of Dragons. We know how this world works and how these characters play off each other. Race to the Edge seems determined to unveil (among many things) a new wrinkle in the Dragons universe and introduce new elements that serve to bring new layers to our understanding of this world and that gradually build towards the destinies of our characters.
With this knowledge we dive into episode three of Race to the Edge (directed by Jae Hong Kim and written by Art Brown and Douglas Sloan). After he discovers what the Dragon Eye actually contains, Hiccup gets the Riders over to show them exactly what he discovered: a map filled with vital clues and information that hints at the larger world of dragons. And it’s a world that stretches far beyond the island of Berk.
This scene is so very important for many reasons. Chief among them (no pun intended) is the fact that it fits squarely into one of the themes of Race to the Edge: the ‘college’ years of these characters as they come into their own without the help of the adults. Also, it says a lot about the development of Stoick’s character. Namely, that he has complete faith in Hiccup to pursue a destiny of his own making. If “Dragon Eye of the Beholder” is the prologue for Race to the Edge, then “Imperfect Harmony” is chapter one in the main story. In a lot of ways, this scene literally kicks off a new phase in the lives of these characters.
Having Stoick also put complete and total faith in Toothless, when he tells him to protect his son, is also a nice touch (it is also very tragic in hindsight if you know what happens in How to Train Your Dragon 2).
With that, the Riders begin their merry (and, at times, not-so-merry) journey into what they dub as “the great beyond.” I’ve already mentioned this above to some extent, but “Imperfect Harmony” is the first time we ever get to see the Riders figure out how to solve problems without the help and support system they normally relied on at Berk. When they arrive on a beautiful island and set up camp they are very far from home and far from the comfort of their own houses. As a result, we see them try to figure out ways to make themselves feel comfortable in this strange new land.
But, of course, it doesn’t take long for trouble find them, as they wake up to find that their dragons (all except Toothless) have been kidnapped by… something. The Riders go off to find their dragons and run afoul of a wild Thunderdrum in doing so (the result is a hilarious conversation between Hiccup and the gang after their hearing is effected by the Thunderdrum).
When the gang finally come across their dragons, they discover that whatever took them left them immobilized in an amber-like substance (and, after a while, will eat them). Shortly after they are introduced to this dragon (in a rather neat fashion), who is given the name Death Song!
Even though we’re only 3 episodes into Race to the Edge, the Death Song might be one of my favorite dragons of the season. It has a gorgeous design, that intentionally underscores its deadliness, and it provides (perhaps more so than the Snow Wraith) a more rounded conflict that drives much of the action in the episode’s third act.
After an unsuccessful attempt to free the other Riders’ dragons ends up getting the Riders (along with Toothless) immobilized by the Death Song, Hiccup escapes and runs into the Thunderdrum from earlier. As it turns out, that Thunderdrum has a grudge against the Death Song. It also happens that Thunderdrums are the only species of dragon that can’t hear the Death Song’s siren call. This works to Hiccup’s advantage, as he teams up with the Thunderdrum to rescue the gang and their dragons (as well as the Thunderdrum’s youngling).
Remember what I said in the previous article about Hiccup’s intense passion for discovering dragons being a character flaw? This could somewhat apply here as well. In fact, “Imperfect Harmony” is a great example of how Hiccup’s judgment calls aren’t always the right ones. He certainly means well, but even he can make a wrong choice or a bad decision every now and then. I like this, since it indicates to me that the writers don’t treat Hiccup as always being right and portray him in a way that is just as human as anyone else. He may be an excellent inventor, peacemaker, and expert on dragons, but even he can slip up when the opportunity arises.
Using Snotlout’s Monstrous Nightmare gel, Hiccup and the Thunderdrum get into it with the Death Song and use the confrontation as an opportunity for Hiccup to set the gel on fire with his shield. This frees the Riders and their dragons from the amber. With Toothless new free, Hiccup leads the Death Song to a cave and, with the help of the Thunderdrum, they trap it inside (temporarily). With the Thunderdrum and its adolescent reunited, the Riders fly off. Emboldened by their experiences, they begin to talk about setting up their own base of operations as they go “into the great beyond!”
– Stoick mentions Valka by name! Did I mention that I love the continuity nods?
– While not particularly romantic, Hiccup and Astrid sitting side-by-side with each other in the moonlight is a nice visual for Hiccstrid fans.
– When Snotlout says, “Monstrous Nightmare gel. Don’t leave home without it.”
– Another one from Snotlout (after a Thunderdrum attack): “I will take your other foot.”
– When Hiccup and Astrid comment on when Toothless tries to drag Hiccup (but takes his metal leg instead) is great. “I like the enthusiasm.”
– I totally forgot to mention this in the previous article, but I like how Toothless is a more involved character and expresses a wider range of emotions and actions.
– So far, I like how the new dragons are designed to compliment their respective environment. The Snow Wraith is sharp, jagged, and rough (like Glacier Island). The Death Song is beautiful and adorned in lush colors (like its island).
– Stoick: “You keep my boy safe, dragon.” (I’m not sure if this is what he actually said, but it gets the point across.)
Video Recap #2
Thanks for reading! Check back tomorrow for the recap/review of Dragons: Race to the Edge episode four!
What do you think? What are your thoughts on this episode? If you have seen this episode, discuss it in the comment section below!
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes