By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
The age of scientific discovery is very evident in the second episode, “The Iron Gronckle,” of Dragons: Defenders of Berk. What that means for the astute is in how perfectly other products developed for this series is starting to tie in. The School of Dragons is an online educational game product that focuses on teaching its players scientific method, and if this episode is any indication, maybe it will pave way for more marvels to come.
But so far, nobody has noticed that Alvin and Mildew left a few dragon eggs in the caves underneath the town of Berk. When one of them happens to be a Whispering Death, what that means may not get revealed perhaps till mid-season.
In this episode, the plot centers on Fishlegs and revealing how important he is to the team. Even though slow and steady often wins the race, such is not the case when the gang are told that an Outcast boat was spotted. The group raced to the scene, but the warship is nowhere to be found. Snotlout belittles Fishlegs as usual, and the overweight kid decides its best to hang back than to continue being part of the advanced reconnoissance team.
They accept it and leave. Fishlegs thinks that his friends gave in too easily. The Outcast invasion can happen anytime, and to have the team work together is vital. The Outcasts have gotten smarter since the last time viewers have seen them. They know stealth. But for Hiccup and his team, they need to know how each member of the group contributes. And the lesson being taught here is a good one. Despite the fact that Fishlegs is the slow one of the team, his contributions are vital since he has is a repository of information.
The only unfortunate issue is that he did not take note of what his dragon, Meatlug, ate. Gobber is wondering what kind of metal this dragon belched out because it’s quite strong and light. The question of whether this Gronckle Iron, as its called, is the Berk equivalent to Mithril, will never get answered. But the idea that this series is starting to make references to familiar pop culture products is becoming very evident.
While both Gobber and Fishlegs try to figure out what types of rocks Meatlug consumed, that should be the least of their worries.
The way this episode bounces between the two storylines is good. There is an impending threat that everyone in Berk will have to face and the dynamics of how Hiccup’s team of defenders are in need to be ironed out, hence this episode’s title. As for what they will have to deal with next, the upcoming episode, “The Night and the Fury,” suggests that it may deal with something from Toothless’ past.