By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
New episodes of Dragons: Race to the Edge are now available on Netflix and months have passed since Hiccup and the Dragon Riders dealt with Viggo Grimborn. This new antagonist has all the makings to be a classic James Bond style of villain and his patience in how to deal with threats to his trade of selling dragons suggests he will be around for most of the saga. I’m curious if he knows Drago from the films, because one episode suggests he is more aware of what’s out there, beyond the Archipelago.
Very little added exploration is taking place in this new season when a threat is nearby. The crew have to fortify their defenses and plan for the eventuality that either Grimborn or a greater threat will attack. But first, and old adversary, Dagur, emerges out of the woodwork and he’s apparently turned over a new leaf. Hopefully the fate given unto him at the mid-season cliffhanger is not certain. This character has received more development than the others in this series, and I’ve grown to like him.
This season starts off very strong and skips a beat with filler episodes in between the core eight episodes to round out the thirteen episodes, half of season five (when counting the run on Cartoon Network). The initial episodes to pay attention to are “Enemy of my Enemy,” “Follow the Leader” and “Buffalord Soldier.” The latter shows the beginning of the Hiccstrid romance when the two show strong feelings for one another. Viggo makes an appearance and reveals he orchestrated the events leading up to their “chance” encounter.
An old ally returns in “To Heather or Not to Heather” and the gang asks her to join the Dragon Rider team. Getting a new person in can be tough and Hiccup does his best to help her integrate. The issues are more with Windshear, her dragon, instead of a new recruit and I’m wondering if the A-team, the secondary team defending Berk, will make a return too? They get a brief mention in “Turn and Burn” but that is not enough when considering they are the last line of defence if Berk gets attacked. A potential new ally introduced in “Defenders of the Wing” shows there are other groups
For the most part, the entire Archipelago is threatened. Viggo’s plan is starting to get revealed in “Between a Rock and a Hard Place.” The Dragon Riders discover an island on the verge of collapse. They find a marble quarry and bring down a stronghold this nemesis is building. This season is good, by showing the team going on the offensive and attempting to bring down Viggo’s operation. With all the dragons being caught by him, just who they are for must be asked.
An equal question I’m asking is why Grimborn has not tried to use the Dragon’s Eye, a tube filled with secrets when the light from a dragon’s fire is projected upon it. This item’s use was pivotal in prior seasons to help the Dragon Riders find new dragons and get clues to find other lenses to use, and this season oddly discards its significance. Viggo unlocked this item and with its information at his disposal, this despot is hardly making full use if it. Either this Eye is not all that important anymore or the writers completely forgot to acknowledge Hiccup giving up on recovering it. When considering he can not obsess with this item’s recovery, there’s still 13 more episodes to bring it back to the fore. There’s a secret every HTTYD fan is curious about when Viggo is staring at the complete map. Why is the image of the Night Fury located in the centre of everything? Could Viggo know where these beasts have gone? Maybe Toothless is not the last of his kind. Hopefully the last half of this season will address the threads the previous season left dangling before our eyes.