Defenders of the Wing, Part 1 is the thirteenth and final episode of Season 3 of Race to the Edge. It was released on Netflix on June 24, 2016.
A few months have passed, Hiccup and the Riders carry out dozens of raids on the Dragon Hunters, attacking ships and freeing hundreds of dragons they take captive. After a recent battle, Hiccup is in shock of Astrid's injuries after taking an arrow to the leg to protect her dragon, and also the rest make Hiccup aware they are also injured from the battle. Just then, an air mail arrives sent by Viggo himself, asking Hiccup for a meeting. The note tells the location of their meeting to take place far away without any nearby island for miles, the Riders are reluctant to to let Hiccup meet with him, claiming it to be a trap, but Hiccup justifies that's not how Viggo works and firmly declares to meet him.
The Riders arrive at the location, they survey the island, finding it small and entirely exposed, with Viggo in the middle. The Riders make clearance as no Hunter can surprise them with that kind of terrain, Heather suggests they finish him but Hiccup tells her not to as he still firmly goes with their meeting. Astrid and Heather hover above, as Hiccup and Toothless land they discover Viggo is surrounded by a garden of blue oleanders and barely come in contact with them, fortunately, Toothless lands on a safe clearing and Hiccup walk towards Viggo.
Hiccup walks up and puts a piece on his board game, Viggo is surprised of him attending but Hiccup knows he is not. Viggo explains why they are in a midst of poisonous flowers for 'precautions'. When Hiccup finally asks his need from him, Viggo first compliments Hiccup as his Riders made dozens of successful raiding parties on his ships and men, their battle could go on for a very long time but Viggo then asks Hiccup another option, end their rivalry today. Although Viggo does not submit, instead he offers a truce and a ceasefire with them, Viggo places a map to explain Hiccup their terms on the truce, where a red line has divided it. He demands that Hiccup and the Riders remain at the South of the map's line and the Hunters at the North, where the two parties will respect their territories, thus ending the conflict between them. Although the Dragon Eye is not part of the deal, but Viggo reasons that every dragon in their territory will remain free and also the Riders' lives in safety, he signs his signature on the map and offers Hiccup the pen asking if he is ready to make peace. After a short pause, Hiccup tells Viggo that he needs to think about the offer first and he grabs the map, Viggo quickly accepts Hiccup's need for second opinions but adds that in the end it'll be up to him alone to decide. Hiccup leaves the island without another word.
Back on the Edge, the Riders are reluctant to accept a truce from the Dragon Hunters but Hiccup does not join the table, and is instead on the other side of the room looking at the Maces and Talons board game. Hiccup thinks that Viggo is playing with them again, claiming that Viggo does not want a truce but instead is keeping the Riders away from his doings at their side of the line, so Hiccup proposes that they check out the nearest territory on the border line, which is a drawing of a small island with a big Volcano.
The next day, the Riders close in into the island and discover from a distance a village inhabiting it. From his Spyglass, Hiccup questions a statue of a dragon, one he has never seen before, when he tosses the spyglass to Fishlegs, he observes that the dragon statue maybe a Boulder Class dragon. Snotlout suggests they go in quickly, but Astrid advises them that the village is unfamiliar and they can be friend or foe, so he suggests to enter it under cover. As they journey through the woods, one by one the Riders disappear until only Hiccup and Astrid are left. They then look up and discover unknown assailants up on the trees ready to shoot them with darts, Hiccup tries to reason with them that they mean no harm but both are shot with darts and lose conscious.
The Riders wake up tied next to each other and discover a group of tribe people surround them, they discover the tribe people feeding their dragons with some unknown fruit to which they enjoy. Then a man of authority walks towards them, revealing himself to be Throk who grabs Hiccup's head and painfully makes him bow. Throk then sets a worship call, with the tribe people following him as they all hail their leader, Mala as Queen Defender of the Wing. Mala approaches her captives with a strong pose, who she quickly identifies to be Dragon Hunters sent by Viggo Grimborn and claims they have come to destroy their village and take their 'Great Protector', the Riders deny that they are Hunters but enemies to them. But Mala does not believe their claim, as she suspects them to be deceiving her. Hiccup tries to tell them that they care and honor their dragons but Mala sees that they are using the dragons as slaves, and she pleads to the dragons to be free from their captors, but the dragons remain by their side.
But Mala is unconvinced that the Riders care for them as she claims that their dragons have been enslaved for too long and no longer think for themselves but confidently tells Hiccup that they'll change what their actions had done, while the Riders are sent to imprisonment to prepare them for a Royal Trial and be punished for their supposed crimes. Meanwhile, Astrid and Heather are preparing to escape their prison cell, but Hiccup tells them to stand down, as this is all a misunderstanding and the tribe could actually be a potential ally in their struggle against Viggo as they share the same fond with the dragons, Hiccup tells them not to attack them as they'll never earn their alliance as he realizes Viggo was trying to avoid the Riders from discovering the tribe. Hiccup suggests they proceed to be in trial and do their best to defend themselves that they are innocent, although the Riders are reluctant but accepts Hiccup's idea.
Hours later, the Riders are brought out of prison and are taken into trial, Hiccup steps in as his judge, Mala herself, asks him questions about their actions but as Hiccup answers them, she keeps twisting it and making him look guilty. Having enough, Tuffnut steps in to try and defend Hiccup but terribly does it only angering Mala even more, but Hiccup finally wraps Tuffnut up and gives out a speech summarizing that they honor their dragons and in return the dragons allow them to ride on their backs and all of them show hatred for the Dragon Hunters' cruelty of their actions, the crowd is amused of their claim, and so it seems that Mala is also by their sincerity, but gives one last question, she hands out the map that has Viggo's signature in it and asks why does he have it in the first place. The crowd is taken aback and is disgusted by them, the map has sealed the Riders' fate, and Mala declares all them guilty and are to be sent to the Nest to where they will face their punishment.
The Riders are escorted to a cave leading to the 'Nest' while their dragons are not allowed to enter and watch their fate. The Riders are now having doubts about Hiccup's idea that the tribe could be their allies and suggests an escape plan soon, but Hiccup still remains firm about an alliance, and he risks his life that once he is sent to the Nest, to which they claim will be filled with dragons, he will train a dragon for the tribe to see in order to gain their trust one last time. Before the Riders are sent into the pit, Mala gives out a speech saying that they accept the judgement of any dragon for they have accepted them, she asks one of the Riders to step up and be the first to receive judgement, Hiccup confidently goes first for he is the leader. Astrid gives out a good luck to Hiccup, as he is now being sent into the Nest, Heather then walks up to Astrid asking if Hiccup can train all dragons, but Astrid points out a few who he cannot train, Whispering Deaths, Changewings, but before the other dragon is given out, Hiccup is thrown into a pit and discovers to be filled with Speed Stingers, another dragon he has failed to train.
Astrid tries to aid him but is stopped by Mala's sword, as three Speed Stingers close on him quickly, Hiccup reaches out his hand in the hopes he could train it, Mala and Throk look on confused and thinks that he's giving himself up easily. Hiccup approaches the Stinger friendly, but the Speed Stingers remain aggressive and in all directions, try to sting Hiccup as he tries his best to fend them off. Surrounded by the three Stingers and seems that death is inevitable, Hiccup has no other option but to watch. But fortunately, Toothless dives in by surprise and scares off the Stingers protecting Hiccup from harm, both resurface, and the Riders take out their guards and grab their weapons and also their dragons in support, surrounding Mala and Throk. Hiccup asks Mala to question herself that why would their dragons risk their life if they were actually Dragon Hunters. While Mala thinks about it, Throck is prepared to die for his queen as long as Mala gives the word. Hiccup reminds Mala that she and her tribe accept the judgement of dragons, so Hiccup asks to accept the judgement their dragons showed to them. Mala finally asks Throk to stand down as she finally realizes that they are innocent.
Hiccup thanks Mala for finally letting them go, Mala is amazed by Hiccup's character but gives out a warning, threatening that if he is not what he claims to be and betrays her tribe in any way, she'll personally end his life, Hiccup accepts her condition. Hours later, Mala escorts the Riders on a tour to their village and are amazed that their communities help dragons as well. Mala then hands out a Sagefruit, the fruit they fed to the Riders' dragons as it calms and makes aggressive dragons docile, but she adds that Toothless ignored the effects of it as he rescued his Rider from harm, which she is impressed by. Mala sees that Hiccup and Toothless have a strong connection with each other, that she cannot deny, Hiccup offers her a ride but Mala then looks up to the dragon statue and tells Hiccup she is forbidden to. Fishlegs asks Mala of what kind of dragon does the statue represent, Mala answers saying it is the Eruptodon, a boulder class dragon capable of eating lava from volcanoes, as lava is the dragon's food source, and as a result of this, Mala's village is safe from harm from the volcanic eruptions.
But Snotlout then cuts the mood when he thinks that their 'Great Protector' is sound asleep as he points to the direction of a huge raging fire from the woods. Mala is shocked as there shouldn't be a calamity such as that, Hiccup offers help by checking it on air, but Mala rejects saying he must follow her ways, and that they travel by foot, Hiccup obeys and they follow. As they close in on the blazing site, Mala is beginning to worry as the Eruptodon has never let lava come so close, Hiccup tries to reason that there must be an explanation to the cause, Mala orders some of her men to chop down the trees that are in danger of being burned in order to slow down the spreading of the fire, while the rest she orders to follow her and visit the Great Protector's Den.
As they near the entrance, the Riders are amazed by the Tribe's generous offerings they place near the Eruptodon's den to show they are thankful for his help. Mala is shocked to discover that no guards are present, and she hurriedly enters the den. What she finds is only an empty cavern, with the Eruptodon no where to be found. Hiccup asks if the Eruptodon had wandered off, but Mala firmly believes the dragon never goes off too far from his food source. Astrid then picks up an arrow, a Dragon Hunter arrow, and still fresh evidently pointing out that the Hunters were recently here.
Hiccup realizes that Viggo has outsmarted them once again, as he wasn't trying to lure the Riders away from the island but to lead them to discover it in order to distract the entire tribe and capture the Eruptodon unnoticed. Shocked and angry of what she has witnessed, Mala sums up that the Riders were a diversion all along for the Hunters, tearing Mala's considerable hope into finally trusting the Riders. Hiccup pleads to Mala that they never intended this, but he is silenced by Mala as she hopelessly declares that without the Eruptodon's presence, the fate of her village is sealed, and Mala angrily points to Hiccup and his Riders as well. Mala furiously speaks that Hiccup and the Riders will die along with her tribe to pay for everything they've done.
But before they can be executed, Mala puts out her sword near Hiccup's chin as she has mentioned before that she will personally carry out Hiccup's execution and the episode ends.
- This episode introduces Mala and her tribe, the Defenders of the Wing.
- This is the second episode that has a name after a tribe, the first being "Alvin and the Outcasts".
- Coincidentally, both of them are Two-Part Episodes.
- Viggo is revealed to be left-handed, like Hiccup.
- The scene where Hiccup is surrounded by Speed Stingers and he holds up both hands to ward them off resembles a similar scene in the film Jurassic World where the character Owen tries to tame Velociraptors.
- When Viggo said "I have no desire to rule the world like... some people." he may refer to Drago.
- The Eruptodon is mentioned by Mala, but it doesn't make a physical appearance.
- However, a statue of it does appear in the episode.
- This is the first Two-Part Episode to not have its second half air immediately after the first. This is due to the 13 episode season limit of Netflix.
- Astrid shows a little of her affection for Hiccup when he was in danger - the situation with the Speed Stingers.
- When Mala shows Hiccup the map that Viggo gave him, Throk is seen in the background without his skirt flaps.
- Jay Baruchel as Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III
- America Ferrera as Astrid Hofferson
- Nolan North as Stoick the Vast
- Chris Edgerly as Gobber the Belch
- Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs Ingerman
- Andree Vermeulen as Ruffnut Thorston
- T.J. Miller as Tuffnut Thorston
- Zack Pearlman as Snotlout Jorgenson
- Mae Whitman as Heather
- James Arnold Taylor as Throk
- Adelaide Kane as Mala
- Alfred Molina as Viggo Grimborn