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The Flight Stuff

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The Flight Stuff is the twelfth episode of Dragons: Defenders of Berk. It aired on January 8, 2014. It is preceded by A View to a Skrill, Part 2 and is succeeded by Free Scauldy.

Overview

Snotlout becomes convinced he is dying, and leaves Hookfang to young Gustav. But when Snotlout “miraculously” recovers, he takes his dragon back, and Gustav decides to get a dragon of his own (named Fanghook) and joins the academy . . . whether they want him or not.

Major Events

  • Gustav "trains" his own dragon, a Monstrous Nightmare named Fanghook.

Plot

The young boy, Gustav Larson, is interested in Dragon Training and even pretends to ride a dragon with a sheep and plays secretly in the Academy while the Riders are away. However, he accidentally burns one of the crates and panics as to what he should do as the flame grows bigger. Luckily, the Riders arrive and stop the fire. Hiccup tells him he can't play in the Academy, Gustav says he isn't playing but dragon training and wants to be a Dragon Rider. Snotlout tells Gustav all the positions are taken, so, unless one of them 'kicks the bucket' he's not able to join.

Ironically, shortly it's Snotlout who thinks he's going to kick the bucket. He is now convinced he is about to die after seeing three of the Five Sign Posts of Valhalla that takes great warriors into the eternal paradise that is the afterlife in Germanic Paganism. The Riders try to tell Snotlout the sign posts of Valhalla is nothing but an old wives' tale but Snotlout seemingly witnesses the three out of five sign posts and is unconvinced. Fishlegs and Astrid justify Hiccup's opinion but fail, so before Snotlout dies he picks Gustav as his replacement. Hiccup doesn't agree with this and tells Snotlout he only saw three and there's still two more, but the fourth sign post: The Bird of Death, is witnessed by Snotlout, making him more convinced his death comes. Hiccup reluctantly allows Snotlout to train Gustav and heads out for a scouting mission on Outcast Island. 

From there, unable to get a closer look, they can barely see the Outcasts and Berserkers building something huge and the Twins' suggests they blow it up right away. Hiccup denies their suggestion, and tells everyone to just look for more signs that they should engage. Back at the Dragon Academy, Snotlout trains Gustav, as the Riders watch later on. Every time Snotlout teaches something to Gustav he gets painfully burned, hit or eaten. Hours later, Snotlout vested and blesses Gustav he is now ready to replace him and takes his place with Hookfang. Snotlout has gone far enough, and Hiccup tells him first he isn't really dying, and that no one vested him with any power, and lastly Gustav isn't ready to be a Dragon Rider, as there is way more training than just feeding it and getting on its back, which is not accomplished very well by Gustav. Snotlout tries to justify Gustav is ready and wishes his final farewell to the Riders, especially Astrid. Hiccup tells him for the last time, he's not dying. The fifth sign post is witnessed by Snotlout: The Shepard's Curse, that involves a flock of sheep following him. Snotlout panics and seemingly dies and is sent to Valhalla. Actually, Snotlout fainted and is still alive but still convinced he is about to die and tries to convince Hiccup to let Gustav take his place. Hiccup still doesn't agree and the Riders tell Gustav the only way that a person can be a Dragon Rider is to have experience, and the dragon needs experience too. Gustav seemingly quit and leaves, and Snotlout continues with his backup plan by burying Hookfang and him and the Twins' begin digging a hole in the academy.  

Deep in the forests, Gustav is actually finding a dragon that suits him, after encountering and denying a couple of Terrible Terrors and a Deadly Nadder, he wants to train a wild young Monstrous Nightmare, after recalling what Snotlout said about this dragon. Gustav is confident and attempts to train the dragon but his first attempt fails. Just as it seems that the dragon is about to kill Gustav, he smells food inside his satchel. Using basic training, Gustav uses the fish to bond with the dragon, but this second attempt somehow fails after he throws the food at the dragon's face. Furious, the dragon chases Gustav and tries to eat him. 

Back at the Academy, the Riders plan for a diversion on Outcast Island, but get interrupted when a young Monstrous Nightmare jumps inside the Academy, which has now bonded a bit with Gustav. Gustav names and introduces his Monstrous Nightmare: Fanghook. Snotlout is angry after hearing that. Gustav wants to prove to the Riders that he is ready, and while he tries to prove it, Fishlegs comes up with a plan. By pretending Gustav is a pretty good replacement for Snotlout, they may finally convince him that he is not dying. Hiccup and Astrid quickly agree. Hiccup gives him a few training sessions, all of which he performs terribly in, but they pretend that he has done well. Snotlout grows angry and is seem to regret his last wishes of being replaced by Gustav. The Riders are pretending to appreciate Gustav even more than Snotlout.

But Snotlout discovers their plan, saying that they're actually trying to convince him that he's not dying. While Hiccup is talking to Snotlout he notices that Snotlout has been scratching his butt all day, and Snotlout tells him that he filled his pants with broad grass, as the Twins told him it prevents saddle chaffing. Hiccup suspects the Twins have been messing with Snotlout all along, but Ruff and Tuff say that they didn't do anything, but their plan is blown as chickens are dropped in their hands. These chickens are actually coming from Barf and Belch.

Snotlout still hasn't figured out, Hiccup and Astrid tell Snotlout that he is not dying and the twins were actually messing with him. Snotlout is glad to hear that.

For Gustav, though, he and his dragon get kicked out by of the academy by Snotlout. As Snotlout chases the twins' in anger, Stoick comes in and informs Hiccup that Trader Johann overheard Dagur and the Berserkers say that they are about to test fire some kind of new weapon. Hiccup suspects its what they saw earlier.

Hiccup assembles a couple of Riders on a scout mission on Outcast Island. Stoick tells them not to engage, but Gustav overhears their conversation and plans to engage the enemy in order to prove himself worthy of joining in the academy. Later that night, Astrid distracts the Berserkers in order for Hiccup and Snotlout to get a closer look at this new weapon. Unbeknownst to them, they are actually heading for a trap that Dagur planned all along. As soon as the ambush is in motion, Gustav emerges and Dagur is shocked to see another Rider. the Outcasts and Berserkers fire their weapon and trap Gustav. Hiccup tells him to move by using his battle cry to tell Fanghook to flame up his body. Gustav panics and quickly flees from the battlefield. 

Hiccup is in the trap's sights, and is shot down and captured by the metal trap. He crashes near enemy lines. Snotlout tries to make Gustav help Hiccup and Toothless, but Gustav is too scared, thinking that he can't do it. Snotlout tries to inspire and boost his spirits by telling him that he's riding a Monstrous Nightmare and recalling what he said about this dragon. With only minutes left before Hiccup and Toothless meet their doom, Gustav finally agree and join Snotlout on their attack against the Berserkers. Toothless manages to gets free. After that, all 3 of them destroys Dagur's weapon and head home for Berk. Hiccup is proud of them and congratulates the two. When Dagur wonders what went wrong, Salvage tells Dagur that it may have been the execution of the trap. Dagur mistakenly thinks execution means chopping off someone's head. the Berserkers and Outcasts slowly walk away and panic.

Hiccup informs Stoick that Dagur intentionally leaked the information to Trader Johann, who in turn gave the information to Berk, luring the Riders to the Outcasts. Stoick is just glad that they all return safely to Berk. Gustav is certain that due to his actions he is not ready to join the academy. To cheer him up, Hiccup tells Gustav that he will be the Academy's very first Junior Apprentice Auxiliary Reserve-Backup Replacement Rider in Training (4th Class). Gustav is happy to hear that, but Hiccup tells him that he has to study, clean out the Dragon Stalls, and have no more unauthorized dragon flying. He is told to let Fanghook go, because both of them are not ready, which Gustav sadly understands. Hiccup and Snotlout join Gustav in the forest at the place where Gustav and Fanghook met. He is about to let Fanghook have his freedom, but Fanghook wants to stay with his Rider, Gustav sadly tells him to go and Fanghook walks away.

Hiccup tells him that it was the right thing to do even though it was hard for him to let Fanghook go, while Snotlout brags that nothing can replace Snotlout. Gustav decides to stay in the forest for some alone time to think.

The moment Hiccup and Snotlout leaves, Gustav is revealed to have set them up and calls Fanghook back. As they secretly train in private in the forest, the two happily decide they want to train together as Fanghook joyfully bites and carries Gustav away while he laughs.

Transcript

The transcript for this episode is here.

Trivia

  • This is the second episode where a non-Academy member of Berk receives a dragon, in this case, Gustav Larson. The first time is in How to Pick Your Dragon when Stoick the Vast receives Thornado.
  • We learn Gustav is 16 in Gone Gustav Gone, making him 13 in this episode.
  • Fanghook has a similar color configuration as the monstrous nightmare that Astrid trained when she was on Outcast Island disguised as Heather.
  • The Deadly Nadder that Gustav spotted also has a similar color configuration to the one that Hiccup and Mildew trained also on Outcast Island in We Are Family, Part 2.
  • The Five Sign Posts of Valhalla are as follows:
    • Flying Fish (Salmon Spawning)
    • Weeping Rocks (Wet Rocks on the Beach)
    • Singing Trees (Gust of Wind)
    • Bird of Death (Dead Chicken)
    • The Shepard's Curse (Sheep Attracted to Broad Grass in Snotlout's Pants)
  • The fish head Snotlout throws over his shoulder disappears.
  • According to Snotlout, Fishlegs is afraid of heights.
    • While this has been neither confirmed nor denied, Fishlegs never denies it.
  • Both Fanghook and Gustav catch a different sheep on fire throughout the episode.
  • Snotlout holds up three fingers when he says "Fourth Class."
    • This gag is repeated in Frozen, except the other characters notice it.
      • It was likely unintentional, and the gag may be coincidence.

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