When Lightning Strikes is the thirteenth episode of the Riders of Berk series. It was aired on December 5th (at 8:00pm on Cartoon Network) Although the Smothering Smokebreath and the Skrill were believed to appear, neither dragon made an appearance in the episode. It is preceded by Thawfest and succeeded by What Flies Beneath.
A terrible lightning storm ravages the island of Berk. Mildew quickly accuses Toothless of bringing about the wrath of the god Thor, when he is witnessed to attract the lightning, as the Night Fury is considered to be 'The unholy offspring of Lightning and Death itself'. He gathers supporters and calls for the dragon to be banished, while Hiccup attempts to convince the Vikings that Toothless is not responsible for the lightning strikes.
"Living with dragons has its ups, and its downs. You need to stay calm, keep a clear head - not always easy with Vikings. In our own way, we're very reasonable. But when a problem is caused by something Vikings don't understand, they lose all sense of reason, and that can become very dangerous..."
The episode begins with the above narration by Hiccup, as the viewer watches a Monstrous Nightmare land on the roof of a house. At first, it seems fine, but then the wooden supports creak beneath it, and give way. Next door, having just witnessed this, a Gronkle encounters a similar problem, its roof also collapsing beneath it. Later, bouncing a design idea off Gobber, Hiccup is shown to be working on blueprints for dragon perches, which will be able to support the weight of the dragons, and not collapse like the roofs of the Vikings' homes. The Vikings quickly work together to build the perches, and when they are finished, the strength of the supports are tested by Stormfly. At first, Stormfly appears to be nervous, possibly afraid of getting hurt, but Astrid gently encourages her to relax. Stormfly lands on the perch, her claws clinking on it, and it successfully holds up against her weight, much to the joy of Hiccup and the other Vikings... except for Ruffnut and Tuffnut, who are disappointed to realize that they worked so hard to help build something that prevents destruction.
The scene then changes to Hiccup's home, where he, Gobber, and Stoick are celebrating the success of the perch project while Toothless has dinner. Stoick states it's some of Hiccup's best work yet... although as Stoick almost takes a drink from his mug, he notices something disgusting in the water and as he shows Gobber, who checks his own mug, adds that they may need to move the perch that's over the well. Hiccup, excited by the perches' recent success becomes fixated on the topic of building other things for dragons, such as landing pads, or stables in the caves below the village. As he does so, he reaches for his cup and begins to lift it, but his father quietly pushes it back onto the table, preventing the distracted teen from drinking it. Stoick then stops him with a chuckle, reminding him to remember that the village is still for Vikings, Gobber adding that it's Viking (priorities) over dragons, reaffirming with Toothless when he looks up at him. After he says this, the rumbling of thunder comes from outside the house, and Toothless sits up, before running upstairs. The three Vikings check outside and discover that an electrical storm is causing lightning strikes on the dragon perches throughout the village, which Stoick states doesn't usually happen. Gobber states that Thor must be angry, and mentions that the only other time he can recall a lightning storm in the village was during the time of Barnstat. Stoick then explains to Hiccup that Jörgen Barnstat was a drifter and thief who sailed into town one day and stole from the elderly. When he was fixing the mast of his ship to escape from Berk, Thor punished him by striking a thunder bolt right on his helmet, which was kept and is still hanging on the wall of the chieftain's home. The lightning ended up setting Berk's entire fleet on fire. The villagers then shipped him off the island and Thor hadn't sent a lightning hit on the village since.
The lightning bolts continue to grow in strength, striking the perches and then begin arcing to the nearby wooden buildings, setting homes on fire. A Terrible Terror panics in the middle of all the flames, but Astrid swoops in on Stormfly and rescues it. Stoick orders Gobber to organize a bucket brigade while he heads to the Great Hall. Having come down to Hiccup's side and joined him outside, a nearby strike spooks Toothless and he runs off.
As Stoick lends a hand on his way and dragon riders make bombing runs with carts of water, Astrid flies Hiccup to the Great Hall, where she just saw Toothless. Toothless is then seen leaping between the dragon perches, barely managing to avoid being struck by lightning, which appears to be following him. Seeing this, Mildew (who sees it as a chance to get rid of the Night Fury) then accuses Toothless of being responsible for Thor's wrath, as the Night Fury is considered 'The unholy offspring of Lightning and Death itself'. As Mildew begins to persuade the Vikings to believe this, Hiccup defends Toothless, and Stoick agrees that the dragon cannot be responsible for the storm.
The next day, the lightning appears to be even worse than before. Hiccup and the teens then gather and begin to discuss ways to regain Thor's favor, as well as what might be causing the problem. There are various examples of what the clans have done to anger the gods in the past, with Fishlegs stating that the Ingermans have so far not done anything to offend the gods, and then performing various superstitious actions, such as knocking on wood, hopping on one foot, and then slapping a Jorgenson (In this case, the Jorgenson was Snotlout. Although Fishlegs merely poked him, Snotlout shoves him back). Snotlout then does a pose, saying they could make a statue of himself as Thor, and Hiccup states that it's not a bad idea. Astrid, misinterpreting the idea, very nearly throws up at the thought, believing he means a statue of Snotlout, prompting him to repeat the idea with more clarity: a statue of Thor, which Fishlegs adds that the village has never given one to Thor. The scene then shifts to a montage of the group building the statue out of metal while working inside and out of Gobber's smithy, with Ruffnut and Tuffnut crafting the lower legs, Snotlout crafting a knee and lower leg of his own (accidentally making the knee backwards, and it appears that in the end it was remade into an arm instead), Fishlegs crafting the pants (Using Meatlug's chin as a model for size), and Astrid working on a cape, using Stormfly's tail spines to hold things together. Eventually, they finish, and stand back to admire the statue below the Great Hall after its public unveiling. For the moment, the plan appears to work, until the lightning starts up again, now channeling into the statue's raised hammer and out of the out-stretched hand as well.
The scene once more cuts back to Hiccup's house, where he, Toothless, Stoick, and Gobber are now taking shelter from the lightning. Hiccup pets Toothless, who appears to be very nervous, trying to reassure the dragon that everything will be okay. Hiccup then asks his father if he believes Toothless is responsible for the storm, and Stoick immediately tells him that he is not, without a trace of doubt. Gobber, however, takes a side step away from the dragon, and recieving an angry look from Hiccup, quickly says that he is simply erring on the side of caution. Hiccup then states firmly to Toothless that he isn't the cause of Thor's wrath, no matter what some people think (looking directly at Gobber upon saying this, who looks a bit embarrassed). The scene then quickly cuts to Fishleg's house, where Meatlug enters his bedroom and searches for her rider, revealing that he is hiding under the bed. He then asks if Meatlug is scared (she's clearly not), and then hugs the dragon, saying that it is the reason he's there. Another scene also shows Ruffnut and Tuffnut, who are sitting on the roof of a building, watching as the lightning starts fires and burns the buildings, admiring the destruction and chaos while eating nuts from bowl, cracking open the shells on each other's helmets.
Meanwhile, Mildew manages to begin a riot among the Vikings, who quickly head towards Stoick's house, calling for Toothless to be removed from the island. While Hiccup and Toothless quickly flee from the house through Toothless' ceiling door, Stoick exits the front door and delays the mob, stating that the dragon is already gone, Gobber adding that the chief already sent Toothless off the island. Mildew then replies that the storm is still there, and that it must mean that the Night Fury is still on Berk. As Hiccup and Toothless attempt to get away from the riot, they run into Astrid, who tells Hiccup that he can hide Toothless in the cove. Hiccup then replies that if he does so, that the mob will just find him. He then states that they have to leave, and that the dragon cannot survive on his own, and that Hiccup does not want Toothless to do so. Astrid, now upset as she realizes that Hiccup is leaving the island with his dragon, asks if he will ever come back, to which he responds that he will, when everyone realizes that Toothless is not responsible. He then flies away, and Mildew arrives with the mob only a few moments after the two disappear into the clouds. Astrid then angrily tells Mildew that he got his wish, and that Hiccup and the dragon are now gone. Mildew, still wanting to hurt the dragon (Or to possibly humiliate and hurt Hiccup), calls to find the Night Fury, and initiates a search throughout the entire island to do so. Hiccup and Toothless land in the woods momentarily, and they can see and hear the voices of the mob as they search the forest down below. The two take off again once more vanishing into the storm clouds. As the two fly, it is very quiet... until lightning starts attempting to strike them. Toothless barely dodges each bolt, and eventually failing as it strikes his prosthetic tail fin, destroying it and causing them to plummet out of the sky. As this happens, Mildew spots Toothless' burning tail fin and points him out, before the riot heads in the direction of where they are likely to crash.
After they roughly land, Hiccup and Toothless stand back up, while Hiccup examines his dragon's damaged tail fin. The leather part of it has been burned away completely, and when he touches the fin ribs, he quickly withdraws his hand to avoid burning it on the still red hot metal. He then looks over at the village, and sees the perches and metal statue of Thor beyond the trees, and that the lightning is hitting them, leading him to remember of what they made the perches out of: metal. Just as he realizes this, three bolas are thrown at Toothless, tangling the dragon so that he cannot escape, and the mob arrives. While more people rush in to secure the Night Fury, another Viking grabs Hiccup roughly by the arm, holding him back and preventing him from reaching Toothless, not letting go until they have chained the dragon and carted him away.
The scene then cuts to the forge, where Hiccup runs in, quickly looks around and spotting a spear, grabs it. Astrid arrives and tells him that the mob found Toothless, and that they were about to send him off the island, unaware that he was present at the dragon's capture, while the other teens arrive behind her. Showing the weapon, he says he does know: why do they think he has the spear, which explains little of his plan, but he doesn't have the time to do so anyway. Hiccup then asks Astrid to fly him to the docks as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, Stoick, who goes so far as to firmly back Toothless' innocence with a drawn sword, Gobber, Mulch, and Bucket stand between the rioting villagers and Toothless, preventing them from sending the Night Fury away. Just before the mob appears to be on the verge of resorting to physical violence to move the four, Hiccup shows up with Astrid and Stormfly, the dragon's head shoving back the mob on the fly-by before she lands. Jumping down on to the dock, Hiccup speaks to them in an attempt to convince the mob that Toothless was not responsible for the lightning, but that how it was hitting the metal. He reasons with them, walking through his thought process and pointing out all the facts he realized: how the lighting did not start until they put up the perches, the new statue of Thor being hit, and how the connecting rod on Toothless' prosthetic tail fin was struck. The one thing they all have in common is that they're all made of metal. The Vikings do not appear entirely convinced, so he tells them he can prove it; he has Astrid fly him to the top of the mast of the ship they were going to put Toothless on. Worried, Astrid asks him if he's sure he knows what he's doing; he admits it's more of a hunch but assures her he'll be fine, and sends her back down. Gobber mutters to himself, saying 'ohhh boy, here he goes again...'. Stating that they will see he is telling the truth, Hiccup explains that he will attach the metal rod on top of the ship's mast, and it will draw the lightning to it... but before he can do so, lightning prematurely strikes the spearhead, electrocuting him. Hiccup then falls into the water and sinks to the bottom, unconscious. Stoick then shouts Hiccup's name in alarm. Toothless, seeing this, becomes incredibly upset: greatly motivated, he struggles, then gathers all of his strength and bursts free of his restraints, immediately diving in after his friend. After the Night Fury rescues Hiccup and drags him back onto the dock, Gobber and Stoick rush over to see if he is still alive. The scene then abruptly ends.
Later, Hiccup wakes up in his bed with Toothless at his side, happy that his rider is okay. Hiccup swings his legs off the bed to get up, but not before checking his right foot, and telling the dragon that he is glad that he did not lose that one too. Gobber and Stoick come up, with the chief picking his son up, overjoyed that he is all right, and saying that he was struck on the head by a lightning bolt, just like Barnstat, except, as Gobber points out jokingly, they're not throwing him off the island. Stoick confirms that the village now knows the truth, with Gobber commenting that, while they don't know why Thor was angry at the metal, they're not taking any chances until they do. Hearing a hollow banging noise, they walk outside where Tuffnut and Snotlout are waiting, watching two Vikings carefully laying down the statue of Thor as the first step. Hiccup looks on, and states that it's disappointing that they worked so hard to build such a nice statue, only for it to be scrapped for parts. Stoick then suggests that they take the statue to a high point on the island and leave it there (honoring Thor, yet keeping the village safe).
Later, it is shown that twins and Snotlout are using Hookfang and Barf and Belch to lift the statue to the highest point on the island, with Hiccup surveying them while riding on Toothless. Not surprisingly, the highest point on the island, from the other teens' perspective, is located in the same spot as Mildew's house, and when they tell him this, Hiccup chooses to remain silent, and flies away with them (though he is possibly still angry with Mildew), just as Mildew comes out of his house to investigate the noise. As they fly away Hiccup wonders if it was the right thing to do, putting the statue so close to Mildew's house. Later, as Hiccup gives his closing narration, it is shown that at his house, Vikings are arriving with gifts consisting of baskets of bread and buckets of smoked fish for Toothless as way of apologies. A young girl gives Toothless one of the fish, and pets him on the nose, which the dragon gratefully accepts.
Back at Mildew's house, the statue of Thor begins to conduct lightning, which it redirects at the house, with Mildew screaming inside, possibly trying to take shelter. Fungus, who is outside, watches and bleats, although whether or not he is concerned for his master is unclear. What is clear is that Mildew had that electric shock coming to him, for his actions. With this, the episode ends.
The full transcript can be found here
- Many people predicted the Skrill would appear in this episode. In the end, it did not. After all, it does appear in the TV shows commercials.
- The runes on the base of the statue decrypt as THOR THE THUNDERER WIELDER OF MJOLNIR. Much as elsewhere, it's English using runes equivalent to each letter, except that Þ is used correctly for TH.
- Stoick is shown as being left-handed - he's holding his sword in his left hand. In that case his sword should be worn on the right but it isn't.
- The fact that Astrid was upset when Hiccup said he is leaving shows that she still has a crush on him.
- Astrid says that her aunt had to travel to the end of the world to pay tribute to Odin, but couldn't find it because she kept coming back from the opposite direction. But the gag is there is no end of the world, but neither Astrid nor her aunt knew that at the time.