Corruption is the twenty-seventh episode of the eleventh season of Ninjago and the 125th episode overall. It aired on October 21, 2019, in Australia, and aired on November 8, 2019, in Canada.
It aired in the US on January 18, 2020, paired up with "The Kaiju Protocol." However, in most other countries, this episode was paired up with "A Fragile Hope."
Extended: Following the events of his expulsion, Vex wanders the forests alone, foraging for food, growing gradually more and more unhinged. He eventually wanders into the mountains, where he discovers a castle. He is brought before the castle's King, Grimfax, whom Vex attempts to manipulate. But Grimfax is not so easily duped and denies Vex. In anger, Vex runs from the castle, vowing to return with an army of his own and force Grimfax to serve him! Wandering the wilderness again, Vex sees a strange flicker of light and witnesses several objects tumbling out of the sky. It's Zane having been blasted by Aspheera's Scroll. Vex conceals himself and watches Zane use his elemental power to form an ice-sled with which he transports the mech to a nearby cave. Vex sees an opportunity to gain control over Zane, when Zane connects himself to the mech in order to run a diagnostic program. Vex runs into the cave and yanks out the cord, causing a catastrophic failure which forces Zane's Nindroid operating system to ""reboot."" He awakens with no memory of his past. Vex lies, and introduces himself to Zane as his trusted General, calling Zane the Ice Emperor. Believing Vex, Zane regains the Scroll of Forbidden Spinjitzu, which was in his possession when he arrived from Ninjago, and follows Vex back to the Ice Castle. Here Zane uses his augmented elemental abilities to depose Grimfax and assume his role as the dreaded Ice Emperor!
After years of wandering the wilderness, Vex finds a castle. He observes the warriors coming out of the castle in formation, but not for long because he gets captured by them. They take him to their ruler and report him. Vex tries to trick Grimfax into replacing his advisor and helping him destroy the Formlings. When Grimfax hears this, he realizes this is Vex and lets him know that he knows his lies. Grimfax then turns him away and Vex swears that he will have his revenge on them all.
Vex travels through the forest, looking for food. He tries to steal fish from the Ice Fishers, catch a chicken, and pick berries, but fails, running into many obstacles. Eventually, he sleeps uncomfortably on a ledge but wakes up when he hears a portal opening up in the sky. It opens up several times, dropping out one of the Monastery's defense systems, the Titan Mech, Zane, and the staff holding the Scroll of Forbidden Spinjitzu. When Zane falls out of the portal, he drops the staff and lays unconscious while Vex chooses to hide and watch him closely, rather than helping him, even when Zane calls out.
Vex watches Zane fix the mech and is amazed when he sees Zane's power. He laughs evilly and follows the latter throughout the realm. He soon watches in amazement when Zane uses the scroll to fight against the Ice bird and sends it fleeing. After Zane creates the Ice Cave, he fixes up what he can with the mech, until he records himself for someone to find one day. Zane then starts up the mech diagnostic, while Vex tries to steal the scroll and use it to destroy Zane with the scroll first. Unfortunately, Vex can't use it (as he lacks powers) but having overheard the results of a failed diagnostic, he rips out the cable from Zane's head. Zane immediately reboots and all of his memories are wiped out.
Subsequently, Zane awakes and Vex tricks Zane into thinking he lives in the Never-Realm, his identity is the Ice Emperor, and that Vex is his advisor. He states Zane was cast out his castle and persuades Zane into taking his scepter and to take back what is "rightfully his." They crash into Grimfax's castle and after a quick battle, Zane converts Grimfax's warriors into Blizzard Warriors. Grimfax questions who Zane is and Vex introduces him as the Ice Emperor and pressures the scared Grimfax to ally with them or face the consequences. Taking the throne and new armor, Zane establishes himself as the Ice Emperor, while turning the castle into the Castle of Ice. He sends a wave of Ice throughout the realm to let the inhabitants of the Never-Realm suffer from the eternal winter. Vex then takes his place by Zane's side, as his advisor.
Although this episode was released in 2019, eight years after the pilot episodes, in chronological order, it's placed before "Way of the Ninja" due to the fact that Zane had been sent around sixty years into the past by Aspheera, thus the events are taking place before the pilot episodes.
This marks the second time Vex reads the title of an episode.
Zane is revealed to have been the one who made the Ice Cave.
The reason why Zane became the Ice Emperor was that Vex erased his memories and manipulated him into overthrowing the previous ruler of the Never-Realm, who is revealed to be Grimfax.
This marks the second time Zane has had his memories erased. The first was shown during the flashback in "Tick Tock."
This is the first episode to take place in a flashback for its entirety.
The shot of Zane having his helmet put on in a close up before opening his eyes is reminiscent of when the intro character is in a close up before opening their eyes at the beginning of the episode before the events of the previous episode are shown from Rise of the Snakes to March of the Oni.
Despite Zane having a role in the episode, this is the second episode to focus on a villain rather than the ninja, the first episode being "The Absolute Worst."
Vex spying on the palace is similar to how Wu and Garmadon were spying on Mambo V's palace in that both spied on palaces and both were caught.
Both episodes feature a flashback that explains the background of the main villain of the chapter.
When the Titan Mech was first banished to the Never-Realm, the left arm was banished first then later the rest of the mech. But in this episode, the right arm gets banished first.
The arm was also brought with Zane when it started to storm. But at the end of "Vengeance is Mine!," the arm was actually left behind when Zane left.
The message Zane recorded in this episode is different from the one in "The Message."
In the Cartoon Network captions, it was said that one of the Ice Fishers who caught Vex stealing fish was Uthaug. However, this is false, since Uthaug would have a different appearance in "The Never-Realm."
The Netflix subtitles incorrectly name Grimfax as 'Brimfax'.