How to Build a Dragon is the fourth episode of the ninth season of Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu and the 88th episode overall. It aired on July 10, 2018 in Australia, and aired on August 11, 2018 in the United States, in Hunted: Part 1. It was also aired on September 29, 2018 in Singapore.
While Lloyd and the rebels celebrate their successful strike against Emperor Garmadon, in the Realm of Oni and Dragons, the Ninja dare an elaborate escape from the clutches of Iron Baron and his Dragon Hunters.
In a flashback, Jay leaves his parents' scrap yard with Edna telling him to be back before dinner and not do anything reckless, to which Jay says he won't. In Ninjago City, Jay prepares to test his gliders for the sixth time and immediately takes off. The wings perform pretty well, even managing to spin twice before it crashes into a billboard. As Jay slowly recovers, he is angered at his invention’s failure before seeing an old man in front of him, claiming to be a dreamer, like him.
In the present time, in the Realm of Oni and Dragons, Jay remembers Wu's words as a radio plays with someone repeatedly proclaiming "The Resistance never quits!" before realizing it is Lloyd. He tells his friends who believe he is insane again, though he tells them that he isn't and his reason.
In Ninjago, The Resistance is in celebration of Lloyd's successful speech to the people, in which Nya, Skylor, and Misako compliment his words. Lloyd goes on to ask if there are more Elemental Masters who could join, only to find that the rest have either been captured, presumably became evil, or have an unknown status. After having his idea of allying with the Serpentine shot down as well, Lloyd tries to brainstorm ideas on who else can help. Dareth hints that he can help as well, to which Lloyd agrees by asking Dareth to get refills for their drinks.
While Cole and Wu are "guarding" the ninja, they make a plan on escaping before Jay remembers what Wu told him the first time he met him and decide to make a mech that looks like a Dragon, which the hunters will believe is the Firstbourne to help out. Over the next few days, the ninja and Wu build the Dragon with parts smuggled out by hiding them in Dragon dung and get them before disposing of it.
As their Dragon was now complete, Cole was hoping to take a test flight, but despite losing weight by cutting sweets, it doesn't work. Wu instead insists he will do it.
At night, Wu flew the dragon mech before a shot from Iron Baron knocks the tail off and the ninja break free before they notice a dragon in the air. They believe it to be Wu, but he crashes down. The ninja then realize it is the real Firstbourne. As she attacks the camp, Wu and the ninja, with Cole giving his identity as Rocky Dangerbuff away in the process, provide a distraction for Kai to free the Dragons before they get out themselves.
After the ninja escaped, thanks to the Dragon that Kai tamed while freeing it, Iron Baron looked at the destroyed Dead's End. Angered, he tells his hunters it was time to go hunting. Daddy No Legs asks if the hunt was for Firstbourne. Baron tells them instead of hunting dragons, it was for the ninja and Wu.
- Chew Toy - Scott McNeil
- Cole - Kirby Morrow
- Daddy No Legs - Ian James Corlett
- Dareth - Alan Marriott
- Edna Walker - Jillian Michaels (uncredited)
- Garmadon - Mark Oliver
- Griffin Turner - Doron Bell Jr.
- Harumi - Britt McKillip
- Hunter #1 - Brian Drummond
- Hunter #2 - Brent Miller
- Iron Baron - Brian Drummond
- Jay - Michael Adamthwaite
- Kai - Vincent Tong
- Karlof - Scott McNeil
- Lloyd Garmadon - Sam Vincent
- Misako - Kathleen Barr
- Mystake - Tabitha St. Germain
- Mr. Pale - Kirby Morrow
- Nya - Kelly Metzger
- Skylor - Heather Doerksen
- Ultra Violet - Maggie Blue O'Hara
- Wu - Madyx Whiteway, Paul Dobson
- Zane - Brent Miller
For the transcript of the episode, click here.
- As Edna's voice is heard in Jay's flashback, this is Jillian Michaels's first role since Season 7, though she only has two lines.
- It is unknown how Wu was able to make a bird from a paper that really flew and fluttered its wings.
- When a fan asked The Hageman Brothers on a scene they wanted to add, but the network wouldn't allow, the brothers wanted to show Dareth urinating, or at least let it be heard, but the network rejected it.
- The title of this episode is a reference to the popular Cressida Cowell book series and DreamWorks movie franchise, How to Train Your Dragon.
- When Kai tames the Wind Dragon, it is similar to the scene from How to Train Your Dragon when Hiccup tames the Night Fury Dragon, Toothless, for the first time.
- Iron Baron exclaims "Manure! I hate manure!" after being covered in dragon dung, referencing the iconic line from the Back to the Future Part trilogy.
- This episode is similar to "The Forgotten Element" in that both include the ninja as the captives of a villain who is exploiting their Elemental Powers, and the ninja building something to escape.
- It's revealed by Karlof that Chamille has possibly become a villain, Skylor says that Bolobo was captured by the Sons of Garmadon, and Griffin says that the Serpentine refuse to help the ninja due to the Time Twins using snakes as their army.
- Because Chamille's element allows her to shapeshift, her absence in the season was probably decided upon by the show creators for practical reasons (to explore Mystake's shapeshifting abilities instead), and also because she does not have a physical minifigure just like Bolobo, Gravis and Jacob (who also didn't have any minifigures until 2021)
- Harumi is nearly killed by Garmadon, but she is saved by revealing that she knows the location of the Resistance's base.
- Garmadon's method of trying to kill Harumi is similar to Darth Vader's preferred method of execution: telekinetically choking his subordinates who fail him.
- Jay has a flashback of meeting Wu this episode, similar to how Zane and Cole had one last season. Like Cole's, this flashback expands on Jay's first meeting with Wu briefly seen in "The Golden Weapon".
- The ninja escape the Hunters' grasp and free the dragons from the Dead's End.
- The Firstbourne is seen for the first time.
- Dareth temporarily gets powers from drinking tea, confirming one of the three April Fools spoilers.
- Jillian Michaels is not credited despite returning to voice Edna Walker in the episode.
- When Kai approaches and befriends the Wind Dragon, he is in his Resistance robes. According to Tommy Andreasen, this was in part the fault of the director, Trylle Vilstrup, and in part his own fault, as he was "so invested and focused on the emotional impact that I paid no attention to wardrobe."
- There are a few differences between the original flashback in "The Golden Weapon" and the expanded version in this episode. For example, in this flashback, Jay had a helmet with goggles, but in the pilot episode when he met Wu, he did not. In the original flashback, Jay also makes no turns and immediately destroys the billboard, but in this episode he makes three turns. Also in this episode, Wu is not sitting on an orange seat and he is not making sugar in his tea when Jay first sees him.
- In the credits, Heather Doerksen is misspelled "Heather Dorksen," and Kathleen Barr is misspelled "Katleen Barr."
For the gallery of the episode, click here.