|“Even lessons learned the hard way are lessons learned.”|
|— Sensei Wu speaking to the ninja|
|"Rise of the Snakes"|
|Season 1, Episode 1|
|Air date||December 2, 2011 (US)|
|Written by||Dan & Kevin Hageman|
|Directed by||Peter Hausner|
"Battle Between Brothers"
The four ninja are snapped out of their post-hero complacency when Lord Garmadon's young son Lloyd shows up and tries to pick up where his father left off. The ninja dismiss him as a threat but regret that choice after Lloyd wakes up the evil snake tribe Hypnobrai. A prophecy is revealed that states a green ninja will ultimately defeat Lord Garmadon.
Long before time had a name, the First Spinjitzu Master created Ninjago using four elemental weapons. But when he passed, a dark presence sought out to collect them all: Lord Garmadon. So I, Sensei Wu, his brother, sought out to find four ninja to collect them first. . . .
In the Monastery of Spinjitzu, Sensei Wu is interrupted from his meditation by the sound of the ninja fighting. As the cries of battle continue, he enters the training yard only to find it deserted. Wu follows the shouting into the living room only to find them all playing video games and eating pizza. Just as they are about to perform a special attack, Wu unplugs the TV and implores the ninja to start training again to prepare for his brother's return to Ninjago, as ever since Lord Garmadon has escaped, they have done nothing but waste time. Jay complains that peace is boring as they have no one to fight but Sensei Wu lectures the four on "not putting off until tomorrow what can be done today," saying that the four have not yet reached their full potential. Cole then uses the Scythe of Quakes to plug the TV in and the ninja resume their game as Zane assures their master that they will be ready when Lord Garmadon returns.
Their meeting is interrupted by Nya, proclaiming that Lord Garmadon was spotted in Jamanakai Village, sending the ninja into a state of panic. They rush down to the pen where their dragons are kept though have great difficulty mounting due to how out of shape they are. As they eventually take off, Nya question whether they will ever unlock their true potential, but Wu assures her they will in time.
As the ninja fly towards Jamanakai Village, they reflect on what their master has just told them and decide to race to the village. They arrive on their dragons to stop Lord Garmadon, only to find the sighting to be his son, Lloyd Garmadon, who has escaped Darkley's Boarding School for Bad Boys again.
Lloyd tries to terrorize the village and rob them of their candy, threatening to release the Serpentine on the villagers, but is instead pelted with fruit and vegetables. The ninja hang him on a sign, amusing the villagers before teasingly eating their paid candy in front of him. Before returning to the Monastery, Kai discovers he has accidentally taken Master Wu's bag in the rush, and finds a scroll that tells of the prophecy of the Green Ninja.
None of the ninja are able to contain their excitement, boasting to the others that himself will become the Green Ninja. All consumed by selfishness, they try to hold a tournament to find who is the best of them all and thus become the Green Ninja. Unfortunately, the idea backfires when Kai's sword starts an elemental fire that cannot be put out. Zane attempts to freeze the fire, Jay catches fire, and Cole hits the flames with his Scythe. Sensei Wu arrives and uses the Shurikens of Ice to stop the fire, before explaining the ninja must agree to continue their path to unlocking their potential before any of them will become the Green Ninja.
Meanwhile, Lloyd wanders the frozen wastelands of Ninjago, upset his plans have gone awry. Mistakenly, he uncovers an ancient tomb containing a tribe of the real Serpentine known as Hypnobrai. Slithraa attempts to hypnotize Lloyd, but he ducks out of the way and the General is met by his own reflection in an ice stalagmite, accidentally hypnotizing himself in the process. The tribe is now under Lloyd's control, who sends them to steal all the candy in Jamanakai. The Hypnobrai use their power to hypnotize the villagers, bringing more power to Lloyd.
Sensei Wu senses the presence of the Serpentine with his spirit smoke and quickly alerts the ninja, who rush to the village and are able to defeat the Hypnobrai, forcing them to retreat. However, Skales, the second-in-command of the tribe, hypnotizes Cole before leaving town, forming a scheme to destroy the ninja for revenge. After stealing the Hypnobrai Staff, Nya uses the anti-venom inside it to cure the villagers, but Cole remains under Skales's influence, unbeknownst to the ninja or to himself.
- Cole - Kirby Morrow
- Jay - Michael Adamthwaite
- Kai - Vincent Tong
- Lloyd Garmadon - Jillian Michaels
- Mezmo - Michael Adamthwaite
- Nya - Kelly Metzger
- Rattla - Paul Dobson
- Skales - Ian James Corlett
- Slithraa - John Novak
- Wu - Paul Dobson
- Zane - Brent Miller
For the transcript of the episode, click here.
- This and "Home" are the last episodes to air in 2011 and the only Season 1 episodes to do so.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Lloyd.
- The game played by the ninja is actually a scene from "The Golden Weapon" in the US version. However, in the version aired in Germany, United Kingdom, Portugal, and Japan, they are playing LEGO Battles: Ninjago. This is also in the Netflix version.
- This episode shares the same name as the season it is in.
- The episode name refers to Lloyd unleashing the Hypnobrai, marking the Serpentine's first return to Ninjago since their last defeat. More broadly, it can refer to Lloyd's actions beginning a chain of events that will unleash all of the Serpentine and the the Great Devourer upon Ninjago.
- Nya asks Wu when she would get her own dragon, and Wu told her to be patient.
- Broadly, this foreshadows her becoming Samurai X and having an action role in team missions.
- She first has her own dragon in "Infamous", six seasons later.
- Jay states the Serpentine once ruled Ninjago, but this does not line up with the rest of the lore laid out in subsequent episodes. Tommy Andreasen stated, "Don’t trust a young boy from a scrapyard for history lessons. Besides, you haven’t seen all of Ninjago’s history yet, so they might have at some point."
- Even though Cole was the first to be touched by the Hypnobrai Staff's anti-venom mist, his hypnosis was not undone, as shown a few moments later. It's possible the mist only affected those who were in a state of hypnosis at that moment, seeing as Cole's hypnosis was dormant when he placed the staff in the fountain.
- Tommy Andreasen stated, "Originally the pilot RotS had a cliff hanger but we didn't feel it was fair if it turned out we couldn't conclude". It's unknown what this means, as there was a cliffhanger in the final moments of this episode, with Skales having hypnotized Cole.
- When Jay says "Why would you do that? Why?" Zane's mouth moves despite him not saying anything.
- When Cole leans back saying "We can train tomorrow," he says it in Kai's voice. Likewise, later on in the episode, Kai has Cole's voice when he's reading the Green Ninja scroll.
- After Wu says "No pizza for you," Kai's mouth moves despite him not saying anything.
- Sensei Wu kicks Cole's pizza out of the doorway; however, it disappears soon afterward.
- During the match between Cole and Zane, Zane uses one of his shurikens to freeze Cole in the legs. However, when Cole is deflecting Zane's attacks, Zane could be seen holding both of his shurikens even though the Ice on Cole's legs continued to grow.
- When Cole states that he needs to work on some new moves, he uses Kai's voice.
For the gallery of the episode, click here.