The Prodigal Father is the fourteenth episode of the twelfth season of Ninjago and the 142nd episode overall. It was released on April 25, 2020, in Australia, and on April 26, 2020 in Asia, and were both paired up with "Ninjago Confidential." It aired in the US on August 23, 2020.
Master Wu is inside the hangar bay looking for Zane using security cameras. He contacts P.I.X.A.L. saying that he can't find Zane, but she doesn't respond. Suddenly, Wu gets a signal showing "Zane" in the elevator. When Wu checks, he realizes that it's two of the Mechanic's henchmen who broke in. Wu defeats both of them, but there are three other henchmen on top of the elevator. They drop gas which causes Wu to pass out.
Meanwhile, Milton Dyer and P.I.X.A.L. are at The Mechanic's headquarters and Dyer is at shock the game was finished. He explains Unagami is not a person, but it's the game itself as he dubbed it "Unfinished Adventure Game I." P.I.X.A.L. explains that Unagami has its own feelings, but Dyer believes he's just code with no feelings. He then tells P.I.X.A.L. that he doesn't know how to stop the game.
Concurrently, the Mechanic shows Zane his new creation, the Manifestation Gate. The Mechanic explains this will allow Unagami to cross into the real world and he will use Energy cubes from the players who lost all of their lives. The Mechanic then asks for the Prime Empire motherboard, which is also needed to open the gateway, but Zane claims that it was destroyed. Assuming Zane is lying, the Mechanic then unveils Master Wu, who was captured by the Mechanic's henchmen.
Back at The Mechanic's headquarters, P.I.X.A.L. asks if they can do anything to shut down the game, but Dyer tells P.I.X.A.L. that the game was shut down differently. P.I.X.A.L. then queries Dyer about Prime Empire, so he explains:
Dyer was doing beta testing on the game and tells Unagami (Unfinished Adventure Game 1) that he is doing his first live test player. Scott then enters the room and realizes the game can talk. Dyer allowed Scott to play the game while he left the room. After completing level thirteen, Scott enters the game. When Dyer returned after the time expired, he noticed Scott was missing. Unagami then tells Dyer he gave the most intense gaming experience and Dyer realized he made a terrible mistake.
In the present, Dyer tells P.I.X.A.L. the game was shut down due to being too dangerous. At first, he blamed Vast Industries but realizes it was his fault for creating the game in the first place. He ceased all operations because he thought it was a machine with no feelings, but it turned out to not be the case.
Simultaneously, the Mechanic demands the motherboard, but Zane refuses to answer. The Mechanic then punches a wooden box using his robo-arm and threatens to harm Wu which causes Zane to reveal the motherboard. The Mechanic grabs the motherboard and installs it into the Manifestation Gate. Wu then sends a panic signal to P.I.X.A.L. and the two immediately head over.
While the Mechanic's henchmen are working on the gate, Dyer and P.I.X.A.L. are able to sneak in. Dyer is impressed with P.I.X.A.L.'s programming because it has emotions, but P.I.X.A.L. asks why Dyer doesn't understand that machines such as Unagami and herself have emotions. The Mechanic then informs Zane he is the last piece for the gateway to operate, but Zane and Wu tell The Mechanic he isn't designed to hold so much power. The Mechanic doesn't care and demands his crew to hook Zane up to the gateway.
The Manifestation Gate is activated, but P.I.X.A.L. also heads down to fight. While she is fighting with the Mechanic's henchmen, a portal is created and the Mechanic is standing near the gateway waiting for Unagami to enter.