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Not to be confused with the full unlocking of an Elemental Master's abilities.
“As Wu had previously taught the ninja, you too can unlock your True Potential, a dark potential.”

True Potential is the ninth episode of the eighth season of Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu and the 83rd episode overall. It aired on March 17, 2018, in Australia, and aired on May 24, 2018, in the United States on Cartoon Network.


Lord Garmadon returns to Ninjago and frees Harumi, who encourages him to "achieve his true potential" by conquering the one thing that has always stood in his way: his son, Lloyd.[1]


Two garbagemen collect trash from an alleyway while listening to a news report on how the Sons of Garmadon have been jailed away in Kryptarium Prison. As they're finishing their work, they hear a deep, malevolent voice continuously say "she calls me." The figure suddenly reveals itself as the newly-resurrected Lord Garmadon, who hijacks the garbagemen's truck and invades the police station, where Harumi is being held for interrogation. Garmadon fights and defeats the guards, and frees Harumi.

As the ninja celebrate their victory against the Sons of Garmadon, Lloyd remains distraught over Harumi's betrayal. Misako urges him not to bury his goodness beneath a hard shell. Lloyd then stops the ninja's celebration, seeing a news report stating Harumi escaped—and Lord Garmadon was the one who freed her. Lloyd is horrified by his father's resurrection, with many of the ninja refusing to believe it. As the team heads to the police station, Misako takes baby Wu to Dareth's secret apartment to keep him safe. The Police Commissioner unsuccessfully tried getting through to Garmadon but realized he's now a being of pure evil.

Lord Garmadon and Harumi break into Kryptarium Prison and allow its prisoners to take over, with Harumi introducing them to their worshipped dark lord. While training Garmadon, Harumi explains he has both elements of Destruction and Creation. For Garmadon to unlock his True Potential, he'll have to destroy his only obstacle—Lloyd—who Harumi knows will come to face him.

On Destiny's Bounty, the ninja discuss their plan of attack. Lloyd wants to face his father, and redeem him as he did years earlier—but the ninja advise against this. Sometime later, Nya discovers that Destiny's Bounty's navigation is frozen. Lloyd brings her to the rest of the team, claiming that P.I.X.A.L. has a plan. As they enter a room, Nya realizes Lloyd was lying; he locks them in the room and departs to face his father alone, despite the ninja's pleas. He drives the Ninja Nightcrawler to Kryptarium Prison, while Cole uses his Earth Punch to break the ninja free. The team makes contact with Lloyd, but he destroys his console in anger.

Arriving at the prison, Lloyd calls out his father. In the control room, Harumi has Lloyd's confrontation broadcast across Ninjago. As Lloyd arrives in the main hall of the prison, he's met with his father, with both remarking how the other has changed. Garmadon starts fighting Lloyd, even as he tries getting through to his father. The fight is long and brutal, with Lloyd being heavily overwhelmed by his father. Empowered by the fight, Garmadon starts to unlock his True Potential and fires destructive energy blasts to cripple Lloyd. After being thrown into the prison's locker room, Lloyd puts up a final fight against his father but is disowned and thrown through numerous brick walls before flying out of the prison and onto the ground far below.

All of Ninjago and the ninja are horrified by Lloyd's defeat, as his father watches him, satisfied. Harumi tells Lord Garmadon to let Lloyd live, only so he can watch him take over Ninjago City as its new Emperor. As Garmadon and his new forces leave, Lloyd crawls a few inches before collapsing onto the sand. He weakly mutters "father," before a picture of him, and his father is blown from his hand and away into the darkness, indicating that his dad was now just a hollow shell of his former self.











For the transcript of the episode, click here.


  • As of the time of its release, the Hageman Brothers considered this to be the series' darkest episode yet.[2]
    • They believe "I have no son" are "The most chilling words in the series."[3]
  • Tommy Andreasen wanted this episode to be called "Twisted Potential".[4]
  • The exterior of Dareth's apartment resembles the appearance of the set 70620 Ninjago City.
  • The Sons of Garmadon appear to be the only prisoners in the "mean and dangerous population" in Kryptarium, where the Sky Pirates, Giant Stone Warrior, and various other prisoners were previously held.
  • According to the Hageman Brothers, in this episode, "Lloyd represents the idealism of youth. Garmadon is an adult who has forgotten his dreams."[5]
  • Garmadon's theme is reprised numerous times during his battle with Lloyd. Throughout the season, the theme was reprised sparingly, with a rendition of it frequently appearing in the Sons of Garmadon motif—which is a sped-up version of Garmadon's theme.
  • During Lloyd and Garmadon's battle, one of the bits of the soundtrack is similar to that of the one that played during Garmadon's banishment, as both have drums in the background slowly building up to a large chorus piece (albeit the one during Garmadon's sacrifice is slightly more noticeable). The same bit also contains some of Harumi's lemotif.
  • The Lloyd vs. Garmadon fight in this episode may be Tommy Andreasen's favorite 1-on-1 fight in the series.[6]
  • Tommy Andreasen confirmed that during his struggle with his father, Lloyd's element tried to protect him from the destructive energy shocks and possibly fatal injuries by Lord Garmadon—hence why elemental energy bursts emanated from his body when he was hit by the shocks.[7]

Cultural references

  • The scene where Garmadon rams a garbage truck into the police station is likely a reference to the movie The Terminator when the T-800 rams a car into a police station.
  • The beginning of the music where Lloyd goes rogue is similar to Ivan Drago's theme from Rocky IV.
  • Mark Oliver compared the resurrected Garmadon to the monster from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, describing how Garmadon lacked full awareness and was in awe at the environment around him at first, which can be heard through his more primitive-sounding voice.[9] The Hageman Brothers also said they and Oliver "talked literary references when discussing the new Garmadon."[10]
  • The Hageman Brothers credited the idea of keeping Garmadon unseen for as long as possible to the film Jaws.[11]


  • This is the second time the ninja sing "The Weekend Whip", the first being "The Royal Blacksmiths." This is also the fifth episode where Cole sings and the first time he doesn't sing "Glow-Worm".
  • While the ninja are singing, Lloyd tells Dareth to stop the music at the same part the music stops in the "Weekend Whip", though this could be a coincidence.
  • This episode marks the second time that Garmadon has been to Kryptarium Prison, the first being "The Greatest Fear of All." Both of his visits were in the penultimate episodes of their respective season.
  • This is the second and last time Lloyd uses the Ninja Nightcrawler in Season 8.
  • Before fighting Garmadon, Lloyd says, "I don't want to have to fight you." Towards the end of season two, specifically in "Return of the Overlord," Lloyd tells his father "I don't want to fight you, but I will if I have to." The scene connects to Lloyd's conflict earlier in the series.
  • This is the third time Lloyd has been severely injured in the show. The first time was in "Return of the Overlord," while the second time was at the end of "Dead Man's Squall."
  • This is the first time an antagonist achieves their True Potential. Previously, the six ninja found their True Potential in seasons one, two, and five. In this episode, Garmadon finds his True Potential by brutally fighting and defeating Lloyd.
  • Cole uses his Earth Punch to knock down a door in the Destiny's Bounty so the ninja could go after Lloyd. This parallels when Cole used his True Potential to knock down a door in the Destiny's Bounty to stop Kai from fighting Garmadon in "The Green Ninja."
  • When the screens were being overridden by security footage in the city, scenes from Skybound, such as Cole, Jay, Nya in a news room and the Magazine Dareth showed can be seen.
  • The Hageman Brothers said, "As we were exploring Garmadon, we thought — hey, in past seasons, the ninja had all this power and what did Garmadon have? We thought it would be badass to see him kick some ass."[12]
    • Garmadon always had these powers, but he only unlocked them now.[13]
    • Wu and Garmadon both have the same potential, but Garmadon's Oni side outweighs the Dragon side, as he cultivates the Oni side more.[14]


  • When Lloyd tells Nya that P.I.X.A.L. has a plan, the sun had just set outside, but when he went back outside only half a minute later it's nighttime.
  • When driving towards Kryptarium Prison, the ninja fail to talk Lloyd out of going to face Garmadon via the Ninja Nightcrawler's radio and Lloyd smashes it in a fit of rage. The top of the radio can be seen in the next shot despite Lloyd destroying it in the previous shot.
  • None of Kryptarium's other prisoners are visible when Harumi arrives to free the Sons of Garmadon. Soto, the Mechanic, the Giant Stone Warrior, and many other inmates have been held there in the past.
    • It is possible that the prisoners were relocated due to the influx of new inmates, as it was confirmed that 300 gang members were detained following Garmadon's resurrection.
    • Most of them were then seen again in "The Absolute Worst."



For the gallery of the episode, click here.


Ninjago episodes
Pilot episodes 1. Way of the Ninja · 2. The Golden Weapon · 3. King of Shadows · 4. Weapons of Destiny
Mini-movies 1. Secrets of the Blacksmith · 2. Flight of the Dragon Ninja · 3. The New Masters of Spinjitzu · 4. An Underworldly Takeover · 5. Return to the Fire Temple · 6. Battle Between Brothers
Season 1: Rise of the Snakes 1. Rise of the Snakes · 2. Home · 3. Snakebit · 4. Never Trust a Snake · 5. Can of Worms · 6. The Snake King · 7. Tick Tock · 8. Once Bitten, Twice Shy · 9. The Royal Blacksmiths · 10. The Green Ninja · 11. All of Nothing · 12. The Rise of the Great Devourer · 13. Day of the Great Devourer
Season 2: Legacy of the Green Ninja 14. Darkness Shall Rise · 15. Pirates vs. Ninja · 16. Double Trouble · 17. Ninjaball Run · 18. Child's Play · 19. Wrong Place, Wrong Time · 20. The Stone Army · 21. The Day Ninjago Stood Still · 22. The Last Voyage · 23. Island of Darkness · 24. The Last Hope · 25. Return of the Overlord · 26. Rise of the Spinjitzu Master
Season 3: Rebooted 27. The Surge · 28. The Art of the Silent Fist · 29. Blackout · 30. The Curse of the Golden Master · 31. Enter the Digiverse · 32. Codename: Arcturus · 33. The Void · 34. The Titanium Ninja
Season 4: Tournament of Elements 35. The Invitation · 36. Only One Can Remain · 37. Versus · 38. Ninja Roll · 39. Spy for a Spy · 40. Spellbound · 41. The Forgotten Element · 42. The Day of the Dragon · 43. The Greatest Fear of All · 44. The Corridor of Elders
Season 5: Possession 45. Winds of Change · 46. Ghost Story · 47. Stiix and Stones· 48. The Temple on Haunted Hill · 49. Peak-a-Boo · 50. Kingdom Come · 51. The Crooked Path · 52. Grave Danger · 53. Curseworld, Part I · 54. Curseworld, Part II
Chen mini-movies (non-canon) 1. Chen's New Chair · 2. Chair Play Chen · 3. Chair Up Chen · 4. Chairful What You Wish For · 5. Bad Chair Day
Season 6: Skybound 55. Infamous · 56. Public Enemy Number One · 57. Enkrypted · 58. Misfortune Rising · 59. On a Wish and a Prayer · 60. My Dinner With Nadakhan · 61. Wishmasters · 62. The Last Resort · 63. Operation Land Ho! · 64. The Way Back
Tall Tales (non-canon) 1. The Tall Tale of Flintlocke · 2. The Tall Tale of Clancee · 3. The Tall Tale of Doubloon · 4. The Tall Tale of Dogshank · 5. The Tall Tale of Monkey Wretch · 6. The Tall Tale of Sqiffy and Bucko
Special Day of the Departed
Operation Heavy Metal 1. Operation Heavy Metal: Machia · 2. Operation Heavy Metal: Buffmillion · 3. Operation Heavy Metal: Blunck · 4. Operation Heavy Metal: Raggmunk
Season 7: The Hands of Time 65. The Hands of Time · 66. The Hatching · 67. A Time of Traitors · 68. Scavengers · 69. A Line in the Sand · 70. The Attack · 71. Secrets Discovered · 72. Pause and Effect · 73. Out of the Fire and Into the Boiling Sea · 74. Lost in Time
Wu's Teas mini-movies (non-canon) Wu's Teas
Ninjago: Decoded 1. Legacy · 2. Vehicles and Mechs · 3. Legendary Places · 4. Ninjago's Most Wanted · 5. The Digiverse and Beyond · 6. The Elemental Masters · 7. Beasts and Dragons · 8. Rise of Garmadon · 9. Prophecy of the Green Ninja · 10. Greatest Battles
Season 8: Sons of Garmadon 75. The Mask of Deception · 76. The Jade Princess · 77. The Oni and the Dragon · 78. Snake Jaguar · 79. Dead Man's Squall · 80. The Quiet One · 81. Game of Masks · 82. Dread on Arrival · 83. True Potential · 84. Big Trouble, Little Ninjago
Season 9: Hunted 85. Firstbourne · 86. Iron & Stone · 87. Radio Free Ninjago · 88. How to Build a Dragon · 89. The Gilded Path · 90. Two Lies, One Truth · 91. The Weakest Link · 92. Saving Faith · 93. Lessons for a Master · 94. Green Destiny
Tales from the Monastery of Spinjitzu 1. Master Class · 2. Green and Gold · 3. The Weekend Drill · 4. Elemental Rider · 5. Blue Lightning · 6. Samurai X-Treme
Season 10: March of the Oni 95. The Darkness Comes · 96. Into the Breach · 97. The Fall · 98. Endings
Season 11: Secrets of the Forbidden Spinjitzu 99. Wasted True Potential · 100. Questing for Quests · 101. A Rocky Start · 102. The Belly of the Beast · 103. Boobytraps and How to Survive Them · 104. The News Never Sleeps! · 105. Ninja vs Lava · 106. Snaketastrophy · 107. Powerless · 108. Ancient History · 109. Never Trust a Human · 110. Under Siege · 111. The Explorers Club · 112. Vengeance is Mine! · 113. A Cold Goodbye · 114. The Never-Realm · 115. Fire Maker · 116. An Unlikely Ally · 117. The Absolute Worst · 118. The Message · 119. The Traveler's Tree · 120. Krag's Lament · 121. Secret of the Wolf · 122. The Last of the Formlings · 123. My Enemy, My Friend · 124. The Kaiju Protocol · 125. Corruption · 126. A Fragile Hope · 127. Once and for All · 128. Awakenings
Prime Empire Original Shorts 1. Let's Dance · 2. Upgrade · 3. The Meaning of Victory · 4. The Stowaway · 5. Manhunt · 6. Gayle Gossip: A Closer Look
Season 12: Prime Empire 129. Would You Like to Enter Prime Empire? · 130. Dyer Island · 131. Level Thirteen · 132. Superstar Rockin' Jay · 133. I am Okino · 134. The Glitch · 135. The Cliffs of Hysteria · 136. The Maze of the Red Dragon · 137. One Step Forward, Two Steps Back · 138. Racer Seven · 139. The Speedway Five-Billion · 140. Stop, Drop and Side Scroll · 141. Ninjago Confidential · 142. The Prodigal Father · 143. The Temple of Madness · 144. Game Over
Season 13: Master of the Mountain 145. Shintaro · 146. Into the Dark · 147. The Worst Rescue Ever · 148. The Two Blades · 149. Queen of the Munce · 150. Trial By Mino · 151. The Skull Sorcerer · 152. The Real Fall · 153. Dungeon Party! · 154. Dungeon Crawl! · 155. Grief-Bringer · 156. Masters Never Quit · 157. The Darkest Hour · 158. The Ascent · 159. The Upply Strike Back! · 160. The Son of Lilly
The Island 161. Uncharted · 162. The Keepers of the Amulet · 163. The Gift of Jay · 164. The Tooth of Wojira
Season 14: Seabound 165. A Big Splash · 166. The Call of the Deep · 167. Unsinkable · 168. Five Thousand Fathoms Down · 169. The Wrath of Kalmaar · 170. Long Live the King · 171. Escape from Merlopia · 172. The Tale of Benthomaar · 173. The Storm Amulet · 174. Riddle of the Sphinx · 175. Papergirl · 176. Master of the Sea · 177. The Calm Before the Storm · 178. Assault on Ninjago City · 179. Nyad · 180. The Turn of the Tide
Ninjago: Reimagined 1. Golden Legend · 2. Gold Rush · 3. A Day in the Life of a Golden Ninja · 4. Sweatin' to the Goldies · 5. Golden Hour
The Virtues of Spinjitzu 1. Curiosity · 2. Balance · 3. Wisdom · 4. Honesty · 5. Generosity · 6. Courage
Season 15: Crystalized 181. Farewell the Sea · 182. The Call of Home · 183. The Shape of Nya · 184. A Mayor Problem · 185. Public Enemies 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5! · 186. A Painful Promise · 187. Ninjago City vs. Ninja · 188. Kryptarium Prison Blues · 189. Hounddog McBrag · 190. The Benefit of Grief · 191. The Fifth Villain · 192. The Council of the Crystal King · 193. TBA · 194. TBA · 195. TBA · 196. TBA · 197. TBA · 198. TBA · 199. TBA · 200. TBA · 201. TBA · 202. TBA · 203. TBA · 204. TBA · 205. TBA · 206. TBA · 207. TBA · 208. TBA · 209. TBA · 210. TBA
Unknown Ninjago 2023 installment TBA