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Shadow Claw
Episode written by Phil Harnage

     It's night time and we're given a view of the outside of an armory.  As a mutant rat crawls out of the sewer and sniffs the armory's electric fence, it gets an unwanted shock and is sent scurrying away crying.  An armored vehicle then approaches with the Dragon Cruiser following behind it.
     Marian steps out of the Dragon Cruiser and gives a thankful nod to the Lee twins.  A large canon on tank treads is being rolled out of the back of the armored vehicle.  It looks somewhat like CLU from the season 1 episode "Dragon Hunt," except it does not appear to be sentient.  Jimmy notes that the "positron canon" looks mean.  Billy remarks that he's surprised the Shadow Master didn't try to snatch it, but Jimmy holds up his Dragon Claw from the prior episode and brags that thanks to the Dragon Claws, the Shadow Master doesn't stand a chance now.  The Lees then take off.
     Almost immediately after, a Shadow vehicle drives out from a dark alley and returns to the Shadow Dojo.  Trigger Happy and Sickle step out of vehicle and complain that they should have taken the positron canon - the Shadow Master should have let them try.  However, a strange, floating mechanical orb is seen hovering above the two Shadow warriors' heads, which they are completely oblivious to.  Suddenly, the orb starts opening fire on them, and we hear Ice Pick laughing in the background.  The camera then cuts to the main room of the Shadow Dojo, where Ice Pick is telling the Shadow Master that his new reality simulator is working like a charm.
     We see Ice Pick sitting in a chair wearing what sort of looks like a Power Glove and virtual reality goggles.  Ice Pick explains that thanks to the power of the Black Flame, whatever happens in this video game he is playing occurs in the real world too.  The Shadow Master is able to watch the orb blasting his two cronies via a spherical screen right in front of Ice Pick.
     In the background we see the Shadow Khan's shield/prison hanging on the Shadow Mural.  Shadow Khan begins taunting and insulting the Shadow Master - especially his leadership abilities - when Trigger Happy and Sickle run in claiming "someone is shooting as us" and "they're invisible!"  The Shadow Mater explains to the two knuckleheads that they have just tasted the new reality simulator, and that the machine is going to be used to get inside the Dragon Dojo to retrieve the Dragon Claws - tonight.
     The camera cuts to the Dragon Dojo.  Billy steps outside to give a bone to a mutant dog who is guarding the dojo.  Inside, the Lees place their Dragon Claws in a protective chest while Jimmy questions why Billy is feeding "that thing" (the dog).  Billy then notes that the so-called "thing" has feelings.  This doesn't persuade Jimmy at all.  The brothers state that they could use some sleep, and we see a Shadow vehicle approach the front of the Dojo.  The guard dog begins barking and Trigger Happy takes aim with a mounted turret, getting ready to "French fry" the mutt.  However, the Shadow Master intervenes via radio communication, telling Trigger Happy he wants the dog alive.
     So instead, Trigger Happy tosses a stungas grenade, rendering the dog unconscious.  He then picks it up and places it into a burlap sack.  Ice Pick begins his assault with the reality simulator (the orb is seen floating outside the dojo), and the resulting explosions knock Billy out of bed.  Billy thinks it's an earthquake, but Jimmy runs in and tells him they're under attack.
     Back in the Shadow Dojo, Shadow Master is yelling at Ice Pick, wondering why he can't do better.  Ice Pick apparently isn't providing the appropriate results fast enough.  Shadow Khan then taunts the Shadow Master, to which the Shadow Master replies that when he wants his opinion, he'll hammer it out of him.  Shadow Master tells Ice Pick to blast the main doors of the Dragon Dojo, but Ice Pick says that while he can invent this game, he can't play it.
     Ice Pick finally breaches the main doors and the Shadow warriors flood the Dragon Dojo.  Billy and Jimmy retrieve their swords and do their transformation thing.  Sickle, Trigger Happy and some nameless Shadow goons try to go for the Dragon Claw chest when the Double Dragons intervene.  Their defense is rendered helpless when Trigger Happy tosses one of those stungas grenades, leaving the Dragons coughing and disoriented due to the smoke cloud.  The Shadow warriors run out with the Dragon Claws.  As Jimmy runs out and tries to blast the Shadows with his sword, Ice Pick intervenes and blasts the ground near Jimmy's feet.  Jimmy gets knocked back and tells Billy he doesn't know what hit him.  Billy says that the Shadow Master must have himself a new weapon.
     We cut back to the Shadow Dojo where the Shadow warriors present the Dragon Claw chest.  As they open it, the Dragon Claws begin glowing.  Ice Pick tries to touch them like an idiot and gets blasted back by their energy.  Shadow Master rightfully calls him an idiot and notes that they're Dragon artifacts - no Shadow may touch them.
     Shadow Khan tries to "command" the Shadow warriors to destroy the Dragon Claws, but Shadow Master tells him to shut up; he commands no one.  Ice Pick then realizes that the Dragon Claws are so powerful they're even reducing the size of the Black Flame itself, taking its energy down to dangerously low levels.  Shadow Master says that is why they need the positron canon to replenish the power of the Black Flame.  First, however, they have to deal with the Double Dragons.
     Ice Pick then tests out a previously undisclosed feature on the reality simulator to trap the Double Dragons.  Ice Picks heads over to a keyboard and energizes the "digitizer," which shoots a beam of light (think Star Trek - "beam me up Scotty!") that converts Billy's dog into a digital form.  The dog is now physically within the video game Ice Pick created.
     Back at the Dragon Dojo, the brothers are outside repairing their building when Jimmy again makes fun of Billy's dog, saying "some watch dog" he is.  Billy hopes the Shadows didn't hurt him.  Danny, the video game nut from the prior episode, comes over to the brothers.  Jimmy tells him they had a little trouble, then asks if Danny is still going to check out the Junior Dragons program.  Danny says yeah, but he has to practice for the next round of video game tournaments.  Jimmy mutters that Danny leaves and breathes video games - a bit too much probably.
     We fast-forward to evening time, where inside the Dojo Billy is telling Kona and Chop to guard the armory while he and Jimmy go after the Dragon Claws.  Billy and Jimmy transform, then head for the Shadow Dojo.  Jimmy finds the secret backdoor to the dojo that he remembered from his time as the Shadow Boss.  When the Dragons enter and spot the Dragon Claw chest, Billy warns that the scenario doesn't seem right.  Ice Pick, Sickle and Trigger Happy suddenly appear.  Trigger Happy then manages to blast the Dragons' swords out of their hands, causing them to de-transform.  As they try to avoid the incoming fire, Ice Pick deploys the Digitizer trap and scans them into the reality simulator.  Immediately after, the Shadow Master arrives and announces that everyone will have the chance to hone their shooting skills on the Double Dragons.
     Billy and Jimmy are next seen running inside the virtual reality game with the dog in toe (Billy is carrying the dog in his arms).  The brothers quickly figure out that they are inside a video game, and they even seem to spot the flying orb that has been shooting at them.
     As Ice Pick continues to attempt to blast the Dragons inside the game, he finds he's unable to do any meaningful damage - as far as the Dragons are concerned.  Ice Pick seems to have forgotten that the orb actually shoots objects in the real world, and during his shooting spree he blows up an actual Shadow assault vehicle in the real world.  The Shadow Master then calls Ice Pick a fool for blowing up one of their vehicles.
     Trigger Happy then mocks Ice Pick's shooting skills and takes over on the controls.  Inside the game Jimmy is questioning why Billy is bothering to carry the mutant dog.  Billy asks Jimmy if he ever had a dog when he was growing up, to which Jimmy replies "I was raised by the Shadow Master."  Billy then decides to name the dog "Legs."
     As Trigger Happy tries to blast the Double Dragons, he shoots the outside of the Shadow Dojo in the real world, causing a small earthquake that sends small pieces of debris falling down.  Trigger Happy then gives up on his attempts at blasting the Dragons.
     A frustrated Shadow Master then tells Ice Pick that if he values his life, he'll find someone who can play the video game.  The Shadow Master grabs the Shadow Khan off the mural and announces that he and the Shadow Warriors are going to attack the armory.  They will head over and await Ice Pick's attack with the virtual reality system.  Ice Pick already knows who he wants to use for his game.
     In the next scene we see Danny in a local arcade playing some sort of shooting game where you sit in a car-like arcade machine that swivels as you steer.  Ice Pick shows up and tries to talk to Danny, but Danny tells him to beat it.  Ice Pick responds by pulling his typically unused sword out and destroying the arcade machine.  Danny then recognizes that Ice Pick works for the Shadow Master.  However, Ice Pick offers Danny the chance to play a new video game against the ultimate opponents - the Double Dragons.  Danny is intrigued by the prospect of facing such difficult opponents, but he obviously doesn't realize that he'll be facing the real Dragon masters.
     Back inside the Shadow Dojo, Danny climbs onto Ice Pick's virtual reality machine and puts on the goggles and glove.  Ice Pick then tells Danny to destroy the Dragon masters and then the armory.  Danny begins shooting at the Dragon masters and spouting one-liners in the process such as "It's a high noon and I'm a gunnin' for ya Dragon masters."  Inside the game, Billy and Jimmy can hear Danny's voice.
     As Danny continues his assault, he unknowingly starts destroying actual buildings in Metro City and causing mass hysteria.  Jimmy then devises a plan.  He stands up from his source of protective cover (a pile of rubble) and tells Danny that the game is no fair because Billy and him don't have their swords.  Danny still thinks this is just a game, and he agrees with Jimmy (who he believes is just AI of Jimmy).  He then asks Ice Pick how to get the Dragon masters their swords.
     As he asks this, Danny then spots the actual Dragon swords not too far away from the machine and notes that the Dragon masters would never leave their swords behind.  Billy overhears Danny and speaks to him directly, saying that they're real and that they've been digitized.  At the same time, Ice Pick attempts to grab a Dragon sword and gets knocked back by the sword's protective energy barrier (that lights up whenever an evil person touches it).  Ice Pick lands on the machine, and Danny presses a button, digitizing Ice Pick into the game.
     Ice Pick lands inside the game, right in front of Billy and Jimmy.  As Ice Pick prepares to attack the brothers, Legs attacks Ice Pick and chases him away.  Danny then digitizes the Dragon swords into the game, and Danny asks how he can get the brothers out of the game while they ponder the same issue.  In the mean time, Jimmy asks if Danny would like to "kick some Shadow butt."
     Outside the armory, Shadow Master is standing in his fully powered-up armor with his warriors when he notes that something seems wrong.  The attack should have started by now.  Suddenly, Danny opens fire on the Shadows, knocking Shadow Master's weapon out of his hand and blowing up a nearby Shadow vehicle.
     Back inside the game, Billy and Jimmy run inside the Shadow Dojo when Jimmy says that he has a theory.  If the twins can create a feedback loop to interact with the Black Flame, they might be able to get out.  Meanwhile, the Shadow Master teleports back to the actual Shadow Dojo and grabs Danny, telling him to do exactly what he says if he wants to live.
     Inside the game, Billy and Jimmy reach the digital image of the Black Flame and transform into the Double Dragons.  Together, they then blast the digital Black Flame.  The Dragons' sword-based energy blast from travels through the digital Black Flame and out the real Black Flame, knocking Shadow Master down and pinning him on the ground as he tries to block the energy with the Shadow Khan's shield.  Ice Pick arrives in the Dragons' location and again attempts an attack only to be driven off by Legs once more.
     Billy and Jimmy tell Danny to blast the Black Flame, and Shadow Master tells Danny to blast the Dragons.  Danny blasts the Black Flame, which knocks Shadow Master clean through a nearby wall and out of the room.  It also destroys the virtual reality machine and brings everyone out of the virtual reality game.
     The Dojo begins to crumble and Billy decides to take Danny out of the collapsing building while Jimmy decides to go for the Dragon Claws.  As the two head in opposite directions, Shadow Master reappears and attempts to blast the "traitor" (Jimmy) when Legs attacks Shadow Master.  However, Shadow Master throws Legs to the ground, who appears to be injured.  Jimmy is then left with a choice: save the Dragon Claws or save the dog.  As Shadow Master mocks Jimmy's predicament, he gets blasted by some sort of energy from the Black Flame that teleports him out of the Dojo.  Jimmy chooses to save the dog and runs out of the Dojo as it collapses and explodes behind him.
     Back at the Dragon Dojo, Billy and Danny are sitting outside talking.  Billy asks how the video championships went, and Danny notes that they went great; he's the best.  However, he thought being the best would mean more to him, and he asks if he can make it as a Junior Dragon.  Billy, of course, notes that he can.  Meanwhile, Jimmy is playing with a bandaged-up Legs and noting how he taught Legs to fetch.  Jimmy notes that maybe Legs can help them find the Dragon Claws, and Billy asks Jimmy who's training who.
      Epilogue-Message: Jimmy and Danny are inside the local arcade.  Jimmy is playing a game while Danny cheers him on.  Danny notes how some people can let video games take over their lives (alluding to himself with a small replay of scenes from the episode).  He then talks about how Billy and Jimmy taught him to balance the important things in his life, and Jimmy reinforces the importance of balance as well.  A high-five and a "by the power of the Dragon" close out the episode.

     Dojo Master's review: Unfortunately, this is another mediocre episode.  The fact that the cartoon alludes to video games so much, especially with a "balance your play time" theme, is quite strange considering the irony.  Still, the ultimate message is correct.  But the entire virtual reality focus is just plain strange and doesn't make any sense.  I have to admit, I was pretty confused as I tried to type up this summary because I couldn't grasp why Ice Pick needed a video game simulation of the real world to fly an orb around and blast objects in the real world.  Couldn't he just, you know, fly the laser-shooting orb around by itself?  Isn't that called "remote control"?  Do you really need virtual reality for that?  Ultimately, the episode lacks combat and excitement except for the assault on the Dragon Dojo.  This isn't the only virtual reality episode to be featured in the series, but it might be the least entertaining one. 

Rating: B-