In the latest episode of LEGO MASTERS, the build teams must make moving models to impress the judges and secure their place in the semi final
With the set up to the format and introduction to the build teams settled, the second episode of LEGO MASTERS could really get into the two things that makes the show unique – LEGO building and the participants.
The theme was established as movement, expecting the build teams to incorporate moving parts into their creations with the help of Technic elements and Power Functions. The first task saw the builders challenged to construct a vehicle without the opportunity to plan – but a surprise twist meant that the teams had to mash up two different modes of transport.
The main task, that the teams had been able to plan for, was to construct a fairground with functioning rides. Lead judge Matthew Ashton made it clear that as well as working rides and the requisite theming, detail and storytelling would be important too.
Spending more time watching the teams build was an absolute treat this week. That was partly due to the challenge being closer to what LEGO building tends to involve than it was in the first episode. Having the teams build life sized chairs was no doubt a good way to hook a general audience, but it is much more interesting for LEGO fans to see how different teams solve problems and approach a challenge than endlessly add 2 stud wide bricks to a structure.
The twist in the first challenge, that meant each pair had to switch from one type of build to another, was excellent. Putting a vehicle together is not a tricky task for the calibre of fans involved in this show, so pushing them to do something different really highlighted who are the builders to watch in the next few weeks.
Seeing the spillages and absolute mess that occurred was fantastic, it was reassuring to witness the level of clumsiness on display as buckets of bricks were heard crashing to the ground. Seeing Guy and Abraham realise that they were having the most fun of everyone was a great TV moment, as the pair revelled in the number of bricks at their disposal.
Another benefit to spending more time in the build room is that it allows the personalities of the contestants to shine through. Particularly as everyone was established last week, now it becomes apparent who is who; Jessica and Faolan are the meticulous planners, Daniel and Jack are the bantering improvisers while Jamil and James are the engineers hoping for the best.
All of the participants are endearing in one way or another, which makes it easy to root for them to succeed. For all the talk that LEGO MASTERS is the Great British Brick Off, the most interesting difference is that the builders are working in pairs, which leads to moments of friction and frustration. Thankfully it tends to be comical rather than lead to any genuine animosity. It adds another level of difficulty to the challenge, as collaborating is hard. Many AFOLs would not have any desire to dilute their creative vision, even if some do get involved with community builds.
There is no visible friction between Nate and Steve, despite a bit of brow-wiping during this second episode. Seeing the VT of the pair talking about how they met, sharing their LEGO bond, was a heartening story – another moment of familiarity in the episode saw their very understanding wives helping to justify their hobby.
Matthew Ashton was in full-on TV judge mode in this episode, quietly overseeing the building process with notebook and pen in hand. He hasn’t written anything down yet, but if he needs to he is ready. Mechanical engineer Dr Shini Somara was on hand to help with the judging process, although it certainly felt like Richard Osman was just shoe-horned in so that some recognisable faces could be used in the advertising rather than because he adds anything to the proceedings.
When it came to the completed fairground builds, Nate and Steve had clearly run away with the competition this week – not only having perfectly functioning models, but also having themed each ride to match their Pirates park was a step above what the other teams achieved. The spinning wave barrel was also a great choice to help wow the judges. To borrow the classic theme tune to the Pirates ride in The LEGO Movie 4D Adventure, ‘Pirates, pirates, pirates’.
As expected based on last week, Nicolas and Kobe also offered a nicely tied together build full of detail with working rides. Jessica and Faolan managed the detail, while Jamil and James focused on the inner workings. Daniel and Jack may not have had one of the best builds of the week, but it did incorporate some neat functionality and the show will miss their unique brand of comradery.
AFOLs will be satisfied not just because episode two introduced that acronym to a broad audience, but because this is where the competition began to really reflect the kind of models that relate most to them. It was inspiring seeing the fairground builds come to fruition, and entertaining to see the builders have to react when thrown a curveball.
With next week’s builds themed around nature, there are two challenges – a planned build, in which the teams populate a nature walk, and an unplanned build to see how quickly the teams can be build with minimal bricks. The episode will air on September 7 at 8.00pm on Channel 4.
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