Make and shake

Make and Shake

LEGO® Masters USA – Season 2, Episode 3: Make and Shake

LEGO® Masters USA is back with another episode of destructive fun – because “if it ain’t broke….make it break!” I think that’s how the saying goes. I may be paraphrasing. Make and Shake is the title of this week’s challenge and it’s exactly how it sounds: make it, then shake it to pieces! Our teams need to build a tower with a minimum height of 4 feet. Their skyscraper must then be placed on top of a moving plate that simulates an earthquake. The scale goes all the way to 11 on the ‘brickter scale’ (hahaha, love it). The build that survives the longest wins. Who’s disaster planning skills won out this week? Who couldn’t build to code to save their bricks? Let’s find out.

The completed builds. Photos used with permission. ©2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Tom Griscom/FOX

Somebody call 911!

The remaining 11 teams get the rundown on this week’s challenge from a beautiful LEGO® built skyscraper that literally shakes itself apart. We’re treated to a bit of cross-promotion synergy for the FOX Network thanks to a call to 911 – the show, not the service. Jennifer Love Hewitt gets to be the first guest star of the season, but basically as her TV show character. I think . . . I have never seen the show. The usual rounds of cute patter and banter ensue. I can’t say these are my favourite type of ‘bits’ to watch, but this is a family show and it’s fun enough. I did have a decent chuckle at Will explaining to Jennifer Love Hewitt that “‘LEGOS’ isn’t a word! It’s LEGO® bricks!…” Educational content folks.

Will Arnett calling ‘911’. Photos used with permission. ©2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Tom Griscom/FOX

Building to Code

This week’s challenge is a essentially a strength challenge. Building exteriors can fall, but the core of their structure must remain standing. It also has to look nice, or as they say in the biz, “be aesthetically pleasing.” By the end of the challenge, it’s clear that most of the teams put all their energies into structure – which makes sense. With a relatively short 8 hours to build, I’d be making the same call! There was a fair amount of variety in the build techniques this week: technic elements, vertical plates, rubber tires, dense layering, this episode had all the approaches.

It’s All About Luck, er….Technique!

Quite a few teams had some novel approaches to this challenge. Shout-outs to Lauren & Bryan for layering bricks in a “pack-it-dense” approach. They basically built an ancient stone wall 😄 Can’t argue with the results though as they got to level 10! Maria & Philip got creative and used ball joints both inside and outside their tower. The Brick Masters weren’t sure what to expect, but they too reached level 10! Caleb and Jacob made a flexible base and even added car tires inside for shock absorption. Brick Master Jamie said it was “the freshest approach so far”. Sadly thinking outside the box didn’t work out for the twins. Their great looking tower only made it to level 8, landing them in the bottom 3.

The Struggle is Real

Right from the start, Moto & Paras expressed quite a bit of confidence for this challenge. Being engineers, they expected this to be “their challenge to win”. Their final design took a while to come together however and was only just completed. The end result was, well, let’s be honest – a hot mess! All those haphazard plates failed real fast, but thankfully their interior structure survived and even put them in the top 3! Steven & Mark were also on #teamconfidence with their build that used vertical plates for supposed strength. Their build, though one of the better looking designs, failed fairly early on. They hoped to “break the machine and take it to 11”, but sadly they made it only to level 8, earning a spot in the bottom 3.

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble

Once it was time to get things shaking, our teams brought up their creations for testing. It was here that Wayne & Zach broke down and used the golden brick to gain immunity. The episode really showcased them having issues. Wayne was NOT thrilled to part with it. And although their build made it to level 10 (great success), it was a smart move to not take the risk. In the end all the teams made it to a level 8 or higher, and many got to levels 10 and 11.

“Too Brick to Fail”

So when all the earthquakes and destruction were said and done, the top 3 teams (all hitting 11 on the brickter scale) were Jen & Susan, Moto & Paras and Dave & Richard. Major kudos to Jen & Susan for essentially completing 75% of their build with 25% of the time left. It wasn’t the prettiest design, but that was some great hustle and it paid off. Dave & Richard round out the top teams with a really simple and surprisingly fun take on mathematics for their tower. Not only did it reference the Fibonacci sequence (so clever), but it was a beast of a build that didn’t even break once it fell off the shake plate. That was an impressive accomplishment. With the ‘scores’ tied up, the final decision came to design. Congrats to Dave & Richard for keeping it simple and really showing some technical skill for the win this week!

It Comes Down to Design

Our bottom 3 teams all tied at level 8 on the brickter scale to be in danger of elimination. Steven & Mark went first and were surprised by their tower’s early collapse. Joining them were Tim & Zack and Caleb & Jacob. In a move that I can only call…. art therapy ….Tim put cats all over the side of their building to throw shade at the family pet that climbs the walls to his annoyance. Will Arnett summed it up perfectly: “OK chill out Tim.” Hahaha. Lastly twins Caleb & Jacob tried out their flexible base with LEGO® tires. Their design was an under-construction building and even had a great looking crane on the side. As it was with our top 3, the final decision came to aesthetics. Tim & Zack are the second team eliminated from the competition, turning in their minifigures.

Final Thoughts

I really had fun with this episode. It was nice to see more focus on build techniques. ‘Destructive’ episodes are always full of energy and the teams really seem to have a blast. At this point Dave & Richard are in my top 3 along with Wayne & Zach and Lauren & Bryan. We’ll see who that golden brick belongs to next week. Here’s some last snippets:

  • I have named Tim & Zack’s masterpiece: “Requiem for the Cat”
  • Anyone else notice the knobs on the brickter scale are totally unrelated gibberish? Amazing
  • Shout out to Brick Master Amy’s jacket. Werk
  • Ball joints FTW. Nicely done Maria & Philip
  • I REALLY wanted more info on Jen’s amazing Wonder Woman build. So many questions! Glossed right over. Sigh
  • Bricks-per-Hour (bph) is new to me. 500 bph is the gold standard apparently?
  • Shout out to the Science Alliance nickname. And shout out to Science in general because it’s awesome
  • Tim was all ‘Dad Energy’ and I was, surprisingly, here for it.

OVERALL SCORE: 8.5 / 10

How did you feel about this week’s episode? Who makes it into your top 3? And do you think Tim’s cat is gonna get him back for that design? Comment below and as always, keep on brickin’.

-Frank

LEGO® Masters USA airs Tuesdays at 8:00 PM ET/PT on FOX in the US, and on CTV, CTV.CA and the CTV app in Canada.

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