Ready To Launch

LEGO® Masters USA – Season 3, Episode 1

LEGO®️ Masters USA is brick at it again with the start of another season. Like the previous two seasons, 12 new teams will vie for the title, and the cash prize of $100,000 USD. Each week the remaining teams will face a new and elaborate building challenge to snag first place. For the premiere episode, Ready to Launch, we’re taking the main challenge into space. But if you’re feeling a bit of deja vu, that’s because we’ve already covered the first episode. Sort of….kind of. LEGO®️ Masters was all set to premiere on May 31st but just before the first episode, the season was delayed to September 21st. To keep it confusing that episode is actually the second of the season as shown in next week’s preview. That one’s all about Jurassic World. But before we get to that, we’re heading to the stars!

Back At It

Before kicking things off on Ready To Launch, we first take a quick trip to LEGO®️ headquarters to catch up with Brickmasters Amy and Jamie. In a cute little segment, we find them talking to minifigure Will Arnett. Our fave host makes some cute jokes about the marketing budget being used up for this little trip to Denmark and mentions it’s the brand’s 90th Anniversary. It’s a pretty funny observation and one of the usual bits of ‘meta’ humour that I really enjoy.

Will then falls into a brick-world where he talks some smack about LA (that was really funny) while interacting with some minifig friends. Then we get a cameo by Executive Producer Brad Pitt. Yes, that Brad Pitt, albeit in minifigure form. How’s that for an A-List celebrity appearance?! Sort of…. A little more zany fun and we’re back in the studio with 5 million bricks, 12 teams, 2 great judges and 1 charming host.

The Challenge

For the very first challenge of the season, we’re heading into outer space. There’s something so intrinsic about LEGO®️ and space, astronauts, etc. Being one of the big OG themes certainly helps, but I think there’s more to it that that. Exploration and creativity go hand-in-hand so I think it’s an easy mix of themes. This particular space challenge is the construction of a module that must attach to a GIANT brick-built space station. And let’s all agree that the station itself, the L.B.S.S., is wicked impressive. So as usual, we have a strength challenge mixed with a “show us who you are” challenge. Everyone by now should know the drill: Put your personality into everything and you’re sure to catch the judge’s attention.

Welcome NASA

Along the way we also get a visit from actual NASA astronauts. First to make an appearance is Jessica Meir. She stops the clock to let everyone know that the winning design will go on display at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. That’s quite a cool incentive! It’s not the LEGO®️ House or LEGOLand®️ but I think it’s a really neat change up from the usual. And in what I think is the coolest cameo, Dr. Thomas Marshburn gives the time update from the International Space Station! I mean that’s wild. Man I wish I could just float around in zero gravity. Although it would make it quite tricky to build LEGO®️.

NASA Astronaut Jessica Meir pays a visit to the studio. ©2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Tom Griscom/FOX

🍁We The North🍁

The Canucks are in the building people! It’s very awesome to see some homegrown representation and I know I will absolutely be rooting for my fellow Canadians. We met them all briefly in the preview episode but we now get a bit more background on three very different and talented teams. We’ve got siblings Dave & Emily in their oh-so-subtle hockey jerseys LOL. And just a reminder that next week Dave and Will will take shots of maple syrup. I mean…it’s a thing and it happens. I’m still in awe that it happened and that I’m going to see it again haha.

Next up are Content Creators Nick & Stacey. Nick is the only contestant I have already been following online. He’s a great builder and streamer so i’m definitely on #TeamNick&Stacey from the start. And lastly are Firefighter friends Stephen & Stephen. It might be tough to be write about them though. Which Stephen? Maybe it’ll have to be an ‘A’ and ‘B’ situation. And not to get too ahead of myself, they have an awesome start even with some hiccups along the way. Amazing first showing really. Each team has a great energy and I’m really hoping one or all three make it to the finale. Oh man, an all Canadian final? Could you imagine? But this is American TV so I wouldn’t place money on it 😎

We The Rest

So who are the remaining 75% of this season’s teams? Well it’s a strong bunch with some really fun personalities. Even with a small snippet of screen time, we already catch some great glimpses of talent and creativity. If you aren’t immediately charmed by ‘The Grandpappies’ then frankly you’re dead inside. Kerry is a DJ and Patrick is a photographer. Both are over 65 and both are just adorable! Another fun duo is Jon & Xavier, friends who are anime fans. Both are Filipino and they bring that culture to their final build. It’s a nice bit of referencing and diversity. I feel the same about Christine & Michelle. I really loved hearing them converse in Spanish and I hope they bring that each week.

And it wouldn’t be LEGO®️ Masters without family teams! Don’t you worry, the siblings and parents are here. Emily & Liam are the first mother/son team to be on the show. They are wonderfully supportive of one another and have a lovely bond. In that same category are siblings Asiza & Eddie and Brandon & Greg. The former just radiate positivity and warmth and they hope to bring that to every build. Their first build certainly did that. The latter team are a couple of talented brothers who will no doubt make some impressive models. They already remind me of last season’s winners Mark and Steven and that’s certainly not a bad thing.

In Space No one can hear you boogie?

Before talking about the winners of the Ready to Launch challenge, I think it’s safe to say that most of the builds were quite strong and showcased quite a bit of personality. And I’m also amazed at how many teams created a dance party in space haha. Of all the rockin’ dance builds, Kerry and Patrick’s was the best thanks to lots of lighting and colour. Although not a winner, Emily & Liam’s ringed design was really a stand out! That construction technique was wonderfully advanced even without the motorized function.

Despite the plethora of astro-boogie builds, it was our Canadian firefighters who took home the win for this week with their build the “LMFD (LEGO®️ Masters Fire Department).” Made in the shape of the Maltese Cross – a symbol common to all Fire Depts – their build had a lot of lovely shaping, great colours and a beautiful message. For a team that had never worked with technic before and seemed to struggle, they really brought it for that win. Very clear concept, a smart image and it totally spoke to who they are. Congrats to our first Canadian winners!

Mission Grounded

Ready To Launch brought a big surprise to the premier this season. The prior two seasons of LEGO®️ Masters did not eliminate a team in the first episode. Unfortunately for one pair, that was no longer the case. I did appreciate the non-elimination start. It gives all contestants another chance since first impressions and nerves are tricky things to manage. And unfortunately for Drew & Miranda (small-town siblings) and Austin & Justin (doctor friends), one of them will be going home.

Austin & Justin’s ‘universal healthcare’ model was a wonderful idea (and pun) but the details and decodable elements just weren’t there. It was meant to be an old school doctor’s bag, but it didn’t come across well in the final build. The syringes however did, those were fantastic I must say. Kudos on their concept though: bringing aid, medicine and support to whoever needs it across the galaxy. Drew & Miranda also struggled with their “bottle rocket” build (another excellent pun) on a few fronts. Their final build hid many of their elements under a roof that couldn’t open well. Without some transparency, it didn’t It was an unfortunate showing from a very lovely brother/sister duo and they are sadly the first to leave LEGO®️ Masters USA, Season 3.

Final Thoughts

Ready to Launch was a very decent start to the season. We got to chat with everyone just enough to get a feel for their personalities and strengths. And I’m sure that we will see plenty of explosions, a few tears, some intense edits and plenty of cheezy humour. The challenge itself was good, but not great. Last season’s “LEGO®️ Day Parade” was a little more fun and straightforward. The stakes in this challenge were built up quite a lot – “Will it hold!?!?” And then we get everyone’s build judged on a table. A little anti-climactic but hey, it made for easier viewing and critique. And in fairness they were still on those clips, so mission accomplished all the same!

  • I wonder if Brad Pitt got paid for that 15 second cameo…
  • Did anyone else find the tub of minifig heads in Asiza & Eddie’s build a little….unsettling? All those smiles…😕
  • Seriously, how many builds went to space to dance and party?
  • Drew & Miranda’s Lifetime TV movie called Holy Potato (as coined by Will) either has to happen or be stricken from all memory
  • I’m sorry I still can’tneed to repeat myself: Holy Potato….?
  • Emily & Liam’s ringed ship was crazy ambitious. Shame it didn’t move, but impressive all the same!
  • Speaking of Emily: “I love all my children – just to be clear!” So cute
  • Liz & Erin are wicked proud of Boston (ukulele FTW)
  • Dave & Emily’s hockey puck radar dish? Brilliant
  • Giving the Canadians the polite storyline and bad trash talking is too easy. Come on people get savage!
  • Can’t wait to see more high fashion from Amy.

OVERALL SCORE: 7 / 10

So what’s your final verdict? Did you enjoy the episode? Was it a Ready To Launch or a Failure To Launch? What’s your opinion on the Canadians so far? Please drop a comment in all the usual places to let us know your thoughts. Thanks for reading and until next time, keep on brickin’. 🧱

-Frank

LEGO® Masters USA airs Wednesdays at 9:00 PM ET/PT on FOX in the US, and on CTV, CTV.CA and the CTV app in Canada.

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