This Power Rangers Beast Morphers review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Beast Morphers Episode 22
At this point Power Rangers holiday episodes aggressively exist. They’re there to fill the apparent requirement for holiday programming. They tie together some flashbacks, an original fight, and maybe a bunch of Sentai footage they had leftover. They’ve even been taking place after big finales recently, which while not always used to their full potential at least provide a unique look (for Power Rangers) into what happens after a usual season ends.
They also give us some time to reflect on the season that came before. In Beast Morphers case we get a fun adventure starring the Beast Bots and Steel. On the surface this doesn’t seem like it does much to sum up the season. The Beast Bots were certainly around but weren’t exactly main characters. Steel got a lot of time to shine but you’d be forgiven for not even remembering all the Bots names. However when you dig deeper they’re symbols for what both made Beast Morphers great and what kept it from excellence.
The season had a lot of great ideas and concepts. The Beast Bots were a joy anytime they showed up. Jax has one of the greatest voices ever for a non-human character in Power Rangers (kudos to Emmett Skilton) and their limited movement just adds to their charm. Cruise was a faithful companion given a ton of warmth by the always-reliable Kelson Henderson. Smash got some decent focus and while not perfectly executed his relationship with Ravi was the deepest of any of the bots. I don’t need to praise Steel again since I’ve been doing it all season but he’s easily the best character of the entire cast. His love of Spot the plant, need I say more?
However Steel can’t carry the whole show on his back and the Bots, while fun, are still underdeveloped like much of Beast Morphers. On paper the ideas were great. The premiere was genuinely very strong and throughout the flashbacks I was reminded of things I liked about the season. However plotlines like the realationship between Devon and his dad or Roxy and Ravi just seemed to be forgotten about for long stretches of time. I know this show has a large cast and balancing them all isn’t easy but it seems the show just didn’t feel it was worth exploring the plotlines and character dynamics it put so much work into introducing.
It made the whole season feel a little empty and lacking in a concrete identity. Character through lines were mostly removed from the regular plots of the day. The ongoing story of trying to steal the Rangers animal-like abilities barely seemed to affect the development of the characters. Hell, I still have no idea why Evox wants the Morphin Grid. The plot of the show never seemed to tie into the emotions of it where it mattered.
Much of that was because Beast Morphers lacked an overarching theme. Something to tie everything together. A bigger message it was trying to impart besides the usual “friendship is great!” The easiest example of a Power Rangers season pulling this off was Time Force, with its theme of choosing to make your own destiny. You could see it in all the major plot arcs and it’s why, to this day, fans still speak so highly of it and its characters. When a season has that cohesion all of its parts add up to make a greater whole.
Beast Morphers however lacked that cohesion but crucially that doesn’t mean it was a failure. While its parts never clicked together they were still undeniably strong. As said earlier, Steel was amazing. A perfect encapsulation of Power Rangers ability to take an outlandish concept and imbue it with genuine emotions.
As much I wanted to see more of it, the relationship between Devon and his father was truly engaging and so much could be inferred about the two without the show needing to spell it out. In fact all of the relationships between the Rangers and their parents were strong. Commander Shaw especially gave some much needed mom energy to this franchise. The idea of romance between Rangers was broached with both Roxy and Ravi and Nate and Zoey. Power Rangers has been spotty with this topic before but Beast Morphers has done solid with it so far and we still have time to see it grow.
That’s the critical thing. We still have a second season of Beast Morphers to go. There’s a chance for Beast Morphers to pull of its great elements together, improve the weaker ones, and truly live up to all its potential. I truly believe it can do it and with the way last episode ended there’s a lot of intriguing directions for the show to go. Hopefully this time next year we’ll be talking about how much it improved.
It also can’t be ignored that Beast Morphers was a massive improvement over Ninja Steel and Super Ninja Steel. Both of those seasons were a huge misstep for the franchise, not only squandering the dual opportunities for exposure the 2017 film and the 25th anniversary brought but were also badly conceived from the ground level. Victor and Monty, much as I loved them, should not have been the highlight of the season.
While Beast Morphers isn’t perfect it’s still a lot of fun and there’s enough to enjoy for any Power Rangers fan to get something out of it. I’m glad that over the season I learned to appreciate the show for all its many positives. It made for an enjoyable reviewing experience and I’m sure a far more enjoyable reading experience in comparison to my Ninja Steel reviews. I was far too harsh in those reviews and I apologize for much of the vitriol I spewed there. The show was still deeply flawed but for the most part I didn’t need to go THAT HARD on it.
Fans endlessly debate the current state of the Power Rangers franchise, whether it it needs a drastic reinvention or not. (It looks like we’re going to get that with the news of the new movie involving time travel!) The start of the “Hasbro Era” had a lot of expectations on it, ones I discussed all the way back in my very first review of the season. While I don’t think Beast Morphers is the savior of the franchise, I think it’s made a lot of great steps forward. Let’s see where the next season takes us. Hopefully it’s even better!
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Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. Follow him on Twitter! He also co-hosts a Robotech podcast, which covers the original series and the new comics. Give it a listen! Read more articles by him here!