This Power Rangers Beast Morphers review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Beast Morphers Episode 9
There’s a moment in ‘Silver Sacrifice’ that made me stop and reevaluate my position on Power Rangers Beast Morphers. When we last left the series I was fairly lukewarm on it. Okay but somewhat lacking. Then we got the scene outside the Riptide Gym. Nate and Steel are trying to act casual, like real brothers, but none of the civilians can see Steel as anything but a robot. Nate pleads,
“You have to try and blend in, okay?”
Steel responds, “It’s hard to blend in when you’re made to stand out.”
In that exchange I started really thinking about both Nate and Steel. Nate has had this idea of a brother for so long that he’s trying to get Steel to conform to it. To not make a big deal of himself and just act normal, despite being a robot. Steel on the other hand, usually so high and mighty has a moment of reflection. Why doesn’t Nate or anyone else appreciate him for what he is? Why are they trying to downplay his clearly incredible existence? Also, he’s a robot with human DNA. Does that make him human? How human does that make him?
In reflecting on these characters I slowly began to realize that Beast Morphers is better than I gave it credit for. While there’s still room for improvement the groundwork is there. We have plotlines and characters that have some measure of depth to them. Even Ben and Betty’s dad gets a few moments to genuinely be conflicted about sacrificing Steel or his own kids. There’s even the notion that the Beast Morphers team is saddled with paperwork!
There’s a lot of reading between the lines you have to do to make these moments mean anything… but that’s often been the fun of Power Rangers. Even in some of the show’s best seasons you had to do at least a little of the work to see what was underneath the surface. The most famous example was Gem and Gemma in RPM, who were played for laughs but the more you watched them the more you realized they were totally screwed up in the head from being forced to work in a government think tank since they were kids.
Another is that SPD as an organization wasn’t quite as friendly as it seemed. If you closely watched the episodes and used some imagination it could be interpreted to be a more sinister organization, edging toward being the heads of a police state.
A lot of the joy in being a Power Rangers fan is taking the building blocks of the show and seeing what you can do with them. It’s a weird sandbox universe where pretty much anything goes. Everything to do with Nate and Steel in this episode reminded me of that, even if it’s not up to the level of RPM or SPD. The very notion that Evox can’t enter Steel because of him possessing human DNA is something that no one questions because hey, this is Power Rangers. That sort of thing is paint by numbers here.
The episode isn’t all perfect. Nate getting all choked up over a “brother” he’s only had for a few days and the other Rangers willing to stand up for him feels rushed. We’ve barely had any bonding time on screen for Steel with this team; they shouldn’t be so tight knit quite yet.
Still, ‘Silver Sacrifice’ gave me enough to remind me of the thing about Power Rangers I enjoy. Its utterly bonkers universe where anything, even an egotistical robot who unintentionally makes bad jokes, can be molded into something deeper if you’re willing to play with it.
I wish Beast Morphers would go the extra mile and really develop the concepts that are hinted at in this episode but I’m not really expecting it. More and more I’ve come to expect less from the Power Rangers TV series. Mostly because I’m getting everything I need from the Boom Power Rangers Comics. Those are serving up the depth and nuance I want to see in Power Rangers.
The TV show? It’s alright! And if you’re willing to play with it? It’s actually not half bad. Room for improvement of course, but it’s something.