This POWER RANGERS BEAST MORPHERS review contains spoilers.
During the middle of this much-hyped Power Rangers team-up episode Jason and the Dino Charge Rangers are walking in a quarry, trying to get to Evox so they can box him in as the Beast Morphers team goes around the other way. Jason says,
“We’re gonna need to scale that cliff.”
What a great scene that would have been; seeing Jason work with the Dino Charge Rangers to overcome a problem. They could have tried different tactics to get up the cliff, maybe fight off some foot soldiers that tried to block their ascent. Maybe you wouldn’t need an action beat and it could have been the team simply climbing. It would have given Jason and Tyler a chance to bond over being leader or maybe Jason could have said, “I hope no one has a fear of heights.”
Instead it’s a weak set-up to justify the team showing up in a quarry… by casually strolling in as if they aren’t rushing to stop a main villain from summoning an evil Zord. That’s the main issue with the episode. There’s barely any down time with the different casts interacting in a substantial way. It’s all scenes to move the plot from point to point. Almost all the dialogue for the returning cast is exposition or battle cries.
It makes much of the episode fall into the same trap ‘Finders Keepers’ did. It’s all spectacle with little substance. Yes it’s cool to see all these Rangers team up but it’s empty if we don’t get time to see weighty moments of interaction. There’s no twists and turns in the plot. It’s a fairly straight story that doesn’t give you enough time to be invested in it before the big fight.
A lot of that is because it takes quite awhile to get going. The episode starts off with what could have been an interesting set-up for Devon where he doesn’t believe in Keeper’s vision about the morphin grid. It could have made a strong character arc where Jason, Tyler, and the others helped him learn about the power of the grid but instead it’s mostly there to get Devon away from the team so they can go have a big action scene.
I love action but this whole chunk of the plot, including Devon figuring out what to do with the meteor and how it related to the vision, just ate up valuable time that could have been used to let the Rangers interact more. The episode mistakenly thinks seeing them in morphed action scenes are the most important things. They are cool but that kind of action only lands when we’ve gotten time to see the Rangers bond outside of fighting.
Think of ‘Reinforcements from the Future.’ Seeing Taylor and Eric’s relationship grow makes their eventual action scene at the end carry more weight. They’ve gotten over their squabbles and bonded. Same with ‘Forever Red.’ Even with that episode being a lot of spectacle it took the time to have Cole trying to impress the other Rangers be a running joke. They all introduced themselves so they felt like a real team by the nine-minute mark of the episode. By the time they got to fighting we felt their connection. In this episode it takes nine minutes for Jason to show up at all and he doesn’t get to show off any character outside of “generic leader.”
We needed a more involved plot for the characters. Something that gave them time to bond outside of simply fighting. Something that showed off their individual personalities. Of course save time for the big fight at the end but that fight would have felt so much more powerful if we’d gotten the chance to see these Rangers get to know one another.
Wasting time with the meteor and everything to do with the grid was a mistake. That’s all fan wank nonsense that makes for a nice Wikipedia entry but not a good story. The characters needed to be the focus here and they weren’t, which is a shame because it’s great to see everyone come back. I loved seeing Jason again and we got yet another of his classic line deliveries with, “man I thought Serpentera was bad but that Zord has six heads!!!!” I’ll be quoting that for years, mostly because the Zord actually has seven heads.
Seeing him and the Dino Charge cast side by side is nice and for many that’ll be enough. I just wish we’d gotten something deeper. There was a way to do this; ‘Forever Red’ proved it’s possible. Instead the people behind this gave into the spectacle of it all and leaned too hard on macguffins and action set pieces.
‘Grid Connection’ isn’t bad but in the end it’s pretty lifeless. There are a few good moments like Jason’s small speech at the end or Devon seemingly waiting for Evox to leave so he could specifically shoot Blaze. There’s some fun to be had but it’s on the lower end of Power Rangers team-ups. Hot take, ‘Clash of the Red Rangers’ was more enjoyable. It devoted a good chunk of time to Scott, even stuck in his suit, so he could form a relationship with the Samurai Rangers.
I could talk more about how this fits into continuity, how certain Rangers got their powers back, Conner’s not great voice over, what the morphin’ grid has morphed (heh) into, etc. At the end of the day though those are just small issues that, if the story were engaging, wouldn’t have been that big an issue. I’m willing to accept a lot of hand waving in Power Rangers (especially when it comes to continuity) as long as its fun and I’m invested in the characters. This episode had the fun but lacked character, which is easily the more important of the two and without it the fun just… isn’t as fun as it could be.
Also, Hasbro needs to stop supporting Austin St. John. He knowingly employed racist and homophobic handlers at his convention appearances for years.