This Power Rangers: Beast Morphers review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Beast Morphers Season 2 Episode 3
It’s the 900th episode of Power Rangers! Every time we hit one of these hundred episode milestones I’m continually impressed and a little shocked Power Rangers has continually defied all odds and endured. Power Rangers has been up against some pretty big obstacles including channel changes, corporate restructurings, and rights-holders changing hands. No other show would have survived that and stayed on the air every single year. That’s impressive, no matter what you think of some seasons, and I gotta give it praise for that.
Sadly I don’t have the same praise for “Game On!” which is a huge shame because for the first half of this episode I was extremely impressed by it. It didn’t languish through it’s cold open for nine minutes, the show got right to the point with the video game tournament. It was a lot of fun and played off Devon’s established love of video games.
Seeing Backstreet Brawler in action was great and we had Kerry (sp?) who’s a girl gamer! Perfect, more shows with video game tournaments need to highlight just how many girls who game are out there. She even had a brother with crutches but never commented on it. That’s great; people with disabilities should just be a part of the world.
The action, which has been lacking in energy and investment from the audience lately, was in top form. Devon even made a “gotta go fast” reference. A gamer making a real video game reference in battle? Perfect! The Rangers even lose the fight! Whoa, that doesn’t happen much these days. It revved up the tension which has also been lacking in some recent Beast Morphers episodes. Finally a credible threat!
Ben and Betty got to have a fun scene as well! Betty falling for a hologram is a silly bit but at least it was marginally tied into the plot and Kristina Ho was clearly having a blast. This episode was on track to be one of the more fun episodes of Beast Morphers yet!
Then the episode pumps the brakes to let you know that Kerry isn’t just trying to win the tournament because she’s a hardcore gamer and that’s a huge goal for her. No, it’s because her brother is sick and she needs the money to pay for his surgery. Why was this included? Why couldn’t Kerry have just had a huge sense of pride and didn’t want to lose? Why did we need to add a sick sibling plot that was ripped straight from the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime?
It comes out of nowhere and the only way you could say it was foreshadowed was to assume that Kerry’s brother was sick solely because he had crutches. That’s… not even problematic, that’s straight up wrong. If you wanted to set up he was sick, just say so from the jump. Just because someone has crutches doesn’t mean they’re ill and need surgery. Maybe they’re just disabled and need the crutches to walk on the regular. Why is his able sister the one who needs to stand up for him? He barely gets any lines and is reduced to a plot device to make Carrie seem more sympathetic. It’s lazy and offensive in so many ways. At the very least let the brother be the one who’s playing the video game to win money for this own surgery! Let him have some agency!
Also, super nitpick; what surgery only costs five thousand dollars? They paying that out of pocket? Do they have any kind of health insurance? Kerry’s brother’s illness is never defined but if it involves him walking again that can’t be that cheap.
The episode continues to take a nosedive with the conclusion to the “Dance Fiesta.” bit. Why is this episode trading in stereotypes? First a disabled person needs an able person to save them and then we have a Hispanic stereotype played for laughs. It’s such a shame since the ultimate resolution to this scene features one of the more tender moments between Ben and Betty. Yes it’s silly but it really showed these two have a bond, despite all the hijinks they get themselves into.
Also, Kerry can’t win without cheating which wouldn’t have been awful on its own but it also reinforces the “girls aren’t as good as guys” stereotype about video games. I’m not saying Devon should have let her win but it still feels patronizing.
What a nosedive this episode took. I was really enjoying it at first but those issues just made the whole thing plummet. Power Rangers should know better, especially after 900 episodes. It shouldn’t be making mistakes as big as this and Sheriff Skyfire from Super Ninja Steel from two years ago. This franchise should be beyond lazy stereotypes but instead played them for laughs or used them as plot devices. Not a great look for a milestone episode.