This Power Rangers Beast Morphers review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Beast Morphers Season 2 Episode 4
What makes a great Power Rangers episode? Ask any fan of the franchise that question and you’ll get a bevy of answers. Whether you’re talking to a kid who might like “the fighting” or an adult who enjoys the more subtle character moments, no matter who you talk to you’ll never get the same answer. Some might complain about plot holes, others might laugh at them. Some take the megazords battles seriously, others laugh at them for the goofy Godzilla style action. Some enjoy the cheese, some hate Turbo’s “Trouble by the Slice.” They’re wrong, but that’s okay.
So what is the essential building block of a Power Rangers episode? What’s the one thing that can transcend most criticism and help even the silliest or plot hole filled episode?
Power Rangers Beast Morphers’ “Artist Anonymous” should have some big strikes against it that make it, at best, an average episode. There are a lot of logic jumps and just plain nonsensical moments. Nate gives an incredibly out of nowhere speech about lying and acts like Ravi just lied about murdering someone. Blaze and Roxy enter Grid Battleforce through the parking lot, which has no security. We get another stereotype “funny” character that adds nothing to the story (but at least is nowhere near as needlessly offensive as last week’s.)
Yet despite all of that I’m still coming out mostly in favor of this episode. Why? Because it has that essential Power Rangers building block. The one that helps even the most divisive episode become memorable.
Let’s talk about “Trouble by the Slice” again. I know, seems like an odd time to bring up one of the most memorable Power Rangers Turbo episodes but go with me. This episode is famous for its plot of the Rangers getting baked in a giant pizza but some call it “too silly.” I mean yes, it is very silly. Blue Senturion even utters the incredible line, “The evil pizzas were no match for a simple stop light!”
What some people forget about that episode however was the small moment between Carlos and Justin after they play a soccer game with kids who are Justin’s age. Justin, a young kid, has spent much of the season hanging around teenagers and fighting to save the world. As he and Carlos order pizza he tells him, “For a minute there, I forgot I was a Power Ranger.” It’s a small moment but it says so much and even the episodes detractors have to admit that line does a lot for Justin’s character, even if the rest of the plot is fairly silly.
What does this have in common with “Artist Anonymous”? Both it and “Trouble by the Slice” have an emotional through line. In this Beast Morphers episode we return to Ravi’s secret painting and it finally comes to a head. He’s nearly found out by Commander Shaw and makes every excuse he can. We even learn a bit more about what growing up was like Ravi, with his mom putting him in uniforms since he was little. This, pardon the pun, paints Ravi’s character with some new depth. We empathize with him because he loves his art so much but is afraid of what the most important person in his life might think.
Ravi tells Nate that telling little lies has become a reflex for him, even with his friends. It lets us know that hiding this secret is a huge deal for him and, while it isn’t traumatic, does cause him anxiety that impacts his everyday life. When Shaw eventually finds out that Ravi painted the mural in town she’s hurt that her son would lie to her. We as the audience are left wondering if she’ll chew him out or accept him.
It sort of goes both ways but not in the way you’d expect. She is mad Ravi lied but she makes it clear that she’s the one who’s really in the wrong here. She remorsefully tells him, “my attitude kept you from being true to yourself.” That line right there is what sealed the deal on this episode being above average.
Commander Shaw is able to admit her dismissal of art is what caused her son to keep something so big from her. She doesn’t put all the blame on Ravi, she recognizes she’s the one who needs to make a change. I love that, I love that so much.
Showing the primary kid audience of Power Rangers that just because you do something wrong doesn’t make you “the bad one.” In fact parents can sometimes be the reason, whether intentional or not, that their children lie or do bad things. Ravi isn’t totally let off the hook, he did lie, but Commander Shaw takes most of the blame. It’s able to demonstrate that both of them aren’t perfect but Shaw especially is going to change for the better.
I’m so glad Beast Morphers committed to this plot for a good string of episodes. It was given the proper build up to make “Artist Anonymous” work without dragging it out. For as may issues as Beast Morphers has with its arcs, this one played out beautifully.
There’s also lots of other fun touches in this episode as well. Ben and Betty’s final gag with the trampoline genuinely made me smile, especially Ben’s request to get on the trampoline and then quietly realizing the firefighter isn’t having it. Commander Shaw getting to fire that blaster gave this episode an extra point all by itself.
Sure, the episode does have some issues but when it succeeds so well at the key factor of any Power Rangers episode? I can give those issues a pass. It works where it needs to work. That emotional through line grounds even the most silly or questionable elements of the episode and makes it something that give kids (and adults!) watching a great message that strengthens the characters.