Let’s just get out of the way right now. This is the best Power Rangers Dino Charge episode so far. Previously, it was “Return of the Caveman,” but here we get something Power Rangers has lacked for at least the last four years: an episode directly focused on two female characters that is actually empowering and not the run of the mill, “GIRL POWERRRRR!” Not that theirs anything wrong with those kinds of episodes mind you, but when our previous examples include girls randomly falling under a spell and a random shopping montage? Yeah, this episode was leagues and away an improvement.
Our episode begins with the whole team searching for the other dinosaurs mentioned in the second episode. The guys are all down in the dirt while Shelby is going over the science of at all. Shelby states, “We need to work smarter, not harder” and comes up with a plan that doesn’t involve toiling away in the heat.Shelby returns to the base, and we finally get our pay off from episode two when Kendall looked her nose right down at her: Shelby throws it all right back in Kendall’s face. She doesn’t take her snide remarks. Shelby knows she’s smart. She has ideas. In her flurry of emotions, she even says, “No one will listen” to her ideas. That is hugely powerful. Probably one of the best speeches ever given on Power Rangers.
To Kendall’s credit, she gives Shelby a chance and realizes that, of course, Shelby knows what she’s talking about. Then we get ladies doing science. How amazing it that? You know, in a world where so many girls would love to go into STEM fields but just don’t have role models? Shelby and Kendall putting aside their differences and working together to invent something? That’s empowering both to women and would-be scientists. I love you, Dino Charge.
The other Rangers return, and the two proudly show off “OUR invention.” They’re able to track one dinosaur at a time using a satellite in orbit. Which happens to be picked up by Wrench in Sledge’s ship. The Rangers head toward the signature of the dinosaur, but the monster of the week has beaten them to it. The Rangers fight and Koda is briefly taken over by one of the monsters spikes before the Rangers can safely remove it. They aren’t out of the woods just yet though, since the new zord makes its appearance and is seemingly affected by a similar spike to Koda’s.
The Rangers regroup at the base, and Kendall beats herself up over letting the signal be intercepted by Sledge. She doesn’t blame Shelby for any of it; she knows she messed up and she goes off alone to fix it. In a callback to the first episode, Shelby stows away once again on the truck. Which is good for Kendall, because Sledge’s forces attack once more, and Shelby comes to the rescue. Kendall doesn’t do too bad either, continuing the tradition of unmorphed Rangers this season using shovels as weapons.
Shelby saves the Ankylo Zord and leads the Rangers into defeating the monster of the day (which she mostly does on her own). The monster grows, and they use the Ankylo zord to make quick work of it.
Fury tries to turn this failure on Poisandra but as in her own words, “Maybe I’m smarter than you think, Fury.” I really can’t wait to see her kick some ass later on in this show.
To cap off the episode, the Rangers all sit in the Dino Bite Café, the guys all showering Shelby with praise and calling her a genius. Kendall comes along with a present for Shelby, a rare fossil that Shelby loses her mind at until she discovers it’s fossilized…poop.
As many reservations as I had when Shelby and Kendall first came to blows in episode two, I love the pay off here. It makes that earlier conflict totally worth it, especially since we didn’t have to wait the whole season to get it resolved. I wonder where they’ll take Kendall and Shelby from here? They seem to be the brains of the group, with Riley chipping in and Tyler, Koda, and Chase more the muscle. Maybe they’ll be the ones to locate the new dinosaurs every week?
This episode also heavily employs the “show don’t tell” method. We don’t need the whole episode to beat us over the head with “BY THE WAY GIRLS ARE SMART TO.” They show it. They show both Shelby and Kendall working together to not only overcome the problems in finding the new zords but their own personal problems, particularly Kendall and her not being comfortable with her rare failure. Dino Charge doesn’t feel the need to tell us girls are amazing. They show it, which is ultimately way more effective.Special shout outs go to Camille Hyde and Claire Blackwelder for their terrific work this week. They are taking Judd Lynn’s A+ material and raising it even higher. Can’t wait to see more!
-“I don’t need anything from you guys anyway.” You tell em, Shelby!
-You know that stupid trope when a guy will stop someone from trying to get away by backing them into a wall and slamming their hand next to them? I’m pretty sure Sledge did that to Fury. Oh my.
-Welp, we know this takes place in California for sure now.
-I like that it’s left open whether the Aqua energem bonded to someone.
-“Looks like you guys are still working too hard.” I like this continues the lesson from last episode in a subtle way.
-“Fight it, Rexy!” I love Tyler keeps referring to his zord as that.
-With Chase’s mention of his Mom, maybe we’ll be seeing her when the Rangers take a jaunt to New Zeland!