Power Rangers Dino Charge: Return of the Caveman review

Power Rangers Dino Charge gets wild with its first character focus episode on Koda and his PTSD. Here's our review.

This Power Rangers Dino Charge review contains spoilers.

After the first three episodes introduced us to all the characters, powers, and zords, Dino Charge finally brings us an episode that is squarely focused on only one character. Not to say we don’t get some new toys (it’s Power Rangers after all) but it’s solidly dedicated to the series resident caveman, Koda.

We start with a flashback to Koda in prehistoric times, discovering the blue Energem. He runs to defend what we later learn is his little brother from a sabertooth attack and ends up plunging to his doom. How he’s saved is left vague, but from what’s shown we can reasonably assume the Energem protected him from the fall and possibly froze him? We’ll have to see.

The other Rangers are working on their new Dino Cycles, which scares the living hell out of Koda and causes him to smash everything in sight. You know, the past few years we’ve aggressively been lacking “show don’t tell.” Everything is either handed to us or just flat out ignored (looking at you Troy with your dreams or lack thereof). So in this episode, through Koda’s reactions to everything, he’s not just a fish of water. He’s clearly got a case of PTSD from trying to save his little brother. It doesn’t need to be said, they don’t need to focus on it, it’s just show to us through his actions in the episode.

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Which include Sledge sending down a new monster to Earth, Slammer, and revealing a new friend for Poisandra, Curio. A monster apparently made out of old monster parts. That is an amazing concept that I hope they run with later. For now, I’m delighted that Poisandra decides Curio is her new best friend and they skip off to have fun.

Meanwhile, Slammer captures Chase and Koda fights him in an amazing display of brutal martial arts. Civilian fights have been few and far between over the past four years and the fact we get such a protracted fight that also displays a ton of emotion from Koda? Brilliant. In the course of the fight, Koda saves a young boy, Peter, but in so doing both are teleported to the same cave as Chase.

Koda and Peter are able to escape and in a subtle callback to last week, he splits up from Chase. Koda and the kid working to get out of the cave is a pure delight, especially since Power Rangers finally found a kid in New Zealand who can kind of act. You know who can act damn well, however? Yoshi Sudarso. Holy hell, this guy acts the hell out of every scene, even with his caveman speak. He’s got heart, he’s got emotion, and he’s making what should be a stupid character work.

The other Rangers search for Koda and find him just getting out of the cave when Slammer tries to stop him. Kendall gets Peter away and the other Rangers morph to take on Slammer. This is the only part of the episode that slightly stumbles. It’s not bad, it’s just that the footage of the week focuses more on the Green Ranger then Koda, and you kind of wish Koda got to take out Slammer in the ground fight and zord battle. But hey, we get a new megazord formation out of it, so it isn’t too bad. Hell, Shelby’s zord even gets to save Chase!

Our episode ends with Koda giving Peter a bike, but only for Peter to offer Koda riding lessons.

This episode was a pure delight from start to end. Koda is clearly projecting his feelings about his little brother onto Peter and the action more or less meshes with the emotional through line of the story. Tyler and Shelby, who had been so much of the focus in the first three episodes finally take a back seat to let Koda and to a lesser extent Chase shine. This show is just going from strength to strength and I can’t wait to see more.

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STRAY THOUGHTS

– “A squiz.” I need more of Chase in my life, stat. He’s so clearly trying to be cool and failing terribly.

– Koda attempting to ride a bike with training wheels was adorable.

 -In my personal headcanon, Koda was watching a reboot of Beetleborgs on the TV with Count Fangula. I mean hey, Beetleborgs comics did show up in Power Rangers Turbo.

– Fun facts. The voice of Curio also voices Wrench and voiced Tensou last season. And Nic Sampson (aka Chip from Mystic Force) voiced Slammer.

– “Chase is always late. And Koda doesn’t even know what time is.” After years of awful dialogue, having lines like this is a gift.

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– The use of what I’ve coined “The RPM Helmet Shot” is always welcome

– “IT’S… MORPHING TIME!” For as much as Koda is a caveman? He actually gets the classic phrase grammatically correct!

– In our continuing appreciation of all VR Troopers references in this show, Tyler sports a vest jacket in the final scene. The Steele legacy lives on.

– Why are you biking so close to a cliff, Koda?

Rating:

4 out of 5