You know, as Dino Charge goes from strength to strength, I’m forced to look back on the approach of the last few seasons. Samurai and Megaforce were both badly trying to recapture the magic of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Samurai attempted it with lessons about teamwork that weren’t reflected in actions of the characters while Megaforce flat out copied MMPR. Both of these series took the surface elements of PR, but never captured the feeling of old school Power Rangers. It was all so empty.
This weeks Dino Charge however was full of life. Riley comes into direct conflict with Chase over their styles of training and dealing with problems. Riley prefers to plan every little thing out and practice the same move over and over while Chase is more laid back. They butt heads and aren’t even under the control of a spell! It’s genuine character conflict that builds on what we’ve seen in previous episodes, unlike last season and Troy’s sudden insistence that they shouldn’t let go of their weapons. Riley thinks if he practices the same move over and over, he’ll be able to stop Fury, but Chase wisely points out, “The next attack could be different.”
On Sledge’s ship, Poisandra has freed a new monster to make a wedding cake, but Sledge has another idea. He sends the monster to Earth to give the Rangers some massive toothaches. The Rangers rush into battle, but Chase and Riley can’t put aside their earlier bickering and the monster escapes. After another argument with Chase, Riley goes back to the base and gets some incredibly legit advice from Keeper.
“Is it not possible two different paths can lead to the same destination?”
I still have no idea what the hell is up with Keeper, but at least he’s being more of a mentor than Gosei ever was in Megaforce.
Chase skateboards throughout the city and following his instincts finds the monster. He takes on the monster alone and gets a mouth full of cavities for his trouble. The other Rangers show up to bail him out, and despite being weakened, Chase joins in the battle. He teams up with Riley, and they defeat the monster before he grows and the team has to all come together in the Megazord for the first time to stop it. Which of course, they do with a Samurai worthy pun, “Ain’t that the tooth!” Ugh.
Closing out the episode, Chase and Riley share a heart to heart with Riley, specifically mentioning that people used to make assumptions about him, and now he’s doing it to others. I doubt Power Rangers would ever go there, but does anyone else feel like Riley is being coded as gay or somewhere on the LGBT spectrum? That “assumptions” bit REALLY screamed it at me, but I might just be looking for any representation I can get.
Our episode closes with all the Rangers training together and Riley finally breaking out of his routine to just have fun with everyone else.
This episode proves just what the last four years have lacked. That you can say, “Go Go Power Rangers.” You can talk about teamwork. You can have remixes of the MMPR theme. You can have wacky food gags. But those are just surface elements.
What Dino Charge did in this episode, perhaps more than the others, was just be a fun episode of Power Rangers that harkened back to the MMPR days without feeling forced. It was just a solid episode with a good lesson that tied into the action. However, it also went farther than MMPR usually did, with some genuine character conflict that builds on previous episodes. It’s like Dino Thunder in that way, and that’s my favorite season, so it’s hitting all the right buttons.
Keep this up, Dino Charge. You’re on your way to being one of the best seasons of Power Rangers.
-Oh god, I love these extended villain scenes we’re getting every episode.
-Man, Chase has gotten some focus in nearly every episode. Even in others focus episodes he still plays a big role.
-“I hope Kendall is right about the Gold Energem.” I LOVE IT. Setting up future plots!
-Did Riley and Chase fist pump across a split screen? Only in Power Rangers.