This Power Rangers Dino Charge review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Dino Charge Episode 19
A few reviews back I complained that Dino Charge really wasn’t going anywhere. Oh sure, they had been setting up all the various Rangers but the season itself didn’t seem to have a real arc to it. The characters were fun, particularly my boy Ivan, but the whole thing seemed to lack substance. A through line to take it to the next level, something akin to the mystery of Andros’ sister in In Space.
It’s not that the series was bad; I actually found most Dino Charge episodes quite good, it just wasn’t getting me really excited. It was entertaining, but not enough to really get me jazzed.
This week was a step in the right direction.
Chip Lynn seems to have been playing the long game and slowly introducing elements that are all going to come into play before the season is wrapped up. The biggest of which is the villain, Heckyl. After several episodes of showing a tentacle monster behind those giant doors in the cellblock, we finally get a peak and it’s… Not what I expected. I thought it was some monster from the Sentai I didn’t remember but nope, it’s just a guy. A guy who has power that equals, if not surpasses, Sledge. He has destroyed whole galaxies. This new power dynamic fascinates me. It demonstrates Sledge’s desperation to gain the power of the Energems; he’s willing to risk unleashing a force even he can’t control. One wonders why he hasn’t done this sooner, especially with the amount of times he’s told Fury, “this is your last chance!”
I can forgive that though because not only is Heckyl a human villain but he’s also a recurring one. He has plans far beyond the capture of a single energem. I almost had the impression he was holding back on his full power, even when confronting Sledge at the end. This guy is playing the long game.
It’s just a shame that his acting was noticeably distracting. I’m not sure what he’s going for. He seems to be playing a kind of Joker/ typical moustache twirling villain and it doesn’t quite work. I can’t tell if he’s hamming it up or taking the whole thing too seriously. What works for Ivan, who similarly is hamming his whole performance up, is that it perfectly fits that character. He gets the energy of it right and plays off the others well.
Heckyl on the other hand is just all over the place. The way he draws out his words is extremely awkward and even the way his eyes move are off. He’s overacting in all the wrong ways. Maybe this will makes sense down the line but right now it’s incredibly distracting.
I can mostly overlook that for now because of the questions his character brings to the series. Why does he look like a human? We do know that not all humans are from Earth in the PRU and Sledge specifically states he only looks like a human. This could easily be a temporary form.
Why does he have those goggles? Are they in any way related to the main villain from the skipped Sentai season, Go-Busters? We talked about its possibility of being adapted before, but maybe Chip has found a way to bring in a few elements from that season. Whatever the case may be, I just wrote three paragraphs about the guy so he’s got my attention. I just hope the acting improves.
The main plot of this episode concerns finding a Purple Ranger. With Albert out of the mix, the Rangers are putting on a pretty hilarious test to try and find a worthy candidate. They repeatedly put Kendall in danger just to test if these people have a good heart. I’m glad they’ve reasoned out how the Energems work after their energies have been disrupted in the past and the whole ordeal with Albert and Philip. With no luck, the Rangers all end up at wishing stand where the Monster of the Week, Wish Star, grants all of their wishes with disastrous consequences.
This is one of the first episodes in Dino Charge’s run that really gave mostly equal focus to the entire cast and it all came together perfectly. This may be why they spent so long on character focus episodes so we could have an outing like this. Koda gets his wish right away with a burger that gets him sick, Chase meets a girl with a New Zealand fetish that breaks his heart, and Shelby gets a date with Tyler that goes horribly wrong.
I’m glad this relationship is still going on and we’re getting a little foreword momentum, but I worry that it will end up the way most Power Rangers romances do. They get to the point where they could start dating and they back off. This happened all the time in the Disney years and I’m still waiting for the day we get a solid mean team romance that plays out over the course of a season. Before you start commenting about Tommy/Kim or Tommy/Kat, that was a long time ago and those relationships were what a kid would see as a romance. I want something with a little more depth. What I want is something akin to the greatest romance in all of Power Rangers, Ethan/Cassidy. A relationship that actually played out across an arc of episodes and felt real. Right now Tyler/Shelby could go either way.
Tyler shows Shelby what he really cares about when his wish comes true, he sees his Dad. Before Tyler can ask why he’s running away for a pack of smokes, Wish Star gets in his way. With some help from Shelby, Wish Star is driven off and they realize what’s going on. After Ivan gets his wish of saving a damsel in distress, Kendall thinks she can wish for a Purple Ranger. But it’s only when Tyler and Shelby return, Ivan now with some aches and pains, do they all figure out what’s going on and try to stop Kendall. It’s too late and Heckyl is about to take the Energem when Wish Star blasts his way onto the scene.
Heckyl retreats, not wanting to reveal his identity, and Fury explodes onto the scene to steal the Energem back. I love how quickly the Energem changed hands and that Fury finally accomplished something. The Rangers defeat Wish Star with no problem, but Sledge now has an Energem powered firearm.
The Rangers all mourn their loss, Keeper dispensing some pretty useless advice, “keep trying and never give up.” Kendall steamrolls right over that, worried what Sledge can do with this new power, Riley reasoning they have to do the one thing Sledge won’t expect. Take the fight to his ship. TO BE CONTINUED.
We’ve finally got some stakes in this season. Some real motivation to wonder what’s coming next. How are the Rangers going to travel to Sledge’s ship? Will they use the Megazord or something more stealthy? Will they be able to match Sledge’s power? What is Heckyl’s deal?
Oh, I would also be remiss to mention that several past Power Rangers monsters were seen in Sledge’s cages. Beevil from Ninja Storm and Necrolai from Mystic Force. I could get into a whole rant about continuity and how they didn’t even think about why these two shouldn’t be included, but since this episode did such a good job I’ll actually bother to come up with a reason for it. The Beevil we saw was just another member of her alien race and that Necrolai wasn’t the one we know, it’s just another Queen of the Vampires. Perhaps a previous queen? We’re never going to get the answer, but when a Power Rangers episode actually tries as hard as this one does, I’m not afraid to do a little headcanoning to make the background work.
I haven’t been this jazzed for a Power Rangers episode in a long time. Sure, I was excited when Dino Charge first came out but I wasn’t this hyped. Having to wait a week will actually be tough for once. I love it!
-“I’d save anyone as pretty as you.” You know if this were the real world, those guys would have said way creepier things to Kendall.
-So Sledge has an employer? Hmm, wonder who it is?
-Ivan is still the greatest. He looked like he was down for a kiss then told that girl to get back to work. BEST.
“She broke my heart… Then my skateboard.” What are you, 5? Jeez, Chase.
Shamus Kelley writes about lots of things for Den of Geek. Follow him on Twitter!