This Power Rangers Ninja Steel review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Ninja Steel Episode 10
There’s a misconception out there that I’m expecting Power Rangers to work on some kind of adult level. That isn’t the case. While I am an adult watching Power Rangers I am more than aware it’s a series meant for kids. When I review Power Rangers I’m grading it against other kids shows that are currently on the air, which it is getting creamed by. Seriously, go watch an episode of Voltron and tell me Ninja Steel is better.
If I’m being really nice, I’ll grade Ninja Steel against other episodes of Power Rangers. Even there it doesn’t fare well. Let’s look at this episode in comparison to “The Passion of Conner”, an episode from Power Rangers Dino Thunder that has a similar plot.
In Dino Thunder’s episode a nature activist named Krista is protesting a tree being cut down. Connor at first only joins the protest to try and hit on her but he’s quickly found out. Over the course of the episode Connor realizes his supposed confidence with girls is really just cockiness and actively works to be a better person. By the end he helps Krista plant a new tree and sincere about it. While it has a lot of weird moments in it (using the dino gems to randomly blow up triptoids), the character work is all fantastic. It’s an episode that actively works to develop its characters and running arcs.
This episode of Ninja Steel on the other hand is full of plot holes and nonsensical moments. On the surface it’s not a horrible idea. Preston has to go up against his father for something he believes in. Cool, I’m down with that. It’s some actual character conflict. The problem is that we learn precious little about Preston through it. Oh sure, he’s got a dead mom (more on that in a bit) and his dad’s a dick but other than that… What do we learn? We got two sentences for his Wikipedia page. Yay. I still don’t know who Preston is as a person. He’s sometimes confident and sometimes not? I guess?
Also, the plot about the tree makes no sense when you actually think about it. Preston’s dad wants to tear down the tree to build a skyscraper. Cool, but uh… why in the middle of nowhere? It doesn’t look like there’s ANYTHING else around it besides a few farms. Did he plan to build up a whole city? Also, did that worker just threaten the teens with a chainsaw? Dino Thunder handled that a hell of a lot better with the worker telling Krista, “I’ve got my orders.”
This plot could have worked. Instead of making Preston’s dad comically evil at least give him an understandable reason for chopping the tree down. Maybe he thinks it would bring in more jobs to the city. What if he was building an orphanage where Brody could live (seriously, where the hell is Brody living?) What if Preston’s dad and mom had promised to build a business empire together but after she died he took it way too far? Preston could have yelled at his dad, “Mom wouldn’t have wanted this!” It could have worked! Hell, just put the tree in the courtyard of the new building!
And oh yeah… Preston’s mom. Okay look, I’m glad they at least mentioned Preston had a mom. Power Rangers in the last few years loves to show the Rangers have dads but NEVER mention moms. It was especially noticeable with Tyler in Dino Charge.
Preston having a dead mom made me realize there’s a horrible tend that’s been happening with Power Rangers on TV. If you’re a white character, you can have a mom. Chase and Riley had moms. Kendall had a grandmother. Tyler, Brody, and now Preston (all characters of color) either don’t have moms or don’t have a confirmed mother. Hell, we MENTIONED Shelby’s mom but never saw her. What’s the deal with that, Power Rangers? That’s really disturbing trend and I hope that’s corrected very soon. (Thankfully the movie had lots of moms.)
Side note, if you want to see a show with a great mother/son dynamic, go watch OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes. The relationship between Carol and KO in that show is wonderful, hilarious, and very sweet.
So the episode is solved with the ribbon Preston’s dad and mom tied on the tree just… magically flying off. I can’t. I can’t. You couldn’t come up with a reason for one of the Rangers to find the ribbon? Calvin and Haley were RIGHT UP THERE in the tree! Have them look for their old ribbon and they spot it. SOMETHING. Don’t, “it’s a kids show” me about this. It was lazy as hell. Power Rangers Dino Thunder was also a kids show and it actually handled the topic of cutting down the tree with way more complexity.
Don’t tell me they didn’t have time in the episode itself, they spent way too long on that morphed fight and all the bad comedy with the traps. Victor and Monty are all the comedy we need thank you very much. For real, these guys are heroes. They got internships in high school?! You go!
So… Are Ripcon and Brody supposed to have a giant rivalry? I guess I can sort of see where that comes from but how I am supposed to take Ripcon seriously when Mick and Brody made him look like a clownshoes in the very first episode? This dude couldn’t even kill an eight year old. I don’t think he’s a big threat.
Annnndddd sudden Aiden. Sure, why not. Why the hell not? It’s about as shoe horned in as Levi’s random comment about that restaurant. Was that supposed to be a commentary on mom and pop shops being replaced with skyscrapers? Is it supposed to imply Levi has faulty memory?
Maybe if I had any amount of faith in Ninja Steel I’d wonder, but I don’t. Try harder, Ninja Steel. There are glimmers of good ideas there but they’re buried under nonsense.
Shamus Kelley would have just told everyone WORLD FAMOUS musician Levi would be at the tree. Lots of people would have shown up then. Follow him on Twitter!
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