This Power Rangers Ninja Steel review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Ninja Steel Episode 21
“What just happened?”
Yeah, same Galvanax. What did I just watch? It seems like they were trying to break the record of Deus ex Machinas the Dino Super Charge finale set (they didn’t, but they got close.) Things just happen for no reason. All sense of consequence is thrown out the window. Farts can take out evil generals.
I don’t know how to review this finale, people. There’s just so much bad in it. Every turn is another awful decision and just leads to questions that will never be addressed.
It’s all centered on that damn Ninja Nexus Prism. That’s the real failure of not only this episode but also the entire season. I’m not going to waste time picking apart everything bad with this episode or I’d be here for three thousand words.
You can’t write a show that’s supposed to have dramatic stakes when you have a magical macguffin that can solve every single problem. This finale almost had some genuine tension. The Rangers are captured! Mick and Brody don’t have any Ninja Steel left. Yeah yeah the whole thing about melting down the Bike Star to make a new Astro Zord star makes no sense but whatever.
Brody has to make a choice. Does he give up his power star to save his friends or fight and risk their lives? Brody picks a third option. Destroy his powers so Galvanax can’t get all the stars. That’s… actually really cool. A Ranger destroying his own powers mid way through a mid season finale? How can they possibl-
Oh, right. There are no stakes because somehow (no explanation needed!) destroying the Red Power Star transfers Brody and Mick’s bodies into two new Power Stars. Oh also, Brody and Levi’s dad was alive in the Ninja Nexus Prism and was somehow freed.
I…. How? How? I’m not saying we needed to stop the scene to get into some kind of scientific explanation but you can’t rest the climax of your episode on a macguffin whose powers you’ve never clearly identified outside of “it can do anything.”
Maybe instead of screwing around with god-awful episodes like “The Ranger Ribbon” the series could have actually established the Ninja Nexus Prism’s powers. Demonstrate that it can hold souls within it. Demonstrate what happens when you try to cut open a star.
You have to build up to huge reveals like the ones in this episode otherwise it feels cheap. It doesn’t land. You’re too busy asking “HOW” to actually enjoy what’s happening. I get this is Power Rangers. Wild stuff happens out of nowhere all the time, but a huge mid season finale shouldn’t be hinged on it.
Characters “suddenly” having powers is a cop out, especially when you’ve had a whole season to build up to it. The Rangers all just suddenly being able to turn into giant Power Stars and flinging themselves into Galvanax is one of the biggest ass pulls I’ve ever seen in this series.
Even if it wasn’t, I don’t care about Galvanax. No, Cosmo, I wasn’t waiting all season to see Galvanax grow because you’ve given me zero reason to be invested in him. Maybe if you’d actually played up Brody’s hatred toward the guy that would have been a start.
Yeah, remember when Galvanax had that whole scene about how he took care of Brody for years? Why not play into that more? It would make us not only feel some kind of emotion for Galvanax (even if it’s hatred) but we might also care about Brody. Good lord the show could have done more to make us care about its main character.
But who cares? Galvanax is taken out by a comet, which was pulled to Earth by a magnet we only established one episode ago! Look, I love Victor and Monty. Those actors are giving it their all but making your comedic side characters more competent than you main villain is a bad writing move.
Oh hey, it also doesn’t help sell the big bad of your next season by having her taken out by farts. Yep, I’m really scared of her now! Just when you thought Brody taking out Ripcon with a mop was kneecapping a villain, HERE COMES FARTS.
Ninja Steel on the whole was terrible. From top to bottom it felt like a rushed season where the scripts didn’t make it past a first draft. So many easy mistakes that could have been corrected with another pass (or perhaps without creative meddling). Endless Deus ex Machinas that robbed the plots of any tension. So little character conflict that could actually make us care about any of these Rangers.
It doesn’t work. Nothing feels genuine. When Brody sees his dad for the first time in ten years he doesn’t break out into tears. He doesn’t seem overjoyed. He just sort of nods, smiles, and keeps going.
That might be a bigger problem than the Ninja Nexus Prism. In what is basically a science fiction action series you need to have grounded character moments. They help sell the more fantastical elements. Brody’s reunion with his dad should have felt bigger. The whole season should have been built up to this.
Instead, it’s quickly brushed aside so they can engage in more Deus ex Machinas. You may say, “hey, they already did the missing dad plot in Dino Charge!” You’re right, so maybe don’t have a missing father at all! Maybe don’t make his dad magically coming out of the prism the way you resolve your plot! Even if it is, at least treat the reunion like it matters emotionally to Brody who was, I remind you, a SLAVE FOR TEN YEARS WHO WASN’T SURE IF HIS FAMILY WAS ALIVE.
Is there any hope for Super Ninja Steel now? Doubtful. There is a chance they’ll dump the Ninja Nexus Prism and maybe do something with these characters but after twenty episodes of mostly garbage I doubt it. It’ll be more of the same. Even with the team-up episode it won’t matter.
Whoever is making the creative decisions with this show doesn’t care. That, or they genuinely believe nonsense like the Ninja Nexus Prism is a great idea. Either way, we’re in for a rough time next year.
Shamus Kelley is glad the Rangers didn’t let go of their weapons. Troy would be proud. Follow him on Twitter!