Power Rangers Ninja Steel Episode 4 Review: Presto Change-O

Ninja Steel can't seem to get its morals right as Preston struggles with his new magical abilities.

This Power Rangers Ninja Steel review contains spoilers.

Power Rangers Ninja Steel Episode 4

Never use your powers for personal gain. It’s a lesson that’s been with Power Rangers since day one. It’s one of the easiest plots to tell, especially with teenage characters that have super powers. Hell, it’s basically the number one moral in Spider-Man with the whole “with great power comes great responsibility” thing. It’s a simple and effective plot that can tell a quick moral lesson.

The problem is, much like last week, the moral falls flat. Let’s break this down. Preston has wanted to be a magician since he was a little kid. He’s been training for it all his life but hasn’t gotten any better. Suddenly he’s granted powers thanks to the Ninja Stars which know all about your desires. He can do real magic! He uses it to take on a monster and wins.

With that out of the way, he puts on a magic show and his powers go out of control. He summons what looks like a panther of some kind with Victor and accidentally splits Monty in two. He tries to fix Monty with no luck and has to abandon him to go fight the monster.

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It’s there we learn that Preston’s magic only works when helping others. It didn’t work correctly with Victor and Monty earlier because he was showing off and using it for personal gain.

This is where the moral stops making any sense. If the powers don’t work when Preston is showing off, then why did they work in the battle earlier? If they can’t be used for personal gain, why didn’t they work when he tried to fix Monty the first time (or even the second time for that matter)?

Preston says he should have helped Calvin, Hayley and Sarah when they were getting “sick” instead of showing off his magic but why? It’s not like he knew they were sick. So what, he’s never supposed to do magic ever again? He can only do it 100% for others? Again, he tried to help Monty with no luck. The moral is sacrificed for the sake of a joke.

Nothing Preston did in this episode seemed that selfish or using it for personal gain. He finally got what he always worked for and wanted to show it off. What’s wrong with that? Much like last week, where the show punished Brody for using the datacomm as a shortcut, Preston is punished for actually living out his dreams in a non-harmful way. Preston needed a much more personal reason to show off his magic and it was actually all set up from the first episode.

Remember how Victor and Monty interrupted Preston’s magic show and insulted him? This could have been great payoff for that. Once Preston got magical powers he could have played some cruel magic tricks on Victor and Monty that went awry, distracting him from his Rangers duties. That would have played much better into the “don’t use your powers for personal gain” story.

Also, why was no one freaking out over what was happening to Monty? The dude legit was sawed in half and his legs ran off. This wasn’t presented as a laughing matter to the students; it was just taken at face value. Same with the whole Monty’s a box thing. Why is everyone in this school so chill about these crazy things going on around them, like Sarah just having a hover board in the first episode? If this is a universe where Power Rangers have always existed then okay, I can believe that. After Dino Charge’s finale though, any continuity is taken into question.

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It’s a testament to how much I dug Victor and Monty last episode that even with all that I still loved them here. Monty is basically a bitchy mean girl and I love it. See, nerds can be mean to! 

Also, why did the episode end with Brody getting a new truck? Why would you cap off an episode with a Brody scene when it’s a Preston episode? Plus, does Brody even know how to drive?

While the main plot of this episode struggled, it’s the little things that end up standing out. I adored Calvin and Hayley casually putting their arms around one another or holding hands. It’s not much but it’s more romance than Power Rangers usually has.

It’s only been four episodes but I can safely say the villain side of the series is the most intriguing to me. I’m glad the show is playing around with the unique premise of the Galaxy Warriors show, with Galvanax having a title belt and him worrying about how his fans perceive him. That’s a great way to explain way why he doesn’t attack the Rangers right off and why the monster of the week is gloating and not just getting the Power Stars to Galvanax right away. Plus, the monster mentions his therapist and his therapist’s dog!

It’s also worth noting how Galvanax views his capture of Brody. He thinks he did Brody a favor, taking him in and treating him so well. Brody of course doesn’t see it that way. It’s intriguing Galvanax thinks of himself as more than just a straight up villain, he also sees himself as being sympathetic. I beg of you Ninja Steel, please play with this.

It’s not a good sign that the villains are so much more interesting than the Rangers, but I’ll take what I can get.

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Stray Thoughts

– The girls smack talking Galvanax gave me life.

– Okay, seriously Ninja Steel? What is with showing the Venjix photo at the top of the episode? It was dumb enough you used the suit in the first episode why are you doing it AGAIN? So that guy we saw in episode one has a twin brother? Stop reusing prominent villains from past seasons. Although I did like the joke after that of another monster looking like Ripcon’s mother.

Knock knock, Shamus Kelley got shell shocked from that TMNT reference. Follow him on Twitter! 


2 out of 5