This Power Rangers Ninja Steel review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Ninja Steel Episode 7
Wacky one off episodes have always been a part of Power Rangers. From its very early days (as the recent Twitch streaming of MMPR has reminded many), the series never really had a plan. It was just adapting Japanese footage and telling fun one and done tales. It was a weird mix of Saved by the Bell moral lessons and Robotech footage reworking.
While it might not have had much of an arc, similarly to many kid’s shows of the day, the episodes themselves were fun to watch. You don’t need to have intense arc based story telling to tell fun episodes. Ninja Storm was especially good at this in its early episodes. Yeah, Tori getting swapped with a duplicate didn’t matter to the overall arc of the season but it was fun.
On the surface that’s what this episode should be. Just a fun episode devoted to Sarah learning not to overextend herself. It seems perfectly at home in the classic Power Rangers style. Can’t you imagine Billy doing something similar to work on a ton of new Zord upgrades during Zeo? Maybe Joel in Lightspeed so he can go on four dates at once? Hell, it would have been perfect for Chase in Dino Charge so he could go out with his girlfriend and still be a Ranger.
The problem here is that her being over extended doesn’t affect the main plot in any significant way. Yeah, the monster steals one of her hologram balls but that’s more incidental. The biggest stake for her is that she can’t keep all of her hologram selves under control while trying to work out the problem. That isn’t very engaging and it doesn’t even tie into the ultimate resolution with the new Astro Zord. What if Sarah was working on the Zord and made all the copies of herself to help?
The stakes seem so low that it’s difficult to get invested in the plot. Yeah, we know the team will always make it out but we should at least question, “how will they do it?” In Ninja Steel the answer is almost always, “Our magic Nexus Prism will give us a new weapon or Zord.” It takes out any possibility of dramatic tension.
Again the show has problems with the lesson. Sarah shouldn’t over extend herself. Okay, that’s fine. But uh… She was doing just fine until the monster attack. It’s not as if she was struggling to balance all the clubs. Why shouldn’t she use holograms in order to better her chances at getting into college? If the episode gave us a reason why, I’d be fine with it. The holograms malfunction. She programs the holograms as better versions of herself and the other Rangers end up liking them more than her.
Much like the rest of Ninja Steel so far, it just doesn’t work. The show’s morals seem to be aiming at a younger audience, which isn’t a bad thing, but they still have to make sense.
The reveal of the Gold Ranger at the end also feels horribly tacked on and rushed. Having a nice tease at the end of some of the previous episodes was fine but here it’s an extra minute that has nothing to do with Sarah’s story.
Maybe they could have been tied in better, like Sarah is building the new Zord and its sensors are able to pick up the Gold Ranger in the ship? Have A and a B plots throughout the episode? Dino Charge was able to do this! “Rise of a Ranger” perfectly balanced Phillip becoming a Ranger along with Chase taking care of his sister. Maybe the magic Nexus Prism could have told the team the missing power star was somewhere in space and that would have spurred Sarah to work on the new Zord.
As always, Victor and Monty are on point. Why is Victor wearing a Robin Hood outfit? Because that’s Victor! At this point he’ll do anything to be popular and as always Monty is right along with him. Maybe in another season where the Ranger plots were stronger I’d find these little side stories annoying but Victor and Monty are carrying the show on their backs right now. Long may they reign.
I can only hope the Gold Ranger being added to the team will help this show out but it’s not looking great.
– Credit where credit is due, I loved the instrumental when the whole team took down the monster during the ground fight.
– And then they used the Dino Charge instrumental in the Zord fight. Again. Ugh.
– “Yeah, whatever.” Victor sums up this episode pretty well.
– Astro Zord? Seriously guys, that’s way too close to the Astro Megazord.
Shamus Kelley wonders where Victor got that outfit and how anyone ever thought that guy was popular. Follow him on Twitter!