Power Rangers Ninja Steel Episode 9 Review: Rocking and Rolling

In the wake of the Power Rangers movie and a five month hiatus, can Ninja Steel measure up?

This Power Rangers Ninja Steel review contains spoilers.

Power Rangers Ninja Steel Episode 9

Five months ago, I wondered how we’d see Power Rangers Ninja Steel after the Power Rangers movie came out. Would our expectations be lowered because of the movie?  Would we be able to accept Ninja Steel now that we had something that was actually targeted towards the adult fans (not counting the comic books)?  Would we somehow find it in our hearts to forgive Ninja Steel for all its wasted potential and poorly constructed plots?

Let’s answer those in order, shall we?

Did our expectations lower?

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Yes. Nothing in the first eight episodes of Ninja Steel gave us any hope that the show could improve. So I lowered my expectations drastically. I now watch Ninja Steel as entertainment solely meant for four year olds because that’s the audience they’re going for now, despite the fact that Power Rangers has been written with both adults and kids in mind before.

Even with that low bar Ninja Steel just can’t seem to clear it. Look at this episode. There are some pretty okay ideas at play here but the little details distract from them.

What is the deal with the Rangers ninja outfits? They’re horrendous. Those hoods make no sense.  Why do they have BRIGHT COLORED facemasks? Allow me to point to Ninja Storm which did color coordinated civilian ninja outfits far better and maybe in some universe could be considered stealthy unlike these outfits.

Also hey, look. It’s the Burger Morpher from Ninninger. Why is it there? Oh yeah, footage reasons. But uh… Why would Levi HAVE a burger phone? It just feels so shoved in, especially after they went out of their way to remove it as his morpher. Plus, this is apparently a FAMOUS phone of his. Wouldn’t some fan put it together that the Gold Ranger is using Levi’s phone?

Have we been able to accept Ninja Steel in the wake of the movie since that was catered to the more adult fans?

No, especially because a possible sequel to the film doesn’t look great right now. While the Power Rangers comics are doing an amazing job (and picking up the slack for this entire franchise) the show is set to be the flagship for quite a long time. We don’t have a new movie to look forward to so… this is what we’ve got.

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And it ain’t great. 

Why are these Rangers straight up assholes? Look at the end scene with my beautiful gay sons Victor and Monty. The Rangers know they didn’t help anyone but how could they know Victor didn’t break every bone in his body? They would have no clue, so Hayley just letting Kody unwrap Victor’s bandages was uncomfortable to watch. 

No matter how much this series tries to treat Victor and Monty like the characters we’re supposed to hate, they light up every single scene. The trash can bit had some legit great gags with Monty chomping down on some leftover chips. The bit where they LEAP out of the speakers on stage? Comedic gold (see what I did there?) that was cut far too short. 

Can we forgive Ninja Steel for all its wasted potential and poorly constructed plots?

No, and it’s because the movie was fantastic. You can gripe about little things but overall it was a way better movie than anyone ever expected. It was astounding, made more shocking because Power Rangers on TV has seemed so poorly put together for so long. 

If they’re capable of making the movie so well, what the hell is going on with the TV show? How can they be squandering all this potential?

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Levi putting music over his Ranger duties is a great concept to play with but it’s all resolved too easily. Music is his life. There should be a much bigger internal struggle here. Tons of people just lost their jobs because he postponed his world tour. What if his career doesn’t recover because of this? At least have the decency to ask these questions, Power Rangers.

Or hell, what if he cancelled his world tour out of guilt? People got hurt because of him. People would continue to be hurt because of him. He doesn’t cancel the concert just because “it’s the right thing to do” but because if he doesn’t his fans would be constantly put in danger. It could lead to some resentment from Levi for having to put his career on hold. Fans would be constantly coming up to him and wondering why he isn’t giving them what they want. A bitter/reluctant Ranger? That could be awesome

But nope, everything is resolved with a nice bow at the end of the episode because who needs character conflict?

So apparently Levi will now be going to school with the Rangers. I get it. They’ve got their sets and don’t want to keep Levi split up from the Rangers much. But just… Are they going to address the perils of a MEGA COUNTRY STAR attending a regular school? Levi won’t get a second of peace at that school.

I actually quite enjoyed Levi’s singing in this episode, anytime Power Rangers has original music is delightful, but by keeping him at the school they’ve totally kneecapped one of the biggest parts of his character. Unless they’re going to have him sing there… Which would defeat the purpose of him saying he won’t be performing.

I get that TV series don’t have the same kind of time and resources that movies do but if this series had even a tenth of the care that went into movie, Ninja Steel could actually be something. So why does the show just slip through the cracks like this?

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I don’t get it. Why does this show just seem like a loss leader of quality while the movies and comics do so much work to try and tell great stories?

I want Power Rangers to be good on TV. I’ve seen that it can be good on TV and the movie reminded me just how much this franchise can do. So why isn’t Ninja Steel doing any of it?

But for real, Victor and Monty. You’re doing great sweeties.

Shamus Kelley can’t get over that mayor’s mustache. Follow him on Twitter! 

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1.5 out of 5