This should be a really easy review. A Power Rangers episode in the Neo Saban era with a ton of original footage! Character moments! Side characters doing things! But on the flip side I also found this episode intensely frustrating. So I’ll present both sides in this review.
Positive Side: I’ve talked before about how I wish the side characters would get more to do in Megaforce. Burley, Ernie, Johnny 5 err… Tensu, and even Gosei. In this episode we get what could be called kind of a Tensu focus while Ernie’s actually contributes to the overall plot and isn’t just a place for the Megaforce Rangers to hang out in for a minute before rushing off to a fight.
Negative Side: Tensu is gone for a couple hours and Gosei/The Rangers seem genuinely concerned. But RoboKnight has been gone for months! You haven’t mentioned it in almost ten episodes. Why aren’t you out searching? Why isn’t this like In Space with the search for Zordon being brought up every so often?
Positive Side: Tensu with amnesia rolling around the city is genuinely heartwarming. Sure, people should totally see him but I’ll excuse that. He checks himself out in the mirror! He mistakes a rolling suitcase for being just like him. They’re giving Tensu a bit of a character!
Negative Side: Is this an episode of Megaforce? It feels like it should have happened last season, down to the random name drop of Vrak. Why didn’t Megaforce do episodes like these? Fun little character pieces that let us get to know the rangers and the city itself. Megaforce should have been the second half Turbo to Super Megaforce. Setting up all these characters so we can do these crazy big plots without having to worry about the lack of character focus episodes (especially with only twenty episodes.)
Positive Side: My god, watching Azim Rizk (Jake) run and jump around is a revelation. They hire martial artists and gymnasts for a reason but we’ve barely seen these skills on display until now. And it’s a fun little bit! The chase has some weight to it. We see Emma on her bike, demonstrating some of those BMX skills we heard about in the Megaforce premiere.
Negative Side: This is what we’re using our original footage for? I got the amazing opportunity to talk with Jackie Marchand this past week, the longest running writer on the series, and she spoke about how they would have to do quite a number of “heavy footage” episodes so they could do the plots they wanted.
Look back at Ninja Storm, we get “Samurai’s Journey Part 1” which is mostly Sentai fights, to get “Samurai’s Journey Part 2.” An episode that is almost entirely original footage and not doing a Sentai plot. It’s furthering the arc of the season and giving us a deep character focus. The plot of this Super Megaforce episode, while cute, seems like a waste. Why not do something about Robo Knight? I know he’s coming back later in the season, but still. Or maybe a look into how these kids balance school and being super heroes, that could have some real weight instead of just chasing Tensu around.
Positive Side: The scene where Emma, Troy, and Jake consider opening the case is of startling quality. We see how each of the three treats the situation. Troy wants to open it, if only to find some kind of ID to return it. Jake wonders if there’s any money inside, but Emma refuses to open it at all. Seeing how each of the characters handles this moral dilemma is incredibly revealing. Jake’s reaction makes sense with what we’ve learned about him, but I did not expect Troy’s reaction.
Negative Side: Why do we even care about this plot? By the end Tensu gets his memory back. It’s filler. We get a few character moments, but I long for an episode where we get more then scraps of what drives these characters.
Positive: Tensu in a baby stroller talking to another baby is hilarious.
Negative: Legendary Squadron. You know, before I didn’t really care about the addition of the Dairanger team. I really didn’t. I was totally down with Power Rangers Blitz New Powers and Power Rangers Bet You Didn’t See That Coming. But with Power Rangers New Powers now officially known as Power Rangers Legendary Squadron, I’m now on the side of not liking the addition of these teams never seen in America. Going back to the Jackie Marchand interview, she stated that she and the other writers had tried to get the Dairanger suits into the footage for years but never did it because they couldn’t find a way to make it work with the story.
Now? Super Megaforce just throws them in (at least differentiating the White Ranger from MMPR) with no care. Nothing. I know some people don’t like that they’re introducing them in an anniversary season, but that’s not my main point of contention. If you’re going to introduce them? Do something with them. Make them important. Which they could have done with all the original footage they had this episode. But no, it comes off once more that they’re just there because they had to fill thirty seconds. And that’s lazy. I can’t stand when Power Rangers is lazy.
Positive: Power Rangers isn’t exactly known for playing with your expectations but I can honestly say I did not expect the suitcase to have the parts to fix Ernie’s froyo machine. It gave Ernie something to do and maybe taught the kids watching to not judge solely by appearance.
This episode comes a little too late for Super Megaforce. We should have had this a year ago. Not now when we’re building to another invasion and the return of past Rangers. It’s lazy. Fun, but lazy.