This Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Episode 12
The first half of this episode finally dealt with an element that’s strangely been absent from Super Ninja Steel, that Levi is famous. We’ve had it touched on a few times but never in the context that Levi is a high school student who also was a world famous musician. It seemed a little odd fans didn’t accost him every day. Imagine if Taylor Swift just suddenly started going to a rando high school. She’d never have a moments peace!
So delightfully Levi is finally stalked by an overzealous fan. These opening scenes with Chaz gave me legit second hand embarrassment. They were painfully real. I’ve seen it happen at Power Rangers conventions. The fans who see their intense knowledge and devotion to a celebrity as friendship.
The first half of this episode portrays this dynamic incredibly well. At first Levi is nice, he has to be. Celebrities are held to unrealistic standards to be courteous to their fans no matter the situation. Chaz clearly didn’t read Levi’s social cues that he’d rather be left alone. Levi doesn’t want to be mean but eventually Chaz turns a little creepy. He starts dressing like Levi and asking him to hang out!
Levi’s reaction to this is an incredibly human moment, one Ninja Steel so rarely gives to its characters. He points out he never promised Chaz he’d never hang out with friends and asks to be left alone.
“Chaz, we’re not friends. We don’t even know each other.”
He even tells the other Rangers that Chaz is annoying him! Earlier Brody said, “He’s just a fan, bro” but he couldn’t understand Levi’s side of this. Levi (sadly off-screen) probably has to deal with awkward fan interactions everyday. This one just took it too far and he wanted some space.
Super Ninja Steel perfectly nailed how celebrities feel and I thought the episode was going to teach a lesson about respecting boundaries. Just because you watch or listen to someone famous everyday doesn’t mean you know them.
Instead it chickens out and portrays Levi’s perfectly reasonable requests to Chaz as a bad thing. When Chaz is turned into a werewolf (it’s Power Rangers, go with it) Levi immediately feels bad that it wouldn’t have happened if he’d just hung out with him. This knee jerk reaction is not in itself bad. Levi’s a good dude so of course he’d feel a little bad.
However, the end of episode has Levi full on apologize and do exactly what Chaz asked him to do. Why? Why should Levi have to perform a little concert for all of Chaz’s friends? Why is Levi the one who’s apologizing here and not Chaz? After all, it was Chaz who organized the little get together with his friends. If he hadn’t done that, no one would have gotten hurt!
It calls to mind when Levi not wanting to play a board game with the other Rangers was treated as a bad thing. Why should Levi feel bad for expressing perfectly reasonable negative emotions? He says he “snapped” at Chaz but he really didn’t. He was pretty damn nice, considering Chaz was basically stalking him and one step away from wearing his skin.
So is Levi just supposed to hang out with every fan who asks? That’s not realistic. He shouldn’t feel bad for not showing up with Chaz at the park, even if something bad did happen. Levi can’t be everywhere for everyone. The episode basically tells its audience “it’s okay to stalk people and if they don’t bow to your every whim they’re the bad ones.”
For a series with a huge fan base, it seems a little strange that’s the takeaway here. I can only shudder that some people will take this episode as a guide and pester the Ninja Steel cast endlessly. They don’t deserve that. They’re people and deserve some time away from having to acquiesce to every single fan in the world.
To end on some positive notse, I was of course delighted with the Victor and Monty scenes. Chris Reid just goes full ham with all his dialogue. It’s silly as all hell but he nails it perfectly. Also Mick’s love of hardware stores was adorable and the little reference to some of Kelson Henderson’s past roles was cute.
I’ve also gotta give praise to Jordi Webber. This guy is beyond talented and you can see it in the scene where he tells Chaz off. The front of being nice just falls away as he carefully tries to hold back just how pissed he is. Any episode that focuses on Levi always gets an extra point simply because of Webber’s talent.