Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Episode 14 Review: Sheriff Skyfire
It's unacceptable that Power Rangers, often celebrated for its diversity, is this tone-deaf about law enforcement.
This Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Episode 14
There’s an incredibly uncomfortable undercurrent to this episode. Our diverse group of teenagers needs to learn to respect those in law/rule enforcement, all of whom as depicted here happen to be white. When the central character of the episode is Hayley, a woman of color, the whole thing comes off completely tone deaf to our current world.
I know this episode was shot well over a year ago but it’s not like issues between people of color and law enforcement haven’t been around for a long time. It speaks to a lack of diversity behind the scenes that no one caught the implications of this plot. On the surface the lesson of “follow the rules” isn’t a bad one (if extremely basic, even for Power Rangers), and I like the idea of Sheriff Skyfire, but TV doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
Hayley’s “offenses” were incredibly minor and the rules were extremely arbitrary. Why does Hayley get singled out for not putting her can in the right bin when everyone else is doing it? Why, after a year of having her dog hang out in the school, does she get written up now?
It makes no sense, especially when the lesson is RESPECT AUTHORITY NO MATTER WHAT. While I understand a children’s show can’t always get too deep into moral grays, the issue of law enforcement mandates it. Clint, the security guard, could have at least apologized for singling Hayley out. But no, authority is treated as absolute and you must follow it no matter what.
None of this is helped by the Victor and Monty B plot. Look, I love Victor and Monty. I genuinely found them hilarious with their little Paul Blart: Mall Cop scooters, but it just contributes to the undercurrent going on here. The whole plot is played for laughs when, again, two white people are abusing their power for their own gain. Their abuse of that power isn’t really called out, it’s all just treated as a big joke to close the episode out.
Something could have been done with contrasting Clint’s enforcement of the rules vs. Victor and Monty’s but that’s abandoned for a Willy Wonka reference. It also says something that Victor and Monty, the two kids who consistently make the most trouble at the school, are immediately deputized and given power. No questions asked. Again, uncomfortable. (You could look at this as a swipe against Donald Trump but again, this was shot well over a year and a half ago. Written even earlier.)
Why does the episode feel the need to strain that lawmakers have it rough, too? As Jeremy Simpson aka Captain_Subpar of No Pink Spandex rightfully pointed out, it felt like the episode was five seconds away from declaring, “Space Sheriff Lives Matter!”
This is unacceptable and proof Power Rangers badly needs a more diverse group of people working behind the scenes. The people running the franchise always use the series’ diversity as a key selling point, but the behind the scenes staff needs to reflect that as well.
So much of this episode could have been solved if just one person had gone, “hold on” or if they had just casted anyone but a white man as Clint.
Instead we ended up with this. Do better, Power Rangers. You should be better.
Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. Follow him on Twitter! Read more articles by him here!