This Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Episode 3
One of Ninja Steel’s biggest problems was trying to tell incredibly simple lessons that made no sense in the context of the episode. Telling lies is bad, but tell one truth and it makes up for it. If you don’t always want to hang out with your friends, that’s horrible. Don’t use an aide that could make the difference in a life or death battle because teamwork is far more important.
So imagine my surprise when this episode’s lesson not only had a little nuance, you shouldn’t change yourself for someone you just met, but everything in the episode actually backed that up! No weird Mick speech that undercuts it.
Levi simply had a crush on a girl who was a big fan and he was lead astray. We’ve all done some pretty stupid things when we’re first crushing on someone. You want to impress them so badly you try to be what they want instead of being yourself.
It says a lot about Levi that this might be one of the first girls he’s ever had a crush on. Sure he was famous but he was constantly touring. He never had a time to share a real moment with someone besides his manager Tom.
Now that he’s taking a break from his career he finally gets a moment with a fan and it’s a little intoxicating for him! Sure this should have happened the moment he started going to the high school but I’ll let them have this, especially since they actually remembered Levi is famous.
Jordi Webber is a damn talented actor and he doesn’t overplay Levi’s infatuation with this girl. It’s not love; it’s just a dumb crush that’s overwhelmed him. When the Rangers raise some pretty valid concerns about his actions (and aren’t just fine with it because FRIENDSHIP) it feels real.
Webber in this scene is especially excellent because he’s totally convinced himself that he loves this dopey look. He sells the lovestruck teenager perfectly.
In the past I’ve dinged Ninja Steel for putting character’s under spells when they could just have genuine conflict. It works here though because Levi getting put under that spell was a direct result of his own actions. See, there’s a way to make spell plots work!
It’s not a lot but just this little level of conflict between Levi and himself, Levi and the Rangers, and even Levi and Jess does what I’ve been giving Ninja Steel crap for since the beginning. It understands how human beings work and draws an engaging story from it.
Even the Victor and Monty plot is tied in to the overall lesson! Victor’s constant attempts to be what Jess wants are super try hard but that perfectly fits his character. We even get some nice callbacks to Victor’s previous outfits and it doesn’t rely on quite as much of the slapstick humor we’ve come to expect. No fart jokes either!
The episode isn’t perfect. Mick just happening to have a spell book he brought back from the Lion Galaxy is lazy (along with the dialogue to tell you that). The fight scenes are endlessly boring, filled with forgettable dialogue, and don’t really add anything to the plot. Levi’s pretty much learned his lesson by the time they morph so the fight is really just filler till the closing scene.
Even with those shortcomings, this was an overall triumph for Super Ninja Steel. It didn’t talk down to its audience, had a solid lesson, and even made me think about the characters lives outside the series. More of this, please.
Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. He knew Jess was trouble from the moment she said, “you smell great!” CREEPER. Follow him on Twitter!