This Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Episode 4
I really shouldn’t be so over the moon about this episode. It’s a pretty basic story about two characters trying to keep their parents from dating. In any other show this would be a fairly average episode but for Power Rangers these days it’s a triumph.
Characters acting like real genuine people for two weeks in a row?! WHAT?! Yeah, Sarah and Hayley trying to keep their parents apart was not only something that felt like it would happen in the real world but also you can genuinely feel the actors having fun with it.
It demonstrates how lacking the series has been with characterization. The actors have to sneak in fun background moments (like Sarah dabbing) to get any personality on screen. When they’re actually given a meaty (for recent Power Rangers) plot they shine!
I genuinely loved Sarah and Hayley’s parents. They had great chemistry and all their scenes were a ton of fun. It also adds a new bit of back-story to Hayley, since she had previously mentioned having a mom. Are her parents divorced? Did her mom die? There’s actually something there!
The resolution to the plot is fairly weak, with Mick delivering another of his infamous “so and so” speeches (coined by Captain_Subpar, thanks dude) when Hayley and Sarah really should have figured it out on their own.
The morphed fights and Zord battles were a smidge better this week thanks to Hayley’s dad’s invention being so integral to the conflict. Overall though Super Ninja Steel really needs to do a better job making these fights feel more tied into the A plot of the story instead of just time killers. Maybe Sarah and Hayley could have had to save their parents from being attacked and noticed just how much they wanted to protect each other.
The episode also continued the only true running plot this series has, that of Victor wanting his 50th trophy. I know a lot of fans can’t stand Victor and Monty but I genuinely adore them. Victor will go to any lengths to get that trophy and it’s oddly compelling.
Maybe it’s that Chris Reid plays Victor with such gusto. Maybe it’s that Caleb Bendit’s performance perfectly sells the idea Monty is in love with Victor and that’s why he’s willing to put up with this nonsense. It’s really the only reason the whole dynamic works. Why else would Monty still be hanging around with Victor unless he was in love with him?
As I’ve mentioned before, Victor is probably aware of Monty’s crush but doesn’t want to acknowledge it. He can’t. He doesn’t want to lose his only friend (since I assume Victor is straight). The only friend who will help him achieve his dreams. See what I mean? It’s compelling!
It’s a shame that very few fans even watched this episode since everyone is on baited breath for the news coming out of Toy Fair. In case you somehow missed it, Saban Brands severed ties with Bandai and will now make toys with Hasbro. It’s even strongly suggested Hasbro could buy Power Rangers outright.
It says everything about how badly the TV show has been treated that fans are more excited about the idea of Saban Brands losing Power Rangers than the news earlier this week that the series got a three-year renewal at Nickelodeon. Saban Brands has truly damaged the fandom’s faith in the TV series and in the franchise as a whole.
The only thing that can get people excited is the idea of new blood, which Power Rangers on TV especially needs. The leadership for the past eight years have all been people who previously worked on the series back in the 90’s. We need new creative people in there. We need diverse writers and producers who can shake this show up and get people excited about it again.
That’s a ways off though. Even if Hasbro acquires Power Rangers next year that still means we have another 3+ years of the same old same old. Where an episode like this that should be average is considered a triumph.
Power Rangers needs better. Power Rangers needs a change and it might be coming.
Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. The greatest love of all is Victor and Monty. Follow him on Twitter!