This Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel review contains spoilers.
Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Episode 5
I know for many of these Ninja Steel reviews I don’t really focus on the episodes. It’s kind of boring to keep saying “this wasn’t very good” over and over again so I’ve been focusing more on what each episode represents to the franchise as a whole.
This episode however deserves complete attention because it was one of the most poorly constructed Power Rangers plots I’ve seen in a long time. Many Ninja Steel/Super Ninja Steel episodes have been bad but that’s mostly down to lack of engaging conflict.
This one had plot elements that were introduced that ended up having no relevance. Jokes that only work if you completely divorce them from the episode at hand. Character decisions that make no logical sense whatsoever. It boggles the mind just how much it doesn’t work.
First off, the Game Goblin game itself. It having the nebulous ability to power up the monster is totally acceptable in the world of Power Rangers. No problem with that. However since it’ power is so vaguely defined why did we need those stand-alone systems?
When was the last time you saw a gaming device that only had one game? The Tiger Electronics days? Has no one writing Super Ninja Steel ever heard of a Smartphone? Just have the kids all download a new app. It would also remove the odd moment of Preston having bought everyone the game. Where did he get it? Who’s selling it? How did Madame Odius or Cosmo get that in stores?
Why are all the teenagers addicted to it? At first I thought Game Goblin was putting them under a spell but nope, they’re all just super into an extremely basic platformer. I know people can get into games but we live in a world where the Nintendo Switch exists and we have Skyrim. No one is going to get that addicted to a garbage little handheld game.
The episode also introduces the idea that Brody is the one who’s being logical about the whole thing, not getting addicted to Game Goblin. On paper that’s totally fine, there’s always one character in these sorts of plots that doesn’t get into it.
However one scene after he calls Preston out on not doing his homework he’s sucked into the game with everyone else. Why bother having these bits with Brody if he was just going to end up in the same place as everyone? It’s not as if his lack of playing the game contributed to the plot. It would have been better if Levi, who didn’t get sucked into the game, was the one who refused to play. That could have also lined up with Ninja Steel’s Halloween episode where he didn’t like board games.
The monster mentions he didn’t capture Preston because he needs someone to keep playing the game and give him energy. But uh… everyone in the school is playing the game. They were all pretty much as far as Preston. Was it that they needed a Ranger to be playing? That would have been a helpful distinction.
Why does Game Goblin let the Rangers morph in his own game dimension? It seems like he can control it what with all the video game graphics so why doesn’t he just knock the morphers out of the Rangers hands? It reminds me of how all the way back in “Green With Evil” Goldar brought Jason to the dark dimension and there was no way to communicate with the outside world. Goldar had even taken Jason’s morpher. That ratched the tension up to a ten but here it’s, “eh, I guess I’ll let you morph. And use your megazords because somehow you can summon your zords into the game. Cool.”
I know the real reason for all that is “because they need to use Sentai footage” but you can be much smarter about it. Power Rangers (and even its many imitators like VR Troopers and Masked Rider) were cleverer with tying the Japanese footage into the episode. Here it’s just lazy. Just like Pretson jumping into the game. Why does he do it? Cause… he watched the Japanese footage and knew he had to be there?
Mick’s plan to get all the kids stop playing the game is fairly silly but not really anything to comment on, outside of its sole purpose being to keep Levi out of the fight because of the footage. No, the real thing about this plan is the very strange beat at the end of the episode.
Everything is wrapped up and Mick comments how the Game Goblin Curse was made up, which is then countered with, “maybe it was true.” For a moment I was befuddled what the hell that was supposed to mean until Cosmo ended up really getting it and turning green.
Um. Um. What? So… So Mick totally makes up a story off the top of his head and yet it somehow comes true? How does that work? I know I throw around “that makes no sense” in these reviews a lot but this truly makes no sense in any universe. Did the Ninja Nexus Prism make Mick’s story come true? That’s the only explanation I can muster outside of the real world, “the writers just wanted to have a dumb joke at the end instead of actually ending on a somewhat menacing note.”
The only tiny saving grace of this episode was the exchange between Calvin and Hayley when she was controlled by Game Goblin.
“Hayley, honey!”“HONEY THIS!”
That was legit amazing and the kind of dialogue I’d love to hear on a regular basis. Outside of that? This episode was trash. Lazy, poorly written, and another example of why Power Rangers badly needs a change. Hasbro, if you do buy Power Rangers? Don’t let garbage like this pass. This should be unacceptable.
Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. He won’t even get started on Victor getting pulled through the ceiling. Follow him on Twitter!