r6ZueZjnmZ7B2W9HGZxNVvrBtMg BDVR: Power Rangers Dino Supercharge: E1, When Evil Stirs

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Power Rangers Dino Supercharge: E1, When Evil Stirs

Originally written for OutLoudculture.com


If you guys follow my YouTube channel (You should, it's where the OLC podcast is uploaded) you know I'm a huge Power Rangers fan. Been one for most of my life, and I'm never ashamed to admit it. The fact that I bring up Power Rangers RPM whenever I see an opportunity to should be proof enough of that.  Unfortunately, for a fan such as myself, there hasn't been a good (new) season of the show since... Well, since RPM back in 2009. Part of the problem was that RPM was intended to be the last season of the show, and in knowing this, the writing staff went all out, making bold decisions, massive changes to the formula, and changes to the world the likes of which we hadn't seen since the end of the Zordon era of the series. I won't spoil how RPM ended, so let's just say that when Saban bought the rights to Power Rangers back from Disney, they found it incredibly hard to write around, and thus wound up creating an alternate universe where the series could continue. A single point of divergence where the world was taken over by a rogue computer-virus in one universe, and where it wasn't in the other. The added benefit to this was that Saban could then exploit nostalgia from the previous seasons of the show without having to contradict RPM directly. This might have been excusable if Saban had then gone on to make a single subsequent season that was as good as anything that came before, but the moment the first episode of Power Rangers Samurai aired on Nickelodeon in 2011, the fandom realized that they were in trouble. Samurai had stupid jokes, terrible, worn out ideas, and worst of all, it had been sliced in half. You see, for those not in the know, Power Rangers is typically adapted from a previous season of the Japanese Tokusatsu series, Super Sentai. Each Sentai season is around forty or so episodes in length, and for the most part, Power Rangers has followed that same pattern, with a few more or less episodes per season depending on original content. Starting with Samurai, however, Power Rangers has averaged twenty episodes a season, with each Sentai adaptation being split into approximately two seasons, sometimes with elements of other Sentai seasons mixed in. And by "mixed in" I mean they dropped the adaptation of one Sentai series halfway through production when they realized they were coming up on the twentieth anniversary of the franchise and rushed to adapt the subsequent anniversary Sentai season. This mess was know as Power Rangers Super Megaforce, colloquially known in the fandom as "Super Mega Fuckup," since they took one of the most beloved seasons of Super SentaiKaizoku Sentai Gokaiger and pounded all of the wit, and charm, and personality out of it. I could write a whole series of articles on why Super Megaforce failed, and I might at sometime in the future. For now, we're covering the first episode of Dino Supercharge, the twenty-third season of the series, as well as the followup to last year's Dino Charge. Suffice to say that Dino Charge wasn't great. Granted, it was a huge improvement on Super Megaforce, but overall it was pretty lame. I'd go into detail, but I fear I'd just be repeating myself later on in my review of this episode. All in all, it was a massive waste of potential held together by a few awesome fight-scenes. Right, with that out of the way let's dig into the episode. Spoiler warning, as I'll be deconstructing this episode on an almost minute-to-minute basis.
Right off the top of your head, what's the most memorable part of Mighty Morphin' Power RangersKamen Rider, or Super Sentai? The suits, yes, the characters sure, but for me at least, the music is the first thing that grabs me and the last thing I forget about a show. For a long time, between the original Saban era and the end of the Disney era, Power Rangers had entirely original scores. The background music during downtime, the combat anthem, everything was made for the series, and that was part of why it was so memorable, because you weren't going to hear that music anywhere else, unless it was from another season of the show. That still rings true for Super Sentai and Kamen Rider these days, with memorable soundtracks filled with unique music. They use different musical cues for different scenarios, even going so far as to have theme-music for individual characters or teams. I bring all this up because literally the very first thing you hear in Dino Supercharge is a piece of stock music called Careless Talk by The Royalty Free Music Crew. Something you might recognize if you've been on the internet at all for the last decade or so. It's been used by countless YouTuber's over the course of its existence, as well as by Power Rangers Dino Charge at least three times during the course of its run. Four if you count this one. My point is that the music is among the many, many budget-cuts Saban has made since buying back the franchise. Sure, there's still some original music, the theme-song is pretty cool and every now and again they have a decent piece of original background music, but for the most part the series lacks anything that could be considered a "unique" soundtrack. Even with all of the budget-cuts Super Sentai appears to have endured, they still use mostly original music for the soundtracks. As far as music goes, we start as we mean to go on.
Tyler Navarro, the Dino Charge Red Ranger (Played by Brennan Mejia), spends the entire intro sequence recapping the events of the last half of the series. The framing-device for this is him writing the events down in his journal, but he's already written most of these down at least once already in the last season. One would reasonably wonder why they had to recap the series at all, seeing as the season finale aired only a few weeks prior to this episode. Then again, I've got a mind like a steel trap (most of the time anyways) and I don't forget details like this. This helps me in my critiques of long-running franchises such as this, especially when they introduce plot-devices and storylines that contradict previously established canon. I'll come back to this later on in the series, because they're bound to introduce things that don't make sense based on the series up 'till then.
The opening credits sequence is selling a show that's way more action-packed, way cooler, and way more interesting than the show we're likely going to get, based on both this episode, and the previous twenty-two episodes. (though more like twenty and a half since the two holiday specials were glorified clipshows) This is something I detest, an opening sequence which oversells the show, or else shows that just don't deliver.
Another, rather interesting thing to point out (Which was made aware to me by @Razzle1337 and @Evilspacewhale on Twitter) is the fact that in the final shot of the intro-sequence, rather than creating a new shot to accommodate the female Purple Ranger, they just re-used a shot from Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger (The source material for this series) and recolored Kyoryu Cyan purple. Because it's not like their helmet-designs are based on two very different dinosaurs or anything. Or like there are people who watch Super Sentai and Power Rangers who would notice that. Or for that matter like the two Rangers in question are the opposite gender! Come on, Saban. That CGI skirt isn't fooling anyone. Especially when you compare the builds!
Then there are other issues in the opening, such as when the two times the T-Rex charger is seen in the opening, it has "Gabutyra" written on the side. For those of you not in the know, Gabutyra was the name of the Red Dino Charge Zord in Kyoryuger. But those are just minor issues compared to the real meat of the matter. For instance, most of the CG in the opening sequence looks atrocious. Toei is to blame for part of this, since they appear to have taken Saban's lead in cutting production values as much as they can, possibly in an attempt to see how little effort they can put into a series and still make bank on toy sales. (Although that's pretty unfair since Ressha Sentai ToQger, the series that immediately followed Kyoryuger had much better effects) Saban still takes a great deal of the blame, however, since they were the ones who chose to re-use sub-par assets instead of throwing the sub-par CG models out and starting over fresh with a higher polygon count, better rigging and better shading.
Earlier in January I was rewatching some of Power Rangers Jungle Fury, and I was astounded by how good the effects were. Just unreal enough to give the show a magical quality to it, but decent enough that stop-motion animation with the toys wouldn't have been a step up. Compare that to the CGI from this show. For the most part, it looks like someone took the toys (The American ones, not the Japanese ones) and scanned them into a computer using really bad 3D modeling software, did some rudimentary rigging and then dropped them into the scenes without bothering to shade or light them properly. As such, you wind up with CG that looks worse than filming toys on a diorama.
Mind you, these are all issues we see before we even get into the bulk of the show. We haven't even touched on some of the bigger problems. So, before we dig into the rest of the episode, let's introduce the cast so far.
Tyler Navarro is the Dino Charge Red Ranger, and third Red T-Rex Ranger (Fourth if you count the one from the RPM toyline). Supposedly he's the leader of the team, but he's never really shown taking charge of either the team or the situation. The Rangers basically take turns leading the team whenever their particular "expertise" is required. Tyler's whole motivation in life seems to be to find his father, who happened to disappear approximately a decade prior. You know. About the time that Tommy Oliver was leading the Dino Thunder Rangers against Mesagog. I don't know if they're trying to make any connections to Dino Thunder, and I certainly hope they're not trying to imply that one or possibly two of the Dino Thunder Rangers are Tyler's parents. I know Kyoryuger had a crossover with BakuryĆ« Sentai Abaranger (Japanese counterpart to Dino Thunder) and Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, (Japanese counterpart to Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers) so they could be trying to lead up to some big "We are your parents" reveal later on in Dino Supercharge as part of an MMPR/Dino Thunder/Dino Charge crossover, but considering how badly the last few crossover events worked out, I doubt it.
Tyler appears to have more personality than, say, Troy Burrows from Megaforce had. He's still got a heaping deficiency of personality or authority though, otherwise he wouldn't get roped into some of the teams stupider plans. I tell you this, he's no Jason Lee Scott from MMPR, or Tommy Oliver from take your pick of the five teams he led, or Casey Rhodes from Jungle Fury, or RJ also from Jungle Fury, or especially Scott Truman from RPM. All of those I just listed were field commanders that wouldn't have gotten roped into lobbing construction equipment at a team-member until they found someone worthy of being a Ranger. It's a shame too, because I really want to like Tyler, and the series seems to be doing its best to make him a likable guy, but he doesn't have a whole lot of charisma, and his voice just isn't suited for a commanding role. I don't know if this is an issue with Brennan Mejia's acting or if it's just a direction issue. Either way, something different needed to happen, because I would buy Ziggy Grover from RPM as a leader before I'd buy Tyler as one.
Before I go on with the cast, I'd like to point out that it took me a while to remember all the Ranger's names in this series, and I still barely remember them now. I barely watched Power Rangers SPD and I can still name you most of the names of the characters off the top of my head, and I basically know the names of the entire lead and supporting cast of Mighty Morphin' Power RangersJungle Fury and RPM by heart, even years later. Dino Charge, on the other hand took about half a season before I could list off Ranger names. It got to the point where I had to have the Ranger Wiki open on my other computer while I was recording my commentary videos just so I could stop referring to the Rangers by suit color.
Anyways, next on the list is Chase Randall, played by James Davies. Black Parasaurolophus Ranger, and the token acknowledgement of the country Power Rangers has been filmed in for about a decade. Yes, we've finally got a Kiwi Ranger on the team. Not that you'd know that if they didn't plaster him and his gear in Kiwi birds and dedicate somewhere around four episodes or so to gushing all over New Zealand culture, since his accent is so broad he could pretty much be from England or Australia. Funnily enough, the actor himself is from New Zealand, and I actually know a guy from New Zealand who has a similar accent to Davies, so it's entirely possible this is his normal speaking voice, and not just something the directors cooked up to make American audiences more comfortable. Who knows?
Chase is sold as the Hot-Shot of the group, using his Morpher-gun and Parachopper as his primary fighting weapons. He's supposed to be this brash, bold figure who charges into battle guns-blazing, but all I see him doing is exploiting his catch-phrases and gimmicks while attempting to form a "unique" identity in a series which stomps on unique ideas, proper pacing, decent characterization and good storytelling until they can fit into manila folder. Chase seems like he was intended to be the new Dillon from RPM. They're both Black Rangers, and they both have Zords which act as cannons when attached to a Megazord. The difference is that Dillon was mysterious, talented, and sarcastic. He had flaws, goals, ideals, relateable emotions, and some kind of purpose in the story! Chase is a bunch of Australian and Kiwi (But mostly Australian) stereotypes holding a fancy magic gun while he spouts off his "radical" catchphrases. Dillon is cool. Chase was manufactured to be cool without any real idea of what makes a character cool.
In fact, let's compare this Chase to another Black Tokusatsu hero from 2015, one who just so happens to share his name. Spoiler warning, go watch Kamen Rider Drive, it's a really good show, and much better than anything Saban's put out in the last five years. Fans of Kamen Rider Drive will already know that I'm talking about Chase, AKA Kamen Rider Protodrive, AKA Kamen Rider Chaser. Another character that uses a gun a lot, but unlike Chase from Dino Charge, Chase from Drive had an arc, decent development over the course of the series, emotional conflicts he had to come to grips with, and actual relationships with his fellow Kamen Riders. You got to see Chase in Drive change, and learn things over the course of the series. Something which Dino Charge's Chase didn't do at all. I'd say it has to do with Drive not having to try and characterize somewhere in the order of eleven main characters over the course of its run, but Power Rangers RPM had seven Rangers, and they were all incredibly well-characterized, so it's basically down to a writing issue here. If it wasn't for all the episodes they spent piddling around doing jack squat, maybe we could have some good characterization. Who knows. No matter what, Chase from this series isn't cool, he's manufactured cool. He's never gonna be cool.
Moving on to our Blue Stegasaurus Ranger, a cave-man Koda, played by Yoshi Sudarso. Koda is about the closest thing this series has to a decently-written character, although the way his character was written back in Dino Charge was inconsistent to say the least. Fortunately there are some good character details that help to clear up some of the questions I had about the character. Unfortunately however, this episode starts off with a few character details we could have done with earlier in the series. Like how for instance, Koda is afraid of ice after having been frozen alive for thousands of years. The basis of Koda's character could have been summed up as "dumb guy jokes" back in Dino Charge, with a total of one episode dedicated to him adjusting to modern life. I hope they intend to play up Koda's innocence and drop the incredibly bad jokes made at his expense, because then we could have at least one character worth remembering. If not, then it's just gonna be one more thing to add to the pile of reasons why Saban shouldn't be making Power Rangers anymore. I'll say this for Koda though, no matter how many bad jokes or puns are made, either by him or at him, you can't ever hate him. It's just not possible.
Next up is the Green Raptor Ranger, Riley Griffin, played by Michael Taber. His gimmick is that he fences a lot, so he uses a sword. He's also apparently the requisite nerd of the group, since he happens to be able to calculate angles and pounds of force in his head. Not that this is ever of much use, except for that one time he got into a match of 3D chess with a monster-of-the week. No, seriously. Riley is another character that I can't summon up any dislike for, for no other reason than I can't really figure out what he's supposed to do. You could have easily cut him from the team, rolled his personality traits into one of the other characters and wound up with a tighter-knit group. As it is, outside of the handful of episodes dedicated to him last season, he doesn't seem to really do much outside of fill space.
Our fifth Ranger is for once not a Yellow Ranger, but a Pink one. A Pink Triceratops Ranger, Shelby Watkins, played by Camille Hyde. Shelby is Tyler's sort-of love interest when the writers actually remember that they're supposed to be having some kind of relationship. Because Daigo and Amy had a romantic relationship in Kyoryuger and we're too cheap/lazy to try and make the suit footage match actual characters!
No, seriously. Saban actually recreated some scenes and basically the entire plot from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger shot for shot, blow for blow while making Samurai. The reason why I bring this up now is because there are some shots in the episode that I'm told are taken from Kyoryuger footage which literally make no sense in context otherwise. Not between Shelby and Tyler, but between Tyler and the ninth Ranger in this little catastrophe of a team.
Shelby is... Odd. She's a waitress, but she's sort of way too smart to be a waitress, while also lacking much in the way of common sense. Then again, that basically describes most of this team when they're not in their suits. Shelby's whole gimmick is basically that she's a stereotypical girl about some things, and not others unless she feels the need to be with Tyler in that moment. For instance, the whole reason she gets roped into one of the dumber schemes the team cooked up back in the first season is because she thought Tyler looked hot in a military dress uniform. I'd love to try and give a more in-depth opinion of Shelby, but like most of the characters in this show, she feels like someone got done writing about a quarter of her defining traits and then someone was asked to write a script around them. All I ask for is a bit of consistency and detail. Show me what they like and what they don't like. A bit of personality, a taste even would be enough to shut me up at this point, at least until Saban digs more plot-holes.
The sixth member of this motley crew is Sir Ivan of Zandar, portrayed by Davi Santos, a knight from Medieval times and a country which doesn't exist. He's the Gold (Sometimes Yellow depending on the footage used) Pteradactyl Ranger. He was sealed inside one of the main villain's bodies for some reason, and was released by Tyler hundreds of years later. He joined the team after going off on an incredibly stupid journey to recruit more worthy team-mates. Picking elderly crossing-guards and pensioners rather than any of the scores of Rangers that have come before. (technically after, but I'm not even sure Dino Charge takes place in an existing Power Rangers universe) Ivan comes close to being a good character, but falls just short due to the desperate lack of any kind of development beyond "chivalrous and brave knight." We've had brave characters before, we've had honorable characters before. We need something that makes Ivan stand out. Personally, I can't hate Ivan much since he'd be just about perfect if the writers put even a little more effort into his character. I'm basically a sucker for a good time-displacement story, and Ivan is literally from one of my favorite periods of history. He fights with a longsword too! And he shoots lightening from it! He could only be more awesome if he was in charge of the team! But alas, he's not. It's a shame, because Davi Santos has exactly the kind of command to his voice that I'd expect out a Red Ranger.
The next Ranger on our list is Prince Phillip III of Zandar, played by Jarred Blakiston, crown prince of the fictional country and the Graphite Pachycephalosaurus Ranger. He became a Ranger after finding out about the Dino Charge Rangers and deciding that he wanted to help out. So, he scoured the globe for an Energem and started doing good deeds in an attempt to prove his worth to whatever mystical force governs the Energems. Long story short, he succeeded in that task and became a Ranger in his own right. Unfortunately, he never seems to show up when he's needed. Mostly because he runs a country, but also because the Graphite Ranger didn't have a whole lot of screentime in Kyoryuger, and Saban wanted to cut down on original footage. Kind of like how Tommy didn't show up until the very end of a lot of fights in the first season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers because his Japanese counterpart lived in stasis cave and only left when his teammates were in extreme peril. This brings up some fairly major issues later on in this episode which we'll get to later. Honestly, Phillip is pretty cool. He's literally the only member of the team who joined voluntarily as opposed to being roped into it by chance, luck or circumstance. Phillip, Ivan and Koda are easily the three best characters in the show, since they've got the most personality. Right off the bat, from the moment Phillip was introduced, you could tell that he was cut out to be a Ranger. Unlike how civilians or governing figures tend to handle alien incursions in Power Rangers, he decided to pitch in and help. Hell, he went a step further, devoting the resources of his country to bolstering the combat effort. Just a shame that this has to be set in a fictional city in California (No doubt somewhere near Angel Grove) instead of a fictional country in Europe. It would have been something new at least. And they wouldn't have been able to drool over New Zealand like they did. Nothing against New Zealand, it's just that Saban seemed determined to fulfill some sort of "New Zealand promotion quota." I'll tell you this much, it was harder to watch than the sightseeing in ToQger was. At least that series is set in the place it's touring. I guess what I'm trying to say is that they should have just set the show in New Zealand, and let us see a team of Mighty Morphin' Kiwi Rangers. Some kind of change of setting at least. Something to shake things up.
Finally, we come to the last Ranger, (for now at least) Kendall Morgan (Claire Blackwelder), the Purple Plesiosaurus Ranger. For some reason, even though she's obviously the same age as or younger than the other Rangers, she insists that they call her Miss Morgan. What's her personality like? Well, it's best described as a bad knockoff of Doctor K from Power Rangers RPM. Except that unlike Doctor K, nobody sees any reason to call her out on the fact that she's placed herself in a position of authority above them despite being about the same age as the rest of the team. There's literally no other way to describe her, she is literally a bad knockoff of Doctor K, with all of the unique personality and character dynamics hammered out. And rather than making new equipment that the Rangers might actually need or have some use for, she makes useless stuff like the Dino Cupid Charger. Or a flamethrower Charger that's only ever used once. Or the Dino Stretch Charger, made completely irrelevant by the fact that they have two flying Megazords. Or, god forbid, the Dino Gas Charger, which literally causes the Megazord to fart gas into the enemy's face. Not. Making. This. Up. Rather than building new Zords, she waits for them to come to her. Rather than being pro-active and constructing some kind of Energem-powered laser-cannon to blow Sledge out of the sky, or converting his ship into something the Rangers can use, she just keeps building pointless crap, and things that barely work. Then again, they don't really establish to what extent Kendall actually built the Ranger equipment, so for all we know most of it was created by the Energems. Kendall is utterly devoid of personality, and basically just serves to fill the team roster and the base-commander role without actually doing anything unique that couldn't be done by a completely different character. Combine Kendall, Riley and Shelby and what changes? Not a whole lot.
Anyways, down to the plot.
Last time, the Rangers crashed Sledge's ship, and like idiots, didn't search it to make sure him and his crew were 100% dead. So, a new villain named Snide had taken over in his command and promised all of the inmates he rather stupidly didn't turn in for the bounties on their heads millions of years ago that they would gain favor with him if they were to bring him an Energem. Second verse, same as the first on that front. The Rangers, idiots as they are, have given up their powers and gone their separate ways for a few weeks before getting abducted by a freezing monster and taken to Snide to steal their Energems. Why they don't just break into the Ranger's base is beyond me. It's only got three Rangers on duty at this point, and abducting three Rangers from around the country, possibly even from around the world seems incredibly counterproductive, when you could just send in a single spy to monitor Ranger activity for a few days, determine that they're not even guarding their damn base most of the time, break in when nobody's there with the entire ship full of backup, kick Keeper's ass, and steal all the equipment. Keeper's staff can un-bond an Energem, so all they'd have to do is un-bond the energems and re-bond them to their own people so they can have the power all to themselves. But they don't do that. Instead, they abduct four of the seven Rangers with only Koda and Tyler escaping, although it's never really explained how Tyler escaped. Prince Phillip is nowhere to be seen for some reason, even though Snide's people managed to track Chase to New Zealand (Or possibly not, we're never actually told where he was, although he said he was going back to New Zealand at one point.). Maybe Phillip was the only one they couldn't take, because between his security and the fact that nobody seems to know where his country is, they just decided not to bother.
Most of the time, Power Rangers only leave their Morpher's behind when they've burnt out, or need repairing. Hell, Adam Park had a damaged Mastadon Morpher that he kept on him, and it still worked! So why, when you could stick a Charger in your pocket and when you appear to be able to literally summon gear from thin-air (Point Kyoryuger, at least they had holsters) would you not keep a Charger or two as backup? Why wouldn't you just use the Power to fight street-level crime the way Albert Smith, the original Dino Charge Purple Ranger did? With great power comes great responsibility, and if I had Ranger powers and had just annihilated all known alien threats, I'd keep the gear around, because you just know you're going to need it!
The only two Rangers that stayed with Kendall at the Museum after Sledge's defeat were Koda and Ivan. Koda at least makes sense, where else is he gonna go? But Ivan should be in Zandar with Phillip, he is a Knight of the Realm after all. Maybe he chose to stay there, who knows? I'd love for these things to mean more than they seem, but I'm hesitant to try and make sense of this series plot. After all, the last prediction for the show I came up with was what Koda's origin was, and I was almost entirely wrong.
Anyways, Tyler and Koda make use of Koda's earlier technique of letting clothing get caught in the ice and then ducking out, but unlike before, they do so with their Ranger suits, to which I call shenanigans. First off, I've seen behind-the-scenes footage of Power Rangers, you cannot get out of those suits without some kind of help. Second, the only part of the suit you can take off while inside it is your helmet. If you demorph, the suit vanishes back to wherever it comes from. This is a well-established rule of the franchise. It was even partially explained in Power Rangers RPM. Then again, Saban seems to take pleasure in attempting to undermine every point RPM made about the franchise. And third, I've worn paintball gear and baseball gear less complicated than those suits are, and I still can't get out of them that fast! Fourth, this raises the question as to what those suits are made of. Part of the reason I like Kamen Rider is that the Riders actually get suits that can pass for armor, whilst Power Rangers and Super Sentai teams are usually wearing Lycra or Spandex, neither of which would provide adequate protection against most of the attacks sustained in a typical episode.
Long story short, they use that flamethrower Charger to melt their team-mates, they kick some ass, the requisite Megazord fight ensues, Rangers save the day, Rangers get back together after two weeks apart due to them not following up on their last kill.
Now, let's cover some specific issues. First off, back in Dino Charge, they introduced a resurrection machine to bring back dead monsters, but it only works if they have a piece of the monster to bring back. The Rangers knew that Sledge had this technology, so why didn't they steal it? I know of more than a few dead Rangers and one dead space-wizard that they could use that on. Hell, the Rangers could use it on themselves if one of them was ever killed, that way they have a means of resurrecting fallen comrades. Hell, that machine would make death utterly irrelevant, so why didn't they take it? Or salvage Sledge's entire space-ship and turn in all his prisoners to whoever runs the space-jail for the bounties on their heads? It'd eliminate a bunch of potential threats, and turn them a nice profit as a bonus! That's money they could spend on maybe expanding the Corinth Project beyond just one city. Earth seems to deal with alien-invasions all the time, it'd be nice to have a huge shield around the planet. We are coming up on the actual time of Power Rangers SPD, so they might as well start stepping the general technology up a bunch so they don't have to erase that from continuity as well. Maybe it'll just get shunted into the main universe where all of the good shows live and whatever series airs in 2020 can just be Blando Mcboring Rangers. Season Nine.
Then there's Keeper, basically Dino Charge's attempt at creating a Zordon-style character. Except Zordon had a reason for not doing much other than giving advice, he was literally trapped between dimensions. In a lot of ways, Keeper does even less that that, since he only shows up ever now and again, occasionally fighting monsters, but for the most part, Keeper doesn't serve much real purpose. Another case of a character that could have been sliced out of the final product without any major consequences.
Finally, we get to Heckyl. Heckyl is the human form of Snide, and he would be a great villain if only he knew what an inner-monologue was! As it is, he all but incriminates himself in front of the Rangers multiple times across every episode he's been in.
This brings me to an issue with the music. There's a scene where Heckyl is talking to Kendall about getting a job at the cafe (Oh yeah, another criticism I could make that I'll get to later) and the music they play is so upbeat and cheerful that it ruins any drama the scene might have had! If this was Death Note, or Kamen Rider Drive, or Jungle Fury or RPM there would have been a much more appropriate musical cue playing behind the conversation. One that truly demonstrated the gravity of the scene.
Then there's the fact that A) The Rangers seem to feel the need to keep their identities secret despite there being plenty of very public Power Rangers teams beforehand, and it's pretty much pointless since the monsters know their faces and names, and B) That the Rangers work out of a cafe in a museum. I know in Jungle Fury the Rangers worked out of a pizza parlor, but those guys had the excuse of both being broke and having an incredibly roundabout teacher who used the pizza preparation as lessons in teamwork. These guys don't have that excuse.

So, all in all this episode kinda sucked, but it was still better than some of the worst episodes of the last season. Last season had about six episodes worth of decent content at best, but I'm holding out some hope that this season doubles that amount. Who knows? Maybe the next series, Power Rangers Ninja Steel (Yes, that's actually the title) will have higher production values and better writing if we can prove to Saban that that's what the fans really want.
Oh, what's that? Saban Capitol Group just donated two million dollars to Hillary Clinton's campaign for president? Well, so much for that then.

In the end, I give this episode a 4.0* rating.