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Power Rangers Super Samurai Episode Review: "The Sealing Symbol"

December 2, 2012

So, we’ve finally reached the second to last episode of Samurai (Well, story wise. There’s still the holiday special coming in two weeks.) The episode that sets up the big conclusion to the story. In the past, Power Rangers has had incredible finales. In Space had the two episode finale “Countdown to Destruction”. Lost Galaxy had a three part finale “Journey’s End.” Other notable mentions were “The Fate of Lightspeed”, “The End of Time”, “Storm Before the Calm”, “Thunder Struck”, and “Danger and Destiny”. If there’s one thing you can typically count on with Power Rangers, it’s a finale that will blow you away. It’s usually the height of writing, acting, and creativity for the series. So you better believe my expectations are higher for finale episodes.

And sadly, this episode did not live up to those standards. At least with it’s penultimate episode, we’ll see what happens when the finale comes along.  By Samurai standards, this would have been an ok episode… if it weren’t for some very, very disappointing decisions made concerning Lauren. But, let’s get my small complaints out of the way first.

First off, Dayu’s final scene. I’d like to point out that either the writer didn’t get the memo of what happened last episode, or Dayu is just full of it. “I didn’t play (her song) for you”, “I was never truly a Nighlock” and my personal favorite “My heart was always human”. BS. Last episode, Dayu agreed her harmonium was the key to raising Xandred from the deep. She confronted the Pink Ranger and used her to break open her harmonium and unleash all the misery in it. And she said this was the end of the humans! Don’t you dare try to make her sympathetic to us! She lost that right last episode. What made this whole scene even more bizarre though was the writers made the Dayu being absorbed by Xandred scene sounded very much like he was choking the life out of her. That was… kind of hardcore for Power Rangers (Oh, and it looks like neither human villain will get a happy ending. Again, I’m surprised Samurai is taking this route.)

Let’s get some additional nitpicks out of the way with the first Xandred fight scene. I know it’s Shinkenger footage, but I’m still not happy that neither Emily nor Mia were allowed to use one of the power ups in the battle. Mike getting the Shark disc kind of reminds me of the whole beetle disc fiasco. Additionally, why did it take so long for Jayden to get to the team? He was with them at the docks when the battle first began. It disappoints me so much that Samurai couldn’t have Lauren and Jayden fighting together side by side. Why couldn’t they film a new fight scene with Jayden helping protect Lauren from Xandred? It wouldn’t be that hard. And you could still use the sentai footage of her using the sealing symbol if you wished. But no, he just comes in at last minute to teleport (symbol) everyone away after being heavily injured by Xandred. (Which I’m surprisingly less up in arms about than many other fans.) That being said, I can live with all of this.

What I can’t forgive though is the handling of Lauren following that fight. Exactly what I feared Samurai would do with her happened. During a discussion at night (where apparently Lauren has to wear a cast from falling off a cliff. Meanwhile, the rest of the rangers appear to be ok.), Lauren decides to give up leadership and declare herself a failure because she was unable to seal Xandred (despite it really not being her fault.) She gives up over one failed mission. One that wasn’t even her fault. (And I love how Jayden doesn’t even try to make her feel better). Not cool, writers. Not cool. And of course, she’s unable to fight in the final battle because of her (broken?) arm, but is somehow able to make a “Shiba” fire disc. Writers, why can’t you just let her fight in the final battle? What’s wrong with shooting new footage for this? For a finale, this is inexcusable. Shame on you writers. Shame on you.

Anyway, the rest of the episode is just ok. The Sanzu River floods the city (although in the us footage, it’s slowly rising up and giving people enough time to over-dramatically scream and runaway.) Which means obviously the rangers need to run to a canyon outside the city where a bunch of moogers are waiting for no reason in their training outfits. (Admittedly, I can somewhat forgive the training outfits since it appears to be a homage to the first origin episode. Still doesn’t make sense though why they left the compound in regular clothers and suddenly appeared in the training outfits though.) They transform and fight the moogers, and eventually Xandred comes along and wants to confront them again. After a somewhat awkward ADR fight scene of the team protecting Jayden as he runs towards Xandred, he stabs Xandred, only for his plan to fail once again. Xandred throws him into the other rangers, and attacks them hard enough to de-morph them into their regular, non-training clothes. (Come on, be consistent! You clearly showed them transform in their training clothes!) The episode then ends with Xandred saying he’s going to use Lauren to make the rangers beg for mercy, which should be suspenseful, but only makes me eyes roll because Lauren should be there with them.

Honestly, I thought the episode was ok. By Samurai standards, I would typically give it a three. But the treatment of Lauren is unforgivable. Lauren and Jayden should be fighting together. It’s not in the sentai footage? Tough, this is the finale. You’ve used your budget to film original fight scene footage for finales in the past. Pretty much every Power Ranger season has done that. You can spare the money for the final two episodes to do so. But what’s even more terrible is the reason they gave to keep Lauren out of the fight and make Jayden the leader again. I can’t give the episode a three because of that.

So, with that in mind, I’m giving the episode a 2/5. But even if I gave it a 3/5, that would still be unacceptable for a penultimate episode/part 1 of a finale. I should be excited and hyped for the final episode at this point. I should be blown away by how awesome this episode was. 4/5 or 5/5 get that. But those scores are reserved for quality episodes, and I only give 5/5 when an episode is being original and creative. My standards are high during finale times for a reason. We’ve had many, many fantastic finales in the past. Many of which have come from Saban. This team should have kept with the tradition.

Next week is the finale of Super Samurai and Samurai as a whole. This weak penultimate episode will hurt the finale. Let’s see though if it has any redeeming qualities to save it.

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