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Power Rangers Megaforce Episode Review: “Stranger Ranger”

February 24, 2013

(All screencaps provided by @Rangercrew/Megaforcecast.com)

“No… You’ve come across the universe just to be disappointed!”

We’re now about halfway through the first major arc for this season of Power Rangers Megaforce. Which is odd, considering the season only started this month. But like its episode pacing, Megaforce moves forward quickly, as there’s so much to do with the amount of time it has.

This week, we take a look at an episode I’ve been looking forward to based on its episode description. Considering many of the current episode descriptions matched their Goseiger counterparts, “Stranger Ranger” appeared to have an original episode plot (for the most part). Seeing as the (few) original episodes last year brought some interesting things to the table, and because Megaforce has had an overall better track record than Samurai, I had a good feeling about this episode’s quality.

So, was I wrong? Well, let’s figure it out as we take a look at the newest episode, “Stranger Ranger”.

Alright, this week’s focus was pretty much all on Troy (and side character Jordan, who will get to in a moment, but it was a Troy focus episode). As such, since the episode pretty much revolved around Troy, we’re not going to be separating this review into multiple sections analyzing multiple characters. Instead, we’re going to take a more traditional route, and look at this episode from beginning to end, and analyze it along the way.

The opening scene of the episode features another dream sequences of the giant Power Ranger war. There wasn’t any significant plot points brought up in this version of the dream, although we did get to see the Ninja Storm and Alien Rangers team up, a shot of the Red Mighty Morphin Ranger punch an enemy, Jayden block and slice a foe, and the Jungle Fury Red Ranger team-up with… some ranger who never appeared in the Power Rangers Universe who probably shouldn’t have been seen so clearly in the shot (and for so long for that matter…) since he’s only from Super Sentai (but hey, we have to use that footage, so whatever.) Some of the individual rangers do make grunts which Troy’s actor had to voice, but honestly, this isn’t that big of a deal. Troy eventually wakes up and wonders why these dreams keep happening, and later on at Ernie’s Brain Freeze continues to contemplate what is causing the dreams. It’s nice to see a reminder that this event is coming, and while it doesn’t have to be shown every episode, reminders that this event is coming is a great way to build up hype as we slowly wait for the event to finally happen.

After a villain scene where Creepox volunteers to lead an attack on the city (along with our MotW, Dragon Flay), we check back on Troy at Ernie’s Brain Freeze, along with Emma who’s taking care of recycling for Ernie. The duo eventually notice a large group of teenagers crowding around one guy (Jordan), who is claiming to be the Red Power Ranger. (And despite having no evidence to back it up, the teenagers buy it. But hey, it’s Power Rangers. We’ve come to expect that the locals are idiots.) Troy and Emma are both amused by this, but Troy decides to let him be and assists Emma with the recycling. We’re starting to get a good idea of Troy’s character because of this. (Despite not knowing much about his hobbies or backstory…) Troy could have easily called him out on this, or have been annoyed with him even though he couldn’t object without causing suspicion. But Troy oddly enough is cool with him pretending to be the Red Ranger, which shows Troy is a pretty humble person. Now while I wish Troy’s actor could improve just a little more acting wise to really sell this (as it’s so noticeable that even the side/guest character is lapping him in acting skill…) he does a pretty decent job this episode selling the fact that he is a humble guy.

After Troy sets up a training area filled with water bottles and starts working on improving his concentration in battle (in order to be more prepared for future fights), Tensou calls him and tells him Dragon Flay is attacking the city, causing him to race into battle. Meanwhile, the other rangers also receive the call after watching Jordon be a douche and bragging about being a ranger (as well as give Gia the oppertunity to land a pretty nice burn on Jake). They start to leave, but not before another teenager informs Jordan, in front of a crowd of people, about a monster attack and causes the group to cheer him on to fight the monster (despite his reluctancy to go. He does eventually swallow his fear and run to confront the monster. (despite the crowd not following him to where the monster is… seriously, the guy could have easily hid somewhere until the MotW was defeated and the day was saved…) Realizing the guy will get himself killed, the rangers sneak out the Fire Exit (not causing an alarm to go off) and instamorph outside the store in order to beat Jordan to the MotW.

So obviously, the rangers step in and prevent him from being killed (Troy helps get him out of the area so he isn’t harmed.) and confront the evil Dragon Flay, who is pretty much a Samurai-Lite MotW, in my opinion. He isn’t so bad that he brings down the quality of the episode, but he can get on the annoying side at times. But I suppose for a speedy, hyper villain like this, that’s the only kind of voice that would work? Whatever. The rangers (after Troy returns from babysitting Jordan and getting him away from the fight) quickly discover, thanks to Troy, the secret to defeating Dragon Flay, focusing on the sounds of the wind he makes while running around. Troy is able to successfully land a hit on him, weakening the monster.

Before the rangers can do anything further, Jordan (like any idiot would) runs back to the battle to cheer on the rangers. Yeah, there’s no way around it, the guy is an idiot. Dragon Flay, who’s just as frustrated with this idiot as I am, decides to attack him, prompting the rangers to block the attack. This allows Creepox (who’s been watching on the sidelines) to quickly land a hit on the rangers, and causes Jordan to go run for cover. And finally, at long last, one of our main villains has entered the battlefield, ready to cause trouble for the rangers. A villain who proudly announces he knows everything he needs to about humans and the Power Rangers, the fact that they are weaklings that he can easily take out with brute force. Troy, angry that Creepox hurt his friends and is causing trouble, stands up and prepares to fight. Obviously, we’re in for an awesome clash between Red Ranger and Villain General…

… Nah, it’s just Troy getting knocked down and Creepox laser blasted by the other rangers, who get their strength back and defend Troy, causing Creepox to flee for now. Well, at least he did something right? (It’s ok, Vrak, you’re still my favorite villain of the three… this was mostly a hit at Admiral Malkor, who really hasn’t really made himself interesting in any shape or form.)

Obviously, once the threat is gone, Jake has the common sense to yell at Jordan for being an idiot. But once again, instead of doing what any normal guy in his position would do, Troy is humble enough to forgive Jordan’s stupid decisions and just kindly explains to him why he shouldn’t pretend to be a ranger, in a good, old fashion, power ranger’s morale speech. The team eventually leaves, and although Jordan wants to follow them (for some reason), Jake tells him to go home. But, seeing as Jordan is an idiot, he decides to follow them.

The rangers have gone back to the forest in order to work on their concentration training, as Troy has them use the training set up he was using before. However, while they are training, they detect Jordan is coming and quickly morph to protect their identities. They once again ask Jordan why he disobeyed their orders… again… but Troy, who has the patients of a saint (or apparently has inherited his sentai counterpart’s levels of understanding) believes he wants to truly be a Power Ranger, and explains that being a Power Ranger takes a lot of hard work and can’t be done just by determination. (Morale of the day for kids! Although technically, the rangers became rangers thanks to Gosei’s powers… so technically, couldn’t determination be just what you need to be a Power Ranger? Isn’t that what the morale was last week?)

Anyway, eventually Dragon Flay returns to the city, and the rangers have to go confront them. Thankfully, this time Jordan obeys their order and doesn’t follow them. They eventually arrive and are now ready to finally defeat this MotW. However, Creepox is waiting near by, and Troy decides to confront him personally while the other rangers take on Dragon Flay. And we end up having a pretty nice fight scene between the two, even if Troy’s ADR isn’t the best (but, it is getting a little bit better) and Creepox isn’t the most interesting villain to listen to. Still, it’s a really nice fight scene to look at. Creepox continues to talk about how he’s way too strong for the Red Ranger, and how insects will be the new head species of Earth, while Troy explains that the thing about Humanity is that no matter how many times they get knocked down, they’ll always keep standing up to defend what they believe in.The fight eventually ends in a stalemate, as Creepox gets slashed by Troy hard enough to retreat for the moment, and Troy ends up very exhausted from putting all his energy into that strike.

Troy eventually heads back to the other rangers, who have defeated Dragon Flay. Although obviously, the monster enters giant mode thanks to Vrak. Despite being exhausted, Troy summons the Megazord along with the other rangers. Unfortunately, Dragon Flay’s speed ends up being a hassle, and Troy is just too exhausted to control his part of the Megazord, causing him to get knocked out. Jake and Gia, acknowledging that they really only need to control the legs to defeat this guy, say they’ll handle the rest of the battle. They eventually are given the land brother card by Gosei, which allows them to summon the mechazords they need to form the Land Megazord combination. (Yes, despite being a Troy focus episode, Gia and Jake get the new combination. But this does allow us to have a line where Gia finally, very quickly, tell Jake she doesn’t want to be in a relationship with him. The lines are basically “See? I knew we have a great relationship!” “Don’t get any ideas…” Thank Goodness! Although Jake will probably forget this next episode…)

So, with this new, speedy Megazord combo, the rangers make quick work of their foe, and save the day. Back at the mall, Jordan admits he’s a liar and just wanted attention, causing the adoring crowd to leave and treat him like the jerk he really is. However, Troy, (who I’m convinced has inherited his sentai counterpart’s kindness) tells him if the rangers saw him, they would have been happy with him. And the episode ends with Jordan, without thinking about it, being able to catch a drink that slipped out of Ernie’s grasp, apparently thanks to the one “concentration” tip Troy gave him earlier. (So, determination does allow you to be a Power Ranger? This episode has brought up a lot of contradictions…)

Final Thoughts:

Unfortunately, unlike last episode, I’m still a little bit hesitant to like Troy, acting wise and character wise (despite Acting improving a tiny bit, admittedly.) This wasn’t exactly the episode Troy needed, like what Noah had last episode. We didn’t really learn more about Troy outside of how humble he apparently is. He did though, admittedly, show talent in creating ways to train and showed the other rangers how do so, which is a good way to develop in our eyes that he is a good leader. I will give him that. I still believe though in the future we need to be given a chance to learn a little more about him. Because right now, all we have to go on to judge his character is acting skill, and unfortunately, a one-off character just showed that he is lapping Troy in acting skill…

Despite my gripes with the character (although those were suppose to be intentional, as we’re suppose to feel he is a jerk, idiot, ect.) I did like Jordan in this episode, if only for the fact that his actor didn’t do half bad a job. Considering he’s showing a little more talent than some of the other actors on the show, that impressed me. There’s a chance he may appear later on down the road, and honestly, I wouldn’t mind that at all.

We’re continuing to see parallels on the Villain side between Creepox and Vrak. Creepox believes in just using brute strength to take down opponents, and that complicated plans just take too much time and aren’t always effective. Vrak thinks Creepox is simple-minded, and strategy is the only way to defeat their opponents. Creepox’s ideals came into play this episode as he faced off against Troy, which led to a nice line here or there from Troy. However, unlike Vrak, whose voice and personality I love, Creepox continues to come off as bland and uninteresting to me. It could be because he hasn’t done much until now, and again, his voice is kind of generic. It was good to see him active this episode, but hopefully his next appearance will do something more to make you truly fear the fact that he’s such a massive threat.

Megaforce also has an issue of not making some characters feel important. Gosei and Tensou feel like an afterthought after their first episode, as they really don’t make that many appearances in the episodes. It would be nice to develop those characters as well, especially considering they set up that Gosei is Zordon’s apprentice! Ernie also felt like an afterthought this episode, although I suppose he’s suppose to be comic relief or something? I’m a little worried that because of his accent he’s going to be treated too much like a stereotype for kids to laugh at, which wouldn’t be a good thing as an homage to the original Ernie.

However, despite my issues with the episode, I actually enjoyed it. It had originality, I liked Jordan thanks to his actor’s good performance, Gia and Jake were once again on top of their A game, and we had some nice battle sequences. And although it still needs a little bit more improvement, ADR is getting noticeably better. Again, this episode is nowhere near perfect, but originality and improvements here and there need to be rewarded. It was a fun episode, no doubt about that. I just hope that Troy (and Emma as well) get the character development they need to truly win me over. I want to like these characters as much as I do Gia and Jake, and even Noah. I know the potential is there, they just have to grab it.

I’m giving this episode a 4/5. But we’re starting to get close to the five episode limit I’ve given to the actors/the show to fix their mistakes. After the next episode, I’m going to be less forgiving of some of these things I’m shrugging off, as we’re almost a quarter of the way through Season 1 now. Megaforce is better than Samurai/Super Samurai, no doubt about it. But hopefully some of the issues I’m seeing get sanded out soon enough.

Thanks for reading my review for this week’s episode! As per usual, feel free to comment and critique the review, as that’s the only way I can fix future mistakes I don’t pick up on. And for more reviews and news on Power Rangers and all things Toku, check back here regularly, as well as at my twitter account @TSilentWatcher.

Next weekend is Power Ranger’s 750th Episode: “United We Stand”. Although this milestone probably won’t be celebrated in the next episode (since it’s not a milestone like 500 episodes or 1000.), be sure to tune in next time to see what Megaforce brings to the table, as we reach the end of the first quarter of Season 1. Thanks again for reading, and I’ll see you next week!

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One Comment
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