Power Rangers Beast Morphers "End of the Road" // Review
Zoey's dream of environmentally friendly Morph-X powered bikes gets a test run from Mayor Daniels. She has one week to get the citizens of Coral Harbor engaged with the new transportation, or Mayor Daniels will have no choice but to construct a new road over the city's forest to reduce traffic congestion. Will Zoey be able to save an ecosystem and score a point for alternative energy? Or will her dreams come crashing down due to the evil machinations of Evox's forces?
"End of the Road" is the actual first character focused episode of Power Rangers Beast Morphers. While "Evox's Revenge" did feature stand-alone elements and highlighted the Rangers' personalities, it began shortly after the premiere ended and in many ways felt complimentary. "End of the Road" meanwhile is categorically focused on Zoey, presenting a stand-alone story that reinforces information introduced earlier.
The episode acknowledges Zoey's desire to use Morph-X in environmentally conscious ways, references her interaction with Mayor Daniels from the premiere, and even gives lip service to the subplot of Ravi and Roxy's complicated history. Beast Morphers knows how to use continuity in a way that strengthens the scope of the series even when it is doing an independent episode. It's a great use of the serialized nature of television, and something Power Rangers could benefit more of in the future.
As an episode "End of the Road" had to succeed in highlighting the character of Zoey while also getting across its eco-friendly theme. Zoey as a character is already one of the show's best qualities, and actress Jacqueline Scislowski's tenacious optimism shines through in the episode. The episode also reveals the news reporter from Channel 10 is Zoey's mother, Murial Reeves. Zoey and Murial's bond and admiration for each is delightful, and a nice change for the usual action-oriented Power Rangers. We also get to see a budding friendship between Zoey and the Rangers' chief technical expert Nate. It's great seeing Nate get more development beyond "nerdy tech guy," and his shy introverted nature makes him the perfect foil for Zoey's sunny personality.
What is maybe most impressive of the episode from a story level is the way it handles the topic of environmentally friendly transportation and the culling of deforestation. Power Rangers has dabbled in social-commentary in its history but as well-intentioned, as they are, will sometimes miss the mark dipping into clumsy heavy-handedness. "End of the Road" meanwhile is a surprisingly mature take that gives the complex issues of modern environmentalism the nuance they deserve. For places like the fictional Coral Harbor driving, construction, and other environmentally taxing necessities are so culturally ingrained that finding alternatives is challenging. Life isn't as simple as choice A being good and choice B being bad change can take frustrating amounts of time. "End of the Road" shows the struggle of progress very well, and ultimately leads to a conclusion that is both outside of the box yet glaringly obvious in hindsight.
The action of the series remains excellent and among the best of the Power Rangers franchise. It's great to see the villains of the series hindered by their need of the Morph-X energy. Beast Morphers isn't like past seasons where Rita Repulsa or Lord Zedd could send countless soldiers to Earth at any given moment. Beast Morphs' villains have limited resources and use schemes that compromise the Rangers strategically rather than with simple battles of attrition. One of the visual highlights is a chase scene involving Morph-X bikes that echoes the high-speed stunts from the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers film. Chase scenes may seem gimmicky to some, but the competence of the shooting help make it unique instead of shallow.
"End of the Road" is another excellent episode of Beast Morphers and should be considered a benchmark for how to do self-contained episodes. It treats the subject matter with care, highlights one of the show's leads, and uses past continuity to expand the show's relationships and story.