Power Rangers Beast Morphers "Taking Care of Business" // Review
After successfully repelling the forces of Evox, Grid Battleforce receives a small reprieve as well as a visit from General Burke. The General wants to use this time to develop offensive technologies from Gigadron debris. At the same time, Mayor Daniels pulls some strings to get Devon a job at Sudsey's Carwash. Devon is now in an awkward position of trying to please his father's expectations while also fulfilling his secretive role as the Red Power Ranger. The fifth episode of Power Rangers Beast Morphers "Taking Care of Business," challenges the young leader with this situation in his first solo episode.
The premise for "Taking Care of Business" is a great one that should be familiar to fans of the superhero genre. One of the contested aspects of Power Rangers lore among fans is the necessity for secret identities. The Rangers need for secret identities is boasted as a significant element in some seasons, but is then quickly forgotten and never utilized for the show's plot. Beast Morphers not only uses the concept but does so in a way that emotionally resonates. Devon and his father have been standouts in the minor appearances they've had in Zoey and Ravi's episodes, so to see them receive attention with a classic but underused premise is very fun.
Speaking of, the scenes between Devon and Mayor Daniels are not only the highlights of the episode but some of the best interactions in the series thus far. Mayor Daniels appreciates hard work and dedication, which is why he is frustrated with Devon who he believes is squandering his potential. Daniels seems to want to connect to his son via work, emblemized by the scene of him helping Devon with a backlog of cars. Mayor Daniels does seem genuinely interested when Devon says he has something else lined up but is quickly dismayed when Devon lies about defending his Arcade championship to protect his cover. Mayor Daniels is not trying to control Devon's life like Mr. Collins in Time Force, just making sure he doesn't squander his potential which makes him very sympathetic.
Devon likewise has a natural desire to make his dad proud because of his admiration for him. In the pilot, Devon was more interested in video games and karate lessons than applying his talents constructively. But now, after several encounters leading the Rangers, he has a new appreciation for what it means to make a positive difference in the world. And yet, frustratingly, he can't share those experiences with his dad and has to take on the added burden of Sudsey's while performing his Ranger duties, diminishing his performance with both positions. All of these conflicted feelings are brought to brilliant life thanks to an inspired performance from Devon's actor, Rorrie D. Travis.
Back on the plot side of things, it is excellent to see Grid Battleforce try to be productive with their research beyond waiting for impending attacks. One of the highlights of the series is how Beast Morphers changes the usual formula of villains attacking and the Rangers fending them off until the next episode. Both sides use strategy and intelligence gathering to gain an advantage in this conflict. "Taking Care of Business" also introduces a new commanding officer in the Grid Battleforce hierarchy with General Burke. Burke is the father to Ben and Betty and in charge of GB's military strategies. It's a fun bit of world-building and helps expand Ben and Betty's characters, even if their Dog-o-Tronic is the stuff of body horror nightmares.
Speaking of, it's the villains who have the weakest moments in "Taking Care of Business," at least at first. Scrozzle has hacked into the cities' security cameras, which is how the villains learn of Devon's job at Sudsey's and plan to use it for their advantage. However, this discovery and strategy only happen half-way through the episode after Blaze's initial plan of "just cut open a Morph-X tower" fails. It's great that the villains don't readily have the details of what the Rangers do at all times. Having them fail initially only to regroup and improvise raises the stakes and makes for a challenge for the Rangers. It's just that Blaze's first plan is so simple and unconnected from the cameras that it comes off as more luck than improvised strategy. For the past few episodes, Blaze and the other generals have come off as competent strategists. But the best Blaze could come up with this time is waltz right in and steal the energy hoping the Rangers don't notice? It is redeemed by the plan with the cameras but still comes off as weak.
Regardless of some plot missteps, "Taking Care of Business" wins out thanks to its great heart and drama. Sincere and dramatic, this episode wins out with the emotion brought to it from its compelling lead.