Power Rangers Beast Morphers Double Review // Review
Saturday the 14th marked the return of Power Rangers Beast Morphers after their mid-season hiatus. In celebration of this, You Don't Read Comics has a two-in-one review recapping and grading the last two episodes of the new Power Ranger season. In "A Friend Indeed," the Rangers learn about appreciating their Beast Bots after Cruise and Smash have their memory data stolen by the evil Railtron. Then in "The Cybergate Opens," Blaze and Roxy kidnap a stir-crazy and enlist him in Scrozzles' plan to unleash Evox upon the world.
"A Friend Indeed" is another episode of Beast Morphers that works as a stand-alone viewing experience. An example of the specific crucial story components recent seasons of Power Rangers have been missing. In this case, letting the Rangers be relatable jerks. Yes, adult fans understand Power Rangers is enjoyed by very young children, and the cast needs to be good role models for a burgeoning audience. But to portray your protagonists as perfect paragons of virtue 100% of the time is not only unrealistic but potentially as damaging to a young audience as celebrating characters with negative traits for children.
The Rangers are fed up with their Beast Bots' personality quirks, wishing they'd obey simple commands instead of having their intentions misunderstood or mitigated. Their frustrations are initially understandable, but throughout the episode revealed to be selfish, with the Beast Bots offering more value as real partners rather than robotic servants. While the conflict of "A Friend Indeed" is service-level to be sure it is also not ashamed. Especially when compared to shows like Steven Universe who approach similar concepts of selfishness and empathy with more depth and nuance. However, something is not bad just because it's simple. A Friend Indeed still manages to convey its themes of trying to overcome your flaws and perceptions to be a better person.
Coming out of the gate strong "The Cybergate Opens" is a massively entertaining mid-season finale. All of the foreshadowing of Nate as a lonely isolated genius finally come to fruition with him coming into his own as a hero and him getting a lifelong wish.
As the genius behind the Rangers' tech and arsenal, Nate has been previously established to be barred from leaving GB facilities without an escort. This treatment is detestable to Nate, who begins to feel like a looked-after child than a member of the team. When he and the Rangers go on an expedition for new insect DNA samples, Nate rejects the Rangers warnings and finds himself captured by Evox's forces.
The foreshadowing of Nate has been handled particularly well throughout the season and culminates in this episode, as has Scrozzle's usage of the Cybergate. By allowing those teases, the show not only built interest and intrigue but genuine suspense at what might happen next. Obviously, this is still the mid-point in a Power Rangers season so they couldn't get too crazy, but the presentation of genuine danger was felt and appreciated. The action in the episode is also well handled, introducing not one but two Rangers with the same explosive energy that made the premiere so enjoyable.
If "The Cybergate Opens" does struggle from something it's that the titular Cybergate could've used slightly more flourish. Granted, the danger of what the gate represents is there from start to finish, but the lead up to it is fantastic. And the addition of Silver Ranger Steel a welcome addition to the shows tight ensemble.