***As big a Power Rangers fan as I am, I must admit: I’m a little behind on modern PR. Here’s where I attempt to fix that, as I check out episodes of Power Rangers Beast Morphers!***
SERIES: Power Rangers Beast Morphers
EPISODE: S27:E15 – “Grid Connection”
STARRING: Rorrie D. Travis, Jazz Baduwalia, Jacqueline Scislowski, Abraham Rodriguez
GUEST-STARRING: Austin St. John, Brennan Mejia, Yoshi Sudarso, James Davies, Davi Santos
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Chip Lynn
DIRECTOR: Oliver Driver
PREMIERE DATE: June 18, 2020 (UK), October 24, 2020 (US)
SYNOPSIS: The Rangers (along with some friends) take on Evox, Goldar Maximus, and their forces.
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By Rob Siebert
The episode begins with Keeper showing back up to tell the Rangers about a vision he’s seen via the Morphin Grid. One of “many Power Rangers in a mighty battle” in which the Rangers are beaten. He adds that he can’t know which Ranger teams were fighting, as the vision was not clear.
So…Keeper couldn’t tell which Rangers were fighting in his vision? Y’know, these Ranger teams have pretty distinct costumes. They’re only similar in that they have a lot of the same colors. You’d think he’d be able to at least give them a hint or something. Was the whole thing blurry or something? Was he not wearing his glasses?
Keeper also says that Devon was hit by a meteor in his vision, which subsequently happens. Mind you, Devon isn’t even morphed when he’s hit, and he winds up totally fine. His clothes aren’t even tattered or burned. This could very well be one of the biggest affronts to the laws of reality in Power Rangers history. Like, right up there with being able to breathe on the surface of the moon.
Moments later, Grid Battleforce gets a distress call from the Dino Charge Rangers, which Nate says is from “another dimension.” I get that the “another dimension” line is probably the best way to get us into the scene, get it moving, etc. But it also makes it sound like Nate has no idea where the message is coming from. And remember, Grid Battleforce has obviously had some degree of communication with the Dino Charge dimension before, as they have access to their records, weapons, and what not.
“It’s from a familiar dimension,” might have been a better line. It’s roughly the same length, and it doesn’t make Nate look stupid.
After the rest of the Beast Morphers team are bested by Goldar’s forces, Devon sends out a distress call through the Morphin Grid that’s answered by Jason, the original Red Ranger. Any time Power Rangers can bring back someone who either hasn’t been back on the show in awhile, or hasn’t been back at all since they left, it’s special. Often the further back you go, the more special it is. As such, having Austin St. John back to play Jason for the first time in roughly 18 years is a huge deal. “Grid Connection” rightly treats him with reverence. Though not to the point of worship, as we saw with Tommy back in “Dimensions in Danger.”
Did they make Austin have to shave his beard for this? In virtually every picture I’ve seen of him in the last decade or so, he has one. I suppose it tracks that they might have wanted him to shave and look a little more like the Jason of old. But it’s still a little silly. Let him have the beard. What’s the big deal?
About two years after “Grid Connection” aired, “Morphin Master” dropped. That episode casually revealed that it was the Green Morphin Master who sent the Tyrannosaurus power coin to Devon via the meteor, which in turn called out to Jason. Why she chose to send the coin via a meteor is another question entirely…
The revelation in “Morphin Master” flew in the face of a headcanon idea I had: That whatever allowed all the past Rangers to morph in “Legendary Battle” had restored all lost powers. So for instance, the original Mighty Morphin Rangers, including Jason, would have gotten their powers back permanently. As we see with “Grid Connection” and “Morphin Master,” that’s probably not what happened. But it might have simplified things as far as explaining how different Rangers have gotten their powers back. It also might have explained how Tommy got his Master Morpher.
Unfortunately, Austin St. John’s return largely overshadows the Dino Charge actors being back again. This includes Camille Hyde and Michael Taber providing the voices for Shelby and Riley, who only appear in morphed form. Let’s not take them for granted, though.
Jason and the Dino Charge Rangers are ultimately confronted by Goldar and his forces, leading Jason to reveal his four Mighty Morphin teammates, along with the Red, Blue, and Yellow Dino Thunder Rangers, already morphed. Obviously, none of the original actors were back, even in a voiceover capacity. But it’s still amazing to see these three dino-themed teams on screen together. Granted, it was only done because they had the Sentai footage of all the counterparts being brought back for Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters. But let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth. We got a big dino-themed team-up, with presumably as many of the original actors as they could afford to bring back.
What’s interesting about this to me, both on the Sentai side and the PR side, is that the Go-Busters/Beast Morphers team is largely cast aside in favor of the big dino battle. Granted, Devon comes in at the end to lend a hand. But usually these team-ups at least try to give everybody equal emphasis. It’s hard to deny that the Beast Morphers team, the incumbent team mind you, gets pushed aside here. That’s a shame, as after 30 episodes, they’d earned the right to get their due in a big team-up like this.
Dino Charge also gets a little more emphasis in the battle than the other two dino teams. That makes sense on the Sentai side, as the story was ultimately about their counterparts teaming with the Go-Busters characters.
Let’s talk about Trini. Thuy Trang, who played the original Mighty Morphin Yellow Ranger, was tragically killed in a car accident in 2001. As of this writing, we know that a young actress and martial artist named Charlie Kersh will be playing Trini’s daughter in the upcoming Power Rangers 30th anniversary special. So it might be safe to assume that from a story perspective, Trini has died in the Power Rangers universe. I think that’s probably the right route to take. We certainly wouldn’t want anyone else trying to play Trini.
As Trini is presumably gone, it would make sense that Aisha, Trini’s successor as the Yellow Ranger, is the one in the costume here. Unless they retroactively tell us in the 30 anniversary show that Trini’s daughter took on her mother’s role.
Dino Thunder may be, top to bottom, my favorite series PR has ever produced. So to see those Rangers (shown above) represented here is, of course, a thrill. But as thrilling as it is, it’s also a little frustrating that neither James Napier (Conner, the Red Ranger), Kevin Dunahey (Ethan, the Blue Ranger), or Emma Lahana (Kira, the Yellow Ranger) were able to come in for a voice cameo. It really would have added an extra layer of authenticity and awesomeness to the whole thing. I’m assuming their absence has something to do with the show not wanting to spend extra money for what would ultimately amount to a few lines.
If there were ever a time to play “Go Go Power Rangers,” it would have been during Jason’s morph, on into the opening minutes of the fight. Preferably the classic Ron Wasserman version, obviously. But I’d even have taken the edgier version they used for Samurai and Megaforce. I’m extremely curious as to why PR seems so averse to using old theme songs for team-ups like this.
Jason’s lines about Zordon and Serpentera were nice little fan service moments. Incidentally, when he compares Serpentera to Evox’s Chimera Zord, he says the latter has six heads. But…*goes back and counts…it has seven. Whoops.
The big zord fight at the end featuring the three Megazords, including the original Mighty Morphin one, was nice. At least in theory…
Granted, this is all on the Sentai footage. But like a lot of modern zord fights, it was too much CGI and not enough suit work. The Chimera Zord is, conceptually, amazing. But there wasn’t anything that looked mechanical about it. Then, once we got into the fight with all the lasers and the flying, it looked like a big video game. Seeing the original Megazord during that big CGI assembly clip just felt wrong…
The device that Jason uses to open the portal at the end of the episode is just like the one Wes used to do the same thing in “Dimensions in Danger.” That might imply there’s been some kind of contact between Jason and Wes that we don’t know about. Or maybe Jason and Time Force.
I nitpick because that’s part of what I do with these reviews. But in truth, we were lucky to get what we got in “Grid Connection.” This feels like an anniversary episode, though it isn’t. Realistically, they didn’t have to adapt this Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters footage for Power Rangers. They also could have done it really lazily, without Austin St. John or any of the old cast members. Instead, despite its flaws, “Grid Connection” feels like a labor of love. A love that’s been dishearteningly absent from other PR seasons.
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