***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:E14 – “Making Bad”
STARRING: Rorrie D. Travis, Jazz Baduwalia, Jacqueline Scislowski, Abraham Rodriguez, Campbell Cooley (Voice)
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Maiya Thompson, James Collins, Cameron Dixon
DIRECTOR: Simon Bennett
PREMIERE DATE: June 17, 2020 (UK), October 17, 2020 (US)
SYNOPSIS: Evox’s forces debate which villain to revive to take on the Rangers.
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By Rob Siebert
“Making Bad” is a strange episode. Not necessarily strange in a bad way. But strange nonetheless.
The premise is that Scrozzle, Robo-Blaze, Robo-Roxy, and the other villains are debating about which villains to bring back next with the Reanimizer. They watch old footage of villains like Koragg, Astronema, Lord Zedd, and Psycho Red before finally settling on their choice. As a long-time fan that’s really cool to see, even if the footage is “watered down” (more on that in a bit).
But from a storytelling perspective, it’s odd that the episode spends so much time teaching us about villains we ultimately won’t end up seeing. The four villains mentioned above have no impact on Beast Morphers whatsoever. So what’s the point in talking about them? Simple fanservice?
Incidentally, seeing how much Lord Zedd is emphasized in this episode and the previous one, I can’t help but wonder if at this point they already knew what they were going to do with Zedd in Dino Fury…
Most of the retro footage we see in this episode has a “watered down” feel to it, as it’s all been re-dubbed by different voice actors. It’s not limited to actors inside suits, either. The “conventional” performances, where you can see the actors’ faces, are dubbed as well. For instance, in the footage we see from Power Rangers in Space, Melody Perkins (Astronema) and Christopher Kayman Lee (Andros) are dubbed over by new actors. And for the most part the original actors, like Perkins and Lee, weren’t used for the dubbing. (The only major exception is Koragg/Leonbow, whose actor Geoff Dolan does return).
According to research done by Linkara, this may have something to do with voice-only tracks for those old episodes not being available. Whether that’s actually the case or not, the effect is the same: It sucks. It really takes the punch out of seeing characters like Zedd and Astronema referenced in modern PR.
Trivia note: The actress who dubs for Rita’s voice, Susan Brady, also voiced the character during her brief appearance in Mystic Force.
After Robo-Roxy suggests Astronema be revived, Robo-Blaze says she should remember Astronema became a good guy from Ranger History Class. So wait, Blaze and Roxy took the class too?!? Who’s in this class, anyway? Did Nate take it too? Are Devon, Ravi, and Zoey still taking it as the series continues? I want to know!!!
Robo-Roxy is batting a thousand in this episode, as she refers to King Mondo from Zeo as “King Mondu.” Whoops.
While the villains are debating about who to bring back, the Rangers spend some time hunting for a jewel thief who picks his targets in alphabetical order. It ultimately turns out to be a Robotron, who may very well be the stupidest jewel thief of all time.
Evox’s forces ultimately choose to revive Goldar, albeit an “upgraded” and enhanced version of Goldar. He’ll ultimately be referred to as Goldar Maximus, so that’s what we’ll call him here. Once again, Goldar’s original voice actor, Kerrigan Mahan, is not used. I’m not sure if it was a union issue (which Power Rangers has run into historically), an issue of not wanting to pay a certain amount to get him, or something else. Even more than the dubbed retro footage, that hurts the final product. No disrespect to Adrian Smith, who was ultimately picked to voice Goldar Maximus. But as a kid, a huge part of why Goldar had such an imposing presence, especially in season one, was because of the beastly and animalistic voice Mahan used. It just doesn’t feel like Goldar without him doing the voice.
Behind the scenes, the decision to use Goldar was dictated by the Sentai source material they’d been using for “Finders Keepers,” this episode, and the next episode, the movie Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters: The Great Dinosaur Battle! Farewell, Our Eternal Friends. (Yeesh. That’s a title…) The film sees Goldar’s Sentai counterpart, Grifforzer, return in the altered form we see here. So to a large extent, if they wanted to use Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters, they had to use Goldar…
Or did they? Would it have been too lame to make the altered Grifforzer suit Goldar’s son, or some kind of relative? That would solve the Kerrigan Mahan issue.
On Evox’s order, Goldar kills Sledge for his insolence. That’s a nice little feather in Goldar’s cap, as Sledge was, of course, a lead villain. And I have no doubt Sledge will be back somewhere down the line. Beast Morphers was the third consecutive series he’d appeared in, after Dino Charge and Ninja Steel. The guy is hard to keep down, that’s all I’m sayin’.
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