Recap: Power Rangers Beast Morphers (Season 2), Episode 40 (20) – Evox Unleashed and Season Review
Roxy, for some reason, is leading the evacuation of a stadium while people are stuck in traffic jams on the Los Angeles freeway. This is before Mayor Daniels and Commander Shaw record an announcement ordering people to evacuate and get as far away from Morph X towers as possible.
Before the Rangers leave, Zoey’s mother asks Commander Shaw to see her in the laundry department before she evacuates herself to tell her that she loves her before they all die. Commander Shaw nods to Zoey, giving her the go-ahead to reveal her identity.
The Rangers head out when Evox appears at Morph X Tower 1. They quickly morph and Devon enacts his plan. The Rangers teleport old toys from previous seasons, which takes Evox by surprise. That gives them a chance to shoot the vaccine bow at Evox, but he just swats it away.
Evox summons Robotrons from the season and walks into the tower. He steps into the Morphin Grid, but Steel comes running in with the antivirus arrow. He forces himself into the Morphin Grid vortex as well.
Brother Nate tells him not to go in, but Steel is able to stab Evox with the antivirus only for him to absorb it like candy.
Evox shoots at Steel, forcing him to demorph and die. The Rangers can’t believe it.
Evox laughs as Steel’s data is sucked into the Morphin Grid vortex. He shoots at them and they are slammed through the walls of the tower back down to the ground outside. Their demorphing breaks their fall as the parents pick them up to take them back to GBHQ to regroup.
The Rangers break the news to Commander Shaw, the Beast Bots that still exist and the Burke Sibs that Steel is dead. Devon addresses the entire GBHQ to announce Steel’s death and to order everyone to evacuate the compound. He adds the Power Rangers will stay behind and try to defeat Evox or die trying.
Ben and Betty say they will absolutely not evacuate. Neither will the Beast Bots. Nor the Mayor. Nor Zoey’s mom. Nor anyone else currently working at Grid Battleforce.
Suddenly, the skies above Coral Harbor are blood red and darken and Evox debuts his huge new form. Commander Shaw directs everyone to their battle stations. She reminds the Rangers that Evox is merely data while they are humans that are all powerful.
“You fight for each other and for the world.”
The Rangers hop into Beast-X King, but Evox easily counters their attacks. The Rangers realize that they may be able to defeat Evox using their human DNA. While Nate reroutes the Morph X through their bodies, they combine into the Megazord.
With enough Morph X through their bodies, they are able to infuse their attacks with human DNA and that ends up being Evox’s Kryptonite. They impale Evox and burst through his body, causing him to explode and die.
The Rangers celebrate their win. On the ground, they watch the Morph X flying back to the Morphin Grid. But they are surprised when Steel vaguely appears and turns into a real boy.
The Rangers celebrate Steel becoming a human boy with a group hug.
One year later, Col. Truman has brought Scrozzle to GBHQ, presenting him to new GB commander Devon after being captured in Corinth’s sewers. Col. Truman thanks Ben and Betty for their help.
Mayor Daniels, along with Zoey and Nate, record a video touting Coral Harbor’s wind and solar energy (with no sign of Morph X).
Meanwhile in the park, Ravi and General Shaw are painting Roxy when Ravi gets a call.
In Japan, Steel is filming a toku action scene with Toei when he also gets a call. Blaze, his stunt double, has to step in.
Steel morphs and hurries over to GBHQ where the others have actually planned him a birthday party. It’s been one year since he became a human boy and to celebrate, they dance to his theme song.
Episode and Season Thoughts
It’s over! It’s finally over! Whew.
I’m just going to have to throw together my episode and season thoughts into one whole big (annoyingly ranting) section. Because I think this episode is really a great depiction and illustration of what seems to be wrong about Power Rangers in 2020.
The franchise has no direction or focus. And this is regardless of what they do with Dino Fury, a hypothetical movie or a Toei-less franchise moving forward. Let’s set aside whatever the future holds for the franchise. But this is right now. After the finale of Beast Morphers and essentially closing the book on the Saban Brands Era of the franchise.
For the last few months, I’ve repeatedly harped on new executive producer Simon Bennett’s words about the “rose-tinted spectacles”-wearing fans. It really is representative of not just what their vision is moving forward, but what their vision has been the last couple of years.
Instead of the goal being how to create 40 episodes of a good television show that can sell toys, it has appeared that the goal has been to just get by somehow with the least amount of creative effort.
There is really no reason to dumb down Power Rangers to the point that the little kids in the target demographic don’t even care to watch. (And the ratings are there to prove it.) The franchise may still be able to sell toys. And I’m not doing a deep dive into sales figures. But I at least know which shelves are full and which are empty in my local Target.
People of all ages will want to spend their money and/or their parents’ money on things they actually like and are invested in. When those things are toys and merchandise, you’ve got to be able to get people to like and be invested in the show. That’s not happening right now.
It is a pretty simple, basic premise to believe that a good show with good writing and good acting and good production will appeal to viewers young and old enough that they will want to spend money on stuffs related to it. Being excited about the latest episode may be the feeling that nudges you toward buying that new figure or that branded T-shirt. Being invested in the story and characters instills in the consumer the warm, fuzzy feeling of being open to invest in the merchandise with cold hard cash (or credit).
But Power Rangers right now does not do that. Especially when it refuses to even try to put together a cohesive season-long story or give its characters actual development. Or even worse, rely only on pandering to those old fans with rose-tinted spectacles who may be old enough to be buying toys for their kids.
Let’s take this final “arc” of Beast Morphers. This final episode was all about Steel’s impulsive sacrifice. A robot sacrificing himself to save his team and the world may have worked on Operation Overdrive when that was a culmination of a season-long story arc for that character. But here on Beast Morphers, there is no emotional foundation to Steel’s sacrifice. Especially when the few times he gets more than one line, he’s treated as Nate’s pet and a comic relief character marginally more important than the Burke Siblings.
I think it was Dino Charge where I stopped comparing every Power Rangers episode and even season to its Sentai counterpart. But I just have to here.
The basic premise of this episode is actually very sound. It’s a typical finale plotline. Sacrifices are made, everyone is in danger. But with the show being so opposed to a serialized storyline (which doesn’t mean Operation Overdrive-type cliffhangers every week and really only means a clear, season-long plot), there’s never an opportunity to truly bank the emotions and connections necessary to make such a climax meaningful and impactful.
I mentioned it last week with the big Evenjix reveal. And it’s the same here.
I had to go back and check the Go-Busters episode the zord battle is from and confirmed that it was from the climactic Christmas episode. I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t watched. But it was a stunning episode and probably one of my all-time favorites. Knowing what that moment meant and was a climax for, knowing how meaningful it was for the season, it’s hard to then come into Beast Morphers and see those scenes play out here. And again, that’s on me. That’s my problem and preference.
But it’s an example of how amazing scenes and episodes like that can be when there’s a consistent build up and development to really form a strong foundation for such events and climaxes.
Beast Morphers as a whole does not do that. When the endgame has to do more with pandering to the older, rose-colored glasses-wearing fans by referencing a season that is considered today to be one of the best or most “mature” as opposed to a story that is developed over the course of 40 episodes here, it’s just not going to hit the mark.
Like I said in my apathy rant, I’d rather have a well-written, good season with ZERO references to past seasons over a poor season with MANY references to past seasons. I don’t need a history lesson every season. I don’t need random “Ranger Vaults” or “Ranger History” lessons or cameos. I just want a good show. And I think the smarter, more sophisticated children in today’s target demo deserve that as well, if not more so.
It’s not about pleasing us old fans. It’s about recognizing the potential in Power Rangers as a series that can appeal to a wide audience. No, it does not need to be grim!dark. No, it doesn’t have to be the second coming of RPM or Time Force or especially Mighty Morphin.
And I haven’t even talked about the season’s odd anti-alien, anti-robot bias. “You are strong because you are human.” I get it against a computer virus. But considering the other instances where they’ve discriminated against other life forms (including the Beast Bots all season), it’s a hilariously bad look.
It’s things like that which are nice platitudes on their own, but have no reasonable basis in the in-series universe of the season. Or worse, hilariously contradictory.
Which brings us to the absolute mistreatment of the Beast Bots. Instead of maximizing the three robots as their own, distinct characters, they were barely on-screen. The Beast Bots absolutely could’ve been used to help prop up the Rangers whose character development, for the most part, was nonexistent.
For the season as a whole, I will say that Ravi is probably the best and most well-developed character. His focus episodes are the strongest of the season, by far. And they did enough with him and Commander Shaw to give him the most consistent development throughout the season.
The same can’t be said for the other Rangers. And having the Beast Bots have a more integral role into the story could’ve really helped with the Rangers’ personalities and character.
The season’s biggest narrative mistake was using Roxy and Blaze as the midseason finale climax. If they weren’t going to do anything significant with the real Roxy and Blaze in the second half of the season, why not just keep them as the evil avatars instead? Colby Strong and Liana Ramirez were much better and seemed to relish in their roles when the characters were the evil avatars. And keeping that plot point through all 40 episodes and drawing upon that backstory between them and the Rangers could have helped give the villains some much-needed heft and the Rangers that much more motivation.
Beast Morphers also lacked a sort of kinetic energy in its New Zealand-produced action sequences. Bland action direction. Slow fight choreography. It’s like every original action sequence was literally being held back. When the story doesn’t cut it, you would hope the action would pick up the slack. But it did not. It instead added to the show’s overall malaise.
Or maybe it’s my own malaise with the show. That’s very possible.
But overall, Beast Morphers‘s potential is never fully realized. Hindered by whatever mandates are holding the series back from being better, improving and living in the 21st century. Lack of character development, no cohesive narrative vision, bland action and an overreliance on nostalgia to cover up the flaws, Power Rangers Beast Morphers is perfectly in line with these last ten years in the franchise. That is, not good. But maybe even more negative, it elicits a feeling of apathy and indifference. I don’t hate it. I definitely don’t love it. It’s just there.