Recap: Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, Episode 20 – Once a Ranger
Miratrix and Kamdor’s latest henchman steals a regular old ruby from the museum. But it’s not a jewel of the Corona. The Rangers arrive to retrieve the stolen gem anyway and they battle for a little bit until they get it back.
Over in the North Pole, Flurious gets a mysterious message from someone offering to help find the jewels of the Corona. As the citizens cheer the Rangers’ heroic deed at the museum, Miratrix and Kamdor also receive the same message. Kamdor tosses the device aside, but it immediately sucks them in and transports them to a lair where Flurious, Moltor, Norg and the Fearcats are also waiting.
Their host makes himself known. He is Thrax and he too was imprisoned by the Sentinel Knight, but in a space dumpster. However, Thrax was able to grow stronger and he broke free.
Thrax offers to help them defeat the Rangers, but they must work together. They refuse to do such a thing. But Thrax says this is just a temporary alliance. As long as they destroy the Rangers, they can all kill each other if they want afterwards.
At the mansion, the Rangers appreciate the exciting adventures they have had since becoming part of the team. Tyzonn reminds them the best part is saving the world and they all agree.
Just then, Thrax makes an announcement to San Angeles. Flanked by the three factions, Thrax introduces himself as the son of Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd.
The Rangers hurry downtown as Thrax declares he wants to be part of the end of the Power Rangers.
The Rangers and the Evil Alliance begin to battle. But the Rangers are struggling against their unified foes.
Thrax asks the others to give him their evil energy to destroy the Rangers once and for all. The huge surge of energy covers the world and damages the Rangers’ Trackers, forcing them to demorph. Thrax says he has severed their connection to the Morphing Grid and they are no longer Power Rangers.
Just then, Sentinel Knight appears. The factions motion to destroy him, but Thrax says they cannot. He does know of a way. But Sentinel Knight quickly whisks the Rangers away to safety.
Sentinel Knight appears weakened, but he leaves to find a way to ensure the safety of the remaining jewels.
Back at the mansion, the Rangers find that even their most sophisticated repair systems are unable to fix their morphers without reestablishing a connection to the Grid. Spencer reports that the Evil Alliance has begun attacking around the world in search of the remaining jewels.
The Rangers feel defeated and say it’s only a matter of time before the Alliance comes for the jewels in their possession. Hartford says they must take the fight to the Alliance. Even if they can’t morph, they still have their genetically enhanced powers.
Kamdor and Mig are at Stonehenge where they believe a jewel might be hidden. The Rangers arrive in their vehicles and try to maneuver through the explosions.
The Rangers try to use their powers, but Kamdor and Mig are able to counter each one.
Kamdor and Mig are ready to finish them off for good. But the two are taken aback when they are bombarded by attacks from all sides. And the ones delivering those attacks? Legendary Rangers!
Xander, Bridge, Kira, Tori and Adam arrive and are able to drive Kamdor and Mig away.
They all head back to the mansion. Bridge explains how he was promoted to SPD Red and confuses everyone except Dax.
Sentinel Knight explains that he asked these Rangers to come help in their time of crisis. He used his remaining energy to restore their powers so that the five of them can replace the Overdrive Rangers.
With the Overdrive Rangers powerless, they have nothing to do but hang around the mansion while the Ranger All-Stars take over the saving the world responsibilities.
The All-Stars sense the Overdrive Rangers feel defeated and they try to encourage them. But they feel helpless. The alarm sounds and the All-Stars head out. The Overdrive Rangers get up as well, but realize they can’t do anything.
The All-Stars are able to easily drive Flurious and his Chillers away.
Back at the command center, Hartford thanks Adam for coming to help and says he was able to reinforce the Morphin’ Grid to prevent Thrax from severing the All-Stars’ connections as well.
Hartford says they don’t have the technology to restore the Overdrive Rangers’ connections. But Adam thinks he knows who can help.
Later, the Overdrive Rangers ask to speak with Mr. Hartford. Seeing as how they are no longer needed, they decide they would like to return to their normal lives. With the All-Stars easily taking care of everything, they feel like they are of no use to the mission any longer.
I have always been a fan of “Once a Ranger,” though of course I’ve always been a fan of Operation Overdrive. But after Megaforce, I gained an even stronger appreciation for this and the next episode for showing how to do an anniversary tribute right.
The action in this episode was just top notch. This is the kind of episode and story where Koichisplosions are most welcome.
The little battle at the beginning was great, but it was just a taste of what was to come. The first battle with the Evil Alliance was pretty epic. That’s the kind of explosive, knock down, drag out fight you want to see. It’s exciting and fun. And it also gives the Rangers the kind of defeat that makes them rising up in the future all the more meaning. (Which we will talk more about in a little bit.
The Rangers arriving at Stonehenge was badass. And the way the veterans were introduced was fast-paced, yet exciting with just enough time to savor in the “surprising” returns.
One of my absolute favorite parts about “Once a Ranger” is how they introduced the vets. That was an epic entrance. And the way they used the theme songs like that is exactly how you should do such entrances. How exciting and cool is it when a familiar theme starts playing when the veteran Ranger is kicking ass. It is awesome!
And that’s one of the big problems with the Saban Brands Era. With their insistence on Mighty Morphin nostalgia, none of the seasons ended up with their own identities. Having a distinct theme song is part of that. I think we shouldn’t downplay the importance of a good, signature theme song. Heck, it doesn’t have to be “good” or your favorite. Just having that distinct identifying tune that you immediately recognize and attach to a season and team is part of the fun. And ultimately, part of a season being able to assert itself as its own entity.
If Megaforce had been more like Gokaiger with whole episodes devoted to a season and having guest stars and/or cameos in each one, hearing the old theme songs play during the eps would’ve been amazing. Oh well.
Now, to the plot of the episode. Over the years, especially before Megaforce, one of the criticisms was how bad it looked to have the Rangers quit. I never engaged in such discussions. But from what little I know about the criticism, I really just chalked it up to people’s general hatred for the season. I’ve certainly watched much worse shitty behavior on Power Rangers. (Hello Samurai treating Mia like crap when she didn’t deserve one bit of it.)
In the Rangers’ defense, they were about to be killed in England with just their special powers. It’s a different thing if they had quit with their full arsenal at their disposal for example. If they just gave up being a Ranger because they were bored with it and wanted to do something else? Now that would be a different situation.
But just in the beginning of the episode, they talked about how great it has been for them being Rangers. And how saving the world was the best part. But not only have they been beaten down, they’ve lost their powers and there’s a new, more powerful team that’s replaced them. Sentinel Knight even specifically said “replace” earlier in the episode.
While certainly there could be more context to sort of delve deeper into the emotions they were feeling, it’s not hard to see where they’re coming from. I don’t see it as being selfish. It’s actually a pretty common theme that you see in these kinds of stories. People becoming lost, not sure what to do with their lives and themselves after such a shocking and unexpected stumble.
So the Rangers being frustrated, but at the same seeing that everything was under control, it’s not unreasonable that they would decide to go back to their lives. Now I’m writing this before watching the next episode. And I have a vague memory of how they eventually return. So I’ll probably talk more about it after Episode 21.
But for an anniversary episode, the overall treatment here should be a template. Unlike Beast Morphers‘ random dog whistles to the role-colored glasses wearing old fans, “Once a Ranger” actually fits into Operation Overdrive‘s overarching story. They were able to play around with the existing dynamics of the characters (both the Rangers and the villain factions) and the story, while still keeping the feel of a big event.