Well, that’s it. Power Rangers just aired its last new episodes for the foreseeable future.
These episodes were not only the conclusion to a year-long arc, which many fans had felt was one of the better seasons we’ve ever had, but it also brings the entire franchise to a close, effectively ending a 17-year saga. That’s more than half my life!
Expectations were understandably high for the series finale, but how much did it live up to the hype that was generated in the gulf between the show’s recent hiatus and now? Ultimately, the finale remains true to what made the show what it was this season, though the execution of its major story elements may have fallen short in some areas.
“Danger and Destiny” begins immediately after the events of the previous episode. Dillon looks as though the virus has overtaken him, but he quickly remarks that he can feel the virus running inside him as he resists it. I found this a cool idea- that he might be dealing with the internal struggle for the duration of the finale. Little did I know how quickly he was going to defeat the virus altogether and move on to something else. I can’t say I loved this choice. After he found Doctor K’s antidote and injected himself, I kept thinking the virus would come back somehow and they would have to deal with Evil Dillon until he finally managed to do the rest of the antidote’s work on his own. At least he kept getting knocked around so it wasn’t just amazingly easy for him, I guess.
Speaking of knocking things around, Venjix gets proactive in this finale, and drains the memory banks of the lab before “destroying” it. I hesitate to use that word because I know the Rangers spend an awful lot of time in the garage long after Venjix seemed to blast part of it to kingdom come. I do, however, enjoy the fact that Venjix was smart enough to download everything about the Rangers’ bio-fields (aka the Morphin Grid) so he could pretty much whip their asses without even trying.
Meanwhile, Ziggy and K are captured and they get to do what they do best, which is banter and give each other bashful smiles as they try to get out of this latest catastrophe. Ziggy’s ability to slip through his shackles and unlock K’s was nice. Though I had to laugh later on when Scott literally just karate-chopped his father’s shackles in half. Maybe Colonel Truman’s shackles were purchased at the 99-cent store.
I gotta say, the confrontation between Kilobyte and Tenaya felt like it came a bit out of nowhere. Though I will never get tired of seeing Tenaya get hit with a sword and thrown across the room. That sort of attack always feels so much more brutal when they’re not wearing costumes that cover their entire body from head to toe. I just never expect them to go all-out on someone whose face we can see (albeit through a giant, flowing wig to obscure the stuntperson’s identity).
What I loved about this scene was that it was another example of Dillon and Ziggy complimenting each other perfectly. They both had moments to be heroic toward the people they cared for most- Dillon defending his sister, and Ziggy pulling K out of the path of Kilobyte’s gun blast. And Ziggy is the one to grab the antidote vial and toss it to Dillon so he can cure his sister. My only issue with the sequence is that Kilobyte was despensed with far sooner in the finale than I would have liked. Personally, I felt it should have been him in the control tower fighting Tenaya towards the end of the last episode, and the other robot getting blasted to pieces in this moment instead.
So, once the Rangers regroup, and Dillon is down for the count after his valiant efforts to save his sister, Tenaya has once again switched sides. It’s only now that Doctor K comes up with the plan to upload a virus into Venjix and eradicate him completely. Yeah… I seem to recall complaining that the hybrid antidote wasn’t properly set up long before it was imminently needed in order to resolve the plot. I feel twice as strongly about the virus solution here. My sensibilities would have had K working on a virus for several weeks now. All it would take is just showing her busy with something on a monitor and being annoyed when she’s interrupted to deal with the crisis of the week. Anything, as long as she’s able to earnestly say “I’ve been working on a virus for over a month” so it doesn’t feel like she just crapped out a master plan in two seconds. Ah well…
Tenaya, for some reason, has reservations about using herself as a means of uploading the virus. And Flynn gets his last big moment to be awesome, as he tells her to get over herself and start helping them correct the mess she had helped create. I loved it. In a perfect world, Flynn would have gotten many more scenes like this, in many episodes. But at least he wasn’t denied a real moment where the show gets to focus pretty much just on him and what he means to the team. If no one else is going to speak up and tell it like it is, then he will. Awesome.
So, Tenaya gets her rear in gear, but not before Gem and Gemma have been “deleted” by Venjix and his newfound manipulation of the Rangers’ bio-fields. Now, unfortunately, someone thought it was a good idea to tell us exactly what happens to them in a summary of the episode’s premise, so there was no real shock value there for me. And this is not the first, or second, or third time a Ranger has supposedly been killed and brought back five minutes later. But as far as fake deaths go, I’d say this one was fairly effective for me. Of all the people to become casualties, it had to be the ones whose faces were the most innocent (despite all their actions that made them far less innocent than they appeared).
When Gem says “We would have kept fighting” I believed him. I genuinely felt bad that he wasn’t going to be there for them the way he wanted. Gemma’s “Never give up” immediately reminds me of the Wild Force season, as that was the catchphrase of some of their characters (and I suspect this was done intentionally) but it obviously applies here, and felt like an earnest plea from a dying hero. Forgetting, for a moment, that I wasn’t convinced that they were really dead. The fact is the other characters had no idea. And the cast’s performances were all fantastic as the grim reality of their situation set in. Kudos. I also loved Dillon’s straight-forward attitude about the loss, as he knows there’s work left to be done and wants to prevent more “deaths.”
However, it’s towards the final stretch of the finale that I’m wondering where the hell all the hybrids went to, and why aren’t any of them doing anything interesting? I mean, that was kind of the main hook of the previous episode. Hybrids are everywhere. They’re slaves to Venjix. I would have loved to see a moment where the Rangers are aiming at Venjix, and a bunch of hybrids run up and just stand there as human shields, blocking their shot. Sadly, we don’t even really get any action beats with them that I could remember. Did any of them even fire a laser gun? This is one aspect of the finale that I found rather disappointing. I didn’t expect to see hybrids thrown around and injured by morphed Rangers, but SOMETHING would have been nice.
So, Tenaya finds her way to the Corinth control tower and gains access to the Venjix mainframe, thereby giving K the information she needs to restore the Rangers powers, as well as Gem and Gemma. Not the best resurrection ever, but certainly not the worst. Meanwhile, Ziggy fights off some Grinders to defend K while she works, and Dillon is headed out to save his sister.
Even though I was hoping for all the Rangers to stand united, I can appreciate that it was just the original three facing Venjix in the final battle. We got a few precious moments where Venjix offers them new lives as part of his mechanized empire, but they reject the oppressive reality he wants to create for them. I’m always wishing there’s more stuff like this in the show. It’s important, dammit!
And then there’s the action. Again, watching Rangers get slammed around without helmets is so much more intense than seeing them completely shielded. Plus, I think a lot of us just like seeing helmetless Rangers in general. Though I still think it’s odd that their helmets are the only thing that disappear when they get hit by that attack. At least it’s better than the SPD finale, where the helmets are suddenly gone, just because.
Now, the climax of the battle is… interesting. On the one hand, I think the idea that the control tower slams down onto Venjix is really badass. On the other hand, I thought it was hilarious how Dillon just finds himself a parachute and jumps out a window with Tenaya at the last second, and that Venjix seems to be looking up, watching the thing fall directly toward him for, like, three days without even thinking of moving.
I mean, Dillon’s a Power Ranger. He could easily have morphed and just jumped onto a nearby building. We’ve seen this sort of thing thousands of times on the show. It is actually more plausible that he would do this than it is that he would randomly find a parachute and glide peacefully through the air with his sister attached to him. Hell, even if he was unable to morph, I would have accepted hybrid strength as an explanation, pseudo-science be damned. Anything but the random-ass parachute.
So, Venjix gets a building dropped on him and is defeated, and… suddenly the atmosphere outside the dome is clean and Earthy again. Wait… What did I miss?
I guess the Rangers aren’t going to be needed anymore, so it looks like everybody’s going their separate ways. So they re-enact another moment from Wild Force as they give back their morphers one-by-one. I did like Ziggy’s quiet “Get in gear” as he returns his morpher though.
I like that K can’t tell “Tenaya” if she’ll be able to keep her ability to see or not. Especially after she tells K that she’ll be fine either way. I’m not sure how intentional it was, but I thought it was a nice little gesture about the resiliance of humanity despite adversity. Plus, it’s just a nice way to wrap up her journey from human, to machine, back to human with a new life waiting for her to discover.
Dillon and his sister are heading out, and thankfully they’re bringing Summer along, so we don’t repeat the same awkwardness that was the Nick/Madison “goodbye” scene from Mystic Force. We can assume that they are indeed an item and that they’ll make plenty of ridiculously good-looking hybrid babies in the future.
Also, the idea of Ziggy and K running a school is both frightening and heartwarming at the same time. Scott joining his father is not altogether unexpected, but I suppose that’s what he wanted before the world ended. Gem and Gemma following him, to “blow things up and get paid for it” is nice as well. Though I really wish Flynn and Gemma were allowed to have more of a moment together. Flynn really has gotten the shaft more often than he should have on this show, and I would have been fine sacrificing the episode recap (which is fairly useless, since the show is completely over now) if it meant giving him some time with Gemma (brief as it would have been). They may not have had much shippyness this season, but I could easily see a connection that would have been nice to acknowledge as things wrapped up.
But setting aside the confusion about how the atmosphere suddenly became so pleasant again, I will say that the final scene with Dillon, Summer, and “Tenaya” was an awesome way to bookend the story. This part of Dillon’s journey ends where it began, watering a yellow flower in the desert. But then discovering that it’s only one of many, and that the natural world has begun to restore itself. It was at this point that I became teary-eyed, realizing that it was over.
There were no more bad guys to fight, no more fallen heroes left to resurrect, and no more megazords to sacrifice. For the first time in about 17 years, the power is OFF. And while many of us look forward to the re-airing of the original Mighty Morphin season, we know that ”Danger and Destiny” was conceived as the final new episode for the foreseeable future, perhaps forever. And it is with a healthy dose of bittersweetness that I sum up my experience with this show in three words.
It was fun.
“Danger and Destiny” gets a B.
May the Power protect us always…
-Dr. Tristan of HeroPower