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Weekly Ranger Review: Dino Charge Episode 02, “Past, Present, and Fusion”

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Weekly Ranger Review: Dino Charge Episode 02, “Past, Present, and Fusion”

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It is once again time to ready our Dino Chargers with a look at the second episode of Power Rangers Dino Charge, “Past, Present, and Fusion.”


Synopsis

Riley, our Green Ranger, is training his fencing skills in a barn on his ranch. After being interrupted to do chores by his brother Matt, his dog, Rubik, runs off. Riley chases after the dog to find him barking at Fury in the forest. After an impressive fight, Riley finds the Green Energem embedded in a rock, using his newfound Dino Saber to fight off Fury. Riley decides to make a pilgrimage to Amber Beach’s Dinosaur Museum, to learn more about the Energem.

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After Riley’s scooter breaks down, he is picked up by Tyler and Shelby. The trio stop to help a random person trapped by a car. After the Energems give them the strength to flip the car into the air, the group’s ambition to head to the museum rises.

A randomly placed T-Rex skull hides the entrance to an underground laboratory. It is here the trio meet Keeper, Kendall, Koda, and Chase. Keeper and Kendall explain what the Energems are, how they are connected to the Dino Chargers, as well as the fact they are now Power Rangers. The formation of the team is short lived, as an alert goes off due to seismic activity. The team, minus Tyler, leave to investigate. The seismic activity and deactivation of Tyler’s Energem were caused by the T-Rex Zord, who rushes toward the city.

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Tyler’s Energem is reactivated, as he leaves to reach the city. He morphs and fights along side Rexy, the T-Rex Zord. The others arrive shortly after, morphing as well and continuing the front against Ice Age and the Vivixs. The team, along with Rexy, defeat Ice Age, the Vivixs, and the Vivizords to save the city.

The Rangers return to the lab to find a worried Keeper. Keeper believed Fury to be the only monster on Earth. Keeper informs the Rangers of Sledge and his mission. Meanwhile, Sledge paces through his jail to see which of his bounties has the ability to destroy the Rangers and steal the Energems.

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Review

As predicted, “Past, Present, and Fusion” felt like part two of a two-part opening episode. Besides the intro scene having to take place a small amount of time earlier than episode one, the episode picks up exactly where episode one left off. The opening scene introduces us to Riley, and I have to say he made a stunning first impression. It’s hard not to root for someone who will fight a big, threatening monster to save his dog. His honorable and heroic demeanor made Riley, at least for me, a likable character from the get go.

It’s easy to point out that the pacing of the episode felt incredibly fast. Riley’s introduction, receiving of his powers, and joining up with the team lasted only five minutes. The trio instantly found the base, and were practically greeted at the door by Keeper. Follow that up with a quick introductory powers fight and you have the recipe of a generic Power Rangers or Super Sentai intro episode.

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That’s not to say the episode was bad by any means. Despite the quick pace, we got to see a lot of character presentation, particularly in Riley and Shelby. In Riley’s intro alone, we see how much of a hero at heart he is. Like I said before, his first impression was a very powerful moment. Shelby’s moment of being scared was also rather pivotal. The scene sets up her ambition to be recognized while further chasing her goals. We’re also reintroduced to Kendall, Koda, Chase, and Keeper, though the episode didn’t spend a whole lot of time highlighting them beyond what we knew already. Even Tyler, despite the entire battle of this episode highlighting him, took a back seat to Riley and Shelby.

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Speaking of Shelby, her relationship with Kendall was once again brought to the forefront. Kendall was quick to call out Shelby, stating she had no idea why the Energem would choose her. She was also quick to mock her for being “just a waitress” that couldn’t handle their mission. This scene sets the groundwork for the progression of both their characters. Both Shelby and Kendall are flawed characters. Shelby is a bit of a know-it-all that wants nothing but to prove her worth to the point where it could (and most likely will) get her into trouble. Kendall, however, has a lot more going on. Being a young scientist with what is most likely a high intellect, she doesn’t see someone like Shelby as a person of worth. This flawed mindset sets her character on the path of enlightenment, so to speak. It will be interesting to see how the two character’s paths intersect to bring the characters on equal ground.

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Despite feeling like a cookie cutter Power Rangers intro episode, the episode still resonated well with me. It’s honestly hard to review this episode by itself. Coming straight off of episode one, the two work so seamlessly with one another, I feel like this has to be viewed as an hour premier to get the full experience. Between the two, we are left with a lot of fantastically driven character moments, a set up to a very interesting world presented by a very interesting and energetic cast. As I said in my last review, Dino Charge leaves me wanting more. That certainly holds true after episode two.

VS. Kyoryuger

Dino Charge has an interesting set up where our first episode had no Sentai footage, and as such, didn’t line up with Brave 01 from Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger all that well. However, “Past, Present, and Fusion” certainly lines up with Brave 01 almost perfectly.

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In Brave 01, we are introduced to Daigo Kiryu, Kyoryu Red, and we bare witness to how his pact with Gabutyra is formed, how he becomes a Kyoryuger, and get basic set up for the mentor, the base, the powers, and the villains. Even after two episodes, Dino Charge fills in most of the same holes, while leaving plenty still open for question. The narrative of Dino Charge is fairly nonlinear. We are introduced to a lot of characters, but not in direct ways. For instance, we still don’t know much of anything about Koda, Chase, or any of our villains. In Kyoryuger, we had a rough idea of who everyone was, and what their basic character traits were.

Directly comparing this episode with Brave 01, our intro scene revolves around Riley, the Green Ranger, as opposed to Daigo. We see who he is, what he stands for, and how he gets his powers, much like Daigo did in Brave 01. In both episodes, we see our Red Ranger stumble upon the base of the team, and are introduced to the team’s mentor figure for the series. Both episodes also have Red transforming first, and fighting solo for a vast majority of the episode before his teammates show up for the big flashy finish. However unlike Kyoryuger, the Dino Charge team remains a team right from the start, where as it took the Kyoryugers a few episodes to actually form a structured team.

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Where as “Powers of the Past” used no Sentai footage, “Past, Present, and Fusion” gave us our daily dose of Sentai fight scene at the end of the episode. While the episode’s base plot followed Brave 01 closely, it still changed a lot to be its own independent episode. Comparing the two introductions is a little unfair, given that Dino Charge had the wonderful benefit of essentially being a one hour opener. I always loved Power Rangers for taking the formula of a Sentai series and turning it into its own mold. It seems like we have that back for Dino Charge and I couldn’t be happier.

YouTube Toy Review, Co-Host of The RRR Podcast, and resident Tokusatsu toy nerd at The Tokusatsu Network. I write, I review, and I certainly talk a lot when given the opportunity.

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