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Weekly Ranger Review: Dino Charge Episode 04, “Return of the Caveman”

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Weekly Ranger Review: Dino Charge Episode 04, “Return of the Caveman”

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It’s time to get your caveman on as we kick back and take a look at Power Rangers Dino Charge’s fourth episode, “Return of the Caveman”.


Synopsis

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Koda is dreaming about the past, recalling how he found the Blue Energem 100,000 year ago. Outside the cave, his brother, Taku, is being attacked by a wild sabertooth tiger. Koda tackles it, causing both of them to fall off the side of the mountain. The Blue Energem glows as he falls toward the icy ground below. Koda awakens suddenly in his cave room at the base, running out to see the rest of the team testing their new Dino Cycle. Afraid, Koda tries to attack it, along with Shelby’s phone.

On Sledge’s ship, Fury selects the monster Slammer to capture the Rangers. Poisandra complains that Sledge doesn’t spend time with her, so he presents her with Wrench’s creation Curio, a child-like monster to accompany Poisandra and get her off his back.

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At the park, Chase tries to teach Koda how to ride a bike. Slammer attacks, successfully capturing Chase. While trying to catch Koda, he catches a boy on his bike as well. In Slammer’s lair, the boy’s bike made a hole in the bottom of the cage that lets Koda and the injured boy escape.

While Koda and Peter traverse the caves, Kendall and the others track down Koda and Chase. Tyler and Riley take out the new Dino Cycles while Shelby and Kendall take Tyler’s jeep. They arrive at the cave just as Koda and Peter escape. Kendall rushes Peter to the hospital as the four Rangers morph to fight Slammer.

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Tyler and Riley take on Slammer with the help of the Dino Cycles while Koda and Shelby take on the Vivix. Tyler, Koda, and Shelby summon their Zords to form the Dino Charge Megazord. Riley summons his Raptor Zord. Together, they form the Dino Charge Megazord Stego-Raptor Formation to take out Slammer. The Tricera Zord breaks through the cave to rescue Chase.

The gang finds Peter in the park to give him a brand new bike. Peter offers to teach Koda how to ride a bike in return.

Review

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Koda was arguably the single most mysterious character we have gotten out of the first few episodes of Dino Charge. We are introduced to this odd character with a speech problem, only to eventually learn that he’s a caveman, alive because of the immortal properties of the Energems. This lead many to call out the confusion behind why a being that’s been alive for 100,000 years or so would still act like a caveman of old. Thankfully, this episode raises some valid guesses, as we see Koda fall into what appears to be an icy cavern as the Blue Energem glowed, implying the Energem did something with the ice to help preserve the being it chose to protect it.

This episode also served as a great way to dive into Koda’s personality. His interactions with the boy, Peter, mirror his love for his brother in a pretty neat way. Given Koda’s circumstances, we can never meet or see him interact with a family. It’s neat that the show can develop these sort of proxies to tap into Koda’s love for protecting the people he cares about. The return at the end of the episode with Peter teaching Koda how to ride a bike was pretty adorable, and sent a great message that anyone can learn something from anyone of any age.

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Chase being captured was a convenient way to dance around Sentai footage, but it worked flawless here given the fact that Chase and Koda have a decent history together. Those two were Rangers working at the museum before Tyler, Shelby, and Riley even found their Energems. It was pretty neat to see Chase try to teach Koda a thing or two about the present day. I’d like to see their interaction be a running element throughout the show.

My biggest gripe with the episode would be the way the two parts of the episode were handled. The entire first part of the episode focused on Koda. We got to see his past as well as how he handles the present. Unfortunately, thanks to the Sentai footage of this monster’s episode, once they morph it turns into the Tyler and Riley with their flashy new bikes show. Granted, it would have taken a fair chunk of money to shoot an original fight scene, even more so if they wanted to keep with the flashy bike fight. However, keeping in mind that Koda was still incapable of using the cycles, I can write it off pretty easy.

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A short scene in this episode introduced us to Wrench’s newest creation, Curio. Curio is a plush toy looking character created from “spare monster parts”. I was curious when Luckyuro’s counterpart was going to show up in Dino Charge, if at all. Being created to occupy Poisandra while Sledge is busy trying to collect the Energems. It is a neat little way to explain why the two characters are always seen in footage together. Given they both have a very happy-go-lucky personality, the two should be great on screen.

Dino Charge managed to pump out yet another really enjoyable episode. Koda was a character that most definitely needed a focus episode, and it is great that we’re able to get one so quickly. However, there is certainly some more mystery surrounding his character.

VS. Kyoryuger

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“Return of the Caveman” is a loose adaptation of Kyoryuger’s “Brave 03.” Given that I used loose to describe last week’s adaptation, I need to come up with a different term. Thin perhaps? Regardless, outside of using the same monster, and having characters get kidnapped, the two episodes have absolutely nothing in common.

In “Brave 03” Daigo (Red) along with Souji (Green)’s father get captured by Debo Royaroya (Slammer). Souji must find a way to break Debo Royaroya’s cage to free his father. Once he tracks them down and frees them, the rest of the episode was pretty much what we witnessed in Dino Charge.

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So while the base plot element was the same, Dino Charge used the footage to their advantage, shifting the episode around to have Chase be captured instead of Tyler. Additionally, they used the plot of the episode to toss Koda in as well, so he could be the highlight of the episode and we could dive deeper into his back-story.

Speaking of Koda, it is interesting to note that despite both of our Blue Rangers being vastly different people with vastly different personalities, both Blue Rangers are fighting to protect a child they love. In Nossan’s case, it was his niece. In Koda’s case, it was his brother, Taku. In this episode, he showed a great deal of care for the boy he saved, Peter. I do not know if Koda being a child protector will be a common trend, but it is an interesting trait to point out.

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I love this method of adaptation and Power Rangers hasn’t seen it in quite a long time. I find it incredibly interesting when I can watch the episode and say something like “I sort of remember this happening, but this is incredibly different.” It shows skill on behalf of the writer adapting the episode to be able to spin the necessary footage to their favor, while changing even more to give the audience something completely fresh.  This could have easily been adapted as a Riley focus episode, but the Dino Charge crew took a completely different route, and gave us an incredibly passionate Koda focus episode.

Next Week

Next week in “Breaking Black”, we focus on Chase as he acts as guard for a mysterious fortune teller. After Chase falls under Spellbinder’s spell, the other Rangers must figure out how to break it and save their friend. The episode will be an adaptation of Kyoryuger‘s “Brave 04”

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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