It is time for a new Ranger Review, where the Rangers find an unlikely friend to combat a new enemy, in Episode 13 of Power Rangers Mystic Force, “Scaredy Cat”.
“Scaredy Cat” picks up right where “The Gatekeeper” left off. Morticon has been defeated, leaving the Underworld without a leader to do The Master’s bidding. Necrolai seeks a mysterious mummy trapped in a sealed cave. The Rangers break the seal, only to fall into Necrolai’s trap. The mummy inside is actually Imperious, a powerful evil wizard from the past. Fortunately, in that same cave, the Rangers have found a mysterious cat genie named Jenji to come to their aid.
The episode serves as a starting point to what is essentially the second of three arcs in the story of Mystic Force. Morticon’s time is done, and in comes Imperious, a far more interesting and powerful character, especially as we learn more about his past. Considering Morticon only had two fights the entire time he was on the show, to see Imperious show up and immediately start kicking Ranger butt was nothing short of awesome. To top it off, his first appearance gave him a giant Megazord battle. Giant in the most literal sense. He was huge! Despite getting forced back by Jenji, Imperious proved his strength. The Rangers will have to power up tenfold to combat this new threat.
Jinji is an interesting character that falls somewhere in between a sidekick and a weapon. He’s a prankster at heart with a past connected to Udonna that, as the title of the episode suggests, doesn’t have a whole lot of courage. During the first encounter with Imperious, Jenji, lamp and all, scurries away while the others get attacked. He ultimately returns to their aid however, and using his strong magic, aids the Rangers in pushing back Imperious. It’s an odd choice to add another comedic character when we already have Phineas, but Jenji’s style and presence are certainly much different than everyone’s favorite troblin. A welcomed addition to the cast. With him in the cave was a mysterious frog that startles Madison, who apparently has a fear of the amphibians. The frog pops up again after their battle with Imperious, silently croaking and observing.
Speaking of Phineas, the entire B-Plot of this episode features Phineas having a toothache. Before destroying the forcefield, the Rangers were trying to take a disguised Phineas to a local dentist to get his tooth removed, but are forced to leave him with Toby after they rush to the cave. This gives Toby and Phineas a pretty nice amount of screen time, uniting the comic relief of the magic world and real world. While the plot doesn’t lead anywhere productive, it was great to see those two characters interact with one another.
At the very end of the episode, two important things happen. First, Udonna asks Jenji what happened to Bowen. At this point in the story, we have no idea who Bowen is, but given the flashbacks to her child in “The Gatekeeper” it’s easy to put two and two together. Pieces of the past are starting to become relevant in the present, and that always makes for an engaging story. Second, the Fire Heart finally hatched, revealing an oddly adorable baby dragon that desired to imprint on Clare, his new mama. Both Bowen and Fire Heart will continue to be integral parts of the Mystic Force story throughout the second and third arcs of the series.
Like something that usually plagues two-parter episode, “Scaredy Cat”, as the introduction to a new story arc, is mostly just a whole lot of set up. While the action was unusually great for a set-up episode, a lot happened in a short time. Imperious was brought to life, the Rangers discover Jenji, a mysterious frog watches, we learn more of Udonna’s past, and Fire Heart finally hatches. All in a nice, compact 22 minutes. While certainly not a bad episode, there wasn’t as much to bounce off of as there was in previous episodes. Still, being the start of a new story in the series, it is an episode that surely shouldn’t be missed.
“Scaredy Cat” is an adaptation of Magiranger’s “Stage 19.” Like “Scaredy Cat” did with “The Gatekeeper”, “Stage 19” picks up after the events of “Stage 18” and introduces many of the same elements that “Scaredy Cat” brought to the table for Mystic Force.
“Stage 19” features Nai and Mea trying to get into a sealed-off cave. They trick the Magirangers into entering the cave and breaking the seal, stealing a mummy. The Magirangers find a magic lamp, home to Smokey, a cat genie that sings them a song and grants them a wish. They try to wish for the defeat of Infershia, but he can’t grant that. Meanwhile, the mummy is brought back to life as High Priest Memmy, previously the traitorous Sky Saint Raigel that Rin spoke of in the previous episode. He goes on the offense against the Magirangers, who, with Smokey’s help, end up pushing him back to Infershia. Smokey ultimately decides to aid the Magirangers.
If the similarities weren’t glaringly evident, “Scaredy Cat” and “Stage 19” are two incredibly similar stories. I can’t really fault Mystic Force for that though, as the episode does tell a rather intriguing story, and both kick-start the second act of the series. While the outline is there and was followed to a tee, Mystic Force still tweaked the script to include Jenji’s connection with Udonna and the previous Mystics, making the story seem more befitting of Mystic Force.
“Stage 19” however did a fantastic job of foreshadowing the fight against Raigel and another Sky Saint at the beginning of the episode, as well as specifically stating that Memmy was Raigel. It’s a little disappointing that Mystic Force gave no hints whatsoever of that story line. I could understand if it wasn’t being used, but since it is, some more elements of foreshadowing in “Scaredy Cat” or even previous episodes would have been ideal.
Both are great episodes that tell virtually the same story for different series. Despite being close, I find episodes like these to be some of the most fascinating in Super Sentai and Power Rangers. When one episode can be tweaked to fit two completely different shows, it’s truly a sight to see.
In the next Ranger Review, a shining knight from the past joins our heroes, in Episode 14, “Long Ago”.