It is time for Tuesday’s Weekly Ranger Review, where we are going to kick back and earn some spell codes with episode three of Power Rangers Mystic Force, “Code Busters”.
Mentioned briefly in the season opener, the Ranger’s gear operate via spell codes, a three to four digit number code the Rangers enter on their Mystic Morphers to summon weapons, vehicles, or transform. “Code Busters” focuses on that, as Udonna tells the Rangers during training that spell codes are earned from the Xenotome when heroic deeds are performed. Chip and Vida get an idea to “heroically” perform deeds for people in Briarwood to earn spell codes as fast as possible. Obviously, despite their best efforts, no codes are awarded until Chip and Vida must single handedly save the others from the belly of a beast.
I view this episode as a neat sort of “introduction” into the world of Mystic Force. The beginning of the episode features Clare searching for ingredients for potions, along with Udonna crafting a potion later in the episode, something we will see plenty of over the course of Mystic Force. Additionally, as the name suggests, spell codes are the core of all the Ranger powers, and this episode serves as a nice spring board on how they work, and what they do.
The Rangers earn two spell codes in this episode. One is “Galwit Mysto Prifior”, which transforms the Rangers into their Mystic Titan modes, the Zords for the season. The second is “Galwit Neramax Unios”, a spell that combines the Mystic Minotaur, Mystic Garuda, Mystic Mermaid, and Mystic Sprite into the Mystic Dragon. Of course, this episode marks the first appearance of the Mystic Titans. In an unusual twist, instead of actual mechanical Zords this season, the Rangers actually transform into large Mystic Titans that serve as the Zords for the season. In another neat twist, four of the Titans can combine to form the Mystic Dragon that the Mystic Phoenix (Red’s Titan) can ride. Having so many suited Zords this season makes for some really nice Zord fights that we don’t get to often. Variety is the spice of life, and I guess it is for Power Rangers as well.
We are formally introduced to Necrolai in this episode as she announces who she is before battling and capturing Nick, Xander, and Madison. Towards the end of the episode, a large eye is seen in the pit of the Underworld. Morticon claims it is The Master, as all of the Styxoids, along with Morticon, Necrolai, and Mortician bow down to him. Or bow towards him, considering he is an eye in a pit.
On the side of good we meet Phineas, a part-troll, part-goblin outcast that roams the forest. We first meet him with Clare at the beginning of the episode, as he rescues her from the worm creature we see later in the episode. Later, we meet him formally with Nick when the worm monster attacks once again. Finally, we meet him again with Nick at the end of the episode where we learn who he is exactly. Phineas is an interesting character, serving as a sort of comic relief role while also serving as our connection with the forest dwellers, since we do not actually see the citizens of the forest all that much.We will see plenty of him.
The episode itself, though, felt really rushed, with two plots smashed into one with both the main monster and the worm monster. This lead to both the Titans in general, as well as Mystic Dragon formations. It was certainly effective in building the world and laying the framework of how the season will function, but that certainly doesn’t mean it wasn’t a series of rushed plots.
Code Busters is one of those episodes of Power Rangers that is a mash-up of two Sentai episodes, this being a mash up of Magiranger’s Stage 02 and Stage 3, much like “Broken Spell Part II” containing bits of “Stage 01” and “Stage 02”. The first portion of this episode, featuring Chip and Vida battling the monster, were taken from “Stage 02”. The secondary parts of the episode featuring the worm and the team forming the Mystic Dragon, come from “Stage 03”.
“Stage 02” features the death of MagiMother, giving us the footage used in “Broken Spell Part II”. After her death, Kai (Red), Makito (Green), and Urara (Blue) must rush to the city to defend it against Nai and Mea, the two girls who form Vancuria (Necrolai). Tsubasa (Yellow), and Houka (Pink) are too crushed by their mother’s passing to go, and return home, eventually finding their mother’s magical lair. There, they learn of the Infershia vs. Magitopia war, and of their mission to defeat Infershia. Tsubasa and Houka eventually rescue the others and gain the spell to transform into the Majin (Mystic Titans).
Obviously, the base between the two episodes are rather identical. Both split yellow and pink away from the others so they can get captured by the evil vampire lady. Once again, Power Rangers did what I adore and shifted the reasoning instead of being cut and paste. Both Chip and Vida are rather determined and adventurous people, so even if Udonna was killed in Mystic Force, it would be unlike their characters to back down. The writers used their characters’ impatient traits for some light humor and an alternate take on the story.
Another thing to point out is Houka used the transformation magic constantly in Magiranger. In “Stage 02”, she transformed into a pepper shaker to make the monster sneeze the others out. Vida never uses the transformation magic in Mystic Force, the show instead opting to give her wind-based fairy powers, using fairy dust to make the monster sneeze instead. While both work, I really enjoy Vida’s more grounded mystical-based powers.
“Stage 03” features the worm monster running amuck in the city and eating people. The episode itself is a focus on Makito and Kai. Kai is granted the leadership position from Magitopia, told to the family by Mandora-Boy, a magical plant assistant in their lair. Being the eldest sibling, this upsets Makito. After several cases of in-fighting, the family resolves their differences and earns the spell to combine into the MagiDragon (Mystic Dragon).
I feel as though the worm monster was only squeezed into “Code Busters” as a quick and affordable way of introducing the Mystic Dragon quickly. None of the other elements were added into “Code Busters” from “Stage 03”, to the point where it could have made a better opener to our next episode than being tacked onto the butt of “Code Busters.”
In the next Weekly Ranger Review, posting on Thursday, we learn that everyone is a little bit different, as we take a look at Mystic Force‘s forth episode, “Rock Solid”.