It is time for a new Ranger Review, where only victory can break the spell with episode four of Power Rangers Mystic Force, “Rock Solid”.
Rock Solid is an episode that focuses on the characters of Nick and Madison, as well as driving home the usual Power Rangers moral that everyone is different, and should not be judged for being that way. In this episode, Madison continues her quirk of filming everything ever. Nick makes a snide remark about how she is always hiding behind her camera, and needs to do something adventurous. Madison of course storms out of the Rockporium and sets the stage for the events of the episode.
Clawbster, the monster of this episode, has the ability to turn people into stone. After several reports of people turning to stone and going missing, Clawbster was finally able to get his hands on a Ranger, as Madison tries to defend a guy she met in the park. Fortunately, the Rangers arrive in time to transport Madison to Root Core to keep her safe. At Root Core, the group plays the tape Madison was filming, which is somehow magically edited in camera, and Nick learns the error of his ways.
This episode also introduces us to two new spell codes. “Galwit Mysto Motro” will transform Nick’s broom or Mystic Racer into the Mystic Speeder, a motorcycle, suiting Nick’s favorite mode of transportation. Finally, “Galwit Mysto Unios” will unite all five Mystic Titans into the Titan Megazord. The Mystic Speeder is a neatly designed bike, colored red, and is only ever used by Nick. That being said, its debut brings along an impressively choreographed fight scene with Nick battling Koragg. Power Rangers motorcycle fights are always over the top, but I would not expect any less from the franchise. The debut of the Titan Megazord was not nearly as impressive of a specticel. Despite the fact that the Rangers become the Titans, when united as the Titan Megazord, the Rangers are transported into a cockpit designed after a chess board, including the Rangers as pieces. While I don’t necessarily relate chess and magic, the motif is certainly original to the franchise, and is a great change of pace.
While the villain plot did not develop much at all this episode, it was great to focus on the characters of Nick and Madison, with Madison getting the bulk of the actual character development and Nick getting most of the action. Madison begins her journey as an incredibly shy individual. Filming lets Madison interact with people on a daily basis without actually talking one on one or leaving her comfort zone. While her passion for filming never leaves, this is just the first step in her progression as the series goes on.
With Nick getting most of the action in a Madison focus episode brings up the general argument with this season that the show focuses too much on Nick. While Nick certainly got the pretty toys in this episode with the Mystic Speeder, there was a legitimate reason behind it. Nick is the new guy. He doesn’t understand Madison like her friends do. Because of this he mocks her personality and ultimately sets Madison to be in danger. He is the one that has to learn to accept her differences, thus he becomes the secondary focus of the episode. Additionally, Nick’s rivalry with Koragg is a main focus of the show. That part is hard to avoid.
The episode itself felt like a standardized Power Rangers episode. Character A is in danger. Character B steps up and saves the day. Characters C-E help. That being said, the episode did a great job at introducing us to the personality of Madison, as well as setting both Madison and Nick on their respective journeys throughout the show. After the rush job that was “Code Busters”, “Rock Solid” felt like a calmer change of pace. While it was not the most entertaining episode possible, it did a lot right that was certainly enjoyable.
“Rock Solid” is an adaptation of Magiranger’s “Stage 04”. Like most episodes throughout Disney’s run of the franchise, the Mystic Force crew took the episode and gave it a little bit of an original spin.
In “Stage 04”, Kai (Red) and Urara (Blue) get into a fight when Kai’s recklessness breaks a compact given to her by their mother. Urara uses her fortune telling ability to investigate the Cockatrice monster’s method of attack and how to defeat it. When the team confronts the monster, Urara pushes Kai out of the way of the attack, and is turned to stone. Kai, noticing that stone Urara was holding the broken compact, eventually realizes that the monster’s attack can be reflected back at it. He reflects the attack back to destroy the monster. The team earns the spell to form MagiKing (Titan Megazord) to defeat the monster once and for all.
The parallels are obvious. Both Red and Blue get into a fight, Blue gets turned to stone. Red saves her. A simple cut and paste would have given us a story line where Nick breaks a pocket mirror (or even a compact) given to Madison by her mother or Grandmother which makes her upset, and the story progresses. While the Mystic Force story is somewhat similar at the core, I’m glad the writers took an initiative to generate a story that just made more sense for our show.
Madison is a character that does not appear to rely on material things, instead thriving on her relationships with her friends. Having Nick instead go after her personally just makes more sense, especially when, being the new kid in town, he doesn’t quite understand her yet. Given the circumstances of the show as well, it would not have made any sense to suddenly give our in-training rangers magical abilities they’re adept at. “Hey Madison! You’re suddenly very good at working a crystal ball and finding hidden secrets. Go sit in the corner and let us know how we beat this guy!” That just does not mix well everything Mystic Force has presented thus far.
That is not to say that either show is wrong or right by any means. Both presented the base plot in a way that fit the tone, style, and characters in the show. As I mentioned previously, the characters of Mystic Force are a bit different than those in Magiranger. Because of this, it feels great when the crew takes the time to still use the footage to their advantage, but generate a story that fits the world of Mystic Force better.
In the next Weekly Ranger Review, posting on Tuesday, trust runs thin as lies are whispered into our ears with episode five, “Whispering Voices”.