It is time for a new Ranger Review, where one must learn their past and face their destiny, in Episodes 11 and 12 of Power Rangers Mystic Force, “The Gatekeeper”.
Part 1 begins with Clare being a bit of a failure at magic, which is pretty normal for an apprentice like her. Meanwhile, while loading his van, Toby witnesses Necrolai swoop down and steal an old man. The old man, in the Underworld, reveals himself to be the Oracle, a supremely knowledgeable wizard. The Oracle reveals to Morticon the existence of the Gatekeeper, a being with the power to raise the gates of the Underworld and set him free. The only thing he knows is that it is someone close to the Power Rangers.
LeeLee believes it could be Toby, leading to Necrolai kidnapping him as well. She, however, is stopped in an alley by Nick. Udonna tells the others the story of Niella, the previous Gatekeeper, Udonna’s sister, and Clare’s mother. Clare overhears and rushes off, afraid of never being able to live up to her mother’s legacy. Necrolai keeps the Rangers busy while Koragg kidnaps Udonna. Clare takes her mother’s tiara, unlocking her potent abilities as the Gatekeeper. She saves the Rangers from Necrolai, but is quickly interrupted by a challenge from Koragg. Unfortunately, she is defeated, and Necrolai uses her power to raise the gates.
Part 2 continues as Koragg kidnaps Clare. With the Rangers busy against a gargoyle monster, Koragg begins to suck the life-force from Clare to unseal the gates. Morticon breaks free from a crack in the gate, defeating the Rangers quickly. Nick rushes off to save Clare while the others battle against Morticon and the gargoyle. Nick breaks through the gate to reach Clare, battling with Koragg to finally rescue her. The two combine their magic to summon Catastros, rushing back to the others. The Centaurus Wolf Megazord pushes Morticon back before forming the Titan Megazord with the others.
Udonna, still held captive, channels her magic through the Snow Staff hanging on the wall. Her spirit aids the Rangers in defeating Morticon. Udonna frees herself and tries to retrieve the Snow Staff, but is stopped by Koragg, who lets her escape as she’s served her purpose. The group finds Clare and reassures her that her mother would be proud. In the Underworld, Koragg retrieves Morticon’s weapon to replace his own while Necrolai panics, unsure of how the Underworld will function without the rule of Morticon.
Whereas the last two part venture Mystic Force had to offer was rather lackluster, “The Gatekeeper” picked up the pace and delivered a two-parter that was packed from beginning to end. It gave focus to Clare, a bumbling side character, while advancing the ever-interesting plot of the villains for the season. We also received more backstory on the past war, and the characters involved in that time.
Power Rangers is known for side-characters that ultimately serve no purpose. While Clare has definitely shown her worth in the past, she seemed to play a more comical role, a role already filled by Phineas. Thankfully, this episode portrays Clare in a new light as the Gatekeeper. Clare has never been good at her magic, and we learn that her mother was the same way. Her mother grew to be one of the most powerful sorceresses the realm has known, and Clare is destined to do the same. Her fight scenes presented in both episodes were intense, pushing even Koragg to his limits. She had the power and determination to fight back, and it was absolutely great to see out of a character like Clare.
The stakes were high throughout this entire set of episodes. Morticon was at wits end, and Koragg is stronger than he’s ever been. Giving some of The Master’s magic to Necrolai to increase her power, the trio was a force to be reckoned with this time. Necrolai alone would have bested the Rangers if it wasn’t for Clare unlocking her power when she did. The battles with Koragg were certainly intense, and the fight choreography in both the fight with Koragg and Clare, then Koragg with Nick were well done. While the final fight with Morticon was a bit anti-climatic to an extent, seeing the Mystic Dragon, Titan Megazord, Centaurus Phoenix Megazord, and a spirit version of the White Mystic Ranger all end up fighting him was a wonderful scene, even if it lost some of its meaning in the translation to Mystic Force.
At the end of the episode, Udonna pulls out a ring, having a flashback to her husband and their child, wrapped in a red blanket. The baby looked similar to the baby seen in Nick’s memories in “Whispering Voices”. Our second call to a plot line that will define the story of Mystic Force. Power Rangers has always had some solid foreshadowing elements, but the way the “mysterious past” and “lost child” elements are being presented and played between Nick and Udonna is great to see on screen.
I can’t really fault this episode whatsoever. After “Stranger Within”, I was skeptical on the potential quality of future Mystic Force two-parters, but “The Gatekeeper” kicked it up and pushed the series even further. With major development for a side-character, the death of a major villain, and more and more elements on Mystic Force’s rich backstory, “The Gatekeeper” is a set of episodes that certainly shouldn’t be missed.
“The Gatekeeper” was adapted from Magiranger’s “Stage 17” and “Stage 18”. The Gatekeeper, called the Gate Key in Magiranger, was originally a three story arc due to the Gate Key being an unestablished character in the series, compared to Clare, a character Mystic Force has known since episode one. As such, the plot of “Stage 16” remained unadapted.
“Stage 17” features Rin, otherwise known as the Sky Saint Lunagel, scolding the Magirangers for being to kind. We learn that Raigel, a traitorous Sky Saint, tried to kill Rin to break the seal of the Underworld before she could return to Magitopia, putting her in the amnesiac state she was in during “Stage 16”. Rin believes Wolzard (Koragg) is Raigel, and goes after him while she tests the Magirangers in a mysterious room. Rin is ultimately defeated by Wolzard, but the Magirangers arrive to save her. Realizing the error in her ways, she embraces the Magirangers’ kindness. The bell on his wrist is blasted away, unlocking the gates to the Underworld.
“Stage 18” picks up where the previous episode left off, as Branken (Morticon) has broken out. After nearly getting defeated, the others order Kai (Red) to go protect Rin. Kai battles Wolzard, winning the duel and saving Rin in the process. Valkyrion arrives after his master’s defeat and transports Kai and Rin back to the others. Rin transforms into her Sky Saint form and leaves for Magitopia, giving Kai and the others her blessing. They form FireKaizer (Centaurus Pheonix Megazord) to put the pressure on Braken before defeating him once and for all with MagiKing, powered up with the strength of the spirit of their mother.
This arc in both shows were the same in premise, but were executed in vastly different ways. Instead of using one of the Ancient Mystics to be the Gatekeeper, Mystic Force chose to use a descendent of one. Even better, they made it a character everyone was familiar with, and actually had some attachment to. While the stakes in Magiranger were certainly high, having this new force be someone you already know and (possibly) love makes the stakes even higher.
That’s not to say that Magiranger’s arc failed. Introducing Rin as this kind, loving character to interact with the others served as a nice way to give the following episodes a little bit more of an emotional tug at the heart strings, especially after how much Kai cared about her. Regardless, there’s a lot to enjoy about finding out this bumbling apprentice is actually the holder of some incredible powers.
In the next Weekly Ranger Review, a new friend is made and a new evil rises, in Episode 13, “Scaredy Cat”.