“True Black” begins with Sledge enlisting the help of the monster named Gold Digger. Meanwhile, the Rangers are out in the woods, training. Kendall introduces Chase to the Dino Armor X Charger, a new Charger that gives the user orange “Dino Steel” armor on both arms, as well as two new jaw shaped claw weapons, unleashing a powerful spinning attack. Testing the Charger, Chase breaks through the stone wall, damaging one of Shelby’s training bags. Seems like a poor place to put the wall or training bags.
Then, a song by the N-Zed Boys, a New Zealand band, comes on the radio. Chase begins mocking the band in front of Shelby, who secretly really likes them.
Back at the Dino Bite, Chase’s tardy appearance forces Shelby to stay at work, causing her to miss her chance to buy tickets for the N-Zed Boys concert. Chase then proceeds to call her out for being a “crazy fan” who wears their t-shirts. Shelby learns the tickets sold out and becomes more upset with Chase for what he did. Chase shrugs it off and continues to belittle her.
The Rangers are alerted of a monster signature and follow a trail of gold coins to find Gold Digger, Poisandra, Wrench, and Curio. The battle ends with Chase being unable to utilize the Dino Armor X Charger, resulting in Ivan, Tyler, and Shelby being trapped underground by Gold Digger’s stone slab attack.
Kendall states there’s nothing wrong with the Charger, and the problem is with Chase. Koda and Riley attempt to use it, but the Charger only responds with Black Energy from the Black Energem.
Chase realizes the Charger isn’t working because of the way he treated Shelby earlier and it is affecting his mental state. He overcomes his emotions and utilizes the Charger to free the three Rangers. The Rangers defeat Gold Digger using the Dino Spike as well as the Dino Armor X, then destroy him with the Dino Charge Megazord Tri-Stego-Ptera Formation.
Back at the ship, Sledge starts punishing Wrench, as he gets attacked by a green tentacle from the solitary confinement cell. When all the Rangers fail to win tickets to the concert on the radio, they learn the winner was actually Chase, who gives the tickets to Shelby to make up for what he did.
One of Power Rangers’ strongest messages has always been teamwork and friendship being used to save the day. “True Black” did a lot of interesting things in that regard. Not being able to use the newest weapon because of an emotional reason is, while cliche, new to the series thus far. Unfortunately, coming straight off of “Sync or Swim”, an episode focused on teamwork, an episode based around friendship was a bit much.
While it was nice to get a little bit of Chase and Shelby’s personality, an interesting take between these two episodes would have been to give Chase a rivalry with Ivan. Chase has a very “eyes on me” personality that could have clashed with Ivan’s over the top style. Creating a rivalry between them could have resulted in some sort of personal spat that would have caused the Dino Armor X Charger to malfunction. This would have bridged “Sync or Swim” with “True Black” to create something more out of two filler episodes.
That said, I really enjoy the message “True Black” conveys. Even the best of friends don’t always have the same views and sometimes you could say or do something that upsets them. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I know the feeling when I’ve hurt someone, even unintentionally. I like the idea that Chase has these feelings, but masks it behind his usual straightforward and cocky personality. Sometimes in life we set up walls as a defense mechanism, and I feel like that’s exactly what Chase did in this episode. It added a little bit of depth to his character I really enjoy.
I would also like to take a moment to point out that since we’ve returned from the hiatus, the Rangers have almost died by freezing, getting blown up by a gigantic bomb, and now suffocation.
It’s rough being a Ranger.
This episode did debut the Dino Armor X Charger. If Kyoryuger is any indication, this weapon most likely won’t get used a whole lot of times, but it’s a form I really like. There’s something about the double arm armor that I enjoy, and it looks fantastic on the Black Dino Charge suit.
“True Black” also marks the first appearance of the mysterious entity in the solitary confinement cell aboard Sledge’s ship. I’m really interested in seeing what becomes of this. It could be something from Kyoryuger or it could be something unique and new to the series. All we know at this point is that nearly everyone on the ship is terrified of that cell, so what’s behind closed doors could be really exciting.
I enjoy the message the episode was trying to convey. I like the Dino Armor X and I absolutely love the way James Davies and Camille Hyde performed throughout this episode, especially right after the rescue.
While I have nothing but props to give, it doesn’t change that at the end of the day, this was yet another episode that didn’t really advance the plot or characters a whole lot, at least not to the point where “True Black” becomes must watch Power Rangers. It’s certainly not required viewing, but it’s an episode that I ended up really enjoying.
“True Black” is an adaptation of “Brave 16” from Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger. Like “Sync or Swim”, “True Black” takes the basis of the Kyoryuger episode, but turns it on its head.
In “Brave 16”, Ian (Black) learns that Aigoron (Wrench) was the one behind his friend’s death, and not a previously defeated Debo Monster like he had originally thought. This infuriates Ian, who abandons the others during battle to do a one on one fight against Aigoron. Debo Zaihon (Gold Digger) ends up trapping Kyoryu Red, Kyoryu Pink, and Kyoryu Gold underground with his stone tablets.
Back at the Spirit Base, Ian, Nobuharu (Blue), Souji (Green), and Torin (Keeper’s role) think of a plan to free the others. Ian decides to use Deinosgrander (Dino Armor X) to pierce the stone. Aigoron tries to distract Ian, but Ian learns how to harness the power of Deinosgrander, and ends up freeing the three trapped Kyoryugers. Together, they take down Debo Zaihon once and for all.
Again, like “Sync or Swim” the Kyoryuger episode had more to it than the Dino Charge rendition. Starting with this episode, Ian and Aigoron had a rivalry that lasted nearly the entire series. There were hints of a rivalry between Fury and Tyler early on in the seasons.
But since the arrival of Ivan, Fury has had less and less of a presence in the show, and I hope that’s something that changes. Kyoryuger had a beautiful dynamic between the Kyoryugers and the Deboth Legion. Considering Sledge and his cronies have been pretty transparent throughout Dino Charge, it’s something I really miss.
It’s not that “True Black” wasn’t a good episode, as I really did like the message portrayed via Chase and Shelby, but “Brave 16”’s rivalry driven set up made for an episode that delivered more impact on the story than what “True Black” was able to provide.
Regardless, it’s always great to see the Dino Charge crew create a whole new story out of the same working footage.
Next time, Prince Philip receives the destiny he seeks in Episode 15, “Rise of a Ranger”.