This episode was titled “Royal Sacrifice” in all countries except the United States. The reason for the change is unknown.
The episode begins with an excavating team finding a Pachycephalosaurus fossil in a quarry. Meanwhile, Prince Phillip of Zandar practices martial arts with G-BO, a remote controlled robot. His secretary comes in with news of the fossil. Phillip cracks it open to discover the Graphite Energem. It doesn’t bond with him, and he remains confused.
Meanwhile, the tentacle monster in Sledge’s solitary confinement cell captures Poisandra, but she’s “saved” by Fury. Sledge grants him another chance to destroy the Rangers.
The museum hosts a cultural day with a children’s choir from New Zealand. Of course, Chase’s sister is one of the kids, and he promises to teach her skateboarding. Ranger duty calls, however, as Fury attacks the city. The Rangers do battle but are “assisted” by G-BO. After the battle, Chase departs while Prince Phillip greets the disgruntled Rangers. Unfortunately, G-BO was taken by Fury who reprograms it to destroy the Rangers.
Koda tells Phillip of how the Energem bonded with him. Phillip, in an effort to bond with the Graphite Energem, does a number of good deeds around Amber Beach, such as donating fossils, opening a park, and giving to a food bank. Stumped, Phillip is about to give up when Fury attacks with G-BO. The Energem is flung, and Chase’s sister is put in danger. Phillip rushes to grab her, protecting her from Fury’s attack. This causes the Energem to bond with him. The now seven Rangers all morph to take G-BO, Fury, and the Viviks down.
Fury creates a Vivizord with the Viviks. With Tyler injured, Phillip calls upon the Pachy Zord, which makes quick work of the Vivizord while Philip destroys G-BO as the Dino Charge Graphite Ranger.
With the day saved, Chase gets tickets to New Zealand to visit during Christmas while Phillip regrettably chooses to return to his life as the prince of Zandar. While he isn’t part of the team, he promises to aid whenever they need him.
This episode did a lot, and did it well. From introducing a new Ranger, to expanding a Ranger’s family, to pushing the villain dynamic just a bit further, “Rise of a Ranger” had it all.
That’s not to say the episode is without flaws. For instance, I’m slightly confused at where Prince Phillip got the means to hunt for fossils, who told him the Graphite Energem would be with a pachycephalosaurus, and how actually managed to track it down so quickly. It’s easy to dismiss this at least a little bit, as Phillip has the force of an entire country’s money at his disposal compared to whatever museum funds Kendall has to siphon from. Maybe the Rangers need to move base to Zandar.
Chase’s sister was also fairly unnecessary in an episode focused around Phillip, but I won’t pass up on an opportunity to expand on a Ranger’s family life a bit.
G-BO was rather interesting as a “villain”. I like the way it was brought in as this bumbling piece of clunky technology, but ultimately ended up being the sole reason the Energem choose Phillip in the first place. With G-BO being reprogrammed and causing destruction, Phillip felt responsible for what was happening, and had to do his best to fight and save people, even without powers.
Phillip as the Graphite Ranger made his grand debut here, personally doing battle against G-BO in a wonderful display of Dino Charge original footage. Lighting issues aside, the fight was impressive and showed off how well Phillip has been training. He’s become a skilled hand to hand fighter. It’s a shame we won’t see him more in this season.
My only major complaint is something that just generally plagues a season that is only 20 episodes long– I really wish it felt a little longer. Given how typical the previous episodes felt, if we could have seen some small scenes of Philip giving the orders to hunt for the Graphite Energem, or training to be a Ranger, the episode’s narrative would felt like it carried a little more weight.
As it stands, we went from Phillip accepting Ivan as Ranger and letting him continue to hold the Energem, to Phillip wanting desperately to be a Power Ranger. While a shift like that isn’t questionable at all, it really hurt his character progression by not being present in any episodes besides his debut and this one.
The Pachy Zord also made its debut in this episode (after getting ahead of itself by being seen in “Ghostest with the Mostest” a week before) thanks to Phillip gaining the Graphite Energem powers. It alone was able to take out the Vivizords, proving to be a valuable asset to the Ranger’s Zord team.
We also got yet another look at the mysterious tentacle monster behind Sledge’s solitary confinement door. Whatever it is, all it really wants to do is kidnap people, as this is the second member of Sledge’s ship for it to attempt to pull in. Maybe the monster is just really lonely.
Besides that, Fury finally appears after being gone since “Knight After Knights” quite a while ago. Fury on screen is always a treat, as I know he’s going be feuding with Poisandra, Wrench, or anyone else on board the ship. The villains of this series have a really interesting dynamic that’s fun to watch when they’re all on screen at the same time. With Fury gone the past few episodes, things were feeling pretty straight laced and boring on the ship.
After finding the last two episodes rather plain, it was nice to have an episode that felt like it carried a lot of weight to the narrative of the story. Graphite Ranger made his debut, Pachy Zord made its debut, Fury returned after a several episode janitorial job, we got a little more insight into the Energems, and most importantly, Chase is going home for Christmas. “Rise of a Ranger” is a fantastic episode from start to finish that, while not perfect, is definitely on Dino Charge’s must watch list.
“Rise of a Ranger” is another one of those episodes that’s just a total mash-up of all sorts of episodes of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, taking elements from “Brave 15”, “Brave 17” and “Brave 18”, plus utilizing our own shot footage.
“Brave 15” featured Dogold trying to steal a robotic assistant, G-BO, from a robotics research lab to use as a new permanent body. Fearing the strength Dogold would obtain by having a robotic body, the Kyoryugers must stop Dogold before it is too late.
In “Brave 17”, the Rangers encounter Kyoryu Gray after learning the Deboth Legion are growing more powerful. Kyoryu Gray, unsatisfied with the team, puts them through trials to determine their strengths and weaknesses. After passing the trials, the team feels energized and take on the Deboth Monster. Unfortunately, Kyoryu Red’s attacks do nothing and Kyoryu Gold is forced to take him on. Dogold sends giant Zorima to attack, but they are quickly taken care of by Kyoryu Gray’s Zyudenryu, Bunpachy. No footage or concepts are used from “Brave 18” besides a formal introduction of Kyoryu Gray.
The “monster” for “Rise of a Ranger” was G-BO, the robot assistant from “Brave 15”. A few snippets of Kyoryuger footage was used in this episode, particularly the fight between Dogold and his henchmen in the city. The zord footage for this episode was taken from “Brave 17”, the debut of Bunpachy. Everything else in this episode was entirely original footage, as Kyoryu Gray wasn’t around for G-BO’s appearance in Kyoryuger.
After two episodes of rather mundane changes to a Kyoryuger plot, Dino Charge is back to taking footage and making something completely original. While G-BO’s inclusion was a nice way to make Phillip feel responsible for what was happening in the city, and a wonderful way to bond with his Energem. Despite using a bit of footage from multiple episodes of Kyroyuger, “Rise of a Ranger” feels like an entirely original episode that worked quite well.
Next time, Koda and Riley must reconnect the Rangers after their friendships are severed in Episode 16, “No Matter How You Slice It