8-3: Trial by Fire

Captain Mitchell has the Rangers hone their skills.  Carter must learn part of leadership is fully accessing a situation before acting.

Last time on Power Rangers: The Zords were introduced and Joel stuck his foot in his mouth regarding Angela.

 

Training Exercise

The episode opens with the five bonding by talking about their ‘origin stories’.  Kelsey gets a rush from rock climbing and reaching the summit, while Joel strapped on wings and jumped out of a second-story window when he was eight.  Carter comments that was crazy and stupid.

But when Dana prompts him on why/when he wanted to become a firefighter, Carter only has a brief flashback and refuses to say anything on the subject.  Luckily, the conversation is cut short when the team is called to the training area via the intercom.  Captain Mitchell and some technicians will be supervising.

Chad and Joel team up for an obstacle course.  Kelsey and Dana do so to rescue a baby doll, with the Yellow Ranger doing the rescuing and Dana performing CPR.  Meanwhile, Carter blasts cardboard cut-outs of demons in a room.  Although he gets the best time, Captain Mitchell comments that he got the lowest choice for not taking the time to analyze the situation as “sometimes the obvious choice is the wrong choice”.

Wow, Linkara Wasn’t Exaggerating

Okay, I’ve been avoiding them since I started this project, but I have in part seen a good chuck of Linkara’s History of Power Rangers series.  Thankfully it’s been long enough that most similarities will be subconscious and not deliberate- buy any that are will be acknowledged.  About all I recalled from his Lightspeed Rescue analysis was that Carter is awesome and Vypra’s actress was awful.

And, well, she has a very stilted way of saying her lines.  For example, in revealing her plan to stop the Megazord and destroy Mariner Bay, Vypra states, “You want to destroy a city, you do it from the ground… up.”  It just sounds off, as do most of her lines.   Look, I’ll admit that for a lot of the actors Power Rangers ends up being their biggest gig.  But Vypra is really bad, and this is coming from somebody who un-ironically enjoyed the Grumpy Cat holiday movie.

This episode, the demons’ plan is to set up ‘quake spikes’ in various locations and then slam on them with a hammer, causing earthquakes that will eventually tear apart the city.  Given how all three major locations involved in the franchise are on the Pacific Rim (Japan, California, New Zealand), I doubt the series’ preoccupation with earthquakes is a coincidence.

Cause and Effect

3Vypra

Captain Mitchell quickly realizes the earthquake isn’t a natural one and has the Rangers go off in their Jeep to its epicenter.  The batlings are triggering some quake spikes in an abandoned building under Vypra’s supervision when the morphed Rangers arrive.  While the others battle the Batlings, Carter takes on Vypra who soon makes her escape.

Carter chases after her to the parking garage, particularly as she doesn’t mind attacking any civilians who get in her way.  Noticing some nearby flammable stuff in a container hidden to Carter by some rubble, a cornered Vypra starts a fire before teleporting away.  Furthermore, a crack surfaces in the roof.

From the Aquabase, Captain Mitchell insists upon Carter putting out the fire before rescuing the civilians.  Apparently his blaster can double as a fire extinguisher.  Carter does so, but then some rubble comes down, striking a boy on the head.  The other Rangers arrive at this point, Joel and Dana taking point.

A furious Carter briefly storms into the Captain’s office to yell at him since had Carter taken care of the civilians first then the boy wouldn’t be hurt.  But we saw earlier that the Captain wasn’t unaffected by the boy’s injury, yet sometimes hard choices have to be made.

Carter’s Hero

The Red Ranger visits the boy in the hospital, where he’s still unconscious.  I’m guessing somebody known as a Power Ranger can go wherever they want.  Holding the boy’s hand, Carter opens up about what happened to him when he was about the boy’s age.  There was a fire but he was rescued by a masked firefighter who held up a beam long enough for a second firefighter to get out of the room so a second firefighter could take him the rest of the way out.  Carter despairs that he’ll never be as good as his unknown hero.

Returning to the training area, Carter takes a closer look at the room he trained in.  But he realizes the blue containers there were labelled as flammable, so he then returns to the battle site.  Finding the concealed container, Carter spells out (plus a visual sequence) what would have happened if he had gone for the civilians first- a lot more people would have been hurt.

Captain Mitchell, repeating his earlier statement before acknowledging being the leader isn’t easy.  There’s another shake and Joel contacts Carter via morpher.  Carter admits he’s not sure if he’s cut out to be a Ranger but the Captain assures him he’s more sure than ever that he is.

Saving the Day

The other Rangers are already battling Batlings in an underground tunnel as Vypra watches on.  She uses a magic blue fire blast on them so she can resume hitting the quake spikes but then Carter shows up.  He doesn’t let himself get drawn into a fight with Vypra but instead focuses on getting the whole team to destroy the quake spikes via their blasters.

Jinxer uses a card to activate a monster while Vypra flees to the surface with Carter in pursuit.  The show skips ahead to the Zords already being at the surface and the five getting in their cockpits so they can form the Megazord.  The team soon defeats the monster.

3HighFive

Returning to the hospital with a present, Carter finds the boy’s room clean.  But that’s because he’s awake and just about ready to return home.  The boy wants to be like Carter when he goes up; the Captain is watching on, pleased by the happy ending.  I have no clue why the Red Ranger would wrap his present in blue wrapping paper.  The silvery bow can be accepted as subtle foreshadowing.

My Head-canon Time

Okay, in the credits the kid is only known as ‘hostage boy’.  But his age and appearance line up with that of a future Red Ranger: Casey Rhodes of Jungle Fury.  It’d certainly add an element of ‘history repeats itself’ to Casey’s own concerns about being a Red Ranger.  I know it’s not official or anything, but I like this pet theory.  After all, little is revealed of that team’s backstories but it is known that none of them are natives of Ocean Bluff.  Heck, the usage of both red and blue could be a retroactive nod to Casey’s teammate/mentor RJ being the first Violet Ranger.

Conclusion

Carter starts to realize he can’t just charge into a situation as team leader, but instead has to think before he leaps.  It’s clearly something Captain Mitchell has already learned- although upset by the boy getting hurt, he knew matters would have been far worse if Carter had attempted to aid the civilians before putting out the fire.  In his head, Carter has an ideal hero based upon the mysterious firefighter who rescued him as a boy.  To the show’s credit, there aren’t any overt clues to his identity… although the very fact that he’s masked indicates he might be showing up.  Actually, I’m pretty sure he already has but it’s been a while so I’m not a hundred percent sure.

Over on the villains’ side of things… Vypra is a bad actress (a rarity on this show, contrary to what I suspect non-fans think of it) while I’m not sure who’s Loki and who’s Diabolico.  Jinxer is a Finster knock-off while Impus is a cute baby demon.  Their mysterious queen remains off-camera.

 

Next time on Power Rangers: Kelsey’s astronaut friend Nancy is endangered by the demons’ latest scheme.

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