8-12: Truth Discovered

Captain Mitchell must figure out a way to reconnect with his son Ryan, who’s convinced that his father doesn’t care about him.

Last time on Power Rangers: The Titanium morpher was stolen and used against the Rangers.

 

Admitting the Truth

Captain Mitchell recounts the story of the car crash to the team.  On screen there is a sequence showing the younger Captain along with the two kids.  Apparently the Captain clung to a root with his free hand, Dana was clinging to his chest (with his other hand supporting her), and Ryan was clinging to his lower leg and boot.  The boy starts to slip and an astral projection of Diabolico shows up.

The demon offers to save Ryan’s life “but if I save his live, he belongs to me.”

At first the Captain refuses, but then once Ryan slips and falls he can’t see any other way to save his son.  Despite his begging, the Captain is told by Diabolico that he won’t see his son again until his twentieth birthday.  I have to wonder how Diabolico managed to know that would be the date… maybe the Titanium morpher was a ‘happy’ accident in that regard.  Dana spells it out for anybody who didn’t see last episode that today is that day.  Carter agrees not to fight him; the other three Rangers are quiet.

Diabolico has been lying to Ryan about his dad not caring about him all these years as well as basically gas-lighting him about the circumstances.  Ryan has been conditioned to want revenge on both relatives, but mostly his father.  Diabolico is manipulating him and Vypra likes it.

12SadCaptain

In his office, the Captain uses the phrase “twenty years” about Ryan’s disappearance.  I’m not sure if this is a case of “writers can’t do math” or him just rounding him since it probably felt that long if not longer.  While a bit upset about having not been told, Dana assures him that he didn’t have any other options.  Beyond, you know, letting his son die.  Clearly Dana learning about her brother was what had him worried last episode that she’d get really upset with him.

Wandering the halls of the Aquabase, the Captain is oblivious to Angela’s greeting and once in the control has to be reminded about the morning status request.  He signs off on it without even looking it over to the underling’s concern.  While a bit heavy-handed, the sequence does a good job of showing how distracted he is given his usual attention to detail.

Family Issues

Morphed, Ryan overlooks the city.  I don’t get why his visor is retractable.  Anyway, he apparently got a copy of the family photo only to crumple it up.  I would have sworn he put it back in the drawer last episode.

The alarm goes off since the Titanium Ranger is attacking again.  Captain Mitchell is nowhere to be found and Dana leaves in the Jeep without the others.  She arrives, already morphed, in time to stop him from shifting his blasts from objects to people.  It’s here that it’s made clear that Ryan’s secondary concern is getting back at his sister.  Which definitely highlights how immature Diabolico has kept Ryan; Dana was about four to six at the time of the crash.  Even if she was deliberately trying to be their dad’s favorite back then, Ryan ought to have recognized she was a little girl and wasn’t responsible.

Dana tries to get him to understand that their dad didn’t have any other option and that back then Ryan “wanted to grow up to be a fireman just like him”.  So… was he not military back then or did retire when his kids were born and then were back in to prepare for the demons’ escape or what?

Look, a Distraction

The other four show up in their jackets at this point, causing the Titanium Ranger to land one last blow on Dana before running off.  Vypra and the monster Liztwin show up, so the others morph.  After a fake-sounding evil laugh (seriously, she can’t even do an evil laugh?), Vypra teleports away, leaving Liztwin to combat the Rangers.

But after the Unilaser is used to destroy it, Jinxer uses magic to revive and super-size the monster.  In response the Super Train Megazord is formed.  Apparently the power surge issues have fixed by this point, so the battle goes much smoothly and Liztwin is destroyed again.

And that’s it for the typical A-plot of an episode, which in this case is more of a C-plot where in most episodes there isn’t one.  It’s kind of weird, not going to lie, to have the focus on firmly not on combating a monster.

Father and Son Reunited

12Ryan

Having fled the city, Ryan demorphs.  He’s now back in the area where the car crash took place.  The captain shows up, asking, “You don’t remember, do you?”

“I don’t need to remember.  I’ve been told.  You didn’t care what happened to me.”

“That’s not true.”

“You let me fall, but you saved Dana.”

“I tried to save you both.  Think back, Ryan.  You- you had that- that little fire truck, then there was the terrible crash.”

At this point there’s a bit of a flashback before the Captain continues, “We went over the cliff, all of us.”

“Stop it!  You’re lying.”

“Listen to me.  I was trying to save you: you and Dana.  When we went over the cliff, you were hanging on to my leg.”

“No.  You only wanted to save her.  You let me fall!”  At this point Ryan charges and shoves his dad, which causes them to fall over the cliff.  The captain ends up clinging to the root again, while this time they can grip each other’s forearms.

Ryan has a flashback to the night of the crash, realizing that his father has been telling the truth.  It’s a bit unclear what exactly Diabolico had him believing, but I suppose the details didn’t matter, just the essence of the belief that his dad cared about Dana and not him.

Now grown, Ryan is strong enough to climb up and grab the root.  He admits that he remembers but then the root starts break.  Suspecting it won’t support them both the Captain lets go.  I have a bad feeling he’s simply that desperate to make up for what he views as both a horrible mistake and yet the only way he could have kept his son alive.

Letting go as well, Ryan morphs in mid-air to save his dad.  They land on the canyon floor, him demorphing.  The five Rangers show up at last in their jackets.  Have they been searching the city for the Captain?

“I am so sorry, Ryan.  I would have given my life a thousand times to save yours.”

Ryan turns to leave, so the Captain states, “Ryan, wait!”

After a moment he continues, “After all these years, I can’t lose you again.  You’re my son.”

Ryan is conflicted, Dana is overwhelmed, and the Captain wants his son to stay.  Taking off his morpher, Ryan runs off.  Dana moves as if to go after him but ultimately doesn’t.

Down in the stepped pyramid, Diabolico tries to convince Ryan to stay with him as Vypra listens in.  Ryan refuses and stalks off; somehow he has his morpher back on his wrist for this scene.  Diabolico threatens that Ryan will regret leaving.

Conclusion

I’ll admit I can mostly get behind Ryan having been gas-lighted about what had happened and his father’s sentiments towards him.  But I do wish there had been clarification on the details of the lie Diabolico told him.  Plus there’s an implication that maybe Ryan isn’t a normal human anymore, either due to living with demons for years or because he was impacted by their magic.

Even Dana was mostly side-lined this episode: the focus was on Captain Mitchell and Ryan.  The captain showed his willingness to do anything to protect his kids (perhaps clarifying why Dana so readily believed he’d coddle her back in “A Matter of Trust”).  And after the car crash, I can see where he’d get focused on proving he could protect his kids.  Well, kid at that point.  Ryan is mostly a ball of misguided anger right now, which makes his fighting capability a concern.  Well, at least he’s not a literal ball like Sam was (will be?) on SPD

I do appreciate how a few chats (one during combat) and a display of self-sacrifice didn’t fix the Mitchell family issues.  All three have some serious work to do in order to form a functional family again.

 

Next time on Power Rangers: Ryan has an identity crisis about his destiny; also there are exploding feathers.

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