15-10: Lights, Camera, Dax

Rose encourages Dax to try out for a movie role, ultimately getting both of them in trouble with Andrew.

Last time on Power Rangers: Mack got captured by Moltor and Flurious but managed to drive a wider wedge between the brothers.

 

Dreaming of Stardom

Down in the base, Andrew is showing off the design for the Transtek Armor to Ronny (who’s in love), Rose, and Will.  The new vehicle is to be used against Kamdor and Miratrix.  When Mack shows up, Andrew promises they’ll all get a turn to drive it.  An excited Dax slides down his pole to the base, bemusing Will.

Apparently “Ninja Rumba” is holding auditions for an actor who can do his own stunts for a day-long shoot.  Ronny reminds him they need for “saving the world”.  Dax pleads but Andrew insists he can’t go.

Moltor calls upon Scaletex in a forest for tracking down Kamdor and Miratrix.  The duo is in their ocean-side cave; Miratrix so far has only figured out that the Touru Diamond must be somewhere hot, not impressing her master.

10Rose&Dax

Dax is reading lines in the mansion when an amused Rose shows up to point out he’s behaving too much like he’s acting as she’s read that acting is acting like you’re not acting.  Confusing, but true unless the actor/actress in question can get away with being a Large Ham (case in point: Brian Blessed).  Rose suggests he can skirt Andrew’s rules by merely auditioning and turning down the role if chosen as she’s aware how badly he wants to be an actor.

Scaletex, with a horde of Lava Lizards, attacks Kamdor and Miratrix on the beach.

At the audition, Dax ends up only getting the role by rescuing the director from a falling giant light.  That’s definitely not how casting works.  Despite a flashback to Rose’s advice, Dax accepts the role.

Miratrix and Kamdor are getting battered.  The four show up in the base where Andrew has up footage of the ongoing battle on a screen.  Rose covers for Dax and the quartet heads out.  Afterwards, Andrew gets out his flip phone to make a call.

Dax exits a trailer in costume, the excited director then giving him instructions on how to behave for the scene.  Then his tracker goes off and Rose contacts him about the battle.  Claiming he has to go call his agent, Dax leaves.

The four reach a rocky cliff from where they can see the battle.  Dax shows up still in costume and admits to his actions.  Mack is not amused by Dax disobeying his dad, which is hypocritical of him given the events of the premiere.  When Scaletex and the Lava Lizards attack them, all five morph.

Miratrix is amused by the fact for once she’s relieved by the Rangers showing up.  She and Kamdor head towards the cave while their enemies are distracted by each other.  Mack takes on Scaletex while Will, Ronny, and Rose take on the Lava Lizards.  This leaves Dax to pursue the duo into the cave.

As Dax does so, Kamdor causes a rockslide that enables their escape.  Scaletex had followed Dax and ends up buried under the rocks.  Dax uses his Drive Vortex to go up through an opening in the cave roof.

Minus Dax, the team returns to the base where a grumpy Andrew is waiting.  Apparently he owns the movie studio producing “Ninja Rumba”.  Okay, I’m starting to wonder about just how many pies Andrew has stuck his fingers into.  In any case, Andrew feels disrespected and claims Dax also disrespected his teammates.

Rose refutes, “It [is] Dax’s dream to be an actor.  He just wanted to audition to see if he was good enough with a little encouragement from-”

Here she gets a Look from Andrew, so she amends, “Well, a lot of encouragement from me.  I’m sorry.”

“Apology accepted,” goes Andrew.  While it’s admirable for Rose to own up to her role in Dax’s deception and it’s very possible Dax wouldn’t have gone without her nudging, I don’t think she should take a hefty amount of the responsibility.  At the end of the day, Dax’s actions are his own choices.

Andrew hopes that Dax realizes what’s really important.

Priority Number One: Saving the World

Meanwhile, Dax is doing the scene featuring him fighting off a lot of ‘ninjas’.  While I’ll buy that the ninja stuntmen learned their choreography prior to the hero being cast, I highly doubt Dax memorized his part within the implied timeline.  In the middle of the scene, his tracker buzzes.  On the one hand, kudos to keeping it on him.  On the other… this very scenario is why sometimes Tommy didn’t have his on him.

Miratrix and Kamdor are in a forest, and I think it’s drizzling.  Kamdor is upset that he doesn’t have a foot soldier army like Moltor and Flurious each do.

Having ‘defeated’ the ninjas, Dax is now ready to grab the idol.  He knows his line but doesn’t grab it due to hearing Ronny’s earlier comment in his head.  But really, at this point he might as well finish the scene and get paid.  Like, seriously, he’s done about ninety percent of the work already… this makes no sense.

The director is confused and yells.  Dax runs off to everybody’s confusion and ‘now’ the director is upset for Dax ruining the shot despite his own previous shouting.  Then Kamdor and Miratrix show up, panicking the crew.  Kamdor mind-whammies the ninjas and then creates a pair of monsters out of some movie technology.  And if Dax had stayed to finish the scene, maybe he could have stalled the two until his teammates could have arrived.

Andrew is upset down in the base.  Dax shows up and admits that acting is just for him while being a Power Ranger is for lots of people before he apologizes to Mr. Hartford and his fellow Rangers.  Andrew goes “apology accepted” again before warning Dax there’ll be later consequences.  His teammates all go “ooo” in that classic ‘someone is in trouble’ tone.

It’s time for Kamdor, Miratrix, and their minions to go up against Moltor and his Lava Lizards.  Interestingly, Moltor seems genuinely upset by Scaletex’s death.  In the junkyard, Kamdor and Moltor start fighting.

The morphed Rangers jump down from the SHARC.  Moltor blasts them and then has his minions charge.  Kamdor and Miratrix have the controlled stuntmen attack as well.  In the ensuing battle, Rose takes on Miratrix while Ronny, Will, and Mack take on the minions and Dax fights the two monsters.

Dax gets blasted so Andrew sends the newly completed Transtek Armor.  The Blue Ranger gets into the vehicle and uses it to take out the two monsters in twin explosions.  Moltor is battling Ronny and Mack fights Kamdor, but then the villains team up to take on Dax.

There’s a transformation sequence into its alternate mode, but overall the Transtek Armor is obviously CGI, which is weird since usually the show is pretty good about that sort of thing… or at least making it look cool enough that I don’t mind.  When Kamdor is stubborn, Dax cracks, “Hey, Kamdor, say hello to my little robot.”

In the ensuing blast, the scroll goes flying off of Kamdor.  Miratrix goes to get it but Dax blasts her and obtains the scroll.  Kamdor and Miratrix teleport away, which somehow breaks the spell on the ninja stuntmen.

Andrew, NO

The pleased quintet returns to the rec room.  Spencer shows up to put Dax and Rose on “latrine duty” due to Andrew’s orders and the duo has “to clean all the bathrooms”.  When they’re relatively blasé about the punishment, Mack points out there’s a lot of bathrooms in the mansions and Spencer clarifies there are twenty-seven.  Spencer leaves with Dax and Rose while the other three Rangers stay in the rec room with the scroll.

Okay, where to begin?  How about with the fact that Andrew didn’t administer the punishment himself but instead sent Spencer to inform Dax and Rose what they have to do as well as supervise them.

Look at Doggie in SPD as there were two similar situations there.  Jack and Z were sentenced to wash all the windows of the base as part of their community service due to their thefts, with RIC clarifying the number of windows.  Their teammates were not around when the punishment was given or fulfilled and the duo had actually committed crimes so they were in fact getting off easy.

Then at the end of “Idol”, Doggie’s lecture to Sky was so private even the viewers didn’t get to see it, let alone Sky’s teammates.  And despite likely knowing Jack gave Sky that head start, Doggie only punished Sky as he knew Sky was responsible for his own actions… and he might have hoped/predicted that Jack would help out voluntarily as he knew his role in the mess (correctly, as it turned out).

Daggeron in Mystic Force also was more low-key in getting Xander to fulfill his potential and there was a clearer case there of the risk of Xander not being able to use his powers to adequately defend himself, his team, Earth, and the magical dimension.  And in all three cases John Tui’s character handled the punishment personally instead of having someone else do it.

Just last episode Andrew was all for the Rangers having some time off, and the role was evidently a one-day shoot (possibly it was a prologue or something for “Ninja Rumba”?).  Some Ranger teams balance saving the world and high school: see Mighty Morphin, Zeo, and Dino Thunder.  Other times they balance work and saving the world: Dustin in Ninja Storm, Mystic Force, and Jungle Fury.  I don’t think even Doctor K kept her Rangers on such a tight leash and Corinth was the last human city during an apocalypse.

There are teams that focus most of their attention on saving the world: In Space, Lost Galaxy, Lightspeed Rescue, Wild Force, SPD, and RPM among them.  I’ll acknowledge that often the Rangers’ recreational activities get ruined by villainous schemes, but that’s just a staple of the genre.  But the mentors in other seasons don’t try to squash their Rangers’ dreams in favor of saving the world.  Well, Sensei Watanabe tried to keep Cam from practicing martial arts but that was depicted as a flaw not a virtue.

And I don’t like how Andrew clearly tried to get Dax’s teammates to feel “disrespected” by his actions.  Between this and “Both Sides Now” it’s almost like Andrew doesn’t want the five to be a cohesive team.  Which is weird since he seemed to want them to act as one in “The Underwater World”.  Not to mention how he seemed to get Spencer to announce Dax’s and Rose’s punishment in front of their teammates, which is awkward for the duo and isn’t going to help matters at all.

In conclusion, Andrew is doing a very, very bad job as a mentor and that’s not even getting into future events like-

156charles

Ooh.

Um, I forgot why I was upset.  Oh right, Andrew being a terrible mentor.

Conclusion

As you might have gathered, I hate this episode because I feel Andrew Hartford utterly mishandled the situation.  Did Dax misstep, with some nudging from Rose?  Maybe by Andrew’s standards, but Dax didn’t do anything that any other team’s mentor would have let slide.  Does that warrant cleaning twenty-seven bathrooms?  No, particularly if they’re meant to do full-on cleaning: tub scrubbing, floor cleaning, trash removal, mirror wiping, sink & counter washing, maybe doing a towel load, and so help me toilet cleaning.  I’m pretty sure all of them will have a toilet even if not all of them have a tub.  Or worse, there might be a few that have a standard shower/tub and a Jacuzzi.  Basically, this is overkill (even just cleaning over a dozen toilets each would be) and Andrew isn’t even the head of a vaguely militaristic organization which is how Doggie was justified in assigning cleaning duty.  Besides, there were implications that SPD cadets often did have such tasks as normal duty and they weren’t just punishment work.

And I don’t buy the movie shoot.  No way would it be a one-day shoot, not with that much choreography.  Even ‘comedic’ movies like The Princess Bride do intensive training and practice for the fight scenes and apparently the Helm’s Deep sequence in The Two Towers literally took months to shoot.  Let me just go thump my head against the wall a few times at the lack of reality.

Although the beachside battle was awesome, the second major fight scene was marred by the awkwardly CGI Transtek Armor.  I typically let extra-obvious CGI slide in good episodes, but this is an awful episode and I feel so bad for Dax and Rose.  Not to mention Spencer for having to bear the bad news.  I don’t think Mack, Will, and Ronny should be so amused by their teammates’ situation; in addition to being not empathetic, they ought to take it as a warning to not cross Andrew Hartford.

 

Next time on Power Rangers: Mack realizes that Moltor’s hench-lizard Tyzonn isn’t a villain.

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