16-2: Welcome to the Jungle, Part 2

In this second half of the season opener, the trio must get in sync to use the Jungle Pride Megazord.

Last time on Power Rangers: Lily, Theo, and Casey went to Ocean Bluff, meeting their mentor RJ, while a newly freed Dai Shi recalled his minions the Rin Shi and second-in-command Camille.

 

Spiritual Powers

Starting where the previous episode ended, Casey manages to access his Tiger spirit to free himself from the Rin Shi.  Now he goes “Jungle Beast, Spirit Unleashed!”  While we don’t see his morphing sequence, we do see its result- the Rin Shi get turned back into dust.  He manages to save Fran when the Mantis tosses her aside.  Once she’s darted off to safety, Casey calls out, “With the strength of a tiger, Jungle Fury Red Ranger!”

Taking on the Mantis, Casey is upset.  Lily’s impressed by his raw talent (Theo is silent on the subject).  Casey holds his own against the monster, then using a full-blown spirit attack to seemingly explode the monster.

Camille is upset that “Mantor failed”.  Um, last episode it was called Mantis.  Okay, new rule: when in red Rin Shi mode, the animal word will be used, but when in full-blown monster mode I’ll use the other name.

Theo and Lily come over, both congratulating Casey.  Rising out of the rubble, Mantor then supersizes.  The trio does their best to flee… but then Master Mao’s energy form takes on the monster, causing it to crash in a distant forested spot.  Mao somehow takes them to a roof.

They demorph, taking off their Solar Morphers.  Basically, Master Mao is now their guardian spirit.  Casey is incredulous that the monster grew.  Lily points out they don’t know how to do that as Master Mao never taught them that.  Master Mao counters that they have a new teacher now before disappearing.

Camille goes back to the throne room and kneels before Dai Shi to give him the bad news.

RJ is meditating in his loft when the trio comes in, talking at all at once.  When his first effort to get them to calm down fails, RJ gestures to each in turn to get an explanation of what happened.  The brunet goes, “Heavy.  But you’re not ready for the growing ginormous technique.  Sorry, Rangers.  No way.”

He walks off to their bafflement.

Camille finds Mantis in the woods.  He reveals that his new plan is to break the dam in order to flood Ocean Bluff.  Shifting into her armored form, Camille approves.

Back in the loft, RJ wants them to each master their assigned weapon before moving on to the supersizing technique.  Theo gets tonfas and demonstrates his skill with them, impressing Casey.  Lily gets a Bo (staff) and similarly shows off.  Casey tries to do the same with his nunchaku but just hurts himself.

As he sits down on a stool, Theo protests that it’s unfair to hold him and Lily back because Casey is a cub.  The taller guy points out that he’s right there (i.e., he can hear Theo).  RJ explains that a team is like a stool- all equal legs.  When RJ kicks away one leg of the stool to demonstrate why that’s necessary, Theo falls over.

“That’s right.  The team falls on its butt.  If the team’s not ready, then none of you are ready.  Namaste.”

As RJ walks off, Casey is nervous while Theo is grumpy.

Power Ups

Camille infuses the Mantis monster with more power, making it go into its Mantor form.

Evidently, it’s now the next day, as at the pizza parlor Fran is wearing a new outfit.  RJ talks to her about her social life.  She admits that books are her friends and that she has no siblings and busy parents.  This makes RJ clearly worried for her.

The trio are now in green tees and orange baseball caps as their JKP uniforms (complete with logos).  Casey is already skilled at tossing pizza dough.  Theo is grumpy about how he can be good at that but not with his weapon.  Lily points out that he wasn’t always good with the tonfa.  There’s a flashback to Theo hurting himself with them.  When Theo reasons he practiced, and became skilled, Lily reasons that he had to be taught in order to practice.  The flashback shifts to a more skilled Theo practicing before Master Mao.  Next Lily talks about how bad it is that Casey doesn’t have a teacher like Theo did.

“Lil, do you ever get tired of being right?”

“Not so far,” she beams.

RJ rings a handheld bell, alerting the trio that the 12:32 lunch rush is about to begin.  As a group of patrons comes through the door, Theo starts to drag off Casey as they have to go.  Why it has to be this very minute, I don’t know.  Fran volunteers to help out RJ and Lily so he hires her… but the brunette is clearly inexperienced at customer service.

Theo takes Casey out into the woods for training.  Casey puts on a football helmet to prevent head injuries.  A montage ensues of Casey improving under Theo’s tutelage.  In the end, Casey can channel his tiger spirit to use the nunchaku to explode a rock.

“That was some serious strength,” Theo tells him.  “You know, you’re not bad for a cub.”

“Thanks.  And you’re a pretty good teacher- for an uptight, egocentric neat freak.”

“Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being neat.”

Casey chuckles while Theo’s amused.

Mantor and Camille manage to break the dam, causing RJ to contact the duo.  When their morphers, the duo puts them on and we briefly see what they see during such an interaction as RJ tells them to meet Lily at the city plaza.

In his chair, RJ is eating from a bowl of chips as he watches a TV.  A reporter states that the city has been evacuated but there’s lots of water incoming.

All Washed Out

The trio manages to super-leap out of the way of a massive wave to the same roof as before.  I’m presuming that the crew only got rooftop access for an afternoon so they filmed multiple scenes there.  They spot the massive Mantor as the streets get flooded.

2trio

Camille shows up, introducing herself, and there are plenty of Rin Shi with her.  Lily is unexpectedly catty about the other woman’s appearance to Camille’s annoyance.  Putting on their morphers, the trio morphs.  You can see their uniforms and morphers above (I like both- the black designs on their tunics look cool).  Casey’s is seen in full this time, while Lily and Theo share a screen.  They each do their callout before Camille sics the minions on them.

For a bit they all use hand-to-hand combat.  Theo gets out his Jungle Tonfa to wield, jumping to a lower roof to continue the battle.  He observes, “Now I know why we had to practice so hard.”

Lily gets out the two pieces of her Jungle Bo to put them together, wielding it against the minions.  Casey gets out his Jungle Chunks (really, one gizmo) to use in his fight.  They each got a one-liner, but Theo’s was the best.  Channeling his Tiger spirit, Casey explodes several minions before taunting Mantor.  In response, the massive monster smashes part of a building.

Their morphers somehow can still beep.  In any case, RJ tells them, “Rangers, listen up.  It’s time to go big.”

“But we don’t know how,” protests Theo.

“Sure, you do.  You just don’t know that you know how.”

“What?” goes Lily.

“The stool, I mean, the team is in balance now.”

“I think I get it,” says Theo.  “Lily, you’re the heart of the team.”

“And you bring the brains,” she tells her friend.  “And Casey…”

“Has the strength,” concludes Theo.

“Excellent.  You’re ready for the next level.  Combine your animal spirits and see what happens.”

The other two are startled by that idea, but Casey encourages them.  They manage to form/be their Zords and then become more solid to form the Jungle Pride Megazord.  They stand in their cockpit, which is largely empty and white.  RJ flails, spilling his chips everywhere in his excitement.

Camille is still smug but then she hacks up the small fly-like creature Flit.  As the fight begins in the flooded streets, Flit announces the moves being used.  Clearly on the Rangers’ side, at one point Flit observes, “I can’t believe my eyes, and I’ve got hundreds of them.”

The Jungle Pride Megazord’s weapon is the Sanjeigun.  Theo tells Casey it’s like the nun chunks before the battle resumes.  The Savage Spin is used to freeze and explode the monster.  Flit gives kudos to the Rangers right before Camille uses her super-long tongue to grab him, then swallowing him.  She’s afraid of what Dai Shi’s reaction will be.

RJ, Lily, and Fran are cleaning up the parlor while Casey mentors Theo on dough tossing.  The blonde is pleased that they’re friends now but is worried about Camille and her army.  RJ is more worried about Dai Shi.  Fran’s too far away to hear their whispered conversation.

Camille is kneeling before Dai Shi.  His full costume is seen as there’s the big ‘reveal’ of him having possessed Jarrod.  He then does a spirit animal roar thingy out of rage.  At least he’s not yelling at Camille like Rita and Zedd do with their minions.

Conclusion

This was a great season opener… minus the fact that the Jarrod/Dai Shi reveal was blatantly obvious.  I’m pretty sure even the target audience could have figured it out beforehand.  The core heroes, villains, and allies were all introduced as were the Ranger suits and the Megazord.  The basic plot is to keep Dai Shi from wiping out humanity, the villain starting with Ocean Bluff.  Presumably because his headquarters is nearby and because it’s near the place where he was captured.  In other words, convenience and revenge.

While I do like their Ranger suits, I will acknowledge they aren’t much like other seasons’.  Besides the probable Doylist reason of wanting to mix things up on the Super Sentai side, there’s also a probable Watsonian reason on the Power Rangers side.  RJ had to recently seek out a way to combine ancient Pai Zhuq powers with the morphing grid.  Typically, Rangers powers/suits are made completely new or are based in a preexisting morphing grid related power.  Maybe the suits’ unusual look is because of their hybrid nature.

Interestingly enough, RJ’s animal spirit has yet to be revealed.  He was wearing some purple while in casual carb this episode, though.  Fran is now a fellow employee at the JKP, having been an unsocial bookworm prior to that.

The opening credits already include each of the trio’s next Zords.  In general, I can’t believe this is the ninth anniversary of this two-parter.

 

Next time on Power Rangers: Casey seemingly gets chores instead of lessons from RJ.

 

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