16-3: Sigh of the Tiger

Casey grows frustrated when RJ apparently sets him to chores instead of training while Buffalord threatens Ocean Bluff.

Last time on Power Rangers: The trio figured out the Jungle Pride Megazord and the big ‘reveal’ of who Dai Shi was possessing was made.

 

Time to Train!

Out in the woods, Dai Shi is preparing to fight a group of Rin Shi to start regaining his powers (presumably they had waned during his captivity) as Camille watches on.  He throws aside his cloak and has destroyed all the minions by the time it hits the ground.  As she puts the cloak back on him, Camille compliments him in an effort to gain his attention but Dai Shi just stalks off.  Dismayed, she realizes she needs a plan to attract him.

A blindfolded RJ in a grey tracksuit is being circled by Lily and Casey up in the loft.  Presumably Theo is off doing pizza-related activities.  RJ tells them, “All right.  Dude and dudette.  In order to defeat me, you’ll have to be in complete harmony with your animal spirits.  And get very lucky.”

“Come on, Lily.  He’s all ours.”

“Are you sure about this, RJ?  I don’t want to dent your metaphysical Zen,” asks the blonde, who’s wearing an Alice hairband with her Ranger uniform.

Chuckling a bit, the brunet informs them, “I’m using the Swoop technique.  Eyesight is a bonus, not a necessity.  Now… hit me with your best shot.”

I appreciate the foreshadowing nod there.  RJ easily fends off the duo because he’s awesome.  Casey clues into RJ using his other senses and puts a finger to his lips to alert Lily.  But it’s no avail: he gets tossed aside onto the green armchair while she ends up on the ground.

“You were distracted… and defeated.  Remember, guys, the enemy is merciless and just as graceful as-” Here RJ trips on the edge of the training mat and stands back up to finish, “Me.”

Removing the blindfold, RJ wants a break to watch ‘Judge Jamie’ as he sits down in his chair.  Lily walks off but Casey stays behind, wanting RJ to teach him.

“I just did,” he points out.  “Now I’m on break.”

Casey wants to catch up with Theo and Lily in terms of skill, acutely aware of how inexperienced in combat he is compared to them.  I don’t think he realizes he’s more prone to creative thinking- he’s the one who figured out part of why RJ was beating them, not Lily.  Actually, that trait of his is already hinting at what goes down towards the season’s end.

RJ decides to go along with it, warning Casey he has to obey him without question.  His plan begins with Casey rubbing his shoulders.

Chores, Chores, Chores

Camille and some Rin Shi have ransacked the “Museum of Native Heritage”.  A security guard tries to stop her from stealing an artifact, but she just licks at him with her super-long tongue.  The villainess is pleased to have obtained a shaman’s “powerful medicine bag”.

Annoyed by the lack of originality in her plan, RJ tells the trio, “Go get her.”

As they run off, he adds, “And be ready for anything.  She’s a feisty one,” before pulling out a bowl of popcorn to snack on.

The trio uses vines to go down a tunnel in the loft’s wall.  Morphing, they charge at the villains.  Camille has the Rin Shi attack, but they’re already adept at fending off the minions.  When Camille runs off, Casey claims “I got her,” and runs off while his teammates keep fighting Rin Shi.  The battle between the two is impressive, Camille shifting into her armored form partway through.  Although Casey ends up losing, Camille opts to super-leap away instead of defeat/destroy him for some reason.

Fran, in pigtails, is checking that everything is set up for a children’s birthday party at JKP.  The only bit she can’t check off is her fellow employees’ presence… and there’s a crowd of kids at the door.

When the trio returns to the loft, Theo and Lily try to reassure Casey.  RJ is fiddling with his green armchair and decides to blame Casey for whatever’s wrong with it due to his earlier crash landing in it.  Giving him a screwdriver, RJ tells him to fix it.

Dai Shi is miffed at Camille, who points out that the bag has “the spirit of the angry buffalo” within.  Using a Rin Shi, Camille creates Buffalord (who’s always referred to as such- was ‘Mantis’ a case of early installment weirdness or something?).  Dai Shi grins in anticipation.

3rjcasey

Casey is working on the chair’s innards while RJ meditates.  As the sandy-haired youth puts the chair back, he asks where the others are.  RJ responds that he sent them to check on Fran.

The kids are having a chaotic blast in the main area of JKP.  Theo and Lily are peering through the glass of the closed kitchen door.  He comments, “Look at those little monsters.  I’m not going out there.”

“But don’t you think we should help Fran?”

Fran’s glasses get squirted with mustard; the boy responsible finds that hilarious.  As more food is thrown onto the brunette, Theo lies, “I think she’s just fine.”

“Me, too,” agrees Lily just before she’s startled by some pasta hitting the door.

Having put the chair upright, Casey is then told by RJ to wash his yoga mat to his annoyance.  The apparently gross smell doesn’t smell either.

Buffalord is leading some Rin Shi on a raid while RJ mentors Casey on washing and wringing out the yoga mat.  Theo and Lily return to the loft, the former lying, “Fran’s got it under control.”

An alarm goes off, a TV then showing Rin Shi attacking.  Upset at RJ, Casey has his teammates get going.  Morphed, the trio arrives to take on the minions.  The Red Ranger is still aggravated.  All three are badasses and use their animal spirits to destroy Rin Shi (Lily, Theo, and Casey in that order).  They then confront Buffalord, who shifts into his monster form to charge at them.  Battering Casey, the monster throws him around.

Theo gets out his Tonfa to defend his friend and Lily quickly gets involved, using hand-to-hand.  “Cheetah Jabs”, super speed punching, is used.  Back to ‘red’ mode, Buffalord burrows away.  An angry Casey has to be held back by his friends.

Back in his uniform, a frustrated Casey goes to the loft to complain at RJ, who’s in his chair.  The amused brunet observes, “You got the spirit of the Tiger, all right, but the foresight of a lemming.”

Casey remains cranky.  RJ then states, “Listen.  Now that we know the kind of beast that you’re up against, I’ve got just the plan.  Scrub the floor.”

“This is ridiculous.”

RJ invokes their deal, having gotten up and holding out a cloth.  Walking back over, Casey silently takes the cloth.

Camille finds the Buffalord training in the woods.  She eggs him on.  Back in monster-mode, Buffalord returns to Ocean Bluff to gather fear and cause chaos.

Similarly, RJ is egging on Casey’s cleaning when Theo and Lily return to the loft.  Amused, Theo notes, “And they call me a neat freak.”

RJ insists on Casey staying to clean the floors and seems blasé at the notion of Theo and Lily getting “destroyed” by Buffalord if Casey’s not around to help.

Lily and Theo find Buffalord and this time we see the morphing sequence.  The monster tosses them aside and then a group of Rin Shi shows up.  The duo struggles against the minions, not helped by Buffalord’s attacks which toss them around further.

The Karate Kid Method

Casey officially gets fed up with RJ as he finishes the floor.  RJ demonstrates how Casey can now catch a punch via the screwdriver motion.  And Casey realizes he can now throw opponents (including RJ) due to how he cleaned the mat.  By getting low while running like how he cleaned the floor, he can avoid attacks.  He starts to run off before returning to ask about the shoulder rub and how that’ll help him in the upcoming battle.

“Oh, that doesn’t,” RJ admits.  “I just… slept funny last night.”

Amused, Casey makes to leave.  His teammates are getting battered when he comes running to attack, already morphed.  A vocal-less version of the theme song plays as Casey uses his unconventional lessons in the fight against Buffalord.  The appropriate flashbacks are inserted as ‘necessary’.  Really, show, we just went over them, this is silly.

There’s red energy around Casey as he runs down low.  Then he uses his Jungle Chunks for an energy blast, causing an impressive explosion.  Casey’s pleased and his teammates come over to give him kudos.

“Yeah- RJ’s smarter than he looks.”

“That’s no surprise,” agrees Lily.  Um, guys?  RJ can probably hear you due to the loft-morpher connection-thingy seen in the previous episode.  At least he’s mellow enough not to be offended.

Emerging from the rubble, Buffalord supersizes.  The Jungle Pride Megazord is formed.  Flit shows up and has fun blocking Camille’s view of the battle.  The villainess is now fretful whether her plan will succeed.  The Rangers rally each other and the Megazord gets back up.  A spinning kick tactic is used to destroy Buffalord.

Flit mock-reassures Camille, who bats him away.  The episode cuts to her scrubbing the lair’s floor.  A grumpy Dai Shi mentions the Underworld, possibly the one from Mystic Force.

A messy Fran is not happy due to their tardiness when the trio, now in civilian clothes, return post-party.  RJ shows up and isn’t happy with Theo and Lily either.  Fran tries to defend them from their mutual boss but RJ tells the duo to clean up the messy pizza parlor while he, Fran, and Casey go out for ice cream.

Excited, she makes to leave before sheepishly realizing that she ought to clean herself up first.

Conclusion

Evidently Casey has never seen The Karate Kid nor heard of its atypical training methods.  Otherwise, he would have caught onto RJ’s plan sooner.  The A-plot was about Casey learning new combat skills in order to defeat Buffalord.  The subplots were Camille trying and failing to get Dai Shi’s attention (seemingly romantically) while Fran struggled alone with a children’s party at the JKP.  It’s already evident that the latter arc is akin to what Toby underwent in Mystic Force.

I have to wonder if Casey had been one of those sent to check on Fran, would the subplot played out differently?  After all, the reason he wasn’t involved in it was because he wanted to pull his weight as a Ranger.  Already Casey has grown as a character- in the first episode, he didn’t want to fight the Rin Shi and now he wants to be as effective in the fight as his teammates.

RJ continues to be amazing, even if his animal spirit hasn’t been disclosed yet.  Which is odd, as I could have sworn it was revealed within the first few episodes.  His unusual perspective and methods turn out to be highly useful.  This is basically what would happen if Bridge got put in charge of mentoring a Ranger team, and it’s highly amusing- but also effective.  He teaches Theo and Lily not to lie about Fran’s situation at the episode’s end after having taught Casey martial arts through household chores earlier.  I kind of wish we’d gotten to see RJ, Casey, and Fran go out for ice cream because I’m certain it was adorable.

A more casual variant of the Ranger uniform is seen in this episode: a black long-sleeved undershirt, slacks with color-coded trim, and shoes along with a color-coded tee with the Pai Zhuq symbol off to one side.

Overall, this season so far is just as enjoyable as I remember from watching it nine years ago.  Actually, more so, given how I missed the foreshadowing early on in this episode the first time around.  Under the circumstances, I really shouldn’t have, though.

 

Next time on Power Rangers: Dai Shi brings forth the Five Fingers of Poison as well as personally confronting the trio for the first time.

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