Theo loses his confidence after the trio’s first battle with Gakko, so it’s his turn for RJ’s unorthodox training style.
Last time on Power Rangers: The Five Fingers of Poison were introduced and the show badly attempted to sink the Casey/Lily ship.
Theo the Great?
Up in the loft, Theo easily breaks out of the hold his teammates have him in. He then gloats.
In Dai Shi’s palace, Stingerella and Gakko mock Rantipede’s failure. Camille appears (I’ve forgotten to mention that she has invisibility as a power) to accept Gakko’s boastful claim that he’d be able to achieve victory over the Power Rangers. Switching into his ‘monster’ mode, Gakko states his plan… which doesn’t impress Camille.
Now at work, Theo’s talents impress his teammates. Casey’s awed and Lily’s pleased. Fran lets out a cute surprised noise when Theo hip-checks her away from the register so he can handle something. Lily notes, “I wonder how he does it.”
“I wonder how he’s so good,” Casey comments.
Fran says, “I wonder if he could teach me.”
As he shows up, RJ chimes in, “I wonder if he’s the only employee I need.”
When the other four all turn to look at him, RJ backtracks “A joke” and chuckles awkwardly before reassuring them, “It was a joke.”
Their morphers beep so the trio bolts. Fran makes a comment about it being just her and RJ… but he has left as well to her dismay. The vines and tunnels are used to leave, the trio now in their Ranger uniforms instead of their work ones.
Gakko is amused by the scared civilians in the skyscraper, which I’m reasonably sure is Super Sentai footage. When he comes down to confront the trio, they morph (each getting their own screen) and say their catchphrase before getting out their weaponry. I’m not sure if Gakko then says “Bring it, kiddies” or “Bring it, kitties”. Either way, he’s been condescending.
Casey uses his weapon’s energy attack but Gakko jumps out of the way. Going up a building wall, Gakko taunts the trio and bats Casey back down when the Red Ranger leaps up towards him. Gakko does an info dump on geckos before Theo’s attack attempt fails as well. Smugly, Gakko walks up the building. Casey tries to reassure Theo, but the other guy feels he was made a fool of.
Theo is moping in a booth with an uneaten pizza (briefly exposited that he’s been there for an hour). Lily fails to cheer him up as does Casey. Both of their second efforts fail as well, and Theo wants to leave and does walk off. Casey was across from Theo and Lily takes the vacated spot as both are upset.
Gakko is on the ceiling of his chamber. Stingerella is miffed that the Rangers haven’t been destroyed yet. Dai Shi and Camille show up, the former also upset. The monster’s attempt to reassure Dai Shi goes poorly, and he threatens to turn Gakko into a pair of boots. When Camille giggles, he warns her that he’ll do the same to her. Interestingly, when she tries to say “I didn’t do anything” Dai Shi retorts “Exactly” before leaving.
I’d be a lot more lenient towards Rita and Zedd’s anger at their underlings if it was specified that was their mindset. Dai Shi wants effectiveness and productivity from his minions.
In the darkened loft, RJ has a spotlight on him as he dances- he’s in a grey hoodie and jeans as well as barefoot. For some reason, there was a butt shot. Not that I mind, but it’s unusual coming from the franchise that typically avoids anything more risqué than subtext.
His fun stops when he notices Theo on the upper level, the younger man moping on a big blue ball. Stopping the music, RJ goes up the stairs to check on him. Ultimately, he nudges Theo off the ball when saying his name gets no response.
“I pay you for working, right?”
“Aren’t you supposed to be working?”
“Are you going to work?”
“Why bother? You can get someone better.”
“Possibly. But right now, I’ve got you.”
“Yeah, too bad for you. I got beat in that fight.”
“Yes, you did. Beat pretty badly. I saw it on all five screens. It was ugly. Recorded it- played it back- it was still ugly. You’re not gonna let that stop you, are you?”
“I see.” The brunet snaps his fingers. “Come on. We’re going on a road trip. Help me with my chair.”
Gakko, Camille, and some hopping Rin Shi are in a plaza. Lily and Casey show up in uniform. As the duo fights the minions, Lily states, “When Theo gets here- if Theo gets here- he’s gonna have to fight me as well.”
Putting on his Solar Morpher shades, Casey contacts RJ to ask about Theo.
In some woods, RJ’s in his chair with aviator shades on his head. He tells Casey, “He’s with me.”
“Good. Lily and I are engaged in a battle with the Rin Shi and Gakko. Camille’s here, too.”
“Well, fight on, my man.”
“But we need Theo!”
“You do not need him. You may want him.”
Now cranky, Casey states, “Fine! We want him!”
“Sorry, not possible. Theo is… occupied at the moment.” As the camera zooms out, it’s seen that RJ has a cooler with him as well as flip-flops on his feet. Turning off the radio, RJ calls up, “How are you doing?”
Partway up a rope, Theo (in his Ranger uniform) goes, “Oh, just great. Can I come down now?”
“Not until you get to the top.”
“Was that Casey and Lily? Are they in trouble?”
RJ gets up to say, “Big trouble. But what good are you? You lost your confidence in that last fight.”
“I can try.”
“Trying without confidence is called dumb luck,” refutes RJ. “Now, get up there. Then we’ll consider you joining them.”
As Theo continues to struggle upward, RJ sits back up. I kind of suspect what RJ said is what Yoda meant by the ‘do or do not, there is no try’ sentiment. You have to have confidence that you’ll succeed (or at least, not be certain it’s impossible) otherwise it’ll turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy unless there’s some external factor.
Casey and Lily are momentarily pleased to have defeated the Rin Shi, but then it’s time for them to battle Camille and Gakko.
Theo has reached the platform so RJ wants him to walk across the narrow log pathway between two trees. Grumpily he begins as RJ puts on his shades… it turns out the log is wobbly. Yikes. As his teammates struggle against the enemies, Theo struggles across the log.
“There. I made it. Are you happy?”
“Most of the time. But not quite yet.” RJ launches a trio of oranges that Theo ends up juggling while on the log. As the brunet relaxes, Theo ends up telling him “I can’t do this” while the oranges are nestled in one arm.
RJ gets up, removing his glasses to tell him, “Two days ago, before you lost the fight to Gakko, you had all the confidence in the world. You could fight with the best of them. You had strength, balance, and control. You could do anything you wanted because you had confidence.”
Carefully sitting down, Theo reminds his mentor, “I was beaten.”
“So what, dude? We all lose at some point in our lives. What makes great warriors is not winning every fight- it’s what we do with ourselves when we lose. You had what it takes before that loss. You still have it. You just don’t know where to look for it. Here’s a hint. It’s not a thing. It’s a state of mind.”
“What if I can’t find it again?”
“What if you can? Your choice. Confidence is a state of mind. Choose it. I have all day. Lily and Casey- they may not.”
I initially thought RJ was referring to choosing that mindset, but on reflection he’s clearly implying that the battle might not go well for the other Rangers without Theo’s presence.
Standing back up, Theo resuming juggling before leaping down perfectly to catch two oranges and ‘kick’ the third into RJ’s hand. This meets with RJ’s approval.
Lily and Casey decide to morph, seen in a two-way split screen. They try to tag-team Gakko, who leaps up a wall to Casey’s annoyance. A morphed Theo comes down from above and goes on the offensive. His teammates are thrilled that he’s “gotten his game back”.
Gakko is confident that he’ll win but Theo retains the upper hand in the fight as the other two cheer him on. It looks like Theo has super speed while morphed. Shouldn’t that be more of a Lily thing? In any case, Theo defeats the monster.
After a clear reference to the Wicked Witch of the West, Gakko engages in a ground fight with Theo. The monster supersizes when Lily and Casey go to Theo’s side. In response, the Jungle Pride Megazord is formed as Camille and Flit watch on. The latter commentates on the fight as it occurs in downtown Ocean Bluff.
Losing an arm, Gakko somehow regrows it. The detached arm attacks the Megazord while Gakko is behind them. Theo figures out how to get free and keep Gakko away. The spinning attack is used as the theme song plays; Gakko is destroyed. Flit taunts Camille, who backhands him in response.
Dai Shi is yelling at the three remaining Fingers when Camille shows up. He’s not happy with her either.
His orange cap on backwards, Theo is pizza-making. His three co-workers are pleased that he’s regained his confidence while RJ’s just happy he’s working again. Theo catches one tossed pizza dough but the other lands on his face. He cheerfully adds to the others’ comments, “You forgot ‘only human’.”
A lot of dialogue just sparkled in this episode, as seen by how often I directly quoted it instead of paraphrasing. Some of that was in the delivery, but the lines themselves were pretty good. RJ in particular got good lines, as he mentored Theo about confidence in the aftermath of the Blue Ranger’s defeat. His offbeat but effective style was on full display here.
I suspect that Theo’s training had never hit such a serious hurdle before… and that the stakes of failure were never this high. The DVD set booklet states that Theo is seventeen while Lily and Casey are eighteen; I had previously assumed all three were eighteen. But if Theo is a year younger than his teammates, that would understandably make him less mature. Maybe his serious demeanor is an effort to be grown-up, especially now that he has to help save the world? Or it’s a trait caused by his martial arts training…?
The moral here was to not let one setback send you into a funk. Confidence is a state of mind- skill level is a factor, but self-doubt is as bad as lack of talent. Of course, Gakko was overconfident and that got him destroyed. Balance is fundamental: be neither too arrogant nor too self-effacing. This episode focused more on the lacking confidence end of things lesson-wise, but the results of the other end could be seen by how Gakko’s bragging didn’t carry over into a victory.
Both Lily and Casey get fiery when upset, opposed to Theo’s more sullen reactions. It’ll be interesting to see how Fran’s temper manifests as her coworkers and boss keep disappearing on her.
Next time on Power Rangers: The show has forgotten it sank the Casey/Lily ship because Theo’s now jealous of their bond.