9-20: Quantum Secrets

Eric ends up keeping a secret- as well as Wes finding out his own (not that Eric knows yet).

Last time on Power Rangers: Trip stood up for a peaceful mutant against the villains and Eric.

 

Levels of Technology

At Bio-Lab, Eric is working with some researchers regarding the voice-activated Quantum morpher.  The lead scientist (I think it’s Doctor Zaskin) can’t access the technology within since it’s too advanced for their systems to decipher.  Eric points out that his morpher came from an “archeological dig”, apparently ignoring the fact that the Q-Rex was found in the distant past.  Hmm.  Does Bio-Lab know where the Q-Rex came from?  When the alarm blares, Eric grabs his morpher and leaves.

A black vehicle pulls out and heads down a street.  Nadira and some Cyclobots are leaving a clothes store after robbing it.  A morphed Eric and some Silver Guardians arrive, so the pink-haired villainess sics the Cyclobots on them.  The Silver Guardians manage to defeat the Cyclobots, but Nadira teleports out when the other morphed Rangers show up.  I appreciate the continuity from earlier of Nadira seeing the quintet as more valid threats.

Eric is prickly and dismissive towards the others; Wes in particular is fed up with Eric’s antics.  The Quantum Ranger claims that they’ll be “obsolete” once his morpher’s technology has been unlocked by the Bio-Lab scientists.  This revelation makes Jen pause, but Wes gets her to leave with him and the others.

Back at the clock tower, the team is now unmorphed.  Lucas suggests that they tell Eric they’re from the year 3000 in hopes of getting the other man to see sense about how serious the situation is.  Trip backs him up, which isn’t surprising after last time.  Wes doesn’t refute the point, interestingly enough, instead positing that his father would wring money out of any futuristic technology upon knowing its true value.  Jen is off by herself, silent.

Out in the time ship, the mutant Conwing has been reanimated by Frax.  Both Ransik and Nadira disbelieve that Conwing could control the Q-Rex.  It turns out that he has a device that can be used to mimic others’ voices; he demonstrates by mimicking Nadira.  Frax and Ransik are pleased by the implications of this.

Out by his small house, Eric feeds a pair of birds in a cage.  It looks like Eric didn’t get a salary bump for being the Quantum Ranger and Silver Guardians’ Commander and/or he’s frugal.  A third option is that he doesn’t want to leave behind/forget his origins.

A young blonde girl, whose name is given as Alice in the credits, happily approaches and greets him, wanting to talk to the birds.  Eric goes along with it.  Admiring the birds, Alice expresses the sentiment that everybody should have friends.  For all his bluster in earlier episodes, Eric doesn’t disagree with her here.  Rather, he’s silently rueful.

Some guys in suits approach, wanting Eric to come with them.  Their leader has on a pale suit, while the others are in black jackets and pants.  One has a Cyclobot blade on him.  Alice is worried as they leave with a wary Eric.

Internal Reveals

The group goes to a bridge; Eric’s arms are restrained by two of the guys.  The leader turns out to have been a disguised Conwing while the others turn into Cyclobots.  Eric initially refuses to call for the Q-Rex, so Conwing threatens his “little friend”.  At some point, Conwing got the Quantum morpher off Eric’s wrist and knows better to hand it over as it’s voice-activated.  Flatly Eric goes, “Q-Rex, arise.”

The Q-Rex emerges from the ground and heads through the piney woods.  Eric continues to be held back by the Cyclobots.  Conwing fakes out Eric before using his voice mimicker to control the Q-Rex.  The black-haired man is horrified as the Q-Rex goes into Megazord mode.  The mutant’s ensuing gloat reveals to Eric that the mutants are from the year 3000, a fact emphasized by Eric’s brief voiceover.

Conwing and the Cyclobots are ready to destroy Eric when the other Rangers arrive, already morphed.  Eric leaps off the bridge but still gets blasted at.  Wes does a Big No in response, but Jen is the one to leap after him.  Trip clues into what the device is when Conwing uses it again.

At Lucas’ request, Circuit sends for the Shadow Winger.  There’s a brief time travel sequence and an eclipse as it goes into upright mode.  Both sides move off to the wilderness on a side of the bridge.  Katie tries to get the villains to preemptively surrender to no avail, so the fight begins.  The Two Zords grapple with each other, Conwing continues to give orders.

A demorphed Eric is lying on a riverbank.  Also demorphed, Jen shows up with a damp cloth to use on Eric’s wounds (nothing graphic is seen, but there are red spots on his white shirt).  Waking up, Eric bats her hand away, claiming, “I don’t need your help!”

“Obviously, you do,” Jen counters.  “You would have drowned in the river if I hadn’t pulled you out.”

“Well, if you think I’m going to thank you, you’re wrong.”  Getting up, Eric tries to walk off despite clearly being in pain.

“What’s your problem?  We’re not your enemies.”

“You’re not my friends either.”

“That’s your choice, not ours.”  Jen heads after him.  “Maybe if you’d lose that attitude, you’d get to know us a little better, but I doubt that’ll happen.”

Already worn out, Eric has to sit on a boulder.  Because I know he’d try to get out of this uncomfortable conversation if he could, given his past antisocial tendencies.  If he’s showing weakness here… he must be in a lot of pain.  I wonder why Jen is in so much better shape- maybe because she was conscious the whole time, while Eric could have been knocked out by the blast as well as initially injured.

Upset, Jen throws the cloth at him.

“I know more about you than you think,” Eric counters.  “I know that you and your friends aren’t even from here.”

“W-what are you talking about?”

“So, it’s true.”

Heh.  Eric basically got Jen to confirm that Conwing earlier claimed without directly bringing up the topic.  I appreciate this sort of clever underhandedness; it’s not exactly nice, but Eric (even after his character development) tends to be a case of ‘good is not nice’ anyway.

Eric spells out what he knows for Jen: “You are from the future.”

The brunette gulps in response before going, “I’m sorry.  Maybe we should have told you we’re from the year three thousand, but if you only knew what’s at stake.  The whole world- everything that we-”

“Save it.  I don’t want to know about your problems.  I got my own.  Like getting my morpher back.”

20Jen&Eric

“You only care about yourself, don’t you?”

Turning back, Eric states, “You don’t know anything about me.”

Actually, this isn’t a case of skewed priorities.  It is fact that the villains want to use the Q-Rex to attack Silver Hills, so Eric wants to regain control of his Zord before it’s used to hurt buildings- or worse, people.  By dint of being an idealistic franchise, I figure there aren’t death tolls during attacks.  I hope.

Also… I kind of what to know how Jen would have finished that sentence.  “Everything that we worked for” in reference to originally capturing the criminals and Alex’s sacrifice?  “Everything that we know” regarding the unstable time loop?  Eric cuts in because he doesn’t want to know about their “problems” but I have to wonder if it’s in part due to Jen framing this whole mess in terms of how it’s affecting her and her friends instead of how it’s impacting Silver Hills.  As a Silver Guardian, Eric has likely been up close and personal with the aftereffects of the Ranger battles and how right now his own Zord could be used again to hurt others if he doesn’t move fast.  I think Eric is right that Jen shouldn’t get his motivations and therefore him at this junction.

Not helping is that both Eric and Jen are stubborn and temperamental.  I suspect that this chat would have gone smoother if it had been Lucas, Katie, or Trip.  Wes and Eric are not happy with each other right now, so the blond would have been the only worse option than Jen.

Making to leave, Jen turns around to request, “Do me one favor.  Don’t tell anyone that we’re from the future.  Especially Mister Collins.  It could ruin everything we’re working for.”

“I’m not making any promises.”

Jen walks off, leaving Eric by the tree.  To be fair, this conversation pointed out that Eric doesn’t see the Rangers as friends and therefore probably not as allies either.  It’s actually interesting that Eric didn’t flat out say that what he tells his boss is his own business.  I suspect this is more of Eric’s pedestal for Mister Collins becoming cracked.

Saving the Future?

Conwing has continued to control the Q-Rex, having it attack the Shadow Winger.  The others are back in the field so the mutant blasts them down.  Jen arrives with her V5, but Conwing blasts it out of her hands.

Eric, having caught his breath, runs towards the mutant.  Conwing commands the Q-Rex to destroy him, so the Megazord nears the site.  Running, Eric grabs the V5 and blasts Conwing.  Somehow this causes the morpher to end up back in Eric’s hand so he uses it to regain control of the Q-Rex.  He states, “It’s payback time.”

In response, Conwing supersizes himself.  I should note that there have been a few moments of obvious CGI when normal-sized people and the Zords are in the same shot.  Anyway, Conwing knocks over the Q-Rex and nearly blasts the quintet, felling them.  The mutant then decides to attack the city.

Getting up, Jen says, “Eric, we’ve got to work together.”

“I work alone!”  Eric morphs, with the sequence seen.  He states, “I’ll handle this myself.”

Jen is upset but the group is too weak to stop him or even chase after him.

Eric goes into the city, ending up surrounded by Cyclobots, which he fights.

Alex’s computer informs, “Energy loss critical.”

I wonder if this is an AI or not.  Also, were Eric’s energy levels already lower than usual due to his preexisting injuries?  That’s likely the case, making Eric’s determination all the more impressive.

Eric gets a transmission for his mega battle.  The Q-Rex sits up to give Eric the upgrade, which pulls him on wheels.  He switches it to “battle ready” and wheels by the minions, swiping at them with his twin blades like a badass.  Conwing is doing blasts and there’s damage at Eric’s house.  Alice saves the birdcage.  Continuing to attack, Conwing wants to destroy her.

Going into aerial mode, Eric attacks Conwing as he flies by to Alice’s awe.  Eric ‘soars’ back towards the supersized mutant, using the “Mega Battle Sword” to defeat him.  Conwing gets shrunken down to mini-figure mode.

The other Rangers arrive shortly before Eric.  He goes back to his ‘normal’ Ranger mode.  Jen goes, “Thanks, Eric,” before putting Conwing into a canister.  Wes wants Eric to at least think about working with the team.

Eric just walks off.  Hey, he didn’t laugh in their faces or flat-out say ‘no’.  Already Eric is getting friendlier and keep in mind, maybe it was on his and Mister Collins’ terms but he has expressed an interest with working with them in the past.  There is a tug and pull thing going on: Eric and Mister Collins have their own terms for working with the Rangers while they have their own terms for working with the Silver Guardians… and right now the two sets of terms seem to be mutually exclusive.

Trip notes, “The Mega Battle gives Eric more power than ever.”

“Yeah,” Lucas concurs.  “He’s got to start working with us.”

“I wouldn’t count on it,” Jen warns them.

Wait.  Why does Eric ‘got’ to start working with the others now that he has more power?  Surely that simply means he can better fight alone?  Suddenly I’m wondering why the Rangers want Eric on their team.  Mister Collins and Eric want (wanted?) the Rangers to join the Silver Guardians so that the clients could be better protected from mutant attacks.  Why do the Rangers want Eric to be on their team?  To make sure there aren’t any more crossed-wires scenarios like at the start of “Trust and Triumph”?  That could be managed by an open line of communication, particularly as Eric knows who and where the team is and they know where Bio-Lab is.  I half-suspect that the quartet simply wants the power of the Quantum Ranger for fighting Ransik as they see fit.

Secrets Kept, Secrets Out

Back at Bio-Lab, Mister Collins and Doctor Zaskin talk in the former’s office about the Mega Battle.  Initially Mister Collins thinks it was created by his scientists, but Zaskin reveals that they don’t know its source.  A still-battered Eric is present, so Mister Collins asks him for any “new information”.

“No, sir.  Nothing.”  He looks down.  The viewers know this is due to his conflicting feelings on keeping a secret from his boss, who is baffled by this whole mess.  Eric glances at his morpher.

Presumably later that day, Eric is back at his house, while is largely unharmed.  Alice has saved the birds to Eric’s ‘relief’ as he already knew that but she apparently doesn’t know he’s a Ranger.  Weren’t there press conferences about Eric being the Quantum Ranger?  I guess Eric prefers to keep a low profile.  Thanking her, Eric calls her “very brave” for doing so.

“You’re welcome,” Alice responds.  Eric offers to let her visit the birds whenever she wants to her pleasure.

Out on the street, Wes is on his motorcycle as the duo talks.  He smiles at the realization that Eric does have a friend of sorts.  Eric himself is too busy bonding with Alice over the birds to notice Wes.

Conclusion

It’s hard to believe that I’m already halfway through Time Force.  This was an Eric-centric episode, so that makes me biased towards its favor.  Back in the day, I already preferred Eric… and nowadays, since I’ve become a Marvel fan, I can appreciate even more the parallels to Erik/Magneto.  It’s possible that they were subconscious, but they’re clearly present.

Alice, presumably one of Eric’s neighbors, is introduced here as a bubbly and idealistic girl.  Even Eric’s prickly exterior can’t withstand her friendliness.  I wonder how Eric interacts with the other Silver Guardians, particularly now that he’s the boss/Quantum Ranger.  Plus, Eric has personal reasons to dislike the Rangers beyond his ‘standard’ aloofness and cynicism: he feels Wes doesn’t use his innate advantages/privileges (which Eric jealously wishes/wished he had) while the others are non-pragmatic.  I half-suspect he now thinks Jen at least doesn’t ‘really’ care about the citizens of Silver Hills.

Huh.  I wonder if any of Eric’s extra cash is going towards foundations that supply repairs/therapy in the wake of mutant attacks.

Doctor Zaskin returns to continue trying to figure out the Quantum morpher technology.  Again, I’m left wondering why Bio-Lab hasn’t tried to contact any of the Aquabase personnel; surely their identities aren’t classified anymore?  Or are there Aquabase personnel at Bio-Lab and it’s just never mentioned?  Honestly, that’s part of why I’m relatively fine with Mister Collins: maybe his intentions aren’t pure, but he’s one of the handful of on-screen people to take action to protect others without extraordinarily advanced magitech.  Even the Aquabase managed to somehow create Ranger technology.

I wonder why exactly Eric kept the Rangers’ secret- did he justify it as unbelievable?  Does he actually not want to burn the bridge between himself and the others?  Is he suspecting that Mister Collins is more materialistic than pragmatic in his intent?

This episode was dedicated in memory of Minoru Uchiyama, an important Super Sentai crew member.  Yeah… and a later one will be similarly dedicated to Thuy Trang, who played Trini Kwan.

 

Next time on Power Rangers: Lucas engages in the titular event.

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