9-23: Full Exposure

Katie tries to convince a photographer not to unmask the Rangers.

Last time on Power Rangers: A mutant used a love spell on Wes, Lucas, and Trip.

 

Worth a Thousand Words- or a Job

In Silver Hills, the morphed Jen and Katie are fighting a mutant.  Shortly after the trio of morphed guys show up to join the fight, a photographer also arrives but to snap photos.  As the mutant’s blast knocks down the quintet, the photographer happily takes photos of the battle.  However, the Rangers are soon victorious, with Wes and Lucas having taken point.  Somehow the explosion reverts the mutant to action figure mode- I suppose the mutant never got the chance to expose his mutant DNA in order to supersize.

The photographer returns to the newsroom to give the photos to his editor.  Here it’s name-dropped that he’s Mitch as the editor tells him that he wants more from the photos for “The Inquisitor”.  The ultimatum of either finding out the Rangers’ secret identities to use in the paper or be fired is given.

Over in the clock tower, a vacuuming Katie has lifted up the couch with one arm.  On it, Trip is reading an edition of The Inquisitor.  I’m not sure why Trip didn’t get off, Watsonially speaking.  I know that the Doylist reasoning was to showcase just how super strong Katie is, but just because Katie can pick up the couch with Trip still on it doesn’t mean that Trip couldn’t have moved.

Once the couch (and Trip) are back to the proper spot, Wes grabs the paper from Trip to scoff that it’s “all hype”, with the clear implication that it’s more tabloid than ‘serious’ news.  That doesn’t stop the blond from being pleased when he sees a photo of his Red Ranger self on the front page.  When there’s a buzz from the office below, Jen and Katie head down to encounter Mitch as he’s looking for an assistant.  Upon hearing that among the qualities needed is strength, Jen picks Katie.

They’re at a white van, and Katie grows very worried when Mitch tells her what the big assignment is.  Via a radio, the editor alerts Mitch to the latest mutant attack.  Katie hastily covers up her morpher when the others try to alert her.  The four Rangers on their Vector Cycles drive by on their way to fight the mutant, the van following.

23HidingDuo

Katie and Mitch run after the quartet, partially hiding behind a bush as they’re now in a park.  The quartet fights the new mutant, Jen getting upset when Wes gets hurt but her attack only gets herself hurt.  Mitch gets bemused when he realizes that Katie has disappeared.

The Yellow Ranger shows up to fight the mutant, Wes and Lucas trying to contribute as well.  Mitch keeps taking photos as Katie and Trip use their V weapons.  Jen tries a Chrono Saber attack, but the mutant goes into a compact form to fly away.  Before the others can power down, Katie warns them and does her best to reassure her teammates.

Mitch is upset behind the bush when the Rangers leave without demorphing.  Katie is back at the van, making up an awkward excuse for her absence.  Mitch remains determined to learn the Rangers’ identities.  The duo goes to the darkroom, where it turns out that Mitch prefers doing nature photos but needs a paying job.

I do think the story for this episode could have been more compelling if Mitch had enjoyed taking action-centric photographs, or admired past photographers of previous Ranger teams.  Because it is canon that Power Rangers have been on the televised news, making it very likely that the same stories were covered in newspapers.  That would have given the plot genuine stakes for the one-off character as well as for the Rangers.

Katie tries to nudge Mitch away from revealing the Rangers’ secret identities, but he’s stubborn although he doesn’t clarify that his job is at risk if he doesn’t do this.  Once they’re in the newsroom, he asks her to go get them lunch.

The Big Reveal?

Elsewhere in Silver Hills, the mutant attacks again.  Katie is at the elevator when Circuit contacts her via morpher hologram about Artillicon, name-dropping the monster of the week.  Similarly, the editor gives Mitch the address of the current attack so he can get the photos.

The morphed Rangers show up where Artillicon is attacking in the city.  Moments later, Mitch arrives in his white van and goes behind another vehicle to take photos of the fight, which isn’t going well for the team.  They use the Vortex Blaster, but Artillicon just ‘spits’ the blast back at them before compacting and flying away.

Nearing the space, Mitch takes more photos.  The team has forcibly demorphed, so Mitch starts by taking photos of the barely conscious Wes, Lucas, and Trip.  Next, he photographs Jen.  As the team regains consciousness, Mitch recognizes Katie and gulps.  Struggling to her feet, Katie tries to plead with him but Mitch takes a photo of her anyway.  She’s too hurt to go after him as Mitch leaves.  As the others get up, Katie goes down to her knees.

Back in his darkroom, Mitch is developing the photos, including the one of Katie.  Initially he smiles at the five chosen photos but soon grows worried.  In the newsroom, he passes by Katie (presumably deliberately ignoring her).

Katie tries to tell him that some things are more important than a paycheck, but he goes after to hand over the manila envelope to Mister Hampton’s assistant.  Heading over to the elevator, Mitch gets in after some other people get off.

Suddenly Artillicon attacks the news building and Mitch gets trapped in the elevator.  Getting it cracked open, he calls for help as there are blasts on the structure.  The elevator starts to sink because the cable goes haywire.  Katie manages to slow its descent not to seriously hurt Mitch, but I’m certain she got some severe rug burn on her hands.  Ouch.

Mitch starts to emerge from the elevator, while Katie takes the stairs so she can help him up and out.  Now I’m wondering if there are people who refuse to take elevators when in active Ranger cities, just in case.  She checks on him, while Mitch is confused when she helped him despite what he did.  Katie informs him, “That’s the difference between you and me- you only think of yourself.”

Huh, when Kelsey expressed a similar sentiment in “The Great Egg Caper”, it was later proven that Artie did think of others.  I suppose that this season is slightly more cynical than Lightspeed Rescue as this statement was meant as a catalyst for Mitch to change, rather than something to be subverted.

Running out on the street, Katie morphs.  Her teammates are already fighting Cyclobots near the shore and she joins in.  Artillicon shows up, determined to destroy the Rangers this time.  I’m not sure why he didn’t before- it’s possible there was an off-screen bit where Frax manipulated the mutant to focus on that opposed to wreaking havoc.

Jen realizes that they need to destroy his cannons and do so before using the Vortex Blaster again.  The weakened Artillicon exposes his mutant DNA and supersizes.  The Time Fliers are called for and there’s a time travel sequence.  The team rides the Time Jet to reach the cockpits before forming the Time Force Megazord in “mode blue”.  There’s a brief downtown battle before Artillicon explodes and presumably gets contained off-screen.

Back at the clock tower, the team is packing up in the office to Trip’s dismay.  Jen points out that once that story runs, everyone will know where they live- “including Ransik”.  Mitch shows up at the door; although prickly, Jen does let him in.  Katie is upset with him, but Lucas shows up with the new edition of “The Inquisitor” excitedly since the demorphed photos aren’t in it.  Mitch gives Katie the envelope of the photos, having quit his job and planning to find one where he’ll take the type of photos he prefers.  The duo grins at each other.

… Yeah, Mitch’s arc seemed a little too pat for my tastes.  Then again, he was a one-off character and the main takeaway for the plot here is that there are reasons for the team to keep their secret identities.

Conclusion

I didn’t dislike this episode, but it did feel rather cliched.  Also, it’s the third episode in a row without any Eric.  That’s particularly annoying since Eric could vouch on Katie’s behalf that there are good reasons to maintain a secret identity- Conwing might not have found him in “Quantum Secrets” if he had kept a lower profile.  But seriously, are Nadira and Cyclobots off raiding high-end boutiques to distract Eric and the Silver Guardians from the ‘real’ battles between mutants and the Ranger team?  I wouldn’t put that sort of tactics past Ransik.

Katie’s idealistic nature was ultimately reinforced by Mitch’s actions, despite her bout of angry disappointment with him.  Mitch himself wasn’t very nuanced, even for this franchise.  He didn’t have that much of a reaction to learning his assistant was the Yellow Ranger, even.  Also, I’m willing to bet this is the only Time Force episode to deal with the possibility of a photographer revealing their secret identities, which is likely fueling my ‘meh’ reaction to it.

However, this episode did illuminate yet another way Andrew Hartford messed up.  After Moltor’s initial raid on the mansion, he should have at least considered shifting bases- particularly as it’s very likely that the villains attacked San Angeles due to the Rangers’ proximity, unlike most seasons where they target a single city due to the nearness to their own base or for a specific reason.  Maybe if he had, then the finale could have played out differently.  Certainly Andrew’s security systems are subpar- either Will didn’t look them over or he understandably didn’t know how to protect against supernatural threats.  You can’t tell me that Andrew couldn’t afford it, given the way he spent money in that series.

 

Next time on Power Rangers: A mutant traps the team in movie-themed pocket dimensions.

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