The team tries to escape the movie dimensions.
Last time on Power Rangers: Cinecon trapped all six in various movie genre dimensions.
Trying to Escape
The episode begins where the previous one left off, down to Nadira’s line. Then Trip rides up on a black horse to Wes’ pleased joy but upsetting Nadira and the Cyclobots. The pink-haired woman ‘quits’, upset at the director. The duo falls off the horse when it rears. The Cyclobots ride at the guys so they run off. Wes is frustrated, but Trip learned from Circuit that the clapboard controls the dimensions so the blond starts to whisper a plan in the other guy’s ear.
The natives are happily preparing to their meal to Eric’s frustration. Noticing the chimp nearby, Eric manages to get the ape to free him. Thanking the chimp, Eric gives the critter a hug before running off. Moments later, the natives realize their captive’s escape so they grab their spears and give chase. So, that makes it official: Eric has a huge soft spot for animals, between his birds and the interactions here with the chimp. That’s adorable.
Lucas defends the Japanese damsel from ninjas and there’s a romantic moment between them. Similarly, Katie and her guy are singing a romantic duet. Jen is fighting a shirtless guy now. The mentor approaches the brunette after her victory, wanting to give her the scroll. Kneeling down, Jen puts out her hands.
Cinecon and the Cyclobots are annoyed by Wes and Trip having disappeared on them. Wes gets into a shootout with the minions while Trip goes for the clapboard. When Cinecon notices, Trip taunts him before tossing the clapboard to Wes, who destroys it. This causes the entire team to get teleported away from their locations. In this new spot, they’re back in their normal clothes- Wes is the exception, as he’s in his ‘stunt’ outfit sans wig. Eric was in the middle of a vine swing, so he ends up crashing into a wall and possibly falls unconscious.
The others are pleased and relieved… until Ransik shows up to do “Part II”. That’s definitely some extra leaning on the fourth wall there- not to mention the clear Mad Max inspiration for his garb and the vehicles. Cinecon shows up to try (and fail) to give directions to Ransik. The quintet runs away from the cars.
And what about Eric? The charitable view is that somehow the other Rangers missed his presence. It’s even more baffling that the villains didn’t notice him. This is just odd. I know that Eric has been firm on not being a team player, but that’s no excuse to leave him behind when he’s unconscious.
It turns out the team is in ‘New York’ rather than Silver Hills. I use quotes since it’s both part of the movie genre dimensions as well as too clean and empty to be the real deal. Finding a crew set, they stop to drink from the water bottles there. A tour golf cart shows up with a guide and a group. The quintet is awkward at first, but then Jen gets an idea and distracts the group by claiming that Frankie Chang is nearby. This causes the whole group to bolt off in excitement in hopes of seeing him. Lucas drives the golf cart with the others on it, but they get chased by more dressed up Cyclobots. Ransik shows up in his vehicle as well. Cinecon and the filming Cyclobots grab another tour golf cart to continue their job.
Flushed Out of Hiding?
The Rangers’ golf cart runs out of gas so they decide to hide, ending up at a large structure.
Ransik yells at the Cyclobots to get them while Wes briefly outlines a plan about splitting up, which they do so just as the other golf cart shows up. Jen is a badass against a pair of Cyclobots, one of whom is oddly honorable. Katie briefly ends up cornered. Wes ends up fighting Cyclobots in a warehouse. Being chased by more of the minions, Lucas does his best to fend them off though he does pause to slick back his hair.
Trip encounters Ransik himself as well as some Cyclobots. For some reason Ransik is fine with letting the minions fight the Green Ranger, who escapes into a trailer. The group ends up together at an abandoned village with a banner declaring “Fiesta de la Lluvia”. My classes of high school Spanish automatically made me worried about what exactly would happen.
There’s a group hug but then Katie hears something… the banner was meant to predict a flash flood, apparently, so the quintet bolts. They end up in a room housing the wardrobe department, including several dressed up Cyclobots. Ransik and his cluster of minions hear the fuss they come in.
But the team has left through another exit, all in drag: Katie in 70s-ish garb and an afro wig, Jen in a tuxedo and fake mustache, Lucas as a more matron type, Wes in red, Trip as a blonde motorcycle chick. And suddenly I have the bleak feeling that the Doylist reason that Eric didn’t come along was because the crew decided that Eric’s ‘badass mystique’ wouldn’t survive being in drag, since he’s supposed to be more intimidating and ‘masculine’ than Wes, Lucas, and Trip. Look, I will acknowledge that this franchise can head into toxic masculinity territory at times, which can be aggravating.
As the team dashes off, Ransik and the Cyclobots emerge in girly outfits as well. Special note goes to Ransik being in a poufy pink dress. Suddenly I have to admire the wardrobe Cyclobots’ courage in putting their temperamental boss in such an outfit.
Back to normal, the villains suddenly hear rock music to their annoyance. The group finds a stage where other Cyclobots are head-bopping happily to the music. From the get-go I was certain that the masked band was the team in disguise, but Ransik isn’t as genre savvy so he tries to ask the other Cyclobots about where the Rangers are. Evidently the minions can’t hear him and he’s fed up with the racket, so Ransik and his minions leave. The music stop and the Rangers go back to normal, the remaining Cyclobots trying and failing to stop them.
Going through a door, the team finds themselves in a desert to their worry. Suddenly Cinecon, Cyclobots, and the Vector Cycles show up. Ransik in his vehicle (as well as the other vehicles) show up as well. The team goes “Time for Time Force” and there’s a five-way screen for the morphing sequence. A wheeled battle ensues, with Wes tricking two villainous vehicles to crash into each other, causing an explosion. His teammates drive up to him, giving kudos.
The Big Finale
Ransik is out of it, while Cinecon is pleased with the take. When the team tries to confront him, Cinecon exposes his mutant DNA to supersize. He grabs at them and suddenly they’re in the Mode Blue Time Force Megazord because this is his movie dimension. Mentioning the ‘costar’, Cinecon has the Q-Rex show up. Jen is worried that Cinecon will destroy both Megazords.
The Transport Megazord is called in, traveling through time and space to show up (it’s that orange biped that causes the Time Flyers to travel back in most episodes). To the very worried Rangers, Cinecon outlines the final action sequence which will end in his victory.
Katie is upset but it’s clear that Cinecon and his megaphone have absolute power here. They use the Megazord Saber successfully, however. Getting back up, Cinecon learns from a Cyclobot that the script’s last page has been torn out of the binder. There’s a flashback to clarify how Trip unwittingly took it so he could obtain Frankie Chang’s autograph. I suppose that does answer the question of where Trip got the paper for said autograph; this was actually some valid subtle foreshadowing, particularly for this franchise.
A morphed Eric on the ground gives orders to the Q-Rex. For his sake, I hope he did fall unconscious and is under the assumption that he and the others weren’t in the same space before this. Otherwise, relations between him and the others will only worsen- but I think if Eric knew that the others missed his crash, he’d be less inclined to help out here.
In any case, Cinecon is soon shrunken down.
How the team got back to Silver Hills is not clarified- perhaps it was automatic upon Cinecon’s defeat- as the next scene has the team watching a Frankie Chang movie back in the clock tower. A blissed-out Jen flicks off the TV once the movie is over. Wes and Trip admit that they prefer watching movies to being in them. Katie liked singing and dancing, while Lucas liked rescuing the beautiful princess. Having had a mixed experience in the Old Wes, the sore duo gets up and Wes tells Trip to remind him to cancel the riding lessons.
… I’m not sure how they could afford riding lessons. Maybe they were going to be free as they had done odd jobs at a local stable or something? Then again, I’m probably just overthinking this last moment gag.
I’m less annoyed about the lack of Eric from the perspective of being a fan of his and more about the reasons I suspect he got excised for most of this episode. I’m not sure if his reaction to the long hair last time was more irritation or confusion, but certainly Eric refocused quickly on more important things, like getting a banana for a chimp. It’s possible the show meant to imply that Eric got teleported elsewhere than the others, but that only takes care of the question why the Rangers didn’t notice his crash landing. Plus, that raises another Watsonian query- why would Eric get teleported elsewhere than the other five Rangers? Are the villains aware of Eric’s comparative isolation?
I did appreciate that romance was valued by both Lucas and Katie, while Jen enjoys kicking butt. Wes and Trip were having an Old West phase (not anymore, going by the last scene). I do wish the show had been clearer on why Eric got put in the jungle movie, since he didn’t seem to be enjoying himself. There were a few road bumps, but overall this was a good episode. Just not a great one, as there are too many questions, not least of which is bafflement at how exactly Cinecon’s movie genre dimensions function. There’s not even an attempt at technobabble to explain things.
Next time on Power Rangers: Jen’s initial Time Force partner is released in hopes of turning her evil as well.