Power Rangers Ninja Steel actually manages to deliver one of the best episodes of the season so far as it pits Hayley (Zoe Robins) and Calvin (Nico Greetham) against each other in their school election.
Having two Power Rangers competing against each other in a school president election isn’t a new storyline – Kimberly and Tommy did the same thing in the second season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Whilst in the classic series the two Rangers fell under a spell to bring out their competitiveness, Power Rangers Ninja Steel actually has the two of them just compete against each other; and this makes the episode so much better for it.
Calvin and Hayley are one of the few examples of a pair of Rangers in a relationship, and the first to be dating before becoming Rangers, and this episode we actually get to get a feel the kinds of people they are and how their relationship works. Plus, for a franchise that normally plays down any kind of attraction or relationship, it’s incredibly refreshing to see people actually look like a real couple.
The election shenanigans are exacerbated by the arrival of this week’s monster, Phonepanzee (I kid you not, he’s a mix between a phone and an ape). Able to sample and replicate people’s voices, Phonepanzee uses this ability to sow discord between Calvin and Hayley during their election campaign, before using it to lure the Rangers away one by one to steal their power stars.
Even the Sentai sequences feel a little special as we get to see the individual Zords do stuff before transforming into the Mega-Zord, with Hayley’s Kodiak Zord using its wolf howl to combat Phonepanzee’s powers. The episode even manages to sidestep the children’s television convention of having both of them win, by having Hayley and Calvin have a grown-up conversation and decide to both step down as their relationship is more important to them.
Whilst the other Rangers do get relegated to supporting roles this episode, it’s not a bad thing as each of them do get something to do, plus it gives two characters that haven’t been given much of a focus the chance to shine. Sadly, one character that appears to be receiving poor treatment lately is Mick (Kelson Henderson). Since having used up the last of the Ninja Steel it seems like the writers don’t quite know what to do with Mick anymore. He’s not helping to train the Rangers, he’s not making new equipment for them, he’s not even being shown being a teacher.
Instead, his new role appears to be turning up five minutes from the end of the episode to give some kind of moral lesson to a select Ranger or two so that they can resolve the story by learning about friendship and such. With Mick being one of the characters with better potential on the show, hopefully the series will rectify this before the end of the season and actually give him something to do.
Overall, ‘Monkey Business‘ is still one of the best episodes of Power Rangers Ninja Steel to date, with great character moments, fun and genuine interactions, some engaging action sequences, and a story that actually works. More episodes like this for the remainder of the season please, Saban.
Power Rangers Ninja Steel airs on Nickelodeon every Saturday. Let us know what you think of the season.