“Breaking Black” starts off at the Dino Bite Cafe where the Rangers are performing their heroic duties of clogging the arteries of innocent civilians. Uh, I mean, delightfully serving happy museum-goers. Chase leaves his post at the grill to flirt with a customer and the grill catches on fire. Tyler and Riley comically panic trying to stop it.
After the theme song (I never get tired of watching it, it makes me so happy) Chase is getting a good talking to by the others. It’s funny how casually he brushes off the incident: “Come on! One little fire.”
While defending himself, Chase’s old friend Moana shows up. This woman looks so ridiculous but I love her so much. She’s an over-the-top character that fits perfectly into the Dino Charge world but not so over-the-top that she loses believability.
She’s a fortune-teller from New Zealand who asks Chase to guard her shop while she’s out. Chase agrees. We’re then treated to a funny montage of shots of Chase goofing off and not paying attention to the shop. He falls asleep, allowing a crazy crow-looking monster named Spellbinder to sneak in. It picks up a gold device and attaches it to his chest.
Chase wakes up and tells him to put the device back. Spellbinder blasts him in the eyes with some voodoo magic that turns his eyes black and gold and makes him uneasy. He hops on his skateboard to chase after Spellbinder. Being on the skateboard helps Chase shake off whatever whammy Dark Big Bird put on him. He calls for backup and pursues Spellbinder to a warehouse. As soon as he steps off the skateboard the spell comes back. They’re still using the in-helmet shots which I really like.
Chase tries to take down Spellbinder but it’s too much for him. The others show up to help and are just as ineffective. Chase recovers and aims his blaster. Spellbinder grabs Tyler and uses him as a shield. Tyler tells him “take the shot!” and as Chase tries to focus his aim on Spellbinder, the monster activates his spell. He tells Chase to shoot Tyler and he almost does. His fights it enough to drop the blaster. Koda and Shelby double team Spellbinder to free Tyler before Spellbinder retreats.
Back in orbit, Sledge yells at Spellbinder for failing. Spellbinder says that once the spell takes hold, Chase will help turn all the Rangers.
In the lab, Kendall gives Tyler a Charger that will help them form the Dino Spike in order to break through Spellbinder’s tough cape and destroy him. Keeper examines Chase and somehow knows exactly what Spellbinder told Sledge. They used some pretty cool makeup to help sell the spellbound look on Chase.
The other Rangers go off to ask Moana for and Keeper tells Chase to stay back. Chase feels terrible about letting Spellbinder steal the gold pendant. Keeper says, “You can’t change the past. But you can learn from it.” Wow. That’s some serious introspection right there. Remember the dinosaur apocalypse?
Moana tells the Rangers that the pendant was forged from an evil hear in the darkest corner of New Zealand. That’s some pretty dark stuff. They must destroy it or Chase will forget who he is. If he can focus long enough he can help the Rangers use the Dino Spike.
The Rangers find that funny since Chase can’t ever seem to focus at work. Moana tells them of a time Chase proved to her he can focus. We get a flashback to before Chase was a Ranger. Moana’s locking up her shop when her baby carriage start rolling away from her. Chase hears her calling, “Tabitha!” and skates after it. He follows it down a walk ramp, down some stairs, past some tables, down some more stairs, and into the street where it stop in front of a huge truck that doesn’t want to slow down.
Chase leaps, does a crazy backflip grab trick on his skateboard and snatches the baby blanket holding Tabitha out of the carriage in mid-air.
Okay, I’ll admit, that was pretty awesome. But there’s no way Tabitha wouldn’t have fallen out and gotten crushed by the truck anyway. Gotta love that TV magic.
Moana is happy that Chase saved her ba—AWWW, IT’S A CUTE LITTLE KITTY!!!
Chase can’t believe he risked his life for a cat. He must not know any pet owners. Oh, wait, Riley had Rubik. Maybe he could school Chase on way Tabitha isn’t just a cat to Moana.
For his bravery, Moana gives Chase the black energem. Koda’s jealous at how easy it was for Chase. Koda had to stay frozen in a glacier for thousands of years. Ha. That was pretty funny.
Moana says that when Chase is on his skateboard that he’s completely focuses. I like that. Skateboarding is such an integral part of who he is
Spellbinder’s back and Chase has disappeared. The Rangers fight the trio of Spellbinder, Wrench, and Curio. I like how the generals keep fighting with the monsters. They’re making Sledge seem pretty smart by sending down a group when things get tough.
Spellbinder get the best of the Rangers and eye-zaps Riley, Tyler, and Koda. Shelby rolls out of the way. Chase shows up, completely under Spellbinder’s control. Spellbinder orders him to destroy Shelby. She tries to get Chase to fight it but he’s completely gone.
Holy crap, the acting this season is so great. Shelby finds the flat wooden cart that looks like a skateboard that she used when she was fighting Curio a few minutes ago. (Wow, the continuity.) She slides it under Chase’s foot as he’s walking and he stumbles onto it. The skateboard breaks the spell and Chase turns on Spellbinder, shooting the pendant and breaking the spell on the other Rangers. They regroup to face the monsters.
Wrench is freaking out but Spellbinder’s not backing down. The three regroup and get ready to fight again. This is an absolutely amazing fight scene. The Rangers morph and take the fight outside. They power up the Dino Steel and go at the monster team again. Spellbinder keeps blocking with his cape, so they combine their weapons to form the Dino Spike.
That thing looks pretty awesome. They take out Spellbinder with the Dino Spike, but Sledge fires the magna beam and makes him grow. We get out first look at the Para Zord…
…who lives on top of Hogwarts? Huh?
Anyway, they form the Dino Charge Megazord ParaRaptor formation and destroy Spellbinder.
Wrench brings the wreckage to Sledge who is angry at losing the bounty for Spellbinder. Sledge sees the pendant in the pile of scrap. He says there might be some magic left in it and tells Wrench to save it. Ooh, foreshadowing. I like it.
Back at the cafe, Moana says goodbye to Chase. Koda tells Chase it’s his day to focus and clean the museum floor. When he takes off on his skateboard to do so, Shelby remembers that it’s actually Koda’s turn. Koda was being sneaky. “Maybe he need, uh, concentrate on schedule, too.” That was funny.
“Breaking Black” is another great episode of Dino Charge. This year we’re seeing a true return to form for Power Rangers. This episode in particular was very well done. James Davies delivered a great performance as Chase went through some great character development. Moana was a fun guest character and I hope we see more from her. Once again, the cast was brilliant and they brought the whole story together around the interactions between a spellbound Chase and the other Rangers.
The level of thought and continuity that we’ve seen so far is amazing. We see the world from the Rangers’ point of view and the villains’ point of view. And there’s a story being told on both sides. The subtleties really sell the whole package. “Breaking Black” delivers many of those subtleties. Keeper references his past when he tells Chase that he can’t change the past, but he can learn from it. Sledge continues to struggle with sacrificing his bounties to get the energems. And Koda’s passing reference to being trapped in a glacier gives us the last piece of his origin story.
Like Koda in “Return of the Caveman,” Chase stood tall in “Breaking Black.” We learned about his past bravery that earned him the black energem. He learned that he needs to focus more and that something as simple as a too-relaxed attitude can lead to catastrophic results.
Chase grabbing the kitten (that he thought was a baby) during a backflip was a little off. The point was that he was brave and could focus, but that move was totally reckless. He could’ve just as easily skated into the road and pulled the carriage out of the way. Fun to watch, but bad writing.
Stars of the Show:
1. Chase – Again, this should be obvious. The story centered on him and he made the save against the monster with an assist from Shelby. We got to see the bravery that earned him his energem and the debut of his zord.
2. Moana – she looked crazy and acted crazy but she was brilliant and fun to watch. She was sort of a catalyst to the events and gave the Rangers advice to help with Chase and the monster.
3. Shelby – She really saved the day when she slid that wooden board under Chase’s feet. If she hadn’t done that, the Rangers would’ve been done for.
Power Bolts: 5/5
Once again we’re given a fun and engaging episode to watch. Everything was on point.
Nostalgia Bolts: 0