Power Rangers: My Journey
Part 7: A Rollercoaster
By Ben Taylor
We’re in a hell of a roller coaster here, folks. From the highs of MMPR season three, to the holding pattern of Zeo, The nadir that is Turbo, up to the dizzying heights of IN SPACE, the Power Rangers franchise has been kind of all over the place. What does it hold for us this time? Well let’s find out as we dip into unknown waters of Power Rangers after the stellar growing experience that was IN SPACE, and fly off to a LOST GALAXY.
Power Rangers Lost Galaxy (aka – Blasting off… AGAIN!)
Lost Galaxy is the 7th season of Power Rangers and is the first official post-Zordon Era series, where the show switched to a year-by-year different story basis. Now, the concept of the “Zordon Era” is a nebulous one, because due to guest stars and references, it’s not like anything from IN SPACE back to Mighty Morphin’ is never brought up again. It’s just that the characters of that era stop being the focus of the story. With that definition in mind, due to a few things that happen in this season, I consider Lost Galaxy to be the last season that sequentially really focuses on the Zordon Era (though I’ve only seen through SPD so far, and apparently some of the later Nickelodeon shows have huge call backs).
Lost Galaxy is a season about a colony leaving Earth aboard an amazing looking ship (it’s more like a space station) called Terra Venture. Apparently, chronologically it happens 1 year after the events of IN SPACE, which is one of a few major supporting columns of my thoughts on this season being part of that era. Crewed with not only military but civilians too, they are setting out to establish the first Earth colony. Meanwhile, on another planet on the other side of the galaxy, Mironoi, the main villain, attacks. Our Ranger team finds themselves there thanks to weird wormhole technology. They retrieve ancient weapons called the Quasar Sabers, which are what allow them to morph this season, rescue one inhabitant who is our Yellow Ranger (the rest of the planet’s inhabitants are affected by a spell that petrifies them), and bam, we’re off to the races this season. Our villain, Scorpius, and his band of raiders, want those Quasar Sabers, and it draws their ire toward Terra Venture.
Okay, let’s get this out of the way; the title “Lost Galaxy” is a total misnomer. The titular lost galaxy doesn’t appear until the 35th episode of the 45 episode season and the involved arc only lasts like 7 episodes. This is because much like IN SPACE, Lost Galaxy’s producers were given footage that indicated a space-based Sentai, but instead what they got was Seijuu Sentai Gingaman, a Sentai with questionable special effects (even for a Sentai) and more of a storybook theme with pirates as villains. That being said, the writers had to write around the situation, hence Terra Venture, the main vessel the show is based on, having large habitation domes that can double for the locations used in Sentai.
Something I won’t be really touching on here; Bulk and Professor Phenomenous (a side character from IN SPACE I didn’t mention there either, because he added nothing to the show). Even though their presence on Terra Venture is a major tie back to the Zordon Era, they are introduced in the first episode, and then show up in two other episodes, and are glimpsed in the finale. Complete waste.
Let’s talk about our major characters; Our villain this season is… Well starts out as Scorpius, a unique looking bug creature who is killed by one of his lieutenants, who then frames the Rangers for Scorpius’ death, causing Scorpius’ very Humanoid daughter, Trakeena, to take over as the season’s main villain. I really like Trakeena as a villain, from her days early in the series observing and needling at her father’s lieutenants, and then when she takes over, she really does take control of the villain faction. There is a great episode where Trakeena recruits a lieutenant of her own, Villamax, who teaches her combat in a great montage. Villamax fulfills a role very similar to the unbrainwashed Ecliptor from IN SPACE, the honorable warrior. There is also a sub-plot with Trakeena and Villamax entering a chrysalis that Trakeena’s father had constructed for her to become more insectoid and more powerful, which really goes nowhere outside the finale.
On to the Rangers, starting with this season’s Red Ranger, Leo. Leo is the Ranger that probably undergoes the most development in the season, starting as a hotheaded risk-taker who throws caution to the wind whenever he can, to learning more control and thinking things through as he goes. Leo’s early recklessness comes from the fact that he wasn’t the original person to pull the Quasar Saber from the rock on Mirinoi. That was actually Mike, Leo’s brother, who died in the first episode, falling off a cliff on Mirinoi. Leo was trying to save him and Mike passed the Quasar Saber off to Leo, who acted recklessly while trying to prove he was worthy. Being unable to save Mike really informs Leo’s character. He was willing to throw himself into very dangerous situations to save other members of the team, even after Mike returns (more on that later!). Leo starts out the season as a stowaway abroad Terra Venture, and after trying to turn his hand to being part of the military, he returns to being a civilian.
Our Blue Ranger is Kai, who is heavily ingrained in the military arm of Terra Venture. Serving in the ship’s Command Center, he has a stiffer personality and is very much a stickler for the rules. His arc this season involves having to learn to not live by the WORD of the rules, but by the spirit of the rules. His insistence on living by the rules brings him to bash heads with Leo early in the season, since Leo is a stowaway and risk taker. Kai is also the group’s cook, showing a love for it and an aptitude the others don’t have. The rest of the team often comment on how bad the food is when Kai is not the one preparing it.
This season has a Green Ranger in the main team, which is Damon. He’s the mechanic of the team. No, not like Billy who built really complicated things and was a genius. His job on Terra Venture, and more specifically, the Astro Megaship (yes, the IN Sapce Astro Megaship is in a museum on Terra Venture, and is used by the Lost Galaxy Rangers as a transport), is to go around fixing things, but unlike another sci-fi space mechanic, Dave Lister, he’s really good at it. His personality is that outwardly he is always ready with a glib remark or joke, but he takes his role as a Ranger very seriously.
Maya is our Yellow Ranger. Born on the planet of Mirinoi, after the planet’s petrification, and retrieving the Quasar Sabers, she comes to live on Terra Venture. Maya fulfills the “native” trope perfectly. She wears yellow-y tanned skins, carved beads, and has an empathic connection with nature (which allows her to understand this season’s Zords. I’ll get to them later). She also has the ability to get prophetic dreams. None of this is explained, but because she’s from another planet, it can be inferred this is something people from Mirinoi can do, I guess. As for her actual personality, that’s a little harder to pin down. Sometimes she’s stoic, other times she’s carefree. Sometimes she’s serious and at others, comedic. She definitely fits the cypher role that so many Yellow Rangers seem to fall into, very well. I need to point out that much like with Tanya, I have a real issue with how quickly Maya picks up the advanced tech of Terra Venture. Before we meet her, she is living in a primitive village, like one step removed from a “Fire bad, tree pretty,” kinda thing, and in literally the next episode, she is moving around Terra Venture, dealing with advanced tech like computers and tablet-like iPad/PADD devices, as if she’s been using them her whole life. Keep in mind, not that much time has passed in-universe.
I’m going to go a bit out of sequence here, and discuss this season’s “Sixth Ranger” before discussing the Pink Ranger, because there is a lot to discuss when it comes to the Pink Power this season.
Our “Sixth Ranger” is the Magna Defender, who is Mike, Leo’s thought-to-be dead brother. I’m not going to go into it, but he winds up not actually being dead. Mike doesn’t have much character development, bar being there to convince Leo that it was Leo’s destiny to become the Red Ranger, and not Mike, and when Mike accepts this, he gains control over the Magna Defender power. The reason I write “Sixth Ranger” in inverted commas, is because his title doesn’t have the word Ranger in it. Several people question his status as a Ranger, but he is the sixth member of the team.
Now we come to the Pink Ranger, or should I say, Rangers. You see Kendrix, the first Pink Ranger this season, becomes our first ever Power Ranger to die in the course of her duty during an encounter with Psycho Pink (yes the Psycho Rangers come back, but we’ll get to that later). She sticks around as a kind of Force ghost for an episode or two and then resurrects in the finale along with the inhabitants of Mirinoi, though no-one was aware that would happen. This was done because the actress who played Kenricx was diagnosed with Leukemia and had to leave the show to receive treatment. Props, however, to Saban, who kept the actress in the credits so that they could aid with paying for her treatment, which was successful. Personality wise, Kendrix is the team’s scientist. Highly analytical and intelligent, she spends her time studying and translating a big book that the team finds in one episode. The book is nicknamed “The Galaxy book.” The team found it part way into the series and it ends up guiding them to certain things. There was an initial attraction between Kendrix and Leo that went nowhere. Kendrix is a worrier, often putting the well being of others before her own, which is what ultimately brings about her end.
So who replaces Kendrix? Initially plans were for it to be Cassie, the Pink IN SPACE Ranger, who Kendrix died helping when the IN SPACE team returned for the season team up (we’ll get to that too). Things didn’t pan out. I’m not 100% sure why, the only thing I have heard is that there was a disagreement on contractual details, but to be honest, I don’t look too much into behind the scenes stuff and only really know what I’ve been told by my co-hosts. The question then remains, who DID step into Galaxy Pink’s shoes? The answer is, Karone.
That’s right, from Episode 32 through the end of the season at episode 45, the former Astronema, the Villain who was reformed at the end of IN SPACE, takes up the Pink Quasar Saber and fights as a Power Ranger. With her transitioning to one of the focus characters, rather than a villain, it allows us a look into her time as Astronema. It’s actually super interesting. Side note, Karone’s unmorphed outfits are made entirely of black leather and silver materials. The closest she comes to wearing her actual Ranger color, is a headband or hair tie. Weird thought, if Astronema hadn’t created Psycho Pink in IN SPACE, Karone would never have been a Ranger in Lost Galaxy.
With Kendrix’s rebirth at the end of the season, there is some… confusion… as to who holds the Pink Galaxy power going forward. The Pink Galaxy Ranger appears three more times in the franchise – in Lightspeed Rescue it’s Kendrix wielding the Power, in Super Mega Force, It’s Karone. The third appearance is in Tommy’s history of Power Rangers in Dino Thunder, where Tommy mentions Kendrix and not Karone, but he’s talking about who pulled the Quasar Sabers.
Overall, I’m not a big fan of most of the characters in Lost Galaxy. Each of them has some stellar moments, their arcs are quite clear, and all of them change in some way over the course of the show, which is good. Why am I not a fan of them? Leo’s leap before you look thing gets tired quickly, Mike’s personality is that he doesn’t have one, Kai is just flat out annoying for 90% of the season with his adherence to the regs, and Maya’s Pocahontas meets Snow White schtick gets old, fast.
Okay, the character section was quite meaty this time, a trend I expect to continue now that there is very little carry over between seasons, so time for some more rapidfire sections. This season’s Zords are The Galactabeasts! They are the franchise’s first ever sentient flesh and blood creatures that the Lost Galaxy Rangers rescue from Scorpius’ forces, and they fight individually. In the very next episode after the rescue, the Rangers gain weapons called the “Transdaggers,” which not only transform into their personal weapons, but enable the Galactabeasts to transform into the Galactazords, mechanical versions of themselves, which in turn, allows them to merge into the Megazord. Though they are sentient beasts, they don’t talk, and early in the season, the writers use Maya, the “primitive,” to understand them and communicate their wants and needs to the other Rangers.
I’m not a big fan of Lost Galaxy’s Ranger costumes. The helmets are okay, but the clothes themselves, well… Even before I heard that the fandom had nicknamed them as such, I only really saw them as multi-colored Charlie Browns.
The Morphing call this season is “Go Galactic,” and the Morphing sequence is… lackluster to be honest. The effects don’t hold up and just pressing a button on the morpher and passing their hands over their faces to summon their helmets, doesn’t really evoke an awesome morphing sequence to me.
Another thing that this season introduces is the CROSSOVER EPISODE. Traditionally, this is the current team having an episode or two where they are teamed up with the team before them. This doesn’t happen in every season, which is a shame. This season’s crossover is called “To the Tenth Power,” in which Trakeena’s crew bring back the Psycho Rangers, and the Lost Galaxy crew get the help of Andros and the other IN SPACE Rangers (with no Zhane) to defeat them, including what becomes a staple of the crossover, the combined Morph sequence, complete with colored explosions behind them.
This, of course, leads into “The Power of Pink,” where Cassie and Kendrix have to confront the only surviving Psycho Ranger, Psycho Pink, and which ultimately leads to Kendrix’s fate.
And yes, technically the ZEO episode “Rangers of Two Worlds” is a crossover between Zeo and the Alien Rangers of Aquitar, but this is really where it starts becoming a franchise staple.
This crossover is an exceptional episode. It’s not the best crossover I’ve seen (as of the time of writing, I’ve just begun watching SPD) but it’s definitely in the upper echelons. The two teams fighting together is superb, working together like a well oiled machine, really showcasing how far some of the action has come since the early days of MMPR season 1. Both teams shine as they battle The Psycho Rangers. There’s also a really cool moment when Leo, upon meeting Andros, points out that Leo was there when Astronema invaded, and saw the Rangers reveal themselves.
You see, this is why I consider this to be the real wrap-up of the Zordon Era. Yes, I’m aware that everything in Power Rangers is kinda taking place in the same timeline (with an exception here or there that we’ll get to when I’ve watched them) and therefore are somewhat interconnected, but Lost Galaxy was the last time it was so heavily overt. Bulk’s presence, the Ranger’s primary non-Terra Venture transport being the Astro Megaship, Alpha’s presence (yes Alpha is aboard the Megaship), the direct references to the invasion from “Countdown to Destruction,” the final destruction of the Psycho Rangers, the references to Angel Grove, and of course Karone’s presence as a Ranger on the team, all connect to the Zordon Era. There is just so much in Lost Galaxy that is linked to the seasons before, that it’s impossible to ignore.
The Lost Galaxy arc I mentioned earlier does introduce another villain. Trakeena and company take a break while Terra Venture is in another dimension, but honestly, short of setting up the rough state of Terra Venture going into the finale, the eponymous Lost Galaxy arc is kind of a waste and just feels like the writers put it there so that the season title paid off. I can practically hear them saying, “Wait, we’ve got 10 episodes left and haven’t even mentioned a galaxy yet, let alone a lost one. How do we fix this?” The arc is only one of two major arcs in the season, the other being the Lights of Orion arc, that is basically a prolonged search for what becomes an upgrade for the Rangers, and that happens early in the season. This season has the Lights of Orion (episodes 6-13), Kendrix’s death and replacement (episodes 30-32) and then the Lost Galaxy and Finale arcs (episodes 35-45). Outside of the two-part intro, everything else in the season is a kind of filler, but unlike other seasons, things happen in the filler episodes. Admittedly most of the time it’s character things and not tied to the overarching plot, but at least things are happening.
The Finale involves Trakeena entering the cocoon her father left for her, and emerges as a humanoid insect creature. She begins making her final assault of Terra Venture, which after it’s stint in the Lost Galaxy, is in quite a bad way, causing it to crash land on a nearby planet, that turns out is Mirinoi! The final showdown with Trakeena is… disappointing. It only took Leo on his own, with his battlizer, to take her out. Admittedly he does self-destruct the battlizer, but it’s still a nice one-on-one fight in which I think they were trying to echo Andros/Astronema, but it really didn’t have the same gravitas that the IN SPACE finale did, due to the season-long build between Astronema and her brother. The episode concludes with Maya basically saying, since they were back on Mirinoi, their journey was complete and they should replace the Quasar Sabers into the stone, so that future generations of chosen warriors could receive the power when needed. When they do, magic sparkles emit from the stone and unpetrify the inhabitants of Mirinoi and resurrect Kendrix.
Lost Galaxy has a very strong theme of Death, Sacrifice, and Duty, beginning in the season opener two-parter where Leo can’t save Mike, the promise Leo makes to Mike, Kai’s split duty to his Power Ranger teammates and his position on Terra Venture, Leo being reckless to prove himself and fulfill the aforementioned promise to Mike. There are sub-themes of Destiny and Prophecy with Leo and Mike discussing Leo’s destiny after Mike returns, Kendrix’s death, Karone asking if this was her destiny all along, and the fact that only the “Fated Warriors” could pull the Quasar Sabers from the stone to begin with.
Lost Galaxy has a LOT of flaws too, the acting being one of the main ones, but I’m really trying to focus on the positives here, so to that end, here’s another cool thing. It was the first season to feature ADULT Rangers. These aren’t high school teenagers. They’ve got professions and are grown people, which I’ve been wanting for a while to see. It also removes the teleportation ability from the Rangers, making them actually have to travel to get to places, which is a welcome addition.
I mentioned that Death was a major theme in this season and I really want to emphasise how much death there is. Off the top of my head, I can count 16 people or sentient things that die in this season. That is a lot of Death. And that isn’t even including the monsters Traneeka sends after the Rangers.
In conclusion, Power Rangers Lost Galaxy is a HOT MESS. I even went with the Team Rocket reference in my AKA for the season title because like Team Rocket, it has some really good ideas, some really bad ones, and some that just make no sense. It often feels like the writer’s room just put all their ideas into one of those t-shirt cannons and fired it at a wall to see which ones stuck and wrote those. It never feels like there is an overall plan to the season. The lack of a mentor figure REALLY hurt the early part of the season. The Rangers seemingly know things that they had no right to, like when they get the Transdaggers in the 4th episode, they’ve never been mentioned before and suddenly the Rangers are all, “we knew you had the transdaggers all along!” There is a kind of a mentor figure in the Captain of Terra Venture, but he only really acts as a mentor to Kai and sometimes Mike, as they serve on the command deck of the ship. The others have little interaction with him. Even still, he only really serves to teach more human lessons, not advise on the powers.
There are lots of plot points that really do NOT hold up if you spend any time thinking about them at all. For example, if Terra Venture was built in the last year, how are the Lights of Orion, which were hidden 3000 years ago, hidden there? Or, how did the Galacatabeasts get from the planet they were inhabiting when they were rescued, to Terra Venture? And where do they hide on Terra Venture? Or, Terra Venture has an extensive military, but Trakeena’s ship is crewed by like seven people… JUST BOARD HER!
Despite all its flaws, Lost Galaxy is a fun, if somewhat rough, watch. I’ve tried rewatching a few episodes, and it’s actually a bit better going into it expecting the rough edges. As I have stated before, I’ve only really been watching Power Rangers for about the last year, so much like Turbo and ZEO, I don’t have nostalgia glasses for some seasons. I think the fact that I am experiencing it for the first time as an adult who tends to analyse things, really hurts it and doesn’t let it get away with certain things a younger audience may. That being said, it’s still very much worth a viewing just because the good moments are VERY, VERY good and there really are some great character moments. Kai getting to lay out the commanding officer of Terra Venture when he’s possessed, or Mike’s speech to the generals about how it should be a no brainer that they answer a distress call because it could be them one day, for example.
Well that’s it for our first stand alone season. Where does it rank in my Power Rangers journey so far? Look below to find out, and join me next time as we hear the call for a LIGHTSPEED RESCUE!
SEASON POWER RANKINGS
- IN SPACE
- Mighty Morphin’ Season 3
- Mighty Morphin’ Season 2
- Lost Galaxy
- Mighty Morphin’ Season 1
If you want to discuss things more or follow me, you can find me on Twitter @BobTGoldfish, or tune in to hear me co-hosting Voices From the Grid or VFtG’s sister show, AwesomeMania, where Mike and I talk about things in the world of professional wrestling. I also do Twitch streams over at twitch.tv/321_tv, which we announce on Twitter beforehand.
Until next time –
Guys, Gals, and Non-aligned Pals, in the words of the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, “Be Excellent to each other and Party On Non-gender specific honorifics!”