Season: Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue
Episode: “The Fifth Crystal” (Episode 21)
How do you like your Rangers? Do you like them in space, or on earth? Do you like them with animals, or with cars? How about as RESCUE WORKERS?!
…No? Not so excited about rescue workers? Nah, me either.
Lightspeed Rescue is a boring season – arguably even more boring than Zeo – but it’s an interesting season. Kind of. Not really. All right, let’s get this over with so we can get to Time Force.
The episode opens with villainess Vypra (Jennifer L. Yen) being a super-spy and stealing a yellow crystal. She steals it through her AWESOMELY AWFUL ACTING POWERS.
Yeah, see, Yen can’t act. Like, at all. This season has a huge problem with its cast being borderline terrible at acting, but Yen is by far the worst. Every line reading is so stilted and unbelievable. It takes bad to a whole new level.
Anyway, Vypra doesn’t act her way to stealing the crystal, and gives it to the monster of the week, who is using it to power his DOOMSDAY LASER.
They plan to destroy this year’s city, Mariner Bay (the first time the series has been set on earth in a city other than beloved Angel Grove). This is one of the big ways this season, the eighth in the franchise, separates itself from the past. Overall, the whole thing felt very disconnected from its past.
Giving small praise where it’s due, the season has one of the better compiled intros, and they finally ditched the In Space font.
We join Red Ranger Carter (Sean Cw Johnson) as he reads a newspaper reporting the theft of fourth crystal during a briefing by Captain Mitchell (Ron Roggé) and the other Rangers. I honestly barely remember the Rangers from this season, but hey, two of them have acted beside Beyoncé! (Most famously, Green Ranger Joel, AKA Keith Robinson, played Jennifer Hudson’s brother in Dreamgirls.) In their briefing, the Rangers learn that they are the Starlight Crystals – and that their combined power is “unimaginable.”
Luckily, Yellow Ranger Kelsey (Sasha Williams)’s grandmother has the fifth crystal! She’s estranged from grandma, which, sucks to be her, because grandma is loaded.
Grandma is initially unwilling to part with the crystal when they go visit her, but when she learns Vypra will come after her, she relinquishes it. Kelsey gives grandma a kiss on the cheek, which she clearly adores. It’s a fun flash of what will come later.
Unfortunately, the Rangers lose the crystal in a battle, which I could recap, but eh. Point is that grandma is PISSED with Kelsey, and lets her know it.
In an actual great moment, Kelsey gets really torn up about disappointing her grandmother. Give it to Williams: she’s one of the better actors in a really terrible crop.
Kelsey, feeling terrible, goes on a solo mission to destroy the laser. There’s a really impressive unmorphed fight here while wearing roller blades. It’s cool! (God, I sound so unenthused. Lightspeed Rescue does this to me.) Kelsey is almost successful, but she needs help from an unlikely source:
Grandma! Having a change of heart (and being a former athlete), grandma comes to help her granddaughter. They destroy the laser, Kelsey goes back to help the other Rangers beat the monster, and the day is saved. Yay!
Analysis: Okay, yeah, no big surprise, I hate Lightspeed Rescue. I didn’t even last half the season when I was a kid. It’s just so bland. The Rangers have very limited personalities, the monsters are boring and change over way too quickly, and removing the secret identity aspect (since they’re rescue workers) took out a valuable aspect of the series.
Kelsey is a fun Ranger to focus on, though, because she was pretty different than any previous yellow ranger. Trini (Thuy Trang, rest in peace) and Aisha (Karan Ashley) were short on any distinctive personality traits. Tanya (Nakia Burrise) and Ashley (Tracy Lynn Cruz), while they were definitely steps up, still were pretty cookie-cutter. Maya (Cerina Vincent) had a personality, but she couldn’t act. Kelsey was distinctive – maybe the only distinctive Lightspeed Ranger – and I’m happy she was the focal point on this one.
Next time, we’ll look at one of my favorite seasons, one of the franchise’s favorite seasons, and focusing on one of my favorite Rangers ever. That’s right: it’s time for Time Force.