Article By: Alex J. Rosolowsky
Okay, so I wanted to have this written roughly a week and a half ago, but my DVR, DVD Recorder, the weather, and ex–girlfriend’s iBook™ G4 all had other plans for me. After fixing the DVD recorder, re–recording what the whether screwed up on my HD DVR copy of A Fish Out of Water, and dealing with the iBook™ G4, I finally had a chance to sit down and watch A Fish Out of Water, uninterrupted, and in HD. My apologies to our readers for the delayed review.
A Fish Out of Water initially had me torn. On one hand, the plot was a bit weaker then usual, or rather, its execution was a bit weaker then usual, even for Power Rangers‘ standards. On the other hand though, from a purely technical standpoint, A Fish Out of Water was simply a masterpiece, and is very well one of the best, if not the best episode of Power Rangers ever—again, this is from a strictly technical standpoint.
Early on it’s established that “Fish” is going to be another Zord-themed episode, so I had some idea of what to expect based on what we had seen in Day Off, which was the previous Zord-themed episode. This time around though, Kevin is sent to recover the Swordfish Zord, armed with his Samuraizer, a power disc, and a fishing rod. While Kevin is fishing for a Zord (I’ll get to that in a moment,) the other Rangers are attacked by a Nighlok whose poisonous breathe can incapacitate humans, and which can only be neutralized with a purifying water.
Once again, Najee’s facial expressions are priceless. Recall that I mentioned that Kevin was fishing for the Swordfish Zord. This sequence starts out with the character seeming very confident in his ability, and initially ends with him collapsing from heat exhaustion. During the entire sequence though, Najee’s facial expressions really help to show the passage of time, leading to his character Kevin’s frustration before collapsing. A smile, then a look of annoyance, followed by a look of fatigue make the scene continually more believable.
After Kevin collapses, he’s rescued by a fisherman, who nurses him back to health, and ultimately helps him catch the swordfish Zord. This is one of the scenes that admittedly left me curious at the end of the episode. The fisherman seemed important—very important, but after he helped Kevin catch the fish, we never heard about him again. While this may be the result of the way this episode was adapted from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, it’s possible that the fisherman was merely left in as (pardon the pun,) a red herring—an attempt to distract viewers from more important aspects of A Fish Out of Water‘s plot. It’s also possible though that we will indeed see the fisherman again in the future, (his Japanese counterpart showed up in an episode near the end of Shinkenger,) which I certainly hope is the case. Considering what he witnessed, and how he seemed to have some minor understanding of what Kevin was doing, I’d like to know a little bit more about the fisherman, especially considering it really felt like there was a lot more to him then what we were being shown.
Another plot–point that’s worth touching on is the Nighlok itself. In Shinkenger, the Nighlok in this episode was a drug user; a close look at the costume reveals a marijuana–inspired design; as a result, I admittedly wasn’t sure what direction Power Rangers would take with this episode. One option would have been to keep a drug–using villain as part of an anti–drug campaign, while another would be to simply remove the drug references entirely. Saban Brands chose to do the latter, which was probably the better decision; the idea of a Nighlok that was created by lightning striking toxic waste was interesting to say the least, and even without the drug references, this particular Nighlok proved to be a formidable adversary for the Rangers.
The last plot–point that’s probably worth touching on is the introduction of Deker, who appeared very briefly in A Fish Out of Water. Those of you familiar with Power Rangers Wild Force should immediately recognize Deker’s voice as that of Ricardo Medina Jr. who played Cole Evans, the Red Wild Force Power Ranger back in 2002. I was admittedly surprised that the rumors of Rick Medina’s return were indeed true, especially given his past statements regarding the show, as well as the fact that his former co–workers all seemed to feel that he was difficult and annoying to work with. Throw in the fact that many fans can’t stand Mr. Medina, and you have to wonder why Saban Brands would invite him back to the show. Of course, a lot can happen in nine years, and I’m more then willing to give Mr. Medina a second chance. From what I saw in “Fish,” that second chance was certainly justified. Rick Medina does a great job of bring the villain Deker to life, and his acting skills seem to have improved a thousand fold from when we last saw him in 2002; of course, he was only on screen for a few brief moments, so it’s obviously still too early to judge Mr. Medina’s skills across the board just yet.
Moving away from the quality of the plot to the technical quality of “Fish,” the overall quality of the episode improves dramatically. The editing in this episode was top–notch. During the scene where Kevin is heading to the beach to catch the swordfish, we were treated to a voice–over, J–cuts, L–cuts, and a slew of other visual goodies, and that was only one scene. In the same episode, we had crane–shots, a night scene, top–tier cinematography, and some of the best all–around visuals that the show has seen. “Fish” was an excellent episode from a purely technical standpoint, and the technical quality of the episode more then makes up for some of the minor plot shortcomings.
All in all A Fish Out of Water earns a low five out of five from me; its story could have used some work, but the technical aspects of this episode are so good that they make up for any shortcomings that the plot may have. Throw a story like the one we had for Sticks & Stones on top of the over–the–top technical quality of an episode like this one, and you’d have the perfect Power Rangers episode.
On a quick side–note, Joe will be reviewing There Go the Brides very shortly, and if all goes according to plan, I’ll be back with more Blue Ranger goodness when I review I’ve Got a Spell on Blue, hopefully in a more timely fashion then I reviewed A Fish Out of Water.
Joe’s Rating: 4 out of 5
Alex’s Rating: 5 out of 5
Final Rating: 4.5 out of 5
How The Power Rangers Samurai Times rates episodes:
Episodes are rated on a scale of 1–5 with one being the lowest rating, and five being the highest rating, no decimal points, no fractions, no negative numbers. If multiple contributors review an episode, their individual ratings will be posted followed by the final rating, which will be an average of the aforementioned individual ratings. (Obviously averages may contain decimal points.)