Secret of the Red Ranger, the fourth standalone volume of Power Rangers Super Samurai, collects some of the strongest episodes of what is otherwise an equally strong season in the Power Rangers franchise. Featured here are the 15th-17th and 19th episodes of the season (Lionsgate wisely skipped over the wholly superfluous Christmas clip-show episode here in favor of more action), which finds this volume focusing more specifically on Serrator’s plan to merge the human and Nighlok worlds than the titular secret of the Red Ranger. In spite of any mislabeling you might see in that, this actually makes for a far more substantial release than it otherwise might have been (say, for instance, if it included the unbearable Christmas episode rather than episode 19, “Fight Fire with Fire”).
The first three episodes here center on a secondary Nighlok named Serrator, who appears to have at last sided with the Nighlok Lord Xandred, but in reality has set in motion a plan for global conquest all his own. After temporarily disposing of Xandred at the outset of this volume, the pieces start to fall in place and we realize that Serrator’s plan had in fact been many, many, many years in the making. In short, Serrator’s plan involves manipulating the human/Nighlok half-breed, Deker, into cracking the world in half! It’s an intense couple of episodes featuring battles so epic that they leave you wondering how the real climax of the season could ever possibly compare. What’s more, some of the absolute greatest moment in the Samurai/Super Samurai saga can be found in this mini-arc, including Gold Ranger Antonio’s internal struggle when presented with an opportunity to outright kill the unconscious Deker. (Concerned parents needn’t worry, though. The whole thing’s played out in subtext really. He never specifically suggests killing him, but more aged viewers will know what he means when he says “attack.”)
The final episode at last addresses the Red Ranger’s secret, and it allows the volume to close with terrific tension. The secret in question, which I will not divulge here (and you’re welcome), really shakes things up for the Rangers, and the closing moments of the episode find the team in utter shambles as a result. This makes for the perfect cliffhanger, building immense anticipation for what will be the final standalone volume of Super Samurai. (And if you must know what I think about the season’s finale, you can read my thoughts on the entire season of Super Samurai here.)
Special features on the Lionsgate DVD release of Secret of the Red Ranger include the “Everyday Fun” music video, which I discussed in my review of the complete season Blu-ray, and a video called “MEGA Album Playlist,” which I’ll be damned if I can account for. The “MEGA Album Playlist” finds the Rangers screwing around in front of a greenscreen and then freezing in poses that allow them to be Photoshopped onto recognizable album covers on which the names have been changed to reflect a more Ranger-centric focus. I honestly have no idea who this thing is supposed to appeal to. The albums span some three or four decades, meaning that the references here will befuddle the majority of young viewers. And sure, adults such as myself who get the references do watch the series too, but it doesn’t make Power Rangers more accessible to me in any way, if that’s what they were going for with this. You see, my love for The Beatles and The Clash and my love for the Power Rangers are very different things, and I’m fine with that. Because people compartmentalize their preferences. In the same way that I would never put pickles in Lucky Charms, although I am a fan of both, I don’t particularly want to see the Power Rangers on the cover of Abbey Road. At least not for no reason whatsoever.