This episode takes one of the strangest turns I've ever seen in a superhero show...
Ransik has everyone working for him out searching for Frax, including Nadira. Bored by the search, she stops off at a store. When her presence causes all of the shoppers in the store to panic, a pregnant woman goes into labor. Trip shows up to fight Nadira, pausing when he notices the pregnant woman. He then ignores Nadira to help the pregnant woman, before convincing Nadira to help her take care of the lady and deliver the baby while he goes and helps his buddies. And. Nadira. Listens. What the...
It's the beginning of this out-of-nowhere redemption for Nadira, and I see what they're going for, but it's staged in the clumsiest manner possible. Like...why didn't Trip call an ambulance? Why does he think Nadira, of everyone in the store, was the best choice? There were plenty of other options. It's not like she was Dr. Nadira in 3000... Nadira! The woman was better off delivering her baby herself like that woman in Liveman's second episode! And Nadira listens and helps! I don't know how I didn't remember this happening in the show, but it doesn't quite work for me, and Nadira's change is pivotal to the finale of the show...
We've never seen Nadira not be selfish or narcissistic. She always takes delight in the chaos she's caused. She was ready to kill a busload of kids in an episode way back. But helping deliver a baby is going to change her? Like I said, I see what the show wants to do, but it doesn't jibe with what we've seen from Nadira for the entire series. And Kate Sheldon's performance and the way all of these "Nadira questions her life" scenes are handled with the subtley of a purple elephant doing a bicycle kick. You have Koichi Sakamoto -- whose primary focus is on delivering a heightened, big-bang adventure -- directing, so he's not invested in the emotions of the scene. And to describe Sheldon's performance in these episodes as maudlin is too positive, because that suggests some genuine, raw emotion, and she just comes across as really phony and exaggerated. (I'm going to assume she thinks this about-face of Nadira's is as bullshit as I do and she just didn't find it playable.)
Helping the delivery, witnessing the miracle of birth, causes Nadira to question everything -- like why she and her father hate humans so much, why are they fighting. If Nadira had only been a minor threat in the show, maybe it would be easier to buy. If we had been shown that she's kind of innocent, but knows no better because this is the life her father's given her, that would be one thing. But we've seen her unafraid to get her hands dirty. So this redemption which leads to -- even harder to buy -- a Ransik redemption is just so phony and soft and wimpy even by Power Rangers standards. Time Force was trying to be gutsier than the usual PR show, but it slides right back to Nerdville with this one.
And I'd like it to work, because it gives the character depth. Lila ends Timeranger by just walking out on the Londarz when shit goes south, and it's unintentionally comedic and stupid. (Way to go protecting history there, Timeranger, the Keystone Cops of time cops, when you let one of the villains from 3000 just mingle about in the past and not even give her a thought. A shapeshifting villain at that!) Frustrating that it doesn't work, because there's a couple of moments that would have been really good had they played right...
One comes with Nadira's moment with Frax. Frax is found and caught by Ransik. Nadira tries to talk to him about her shifting views while he's imprisoned, and he doesn't buy it, and just spews more hatred for her to hear. When grunts come to get him to transport him to surgery, Nadira softly lets out a apology to Dr. Fericks for what her father did to him. This actually gets through to Frax, he's touched, and he tries to offer encouraging words to Nadira as he's hauled off. This scene is shot well -- Frax's frantic cries, the roughness of his being hauled away, the surprisingly decent and dramatic background music.
Nadira later finds Frax on a slab after being operated on, hoping he'd elaborate on what he was saying, only to find that Ransik had his memory wiped; he's rid Frax of his remaining humanity and he's now the obedient worker Ransik wants him to be. Frax spends the rest of the series as just Ransik's goon operating his giant robot creation, now serving Ransik's purpose. A sad end to a tragic character, and thankfully these scenes work more than some of the other scenes we'll see of Nadira questioning her life.
And thankfully all of the stuff on the Ranger side works, or else we'd be winding up with some dud finale episodes. But, as in Timeranger, after having nightmares about their deaths, Wes makes the decision to send the others back to 3000 against their will. While Wes is doing what he thinks is right, and he's acting out of desperation, it still feels like more of a betrayal here that he blindsides them. They're all such a functional unit that I find the emotions of the scene works more than in Timeranger. (I think I've hammered home how I don't think any of the Timeranger cast members ever feel like they've come to love one another as family; they really only have feelings for themselves.) The words of Jen's feelings are just about to hit her lips as the ship takes off and Wes is left alone in an unwinnable situation.
It's up to Wes and Eric to set aside their squabbles and save the day, as the four other Time Force Rangers awaken in 3000, confused and pissed off. Alex reassures them that it's for the best, that staying in 2001 would have been a losing battle where they would have pointlessly died. When they ask what happened to Wes, he tells them Wes didn't survive the attack. He then readies them to have their memories of 2001 wiped -- standard procedure to help time-travelers better reacclimate to their own time period. That's the breaking point for them and they decide to go back to 2001. Thankfully, the show had the guts to word Jen's line the way they did: "We can't live our lives here knowing Wes gave his there." She then returns Alex's engagement ring...cold! Maybe bold. Eh, Alex knew what was up.
Timeranger's scenario is a muddled mess, and I've never liked it. In Timeranger, they were told to return to 3000 and not to interfere -- Gien Megazord was meant to destroy the 20th century to give birth to the 30th. The four Timeranger return to 3000 and meet with Ryuuya, who's being his usual weasel-with-a-shit-eating-grin self. Ryuuya's glad they returned and tells them that history's changed for the better for them -- Yuuri's family is alive, there's a cure for Ayase, and Domon was never banned from his fighting career. Since Shion's the Last Son of Krypton, tough shit, nothing's changed for him.
It's supposed to be a weighty situation: the Timeranger are not only home, but presented with this dream scenario, a future that's even better than the one they left. But is it worth it? If the cost of this improved future was to just callously let so much destruction be caused in the past, is it worth it? The show needed to ask and answer this. It's pretty unclear just how much was changed due to Ryuuya's tampering. If the Londarz were always going to escape and Gien was going to build a robot that destroyed the 20th, paving the way for the 30th, then...anything Ryuuya did wasn't all that different. This causes a bigger hole to the show's central set-up in that this organization in 3000 that exists solely to protect the timeline and does a very, very shitty job of it by 1) letting the Londarz escape and 2) putting someone like Ryuuya in charge.
Of course, the Timeranger don't even mull it over. They want to get back and finish the fight and help Tatsuya. But nefarious Ryuuya wants to wipe their memory and is basically holding them hostage until it's done. We're supposed to find the Timeranger wanting to return to 2000, jeopardizing their own timeline and lives and very existence, to be peak heroism. And I just REALLY don't buy these particular characters to a) care enough about the 20th century to not only jeopardize their own time, but also their own supposed happily-ever-after or b) love Tatsuya enough to jeopardize all of that to go back and save him. Even if they came to the conclusion that there was a big conspiracy within the time cop organization and that their civilization is basically built on lies -- because it only exists as a result of people tampering with technology they didn't use properly -- that's still their own time period, their own home, their own people. I don't think they're going to just quickly brush all of that off to get back to 2000/2001. I'm not sure a person, let alone four people, a millennium away is going to care so much about 1000 years ago, and certainly not the narcissistic Timeranger asshats. Tangent ahead...
I really liked the first season of CW's The Flash. It wasn't perfect, but I thought it handled a time-traveling villain well. The Reverse Flash was a heartless bastard, but through his own villainy, he trapped himself in a predicament that he had to make the best of. He got stuck in the past and tried to speed up some history to suit his agenda in getting home, while not tampering with the timeline as he knew it. It was a juggling act, and he tried very hard to not do anything that would screw his era up. But he wanted back home as soon as possible. And it was a cruel irony that he needed his enemy, Barry Allen/The Flash, to help reach his goal. So he poses as a mentor to The Flash and actually gets close with the heroes of the show and becomes a bit of a better person. But he's still focused on getting home, to the future. He's not going to let anyone stop that or jeopardize the future he remembers in any way. (I like that he even tries to protect an ancestor, so as not to risk the future of his bloodline. Something Ryuuya doesn't care about, eh? He's fine with letting Wataru and Tatsuya get killed.) And when he's exposed and all of his plans come to light, some characters are like, "And you don't care that you're going to kill so many people in this timeline?" And Reverse Flash is basically like, "As close as I've gotten to some of you, remember this -- from my point of view, you've been dead for centuries."
And I basically think that anyone from a thousand years in the future would have that kind of thinking. If Timeranger's future was set in, like, 2150? OK, maybe they'd care more. But 1,000 years?! It sounds callous, but it's really just intangible, isn't it? It's hard to wrap your mind around. Is somebody so far in the future going to feel so strongly for people so far in the past? (Would you care about a peasant in 1018?) Even if they have a face to put to that past, in this case Tatsuya and Naoto, don't you think they'd choose their own period, the world as they know it, filled with the people they know and love? Even once they discover their world's basically built on lies, that it only exists as a result of tampering with timelines...it's still the world they know, the life they've lived, the one they've been fighting for and fighting to get back to.
The Timeranger don't even weigh the options and discuss it, which would have helped. We needed to see them take everything into consideration, like whether or not they even trusted Ryuuya's words. But, no, they're immediately planning to return to the past. It's a choice I especially don't believe the self-centered Timeranger to make; I don't believe they care enough to throw away their time period for the sake of Tatsuya and his era. Especially when it comes down to the one stranger and his people from a thousand years ago and his weird time period or EVERYONE in the 3000 as they know it. I just don't see the Timeranger making that call, but they do...
And I just don't buy it from them, and I think it shows a real disregard and selfishness that these four basically destroy their own timeline and all in it for Tatsuya's sake. It's meant to seem like a big sacrifice that they're giving up this dream-version of 3000, but it doesn't, because that's not all that they're giving up. Their supposed happy endings isn't all that's at stake, but their ENTIRE world. So, it doesn't come across as selfless or heroic the way it's meant to play, and the way most other viewers see it. Between Ryuuya's tampering with history for his own sake and the Timeranger's brazen disregard for 3000 -- not to mention Domon Jr and Lila still being out there -- I feel like the Time Cops of Timeranger are far more dangerous to history and the timeline than any Londarz. Timeranger are their own show's biggest villains, but they don't see it that way at all. You're supposed to love the heck out of these guys and think they're cool, but they're just hateable and lame.
Now, in Time Force, Alex is keeping an eye on events, but it's still being written by Frax's going renegade. All he knows is that there's going to be massive destruction in the 21st century and that it results in all of the Rangers being killed. It's not the scenario as in Timeranger, where the 20th NEEDS to be destroyed to create the 30th, and a piece of shit like Ryuuya's trying to work it all out in his favor. (Timeranger's a fookin' mess.) So when the four Time Force officers decide to abandon their time to go back and help Wes, they're really just risking their own lives. It's a suicide mission, but it's up to them and they're not jeopardizing anyone or anything else in their choice. (Not to mention, once again, that the Time Force seem closer than the Timeranger, so you believe they want to go help Wes.)
Meanwhile, back in 2001, Wes and Eric take a beating. After he's been injured and Wes has carried him off, we finally get confirmation on Eric's backstory -- that he was "dirt poor" and fought his way up -- and his whole problem with Wes. Naoto only ever mentioned his poor background in a couple of voiceovers, when it would have been stronger to bring it up directly to Tatsuya; Tatsuya was too oblivious to make the connection. But Wes tells him to forget all that crap, because there's one thing they have in common -- the desire to save people and right now they're the world's best chance. Wes takes Eric back to the clock tower to rest, but Ransik tracks them down and destroys the place. (It bugs the heck out of me that Wes doesn't even bother trying to retrieve the Polaroids of his pals from the future, or even seem to care that they're destroyed right along with the clock tower.)
I like how the choices Wes makes are building blocks, going towards changing history for the better, going towards victory. If he didn't send the others back to the future, they wouldn't have found the determination to get back and secure a victory. If Wes hadn't been alone because of that decision, he wouldn't have finally settled things with Eric, to the point where maybe they wouldn't have successfully taken back the Q-Rex and destroyed Frax's mecha. There's a lot of the Timeranger talk of taking control of destiny in these episodes, but there's also a lot of chance involved; it was by nothing but chance that Nadira witnessed the birth that changes her, and it's chance that leads her to where she finds herself in the finale...
And I suppose I should mention Eric. Nobody dies in Power Rangers -- not even bad guys -- so we knew he wasn't going to die like Naoto. But it would have been nice if his injuries looked a little more serious. He gets a generic CGI blast from a Cyclodroid and that's it, he's ready to hand over the Quantum powers to Wes? C'mon! This is Eric! You ain't getting that Defender unless you pry it from his cold, dead hands! Oh, well. At least he went out taking a hit for Wes and his dad, which was a nice touch, and a tad more meaningful in how it relates to the story than Zenitto gunning Naoto down as he protects that girl's bird. Naoto's death is really...for the birds. *puts on sunglasses*
Which brings me to this tangent. Why all of the Dragon Ranger homages with Naoto/Time Fire, anyway? Because he was the first sixth since Burai to be antagonistic? I find it a little odd and misplaced with this show. You have him being an outsider; you have him getting killed off; you have the (strange choice of) dinosaur mecha, which he controls from the ground (but rides the head of sometimes). It's obviously intentional. Now imagine on top of it if Naoto HAD been Tatsuya's brother like I suggested!
This episode quickly gets through the Timeranger portion, it's funny. The four return from 3000 and they take down Frax and his robot pretty easily. (One really nice scene I like is Nadira bursting out in emotion as she sees Frax crumble to death. Unlike Timeranger, you can kinda feel for Frax. And for as Gien being as important as he was, it was always strange to me that he just fell to pieces and nobody even really cared to find out whether or not he was truly a goner. For all the Timeranger knew, Miles Dyson scooped up some Gien parts.)
But the show can't rely on Timeranger anymore, because the head villain is an original, and the final showdown with Ransik takes up most of the time. (Gluto -- Dolnero, remember -- gets the Lila treatment of just "Eh, screw this stuff," and imprisons himself!) Despite Nadira constantly pleading with Ransik to just forget the destruction and move on, Ransik says he ain't leaving until he's wiped out humans. And he easily knocks all of the Rangers on their asses, just one hit unmorphs 'em. Wes uses that ugly Fire Armor stuff where he gets in some hits and Ransik tries to take him down in an explosion, but all that does is make Wes unmorph and knock Ransik's robotic mask off his face, revealing him to look like the Toxic Avenger. (Not a movie you want your work to remind people of. Just saying.) The fight has been big and nasty -- you can tell the show wants to evoke something like Superman fighting Zod Trio from Superman II, but just doesn't have the money to pull off -- at one point, Nadira notices a stroller in the line of fire and grabs the baby it contains, hauling it off to an abandoned facility she thinks is out of harm's way...
I like the kind of desperation at the end of this fight, as a dirtied and wounded unmorphed Jen tries to take Ransik on. They find their way to that abandoned facility, where Ransik eventually shoots Nadira, thinking she's Jen...
This causes Ransik pause, which is believable. (Yes, even after he kicks Nadira over when he's disgusted to find her saddened over Frax's dea-- er, destruction!) Nadira then offers up the baby she was protecting, asking Ransik if he finds it such a bad creature worth attacking, blah blah. He has the epitome that his hatred led him to nearly killi-- er, destroying! -- the one thing in existence (other than himself) he loves, so he then just willingly surrenders to the Time Force, who are all pretty chill just kicking back and watching this scene unfold in the background. (I would have directed it so at least a couple of them kept weapons drawn on Ransik. Jeez.)
Not that I think they should have killed Ransik -- they arrested everyone else, they're cops, so that fits. And the personal element, for Jen, of bringing Ransik to justice is no longer relevant since Alex survived, so it just makes our heroes seem like they're insufficient or something. They didn't get the main bad guy, he gave himself over. It feels like a wheezing victory in terms of succeeding their mission, even if the bigger picture was defeating Frax's robot and all of the timeholes it had been creating. This was a time Power Rangers just needed to find its guts and go for it -- Nadira should have died from the blast Ransik gave her (her dying breath for Ransik to turn himself in), he should have gone berserk and been taken down. (Whether that meant killing him or stunning him and locking him up, you decide.) Because now we have Ransik making an about-face, and if Nadira was already hard to swallow, Ransik is just...get the hell outta here with this Nerf storytelling. (I'm surprised Frax didn't survive to become a buddy of Circuit's.) And that doesn't even get into the stupid, stupid directions they go with these two characters in the Wild Force team-up.
(Or, another option if you're after a sugar-coated version of the storyline: have Nadira be critically injured, with the Rangers getting her to a hospital in the nick of time, where she's saved by 21st century humans and medicine. This would be slightly more believable in making Ransik suspending his hate long enough to consider turning himself in.)
Which brings me to the show's final scene and Timeranger. People always wonder why there wasn't a Gaoranger VS Timeranger. Well, Gaoranger VS Super Sentai was a more bad-ass and epic choice. That's reason enough. Would you rather see Big One kicking Org ass or Tock yukking it up with Tetom? Another reason is Toei trying to protect Timeranger's finale. To bring the four Timeranger back after their dramatic send-off would undo the point of that dramatic send-off. If the Timeranger can just easily bounce back to 2001 for the sake of some shitty VS movie, then they can just always visit their buddy Tatsuya and things will be awesome with a freeze-frame, CHiPs laugh for them, now won't it?
Only...do the Timeranger make it back to 3000? If you want to believe Ryuuya, saving 2001 erased 3000 as they knew it. One wasn't able to exist with the other. If you look at the way the farewell scene in Timeranger is filmed, it's not filmed with the usual green swirly stuff with which the show signified time travel -- it's shot in a completely white space, with the characters vanishing. As in being erased from existence. I've never seen much speculation about this, so maybe it's just me, but it seems almost like a question mark to me whether the Timeranger are going back to their time in this scene or basically dying. If their actions made their time no longer exist, it would mean they no longer exist, wouldn't it? TL;DR -- there's no Gaoranger VS Timeranger because the Timeranger are dead!
Of course, 3000 is still safe in Time Force, but the four need to leave in order to bring in Ransik. Also, obviously, they don't belong in 2001 and Wes doesn't belong in 3000, so they have to part ways. It's REALLY awkward that their farewells all take place in front of Wes' dad and the Silver Guardians, but...shit happens. While everyone gets some final words before teleporting to the ship -- poor Lucas, Wes basically tells him "Remember to wear your seatbelt and brush your teeth!" -- the focus, of course, is on Jen. Good performances from both Cahill and Faunt as they finally admit they love each other. Wes says he wishes he could live another 1,000 years so he could be with her, which is a nice thought, but has some problems. That means he'd live long enough to see her again and die right on the spot, doesn't it? A weird take on that Proclaimers song. "He would live a thousand years just to be the man who lived a thousand years and dropped dead at her door YADADA." She gifts him with her Time Force badge, which is cool, and a big and meaningful move for a dedicated cop, but since he thoughtlessly let those Polaroids of his buddies be burned in the clock tower, maybe some pictures of the friends he'll never see again would be nice? Something like a yearbook, basically? Geez.
As the time ship enters the portal, Wes' dad awkwardly asks him what's next. Great timing, Mr. A. Collins! Not taking the hint that it's great timing, he decides to then ask Wes if he'll lead the Silver Guardians. It's funny that the idea of Tatsuya becoming a bud of his dad's and choosing to lead the Silver Guardians would be a huge betrayal of his character, but this is one part where Time Force...well, grabbed its own destiny. Mr. Collins is a good dude now and there's really no problem with Wes working with the Guardians, who will protect the city gratis now. (I thought I remembered there being hints that the Silver Guardians were kind of the beginning of what would eventually become the Time Force, but I guess I was wrong.)
Time Force, and a lot of Power Rangers, has a problem with abrupt episode endings. This episode needed a little more of a breather. It's like...the Rangers part ways, Wes agrees to work with his dad, episode ends. At least I misremembered the end -- I thought the last shot was of Wes getting a Silver Guardian badge and looking at it, which I thought was a really bad note to end on. But it's thankfully not, it's him looking at Jen's badge, noting that the future looks bright. (A predictable line, but it works, and it also reminds me of the "Timeranger brightening hope" lyric that totally wasn't applicable to Timeranger, from that awesome opening theme the show didn't deserve.) It still feels like a rushed ending, though, in need of something a little extra. I don't have a suggestion here. And, no, I wouldn't have copied Timeranger's ending, either. I never liked that whole Tatsuya seeing the Timeranger doppelgangers, it's ridiculous to me. (Especially why we see a Naoto clone in Naoto's own timeline. Or...did Naoto just fake his death? Or is this "Naoto" actually...Lila in disguise? DUNDUNDUN!)
Rushed final scene and questionable villain motivations aside, I like these final three episodes. The Nadira/Ransik stuff...definitely could have been improved upon, been more genuine, not so damned heavy-handed, but I see what they're going for and just choose to look at it that way. (NOT the completely absurd stuff Wild Force does with them, though. I ignore that.) The Ranger stuff is all good and works and is what's the bigger priority. Timeranger's farewell scene is filmed better and is more personal, not taking place in front of so many other characters awkwardly, but the emotions are still felt in the Time Force take. These are just more likable people than the Timeranger.
Time Force isn't perfect -- it still has a lot of the problems I find in Power Rangers, including the kid glove handling of villains and fear of taking things too seriously. There's still some concessions that have to be made to enjoy it. But I do enjoy it. And I'm glad I decided to stick with the choice to rewatch it so close after rewatching Timeranger -- I thought the repetition would be a tedious chore -- because it gave me even more appreciation of certain things Time Force did. Like, to be honest, when I previously watched Time Force, I didn't really pay attention to Frax. I thought Gien was done in a more interesting way, seeming more diabolical. But now I'm totally flipped on that, I far prefer Frax and the sympathetic take on the character and think Gien is a bit of a disappointment that the show didn't know what to do with. I never really liked Eric when I previously watched Time Force, but really grew to appreciate him and Southworth's mercurial performance. (I still like Naoto more, though. The way Kasahara plays him and the character's tragic arc; Naoto finally found the power he sought, but it ended up costing him his life. Yuuri and Ayase warned him. And all because some selfish ass wrote it into history that Naoto would die in his place. Like I've said -- an interesting story there with Ryuuya, just executed all wrong.)
And, while Timeranger lacks Time Force's heart and heroics, I see where Time Force could have used some of Timeranger's sense of seriousness and coolness. Timeranger, to me, is basically Kotaro Tanaka from Jetman, in show form. Even though I came out of my last Jetman rewatch trying to let Tanaka off the hook, Timeranger is similar in that the ingredients are there for a very, very good show -- a damn GREAT show. But it's like everyone involved -- the actors, the directors, the writers, the designers -- they're all Kotaro Tanaka. They all think they're so cool and doing an amazing job, and if you don't think so...well, screw you, because it's just a dumb kids show. Well, actually, there's a HUGE amount of space for improvement. A better actor as Ryu would have truly let Jetman soar. Better casting, some tweaks to the writing, would have benefited Timeranger. And, in a way, Timeranger got a do-over in the form of Time Force, which had better casting and dropped some of the muddled writing that tripped up Timeranger. (There are some things Time Force would have been wise to keep, but for the most part, what it jettisoned was extraneous.)
Mostly, I think Timeranger is extremely boring. I struggle to stay focused on that show, and last time I rewatched it, I would tune out and have to rewind parts to catch them again. Timeranger is really, disgustingly in love with mecha -- more than Megaranger, more than GoGoFive, even. Like...so much of the show's big action, big storylines, involve mecha and mecha-caused destruction. For a show that wants to be so character-driven, turning everything into roc'em sock'em robots makes everything impersonal. Your eyes just glaze over when it comes upon the umpteenth big CGI mecha destruction scene. Time Force episodes run a few minutes shorter than Timeranger, bringing it closer to Sentai's glory days of 20-minute episodes, and that makes for breezy episodes. A lot of times, especially in the final episodes, it's the mecha stuff that's excised. As I've mentioned, Time Force will sometimes take multi-parters and condense them into lean, mean one-shots. That all gives more focus to the character stuff, gives it more room and makes an improvement...especially if you're not a mecha fan like I am. No wonder I've developed a preference for Time Force!
I like Time Force so much, I basically can look at the Timeranger suits and see the Time Force cast. That's always been something that's hard for me to shake as a Sentai fan who then goes on to watch some of the PR shows. Like, even though I was a big-time MMPR fan and I watched hundreds of episodes of that show repeatedly before I even saw Zyuranger, I never thought of the MMPR cast members when I finally saw Zyuranger. I didn't have to shake that image -- I just didn't even think about them. But it's funny...like, with how much I don't like Tatsuya, I also dislike the way Seiji Takaiwa plays Time Red in suit; his performance is really off and unnecessarily goofy and obnoxious. But with Time Force cutting around some of Takaiwa's goofier moments and having their own new footage with Hiroshi Maeda as Red, and with how much I actually like Wes more, I can not only tolerate Time Red, but see Wes when I see Time Red. But I especially see Jen and Erin Cahill when I look at Time Pink, no question. I could never picture Yuuri or Mika Katsumura being that character, even before I got into Time Force. Jen's cooler, more bad-ass and Cahill more believable. And it's easier to see Southworth's Eric as Time Fire; even if it's his just being a better physical match to Yasuhiko Imai than Kasahara was.
I like Time Force so much, I bought this piece of merchandise to represent my liking of it. I thought it was appropriate since I think it has a better handle on the cop side of the show: