"Sticks and Stones" was an interesting episode in terms of progressing the story. Through her sister, Emily is immune to the Nighlok-of-the-Week's taunts, but is insecure in all other areas of her life. It was cool seeing the rangers' faces inside their helmets, the closest the franchise's ever come to that before being in an early episode of Ninja Storm, when the rangers' faces are shown through their helmets, which are badly damaged after their zords are damaged in battle.
It was great to see Bulk and Spike finally involved in the action (at least a bit, anyway), despite failing to subdue the Nighlok. It's not said whether or not Emily's sister Serena passed away, though it's likely the storyline will be visited again later on in the series. Jayden's supposed secret is hinted at by the Nighlok Negatron (not Megatron, Negatron). Could it be similar to the one from Shinkenger? I guess there's only one way to find out...
"A Fish Out of Water" bucked the trend of starting the episode post-credits with a scene of the villains on the Sanzu River, instead almost literally "cutting to the chase" and giving Kevin a solo mission to retrieve the lost Swordfish Zord. And about the brief flashback sequence with him and his father, am I the only one who thinks the father sounds like Sensei from Ninja Storm?
Anyway, it was definitely unusual for Kevin to use a fishing rod to find the zord, given how we've grown accustomed to characters just happening upon new zords by chance or having new ones be created. In this case, the rod is too weak to support the zord's weight and the line breaks.
Bulk and Spike beachgoing reminds me of the MMPR episode "A Star is Born", when Bulk, in preparation for a commercial audition, tries to get a tan and Skull, after spilling all the suntan lotion, uses TIMMY P.'S REAL BRAND MAYONNAISE! as a substitiute. Naturally, this gives Bulk a nasty sunburn that shows the next day. This time, Bulk's beach activity is more creative, being torn on what to build a sand sculpture of.
Back to Kevin, who uses every symbol on his fishing rod's disc to try and lure the zord. The sequence of this is edited excellently to illustrate his frustration and tiredness in the task. When he collapses, he's aided by a man (doing a good American accent lol), who helps him to finally catch the zord and save the other rangers from the stench effects of Yamiror, the Nighlok-of-the-Week.
The megazord battle adds to the number of forms for the mecha, but having the swordfish zord's point as a helmet spear for the Swordfish Fencer Megazord? Pure awesomeness right there.
All the while, a mysterious figure is shown, who welcomes the return of the Samurai Rangers, but has an agenda of his own...