It’s our first glimpse of the kids at school as Kimberly and Trini head up an environmental campaign. “Stop the pollution of our neighbourhood! Sign the petition, help shut the dump site down! Come on, guys…” Their principal is impressed with their moxie, but wonders archly: “Is this dump site as bad as you say?”
Yes, according to Trini, it is! “I mean, who could stand to pollute the Earth like that?” Kimberly asks, to a cutaway of that old kids’ TV standby, the grown-up “good point” face.
The answer: Rita! Well, Rita and us, actually – she’s planning to use our pollution to… to… take over the world somehow? Or does she want to destroy it again? Her motivations remain both fluid and unclear. Finster promises her a monster that will DEFINITELY take out the Power Rangers this time, and then the pollution will do the rest. I think?
Back at the school, the girls are literally screaming at their fellow students to “Fight pollution!” and “Come on, save our Earth!” when the Power Boys come wandering up nonchalantly, and Billy asks: “Are you conducting a campaign of some kind?” REALLY, Billy? Aren’t you supposed to be the smart one?
The girls inveigle Jason (does he own anything except red tank tops?), Zach and Billy into signing their petition, but when it comes to taking it down to the dump site owners that afternoon, the girls are left on their own, the boys all having other – possibly dubious, in Zach’s case – plans. “It would be a lot more impressive if we acted like a team,” Trini passive-aggressives them. Oh, this for sure will not come up again later.
Also on the scene are Bulk, Skull and a new member of their gang, a vaguely androgynous punk who doubtless spends most of her time in Detention. Bulk makes an entrance with an enormous belch, throws a soda can on the floor and demands: “Hey, Miss Clean! Recycle that.” (That’s Ms. Clean to you, buddy.) Then it all gets a bit physical, as Skull throws the crushed up can right at Kimberly and Trini, a helpful lad comes by and picks up a different one and before long has a trashcan emptied over his head. Fortunately for him, it appears that the students of Angel Grove High only ever throw away clean pieces of blank paper. No wonder this town has a waste problem!
Trini is nevertheless ticked. “Okay, that does it! You’re way out of line!” But little does she know how far over the line Bulk is about to go! Because when Kimberly, unnecessarily but neatly, backflips over the trashcan rolled towards her, Bulk cries angrily “Let’s get her!” to Skull, and the two lunks rush at her petite self from each side. The fact that she does yet another flip to get out of their way – leaving the boys in an awkward and vaguely homophobic embrace – does not negate the fact that Bulk thought it was okay to “get” anyone, let alone a girl a quarter his size.
Now I am starting to understand why our heroes show no compunction about teasing Bulk and Skull, despite their obvious challenges, both mental and physical. Bulk is just plain mean. And, of course, he gets his comeuppance here, as he and Skull find themselves inside the very trashcans they were using to taunt others. Poetic, no?
“It looks like it’s time to take out the trash,” Kimberly smirks. Oh, those Kimberley Puns. She’s got a million of ‘em!
But now it’s off to the waste site with their petition, much to the delight of Rita and the Minions, who are apparently only just now thinking of Divide and Conquer as a strategy to defeat those pesky Power Rangers. Like, you know their names and what they look like. You can’t just find them in their houses? Perhaps while they’re sleeping? Sometimes it seems like Rita isn’t even trying.
But Goldar has a plan. “We’ll ambush them with Putties and then finish them with a monster before their friends can help.”
“Right!” Rita exclaims. “We can’t lose this one!”
Someone hasn’t been paying attention.
The girls arrive at the dump. “This is gross,” grimaces Kimberly, but it’s really not that bad, except for the random smoke that is pouring out of the junk for no reason. (It’s actually quite Chloe and Max; I absolutely expect there to be a clubhouse of some kind. As long as no one has to collect any bottles, we’re golden.) Turns out there is no one there to whom they can deliver their petitions – did they not research this at all? – but Trini’s feeling that they are being watched is soon validated when the promised Putties somersault into view, bibbling and freestyle dancing in that way that makes them so easy to beat down.
Also dancing is Zach, who it turns out really did promise Alpha a meeting after school – sorry for doubting you, Zach! – in order to show off his smooth new moves. The Hip Hop Kido! It’s the Capoeira of the streets! “Aiyaiyaiyaiyai!” is right, Alpha.
But the dance recital ends when Zordon notes that Trini and Kimberly are being attacked (Alpha: “Aiyaiyaiyaiyai! Dudettes in trouble!”) and calls Jason and Billy to join them at the Command Center. Wait, what? Why bring the boys there at all? Just have them teleport straight to the action. Or does teleportation only work to/from Twinkle Light Tower? Explain some of your rules, show! I really shouldn’t be this confused about something aimed at eight-year-olds.
Now united, the boys watch Kimberly and Trini seemingly overwhelmed by Putties but are told to morph and go fight the “most menacing Minotaur” (oh, Billy!) just sent to Earth by Rita. The girls also morph and face down the Putties and a sword-wielding Goldar, but Zordon wants them to “hook up” with the others. “Working together as a team is their only hope now,” he intones.
Ah, there we go! Hello, moral of the episode.
“Aiyaiyaiyaiyai!” Alpha continues to bemoan. “The Power Rangers still have their hands full!” The kids fight battles on two fronts, and it’s all looking a bit grim; grim enough that Zordon ponders aloud, “Perhaps the time has come for me to reveal to them the ancient secrets of the power weapons.”
YA THINK? Jeez, Zordon, way to hold out. For what possible reason are you keeping these secrets, whatever they may be? Just because the writers hadn’t thought of them yet? That’s it, right?
Anyway, Rita enlarges the Minotaur (she really just needs to start them off boss-sized from the get go), and it’s time to Megazord its ass. The kids call their zords, and as they emerge from their hiding places one has to wonder exactly where they all are, map-wise. Is the geography around Angel Grove really so varied as to support a glacier, a desert, a jungle and TWO active volcanoes? And if not, exactly how fast can those things move? How have they not been spotted by now, as they make the journey from, say, Alaska? And why is Billy’s Triceratops the only one on wheels?
This is going to bug me for days.
The kids form the Megazord, but oh no! The giant Minotaur totally outclasses the enormous robot! So what does Zordon do? He recalls the kids to Twinkle Light Tower, and bestows upon them each new weapons. Billy gets a Power Lance, Kimberly a Power Bow, Jason a Power Sword, Zach a Power Axe and Trini a couple of Power Daggers. And for some reason these Medieval weapons do a pretty good job against the Minotaur where the giant freaking robot couldn’t, and then they are combined to form a hybrid Power Weapon that shoots out the Care Bear Stare and takes that monster down. Because of team work, I guess?
Rita is most displeased.
Back at school – WHY are they back at school? It’s got to be at least dinner time by now – all that perfectly good paper is still all over the floor and the kids are in trouble with Mr. Kaplan. Luckily, he is called away and some wacky Benny Hill music serves as the backdrop for a fast forward working bee, after Jason suggests: “What do you say we show a little teamwork and get this place cleaned up?” Take that, Mr Kaplan!
Meanwhile, back at Twinkle Light Tower, Alpha keeps short-circuiting everything while practicing his dance moves. “Alpha, my man,” dance master Zach admonishes him via comm link, “forget the hip hop, keep being a robot and keep that control console working!”
Cue general hilarity.
It’s really not that funny, guys.
NEXT TIME: Jason lifts things!
Aiyaiyaiyaiyai Count: 7
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers
Written by Cheryl Saban | Directed by Robert Hughes
September 8, 1993 | Fox Kids