Billy leads his Mini Me, Willie, in a science demonstration that Trini labels “morphenomenal.” She is right to be so impressed because this wee tyke has basically invented the Occulus Rift roller coaster ride to enter in the Junior Science Fair. I totally empathize with Kimberly here – “I’m getting dizzy, stop the game!” – because my first and only attempt at VR led to some quite mortifying flailing and no little screeching in terror.
I don’t like actual reality roller coasters either.
The gang are escorting Willie to the fair – shouldn’t a parent and/or guardian have some kind of presence here? For that matter: we’ve never even met any of our super-teens’ parents! – when they are attacked by Putties, because Rita is so taken with Willie’s intellect she wants to steal it for herself. First of all: second child-abduction episode in a row, show? What is this, Lifetime? Power Rangers: SVU? Second, why would Rita send FIVE PUTTIES? The budget for Lycra-Clad Extras must have been particularly tight this episode.
So the kids fight off their attackers, but Finster has a backup plan for his Queen. He “reminds” her of that one time he created Eye Guy – literally, a guy made of eyes; these names are so clever! – who could capture children’s intelligence by absorbing them as well. For the first time, we see some non-monstrous/morphed footage from Super Sentai, the long-running Japanese series on which Power Rangers is based, as a curious little girl, wearing curiously contemporary clothes, is consumed by the monster’s enormous detachable orb.
This raises some questions. One, if the event we are seeing happened in the dark past before Rita was imprisoned in her space dumpster for ten thousand years, does that mean striped rugby shirts and dungarees were the fashion amongst all the cutest hunters and gatherers, circa. 8,000 BC? And two, if this is something that happened more recently, say, since Rita was released from her prison all of seven episodes ago – as the outfit would suggest – could it be that she is not solely focusing her bid for world domination on the small California hamlet of Angel Grove, and is instead mounting an attack on multiple fronts, some of them in places where perhaps they don’t even HAVE Power Rangers? Because, boy, would that be a good idea!
It’s possible I am thinking about this too much.
At the Science Fair, Willie frets over the “quasitronic circuitry” which is absolutely a thing, and he and Billy share a nerdy secret handshake they really should reconsider performing in public. Bulk and Skull arrive to “have some fun” at the nerds’ expense, but get themselves a whupping courtesy of Jason, Zack and a strangely-nimble-even-out-of-costume Billy. (That one karate lesson totally paid off!) Bulk also loses his jeans – not the Mom Jeans, again! – to a kids’ invention of some kind of demolecuralizing ray. And they get their comeuppance when they are sent into another kid’s “Fashion Makeover Machine” and come out seconds later looking like the mom from Hairspray and Mary Tyler Moore.
Wait, so is Angel Grove actually Eureka?
Also, while this fight goes on – where are all the teachers? What is this, Between? Gone? The Sparticle Mystery? Some other wish-fulfillment teen story where all the adults disappear and it’s Lord of the Flies time? (There’s another one!) A teacher is even present in the room!
Moreover, he’s a dick. After Bulk and Skull run away in a cross-dressed panic not likely to win this episode any trans-inclusive awards, Professor Labcoat stalks over to Willie and tells him how his antics could have wrought havoc with the other students’ inventions, and that he is now disqualified from the competition. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!? If anything, it was Zack and Jason who endangered the (ground-breaking; billion-dollar) inventions of these pre-teens, by escalating the confrontation with Bulk and Skull. And it was Trini and Kimberly who finished the job! Nice work, heroes. Now Willie runs away and is going to get abducted for sure.
Which: yes. He ends up absorbed by Eye Guy and whirling around in a giant gyroscope, which is just what I imagine it is like inside a real eye, since biology is not really my metier. The kids search in vain for Willie, finding only his “lucky” cap – genius Willie must also have an advanced sense of irony. But Zordon is on the case, expositioning the hell out of of our Monster of the Week and his “internal vortex.” The kids learn that Rita “wishes to gain control of Willie’s powerful mind,” and I can’t help but think: imagine if you’re Billy here. You invent a wrist-based teleportation device and a supersonic flying car, and Rita doesn’t take the least bit of interest in ensaring your big brain? Hurtful.
Meanwhile: never has Alpha’s “Aiyaiyai!” been more apropos.
The kids morph, form the Power Blaster and the Care Bear Stare reduces Eye Guy, definitely our creepiest monster yet, especially if you suffer from trypophobia, to his constituent ocular orbs—but then he re-forms, like the T-1000, because there are fully six minutes left in the episode. A solo mission from Billy and his Power Lance almost wins the day, but then Rita makes Eye Guy giant (again, Rita, consider trying this as your first option, maybe?) and the kids have to Megazord up. The Mega Sword takes him out, Willie is rescued and it turns out he’s really not so smart, because even after the Power Rangers talk to him, in their regular voices, that he knows so well, the kids’ secret identities somehow remain intact.
Back at the Science Fair, Professor Labcoat has tried out Willie’s invention, is ever so sorry for being such an asshole, and awards the stunned wunderkind first prize, doubtless wanting to get in his good graces early, ahead of all those Facebook millions. A towel-clad Bulk and Skull turn up to demand their clothes back, only to discover they have now been shrunk down small enough to be stocked at Build-A-Bear. And we all have a good laugh, because science.
NEXT TIME: Honey, I Shrunk the Power Rangers!
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers
“I, Eye Guy” (S01E07)
Written by Stewart St. John | Directed by David Blyth
September 14, 1993 | Fox Kids