Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Season 1, Episode 43: Something Fishy

An interesting thing to look at in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is how they translate the Japanese footage of the Sentai series for American audiences.  The story is surely not the same, but they need to find a story for the footage to work in.  Whether that turns out to be a character story or a simple action story, the footage needs to fit properly.  It is especially important in the character stories though, as the Japanese footage tends to have focus on one of the Power Rangers over the rest.

The most interesting character episodes at this point in the series are episodes focused on Billy or Trini.  Neither of them have been built up to any real extent yet.  Most of the series focus is on Jason and Tommy, with some on Zack and Kimberly.  Trini and Billy are mostly left in the dark in terms of getting their characters any realization.  It’s nice to see either character get the spotlight because it helps to showcase who they are.  The audience learns to care about the characters, if only a little bit more than before.  The viewers get to find out what makes the characters tick.

The episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers that I am about to write about is a Billy-centric episode.  It helps to build his character into more than just that guy who fixes things for the group.  We discover more about his personality and what makes him the person that he is.  It’s a good thing that he is getting some layers, considering that he is the longest lasting continuous Power Ranger from the beginning of the show.  It’s about time I wrote about what this episode did for the character.

Season 1, Episode 43: Something Fishy

The gang is getting ready for a trip out to the beach to go scuba diving.  The problem is that Billy does not want to go.  So Kimberly stays behind with him to have a picnic at the park.  Bulk and Skull want to get in on the action and decide to go fishing at the park.  They interrupt the picnic to show off all of the garbage that they have caught.

During the picnic, Billy reveals a story about when he was a child.  He went to the park and was playing in the water.  One of the fish decided to grab onto his finger and bite it.  Ever since that time, Billy has been afraid of both water and fish.  This comes into play when Rita decides to send another monster down to Earth.

The monster this time is called Goo Fish.  It’s some weird looking fish thing with a fish for a head, but the rest of its body is also a fish.  It can shoot out goo from its mouth, and the goo can turn into a glue like substance.  When the Power Rangers go to fight it, it traps all of them except for the Blue Ranger.  Billy’s fear of fish is a problem though, and it is tough for him to overcome the fear.  Eventually, he pulls himself together long enough to free his friends.  That’s when Rita sends down her staff.

Goo Fish grows.  The Power Rangers get their Zords and make the Megazord.  Goo Fish shoots some goo and traps Megazord.  Whatever will the Power Rangers do?  Here’s what.  Zack comes up with the idea that they should convert the goo into energy.  Jason converts the goo into energy, gets the sword, and takes down Goo Fish once and for all.  Yeah, I don’t quite understand either.

Back at the Angel Grove Gym and Juice Bar, Bulk and Skull decide to show off the big fish they caught.  Skull pulls out a giant can of tuna and Bulk gets mad.  Then Billy and Ernie (the guy running the gym and juice bar) show up with their fishing prizes.  That’s right, Billy is no longer afraid of fish or water.  Bulk wants to see what Billy caught and gets attacked by a lobster.  The episode ends right there.

What we learned about Billy in the episode was a little bit of his childhood backstory.  Does it build up his character and give him some sort of skill that will propel him forward?  Not at all.  But knowing about his struggles with fish helps to make him more relatable and sympathetic.  That is something that you need for a hero.  It makes Billy better-rounded than he previously was.

Now, if only the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers writers could make Trini a little bit more interesting.  There are still a few episodes before Tommy returns to the group.  Hopefully one of the episode is Trini-centric and makes her more than just that fifth person in the group.  This would be especially nice considering that she, like Jason and Zack, will leave partway through the second season.  I would like to get to know the character before that point.  Right now, I have no idea who Trini is as a person.

Like I said, there are still a few more episodes before Tommy returns.  That’ll be the next multi-episode story.  Until then, we have a few more stand-alone episodes to get through.  I’ll be here to hold your hand along the way.  I’ll see you soon for the next episode.

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