Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Season 1, Episode 44: Lions and Blizzards

The writers of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers spent their time through the first season writing in recurring story elements and gags that would pay off in later episodes.  The romance between Tommy and Kimberly was established when Tommy was introduced, and the two would be seen together all the time throughout his first tenure with the show.  Jason is always working on becoming a better martial artist and leader for their group.  Bulk and Skull are always being hit in the face with food, falling in or on something, or trying to upstage the main characters.

In the most recent episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers the writers brought back one of the most entertaining recurring gags of the entire first season.  Zack once again tried to score a date with Angela.  He has attempted this various times throughout the season.  Once he even attempted to woo her to show Tommy how to get Kimberly.  Needless to say, it didn’t work that time.  Would it work this time?  The recap of the episode will tell you all that and more.

Season 1, Episode 44: Lions and Blizzards

Something is happening in Angel Grove.  It isn’t another attack by Rita Repulsa.  Oh no.  Not yet, at least.  The thing that is happening in Angel Grove is a competition that includes an obstacle course, wheelbarrow races, and a bunch of those kinds of things.  The winning team will earn the Noble Lion Trophy.  It basically ends up being Jason and the gang against Bulk and Skull.  And after a tug-o-war that sends Bulk and Skull into some mud, the gang wins the trophy.

Bulk and Skull don’t take the loss easily.  They want the trophy for themselves, so they steal it.  The gang wants it back.  Jason and Kimberly go one way, the other three go another.  But they aren’t the only ones who want the trophy.  Rita Repulsa has plans to turn the Noble Lion Trophy into a monster so she sends down some putties to fight with everyone.

Something about this fight against putties is different than any of the others.  A new song plays while the gang fights.  At least, I think it’s a new song.  I don’t remember hearing it before this episode.  The song is called Fight and is by Ron Wasserman.  It only plays during the fight against the putties and once the putties are defeated, the song ends.

Rita makes her move for the trophy when Bulk and Skull stop to wash mud off themselves.  The trophy turns into a bipedal lion with a goat’s face for a chest.  It attacks Bulk and Skull and sends them flying into the pond in Angel Grove Park.

Meanwhile, at the Gym and Juice Bar, Angela asks Zack out on a date.  Everyone is surprised.  Zack and Angela head out to the movie theater to watch something together.  That’s when a storm begins and everyone is told to go down into the basement in case a tornado comes through.  Jason, Kimberly, Trini, and Billy go to the Command Center instead and find out that the monster Goatan is attacking the city.  They try to get help from Zack but they can’t contact him.  They go to fight off Goatan without his help.

Eventually, Zack steps out of the movie using the excuse of getting popcorn.  He asks Zordon what’s going on then goes to help the rest of the Power Rangers defeat Goatan.  When they form the Megazord, Goatan covers them in snow and ice.  How do they get out of it?  They spin the Megazord around a lot and shake all that stuff off.  Then they kill Goatan.  Yeah, that’s what happens.

Zack goes back to his date with popcorn and acts like he didn’t disappear for a long time.  Angela doesn’t like this and throws the popcorn on him.  The rest of the gang is at the gym and juice bar.  Bulk and Skull get brought in by the police and put into the care of the rest of the teens.  The episode strangely ends on Bulk finding a frog in his clothes.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, the Zack and Angela gag is one of the most entertaining in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  Usually it is due to the buffoonery of Zack trying to ask her out and her turning down his offer without a second thought.  The fact that they actually went on a date and Zack had to ditch her to save the world is a great punchline.  The part where he can’t even tell her he was doing that makes it all that much sweeter.  I appreciate that the writers spend the time sprinkling these details into the show.

Also sneaking into the episode were a couple instances of Bulk and Skull falling into things.  Bulk fell on the obstacle course, both characters fell into mud during the tug-o-war, and then they fell into the pond when Goatan attacked them.  I’ve said in previous posts how I like when they get more to do than this slapstick comedy, but when they go overboard with it, it works quite well.  Having them spend an entire episode falling into things is better than one scene of them falling into something and nothing else in the episode.  They’re being built into real characters between these moments which helps too.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is a show that is still very much episodic.  However, it is beginning to grow into something more than the simple episodic children’s show it began as.  It is forming characters and figuring out when to use recurring shtick.  I, for one, am glad to see it growing as I’ve been complaining through this entire first season rewatch that the show needed to build itself a little more.  I was hoping for a more serialized thing, but it’s a kid’s show so I can’t expect that.  It is better than it started out as though.  That’s a good thing.  It can only grow from here.  I’ll see you next time with an update on how much the show has grown between this episode and the following one.

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