Friday, January 16, 2015

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Season 1, Episode 49: Return of an Old Friend Part I

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is a show that has, recently in my viewing, not had any sense of real stakes.  Sure, there were monsters attacking Angel Grove.  But that happens every episode.  Once in a while, something needs to be tossed into the formula to heighten the sense of danger.  Well, it looks like I got that with the episode I’m going to be writing about today.  I got the highest level of danger yet.  Angel Grove is nearly helpless.

When I say nearly, there is a definite reason why.  You’ll find that out as I go over the episode.  It’s a rather small amount of hope that the people of Angel Grove have right now.  And it’s really a last resort, what is going to be happening in the follow up to this episode.  You know, it’s hard to write about any of this right now without spoiling the episode.  I’m going to get into it pretty quick this time.  Right now.

Season 1, Episode 49: Return of an Old Friend, Part 1

It’s parents day at the Angel Grove Youth Center.  Everyone’s parents are showing up.  And they all seem to be wearing the same colours as their children tend to wear.  Jason’s family is in red, Trini’s is in yellowish, Billy’s are in blue… You know.  Even Bulk and Skull’s parents are there.  Everyone is at this parents day gathering.  Well, almost everyone.

When Kimberly’s divorced parents show up and Kimberly is not there, Trini goes outside to find her.  Kimberly thinks that it is her fault that her parents separated.  Trini consoles her.  Then some putties show up and there is a big fight.  Jason and Zack are called outside to help.  Billy still hasn’t shown up because he is working on a new invention.  What is it?  It is not explained.

The putties are only a distraction, as Rita sends some monster into the Youth Center to spray gas and take everyone at the party to another dimension.  Billy shows up to find the place empty.  The monster then sprays him which causes his mind to be controlled by Rita.  Rita sends him to the Command Center to get the Dragon Dagger for her.  He does as she demands and unhooks Alpha while he is at it.

When the Power Rangers show up, they are told about what is going on.  They go into that dimension where Jason was trapped in Green With Evil, and they confront Goldar and Billy.  Goldar decides to fight them all.  This really is one of the best fight scenes in any episode so far.  And it’s backed by the best Power Rangers song so far, Fight.  Goldar ends up winning the fight, taking the dagger, and freeing Billy of his mind control.

Goldar soon summons the Dragonzord, and the Power Rangers must form the Megazord to fight it.  After the fight, Goldar makes an ultimatum.  Relinquish their power coins and lose their powers, or their parents are lost forever.  Zordon tells the Power Rangers that the choice is up to them.  They choose to save their parents by giving up their power coins.  Goldar laughs at them, says he was lying, doesn’t release their parents, and runs away with the coins and the Dragon Dagger.

The Power Rangers say that there is no hope.  All is lost.  Jason informs them that he still has one power coin.  The show immediately cuts to someone walking into the Angel Grove Youth Center.  It’s Tommy.  He’s back.  He wonders where everyone is.  The song Go Green Ranger Go plays a tiny bit.  And the credits start.

So, yeah.  Tommy’s back.  If the title hadn’t tipped you off, now you know.  He’s back.  And Jason is going to give him the power coin for the Green Ranger.  I’m glad that Tommy’s back because he’s one of the more interesting characters in the show.  They built his character just right when he was introduced.  He has enough background and personality to make him enjoyable to watch.  And he fits into the group well.  It’s great to have him bringing this other side to the group once again.

Though, I could be talking out of my butt here.  The guy has been gone for a long time now.  He could end up leaving again sometime soon.  I don’t know for sure.  I know he’s around until Power Rangers Turbo, but I don’t know if he’s around the whole time.  There may be some more gaps that he isn’t in.  I still say he’s a good addition to the group for the amount of time that he is with them.

As for the stakes, having the Power Rangers essentially powerless is an interesting twist that I didn’t expect.  It makes the situation direr than it has been up to this point.  I am more invested in the characters finding a way to defeat Rita Repulsa than I have been since the Doomsday episodes.  That’s not saying much since that was the last multi-episode arc, but when you have a bunch of low risk single episodes between then and now, this is a refreshing change of pace.  If every episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers ran like this one, I would be an extremely happy viewer.

This is only half of the Return of an Old Friend saga, though.  There’s still one more episode, and I’m even more excited for this one.  I want to see Tommy Oliver kicking some butt.  I want to see the Green Ranger back in action.  I want to see how the Power Rangers get out of the dangerous situation that they are in.  I hope that you guys are interested in this too.  I’ll be back soon with the recap of the second half.

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