So you say you want to watch Power Rangers.
You say you want to relive all the major moments from the series and skip the unnecessary filler, but you’re not quite sure where to begin.
Some suggest watching every single episode if you’re really committed to the prospect, but that sounds like a lot of time to spend watching a kids show you used to love.
Speaking as a lifelong fan, I understand both sides of this. While Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is an exciting nostalgic experience, it doesn’t age well (surprise). That’s why we whipped up a guide listing only the important, quintessential episodes of the show necessary to comprehend its mostly incoherent storyline. This might sound tricky feat in itself, as MMPR is a “unique” TV series. It’s padded out with filler-y monster-of-the-day plots and sadistically repetitive stock footage that will warp your mind if you’ve seen it too many times. (Believe me. I should know.) But there is a complete story there if you know where to look. Trust us on this.
So here it is – a list of all essential episodes you absolutely need to see to get the full Mighty Morphin’ experience. As Kimberly Hart would say, you’re, like, so welcome.
This is the era that comes to mind whenever Power Rangers is brought up. It’s what brought the magic of Super Sentai to the imaginations of kids outside of Asia, after all. Despite some very obvious footage recycling that occurs halfway through, Season 1 isn’t marred by the production issues that would go on to complicate (i.e. screw up) the ongoing story the show made up as it went along. It’s still the most flawless season of Power Rangers because it’s so simple and relatable, even twenty plus years into the future.
Ep. 1: “Day of the Dumpster”
Do I really have to explain why this is essential? After 10,000 years, Rita Repulsa is free. It’s time for her to conquer earth! Zordon has Alpha teleport five teenagers with attitude to the command center – and so on, and so forth. Yadda yadda.
For a first episode of a TV show, “Dumpster” packs a powerful punch that’s still felt to this day. (But to be fair, so did the one of the original pilots. The remake, “Mega Misson” for Power Rangers Megaforce in 2013, was pretty neat too.)
Just to give you some perspective here: Zyuranger, the Super Sentai series MMPR is adapted from, didn’t introduce Daizyuzin aka “the Megazord” until five episodes in. We got it up front thanks to our Western sense of impatience. Go us!
Ep. 3: “Teamwork”
Here’s the thing about any and all Power Rangers series: certain filler episodes are necessary in order to know where the shit they got certain weapons/zords/power-ups from. The third episode ever is a good example of this, as Zordon decides to bestow the Rangers with the Power Blaster to take on a random Minotaur monster while also trying to stop pollution.
It looks like that whole multitasking thing is working out for them.
Ep. 6: “Food Fight”
Hey, look. It’s Pudgy Pig. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ most iconic monster-of-the-day, despite the heavy presence of King Sphinx in early promotional artwork.
Much as the title suggests, a food fight does indeed occur, and it’s fairly ambitious one. Raise your hand if you had the Golden Books version of this with the sound effects buttons as a child. Because I did not.
Ep. 13: “Peace, Love and Woe”
I think we can all agree Madame Woe is a bad-ass bitch. Besides her gorgeous battle footage with the Rangers, we also see Billy getting some female attention for the first time in the form of Marge. No, not the Simpson. I’m talking about that awkward girl in the leggings that wants to ask Billy to the dance. She’s standing right over there. Stop looking! Don’t make it obvious.
“Woe” is essential because it gives Billy some self-esteem, also serving as a checkpoint for his character, as his arc is arguably the most developed out of all the original cast. That David Yost was its most consistent original cast member probably had something to do with it.
Ep. 17-21: The Green With Evil Miniseries
Crap. I have to explain why these are essential too? This epic five-parter changed everything about the show, its public perception, and the landscape of 1990s children’s television in a single week. It put MMPR not only on the map but also in the imaginations of hyperactive kids everywhere who wanted to morph into the Green Ranger and have a weird gold thing on their chest too.
Tommy Oliver, the most popular character in all of Power Rangers history, is introduced here as an evil Ranger under Rita’s spell. Once the teens break it, they gain a new team member and the power of the mighty Dragonzord to boot (which is rust-proof, apparently).
Ep. 26: “Gung Ho!”
The bromance between Jason and Tommy was always a strong centerpiece for the show back in its first year, but only because the two started off as rivals. The writers knew this, which is why tension was created between them every now and then to spice things up. This episode is certainly one of the better times that trick is used.
But what’s really of importance here is the introduction of Titanus, the mysterious carrier zord the series will go on to have a very complicated relationship with, as you’ll soon discover.
Ep. 27: “Wheel of Misfortune”
I didn’t intend on including this at first, but then I realized this was the first time the kids formed the Ultrazord, so obviously I couldn’t leave it off. But other than that, the Rangers fight a gigantic wheel on a string that shoots sparks everywhere. It’s more of a party favor than a threat, but Kimberly gets up in arms over it anyway. You know how she can be.
Ep. 28-29: “Island of Illusion”, Pt. I & II
I was tempted to leave these off too, but something major does actually happen in this glorified, drawn out clip show that could have been condensed down to one episode. This adventure served the function of “Crystal of Nightmares” before that episode even aired, which is to make the Rangers question themselves. Rita banishes the gang to a lost interdimensional island where they’re tormented by a dwarf who preys on their insecurities by making them relive scary moments from the series. Whatever.
In other news, we meet MMPR’s scariest villain: Lokar, a giant disembodied head that floats in the sky. (I shit you not, his Zyuranger counterpart is literally supposed to be Satan.)
Ep. 34-35: “The Green Candle” Pt. I & II
Kimberly and Tommy’s OTP seemed to be constantly idling offscreen where the kids couldn’t see. But this fateful two-parter culminates with a big ol’ smack on the lips that looked like deep throat french kissing to impressionable 8-year-olds everywhere.
Oh yeah, and the Green Ranger loses his powers for the first time because Rita drains them with a magic candle, forcing Tommy to leave the team. That happens, too.
Ep. 36: “Birds of a Feather”
This episode is a perfect snapshot of the Rangers’ mood following the loss of the Green Ranger, and a good example of how the show would function in Tommy’s absence. Most of its run time is entirely made up of zord battles, a trend the show would pick up on far off into the distant future, but it’s all great stuff. We also get to see Jason stab what appears to be a giant STD to death with dual lightsabers. What’s not to love?
The Cardiatron and Hatchasaurus were like the Captain and Tenille of Power Rangers monsters. They were even immortalized on the MMPR Rock Adventure soundtrack album as audio clips from their zord fight during this episode was spliced in as a prelude to an alternate retelling of Lord Zedd’s arrival in “The Mutiny” in which the Dinozords were inexplicably kept around instead of being replaced. The more you know…
Ep. 38: “A Bad Reflection on You”
The teens get stuck in after school detention with Bulk and Skull while clones of their Ranger selves run amok in Angel Grove. How can they sneak away to stop the carnage and clear their names?
Episodes about evil Ranger clones are nothing special now, but back in the day, they were everything. The show will soon dip back into that well later on this season, but “Bad Reflection” remains the most iconic effort of the two.
Ep. 39-40: “Doomsday” Pt. I & II
This was originally written to be the series finale, as it’s adapted from the final episodes of Zyuranger. When the show got immensely popular and took over the world one playground at a time, “Doomsday” was re-written to be more of a mid-season finale than anything else.
Still, this is an apocalyptic two-parter that serves as a spiritual checkpoint for the team and the series, as well as a rite of passage for a wacky, head-scratching show that turned into a full-fledged action program overnight. Plus, Tommy comes back for a cameo at the end, and we know how you feel about him and that mullet.
Ep. 42: “A Pig Surprise”
I don’t want you to watch this episode. I really don’t. Please understand this before we proceed.
However, I include it because it marks the re-appearance of Pudgy Pig, who is mostly seen in the exact same footage they used in “Food Fight”, just re-arranged and re-dubbed. Oy vey.
Ep. 49-50: “Return of an Old Friend” Pt. I & II
In case finally meeting all of the Rangers’ parents wasn’t enough of a big deal, we also get the return of the Tommy, who gains the ability to morph back into the Green Ranger after Zordon recharges his powers. That means he’s back on the team! Yay! Oh, but Billy goes evil for awhile and it’s slightly disturbing. Un-yay.
The events of “Return of an Old Friend” raises the stakes higher than “Doomsday”. The ending is a more triumphant one in that it gives us Tommy back, with a fresh new ponytail this time. We love that thing.
Ep. 59 – “Mighty Morphin’ Mutants”
Another evil Ranger episode? So soon? Fuck yes. Although the one we just discussed a few moments ago will always hold a special place in my heart, this one is the better of the two.
The Mutant Rangers are a group of badass mofos lead by Commander Crayfish, the monster that the number one Power Rangers fan named himself after. It should also be mentioned that Alpha replaces the Power Weapons after they get toasted by the Mutants, but since the new super strong replacements look exactly the same, I don’t know why I even bothered to type this out just now. Other than that, get ready for some great use of Mighty Raw’s “5-4-1” during the hard-and-fast fight scenes.
Ep. 60 – “An Oyster Stew”
In the first season “finale” Zack scores a date with Angela, so he takes her to an outdoor French restaurant that looks like it was built in a parking lot. What’s that? It was? Oh. Well, who gives a damn.
What’s most remarkable about this episode is that THE GREEN RANGER GIVES THE BLACK RANGER HIS SHIELD YOU GUYS. HOLY FUCKING SHIT. (Also, you must bear witness the first underwater Megazord battler ever. Because we need more fake, unconvincing bubbles in our lives.)
Hit the drop down for season two!
MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS SEASON 2
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. It was the year that Mighty Morphin Power Rangers transformed itself in a dizzying whirlwind of behind the scenes meltdowns, grueling production schedules, globetrotting adventures, endless ADR sessions and insultingly bad splice jobs. But at the end of the day, this chaotic chapter in the Power Rangers legacy proved that the show had the mettle to withstand just about any obstacle being thrown at it, which further indicated the staying power of the franchise.
If Season 1 felt like two different seasons smooshed together, Season 2 seems like three were. We have the first section – by far the greatest – in which Lord Zedd appears, kicks Rita out, and picks on the Green Ranger until he goes away for good. The second (and middle) part busies itself with: introducing the White Ranger; kicking Jason, Zack, and Trini out the door so Rocky, Adam, and Aisha can step in; and doing overall damage control due to this casting change. The third and final section begins when Rita Repulsa returns from her exile and slips Zedd a magic roofie that makes him fall in love with her. After they marry, the tone of the series slides into considerably sillier territory along with Zedd’s demeanor.
TL;DR – Season 2 is a bumpy ride. But it’s worth it in the end.
Ep. 1-3: “The Mutiny” Pt. I, II & III
No one was prepared for the major changes the second season premiere of MMPR dropped at the time. A scary new villain that wasn’t poorly dubbed was introduced (Lord Zedd, duh) plus the shiny new Thunderzords.
Okay, let’s be honest. The Thunderzords had nothing to do with thunder whatsoever. Sure, lightning bolts shot out of the sky when the Rangers called them. But that’s lightning. Why not call them the Lightningzords? Because that’s a sucky name, and Saban and Ban Dai America knew it. But since their Sentai counterparts, known as Mythical Chi Beasts, were heavily based on Chinese mythology, seems they really had to reach for a westernized name.
Nitpicks aside, this classic three-parter was also noteworthy for being aired as a FOX Network prime time special over the summer before the season began alongside a few X-Men episodes. (I should know. I was there.) And get used to that Thunderzord summoning sequence. You’re going to be living with that for the rest of your natural born life.
Ep. 7: “The Green Dream”
Early Season 2 is one of the best eras of MMPR. The show is firing on all cylinders, the cast’s chemistry is on fire, and the emotions are high because of Lord Zedd’s relentless pursuit of terrorizing the Green Ranger. He sees him as the weakest link of the team, so he makes harassing Tommy and draining the rest of the Dragonzord powers his main hobby.
Even if Tommy was on the chopping block in every episode during this time, “Green Dream” stuck out because it aimed for the gut. It kicked off the final Green Ranger arc ever with big emotion that was felt long after it concluded.
Ep. 11 – “The Song of Guitardo”
This episode is ridiculous but I love it anyway. It’s about a giant cicada that makes people float a few feet off the ground when it pretends strum its guitar with its massive claw. Somehow, it also manages to be about Skull’s exploits in cross-dressing. But viewing it from an arc perspective, it’s the final standalone in which the Green Ranger saves the other Rangers’ butts. And it behaves that way. Kimberly even sings a sad, foreshadow-y song at the end about moving away or graduating or holding on for one more day or something like that. It’s touching.
(Plus, she puts Tommy’s Dragon Dagger in her Power Bow to defeat the monster, culminating a year’s worth of sexual tension in one symbolic act.)
Ep. 12-13: “Green No More” Pt. I & II
At last, we say goodbye to the Green Ranger and all of his active damseling when Lord Zedd steals the rest of his powers to give birth to his new Dark Rangers. Sounds cool on paper, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. But y’know, despite the shabby production value and the unfocused plotting, this proved to be a bittersweet goodbye to the most badass of all original Rangers. It’s just a shame that it wasted its time setting up a great concept that went nowhere.
And Turbanshell, man. Ugh. That thing looks like someone stuffed a cat turd in a conch shell and left it out in the sun to dry. And those Dark Ranger outfits…really? Couldn’t Saban have the Dairanger costumes shipped over or something?
Ep. 14 – “Missing Green”
Wait, when did this show get so serialized all of a sudden? Huh. Well, if I were to handpick the most dramatically rich episode of MMPR, it would be this one right here.
Power Rangers rarely indulged in meaningful character studies back in its prime. At the time, the franchise wasn’t concerned with the inner worlds of teens that saved their local park from a few well-rehearsed stuntmen at a time. But “Missing Green” is the exception, and a lesson in gravitas the series should still be taking notes from to this day.
While Jason copes with the loss of Tommy and the Green Ranger, Zedd kidnaps the rest of the team and drains them of their powers using multicolored candles. Whether or not they’re scented is anyone’s guess. But they’re more threatening than most of the monsters we see on this show, so what does that say?
Ep. 17-18: “White Light” Pt. I & II
After three standalone episodes padded out with clumsy US produced action sequences (because Saban had exhausted both Zyuranger and Zyu2 footage at this point), we have yet another game changing two-parter. It also happens to be the second most famous mighty morphin “mini-series“ event next to “Green with Evil”. Any guess as to why?
When Lord Zedd turns a weird statue of a slimy fist (don’t ask) into his latest monster, the Rangers are stunned to find Zordon and Alpha creating a mysterious White Ranger in a secret chamber of the Command Center. Do I have to tell you who it is? Fine. It’s Richie.
Ep. 22-24: “The Ninja Encounter” Pt. I, II & III
Oh god no. No, no, no. This is where the season gets real ugly, real fast. But it’s not because Rocky, Adam, and Aisha are introduced; they’re all fine additions to the cast. No, it’s mostly because of the behind the scenes pay dispute that caused Austin St. John, Thuy Trang, and Walter Jones to storm off set for good. This resulted in a famously drawn-out, clunky departure story-arc in which their alter egos are portrayed as subhuman knockoffs by stunt doubles from ten feet away.
Thus we have unforgivable three parters like “The Ninja Encounter”, that leaves us wondering why our favorite three Rangers won’t even give us the time of day anymore.
Oh, and one of these episodes is the worst Power Rangers episode ever, by the way. I’ll let you figure out which one it is.
Ep. 26: “Zedd Waves”
The writers took their sweet time pushing Jason, Zack, and Trini out the door. It was a smart strategy at the time, as the kids at home would be gently eased through the transition like it was their parents’ divorce. But it was weird that the trio never hung out with Tommy, Kimberly, and Billy anymore. Rocky, Adam, and Aisha did so it was okay. They rebounded. They didn’t need Jason, Zack, and Trini anymore.
Episodes like this one sold us on the prospect of the new characters joining the main cast, who wind up saving the day with the help of Zordon. The rushed production is still groan-inducing (as is Not-Jason’s overaggressive dub job) but “Zedd Waves” is a brightly colored puzzle piece that connects us with the new kids from Stone Canyon.
Ep. 27-28: “The Power Transfer” Pt. I & II
Do it! Make Rocky, Adam, and Aisha the Red, Black, and Yellow Rangers already! There. Phew. That feels so much better. Bye Jason, Zack, Trini and Felicia. Have fun at the Peace Conference. Can’t wait to see one of you again in Zeo! Whoa, check out Lord Zedd’s giant zord Serpenterra! It doesn’t do much, does it? WTF is that? A giant floating pyramid with an eyeball?! Oh…kay.
Ep. 29: “Goldar’s Vice Versa”
Scorpina’s back and she has her eyes set on Adam, who she plans on asking to the vice-versa dance per Zedd’s orders. This time, she’s played by a US based actress named Sabrina Ly. She’s no Ami Kawai, but we’ll take it. So why was this the last time she appeared on the show?
Apparently, Scorpina was supposed to come back later during Season 2 in a scrapped three part filler saga titled “Zordon I Shrunk The Rangers” (which you can read here). So what gives?
Ep. 41-43: “The Wedding” Pt. I, II & III
Fresh off the heels of a decent stretch of standalones that more or less continue to familiarize us with Rocky, Adam and Aisha (should I say their names in a different order at some point?), we’re treated to yet another turning point in the series. Yes, another one!
The teens head to Australia to film their big summer movie – er, I mean go on a field trip. But while they’re gone, Rita Repulsa returns, gets a makeover (i.e. is recast with another actress who can lip sync), and puts Lord Zedd under a love spell that convinces him to marry her immediately. They have a bizarre quasi-Jewish wedding on the moon while the Rangers are trapped inside a creepy theater on earth, harassed by past monsters who are distinctly goofier and more sluggish than we remember.
I don’t necessarily recommend watching these, but they are crucial. (There was supposed to be a follow-up episode continuing the Rangers’ vacation in Australia but it was never filmed.)
Ep. 44-46: “Return of the Green Ranger” Pt. I, II, & III
Another insane three parter picks up after this, also filmed in the land down under (though they don’t acknowledge it on screen this time). Rita summons the Wizard of Deception to clone Tommy to resurrect her evil Green Ranger. Somehow, it happens, and the real Tommy is beside himself. (See what I did there?) The rest of the Rangers are sent back in time to…drumroll please…colonial California. Um, right.
I’ve heard Power Rangers likened to Doctor Who before, but this is ridiculous.“Return” doesn’t quite live up to the greatness of its title, as this is just another rushed splice job like the rest of mid-Season 2. But it’s what we got. Be thankful.
Ep. 51: “Best Man For The Job”
Right after the cast and crew returned from their tumultuous shoot in Sydney, they cranked out a final string of episodes that finally got it right. This is definitely a highlight of the bunch, if not the funniest. When Rita causes mayhem by pitting Kimberly against Tommy during the school presidential election, she steals Saba and forces the Tiger Zord in battle mode to fight the Thunder Megazord in a rare stateside produced mecha battle. Highly recommended.
Ep. 52: “Blue Ranger Gone Bad”
It’s been a long and bumpy road, but now we’ve reached the end of the what is perhaps the most clusterfucked season of Power Rangers ever produced.
Fortunately, it leaves off on a high note with a tightly written standalone in which an evil clone of Billy runs around screwing things up for some new girl that has the hots for him. (I guess she doesn’t know yet, huh?) The dialogue is sharp, the humor is crisp, and the action is fast. “Blue Ranger Gone Bad” is less of a finale per se as it is an indicator of Season 3’s higher quality.
Hit the dropdown for season 3!
MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS SEASON 3
Season 3 is much different beast than the previous two, as the show finally embraces its serialized format and grows confident with long-form storytelling.
Let me clue you in on the brilliance of this season. This is a year of TV that has goals, people. Goals! Some of them are ambitious, some of them are functional, and others are good old fashioned fan service. One of its missions was to lay the groundwork for writing out Amy Jo Johnson, who was exhausted with the tiring lifestyle being a Power Ranger demanded. Since she gave advanced notice, the writers were able to pace her exit neatly while cleverly foreshadowing it at the same time.
While watching Season 3, one gets the impression that the Pink Ranger herself is no longer a necessary part of the team. Because Kakuranger didn’t have a Pink Ranger (as you’ll soon find out), this was sadly true. And despite what Ban Dai of America wanted you to think, there were no pink colored Zords to be found anywhere. She was treated more like a sixth Ranger than anything else, flipping her character arc into a mirror image of her significant other’s. That’s genius.
This year also was one big setup for next year’s Zeo launch, which you’ll hear more about in a minute or two.
Ep. 4-7: “Ninja Quest” Pt. I – IV
The third season kicks off with a three-part Masked Rider crossover/backdoor pilot that does a nice bit of world building and ends Bulk and Skull’s obsession with finding the Power Rangers’ true identities once and for all. But “Ninja Quest” is where the real story arc begins. (We also get a long overdue new US version of the Thunderzord summoning sequence. Was that so hard? Also, another US zord battle.)
This four part mini-series is an alternate (read: lower budget) retelling of the events from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie. Instead of Ivan Ooze being unearthed and brainwashing the parents of Australian Angel Grove, Rito Revulto – Rita’s boneheaded brother – appears instead. He lands on the moon, bringing with him an army Tengas (formerly Tengu Warriors) to replace Zedd’s tired putties.
After he demolishes the Rangers’ Thunderzords with the help from past monsters, the kids journey to The Desert of Despair (not Phaedos) to find Ninjor (instead of Dulcea) who grants them the power of Ninja (don’t say Ninjetti). He also gives them shiny new Ninja Zords too, but they’re not CGI, and the Megazord doesn’t knee anybody in the dick this time.
I like the movie and all, but I’ve always preferred “Ninja Quest” because it was authentically Power Rangers.
(Interesting sidenote – there’s a fanfic I read long ago that claimed the movie was a prophetic dream Billy had the night before the events of the series happened. That’s always been stuck in my brain and adopted as personal head cannon. Hope it gets stuck in yours too now.)
Ep. 12-13: “Stop the Hate Master” Pt. I & II
Everybody but Aisha is turned into an asshole by a monster who thinks he can spit like Pumpkin Rapper but can’t. This is also glorified filler, does not need to be two parts, and is a bit too simplistic for the series by this point. But hear this: we get to meet Aisha’s grandma.
What’s really of note here though is that Titanus comes back to us. And it’s not a big moment or anything like that. Adam admits that he needs some help and Tommy is like oh, I know who to call. Then he summons Titanus like it’s no big deal, like they haven’t spoken or seen each other for almost two seasons. The Ninja Ultrazord debuts in the next episode, “Final Face-Off” but I’m not going to list that as essential because I don’t feel like writing about it.
Ep. 15: “The Potion Notion”
One of the first times that Power Rangers played fan service before Zeo aired, this episode is a sweet opportunity to play up the more romantic elements of the show that were on stealth mode most of the time. It’s also an excellent way to mix things up by having a bewitched Kimberly fall for Skull, making Tommy nervous in the process. It also brings attention to the dangling subplot of Rita’s magical roofie-ing of Lord Zedd during the previous season.
Perfect watch for Valentine’s Day if you’re corny like that.
Ep. 17-18: “A Ranger Catastrophe”
In this two-parter, we meet a mysterious young woman named Katherine who can turn into a little kitty cat and spy on the Rangers, much like an Animorph would. That’s because she’s actually an emissary of Rita, who is up to her no good brainwashing antics again. The addition of Kat into the mix causes a ripple in the main cast’s dynamic which sparks romantic tension between Tommy and Kim. (“Who’s that girl?” Kimberly asks when she sees the two together in the viewing globe.) It also preps us for what’s to come. Yes, there’s a recycled Zord battle with Rito. We can get past that, can’t we?
Ep. 19-21: “Changing of the Zords” Pt. I – III
In one of the finest, most dramatic sagas the series ever cranked out, Katherine targets Kimberly and steals her Ninja Power Coin to weaken her life force. While she’s vulnerable, the Tengas kidnap the Pink Ranger during a fight. Zedd holds her hostage – as well as Ninjor and the Falconzord, which puts the rest of the Ninja Zords out of commission. (Shit!) His demands? He wants the other Rangers to pilot his new Shogun Zords to destroy the city. And he visits the Command Center to tell them this!
Emotions soar higher than ever when everything the team has worked so hard for is put at risk, not to mention Tommy’s relationship with Kimberly. While most of this drama is fueled by production necessities (i.e. the mecha stuffed Kakuranger footage, AJJ’s bowing out, and a major rebranding looming on the horizon), it’s masterfully executed for a show that had offended my intelligence on multiple occasions throughout Season 2.
This is MMPR at its most exciting, and precisely the kind of storytelling it should be remembered for.
Ep. 21: “Follow That Cab!”
You can skip this one if you want to, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It provides relevant information about Katherine’s backstory, plus it’s a nice breather that gives us a final one-off adventure with Kimberly before she packs her bags and heads out the door. But she doesn’t morph or anything. Instead, she drops some acid with Bulk and Skull while stuck in a monster cab. But it’s the last time we get to spend with Kim on a week-to-week basis, so I wouldn’t want you to miss it.
Also, the Shark Cycles make their big debut. They’re not around for long, but it was satisfying to see MMPR Productions finally have the balls and budget to pull off a (modest) motorcycle chase scene.
Ep. 22-24: “A Different Shade of Pink” Pt. I – III
This is it: the final sendoff for Kimberly. Instead of a Peace Conference, she leaves the team to train for the Pan Global Games with Coach Schmidt. (Sounds nicer, doesn’t it?) Katherine takes over her role as Pink Ranger after the other Rangers break Rita’s spell, so it all evens out and we get to keep your precious Pink Ranger.
Wait a minute – how can you transfer your Ninja Power Animal to another person? Shouldn’t Kat go on a spirit quest to find her own gosh darn spirit guide? (And wouldn’t hers be a cat anyway?!) Oh, that’s right. Ninjor’s stuck in a jar somewhere. And there are no cat themed mecha toys to sell. It’s towards the end of the season anyway. That would be too much of an investment. I get it.
(And while we’re on the topic, how you can use ninja animal powers to to morph into dinosaur themed warriors is beyond me.)
Even though I praise Kimberly’s exit story arc to high heaven, it does have one huge flaw: she spends most of its duration playing the damsel in distress. But, to be fair, Tommy did too, and for a lot longer. That made the situation poetic, like their fates were intertwined right from the beginning. Or something.
That another original cast member could leave the show felt like a massive shakeup at the time. But now that Kim was gone, where was MMPR heading now?
Ep 27: “Another Brick in the Wall”
The first Kat focused episode ever sees her learning the ropes at being a Ranger while organizing a community clean-up crew. (Looks like she’s fitting in well so far.) We’re also treated to a rare Ron Wasserman song that no one remembers during a cheesy montage that no one wants to.
This episode rocks because Billy dashes in at the end and whoops the monster-of-the-day’s ass singlehandedly like a boss without the rest of the team or a Megazord. It was an incredible reminder of just how far Billy had come as a character and a Ranger, even if it was constructed around a particular bit of sentai footage.
Ep. 29-31: “Master Vile and the Metallic Armor” Pt. I – III
It might not have the most creative title in the world, but it’s still my personal favorite “mini-series”. It also happens to be MMPR’s last. This arc serves as a climax to the season of sorts, laying the groundwork for the fast approaching shift to Power Rangers Zeo. Another new villain is introduced: Rita’s father, Master Vile, who is at least somewhat more serious about ending the world. Ninjor escapes during all the commotion and returns to the command center.
When Tommy and Kat sneak into Rita and Zedd’s palace on the moon to steal the Zeo crystal, they also rescue the Falconzord. That means they can use their Ninja Zords again. Hooray! We missed those things. A thrilling mega-brawl ensues involving both Megazords and a monster that Vile puked up.
If that’s not enough excitement, the Power Rangers’ first power-up ever debuts: the Metallic Armor, which might have been created to move those leftover metallic Movie edition action figures that were still warming pegs in toy aisles everywhere in fall ’95.
Ep. 32: “The Song of Dischordia”
There’s a 50/50 chance you’ll hate me for labeling this one as essential, but hear me out. Yes, it’s goofy. Yes, it’s campy. Yes, it’s an assault on the ears and good taste in general. But that zord fight at the end! That’s worth the price of admission alone. Not sure why Saban used a perfectly amazing battle on such a moronic episode, but it’s better than most of Season 2’s run time so shut the hell up.
Let’s not forget Kat and Aisha singing their classic “Angel Grove High” duet. They’re just like Gwenyth Paltrow and Huey Lewis. Does anybody get that reference? Probably not. It’s okay. You will one day.
Ep. 33: “Rangers in Reverse”
The third season ends on a major cliffhanger. When the gang takes Kat to the carnival for her birthday, Master Vile grabs the Orb of Doom and reverses Earth’s rotation. This makes time to go backward, turning our heroes turn into kids. Yikes! Luckily their clothes shrank sizes along with them; otherwise, we’d be stuck with a bunch of naked kids running around fighting Tengas, and that would be creepy.
For those who don’t know, the exact same scenario happened before back in Season 2. I just didn’t deem those episodes as essential because they kind of suck. Not as bad as, say, “Storybook Rangers”, but pretty damn close.
Anyway, back on track. “Rangers in Reverse” is an action-packed culmination of all the dread that had built up over an eventful year. But it ends abruptly, with Rita, Zedd, Goldar and Rito all making themselves giant size to attack the defenseless Angel Grove of – what – 1988? ‘89? Kinda makes you wonder why they never did this kind of thing before. Oh wait, that’s right. They didn’t have the footage for it.
Ep. 34 – 43: The Mighty Morphin’ Alien Rangers Miniseries
According to Saban and Netflix, Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers is its own damn series. I respectfully disagree. To me, this ten episode event will always be the final arc of Season 3 and MMPR as a whole, because it was originally advertised as one. So there.
Some of it might be tedious, some of it might be eye-rolling, and certain long stretches are highly reminiscent of the most unbearable moments from Big Bad Beetleborgs. But you’ll find some diamonds in the rough here, such as Billy’s transformation back to his older self by magical means, the subsequent destruction of the Power Coins, and Bulk turning into a monster for the first time.
Plus, you can’t forget the Zeo Quest arc, where the junior Rangers travel through time to find their own Zeo sub-crystal which will eventually morph them into their respective Zeo Ranger suits later on. This storyline shows Aisha the door and brings in Tanya as her replacement, which is one of the oddest and rushed departures in the series’ history.
Throughout it all, Billy’s departure in the following year is also slowly layered, even if it wasn’t intentional. In retrospect, his relationship with the Aquitians was part of a long-term exit plan that mostly unintentional, which is another stroke of narrative genius.
In the last episode, “Hogday Afternoon”, the Zeo crystal is reassembled and time is restored thanks to its mystical properties, the Alien Rangers head back to Aquitar. (Why would they call themselves Alien Rangers by the way? Never understood that.) But the Rangers face a great loss when Rito and Goldar blow up the Command Center. What will our heroes do next? Find out next time, on Power Rangers Zeo! But before you do, you should probably watch this first.
Stephen Harber’s got a power and a force that you’ve never seen before. He’s got…a twitter account, a website, and a comic book project that will even up the score. He also has a tumblr devoted to nothing but classic Power Rangers gifs, if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s okay if you are. We won’t judge you.