Sam helps the Rangers stop Bugglesworth from fulfilling Mora’s plot.
Last time on Power Rangers: Mora via proxy manipulated Sam into assisting her with her latest plot.
Admittedly I don’t go into a lot of detail about the fights, even though they are a considerable part of most episodes. This is partially because I don’t know enough about combat to recount it verbally, let alone analyze it. It’s also because I want to put the focus on the Rangers as people, not just as superheroes. There is a lengthy combat scene in the warehouse, partially unmorphed and then morphed. And then there’s the typical Megazord battle, although this one takes place during a brief downpour as it’s no longer raining when they face off against a mecha-less Bugglesworth.
Z recounts a memory from when she was 12 to her teammates. Judging from his reactions, Jack hadn’t heard the story in full before, possibly because it was too raw of a memory for her. She’s only discussing it now because it explains why she’s so invested in Sam.
In summary, she so heavily bullied growing up due to her powers that she ended up running away in the middle of class (thanks to a double her absence wasn’t immediately discovered). While I have no doubt Z was severely bullied in her youth, I’m unsure that it was as blatant as her flashback depicts. I suspect the Doylist reason is to make sure the young target audience understands the level of bullying Z underwent.
Also, why is she wearing a railway cap?
Soon after leaving, Z encountered a monster (opposed to an alien? I’m not sure how to tell the difference) that was scared off by a shadowy figure with a laser blaster. Losing her ‘z’ necklace, Z continued to flee.
And That Person Was ME
Evidently having been eavesdropping, Doggie shows up to reveal he was the shadowy figure who came to Z’s aid. Though… what was he doing there? Tracking down the monster due to his crimes and just happened to be there when the monster tried to go after Z? Or did Z compress the timeline of her flight over the years so Doggie was in fact looking for her when he briefly encountered her after learning of her running away? Anyway, to prove it he gives Z her special necklace back.
Doggie has decided, in light of them meeting Sam, to inform B-Squad about the source of their powers. All their parents- including Sam’s- worked at SPD around the turn of the millennium with Kat Manx, ultimately developing the SPD morpher technology. This, however, impacted their genetics which manifested in their children. Jack argues that his parents were missionaries (that past tense indicates part of the reason he ended up on the streets) while Syd points out her mom’s a teacher (not revealing what her father does to earn so much money as referenced in “Dogged”).
Sky, for once, isn’t skeptical given his father was a Power Ranger (though no commentary on his mom). Bridge doesn’t comment on what his parents do/did either. Doggie acknowledges they kept this knowledge secret in part to protect them. I am a little curious when each of them manifested their powers or if they were literally born with them. I doubt it’s the latter, given how dangerous that would be for them.
On a more amusing note, the Rangers (particularly Jack) are astonished to learn that according to Doggie Kat Manx is “147 of your years”. I appreciate the nod that neither of them uses Earth time-keeping systems as their default.
Fashion It Z
While searching for Sam, Z has traded her uniform for casual attire. She later explains to Sam that it’s to show that she’s not just a uniform but a person.
I’m not sure what style this sort of attire falls under. Hipster punk maybe? The elbow-length undershirt is mostly flesh-toned and gives off the initial impression of tattoos. Yellow is present but not emphasized. It’s hard to tell in this screen-cap, but Z is wearing silver hoop earrings. The wristbands are a nice touch; more loose bracelets would have been problematic in combat. After her near-brush with dollhood, Z is back in uniform.
The Power of Friendship
Sam ultimately sides with Z over Mora after a montage of Z being friendly towards him without asking for anything in return. He has realized true friendship isn’t based off of doing things for others while receiving very little in exchange. Plus he witnessed Sky, Bridge, and Syd come to Jack and Z’s aid at the beginning of the episode.
Orange Head proves a fierce foe, particularly given his electric blast power. Towards the end of the episode, they end up using the canine cannon to destroy him.
Sam does end up on Gruumm’s spaceship for a brief time. I’m a little curious if Sam ended up being questioned on what he saw there, given SPD’s lack of knowledge on Gruumm’s movements, or if they let it slide to avoid coming off as just wanting Sam for his knowledge/abilities. In any case, spending time with Mora probably ended up encouraging him to side with Z since he was figuring out the level of deception practiced on him as well as that Mora wanted him for his powers and not for himself.
Luckily, Mora’s efforts to get a SPD doll fails due to Z’s particular ability but not before Gruumm gets a few moments of playing with it.
Kat warns Doggie and B-Squad just after the big reveal that within a few hours all the dolls become so permanently. Sam does smash Bugglesworth’s staff during the warehouse battle to prevent anyone else from becoming a doll, but it’s only after Jack contains Bugglesworth (although Z did use the judgment scanner on the mecha) that the people turn back to normal, thankfully teleporting back to Earth somehow. And of course the ‘timer’ is down to the wire by that point.
Power and Responsibility
When Sam protests he wants to be normal to Z in between the Z-double turning into a doll and the chase to the warehouse, Z gives what’s effectively the “with great power comes great responsibility” speech to him. It makes sense Z would do so, given her belief in the larger picture as well as the years she spent with Jack assisting the homeless.
At the end of the episode, Sam has joined SPD academy as a cadet. He’s unlikely to be spending much time with B-Squad given the age gap as well as all of their separate responsibilities. On the other hand, most of the other cadets do look closer to the Rangers’ ages than Sam’s.
Mora’s plan nearly did work, except that “evil cannot comprehend good”. Gruumm was ecstatic to have even one SPD doll given how most combat practices for SPD Rangers involves having all five Rangers present. This is particularly true for the Megazord. Had Mora been more patient and, well, manipulative of Sam she might have won. Her frequent demands for Sam to do things to earn her friendship is what allowed Z to show him what real friendship was like.
There’s an amusing moment when the two de-dolled people hug in the lab, and Boom tries to go for one with Kat but she puts a hand on his chest in clear refusal. I do like the cream/ivory over while look Kat has going on, in part because I’d be too worried about stains to dare wear anything like it.
This was a good episode, clarifying the source of the Rangers’ abilities as well as showing what real friendship is opposed to being used by others. It built off nicely from the previous episode. Z’s backstory is revealed, drawing clear parallels between her and Sam.
Next time on Power Rangers: Sky confronts a betrayal by an old friend.