I’m now halfway through the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. These are my thoughts so far.
The midpoint of the season featured Jason and his cousin getting involved in Rita’s latest scheme.
The first thirty episodes were in a red DVD case. Of course Jason had to come first, as the team leader.
Interestingly enough, each of the core five Rangers got a trio of episodes focused on them (well, sometimes alongside a one-off character but they don’t count), which is each a tenth of the thirty episodes I’ve reviewed.
Jason Lee Scott got “A Pressing Engagement”, “Green with Evil, Part 2”, and “The Rockstar”. All three emphasized his physical capabilities. In the first, he got a reminder to rely on his friends. He feels himself responsible for the others due to being team leader. During the “Green with Evil” arc his determination was put to the test when he was captured by Rita’s forces. In the most recent episode, he emphasized to his cousin how martial arts are for defending yourself and not attacking simply due to being strong.
Zack Taylor featured in “Happy Birthday Zack”, “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, and “Island of Illusion, Part 1”. His inner fears surfaced in each, despite his usual happy-go-lucky confident demeanour. He can be swayed into thinking he doesn’t matter to others nor are his abilities anything special. Plus, he is scared of spiders and snakes. But he is a loyal friend to the others.
Trini Kwan was the focus of “High Five”, “For Whom the Bell Trolls”, and “No Clowning Around”. Out of the six Rangers, Zack barely edges her out as the most sensitive and easily worried. She’s scared of heights and experiences understandable fear when her cousin Sylvia is turned into a cardboard cut-out by one of Rita’s monsters. Like Jason, she believes in harmonizing physical and mental abilities as well as seeking out nonviolent solutions when possible. Not that there are many opportunities for that when battling Rita and her forces.
Kimberly Hart was in the spotlight for “Different Drum”, “Foul Play in the Sky”, and “Wheel of Misfortune”. While occasionally fiery, she’s generally kind and caring. Kimberly is a girly girl who is capable of taking care of herself and others. She’ll rise to any challenge- albeit with some help from her friends if needed.
Billy Cranston was the central character in “I, Eye Guy”, “Peace, Love, and Woe”, and “Dark Warrior”. Acutely aware of the fact he’s the worst fighter on the team, Billy instead largely relies on his brains to help out against Rita’s schemes. But he does fight alongside his teammates despite the gap between his abilities and theirs. Also, he wore overalls of some kind in twenty-nine of thirty episodes.
Billy and Kimberly both featured in “Power Ranger Punks” and “Switching Places” where they were mutually impacted by a scheme of Rita’s. The two girls worked together in “Teamwork” and “Big Sisters” to contribute to society.
Bulk and Skull continue to be mean, dumb, and foolish. I really hope they develop beyond that soon. Mr. Kaplan and Ernie are background benevolent authority figures to the teens. Zordon is a wise floating head who guides the Rangers in their battles against Rita Repulsa. His robotic assistant Alpha 5 easily panics but is earnest and kind.
Tommy Oliver was introduced in the seventeenth episode. It could be argued that the entire “Green with Evil” arc focused on him, but as an antagonist. However, under Rita’s curse he was a static, manically cackling minion. But he and Jason sorted out their alpha male issues in “Gung Ho!” while he and Kimberly bonded during “The Spit Flower”.
Plot wise, things started to pick up during the “Green with Evil” arc and didn’t slip back down to pre-Tommy threat levels. Over time, Rita has become less rusty at plotting and therefore poses a bigger threat to the Power Rangers. But over that same time period the Rangers have also improved their skills and thus can handle these more dangerous monsters. Rita Repulsa is a cranky, bossy sorceress. Finster is the brains, Goldar is the brawn, Baboo and Squatt are just lackeys, and Scorpina occasionally shows up to serve as a more active villainess opposed to the nonphysical Rita.
I’m looking forward to the latter half of the season, starting with Kimberly’s unlucky day!