1-36: Birds of a Feather

Zack’s mentorship of a young karate student gets interrupted by Rita’s latest monster.

Last time on Power Rangers: Tommy passed his powers onto Jason to prevent them from falling into Rita’s hands.

 

Where’s Tommy?

Tommy isn’t seen or mentioned at all in this episode- not even in the credits!  If it weren’t for the fact that a lot of Zack’s assurances sound as if he’s already been through “Island of Illusion” and of course Jason’s usage of the Green powers, this episode would fit in seamlessly with the pre “Green with Evil” episodes.  It’s especially odd given how Tommy and Kimberly began a romantic relationship last episode.

Zack Does Karate

This episode Zack is the one leading a karate class with a side of dance moves.  It’s unusual, given how typically Jason or Tommy does such classes.  Anyway, he’s mentoring Cameron in particular for the upcoming Junior Martial Arts Contest.  It’s a bit concerning that Zack’s the one with a fellow African-American protégé but the sample pool isn’t large enough yet for me to make a definite statement on the subject.  Bulk and Skull are ‘mentoring’ another preteen named Biff, presumably he’s named for the Back to the Future character.

36Jason'sAlert

Up on the moon fortress, Finster has sent down the Hatchosaurus to destroy the Power Rangers.  Unfortunately, Zordon alerts Jason, who then alerts the others, just as the competition is about to begin.  Zack hates to leave a still nervous Cameron, but knows that his Ranger duty has to come first.

A Two-Part Monster

Once in the Command Center, Zordon explains that the massive Hatchosaurus is powered by an AI named Cardiatron.  Okay, neither AI nor artificial intelligence are used but as seen later in the episode Cardiatron is clearly one.  Morphing, the team then calls upon the Dinozords and the Dragonzord.

They seemingly defeat the monster, but thanks to Cardiatron’s continued existence Hatchosaurus reforms.  Rita casts a spell that weakens Dragonzord.  The Megazord alone struggles against the monster, and the Dragonzord can’t easily come to the rescue.  When they manage to blast the monster with the Power Sword, it only reforms again.

By this point a weakened Dragonzord has reached the battle site.  Jason leaves the cockpit to get swallowed by the Hatchosaurus and confront a smug Cardiatron, which looks vaguely like an actual heart.  By playing the Dragon Flute repeatedly, Jason somehow gives the Dragonzord the strength to break free of the spell.  Dragonzord’s attack sends both Jason and Cardiatron to the meadow below.

36Lightsabers

Somehow Jason briefly converts both his Power Sword and the Dragon Dagger into lightsabers to destroy Cardiatron.  So… has Jason achieved power over both sides of the Force?  I know, I know.  Red is the most ‘good’ color in Power Rangers, unlike in Star Wars.  Anyway, Jason then calls upon Titanus so the Ultrazord can be created to destroy Hatchosaurus permanently.

Friendly Rivals

The next day, Zack checks the brackets.  He’s overjoyed Cameron has reached the final match of the competition, but is concerned the younger boy will be upset for Zack’s absence yesterday.  However, Cameron forgives Zack.  Bulk and Skull are certain Biff will be victorious.

36Cameron&Biff

However, with Zack’s encouragement and a suggestion, Cameron achieves victory.  Biff is gracious in defeat.  The Rangers cheer for the younger boy.  When Bulk protests to Biff about not using the move Bulk showed him, Biff does it to him instead- a dishonourable kick to the knee- before leaving, stating he wants a new coach.

Conclusion

It’s definitely peculiar to not have Tommy around but at least Billy wears overalls for both days.  I appreciate that Biff ends up having a sense of fair play despite his ‘punk’ appearance.  Jason takes the lead in defeating the two-pronged monster of the episode, making substantial use of Tommy’s powers.

The title seems to refer to Zack and Cameron bonding over karate (and low self-esteem) as well as Biff and Cameron turning out to be more alike than different.

Next time on Power Rangers: Trini leads a clean-up club against pollution.

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