1-41: Rita’s Seed of Evil

When the Rangers plant saplings for school, Rita sends Squatt down to plant Octoplant seeds.

Last time on Power Rangers: The team rescued the city’s civilians.

 

Environmental Message

The episode isn’t very subtle: planting tiny trees that will grow to improve the environment is important and something even youths can do.  In the Rangers’ case, it’s apparently part of a science project that doubles as community service since they’re being planted in the park.

Bulk and Skull show up shortly just as Principal Caplan leaves to show off their much larger saplings.  The timing is such they must have been waiting for him to leave.  However, Kimberly spots a tag on one of them that reveals they’re plastic.

Rita is inspired to send down Squatt to plant Octoplant seeds that will grow and encircle the globe before destroying it.  Wait… I thought her goal was to conquer Earth?  It’s in the opening bit and everything.  Maybe she’s extra cranky after what happened last time.

Once they’ve planted their saplings, the Rangers leave the vicinity.  Bulk and Skull pop up from where they were camouflaged, plotting to replant the saplings and take credit for them.  But they flee into a Porta-potty when they encounter Squatt.

The plump monster plants the seeds, hopeful he’ll get “glow in the dark toothpaste” as a reward.  When the Rangers notice him, the Putties attack so Squatt has time to teleport away.  As the battle continues, Bulk realizes the lock is jammed.

41Witnessing

Once defeated, the Putties teleport away.  An earthquake strikes, so the team teleports as well, but to the Command Center.  The viewing globe shows the shocked teens the resulting damage.  While Billy helps Alpha 5 analyze the data, Jason returns to the park to see if he can figure out what Squatt was up to.

The energy field  protecting the seeds emits purple sparks that get Jason’s attention.  Despite failing at secrecy, the energy field does keep Jason out.  However, elsewhere Octoplant vines are growing at a rapid rate.  Jason is attacked by two such vines, so he morphs.

But more and more sprout and attack him.  Alerted to their leader’s situation, the others morph and come to his rescue.  Jason and Kimberly start to dig up the area where the energy field is, so Rita sends down Goldar, Scorpina, and a group of Putties (including one that looks unusually rocky).

The battle’s setting seems to vary between the park and a rocky valley… I’m guessing this is the result of splicing footage from two Zyuranger battles together.  The group of villains keeps the Rangers distracted long enough for Octoplant to bloom.  She’s one of the few clearly female monsters seen so far.

Rita automatically super-sizes her, so the team calls upon their Zords.  In a badly done effect, Octoplant attacks the Zords as they approach her.  Undeterred, the team forms the Megazord with barely a nod to tank mode.  I still don’t understand why tank mode even exists.

At first Octoplant has the upper hand in the battle… until she notices her reflection in a glassy skyscraper.  That gives the Megazord enough time to cut her down with the Megasword.  I do not appreciate that a female monster was effectively defeated due to her vanity.  Seriously?  Usually this show just has the lopsided gender ratio, not any overt sexism.

In school the next day, Mr. Caplan praises the class for their science projects, particularly the saplings.  Bulk and Skull show up late, a complete mess.  Mr. Caplan approaches to scold them, but getting a whiff of them causes him to faint.  Sniffing themselves, the pair doesn’t get it to the five’s amusement.

Conclusion

For the show’s spring opener, this was not a plot heavy episode.  “Doomsday” wasn’t even referenced, nor was Tommy.  Billy’s two outfits both did involve overalls, albeit fabric ones opposed to jean ones.  I’d be happier about there being a female monster except for the sexist way she was defeated.  Particularly since she had earlier had a moment of genre savvy by attacking the Zords before they had properly arrived on the battlefield.  There was a tied-in message about planting trees and why trees matter to the environment, but this time Rita had a plant-based monster instead of creating more damage to the environment via pollution.

 

Next time on Power Rangers: The team deals with the Pudgy Pig again.

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