1-46: To Flea or Not to Flee

Jason finds a lost dog while Ernie is struggling to keep his Gym and Juice Bar open.  Rita as well as Bulk and Skull meddle in the Rangers’ affairs.

Last time on Power Rangers: Goldar used magic to give the team bad dreams that took away their self-confidence.

 

Money, Money, Money

Zack, Trini, Billy, and Kimberly are doing their best to help Ernie find a way to keep the youth center open.  Interestingly, Trini and Zack are going around with cans for donations while Kimberly is helping a once again overall-clad Billy with the finances.  The implication of Kimberly being at least decent with mathematics is appreciated, given the stereotype of girls doing poorly in that area.  I’m pretty sure he’s been hosting all those community events for free, which probably hasn’t been helping his funds although it is very altruistic of him.  Jason comes in with a fluffy mutt that Kimberly promptly and understandably coos over.

Over at the high school, Bulk spots a ‘lost dog’ poster that promises a “generous fee” for returning the dog.  He tucks said poster into his jacket in hopes that he and Skull can be the ones to find and return the dog, and therefore get a lot of money.  Judging by how few people are around, it’s probable the duo is leaving after their detention with the other kids being around for after-school activities or their own detentions.46InThePark

Rita wants to send the “fabulous fighting flea” after Jason, casting a spell to ensure the itching is contagious.    This particular monster looks, well, Kimberly later puts it best: “gross”.  Jason and Kimberly decide to go take the dog for a walk in the park.  Bulk and Skull come by, forcing nonchalance once they recognize the dog as being from the poster.  Jason is baffled and Kimberly is annoyed.

Shrinking the flea, Rita sends it down onto the dog.  When Jason pets the dog, he gets infected by the itching magic.  While he and Kimberly are distracted by Jason’s sudden itch, Bulk and Skull lure the dog away via a bone on a string from some nearby bushes.  The itching is represented by CGI red flecks on Jason’s arm.

Itchy and Scratchy

Having realized the dog is gone, Jason and Kimberly go in search of him only to encounter some Putties instead.  They soon learn the itching can spread from Jason to Putties, so they use that to their advantage in the fight.  Afterwards, Jason has developed a visual rash due to his scratching.

The five go to the Command Center where Zordon explains matters.  Alpha 5 spritzes a formula on Jason’s arm that will stop the itch as long as he doesn’t come in contact with the Flea again.  But Jason soon points out he ought to be the one to take out the Flea since he’s already been affected and it’d be unfair to let his teammates get itchy as well.

46Planning

In a three-pronged approach, Trini and Zack go to the Gym and Juice to see if they can find the dog, Jason and Kimberly go back to the park to find the Flea, and Billy is off to his garage to see if he can come up with a more permanent cure for the itching.

At a phone booth, Bulk is about to call the number on the poster when the Flea leaves the dog to return to normal size.  Freaked out, the duo run off.  Billy is hard at work in his garage; I was a bit surprised to see in the close up of his eye via a microscope that his irises are green rather than blue.  I know, I know, it’d be a tad over the top for the Blue Ranger to have blue eyes.  But it is interesting that this means eight of the first ten Rangers have brown-ish eyes.  Checking the brooklet, it does look like Kat Hilliard is the other outlier with blue eyes.

Jason and Kimberly end up in the junkyard beyond the park, where they finally find the Flea.  Morphing, the two take on the monster.  The spray soon gets neutralized, causing Jason to writhe on the ground in pain.  Zordon contacts Billy after Kimberly gets blasted to the ground and Jason is in no condition to help.  Zack and Trini find the dog back at the youth center; Ernie is a bit bitter that he doesn’t have more “loyal customers” like the dog (and presumably the five, given how often they’re there).  Zordon contacts them as well.  The three join the duo in the junkyard.

Billy has finished the antidote and sprays it on Jason while Trini and Zack distract the Flea.  When the five unite in preparation to take on the monster, the Flea summons a group of Putties.  By this time, even Billy can handle Putties and therefore the minions are soon defeated.  Jason gets in some good blows with his Power Sword, so Rita super-sizes the Flea.  It is interesting that Rita is capable of altering her monsters’ sizes from microscopic to ‘normal’ to gigantic.  I doubt the flea is a special case in regards to shrinking, since surely size-altering is the same ‘kind’ of magic.

In any case, the Rangers call upon their Zords and actually briefly use tank mode before going into the standard Megazord mode.  The Flea is soon defeated, and Rita opts to blame Baboo and Squatt for the failure.

A Happy Ending (Mostly)

Back at the Gym and Juice Bar, a well-dressed blonde comes in.  She’s elated to see her dog “Pierre” again; I appreciate how she apparently got her pet from a shelter judging by his motley appearance opposed to getting a purebred.  The teens give credit to Ernie for finding the dog, so she gives him a considerable amount of money via check- enough to save his business.  As thanks, he offers the teens free pizza and soda.

But before they get their treat, the teens spot an itching Bulk and Skull come in.  Jason is wryly amused as he puts the dots together but he agrees with Billy that they ought to give the duo the antidote.  In their case, Billy slips onto each of them a dog collar and tells them they need to keep them on for a week.  I half-wonder if Billy already suspected the duo’s involvement somehow and that’s why the collars’ dog bone shaped tags have their names on them.  While it does seem a bit mean-spirited, the teens have repeatedly clashed with the duo (their sexual harassment of the girls and flat-out bullying of Billy) and so I’m not sure if I can blame them for a bit of revenge- especially when Bulk and Skull wouldn’t be in this position had they not tried to sneak off with the dog.

Conclusion

This was a somewhat weak episode.  The monster’s power was causing painful itching.  While it was an unpleasant plot, I don’t think Rita is thinking big enough.  Isn’t she trying to take over the world?  How will itching help her achieve that goal?

Ernie’s talents apparently don’t include good business sense.  While it’s admirable for him to host free community events, I have a bad feeling he does things ‘on the house’ a few times too many.  Hopefully this check will keep him afloat for a while.  Also, are ‘youth center’ and ‘Gym and Juice Bar’ interchangeable or do they represent different aspects of his business?

 

Next time on Power Rangers: Rita wants to have her image in a time capsule about to be buried instead of the heroes.

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