1-56: On Fins and Needles

Rita enchants Jason and Tommy into getting onto each other’s nerves.

Last time on Power Rangers: The Soccadillo went up against the team when Ernie decided to hold a second round of junior league soccer tryouts.

 

Teamwork and Defense

Jason and Tommy are teaching a white belt class for kids at the youth center.  Nearby, Zack and Billy admire their teamwork and commitment to helping out the community even beyond being superheroes.  After reminding the kids to only use martial arts as a last resort to defend themselves, the teens dismiss the class.

Rita is frustrated and wants the two to be enemies rather than friends.  Goldar suggests using the magic of the Slippery Shark, pleasing her.  As the two walk by a playground in the park, a group of Putties attacks them.  One throws a giant boomerang, which Tommy catches but then collapses to his confusion.  When the boomerang is thrown again, Jason catches it and also collapses.  Is there some sort of catching compulsion on the boomerang, because I don’t see why else someone would catch an object that had just hurt their friend.

Now that both boys have been impacted by the magic boomerang, the Putties disappear.  Rita’s delighted when the two start squabbling as the spell starts to take effect.

Fight, Fight!

When the two are still snapping at each other in school the next day, the two girls are baffled by such a drastic change into their demeanor towards each other.  Bulk and Skull show up and start egging them into taking out their anger on each other in a physical manner.  Luckily, Miss Applebee shows up before things get out of hand.

Rita is pleased by how the plan is progressing, as are her minions.  It’s time for the Slippery Shark itself, which Finster has just wrapped up work on and brings to life.  The monster looks like a bipedal hammerhead shark.  Anyway, it goes down to the park.

56MediatorZack

At the youth center, Bulk and Skull are making money via selling tickets to a rough-looking crowd for the fight.  In the Command Center, Alpha 5 is failing to find the monster’s location.  Back at the Gym and Juice Bar, Zack is trying to mediate between his friends.  Huh, he played the same role back in “Switching Places” for Billy and Kimberly.  It looks like Zack does his best to be the peace-keeper of the group.

Although Zack fails to cool things down, when the team’s communicators go off, they all head off to teleport to the Command Center.  Evidently Jason and Tommy’s determination to do right as the Power Rangers overpowers the spell that puts them at odds.  Of course, their departure gets Bulk and Skull in trouble with the ticket-buyers.

56Group

Zordon shows them footage of the Slippery Shark in the viewing globe, admitting he and Alpha can’t track it with their equipment.  Billy, who doesn’t wear overalls for the eighth time in this episode, comments, “I’m certainly glad I got over my fear of fish.”

As Tommy and Jason resume snapping at each other, Zordon reveals that Rita has used magic to turn them against each other to their teammates’ concern.  Zordon suggests that if they work together to capture the monster it might break the spell, putting the others on standby for the time being.

Morphing, the two storm off in opposite directions.  But the monster can easily batter them one-on-one.  They end up encountering each other at a pond, countering that their plan is the best.  Jason has an air-based plan while Tommy has a ground-based one.  Chasing after the monster, they end up meeting up again.

The Slippery Shark bursts out of the ground and attacks.  Jason and Tommy decide to work together otherwise they’re doomed so they combine their plans to capture the Slippery Shark in a net.  As they high-five, the others are relieved back in the Command Center.  Apparently they’ve been watching this all unfold.

But the monster uses its boomerang to get free and resume attacking the pair.  Morphing, the other four go to their aid.  Before they can manage to defeat it, a smug Rita super-sizes the Slippery Shark.  The Megazord is formed and Tommy calls upon the Dragonzord.  Eventually the Rangers manage to first break the boomerang and then destroy the monster.

Going back to the Gym and Juice Bar, Jason and Tommy hold another karate lesson for the same group of kids as the others watch on happily, grateful they’re no longer fighting.  Battered, Bulk and Skull trudge in.  More amused than anything else, Jason and Tommy won’t fight each other despite Bulk’s demands.  They duck out of the way when the other two try to get aggressive, leading them to punch each other.  Jason and Tommy then use it as a teaching moment for their students.

Conclusion

I suppose it’s probable that Jason and Tommy would have some underlying tension, given how similar they are in terms of leadership and physical ability.  But without dark magic, their friendship holds back any ruffled feathers about having another ‘alpha male’ around.  Furthermore, with their leaders at each other’s throats, the other Rangers would be uneasy as well as none of them are willing (or possibly even capable) stepping up to the plate when they’re both incapacitated.

Teamwork is continually stressed in this show as the best method to fight evil.  While it’s a true fact stressed in karate lessons, I am amused by how they keep stressing for the viewers not to randomly mimic martial arts and that they’re supposed to be for self-defense.

Four episodes left until season two!

Next time on Power Rangers: Kimberly helps her cousin prepare for cheerleading tryouts.

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