3-9: Passing the Lantern

Adam thinks his family’s heirloom lantern has been transformed into the Lanterra monster.

Last time on Power Rangers: The monster in Kim’s nightmare was made reality by Finster’s device.

 

The Lantern Keeper

At a table in the Gym and Juice Bar, Aisha and Billy chat about how Adam has recently attended a family reunion.  He shows up with a red lantern, having been chosen to be this generation’s lantern keeper.  There’s the claim that the lantern has special powers which Adam must learn for himself.  There’s a tag attached, but Adam can’t read what’s written on it.

Bulk and Skull show up, and the former tries to ‘translate’ but all that happens is that the lantern nearly falls to the ground.  As the duo departs, the trio is unamused by their antics.

Lord Zedd orders Baboo and Squatt to steal the lantern.  Rito wants to tag along, Zedd agreeing.  He wants to use the lantern’s powers to destroy the Rangers.

Adam and Billy are walking through a large garden to go see Ko, as this person knows several different languages.  Billy uses the term “Orient” when referring to where his parents first met Ko.  That’s no longer politically correct, but well, this was the mid-90s and I’ve heard the rumor that the writers gave Billy so many one-off love interests to ensure that Yost’s homosexuality wasn’t implied (honestly, all chibi-me got was that the girls of Angel Grove had good taste in guys).

Ko is an older Asian man who Billy greets respectfully.  There’s a bit of chat about Adam’s lantern before Adam gets impressed by Ko’s own extensive lantern collection.  One of them has a tag containing a metaphor about courage and fear which Adam seems to figure out (Ko is not one for flat-out stating things).

Elsewhere in the garden are Aisha, Rocky, and Adam.  It’s mentioned that Kimberly has started up a new garden at the Campbells’; I do appreciate that the show has remembered two of her hobbies.  The trio wants to get her a plant to add to it.  Tommy mentions that Kimberly herself is off training for an upcoming gymnastics competition.

9Billy&Adam

Adam, Billy, and Ko are seated at a nifty-looking table- I think it’s polished slab of trunk.  The inscription is translated as “the lamp may light the path but the soul must light the way”.  Ko is reassuring and “ancient words” are referred to before he leaves to tend to his garden.  Afterwards, Billy admits that it sometimes takes time to understand Ko’s advice.

Making a Mess

Rocky, Aisha, and Adam have nearly reached Ko’s home (?) when some Tenga Warriors show up.  Tommy calls out “Ninja Power Now” and the quintet goes into their ninja uniforms (a screen with each face in a circle occurs).  Nearby, Rito orders Baboo and Squatt to get the lantern.

Billy and Adam team up to take on a trio of the minions.  Baboo and Squatt end up deciding to take all the lanterns, as they’re unsure which is the correct one.  For whatever reason, Adam partially fights two Tengas while on his hands.  Aisha backflips repeatedly and uses a tree while fighting another minion.  Rocky goes onto a Tenga’s shoulder to fight it, leaping down to take on three others.  For whatever reason, the Tenga song isn’t playing.

“Easiest fight I was never in,” notes Rito.  The villains teleport away.

The quintet goes back to normal and Adam realizes first the damage and then how his lantern is among those stolen to his upset.  Aisha tells him that it’s not his fault.

Bulk and Skull show up, having heard the word ‘stolen’.  Billy and Aisha give an edited version of the events, making Bulk get snarky about flashlights are better than lanterns.

Elsewhere in the park, Rito yells at Baboo and Squatt for stealing so many lanterns.  But the one he tosses aside is actually Adam’s.  It lands before Bulk and Skull on the sidewalk a few yards away.  Bulk starts to recognize it, but then notices the three villains nearby.  The duo promptly panics, Skull wanting to call for reinforcements so he gets out his pocket-sized book on regulations.  Bulk yanks it out of his hands just before the villains teleport away.

They scream before Bulk stops to ask why they are doing so.  Skull points out that they did just see the aliens just use their magical powers so they resume screaming and then run away.

In the Command Center, the six Rangers are speaking with Zordon and Alpha 5.  Billy does most of the expositing, since he is the Smart Guy.  Huh.  I just thought of something- Tommy was originally the original Sixth Ranger, but now he’s the Hero.  Clearly Kimberly is the Chick, while I’m unsure about the new trio- Lancer and Big Guy are the two remaining slots for the Five Man Band.  Maybe I should check Mighty Morphin’s character page for their thoughts?  I can’t really be spoiled for much, but eh.  I’ll try to theorize more later, since the new trio are still settling in, so to speak.

Lighting It Up

Lord Zedd and Rita are unimpressed by how Baboo and Squatt brought back numerous lanterns.  Rita is rather appreciative of how “politically incorrect” her husband ‘Zeddy’ is, although he dislikes the nickname.  She picks out one of the lanterns, believing/claiming it to be the one.  The plan is to turn it into the Lanterra monster.

Bulk and Skull are still in the park, the monster sneaking up behind them.  When they turn around to see it, they panic and bolt, dropping the lantern in the process.

Elsewhere in the park, Aisha is both annoyed and supportive towards the mopey Adam.  Bulk and Skull run by, briefly mentioning the monster.  Adam contacts Tommy about using the viewing globe, which does show the Lanterra monster.  The quartet still in the Command Center morphs, and then the duo in the park does so.

Lanterra is snarky when the six Rangers show up.  Adam expresses his reluctance to destroy the heirloom lantern.  Rita is spying via telescope; she’s briefly competitive with Zedd before refocusing on the Rangers’ supposedly forthcoming defeat.

The monster does blast repeatedly at the team.  Somehow this enables Adam to realize that the power is in him, not the lantern, as it only acts to remind him of his and his family’s inner strength and power.  The team can now properly fight the monster, but it’s rough going.  Then something weird happens with one of Adam’s punches but I’m unsure precisely what.  Maybe Adam’s family does have a history of supernatural abilities?  It’s not just possible but probable, given what’s later established in the franchise.

Upset, Rita and Zedd cross their staffs to supersize Lanterra.  It’s starting to sink in that the BBomb8s are gone… which makes me sad, as I liked using that term.  Stressed, the Rangers call upon the Ninjazords.  Thankfully, this time there is only footage of the arriving Zords as the theme song plays.

Just as the core Megazord is formed, Ninjor shows up on his cloud.  My new theory is that he’s gotten bored over the millennia and finds all of this fun, as he takes point in fighting Lanterra.  Tommy’s Falconzord merges with the Megazord, enabling him to join his teammates in the group cockpit.  The monster soon explodes, although I think something odd happens at the last moment.

Ernie is mopping up while Kimberly grabs the drinks for herself, Adam, and Rocky.  She’s reassuring towards Adam, who knows that the lantern was just a symbol of his family’s strength and wisdom as well as that the safety of Angel Grove and his team is more important.

Aisha, Billy, and Tommy were walked over by Bulk and Skull to ‘protect’ the trio.  Bulk and Skull give back Adam’s lantern, greatly exaggerating how they got it.  Ernie warns the duo that the floor is slippery and asks them to stop horsing around.  Their antics cause them to slip and land on the floor.  The Rangers can’t help but be amused by just how easily the duo finds themselves in over their heads.

The clip playing alongside the credits is Skull stepping into the pond at the park and getting a fake fish that squirts water out of his shoe.  I’m not sure if this is part of a cut scene or just some goofing around deliberately for the credits clip.

Conclusion

This was an Adam-centric episode, with him learning to see that the lantern’s value is symbolic of his family’s virtues through the generations and not in and of itself.  It is akin to the moral Jack learned in “Samurai” but like I pointed out there, it’s a little harder to accept such a moral when magical artifacts are almost commonplace in this franchise.  I’m left wondering if the villains simply misunderstood the sort of ‘power’ the lantern has, or if the lantern actually does have magical powers.

Admittedly, there was a degree of Orientalism in how Ko was treated by the script.  He was a wise mentor type, but most of his dialogue was to cryptically advise Adam, not to define his own character.  Furthermore, it wasn’t clarified what language the lantern’s tag was in- an older variant of Korean, maybe?

Both Billy and Aisha were supportive and helpful towards Adam here.  Tommy and Rocky were in the background, while Kimberly barely showed up.  Bulk and Skull continue to be mostly inept- however, I think they deserve credit for returning Adam’s lantern and I’m sure that any other teens would have appreciated having bodyguards in the wake of yet another monster attack.  The duo does seem to be maturing a bit at long last.

The show seems to be lamp-shading its habit of turning items into monsters lately- I’m not sure why, particularly as in this case an item did get turned into Lanterra.  It was just one of Ko’s lanterns, not Adam’s one.

 

Next time on Power Rangers: A science teacher gets turned into a monster.

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