3-16: A Ranger Catastrophe, Part 1

Rita enacts a plot to destroy the Rangers.

Last time on Power Rangers: There was a love potion.

 

Kitty Kat

At the animal shelter, Aisha is volunteering with an Asian vet.  There’s a cute puppy.  Later on, Kim and Aisha are chatting in the park near a wooden bridge about said Doctor Wheeler.  The two girls find a fluffy white cat.  Aisha picks up the cat and both girls coo over it.

Rita is gleeful at her telescope.  Zedd and Goldar approach, both being snarky.  It turns out that Rita has a plan, with her brother showing up to be curious about it.  The cat is bait according to the pleased Rita.

Aisha goes to the outdoor café with the cat.  For whatever reason, Kimberly is sitting next to Billy instead of her boyfriend Tommy.  Bulk and Skull pop up to argue against the cat being there.  Aisha calmly refutes she’s just looking after it until going to the animal shelter.

The duo retreats back into the youth shelter, which indicates that the café is adjacent to it.  I guess that’s obvious, but I appreciate the confirmation.  Skull apparently likes cats, while Bulk wants to find the cat’s owner to get them glory and recognition from all.  Um, okay.

Doctor Wheeler and Aisha are at the animal shelter, the latter wanting to adopt the cat if no one claims her.

Lord Zedd is skeptical that the plan will work, so he sends down Rito to ensure that nobody adopts the cat.  Teleporting down to the animal shelter’s sign, Rito soon scares away a married couple.  Rito enjoys ambushing civilians.

Aisha asks the vet if she heard anything, but the older woman has only heard barking.

Bulk and Skull spot Rito.  Skull wants to get back-up while Bulk wants to bust the villain as they hide behind a bush.  The duo approaches Rito and state their intent to arrest him, annoying the villain.  Screaming, the duo runs off.

Leaving behind the cat, Aisha spots Rito through the door’s window.  Going into ninja mode, she faces off against him on the road before they start fighting.

Werecat?

Back at the outdoor café, Rocky has a giant sandwich he’s excited for.  I’m acutely reminded of the similar moment Zack had with a massive ice cream sundae in “Big Sisters”.  The team is seated in a half-circle at the table: Adam, Tommy, Rocky, Billy, and Kimberly.  When their communicators beep, they head over to a flower-covered trellis area to get exposition from Zordon.

Going into ninja mode, they go to Aisha’s aid.  Rito is more amused than anything else, but his sister and brother-in-law are annoyed.  Goldar suggests sending in the Tengas, furthering agitating Zedd by offering such an obvious tactic.  Some Tengas do teleport down to the spot, leading Rito to state, “The foot’s on the other hand… you know what I mean.”

As the Tenga song plays, the team fights the minions.  Adam has energy ball attacks.  Rocky can teleport into a tree and gets snarky as he kicks at the minions.  On the one hand, it’s an obvious effect.  On the other hand, I’m kind of curious if this trick is somehow linked to the Mystics’ power of teleporting between Briarwood and the magical forest via trees.

Back in the animal shelter, the white cat turns into a cute blonde.

Rito takes on a playful Aisha, who can teleport into the ground it seems.  Hang on, can’t Dustin do a similar trick?  Is this a Yellow Ranger thing or just a ninja thing?  Hmm.  As the two groups pull back to their own allies, Rito is getting frustrated.  The Tengas teleport away to Adam’s amusement.  Turning to run away, Rito promptly crashes into a tree.

Kat (as she introduces herself) has such an adorable Aussie accent that Doctor Wheeler has to comment on it in-universe.  She claims that she’s here to maybe get a puppy to be less lonely after the move.

The team reverts to their civilian garb.  Rocky wants to eat his sandwich, leading to a mostly playful race between him and Adam as they dash off to see who’ll get back first.  An amused Billy heads after them.  The remaining trio wants to go check on the cat.

Preparing the Trap

Wheeler and Kat are by the cages, the latter soon backing off.  Aisha introduces her friends to the vet, who’s confused by Kat’s sudden absence.  The white cat shows up and Aisha scoops her up.  Kimberly notices that the cat seems to like Tommy… but then she herself gets scratched by the cat, though she’s fairly low-keyed in her reaction.  Aisha dubs the cat “PC”, short for “Park Cat”.  Okay, it’s official.  Aisha should not name any Ranger technology, as she’s as bad at naming things as the da Vinci expy in Discworld (dang it, I can’t recall his name off the top of my head).

There’s a shot of Aisha’s house in the suburbs before cutting to a room that has a couch.  The cat is on the couch when Kimberly shows up to ask Aisha her opinion on the brunette’s outfit.  She’s feeling guilty about having spent so much time on gymnastics instead of with Tommy lately, so they’re going to the movies.

On the one hand, this is rather cute.  On the other hand, why do I have a bad feeling Kim would be labeled ‘clingy’ if she expressed loneliness while Tommy was focused on an upcoming karate competition.  Also, the phrasing is a bit weird… she phrases it as Tommy being lonely, instead of she herself missing spending time with him and wanting to take an afternoon from training.  There’s just this context of this being about being Tommy’s girlfriend rather than them being equals in their relationship to me.

The cat darts through the open door, leading Aisha to worry about the windows being open downstairs so the two girls head out to catch her.

Once outside via the front door, the cat ducks behind a bush and transforms into Kat, red sparks in her eyes after she does a hair flip.

Aisha reassures Kim that the cat’s escape isn’t her fault and offers to let Kim head off to the movies, but Kim opts to stay and help Aisha look for the cat.

Teleporting in, Rita whines about how long it took Kat.  Apologizing to her “empress”, Kat gives her the info dump on Kimberly and Tommy’s upcoming date.  Creating a sleek black convertible out of a crate (completely with a punny license plate), Rita calls her “Cinderella” and Kat promises not to let her down.

Ernie gives Kimberly’s phone message to a worried Tommy.  He’s fine with her helping Aisha look for the cat.  Kat approaches Tommy and there’s another red spark in her eye.  She does the ‘damsel in distress’ routine, claiming that there’s a problem with her car.  She continues to nudge Tommy after he suggests she call a mechanic instead.

16Kat&Tommy

They make introductions, complete with a handshake, and Tommy gives Ernie a message for Kim before heading out with the blonde.  I wonder why Tommy didn’t rope in Billy, as the blond did create the Rad Bug.  Then again, Tommy probably doesn’t want a civilian’s car to be suddenly capable of supersonic speeds.

The Trap is Sprung

The show cuts to Tommy having done the repair.  Kat successfully tempts him into taking a drive around the block.  Once the car drives past the animal shelter, the camera focuses on Bulk, Skull, and Stone.  The lieutenants is annoyed with the duo, having heard their story about a monster.  Obviously, Rito is long gone, so Stone opts to send them to wash police cars.

I’m not sure why he’s disbelieving them, as there have been repeated media reports on the Power Rangers’ battles.  Well, maybe the Angel Grove police have decided to leave the alien fighting to the Power Rangers.  I wish that had been clearer if that’s the case.

Rita is pleased as she watches the duo in the car via her telescope.  Lord Zedd uses his staff to teleport the car… somewhere.  I’m not sure what’s going on, as it looks like a wormhole, just in darker hues than usual.  Kat clings to Tommy, ostensibly out of fear.

The married couple gives orders to Rito, who teleports back down to Earth.  Doubting his chances of victory, Rita and Zedd supersize him to his pleasure.

Kimberly and Aisha arrive at the Juice Bar, Kim reassuring her friend about the cat.  Ernie gives Tommy’s message.  Rocky, Adam, and Billy are also present.  They head over to the locker room (Billy and Kim next to each other yet again) to get Zordon’s message about heading over to the Command Center.

Seeing Tommy’s situation in the viewing globe, Kimberly is worried for him and a bit concerned about the strange girl clinging to him.  Zordon doesn’t know who she is.  The supersized Rito is seen in the viewing globe next, worrying the team.

The clip playing alongside the end credits is Skull and Bulk doing crosswalk duty, apparently spotting the cat off-screen at the end.  Presumably this is a cut scene- or it’s from the latter half of the two-parter.

Conclusion

This was a solid start: the villains’ scheme gradually unfolds to both the viewers and the heroes, instead of the usual ‘all the exposition at the start and the heroes have to play catch-up’ plot.  The Rangers actually used their ninja abilities fighting the Tengas instead of just kicking and punching them.  Rito got in several good quips.

Catherine Sutherland got a special guest star credit in the credits after the opening sequence.  Kat is largely mysterious at this point, but the repeated red magic around her eyes indicates that she’s under a spell based off of previous episodes involving magical mind control.  She looks and sounds adorable, though she’s not yet a ‘badass adorable’ as her fighting skills are unknown at this point.

Right now, I’m not feeling the Tommy/Kimberly ship.  They seem to be more friends than dating.  Look, it’s been a while since I’ve been in high school, but I’m pretty sure high school couples usually sit next to each other instead of across the table.  And… was there a considerable time skip between the previous episode and this one?  “The Potion Notion” ended with Tommy and Kimberly going to the Junior Police Ball.  Did that not count due to Kimberly doing a dance with Skull- surely, she mostly danced with Tommy, unless he snuck out to eat celery with Adam for the rest of the dance.  Already I’m picking up on more chemistry between Tommy and Kat, though that’s not saying much as generally the Tommy and Kim chemistry has been ‘the other is pretty cute’.  I know the franchise has gone to the ‘absolutely no PDA’ route by now, but still.  They seem to be ‘coasting’ by, instead of continually growing closer and more comfortable with each other.

I did appreciate that the vet was both a minority and a woman.  Yay for representation!

And yes, it does seem that “Rangers in Reverse” should be the season finale as it leads into the Alien Rangers arc… but originally, “I’m Dreaming of a White Ranger” aired between the two as a Christmas Eve’s eve special.  That’s my reasoning for not following the DVD order, because it’s not in airing order.  Just to further clarify on that point.

 

Next time on Power Rangers: Tommy goes up against Goldar and Rito.

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