3-21: Follow That Cab

Kimberly, Bulk, and Skull get stuck in a monster.

Last time on Power Rangers: The Shogun Zords were used for the first time.

 

Big Dreams

At the outdoor café, Ernie brings out a milk saucer to Kimberly for his favorite “furry customer” PC.  Tommy joins Kimberly at the table just as the brunette loudly reacts to an article in the paper, amusing him.  It turns out that gymnastics coach Guthar Schmidt is visiting Angel Grove, looking for youths for his Pan-Global Games team.  Kimberly is a big fan of his.  The cat’s eyes glow red.  At this point, I’m starting to wonder if the eye-glowing is a Doylist thing to remind viewers of evil magic.

Meanwhile, in the moon fortress, Lord Zedd complains, “I rule over a dominion of losers!  None of you know how to defeat the Power Rangers.  I’m disgusted with all of you!”

Goldar tries to concur until Rita snaps that includes him.  Rito ends up suggesting that they turn one of the Rangers into a monster to defeat the rest of them, calling his brother-in-law Ed again.

Kimberly asks Ernie to watch PC while she goes downtown to meet Guthar.  Tommy is amused by her joy, not noticing until it’s too late that the white cat has wandered off.  Ernie is unconcerned, thinking ‘he’ went to the kitchen for a handout.  Uh… did no one tell Ernie the cat’s gender?

In the back alley, PC transforms into Kat.  Rita teleports in to get Kat’s report… which the villains could and have done themselves via telescope or visor.  Maybe they want more free time so they sent in a spy?  Rita starts to exposit on the evil scheme of the episode.

Good versus Evil

Nearby, Stone is lecturing to Bulk and Skull about catching a car thief as there’s been multiple stolen cars lately.  Stone is annoyed with them and soon walks off.  Skull is unsure what time they’ll be reporting back, as he doesn’t know when sixteen hundred hours is.

There’s a black-clad man breaking into a reddish car behind them.  When he drops his stuff, the duo just picks the item and bag up to hand over.  Both relieved and a little amused, the thief gets in the car and drives off while Bulk and Skull wave.  Kimberly shows up just in time to see her car get driven away by the thief to her upset.

Bulk gets out in front of a cab as a result.  To the driver’s annoyance, Bulk and Skull commandeer the vehicle from him.  Kimberly gets in the back and gives order as she wants her car bak.  As the taxi drives off, the cabbie is frustrated and throws his hat onto the ground.

Zedd is annoyed that Bulk and Skull are also in the vehicle.  He sees Rita in his visor and she’s blasé about how the plan will still work.  Kat is in the background.  When Rita gives kudos to Kat, she approvingly calls her an “evil girl” which gets stuck on repeat in her head.

There’s a flashback to an elementary-aged Kat getting a Good Samaritan reward from her teacher, whose praise ends with “good girl”, which also gets put on repeat in her head.  Kat tries to insist she’s good, not evil, but Rita uses her staff to mind-whammy her (again, apparently).  Kat goes back to cat-mode and Rita cackles.

Rocky is crawling around at the outdoor café, looking for the cat.  Adam and Billy are also looking, the latter certain that the cat will be fine as the species generally has an “independent nature”.  Ernie makes to call Aisha at the animal shelter but then Tommy spots the cat to all the guys’ relief.  Scooping her up, Rocky hands her over to Ernie.  The business owner offers the cat a sardine shake.

Crabby Cabbie

Bulk and Skull are squabbling while Kimberly just wants to get her car back.

Finster shows up with the large gizmo for transforming vehicles, Rita taking it from him to hand it to her husband.  A very excited Zedd aims and fires.  Down in Angel Grove, the green energy hits the taxi.  Within, the trio gets stressed out as the taxi transforms into the Crabby Cabbie monster.

As the monster drives along, the trio buckles up.  Wait, they weren’t buckled before?  Admittedly they were in a rush, but usually the show emphasizing buckling up.  Skull starts to feel carsick.

The alarms blare and Zordon’s sensors have made him worried.  A worried Alpha finds the cab monster.  Zordon can sense there are humans within, confirmed by them using the x-ray scanner.  During this scene, Alpha leans on the fourth wall twice.  The first time, it’s by acknowledging that Zordon is never wrong.  The other is when Alpha hopes that the Rangers aren’t off scuba driving… the writers’ preferred tactic to get Jason, Trini, and Zack to the sidelines of an episode.  I am easily amused.

Tommy’s communicator receives Alpha’s order.  Adam makes a comment about the girls not being there, leading Alpha to state that Kimberly is the emergency (again) and that he’ll contact Aisha.  That’ll be done off-screen as they don’t want to shoot footage at the animal shelter again, I’m assuming.

Lord Zedd and Rita get lovey-dovey due to the pleasure of one of their schemes going well.

The quintet is helmetless and stressed out.  It turns out that the molecular scrambler might not work to safely get out all three humans from the monster.  Zordon has gotten them new vehicles.  There’s lightning and thunder and they get the Shark Cycles, which are partially created via a prehistoric shark.  The animal is described as “swift and powerful”.  Zordon warns them to be alert while riding them, while Alpha states that the cycles also have “battle features”.  Rocky makes a pun.

The helmeted quintet rides the Shark Cycles through the streets of suburbia, somehow not encountering other cars.  The team is eager to track down the monster.  Within Crabby Cabbie, the trio is becoming woozy.  A rock song plays in the background briefly as the Rangers chase after the cab monster.  The cab fires ‘smog blasts’ at the team.

They can’t risk firing back due to the trio stuck inside.  Lord Zedd and Rita are delighted that their plan is working so they cross staffs to supersize the monster.  The quintet stops their Shark Cycles and there’s a shot of the small Rangers with the giant Crabby Cabbie.

Tommy wants to take down the monster but knows they can’t.  The team calls upon the Shogun Zords and shows them individually entering their cockpits.  There’s a downtown battle as the theme song plays.

Alpha risks using the molecular scrambler in hopes of freeing the trio.  Kimberly, Bulk, and Skull are indeed emitted safely down onto the sidewalk.  Bulk and Skull are pleased so Kimberly takes point in having them take cover.  The Zords briefly form a mini-pyramid (it’s not a proper one without a ‘cap’) before blasting Crabby Cabbie.

It’s explodes and like last time, kanji is briefly seen before it sparkles.  I’m not sure why the show has retained that part of the Super Sentai footage.  Tommy is delighted… okay, I didn’t hear or see a part when the others got the news that Kimberly, Bulk, and Skull were okay.  It might have happened off-screen (like Alpha alerting Aisha) but basically all of the battle was seen.  Maybe it was when Kim was corralling Bulk and Skull?

This is a long way of saying that they had better received the good news off-screen, otherwise Tommy does not come across as a caring boyfriend.

Bulk and Skull are awed, while Kimberly’s proud of her teammates.

Brakes On

Lord Zedd blames Rita for this defeat, upsetting her.  He vows that he will defeat the Power Rangers, but that’s an empty threat at this point.  Honestly, I’m not sure if this mess was what Rito meant by turning one of the Rangers into a monster as evilized Rangers tend to be among a team’s toughest enemies (Tommy, Ryan, Zen-Aku/Merrick, Hunter & Blake, Trent, and Koragg/Leanbow).  Particularly as the biggest roadblock to the Rangers’ victory was the accident of Bulk and Skull being in the monster too.  If Kim had been alone in a transformed vehicle, it would have been a matter of seconds before she was freed.

A brief time later, Bulk and Skull find Kimberly’s parked car and arrest the car thief as he tries to ‘repair’ it (at least I think that’s what’s happening).  Skull radios Stone (who is clearly unimpressed by Skull claiming that they’re “Angel Grove’s finest” despite only being heard).

21Quintet

Five of the Rangers have gone to the outdoor café, while Aisha went back to the shelter.  Rocky, Kimberly, and Billy are seated at the table.  Tommy and Adam are standing to either side of Kimberly.  Okay, are Tommy and Adam going to leave soon?  I guess the Doylist reason is to keep the eyeline from being too even, but what is the Watsonian reason?  Are Tommy and Adam heading over to the interior part for some sparring?  Are there no more chairs due to plenty of customers?  Do they want to passively burn calories by not sitting?  What is going here?

When Kimberly hears a car horn, the brunette head over, delighted to get her red car back.  She gives Bulk a hug and Skull holds out his arms but she doesn’t give him one.  Hmm.  I think she’s still establishing boundaries with Skull as them being just friends, since it’s very possible Skull would enjoy the hug a little too much.

Semi-jokingly, Kimberly comments how it’d be simpler and better to be a cat like PC.  Adam concurs.  Somehow none of them notice the cat’s eyes briefly glowing.

Conclusion

Thankfully, the end credits clip has all six Rangers driving around on their Shark Cycles.  In other words, Kim does have one of her own despite ‘missing out’ on this adventure.  Look, she wasn’t there for it in the usual sense.  I wonder how long these Shark Cycles have been in development; maybe Zordon and Alpha were reserving them until they were needed as a trump card against Rita and Zedd’s forces.  That’d make sense.

It’s officially established that Rita is using some heavy-duty magic on Kat to make her evil.  Maybe the eyes glowing is the spell reasserting itself?  I don’t believe it occurred when Kat was rueful towards Kimberly.  Hmm.  However, I’m still left wondering what’s going on with her parents.  Is there a fake Kat present?  Did Rita mind-whammy them in some manner as well?

Skull is still clearly smitten with Kim.  Tommy seems to be amused and fond of Kimberly, but he’s already had more chemistry in his few scenes with Kat… and soon they’ll have the shared life experience of having been mind-whammied into evil by Rita Repulsa to bond over.  I suspect I’m still somewhat biased against Tommy/Kim despite my best attempts to be even-handed.

Aisha is still volunteering at the animal shelter.  Ernie is way too calm over the idea of a cat getting into his kitchen for me.  Unless that fan theory (that was apparently almost canon) that Ernie is secretly a human guise of Zordon’s is true.  Then he’s just magicking up the food and there’s nothing for ‘PC’ to contaminate.  But that just raises the question of the dark magic going unnoticed instead.  Hmm.  Then again, that question is still valid for Zordon and Alpha 5.  Maybe the Command Center’s sensors are malfunctioning somehow?  This type of spell evades detection from the current system?  I don’t know what’s going on.

A molecular scrambler was previously used on Kimberly for a villainous reason back in “A Friend in Need, Part 2”.  I have no idea why or how Alpha has one.

This was essentially the midpoint of this season, including the ten-episode Alien Rangers arc.  Hard to believe I’m almost done with Mighty Morphin as a whole.

 

Next time on Power Rangers: Rita wants to dash Kimberly’s gymnastics dreams.

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