The One That Makes the Movie Non-Canon
Well, here we are I guess. There’s a slight complication coming up, so there will be a production note at the end about moving forward. But I want to say that I really appreciate having this platform to
overshare my journey back through my childhood and (hopefully) beyond. I didn’t go into my rewatch intending anything like this, but I got the idea a couple seasons in and it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been legitimately excited about doing these recaps and I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to make here.
Wonderwall Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season Three
Let’s Talk About the Movie
It’s 1995. Season Two of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers has ended and Season Three is on the horizon, but it was Summer and Power Rangers was everywhere, as evidenced by the fact that I owned a Power Rangers lunchbox that I later covered with Pokémon stickers. So obviously, when you have a franchise that’s going really well (and selling lots of toys), you make it into a movie! Thus, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: the Movie is born. The footage is completely American1 made, and the sets, props, and costumes are all new and shiny and fancy. The costumes even get to be some kind of metal/plastic armor instead of spandex! This gives the effect of everybody looking like human-sized action figures and also for some reason the girls’ outfits have completely unnecessary sculpted boobs. The gist of the movie is that a “Hyperlock Chamber2 is accidentally unearthed, allowing Rita and Zedd to release the extremely evil Ivan Ooze. Ivan Ooze proceeds to trash the Command Center, trap Rita and Zedd in a snowglobe, brainwash all(?) the adults in Angel Grove into excavating and building the “Ectomorphicon Titans” which I guess were also buried right there next to the
Big Purple EggHyperlock Chamber.
Oh also one of the brainwashed adults is Fred’s dad, who also is a single father for pathos. “Who is Fred?” you might ask at this point. Nobody cares. But kids movies need to have a kid in them, so there’s Fred.
Meanwhile, the destruction of the Command Center causes the Rangers’ powers to vanish, and when they hike to the Command Center to see what happened, they find Zordon’s tube broken, which apparently turns him into some guy in a grey bathrobe. Like, with a body and everything. Why is there a body now? Does the body go in the tube or something? Oh yeah, also Zordon is going to die if he doesn’t get back in his tube. With the last of the Command Center’s power, Zordon and Alpha send the Rangers to the planet Phaedos to find “The Great Power.”
On Phaedos, they encounter Dulcea, whose costume is designed to appeal to all the parents who got dragged here by their children and who have lost track of the plot by now. Dulcea teaches the Rangers about Ninjetti, and grants them its power in the forms of six animals whose traits they share3.
They journey to reach The Great Power, staying surprisingly un-dirty despite trekking through the jungle wearing an awful lot of white clothes, and eventually they make it past a dinosaur skellington and some living statues4 to earn The Great Power, which it turns out is the Ninjazords and was surprisingly not metaphorically within them this whole time.
Side-note: I feel like Kimberly and Aisha spend a disproportionate amount of this movie in danger and screaming and getting saved by the others5 which is… not an impression that I get when watching the TV series. I’m sure I’ve talked about how they were Buffy before Buffy was a thing, and this is decidedly not that. Thanks, Movie Writers.
They go back to Earth and fight Ivan Ooze’s giant insects/robots/monsters, and then he possesses one of the robots and fights the Rangers himself and they fly him up to space so they can fight him in space and just when Robot Ooze has them grappled, they hit the big red “Use Only In Emergencies” button, which launches um… activates… uh… ok it makes the Megazord knee him in his robot junk6, and then he falls into the path of a comet and is destroyed.
Oh also Fred did some sort of inspiring speech to all the kids to make them help him keep all the adults from being brainwashed into jumping off a cliff and it’s heroic or heartwarming or something I guess. Bulk and Skull spray all the adults with a firehose and that’s pretty much the only time that they get to show up in this movie. And then at the end-of-movie celebratory dance party, Bulk and Skull almost hug, but it was the 90s, so they catch themselves and shake hands instead. Which is bullshit because everyone knows that Bulk and Skull would definitely hug.
So anyway none of that matters because when Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season Three comes out later that year, it goes and tells an entirely different story that does not involve an extremely quippy, pop-culture referencing, extremely American villain and instead uses a Ninja Robot that can grow and shrink to explain the Ninja powers.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
It’s time for Fun With the In-Laws! Guess Who’s Coming to the Moon! First Rita’s brother Rito Revolto7 shows up and just decides that he lives there now, then their father, Master Vile shows up to shake things up at the end of the season because he wasn’t invited to the wedding. Like Zedd, Rito is an American-created villain. Unlike Zedd, his design barely makes any sense, since in addition to the unclear familial relationship, he’s like a soldier and a skeleton but half of him is camo-patterned split right down the middle like those Star Trek aliens that solved racism. This season is also the only one so far to actually end with anything resembling a finale, albeit one that’s a cliffhanger. But it’s definitely progress, and an indicator that some writer is actually thinking at all about the series as a whole instead of making a big pile of 60 episodes and then calling it a season.
It’s Season Three and we’re still in the ZyuRanger suits. Meanwhile, we’ve blown through two seasons’ worth of Zord footage, and have just picked up a third, Ninja Sentai Kakuranger. I’m sure that this will work out just fine. Apart from the increasingly tenuous footage use, things are starting to pick up. After two successful seasons, they made a Movie! With completely original footage! And a very loose view on canon! And some kid that needed to be a POV character or something. For the kids! Plus, the Americanized Sentai genre is blowing up in America, with VR Troopers moving into its second season and Big Bad Beetleborgs on the horizon, both based on footage from the Japanese show Metal Hero. Which brings us to the next can’t lose franchise, Masked Rider, based on the series Kamen Rider8. Unlike Metal Hero, which was running out of footage, Kamen Rider had been around since the 70s, just like Power Rangers‘s counterpart, Super Sentai, and it showed no signs of stopping any time soon. The footage would last forever! They would just launch Season Three of Power Rangers with a crossover/pilot for Masked Rider and then get all the Power Rangers fans, plus it would be new and special and exciting! They were going to sell so many toys!
They did not sell very many toys.
So anyways, that’s why Alpha 5 turns out to have been made on some random planet that never really gets any kind of follow-up.
As this is the last season of the Mighty Morphin’ era, a bunch of significant stuff starts happening. You start getting the first hints of the more story-driven show rather than the Monster-of-the-Week that it started out as. After the confusing pseudo-pilot that the season kicks off with, Rita’s brother, Rito Revolto arrives on the moon and brings with him the Tenga Warriors, who will serve as the generic enemies for this season. He manages to destroy the Thunderzords in some honestly pretty gruesome Zord carnage and then rapidly declines in competence.
The destruction of the Zords causes a surge in the Morphin’ Grid that blows out the Rangers’ Power Coins, forcing them to seek out the original creator of the Power Coins, Ninjor, who is a ninja and possibly a robot and has a very recognizable voice and lives in a cave near a very familiar looking rock formation.
Ninjor helps them to draw out the power within them to create new Power Coins that draw power from “The Power of Ninja Deep Within [Their] Souls”, creating a new, stronger connection between the Rangers and their powers, which definitely won’t have unintended consequences later in the season.
Later in the season, Rita brainwashes Katherine, a newcomer to Angel Grove, granting her the ability to turn into a cat9 and using her to infiltrate the Rangers, who find her in cat form in the park and take her and name her “Park Cat” or “PC” for short, because they’re not very creative it turns out. Meanwhile in human form, Kat is befriending the Rangers, eventually causing Tommy’s kidnapping and stealing Kimberly’s Power Coin. It turns out that since the coin is directly linked to her soul, having it stolen like this is slowly draining Kim’s life force. Eventually Kat breaks free from Rita’s control via friendship or something, when Kim is injured during gymnastics practice due to her weakened state. The two bond over injuring themselves during their respective sports (Gymnastics and Diving), and when Famous Gymnastic Coach Gunther Schmidt discovers Kimberly and offers to train her for the Pan-Global Games10 at his training center in Florida, Kim chooses Kat as her successor.
As the season comes to a close, a new threat appears – Rita and Rito’s father, Master Vile, who reverses the spin of the Earth, reverting everyone back into children11…. and that’s the end of the season. Evil wins, goodbye forever, end of series, close the door on your way out.
Okay, fine, it’s just a To Be Continued.
It’s got the all-time classic, Shape it Up, Bulk and Skull. There is nothing else that I can say that would overshadow or add to this absolute banger.
On the other hand, Tenga Bye Bye is a thing that exists, but I’m trying to use my burning hatred to erase its very existence in this timeline.
You might be thinking, “How can there possibly be more Ranger footage after 2 seasons of the show and a whole bunch extra commissioned footage that’s been used up?” Well, there isn’t. Not much, at least. We end up with a lot of American-made footage, and this season is only 33 episodes long, nearly halving Season 1’s 60 episodes and Season 2’s 52. We also get our first Ranger Ally, Ninjor. He’s a Ninja. That’s his big thing.
The American-made footage that there is is really… interesting? Basically they invented this intermediate morph stage of “Ninja Rangers” in which they are in what qualified in the 90’s as a ninja costume and also have… weird? …magic? …ninja powers? The “ninja powers”range from various teleport/”flash step” type things to human(Tenga) puppetry and friggin’ shrinking Tengas down and squashing them in their hands.
There’s a substantial range in power level is what I’m saying. So it would seem like the Ninja Rangers with all their ninja tricks would be powerful enough to ever use against any foe but Tengas, but no, it’s pretty much just used against Tengas. It does make the fights a lot more visually inventive than the normal Civilian vs. Putty fights were, which I do respect. There are only so many times that you can have someone throw/kick a bag at a putty and then hit them and take it back. But the change is just such a weird tonal shift in retrospect.12
So they have these fights with all the wacky “ninja powers” and then when the monster shows up or whatever, they still do the normal morph sequence into Power Rangers. Which is a whole different power-set. They have guns, for one thing.
By this point, Amy Jo Johnson, David Yost, and Jason David Frank have been playing these characters for three seasons. And while David Yost and Jason David Frank are in for the long-haul, Amy Jo Johnson was ready to start a real acting career with hardly any spandex at all.13 Unlike the departure of Thuy Trang, Walter Jones, and Austin St. John last season however, she would be leaving on good terms with the production, which means that there’s not a stretch of episodes where Kimberly’s actual human face conspicuously doesn’t appear. Rather, they are actually able to make a fairly lengthy storyline leading to Kim’s exit and to her successor, Katherine. In that arc, Kimberly’s powers are draining after an evil plot by Zedd and Rita, and her struggle with that and her drive to continue being a hero despite the cost is actually compelling and not at all like the times that Tommy lost his powers and just moped around until he got new cool powers.
Cumulative Score: 263 pts!
The Good Guys
The team is really settling into a comfortable groove by this point. Rocky is slightly less annoying this season, and the group as a whole are building up some really great chemistry. We have one roster change, where Kimberly swaps out for Katherine, but it goes smoothly enough to not really disrupt things.
- Rocky deSantos – It may say something that both of his focus episodes feature everyone else turning into things, since Rocky can only be the best Ranger when his competition is all inanimate objects.
- Aisha Campbell – She volunteers at the local animal shelter several times, which is more characterization than this show normally remembers for more than one episode.
- Billy Cranston – If you hadn’t watched it, you would never think that Billy was almost at the bottom of the ranking in Season 1. He’s all confident and self-actualized now!
- Adam Park – His main thing in Season 2 was a lack of confidence, so it’s nice to see him in this season getting more to do than look sad when bad things happen to him.
- Kimberly Hart – Kimberly, as usual, is killing it this season. BUT and I hate that there is a “but”, as Tommy and Kim’s relationship has developed, she ends up being secondary to Tommy a lot, even before she’s on her way off of the show. I said it up in the movie section and it is also true in the TV season to a lesser extent – it seems like Kimberly is getting into danger and needing Tommy to save her a lot more now, and they end up treating her like Tommy’s girlfriend instead of her own person.
- Kimberly’s boyfriend14 – He’s cute I guess? She’s too good for him. Run.15
Katherine Hillard (Catherine Sutherland)
Park Cat? What kind of a name is Park Cat? Come on.
- Color: Pink
- Zord: Pink Crane
- Signature Weapon: Technically Power Bow, but due to lack of footage, she never actually uses it
- Strength: 20
- Smarts: 100
- Coolness factor: 118
Remember how in Season 1 I said that Evil is Cool? Still true. And even better, Kat actually uses deception instead of coming right out and declaring the Rangers’ doom right from the start. Rita gives her the magical ability to turn into a cat, complete with an Animorph-style transformation that they used once because it was probably expensive and/or difficult. As a cat, Katherine is adopted by Aisha and named *sigh* Park Cat because she was found in the park. This somehow helps her actual plan to infiltrate the Rangers friend-group as a human. Because she can spy on them? Unlike all the times that Rita just spies on them via magic telescope? Her growing struggle and unwillingness to be Evil is a nice change from Tommy’s arc, since it’s a development over time instead of “Destroy Sword Make Good” as with Tommy’s brainwashing. One of my favorite scenes from this stretch is that Rita comes to her to reinforce the brainwashing, saying “You’re such an evil girl!” and we get that flashback thing with the wavy fade-out and “evil girl” echoing, then she has a flashback to when she got a Good Samaritan award ending with “You’re such a good girl!” and “good girl” echoes as we fade back into reality, and it turns out that Rita has just been sitting there through the flashback sequence just saying “Evil girl. Evil girl. Evil girl” instead of it being an actual echoey flashback thing. So anyway in the end, she makes the choice on her own to admit her guilt to the Rangers, and she has to work for her redemption in ways that a certain other brainwashed evil character didn’t.
Plus this one time she turns into a giant monster cat to fight the Zords, so that’s a thing.
I like the Ninja Ranger suits in theory. The ones in the movie look good, with their more hooded look and the more defined headbands. On TV though, they go with more of a shapeless ski-mask type thing where everyone’s heads kind of just look like multicolor blobs, especially in motion or at a distance. As for the team itself, replacing Kim with Kat doesn’t make the kind of large-scale shifts that last season’s replacement of half of the team, but it does change from this mentor/legacy character to the inexperienced newbie. Plus it eliminates the romantic element of her relationship to Tommy,16 which I think is for the best for many of the issues I’ve mentioned earlier in this article. It was a good match with good chemistry, but the direction that it pushed the writing wasn’t good for the show.
- Kimberly – She really gets to go out on top with her exit this season. With the loss of her Power Coin, she starts to lose her powers and later, her confidence and her direction. The path to getting all of that back is really satisfying to watch. It turns out that you get good at things after three years of experience. +1995 pts
- Billy – Again, experience is a huge asset. Billy is so comfortable in this season, and actually having the experience lends a lot more weight to his technobabble exposition dumps as an actual authority on things rather than a precocious teen genius +1586 pts
- Kat – Her best work this season really comes in her introduction arc where she gets so much to do, and it’s really good, but for obvious reasons, she doesn’t have enough time apart from that to really establish how her character functions as a Ranger. +1342 pts
- Adam – He doesn’t get a lot of time in the spotlight this season – his only focus episode is the one where he learns that “The Real Power is Family” – but he really is that good of a secondary character that he still makes his impact known. Just like last season, he tends to be the most empathetic one of the group, which is still really nice to see in a character in such an action-y show. + 1221 pts
- Aisha – Honestly, she would be a lot higher if everyone else hadn’t been killing it this season. She does a great job anchoring the Hate Master two-parter, and she is so driven and energetic throughout the season that it gives the character an irreplaceable17 role on the team. +1123 pts
- Tommy – He’s fine. Okay? He’s fine. The character is good, and his impact on the overall mythology of the franchise is undeniable. But just… Tommy keeps being at the center of the Big Story Arcs (often because Something is Happening to Kimberly but for whatever reason, the effect it has on Tommy is extremely important and meaningful), and it edges very close to being The Tommy Show sometimes. +1001 pts
- Rocky – Seriously, everyone keeps saying Rocky is smart and wise or whatever and it’s just… how? +3 pts
At this point, most of the cast has been around for a good while, and mostly they’re going to stay that way over the next couple seasons. That stability gives them a chance to really develop good chemistry across the whole ensemble. And it’s a good team! The original Jason, Trini, and Zack team is the really iconic one in the cultural eye, but in terms of overall shaping of the show and making it the success it became, the Post-Peace-Conference team is quite possibly the most significant. It is The Team when I think of early Power Rangers.18 While this team will lose three19 members over its tenure, it happens much slower – only changing one character at a time makes the transitions way smoother than swapping out half of the team at once.
Overall Team Score: +2500 pts
Ninja Power Coins
The Ninja Power Coins are created with the aid of Ninjor, who created the Dino Power Coins. These power coins are created by linking the Rangers inner ninjas to the Morphin’ Grid, which is definitely a thing that sounds reasonable. Morphin’ energy can do anything, you know. I just really like how the entire franchise centers on this Mystical Power that has the 90’s-est name possible.
It’s their regular Ranger suits but with GLITTER. They need it because Master Vile upgrades the Tenga to also be invisibly stronger, so Zordon just kind of… makes new (mostly identical) armor? And it makes them faster and stronger or something? Via the power of MOTION BLUR and weaponized SPARKLE. These also do not stick around, being introduced like 5 episodes from the end of the season.
When the Rangers have to fight a taxi monster, they have a mighty need. A need. For speed. And the only way to fulfill this need… is
Street SharksShark Cycles! Inexplicably made from the fossilized fin of a prehistoric shark, they equally inexplicably are swift and powerful due to the spirit of the great shark that lives within them. Because of the fin. I think they get used like… twice?
We have now come to animals. Just plain ol’ normal animals that are also ninja animal spirits residing deep within the Rangers. It’s not really clear how these Zords came to be in a physical sense – they just kind of exist once the Ninja Power Coins are created. Gone are the days of pterodactyls flying out of volcanoes, now we just have bears that show up and run through city streets. I had the toys for these zords growing up and I have to say: the transformation is kind of lame. The toys basically transform exactly like the sequence in the show, which is cool and all, but it leaves me kind of wanting more out of the show. Also: the megazord, the actual megazord in the show, does not have articulated hands???? I don’t think I noticed when I was younger, but there are just hand-shape coverings that go over the heads of the wolf and ape. I had assumed that this was just a concession for the toys, but no, upon rewatch, there are just big ol’ solid fist and palm gloves appearing out of nowhere and pretending that they aren’t animal heads.
Fortunately, the Ninja Megazord does not ever have to, like, pick anything up.
Coolness of Animal
- Falcon – Like every good 90s kid who read My Side of the Mountain and Animorphs, I hold falcons in the highest regard even though this is some kind of generic falcon and not a Peregrine Falcon Did You Know The Peregrine Falcon Is The Fastest Animal In The World +792 pts
- Wolf – There are one wolves inside of you and it is blue and turns into an arm. Did you know I also read and enjoyed Julie of the Wolves as a child? +676 pts
- Bear – Please refer to this informative bear primer[link 2/2 day thread]. Thank you. +222 pts
- Frog – It’s a frog.20 +150 pts
- Crane – It’s… weirdly small compared to all the other zords? What’s with that? +144 pts
- Ape – No one likes apes. If they did, I would have been assigned a book in school about living alone with them, and schools don’t teach Edgar Rice Burroughs. Also the Ape Zord’s face disturbs me. +93 pts
Ninja Megazord/Ninja MegaFalconzord
In the previous seasons, I put Tommy’s Very Special Zords in their own section, but this time, they’re introduced at the same time as the other Zords, and also its contribution to the MegaFalconzord is to stick to the regular Megazord’s back so it can fly. Flying is cool and all, but that does not count as a transformation.
Main Weapon: Good ol’ Lefty and Righty. Lefty is a wolf, by the way.
Finishing Move: Good ol’ Lefty and Righty go all glowy and a wolf head and an ape head get superimposed over them as the MegaFalconzord does a flying double punch.
Total (group) score: +731 pts
During Kat’s evil phase, Finster manages to decipher The Lost Scrolls of Zordnia, which reveal the location of the Ancient Zords of Zordnia, which is a whole lot of uses of the word “Zord” even for this show. Zedd uses Kat to steal the Falconzord21 which he is going to use to power/awaken the dormant Ancient Zords and then force the Power Rangers to pilot them to subjugate the world, and if you think you have identified the problem with this plan, you are probably right. Billy pretty much immediately rewires the quantum linear controller to cut off Zedd’s control of the Zords and now the Rangers have cool new Zords, which Zordon declares will hereafter be called the Shogunzords, because Ancient Zords is a terrible name.
The Shogunzords are only ever referred to by color, though the designs vaguely resemble humanoid forms the animals of the Ninjazords, minus the Falcon, leaving Tommy in the White (Crane) Shogunzord while Kimberly is in the middle of her depowering arc and doesn’t interact with the new Zords at all. Once Kat joins the team, she just gets to share Tommy’s Zord. These Zords look way way better than the Ninjazords, but their look is kind of homogenous, as they are all basically humanoid silhouettes. Also, it seems a little less of a fair 5 vs. 1 fight when the 5 is composed of giant people instead of various animals that have wheels for legs and no arms.
Coolness of The Exact Same Animals
It’s the same.
Coolness of The Giant Weapons Each Animal Gets
- Yellow – The Yellow Bear Shogunzord gets this Kusarigama-ish chain-claw thing, and not only is that in keeping with the bear theme, it’s also rad as heck on its own. +100 pts
- White – The White Crane Shogunzord gets these pronged knife things that I’m sure have a name and I’m sure I’ve seen them somewhere but I’m going to call them Shuriken because this is the only thing that my extremely compromised memory can dredge up. +47? pts
- Blue – The Blue Wolf Shogunzord gets some kind of poleweapon that I’m not even going to try to name because poleweapon naming schemes are a trap +23? What even are any of these weapons anyway
- Black – The Black Frog Shogunzord gets a bow and arrow and come on Adam, you’re going to take that away from Kimberly too? Not cool. +15 I guess?
- Red – The Red Ape Shogunzord gets… It’s a shield or something? If I’m being generous it looks throwable? I swear I’m not intentionally picking on Rocky. +0 maybe a little intentional
Look I’m not a historic weapon enthusiast ok?
Much like the Mega Dragonzord from Season 1, it doesn’t really do much monster-fighting so much as jump directly to pulling out the fire saber and going to town on that monster with a finishing move. Up until that point, mostly the fight involves the individual Zords, which works fine since they are all basically human-shaped and have their own set of weapons and everything.
Main Weapon: Fire Saber – It’s a Fire Saber and it’s made of Fire and there’s a fish that spits fire and once again, I’m sure that I know this from somewhere but can’t quite place it.
Finishing Move: Fire Saber go brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrn
As with the Ninja Megazord, the Falconzord can also combine with the Shogun Megazord to form the
ThunderCougarFalconBirdShogun MegaFalconzord. This time though, it’s slightly more involved than just hooking onto its back and flying it around like some poor turtle getting carried off by an eagle – instead, the two Shogunzords forming the arms22 detach, then the Falconzord wraps its wings around the Megazord’s torso and the arms attach back to the wings, so it looks like the Falconzord has speared the Shogun Megazord at the shoulders. Oh, and the tips of the wings are guns. This was previously established and I didn’t mention it because I mainly remember it from the movie and I don’t feel like going back to see if it also appears in the series itself. Unless I come back and do it. In which case you wouldn’t see this text. Which means that I did not.
Total (group) score: +711 pts
Hey, Titanus is back! Did you ever notice how Titanus and Tor are never in the same room together and Tor is always wearing those nerdy glasses and running into phone booths? Me neither. Anyway, Titanus shows up like 3 times and its existence or absence is basically never acknowledged at any point before or after.
Coolness of Animal
NO NO NO NO NOT AGAIN
Also, for the record, I still am not totally clear on the Carrierzord/Ultrazord concept and why getting the toys from Seasons 1 and 3 and putting the one on top of the other with some rocks and smoke makes it somehow more powerful than before.23. It only comes up like once per season though, so whatever.
Score: +0 pts
Can I just take a second and go back to Movie Zordon? It’s not really the idea that Zordon has a body in a general sense, it’s more “why does the body just suddenly appear and start aging?” Like sure, the tube has always been called a “time warp” but every other bit of lore suggests that he’s in some sort of pure energy state or something, or he’s being projected somehow into this spacetime. Also that grey sweater/robe is just the worst worst worst.
Anyway, Zordon is basically becoming the chill dad who has stopped trying in this season. “Oh, you lost your Power Coins? That sucks. I hear there was some guy who made them in the first place but he’s probably not real, guess all hope is lost.” and Alpha has to be the one to point out that they have a literal map to where Ninjor’s Temple is, and even then Zordon thinks it’s a terrible idea and gets passive aggressive about it when the Rangers go without his blessing. Plus, when Kimberly decides to leave, Zordon pretty much has no plan at all for finding a replacement and hasn’t considered starting to look, and Kimberly has to be the one to say “Hey this gymnast/diver/fighter who saved all our butts would probably be a good choice.” At which point Zordon goes ahead with it and takes credit for Kimberly being “wise beyond her years.”
Meanwhile, between all of the tech stuff that Alpha does supporting Billy and the other Rangers, making all their molecular descramblers or moon portals or whatever, Alpha is really acing this season. Plus, nobody sticks a laserdisc in his back and hacks him, so that’s always a plus. We get to see Alpha’s home planet, Edenoi, where he was built by King Lexian. Presumably there are also Alpha 1-4, but no one ever mentions them, so I assume they’re in some scrap heap or space debris or something. Anyway, Edenoi is terrible and dying and at the beginning of Masked Rider, everyone has basically given up on the whole planet and Supermans24 Dex to Earth to be a hero or find help or whatever, and it’s never mentioned again after that series ends/is cancelled, so we have to assume that Edenoi is just completely doomed. I hope you cleared out your safety deposit box, Alpha.
He’s the original creator of the Power Coins, who lives in a little urn because he can shrink or something. When he first meets the Rangers, he’s cold and distrusting, but then for the rest of the season he’s a lovable goof, so I guess they were a good influence on him. I’m still not totally sure if he’s supposed to be a robot or whatever, but in his “Expansion Mode” where he grows to Zord size, he has a Battle Mode where his head flips around like an action figure to reveal an Angry Face version of him, so that says “Robot” pretty loud, but also why is this robot some kind of ancient sage?
He also has a flying cloud.
Random Citizens Lightning Round!
Mrs. Hart and Unnamed Fiancé
As established in Season One, Kim’s parents are divorced and she is living with her mother. This season, Mrs. Hart has become engaged to an artist, who I think is supposed to be from France, but I don’t know how you could possibly guess that other than everything about how he looks and talks. Mr. Unnamed Romantic Interest lives in Paris, and Mrs. Hart is moving there along with Kim because EMOTIONAL STAKES! What if Kimberly has to move to Paris???????????? What’s going to happen to the Rangers?????
The Famous Gymnastics Coach! I’m sure you’ve heard of him. He discovers Kimberly at the Juice Bar/Gym and immediately decides that she needs to train with him for the upcoming trials for the Pan-Global Games, which are nothing like any world-wide sports competition that is super touchy about their trademarks involving rings or something. When Kim qualifies at the trials, he then invites her to his training facility in Florida, which is great because she technically does not actually have a home anywhere in the US at this point.25
The hard-nosed police lieutenant in charge of the Junior Police Patrol, he has the honor/misfortune of getting saddled with Bulk and Skull in the middle of their turn to middling levels of heroism and/or misadventure. Surely this distinguished professional will come out of this whole affair completely fine and never having any kind of dessert land on his head at all.
The Big Bad(s): Rita and Zedd – Husband and Fright
By now, there is absolutely no imported villain footage. But that just means that they can really go full camp with the most malicious marriage of the millenium. Did somebody say Power Couple? At this point, Rita and Zedd are fairly toothless personality-wise, but they manage to put up a reasonable amount of threat this season, capturing or entrapping one or more of the Rangers several times over the course of the season. They seem to be having such a good time being in wuv though. And when they make the monsters grow now, they cross their staffs together and nobody has to throw anything down to Earth at all!
And Then: Master Vile – Bad Dad
Just as Rita and Zedd are starting to get comfortable, in zaps Rita’s dad, Master Vile, Conqueror of the M51 Galaxy! The whole thing! Surely these 6 teenagers will pose no problem for this evil three-headed… snake… wizard… thing. But he’s also got Dad Glasses, which is actually pretty sharp-looking. Finally a new villain that wasn’t created specifically for America. Vile’s plan is to take control of the Zeo Crystal, an object of power that certainly won’t set up the entire next season. Anyway, it’s deep under Rita and Zedd’s palace because As You Know, it used to be a good alien palace until it was conquered thousands of years ago. But it’s protected by a force field that only allows the pure of heart through,26 so obviously it’s gonna be safe forever.
So anyways, two episodes later, the Rangers smash the crystal and drop the pieces into time-holes and Vile swears his ultimate revenge, which is to steal Zedd’s plan of turning the Rangers into kids, but this time actually go down and take advantage of it instead of sending the Putties to get dodgeballed to death. And it works! Or so it seems…?
Rita’s brother, Rito, is an idiot. A dangerous idiot, but nonetheless. He seems to exist only to frustrate Goldar, which is always fun. He arrives on the moon having heard about Rita and Zedd’s wedding, bringing with him a Vampirus egg, which would be way more fearsome if it didn’t get blown up by the brand new Megazord, and the Tenga warriors, a bunch of birds that have their own theme song about how stupid and smelly they are. I have never understood his design, which is some kind of skeleton/soldier combo, with a skull-helmet and some kind of strange half-camo, half-bone-colored split right down the middle. He proves to be a substantial threat in his first appearance, taking down the two Thunderzords, but he soon gets relegated to be half of the Villainous Comic Relief Duo with Goldar. Which is great because it means Goldar suffering and we love to see Goldar suffer.
Hogger does not exist. There is no Hogger. There has never been a Hogger.
Goldar is Not Okay. It’s been all downhill since the wedding, but dealing with Rito is driving him to his absolute limit. When he has the tiniest bit of hope as he learns that Rita had used a love potion to ensnare Zedd and there could be an antidote and he could be rid of her forever once more, it is all dashed to absolute bits when it turns out that Zedd does actually love her, potion or not. He is a warrior, a conqueror, and his very being demands respect, but also he is a buffoon saddled with Rito, an even bigger buffoon, so that goes really well for him.
And The Rest
They’re around, I guess? Our Moon Villain population has blown up from five relatively cohesive cohorts in a strict hierarchy to a six or seven person family sitcom, in-laws and all. So basically Squatt, Babboo, and Finster take a backseat, which is fine because Squatt and Babboo are useless anyway, and Finster’s got his own thing going on back in his lab, where he occasionally spits out some monster or another. Altogether it’s probably a better run of appearances than Season Two though.
They are birds. Big birds. Possibly some kind of ninja-inspired, but probably not. Unlike the Putties, these birds can talk, and boy do they. Where the putties were literally just generic clay blobs, the Tenga have a personality and that personality tends to be stupid and/or cowardly. But at least they don’t wear a big target on their chest. They also have their own fight song, Tenga Bye Bye, which is… definitely something that exists. While I do generally appreciate footsoldiers with more character, the Tenga are… They’re just so, so stupid and useless. Also all the feathers flying around worry me for some reason.
With Rita back in the picture, Finster is let out of the doghouse27 and gets to go back to the job that he loves: making little clay monsters that turn into big monsters and then get exploded by some teens. The monsters this season end up being a mix of curated monsters from Finster and random things (or people???) getting turned into monsters. Sometimes the monsters even have anything to do with the thing they were created from!
Monsters that are Good (according to me):
For some reason, Zedd gets super into American football this one time, playing catch with Rito and Goldar like their fun dad or something. At the same time, Finster is creating
delicious peanut butter a magic centipede, and in some wacky hijinks, the football and the centipede combine into delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups a football centipede monster. That when it throws a football at you that if it touches you, you turn into a football. Like happens. So then Rocky is the only Ranger not to be an inanimate object, which temporarily made him the best Ranger by default by a small, small margin.
Kat just super casually gets turned into a monster this one time. She becomes a cat monster that is definitely not a nine-tailed-fox and attacks the Rangers, like any normal evil brainwashed cat-person cat-monster. Then she grows to giant size and gets destroyed by the Ninja Megazord, but afterwards she’s just totally ok and chilling at the park and no one is the wiser.
Did you know that you could turn a car into a monster with people inside and then the people just sort of wind up inside the big car monster? With Finster’s Vehicular Transformation Apparatus, anything is possible! And that’s how Kimberly, Bulk, and Skull end up sitting in prop car seats going “woooooooooaaaaaahhh” as the camera goes all tilty.
Monsters that are Objectively Bad
What… What is going on here. Seriously. This is a kids’ show.
What About Bulk and Skull?
Early in the season, Bulk and Skull determine that since girls like men in uniform, they should join the Angel Grove Junior Police Patrol, which apparently involves a very movie-inspired boot camp run by the capable and authoritative Lt. Stone, who surely will retain his composure and self-respect for the rest of his appearances supervising Bulk and Skull.
It’s a bit unclear how this Junior Police Patrol thing works, especially considering that a lot of the plots involving Bulk and Skull doing police-adjacent buffoonery seem to be happening during school hours and neither of them really appear in any more school scenes except in a “professional” capacity. At this point, Bulk and Skull have fully shed the “antagonist” identity and are purely either comic relief, monster bait, chaotic elements, or some combination of the three.
During the end of the season cliffhanger, they are de-aged like everyone else, which I’m sure will turn out fine for all involved.
THE FINAL SCORE
We now begin the completely transparent scoring system, where I give a value (in Pts) to each of the major elements, and I also get to decide what those are. And also how much they have accrued in Bonus Points(pts) up to now.
- The Team: 300 Pts
- Individual: 276 tPts Hooray, nobody has to get body-doubled!
- Together: 331 tPts Hooray, the team gets to stay relatively stable this season
- Leader: 6 tPts Hooray? It’s Kim’s boyfriend or whatever.
- The Zords: 98 Pts
- Individual: 135 zPts The Ninjazords are all simple and smooth and then the Shogunzords are stuffed full of design. Maybe somewhere in the middle, guys…?
- Megazords: 36 zPts All Ninja Megazord wants is Hands! A decent pair of Hands!
- The Villains: 391 Pts
- Leader: 427 vPts One Big Evil Family
- Henchmen: 77 vPts *sigh* I guess I’ll put up with Rito if he makes Goldar miserable
- Fodder: 3 vPts Don’t watch the Tenga
- The Monsters: 70 Pts They’re all fine I guess, but some of them are kind of… *waves hands* broad?
- Story: 101 Pts oh my gosh is actual story happening
Sudden Dramatic Points Right At The End
250 Pts There is some real visible improvement happening in the acting and in the production. It’s maybe actually almost… good? Wild, I know.
After converting the base score(Pts) and bonuses(pts) into Power Points (PPs), totalling all the scores for each section and normalizing the results according to the secret formulae that definitely exist and are not a screen to get me out of having to think about scores ever at all:
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Season 3: 13097 Power Points (PPs)
Let’s see the rankings!
Power Rangers Seasons, Ranked
- Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season 3 – 13097 PPs
- Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season 228
- Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season 129
Continuing improvement! Surely nothing bad could happen to this upward trend! Surely!
A note: At the end of January, most of the Power Rangers series will be leaving Netflix. I’m still figuring out what I want to do regarding that, but my hope is to get at least enough through Zeo to have it mostly outlined and screenshotted before it leaves. After that, I’ll have to see, but I’ve got preliminary notes for the next 4-ish seasons after that, so I’d ideally like to finish those.
But in any case, join me (hopefully) next time on Ranger Ranker, where I cover The One That is Technically A Season