Our Legacy of Power series continues this month with Featured Writer R.J. Sills taking an in-depth look into Season 2 of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers!
It’s morphin’ time, and Season 2 is brings about changes, more power, and new zords!
The first three episodes entitled “The Mutiny” begin with Rita being frightened at the return of her boss, Lord Zedd. He is upset at Rita’s constant failure to destroy the Earth. Putting her back into her space dumpster and sending her out into space, he decides to take over the responsibility of destroying the Rangers and the Earth himself. He creates a monster to ambush the teens at a charity four-wheeler race. During the attack, the monster is able to freeze all but the Tyrannosaurus Zord. Tommy, with his weak powers, summons the Dragonzord only for the creature to take control of it and have the two zords fight each other. Once the Zords are all back in their hiding places, Zordon and Alpha convert them into the Thunderzords! Tyrannosaurus becomes the Red Dragon, Saber-Toothed Tiger becomes a Griffin, Mastodon becomes a Lion, Triceratops becomes a Unicorn, and Pterodactyl becomes the Firebird Thunderzord. Tommy is not given a new zord, for fear that his powers will soon give out. The new Thunder Megazord is able to defeat the Dragonzord, giving it back to Tommy and also defeating Zedd’s new monster, angering the lord of darkness at the same time. All this and the gang are still able to finish the race, even if it is in last place.
As the Rangers settle into their new zords and get used to Zedd and his more powerful monsters, episode four “The Wanna-Be Ranger” follows Alpha trying to help a little boy find his mother while Zordon is away from the Command Center for the day. Episode five “Putty on the Brain” has Zedd put a spell on Billy and Zach’s safety goggles in class, causing them to see their friends as Putties! In episode six “Bloom of Doom”, Zedd tests Kimberly and Trini’s friendship when he bewitches a cactus, causing Kim to become hateful and mean. Episode seven “The Green Dream” has Tommy again put under the control of evil, and Zedd uses him to try and get the Sword Of Power from Zordon. Episode eight “The Power Stealer” shows Zedd trying his best to drain Tommy of his Green Ranger powers. Episode nine “The Beetle Invasion” has the team helping Ernie when a rival school challenges them to a game of Broomball at the Juice Bar. Episode ten “Welcome To Venus Island” has Zedd kidnapping a girl so the Rangers will surrender to get her back. Episode eleven “The Song of Guitardo” shows off Kimberly’s singing and musical talents.
An end to an era comes with episodes twelve and thirteen, the “Green No More” two-parter. Tommy is visited from the future by himself, while Zedd kidnaps five new bullies at school to become his Dark Rangers. Tommy is separated from the others so Zedd can have the latest monsters attack drain the Green powers even more. The other five are sent to a dark dimension to face the Dark Rangers. The Rangers are able to morph and free themselves, along with the brainwashed teens. Tommy’s powers finally give out as the monster is defeated, and with this realization he decides to leave the team once again. The following episode (number fourteen) “Missing Green” shows Jason having a form of survivors’ guilt as he failed to get the Green Candle, causing Tommy’s powers to become weak in the first place. Episode fifteen “Orchestral Maneuvers in the Park” shows Zach and his cousin looking for their grandfather’s trumpet after Zedd uses it to make the Rangers think they see monsters, when they do not! Episode sixteen “Beauty And the Beast” shows Zedd trying to make Kimberley his evil queen: strange enough, causing her to dress like Rita!
In episodes seventeen and eighteen, titled “White Light”, Zordon and Alpha both leave and shut down the Command Center in preparation for a new project. Zedd notices this and decides to use this to his advantage. During all of this, Rita’s space dumpster lands in Angel Grove Park, only to be found by Bulk and Skull! After the Rangers’ first encounter with Zedd’s latest creation, Billy goes to the Command Center and stumbles upon a new Ranger being created by Alpha and Zordon. The new White Ranger is found to be Tommy! He has returned with a completely new set of powers, even taking the mantle of leader away from Jason. White Ranger is also given two new weapons: Saba, an intelligent sword that can help control his new Zord, the Tigerzord! This is a giant Tiger zord with the ability to form its own Warrior Mode. To defeat the monster, all but the Red Dragon combine with Tigerzord to form the MegaTigerzord! After the battle, the Rangers find that Bulk and Skull attempt to open Rita’s prison, sending it back to space with the help of Zordon. Episode nineteen “Two For One” has Zedd ruining Tommy and Kim’s date, using her mother’s purse as a monster to freeze the Rangers until Billy creates a device to reverse it. Episode twenty “Opposites Attract” shows that you cannot judge a book by its cover when Billy finds a fellow brainiac in one of Kim’s friends. Episode twenty-one “Zedd’s Monster Mash” gives the Rangers a bit of a scare when Zedd spends Halloween bringing his best and brightest back to life.
Episodes twenty-two, twenty-three, and twenty-four “The Ninja Encounter” introduce three new teenagers from the neighboring city of Stone Canyon: Rocky DeSantos, Aisha Campbell, and Adam Park. These three are seen in Angel Grove Park saving a runaway stroller after the father is distracted by three karate students. Rocky, Adam, and Aisha are later found to be the masked winners of the karate tournament, defeating the three jerks from the park. Zedd sees this and kidnaps them to make them his own evil minions. After a long battle with the latest monster and having to find where the captured ones are hidden away, Billy, Kim, and Tommy save them. This does come at the loss of the Rangers’ identities to the new teens. They promise to keep the secret and say they will help the Rangers whenever possible. Episode twenty-five “A Monster Of Global Proportions” shows that even if you aren’t from around here, you can still be heroic when Zedd captures kids from different countries while at a Teen World Summit. Rocky, Adam, and Aisha transfer schools to Angel Grove. Episode twenty-six “Zedd Waves” shows off the power of the three teens when all the Rangers are turned into mindless zombies by way of Zedd’s latest idea.
Episodes twenty-seven and twenty-eight, known as “The Power Transfer”, start off with Jason, Trini, and Zach being chosen as ambassadors for Angel Grove. Before they leave the Ranger team and travel to Switzerland, they must go to a distant planet and find an ancient sword that will be used to transfer the powers to a new Ranger. Zedd follows the six in his new personal zord called Serpentera. After almost being destroyed, they are saved by Tor the Shuttlezord, and the Rangers head back to Earth so that they can say goodbye to old friends and welcome new ones. Rocky, Adam, and Aisha become Jason, Zach, and Trini’s replacements. The Red, Black, and Yellow Ranger powers are successfully transferred as the old three leave the team behind. Episode twenty-nine “Goldar’s Vice Versa” features the return of the venomous Scorpina when she pretends to be Adam’s date to a dance. Episode thirty “Mirror Of Regret” focuses on Adam’s resolve to never give up on himself, his team, or his students. In episode thirty-one “When Is A Ranger Not A Ranger?”, Bulk and Skull almost find out the true identities of the Rangers when they save them from a memory destruction monster. Episode thirty-two “Rocky Just Wants To Have Fun” shows that all fun and games can become dangerous when Rocky is put under a spell to constantly play Ernie’s new game at the Juice Bar. Episode thirty-three “Lights, Camera, Action” has the Power Rangers on the local talk show. Episode thirty-four “Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire” has Aisha becoming heated with power when she is made Junior Fire Safety Captain. Episode thirty-five “Scavenger Hunt” has the teens trying to win a local scavenger hunt, while dealing with Zedd’s latest scheme. Episode thirty-six “The Great Bookala Escape” has the Rangers intervening between Zedd and his hunt for an alien that has a crystal that could mean unlimited power for Serpentera. Episode thirty-seven “Forever Friends” has Aisha learning what happens when you try to balance old and new friends together. Episode thirty-eight “A Reel Fish Story” has Zedd using all of his more aquatic monsters to attack the Rangers while they are relaxing at the lake.
Episodes thirty-nine and forty “Rangers Back in Time” has Zedd turning back time to when the Rangers were little kids. With no memories of their time as Rangers, they are trapped in a photograph and it is up to Alpha to free them. The next story arc (episodes forty-one, forty-two, and forty-three) is titled “The Wedding”, and has the teenagers going to Australia for vacation as Lord Zedd must power down for his once every hundred years recharge sleep. As he nods off, Rita arrives back to the evil base and, with the help of Finster, creates a love potion for Zedd. Finster lures Alpha out of the Command Center to reprogram him, causing the robot to go crazy and send the Rangers to an abandoned theater in Angel Grove filled with monsters! The love potion does work, and when Zedd wakes up he falls head over heels for her. He proposes marriage to her and the sorceress accepts. After much fighting, the Rangers escape as Billy finds the problem with Alpha. However, to the dismay of Goldar, Rita and Zedd still tie the knot, becoming a powerful, evil duo. Episodes forty-four, forty-five and forty-six (“Return of The Green Ranger”) has the Rangers once again going back in time when the new power couple sends all but Tommy to the Colonial Times. Meanwhile, Tommy must fight a clone created by a wizard friend of Rita’s, except this clone has the Green Ranger powers! Tommy is able to bring the clone to the side of good as “Tom” decides to stay behind and help the people of past Angel Grove.
Episode forty-seven “The Best Man For The Job” pits Tommy against Kimberly when class elections begin. Episodes forty-eight and forty-nine (“Storybook Rangers”) have Rocky and Tommy relying on Kimberly’s memories of a childhood book when Rita and Zedd trap the three in it! The next two episodes, fifty and fifty-one “Wild West Rangers”, have Kimberly traveling back in time when she stumbles upon a time portal! She meets Abraham, William, Alicia, and Rocko, along with the White Stranger while in western Angel Grove. She is able to travel to the Command Center and convince Zordon to give her the Power Coins as she gets her teammates’ ancestors to fight alongside her. Back in present day, Alpha and everyone else try to bring her back while dealing with Zedd’s newest monster, which is made from Tommy’s gift cactus to Kim. The final and fifty-second episode of season two, “Blue Ranger Gone Bad” has a putty clone of Billy trying to steal the others’ Morphers. The real Billy is able to free himself, as well as make up with the girl he talked to in art class that the fake tried to hurt.
That is what happened story-wise this season, but what about the characters? Well, with the Rangers we already know and love, Jason stayed as much the leader as he was last season, even after Tommy came back as the White Ranger and took that position. I’m sure he was one of the more outspoken members of the Peace Conference. Trini tried her best to be a strong woman warrior as a Ranger, and was sad to give up the power but knew she could still make a difference. I am sure Zach showed everyone in Switzerland the awesome dance fight skill known as Hip Hop Kido. Kimberly left the stereotype of just being a pretty valley girl who did not care about anything but her hobbies and boys. She grew more as a person, and had to hold her own in fights many times. Billy became more than just the brainiac: he had to rely on the brains of other people sometimes when he could not think of the solution. He even showed he could talk to a girl without being afraid of what to say! As we all saw in season one, Tommy was not going to stay Green Ranger forever. Once his powers were lost and he returned as the White Ranger, he took over as leader and showed that he could hold his own very well in fights, many times taking on more than one monster at a time. There were three new Rangers added. Rocky DeSantos (played by Steve Cardenas) came in to replace Jason as Red Ranger. However, he was not as forward or showed his leadership capabilities as Jason did, given Tommy’s promotion to that role. Adam Park (played by Johnny Yong Bosch) showed many times that no matter what, as long as you believe in yourself and your abilities, you can do anything. He did a fine job becoming the new Black Ranger after Zach. Aisha Campbell (played by Karen Ashley) was not as focused on martial arts as Trini was as Yellow Ranger, but she did show that she could fight in her own way!
The new villain this time around, Lord Zedd (voiced by Robert Axelrod) was much more of a threat than Rita was (well, until he was poisoned into being in love with her). Even though a lot of his plans involved Tommy losing his powers, focusing on Kimberly somehow, or time travel, some of them almost worked. As loyal as he seemed to Rita before, when Zedd showed up Goldar became much more of a butt kisser. He rarely did much for awhile except agree with whatever Zedd said. This does loosen up however, and when Rita shows back up, he shows concern for his boss’s well-being. Speaking of Rita, she really did not do much until she was able to trick Zedd. She originally intended for the spell to make Zedd a pushover so she could take over completely, but it seems she liked the way it turned out instead. Scorpina, Squatt, and Baboo actually did less this season then they did last season. Except for one or two episodes, they were either completely background characters or were not even there. Finster was only mentioned until Rita came back, then he started to create more monsters and show that he was loyal to Rita instead of Zedd.
This season, Bulk and Skull decided to attempt to find out the identities of the Rangers. In every episode they would have a new harebrained scheme as to how to do this, and it always failed – except for the time when they were the only hope for the Rangers, and that ended with their own memories of the incident being erased. Ernie, Mr. Caplan, and Ms. Appleby stayed positive and encouraging role models for the teens, even during the trying times when their city repeatedly gets attacked by monsters. A new secondary character was also introduced this season. Richie (portrayed by Maurice Mendoza) had become a love interest for Trini. He had a job at the Juice Bar, but after the Peace Conference departure he is never shown again (or even mentioned) on screen.
Overall, this season was better than season one. Sure, it had noticeable problems due to behind the scenes issues: Austin St John, Walter Jones, and Thuy Trang left because they wanted more money, and there was also Jason David Frank’s possible departure when Brad Hawkins almost became the White Ranger. Lots of things happened, but most of it worked out in the end.
Stay tuned for next month when I take a look at the third season, when thunder booms away in favor of the stealth of ninjas!