Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: A Friend In Need Review

It’s Morphin’ Time! Uncanny Fox here, ready to kick off my review of the Power Rangers crossover episodes with a look at the 3-part Mighty Morphin Season 3 opener, “A Friend In Need,” featuring the world’s first look at the lamest Toku hero of all, Saban’s Masked Ri-der! Masked Ri-Der! Mask Ri… *Crowd starts throwing trash*

Okay, okay! I’ll stop! Geez, my first day back at work… anywho, unlike most of the crossovers we’ll be reviewing, this one wasn’t a team-up between the last season and the current one, but rather a back-door pilot meant to set up Saban’s latest Tokusatsu (that’s “Special Effects show” in Japanese, a genre that is typically associated with costumed heroes battling rubber-suited monsters that explode when they die. You know, Power Rangers stuff) adaptation, Masked Ri-der! Masked Ri-der! Seriously, that was how the theme song went. “Go Go Power Rangers” it was not.

Like Power Rangers, Masked Rider drew its costumes and fight scenes from a Japanese Tokusatsu series, in this case the Kamen Rider franchise and Kamen Rider: Black RX in particular. However, things didn’t go as smoothly as Power Rangers, as the show was modified from its original premise as a spin-off (Power Rangers’ ratings and popularity was beginning to slide at this time, more on that next week) and a variety of factors prevented it from being a success. Namely a focus on goofy comedy that clashed with the premise, a scrappy duck/bear/thing sidekick named Furbus (which somehow predicted the Furby craze a few years later) and clumsy editing of the Japanese footage that led to the main character magically turning Asian any time a monster attacked him. I’m not talking quick distance shots either. There were close-ups. I remember watching the show as a kid and thinking it was alright (my memories are fuzzy, and after seeing some clips online years later, it’s clear I was blocking them out), but the rest of the world didn’t share that opinion, as the series flopped so hard that it was cancelled mid-season, hasn’t been released on DVD in the States yet, and there wouldn’t be another Kamen Rider adaptation until The CW’s Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight in 2009. Although Saban Brands did file a trademark for the name “Power Rider” in 2011, though ultimately nothing came of it except for Karn’s unofficial Youtube videos.

Back to Power Rangers, this 3-part episode was aired at the beginning of Season 3, but still feels like a Season 2 episode, as the Rangers still use the Thunderzords, Bulk and Skull would end their Season 2 mission to unmask the Rangers, and the main plot of the new season wouldn’t kick off until the following episodes in “Ninja Quest.” In the meantime, let’s whip out our Morphers and jump into action with “A Friend In Need,” featuring bug people, poison gas, and aliens getting the flu from people in masks.

Part 1 begins with the classic intro theme, “Go Go Power Rangers,” performed by none other than Ron “The Mighty RAW” Wasserman. Saban Brands may have run it into the ground later on with Samurai and Megaforce, but this song will never not be awesome, and an absolute joy to listen to. It just gets you pumped up and ready to see the Rangers kick some monster posterior.

After that, the episode proper opens in space, over a dried-up meatball of a planet named Edenoi. On the surface, slaves are at work digging for something in the desert as an armored figure watches from afar on a horse. One of the workers, dressed in a robe and a gas mask, explains that it’s a “Plague Sentry” working for a man named Dregon, and that he would “like to pull his horns off.”

Meanwhile, the Sentry gloats that the slaves are digging up poisonous gasses that will destroy their planet. Back on the field, another worker, an old man, tells the other one, whose name is Dex (played by TJ Roberts, who actually did some old martial arts movies as a kid), that he will get his chance at revenge someday. Like in your own TV series…

Over at the Command Center on Earth, our lovable child-kidnapping automaton Alpha 5 is bemoaning the plight of Edenoi, as he was watching his Galactic Scanner when he picked up a distress signal from there. Not sure who could have sent it, given that everyone’s been enslaved. This hits close to home for the little robot, as Edenoi was the planet where he was built. His creator, named Lexian, seems to have vanished, and the planet is under heavy attack. But Edenoi is too far away for the space wizard Zordon to do anything but wait for more information.

Back in space, a bug-like spaceship named the Spiderbase, but the subtitles of my DVD calls the “Spiderface” (so I’ll be calling it that throughout this review in the interest of snarkiness) flies over a moon. Inside, a hovering droid announces the arrival of the “Lord Of Evil,” Count Dregon. Not Lord Draven or Lord Drakken, Count Dregon. The gold-masked tyrant (who’s portrayed via dubbed Black RX footage, just like Rita was back in Season 1 and complete with the words he says not matching up with his lips) asks his minions to report on the attack on Edenoi, which is going as expected. I’ll say, you’ve already got them doing hard labor, you pretty much won at that point. Nonetheless, Dregon orders the planet to be destroyed. Which they’re already doing by digging up the poison gas.

After a commercial break, we check back up with the Power Rangers at the Angel Grove Juice Bar, with that red Chevy truck parked in the front. Who owns that, exactly? I’d think it would be Jason’s (he strikes me as the kind of guy to drive a truck), but it’s still there long after he asked to get paid… I mean, left for the Peace Conference. Maybe he gave it to Rocky…

Anyway, Aisha (the Yellow Ranger) is talking to Kimberly (Pink) on the phone, as the latter is in bed with the flu. Aisha tells her the usual “stay in bed and drink plenty of fluids” advice before hanging up and checking on Adam (Black, also he’s played by Johnny Young Bosch, who anime and video game fans will recognize as Nero from the Devil May Cry series, Bumblebee in the Transformers: War For Cybertron games, Vash the Stampede in Trigun, T.K. in Digimon Adventure Tri, and many more), who’s doing some studying as Tommy (White) and Rocky (Red – and side note, I once got an autograph from his actor, Steve Cardenas, for Christmas. Still have it hanging in my room) have a sparring session in the background.

The two take a break as Billy (Blue) walks in after helping Alpha install a new chip in the communicators. He notes that the little android has been acting weird lately, that he’s been down in the dumps. Tommy suggests paying him a visit at the Command Center after everyone speculates that he’s lonely. Yes, please, visit him and cheer him up before he abducts more children to lip-sync with…

Back on Edenoi, the danger music from Digimon plays (Saban would reuse the music from the Masked Rider series on the English dub of the Adventure seasons) as Dregon’s ship starts laser-bombing the place. Uh, what was the point of having everyone dig for poison gas if you were just going to do that? For that matter, what’s the purpose of destroying the planet’s environment if you want to take it over. Is this like the Armada, where they slaughter everyone and leave?

Over at Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa’s Moon Palace, the skinless villain of Season 2 observes Dregon’s actions via his telescopic vison and grumbles “Why him?” Rita chews him out for not spying on the Power Rangers, and Zedd complains about he hates Dregon more than the Rangers, taking offense with Rita proclaiming the Count to be the “evilest of evil.” Whoa, did he kidnap a little girl and raise her to be an intergalactic tyrant at war with her own brother? Send a bunch of his own soldiers to their deaths to blow up a space colony full of innocent people? Devour the remnants of an ancient demonic being in order to murder his co-workers in cold blood? Build a robot army and genocide 99% of the human race? Stab his own alternate reality self to death and set out to re-mold the entire multiverse in his own perverse image? No? Than your boy’s got some miles to go before he’s taking home that trophy.

Apparently, Zedd and Dregon were rivals in Evil College or something, and Dregon was always trying to one-up Zedd. And now he’s off decimating worlds while Zedd fails to take down a bunch of teenagers week after week and has to watch how scary he is lest the parents call in to complain again. But don’t worry Zedd, you still look way cooler than that tacky Phantom Of The Opera knock-off.

Rita assures him that resident monster-maker Finster is hard at work on a creature to take down the Rangers, which was a rarity at this point in the series given Zedd’s tendency to make his own monsters. The poor guy’s just sitting around with all that clay and no monsters to make with it. Zedd lets out a zinger about how Finster’s monsters can’t “walk and chew gum at the same time,” but Rita’s hopeful. For some reason, it’s not like she spent a whole season watching his creations fail every week…

At the Command Center, Billy checks Alpha’s readings on Edenoi, deducing that something is definitely wrong with the planet’s environment. Tommy asks Zordon how far away it is, and the giant head explains that it’s over in the Andromedia Galaxy, far beyond their reach. Guess they’ll have to let Pathfinder Ryder take care of it. He goes on to explain that the people of Edenoi, called the Edenoites, were peaceful, and smart enough to build robots that can eat without mouths. I’m not letting that go.

Alpha adds that Lexian, who also happens to be the king of Edenoi, built him and served as his father figure before Zordon came around. Wait a minute, I thought Zordon and Alpha went to Earth in prehistoric times. So, are the Edenoites immortal or something? That kind of puts a kink into some things we learn later on.

Tommy tells Alpha to contact Kimberly (who’s still in bed sick) and explain the situation to her, and then it’s Morphin Time. We get the traditional montage of the Rangers standing inside their morphers and calling out the names of their respective dinosaurs (or in Tommy’s case, rare wild cat) before taking on their multi-colored, helmeted superhero forms. Classic.

After the morphing sequence is done, the Rangers head to the park, where they signal to Zordon and Alpha that they’re ready to teleport to Edenoi. Why they couldn’t just do that from the Command Center is beyond me. Alpha thanks them once again for helping his homeworld, and Zordon tells them that they are headed toward the sight of the worst disturbance on the planet. With that, the Rangers teleport offworld.

Unfortunately, this means that Earth is wide open for Zedd and Rita to attack, and Zedd is all too eager to conquer the planet before Dregon gets his eye on it. After a quick insult to Goldar (he never really liked working for her, and he was devastated by her and Zedd’s marriage), Rita heads off to check up on Finster’s monster…

Which isn’t ready yet, as the Zyuranger stock footage of Finster assures the original footage of Rita that he’s putting the finishing touches on it. She tells him to hurry up, since it won’t be long until the Rangers come back.

Speaking off, our heroes arrive on Edenoi, which just looks like the Angel Grove park with the camera tinted red. Say, throughout this whole episode, we don’t see any buildings, ruins or factories. You know, places where they can build robots that can eat without mouths. It’s just deserts and hillsides as far as the eye can see. I get that Dregon destroyed everything, but you’d think that there would still be something left afterwards.

Regardless, Tommy tells everyone to keep their eyes peeled, and Aisha hears an explosion going off in the distance. It’s from the Spiderface, as Dregon and his crew continue laying waste to the planet. The Rangers decide to take cover, but aren’t sure where to go. They decide to just make a run in a random direction once the ship pauses to reload.

Once they reach a rock formation suitable for hiding from red-hot plasma death from above, they start to speculate on who’s attacking and why. And more importantly, where the Edenoites are. Aisha spots some digging in the fields, and they in turn see movement in the distance. Including Dex, who sneaks off from the main group…

Billy explains that the ground is honeycombed with pockets of poison gas, the stuff Dregon has the civilians digging up. But before they can question why, they find themselves ambushed by Dex and a small band of his friends, who apparently think the Rangers are working for Dregon.

Tommy tries to explain that they come in peace, but the Edenoites aren’t hearing it. An argument goes back and forth between the two groups as the Rangers plead that they are just following a distress signal, until Dex has enough and calls upon the power of Edenoi to become the Masked Rider, with the call of “Ecto-Phase, Activate!” Or as the subtitles call it, “Ecto-Bay, Activate.”

One morphing sequence later, the Masked Rider leaps onto a rock and declares that the Rangers will pay for attacking his homeworld. Rather unconvincingly, I might add. There’s just something about TJ Roberts’s voice that sounds too nasally to pull this off. Maybe it would have been better with someone like Brad Hawkins from VR Troopers as the Rider. In any case, he orders his buddies to attack the Rangers, and a fight breaks out.

All the while, the Rangers plead for the natives to listen to them, but to limited avail. They finally start to get through once Aisha mentions Alpha, and Billy explains that he knows that the gas the Edenoites have been unearthing is disrupting the planet.

The Rider takes on Tommy and Rocky personally, overpowering the two with ease after an aerial skirmish and a brief beatdown on the ground. Say what you will about T.J Roberts not sounding the part, but the stuntman does a decent job with the fight choreography, especially with how the Rider is wearing a hard rubber suit compared to the Rangers’ spandex. He’s better than Batman, I’ll say that…

Meanwhile, Dregon is watching the fight from his Spiderface and asks his minion Doubleface who the new beings on the planet are. Doubleface explains that the ship’s computers can’t identify them, but assumes that they are there to steal the Masked Riders powers. Another henchman, one who speaks in rhythm with a high-pitched voice, suggests they wait until the Rangers defeat Masked Rider before attacking them, but Doubleface points out that they will have the Rider’s powers in addition to their own, making them a greater threat. Dregon agrees, and orders their aerial assault to resume until everyone on the surface is destroyed.

After another commercial break, the Rider goes to work on Tommy and Rocky, trying and failing to copy Jason David Frank’s epic “ooh-ahh” cries as he delivers flying dropkicks and punches. Rocky tries to reason with him some more as he and Tommy hold him in place, with the latter asking the Rider what it will take to convince him they’re on his side. I don’t know, you could try blurting out your mother’s name in hopes that it’s the same as his…

On the Spiderface, Doubleface tells Dregon that the ship is ready to pick up where it left off in glassing Edenoi, and Dregon gives the order to attack after the rhyming creature asks if the food will taste better once they’re done. No buddy, I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure annihilating all plant and animal life on the planet will ensure the food doesn’t taste like anything. You know, on the grounds that it won’t exist anymore.

Rider breaks free of Tommy and Rocky’s hold, right as Dregon opens fire on the surface. Rider realizes that Dregon is firing on the Rangers just as much as him and his crew, and that even Dregon isn’t evil enough to fire on his own troops. So there, Rita. You were way off base.

With that, Rider holds his friends back and asks how the Rangers found them. Tommy explains that Alpha thought Edenoi was in danger, and the Rider concludes that friends of Alpha are friends of his. He shakes hands with the Rangers as Dregon’s ship… just takes another break, I guess. They must be running on the same type of AA batteries as Serpentera.

Speaking of, Doubleface bemoans that the Rider and the Rangers escaped their attack (uh, they’re still standing right there, dummies) and Dregon orders him to continue firing. Now being bombarded again, the Rider tells his new friends to follow him to safety in a nearby cave.

Up in space, Dregon chews out his cronies for letting the heroes get away. He orders them to send out the “Plague Patrol” to look for the Rider and Rangers, before vowing that they will not escape his wraith and the “To Be Continued…” text shows up on screen.

The end credits show a clip from Jason David Frank’s martial arts workout video that was released around this time, where he explains that martial arts starts with the strongest muscle: your mind. Says the dude who forgot his backpack on a regular basis. In any case, he does get to show off some of his sick karate moves, and that’s always a plus.

Part 2 picks up with the Spiderface continuing its bombardment of Edenoi, while Dex and the Rangers retreat deeper into the cave. Dex tells them that Dregon will soon send the Plague Patrol after them, but they should be safe for the time being. He demorphs and explains that he was given the power of the Masked Rider to battle evil.

He assures the Rangers that the air is breathable where they are, prompting everyone to take off their gas masks and helmets. After the requisite introductions, Dex projects a hologram from the jewel glued to his head explaining how Dregon enslaved his people and forced them to dig for the toxic gas that will destroy their world. Since the Edenoites had no need for weapons or armies before, Dregon had no problem taking them over, causing many of the civilians to flee off-world or go into hiding.

After an awkward commercial break, Billy asks Dex how he became the Rider, prompting the prince to explain that the powers were passed down through his family, until the time came for them to be used to protect Edenoi. Dregon is looking to take the Rider powers for himself, allowing him to conquer the universe. Therefore, Dex has to remain in hiding until he can help his grandfather, King Lexian, regain the throne.

Back at the Command Center, Alpha gets a call on the Viewing Globe from Kimberly, who’s still sick but worried about the others. Alpha assures her that they will be fine, and that she should focus on getting better. Kimberly tells him to keep her posted, then logs out.

At the Juice Bar, one half of everyone’s favorite pair of bumbling idiots, Bulk overhears a couple of girls talking about a party, but strikes out immediately upon trying to ask them out. He takes a seat as his buddy Skull enters into the room, and he asks his buddy for input regarding the potential girlfriends. Skull responds with a somewhat leery “very, very nice” and Bulk wonders what they’re talking about. Uh, didn’t you just overhear them talking about a party?

Anyway, Skull thinks they’re talking about his good looks, but Bulk thinks they’re gossiping about the Power Rangers, who they have spent the last season trying to unmask. He has an idea, but Skull says that he’s done trying to find them. Now he just wants to settle down, meet a nice girl, and have a kid that Bulk will one day train to be a samurai. No, Bulk’s idea is to pretend to be the Rangers themselves to impress the ladies. Maybe as the Purple Pig Ranger and the Orange Chicken Ranger…

At the Moon Palace, Zedd is working on some Evil Math when he’s bumped from behind by Rita and Goldar, prompting him to yell at them to stop following him around. He’s growing impatient with Finster, complaining that he doesn’t have all century to wait, especially with Dregon moving in on him. Which leads to a rant about how much he hates the Count and that he’s “too evil for his own good.” I don’t know Zedd, as we’ve already established, he’s still got a few more levels of evil to reach before that…

Heading back to the Juice Bar, where Bulk and Skull hatch their latest “get-famous-quick” scheme by scooching over to the girls and having a loud discussion about their “connections” to the Power Rangers. With some couching by Bulk, Skull brags that he knows where the Rangers are going to be later that day, at their “secret location,” which is the mountainside at the east end of the city. Pretty convenient that the Rangers regularly gather at Make-Out Point…

On the outskirts of Endenoi, a Plague Patroller on horseback orders his frog-like minions, known as “Cogwarts,” to attack the Masked Rider and the Rangers in the cave. The heroes hear the noises coming from outside and look out to spot their new enemies.

After another break, Dex tells the Rangers that he can handle the Cogwarts on his own, while the Rangers deal with the two Plague Patrollers accompanying them. Outside, the Patrollers are calling to the “rebel swine” (because the Empire already has a copyright on “rebel scum” apparently) to come out and face them before they send in the Cogwarts.

The heroes exclaim “To the Power!” (which no one has ever said before this episode or since) and run out to battle their enemies. Dex gives an “epic” speech about how new allies are rallying to Edenoi’s cause, and that the day will come that Dregon and his minions are banished from the planet forever. He then morphs, gives out a few wooden “hi-yahs ”while posing, and the fight is on.

The Rider “corrals” the Cogwarts with several chops and kicks while the Edenoites flee back into the cave. Tommy, being awesome, dropkicks a Plague Patroller off his horse and tells him that he’s even uglier up close, while Rocky goes one-on-one with the other. Dex takes out one of the Cogwarts with an energized “Rider Kick”, and brags that it’s a “two for one.” Even though it clearly only took out one.

Adam, Billy and Aisha take on another Plague Patroller, who declares that they’ll “have to kick harder than that.” Adam will see what he can do about that. Meanwhile, Tommy flips over a rock as the Patroller he’s fighting follows him, then tries the “your shoe’s untied” trick as he fights him.

Rider takes knocks the third Cogwart down with an aerial chop, only to get swarmed by the second. Told you that kick only took out one. Not even, cause he then joins in with a flying dropkick of his own as his buddies hold the Rider down.

Meanwhile, the Rangers are still fighting the Patrollers, with Billy telling one of them that he “needs a breath mint.” A little hard to tell, giving how their all wearing masks, you think?

Back at the Command Center, Alpha’s worried about the Rangers, given that they’ve never been out of touch with them for so long before. Zordon assures him that they will be fine, and that they need to have faith in the Rangers’ abilities. Alpha admits that “at least things here are quiet…”

Which he shouldn’t have, as Finster is ready to unveil his new monster after Rita yells at him to “get his termite-ridden carcass in here.” He scurries out and presents The Repellator… which is just Silver Horns painted green and with a tongue sticking out. Boy, times are so tough that ol’ Finster has to rehash his old molds.

The monster is “displeased” to meet Zedd and Rita, and lovingly licks the latter’s hand, leaving a gross red slime behind. Zedd orders Repellator down to Angel Grove at Rita’s demand, telling him to “let destruction be his song of war,” and the monster accepts, saying that he “has much slobbering to do there.”

The danger alarm goes off at the Command Center, and Alpha does his “aye-aye-aye” routine before tracking Repellator on the Viewing Globe. After Alpha gives the line “Galatic Gizmos, that’s one ugly monster,” Zordon tells him to contact the Rangers on Edenoi, as they’re now needed back home. Unfortunately, it’s a long distance away…

…And the Rangers are still busy dealing with the Plague Patrol, as demonstrated by Tommy letting out a few more of his “ut-say-oyas.” Alpha can’t reach them, and after the commercial break, he and Zordon are forced to contact the only Ranger left on Earth…

Kimberly, who’s still in bed sick. Alpha calls her and explains that there’s a monster in Angel Grove and she’s needed to fight. She says she’s up to it despite her ailment, and soon morphs.

She teleports to the lakeside, where Repellator plans to “burp and slurp up Angel Grove.” Still not quite as catchy as “Quakemaker, make quakes,” but I’ll take it. Kimberly starts an “I’m here to open up a can of whoop-butt on you” speech, but is cut off by a sneeze. Geez, right in her helmet. That’s gotta suck.

She regains her composure, and the two engage in the requisite pre-fight circling and trash-talk before going one-on-one. Kimberly holds her own for a bit, even throwing in a crack about when Repellator last had his nails done, until she sneezes again. Which seems to hit Repellator, despite Kim wearing a helmet.

Repellator doesn’t like this, declaring that “if a monster doesn’t have his health, he doesn’t have anything” before unleashing his main attack on the Pink Ranger: a molecular scrambler that stuns her (and warps her like she’s having a flashback) enough for him to gain the upper hand in their fight. Things are starting to look bad for Kimberly, who wonders aloud if she can beat him by herself before the “To Be Continued…” hits.

The end credits show another clip from JDF’s workout vid, where he talks about the importance of confidence, attitude and self-respect. It’s almost like Tommy’s giving his girlfriend some advice in her time of need. Which is actually kind of cute.

Part 3 picks up with Kimberly still sneezing and doubting whether or not she can defeat Repellator. The monster vows to get back at her for sneezing on him, and the fight resumes. Or in the case of this scene, a grapple.

The scene cuts back to the Command Center, where Alpha is worried that Kimberly is going to lose. Zordon tells him to try to contact the others again using “alternative frequencies,” and Alpha adjusts the Center’s sensors accordingly. But he still can’t pick anything up, so he and Zordon will have to hope that Kim is resourceful enough to pull through on her own.

At the lakeside, Kimberly keeps sneezing on Repellator, causing the monster to let go of her. He readies a counterattack, only to start sneezing so hard that the Earth starts shaking. Apparently, he’s got the flu now, even though Kim’s wearing a protective helmet and would only be sneezing her germs back into her own face. Regardless, the monster is forced to retreat as Kimberly tells him to “starve a fever, feed a cold.”

As soon as he’s gone, and the commercial break finishes, Kim’s communicator goes off. It’s Alpha and Zordon at the Command Center, who ask how the fight went down before telling her to be ready in case he comes back.

Once she signs out, Zordon tells Alpha to try contacting Edenoi again, this time using the “Galactic Phase Shifter” to route the signal. It seems to work, as Alpha reports that the signal is going through loud and clear now.

Back on Edenoi, the Rangers get Alpha’s signal, and Zordon tells them about Repellator. But Tommy doesn’t know when they’ll be able to get back to Earth, as they’re still in the middle of a fight with the Plague Patrol. Speaking of, one Patroller asks if the Rangers are “on a coffee break,” to which Tommy quips that they are the ones about to take a break… permanently.

Eventually, the Rangers force the Plague Patrollers to retreat after Tommy makes the classic “Have a nice trip, see you next Fall” joke that everyone in Power Rangers gets a chance to crack sooner or later. The pun is so bad that the monsters have no choice but to take off for the hills.

Over at the Moon Palace, Repellator walks in complaining about his sore throat before letting out another sneeze that shakes the place. Again, he got this from someone wearing a face-concealing (and logically sneeze-blocking) helmet. Zedd is more annoyed than concerned, and orders Finster to find a cure so Repellator can get back to destroying Angel Grove.

Back on Earth, Bulk and Skull are at the “secret hiding place,” putting the finishing touches on their terrible Ranger costumes. Guys, since when do the Rangers wear capes? Aside from the Magna Defender and the Mystic Force crew, that is. I still think you’d look better as the Purple Pig and Orange Chicken. They spot the girls driving up in the distance and psyche themselves up to the possibility of them finally getting laid as the ladies find a place to park.

In Finster’s Workshop, the monster-maker gives Repelletor a check-up, telling him to keep “all three of his eyes open” while he looks in his throat. Uh, Finster, I only see one there, buddy. Not to mention asking him if he brushes, even though he has no teeth. Nontheless, he confirms that Repelletor caught the flu, and tells him to stay in bed for 8-to-10 nights and drink plenty of fluids.

But Repelletor doesn’t have time for that. After all, Rita and Zedd want him to conquer Earth now. So Finster offers him a shot to take the edge off until he finishes destroying the Pink Ranger, but Repelletor freaks out once he sees how big the needle is. So instead Finster gives him a couple of giant pills that don’t look like they could fit in Relletor’s mouth. At least I hope that’s where he plans to put them…

At the hillside, the girls step out of the car and wonder if this is the right spot as Bulk and Skull put on their helmets (making their disguises even crappier) and jump out of the bushes to surprise them. But the girls aren’t buying that they’re the Power Rangers, not even at 70% off on a Black Friday sale, and walk off as Bulk asks if they want to see them “riding their Zords.” So that’s what the kids are calling it now…

Repellator then kills the mood further by teleporting behind Bulk and Skull, causing everyone to scream and hurry to get away as he vows to destroy the Power Rangers. The real ones, that is. Bulk and Skull tell him that it’s not them, and scramble to get in the girls’ car as Repellator terrorizes them.

Over on Edenoi, Masked Rider decides to end his fight with the Cogwarts by summoning his Electro-Saber, a lightsaber that he pulls from his belt-buckle, even though it kind of looks like he’s pulling it from… somewhere slightly lower. But instead of unleashing an epic slash or something cool like that, he just shoots a tiny little blast that destroys them all somehow. Seriously, the Midget Cricket from Men In Black packed more of a punch than this. I know that in the Kamen Rider footage, he stabs them and that’s too violent for the kids in America (whoa-oh), but still

Regardless, the Cogwarts explode after taking the longest time, then the rest of the Plague Patrollers retreat. Dex demorphs as the last of them calls out that this isn’t over. We’ve got a whole half season to play this feud out, after all.

Up in the Spiderface, Dregon’s minions report that the Plague Patrol has failed to capture Dex. They go on to explain that he had help from another world, and once the “multi-colored strangers” leave, they’ll be able to follow them to Earth, smelling a lot like the set-up to a failed spin-off series…

Meanwhile, Zedd is watching Repellator terrorize Bulk and Skull, and calls the sight “better than Big Time Space Wrestling.” Me, I preferred the Intergalactic Wrestling Federation myself, but there’s no point in bringing up the other Monday Night Wars these days. Also, this line is kind of ironic now that JDF is trying to get into wrestling.

He and Rita share in the joy of not having the Rangers around to stop them this time before enlarging their monster in the Season 2 method of having Zedd toss one of his signature “grow bombs” down to Earth. And this would be the last time he does this, as from here on out they use the Season 3 method of crossing their staffs and shooting lighting down at the monster.

Repellator catches the bomb and spikes it to the ground (like they do in Dairanger, the Season 2 source footage), causing him to grow giant. As this is going on, Bulk and Skull are pounding on the door of the girls’ car, begging them to let them in before Repellator decides to turn them into “toe jam jelly” by stepping on them. C’mon girls, I know they led you on and that’s terrible, but it’s nothing that warrants death. Let the guys in.

Eventually, they just drive away while Bulk and Skull are trying to act all tough. Nice. However, the two dim-wits soon chase off after them, leaving Repellator free to hunt down the real Rangers.

At the Command Center, Alpha and Kimberly see the alarm going off and ask Zordon what to do. He tells them to observe the Viewing Globe, which shows Repellator wreaking havoc. Alpha panics, but Kim assures him that she can handle the monster despite Zordon’s warnings that he was grown too strong for her to fight alone. Nonetheless, Kim decides to at least slow him down until the others arrive.

On Edenoi, Dex thanks the Rangers for helping him and his people in their time of need. Tommy tells him that they have to get back to Earth, and Dex understands. The Rangers and the Rider share one last “to the Power” (guys, stop trying to make “to the Power” happen. It’s not going to happen) before the former teleport off, with Dex telling them “till next time.” A next time that never comes, due to Dex’s show tanking harder than Rob Schneider’s post-SNL career.

Up in the Spiderface, Doubleface observes the Rangers teleporting away, telling Dregon that they are headed for Earth. Dregon then ominously decides that Earth will be their next target. Duh, duh, duh, more spinoff setup!

The Rangers soon arrive back in Angel Grove, where they spot Repellator and summon their Thunderzords. We get the usual summoning sequence, albeit with original footage of the Rangers calling their Zords instead of Zyuranger clips. In any case, the Dinozords transform into the Thunderzords for the second to last time and charge into battle to the tune of the extended “Go Go Power Rangers,” which manages to be even more awesome than the intro version. Tommy converts his White Tigerzord into Warrior Mode and the others form the Thunder Megazord.

In the Moon Palace, Zedd flips out at the sight of the Rangers’ return, and Rita comments that “she knew it was too bad to be true.”

The two mechs do battle with Repellator via original American footage. Wait, so they did have the Dairanger Mecha costumes on hand? Then what was all that about back in the beginning of the season when they were awkwardly editing Dairanger footage with the leftover Zyu 2 footage? Granted, they still use the Sentai footage for special attacks, but you could have avoided some choppy fights…

Anywho, the Tigerzord holds Repellator in place while the Megazord hits him with a Power Punch. Repellator shrugs this off and blasts them with his Disrupters, which now fire green bubble-like energy instead of warping things. Now on the defensive, the Rangers draw their battle swords and counterattack, but Repellator maintains the upper hand and knocks Megazord down a cliff.

Tigerzord takes Repellator one-on-one while the Megazord regains its footing, knocking the monster down and giving the Rangers enough time to break out the Power Ranger Double Punch. Tommy adds to this with a few White Tiger Thunderbolts, giving the Megazord an opening to deliver the coup-de-grace in the form of a Power Slash. Soon Repellator is on the ground and exploding as the two robots stand triumphant and Ron Wasserman sings the praises of their glory. Pure dopamine straight into my brain.

At the Moon Palace, Zedd worries about Count Dregon finding out about this latest defeat and never letting him hear the end of it. I’d be more worried about Rita’s idiot brother and overbearing father catching wind of it, myself. Or the Machine Empire coming to encroach on your turf. Or the Zordon Energy Wave purifying you into a human.

But that’s all coming later, right now he vows to destroy the Rangers, much to the amusement of his wife and minions, who’ve heard this same spiel last week. Although they do came pretty close in the next episode, what with the Thunderzords being destroyed and all.

At the Juice Bar, the girls from the hillside storm in, ticked at Bulk and Skull for trying to catfish them and relieved that the real Rangers saved the day as usual. Dejected at their latest crash and burn, Bulk has Skull make him a promise: if he ever comes up another plan that involves the Power Rangers, staple his mouth shut. No, they have bigger fish to fry, like joining the Junior Police.

Over at the Command Center, Zordon welcomes the Rangers back and thanks them for being able to save both the Edeniotes and Angel Grove. Alpha is especially grateful that King Lexian is okay, going on about how wise and noble he is. Tommy points out that Dex is pretty cool as the Masked Rider, and Zordon agrees that the King chose well in giving him the power. Even though it’s kept in the family, so Lexian didn’t really have a say in the matter… Adam asks if the Edeniotes will be okay now that they have to leave their homeworld, and Zordon assures him that Edenoi is not a place, but a people. Billy wonders if they will get another chance to get to know Dex and his people better, but we all know that he won’t, at least not in this show. Maybe he can make a pit stop on the way to Aquitar in next week’s review…

Meanwhile, the Spiderface flies to Earth as Count Dregon vows to conquer the planet, setting up the spin-off some more.

Speaking of, on Edenoi, Lexian tells Dex that the time has come for him to leave the planet and set off after Dregon. Dex objects at first, but the King points out that Edenoi is beyond saving at this point, and the best he can do is to help Earth. The two share a tender hug as the 3-parter ends. There’s no JDF in the end credits this episode, as it just shows the scene of Bulk and Skull pretending to be the Rangers to the girls. We wouldn’t get proper bloopers until “Ninja Quest.”

So, now that we’ve finished talking about the story, on to Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • This is the show’s first real attempt to create an expanded universe of heroes from other worlds, a theme that would be carried on with the Alien Rangers, the Gold Ranger, the Blue Senturion, the Phantom Ranger, and the In Space and Lost Galaxy seasons.

Cons:

  • For all Zedd’s fixation with Dregon, we never actually see them on screen together, making it look like he’s obsessing over nothing.
  • Masked Rider’s lame finisher.
  • TJ Roberts doesn’t fit the character of Dex at all. I’m sorry, he just doesn’t strike me as the strong leader or brave warrior type. Maybe if he was playing someone like Bridge or Ziggy, where his dorkiness is intentional, it would work, but here he comes off as goofy.

Overall, this team-up was… okay, I guess. I know plenty of fans hate it for leading to the Masked Rider show, but judging it on its own merits, it’s perfectly passable. The subplots with Repellator getting the flu and Bulk and Skull pretending to be Power Rangers to impress girls are silly, sure, but no sillier than Pumpkin Rapper or the Rangers getting baked into a pizza. As for the main plot, it’s par for the course in this show. It’s not the best episode, far from it, but I’ll give it credit for establishing that the Rangers on Earth aren’t the only heroes in the universe, and it gives hints at an evil hierarchy and competition between villains, a theme that plays out more in Zeo and In Space. It helps to make the Power Rangers universe feel more expanded.

And speaking of that expanded universe, next week we’ll see it play out again with the first proper team-up between two Ranger teams as our heroes join forces with the Alien Rangers of Aquitar in Zeo’s 2-part “Rangers of Two Worlds,” a pair of episodes now more well-known for what was going on behind the camera than what happened onscreen. ‘Till then, I’ve been The Uncanny Fox. Live long, stay gold, and remember: in the real world, sneezing with a helmet on will make the rest of your day very miserable. But at least your germs won’t spread to anyone else…

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