As evidenced previously, I spend a fair amount of time watching television; perhaps too much. Thus it should come as no surprise that I spent the weekend watching Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Season One- Volume One. (That alone was thirty episodes. Imagine if I had watched Volume Two as well.) Yes, I know the movie is already out. But my library only has one copy.
While watching, numerous questions entered my brain. I am sure there are places that might have answered these questions for me, but I thought I would try to answer these all by myself.
My Mighty Morphin’ Power Questions
You are in a park. Putties are attacking. Why not go straight to being “Powered Up”?
-From a television standpoint, it is a budget-saving device. You cannot pay for giant robot fights for the entire episode. Gotta start small. But more importantly here, I offer that there are plot reasons. Hence, “do not escalate” being one of the three rules.
For one thing, your Rangers need to keep their skills honed. Keep an eye on them, sure. You have the ability to teleport them out of danger (which you do. A lot), so a few cuts and scrapes are acceptable. Gotta keep your troops lean and scrappy.
Also, we all know that power corrupts. You hand a kid a loaded gun and shove him out the door, someone is going to get hurt. However, if you force them to work their way up to a power set? Tell them they cannot use a machine unless they absolutely need to? Then they will respect that power more. (We see how terribly things can go when Green Ranger goes on a path of destruction, imagine six of those.) If you earn a power or a weapon, you wield it with greater wisdom.
What’s up with Zordon? And Rita? Summoning teenagers with attitude? Surrounding yourselves with incompetent sidekicks? Toying with children from your lofty perches?
A simple answer: Dementia.
Look, we know they have both been around for over ten thousand years. That is how long Rita had been trapped. (And in a “space dumpster”. Really broke out the engineering textbooks, did we writers?) We can reason that they waged combat long before that. It takes time to get your head projected onto a screen from a faraway land and recruit minions to play with clay and all that.
You think their mental capacities have not deteriorated a tiny bit in all those years? Nobody said they were immortal. I think they may be powerful leaders, but they surely have some damage in their craniums, not matter how big and floaty they can be.
What’s with Rita’s attire? The hair? The Madonna-like bra? Wearing the same outfit every single day?
See previous answer. The lady needs help. She can’t even talk in synch with her lip movements. Poor thing.
Exactly how powerful are Rita and Zordon? Where are the Zords coming from? Why will not Rita send down seventeen monsters and end those Rangers once and for all?
My theory is that both Rita and Zordon, despite their many flaws, are aware that power is finite. Zordon may be trying to postpone entropy, what with all the energy that the two sides are burning through. (You think handling a short-circuiting robot and a gang of teenagers is hard work, try being responsible for the heat-death of the universe.)
Zordon himself says that the Rangers are “calling upon the power of the dinosaurs”. Now, the amount of dinosaurs is finite. They are not making anymore. He is so desperate; he trudges out mastodons and sabre tooth tigers and pretends that they are reptiles. (Plus, he figures that teenagers given a giant robot are not going to pay much attention to these matters. And he is right.) He supplements the power of the dinosaurs (Fossil fuels? Is Zordon an oil baron?) with solar energy. If Zords were cars, the battery would be the power of the dinosaurs, and the gas that keeps it going would be the solar energy (hence that whole eclipse crisis).
On top of that, Zordon has to heal the earth every time one of the Zords is used. You cannot keep volcanoes going all the time. Gotta lock up those glaciers and heal those lava pits. That probably uses up a store of power all by itself.
(As to how the Zords can get from across the globe to Angel City? Portals. He can teleport teenagers, so it is likely that he does the same for Zords. He probably has a portal from each of their “homes” that ends at the same place. The portal exit is where we see the Zords stampede from. Saves on travel time and coordinates the Zords for those impatient teenagers.
(Have you seen a hormonal, anxious, attitude-filled teenager parallel park? Now picture that with a giant T-Rex. And lava. No way is Zordon entrusting that to Jason. Nuh-uh.)
Which is why Zordon made them earn Titanus. If he is going to use up what little dinosaur power he has, then those kids had better earn it. It is one more reason why the Rangers should not escalate the battle. Zordon has his eye on the long-game and knows he can only power the dinosaur Zords for so long. Why do you think the other shows switched to vehicles and space themes? Zord had it all figured out.
Rita also has limits to her power. It takes energy to create a monster out of a piece of clay. It also costs energy to blow up a creature to the size she needs to be truly destructive. If she creates a warrior that is somewhat competent on the battlefield, like Goldar or Scorpina, then that is energy she does not have to use to create them again. Keep them around and use what power she would have spent making them, and use that to make them giants. But there are not many reliable monsters. (Largely her part, she creates quickly and shabbily. Failure inevitably follows.)
She does not have the energy or strength to create tons of monsters and increase their mass exponentially. The most she can handle is one new monster and two pre-made creatures. Blow them up to giant size and she is pretty much out of juice. (Which is why with Goldar and Scorpina, she may resort to pithy, low-energy items like mirrors or spinning wheels.)
Where are the Rangers sitting when they form Megazord/ Megazord Battlemode/ Dragonzord Battlemode/ Ultrazord?
Let’s break it down one by one.
Megazord- tank mode. We see all five rangers sitting in a row with a window. The window looks like the eye line of a Zord. But to be tactically logical, it has to be positioned at waist level or higher. (Neck to head would be the smartest area. Things attack from above.) So that means in this configuration, only the Mastodon or T-Rex are viable options. But whenever they cut to the view, we clearly see a red and black outline. The Mastodon does not match all the criteria. The T-Rex comes across as “maybe” working.
Except. The Pterodactyl is not part of Megazord. Only when Megazord Battlemode is called upon does the bird join, flying itself onto the chest as some sort of shielding. But you see Pink Ranger in there the whole time. What gives?
(Also, the Mastodon’s head wondrously disappears in the transformation. The head is supposed be a shield that works in conjunction with the Power Sword. So why do they never use it? You guys take enough hits, why not use that shield? That’s what it’s there for! It’s right on the toy! But no, they probably leave it discarded on the ground and expect Alpha 5 to clean up after them. Teenagers; they want you to clean up the earth with their petitions, but they won’t even clean up their own messes. The battlefield is not your bedroom, youngsters!)
Dragonzord Battlemode has another curious seating question. In theory, only Blue Ranger, Black Ranger, and Yellow Ranger are seated in that Zord. (The ultimate insult: Green Ranger, whose Dragonzord is the key component to battlemode, does not get to sit inside. He only gets to sit in Ultrazord. Stay outside, Greenie!) And yet, in some shots, we see all five of the core rangers inside the window of Dragonzord Battlemode, even though it is made up only three core rangers. What are Pink and Red doing in there? Especially Pink. C’mon. She’s a shield, man!
And then there is Ultrazord. The outer skin of Dragonzord gets draped over Megazord Battle Mode like some black bear skin, trying to keep the core Zords warm in the winter. Added bonus: Two heads, one on top of the other. And, because walking is just too hard, Titanus comes along and rolls them along. (What if they have to fight on rocky terrain? Why is the ground always smooth when Titanus appears?) To me, the whole thing looks anti-climactic. Why have this massive honk of metal just stand there, while blobs of energy shoot forth. No arms flailing? No legs kicking? Nope, this big mass of Zords rolls along, like a tourist taking a sidewalk tour on a Segway. Sigh. But through all this? Green Ranger somehow gets to take a seat behind Red Ranger in the window. Finally! A seat at the big boys (and two girls) table!
So, in all of this, where is the window located? It cannot be in the T-Rex’s head, because when the Megazord enters Battle Mode, the chest opens up, and the T-Rex head folds down into the chest, revealing the more shogun-like head. The Rangers would all be staring at their feat for the epic battles if this were the case.
So maybe they are in the Battle Mode/ shogun head the whole time? Still, the color and physical layout do not match. There are no triangles in that head, and that window is made up of nothing but triangles. Plus, are you trying to tell me that the entire time they are in Megazord/ Tank Mode, they are staring out the window, and then through T-Rex’s head, and out T-Rex’s window? A: It would kill their peripheral vision. B: That’s a lot of construction to stare through. Even if T-Rex’s head was hollow.
My theories- A: It is all a mental construct so that they can function. These guys are teenagers. The experience might be too much for their not-fully developed brains to handle. So Zordon pops them into a pocket dimension, and creates the illusion that they are in the Zords the whole time. To keep them fully immersed and help their reaction time, their neural connections are kept strong enough that they feel pain and jostling whenever their Zords are injured. I call this, the Pacific Rim explanation.
B: They are deep within the core of T-Rex. The windows? Those are really their monitors. In the same way that Tony Stark uses see through glass as his monitors/ touch screens, they are kept deep inside the T-Rex and it only looks like they are seeing through windows. (Kimberly just operates her Zord from T-Rex even before she is needed for Battle Mode. She gets lonely. Plus, as will be repeated, her Zord is useless.) The Iron Man explanation would explain how they can take all those hits and why their reaction time is, well, not the finest.
Why is Dragzonzord Battlemode’s belly hollow? Dragonzord has all this mass, then he hollows himself to make room for the three other Zords, but nothing occupies the space in his chest? ‘sup wid dat?
I am going to guess that Dragonzord has an energy reactor there. And he needs a pocket of cushioning to keep it from getting jostled too much. (Contrary to what Spider-Man 2 tells us, if there were a perpetual energy/ sun-machine, it would be turned off if it were bumped too much. You don’t really need to drown the thing, Doc.) That’s why the Zord’s arms do not fully move. If you notice, it takes after the T-Rex. The forearms move just fine. But you never really see it move from the shoulder to elbow. And it has that circle of blinking lights to take most of the hits. So in its default configuration, it has the chest area covered. The space that seems hollow is simply see-through gel and air that absorb the hits so that the reactor is undamaged.
Zordon has the ability to teleport. He used it in the Pilot and has used it quite often. Why does he sometimes say, “Get to __” instead of sending them each time? And what’s with Tommy and his watch?
Again, Zordon wants his Rangers to keep in shape. Would you ride a bus for two miles, or would you walk it? If he thinks the location is close enough, then he might encourage a little activity to keep them in tip-top shape. He can teleport them whenever he chooses. Also: dementia.
As to Tommy’s watch, I maintain that Billy had to whip one up quick. They were just fighting Tommy five minutes ago and Billy gives him a signal watch? No, the people-pleaser wanted the noob to feel included. So he cobbled one together quickly.
Part one of the problem is that we all know that Green Ranger is the most powerful and the best fighter. For that reason, Zordon keeps him held back; keeping the core five in shape. Combine that with a second-rate watch creation? Voila: Tommy will never be first on the scene. (And of course, he is too macho to ask for help when his signal watch will not cooperate. Typical male, amiright? He would much rather spend all his time flirting with Kimberly and going to his karate lesson.)
In the episode, “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, Kimberly zings Bulk and Skull by calling them, “Bionic bean brains”. Huh? What does that even mean? Who writes this stuff?
It was the ‘90’s.
“Morpinomenal”? “Morph’tastic?” Those aren’t words!
IT was the ‘90’s. Plus, they cranked out dozens of these shows in a year. Think soap opera shooting schedule. Except less romance, less episodes, more explosions. Although there was probably the same number of, “You won’t get away this!” and “Curse you!” declarations.
Why does Red Ranger start every line with, “Alright!” or, when he is mad, “Man!”?
See previous answer. Red Ranger does not have a lot of depth to him. (Shrug)
Rita claims that the entire reason why she sends monsters down is to draw out the Power Rangers. Yet, in most episodes, we see her dedicating countless hours to watching every move that they make. Does she need to “draw them out” if she knows where they are? Why not crush them in their sleep or threaten their parents?
The short answer is dementia. However, if we are going to get creative, I want to believe that Zordon made a deal with Rita. “If you promise to only attack them on the battlefield, then I will give you a Zord.” It would explain how Rita pulled a Dragonzord out of nowhere when that is clearly not her style. Zordon would see it as a way to keep his Rangers safe in their downtime, while knowing that he could rehabilitate the Zord back to his side once he defeated her rogue Ranger. A crazy plan? Sure. But they are both nutso.
Why doesn’t Tommy get a seat inside his own Zord? Doesn’t his standing on top of a building make him a target for sniper attacks? Wouldn’t he fall to his death if he slipped off Dragonzord’s head?
Rita is not smart enough to engage snipers. She knows spells and monsters, not tactical brilliance. (C’mon. Watch one episode. You’ll see.) Tommy also believes that he and his Zord have a special bond. You know, like The Iron Giant. They are so in synch that he does not need to sit in his Zord, he can be far away and still be at its side. As to the foolish standing on the Zord’s head? Really? He is a teenager. He is showing off. For Kimberly, probably. Boys.
Okay, but why is his dagger also… a flute. Seriously? The other Rangers have daggers that double as blasters. Green Ranger gets a flute?
First off, Green Ranger is one bad mother. Green Ranger is so bad, Rock Monsters break their hands punching him. Green Ranger is so bad, hard liquor drinks him. Green Ranger is so bad, when he buys a shirt, the sleeves fall off out of sheer terror. (That’s why all the tanktops. The only shirts that keep their sleeves are the ones that have feinted.) So Green Ranger does not need a silly blaster. He is the Green Ranger, sucker. Also, he has that gold shield around his chest. While his Ranger buddies are taking it easy, pushing buttons to control their Zords in a forth of a second, Green Ranger would rather take four seconds to blare out a note. He is so bad, he does not need to hurry.
Also, toys. Go find a Dragonzord. I seem to remember it making noises and sounds. Hence the flute, the notes, and the blinking red lights. Titanus? There is not need for Titanus. At all. Unless you are selling toys.)
Aren’t the other Rangers really just using Dragonzord for his Power Staff? In two of the last episodes, it seemed like all they needed was the drill-tipped weapon to poke a hole in the monster?
You, unlike Tommy, have caught on. Sometimes you make friends with your neighbor just so you do not have to buy your own weed-whacker or post-digger.
Alternatively, Red Ranger could learn that the Power Sword has a sharp, pointy end at the top. It is more than just a broadsword! Stop slapping them and stab the monsters! Sigh. Boys.
Why does every Ranger have to say exactly one line when they enter their Zord or before they take a big action as a team?
Because everyone wants to feel included. If everyone takes part in saying: “We’re gonna show you, Rita!” “You can’t mess with us!” “We’re gonna defeat you!” “And kick you off of Earth!” “And out of the universe!”, then you feel like a team. If just one or two Rangers said it, man. That would be awkward. They would come across as complete fools. Better if all five share the responsibility.
Why does Kimberly have to have a skirt on her uniform? Trini is a girl and her suit looks the same as everybody else’s.
Kimberly likes to be girly. She wears dresses in daily routine. (Happily, she wears something under them for days when she has to kick Putties on a playground.) Zordon probably threw it out there to keep her happy. She is, after all, the one most likely to say, “I dunno guys…” and complain that the helmet would mess up her hair.
Oddly enough, she is, by far, the most convincing at summoning her dino-power. Just watch them. “Pterodactyl!!!” The best. Tommy is second-best; which is why they belong together. Jason is a distant third. But yeah, the gal can yell angrily. It balances out.
Towards the end of the classic five-episode arc, “Green with Envy”, the Rangers see Goldar attacking the city and respond with, “Yeah. Too bad.” Ten minutes later, Dragonzord starts to destroy the city, and they are enraged and leap into action. Why the change?
You can make fun of any school in the world. But not the one I attend. You can rampage all you want dressed like a puppy with shiny clothes and a sword. But you come struttin’ downtown, knockin’ stuff other lookin’ like one of our Zords? I don’t think so! It’s on!
Not the most altruistic reason, but surely an emotional one. Teenagers, just a bunch of emotions held together with attitude and baggy pants.
Even with Dragonzord Battlemode, they still had to call down the Power Sword to defeat a mirror. And they used the grand creation, the Ultra Megazord, to defeat a spinning wheel. I can break a mirror without trying. You can ruin a spinning wheel by tripping. Aren’t they horribly over-compensating?
Short answer: Yes. Again, teenagers. However, it should be factored in that both the mirror and spinning wheel were floating in mid-air and moving of their own accord. It does not excuse their dramatic nature. Yet until you defeat a mirror that rotates and hovers, you cannot really judge now can you? Nope.
So. Much. Touching. Every high-five is drawn out. Their manly handshakes last several seconds too long. The teenager teaching a class of kids? He puts his hand on their chest, repeatedly, for wayyyyy too long. And the first time T-Rex and Dragonzord teamed up, they flippin’ held hands! What is with all the touching? This they can do, but Tommy and Kimberly are not kissing? How is this happening?
Sometimes, after a day of blowing things up, you gotta engage in positive reinforcement. A lot of it. Plus, with all the monsters crushing Angel City under their feet/paws/stones, you have to figure the death count is getting up there. You have to hug while you can. Tomorrow you or your friend might get squished.
(I wonder if that is why you never see their parents. Are the Rangers all orphans? Are their inheritances paying for all their monochromatic clothing?)
Kimberly and Tommy do not need to hold hands, lean with their heads on the others’ shoulders, or kiss in public. They have their matching ponytails. Who needs signs of affections when you have true love like that?
Why is it, when Red Ranger calls his T-Rex to attack, the others do nothing? He calls out, “We need Megazord Power NOW!” Yet sometimes, the others hang back. Are they just that lazy?
Jason appointed himself leader. Nobody asked him to be leader. If he wants to be overly assertive and dictate terms for the groups, sometimes the group is going to let him fight alone. If they are out in the desert? No victims around? Nothing but rocks to get damaged? Then, yeah, let the loudmouth try and handle it all by himself. When he inevitably calls out, “Guys, I need help!”, then the rest of the Rangers will recognize that he acknowledges them as valuable assets. Then they will enter the fray as friends and remind him that, just like High School Musical, they are all in this together. (Stay humble, kids. Nobody likes a bossy braggart.)
Explain the musical choices. How many guitars died for the making of this show? Why go from ‘20’s Vaudeville-ish music for high school hijinks, and then have the rock ballad bust out every battle?
Sometimes musicians like to show they have range. Even if they should not. But one imagines that a kid’s show lets the musicians do whatever they please. Plus, between the opening credits, the battle scenes, and the end credits? If they played any more guitar riffs, I think parents would have shown their kids what a truly scary monster would look like.
What’s with Billy wearing all the overalls in the world? And why does he talk like he wants to impress everyone when it really just makes him even more of a social outcast then he already is?
The speech is to make Billy stand out as smart, even if it makes him look foolish. (Ah, cruel irony.)
As to the overalls? Huh. I really do not know. Guess I am all out of answers.