Episode Title: A Pressing Engagement
Original Airdate: September 9, 1993
Well, the Power Rangers have been gradually discovering their powers through our last few episodes and learning to work together as a team. But, what happens when Rita decides to focus her powers on defeating one particular member of the team? She’s got her heart set on crushing Jason in today’s episode, A Pressing Engagement.
As we begin, Jason is at the youth center trying to break the bench pressing record…which is inexplicably currently held by Bulk. However, between Ernie losing count and Zack distracting him when he sails in on his skateboard, Jason just can’t seem to break the record. Meanwhile, Rita (always watching through her telescope) decides that the key to victory may be separating Jason from the rest of the group. So, she has Finster create a new monster called King Sphynx and then sends it down to Earth with Goldar and some putties.
When the monsters arrive, Jason, Kimberly, and Zack quickly morph and transport to the park where the baddies have landed. However, King Sphynx immediately tries to separate the team. He flaps his big wings hard enough to blow both Kimberly and Zack all the way back to the youth center. This leaves Jason to to do battle with the monsters himself.
Zack and Kimberly head off to find Billy and Trini and then teleport to the command center. While there, the four rangers use their power crystals to locate Jason and transport to help him. When the team is reunited again, they summon their zords to battle the two monsters, who are now both giant sized thanks to Rita’s wand. The team switches back and forth between tank mode and Mega Zord mode to eventually defeat the villains. When all is back to normal, Jason makes an attempt at the bench press record again. This time he makes it and Ernie even has a cake to celebrate (which says “Happy Birthday Mom” on it). Of course, Bulk demands the first piece and ends up falling into the cake before the credits roll.
The message behind this episode is supposed to be about how it’s good to have help from your friends. Ok, that’s nice and all, but ultimately I think the moral of the story gets a bit lost this time around. We don’t actually spend all that much time with Jason being on his own against Goldar and the Sphynx. Even when he is alone, he doesn’t seem to be struggling all that much. If he had really ended up in some serious trouble, that only his friends could rescue him from, I think the episode would’ve been stronger.
I do really like the King Sphynx monster in this episode though. He looks a bit like Goldar, they may have even used the same mold for the latex face…but painted it a different color. His gimmicks are cool, though. He has this Egyptian style staff that can shoot lightning bolts, but even cooler is his wings. He starts flapping these things and debris starts blowing everywhere until eventually he can blast our heroes all the way back to the youth center. They could grab a smoothie before heading back to fight more putties! There are some nice moments of one-on-one kung fu action between Red Ranger Jason and the Sphynx…but again, Jason should’ve struggled a lot more for the story to be more effective.
There is one thing that is bothering me about this episode, though. I’m still trying to figure out how the bench pressing champion, until Jason breaks the record at the end, is Bulk! He hasn’t exactly shown a lot of athletic prowess in the other episodes we’ve seen. I mean, this is the guy who yanked the rope out of the ceiling while trying to climb it a few episodes ago. I’m left to assume he cheated. Maybe Skull was counting by fives when Bulk did his bench presses. The record was over 1,000 presses, by the way!
Ultimately, this episode focuses more on action than story but that’s not to say it’s not fun. Next time a nasty Gnome messes with Kimberly and her deaf friend in Different Drum.