Episode Title: For Whom the Bell Trolls
Original Airdate: September 15, 1993
When I was a kid, we learned that trolls were nasty characters…hiding under bridges and trying to eat the billie goats gruff. Then something happened and trolls became pudgy little nudists with long, pink, and very vertical hair. Well, today’s episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers features a troll, without the big hair, that dresses a bit like Buddy the Elf. Prepare yourselves for For Whom the Bell Trolls.
It’s Hobby Week at Angel Grove High, so everyone has to do a presentation in class about something that interests them. Jason shows off some karate, Zack displays some surfing technique, Kimberly does some gymnastics, and Billy brings in his homemade volcano…just like Peter Brady made on The Brady Bunch. But hang on a second, I’m a bit bugged by that. I mean, boy genius Billy invented a flying car that did zero to 3,000 in a matter of seconds a few episodes ago…now he’s making model volcanos??! However, I will say that his volcano may give us our first look at the future villain of the first Power Rangers movie, Ivan Ooze, since the volcano erupts with bright purple goo.
We mustn’t forget Trini, though. She shows off her collection of unique dolls. One of her favorites is that of a troll called Mr. Ticklesneezer. Legend says that he has a magic bottle that he can use to collect all sorts of stuff. This intrigues Rita, always watching through her telescope, and she sends Squat down to bring Ticklesneezer to life. Now the Troll starts wandering the city sucking buildings, trains, anything he finds into his little bottle. Even the Tokyo Tower gets sucked up! Er, I mean the exact replica of the Tokyo Tower located in Angel Grove, California. When Trini and Billy, driving around in her car, run across the troll, they also get sucked up.
The other power rangers get called into action, but they have to battle a bunch of putties before they can get to the troll. At one point they get the troll to drop the bottle, which lands right into the path of an oncoming train. Kimberly manages to yank it off the tracks just before Billy and Trini are squashed. Now all five rangers are fighting and things really start to go south for Rita. So, she makes the troll grow, which means only the Mega Zord will be able to handle this problem. But even giant robots aren’t immune to the vacuum power of the bottle and it is quickly sucked inside. However, when they summon the power sword, Ticklesneezer drops the bottle and our heroes are freed. The Mega Zord then grabs the bottle and almost succeeds in capturing Rita and her gang…but, of course, they escape.
This episode definitely features a different sort of monster. Ticklesneezer isn’t really a bad guy, he just has no choice but to do what Rita tells him to do. He doesn’t really do any fighting, he just tries to collect things in his bottle while the putties cause all the trouble. He’s probably the most “kiddie” looking creature we’ve seen on the show so far. But remember, the show was made with kids in mind.
The fight sequences are fun in this episode, and have a few stand out moments. My favorite is when the bottle with Trini and Billy inside gets stuck between the tracks with a train heading right for it. Still, the best sequence of this episode has nothing to do with monsters, karate, or giant robots. The highlight of the episode is actually the classroom scene which opens the show. Each of the rangers gets to show off some legitimate skills. Well, Zack’s surfing on top of the teacher’s desk is maybe a bit goofy. Very impressive, though, is Kimberly’s gymnastics display. Amy Jo Johnson was a very talented gymnast and she does quite the handstand on the teacher’s desk and even walks around on her hands a bit. The classroom scene also has a line that made me burst out laughing. As the class is dismissed the teacher tells the kids to be sure to read chapter 4, which is called, “Question Marks: Why do we Need Them?”
I had a lot of fun with this episode, but there is one thing that drags it a bit down. I’m going to throw up the old SPOILER ALERT for this. After Rita is defeated, Ticklesneezer starts to put everything in his bottle back…and then, Trini wakes up! It was all a dream! Oh, crap…really? It was all a dream!?! What a letdown!! I’m still reeling over that one. So much so that I’m going to throw out another spoiler: in the final scene we find out that Bulk and Skull’s real names are Eugene and Farkas. Though they don’t tell us which is which.
So…this episode is a lot of silly fun. But going with the Bobby Ewing in the shower sort of ending was lame! You know what else is lame, when someone forgets your birthday. That’s what happens to Zack in our next episode, Happy Birthday, Zack.