Mighty Morphin Power Rangers S:01 E:15

Episode Title: Dark Warrior
Original Airdate: September 28, 1993

Well, last time got to meet Kimberly’s uncle the pilot, this time we get to meet Trini’s uncle the karate fighting scientist. Yep, you read that correctly. Plus we get a new baddie from Rita for this episode’s title role. Prepare yourselves for today’s episode, Dark Warrior.

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It seems that Trini’s Uncle Howard is a somewhat absent-minded scientist who has been working on an invisibility formula which he has finally perfected. Of course, Trini wants to introduce him to Angel Grove High’s resident science genius, Billy. However, Billy is bummed about not quite matching up with Jason’s karate skills. Luckily, Uncle Howard can help with that, too. When the old man visits the youth center, he has his jar of invisibility goop with him, but he stupidly leaves it lying around for Ernie to pick up.

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Meanwhile up in space, Rita has Finster coming up with a rather generic new monster called the Dark Warrior. He looks a bit like a militarized puttie with a blue scarf. But she also wants the invisibility formula. First she sends Goldar, Squatt and Baboo down to get it, but they can’t find it. So, the Dark Warrior sends some putties down to attack Uncle Howard and Billy as they practice karate. They succeed in hauling off Uncle Howard and taking him to a cave which the Dark Warrior has rigged with explosives. He has one hour to turn over the formula or…BOOM!

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Back at the youth center, Billy tells the others what happened. Just then, a ransom note from the Dark Warrior arrives in a batch of black balloons. They head to the command center and Zordon gives them the lowdown on the new monster before teleporting to the cave. Billy manages to disable the bomb with only seconds to spare, then it’s morphin’ time. After some hand-to-hand combat, Rita makes the Dark Warrior grow. So, that means they need to create the Mega Zord to finish the job.

After several really fun episodes in a row, we finally hit the end of the winning streak with this pretty dull entry. Let’s start with the monster who is about as boring as they come. Dark Warrior is essentially a puttie costume painted a different color and given a few different costume elements. So, there’s just nothing unique or memorable about him. He doesn’t even have a gimmick of any sort. He’s dark…he’s a warrior, that’s pretty much it.

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I also had a real problem with Dark Warrior’s plan. He kidnaps Uncle Howard and then says he’ll blow the old man up if he doesn’t produce the formula in one hour. First, if he’s tied up in a cave, how’s he supposed to get anything? At least let him go get his notes or somethin’! Plus, if he doesn’t come up with it and gets exploded…that’s it! Formula gone forever! So how’s tht help Rita at all? I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but this Dark Warrior is dumber than Baboo and Squatt combined.

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What’s most disappointing about this episode is that we have a plot device with great potential…invisibility formula. We see Uncle Howard brewing it up like Flubber in the very first scene. So I’m thinking we’re going to have invisible monsters, or invisible rangers…something invisible!! Nope! Uncle Howard makes his cactus invisible to prove it works, but then there’s no invisibility until the final scene when it’s used as part of the Bulk and Skull gag. What a wasted opportunity!

So, unfortunately, this episode is a bit of a dud. Next time, though, we turn to one of those old reliable plot devices…body switching. Think Freaky Friday or Like Father, Like Son. Ok, maybe it’s not always reliable. Be here next time for Switching Places.

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