Mighty Morphin Power Rangers S:01 E:23

When my wife was in college she once came to the aid of a friend who was housesitting for a professor. A bat had gotten into the house. She bagged it and released it. And yet, when there’s a spider in the house, she calls on me to get rid of it. Some people just don’t go for spiders. That includes one of the Power Rangers. See what happens as Zack has to face his case of arachnophobia in Itsy Bitsy Spider.

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As we begin, Trini and Billy are at school getting signatures to save a local landmark, the Forest Spirit Statue. The legend has it that the statue was erected long ago to protect people from harmful insects. Of course, Bulk and Skull show up to put a damper on things, and in process they release a ton of insects that Trini has gathered for a science project. So, in need of new bugs, the rangers decide to gather bugs at the park after school. That is, except for Zack who is teaching some kids “hip hop-kido” and Tommy who, of course, has karate practice. Tommy always has karate practice.

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Meanwhile, Rita has had her goons steal the statue. She sends down a replacement with a spider monster hidden inside. She then launches her attack.  As Zack works with the kids, a bunch of butterflies zoom in. They are made of sleeping powder, so all the kids fall asleep. Zordon then instructs Zack to get clear of the area. He heads for the statue, which then transforms into the spider monster. Zack then morphs and does battle with both the spider and Goldar.

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As for the other rangers, their bug gathering is interrupted by a gang of putties. They then head off to help Zack against the new monster. They quickly summon the Mega Zord but this spider is not such an easy foe. He sprays the legs of the giant robot with a white goo which frankly looks a bit inappropriate for a kids show and which makes it unable to walk. Our heroes then break up into their individual zords but still have trouble fighting off the spider’s webs. So, Zordon summons Tommy and he joins in the fight. We get our first appearance then of the Mega Dragon Zord. That’s all it takes to squash the spider once and for all.

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The spider is kind of a strange monster. I mean, it’s a spider, but it walks upright on two legs and uses the other six appendages as arms. So, with it’s round body, it looks a bit more like those Madballs we had back in the 80’s than a spider. Still, the thing has a lot of cool powers. Tangling the Mega Zord up in spider webs is a fun gimmick. There’s also a weird moment where the creature’s teeth shoot out like little missiles. But, then we have the white goo thing. No kid watching this would’ve read anything into that moment…but to an adult it’s a bit gross.

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The thing this episode really has going for it, though is that once our heroes morph it is just non-stop, top-notch action. The spider is surprisingly agile, so the fights are quite impressive. There’s also a ton of laser blasts, lighting, explosions, etc, etc, etc. This episode is another great example of why 90’s kids absolutely ate this stuff up. There’s a ton of action and it’s pretty exciting.

One thing, though, I gotta know about this episode: hip hop-kido? Is this a real thing? Part hip hop dancing, part karate. I mean, I never saw Mr. Miyagi teach Daniel-san any of these moves, so I kinda have my doubts. I’ll have to see if they have a class down at the Y or something. Well next time we leave behind scary bugs and end up with something much more harmless…flowers. Well, maybe not so harmless as our heroes face off with The Spit Flower.

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