Mighty Morphin Power Rangers S:01 E:28

Episode Title: Island of Illusion Part 1
Original Airdate: November 2, 1993 

Well, it’s been a little while since the Power Rangers had to deal with a threat that lasted longer than 20 minutes. So this time we get the first of a two-parter that sees the rangers facing what may be Rita’s ugliest creation to date. Get ready to face your worst fears in Island of Illusion Part 1.

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As we begin, Zack is getting ready for the big dance contest. Though the rest of the gang is all sure he’s going to win, he’s not so sure of himself. Even a dance off with, of all people, Bulk doesn’t do much to convince him of his dancing prowess. There’s not much time to mope, though, as Rita decides to launch another attack on Angel Grove. She starts with some earthquakes and colorful lightning that causes a panic down at the youth center. Meanwhile, she preps a bizarre new baddie called Mutitus and starts calling up on some sort of spirit called Lokar to help her out.

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The rangers all head off to meet the challenge, except for Tommy who can’t leave his young karate students who are cowering beneath a table. Hey, they had to get Tommy out of things somehow. The other five rangers, though, have to deal with a puttie attack led by Goldar and Scorpina. Then Rita unleashes Mutitus. This thing looks like a cross between Frankenstein and the Red Skull. It’s ugly! Plus, when Rita calls on Lokar, a giant blue floating head with spiked hair shows up and uses it’s “Breath of Doom” to cause Mutitus to mutate into even uglier forms. Eventually, Tommy shows up with the Dragon Zord, but that still doesn’t help. Mutitus blasts both giant robots with a gooey white “toxic foam” and they all get blasted off to some weird island.

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On the island, the rangers have no power coins and no communicators, so they can’t even contact Zordon. As they start to explore, they run into a strange dwarf called Quagmire. He’s no help, though. Then, they see the floating head of Goldar in the sky, followed by a who’s who of monsters the rangers have defeated in the past. Eye Guy, the evil Pineapple, you name it. But the monsters all disappear quickly. It seems that this is the Island of Illusion, where the rangers will have to face their worst fears. This plays out later with Zack be terrified by a massive, and rather passive, snake the only he can see. Suddenly, Zack starts to disappear. Quagmire then shows up to declare, “If Rita makes you doubt and fear, soon you are going to disappear.” With Zack slowly vanishing like Marty McFly’s brother in a Polaroid, the words “To Be Continued…” appear on the screen.

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I thought this was a really good episode. It actually mixes things up a bit and doesn’t just stick to the usual giant monster battle formula. Speaking of the monster, it’s possibly the scariest looking one we’ve seen yet. It looks all burned and veiny and I’m sure it caused more than a few nightmares for early 90’s tykes. The idea that it mutates into other bizarre forms is fun, too. Though, I would’ve liked to see more variety in it’s forms. We only see two different versions. Maybe we’ll get more in part 2. As gross and menacing as this monster is, we also get one of the most ridiculous things we’ve seen on this show…the giant floating head of Lokar. When this thing first appears, it is a laugh out loud moment.

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When the story shifts to the rangers being sent off to the island, things get a bit hokey, but I still was into it. Seeing the rangers have to try and figure things out without being able to fall back on morphing or teleporting is a nice change. It is a bit goofy when the giant head of Goldar appears in the sky to taunt them, but seeing cameos by a bunch of former enemies is a nice treat. I’m not sure what to make of the strange little rhyming elf dude Quagmire. I guess we’ll see if he becomes an interesting character in part two.

Speaking of part two, we’ll have to wait until next time to see if the rangers can overcome their fears and get off the island. If Gilligan couldn’t do it, what chance do they have? Join us next time for Island of Illusion part 2.

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