Episode Title: Calamity Kimberly
Original Airdate: November 5, 1993
Ever had one of those days? Sure…we all have. But I’ll bet your worst day never involved an evil space witch sending monsters to attack your hometown. Well, Kimberly is about to have a truly terrible day as the rangers face an evil samurai in Calamity Kimberly.
As our story begin, Kimberly wakes up to bad hair, a ruined dress, and a rainy day with a busted umbrella. When she arrives at Angel Grove High, she’s a soaked mess and her plans for the pep rally, which she’s due to present to the principal, are splattered with mud. Plus, the first person she encounters while looking like a wreck is Tommy…who she clearly has a crush on. It’s no big deal to Tommy, though. He fends off Bulk and Skull, who start to pick on Kimberly, and then invites her to go on a walk with him after school.
As they walk through the park, Kimberly and Tommy encounter a new monster Rita has sent down, the Samurai Fan Man. This guy has a big jug which Kimberly ends up sucked into. It’s like Barbara Eden living in a bottle on I Dream of Jeannie. Tommy, on the other hand, is just injured. Zordon alerts the other four rangers of what has happened and they all end up at the command center with the injured Tommy. Zordon reveals that Kimberly is actually trapped in another dimension which will vanish soon…and her with it.
Everyone except Tommy morphs and heads off to fight the Fan Man. We soon see where he got his name from, as he pulls out a giant fan which sends the rangers flying. Luckily, Alpha teleports them before they land in another dimension as well. After getting some more instructions for Zordon, the rangers teleport back and battle with the now giant Fan Man and Goldar in their zords. Eventually, Tommy recovers and shows up with the Dragon Zord. During the battle, the jug is knocked from the Fan Man’s hand and Kimberly is released. She quickly morphs and summons her pterodactyl zord. They then create the Mega Zord and go after the baddies. Even then, they almost get blown into another dimension, but when they summon the Ultra Zord, the Fan Man is quickly destroyed.
There’s not a whole lot of depth to this story. The main point of it is “save the girl.” Even when we get to the zord action it progresses in a pretty standard way. They just keep making the next biggest zord until they finally hit on the formula for gettin’ rid of the Fan Man. The action is pretty solid, though. The Fan Man is really only a rubber suited monster from the waist up. So, he’s able to move, jump, and kick with a bit more dexterity than many of the other monsters. I did find it weird, though, that we hear him called the “Fan Man” but don’t see why for quite awhile. You’d think that we’d first see him holding a fan. Nope, that’d be too easy.
Even if the big battle sequences are kind of standard, I did like the setup for this story. The idea of Kimberly having the worst day ever is done well. Amy Jo Johnson does a great job of really selling her character’s frustration. After all, she goes through some crazy stuff. She falls out of bed, has some seriously bad hair, and even find a giant hole burnt into her dress. Who on earth did her ironing and then hung it up in the closet that way?!
Probably the most interesting thing to note about this episode, though, is that it leaves no doubt that a romance is brewing between Tommy and Kimberly. She clearly doesn’t want him to see her in bad shape when she first arrives at school, but then when he invites her to go on a walk that afternoon, Kimberly gives a subtle smile that makes it clear she’s got a crush. On the walk, Kimberly slips and Tommy catches her. For a brief moment, it almost looks like a kiss could happen. The big moment comes at the end, though, when Kimberly joins the rest of the gang wearing a, dare I say, slinky dress and heels. Tommy’s reaction, “Wow.” Wow indeed, Tommy.
Next time, Scorpina causes trouble for the rangers while Tommy is auditioning for a marital arts commercial in A Star is Born. No, Judy Garland does not appear.