Episode Title: Return of an Old Friend Part 1
Original Airdate: February 28, 1994
Over the course of the last 40+ episode of Power Rangers there is one big question I’ve had, “don’t these kids have parents?” I mean think about it, giant monsters attack Angel Grove left and right, yet we’ve never seen any sign of parental units for any of our five teenage heroes. We’ve seen plenty of uncles, but no actual parents. That changes now in today’s episode, Return of an Old Friend part 1.
It’s Parents Day for Angel Grove High, but for some reason the festivities are held at the Youth Center/Juice Bar. Everyone’s parents show, even Bulk and Skull’s, but strangely Kimberly is nowhere to be seen. Turns out she’s moping outside. Her parents are divorced and she is anticipating problems. Trini comes out to assure her that both sets of parents have arrived, but just as the two girls start to go inside they are attacked by the Putty Patrol. Zack and Jason quickly go out to help, but Billy is not on sight yet. He is still working on a new invention at home.
While the rangers battle the putties, Rita takes the opportunity to zap all the parents inside off to an alternate dimension. Billy then shows up to an empty room, but Rita’s new Dramole Monster sprays him with some gas. This puts Billy under Rita’s spell. He then teleports to the command center where he disables Apha and steals the Dragon Dagger to deliver it to Rita.
The rangers then morph and teleport to Goldar’s dark dimension just as Billy is about to hand over the Dragon Dagger. A battle with the putties breaks out, but Goldar still manages to escape with the dagger. Then Goldar issues an ultimatum, he will release the parents if the rangers turn over their power coins. He then goes off to summon the Dragon Zord to start tearing up town. The zords are summoned and, though they put up a good fight, they are overpowered. Now, the rangers have no choice but to turn over their power coins to Goldar. Now, if you thought Goldar was going to keep his word…ha! Now the rangers can’t morph and the parents are still trapped. However, as the episode comes to a close Jason reveals that there is, in fact, one coin left. We then cut to the Youth center where we see a figure walk into the empty room and wonder where everyone is. He turns and reveals himself as…you guessed it, Tommy. To be continued…
This episode has a few decent elements at play but ultimately it’s all just set up to the big reveal of Tommy at the end of the episode. That is, as if we didn’t know already from the title of the episode. I’m thinking they maybe should’ve gone with something different, because the big surprise is actually no surprise at all. Still, it’s nice to see Tommy back and I’m quite anxious to see what role he has to play as this story, and the series in general, moves forward.
This episode does end up being a bit slim on the monster action. We are introduced to the Dramole monster, but only see it briefly. It spends most of the episode burrowing around underground and doesn’t really factor into the action at all. I guess the idea is that it’s like part dragon part mole?! Dra-mole? That doesn’t explain the fact that it emits a mind control mist from its armpits, though. On that subject, the bit with Billy being controlled by Rita because of this gas is one of the highlights of the episode. He even calls Alpha a “poor excuse for a transistor radio.” The moment is made all the weirder since I think the term “transistor radio” was retired sometime around 1981…we’re in 1994 here homeys.
As far as the action goes, there is a solid fight between the rangers and Goldar and his putties. This is American footage and it’s clear that the American cast is getting better with their matial arts moves all the time. The sequence is also helped by a much more animated version of Goldar. Remember, they are using a new and improved costume for Goldar in the American footage now. Plus, the actor portraying him use a bit more variety in his gestures, whereas in the Japanese footage Goldar tends to just snarl and point.
Well, obviously the fate of the parents of Angel Grove lies with one Tommy Oliver. We’ll have to wait until next time to see what happens, though? Will he get too caught up neckin’ with Kimberly to save the moms and dads? Join us next time to find out in Return of an Old Friend Part 2.