Episode Title: Fowl Play
Original Airdate: May 2, 1994
Shows like Power Rangers are what filled the kids block programming schedules in the 90’s, but when I was a kid in the 70’s and 80’s, most of that time was filled with classic cartoons. Stuff like Popeye, Tom and Jerry, and Woody Woodpecker. Well, on this visit to Angel Grove we get a very different type of woodpecker than the classic cartoon character. It’s time for some monster bird action in Fowl Play.
As we begin, Zack is at the youth center/juice bar entertaining a group of kids with a magic and juggling show. Truth be told, he’s actually doing it to catch the eye of Angela, who he’s had his eye on in many past episodes. She’s actually so impressed with Zack’s show that she gives him a little peck on the cheek. Well, that “peck” inspires Rita to create a new monster…a woodpecker known as the Peckster. Of course, she first sends down some putties who battle with the other four rangers in the park. A short time later, Zack, Angela, and the kids learn of the arrival of the Peckster on TV. Needing to get away, Zack pretends to have Bulk and Skull make him disappear…in reality he teleports to the command center.
After a briefing by Zordon, Zack heads off to battle the Peckster while the others still deal with the putties. He battles the monster until it retreats and then heads back to the kids to avoid suspicion. While with the kids, Zack hits on an idea and soon goes off to join the other rangers against the Peckster. They need all the help they can get, too, since this strange thing can create wind storms with its wings and also seems to spit exploding tongues out of its beak. When Zack shows up he has a bunch of balloons, one of which is really a ball that gets stuck to the end of the giant bird’s beak when he tries to peck it. This doesn’t stick, though, once Rita makes the monster grow. Then it’s up to the Mega Zord and the Power Sword to take care of things.
This episode very much feels like the type of adventure we’d have seen earlier in the season. First of all, it’s just the five original rangers. Tommy is not called into action because, according to Zordon, he is still regaining his strength. Plus, he’d be too much of a distraction for Kimberly who would spend too much time making goo-goo eyes at him. Zordon didn’t say that, I did. We also see things we’ve never seen before in this episode, which reminded me of the first several episodes of the show when we gradually saw powers and weapons added to the arsenal with each episode. This time we see the Mega Zord use a Mastadon Shield. This is essentially a shield, held in the arm made of Zack’s zord, which resembles the head of a mastadon. A few moments later, the Mega Zord uses a cranial laser for the first time. It’s just a laser beam that shoots out of the giant robot’s forehead, but it’s still nice to see something new.
As for our monster, this is definitely a strange one. It looks a bit more like a lizard bird than any woodpecker I’ve ever seen. It’s got this strange mangled looking beak and large tattered looking blue wings. The weirdest feature is the multiple spike-like tongues that it spits out at the rangers. I don’t remember Ranger Rick magazine every saying anything about woodpeckers with multiple tongues. However, this particular woodpecker does seem to share a trait with that famous cartoon woodpecker I mentioned earlier. Just like how Woody was known for his famous laugh, this woodpecker spends an awful lot of time just laughing at the rangers as it jumps around destroying things.
There were several other welcome features of this episode, including a pretty funny side plot involving Bulk and Skull trying to do magic tricks, and we also get a weird attempt at including an life lesson like we saw in many of the early episodes. Mix all that with a wacky monster and some new gadgets and we’ve got a lovably goofy episode. I couldn’ve done without Zack’s less than stellar juggling abilities, though. I mean, he keeps the balls in the air but I know how to juggle…you don’t reach for the balls Zacky, you let them come to your hand. Sheesh! As for next time, even though it’s almost Christmas, we look at an episode with more of a Halloween-style title. It’s Trick or Treat…next time!