Episode Title: Mighty Morphin’ Mutants
Original Airdate: May 16, 1994
We’ve got just two episode to go here in the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Rita’s still got a few tricks up her sleeve, though. This time she dishes out a foe that many a superhero has had to face…evil twins. As if that weren’t enough, she throws in a giant crayfish for good measure. Here comes Mighty Morphin’ Mutants.
In this story, Tommy is having a big problem with being forgetful. He’s missing assignments and is often late for his classes. Now, since Mrs. Gilespee has given an assignment for the students to try and improve something about themselves, this is the perfect opportunity for Tommy to work on not being such a scatterbrain. Of course, all the rangers offer to help, especially Kimberly.
Meanwhile, Rita has sent Goldar down to Angel Grove with six putties. They are training to become a batch of mutant rangers. They’ll even take on the uniforms of the real rangers thanks to the badges of darkness Goldar gives them. Now, one of the putties doesn’t quite work out, which leaves this evil team without their own version of the red ranger, but the other five mutant rangers are soon ready to go. In fact, the fake green and pink rangers attack Tommy and Kimberly in the park…because, as we all know, the park is where puttie attacks always happen.
The next day, the other rangers are at school when the mutant rangers attack. So everybody morphs and heads off to fight, that is, except for Tommy. Seems he left an important paper at home, which he had to run home and get, but since he left his communicator in his locker, he is now out of reach. The others go to battle against the mutants who are now being led by a creature known as Captain Crayfish. He’s a giant crayfish, as if that wasn’t obvious. Eventually, Tommy shows up and the battle continues, but our heroes still struggle. They then head back to the command center for a weapons upgrade which evens the playing field. Just when it seems our heroes have the upper hand, Rita makes her creatures grow to giant size. That includes the fake rangers… so the final battle sees the Mega Zord and the Dragon Zord fighting with giant sized-power rangers and the huge crayfish.
This episode is a lot of fun, largely due to some off-the-charts action sequences. I’m sure it helps that our heroes are not just fighting bulky rubber monsters this time. They are up against a set of evil rangers, who can do all the same things they can. We don’t have the limitations of an over-sized rubber monster costume, except for the crayfish. Surprisingly, the crayfish manages to be pretty agile. The fight sequence also seem like they are playing out at a hyper speed. I’m guessing that the footage was sped up slightly, because the rangers are moving quicker than I think is humanly possible. Yet, the footage doesn’t look goofy. The fights are all very impressive and they come one on top of the other, making this episode one of the action highlights of the season so far.
On the other hand, the storyline about Tommy being forgetful is kind of dumb. I mean, we’re supposed to believe that this guy who has seemed to have it all together up to this point, is suddenly a fumbling goofball who’d forget his own head if it weren’t attached to his shoulders. It’s a stretch to say the least. This part of the story does also lead to a weird moment at the juice bar where Kimberly and Trini offer to help Tommy work on his memory skills. Trini even says to him, with a sly look in her eye, that they’ll “make it memorable.” Call me what you will, but I picked up a hint of double entendre in her voice, which makes me wonder why Kimberly didn’t reach over and smack her for flirting with her conquest. Ultimately, though, the forgetful Tommy subplot doesn’t end up going anywhere and ends up coming across as a pretty lame plot device.
Story has never been the strong point of this series, though. The awesome action more than makes up for the weak story. As for next time, we put aside the crayfish but continue with the seafood theme in the season one finale, An Oyster Stew.