Episode Title: The Mutiny, Part I
Original Airdate: July 21, 1994
Well, Citizens of Angel Grove, the Power Rangers are back! It’s time to begin our look at season two of this iconic 90’s kids series. This season brings many changes for the rangers, beginning in the very first episode with a shake up in the the villain category. Prepare to face the evil that is Lord Zedd in The Mutiny, Part I.
As we begin, the rangers, as well as Bulk and Skull, are taking part in the 5th annual Children’s Hospital Charity Motor Marathon. Basically, their going to be racing some off-road vehicles around a dirt track. Meanwhile, up at Rita’s castle on the moon, a strange lightning storm signals the arrival of the “true emperor,” Lord Zedd. This isn’t good news for Rita, to put it lightly. Goldar and Rita’s other lackeys are very quick to grovel in front of Zedd. He even gives Goldar a set of wings. As for Rita, Zedd sends her back to the dumpster-like prison she was released from at the beginning of season one.
Back in Angel Grove, Alpha and Zordon have noticed the strange activity on the moon and summon the rangers to the command center for a briefing. As for Zedd, he’s busy making some new Super Putties which he sends down to the Motor Marathon where they start terrorizing Bulk and Skull. The rangers spot this on the view screen, so they morph and head off to fight. After struggling a bit, they learn that if they hit the putties in the “Z” logo on their chests, the creatures will disintegrate. Kind of a big weakness there, but whatever. After seeing this fight, Bulk and Skull decide they are going to make it their mission to discover the identities of the Power Rangers. This will be a running theme as the season goes on.
Now, Lord Zedd decides he needs to create his own monster. He starts by zapping a Piranha (which are apparently native to lakes in Angel Grove, California) and turning it into a monster called the Pirantishead. Tommy is left behind in the command center (remember, his powers are STILL weak) while the others go off to face the creature. However, as they summon their zords, the Pirantishead zaps the giant robots with a freeze ray, leaving our heroes without the help of their giant robot dinosaurs. But we’ll have to wait until next time to see what happens, as the words “To Be Continued” appear on the screen.
This is an entertaining episode, but admittedly, a lot of it is exposition. A lot of time needs to be taken up introducing the new villain and setting up the Bulk and Skull subplot which will continue throughout season two. Of course, Lord Zedd is one of the big topics to discuss with this episode. He certainly seems a lot more intimidating than Rita and her minions ever did. Let’s face it, Rita was never all that menacing. She’s like some crazy cat lady who happens to make giant monsters and lives in a castle on the moon. Lord Zedd, though, is a truly imposing looking figure. I can imagine some kids might’ve been a bit scared by him back in the day. His body is all muscles without skin, his brain is exposed, and he has metallic silver features. He looks a bit like what you would get if you crossed a Cylon from Battlestar Galactica with Uncle Frank from Hellraiser. It should be noted that Lord Zedd is actually the first major villain of this series to not have originally appeared in the Japanese Sentai shows which spawned this series. The footage of Zedd is American-made.
Still, as menacing as Lord Zedd looks, we already have to question his intelligence a bit. First, he keeps Goldar on his staff simply because the big blue lion’s sniveling and groveling pleases him. We all know, though, that Goldar was a bit of a screw up while under the Rita administration, so is he really going to fare that much better under Zedd? Baboo and Squatt also seem to be hanging on, which is not a recipe for success either. Plus, there are these Super Putties. Sure they are a bit more of a challenge for the rangers, but the fact that they can be defeated by just punching that big Z on their chests is a serious design flaw. Lord Zedd might want to put that exposed brain of his to work and re-evaluate that one.
As for the rangers, we do get some fun moments with the team. The sequences of them racing four-wheelers around a dirt track are actually pretty well done. The fight with the Super Putites is also quite good. Bulk and Skull also have some good moments here, and I am definitely intrigued by where their quest to find the identities of the Power Rangers will go as this season moves forward. We’ll see how all this plays out next time, and try to defeat the Pirantishead, in the continuation of this story…The Mutiny, Part II.