Episode Title: Putty on the Brain
Original Airdate: September 14, 1994
In our last episode, Lord Zedd made a monster that could transform into duplicates of the rangers. This time around, two of the rangers end up seeing the others as Lord Zedd’s foot soldiers, the putties. Let’s see what happens when Zack and Billy have Putty on the Brain.
Now, Zack has never been one who is too obsessed with his studies, but if he’s got to spend time in science class, at least he’s going to do so with style. He has just got some new glasses that can serve as both shades and protective specks. He’s even got an extra pair for Billy. Lord Zedd spots this, though, and decides to cast a spell on the glasses that make it so both Billy and Zack see the other rangers as putties. This quickly lands these two in detention when it looks to them like Principal Caplan is about to be attacked by putties and they cause a mishap in the hallway. Meanwhile, Zedd also takes the iguana that resides in Mrs. Appleby’s classroom and turns it into a new fire-breathing creature called the Saliguana.
There is a lot of confusion for Billy and Zack throughout the school day, but things reach crazy levels when a bunch of real putties attack. It ends up looking like there are putties fighting putties. Zack even ends up accidentally attacking Trini during the fight. Afterwards, the rangers are briefed by Zordon, but it’s going to take Alpha some time to find a cure for Billy and Zack’s vision problems. In the meantime, the two visually impaired rangers go off to create a cold ray that will combat the fire breath of the Saliguana. This all interrupted when some putties attack. Luckily, it seems that Billy and Zack don’t see their friends as putties when they are morphed into their ranger outfits. The device hasn’t been tested yet, though. So, Billy grabs an extra computer chip and they head off to fight.
At first, Billy’s cold ray doesn’t work…cuz nothing Billy builds works on the first try. However, the extra computer chip turns out to be just what was needed. They blast the Saliguana with the ray, and then construct the power blaster for another hit. Zedd’s not done yet, though. He makes the monster grow to giant size and then it’s up to the zords to win the day. Later at school, the rangers present Billy and Zack with revamped glasses to fix their vision.
I like the basic ideas behind this episode, but it does get a bit muddled along the way. The sequences in which Billy and Zack see all their friends as putties are cooky and pretty funny. I do have a slight issue with these scenes, though, as very little of the ranger characters come through when we see them as putties. It is unclear whether the actors who play the rangers also play the putty versions of themselves. I kinda think they weren’t since they don’t seem to show any of the basic mannerisms the actors usually display. I think it would’ve been worth it to let Amy Jo Johnson, Jason David Frank and the others dress up as putties. The sequences are fun as is, but this might’ve added a bit more to the sequence.
The whole “putties on the brain” scenario does, though, lend itself to some fun moments. The all putty fight that takes place is pretty wild. It’s kind of weird, actually, that the putties end up overshadowing the episode’s big bad, the Saliguana. This thing is a pretty lame monster. Other than the fact that it’s just a giant lizard, it’s name is just plain stupid. Saliguna!?! What is that…part salad, part iguana? Actually, it’s a mix of salamander and an iguana…which is kind of like making a monster that is a mix of an African elephant and an Indian elephant. The two animals are just too close to each other, why would you feel you needed to do a mix of the two?
Now that we’re a few episodes into season two, I’m also noticing that we’re getting what seems like a lot less time with our main baddie, Lord Zedd. We pretty much just see him create a monster, maybe yell at Goldar, and then make it grow toward the end of the episode. Other minions like Baboo, Squatt, Finister and Scorpina have all vanished. I don’t know, I mean Lord Zedd is scary looking and all, but I’m not overly impressed with him yet.
We’ll see if Zedd does any better next time as he continues to try and drive a wedge between the rangers. This time he tries to get Kimberly and Trini fighting with each other in Bloom of Doom.