Episode Title: Green No More Part I
Original Airdate: September 27, 1994
We’ve been working up to a big event in Angel Grove for several episodes now. Tommy has been seeing his powers get weaker and weaker with each episode. Now, we are at the crossroads. Let’s see what happens in Green No More Part I.
As this episode begins, Tommy is busy making goo-goo eyes at Kimberly and worrying about the fact that his powers are getting lower and lower. Suddenly, the two are visited by a vision of Tommy from the future. Strangely future Tommy just happens to be wearing the exact same clothes that his past self is wearing today. Future Tommy also only seems to be able to speak in broken English, “I am you from future…final battle…remember…communicator.” Apparently being a hologram from the future makes you talk like Tonto.
Later at school, we are introduced to some new faces. First we meet Zack’s cousin Curtis, who is putting on a break dancing performance in the hallway. Even Trini’s favorite hunk Richie is impressed with Curtis’ moves. Then Tommy, Zack, and Billy encounter a new group of students. We don’t know their names, but they seem to have a similar look and color scheme as our heroes. Three guys, two girls…one of the girls is Asian…one of the guys is black…the guy that wears blue sports a pair of glasses. Basically, they are the bully versions of the Power Rangers. Even Bulk and Skull are scared of them. Lord Zedd, though, sees potential in these nasty teens and decides that he will make them his Dark Rangers. During a confrontation with the real rangers at the beach later that day, Zedd zaps the new kids off to his domain with a lighting bolt. Zedd also takes a moment to create a new monster inspired by the seashells Kimberly was collecting at the beach. This thing is called the Turbanshell, looking a bit like a hermit crab that walks upright.
The creature immediately grows to giant size and starts smashing buildings. The rangers then morph and head off to fight the monster. This includes Tommy, despite his severely weakened state. The zords are summoned right away and an epic battle begins. Eventually, though, the Turbanshell escapes. Right after, Tommy suddenly disappears, as well. He then finds himself in a Gladiator-style wheat field to fight the monster alone. It doesn’t take long, though, for the last of Tommy’s powers to be zapped away by Lord Zedd’s strange green crystal. With the green ranger out of the way, Zedd manages to zap the other rangers into his Otherworld realm, trapping them in some sort of force field. He then presents his new Dark Rangers, all wearing uniforms that look a bit more like lucha libre outfits than superhero suits. Things seem hopeless with the rangers trapped, and Tommy powerless…but we won’t find out what happens until next time.
As is often the case with the first chapter in multi-part episodes, a lot of time is spent here setting things up. Still, there’s a lot to like in this episode. The highlight has to be this new group of new kids who become the Dark Rangers. It’s a laugh-out-loud sort of moment when they first show up and you realize you’re essentially looking at evil clones of the rangers we know and love. The evil Billy and evil Trini are dead on. The nasty version of Kimberly, though, does throw things off a bit. She’s a bit taller and is a bleach blonde, so she’s not as much of a clone as the others are. The over-the-top nastiness of this grew is fun and I love that even Bulk and Skull run in fear. I do have a question about these guys, though. I mean, they are meant to be the new kids on campus…so, did they all just show up as new students right around the same time and quickly form a gang? Did they know each other ahead of time and somehow convince their parents to transfer them en masse to Angel Grove High? I must know the answers!
These Dark Rangers are a bit more fun than this episode’s actual monster. The Turbanshell is passable, but is a bit scrawny compared to a lot of Lord Zedd’s creations. He certainly doesn’t leave a big first impression when he first appears. The actor inside the rubber suit clearly has trouble walking in this first scene. The creature lumbers toward the camera bow-legged, as if he’d spent two-weeks driving cattle across Montana.
One of the strangest things about this episode is the absence of Trini throughout the first half of the story. It is explained by Kimberly that she is visiting her grandmother. She is teleported to the command center in time for the fight, but why wasn’t she there in the first place? Well, this episode is one of the first bits of evidence we have that some tensions were beginning to rise between Saban, the producers of the show, and a few of the cast members. I don’t know for sure if Thuy Trang’s absence for part of this episode was part of that, but we do know that she, Austin St. John (Jason) and Walter Jones (Zack) all did not show up for ADR sessions for this episode. All of their lines delivered while sporting their ranger helmets are borrowed from previous episodes. These behind-the-scenes tensions will continue to come up as we move forward through the next several episodes.
Even with some production problems, this episode still ends up being a solid entry in the series. We’ll see how much havoc these Dark Rangers can dish out in their suped up gimp suits next time in Green No More Part II.