Episode Title: Orchestral Maneuvers in the Park
Original Airdate: October 4, 1994
It’s bad enough when Angel Grove is being threatened by one big rubber monster, but what about when a whole slew of monsters attack at once? That’s what happens in today’s episode…or is it? It seems like Lord Zedd is up to some tricks this time while also unleashing one of the weirdest monsters yet. Here comes Orchestral Maneuvers in the Park.
As we begin this adventure, Zack’s cousin Curtis is gearing up for a big jazz concert he’s playing in. The problem is, his trumpet is still on the moving van somewhere between St. Louis and Angel Grove. Luckily, Zack has his Uncle Ed’s old trumpet stored away in the attic, so Curtis will be able to play after all. Of course, this is all seen by Lord Zedd who starts hatching a plan to use the trumpet to create a monster. He unleashes some putties to sprinkle some weird dust on the instrument as Zack, Kimberly and Billy carry it through the park. They succeed in fighting off the putties, and present the horn to Curtis, unsuspecting of the curse that’s been put on the horn.
The concert goes off without a hitch, but a putty appears without the rangers noticing and swipes the trumpet. Zedd then zaps the instrument to create a monster called Trumpet Top. Later, when the rangers first encounter the creature, they also find a small army of other monsters they’ve battled in the past. Among the creatures are Grumble Bee, Saliguana, Fighting Flea, Socadillo, Rhinoblaster, Mantis, Stag Beetle, and Slippery Shark. Thing is, none of the monster are really there. They are just illusions created by Trumpet Top. So the rangers are actually fighting thin air.
When Zordon spots what is going on, he teleports the rangers to the command center to brief them. Then they quickly head back to battle Trumpet Top, who has now grown to giant size. The zords are quickly summoned and the battle rages. Trumpet Top does succeed in getting his hands on the giant robot’s sword, but not for long. Soon he is eliminated just like all other monsters who threaten Angel Grove.
This episode does have some good things going on, but no thanks to the lead monster. Trumpet Top is a pretty underwhelming monster that doesn’t make a lick of sense. He’s slender and white with a big block shaped head. One big eye sits in the middle of his face and two trumpet horns stick out of the sides of his head. His powers are strange, too. I don’t get why this strange concoction would have the ability to create illusions of other monsters, or why his main weapon in battle seems to be fire breath? The one thing he’s got going for him is that he’s pretty agile, but he doesn’t really get too much of a chance to show that off as the final battle is fairly brief.
More effective is the battle with the monsters from past episodes. They actually come off as much more threatening here than any of them did in their original episodes. I think that’s because we see each of them in hand-to-hand combat with a ranger, so they do get to show much more agility and skill. This fight takes place on the beach, with a lifeguard station factoring in. I was kind of hoping we’d get a Baywatch crossover and see Mitch and CJ come out to start fighting monster…but alas.
The subplots of this episode are passable if not great. Bulk and Skull spend the episode still trying to find out the identity of the Power Rangers by deciding to make plaster casts of the rangers’ footprints and then compare that to everyone else in Angel Grove. Not the greatest plan but it does make for a funny scene when Bulk and Skull are the two who witness the rangers fighting nothing. The subplot with Curtis, though, is a bit strange. I mean, he’s somehow already joined a jazz band after not even being in town long enough for the moving truck to have arrived. Plus, somehow this band has taken him on despite him not having a horn to play with. How has he been practicing with this group?
Ultimately, this is a passable episode, though a bit weird. Speaking of weird, just wait until you see what happens next time. I mean, we all know that many young male Power Rangers fans had a serious crush on Kimberly back in the day. Imagine how they reacted when Lord Zedd tried to marry her! That’s what happens next time in Beauty and the Beast.