Ranger Station Episode 18: Green With Evil, Part II
With 800 episodes over the course of 22 years, the Power Rangers television show is arguably the single most successful live-action superhero franchise of all time, and certainly one of the strangest. Adapted from Japan's long-running Super Sentai series, created by manga legend Shotaro Ishinomori, the Power Rangers combined the giant robots and monsters of their Japanese counterpart with a completely different set of secret identities and problems, and became a pop cultural phenomenon. That's why we're looking back with an in-depth guide to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, including its source material, Kyuoryu Sentai Zyuranger, in ComicsAlliance's Ranger Station!
This week, Tommy gets his hands on the Sword of Darkness, and the Zyurangers learn Burai's shocking secret!
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episode 18: "Green With Evil, Part II: Jason's Battle"
Writer: Tom Wyner, Cheryl Saban and Stewart St. John
Director: Robert Hughes
Original Air Date: October 6, 1993
When we last left the Power Rangers, they'd been through one of the most brutal defeats in the history of the franchise. The previous 16 episodes --- a little over two months of television if you were watching on the reg back in 1993 --- had set up a pretty definite pattern, and a dude busting down the door to the Megazord and punching the Rangers so hard that its giant robot face exploded was a pretty thrilling way to kick off a saga. Plus, Zordon's missing, Kimberly's love life is in dire peril, and Alpha Five is in such bad shape from a virus that he might as well have been answering too many emails promising C*H*E*A*P BLU E P1LLS and a bank transfer from an exiled prince.
For now, though, the Rangers are trying to regroup. As Billy and Trini work on repairing Alpha, the rest of the gang heads back to the Youth Center, where Jason takes his frustration out on a heavy bag. With no way to tell who "this green dude" is, there's nobody that he can punch to solve the problem --- and, on a larger scale, there's nobody to slash into oblivion with a Power Sword.
On the one hand, that's an interesting twist to the regular formula. Other than a few pretty cheap moments of "we've got to reverse his powers back on him!", the team has never actually had to think their way out of a problem. Even Billy's intellect isn't really suited for mysteries, so it puts the team at the kind of disadvantage that you can't really get when you're in command of giant dinosaur robots.
On the other hand, if I was Jason and I knew I was the Red Ranger and I could just look down and notice that I am literally wearing red jeans and a red tank top, I might suspect that the new kid in town who was wearing the exact same outfit in green might be a good place to start the investigation.
Tommy, meanwhile, is hanging out in an alley getting orders from Rita about the next phase of her sinister master plan when Bulk and Skull show up and demand an apology. This seems like a risky proposition considering that he previously warded them off by demonstrating spin kicks and sick-iyahhhhs, but when Bulk's honor has been sullied, neither he nor Skull are the type of people to stand down.
Unless, of course, the person they're trying to avenge themselves on starts shooting lightning out of his eyes.
I realize that Angel Grove is a pretty weird town, but you'd have to think this is the kind of thing they'd mention to someone before Tommy shows up at school the next day. It is not.
And speaking of things that are never mentioned when Tommy shows up at school, it is all I can do to not make this column just a thousand words about the green mesh t-shirt that he's wearing when he does.
The fact that it is the exact same color as his jeans and the tank top that he's wearing is, amazingly, the least notable thing about it. Just look at it. Imagine being a person who thought this is what people were wearing to high school in 1993. Spoiler warning for the end of this column, but this episode's going to rank pretty high in the '90s Fashions category.
There are a few developments that have nothing to do with Tommy's sartorial choices, though. The first is that his brainwashing has made him extremely cruel to Kimberly, who's been hoping for another date since he stood her up last time. The second, and probably more relevant to the story, is that Rita has decided to give him the power of The Evil Sword of Darkness.
You can probably guess what its deal is just from the name, but the Sword of Darkness is apparently something that Rita got from one of her previous conquests --- and by that, I mean that it's explained using the same footage of Goushi fighting the Nasty Knight that we saw back in episode 10, the first of many instances of reused footage that we're going to get in this episode. The only reason that she hasn't used it before is that Zordon "knows its secrets," but with him out of the picture, nothing's going to stop her from using it to make Tommy's brainwashing permanent.
First, though, he has to earn it by proving his worth, which in this case means fighting a bunch of putties on the beach. There is a similar scene in Zyuranger, but really, I think this is mainly just an excuse to show us how good JDF is at spin-kicks again.
Needless to say, Tommy thrashes the putties and claims the sword, and there's no way to stop them without Zordon.
Or, I guess, without Zordan, which is how this episode's subtitles are referring to him.
I'm pretty sure this is just the Netflix captions having their usual level of inaccuracy --- they refer to Principal Caplan as "Kaplan" despite the fact that Bulk and Skull call him "Mr. C" --- but I do like the idea of Zordan being, like, Zordon's good-for-nothing cousin. Zordon's all trapped in a tube trying to save the world from moon witches, but "Danny" is just really excited to tell you all about his novel and how it's going to really make people think about who the real zombies are. For the record, the real zombies are the government, and there have been zero words of this novel actually written.
Anyway, after he claims the sword and its evil power, we get the most shocking development of the episode. When Jason finds Tommy at school and apologizes that he won't be able to make it to a promised training session, Tommy uses his Power Coin to send him to another dimension:
A dimension that definitely looks like they just moved all the furniture out of the Command Center set but left the same backdrop, but don't be fooled. It's an extremely deadly place. Goldar's there, too, and since he has Jason's Morpher, things are not looking very good for his survival.
With Jason trapped in another dimension, the other four Rangers are left to fight Tommy when he shows up. Once again, with the Sword of Darkness augmenting his own power, Tommy hands them their helmets to the point where they summon the Megazord again just to deal with one regular-sized dude.
Even that doesn't really help, though. He gets away, Zordon's lost somewhere in the Morphin Grid, and Goldar has orders to carry out his execution immediately. To be continued!
Never let it be said that Super Sentai series does not love to heap on the drama whenever they can. I imagine that's a function of their longer seasons --- Sentai shows tend to run about 48 to 50 episodes in a year, and with that much space to keep kids interested in buying playsets and toys, keeping the twists coming is a pretty strong priority. As a result, more often than not, Sentai teams tend to have their share of shocking secrets.
Which brings us to the 18th episode of Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, "The Hate-Filled Brother's Sword," in which we learn that Burai isn't just a long-lost member of the Yamato tribe. He's actually Geki's brother!
The weird thing is, this information is dropped at the start of the episode rather than at the end. For a second, I thought that maybe they actually messed up and forgot to put the cliffhanger in the previous episode, but then I remembered that Sentai shows --- much like Sailor Moon --- almost never blow the surprise of an episode without putting it right there in the title for you.
Even if that wasn't the case, the explanation of Geki and Burai's brotherhood takes up so much of the episode that it's not really the kind of thing they could've just tacked on. If it's going to be a twist, after all, Geki can't know that he has a brother, so as Barza and Gnome explain, he's actually his secret brother.
See, back in Dinosaur Times, the King and Queen of the Yamato Tribe were childless, so they adopted a kid from another family in the tribe who already had a son of their own. That son was Burai, and the kid who was adopted was, of course, Geki. Simple enough, but it gets a little complicated when Burai's father starts a rebellion and ends up being killed by Geki's (adopted) father, with his last words to his son being that he should avenge him and rule. Burai, strong as he was, went into exile, but has always nursed a hatred for Geki, which explains why he immediately tried to kill the Zyurangers once he woke up.
Truly, the highest of drama.
As you might expect, Bandora is super stoked about this. Burai isn't one of her monsters, but he is the Unbeatable Warrior who has a grudge against the Zyurangers, so things are looking up. So much so, in fact, that she starts up a full-on musical number about how much she hates the planet Earth and all its stupid humans:
Say what you will about her "murder all children in the name of Satan of Hell" policies, but Bandora kind of rules.
She is not, however, content to let events play out as they will. To make sure Burai finishes the job, she decides to lead him to the evil sword Hellfriede, which matches the strength of the Zyurangers' legendary weapons. Burai agrees, but there's a problem. The sword is guarded by a skeleton in armor that is also on fire and can shoot explosions out of its eyes.
Sentences like that make this job worth it.
Eventually, Burai kicks the skeleton hard enough that he can claim the sword, and, after going full He-Man with it to claim its power, he heads off to challenge Geki to a duel to the death. And then, as he says, it'll be off to conquer the world.
The rest of the Zyurangers intervene, but they're no match for Geki. Daizyujin, on the hand, most certainly is. Having recovered from having his eyes exploded out last week --- and apparently having gained some kind of sentience? --- the giant robot shows up to stop Burai from delivering the finishing blow and to also give Geki a piece of advice that I think we can all relate to:
With that, our episode comes to an end, but not before Bandora reveals that "Burai is only one piece of this elaborate plan!" The second piece is the destruction of Daizyujin, and it's coming in ten days and 12 hours!
What is it? Find out in 6 days and 23 hours, friends. Fight on!
In Ranger Station, each episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers will be graded on a scale of one to ten in five categories, with a final score awarded with a maximum of fifty points.
- Weirdness of the Monster: Again, our "monster" is just Tommy, but that mesh t-shirt has to be worth at least two points all on its own. 3/10
- Deviation From the Source: You'd think Power Rangers would've gone for the secret brother plot right off the bat, but surprisingly, it takes them like two years to finally get there. 5/10
- Bulk and Skull Friendship: With as much as Bulk --- and only Bulk --- was the butt of a lot of physical comedy in early episodes, it's nice to see that they're being eye-lightninged into trash cans together now. 4/10
- Moral Lessons: Punch enough people on a beach and you might get a super cool sword! 2/10
- '90s Fashions: SEE ABOVE. 10/10
Total For Episode 16: 24/50