Ranger Station Episode 19: Green With Evil, Part III
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, "Green With Evil" continues as we get the first appearance of Scorpina, the villain nobody remembers.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episode 19: "Green With Evil, Part III: The Rescue"
Writer: Mark Ryan and Stewart St. John
Director: Robert Hughes
Original Air Date: October 7, 1993
Everyone remembers "Green With Evil" as the debut of Tommy and the Green Ranger --- they are secretly one and the same! --- but there's another, slightly more obscure debut in the series. It's one that I've been looking forward to ever since this started, because it's finally going to answer one of the questions I've had about Power Rangers that's been nagging me ever since I was ten years old: Just what the heck is Scorpina's deal?
You might remember from a few months back when the story went around that Scorpina was going to make a comeback in the upcoming Power Rangers movie, something that she'd be capable of because she's the only major villain from the early years who wasn't taken out or turned good by the energy from Zordon's tube (don't ask, it's a very long story) at the end of Power Rangers In Space. The thing is, there's a reason for that, and that reason is that she completely vanishes from the series with zero explanation.
This is, of course, because she was only in Zyuranger, but given how long Goldar stuck around (if you haven't seen the whole series, there's a bit later on where he's living with Bulk and Skull, and yes, it's amazing), it's pretty weird that Scorpina just sort of walks offscreen and is never heard from again. For a while, she's right up there on the moon with the rest of Rita's crew, and then poof, she's gone. I've always wondered why, and now, watching MMPR alongside Zyuranger, we all get to find out.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
As you may remember, the last episode ended with Jason trapped in Rita's dark dimension without his Power Morpher, in danger of being murdered by Goldar. That's where we pick up, but before he can be impaled on a sword, Jason realizes one crucial thing: Someone has left the fog machine on, which means there's about two feet of pretty thick mist covering the floor. All he really has to do, at least for now, is lay down and not say anything for a little while, while Goldar stomps around stabbing the floor, and for the first time, I actually feel like I would be pretty good at being a Power Ranger.
I mean, really: I'm not that great at jump-kicks and I certainly can't drive a robot dinosaur, but I am great at naps.
While Jason tries to Garfield his way through Goldar's attack, Rita decides that it's time to move forward with her master plan. As though having the Green Ranger in her pocket wasn't enough, she summons Scorpina, who arrives inside a giant boulder, rolling through what appears to be the Mushroom Kingdom from Super Mario Bros. before landing somewhere in Angel Grove. At least, I think she's inside the boulder. We never actually see her coming out or hatching or anything, it's just rolling around covered in for-real scorpions, pulsing for a few minutes before we fade to a close-up of Scorpina's eyebrows.
The forces of evil have some next-level eyeliner game, that's for sure.
Meanwhile, back at the command center, the rest of the Rangers are still trying unsuccessfully to rescue Zordon, and considering that they're trying to get him back to being a shimmering disembodied head floating in a tube somewhere in the desert, the alternative must be a sinister fate indeed. It's not working, though, and they're getting more and more worried about Jason, since now he's missing, too. They decide to split up and look for him, and while it's kind of a disservice for them to just assume he's been hanging out at the Youth Center this whole time, I guess there aren't a lot of places to look when your universe only has four or five sets.
If they had access to the sixth set, though, they'd see that Jason, revitalized by his nap, is finally back on his feet and ready to take on Goldar, man to manticore.
Alas, they do not, so Kimberly hits up Ernie's Juice Bar to see if there are any leads.
At this point, Bulk and Skull make their only appearance of the episode and, possibly foreshadowing their tenure as Junior Police later in the series, offer their services as detectives, claiming "missing persons are our specialty." The catch is that they want payment in kisses, and when Skull goes in for his advance, he ends up smooching Bulk instead.
Their reaction to this is pretty disappointing, as it plays on the idea that two dudes kissing each other by accident is the worst thing that could possibly happen. It's rough, but as someone who believes in Bulk and Skull as the most enduring relationship of the '90s, I'm choosing to believe that when they yell "SICK!" after their accidental kiss, they mean it in the way that skateboard tricks and beats can be sick.
Of more relevance to the problem is Kimberly's run-in with Tommy, who throws down a couple of harsh negs and then tells her that Jason never showed up for sparring practice after school. Since Kimberly and Zack both know that Jason was there, this is their first clue that something might be up with the new kid. Well, their second clue if you count the green tank top. When they try to follow up, though, they're attacked by Putty Patrollers who end up derailing their investigation as Tommy, unseen, looks on menacingly.
He only watches for a few minutes, though, because Tommy has other plans. It seems that Rita, having become convinced by the last 18 episodes of this show that Goldar is not so good at getting the job done, has decided to send the Green Ranger into the Dark Dimension to finish off Jason once and for all.
This is the first time since their initial conflict that the two Rangers have come face to face, and despite the fact that the Green Ranger is speaking with Tommy's very recognizable voice --- not to mention his signature "SICK-IYAHH" shouts --- Jason remains completely unaware of who his foe actually is.
Once again, though, the result of the fight is inconclusive. Despite not being morphed, Jason seems to be pretty evenly matched with the Green Ranger, which raises the question that I've always had with shows like Power Rangers or even Sailor Moon: Does the actual transformation give them any super-powers beyond just the ability to summon their weapons and finishing moves? Aside from the safety benefits of wearing a helmet, is Tommy any stronger or more durable as the Green Ranger than he is when he's just rolling through Angel Grove High in his mesh t-shirt?
But alas, we never really get an answer. Just as Tommy is about to finish Jason off with the Evil Sword of Darkness, Billy finishes repairing the communicators and teleports Jason back to the Command Center. Tommy has failed, and as punishment, he's left to stew for a bit in the Dark Dimension while Rita advances her plan.
They don't get much of a break, though, because no sooner has Jason returned than Scorpina launches her attack on the Warehouse District.
It was either that or the quarry, I suppose.
Over the course of the fight, we get bits and pieces of Scorpina's history, but it's not really enough to put things together. Alpha mentions that he hasn't seen Scorpina in "over 10,000 years," implying that she was one of Rita's henchmen before Zordon sealed her away in the space dumpster, but since she wasn't locked up with the rest of them, there was obviously some kind of split before their final battle. She's definitely well-known to the crew, though --- Squatt and Baboo are terrified of her (almost as much as Rita), but she and Goldar seem to have a bickering relationship that comes off as being somewhere between affection and rivalry.
None of this will ever be explained.
Eventually, we cut back from the moon palace to the Dark Dimension, and we find that after being left in there, the Green Ranger has apparently just been doing jump kicks in an empty room by himself for the past ten minutes.
But why just leave him there instead of sending him out with Goldar and Scorpina? Because for the first time, Rita is actually holding back. Her big plan is to lure the Megazord into action so that she can cast a spell that will cause a Solar Eclipse, thereby robbing the Megazord of its solar power source.
This is, for the record, the first time that the Megazord has ever been referred to as being solar-powered, but I suppose it makes sense. What with the show's constant pro-environmentalist messages, it probably wouldn't really make sense for them to reveal that their dinosaur robots were powered by gigantic diesel engines, right? Especially since that would kind of make them giant cannibal dinosaur robots.
Either way, the stage is now set for Rita's final attack, and the Rangers have no choice but to walk right into the trap.
I think I've made it pretty clear by this point that I'm still really frustrated with how little MMPR tells us about Scorpina, but I'm happy to report that Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger does not have that problem. In its 19th episode, the aptly "Female Warrior Scorpion," they're happy to tell us everything that we need to know about her right up front, and it is weird.
First, though, we have a little continuity to deal with. If you've been paying attention, you might remember the truly bizarre plot of Episodes 9 and 10, about an island of monkey-people who were assigned by God to protect a pair of dinosaur eggs. Well, it seems that chucking them into the ocean at the end of the episode wasn't as permanent a solution as they thought, and when a pair of young brothers find them washed up on the beach, they immediately become a target for Bandora's latest recruit: Secret Agent Lamy! And she's not just a secret agent... she's an executive.
I honestly don't know if this is a translation thing or if this is actually meant to be an indication that Bandora has organized her henchmen as a corporation, but I hope that's the case, because it's fantastic. But that's not the weird part.
The weird part is that Lamy was recruited because she's Grifforzar's wife.
This is fantastic, and I have no idea why it was cut out of the American version of the show, because it adds so much to the villains to give them relationships beyond Bad Guy and Henchman. I'd guess that it has to do with not wanting to show kids a romantic relationship between a woman and... whatever Goldar is supposed to be, but then again, Rita is about a year away from marrying a genuinely terrifying skinless monster with an exposed brain and Judge Fear's face, so who even knows.
Anyway, according to Bandora, Lamy has been waiting at home "for 170 million years" for Grifforzar to get a promotion and some vacation time. Since that never happened, she has joined up with the team in exchange for Bandora giving Grifforzar the ability to speak.
To that end, Lamy attacks the Zyurangers and the two kids, Kazuo and Yuji, in the form of a giant boulder...
...and in the process, one of the two young brothers is injured, and the other is kidnapped and held for ransom. It's something that hits pretty close to home for Geki who, as you might remember, is still reeling from finding out that Burai is his brother, and also that Burai hates him and wants to murder him with a sword.
I think you'll agree that those are two pretty heavy things to find out in a single week.
So! The Zyurangers get the eggs, but Bandora has Kazuo, and Yuji is critically injured in the fight. Bandora wants to make an exchange, and, since Geki isn't willing to put anyone else through the pain that he's facing, of possibly losing a brother, they agree to swap the kid for the eggs. And just in case the stakes weren't high enough, he gives the medal from his Dino Buckler --- what we Americans would call his Power Coin --- to Yuji so that its magic will help him heal faster.
While all this is going on, Burai is just hanging out on the moon in Bandora's palace, rolling his eyes dismissively at literally everything the rest of the bad guys are doing, which includes tying up a child and hanging him from the ceiling while dancing around singing about how they're going to murder him. Burai is great.
Once the Zyurangers show up for the exchange, though, he goes into action:
As you might expect, the ransom exchange immediately goes off the rails into a fight, with Burai taking on Geki while Grifforzar and Lamy doing team-up attacks on the rest of the Zyurangers. What might be surprising, though, is that it ends up going exactly according to plan. The good guys do get Kazuo back, and Bandora makes off with the last dinosaur eggs, something that makes her so happy that she spontaneously starts floating.
What makes her really happy, though, is that this is the next step of her plan to finally destroy Daizyuzin --- which will happen in three days!
Or, you know, in next week's episode.
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: Scorpina is exactly what it says in her name: A scorpion who is also a lady. Everything else is just hinted at in the American version, which makes her way more frustrating than weird. 5/10
- Deviation From the Source: THE PEOPLE DEMAND MORE GOLDAR-BASED ROMANCE PLOTS. 7/10
- Bulk and Skull Friendship: I mean, they literally kiss in this one. This is not a metaphor like the time they swapped bodies. They actually kiss. 10/10
- Moral Lessons: Unfortunately, that kiss comes with some pretty disappointing mockery from our alleged heroes. Why is it that the only time these teenagers actually have attitudes is when it comes to being mean to Bulk and Skull? 1/10
- '90s Fashions: No new outfits in this one, so the burden of '90s fashion has to come from Scorpina, who definitely looks like she's about to show up and fight the WildC.A.T.s or something. 8/10
Total For Episode 16: 31/50