Ranger Station Episode 67: The Green Dream
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 from Gosei Sentai Dairanger in ComicsAlliance's Ranger Station!
This week, Tommy is brainwashed by the bad guys and used for evil! Again!
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episode 67: The Green Dream
Writer: Stewart St. John
Director: John Stewart
Original Air Date: September 19, 1994
No matter what else he did for the rest of the show --- a career that included a role as four different varieties of Ranger over the course of eleven years --- Tommy's always going to be the guy who showed up as the evil Green Ranger and kicked the rest of the team through the windshield of the Megazord. It's his defining trait.
But with that being the case, there's always going to be a temptation there to go back to it, if only to give readers that one, final, definitive Tommy vs. Jason fight that we never got --- and that would've been the driving premise of Hexagon if it had happened. The problem, though... Well, I assume you're familiar with the concept of diminishing returns.
And if you're not, "The Green Dream" is exactly that thing.
We open with the reveal that Tommy's been having a recurring nightmare about losing his powers --- which is pretty understandable since that's the arc that they've been teasing since last season, and that's eventually going to have a payoff in the form of a talking sword, and the first time we ever see a Ranger change colors.
Uh, spoiler warning, I guess?
With that as our opening (and my memory of this episode being a little hazy), I kind of assumed that the story that follows, where Tommy is re-brainwashed and we're introduced to a brand new McGuffin, was going to end up being All A Dream. It is not. Which is somehow exactly as unsatisfying as it would be otherwise.
So! Lord Zedd, sensing that Tommy's will has been weakened by sleepless nights and anxiety over the inevitable --- maybe the most I've ever related to a Power Ranger as an adult --- decides to manipulate him into being a pawn in his plot to steal... The Sword of Power!
Right, the Sword of Power! That super-powerful weapon that Lord Zedd's been looking for that we all know about and have definitely heard of before. Wait, no, this has never been mentioned. Of all the swords we've seen on this show --- and we've seen a handful --- there's no "Sword of Power," and certainly not one that only shows up, as Zedd says, when all the Rangers are together.
The closest we get to that is the Power Sword that the Megazord uses --- you know, the God Horn? --- but a) that doesn't technically exist anymore, having been replaced by the Thunder Saber, and b) since it's like 40 feet long, I think Zedd would have a hard time using it anyway.
But yeah, sure, why not. Let's just introduce a whole new very important weapon that Zedd wants for this one episode and then literally never mention it again.
After separating Sleepy Tommy from the rest of the Rangers and wearing him down with some Putty Patrollers, Goldar uses Zedd's staff to control his mind. But there's an added bonus, too!
See, Tommy's been working on a homework assignment where he's supposed to write about technology, and --- apparently not understanding the words "write" or "technology" --- Tommy has sketched out the RoboGoat, a monster that Zedd brings to life as the next part of his plot.
Also, shout out to Goldar for following the Midnight Society's parliamentary procedure on this one.
With Tommy brainwashed and the RoboGoat in the mix, it doesn't take much for Tommy to convince the other rangers that they need to summon the Sword of Power. You know, like they always do when things are super dire? Like how they absolutely do just totally normal style all the time and not just for the sake of matching up a single episode with some random-ass "Zyu2" footage? Right.
It's only just after he hands the Sword of Power over to the RoboGoat (a truly amazing sequence of words) that the spell wears off, leaving Tommy with the choice of morphing into the Green Ranger and potentially using up the last of his powers to fight off the monster and try to get it back.
Which he does, because this is the Sword of Power we're talking about, and we all know how important that is.
After an actually-pretty-great fight scene where Tommy and Jason take turns facing off against the RoboGoat one-on-one, which also involves some inexplicable magic that turns the Sword into a stick --- the piece of "Zyu2" footage that they didn't bother to write around --- the Sword is finally recovered.
With that, Zedd drops an enlarging bomb, and we're treated to an epic fight scene where the RoboGoat and the Thunder Megazord are never actually in the same shot. The RoboGoat is defeated, of course, but in an nice little change from the usual, the bad guys score a small victory to keep things interesting.
As you might've guessed from the fact that the Thunder Megazord never actually interacts with the monster, "The Green Dream" was based almost entirely around "Zyu2" footage, meaning that we're free to just move right on with our journey through Gosei Sentai Dairanger. I promise that eventually, these shows will tie in a super tiny bit, but this week, Episode 7: "Traitor!"
In our last episode, the Dairangers dealt a pretty strong blow to the Gorma with the revival of the Mythical Ch'i Beasts, but it turns out that Shadam, Gara, and Zydos have some backup of their own coming. As we open this episode, there's an arrival at Gorma headquarters, which appears to be an empty warehouse with a single statue of a woman covered with candles: a palanquin carried aloft by Cotpotros, who scatter rose petals to herald the arrival of... Archbishop Riju!
On the off chance that you were worried that Dairanger wouldn't be quite so Star Warsy going forward, don't fret. Riju isn't just here to chastise the Dairangers, he also shoots out some Force Lightning and then introduces them to his handpicked apprentice: Iron Face Chouryu, who might as well just be called Darth Shredder.
The Commanders, however, are not happy about this development. It's not just that their authority is being challenged, but Zydos is quick to point out that Chouryu can't be trusted because of what he used to be.
As for what that was, we'll have to find out later, because it's time for the show to tell us all about how Ryo, the Red Dairanger, is an orphan. Oh, and for children to start flying away uncontrollably through the sky, which is probably of more immediate importance.
Rin and Shoji are able to rescue the kid, but it turns out that it was a trap to lure them into a fight with Iron Face Chouryu, who's so good at kicking their asses that he can even reverse their special attacks with his yo power!
After using an attack called Great Exploding Earthquake (awesome) to cast everyone but Shoji down into a crevasse, Chouryu zaps him with some more Force Lightning, attacking him hard enough to transform him back into his civilian form, and issues a challenge to their mentor, Kazu: A one-on-one duel in Hell Valley at 3 PM, with the fate of Rin, Daigo, and Kazu in the balance.
When Ryo finally shows up, he and Shoji deliver the challenge to Kaku, who reveals that he knew this Iron Face Chouryu... six thousand years ago! See, Choyryu was one of the warriors bonded to the Mythical Ch'i Beasts, and he was the one who betrayed them to the Gorma, leading to their presumed death.
Ryo, who was late to that initial battle since he was with his sister, swears to fight Chouryu himself. Kaku, however --- in a pretty typical move as maybe the sketchiest mentor figure in the entire franchise --- just takes him down to the basement and locks him in a room instead, leaving Shoji to keep him from escaping while he takes the challenge.
And Ryo is not happy.
Ryo: I treated you to Ramen, right?! I even bought your coffee!
Shoji: I paid for my own coffee!
Eventually, Ryo manages to outsmart his teammate and escape the Murder Basement, and rushes to join Kaku. Kaku, meanwhile, is gearing up to face Chouryu, arguing with him over whether it's Ch'i Power or its dark reflection, Yo Power, that's actually the stronger force.
It basically amounts to telekinetically throwing rocks, swords, and fireballs at each other in a deadlocked heat, but when Ryo shows up and tries to free the other Dairangers, it distracts Kaku long enough for Chouryu to get the advantage and strike him down
Ryo Aura Changes and leaps into action, but his attacks aren't any more effective than the others'. He's beaten down quickly, but as Chouryu is about to deliver the final blow, Kaku reveals that Ryo... is Chouryu's son!
I told y'all it was Star Warsy.
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: The RoboGoat is pretty weird, but I do like that they just went ahead and said, "Yeah, it's some weird kid's drawing" and rolled with it: 6/10
Deviation From The Source: 10/10
Bulk and Skull Friendship: Bulk and Skull are continuing to try to discover the Rangers' identities, and while their methodology is sound, this episode finds Billy just straight up screwing with their equipment. They truly only have each other. 6/10
Moral Lessons: Homework is a literal monster. 5/10
'90s Fashions: It's been a while, but I really feel like we need to give special attention to how on-point Trini's preppy fashions are. Black-and-white plaid skirt with suspenders? That's straight outta Seventeen! 7/10
Total For Episode 46: 28/50