Two astronauts come across a space dumpster and when they open it, the evil sorceress Rita Repulsa and her minions Goldar, Squatt, Baboo, and Finster emerge from a 10,000-year captivity. Rita decides to conquer the nearest planet, Earth, and rebuilds her palace on the moon. In the city of Angel Grove five teenagers – Jason, Zack, Billy, Trini, and Kimberly – are teleported to the Command Center of Zordon who explains who Rita is and declares them as the first Power Rangers to fight evil and defend the Earth.
I can barely remember seeing this episode for the first time way back in 1993 but watching it again I quickly realized that the whole thing is pretty much retold at the beginning of every episode in the intro. And that’s all this episode really is; one long intro section. Little bit of trivia; this was not the first pilot episode but actually the second. The unaired pilot featured different actors for Trini and Skull while the whole juice bar/youth center was non-existent. Instead our heroes hung out at a bowling alley.
The pacing of this episode is so fast it should get a ticket for speeding. There’s very little time to get to know the main characters before they become the Power Rangers but what we do learn is this;
- Jason is the macho one of the group.
- Kimberley is annoying as hell. It seems like she has been written by 40 year olds who think thats how teenage girls talk. Her last line “Noooooooot!” is especially dated.
- Billy is like a clumsy Mr Data from Star Trek using unnecessarily technical words like “affirmative” instead of “yes”.
- Trini remains a mystery. She’s just bland in this episode.
- Zach; well he can dance. We see that when he busts some moves just before attacking the Putties. I wonder if he does that for everything like going to the toilet. Just saying…
Of course we will learn heaps about heroes in later episodes (including how Jason has to take a second seat to Tommy – how was that ever fair?).
The most brain-scratching moment of the episode watching it as an adult is when the Rangers refuse Zor-Don (that’s how Zordon announces himself) and when Rita sees this she attacks. This in turn makes them want to be the Power Rangers. I suppose it could be that she is carrying out some kind of pre-emptive strike against them and it fails miserably but I can’t help but feel had she waited just a little longer, built up her army and hit the Earth in one big go she would be victorious. Maybe I am just a better supervillain than Rita Repulsa?
Ultimately (and as this site goes further I am sure I shall be saying this a lot) it’s a pilot episode for a kid’s show and in that respect it does it’s job in introducing who’s who and what’s what.
Memorable Quote: (Kimberley’s first thought on her Zord) Cool Stereo
Memorable Dialogue: (Squatt) Rita, wake up! Wake up! We’re free. (Rita) Ahh! (Squatt) Uh-oh! Morning breath! Let me give you a mint!
Interesting Trivia: It has long been assumed that Rita’s dumpster was found on the Moon however it has been pointed out by fans that this is never said on screen in either Mighty Morphin Power Rangers or the original source of the footage, Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger. They point out that her castle is indeed on the Moon and that all the scenes there have a Moon-like background (black space and white ground) whereas the dumpster is found on a planet with a blue sky.