Kimberly’s deaf friend feels out of place in dance class because she has trouble following the movements since she can’t hear the instructions or the music to follow along. Some of the girls in the dance class decide to hang out with her and are hypnotized by the haunting music that Rita’s monster uses to lure them away. Kimberly’s deaf friend is the only one unaffected and therefore is the only one that can help the girls.
OK so this is the disabled/ill-people-are-the-same-as-us episode and there was a lot of that sort of thing back in the early 1990s in children’s TV with the most notorious example being Captain Planet and the Planeteers episode discussing HIV. Now I am not disrespecting that, I think its a good thing, but where these efforts fell flat is that they actually overly emphasized the disability or illness that was in focus. Instead of just having a disabled person as just another character which reinforces the message that disabled people are just the same as everyone else (as it should be) their disability actually becomes important to the plot which just emphasizes that they are different. This episode is a classic example of that kind of mentality with the portrayal of Melissa, a deaf character who is therefore immune to Gnarly Gnome’s accordion. If Melissa had been in a few episodes before then I wouldn’t have such a problem with this but she was introduced in this episode just to help the plot move along and as far as I can tell she never comes back. If that wasn’t enough then the actress who plays her doesn’t even get credited but an actress who has about two lines one of which is moaning at Melissa is fully credited. What?
So our monster of the week is perfectly summed up by Rita as a kind of Pied Piper type. Gnarly Gnome is just that and uses his accordion to hypnotise people including the rangers themselves when during the course of the battle he hypnotizes them in to thinking he is a building. A moving building – JUST SHOOT THAT ONE GUYS! Despite his importance to the plot this is not a very bad-guy focused episode and I don’t really have an opinion on that. He came on screen, did what he needed to and then died his explosive death in battle with the Megazord. As such he is quite forgettable.
So in between all this we have the usual slapstick with Billy doing an impersonation of Bruce Willis’ trolley scene in Hudson Hawke to which Kimberley tells him that it is not the way to get girls. Huh, so that’s where I have been going wrong all these years. And wait – Zach can dance! Since when? Maybe I am being overly cruel since I don’t like the premise of this episode but it just seems like we aren’t learning anymore about these characters after five episodes in. This is something that is amended in later series as early as Lost Galaxy which is the start of Power Rangers becoming a more character driven show but this just leaves these early episodes feeling very wooden.
In conclusion the episode has its heart in the right place but just fails in its execution.