Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (1993-1997): 1×04 “A Pressing Engagement”

MIGHTY MORPHIN’ POWER RANGERS (1993-1997)

Go Go, Power Rangers!

Go Go, Power Rangers!

Episode: A Pressing Engagement (1×04)
Director: Adrain Carr
Teleplay: Jeff Deckman and Ronnie Sperling
Cast: Amy Jo Johnson, David Yost, Walter Jones, Thuy Trang, Austin St. John, Paul Schrier, Jason Narvy, David Fielding, Richard Steven Horovitz, Richard Genelle, Barbara Goodman
Original Air Date: September 9, 1993
Reason for Inclusion: King Sphinx is the Monster-of-the-Week. First actual use of the Power Sword.

Hmm...for a Jason heavy episode, this is an odd title card placement.

Hmm…for a Jason heavy episode, this is an odd title card placement.

ACT ONE

Ernie is counting the number of benchpresses Jason can do. The goal is to reach 1100 bench presses…because apparently this is something you do in a gym.  Unfortunately, Ernie gets distracted by his food and loses count.

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Meanwhile on the moon, Rita decides that Jason isn’t that difficult to take on by himself, so she decides to send Goldar and another monster to finish Jason off separately  and then the rest will follow suit.

ACT TWO

We return to the Juice Bar where Jason is trying for the record.  Again.  Apparently, this was a Manly Thing he had to do. Or something.  I don’t get gym culture at all. Unfortunately, again, just as he is about to beat the record, Jason gets distracted by Kimberly, who has blown an insanely large bubble with her bubble gum…and is promptly smacked into by Zach (who is inexplicably skateboarding indoors) causing it to pop all over her face.  Jason, once again, is not the new record holder.

We've all been there, right?

We’ve all been there, right?

Meanwhile, Rita gloats about his loss. Baboo and Squatt offer Rita their services, but she wants no part of that.  Goldar shows up and repeats the plan, partially because he’s incompetent, and partially for those of us who missed the first few minutes of the episode because we had to walk home from school and didn’t always make it in time if our books were too heavy.  Finster comes up with King Sphinx who can blow people away with his wings.

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Back at the Juice Bar, Zach is begging for forgiveness, which Jason of course grants, because he’s all benevloent and stuff.  Zach also apologies to Kimberly who says “Forget it, it’s casual.” Whatever that means.  Jason is afraid he will be considered a quitter.  Cue Bulk and Skull to show up, be obnoxious, and awkwardly bear hug Jason.

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Or maybe he’s performing the Heimlich?

Jason manages to escape the hug by tickling Bulk.  Bulk convulses so much that his pants split and then fall off, thus exposing his tacky boxer shorts.  Because that’s not in the slightest bit awkward.

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Zordon butts into their conversation telling them that, quelle suprise, Rita’s monsters are attacking Angel Grove.  The Rangers are told to teleport to the Children’s Theatre in the Park.  They morph into action, but strangely Billy and Trini aren’t there.  King Sphinx uses his magical wing gusts to blow Kimberly and Zach back to the Juice Bar, and somehow also de-moprhs them, leaving Jason in the theatre alone.

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Jason and King Sphinx begin an epic battle, first in the theatre and then they teleport to a nearby desert to continue.   Once there, Rita uses her magic want to make Goldar (who has finally bothered to show up) and King Sphinx grow.

ROAR!

ROAR!

ACT THREE 

Jason continues to battle, and wishes his friends were with him.

Meanwhile, Kimberly and Zach arrive at Billy’s Garage/Lab hybrid thing to fill Billy and Trini in on the events of the day.  Billy and Trini do not seem bothered that they were not called into the initial fight. Probably because they realize they’re the weakest of the five Rangers.  They attempt to reach Jason by communicator but are unable to do so.

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So they transport to the Command Center where Zordon and Alpha have managed to find Jason on the viewing globe.  Zordon says they can get to Jason with their Power Crystals (The things they use to make the Zords run)…apparently they have the ability to teleport the Rangers to other dimensions. Or something.

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The Power Crystals are beamed to Jason, who uses them to summon his friends to fight.  They call upon the DinoZord power.  This begins an extended sequence of the Zords arriving, probably being used to fill time in an episode that would be inherently shorter otherwise.  They make a slightly bigger deal about using the Power Crystals to activate the MegaZord sequence, but not enough to really call it worth the explanation.

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They first do battle in Tank Mode. But the laser beams that King Sphinx and Goldar shoot at them are too much for Tank Mode, so they convert to Attack Mode.  They do some more fighting, but then randomly go back to Tank Mode for one shot, and then back into Attack Mode.

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The battle continues on for a while until the Rangers call upon the Power Sword…and at that point they make it glow all pretty like and kill King Sphinx.  Why they didn’t go for that in the first place, I’ll never know. Goldar, again, flees the scene. Rita has a headache.

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Back at the Juice Bar, Jason is, once again, about to beat the record. This time, however, he succeeds and proves his Manly Man-ness of Manhood.  Ernie shows up with a cake to celebrate the occasion.

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Bulk and Skull show up, and of course Bulk is unhappy because Jason has beat his record (Wut?).  Zach offers him a piece of cake, and predictably, Bulk trips and falls and ends up with cake all over him.

Oh vaudeville...

Oh vaudeville…

COMMENTARY

This episode was another one that didn’t seem to air very often in syndication. I think some of it had to do with the awkward writing.  The American content is pretty solid, but the hack jobs done on the stock footage is a bit confusing at times.

The interesting thing about this episode is really King Sphinx.  He was initially intended to be the Monster in the pilot episode, however when they re-cast the role of Trini, they apparently decided to change this aspect as well, although an official reason has never been given.  It is because of this that King Sphinx shows up in a ton of merchandise and on the cover of the initial video release of “Day of the Dumpster.”  In fact, a quick survey on eBay shows an 8″ action figure, a 3″ figurine, a poster, a puzzle, a MiniFig, a 12″ or so action figure, a Micro Machines set, Colorforms, Spin Fighter, and a Trading Card.  He’s also one of the main bosses in the early Power Rangers video games.  The only other bad guy to appear that regularly is Goldar.

The footage of the Goldar and King Sphinx fight is also interesting because it got recycled quite often.  In many shots later in the series (I’ll try to screengrab as I can), you can see flashes of King Sphinx in Megazord battles.

There were also plans for King Sphinx to reappear later in the series as a main bad guy, however his costume had deteriorated to the point of not being useable anymore.  However, the mask did get used as set decoration on Big Bad Bettleborgs.

This episode is the first to:

  • Show the complete Power Sword defeat sequence.  The first appearance was when Goldar fled in the pilot.
  • Show the cockpit of MegaZord from overhead. (It may also be the only)
  • Show us Billy’s Garage Lab.  This is a mainstay for the first part of Season 1, however it is eventually phazed out.
  • Show us that Alpha 5 has a teddy bear…with an Alpha 5 style head.  Unfortunately, it’s shown so briefly and usually with Alpha flailing about, I couldn’t get a good capture of it.
Overhead shot!

Overhead shot!

LOST IN TRANSLATION

For once, this episode doesn’t really suffer from this issue.  The Power Crystals were introduced, however, only because they hadn’t used MegaZord yet.  There was a subplot with kids in trees, but the only real reference to that is when Kimberly and Zach get blown away by King Sphinx…which they were able to correct without any confusion.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’d give this episode a solid B, possibly a B+ simply for having a coherent story for the first time since the pilot.  The lack of Trini and Billy in the initial battle is confusing, but overall, this was one of the better episodes.

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