This may sound controversial, but it needs to be said. Although it is true that Disney just did not care about either making or promoting another Power Rangers season after Jungle Fury, Bandai of America, TOEI, and Jetix Europe all deserve props for convincing Disney to make another season.
The season itself is a CMoA for Power Rangers as a whole as it delves into territory the series has not dealt with up to that point: What happens when the Big Bad actually wins and Earth has been almost completely destroyed? Who will rise up to fight for what is left?
Despite being axed more than halfway into the show's production, creating RPM is a CMoA for Eddie Guzelian. The work he did is still held up by the fandom as the creative "gold standard" for a Power Ranger season. It made fans of the series, including the season's detractors, interested about Power Rangers again after Bruce Kalish's Dork Age, and or at least give it another look.
Songs during the fight scenes for the first time since Space!
And uncensored bisection finishers for the first time since Time Force!
And dismembered Mooks walking then falling down dead. Jesus Christ.
Still no go on impalement finishers, though. You still see the fire arrow go through the monster, but in Go-Onger you see more of it acually pushing through the body.
From "The Road to Corinth":
The introduction. Soldiers battle it out with Grinders and Venjix attack drones as Colonel Mason Truman stands there observing the battle with explosions being reflected by his sunglasses. Corporal Hicks comes up to him in a panic, and he tells the soldier to calm down. His entrance alone defines him as a Colonel Badass, and a Memetic Badass at that, as fans have rightly called him Mason Effin' Truman from then on.
Corporal Hicks: Colonel Truman! Colonel Truman.
Colonel Truman: Easy, son. Get yourself together, and give me a proper report.
Cpl. Hicks: Yes, sir. They've broken through the west corridor into Zone Delta, sir. We can't hold them off.
Col. Truman: And Eagle Squad?
Cpl. Hicks: We lost contact with air support over an hour ago, sir. What should I do, sir?
Col. Truman: Go shoot at something.
Cpl. Hicks: Sir, yes, sir.
Eagle Squad? Is his two sons.
This gets augmented with Flynn's, Scott's, and Summer's introductions, which get expanded in their Day in the Limelight episodes.
Dillon's mostly offscreen battle with the first batch of Grinders as the camera focuses on the flower he watered earlier, though that's more for the production team than him.
Dillon and Ziggy's run through the Venjix Barricade. Complete with yellow lollipops.
From "Fade to Black":
Dillon helps out Summer as she's about to be ambushed by Grinders with a giant laser cannon. Just as they prepare to fire on her Zord, he knocks it away using his car, with Ziggy still inside, and it fires on Venjix attack drones instead.
Dillon starts a prison fight by taking the head prisoner's special Jell-O and ends up taking on every single prisoner there—and wins. This moment convinces Scott to let him join the team.
Dr. K's explanation of how the Ranger Series technology came into being, along with the discovery of a "universal bio-electric field" which may well be the Morphing Grid alluded to in several Power Rangers seasons. Of course, this also contains a moment of serious Lampshade Hanging which has become subject to Memetic Mutation.
Dillon: Right, because nothing says "covert" like bright red, yellow, and blue spandex.
Dr. K: THAT IS NOT SPANDEX!
Dillon's first moments as Ranger Black? He tells the rest of the Rangers to take care of the giant sized MOTW while he fights the Grinders. Flynn then says "there must be hundreds of them." Dillon's response? "I know. Venjix should have sent more." Dillon spends the rest of the episode defeating the army of "hundreds of grinders." By the end of the episode, he made a pile of scrap metal leftovers from the Grinders.
So far, Ziggy has been introduced as a bumbling ex-criminal who on occasion provides comic relief. However, he gets his first moment to shine when, with Dr. K's help, he reroutes the comm transmissions so that Dillon, who by then found his way out of Corinth and back to the wastes to resume his search, could hear his new teammates struggling to even stand on their feet as they fight a large swarm of Grinders. Dillon then turns the car back around and races to where Scott, Flynn, and Summer have been fighting the Grinders, leading to his own awesome moment described above.
From "Go for the Green": Although mostly played for laughs, the fact that Ziggy followed Dr. K's instructions to guard the morpher with his life (by bonding with it, thus becoming Ranger Operator Series Green) is awesome in and of itself.
From "Ranger Green":
Ziggy takes the black market medicine and gives it to the orphanage filled with sick children. This moment is followed by Ziggy standing up to Fresno Bob and the cartels. This is the moment the viewer realises that Ziggy, the Plucky Comic Relief, is the perfect person to be a Power Ranger.
Fresno Bob (Scorpion Cartel Boss): Did you know how much the contents of that truck was worth? Millions, Ziggy, millions.
Ziggy: And to some people, a lot more.
Fresno Bob: Ziggy, you knew you wouldn't get away with it. You knew we would get to you eventually. So, just between us, old friend: Why did you do it?
Ziggy: All you need to know, Bob, is that I would do it again.
Dr. K also gets one by coming to Ziggy's rescue, armed with her oversized sound cannon that had been untested at that point.
From "Ranger Red":
Scott fights off a group of Grinders whilst using a pram (with the baby still inside) as a weapon.
Scott, disobeying his father's orders, goes off to retrieve a piece of equipment from his brother's crashed fighter jet that was needed by Dr. K in order to get the Croc Carrier Zord working.
From "Ranger Yellow, Part 2":
Three beautiful moments from the wedding fight. The first was Summer in a wedding dress, grabbing the ceremonial sword that belonged to her groom-to-be, and using that to fight her way through a horde of mooks. The second was Ziggy, fighting the monster of the day to a standstill armed only with a tuxedo jacket. The third was Flynn fighting mooks while wearing a ceremonial kilt, when one of the grinders lifts his kilt mid-fight (!). On Power Rangers. I'm not kidding. This was, for the record, the first appearance of Gay Grinder, who appeared in several other episodes since.
Also from "Ranger Yellow", Summer got two in her flashbacks. First, when her butler Andrews was fatally shot by grinders, Summer (who throughout her flashbacks was shown as a spoiled rich kid who depended on money) stepped up to the plate and kicked metal butt to avenge her butler's sacrifice while wearing a red dress. And I'll point out again a normal person was killed onscreen on Power Rangers, and a Disney Power Rangers at that. The ending of that scene is a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming with Summer and Andrews' goodbye. Moving forward, the second flashback Crowning Moment of Awesome is when Summer hopped on a motorcycle, gave up her pampered lifestyle for good, and went out of the safety of Corinth to rescue Scott, who she didn't even know at the time.
Dr. K gets one as well. Tenaya 7 confronts her while the Rangers fight the camera attack bot. She then proceeds to pick up a violin that had been plugged into an amp. In an Oh Crap! moment, Tenaya 7 realizes that she's standing right in front of a large array of speakers. Dr. K plays a loud chord, knocking her from the platform.
Tenaya: "Dr. K, I presume? If you're smart as they say you are, then I'm expecting some pretty profound last words here."
Doctor K: "Then I'll speak in the universal language of music." (K picks up a violin and cranks up the amplifier.)
Tenaya (noticing she's standing in front of floor-to-ceiling speakers): "You are smart."
From "Ranger Blue":
The opening has the Q&A session with Dr. K involving Zords with "big, googly anime eyes," unnecessary morphing explosions (one in particular which becomes an actual plot point), and the necessity of shouting morph calls. It's serious Lampshade Hanging on things typically taken for granted in the Rangerverse.
The episode itself is a CMoA for the series, as well as for Power Rangers as a whole. It gets some top-notch writing and production — especially the butterfly chase scene and the episode's climax — along with beautiful acting from Olivia Tennet throughout. And Dr. K herself gets some of the most unique character development in the franchise. Ever. Plenty of viewers can't help but want to give her a hug after watching it, in spite of the decisions the character made.
Gem and Gemma coming to Dr. K's rescue as her handlers attempt to assassinate her, thus letting her escape Alphabet Soup once and for all.
The climax of the episode has these moments:
Dr. K's plan for getting the new Zenith Megazord configuration to work. She gets Tenaya 7 to open the Reflex Bot's mirror, which replicates the part she needed to power the Megazord.
The Rangers form the Zenith Megazord for the first time. After so much tragedy, it provided a triumphant moment for the Rangers and for Dr. K.
Then, Dr. K fends off Tenaya 7 with her violin revving up the lab's ventilation systems. The music she plays provides the soundtrack to the Zenith Megazord's finishing attack instead of the standard rock music typically used in a battle sequence. This falls under Crowning Music of Awesome.
Tenaya 7 [pointing blaster at Dr. K]: Be honest: Leading me in here, tricking me into using the mirror—how much of it was your doing?
Dr. K [picking up violin]: All of it. [Begins playing violin.]
From "Blitz": After Dillon gets thrown from a building, without a moment's hesitation, Ziggy jumps off the building after him, morphs in mid-air, and uses his teleportation ability to first catch up to Dillon & then get them to the ground without dying.
From "Brother's Keeper": As the other Rangers and Dr. K figure out what to do with Dillon, after finding out that the virus inside his robotic implants is growing now at an accelerated rate, Ziggy actually comes up with the plan to lure the attack bot which helped accelerate the virus back into Corinth's dome. They are shocked at his suggestion at first, but they agree to it, even as Dr. K raises her objections.
After Colonel Truman refuses to open up a communications channel so that Dr. K can get in touch with her Series Operators, she tells him a story about her life growing up in Alphabet Soup, mentioning that she created, at eleven years old, "a colorless and odorless substance, that when added to a person's beverage, it would instantaneously stricken the recipient with diarrhea a thousand times more extreme than the worst case of dysentery ever recorded" — as the Colonel sips on his coffee mug. After this, he opens up the communications channel so that she can get in touch with them. Proof that Dr. K is Crazy Awesome.
Gem and Gemma's fight with Dynabot was pretty awesome, especially considering that Gem ripped out the mechanism which would have otherwise allowed it to grow to giant size after being blown up the first time.
From "In Or Out": Colonel Truman has overcharged the city's shields, preventing the Rangers from reaching Scott, Gem, and Gemma, who are out in the wastes to stop Venjix's plan to suck the oxygen out of Corinth's dome. Ziggy brings up Station 19—the same route Dillon found in his attempt to escape Corinth in "Rain"—which gives the Rangers their way out into the wastelands to help their friends, though the flames' burst rate is exponentially faster than normal. Even so, the Rangers use their suit abilities to survive the flames and make their way through the wastelands, eventually meeting up with their teammates and stopping Venjix's latest plans.
From "Belly of the Beast":
Dr. K captures the Venjix doomsday weapon by reprogramming it with whale DNA, thus becoming a weapon on Corinth's side. Of course, this defies all logic, but the MST3K Mantra applies.
In reality, the concept of this episode is awesome in and of itself. Instead of the typical "stay inside the dome and defend the city" approach usually taken by Colonel Truman, he and Dr. K organize a counter-offensive to both (a) defeat the Venjix doomsday weapon (which Dr. K does by reprogramming it to work as a Zord on their side) and (b) rescue the factory's prisoners.
From "Heroes Among Us": Scott gets another one when engaging Venjix one-on-one for the second time. The other rangers have been knocked down and Scott is dueling Venjix with the Street Saber. Gem throws his dagger to Scott. Normally, one would expect that Scott proceeds to dual-wield, but instead he jumps onto the Street Saber and uses it as a surfboard to win the battle. And people say that RPM doesn't feel like Power Rangers.
From "Not So Simple": After receiving an unusually sharp rebuke by Dr. K, Flynn loses his confidence and throws his gadgets away. Gemma sees one of his trashed creations and then decides to work on it with him, calling it the Road Attack Zord. In the heat of battle, Flynn convinces Dr. K to down-morph the new weapon, though it backfires as it attacks both Venjix's Hammer Bot and the Rangers. Gemma confesses to Flynn that she may have had given it too much power. Flynn then decides to use this to their advantage by having Dr. K draw the Road Attack Zord's excess energy to repair the other Zords. It's an awesome moment for Flynn and Gemma since they created a Zord almost entirely on their own, without Dr. K's help (or even approval at first). Dr. K even comments to Colonel Truman that the idea to reroute the Zord's excess energy was Flynn's idea, thus showing that she has developed as a character by allowing others to contribute weapons and technical expertise to the team.
"The Dome Dolls": Features the first appearance of General Kilobyte, Venjix's new right-hand man, who proves that being an underhanded bastard can be awesome too. "No one likes a cheap shot," indeed.
From "Ancient History":
Colonel Truman has found out that Dr. K created Venjix. Out for blood, he sends out his entire military force after her. She tricks the soldiers into following multiple holograms of herself while she finds a hiding place in Corinth HQ.
Dr. K: Where am I? I'm everywhere.
After the Colonel does find her, they share a Tear Jerker moment which leads to him granting her a full pardon at the end of the episode.
From "Beyond A Doubt": The reveal of the RPM Ultrazord. Turns out for all the hacking Shifter did on the Paleozord, it ultimately made it compatible with the other zords and allowed them to combine all 12 of them. And it lived up to the name.
From "Control-Alt-Delete": Scott single-handedly beating General Shifter with a slash from his Street Saber. Just to clear things up, let's recap: Shifter had a very powerful attack bot that had been running roughshod over the Rangers and even stole the Paleozord in the previous episode. Then he took control of Scott — not mind control, though — and nearly had the Rangers kill him. And then he had been messing with the Rangers himself. So when Scott faces him, it's pretty damn close to a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and Scott even throws in a "The Reason You Suck" Speech before finishing him off. But what made the scene even better was when Scott's helmet came off, revealing a very Badass look on his face before his dramatic pose and Shifter's explosion. It's official. Scott Truman is Bad Ass.
From "Run Ziggy Run": Ziggy gets another chance to shine. When Fresno Bob realizes that Tenaya 15 tricked him, Ziggy then decides to protect his former mob boss from her and her squad of Grinders. This act convinces Fresno Bob to forgive the $5 million debt he owes him from the earlier medicine truck incident.
The episode also contain Kilobyte's first battle with the Rangers, which is made all the better by the fact that Kilobyte's costume actually gives his operator some freedom of movement, allowing him to dance, jump, and even backflip over the Rangers, defeating them all with ease. When the Rangers activate the Rail Sabre and finally get to hit back it's equally awesome.
From "If Venjix Won": Ziggy's shadow puppet show in the cave. Although it's more of a heartwarming moment, it also falls under awesome because he finally got Dr. K, the most serious character in the series, to crack a grin. It's even more awesome when you consider that he did something unselfish to make someone else happy, even as they are both dying of asphyxiation.
Ziggy [after seeing Dr. K grin]: A smile. I did it.
Dr. K: Yeah, you did it. And just in time.
From "End Game": Even the bad guys have awesome moments. The Rangers have found out that over half of Corinth is comprised of hybrids like Dillon. Scott finally convinces Colonel Truman to take the fight to Venjix. As they make preparations to do so, Tenaya 15 activates a magnetic wave that activates them all, thus letting Venjix infiltrate Corinth with ease. As it was stated on the main page, All Your Base Are Belong to Us has never been done on Power Rangers like this before.
From "Danger and Destiny":
Opens with a pair of villainous ones as Venjix flat out defeats the Rangers, costing them all their tech and Gem and Gemma. Then as if that wasn't enough, Kilobyte takes advantage of Venjix's distraction to take out Tenaya 15, defeating her, her Grinders, and Dillon in rapid succession, in a brutal reminder of why he was Venjix's right-hand 'bot in the first place.
Dr. K distracting Kilobyte long enough to give Ziggy an opening to get a vial of the anti-Venjix virus into Dillon's hands, allowing him to cure Tenaya. Then Scott, Flynn and Summer arrive with the RPM Enforcer and destroy Kilobyte.
Much earlier in the episode, Venjix finally infiltrates the Garage and confronts Dr. K, who stands her ground against the very thing she made which destroyed nearly the entire world. They then have a brief exchange which shows just how far she has come as a character:
Venjix: I've waited so long for this moment! You are my creator. I owe my being to you.
Dr. K: You're not a being! You're a stream of electrons moving at light speed through a labyrinth of copper, silicon, and titanium—complete with devastating flaws.
Venjix: If I have flaws, it is only because of your programming!
Dr. K: I've made errors. But I've also learned that even the most flawed human is better than the most perfect machine.
The final battle. Venjix is fighting the three core Rangers — Scott, Flynn and Summer — directly under the city's command centre, a structure suspended high above the city. Meanwhile, Tenaya 15 is inside the center, back on the Rangers' side and trying to upload another virus into the main computer (which Venjix has already infected) when she's confronted by General Crunch. She's losing the fight when Dillon arrives — unmorphed — and beats Crunch before they grab a parachute and escape.
Why do they need a parachute? Well, the fight on the ground is brutal and one-sided, and the Rangers get absolutely thrashed. Just when they're about to get killed, they look up to see Gem and Gemma, the Gold and Silver Rangers, Back from the Dead and using their zords to bring down the command building on top of Venjix's head. What makes the scene even more awesome is that General Crunch is inside the building as it comes down. The fact that the scene is so unexpected and so ridiculously over-the-top makes it the most awesome villain take-down in the history of the franchise. This troper can't watch the scene without laughing uproariously. There were too many instances of the Rangers defeating a physically-superior opponent just because they're the heroes and the plot dictates that they win. Venjix doesn't even get to go out fighting, instead, the Rangers drop a million tonnes of concrete from high in the atmosphere on his head. It is absolutely fucking brilliant. A fitting finish to RPM.
Something of a retrospective moment is one of the demo themes leaked way before the show's release. One of the lines in the song is : Don't they know we'll find a way?/Power Rangers are here to stay, yeah, yeah. At the time, we all thought it was the final season, so it came off as a tad sad. Now that the show's been renewed, it's almost like the songwriter knew all along.
And from another demo theme: "You'll never break us, or erase us." This troper likes to think of this line as a Take That to Disney, even though it probably wasn't.