Series: Power Rangers Zeo
"It's Morphin' Time!"note
The fourth season of Power Rangers
; a follow up to Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
, adapted from Chouriki Sentai Ohranger
. Rita and Zedd have been reduced to homeless rovers on what was once their moon kingdom due to the invading Machine Empire, who want to gut Earth of its natural resources. The Rangers are briefly left powerless after the destruction of their command center. But thankfully, Zordon reveals that he and Alpha have tapped into the mighty Zeo Crystal and they have produced brand new ranger powers, including for the first time brand spankin' new uniforms for the entire
is largely where the franchise began to grow up, by introducing a few season-spanning plot threads, becoming slightly
less preachy, with charity work a less common plot element, and much more character-driven. Billy, the last original Power Ranger retired from active duty to act in a tech support and Mission Control
role, as well as serving as a mentor to the newer rangers under Zordon. Newer characters such as Katherine and Tanya, and even Rocky and Adam, were allowed to grow beyond their Suspiciously Similar Substitute
beginnings. Even Bulk and Skull managed some Character Development
after going through police training and later becoming private detectives. The show also reintroduced Jason, the original Red Ranger, to return and take up the role of their Sixth Ranger
Zedd and Rita were also not quite out of the picture, as they worked to reclaim their status as the series villains and sometimes their guerrilla strikes against the Machine Empire ended up helping the Rangers. It is one of the more popular seasons, as it had classic characters, an epic scope and
decent writing. It also set up the concept of the Ranger changing powers and costumes once a year, and further established more rangers trading in and out. Some also consider it to be in some ways better than the original seasons in terms of quality, with a greater focus on character development and more dramatic moments. In other words, Zeo
had some big shoes to fill, and they were filled well.
Unfortunately ratings that had begun to decline in season 3 dropped even further in Zeo, leading to Turbo dropping several plot points and hastily transitioning to the Turbo powers with barely an explanation.
One of the confusing elements of the series is that it doesn't really have any conclusive ending; the series ends with the Machine Empire crippled, but not destroyed, with Lord Zedd declaring "We're back!" and plotting their full return. Then the Turbo
movie comes out, where the Machine Empire doesn't get any mention, Lord Zedd and Rita are apparently on vacation and the Zeo powers are dropped in favor of the Turbo powers. The infamous fan hoax Scorpion Rain
was an attempt to bridge this gap, claiming to be a multi-part Missing Episode
where Rita and Zedd fight against the Machine Empire climaxing with a royal rumble on the moon and Serpentera being buried. The story was placed retroactively into continuity with the Power Rangers Wild Force
episode "Forever Red
," although only in Broad Strokes
. Word of God
regarding Zedd and Rita is they took a honeymoon to raise their child Thrax, who appears in Power Rangers Operation Overdrive
. This season is also infamous for the "Dear John" Letter
that Kimberly sent to Tommy in "No Business Like Snow Business".
Succeeded by Power Rangers Turbo
Recurring Power Rangers tropes include:
This subseries contains examples of:
- The Ace: Kat. She dives, dances, sings, surfs, skis, trains dogs, trains monkeys... it's finally tossed a lampshade when her friends tease her for moping because the purse she made was so ugly. "C'mon, there had to be something you're not good at."
- Advertising Only Continuity: A commercial gave the villain's name as Queen Machina instead of her husband, King Mondo, and had them operating out of the original command center when they were actually operating in the underground Power Chamber.
- Arc Welding: The Red Battlezord is said to derive technology from the Alien Rangers' Battle Borgs.
- The Artifact: The acronym U.A.O.H. shows up a few times during the season most notably on the floor of the Zeo Zord Hangar. This is an artifact from Ohranger, and it stands for for "United Airforce Overtech Hardware", which was the military organization the Sentai team worked for.
- Badass Boast: At the end of "King for a Day, Part 2", Jason delivers one to Gasket:
"You mess with one Ranger, you better be willing to take on the whole team!"
- Badass Native: Tommy. David too.
- Bifurcated Weapon: The Super Zeo Megazord has twin swords that can be combined into a large saber for destroying monsters.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Tommy. Again. This is the fourth or fifth time.
- Broken Aesop: Possibly. Zedd and Rita send the Impurseinator monster - it almost beats the rangers. The Machine Empire sends the Cog Master - it almost defeats the rangers. The Aquitarian rangers come in and help. The rangers all talk about how great teamwork is and how much it's helping them. The enemies decide to have teamwork and combine the two monsters. The rangers defeat the monsters, because somehow individually they were far stronger when the enemies worked independently - teamwork is great if you're good, but villains seeing eye to eye equals total failure?
- The Bus Came Back: Jason returned to take on the mantle of the Gold Ranger halfway through the season.
- Ditto for Zedd, Rita and Finster.
- Cassandra Truth: After Bulk and Skull's adventure in "King For A Day", they tried to convince everyone that they helped save the rangers. No one believes them except the rangers themselves, but Bulk and Skull think they're just giving them pity.
- The Cast Show Off: Besides the obvious martial arts, Kat's ballet dancing and Tanya's singing.
- Characterization Marches On: Adam, Kat and especially Rocky. In MMPR, the replacements were Suspiciously Similar Substitutes who were sort of just....there to fill in spots left behind by better rangers. But now that they were original members of their own team, there was more room for them to grow as characters. Don't be mistaken, the show was still all about Tommy and their personalities were still relatively bland and undefined compared to the originals but at least now they didn't feel like just mere replacements.
- Cliffhanger Copout: In "A Zeo Beginning", Alpha's solemn final line at the end of Part I suggests that something happened to Zordon in the Command Center's implosion. This line doesn't make it to the beginning of Part II, where Alpha instead cheerfully reveals that Zordon is just fine.
- Oddly enough, the VHS release of the episode (which had the two parter, along with only the Zeo Crsytal search in MMAR spliced together in movie format) kept Alpha's somber dialogue even with Zordon's well being immediately shown.
- Also, the third season of Mighty Morphin' ended with the Zeo Crystal being stolen. In "A Zeo Beginning" the rangers find the crystal buried amidst the rubble of the command center, speculating that Rito and Goldar dropped it.
- Clueless Mystery: The identity of the Gold Ranger, with all the existing characters turning out to be Red Herrings.
- Comic Book Adaptation: A planned series by Image Comics based on the show was slated, but only one issue managed to be released, which ended on a pretty big cliffhanger. note
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: In one episode the Rangers went up against several hundred Cogs and just tore through them. A few episodes later, a half-dozen were able to hold them back.
- Continuity Nod: In "Good as Gold", Rita says this to Jason:
"Personally, I always thought you looked better in red
- Criminal Amnesiac: Tommy in "King For A Day".
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Of all characters, Prince Sprocket. He became well aware of the scenario of "monster grows, rangers fight it, monster is destroyed". He even used it in attempt to get rid of his brother by getting him to grow. Unfortunately, his plan didn't work as his brother managed to survive the fight.
- A Day in the Limelight: Bulk and Skull in "Bulk Fiction" and "Scent of a Weasel".
- Decomposite Character: The two bodies of Prince Buldont from Ohranger become two separate characters (Prince Sprocket and Prince Gasket).
- Deliberately Monochrome: Used in "It Came From Angel Grove", as a nod to old horror films.
- Demoted to Extra: Billy, but even as not a Ranger, he still had an important (and still rather large) role. Rocky also suffered a little from this, which is acknowledged in "Mondo's Last Stand" when he was convinced that the returning Jason was out to replace him.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: After years of being largely irrelevant, Rita creates a monster out of Kat's purse. In 1v1 combat, it beats the zords. All of them. Even the Ultrazord, twice.
- Dropped Glasses: Happens to Billy with his contacts in "Graduation Blues". It's a good thing he still kept his old glasses.
- Evil Versus Evil: Rita and Zedd spend most of the season fighting the Machine Empire
- Family-Unfriendly Death: A rather nasty, Mecha-Mooks loophole exploiting death where two groups of enemy mooks have a battle royale. The mooks are Tengas (bird men) and Cogs (spandex robots) You see Tengas and Cogs sluggin it out for a few shots, then it cuts to one Tenga holding down a struggling Cog while another Tenga tore open its stomach and ripped out its electronic guts. This wasn't Chouriki Sentai Ohranger footage that slipped past the censors, either - Tengas were Power Rangers-exclusive mooks, so it was all original footage.
- Oh my goodness, Zeo. Louie Kaboom, the temporary leader of the Machine Empire. Under a love spell cast by the new villains he takes on the Rangers in combat, and is eventually defeated. However, unlike most of the mindless minions that fell to the Rangers, he remained alive for a few moments, stumbling around in pain while on fire and professing his love for the villain that brainwashed him.
- Fanservice: Jason modeling in the fashion show in "Scent of the Weasel" and wearing red.
- Five-Token Band: Tommy (Native American), Adam (Asian), Rocky (Hispanic), Tanya (African), and Kat (Caucasian, from Australia).
- Five Temperament Ensemble
- Tommy: Phlegmatic II
- Tanya: Choleric
- Kat: Leukine
- Adam: Melancholic
- Rocky: Sanguine
- Fix Fic: With one well remembered couple throughout the seasons (Tommy/Kim), which ended because of a "Dear John" Letter sent by Kimberly, there are plenty of fics reuniting them that claimed it was a fake (the person responsible usually being Kat), or that Kim was hiding the real reason for the breakup.
- Genre Savvy: In "King for a Day, Part 2," Zedd and company enjoy seeing Jason forced to fight a brainwashed Tommy. However, Zedd is smart enough to know right away that the Machine Empire defeating the Power Rangers won't do any of them any good. Much to his displeasure, he knows the only way to retain a chance of conquering Earth someday is to help the Power Rangers.
- Girl of the Week: Rocky had a couple…
- Bulk and Skull had one a piece, surprisingly enough, that weren't the ranger ladies. Bulk's came in as the daughter of the police captain and Skull's was a SUPERMODEL of all things.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: "A Brief Mystery of Time".
- Happy Fun Ball: The Midas Hound in "The Ranger Who Came In From The Gold".
- Heroic BSOD: Rocky goes through one in "Mondo's Last Stand" when he thinks he's being replaced by Jason. After they defeat King Mondo, Rocky manages to get over it after Jason reassures him that he isn't trying to take his place.
- Hidden Depths: Skull is revealed to be a talented piano player, but doesn't want Bulk to find out because he thinks he'll lose macho cred. Adam convinces him to give a performance... And Bulk is genuinely amazed. Aww.
- The former (possibly) gets a little more when he talks with a model he accidentally spilled a rancid smelling perfume all over. The chemistry between them seemed quite good, even though she was never named nor ever seen again.
- Hilarious Outtakes
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Averted in "Another Song and Dance" with Tommy, who is just a genuinely bad singer.
- Hurricane of Puns: Rocky, when he's turning into a plant in "A Few Bad Seeds", which also involves some Getting Crap Past the Radar when he makes some fairly suggestive comments towards Kat.
- I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight: Brainwashed Tommy vs. the others in "King For A Day".
- Improv Fu: Occurred with Bulk and Skull when they were accidentally sent to a coliseum in another world and they get saved by another warrior, they have to face down a few guards and ultimately, they were able to take them down with the power of bumbling around.
- Incredible Shrinking Man: Tommy and Kat in "A Small Problem".
- Interim Villain: Prince Gasket
- Interspecies Romance: Billy and Cestria, an Aquitian.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Kat has been in love with Tommy since her first appearance way back in season three of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but when Kimberly breaks up with him, she does everything she can to cheer him up including setting him up on a date with another woman.
Kat: I'm not sure if that was really nice or really stupid...
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: also a Continuity Nod:
Klank: Zedd and Rita have just made a monster from a pink purse, your Highness.
- Lethal Joke Character: The aforementioned purse monster, Impursenator. As stated before, she was a monster made out of Kat's fugly purse, and managed to almost defeat the Rangers without even really trying. They used almost every possible strategy of zords, upgrades, combinations and formations (BOTH SETUPS for the Zeo Ultrazord) and only managed to escape when a) the Machines teleported Impursenator away out of jealousy and b) she merged with the Machines' monster and somehow this made them both sucky.
- Literal Split Personality: Trey; a natural ability for Triforians like him.
- Magical Native American/Long-Lost Relative: David Trueheart.
- Make Way For The New Villains: The arrival of the Machine Empire sends Rita and Zedd running.
- Making Use of the Triplet: Trey again.
- Married In The Future: The Christmas-themed episode, "A Season to Remember", involved a flash forward showing Tommy and Kat being married. Some shippers were not accepting of this development and tend to ignore it. In fact, Catherine Sutherland (Kat's actor) has verified that she was in talks to appear in both Wild Force's "Forever Red" and Dino Thunder as Mrs. Oliver (the former was scrapped during rewrites while the latter fell through due to Sutherland's pregnancy at the time).
- Musical Episode: Parodied in "Another Song and Dance".
- Mythology Gag: The episode where Louie Kaboom shows up is called "Bomber in the Summer"- a nod to his Ohranger name Bomber the Great.
- Non-Action Guy: Billy becomes one of these.
- Not Afraid of You Anymore: In the final episode, Rita tells Mondo she and Zedd didn't fear him any longer. And yet, Zedd pretended otherwise to trick the Machine Empire.
- Oh, Crap: The monster Cruel Chrome mutters "This can't be good" as he sees the Super Zeo Ultrazord looming over him. (actually, most of the monsters feel this way about the Zeo Ultrazord / Super Zeo Ultrazord - they see the Megazord loom over them as it's apparently far taller then a standard Megazord and know it's a bad sign.)
- Official Couple: Tommy/Kim was a carryover from Mighty Morphin until she dropped a Dear John Letter midseason. Tommy/Kat begun shortly afterwards.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: By the end of the season, both Rita and Mondo display this attitude towards the Rangers.
Mondo: The final defeat of those putrid Power Rangers is mine and mine alone!
Rita: That tub of rebuilt parts isn't grabbing my glory!
- Notably, Zedd of all people is a subversion. He'd gladly destroy the Rangers himself, but as he asks, "Who cares who destroys those Ranger brats?"
- Parental Bonus: The target audience for Power Rangers is 6-11 which means that if their parents were between 20 and 30 they would be born between 1954 and 1970, which means the majority would have been alive for the third moon landing in 1971, meaning they would likely remember the golf ball(s) Alan Shepard left there. Why does this matter you ask? Well Rito finds one ~3 minutes into "The Joke's on Blue". Also qualifies as a Genius Bonus for the kids smart enough to know that too.
- Pie in the Face: A group of Cogs is defeated this way, and it's hilarious.
- Please, I Will Do Anything!: Amnesia-struck Rito and Goldar beg Bulk and Skull to help them find their families, and resort to this. Bulk and Skull force them to be servants.
- Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Billy in "Rangers of Two Worlds".
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Shortly before blowing Admiral Abominator the f*ck up with the Zeo Mega Battlezord, Tommy delivers the line "Time for you to weigh anchor, Admiral!"
- Put on a Bus: When the Machine Empire came in at the start of the season, the old villains beat a hasty retreat on Serpentera to Master Vile's (in Zedd's case, this was clearly Put on a Bus to Hell). Half a season later, Zedd, Rita and Finster came back, but without Squatt and Baboo.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Billy's abrupt departure, which used an aged-up The Other Darrin and stock footage, came about when David Yost walked off the set after the creators, producers, writers, and directors insulted and harassed him for being gay (as revealed in this interview).
- Rearrange the Song: of the original "Go Go Power Rangers".
- Red Herring: Several people are set up as the Gold Ranger, including Billy and Skull.
- Reunion Show: "Rangers Of Two Worlds" brings back the Rangers of Aquitar to team up with the Zeo Rangers.
- The Rez: The whole David Trueheart storyline.
- Role Reprisal: Austin St. John returns as Jason Lee Scott, the original Red Mighty Morphin' Ranger, in "A Golden Homecoming" to become the temporary host of Trey of Triforia's Gold Zeo Ranger powers.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: King Mondo was a villainous example, having fought the Rangers personally on more than one occasion. His eldest son Prince Gasket was even more capable, apparently.
- Ship Tease: Tommy and Kat (proceeding to Official Couple), Tanya and Adam (tease confirmed by Nakia Burnise, Tanya's actress).
- Smelly Skunk: Stenchy, one of the Monsters of the Week.
- Shoe Phone: While a lot of the later Power Rangers have morphers that have been called shoe phones by the fanbase, Skull. Has. An. Actual. Shoe. Phone. Make of this what you will.
- Short Tank: Tanya; she had a boyfriend who was intimidated by her athleticism.
- Swapped Roles: A rare permanent example, the original Sixth Ranger is the hero, while the original hero is the Sixth Ranger.
- Taken for Granite: Jason becomes a literal Gold Ranger in "The Ranger Who Came In From The Gold".
- Teleport Spam: The Gold Ranger.
- Tempting Fate: When monsters from Rita and the Machine Empire hijack the two Megazords and defeat Auric the Conqueror, Kat utters the worst phrase imaginable "Well at least it can't get any worse..." Just as she says that, Mondo sends down a squadron of Cogs.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Cogs are afraid of creatures with a lot of hair (as demonstrated in their fear of dogs). So having a lot of body hair would give one a tremendous psychological advantage against Mondo's cogs.
- Weaponized Headgear: The Zeo Megazord's alternate helmets.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It was never explained just what Billy was doing all those times he disappeared and the Gold Ranger would show up.
- Prince Gasket gets gunned down by Ultrazord and blows up... into regular size, and then gets a Villain Exit Stage Left when Mondo returns to resume his Big Bad role. And then Gasket never appears again.