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YMMV / The Ultimate Enemy

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  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation:
    • Don't let your school's horror stories about the Achievement Test of Destiny get to you. Study and do your best, but don't let it stress you out or drive you to do desperate things. It's not worth losing your sanity over.
    • Unpleasant and even painful emotions like stress (over a test) or grief (over lost loved ones) are hard to deal with, but they're part of what makes you human and it's important to learn to cope with them rather than try to take some easy way out (like cheating on a test, or trying to cut yourself off from your emotions), as it can rob your humanity or ruin your life.
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    • Don't disrespect retail workers. The plot kicks off with Mr. Lancer using the Nasty Burger to scare kids into buying into the Achievement Test of Destiny, and the Nasty Burger manager (a former Casper High student who failed the C.A.T.) as an Anti-Role Model. When the manager tries to protest that his job is important too because he keeps the Nasty Sauce cold to prevent it from exploding, he becomes demoralized when he realizes no one cares. This is partly what spurs Danny into wanting to cheat in the first place because the scare tactic worked a little too well. Later, when the Nasty Burger restaurant is trashed, none of the employees want to stick around to ensure the Nasty Sauce doesn't get too hot because they're not paid enough to care. Finally, after Mr. Lancer catches Danny cheating on the test, his insistence on informing Danny's parents right outside the Nasty Burger as a Visual Metaphor for Danny's future is what gets them all caught in the blast zone in the Bad Future. One could easily argue that if Mr. Lancer (and society at large) respected fast food workers and the work they do a little more, it wouldn't have created the Disaster Dominoes that led to the Bad Future.
  • Anvilicious: The special really goes hard on the Cheaters Never Prosper message, going so far as to show Jazz crying over the fact that "Danny is a cheater" and having his cheating on one test lead to the death of all his loved ones (and Lancer), to him turning evil, and to the destruction of the entire world and Ghost Zone. It's a lot.
    • However, the Observants point out that Clockwork technically cheated by leading Danny to the right decision, but to Clockwork this is justified by Danny earning his (and his loved ones') happy ending. The audience certainly isn't complaining about his logic.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Prior to Dark Danny appearing on screen, Fright Knight shows up and reveals he is now working for Dark Danny. After Valerie escapes Fright Knight, he doesn't appear for the rest of the movie and isn't even mentioned.
    • This might have been in order to show that Dark Danny is worse than Fright Knight, since up to that point Fright Knight was one of the most powerful ghosts in the series.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • A monster accidentally created causes The End of the World as We Know It and humanity's only place for survival is a domed city with a guardian that the monster can't penetrate, along with said monster's repentant creator wanting to make things right? Power Rangers apparently liked this storyline.
      • Not the first time either, as Vlad's backstory and motivation in the regular series is similar to Master Org's.
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    • Dark Danny, at one point, says the phrase "Me? My future? I'm inevitable." Fast forward to Avengers: Endgame, another superhero story involving time travel, and Thanos says, "I am... inevitable."
  • Magnificent Bastard: Dark Danny is an evil, powerful version of Danny from the future, and the most personal, dangerous foe Danny ever faced. Birthed from the combination of Danny and Vlad's ghost halves, Dark Danny immediately destroyed his human half and put most of his Rogues Gallery out of commission to ensure no one could stand in the way of his rampage, even unlocking new ghostly abilities to bypass any and all security or tech thrown in his way. Dark Danny quickly realizes temporal tampering at the hands of his past self and Clockwork, and, so as to ensure time isn't altered and he still comes into existence, he banishes Danny to the Ghost Zone and travels to the past disguised as his younger self, playing his family and friends to ensure they all still die in the Nasty Burger explosion that prompted Dark Danny's inception. Staying one step ahead of his targets and Danny at every turn, Dark Danny faces even defeat with casual resignation after only being beaten by Clockwork's reversal of time, and ends the episode laughing in glee at the possibility of escaping his newfound prison to wreak havoc on Danny once more.
  • Signature Scene: Danny's ghost half merging with Vlad's, creating the Big Bad of the episode in the process.
  • Tough Act to Follow: The Ultimate Enemy is unanimously seen as the best episode of the series. Of the remaining episodes in the show's run, only Reality Trip and D-Stabilized come remotely close in fan reception.
  • True Art Is Angsty: The darkest and most well loved episode in the series.

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