Coming off Season 3, I remember the mystery and hype building in anticipation of Power Rangers Zeo. At the end of the Season 3, the rangers watched as the Command Center was blown up in front of them courtesy of Rito and Goldar planting explosives. That moment just emphasized how much crap the rangers had to go through. At any rate, the promos for Zeo were crazy. Hype music, a preview of the new ranger suits, and new enemies; I mean how could you not be excited.
So the first two episodes of Zeo set the tone for the series. First and foremost, we got a new character in Tonya who took over for Aisha as the Yellow Ranger near the end of Season 3. Secondly, Lord Zedd and Rita got the boot from their palace courtesy of the Machine Empire led by King Mondo and Queen Machina. I actually loved the Machine Empire mainly because the Cog grunts were 100x better and menacing than the putty patrollers and Tengu Warriors. Thirdly, the rangers got new uniforms BUT Billy ended up being relegated to helping out in the Command Center which worked for me since Billy has always been the one to bail out Zordon and Alpha 5 whenever the Command Center went to shit. This shifted around the order of the rangers. Tommy ended up being Red Ranger, Rocky was blue, Adam was Green, Tonya and Katherine were Yellow and Pink respectively.
As typical with Power Rangers, a lot of the early episodes were staple monster of the week episodes which is nothing special but just mainly to emphasize the ranger’s new powers from the zeo crystal. Speaking of which, let’s talk about the Zeo powers. Now the zeo crystal has always came off to me like a comic book McGuffin. It’s a power source that essentially gets stronger over time. Keep that in mind when it comes to the next season. The suits themselves were a breath of fresh air and looked nice. They had a sort of tech-like look to it and each ranger had a geometrical shape on their helmet. The megazords were pretty badass to boot and Tommy’s solo zord, the Red Battle zord had an interesting spin to it in that it functioned based on the operators emotions in order for it to be controlled. In simpler terms, it functioned much like the Alien Rangers battleborgs except the zord can be controlled.
The one thing I can give the Machine Empire is that they kept the pressure on the rangers big time through each episode. Midway through the season, they managed to deal a significant blow to them in dividing and attack the rangers separately. This ended up giving us the introduction to the Gold Ranger and man did he have an awesome intro on top of his own music.
The Gold ranger figured into a lot of episodes after his introduction where he would always jump in and help out the rangers and disappear. There was a running theme where the rangers and hell even us the viewer’s thought Billy was the Gold Ranger. After some time, we finally got the reveal of who he was and it was just some alien named Trey of Triforia. At any rate, since he was losing his powers, it was decided that he needed to transfer it to someone else. Billy stepped up but do in part to the command center explosion he couldn’t obtain it. Enter Jason who ended up gaining the powers and I got to say, I marked out a bit just cause us the viewers missed him since Season 2.
Ramping up towards the end of season we got two major story arcs. The first story arc involved the Machine Empire kidnapping Tommy, brainwashing him, and making him their king. The rangers essentially have to save them and amidst all of this, Bulk and Skull end up saving the day. It was pretty nice to see these two be the reluctant heroes. Second arc involved the very first Ranger team crossover where the Zeo Rangers teamed up with the Alien Rangers. Essentially through some sort of device, Billy ends up aging to an old man. The Alien Rangers are called in to help and its more or less an excuse to see these two ranger teams fighting together and it was too damn good.
Final episode of the series was weird in that it didn’t end like a season finale. We find out that the Gold Ranger powers are starting to fade away from Jason for whatever reason and Mondo wants the powers. At the same time, Zedd and Rita have been monitoring this as well and jump into the fray as well. The episode culminates in the rangers fighting Mondo and defeating him but despite how epic the fight was, it didn’t have the “finale” feel to it.
Overall, Power Rangers Zeo was a solid follow up to the previous seasons of MMPR. The stat quo was changed up and we got some good stories out of it.
CJ - A-