If the newly released Power Rangers movie has you relishing the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers nostalgia, you aren’t alone. Anyone who grew up watching children’s television for the last 20 years has a soft spot for the franchise and those villains in cheesy rubber suits that went up against a group of kids in spandex.
It’s universally acknowledged that Power Rangers is heavy on the cheese and light on things like character development and story consistency – or at least it is most of the time. When Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was at the height of its popularity, the cheesy episodes were balanced with season long character arcs and multi-part episodes where kids waited a whole month to see all the pieces come together. In the early days of the show, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers even took some storytelling risks that would inspire whole seasons of the franchise down the line.
With all of that in mind, we bring you the best of the best with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ 15 Best Episodes, Ranked.
15. Mighty Morphin Mutants
It wasn’t the first time that the Power Rangers faced evil doppelgängers, but it was certainly one of the most memorable.
Goldar trained Putties to each take on their own Power Ranger in “Mighty Morphin Mutants,” but without a suitable Putty for the Red Ranger, the monster Commander Crayfish took on that spot. It’s a reminder that Jason is still the toughest guy on the block – and that the Rangers could be beat if the bad guys ever managed to get their act together.
This episode also did a great thing for the character of Tommy Oliver: it knocked him down a peg. Tommy, from the moment he became one of the good guys, rose in popularity to the point that he was the hero of the show. Here, the audience gets to see that even heroes are human, as he makes one mistake after another thanks to his horrible memory.
14. Day of the Dumpster
The episode that started it all, “Day of the Dumpster” was the second pilot filmed (complete with a new Trini), and it was the first time teenagers with attitude became Power Rangers.
Pilots rarely show up in “best of” lists for any series simply because they are more of an advertisement for a series, a way to hook an audience in, and not all of the kinks have been worked out. As a result, there’s cheesier dialogue than usual in this one, and there are characters who disappear a few episodes later. It’s still a classic.
“Day of the Dumpster” sets up everything the franchise would be over the years. It gives the audience immediate introductions to the main characters and sells Rita as a villain kids should be afraid of, all while convincing us that everyday teenagers could become super heroes. It’s a job well done.
13. A Different Shade of Pink
“A Different Shade of Pink” was a three-parter that saw Kimberly pass on her pink power coin to Katherine.
One of the only Power Rangers departures that was actually set up well in advance, “A Different Shade of Pink” followed Kimberly as she slowly lost her Pink Ranger abilities, as well as new addition Kat as she broke out of the control Rita Repulsa had on her. Kat was actually the only Power Rangers character to break out of a villain’s mind control without any outside help, setting her up as a worthy teen to take on the duties of a Ranger.
12. Plague of the Mantis
One of the few Trini focused episodes, “Plague of the Mantis” saw her trying to master a new style of Kung Fu and doubting her abilities.
Despite being one of the best fighters on the team, Trini rarely got spotlight episodes on the series, so this one was definitely a treat for Yellow Ranger fans. Trini repeatedly had difficulty mastering her technique, and Rita Repulsa, impressed with her work ethic, sent down a monster specifically to target her. With determination and hard work, Trini of course won in the end, but it was fun to see the writers give her the attention for a chance.
In reality, Thuy Trang trained in Kung Fu because it was the style of martial arts her father loved. When he passed away, she had promised to continue studying, and this episode incorporated her own technique for the character.
11. The Green Candle
Rita Repulsa’s latest scheme involving the Green Ranger is stealing his powers right out from under him thanks to a magic candle.
This two-parter was the first indication on the show that the characters the audience knew and loved could end up losing their spot as world-saving superheroes. Tommy, who had already gone from Rita’s pawn to one of the good guys, faces emotional turmoil on two fronts in this storyline: he’s too scared to ask Kimberly to the dance, and he’s about to lose his Green Ranger status. While the former is nothing to worry about, and leads to the first relationship on the team, the latter has repercussions throughout the rest of the season.
Not only does the magic candle burn out by the end of the second episode, but it’s Jason who was forced to leave the candle behind and head back to the fight, leaving him with guilt that comes into play the next season.
10. Wild West Rangers
In one of the earliest instances of time travel in the Power Rangers franchise (before an entire season was devoted to it), Kimberly gets sucked back to the past all by herself, where she has to figure out a way to adapt and take on a few villains that followed.
“Wild West Rangers” manages to rank so high on the list because it isn’t the typical Pink Ranger-focused episode. Pink Rangers, unfortunately, are often depicted as the weak links of their team. They are the ones who most frequently wind up in trouble and need to be saved, no matter how tough they might be. Here, Kimberly proves that she can take care of things herself and be a leader.
Not only does Kimberly figure out that Zordon and Alpha-5 are already hiding out in Angel Grove at the time, but she manages to convince them to let her borrow the power coins so that she can have the ancestors of her team of Power Rangers go into battle with her, and she leads them to victory!
9. Green No More
More than 20 episodes after “The Green Candle,” Tommy finally uses up the rest of his residual Green Power Ranger abilities, much to his dismay.
In addition to the magic candle already being finished, Lord Zedd has been busy trying to pull whatever power Tommy has left so that he can use it for his own nefarious schemes. Zedd creates his own team of utterly ridiculous looking “dark” Power Rangers to go up against the team, while Tommy deals with the knowledge that he only has enough power left for one more Ranger fight.
The episode taught a lot of kids that sometimes, doing the right thing isn’t the easiest decision. Not only does Tommy use up the last of his powers, leaving himself vulnerable to attack, but once without them, he still refuses to back down from Goldar.
8. Missing Green
Picking up the threads of “The Green Candle” and “Green No More,” “Missing Green” continues the story arc of the Green Ranger losing his powers, but with a surprising focus point: Red Ranger Jason.
Because Mighty Morphin Power Rangers lasted three seasons, the writers on the show were able to spend more time developing individual characters beyond their stereotypes, and Jason’s role as a leader was explored here. He wasn’t just calling the shots in this episode, but he was actively concerned for the welfare of his teammates.
Jason hadn’t talked to Tommy for a while, and was concerned that he was missing – and still feeling guilty about not being able to save Tommy’s powers. On top of all that, Jason had to contend with saving magic candles for the entire rest of his team, piling on his guilty conscience. It was a nailbiter of an episode for the team leader.
7. The Song of Guitardo
“The Song of Guitardo” landed in the midst of the Green Ranger story arc that saw him lose his powers. Here, Lord Zedd was inspired to create a monster that controlled people with music when he found Kimberly writing a song.
Kimberly and Tommy were the only Rangers not under the monster’s spell in this episode, so viewers who had been patiently waiting for the two of them to get together at the very least got to see the two of them team up in a fight. The Pink Ranger’s bow was even used to launch the Green Ranger’s dagger instead of her usual arrows, in a bit of symbolism that probably went over most kids’ heads.
The episode also ended with Amy Jo Johnson getting to show off some of her real life singing skills as she performed a song about saying goodbye, something a little bittersweet for fans who were worried the show would write out Tommy.
6. When Is A Ranger Not A Ranger?
The Power Rangers get hit by Scatterbrain, a monster who causes them to forget who they are, leaving someone else to be the hero in “When is a Ranger Not a Ranger?”
The older group of Rangers (Tommy, Billy, and Kimberly) are hit by the monster first in this episode, which probably led a lot of fans to think it would be up to the newbies to save the day. Not so! Just when you thought Aisha, Adam, and Rocky would be the heroes, they got hit as well, leaving Bulk and Skull, of all people, to pick up the slack.
Bulk and Skull, who spent so much time bullying and scheming in the early episodes, tried on many hats throughout the show, even becoming amateur detectives at one point. After spending so much time searching for the identities of the Rangers, they finally got to save them, showing that they weren’t all about the fame and glory.
5. The Potion Notion
A monster who uses a love potion to take on enemies is let loose in Angel Grove, which leads to some confusion as Kimberly gets hit with it and becomes obsessed with Skull.
This episode is all about character development. Much like “Missing Green,” it took a story idea that had been percolating since the early days of the series and gave a character some real growth.
Skull had a crush on Kimberly since he was introduced, even though she was the school’s queen bee mean girl at first. Here, he thinks he finally has a chance with her and invites her to a dance. When he realizes that she’s not interested after all, he’s hurt, but doesn’t revert to bullying. Kimberly also doesn’t treat him like dirt, like she probably would have when the series began, but instead, dances with him, and agrees that they’ve become friends. How sweet!
4. The Ninja Encounter
The first episode to hint at the changing of the guard, Aisha, Adam, and Rocky made their Power Rangers debut while Trini, Zack, and Jason saw less screen time.
Kids didn’t know about the goings on behind the scenes, so they didn’t know that the original Yellow, Black, and Red Rangers had left the series over a contract dispute. All they knew was that some of their favorites were suddenly appearing a lot less. This episode, however, went a long way to endear the new characters to the audience.
The new trio was introduced as kids in town for a ninja competition who helped the Power Rangers save the day without having any special powers. They were already heroes before they even put on their suits! Allowing them to help the Rangers, and keep their identity a secret over subsequent episodes, meant fans were ready when the change inevitably took place.
3. Green With Evil
One of the best story arcs in the history of the Power Rangers franchise is the tale of the Green Ranger, which is why so many of the Tommy-focused episodes wound up on this list. The massive five-part “Green With Evil” served as his introduction to the show.
In this particular arc, Tommy Oliver is the new guy in school who catches Kimberly’s eye and can hold his own against Jason on the mat. As a result, Rita Repulsa takes an interest in him and decides to brainwash him into being her Green Ranger (though we never found out how she got that power coin). Tommy splits his time between being friendly with the Rangers in everyday life and trying to destroy them when he’s in his Ranger gear until Jason finally breaks the spell in battle.
Just as Angel Grove sets out to celebrate its first ever Power Rangers Day, Rita transports most of the citizens to her Dark Dimension so she can move her palace into the city. She also sets the ancient Cyclopsis war zord against the Rangers, nearly wiping them out.
Originally intended to be the season finale before additional episodes were ordered, this season one outing raised the stakes for Power Rangers. With Goldar having access to a zord and the Rangers constantly overpowered in their fights, it seemed like it could really be the end for them, and for kids watching the episode for the first time, it left them worried.
In the end, Zordon even gives the Rangers the option of leaving the team behind, giving them an out in case they want to be normal kids again. The teenagers with attitude unanimously decide that they still want to help the world as Power Rangers.
1. The Mutiny
The season two premiere of Power Rangers was a game changer for the series. “The Mutiny” demonstrated that Rita Repulsa wasn’t the biggest bad in the universe when Lord Zedd came to conquer Earth.
Though Rita was power hungry and would find a way to hold on to her spot in the evil hierarchy, for the beginning of season two, she had to step aside and allow Lord Zed his attempt at destroying the Power Rangers. Not only does Lord Zedd have stronger magic, but he creates stronger monsters, has his own version of Putties, and is all around scarier, something the show ended up having to tone down thanks to complaints from parents.
Lord Zedd’s debut marked a turning point in the show. He was an American creation, not taken from the Super Sentai footage the series had relied on, and his appearance marked the beginning of new zords and new powers for the Rangers, creating a whole new chapter in a show that the producers thought wouldn’t last beyond its initial season.
Did your favorite of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers episodes make the list? Or did we hang some of the best out to dry? With 145 episodes to choose from, it’s hard to narrow it down to a top 15! Let us know which ones were your favorite in the comments!
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