Everybody loves watching the good guys fight each other. Maybe because it’s you don’t really expect to have the heroes throw down and play out that Who Would Win? scenario. Maybe it’s just gratifying to see our heroes as flawed and ornery. On Power Rangers, there was nothing cooler than seeing our heroes fight each other. After all, they were always much stronger than their enemies, so what would happen if they fought? Thankfully, the series was full of these Ranger vs. Ranger episodes, and we’ve picked out the best ones. Mostly, the team would be pitted against clones, doppelgangers, the oddly related monster, or evil robotic versions of themselves (they weren’t very innovative in that sense). But, at the same time, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Not all of the Ranger vs. Ranger stories made the list. This is a best-of list focusing on the instances where the action, story, or character work really elevated the overused trope into something special. We also sprinkled in some of the more bizarre offerings Power Rangers was always so good at.
There were times, however, where spells turned Rangers against their team and, or similarly color-coded teen bullies would be given evil power coins. Best of all, however, we get Jason vs. Tommy. A lot. For this list, we’ll be tackling not only who the better was, but also 16 Times Power Rangers Had to Fight Each Other.
16. Jason vs. Tommy (Power Rangers: Hexagon)
Okay, this one’s a cheat, but it’s too awesome of an idea not to mention. This was going to be the Power Rangers version of Civil War, years before Marvel had the idea.
Power Rangers: Hexagon was an unproduced pitch by Amit Bhaumik for what would have been the eleventh season of the franchise. Here, Tommy would take on a Zordon-like role (after having used some of his mentor’s catchphrases in “Forever Red”), commanding several Ranger teams throughout the universe and working out of a massive facility on Earth called the Hexagon—like the Pentagon, but bigger!
Jason would have his own small team of Rangers who disagree with the increasingly centralized and militarized force of the Hexagon. Jason, who we’ve seen over the years looking more like an outlaw than a peace ambassador, would have taken on a more anti-establishment role. As Tommy’s Ninja Rangers would feud and even sometimes fight the Beetle Rangers, more and more teams would end up choosing sides, leading to a final battle—ten years in the making—between Jason and Tommy.
The battle would see Jason victorious and Tommy—seeing all these different Rangers fighting each other to the death—would realize that Hexagon was too big and open to be abused by others. Sadly, it was not to be.
15. Power Rangers vs. Cyborg Rangers (Lightspeed)
The Cyborg Rangers had a lot going against them. They were the first Evil Rangers to come along after the Psycho Rangers—easily the coolest and most effective team in the franchise, who needed two seasons and ten Rangers to finally destroy them—and, admittedly, there was no way they were ever going to really be as cool. And they’re not. But they do have enough going on to make them original and interesting.
For one, they weren’t built to be evil. They were made by the military to replace the Rangers as a way of continuing to unman the battlefield. It’s a relevant, thoughtful and reasonable explanation. As a unit, they even worked well, absolutely destroying Strikning. But, unfortunately, they malfunctioned and went on a killer rampage (your tax dollars at work).
Rather than taking them in for repair, the Lightspeed Rangers just shoot ‘em up before the Cyborgs can monologue about tears in the rain.
The Cyborg Rangers were a very modern take on an old sci-fi theme. They don’t have characters per-se, but their existence explored something very relevant to today’s world and made the story more interesting because of it.
14. Jason vs. Tommy (“On Fins and Needles,” Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers)
Jason and Tommy are put under a spell which makes them hate each other. Since actors Austin St. John and Jason David Frank apprently don’t care for each other in real life, you’d think that it would lead to really intense, well-acted scenes. You’d be incorrect. They bicker back and forth at each other in a way that makes you think they’re about to break out in song any minute, with all the pathos of the Jets vs. the Sharks.
Ace and Gary Jason and Tommy are repeatedly kept from fighting each other and forced to work together to break the spell. And what better way to have them learn teamwork than by having them battle a flying bipedal shark? Look, if you were surprised by hearing there was a flying bipedal shark monster on this show, you’re watching the wrong series.
While the pair eventually overcame the spell and became good friends, this episode highlighted many real factors that made the characters dislike each other; Tommy didn’t like taking orders, and Jason didn’t like being outshined. These unresolved problems would crop up repeatedly in their battles over the years.
13. The Zeo Rangers vs. Tommy (“King for a Day Pts. 1-2,” Power Rangers Zeo)
Tommy’s been brainwashed so many times by this point that if he shakes his head, it’d probably sound like a spray paint can.
Prince Gasket kidnaps Tommy and wipes his memory, making him believe he was a king whose mortal enemies were the evil Power Rangers. Gasket also downloaded Tommy’s knowledge of fighting and strategies; the plan—though never quite stated outright—was to create an army of Tommys led by the real thing to defeat the Rangers who have come to rescue their constantly brainwashed leader.
Jason fights a robot with Tommy’s memories, short-circuiting the creature with recollections that weren’t really his before hitting him so hard he explodes. Does this count as a Tommy vs. Jason fight? (No time!) Jason and the real Tommy finally fight each other again. Jason is nearly defeated by Tommy’s overacting, which is at Shatnerian levels, but the day is saved by the power of love.
12. Power Rangers vs. Blue Ranger (“Blue Ranger Gone Bad,” Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers)
Lord Zedd decided to take a page out of the Rita Repulsa playbook and make an evil clone of one of the Rangers. Thankfully, a girl at school named Violet made a statue of Billy, which isn’t creepy at all. And it definitely isn’t creepy that she looks and dresses just like him. Not at all. Zedd brings the statue to life, creating Evil Billy, who telegraphs how evil he is so obviously that Ray Charles can see it. Regardless, Evil Billy steals his friends’ power coins and communicators, really underlining the fact that without Zordon and Good Billy, these guys can barely tie their own shoes.
Power Rangers does love to show that friendship and love can conquer all, which is why this episode is such a breath of fresh air. They stop the evil Billy through the power of friendship by blasting him. The whole thing plays out like Sonny Corleone at the tollbooth as clone Billy is shot full of more holes than a Roberto Orci script. It’s just damn funny how the Rangers didn’t even bother talking to him as they did with the Dark Rangers. They just opened fire.
11. Turbo Rangers vs. Shadow Rangers (“Shadow Rangers,” Power Rangers Turbo)
Turbo wasn’t exactly the best iteration of Power Rangers. The Japanese series was meant as a parody, and didn’t exactly mesh well into the darker stories the American version wanted to adapt. And though the Shadow Rangers were meant to be a goof on the trope of using evil clones, they actually were pretty effective. From that creepy way they first stood up, to the music used to accompany them, to the fact that they were literally just punching the non-powered Rangers in the stomach and kidneys just to mess with them, makes them very memorable.
The only things that keep them from a higher placement on the list is that Justin—the Wesley Crusher of the franchise—was able to get some good hits in on his Blue-hued counterpart. It’s bad enough that you have a literal pre-teen on your team, but it’s worse when he manages to kick a few of your super-powered bad guys in the ribs.
10. Power Rangers vs. The Dark Rangers (“Green No More,” and Marvel Comics, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers)
The Dark Rangers. Mother of god, look at them. How is anyone going to take them seriously? Even for this show! They look like bank robbers with pantyhose on their heads and bloody holes for eyes. They look like low budget Cirque du Soleil performers who work in lousy venues where you can get tetanus just by showing up. They didn’t even fight the regular Rangers because the costumes were so poor in quality, the script needed to be rewritten.
The Dark Rangers from the show may have stunk, but their comic book counterparts were great. They were criminals, gang members, and thieves, unlike the West Side Story-esque extras in the show. Zedd gave them the original Power Rangers’ uniforms and Zords, making them more than a match for the Ninja Rangers, who literally ran around in robes and pajamas.
9. Power Rangers vs. Primator (“The Wanna-Be Ranger,” Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers)
Anyway, the Primator attacks or seduces Alpha 5—it’s hard to tell which—and forces the Rangers into a battle, where he repeatedly tricks them into fighting each other. Even engaging him directly doesn’t work, because he can also ape (tee-hee) the Rangers’ moves exactly. Primator’s only weakness is his reflection (same as us all), and Kimberly obviously keeps a massive mirror with her at all times, so he was eventually defeated with relative ease.
As silly as Primator is, his powers are cool and he not only outsmarted and outfought the Rangers repeatedly, but he isolates the Rangers from Zordon and nearly kills Alpha 5. He’s pretty damn effective. The only reason this episode isn’t higher on the list is due to the subplot involving Dylan teaching Alpha how to play soccer. It’s a special kind of cringeworthy.
8. The Turbo Rangers vs. Jason & Kim (Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie)
Consistency is important. Much like the series that followed it, the Turbo movie wasn’t great. What did work, however, was turning Kim and Jason evil. Under a spell by Divatox and her PG-13 hotness, the powerless former Rangers successfully beat up their powered-up friends despite being outnumbered. Now that’s something you put on the resume.
Naturally, this led to another Jason vs. Tommy fight. The problem with most of their fights is that one of them is usually brainwashed, causing the other to hold back. Thankfully, the other trope—good guy under bad guy spell gets character development—happens too.
It’s either great character work or a meta commentary on the behind the scenes politics. Jason complained about Tommy getting the attention and all the power while convincingly choking the current Red Ranger. Then again, this could have been an honest reaction caught on film when Austin St. John saw Jason David Frank’s paycheck, but that’s just speculation.
7. Time Force Rangers vs. Evil Power Rangers (“Trust and Triumph,” Power Rangers Time Force)
Time Force brought the whole Evil Power Rangers thing back to basics. The Time Force gang is thrown into another dimension where evil versions of themselves attack. Like most others, these Evil Rangers know every move their counterpart will make, but with one important addition: they also know how to utilize their Ranger abilities better than the actual heroes themselves, so there’s no escape hatch by trading enemies or changing styles.
What makes this battle exciting is the atmosphere created by the sepia-toned camera filters on the beach and the dingy darkness of the warehouse. On top of that, the excellent fight choreography (minus that awful tornado thing), decent CGI work, and an epic soundtrack definitely raise the stakes of the fight scenes.
The Evil Rangers themselves are almost as scary as the Psycho Rangers. They walk in perfect lockstep, they never speak, and they never run. They know they’ll get you. It’s just a matter of time.
6. Evil Power Rangers (“A Bad Reflection on You,” Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers)
This was the first time the Power Rangers would go up against their evil counterparts, made from Rita’s Putties. The camp is dialed up to eleven as the Evil Rangers commit school pranks and frame the real Rangers, getting them detention. The evil Pink Ranger even asks out Skull just to upset Kimberly; this isn’t the first time that an evil version of Kim would tease the poor idiot, but, hey, why not? The greatest tell that these guys are evil? They wear wayfarers indoors. Chilling.
Finally getting to the good stuff, the baddies finally morph and start shooting Angel Grove up like it was the O.K. Corral. The battle between the teams is exciting—particularly the way the Yellow Ranger deals with her copy—but it’s sometimes hard to tell who is fighting whom because the costumes are identical. Of course, the good guys won in the end…we think. Maybe one of the clones survived and really liked being treated like a good guy thanks to the power of love and friendship. We may never know.
5. Power Rangers vs. Green Ranger Clone (“Return of the Green Ranger” Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers)
While it was inevitable that the Green Ranger would return, it was good to see that it wasn’t because poor Tommy’s brains got scrambled again. The new Green Ranger is a clone of Mr. Oliver who betrays the team and sends them back in time, leaving us with an awesome White Ranger vs. Green Ranger battle taking place over three episodes. The choreography is great, with each strike kicking up bolts of energy, making each blow seem important and dangerous.
The sheer awesomeness of the arc increases once the Zords get involved; Dragonzord vs. White Tiger, with the entire fandom cheering as the Dragonzord—the old favorite now piloted by the bad guy—won.
What makes these episodes special is the fact that the clone manages to be, well, good. Fake Tommy is given character development; he was a perfect clone, meaning he was a good guy who had to be placed under a spell to become bad. Like the original, this Tommy felt bad for the things he’d done while under the influence and wants a shot at redemption.
4. Power Rangers vs. The Mutant Rangers (“Mighty Morphin’ Mutants,” Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers)
The Mutant Rangers were the second attempt at Evil Power Rangers. Again made from Putties, these guys were much cooler than the previous attempt—and it was helpful that they looked different enough from the Rangers that we could understand the damn fights.
Led by Commander Crayfish, these Rangers stole all the real ones’ moves and powers. When the real Rangers finally gained the advantage, the most badass thing happened: Rita grew Crayfish and all the Mutant Rangers to giant size, forcing a Megazord battle that saw the Power Rangers entirely out-manned, outgunned, and outmatched, forcing them to use a new toy ally to save the day.
The fight choreography set a high watermark for the rest of the series, with particular standouts being the beachfront battle and Tommy’s kick barrage in the first fight against the Mutant Green Ranger. This is where the Evil Power Rangers trope really started to work, and you can see the DNA of the story in the many iterations to follow.
3. Tommy vs. Himself (“Fighting Spirit,” Power Rangers: Dino Thunder)
Before being allowed to take on the Dino Thunder power, Tommy had to prove he was worthy of it. Apparently leading several Power Ranger teams, having a PhD, and developing the dino morphers in the first place wasn’t impressive enough.
Tommy ends up fighting several prior incarnations of himself: as the Green Ranger, the White Ranger and the Red Zeo Ranger. They represent different eras of the character and the baggage he’s carried both as a former bad guy and a former leader. The split between the great action and the character work allows old fans to remember what they liked most about Tommy and allows for new fans to understand why this old man is important.
While the acting is as magnificent as you’d expect, the fight scenes are absolutely great. Between Frank’s excellent conditioning and fighting talent along with the strong choreography and clean direction, it’s easily one of the best fight scenes in a franchise known for fighting. It’s also an indirect condemnation of the awful fight scenes with their shaky-cams seen in big budget productions these days. How is it that a show with a shoestring budget focusing on a middle-aged MMA fighter can constantly outclass them?
2. The Power Rangers vs. the Psycho Rangers (Power Rangers: In Space/Lost Galaxy)
The Psycho Rangers are the Terminators of the franchise. They can track Power Rangers through their energies, from their voices, or by hacking their communicators. Created by Astronema—easily one of the most competent Ranger villains—the Psycho Rangers are the coolest and most successful of all the different Evil Power Ranger versions out there.
Powered from the almost bottomless energies of Dark Spector, each of the Psycho Rangers is the superior fighter to their respective original, and all include secondary forms in case their Ranger shells were destroyed. They repeatedly beat up the Rangers even when they were outnumbered, stole the Space Rangers’ Megazord, and even developed their own personalities.
Even destroyed, they would find a way to come back. Eventually, however, only the Psycho Pink Ranger remained. It took the combined efforts of two Ranger teams to take her down, and not before Psycho Pink was able to achieve something no other villain could: kill a Power Ranger. Now how cool is that?
1. Jason vs. Tommy (“Green with Evil,” Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers)
This is the big one. The fight that made every child of the ’90s weep uncontrollably to their parents to buy the damn toys. The battle that became fuel for fanboy arguments for years to come. Jason vs. Tommy. Red Ranger vs. Green Ranger.
While the pair doesn’t fight for very long, which detracts from the experience, the results are still great. Jason must overcome the evil Tommy, who is given even more powers by the Sword of Evil and Rita’s magic. There’s all kinds of CGI, sparks, and fireworks on display as the overpowered Green Ranger kicks the crap out of Red, until Jason manages to outsmart Tommy and come out victorious.
There’s extra emotion to this battle that overrides the short run time. Now knowing that Tommy is the Green Ranger, Jason is desperate to save him, and he has to hold back while fighting. Given that up until now the Rangers have been completely beaten up and outsmarted throughout this arc, with the odds placed completely against them, the stakes feel incredibly high, and when Jason finally sees an opening and defeats Tommy, every kid on the block cheered like crazy.
By the numbers, Jason has a lead in wins against Tommy. Just sayin’.
What are your favorite Power Rangers battles? Who’s your favorite Ranger? Let us know in the comments!
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