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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 team.
Zeo 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. 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. It's still not without its problems. One of the biggest criticisms is that it doesn't really have any conclusive ending; the series ends with Jason giving up the Gold Ranger powers and the Machine Empire crippled (but not entirely destroyed) with Lord Zedd declaring "We're back!" and plotting their full return. It goes on straight to the Turbo movie, where Lord Zedd and Rita are nowhere to be found and the Zeo powers are suddenly useless (we do get one funny scene in the Turbo movie where Divatox calls up Rita for advice on how to defeat the Rangers).
The infamous fan hoax Scorpion Rain was an attempt to bridge this gap, which was then retroactively placed into continuity years later, by being the setup for the events in the ten-year anniversary episode "Forever Red". Basically the story involved Rita and Zedd fighting against the Machine Empire including Zedd's Zord Serpentera, and climaxing with a royal rumble on the moon. Several Fanedits have been made of this "episode", all of which can be found on Youtube.
The official Word of God (given years later) says that Rita and Zedd had taken off for a belated honeymoon and Rita's ensuing maternity leave... But other than the child appearing years later from out of nowhere, there was no in-series hint of why they suddenly disappeared after this season. Though since the season ended rather coherently much of this can be blamed on Power Rangers Turbo for its lack of series continuity.
But don't kid yourself: this season is well known for the infamous "Dear John" Letter that Kimberly sent to Tommy.
Succeeded by Power Rangers Turbo.
Recurring Power Rangers tropes include:
- Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: Besides the usual monster attacks, the season finale "Good as Gold" sees the Rangers grow in size in order to combat King Mondo. Sure they could've used their zords, but Trey said there was no time for that. Yeah, right.
- Big Bad: King Mondo
- Chest Insignia: Personal geometric shapes on the helmet visors, team emblems on the belts.
- Bilingual Bonus: The Gold Ranger's visor is the kanji for "King," as his Ohranger counterpart was named King Ranger.
- City of Adventure: Angel Grove
- Five-Man Band: Naturally.
- Home Base: The Power Chamber, beneath the site of the old Command Center.
- Humongous Mecha
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: Tommy got his own Zord (the Red Battlezord) and was the primary pilot of the Defender Wheel (though Rocky got to use it once.)
- Make My Monster Grow: Lifted directly from its source material, this is Clank and Orbus' reason for living.
- Mooks: Cogs
- Giant Mooks: The series first example. In "Good As Gold" King Mondo grows and has a group of Cogs grow with him.
- Lampshaded in Episode when one uses "Mook" as a password
- Weapon of Choice:
- Sword and Gun: Zeo Blades and Laser Pistols
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Tommy's Zeo Sword
- Dual Tonfas: Rocky's Zeo Bladed Tonfas
- An Axe to Grind: Adam's Zeo Hatchets
- Fighting with Chucks: Tanya's Zeo Dual Nunchuks
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Kat's Zeo Shield (possibly also Deadly Disc)
- BFG: Zeo Cannon
- Simple Staff: Gold Ranger's Golden Power Staff
- Boom Stick: its Gold Rush attack
- Word Power:
Kat: "Zeo Ranger 1 - Pink!"
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."
- Arc Welding: The Red Battlezord is said to derive technology from the Alien Rangers' Battle Borgs.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Cast Showoff: Besides the obvious martial arts, Kat's ballet dancing and Tanya's singing.
- 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.
- Composite Character: Inverted - the two bodies of Prince Buldont from Ohranger become two separate characters (Prince Sprocket and Prince Gasket).
- Conservation of Ninjitsu: 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".
- 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 Not Do Research: In the Christmas episode Adam says a lot of places don't celebrate a holiday around Christmas, like Korea. One of the only, if not the only, country in east Asia to have a very large christian population, and thus celebrates Christmas (~40% of the population and over 70% that actually declared a religion).
- 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
- Fan Service: 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).
- 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...
- Groundhog Day Loop: "A Brief Mystery of Time"
- Happy Fun Ball: the Midas Hound in "The Ranger Who Came In From The Gold".
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Heather, the snowboard instructor and Tommy's intended date, is played by Sarah Brown, who also played Caitlin Star on VR Troopers. Just about every kid watched those three episodes in the hope of a Rangers/Troopers crossover to no avail.
- 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.
- 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".
- 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...
- Incredible Shrinking Man: Tommy and Kat in "A Small Problem".
- Interim Villain: Prince Gasket
- Interspecies Romance: Billy and one of the Aquitians.
- 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.
- Making Use of the Triplet: Trey again.
- 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.
- Notable Commercial Campaigns: The most memorable of which featuring "...you gotta see it... it's coming... you gotta see it... unleashing the POW-AAAAAH..." set to a variant of the theme tune. The full song, nicknamed "Unleashing the Power," circulates around the Internet.
- Oh Crap: The monster Cruel Chrome mutters "This can't be good" as he sees the Super Zeo Ultrazord looming over him.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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 Relative: Tommy's brother, David Trueheart, is played by Jason David Frank's actual brother Eric (now deceased).
- 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.
- Ship Tease: Tommy and Kat (proceeding to Official Couple), Tanya and Adam.
- Smelly Skunk: Stenchy, one of the Monsters of the Week.
- Shorttank: Tanya; she had a boyfriend who was intimidated by her athleticism.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Tanya, after Aisha was Put on a Bus during the Alien Rangers story arc.
- 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.
- Urban Legend of Zelda: "Scorpion Rain". Five one-minute shorts broadcast prior to Foxtel's screening of the final episodes of the season in Australia, created to better link the events of the finale to the feature film of Power Rangers Turbo. In actuality a hoax concocted by Big Name Fans Derik Smith, Joe Rovang, and Amit Bhaumik. Later subjected to Armed with Canon.
- Weaponized Headgear: The Zeo Megazord's alternate helmets.
- What Could Have Been: The Gold Ranger was originally planned to be Ryan Steele from VR Troopers, as Brad Hawkins provided the voice. This idea, along with Billy becoming the Gold Ranger, was scrapped in favor of the Triforian warrior Lord Trey, and eventually Jason.
- Word of God: Bhaumik's "Forever Red" retroactively establishing that there was a final, unseen conflict between Rita and Zedd and the Rangers which led to a damaged Serpentera buried on the moon (as depicted in "Scorpion Rain") and Zeo writer Jackie Marchand's "Once A Ranger" revealing Rita was pregnant with Thrax by the events of the season finale.
- At different times, Bhaumik and Doug Sloan also went on record as saying that the ending to "A Season to Remember" is in-continuity.