Season: Power Rangers Turbo
Episode: “Cassie’s Best Friend” (Episode 38)
If Power Rangers Zeo failed at keeping my attention because it was too stagnant, Power Rangers Turbo had the exact opposite problem: it was too different. The entire team changed. There was a preteen boy as the Blue Ranger. Zordon was replaced by a highly inquisitive new female mentor. The Rangers’ Zords were cars instead of animals. Lots of change, all very quickly.
While I’m not against some change (I’m a fan of the Thunder Megazord, after all), these changes really upset the balance of things when I was younger – especially Blue Ranger Justin (Blake Foster), a prepubescent charged with saving the world. He was all kinds of irritating. The rest of the new cast, who took over for the old crew midway through the season, were better, but it was tough to hold on without any sense of familiarity. Yet four of these five cast members would go on to become part of the single best Ranger team in any of the early seasons – something I’ll get to in more detail tomorrow.
For now, let’s examine – or at least, try to examine – my favorite of the new cast, Pink Ranger Cassie (Patricia Ja Lee), in her focus episode, “Cassie’s Best Friend.”
Cassie is hanging out with the other Rangers, though blatantly disregarding them for her dog, Jetson. The other Rangers are clearly so jealous of Jetson – Justin would love to catch a Frisbee in his teeth! – but no, Cassie only has eyes for Jetson.
This is Divatox (Hilary Shepard Turner)! Divatox wants to sabatoge the Rangers’ day of fun (also probably wants to steal Jetson, because who wouldn’t, he’s the best), so she sends a monster. I know you’re shocked that a Power Rangers villain would ever send a monster.
This particular monster is called Mr. Goo. He uses his, erm, white goo to transform people into animals. Note that he does this by, uh, covering their faces in said white goo. It’s as suggestive as it sounds.
Anyway, Jetson helps fight the monster when he attacks Cassie alone (because Jetson is still the best). This results in both monster and dog rolling down a hill. Mr. Goo slips away. Jetson is nowhere to be found. Cassie panics, because if Jetson’s not around, she’ll have to play with Justin! And that’s the worst thing that can happen.
On Jetson’s leash, however, is this man, going by “Jethro.” Jethro is, of course, Jetson, turned human. I love the casting here: this guy pulls off dog behaviors really well. For some reason, Jethro doesn’t just tell Cassie he’s Jetson – instead, he takes Cassie and the other Rangers on a wild goose (er, I mean dog) chase around Angel Grove. During the search, Cassie and Jetson bond.
Jetson starts slowly turning back into a dog, so he has to bail. Cassie is distraught by this. Literally, she’s known this guy for a couple hours, and she’s calling him one of her best friends. Super strange. Anyway, no time to think about that, because the Rangers have to go beat Mr. Goo once and for all. And you know what that means! It’s Morphi–er, it’s time to, uh, shift into turbo? (God, that’s terrible.)
Note that Justin has to grow into his powers. Can’t mismatch that Sentai footage, after all! (I should probably introduce the other Rangers, too. Red is TJ, Selwyn Ward; Green is Carlos, Roger Velasco; Yellow is Ashley, Tracy Lynn Cruz. Like I said, I like them all a lot better next season.)
The Rangers force Divatox to grow the monster (which she does by firing torpedoes at it), and the Rangers call the Rescue Megazord. Unfortunately, Divatox’s henchman, Elgar, is also operating his own Zord, so they need help from the Blue Senturion, who acts as an extra Ranger this season. Blue Senturion is basically RoboCop. Seriously, look:
His Zord is almost more ridiculous:
They beat the monster by using GIANT CANNONS:
The monster is destroyed and Jetson returns! All is well. Hilariously, Cassie never actually figures what happened out, because… I’m not sure. The end of the episode is really weird. Oh well.
Analysis: Honestly, this whole episode is bizarre. I chose it because I like Cassie, but it doesn’t really tell you anything about her, other than that she makes friends way too easily and loves her dog. Fairly basic. Tomorrow’s episode also features Cassie, and is a much better showcase for why she’s great.
Instead, let me just briefly go over why Turbo as a season doesn’t quite work. Though there’s good moments, on the whole, it suffers from its source material, Gekisou Sentai Carranger, actually being a parody of Sentai. Trying to reconcile goofy footage with a serious plot didn’t quite work. That’s why the season’s best episodes embrace the camp – though this one was kinda campy and still didn’t work. So maybe it’s more accurate to say this season was just a bit of a wash.
Still, much like Zeo before it, it was a necessary transition. The switch got a lot of fan favorite characters (Cassie and TJ especially) introduced before the In Space season, which remains an absolutely beloved season. I certainly love it, and I’m excited to look at one of its best episodes tomorrow.