This week’s episode of Power Rangers RPM was just so amazing, I had to recap it before catching up with recapping the last couple of episodes.
The episode opens with Doctor K playing the violin. It seems like she’s using the music in trying to work out a new technology, but it doesn’t seem to work and the strings break.
Summer comes in to tell her they’re ready in the garage when she is. Doc K turns and we see a tear run down her face.
Meanwhile, Venjix has another bot ready and entrusts it to Tenaya 7, a good idea considering the comedy provided by Venjix’s two generals.
Back at the garage, Doc K is telling the Rangers and Colonel Truman that Venjix’s technology is quickly surpassing theirs. She can’t get the new zord configuration to work. She needs another flux overthruster, the one Scott had to risk his life for by venturing out of the dome.
They can’t find another one and they can’t make one. The four rangers bombard Doc K with questions, but Ziggy speaks up and says there is only one question that needs to be answered… Are they or are they not the good guys?
To which Doctor K responds…
“Tell me. What’s it like?”
“What’s what like?”
“What’s it like being stupid your whole life? Is it as wonderful as it seems?”
Flashback to Doc K as a child. A little girl playing with chalk on the sidewalk offers Dr. K a piece and we soon see she was a genius at a young age, drawing formulas all over the sidewalk around the little girl’s drawing of a house.
All of a sudden, a man and a women dressed in suits arrive. Smash to black and open a year later as “K” is celebrating her first year with “Alphabet Soup.”
She blows the candles of her cake and asks the suits if she can go outside. They tell her she can’t because she is still very sick and the sun makes her unwell. Instead, why not she have fun by cracking some encrypted rocket codes or some other things only a genius could do.
Years later, we see the a grown up K, seemingly celebrating her birthday the same way for years. The suits bringing her a cake and her asking to go outside, which apparently she hasn’t done since they took her.
They tell her to make a wish before blowing her candles. She says she wishes she could remember her name.
Back to present, the alarms sound and the Rangers head out. The new Venjix reflex bot can replicate anything solid that reflects in its set of mirrors. So of course, it can now replicate the Rangers’ weapons.
They take a beating and get ejected from the zords. But suddenly, the attack bot suffers some failure and shuts down. They bring it into the garage for Dr. K to look over.
Col. Truman arrives at the garage with the bot and asks Dr. K if it is a good idea bringing it in. Corp. Hicks, fascinated by Dr. K’s lab asks her how she created all of the Ranger stuff.
Flashback to Dr. K still at Alphabet Soup. While playing the piano and programming something, the suits come in to tell her the two test pilots have arrived for the new Project Ranger suits; Gem and Gemma.
Another birthday has come for Dr. K and Gem and Gemma, the two perky and happy test pilots they are, give Dr. K a gift (a big pencil). Dr. K tells them why would they give her a gift, she doesn’t even like them. They respond saying that doesn’t mean they don’t like her. They see her as their friend.
Fast forward, the pencil is ¾ what it was when they first give it to her and she is working away at the computer. A monarch butterfly comes to rest on the keyboard and then flies away. Dr. K follows it through the Alphabet Soup corridors until she comes to a small window. The butterfly flies through, sun beaming down through the small opening.
Dr. K is blinded by the sunlight for a second, until she realizes nothing is happening to her as the sun touches her skin.
Back to present, the attack bot has replicated shield breaches and grinders are swooping into the city. The Rangers rush to stop them as Dr. K tries to send replacements when suddenly explosions come from the attack bot they brought in. Out walks Tenaya 7.
Tenaya figured Dr. K would want to take a look at the latest Venjix technology, so she created the bot for her to be able to infiltrate the Ranger base.
Dr. K presses a couple of keys on the keyboard to launch the lasers at Tenaya, but she flips away and aims her own lasers at the Doc.
Tenaya types in some code and makes the Rangers lose control of their zords.
Dr. K pushes a button that brings down a chamber that traps Tenaya and slices off her hand. Dr. K tries to regain control of the zords.
Tenaya says she’ll get out of that chamber, and flashback to Dr. K vowing to get out of Alphabet Soup. She tells Gem and Gemma she taking them with her, that them being allergic to sunlight was all a lie.
They say they have no access to the security computers, but Dr. K says all she needs is to blind the servers for a few minutes using the Venjix virus, a self-aware, self-generating computer virus from Project Venjix. She pushes the button, but up from the corridors come two guards who grab Gem and Gemma by the arms.
Dr. K starts to panic and pulls out a USB, but two more guards come to take her away. She tries to get the computer, needing to install a firewall to keep the virus within Alphabet Soup, otherwise it will infect the entire world.
“I just wanted to go outside” she yells as they pull her away.
Back to present, the Rangers continue fighting off the drones. Back at the base, Tenaya’s hand releases her from the chamber and she summons the 2nd reflex bot to come to the city.
The Rangers form the megazord to fight it off.
Back at the base, Tenaya and Dr. K battle. Dr. K takes the sound canon she’d been working on, but Tenaya disappears, though her familiar whistling begins. She says to Dr. K that she may be smart, but she royally messed up. This sets Dr. K off and she begins blasting all around her.
Flashback to the first Venjix attacks. Dr. K is recording the message we hear at the beginning of every episode, telling any and all survivors to go to the domed city of Corinth. The virus has infected almost the entire world.
In the midst of bombs outside Alphabet Soup, Dr. K is packing her computer and the Ranger technology and is about to leave until the suits appear.
They tell her to give them the computer, it being necessary that no one know the Venjix virus originated from Alphabet Soup. She says she needs to save the technology, it could be their only hope against Venjix. The suits pull out their guns, but Gem and Gemma come to the rescue and beat them down.
“I’m glad we’re friends,” Dr. K says. Likewise them. They tell her to head for the exit and that they are going back for the classified Gold and Silver series. They run off and Dr. K yells after them that they don’t have much time. An explosion, and the corridors collapse. Dr. K fears they’re dead.
Back to the present, Dr. K is still holding the sound canon and Tenaya appears, saying she’s always wanted one of her own. She opens the reflex bot’s mirrors to get it duplicated, but Dr. K gets out of the way and the flux overthruster is duplicated instead, Dr. K’s plan all along.
Dr. K installs it and tells the Rangers to go for the Zenith Megazord configuration, all five zords combined.
As they do the finisher, Dr. K is finishing her own battle. She takes her violin, which activates a vent fan that opens up in the lab. A strong burst of wind fills the room and Tenaya is blown through the hole in the wall (and the fan?).
Dr. K, another tear rolls down her eye and flashback to her wandering the outer lands on her way to Corinth.
Crash to black.
Now, RPM has been unbelievable so far this entire season. One incredible episode after another, smashing all previous notions fans and non-fans have ever had about the show.
From tackling the apocalypse and death directly and not in some round-about, ambiguous to kids sort of way, a unmistakably different, more mature vibe to the entire story… RPM really isn’t what one is used to when watching Power Rangers.
This episode, “Doctor K” is probably the best example so far; dramatic, dark, with touches of lightness, different production styles, directing decisions you might very well have seen on Battlestar Galactica… it all comes together for a truly different and refreshing experience when watching what for the last 16 years, has been merely a cheesy but enjoyable guilty pleasure for children of all ages.
11 episodes down, 21 more to go. And if these first 11 episodes are any indication, we are in for a thrilling ride.