Ah! After what felt like 10,000 years, several of the original Power Rangers have reunited to save the world, treating fans to plenty of nostalgic callbacks and fun reveals along the way.
Now streaming on Netflix, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Once & Always finds Billy (David Yost) and Zack (Walter Jones) building a new-ish team of Rangers to take on Rita Repulsa (voiced once again by Barbara Goodson), following the tragic death of Yellow Ranger Trini (Thuy Trang) at Rita’s now-robotic hand.
The painful loss of Trini, whose portrayer died in 2001 car accident, looms large in Once & Always, as Trini’s daughter Minh (Charlie Kersh) rises up to take her mother’s place as the new Yellow Ranger. Meanwhile, Rocky (Steve Cardenas) and Kat (Catherine Sutherland) rejoin the team to fill the void left by Jason and Kimberly, who are among the many Rangers kidnapped to power Rita’s time-traveling device. Though no longer in Ranger form, Karan Ashley and Johnny Yong Bosch also return as Aisha and Adam, respectively.
At a breezy 55 minutes, Once & Always is a delightfully cheesy, totally satisfying tribute to the roots of this iconic franchise, with locations like the Command Center, the Bandora Palace and Ernie’s Juice Bar lovingly recreated. A lot of care appears to have gone into getting this right for the fans, and everyone involved is clearly having a blast. And don’t even try to act like you didn’t get chills watching those Zords back in action.
Grade the special in our poll below, then read on as we break down the must-discuss moments from Once & Always. Are there any you’d add to our list? Drop a comment with your additions, along with your review of this long-awaited event.
Bulk and Skull, Where Are They Now?
The dimwitted duo from the original series didn’t technically reunite for this special, but we did catch a glimpse of their extremely punchable faces on a billboard for Skullovitch and Bulkmeier’s Bulk Food Co.
For what it’s worth, “Use your skull, buy in bulk!” is a brilliant business slogan.
Power Rangers: The Next Generation
Kat’s casual mention of her and Tommy having a son named J.J. probably threw some viewers for a loop, but it all adds up.
In Power Rangers Zeo‘s 1996 holiday episode, “A Season to Remember,” we saw elderly versions of Kat and Tommy celebrating Christmas (pictured here). And in Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel‘s 2018 celebration of the franchise’s then-25th anniversary, “Dimensions in Danger,” Tommy first mentioned having a son named J.J.
Following Zordon’s sacrifice during Power Rangers in Space, Billy has apparently been trying to piece together his mentor’s scattered particles. In fact, Billy’s extreme experiments are what enabled Rita Repulsa to reconstitute.
When Zordon sacrificed himself, the energy wave purified Rita, transforming her into the Mystic Mother, a powerful force for good. This new information suggests that, just as Rita’s dark essence was merely removed and not destroyed, it’s possible that other purified villains could also return in all their evil glory someday.
Fighting a Friend
Speaking of Rita, we learned that her new robotic form is the result of her scattered particles taking over Alpha’s body. So when the Rangers battled — and ultimately destroyed — Rita, they were technically also killing one of their own. Yes, there have been many Alphas over the decades, but it’s still kind of sad when you think about it.
While they didn’t make traditional cameos (aka no actors were seen), the special included appearances by many Power Rangers from various seasons, all shrunken down to action-figure size for Rita’s devious purposes. Those Rangers included: Beast Morphers’ Red (Devon), Blue (Ravi) and Gold (Nate) Rangers; Dino Thunder’s Red (Conner) and White (Trent) Rangers; In Space’s Black (Carlos) and Yellow (Ashley) Rangers; Lost Galaxy’s Red (Leo), Blue (Kai) and Green (Damon) Rangers; Turbo’s Phantom Ranger; Wild Force’s Lunar Wolf Ranger (Merrick); and Zeo’s Yellow Ranger (Tanya).
A Blast From Billy’s Past
Oh, you wanted a deep cut? How about Adam telling Billy that Cestria, his love interest from the planet Aquitar, still misses him?
Then again, no cut was deeper than this quick shot of Harvey Garvey’s grave. Oh, who’s Harvey, you ask? Why, just a talk show host who appeared in a single episode of the original series. This one was for the true heads.
With Love, Kimberly
Amy Jo Johnson (aka Kimberly, the original Pink Ranger) did not appear in the special, but Once & Always does end with a touching tribute to late cast members Thuy Trang (2001) and Jason David Frank (2022), complete with footage of a song Kimberly performed on the show in Season 2.
Hit PLAY on the video above to relive that moment.