Rita makes Trini’s troll doll come to life as a kleptomaniac monster.
At Angel Grove high school, we are introduced to a new recurring character, Ms. Appleby, the Rangers’ (only?) teacher. This week is Hobby Week, and each of Ms. Appleby’s students are encouraged to share their hobbies with the class.
Trini goes up first and shows her collection of dolls, representing many cultures around the world. Her favorite is Mr. Ticklesneezer because it used to belong to her mom.
According to legend, Mr. Ticklesneezer has the power to capture things and put them in a magic bottle.
Jason is next, and his hobby is martial arts of course. Zack’s hobby is surfing, or pretending to surf atop a desk, I’m not sure. Kimberly does a handstand, and Billy shows off a homemade volcano.
Class is over and Ms. Appleby assigns homework: chapter 4 in the English book, “Question Marks. Why do we need them?”
That night, Trini puts her dolls away, and we see that she wasn’t exaggerating about her doll collection. They’re everywhere! She hops in bed, says goodnight to Mr. Ticklesneezer on her nightstand, then turns off the light.
Squatt teleports in and fires a green beam at Mr. Ticklesneezer, making him come alive and grow to human size. Squatt takes Ticklesneezer to Rita and she orders him to add the Power Rangers to his collection.
Ticklesneezer is sent back to Angel Grove, where he uses bottles to suck in unsuspecting items and miniaturize them. He steals a motorcycle, Tokyo Tower, and a van containing Trini and Billy. Ticklesneezer proves he’s no ordinary antagonist when he reassures a frightened Billy that he means no harm – he just wants to collect things.
In the Juice Center, Zack and Jason spar and break cement blocks. “I’m amazed at how many years of training it takes to do this without hurting yourself,” says Kimberly, ensuring the viewers at home don’t attempt to break cinder blocks themselves. Bulk shows how tough he is by karate chopping a cake.
The Rangers get a call from Zordon and meet at the Command Center where he tells them what’s going on. They morph and teleport near a train track where they fight through a gauntlet of Putties, Squatt, Babboo, and Goldar. Ticklesneezer’s present too, but he doesn’t really fight. He just trips and drops the bottle containing Trini and Billy; it lands in the middle of some train tracks, but Kimberly picks it up and releases her captive friends.
Rita shows up on the balcony of an apartment building to yell at Ticklesneezer and throw her staff to embiggen him. The Rangers call the Megazord once again and have a brief scuffle with Ticklesneezer before nicely asking him to release everything he collected – he obeys “because he has goodness.”
Trini wakes up. It was all a dream (!).
The next day in class, it’s Bulk and Skull’s turn to show their hobby. Why are they presenting together? Did they get special permission? They talk about their love of parasites and that they picked off fleas from the neighborhood dogs to make a flea circus.
Skull presents the circus, but all the fleas are missing and somehow made their way to Ms. Appleby. Welcome Ms. Appleby to the show, everyone, she is now a new source a slapstick comedy.
I really liked the idea behind Ticklesneezer, a monster-of-the-week who doesn’t like fighting; it adds a twist to the standard episode formula. However, he could have been executed a bit better. For one, his connection to Trini and her family doesn’t come into play at all, and dialogue frequently states he’s under Rita’s spell, but it seemed he was perfectly in control of his actions.
Now the episode’s worst offense: it was all a dream. One of the worst endings ever. What it means is that everything we saw, everything we went through is meaningless because it didn’t happen. It’s not always bad – sometimes dreams can help give a character an epiphany. In this case, all Trini learned is that she thinks about Rita too much.
Apparently the reason the writers went this way was because they didn’t know what to do with Ticklesneezer, since the Rangers certainly couldn’t kill him, and he couldn’t stick around, either (though, having a recurring, monster ally would be interesting). I think it’s an easy solution, though – Just have him turn back into the doll.