"Countdown to Destruction" is the two-part finale to the first era of Power Rangers, referred as the Zordon Era and Power Rangers in Space. It is the 292nd and the 293rd episode of the series. It was aired on November 20-21, 1998.
Dark Specter reveals that the time has come for the United Alliance of Evil to take over the entire galaxy. Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa argue with Astronema as she passes on the order, but agree to assist when they learn that Dark Specter is in charge. Astronema mocks Zordon, who has been moved onto the Dark Fortress and is very low on energy.
Scenes of battles are shown from various planets. The forces of evil are clearly outnumbering the forces of good. Zhane, the Silver Space Ranger, leaves the KO-35 rebels to get help from the Space Rangers on Earth. Zhane, now morphed, is attacked by enemy Velocifighters in space, but rescued by the Space Rangers aboard the Astro Megaship.
Zhane informs the Rangers of the danger that the KO-35 rebels are facing, but this is small compared to the threat posed to the rest of the galaxy. Carlos, the Black Space Ranger, informs them that one thousand Velocifighters are heading towards Earth, and the Rangers fly off to help.
On Earth, the city of Angel Grove is suddenly invaded by a combined fleet of Velocifighters, Quantrons and Piranhatrons. The Megaship arrives, and while Zhane pilots it and engages the Velocifighters in the air, the five morphed Rangers travel to the surface of the planet. Initially, the fight goes in their favor. Soon, however, Darkonda joins the fight and attacks Ashley, the Yellow Space Ranger. Andros, the Red Space Ranger, manages to save her by activating his Battlizer - however, they are easily defeated by Darkonda and Ecliptor working together. The two are forced to demorph and go into hiding as a result.
The other Rangers are doing badly. Zhane boards the Mega Winger from the Megaship, but it gets shot down in warrior mode by the Velocifighters and crashes into a building. Meanwhile, after being hit, Carlos, T.J., and Cassie are forced to demorph and go into hiding with the other two Rangers as Quantrons and Piranhatrons round up the citizens.
Back on the Dark Fortress, Ecliptor shows Astronema the newly-designed Super Missiles, each of which can decimate a planet. They are intended to be used on Earth. Darkonda, who is on his last life, realizes that this is his chance to take charge and hijacks a Velocifighter with two Super Missiles attached. He fires a direct hit at Dark Specter, then turns to destroy the Dark Fortress as Dark Specter is consumed in a massive explosion. However, Dark Specter is not finished yet, and swallows the Velocifighter with Darkonda on board. Darkonda's last life is sacrificed, as Dark Specter explodes and pieces of debris fall down on the Earth.
A holographic image appears above all of the conquered planets, revealing that Astronema has taken power for herself, much to Divatox's dismay. Astronema issues an ultimatum to the Earth: either the Power Rangers surrender themselves, or she will destroy the planet.
Back on the Dark Fortress, Zordon's energy is restored after Dark Specter's destruction. He pleads with Astronema to end the battles, referring to her as "Karone" and asking her to search her heart. Zordon nearly succeeds in getting past Astronema's cybernetic programming, which begins to malfunction as Zordon's words hit Astronema hard, but it was not to be. Astronema follows the lead of the programming, and prepares to take Earth once and for all. The first part of the story arc ends.
Back on Earth, the citizens of Angel Grove discuss the situation. Bulk defends the Rangers when somebody suggests that the Rangers have abandoned them. Meanwhile, the demorphed Rangers (including Zhane, who reveals that the Mega Winger is destroyed and KO-35 has surrendered) formulate battle plans. Andros sneaks away, intending to convince Karone to give up himself. Ashley tries to persuade him to stay, but fails.
In the following morning, Astronema demands that the Rangers turn themselves over. Just as they are about to do so, Bulk himself steps forward and claims to be the Blue Power Ranger. Skull does the same thing, saying he's the Black Power Ranger as does Professor Phenomenus saying he's the Red Power Ranger and then the rest of Angel Grove. Astronema and Ecliptor, unimpressed, fire on everyone as the five remaining Rangers reveal themselves and morph, with Zhane telling Astronema that she's "gone too far". The citizens, rallied by Bulk, join them in fighting the Quantrons and Piranhatrons. Astronema and Ecliptor leave.
Back on the Dark Fortress, Andros discovers Zordon in the control center. Zordon convinces him that to defeat the forces of evil, Andros must shatter his energy tube, which would kill him. Andros initially refuses, but soon changes his mind and raises his Spiral Saber just as Astronema arrives. Astronema attacks Andros, who refuses to fight her, and appears to be accidentally killed by a rebounded bolt from her own staff. Andros is horrified. Ecliptor bursts in, devastated that the Princess whom he considered a daughter is dead, and attacks Andros. The two battle furiously, until Zordon reminds Andros that he has to destroy the energy tube; telling Andros that it is his duty as a Power Ranger to save the universe, no matter the cost. Breaking away from the fight after striking Ecliptor down for the count, Andros uses his Spiral Saber and shatters his tube at that moment, sending a wave of energy across the galaxy which wipes out all the invading evil (see the Zordon's energy wave heading below); Lord Zedd, Rita Repulsa and Divatox have been purified by the wave instead of being destroyed by it.
Back on Earth, Astronema's forces are beaten, and everyone is happy except for Ashley, who suspects that Andros did not make it. Just then, the Dark Fortress lands nearby and Andros emerges with a seemingly dead Astronema in his arms. He lays her down and starts to cry, when suddenly Astronema's cybernetic implants disappear, and she returns to life liberated from evil. Astronema, who is once again Karone, wakes up not sure as to how she got there, and Andros hugs her and tells her it's a long story and they have all the time in the world to talk about it.
Some time later, on KO-35, the Rangers have helped the inhabitants rebuild their world and are about to take the Megaship to Earth. However, Andros, Zhane and Karone are staying, and Ashley tries unsuccessfully to persuade Andros to come with them.
The Rangers board the Megaship, with Ashley upset that she has lost Andros, when suddenly he appears with Zhane and Karone. He tells DECA to set a course for Earth. With that, a six-year story comes to an end.
The episodes received positive reviews with a 100% rating at Cartoon Network.net.
|Power Rangers notable episodes|
| Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (season one): "Day of the Dumpster" • "Green with Evil" • "Island of Illusion" • "The Green Candle" • "Doomsday" • "Return of an Old Friend"|
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (season two): "The Mutiny"