|This article is about a/an episode in Power Rangers Zeo, the second installment in the Zordon Era.|
Instrument of Destruction is the twelfth episode of Power Rangers Zeo.
Rumors of a phantom pianist are whispering through the halls of Angel Grove High School, while the Machine Empire's new robot Fortissimodo is thundering across the city looking for the mysterious piano player because King Mondo ordered him to do so because it's Queen Machina's birthday and now the power rangers must figure out the Pianist's true identify and find him before Fortissimodo and the Machine Empire do.
A rather quiet afternoon in Angel Grove High is interrupted by the sound of a piano being played rather well. Adam is alone in a classroom when he hears the sound of three Cogs prancing through the courtyard outside. He darts down the empty hallway and follows their path, discovering they're heading to the Music Room. Up in the Machine Skybase, Prince Sprocket mentions that the birthday of his mother, Queen Machina, is today. King Mondo hasn't forgotten and since Machina loves classical music so much, he plans to send down the cogs to kidnap that grand piano player to be her own personal musician. Sprocket reveals that he has already sent the Cogs to do this job. Back on Earth, Adam makes it to the Music Room just in time for the piano solo to end. The Phantom Pianist, dressed in a long black cloak concealing his identity, exits the room through the opposite side. The Cogs are too late to kidnap him, and faced with the presence of a Power Ranger, they teleport back home, leaving Adam at a loss for words.
The next day, Adam tells of this strange phenomenon to Tommy & Kat. They have no clue on why the Cogs are so suddenly interested in music. Ms. Rodriguez, the School Guidance Counselor and a temporary Principal for Mr. Caplan, approaches Adam and brings up his class schedule, noting the fact he's taken Creative Writing twice already. She thinks he needs more of a challenge and should strive to be a more well-rounded student. He's given the replacement class of Classical Music, to which Bulk & Skull make light of. Bulk comments "You and a bunch of losers playing boring old music together. Sounds like loads of fun, eh, Skull?". Skull seems a bit elsewhere, taking a moment to react to Bulk's remark before scoffing "Yeah, what a bunch of dweebs! Classical music? Ha! I say, double I say it again, Haha!". Ms. Rodriguez pops up and has made similar alterations to Skull's class schedule. Soon in the Music Room, Skull enters and takes over the drum set from another student. The music teacher Mr. Hamm enters and after he mixes up his sentence structure comedically, he announces there'll be a music recital tonight at the Youth Center for the advanced students and extra credit will be given for attendance. Skull scoffs at this. Adam plays chopsticks on the piano and Skull is actually impressed. He asks Adam how he knows it and Adam says his family had a piano when he was little.
In the Skybase, Mondo is disappointed with the Cogs' failure. He sends three back to Earth, and they lurk outside the Music Room once more. Adam has piano practice and can't go to Ernie's with Kat & Tommy. They wander the halls for a moment when the sound of a piano being played perfectly echoes through the school. It's coming from the Music Room, though before the three Ranger Teens can enter to find out who's playing, the trio of Cogs pop up. The three ranger teens quickly Morph and race after the Cogs, ending up on at the stairwell. A lengthy battle ensues, and most notably, Adam dances rather close with a Cog to the music. The mysterious piano player escapes from the scene yet again and even Adam surfing atop a downed Cog across a water-slicked floor can't catch him on time. With the Cogs beaten severely, the three rangers split up, with Adam heading to practice as scheduled. Once there, his self-taught lesson begins and ends rather suddenly, as the piano seems off-key. Checking inside it, Adam discovers a slip of paper reading "Piano Lessons, 4:30 Thursday, Symphony Hall". Adam realizes it's today, so he grabs his backpack and rushes off to investigate.
Up in space, King Mondo laments about sending the Cogs and decides to turn the school's piano into the monster Fortissimodo. The brown wooden piano becomes a large black & silver robotic piano monster. Minutes later, the Phantom Pianist, still garbed in a long black cloak & hood, heads to the Symphony Hall. He's grabbed by a gang of Cogs and faced by Fortissimodo, who explains the piano player's fate of becoming a permanent musician to the Machine Empire's Royal Court. Adam races onto the scene and morphs. Adam fights the Cogs and frees the Piano Player, but is left with fighting Fortissimodo alone. In the Power Chamber, his four teammates are called in, quickly briefed on the situation by Zordon & Alpha and together they Morph. They arrive on their Zeo Jet Cycles, with Tommy blasting Fortissimodo. The Rangers regroup and join in on the battle against the Cogs & Fortissimodo.
Klank & Orbus are hiding around the corner, waiting for the signal to give Fortissimodo some assistance. In the Skybase, King Mondo & Prince Sprocket, still empty-handed when it comes to a gift for Queen Machina, hastily give Klank the order to make the monster grow upon hearing of the Queen's return. Orbus is hurled at Fortissimodo and gives him an added boost. The giant Fortissimodo tries to capture the Phantom Pianist again, but Adam gets in the way. The monster spews fire breath at Adam, which he dodges, but ends up facing some more Cogs. The Rangers spar with the Cogs for a bit and Adam gives the word for the Zeozords to get on the scene. Tommy hops in Zeo Zord 5 and when Adam gets caught in the grip of Fortissimodo, Tommy launches the Defender Wheel. It unloads from the Zeo Zord 5 with Tommy inside it and locking on target, the wheel charges up into a ball of red energy, smashing into Fortissimodo and freeing Adam. Adam lands on the ground, only to have more Cogs attack him. Tommy helps kick them off and keeps them busy while his teammates take care of Fortissimodo in their Zeozords. Zeo Rangers 1 through 4 use their Zords to attack the monster and blast it. Tommy boards Zeo Zord 5 and all five blast at the monster at once, before forming the Zeo Megazord. It does rather well against the creature for a moment, but Fortissimodo's monstrous melody (an energy wave attack created by playing his piano keys) wreaks havoc the rangers. They soon work past it and slash at him with the Zeo Megazord Saber. Fortissimodo hits one last bad note and explodes, with his large metal top-hat flying off and landing atop of a billboard on a nearby building.
In the Skybase, King Mondo is upset by another loss. Prince Sprocket asks what he's going to do to get back at the Rangers and he claims he still has a few surprises up his sleeves. Queen Machina hears the word "surprise" and mentions loving surprises, but since he has no piano playing human as a gift, he writes off it as "Who said anything about 'surprise'? I said 'supplies', yes, that's exactly what I said!".
Back at the Music Room, the Phantom Pianist is back at it again, churning out a wonderfully powerful tune at the whim of his fingertips on the school piano, having been returned to normal after the monster's destruction. Adam sneaks in and the moment the pianist's solo ends, he yanks off the black hood. The Phantom Pianist is revealed to be none other than Eugene Skullovitch, the least likely of all people. He first denies being the piano playing wonder, but eventually groans "yeah, I guess so.". Adam wonders how Skull managed to get so good at piano playing. Skull tells him that his mother started him on lessons when he was 3 and he's been taking them at the Symphony Hall ever since. He's kept it a secret from everyone, Bulk included, for fear of people making fun of him for liking classical music. Adam tells him he should be proud of his talent, but Skull doesn't want people to laugh at him. Adam assures him that no one will laugh, but instead, they'll respect him. He also tells Skull that if Bulk really is his friend, he'll be proud of what he can do, no matter what it is.
Later that night, at the Youth Center, the music recital is in full attendance. A violinist finishes up her turn on stage and meets the applause of many. Mr. Hamm is proud to introduce a last-minute addition to the program of classical music. He's as surprised as everyone in the audience when he reveals the next person up is Skull. Adam starts up the clapping to encourage Skull, but most are eager to see what trouble he's going to cause on stage. People snicker as Skull walks over to the grand piano, dressed as Mozart, and carrying a candelabra with some lit candles in it. Once he sits down and gets to play, all in the room are agape at Skull's intensely impressive musical skills as he ends up playing Chopin. Kat thinks its amazing, while Rocky says he didn't know Skull could play like that and Tommy notes that Skull is the best one at the recital and that all the people in the audience love it. Bulk soon walks in with popcorn, mentioning aloud to Adam, "classical music? P.U.! Who's the dork playing anyway?", before being shushed. Bulk sits and after spilling his popcorn all over Adam, his eyes bulge out upon seeing the person creating such a magnificent sound. Bulk begins to eat his words and the popcorn, as he watches his best friend enthrall the audience with his well-crafted gift. The song comes to a close, and Skull belts out a Mozart-like laugh from Amadeus, mixed with his usual trademark one. He gets a standing ovation from everyone in the room, prompting him to take a bow. Skull gives an Elvis Presley-like "Thank ya very much", before Bulk starts to walk his way. Skull tries to calm his pal down by telling him he can explain everything, but Bulk simply tells him "That... was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard," leaving Skull surprised, as Bulk once said only dweebs play music. Bulk admits that he was wrong to say it and apologizes since Skull's the best he's ever heard. The applauding continues, Adam smiles and Bulk & Skull give a thumbs up to the audience.
- Jason David Frank as Tommy Oliver (Zeo Ranger V Red)
- Johnny Yong Bosch as Adam Park (Zeo Ranger IV Green)
- Steve Cardenas as Rocky DeSantos (Zeo Ranger III Blue)
- Nakia Burrise as Tanya Sloan (Zeo Ranger II Yellow)
- Catherine Sutherland as Katherine "Kat" Hillard (Zeo Ranger I Pink)
- David Yost as Billy Cranston (credit only)
- Paul Schrier as Farkas "Bulk" Bulkmeier
- Jason Narvy as Eugene "Skull" Skullovitch
- Gregg Bullock as Detective Jerome Stone (credit only)
- Richard Genelle as Ernie (credit only)
- ??? as Ms. Rodriguez
- ??? as Mr. Hamms
- David Fielding as Zordon (face)
- Bob Manahan as Zordon (voice)
- Donene Kistler as Alpha 5
- Richard Steven Horvitz as Alpha 5 (voice) (as Richard Wood)
- David Stenstrom as King Mondo (voice)
- Alex Borstein as Queen Machina (voice)
- Barbara Goodson as Prince Sprocket (voice) and Orbus (voice)
- Oliver Page as Klank (voice)
- Scott Page-Pagter as Fortissimodo (voice)
- Considering the fact that the mystery pianist is Skull, it's strange that he doesn't scream when he sees the Cogs and Fortissimodo like he and Bulk do nearly every time they're confronted with monsters. However, it's possible he didn't want anyone in Angel Grove to recognize him by his scream as he was still afraid of what they would think of him if they found out he was the mystery pianist
- As the individual Zeo Zords attack giant Fortissimodo, they are shown in a rocky area but the monster is in the city surrounded by buildings. A shot through Zeo Zord 4’s cockpit window shows that it is supposed to be at close range to Fortissimodo as well. This is because, in Ohranger, the Ohranger Robo had to play Fortissimodo's piano to return a child to the future.
- This episode's title shares its name with a song from the 1986 Transformers movie.
- David Yost (Billy) does not appear in this episode.
- This episode depicts Jason Narvy's actual musical talent.
- The majority of the Angel Grove High School scenes in this episode were filmed on location at a real high school in Los Angeles.
- First appearance of Ms. Rodriguez, who served as both a guidance counselor and as a substitute principal for Caplan. She appears next in "The Joke's on Blue". In both instances, she notably shows more favor and care towards Bulk and Skull than Caplan does.
- This episode marks the final time that Bulk & Skull are seen attending Angel Grove High School as students. They apparently graduate offscreen and continue to drop by the school as police officers and private investigators.
- The piece Skull plays at the recital is Frédéric Chopin's "Étude Op. 10, No. 12 in C minor", also known as the "Revolutionary Étude" or "Étude on the Bombardment of Warsaw".