Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Episode 21: Green With Evil Part 5: Breaking the Spell




A Spell is Broken
Invincible Robotic Dragon Thrown Through Mountain








Last week our dear friends the Power Rangers were beaten fucking raw. They tried in vain to fight Goldar, Scorpina, and the Green Ranger with Megazord, and got amazingly decimated. The Megazord fell into a bunch of lava with very little chance of recovery. As the Rangers licked their wounds, Alpha reveals to them that he was finally able to detect the secret identity of the evil Green Ranger.



Kim wants to refuse to believe Tommy's the Green Ranger, because she doesn't want to be so stereotypical that she fell for a mysterious evil guy. The Rangers say that Alpha must be making a mistake, because there's no way this new Ranger is the guy dressed in green all the time who's acting like a huge dickhead all of a sudden. It rings pretty hollow how much the teens don't want to believe Tommy's evil, they're not best buds all of a sudden. He's just some guy Jason fought in a karate match. No, the Rangers are real sad their new best friend Thomas Q. Oliver is actually a villain, perish the thought.

Alpha comforts the Rangers by saying Rita must have put Tommy under a spell, which might explain all the energy bolts and devil swords he's been swinging around. Jason tells his dismayed team they need to fight to save Tommy, and to shove it in Rita's face.

Rita of course is celebrating her imminent domination of Earth with her henchmen by drinking a nice bottle of wine. Oh my apologies, Baboo informs us that it's actually "cranberry and oyster juice." Maybe that's just what he calls it to not feel like the sloppy alcoholic he clearly is. Rita's even been kind enough to not make Squatt sit at the kid's table for the party, this Green Ranger win is really bringing out the best in her.

A table full of hors d'oeuvers and a bottle of wine. You throw the best mixers Rita.

Goldar interrupts everyone's good time and blathers about how this was all possible thanks to the strength of their powerful Empress Rita. Goldar you fucking lickboot, shut up. Your friends are trying to get ripshit on oysters and you can't stop talking about how smart your boss is. Scorpina's trying to put the moves on him all throughout this and he's just being a total buzzkill, who invited him to this party? Rita informs her Moon Crew that her plan isn't over yet though, and she's about to make one final move to conquer the Earth.

While we're not sure what she's going to do yet, Alpha 5 seems to have a guess what might happen. The spazzy android is running around the Command Center crying about how Rita's going to enslave mankind and destroy them all and wipe everybody out and holy shit enough. Would you just stop complaining and let the actual heroes think for a second you giant baby?  Congrats on stopping Tommy last week, but maybe if you would stop whining it might lighten the mood a little. For comic relief you sure don't provide either.

The Rangers succesfully tell Alpha to shut the fuck up and decide to split up and look for Tommy, assuming they can somehow break Rita's spell if they just ask him really nice to not be evil anymore. That or they'll stage an "Evil Intervention" and ask him why he's just so doggone mean. Kim looks for him in the Juice Bar where she finds Ernie watching a news broadcast of Goldar completely fucking up the town.

Ernie says how lucky they are to have the Power Rangers around, but Bulk and Skull say the Power Rangers are a bunch of limp dick pussies who couldn't fuck their way out of prison. The bullies brag about how they helped the Rangers scare off the monsters and are responsible for keeping the city safe. It's this really depressing look into the psyche of these two morons who just want to be on T.V. and have people like them, not be a couple clownshoe idiots who fall down every week and humiliate the human race.

Kim says she doesn't care about the imminent apocalypse and needs to find her boning machine, who Ernie says is about 10 feet away from them. Glad Kim is taking her task of finding Tommy seriously. Kim solemnly approaches Tommy while he gets his pump on and casually whispers that he's the "GREEN RANGER." The second she utters this, Tommy gives her the look to end all looks.

Jason David Frank glare
The FUCK you just say to me?!

Tommy tells Kim she and her little rainbow brigade are going to get their throats slit if they try and mess with him again. Kim starts begging Tommy to let the other Rangers help him and if this wasn't a karate show for fat kids, it'd almost seem like they're spinning this like an allegory for addiction. Everyone begging a crazy abusive fuck-up to just talk about his problems but he keeps attacking them with his new friends, in this case a gold dog and a scorpion woman. Although I could be reading too much into this, which is of course ludicrous coming from someone who writes a weekly blog talking about Power Rangers.

At the Moon Palace, Squatt and Baboo start whining to Goldar that they don't want Rita to use the newest weapon in her arsenal. There's no real reason they don't want her to, though it's likely they know if Rita is bringing in competent fighting forces they'll be on the chopping block in no time. Rita surprisingly ignores the objections of her worthless henchman and uses a bolt of magic to summon forth an incredible Dragonzord from beneath the ocean's waves. The mighty Dragonzord unleashes it's fury and goes on a destructive rampage the likes the planet has never seen before.

Dragonzord smokestack
He then put the other half in his mouth and did a killer Groucho Marx impression.

The rest of the Rangers, sans Trini, meet with Kimberly and ask her what happened during her meeting with Tommy. She describes how his eyes were glowing green and how his biceps were rippling underneath his tight t-shirt and how there were enough bulges to satisfy any woman. The rest of the Rangers waste a bunch of time rattling off details we already knew such as "He's definitely out to get us." and "He has to be under one of Rita's spells." Things that not only the audience has observed repeatedly, but the characters themselves have pointed out in this very episode. It's Part 5, maybe we can finally stop dragging our heels and pick up the goddamn pace?

As the Ranger Teens take their time putting together this two piece puzzle, Trini comes running in to tell everyone there's big trouble downtown. The Rangers morph to combat the encroaching threat in the city and decide they'll find a better place to ditch Trini again later. They leap up to a rooftop only to find the Dragonzord, with the Green Ranger standing atop his noggin. Tommy leaps onto a building and starts playing a dagger shaped flute. Where'd he get this? Doesn't matter. What's it called? Dunno. So if you want a toy of this for Christmas by begging Grandma and she asks what it's called, better be prepared to get some shitty knock off toy from Korea.

Dragon Dagger
Make sure to hold the end as dainty as possible.

Tommy's Dragon Dagger begins sending commands to the Dragonzord which sets its sights on the rest of the Power Rangers. The giant Zord aims its hands at them and sprouts missiles from its fingertips, blowing them off the fucking roof. It loads another set of missiles and starts blasting everything it can downtown while the rest of the Rangers protest. It's pretty incredible seeing these goody two shoes trying to convince a gigantic dragon not to blow up their stupid city full of nerds while Tommy just laughs at them.

However the Rangers prayers are answered when Alpha is able to finally locate Zordon's location and bring him back online. Zordon asks what the fuck Alpha has been doing while he was gone and to get his unpaid labor into their dinosaur robots right away. Alpha says the Zords have been destroyed by the Green Ranger, but Zordon tells his indentured servant to cram it because they got toys to hock.

With no real explanation, the ground starts to quake and the Rangers Morphers begin to glow. The Rangers are instantly transferred into their Dinozords which emerge from the lava and appear to be at full power again. The Rangers prepare to take on Tommy as the Tyrannosaurus and Dragonzord square off somewhere in the mountains. Hold on I hear some of you say, the Dragonzord was in the city last we saw him. Don't worry, Power Rangers has its bases covered!

Yeah just take 34th avenue down all the way you'll be in the mountains in about 3 steps.

Jason tries in vain to tell Tommy to stop blowing shit up, but the Dragonzord keeps blasting the T-Rex without mercy. At some point you'd think the Rangers would realize their new friend whose mind has been enraptured by the forces of evil might not be prone to listening to their speeches about recycling and eating your vegetables.

Dragonzord uses its tail drill to jab Tyrannosaurus in the face, and knocks the Red Ranger's Dinozord to the ground. Jason appears to finally have had enough of losing to Tommy and uses the Dinozord to kick Dragonzord into a mountain. While Tommy's Zord is downed, the rest of the Rangers combine to form the Megazord to even up the score.

The Rangers use their robot to attack the Dragonzord, who's still left on his back. There's a pretty great cut of Megazord going to lift the Dragonzord above its head, but we cut before any lifting takes place. Obviously because they weren't going to ask a guy in an uncomfortable robot costume to lift a guy in the same situation above his head. God bless cheap Japanese media.

Now that Megazord's in the fight the Dragonzord is completely outclassed. The Rangers are absolutely demolishing his zord and taking it down. It doesn't even feel like this is the same guy they've been fighting the last four weeks with how badly this new zord is losing. As soon as the Megazord is formed, Dragonzord has completely lost the fight. When it gets to something like this, you know the fight is a total wash.

Dragonzord VS Megazord
If you ever wonder why Toei's suits are broken down this is a good indicator.

The Rangers tell Tommy he's done for if he doesn't give up. Prepare yourself though, because the funniest scene, perhaps in the entire franchise's history, is about to happen. As the Rangers are calling out to Tommy to surrender, a voice calls out and answers them from the Dragonzord. This is what it tells them.



Now if you're only experiencing Power Rangers through this blog, you may not think anything is wrong here. However that voice? That's supposed to be Tommy. Tommy does not sound like a 45 year old man shoved into a recording booth for 3 seconds with no knowledge of what he's supposed to be doing. When I heard this as a kid I swear I thought it was supposed to be the Dragonzord talking. That's how incredibly inept this line reading is.

Jason challenges Tommy to a duel without their Zords, and leaps out of the Megazord to ask Tommy how he threw his voice like that. Tommy abandons the Dragonzord to fight against Jason in a quarry below, and the two start trading blows. Green Ranger and Red Ranger use their swords against each other and fight fiercely. It looks like a bunch of Christmas decorations threw up everywhere. The two seem to be evenly matched, but Tommy pulls out some new tricks as he plays his Dagger and reflects Jason's Blade Blaster shots at him.

While the Dragonzord VS. Megazord fight was pretty anti-climactic and one sided, this fight is exactly what you'd want out of Green With Evil. Tommy and Jason are beating the shit out of each other and it's a lot of fun. The two have a rivalry that's developed in a pretty mediocre fashion, but it doesn't matter when they're clashing their swords together trying to take the other down. Tommy wants to kill Jason and Jason wants to save Tommy. All while Rita's getting wild with the business end of her wand knowing someone's gonna die tonight.

Tommy soon gains the upper hand and has Jason on the ropes. Using the Sword of Darkness, Tommy strikes the ground and causes a burst of energy to blast Jason from underneath, knocking the Red Ranger off of his feet. Just as the Green Ranger prepares to land a killing blow, Jason charges up his Power Sword with red energy, and hurls it at Tommy. The evil Ranger drops both of his weapons as Jason uses his Blade Blaster to destroy the Sword of Darkness. Without Rita's sword, Tommy is instantly out of her control and has turned into a simpering puritan like the rest of the Ranger Teens.

The Rangers regroup down where Tommy and Jason had been fighting and de-morph to talk with him. Tommy mumbles about how he feels bad he almost killed all of them, but Jason says they need his help to defeat Rita. It's a more polite way of saying "You're clearly stronger than all five of us, so we need you to bail us out when things get too tough." Tommy looks remorseful, but backs down instantly and decides to join the rest of the Power Rangers with a nice manly handshake.

WHAT'S THE MATTER? THE C.I.A GOT YA PUSHIN' TOO MANY PENCILS?!

Zordon informs Alpha that, no thanks to his bitching and moaning, the prophecy has been fulfilled. Now that the Sixth Ranger has joined their team, they will be stronger than ever before and able to conquer any enemy with ease, until the next episode. The Rangers decide to participate in a group morph to celebrate, also to pad out time a little more since we're so close to the finish line.

The six Rangers pose together and each make some statement about how they're going to defeat Rita's evil forces. Blue Ranger says they'll be sure to defeat all of her menacing monsters. This episode must have aired out of order since we haven't seen anything that fits that criteria yet. Zordon says now that they have a new friend to exploit, they can use his Dragonzord for personal gain too. The Triceratops, Saber tooth Tiger, and Mastodon Dinozords all charge as Tommy uses the Dragon Dagger to get the Dragonzord back up on its feet. The four Zords combine into a brand new configuration Zordon dubs the Dragonzord in Fighting Mode. Named such because when it's in a fight alone it sure ain't in fighting mode.

What about the Pterodactyl? Trick question. Nobody cares.

Rita is kind of angry about this turn of events, but considering this is the crumbling of a whole bunch of her best laid plans, she seems pretty passive. She's kind of annoyed that Tommy isn't on her side anymore. She should be pissed that the Zords are back in full force, she lost her trump card as well as his Zord, and she's invariably strengthened her opposition. Instead she's about as mad as she is when one of her ugly monsters dies. Gimme a little more here Repulsa, this was a guaranteed win and you botched it.

The rest of the Rangers bring Tommy to have an official meeting with Zordon, this time making him promise not to roid out and tear up their Command Center again. Zordon gives Tommy the rules to being a Power Ranger that he must abide by now that he's on the side of good: 1) Have a personality that consists of 3 or fewer traits. 2) Don't use your powers to humiliate Bulk and Skull, let society do that, and 3) Casual Friday is mandatory. 

Billy presents Tommy with his own Communicator and the Rangers all celebrate that they finally were able to recruit that kid with a mullet onto their team. Now with all this exciting plot behind them, they prepare to fight a bunch of silly looking rubber monsters. Just as God intended.


Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Smokestacks



Personal Thoughts:



This episode had a few weak points, but I'd definitely say it was a good way to end the Green With Evil miniseries. It's definitely not the strongest part of the miniseries but it's completely serviceable. It's been a long time since I've gone back to watch these episodes, and it's surprising how they (mostly) hold up on a second watch.

The Dragonzord is an absolutely fucking fantastic introduction to the Zord fleet and remains one of my all time favorite Mech's in any Tokusatsu series. A drill tail, finger missiles, goofy little hands that don't do anything, this guy's got it all. It surprised me watching this again how badly he fared in a fight against the other Zords, but that's probably because he doesn't have any finishing moves of his own to show off, so slap some more Zords on him and we'll call it a day.

This episode is the only part of this little saga that is adapted using footage from two unique episodes of Zyuranger. Tragically they were unable to make a sixth boring and worthless episode to prolong this miniseries any further so they decided to skip right to the Dragonzord stuff. Originally, Green Ranger's counterpart tried to kill Rita, got kicked out of her party, and was gifted the Dragonzord by a weird child. That's why we never get a scene of Tommy receiving his Dragon Dagger and he just abruptly has it when Dragonzord shows up.

We also lose a scene of giant Goldar and Scorpina fighting the Dragonzord on Earth as it wouldn't make much sense narrative wise. Put that tidbit into your back pocket for a while though, we'll come back to it later.

Since we've finally gotten to the end of this miniseries, I'm still left feeling a little uneven. This is a pretty cool set of episodes, but when it gets bogged down in so much goddamned pointless filler it becomes nothing but a retread of plot points that have been established multiple times. It usually takes a while until we get to something incredible like Green Ranger invading the cockpit of the Megazord, or Green Ranger growing giant. I think what really made Part 3 so weak is it lacked any moment that would make a kid go "That's awesome!" It was just the writers stretching material to keep idiots like me tuned in.

Really the most important word of this whole thing is uneven. Some of the stuff in this miniseries could rank up there with the best of Season 1 Power Rangers, while an unfortunate amount could be near dead last. We may not be talking Ticklesneezer awful, but some of the insulting time wastes just left me wanting to shut the DVD off. I've tried not to make a big ranking system for episodes and just stick to a general classification of being good, bad, or bland; however since this is a saga of very mixed quality I figured I'd make a quick rundown of the hierarchy of these episodes.


Part 4 > Part 2 > Part 1 > Part 5 > Being decapitated with a piece of sheet metal > Having your arms cut off in a Turkish prison > Part 3



2 comments:

  1. This whole "reveal" of the Green Ranger's identity is bizarre. Power Rangers is by no means the worst offender, but I have to wonder why any writers, anywhere, ever thought it was a good idea to make something overtly clear to the audience without giving its characters a clue. Usually we learn together. It's part of the journey. But I'm reminded of what Fred Clark wrote in his (fucking brilliant) takedowns of the Left Behind novels: when the characters figure things out hundreds of pages after the audience already knows, it just makes the "heroes" look like idiots.

    Outside of Blue's Clues, I don't think it's wise to have the children viewing at home be several weeks' worth of plot ahead of the show itself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Years ago, I read someone defending this somewhere as a trick meant to make the children watching at home feel smarter than the "adult" characters. However, it really does make the characters look like a bunch of idiots. I had to put up with this all of the time on "Captain N: The Game Master" (for example, a hero fails to recognize two henchmen that he encounters on a weekly basis, simply because they're WEARING CLOTHES instead of going (mostly) naked), and the Mario and Sonic cartoons were filled with similar idiot moments.

      Delete