Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episode 34: The Green Candle Part 1


Rita Uses Magic to Read Map
Dramatic Tension Resolved Within the Course of a Single Line








Did you guys know Tommy really likes karate? Don't worry! Today's episode will remind you just in case you didn't notice. He's having a sparring session with Zack. Tommy beats Zack, because his toys are fresher on the shelf, and helps Zack up in front of an awestruck crowd of extras in the Youth Center.

Zack decides to embarrass Tommy right back and ask him if he's asked Kim to the Vague Dance tonight. Tommy hasn't though, and would you like to know why? He's too nervous. Fucking Tommy "Muscles on Muscles" Oliver is nervous to ask Kimberly "I Love Tommy" Hart out. The only scenes Kimberly has had the last however many weeks have been doting over Tommy. You might get a yes there Thomas.

Zack busts out laughing at how dumb Tommy is and says he just has to ask her out. Zack tells Tommy that he needs to make his move today, and just in case kids at home were getting bored with this conversation, Zack pulls a block of wood out of nowhere as Tommy promptly spin kicks it. It's the funniest juxtaposition and it epitomizes Power Rangers completely. Teen drama with some white as fuck karate. Accept no imitations.

Today Rita has the most devious plan ever concocted again. She's going to use the titular Green Candle to steal all of the Green Ranger's powers as it burns. Goldar makes sure to inform us that it was made of magical wax, because that was the main issue I had with this candle. Rita pulls out a map that she uses to locate Tommy, which is completely unnecessary because Rita is always snooping on these teens without some magic map. What's even weirder is she uses it like a Ouija board with a birthday candle sized version of her magic wand to locate Tommy.

GOLDAR! SEND OUR FORCES TO CAPTURE THE NOMAD LANDS!

Zack and Tommy continue sparring, and Zack manages to sweep Tommy's legs and knock him on his duff. Tommy whines that it's because Zack made him think about Kimberly, because he's a sore loser and can't admit that he fucked up. Zack tells Tommy he and his sweet 90's mullet aren't going to be winning any karate matches until he asks Kim out to the Vague Dance. Tommy informs him to put his money where his mouth is and ask Angela out. Oh right remember Angela? The girl Zack has a crush on? Well we didn't feel like paying her for the last 9 episodes so here she is again.

Zack acts like a complete horses ass to impress Angela while dictating his actions to Tommy. Angela can obviously hear all of this, so she reacts to Zack's negging with a sweet "Get a life." Zack is humiliated, but lucky for him the Kings of Humiliation show up to try and mock him. Bulk and Skull sincerely try and mock Tommy and Zack for being unable to get a date, forgetting the last 33 weeks we've seen them strike out with all intelligent life they've tried to pork.

Tommy asks to see what Bulk would do if he wanted to ask a girl out, and Bulk inexplicably pulls his shirt over his face and starts reciting a version of Roses are Red about how nobody wants Tommy's smelly dick near them. It's a sweet dig, but how seriously would you take it if the guy saying it to you looked like this?

Bulk reenacts his arduous birth.

Know why you shouldn't take him seriously? He got his fucking shirt stuck over his face. He demands Skull help him get unstuck, prompting the two to somehow flip themselves over. Since the set dresser forgot to put any cakes or pies on set they just fall on the ground and people laugh. Pretty weak sauce for a Bulk and Skull pratfall, but then Zack calls over a bunch of girls and tells them to check out the two morons marooned on the floor. Skull has a gigantic hard-on at this G-Rated cuckolding, but Tommy and Zack have their own poem for the bullies, which I present to you now in full.

Tommy: Roses are red
Zack: Violets are blue
Both: We sure can learn a lot from you
Pause
NOT!!!

Flawless, gentlemen. The most 90's burn of all time has been achieved.

Rita casts a spell at her altar to steal all of Tommy's power, which Goldar promises will be accomplished as soon as the Putties find the Green Ranger and steal his coin. You know what weakens this episode a little bit? The fact that the Putties stole Tommy's Morpher last week. The Putties then proceeded to tap at the Morpher and dick around with it. If Rita's most diabolically evil plan could be done with some Putties and a net, it's not that impressive.

Tommy and Kim go for a nice walk in the park while Kim very sweetly waits for her boyfriend to spit out that he wants to grind on her at the Vague Dance tonight. It's actually pretty cutely played, because Kim feigns innocence but you get the feeling she knows what Tommy's going for. Amy Jo Johnson is easily the best actor of the six Ranger Teens and I really like that she adds some level of subtlety to her performance.

Tommy begins to stutter out an invitation, but before he can finish a group of Putties descend on the two. As you might expect, the Putties don't do very well and end up getting manhandled by Kim and Tommy. However the Putties start to put up a better fight when Kim realizes she dropped her Power Morpher and the Putties begin to play keep-away with it. They even manage to flip Tommy onto his back while pinning Kim down. Vague levels of competency?! These must be Super Putties!

Three of the Putties grab Tommy and keep him held down when suddenly Goldar appears in the park. The Putties restraining Kim immediately drop her and surround Tommy instead. Goldar zaps Tommy and the Putties with energy from his sword causing them to vanish while Kim screams out in protest. Goldar tells her she ain't getting laid tonight and vanishes while laughing.

Suddenly, Goldar and the Putties teleport inside the Dark Dimension with Tommy in tow. A Putty delivers Tommy's Power Morpher to Goldar as they vanish to let Goldar handle the unmorphed Green. Goldar informs Tommy the only way he's keeping his powers is if he serves Rita. Also Tommy has to babysit Squatt and Baboo on Thursdays while he goes out clubbing with Scorpina. Tommy tries to fight back and it goes rather poorly for him.

Goldar VS Tommy
Your punches didn't even connect Tommy. Step up your game.

Goldar says if he chooses to disobey then he can just lose all his powers when the candle burns out. Tommy looks upon the Green Candle Goldar has inside the Dark Dimension while looking unsure of what emotion he's supposed to convey. Goldar abruptly informs him the candle was made of very special wax. Enough with the fucking wax Goldar. What is your deal today?

Rita whines to Finster that she needs a monster today and tells him how bad she needs it. Is she coming on to Finster here? She isn't even yelling she's being all sweet and needy with the poor old sheep man. It's pretty weird how kind she can be to him while pummeling Squatt and Baboo for being worthless comic relief. This isn't complaining though, anything to expand these characters in some fashion is worthwhile.

Finster pops a new clay monster mold into the Monstermatic and informs his crew that it can transform into any shape at will. Squatt, Baboo, and Goldar all silently observe the goings on, while Rita informs Goldar to get the fuck out of there since he was in the Dark Dimension last scene. Finster's monster Cyclops pops out and boy was Rita's artist not on his A-game this week.

Power Rangers Cyclops
Finger congratulates Cyclops on winning the award for most boring design in all of Season 1.

Meanwhile, Tommy and Goldar square off inside of the Dark Dimension. Goldar apologizes for disappearing a few minutes ago but Rita's newest monster looks really cool, trust him. Goldar antagonizes Tommy to try and stop the candle from burning, but the unmorphed Green Ranger can't do a thing to prevent Goldar from busting his ass. Just roll around on the smoke covered floor for a few hours Tommy. That should stop him!

Kim is discussing the situation with the rest of the Ranger Teens inside of the Command Center and says she's worried Rita will regain control of Tommy. Also that she won't get it wet after the Vague Dance tonight. She wore matching underwear for nothing! Zordon tells the Rangers he can't find Tommy so who gives a shit? He's probably dead already. Billy tries to tune in to Tommy's Morpher, but it doesn't work because this is a two part episode and we can't solve the problem until Part 2.

The Command Center alarms start going off and the Ranger Teens see an unfortunate sight inside the Viewing Globe. The Dragonzord is in the city blowing shit up and destroying buildings. Zordon realizes this means Rita must be in control of the Dragonzord, or Goldar became real good at playing a flute. The Rangers realize they better do something because when I said Dragonzord is blowing shit up, I wasn't kidding.

A NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST THIS SATURDAY ON FOX KIDS!

Kim asks what they can do if Tommy's under her control and Zack actually tells her they'll have to take Tommy down too. It's a pretty cold moment for this show but it has some serious balls. They're going to take on their dear friend to save their city, no matter what the cost.

Then all of the tension is immediately ruined when Zordon informs them this Dragonzord is actually an impostor. Thanks for that guys I was almost invested. The kids at home know Tommy hasn't been turned evil, can't the characters at least be a little hesitant? Would that kind of drama be acceptable? Nope, they just get to know to go all out on the fake Dragonzord right away.

The Rangers morph to combat the fake Dragonzord and instead of cutting to the fight, we see Rita bitching at Goldar that he needs to make the Rangers pay. For what? They haven't done anything yet Rita. Just let them fight your stupid looking monster and Tommy's energy drain. Odds are you're going to lose no matter what you're attempting.

Goldar accepts the call to battle and has a great double take where he looks at the candle and realizes he probably shouldn't leave Tommy alone with it since it's, y'know, the focal point of this entire plan. Goldar conjures up some magical chains to hold Tommy in place while he's gone, and Tommy is then restrained by one of the shittiest effects Power Rangers has ever graced its screen with.

Look at those 32 bit chains.

The Power Rangers arrive on the scene and combat Putties that Goldar sics on them. Didn't the Rangers show up to fight a phony Dragonzord? Why are they worried about Putties? Regardless, we get a nice brief fight with the morphed Power Rangers and the Putty Patrol. Goldar even gets to lock swords with Jason, although the Red Ranger gets his ass whooped. Goldar tells Jason he'll never see Tommy again, and also Tommy said Jason was terrible in the sack.

The Rangers notice the Dragonzord lumbering over them, mostly because it's 300 feet tall and demolishing the entire city, and Jason says they need to do something. No shit you do Jason, that's the reason you showed up. After way too much building destruction by Dragonzord, Jason summons the Dinozords to take on the fake Dragonzord. Hey here's a crazy idea, make it so they don't know that Dragonzord is fake if you're going to use this scene of them letting the Dragonzord blow shit up and the Rangers being hesitant.

Megazord and fake Dragonzord get into a scuffle in the city that leaves Megazord beaten down. Jason comments that this guy's as strong as the real Dragonzord and they need Tommy's help to win this fight. Christ you guys, what are you going to do if Rita succeeds in taking away his power? You've had to have the green guy bail you out ever since you got him on your team. 

Goldar reappears in front of Tommy and tells him his friends couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag. He also removes the chains from Tommy's hands because Saban's budget couldn't afford any more terrible looking special effects for this episode. Tommy tells Goldar Rita will never get his power, and when Goldar threatens him Tommy offers no plan of attack. Oh wait, of course. Tommy has the best idea he could ever concoct. He'll use karate fighting to defeat Goldar! Why didn't he think of that before?

Tommy gets knocked to the dirty floor a couple of times before somehow managing to steal Goldar's sword. Goldar doesn't appear to notice until Tommy says he's going to try using the same trick that got them into the Dark Dimension to get them out. Goldar grabs onto Tommy but the two are teleported out of the dimension and back out to the park. So Goldar wasn't using intergalactic space magic to teleport into the dimension? The magic's all inside his sword? Goldar you are a pretty lamesauce warrior. No wonder Rita hates you.

Tommy struggles his Morpher away from Goldar and morphs to the fight between Megazord and fake Dragonzord. The Rangers notice Tommy and breathe a sigh of relief that they don't have to do anything now. Tommy says it's time to bring in some real Dragonzord power, not assuming that Rita hijacked his Zord, but made a monster who could shape shift into an identical copy of the Dragonzord. When you're a Power Ranger it must come naturally to jump to the craziest possible alternative.

Tommy tries to summon the Dragonzord, but his waning powers make it harder for the Dagger to reach Dragonzord. This only lasts for a good 10 seconds though as Tommy tries one more time and summons Dragonzord from the sea. Thank goodness for immediately irrelevant stakes. Dragonzord prime tail slaps the fake version and causes him to revert back into the Cyclops. The Rangers ask why Rita sent a stupid looking Putty spray painted white to fight them, and the Cyclops shows off his bag of tricks.

Cyclops transformation
See all this interesting stuff I can do? Well the episode's almost over, see ya.

No seriously, that's how he ends the fight. He disappears after reaffirming his gimmick to the audience. What a lazy piece of shit. Speaking of lazy pieces of shit, Jason thanks Tommy for saving their pansy asses out there, and Tommy promises he'll be a Power Ranger until the end. We then cut to a shot of the Green Candle as Rita says his end will be coming very soon. One of the few moments a character on the show though the exact same thing I did. This show might be infecting me with some kind of cornball virus.

Back at the Command Center, Alpha scans Tommy to check if he's still healthy after having crossed through dimensions, but nothing seems to be wrong with him. Jason mentions that he's glad Tommy's safe, because he's been in Rita's Dark Dimension before and it was a terrible place. However Jason never got scanned by Alpha 5 for any interdimensional diseases after coming back, so either they added that little segment to eat up time this week, or Jason is potentially littered with deadly toxins inside his body. Oh well, 40's a ripe age to live to right?

Tommy expresses concern about losing his powers, but Trini speaks her first line of the episode and assures him that Rita's just bluffing and out of all the crazy shit she can do, this must be impossible. Zordon tells her to pipe the fuck back down because Tommy's powers are legit in danger thanks to that candle. While Tommy was working for Rita, she made him touch some magic wax that she formed into a candle that can drain all of his powers. Tommy then realizes the dire truth of this situation. He REALLY should have asked Kimberly out earlier. She isn't going out with some loser who isn't a Power Ranger.


To Be Continued



Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Emasculating Poetry


Personal Thoughts

Oh boy a plot heavy episode! We haven't gotten one of those in a while. Unless you want to count Island of Illusion which would be a real stretch. It's fun when Power Rangers does something less episodic, even though the nature of the show is pretty much nothing but. It's pretty good, although you can really tell the writers are trying to stretch material as far as they can to cover this into a two parter. The initial Putty fight felt incredibly long and needed Goldar to show up much sooner than he did. It also feels like the Green Candle's purpose was explained approximately 700 times. At some point we get that Tommy's powers are being stolen. Thank you for the exposition.

This is an episode I typically don't go back to very much mostly because of how little I enjoyed the action. Also it can be really easily summarized in Part 2 when Tommy has some one off line about his powers being drained. That's the issue I have with a lot of two part episodes in Power Rangers. I skip the first part because I'd rather see the resolution than the buildup.  Island of Illusion offered us a unique set piece and a new character shrouded in mystery. Green Candle just gives us a looming threat. It works, just not quite what I'm looking for.

Would you like to know a big problem I have getting invested in this episode? That fucking Cyclops monster. He's just such a lame looking dickhead. I jokingly called him a white Putty earlier but the more I think on it, it might be true. It's such a horrendously bland design that must have come from the designers saying "Well he'll be in the form of the Zords most of the time. Who cares what he looks like otherwise?"

His costume is also partially repainted from a villain from the previous Sentai series Choujin Sentai Jetman. A character named Emperor Tranza wore a large white pad on his chest that is identical to the one Cyclops has. Check it out.



Regardless of me being iffy on this episode, it really is a good one and has a pretty threatening plan. Rita's gotten serious and she could actually get rid of the Green Ranger! It's raising the stakes and making you wonder how the Rangers can stop her. I mean the Power Rangers always win so this is no exception right? Right? Well...guess we'll figure it out next week.



4 comments:

  1. It's kinda weird that Rita is dousing near the beginning of the episode, but she is a witch, so I guess it makes sense.

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    Replies
    1. I don't know if this is just my ignorance talking, but I was never sure if dousing was mostly a Japanese thing or it's just less common in America. This is my embarrassing lack of knowledge coming to the surface so please be kind.

      Also, I've seen all your comments and I'm giddy to see you go through the backlog. I keep wanting to reply, but then I keep choosing to nap instead. Make sure to tell me the minute that my writing skills fall off the rails and I become a bitter old man!

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    2. Dousing is a very common form of divination, especially among neopagans (though by no means limited to them; Hitomi Kanzaki frequently doused on "Vision of Escaflowne", and she's probably a Shintoist and/or Buddhist). The girls on "Charmed" frequently doused over a map of San Francisco, and then the pendant suddenly dropped exactly where they needed to go.

      Outside of "Charmed" and MMPR, I've never read of dousing done over a map, though I suppose you could if you need directions and have no other option; just ask the Goddess!

      Dousing is primarily used for divine guidance, usually in the form of a selecting among a number of options as an answer to a question. Divination was even used in the Bible, mostly notably by the Eleven Apostles; they cast lots (whether dice or pebbles or whatever) to determine which of two men that God chose to succeed Judas Iscariot. As an aside, even King Saul sought out a witch (who is portrayed fairly) to communicate with the spirit of Samuel, because he needed guidance. Samuel chewed his ass out.

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