Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episode 35: The Green Candle Part 2



Teenagers Pretend to Care about Terminally Ill Friend
First Documented Heterosexual Kiss Occurs in Angel Grove













Last week, Tommy wanted to take Kim to some Vague Dance to get his grind on, but thought she wouldn't be down to get on his bone train. Zack said to shut up and ask her because all she does is talk about how great he is. Then Rita made a candle to take Tommy's powers, Goldar talked about wax, and a Cyclops showed up and ran away.

As Tommy isn't too bright, he asks Zordon to cover the things I just said. It also serves to benefit the kids at home who weren't paying attention during the recap the episode was gracious enough to provide. Zordon does offer new information this week however; the Rangers can send someone into Rita's Dimension of Darkness to put out the candle. Wow, if we'd heard that last week it sure wouldn't have been a very dramatic cliffhanger! Glad Zordon waited till the twenty one minute mark before unveiling that piece of information.

Tommy asks how he can get to the candle, but Zordon says his punk ass couldn't handle it. The magic of the candle will only accelerate if Tommy comes near it, so another Ranger will have to do the deed. Jason steps in and says he'll do it if it means protecting his mancandy since he's already been in the Dark Dimension once before. I'm a sucker for continuity based logic, you're doing good today Power Rangers.

Tommy refuses to have Jason go to bat for his powers, because without Jason who will Tommy have to babble on endlessly about karate with? The rest of the Ranger Teens act like they give a shit about Tommy and say they'd be happy to let Jason put out a candle for him. Zack's contribution to how much the Rangers care about him is "Yeah." Maybe Zack never forgave Tommy for this.

Fried egg on WHITE Zack. Don't forget it.

Alpha sputters out some mumbo jumbo about how he was able to find a doorway to Rita's Dark Dimension. There you guys go, that's the set-up for this episode in the span of two minutes. The Ranger Teens found a way to access the Dark Dimension and Jason's headed inside. No dicking around, let's just get right where we need to be.

Goldar tells Rita her magic wax is working perfectly and Tommy's powers will soon be hers. In case we in the audience forgot what the candle's purpose was and that candles have a tendency to melt. Rita guarantees victory will soon be hers as Squatt and Baboo offer nothing but vague agreement. To showcase how little the staff of this show cares about these two, we hear Baboo's voice coming from Squatt's movements. It wouldn't shock me if every week the editors had to be reminded which voice went to who, and this was simply the one time they didn't give a shit and had a deadline to fill.

Billy presents a pair of ludicrous looking gizmos that he dubs molecular decoders. He then offers a boring explanation of how they work to Kimberly, and my ears manage to not maintain any of it because who's at home scribbling notes about Putty molecules? Granted I was more busy wondering why high tech scientific equipment looks like a bunch of junk cobbled together.

Did you get that spiral from a box of toys at the dentist?

Tommy is gobsmacked that his friends are willing to help him in his time of need, but Kim caresses his beefy arm and tells him that he doesn't need to breathe a word and to let his passion do all the speaking for him. Tommy internally wonders if maybe this is a sign Kim isn't completely against considering the concept of going to the Vague Dance with him. The five core Rangers teleport to the park while Jason David Frank gives a ridiculously melodramatic reading of the line "Good luck my friends." It's not all his fault though, because who the fuck wrote that line for a 17 year old high school student? It's terrible delivery for an equally terrible line.

Rita commands her Cyclops monster to go down to Earth and wreak havoc on the city. Goldar reminds the audience that Cyclops is able to shapeshift into different Zord formations, and he'll soon turn into a duplicate of the Megazord to lure the Rangers into battle. Squatt says it's bound to confuse the Rangers, which is ridiculous because they've already seen Cyclops' power. They know what's going on if they see a Zord blowing up the city. It's that stupid one note monster that keeps changing into other things. Granted if I looked that stupid I'd spend a lot of time transformed too.

His doofy ass smile is killing me.

The Ranger Teens set up the Decoders in the park when Bulk and Skull appear and begin sauntering towards them while hooting like mandrills. The bullies inform our heroes that they're trespassing on their turf. The morons offer a warning that they better leave right now or else the Ranger Teens will get to see Bulk and Skull humiliate themselves. Skull asks Bulk what the molecular decoders are supposed to be, and Bulk goes to take a look at where the materials for the device came from.

A scene from the most dramatic episode of Power Rangers yet.

Tommy pouts around the Command Center that he isn't able to help the other Rangers retrieve the candle, because he wasn't paying attention to Zordon's explanation of why he couldn't go. Thankfully Tommy won't be bored for long, because the Cyclops is down on Earth in the form of the Dragonzord Battle Mode. Tommy asks how that's possible, because he wasn't paying attention to the fight they had last week. Zordon tells Tommy he better get his ass in gear and go fight that Cyclops since his friends are busy bailing him out.

Tommy morphs to the scene and calls on the O.G. Dragonzord to fight. This is the one positive of having a monster like Cyclops. He himself is bland as shit, but the fact that he's in the form of Dragonzord Battle Mode gives us a fun fight between Battle Mode and the standard Dragonzord.

Unfortunately all that happens is the Dragonzord blasts its finger missiles at the fake Dragonzord in Battle Mode and causes it to change back into the Cyclops. Thanks for the blue balls guys, you almost had me excited.

Cyclops changes shape into the Megazord and starts clobbering the Dragonzord. Remember how the Megazord was always stronger than the Dragonzord in Battle Mode? Me neither. Tommy realizes his Zord is getting shithoused and decides to actually board the Dragonzord manually. It's actually pretty cool, since Tommy always controls the Dragonzord through his Dragon Dagger and we've never actually seen a cockpit for the Dragonzord before. It adds a little something to this fight that makes it more enjoyable and not just the Dragonzord fighting a fake Megazord.

Do you really need the shield inside of a cockpit?

Dragonzord smacks the Cyclops with its flimsy little hands and knocks him back into his standard form. Cyclops tries to grab onto Dragonzord's tail and actually morphs into Battle Mode again. Before I'm able to get my hopes back up, Dragonzord bitchslaps the fake Battle Mode and changes it back into Cyclops. Guys I just want to see a Dragonzord on Dragonzord match, can't you give me that much? Please?

Cyclops does a flying kick on the Dragonzord, since this whole transformation shit isn't really working out for him. He tries firing an energy beam from his eye, but the Dragonzord is still ready and raring to go no worse for wear. Realizing he's even more pathetic without his transformations Cyclops abruptly turns into the Tyrannosaurus Dinozord. That's not even a combination anymore man, just hang it up Cyclops you're a fucking chump.

He looks like he's about to start squirting tears from his one good eye.

Back in the park, the other Ranger Teens have managed to activate the decoders as Jason prepares to enter the portal. Zack wishes Jason luck since he's the only man Zack wants to take to the Vague Dance tonight. Jason enters the portal made of terrible stock effects and soon vanishes from the park and appears inside the Dark Dimension. Goldar greets Jason as an old friend and gets ready to kill the one man who managed to roll away from him for 48 consecutive hours.

Jason doesn't morph, because the writers are pretending he can't inside the Dark Dimension, and fights Goldar with nothing but some karate kicks. Jason tries diving for the candle but gets thrown to the ground. Goldar starts whirling his sword and growling, just beckoning to taste some fuckin' blood. I don't know what it is, but whenever the Dark Dimension shows up Goldar turns into a straight badass. Maybe it's because he's fighting the teens unmorphed and is guaranteed to win, but you take what you can get with any villain in this show seeming threatening.

Zordon and Alpha watch the fight with Cyclops on the Viewing Globe and see that the Dragonzord is now abruptly losing. Zordon has had enough dicking around with one eyed freaks and decides to call the rest of his indentured servants to clean up the mess Tommy's making all over the city.

Dragonzord swung around
Cyclops is using his right hand to cop a feel because it sure ain't lifting anything.

The rest of the Ranger Teens remain blissfully unaware of Tommy's situation and instead worry what's taking Jason so long to blow out Tommy's candle. Zordon buzzes Zack and tells him to knock off all this candle noise and go bail Tommy out of the fight he's losing. The giant floating head says to send one of the Ranger Teens into the Dark Dimension to fish Jason out, and Zack heads in right away.

Zack tells Jason he needs to abort the mission because Tommy's in serious danger against Cyclops. Jason laughs in his face and tells him that Rita's monster is a total pussy, and he needs to get the candle or else Tommy will lose his powers. Zack responds "If we don't get to him in time, he'll lose his life."

This line may not seem like much, but it really resonates. Walter Jones sells it, which is great considering how little the show has given him to do recently. Not only that, but the show is actually addressing the fact that the Power Rangers could possibly die fighting Rita's forces. This is a show that's had to write around death and danger from the very beginning, so it's pretty incredible to see them spell it out so blatantly. It gives Jason a real Sophie's Choice and sells what happens next perfectly.

Jason hesitates really badly, but Zack coaxes him out of the Dark Dimension while Goldar laughs at the retreating Rangers for surrendering so easily. It's a pretty dark moment of loss that's seriously uncommon on this show. Jason tells the Rangers they'll go back as soon as the fight's over, but you get the feeling they're already too late to stop the Green Candle from melting.

The Rangers morph and immediately form the Megazord. No stock footage shots of the Dinozords coming together. The Megazord is together right away. It's a small moment but it's already showing how tense this is. The Green Candle burns as Tommy declares that Rita can't take his powers, because he's the Green Ranger. The Power Rangers theme kicks in as the Ultrazord is formed and the hype levels hit critical mass. It's a moment that has so much weight to it that it almost makes you forget how lame the monster they're fighting is.

Cyclops death
Almost

Jason tells his team to teleport back to the Command Center, seeming to realize that the Green Candle has already flickered out and has drained Tommy's powers. Oh, the flame went out? I thought he'd lose his powers when the candle fully melted. The production team must have not known how to melt a candle or didn't have time to wait for it to melt so they just added a shitty flicker effect to pretend it went out. Maybe Tommy could get his powers back if he just put another wick in that thing and lit it up again. Oh sorry, this is a dramatic moment.

Zordon informs the Rangers of the situation and says there's only one option to keep Rita from obtaining Tommy's power; he must give up his Power Coin. Kim tries to object but Tommy says it's the only choice. Zordon informs Tommy he must give his powers to another Ranger so they can remain on the side of good. Naturally Tommy picks the person on the team he shares the closest bond and intimate romance with, and gives his powers to Jason.

Tommy does your shield always look this shitty?

Rita screams about how furious she is that the Green Ranger powers don't belong to her any longer, but is missing the forest for the trees. You took care of Tommy, why not focus on the good you did today Repulsa? This is the closest you've ever come to a victory and you're just refusing the very idea. Goldar promises he'll soon take care of the Power Rangers, Zordon, and even "that talking tin can." Jesus Goldar, what'd Alpha 5 do to make you mad? Was it the time he said ay-yi-yi and expressed fear for his comrades safety?

Tommy's Ranger powers begin to evaporate as his Ranger suit dissolves from around him and leaves him unmorphed. Tommy is clearly broken about the situation but he tells his friends to use his powers to beat Rita, and that it was an honor to fight alongside them. Billy mournfully tells Tommy he will not be allowed to sit with them at the Juice Bar any longer now that he isn't a Power Ranger, but Tommy understands.

Later that day, Kim meets Tommy at the park while he practices karate poses (natch). He rattles off weird banter to her about how nice it is to train outside and how he loves the smell of fresh air, while Kimberly cuts him off to ask how he's feeling without his powers. Tommy says he's focusing on his karate and schoolwork. Karate of course comes first because schoolwork is for losers and Billy.

Kim tells him that the team misses him, but Tommy brushes it off and says they'll still be a team without him. Kimberly decides to hammer her point home by saying "I miss you." It's a sweet line and honestly really nicely delivered by Amy Jo Johnson. I've said it before but she really is one of the strongest actors in the show. Tommy seizes this blatant moment and goes for the gold.

Big deal, the other kisses on this show were way sexier.



Tommy says how he's wanted to do that for a long time, since they live in some weird Mormon cesspool that frowns on any kind of intimacy outside of marriage. Tommy, sporting a rampaging hard-on now that he knows what a human female's lips taste like, finally finds the scrote to ask Kim if she'll go with him to the Vague Dance. She teases him for a brief moment before agreeing, to the surprise of no human being currently drawing breath. The episode ends as Tommy weirdly lifts Kim in the air, and spins her around. Is that the Power Rangers version of second base? The world may never know.

Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Vague Dances


Personal Thoughts:



I had a hard time ripping on this episode, because honestly it's really good all things considered. The show offers stakes and then follows up on them with consequences that negatively impact the heroes. Everything typically works out sunshine and ice cream for the Power Rangers so it's pretty fun to see them genuinely "lose" to Rita. Sure Tommy's powers are with Jason, but he's no longer able to morph or help his friends when they need him.

This episode actually gets to shake the foundation of Power Rangers by removing the Green Ranger from the equation and leaving only the core five to fend for themselves. This was a choice made out of necessity, since the Japanese version also got rid of the Green Ranger by this point, but it was handled rather well in Power Rangers.

In Zyuranger, Tommy's counterpart was also experiencing a candle based tragedy. He only had a certain amount of hours left to live if he ever left a magical room he lived inside. These hours were represented by a candle that would melt the more he left the room to assist his teammates. This story arc culminated with the Japanese Green Ranger living his final hour in battle alongside his team, then transferring his powers to Red and dying. This was obviously impossible to use in the Power Rangers version, as dying had yet to be introduced in America.

There's an issue I had while watching this episode that actually surprises me. This is the first and only time I've thought a Bulk and Skull scene should have been excised completely. Don't get me wrong, I love those morons more than I love this goofy ass show; but they absolutely don't fit with the serious tone and ticking clock this episode is trying to establish. It just makes me think that if Bulk and Skull hadn't shown up, Jason might have had time to grab the Green Candle from Goldar and save Tommy's powers. Thanks for nothing you assholes.

Before we conclude I want to rag on Cyclops just a little bit more. Upon reviewing the Japanese episode, I saw a shot of Cyclops from behind that was cut from the Power Rangers version. Let me show you fine folks and see if you might have a guess why.

Ugh

Jesus Christ. At first I just thought the costume just looked kind of lame and wasn't that great, but the more I wrote the uglier it got. What a cheap piece of shit. This show is made of nothing but the cheapest effects ever put to film and this costume still stands out as bad for the ridiculously low bar Power Rangers sets. Of all the monsters to show up in a two parter why'd it have to be this clown?



6 comments:

  1. I can't remember, but did they ever address why all five non-Tommy Rangers couldn't have just gone in together to fight Goldar and put the candle out?

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    1. They sure don't! Actually I can give the show credit here. Billy and Trini are holding the two poles for Jason to enter the Dimension, so that's why they can't enter. Kim and Zack do nothing though. There's no good reason for them not to go together outside of "It would solve the issue that we can't let be solved."

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    3. i meant could not go and would ony eclate the burning proces being there being that it was his powers linked to the coin

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  2. Great write-up...I love reliving these memories with my grown-up mindset.

    I agree about Bulk and Skull. In a way, they contributed directly, albeit unknowingly, to the Rangers' ultimate failure to retrieve the candle in time.

    I suppose 2 Rangers could have gone initially, with two staying back to hold the stilt-type devices and the other to retrieve the first two in case of an emergency.

    Ah, the possibilities that can be conceived with the benefit of time!

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  3. I agree AJJ is really good. The kiss at the end was sweet, but Kim then forgets about Tommy, and he doesn't show up (gotta spend that budget wisely!). Back to Trini for her, I guess. ;)

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