Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episode 36: Birds Of A Feather


Invincible Destruction Machine Hugged by Bird
Talking Computer Strangles Teenage Boy With Tentacles








Today is going to be a difficult episode to watch guys. It's all about the Ranger Teens expressing their grief at losing their friend Tommy as the Green Ranger. Knowing that they'd failed him and have only managed to weaken their team as a result, they're soon forced to come to terms with what it truly means to be a hero. To bear the pain of loss and continue forward regardless so that the evil Rita Repulsa isn't able to demolish their world.

Just Joshin! This one's about a karate tournament!

No honestly. No line about Tommy losing his powers last week and how that's a bummer. No discussion on how they're going to have to work extra hard to fill in the void he left. Tommy's gone and we're back to making the show as episodic as possible. Tommy isn't even in the opening credits anymore. Suck a dick you old has-been, nobody cares about you anymore.

Enough about all that though, Zack's teaching some kids karate. Not his made-up hip-hop kido style of martial arts, just some generic punch and kick action. Either the writers realized how shitty it was to give the one black guy a dance style of karate, or they felt like having a Zack episode. Neither option seems particularly likely, but it's good to see Zack in focus so I'll give them a pass.

Zack asks his student Cameron to go through a new kata in front of the class, but Cameron says he's not good enough to do some sleek karate skills in front of a bunch of 3rd graders. Zack helps out by leading Cameron in a demonstration of karate that goes well until Cameron trips himself up and falls on the mat. When Cameron falls, the show plays a goofy "BOING" sound effect more fitting for a Bulk and Skull scene. Maybe the reason the kid isn't confident is because this show is mocking his sub-par karate skills with dumbass sounds.

Zack tells Cameron to concentrate more, but how can he? Bulk and Skull just showed up and are offering meaningless threats! Bulk has some little kid named Biff hanging out with him who he says is going to clobber Cameron in the karate competition. Who is this kid and why is he chilling with Bulk? We get a one off line later that Bulk is acting as Biff's coach, but on what planet is anyone looking at Bulk and trusting his judgement with regards to karate? Or anything.

Did Skull steal that belt from David Arquette?

We get a scene of Biff "showing off" his skills, and it falls incredibly flat. He does poses and a single spin kick, but nothing he does leaves you that amazed. Take into account we're talking about a kid, and he's still not impressive. I'm a fan of Power Rangers, clearly I don't have that high of a bar for entertainment. Even Zack and Cameron look at him like his existence is a waste. Good to see Bulk taught Biff everything he knows.

Rita cackles about today's evil scheme, which has absolutely nothing to do with this karate tournament. It's good to see her making plans that don't revolve around whatever superfluous activity the Ranger Teens are involved in at the time. Finster has sent her newest monster, Hatchasaurus, down to Earth where he'll take the Dragonzord out of commission and then crush the rest of the Rangers. Oh right the Dragonzord was the Zord that one guy used to have. What was his name? Tony?

Zack dismisses his students but takes Cameron one on one to tell him not to let Biff psyche him out. Wait is that what's going on? Cameron didn't look nervous about Biff at all while he did his bullshit white kid karate earlier. Cameron tells Zack he's more nervous about the possibility of Biff cheating, because he's a 90's bully stereotype and doesn't have anything else to his character other than that. Zack tells him he'll be fine and that he'll be in Cameron's corner if he's needed.

This scene with Cameron and Zack is significantly more charming than the other episodes where a Ranger Teen gets saddled up with some kid to teach them a lesson about recycling or whatever.

There's two reasons as to why; the first is that the kid isn't dubbed over by some voice actor like Power Rangers has done before with kids, so we get to hear an actor actually giving their own performance without having some third party redo it. The second reason this works is because Walter Jones is just a charming actor. I've made note a few times how little they focus on him, and it's honestly a shame because he's actually rather fun to watch.

They perfected Billy and Willy's handshake!

We cut to the Junior Martial Arts Competition, already in progress. Cameron's pretty nervous since he's up first, but Zack tells him there's no way he's going to lose this early. They have a plot to fill out after all. The rest of the Ranger Teens have shown up to cheer Cameron on during his match, because they don't have anything better to do with their milquetoast lives. Zordon calls Jason and tells him to gather up all his buddies because Rita's sent a big ugly fucker down to Earth. Jason tells his buddies they need to head out, much to Zack's chagrin.

Zack now has to go up to the kid with self confidence issues who he promised he'd always be there for, and tell him he has to skedaddle so fuck him and his self-esteem. Zack tries to explain to Cameron that he has an emergency to go take care of but Cameron says if he leaves now that it will ruin everything.

I seriously love this moment. It happens abruptly, but it's a feeling kids can relate to. When an adult is there for a kid it gives them confidence to keep doing what they're doing; but when an adult has their own important business to attend to, the kid can't understand why the adult is acting  in a way they perceive as selfish. The adult doesn't want to have to leave because they want to inspire the kid, but real life got in the way of doing so. It's a really natural conflict and they managed to make it happen with regard to a space witch who lives on the moon.

The Ranger Teens teleport to the Command Center where Zordon informs them of Rita's new monster. It's already giant, and has been buried underground near a power plant for no discernible reason. Zordon tells the Rangers that Hatchasaurus is controlled by a super computer called the Cardiatron.  Their mission, if they choose to accept it, is to get inside the Hatchasaurus and disconnect Cardiatron. Fuck almighty, Tyler's only been gone a week and already we have to get inside a monster and reprogram a computer? Rita's really upping the stakes.

When the Rangers ask how they're supposed to do any of this crazy shit, Zordon tells them to believe in their skills and they'll be able to succeed. That's not an answer you big blue fuck. The Rangers morph and teleport to their Zords to combat the Hatchasaurus. As they approach the monster's location, it uproots itself while wiggling its massive clunky head around.

AHHHHHH! AFTER TEN THOUSAND SECONDS I'M FREE!

Jason realizes they're going to need some help to take down this big ugly mug, and uses the Dragon Dagger to call for Dragonzord. Dragonzord walks into the fray to combat Hatchasaurus and knocks the monster around before getting him in a submission hold. The monster's now open for the rest of the Dinozords to attack! The four individual Dinozords fire their standard beam moves at Hatchasaurus and knock him back down to the dirt before Tyrannosaurus fires its ground breath attack at the monster and destroys it. Didn't Zordon say something about a computer? Oh well, it probably wasn't important.

Back at the Moon Palace, Squatt tells Rita the Power Rangers just blew her monster into a million pieces, and she must feel real stupid hiring someone who offers absolutely nothing productive to her organization. Goldar informs him that the Hatchasaurus hasn't been defeated yet, because the episode isn't even half over and we still have more footage to burn through.

Zordon teleports the Rangers back into the Command Center and informs them they didn't listen to a single cocksucking word he just told them and the monster is reforming itself as they speak. The Rangers look at the Viewing Globe to see the monster chunks shuffling around and meeting up near a huge glowing orb in a field somewhere. Jason surmises that the Rangers will need the Megadragonzord to finish off this monster, because he didn't listen to any of that shit about a Cardiawhatever.

Goldar asks Rita what she plans to do about the Dragonzord, because the script writer forgot he was in on the plan earlier. Rita speaks an incantation that spews a pink energy beam from her lips that finds the lumbering Dragonzord on Earth and binds his arms to his sides. My only objection is that the Dragonzord was wandering around on Earth when usually he's under the sea waiting to be summoned. I didn't take issue with the Japanese space witch spewing a pink energy beam from her lips that restricted the massive robot dragon monster. Sometimes in life you just have to pick your battles.

Oh no! Now his little baby hands might be ineffective!

Zordon reminds the Rangers, AGAIN, that they need to disconnect Cardiatron from the Hatchasaurus to defeat him. The Rangers morph once again and bring the Megazord into battle against the reformed Hatchasaurus who's tearing shit up in the city. Before absolutely any fighting happens, we see Rita and her crew talking about how brilliant her plan is and how the monster is destroying the Power Rangers once and for all. Did the editor put this scene in the wrong spot? Your ugly ass monster hasn't done shit lady.

The Rangers go head to head with the Hatchasaurus, who now has some spikes on his tummy after being reborn. The Cardiatron must have picked up some extra junk while collecting all the Hatchasaurus pieces and left them on his gut. Megazord tries to keep up with the monster but it manages to put up a much better fight against the Rangers this time. At one point he hugs the Megazord while zapping it with energy from his chest. It's another one of Power Rangers patented "Ridiculous but Amazing" moments.

The monster knocks Megazord down onto the ground as the Rangers brace for more. Suddenly, the Hatchasaurus busts out his secret technique.

What do I do in my spare time? I make gifs of bird dinosaurs fucking robots. WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!

Jason tries to summon the Dragonzord so they can turn this into a threesome, but the Dinozord doesn't show up. Far off in the distance, the Dragonzord lumbers forward slowly. Jason says he's sick of waiting for that lazy dick and summons the Power Sword. It flies from the sky and stabs into Hatchasaurus, knocking him off of the Megazord, right before he was able to nut.

The Rangers start to fight back against the monster, but again he gains the upper hand. He deflects their attacks with his shell and throws the Megazord again. Billy says the Megzord's energy is down by 50 percent and they're in serious danger. Jason uses the Power Sword on Hatchasaurus to finish the monster off. It goes really well!

Not even Nostradamus could have forseen this!

Well look at that guys, when you kill the monster it comes back stronger. Who woulda thunk? Jason actually says "Looks like we have to finish him again." Are you fucking people brain dead? Go dismantle that computer thing, stop killing the Hatchasaurus because it clearly isn't working.

Dragonzord saunters up and observes as the Hatchasaurus and Megazord continue fighting each other. Unfortunately he can't do anything but stand around with his hands at his sides so he just lets the rest of the Rangers do the fighting for him. Billy notes that something is interfering with the Zord's communication receptors or some other hogwash, and Jason surmises Rita must have the Zord locked under a spell. Are you sure you guys told Dragonzord he was getting a new partner? Maybe he just doesn't trust someone summoning him other than Teddy.

The Hatchasaurus blasts the Megazord with energy from its new horns while slapping it around a little more. The Rangers have no idea what to do so Jason comes up with a brilliant idea, he's going to disconnect the Cardiatron from the Hatchasaurus. That's why you're in the captain's chair Jase, always coming up with the best ideas. But how does the leader of the Power Rangers plan on doing that?  By leaping into the Hatchasaurus' open mouth into its body. It works because of course it does, and Jason meets face to face with the Cardiatron.

Portrayed by a disco ball painted orange.

All of a sudden, the Cardiatron starts fucking talking to Jason and threatening him. I want to be indignant about how crazy that is, but I just accepted Jason leaping into the monster's mouth to disconnect a computer inside of its belly, so I have no right. As Jason prepares to strike the computer, it unleashes countless tentacles to restrain the Red Ranger. Since he's not a woman the scene doesn't turn sexual, but Jason is still in serious trouble. He starts bursting with sparks, while the rest of the Rangers watch in horror. Somehow able to see inside the monster's stomach.

Hatchasaurus blasts the Megazord and causes it to drop the Power Sword and stagger back. The Rangers try and regain control of the situation by grabbing onto the Hatchasaurus to let Dragonzord attack it, but the Zord is unable to do anything to help as it remains trapped under Rita's spell. The Dragonzord becomes so weak that it falls over in slow motion, which is significantly funnier than the creators intended it to be.

Jason tries using the Dragon Dagger to shakes the Zord out of Rita's spell, but nothing happens as the Dragonzord is unable to fight back. Cardiatron laughs at the ailing Red Ranger and tells him that his magic music is a total crock of horseshit.

The inside of most monsters is nothing but a series of glowing rooms.

Jason has had enough, the day he's told where to get off by a sass talking computer is the day he stops loving karate. He summons the Dragon Shield, causing the Dragonzord to get a jolt of energy, stand up, and shatter Rita's spell. Eat it you old space hag, nobody tells the Dragonzord what to do. It's going to stand around and roar and you can fuck right off if you think otherwise.

While the Megazord has Hatchasaurus held down, Dragonzord uses its drill tail to spear the monster's chest. The other Rangers look on in awe as Jason and the Cardiatron are ejected from the Hatchasaurus onto the ground below. Despite not being hooked up to anything inside the monster, Cardiatron puts up a fight against Jason by tentacle grabbing him and blasting him with lasers. Since he's just a big floating ball, Jason skips the formalities and finishes him off with a pretty bitchin' attack.

If you don't think a tyrannosaurus powered superhero hacking apart a giant heart with two swords is radical then you must be reading the wrong blog bub.

Now that the Hatchasaurus is computerless and has a searing hole in its chest, the Rangers prepare to strike back. Jason leaps back into the Megazord cockpit and calls forth Titanus and the Ultrazord. The Ultrazord blows Hatchasaurus to bits, confident in the knowledge that he won't be coming back this time. So long as the show doesn't last for another season which we all know it won't.

Oh shit, wasn't there another plot going on today? Something about karate? We got all caught up in bird monsters and Dragonzord spells. Zack heads back to the Youth Center to see that Cameron has advanced to the finals of the tournament, because he believed in himself or something. We haven't seen him in the last 10 minutes so who knows? Zack's worried that Cameron will be mad at him for leaving, but Kim says he definitely won't care. So fuck all that dramatic tension we had earlier, everything's fine now.

Cameron's final opponent is Biff, to the surprise of absolutely nobody in the audience. Biff shows off a few more of his mediocre punches and kicks on a sandbag in the Youth Center, while Cameron and Zack have to pretend they're intimidated by his shitty karate skills.

The match begins and Biff scores a point on Cameron by giving him a G rated choke slam onto the mat. It's a pretty bland match, probably because we're watching children doing it. It's tough to watch episodes featuring actual displays of karate, and then try to be excited watching the Nick Jr. karate tournament.

Cameron gets knocked onto the ground a few more times before he sweeps Biff's leg. That's something the fucking villains do Cameron! What are you thinking? Biff becomes disoriented and allows himself to get knocked down a few more times before the match ends and Cameron is announced the winner. Cameron offers Biff a handshake, which he politely accepts. The moral of the story is that you can make friends out of enemies if you beat them bad enough in a karate match.

Before we conclude, Biff informs his coach Bulk to make like a tree and get out of here.

Every episode of Power Rangers should end with a sweet dick kick.


Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Cardiatrons

Personal Thoughts:


Man I love this episode. The karate tournament segments are whatever. It's cool to see Zack as the focal point of an episode, but it's such a nothing storyline that you come to ignore it when it's time for the fighting to start. Hatchasaurus is a really fun monster, and the idea of him coming back stronger each time he gets beaten puts a nice twist on the usual monster formula.

The only problem with this episode is the Rangers are instructed what to do by Zordon, and immediately disregard that solution for half of the episode. It might have played better if Zordon figured out the Cardiatron situation after they'd already beaten him once or twice.

While typically I goof on Power Rangers for not following Sentai when it needs to, Power Rangers made a decision that improved the source material this time. After Hatchasaurus is killed by the Power Sword, he immediately reforms stronger than ever. In Zyuranger the characters discussed the situation while waiting for him to reform again, which only took about 20 seconds but still felt superfluous. 

 I much prefer the Power Rangers method because we already know exactly what's going to happen, and it heightens the tension knowing Hatchasaurus is just going to keep coming back instantly. We don't need to reiterate the fact he can't die since we saw it happen not three minutes ago.

Mark Hatchasaurus in your rolodex of monster costumes that Power Rangers definitely had handy for filming. They didn't use it for any scenes this week which could mean they didn't have it at the time and received it later, or they just didn't feel like filming new material. You saw how much of this write-up revolved around the Hatchasaurus fight, clearly they had enough footage of the monster to use. Put him on the backburner though, we're not done with him yet.

Basically if you have any lingering interest in this show, check out Birds of a Feather. It's a fun episode with a bunch of action and some subplot you can forget about. What more could you ask for?



2 comments:

  1. I, too, wondered how Bulk managed to become someone's karate trainer/manager/sponsor/whatever.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The noise Jason makes after killing Cardiotron is the best part of the episode

    ReplyDelete