Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episode 50: Return Of An Old Friend Part 2

Teenager Given Magical Powers Through Electrocution
Basement Dwelling Mole Assaults Pretty Girl









Last week on Power Rangers: Rita was mad that her archenemies got to have loving parents, so she sent a mole to kidnap all of them during the annual Parent's Day celebration. Rita then took control of Billy and used him to steal the Dragon Dagger and tell Zordon he's a big pussy. The other Power Rangers were too late to stop Billy from giving the Dragon Dagger to Goldar who offered the Rangers an ultimatum; they give up their Power Coins or their parents get turned into dog food. The Rangers surrendered their coins only for Goldar to tell them to go eat a bowl of fuck because their parents are all gonna die anyway. Jason realizes the team has one more chance. The Green Ranger's Power Coin is still in their possession. Now here's hoping Tommy isn't pissed you guys haven't returned his calls.

Kimberly reminds the audience that the Green Power Coin isn't going to be much good since Rita used a magical candle to drain Tommy of his powers. Zordon tells her to put a sock in it unless she wants her parents turned into clay chicken monsters. Speaking of their parents, Alpha has pulled up an image of all the people Rita's captured on the Viewing Globe.

Terrifying

Zordon teleports the unsuspecting Tommy into the Command Center where the commercial break cuts off the Ranger Teens explaining the situation. All we get is Jason giving Tommy his coin back before saying "Welcome back old friend." Nice Jason, but would you say that this Old Friend is Returning? 

Tommy tells his friends he's willing to help as long as he can bust out some sweet karate kicks on a bunch of nerds, but without his powers he's going to be as useless as Billy. Zordon informs the teens that in order to get Tommy in his green spandex again, he needs to use some of his magical floating head energy to supercharge Tommy's coin.

Before you can call bullshit on why Zordon didn't do this when Tommy lost his powers the first time, Billy says this energy transference could be very dangerous for both Tommy and Zordon. Zordon tells them it's worth the risk, but only because he's a head in a glass jar. He's looking for any opportunity to kill himself that presents itself.

Since Tommy's a goodie two shoes puritan, he has no qualms about putting himself in potential life threatening danger to save his friends toy coins. He also wants to be a Power Ranger because it was the only thing in his stupid shitty life that allowed him to have friends and get some poontang on the side.

During Tommy's re-energizing, Goldar appears near the city with the Dragon Dagger and summons forth the Dragonzord. Maybe it's just me but there's something particularly amusing about Goldar holding a flute up to his big dumb dog jowls. What do you think?

Goldar Dragon Dagger
Thanks to Frank's Halloween Shop for providing Goldar's teeth.

As Zordon zaps Tommy's coin with some cheap looking electric effects, Billy pleads with the giant head not to use too much energy or he'll cease to exist. Alpha echoes Billy's sentiment and begs his lover not to drain himself too much or else who will bark orders at him and treat him like a slave?

As the energy surges through Tommy's coin, the audience is left unsure of how successful Zordon's operation is. Thankfully the editor put in a helpful cut to a gadget inside the Command Center to illustrate what's happening.

The Atari Lynx was a hell of a system.

Tommy becomes resurged with energy and once again becomes the Green Ranger. Thousands of children around the country cheer that the toy their grandmother bought them for Christmas is now relevant again. Now that Tommy's back in action, there's work to be done. Zordon instantly teleports Green Ranger to the same place that Goldar stole the Power Coins, and tells him it's time to kick some ass.

Goldar greets Tommy and starts talking the mother lode of shit about how Green Ranger is eternally powerless and doesn't stand a chance against him. Goldar sets the Dragon Dagger down next to the box of Power Coins and summons a group of Putties to finish off Tommy. For some weird reason Squatt and Baboo also show up with the Putties. Not to fight of course, but to watch the fight with Tommy unfold. Glad we've reduced these two to a glorified cheering section instead of giving them any reason to still be hanging around with Rita.

Tommy starts wailing on the Putties and sets his sights on Goldar. The dog man knocks Tommy to the dirt and starts beckoning Green Ranger to fight back. It's clear that at this point Tommy doesn't have much grasp over his powers. He's unable to put up a decent fight and is just going through the motions against Goldar. So much so that he ends up in this unfortunate position.

GOLD DICK. IS BETTER THAN GREEN DICK.

The Ranger Teens become nervous as they watch their buddy get punked by Goldar. Jason says they need to boost Zordon's output to Tommy to help him out, and hopefully murder Zordon. Alpha presses a few more buttons which charges Tommy with more of Zordon's energy. With this new influx of power, the fight is back on. Tommy starts going toe to toe with Goldar, the interplanetary jobber. Who knows how this fight will turn out?!

As Tommy's powers begin to waver, Goldar tosses him closer to the pedestal with the Power Coins and Dragon Dagger. Either Goldar is incredibly cocky, or the absolute dumbest tactician the world has ever seen. Tommy grabs the Dragon Dagger, but a surge of energy knocks him backwards with his weapon.

It probably sounds really repetitive to hear that Tommy's powers fuck up repeatedly, but the way it plays out works well. Every other Ranger fight is about the enemy's strength and whatever tricks they use. This time around we see this fight is very obviously putting a strain on Tommy with even the most minimal amount of effort on his part. Goldar doesn't have to do anything but slap him around. It's showing that all that talk about Zordon's energy being dangerous for him wasn't just Billy being a nervous Nellie.

Tommy starts playing a tune on the Dragon Dagger to regain control of his Zord, which prompts Squatt and Baboo to teleport back to the Moon Palace because they're insufferable cowards who will flee at the first inkling of danger. Now that I think about it, if this Power Rangers reboot ever gets made I think Paul Giamatti would be the perfect Baboo. Just have him reprise his character from Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes.

With Dragonzord under Tommy's control, Rita decides to pull out all the stops. She sends giant sized Goldar and Scorpina down to combat the mighty Dinozord and hopefully take it out of commission. It's Rita's top two generals against the revitalized Dragonzord, and every kid at home gets pumped beyond belief (fact or fiction). This is the Green Ranger's homecoming fight, and he's ready to kick some dick.

We get a new song from Ron Wasserman aptly entitled "Go Green Ranger" which only cements the fact that shit has gotten realer than ever before. Dragonzord blasts Goldar and Scorpina with missiles, tosses the pair around, and just generally trashes them both. It's exactly what you'd want from a Green Ranger return.

Dragonzord doesn't give a fuck.

The rest of the Rangers beg Alpha to bring Tommy back because his powers are fading, and the last thing an unmorphed Tommy needs to deal with is a giant scorpion lady and dog monster breathing down his neck. Zordon, who was all about this power swap plan, starts sputtering out a plea to bring Tommy back right away. It's supposed to seem like Zordon is worried for Tommy's safety but I'm reading it more as Zordon seeing how bad it sucks balls to drain your own life energy to power some shitheel kid.

Goldar abruptly stops the battle with the Dragonzord because he realizes he's left the Power Coins unguarded. He and his waifu disappear in one of the few intelligent tactical retreats this series has ever portrayed. Good on you Goldar, you're thinking with your noggin now. Without a giant fight to distract him, Tommy gingerly waltzes over to the Power Coins and nabs them. No seriously.

Remember when Goldar ditched the Dragonzord fight to go guard the coins again? About FOUR SECONDS AGO. Well whoever wrote this script didn't recall that and just wanted an excuse for Goldar and Scorpina to vanish for no reason. Why didn't they have Tommy grab the coins during the fight with Dragonzord while the two villains were distracted? Why would you have a character make a salient point and then not follow up on it? You don't have Zordon say "Recruit a team of teenagers with attitudes." and follow it up with him ordering Chinese food.

Whatever. Tommy's back in the Command Center with the Power Coins and a wave of surging energy demorphs him, leaving his unconscious body laying on the floor. Alpha tells the Ranger Teens that Tommy's "readings are very low", which is kids show talk for "say your goodbyes." Don't worry, Tommy's just going to a nice farm out of town where he can do lots of spin kicks.

Great. Now Kim needs a new plus one for Parents Day.

The Ranger Teens mull over what they can do now, as Zordon's energy force-feeding has blanked him out of his tube. While I try to be lenient to the actors in this show, I don't buy any concern they have in this scene. It feels like everyone on set was tired and this was the last scene they had to shoot in the day. Zack mentions how frustrating it is they've lost both their parents and Zordon, and Billy comes back with the most humdrum "Don't say that Zack." If you read that out loud in a hushed tone, it had more enthusiasm than it was delivered with here.

This is the problem that Return of an Old Friend Part 2 has over its predecessor. Last week the actors brought it to the best of their abilities. They actually seemed really upset and afraid that they were going to lose their parents. This week they just seem melancholy and ready to go home. I might be digging too deep, but comparing the performances from last week to now shows a pretty clear divide. It's also entirely possible there isn't much material to work with this week since half the episode has been Tommy having power aneurisms while everyone else watches in the Command Center with clasped hands and pouty lips.

Alpha 5 proposes that they can revive Zordon by combining the energy from their Power Coins. Essentially the inverse of what Zordon did for Tommy. It's a logical extension of what we've been informed the Power Coins can do which is significantly less better than in Green With Evil where we had to wait for Alpha to find the right hoobajoob frequency to bring Zordon back to life.

The Ranger Teens bust out their Power Coins to infuse Zordon with energy which successfully brings him back online. Zordon thanks them for rescuing him from the sweet loving embrace of death that has eluded him once more. Alpha 5 starts to cry because of how emotional all of this is for him. Spare me your crocodile tears Alpha, you wanted him dead more than any of us.

There's no time for emotion though, because Rita's Dramole monster has shown up again! The one who hasn't factored into the plot of this week's episode until now and was likely forgotten by most everyone at home. Zordon warns the Rangers of Dramole's mind control gas before telling them they could all end up under Rita's control like that loser Billy. Billy silently wipes a tear away as the Rangers morph to inspect the monster's location and come face to face with one ugly looking mole.

Dramole Monster
Dramole was hotboxing before they showed up.

The basement dwelling creep starts spraying mist out from underneath his armpits. Judging from his unshaven whiskers and long yellow fingernails, that must be the stench of Axe he's spewing. The fumes start to take control of four of the Rangers while Kim begs them not to breathe it in. Why's she unaffected? Because dating Tommy gave her an immunity to stanky ass pits.

For some reason the skies go dark as Dramole gurgles and growls. All of the Rangers aside from Kim are soon put under his control and start looming towards the Pink Ranger threateningly. My God! The Dramole's turned the Rangers into an army of C.H.U.D's!

Zordon and Alpha watch the fight and get ready to see Kimberly torn limb from limb, but all of a sudden Tommy starts levitating in an aura of green electricity. Zordon notes that the forcefield that was surrounding the Power Coins must have been absorbed into his body, not only leaving him sterile, but restoring his Green Ranger powers! Tommy wakes up and uses his plot convenience magic to know his friends are in danger. Alpha hands him his Power Coin and Tommy morphs into battle once more.

Just as the Dramole prepares to feast upon Kimberly, Tommy shows up and blasts the monster with rays of light that comes from him like he's supposed to be Jesus or something. The light dissolves Dramole's darkness as well as the spell over the other four Rangers. Being as he lives underground, Dramole is clearly unenthused with all this light and starts guarding his eyes from the sunlight. He also asks his mom if she picked up some Baja Blast at the store.

Now that all six Rangers are back together, Rita's not taking any more chances. She makes the Dramole grow to get his revenge on those assholes for turning on the lights.


So is he stomping in front of them or are they dodging him at lightning speed?

The Rangers, Tommy included, summon the Dinozord fleet to take on Dramole. Once the Megazord and Dragonzord arrive, the monster sprays its armpit gas into the air, causing the skies to darken. Going to go on record here and say this is the grossest power a monster has utilized so far. Though thankfully it hasn't inspired a bunch of weirdos to devote a fetish to armpit nozzles. Yet.

The Dramole fires some lasers out of his eyes to blast the Zords and knock them to the ground. Dramole claps his big goofy claw hands together as Kimberly calls for Tommy to help her out. It isn't the first time she does so and I can promise you it won't be the last. Tommy commands the Dragonzord to tumble with Dramole while the Megazord reboots.

After slapping the monster around a little, the Dragonzord is joined by the Megazord once more. At this point, the editors completely lose track of what's happening.

Just for a quick recap, the Ultrazord is formed by a combination of the Megadragonzord and Titanus. There's another formation referred to as the Dragonzord in Battle Mode that is made of only the Dragonzord, Triceratops, Saber Tooth Tiger, and Mastodon Dinozords. This was erroneously referred to as the Megadragonzord a handful of times in the past.  

Well when the Megazord and Dragonzord stand side by side, the Rangers call for Megadragonzord, but the scene cuts to the formation of the Dragonzord in Battle Mode. Then all of a sudden, Titanus bursts through some rocks onto the scene. As soon as this happens, the Rangers call for Ultrazord power. Suddenly the Megadragonzord slides into place with Titanus and forms the Ultrazord. It's pretty simple in terms of what they messed up, but seeing it play out it looks incredibly half-assed and shitty.

So the UltraBattleDraMega Gonzord blasts Dramole and send him straight to Hell. Hope you like burnt hot pockets you goober. Rita curses the Power Rangers for murdering her mole and upsetting one of the few plans she had that didn't totally suck eggs. Goldar shirks all responsibility for his earlier blunder and says that next time they'll beat those dang dirty Rangers. Go sit on it Goldar, this is all your fault for not guarding those coins. You just had to go get a quickie from Scorpina didn't you?

Back at the Command Center, Alpha tells the Ranger Teens that with the Dramole dead, all of their parents have been returned safely to the Youth Center. He also informs them their parents will remember nothing from this experience. Is that just an effect of the spell wearing off or did Zordon do that? Personally I'd be pretty fucking skeeved out if some giant gasbag head told me he wiped my parents memories clean.

Can you imagine if this episode ended with the Ranger Teens going to the Youth Center to greet their parents, but they don't recognize them as their children? Then they do the Invasion of the Body Snatchers point and scream and we fade to black. Holy shit someone make this happen.

Billy says the safe return of their parents is the best news that he's heard all day, while Jason says the second best news is that Tommy got his powers back. Thanks for saving us from that big douchebag mole Tommy, but you're still second compared to the people who we never talk to and only get to see once a year. 

Zordon brings the room down by telling Tommy his powers could fail him at any point, and this energy charge could only be temporary. Tommy says that he's still happy to be back fighting with his friends again, and if anything happens to him they'll be sure to bail him out. The rest of the Ranger Teens politely whistle while darting their eyes away from him and muttering under their breath.

Back at Parents Day, the Ranger Teens meet up with the people who spewed them out of their genitals and thank them for being such great parents. Trini tells her father how proud she is to be his daughter, to which he asks who the hell she's supposed to be. Zack tells his mom she looks really pretty today, to which she compliments young Oedipus.

Then Kimberly meets up with all three of her parents. Since her OG dad couldn't get his shit together and get a wife. She says she was worried they'd be uncomfortable being in the same room together, but her parents assure her that's not true since they love her just a hair more than they hate each other. Tommy shows up and since he doesn't have any parents Kimberly introduces him to all three of hers. 

There's only one problem with today's celebration, Bulk and Skull are bored as hell with it. If only a big ugly rat would dig underground and spray them with mind control gas and liven it up. Since that'll never happen the duo initiate a food fight by throwing a pie at Jason's dad. The look on his face says it all.

Though that might be roid rage.

What follows is the mother of all food fights. Bulk's dad gets sandwiched by a pair of pies, Jason's dad throws a pie at Bulk's mom, and the absolute highlight is when Ms. Applebee stops giving a shit and takes Mr. Caplan's wig off, puts a pie on his head, and then puts his wig back on. It's basically the only thing I've wanted to do to someone wearing a wig ever since I saw this episode more than 20 years ago. And someday I will. Someday...




Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: C.H.U.D's




Personal Thoughts

I don't like this episode quite as much as I did last week's, but it's still damn good. You get Tommy back, you get a smooth fight with Goldar and Scorpina, we get to see what's up with the Dramole after building him up last week, and the final scene with the pie fight is distilled Power Rangers goofery. It almost feels like the show is telling you that the show is going to get into full swing with Tommy back with a big goofy ass pie fight. You can't really go wrong with this one.

It's also nice that the show clearly underlines that Tommy's powers are likely only temporary. It's Power Rangers so they can't end on a dour note, but this is the closest the show can get to a bittersweet ending. Some possibly bad news followed by a bunch of adults throwing pies at each other and giggling like ninnies.

I mentioned quite a while ago that in Zyuranger, the Dragonzord had an introductory fight against Scorpina and Goldar that went unused. Well the show's staff must have realized it fit perfectly in today's episode so that's exactly what we got to see. That explains why Dragonzord got such a shitty introduction in his first episode. The fight where he seemed impressive was cut out and used here instead.

But forget that nonsense because I had to go a whole week without talking about my precious Zyu2! I've been scratching like a heroin addict waiting to talk about more footage of rubber monsters fighting dweebs in spandex. Dramole's not a whole lot to write home about, and the most important thing to mention is that he's the first monster in Zyu2 to feature the Green Ranger. Certainly not the last though.

Speaking of "first", we really have no clue if there was any real order to the Zyu2 monsters. It's entirely possible this wasn't the episode that Green Ranger was meant to return in, but that seems unlikely as his arrival from the sky seems dynamic enough to signify his grand return as a Ranger. Though it's also possible that no Zyu2 block was meant to re-introduce Green and his presence would be left to the U.S. crew to explain. I dunno. Do you know? No you don't, stop lying to me.

There has been a release of some raw Zyu2 footage and each of the monsters was holding up a small piece of paper with a number on it. I theorize this was supposed to be an order for the monsters to go in, but that's just my guess. All of the raw Zyu2 footage that has been released is of monsters I've yet to cover, but if and when the footage of these previous Zyu2 monsters gets released I'll probably go back and cover what we missed.

Last thing I want to cover is the Ultrazord killing Dramole. Take a look at what happens when he gets hit by the Ultrazord finishing move. Keep in mind the attack is supposed to be a barrage of energy blasts.

Dramole

Weird, that sure is a slice effect over him. Almost like Dramole was hit by the Power Sword instead. Probably because he was definitely supposed to be, but the writers spiced this fight up by shoehorning in the Ultrazord. Most likely someone decided that the big episode to reintroduce Tommy would be kind of lame if they finished the monster only using the Megazord's finishing move, and I can agree. Just interesting to see the decisions made with this footage. It's also interesting to see a mole monster do a backflip and explode. If you disagree then you must have found this blog by accident and I'd like to kindly ask you to leave.



4 comments:

  1. The best part of this episode (aside from the GR returning) is the new footage of the dragonzord and the tyrannosaurus entering the fight. The way they showed the dragonzord emerge over the mountain was like an homage to the original Godzilla movie.

    But yea, the editing during the ultrazord transformation is just lazy.

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  2. "Though thankfully it hasn't inspired a bunch of weirdos to devote a fetish to armpit nozzles. Yet."

    Challenge accepted.

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  3. I know it's because the fight is Zyu2 footage, but this episode has always bugged me a bit. Tommy has his powers restored to battle Goldar and a bunch of putties while the rest of the Rangers just sit back with a cold beverage and watch; they fight Goldar and the putties unmorphed all the time. I'd have preferred the other Rangers being captured as the reason Tommy had to battle alone, instead of the Rangers invoking union rules and taking their mandatory rest period.

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  4. So I guess Kim's parents now know she's getting a little something-something.

    Funny how she introduces them to Tommy in this episode. Did she not want them to know of him earlier?

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