Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episode 56: On Fins and Needles


Boomerang Inflicts Psychological Trauma
Bickering Teenage Couple Settle Differences By Catching Shark













Hey were you guys interested in an episode exploring members of the Power Rangers not acting like Mormons? Then boy howdy you tuned in on the right week!

Before we get to that though, we have to watch Tommy and Jason teaching some kids martial arts in the Youth Center. Why's that? Because kids are stupid and need to learn how to defend themselves from incompetent bullies who engage in comic mischief. The boys conclude their class by informing their students that karate should only be used in self defense as a last resort, or if it would look totally awesome to bust it out on some fool talking trash.

Thankfully the episode doesn't take too much time out of its schedule to take us by the wrist and inform us that martial arts will keep you goddamn kids off the streets pumping horse into your veins. Zack gets one line off about karate being good for kids, but the drops it to discuss how Jason and Tommy sure do work great together. Billy then asks Zack why he's silently weeping, but Zack offers no explanation.

Rita becomes disgusted at Jason and Tommy and figures the best course of action is to turn them into enemies instead of friends. Why she wouldn't do this to the entire team I'm not sure, but she is targeting the two most powerful members so I'll cut Rita some slack.

Goldar says the best way to carry out this mission is to summon the Slippery Shark monster. Slippery Shark will be able to cast a rivalry spell on Tommy and Jason and turn them into total dickbags. Goldar says this plan will be sure to work and Rita responds in kind with "It might! Yes!" Yeesh. Looks like even Rita knows how shitty her Win-Loss record is.

As Jason and Tommy wander through the park and discuss the virtues of karate, Rita sends a batch of Putties to their location. Just before the fight begins, the boys pump themselves up to take on these mighty adversaries. The only way they know how!

GO TEAM VENTURE!

During the fight, the Putties summon a blue shark fin boomerang that they throw at Tommy. When he catches it, his body starts surging with blue electricity and he flops to the ground. A Putty then finds the discarded boomerang and hurls it at Jason, prompting the same results. Maybe instead of spending so much time on karate, you boys could try taking some classes in pattern recognition.

After the Putties are cleared out, Jason and Tommy start giving each other death glares. The boys start copping mad amounts of attitude and talking enough shit to bury Biff Tannen. As soon as the boys start smack talking, you get to lose yourself in a couple of teenagers acting like teens really do. It's glorious. Jason even tells Tommy that the Power Rangers were doing just fine before he showed up so maybe he should get lost. Tommy says to Jason he's sick of taking orders from him and being treated like he's helpless. I'm not going to say this is master level acting or anything, but it's seriously fun to watch and feels almost natural. Wonder why that is?

The following is all hearsay, but I've heard bits and pieces of information regarding Jason David Frank (Tommy) and Austin St. John (Jason) not getting along very well behind the scenes. I'm not some gossip rag so I can't confirm a lick of that, but it would help to explain why seeing these two at each other's throats comes across a little more natural than them high fiving and broing each other all the time. Maybe it's true, maybe it's not; but if it is true it certainly helps explain why this episode brought both these guys onto their A-game.

We're so close to a Tommy nipple slip.

When Tommy and Jason run into each other at school the next day, they continue trashing each other in front of Trini and Kimberly. The girls are left stumped why these two charming lovers would be at each other's throats. Kimberly brings up karate to distract these simpletons, much like waving a bone in front of a dog. Tommy says he's quitting the karate class because he's tired of watching Jason show off. Also because he's not getting paid.

Bulk and Skull show up to see Jason and Tommy bickering at each other. The bullies smell blood in the water and start telling Tommy and Jason that talking their problems out is for pussies and they need to settle this like men. I'll be sure to bookmark this episode for use in my upcoming documentary "The Misandrist Agenda of Power Rangers."

Jason and Tommy get ready to pound the piss out of each other in the hallway when Miss Applebee shows up and asks them whats gotten up their asses. Bulk and Skull amusingly try to play the role of peacekeeper and tell Applebee that they were trying to break the fight up before things got a little too wet and wild. Applebee tells them to save that shit for drama club because she ain't buyin it.

Kimberly diffuses the situation by telling Applebee that Tommy and Jason were just practicing their karate class moves. Applebee buys this because Kimberly could never tell a lie in her pretty pink life and Bulk and Skull are shit mongers born to breed fabrications. Kim and Trini then ask each other what could possibly be causing Tommy and Jason to act like this. Outside of the pressures of being a space alien murdering vigilante of course.

Rita sees that her plan is actually doing pretty well and it's about high time to finish the Ranger Teens off. Finster decides his Slippery Shark monster should be ready by now and starts turning on the Monstermatic. I'm not entirely sure why Sharkie's boomerang was available for the Putties to use before the monster himself had been created, but I'm having fun. It doesn't really matter. In the mean time, here's the Slick Shark himself.

With that mouth can Slippery Shark be happy?

While the Shark is zipping around the Earth at lightning fast speeds (off screen, natch) Bulk and Skull are selling tickets to a long line of people in the Youth Center promising the fight of the century. Tommy V. Jason, no holds barred, in a cage match, no items, Fox only, Final Destination. I bring this scene up mostly to mention what has to be an ad-lib by Paul Schrier. As he's tearing off the last ticket for a girl in line, he says to her "What's happenin mama? You come here often?" So if you need any proof that he's the best actor on the show, there you go.

Tommy and Jason face off against each other on a blue gym mat inside the Youth Center ready to tear each other apart. Skull rings the fight bell as Jason and Tommy get ready to go wild in front of a crowd of cheering onlookers. The other four Ranger Teens show up to witness the unfolding fight which Billy says could have disastrous results. Yeah they could use their martial arts to hurt each other!

Zack tries to butt in and stop the two from fighting, but Bulk tells him to buy a ticket or get his freeloading ass out of there. Thankfully, Zordon buzzes the Ranger Teens just in time for Zack to tell the two they have something they all need to take care of. Tommy and Jason depart with the other Ranger Teens as the group of fight fans demand to know what's going on. Bulk says the fight has only been delayed before realizing he has a bunch of bloodthirsty fight fans gunning for his head.

Sometimes my pause button works wonders for me.

When the Ranger Teens morph into the Command Center, Jason and Tommy hilariously shove Alpha 5  out of the way to talk to Zordon. Alpha tells the boys there's no need to push him, because he's a beta male and doesn't know how to defend himself. Zordon tells everyone to stop beating the shit out of his robot slave and look at the Viewing Globe to see Rita's new monster.

Zordon shows the Rangers the Slippery Shark monster and its multitude of abilities. Sharkie moves fast, can leap through the air, and can dive underground to rip through anything with his fin. Upon seeing the monster Billy comments he's happy that he was able to get over his fear of fish. What's this? Inter-episode continuity? You're spoiling me today Power Rangers.

Tommy tells Jason this one is too much for him to handle so he had better avoid a fight where he'll break his pretty pink nails. Jason tells Tommy he's too goddamned slow to fight that monster and he doesn't have a chance. Zordon informs the boys they're both a couple of pussies and can't do shit against that Shark, also they're under a spell or whatever.

In order to undo this spell, Tommy and Jason must put aside their differences and work together to defeat the Slippery Shark monster. Before I get a chance to be a dick about things and ask why the other Rangers can't help fight the monster, Trini asks my question for me. Zordon says the spell isn't going to wear off unless Tommy and Jason do this themselves. So Tommy and Jason both morph, while Billy gets a chub on that if this goes tits up he gets to be second in command.

Jason and Tommy decide to make this fish hunt a little more exciting and come up with a competition. If Tommy can catch Slippery Shark first, then he becomes the leader of the Power Rangers. If Jason catches the Shark first, Tommy must give up his Power Coin. Wait, Tommy isn't the leader of the Power Rangers? I figured he was with all the times he comes in and saves them from certain death. While they bicker, the Slippery Shark zeroes in on them.

Coming this Summer: You will believe a shark can run.

The monster then fights the bickering boys one at a time, starting with Jason. Using his speed to disorient Red, Slippery Shark hides underground until he leaps at Jason and slashes him with his claws. Definitely the most deadly weapon in any shark's arsenal!  Sharkie goes back underground as Jason tries firing on his exposed fin with his Blade Blaster. The weapon bounces harmlessly off the monster's fin as it tears right through Jason.

Shark then zips away and locates Tommy further out in the woods. He assaults the Green Ranger with the boomerang fin weapon the Putties used to hypnotize Tommy and Jason earlier. Tommy puts up a mediocre fight before the Slippery Shark hightails it back underground and escapes.  

Jason and Tommy meet back up in the woods and start bickering again over how bad the other got chomped by that shark. Both Tommy and Jason pitch their idea for the smartest way to capture the monster. Tommy believes they need to lay a low ground attack to catch him when he pops up. Jason thinks they need to wait for him to fly through the sky before capturing him. Power Rangers is the one show that can teach children the various ways to capture a flying shark.

Slippery Shark utilizes his sharksenal once more and claws both Tommy and Jason before diving back underground. Jason and Tommy realize they're about to be chum if they're not chums, so they decide to combine both the plans to stop Sharkie.

Whose plan involved the net?

Slippery Shark begs for mercy now that he's been captured, but Tommy and Jason prepare to tuna can him. Tommy says this is just his penance for trying to "break me and my partner up." A line I'm certain will age with dignity.

While the other Ranger Teens react with joy that Tommy and Jason have broken the spell, the Slippery Shark manages to free himself from the net by cutting it with his boomerang fin. He uses his weapon to slash at Red and Green. The other four Ranger Teens morph to help out Tommy and Jason by backing Sharkie off of them. Black, Blue, Yellow and Pink try to parry Shark with their Blade Blasters but the monster manages to fend all four of them off. Red and Green respond by punching him in the face, causing him to retreat underground.

Slippery Shark rushes through the ground and knocks the six Rangers onto their asses. Zack busts out his Power Axe and uses it in cannon mode to blow Slippery Shark out of the ground. Once Slippery Shark is incapacitated, the Rangers prepare to form the Mega Blaster. Just like against Pumpkin Rapper, the Rangers appear to have forgotten what the Power Blaster is called.

Before the Rangers can land the deathblow on Sharkie, Rita tosses her wand at the Earth to make him grow. When he grows, the Power Blaster beam is really awkwardly superimposed over him and the monster informs the Rangers that it "missed him."

How the fuck did you guys miss a GIANT GODDAMNED SHARK?

The Rangers summon forth Dragonzord and the Megazord to take on Sharkie who is now equipped with his boomerang fin once more. The monster blitzes past both Zords and slashes at them fiercely. His movements are so spastic that neither Megazord nor Dragonzord can land a single hit on the monster.

Jason calls for the Power Sword and we actually get a really fun sword duel between Slippery Shark and Megazord. Eventually Billy informs Jason they should try and live up to that teamwork moral this episode has been espousing and have Dragonzord help out. The Megazord clashes the Power Sword against Shark's fin and holds it down. While Sharkie is occupied, Dragonzord tail whips the monster and knocks him backwards.

Slippery Shark uses his boomerang to slash at Megazord again before the Rangers use the Power Sword to cleave his boomerang in half. Slippery Shark gets off a funny line as he informs them "You're gonna pay for that!" and as we see the Megazord charging up the Power Sword he responds with "Or...maybe not." Megazord's Power Sword slices through Slippery Shark and finishes off the jittery fish once and for all.

Back at the Youth Center, Tommy and Jason continue their karate lessons from earlier in the episode as Billy gives a good old fashioned "Sure is great things are back to normal!" Unfortunately things aren't so normal for Bulk and Skull, who have been beaten to shit and look disheveled. For some reason both of their clothes have been ripped up really badly too, which translates less that they were chased by fight seekers and more that someone really wanted to bang Bulk. Outside of myself of course.

Bulk and Skull then comically harm themselves in front of a bunch of children to teach them that there's always a better solution to problems than fighting. Unless your opponent is intelligent in which case you have to murder them. Stay woke fam.


Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Land Sharks


Personal Thoughts



Man oh man oh man I really like this episode. I mentioned a few weeks back in the write-up of Two Heads Are Better Than One that there was an episode that did its premise leagues better. That would be this weeks. Both episodes begin with Tommy and Jason teaching a karate class and teach a moral about teamwork, but only this episode has any real conflict. Two Heads Are Better Than One just had Tommy throwing fruit at a parrot. Seeing Tommy and Jason acting as foils to one another made things a lot more fun and let us see the characters differently for once. Also a shark man got punched in his face.

Another episode you could compare to this one would be Gung Ho. The whole idea of Jason and Tommy not getting along runs through that episode as well, but mostly focuses on their teamwork being out of sync. This episode has the guts to take that premise to a more dramatic conclusion and have the two butting heads. I like that a whole bunch man!

Now's about when I usually talk about the monster of the week, so let's talk about Sharkie. No not that ancillary character nobody remembers that was played by this beautiful woman. The Slippery Shark! He's a lot of fun! His running around looks super goofy and he's got a really nice gurgley voice. I enjoy seeing a monster that emphasizes speed every once in a while since most of them move slow as dick. Likely because the costumes will tear to shreds if the people inside them move at a reasonable pace.

Slippery Shark's boomerang weapon also looks like a repainted version of Scorpina's boomerang stinger weapon. Can't say for sure if that's 100% accurate, but take a look and decide for yourselves.



When the Rangers watch Slippery Shark fighting Tommy and Jason on the Viewing Globe, there's an editing fuck-up I find amusing. Inside the Viewing Globe, Shark turns and looks off screen to react to something, and then the Rangers morph to fight him. It's very obvious Sharkie is looking to notice the other Power Rangers showing up in the footage, but whoever was editing this one forgot to cut the last few seconds of him reacting.


I fondly remember this episode as one I watched when I was a kid because it was airing a day I was in the hospital. Being in the hospital while you're in the first grade really sucks dick, and it's kinda scary when you're not sure how long you're going to be there. Well seeing Power Rangers helped soften the blow a little bit. Granted if For Whom the Bell Trolls came on I would have unplugged my I.V. and let the loving embrace of death take me away.



2 comments:

  1. I just rewatched this episode the other day and man did I want Zach and the rest to butt out and let Jason and Tommy let loose. Maybe Ernie was the one who beat the crap out of Bulk and Skull because he didn't get his promised cut of the admission, pamanga's don't grow on trees y'know (well, they do, but you get the idea).

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