Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episode 59: Mighty Morphin' Mutants

High School Students Faced With Soul Crushing Reality
Lobster Mutant Achieves Naval Rank









I've been waiting a long time to get to this episode. Why? No time to explain. Tommy's running late!

The opening scene consists of Tommy rushing to his locker, forgetting to get his notebook out of said locker, and forgetting to close the locker door. No prize to whoever guesses what this plot is going to revolve around.

So Tommy is really forgetful and because this show is for children, the only way we can illustrate that is by turning him into a non-functioning mess of a human being. I get my lips wet ready to spew all sorts of whiny nitpicky bile about how this totally doesn't make sense. Tommy's NEVER been forgetful before. That's when I have to stop and think back to what we've seen of Tommy.

In order to keep Tommy out of fights the Green Ranger wasn't supposed to show up in, Power Rangers has had to pull every trick in the book to keep him away. He's been kidnapped, attacked by Putties, knocked unconscious, but most importantly he's been distracted. Every once in a while Tommy is unable to answer his Communicator because he isn't paying attention to it. It's not too far of a stretch to say the moments where Tommy leaves his Communicator just off camera so he can't show up to the fight at the same time as the other Rangers could be part of his forgetfulness.

Essentially what this boils down to is that Power Rangers is actually playing with a character's personality. Not just the blatantly obvious character traits we get like "Kimberly enjoys shopping", "Billy's a nerd who knows words from a thesaurus", "Trini." This episode's civilian plot is a character coming to terms with something that has been only implied before. Sure Tommy is in your face forgetful this week, but he's still the same putz who nearly let his team die while he was rearranging a parade float for Kimberly.

Alright Mighty Morphin Mutants. You've got me hooked. Show me what you've got.

Ms. Applebee calls Tommy out for arriving late to class, but Tommy apologizes that he forgot to set his alarm.  Bulk and Skull give Tommy the business by asking if he's late for today or early for tomorrow. Shame Tommy forgot the ice at home for a burn that bad.

The face you make when you just got burned by a 30 year old high school bully.

Ms. Applebee assigns the class their latest homework; each student has to ask their friends for something that they feel could use some improvement. Finally we can confirm that Tommy is enrolled in "Sitcom Plots 101." But seriously this is a really awful idea for high school students. You're telling a bunch of the shittiest most hormonal groups on the planet to ask their nearest and dearest friends what they can't fucking stand about each other. Think of the consequences of this ridiculous assignment.

Lily is informed she snacks too much and immediately starts vomiting in the bathroom while sobbing. Derek gets told he's a total wimp, so he starts taking steroids and becomes sterile. Then that one kid in the back gets told to stop talking about Power Rangers so much or else nobody's going to talk to me.

Bulk also takes umbrage with this ludicrous assignment because he has no faults to speak of. He asks if he and Skull are exempt from the because they're beacons of the community. Applebee tells them if they can't find friends to inform them of what's wrong with them, she'd be happy to offer suggestions. Question for you teachers out there; how many years do you have to be teaching in order to insult students to their faces and get away with it?

Rita becomes ecstatic to learn that Tommy has a weakness for her to exploit and commands her minions to bring her the patented Badges of Darkness. These badges have the ability to turn a group of Putties into the lethal Mutant Rangers. Also they let you use Cut outside of battle. So for those of you who were hoping the title of this episode was a reference to the Power Rangers teaming up with the Ninja Turtles, keep dreaming.

As Tommy and Jason hang out in the Youth Center and spar, we're treated to a few more moments of Tommy forgetting various things such as towels and pamphlets about Karate Jesus. Jason asks what's gotten up Tommy's ass, outside of his penis, and  Tommy explains about Applebee's assignment. Tommy pleads with Jason to tell him what needs fixing in his life, and Jason hesitantly informs Tommy that he's forgetful.

As soon as Tommy hears this, we cut to him bummed out at the Juice Bar in disbelief over his forgetful nature. It's really silly, but I also genuinely love it. It's completely realistic for someone to have a hard time accepting something wrong with themselves when an outsider tells them about it. I'd be hard pressed to ever describe Power Rangers as a down to Earth show, but this reaction from Tommy is actually pretty intelligent. 

Tommy asks Kimberly and Trini if he really is as forgetful as Jason says he is, and Kimberly can't help but mention it's true. Though nobody seems to mention that Trini has the same issue, as she seems to be forgetting how to talk. Tommy's response to never noticing how forgetful he's been is "I must have forgotten all those times I was forgetful too." I don't care what anyone says, that line is adorable.

In the meantime, Goldar starts training a batch of six Putties to take on the onus of becoming Mutant Rangers. While five of the Putties appear to be up to the task, one Putty just can't seem to hack it. He's referred to as Number 6, and he's having a bit of trouble keeping up.

And the award for best reaction all season goes to: That Confused Looking Putty

Goldar finishes up the training exercises and informs Number 6 he is unqualified to be anything but a mug on Rita's coffee table, and condemns him to spend the rest of his days in Finster's clay jar. The five remaining Putties are each given a Badge of Darkness before transforming into the aforementioned Mutant Rangers. Goldar comments that no Putty was worth becoming the Red Mutant, and crushes the sixth badge in his claw. Rita trusts you with priceless artifacts she kept hidden away in her palace and within five minutes you resort to breaking one.

Back at the Juice Bar, Bulk notes the appearance of "Tommy-come-lately." Tommy then looks ashamed and asks what Kimberly told them. Bulk and Skull gloat about the fact they don't even have to do this dumbass assignment because bitch they're flawless. Trini and Kimberly suggest that for once in their jackass punk rock abortion of a life they try to act like gentlemen instead of James Dean's groupies. 

Tommy teases the bullies that without anything to change, they're sure to fail the assignment and Principal Caplan will be excited to hear that. Why in the hell is Mr. Caplan involved in a failing student's grades? Has anyone ever been to a school where the principal discussed your grades with you? Do the writers of Power Rangers know what a school is?

Kimberly and Tommy then head home, but are intercepted by two of Rita's new Mutant Rangers. Which ones? Take a guess.

The Badges of Darkness don't work on Putty gloves.

Kim asks Tommy if they should morph, but he shuts her down by saying they shouldn't just yet so they can "see what these guys are all about." Seems like Tommy forgot how fighting works too. But you wanna know something? The fight between Tommy and Mutant Green/Kimberly and Mutant Pink is really goddamn cool. It's the closest thing we get to a Putty fight this week but is such an undeniably cool concept. A mirror match between unmorphed Ranger Teens and a version of their Ranger counterpart? I'm onboard, keep going Mighty Morphin Mutants I'm almost there.

The mirror match ends with the mutants slapping the Ranger Teens around before saying this is just a taste of what's to come. Usually I write that off as an excuse for a villain to leave without killing the protagonist, but these Mutant Rangers come across so cocky I'm charmed into accepting it. What's also fun is that the Ranger Teens actors are voicing the Mutants. We don't get a bunch of garbling Putty noises, we get Tommy trash talking Tommy. Which is exactly how Jason David Frank psyches himself up before an MMA match.

After the Mutants vanish, Kimberly responds that Rita's created her own evil Rangers again. God bless this fucking show for remembering its own continuity. Most of Power Rangers feels so episodic and disconnected that it feels unnecessary to watch it in order. I greatly appreciate when the show rewards you for paying attention and nips your quips in the bud by addressing them. Look at all this praise I'm heaping on the episode and we haven't even seen a monster yet.

The Ranger Teens reconvene in the Command Center to figure out what those nasty ass faker Power Rangers are up to. Zordon lays it all out for them that these are just some Putties all dressed up like it's Halloween, so the Rangers should have no trouble shithousing them. Zordon then becomes deathly serious and informs the Ranger Teens if they're unable to beat those Putties they're not welcome back inside his Command Center.

Unfortunately it isn't JUST Putties anymore. Rita has created a monster to act as the leader of her Mutant Rangers. Enter: Commander Crayfish.

Commander Crayfish
Was it in his contract he had to be red?

Taking a brief break from all the twin shenanigans going on, the episode slows down for a bit of comic goofery involving Tommy's wack ass memory. The other Ranger Teens offer solutions to help him remember things. Well Billy and Kimberly do, the rest don't matter. Kim ties ribbons around Tommy's wrist to help him remember things, like testicular cancer. Billy programs a malfunctioning piece of garbage that doesn't work, because that's all he has ever done in his dumbass nerd life. Maybe the Blue Mutant Ranger isn't a complete shitheel like you Billy.

Tommy heads off to pick up some homework he forgot to do and the rest of the Rangers discuss how petrified they are to fight Rita's evil Rangers. This is something else I really like, the Ranger Teens are truly concerned for their own safety.

The episode hasn't built up to it very much, but the idea of the Ranger Teens being concerned about a potential threat is actually really cool. Usually they're pretty cavalier about whatever monster is on the loose, but being at least cautiously unsure of their new foe is fantastic. They're not acting like cocky superheroes, they're acting like teenagers faced with a crisis. Sort of like how human beings might behave.

Zordon alerts the Rangers that Commander Crayfish has summoned the Mutant Rangers on the beach shore and is ready to blow a bunch of shit up. Since Tommy is forgetting to answer his Communicator, the rest of the Ranger Teens have to morph and head Crayfish off at the pass. As soon as they show up, the Putties morph in response.

Crayfish couldn't fit that head inside a helmet.

The brawl between Mutants and Rangers begin as we get some of the most goddamn satisfying evil clone fighting you could ask for. I referred to A Bad Reflection On You earlier and this episode trumps that one quite handily. A big reason for that is you can actually tell which Ranger is which. The Mutant Rangers are distinguishable by the pentagrams on their belt buckles and their gray gloves. They also wield the unmorphed Power Weapons we saw briefly once before. Just trust me when I say this fighting is some of the most satisfying stuff Power Rangers has offered yet.

Back at Angel Grove High, Tommy finds that he left his Communicator inside his locker and answers Zordon's call. He's informed his friends are getting eaten by a big ass lobster and he had better go clean up the mess. Tommy morphs and gives Crayfish a swift kick to the whiskers. 

C.C. refuses to be beaten and summons the Green Mutant to take on Tommy. The Green Mutant is introduced wielding the Sword of Darkness, and that is such a cool detail I can't stand it. You guys remember that weapon we had Tommy use like three times when he was evil like 40 episodes ago? Now his evil twin's using it too. You kids paying attention must be vibrating off of the fucking chairs right now.

The Rangers and Mutants battle each other to a standstill when Crayfish reveals the Mutants secret weapon. They can combine their Power Weapons into a Power Blaster as well! Not surprisingly, getting hit with a dose of their own medicine completely decimates the Power Rangers who teleport away from the Mutant Rangers onslaught.

When the Rangers arrive at the Command Center, Zordon informs them the only way to triumph over this monster is by giving them new and more powerful weapons. Weapons that will put their old weapons to shame. Prepare yourself everyone, as you feast your eyes upon Zordon's new arsenal for the Power Rangers!

Gee whiz. You shouldn't have.

Yeah, this was Zordon's ace in the hole. Identical weapons that he promises are totally WAY stronger than before. This is the only moment in the episode that I can't stand. What a dumbass copout that means absolutely nothing. Just tell the Rangers you're infusing their weapons with more power, or just tell them to actually use their weapons since they didn't at all in the last fight. Don't cocktease us with this new weapons garbage and then dump a bunch of old stuff on us. It's insultingly dumb.

However I'm willing to ignore it because immediately afterwards we get some of my all-time favorite Power Rangers fighting ever. No hyperbole. The Mutant Rangers and the Power Rangers battle each other with their weapons and it's just so fucking glorious. It's everything you could ever want from a mirror match with Aaron Waters' music playing the whole time to get your pulse pounding. This fight is everything that the 90's burned into my brain. I'm furious I can't just GIF the whole thing and show it to you, so I'll just post one of my favorite portions for you folks to enjoy.

Green Ranger Gif
Bet you won't forget how a kick to the gut feels BITCH!

All six Rangers battle their doppelgangers to a standstill with both groups showing battle damage from the others weapons. Crayfish commands his mutant militia to assemble their Power Blaster, the Rangers follow suit and assemble the OG Power Blaster. Oh wait it's made out of "new weapons" now. It's certainly invincible now.

The Rangers and the Mutants have an old fashioned western showdown while aiming their Blasters at each other. Who could win this devastating battle?!

The Tommy's have been relegated to standing around.

The Power Blaster coincidentally kills the Pink and Yellow Mutants, but not because they're women or anything like that. Crayfish and the remaining Mutants are left writhing on the ground before Rita makes not only Commander Crayfish grow, but the Blue, Green, and Black Mutants. Ho-lee shit YES! Giant Rangers are always the best choice. God bless this episode.

The Rangers board their Zords where Kim refers to Commander Crayfish as a bug. Where do you get your biology knowledge from Kim? Steve Brule?

The Megazord is formed and Tommy calls out the Dragonzord. While the Zord fight isn't quite as impressive as the previous battle was, we do get some really rad fighting between the Megazord and Crayfish, with Dragonzord tackling all three Mutant Rangers. Unfortunately without the ladies helping out the team they get manhandled by the Zord duo pretty badly. Commander Crayfish is sick of he and his team getting beaten down, so he commands the Mutants to get into their unbeatable formation. Prepare yourselves!

My God, he's a tactical genius.

The Rangers make a big deal over how the monster has been lifted above the Megazord's range and is now unstoppable because we need to make this look less ridiculous. Unfortunately for Commander Crayfish, he and his mutant buddies are no match for a big motherfucker of a Brachiosaurus. The Power Rangers form the Ultrazord and blow all four of their foes to shit. I'm holding a candlelight vigil for them tonight for all the joy they've brought us over the years.

Rita sobs that Commander Crayfish's failure is a complete disappointment and from here on out she refuses any more seafood. Yeah Rita the giant lobster monster is the reason you lost. Not the fact you had Goldar training Putties on the beach for three minutes like Rocky and Apollo Creed and assumed that would be enough to win. Keep shifting that blame you old space hag.

Back at Angel Grove High, Tommy bemoans the fact he was unable to fix his forgetfulness and then Billy comes in with a magical super science laser that cures Tommy's memory problem and also gives everyone ice cream! Wait no hold on they're doing something else. Kimberly and Trini tell Tommy that it's okay to have a fault and...that he's not perfect? That it's okay to be flawed because nobody's perfect? Power Rangers why are you doing all this for me? Am I going to die? Are you just trying to make this a beautiful final day for me? Bless you you beautiful show.

The show even sends us off with a wonderfully dumb scene of Bulk and Skull trying to act like gentlemen. They're dressed up in suits and talk in a foppish manner towards Ms. Applebee. They present her with a gift that she demands they open for her, causing them to be sprayed with a bunch of silly string because they couldn't help but be asshole idiots. It's a really nonsensical goofball moment, but I've had so much fun and I got to see Bulk wear a fake soul patch. What else could I possibly need in life?

Well maybe ONE thing.



Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Identical Twin Golems



Personal Thoughts


This episode is just...MWAH. It's exactly what I need. Action, silliness, and some actual heart for good measure. Mighty Morphin Mutants may just be my favorite episode of Season 1. Other than that dumbass Power Weapons replacement scene there isn't anything that sticks out in my mind that I would want changed. Maybe give Trini a few more lines, but now I'm just being unreasonable.

The amount this episode surpasses A Bad Reflection On You by is indescribable. While that episode was by no means bad, this episode completely demolishes it on every level. The fights are better, the action is actually able to be followed, the music is better, the choreography is superior, and even the monster leading the fake Rangers is more interesting. Twin Man was a glitter mouthed chump. Commander Crayfish actually put up a decent fight all while mocking the shit out of the Power Rangers. Now he's burning in hell for being a dirty shellfish. C'est la vie.

As for notes of the Zyu2 portion, I've covered most of what I wanted to say already. Using the Sword of Darkness/Unmorphed Weapons for the Mutant Rangers was a complete masterstroke, and they managed to make a Power Blaster out of those unrelated props actually look pretty sharp too.


In the GIF of the Putties morphing, I get a kick out of the fact they're doing the Zyuranger morphing poses. It's very similar to how the Power Rangers morph, just with an extra bit of flourish in flipping the Morpher around. Also kind of interesting is how the Putties Morphers are supposed to be shaped like pentagrams, but the close up of the Morpher used in the morphing sequence is digitally altered to make it a flat gray like surface instead. Because Japan doesn't know how pissy American's get about religious stuff.

Reading over the script for this episode there's a note to cut a shot of Green Ranger reacting to his Mutant counterpart in the Sentai footage. Obviously because he had already encountered it during the unmorphed fight in the park earlier. This little bit of attention to detail is when Power Rangers works best to me. Using the Sentai footage to suit your storytelling needs and trimming stuff out that doesn't. It's clever utilization of the footage without just leaning on it and letting it do all the work for you. Really this episode is all I could ever ask for in Power Rangers. This gets my highest rating of all time, five bags of popcorn. Give it a look-see!




3 comments:

  1. Really been enjoying this blog. Mighty Morphin' debuted when I was just 6 and oh man was I a fanatic. Still am lol, mostly about season 1. I enjoy most of season 2 minus the some of the mid season episodes, and I'm not the biggest fan of season 3. I really hope you continue with this blog through Zeo (the last season I watched, other than Dino Thunder which I recently started and now Dino Charge is pretty cool- I think power rangers is at its best with Dino themes) because I really like hearing your takes on the episodes, and it's fun to see if you notice some of the same things I do. I understand it's quite time consuming however, and with doing one episode a week I realize that it's going to take you a few years just to get through season 3. Do you think you'll continue that far? I really hope you do, this blog is something I look forward to reading on my lunch break every Tuesday. Also, do you think you would review any other season, such as Dino Thunder? I'd really love to hear your take on that season as well. In any case, I have really enjoyed season 1, and I am looking forward to season two. I hope you keep it going!!

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  2. I like how this episode hints at Jason being the strongest ranger when Goldar says no putty can be him. During the zord fight Commander Crayfish had the "high ground" according to Obi Wan Kenobi.

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  3. Sometimes Power Rangers gets the little touches right. Having the Green Mutant Ranger use the Sword of Darkness instead of the Dragon Dagger is one of those little touches that goes a long way. Kinda sad though that even the Mutant knock-off gets a better Dragon Shield than American-footage Green Ranger.

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