Tuesday, September 15, 2015

MMPR Season 2 Episode 3: The Mutiny Part 3


Misplaced Batteries Result in Near Death Experience
Imprisoned Galactic Empress Finds Comfort in Alcoholism











Last week, the Power Rangers were put on the defensive by the new villain Lord Zedd. His monster Pirantishead managed to take control of the Tyrannosaurus Dinozord and Dragonzord and used them to demolish the city. Zordon told the teens their only chance in defeating Zedd was to upgrade their Dinozords into the mighty Thunderzords; however they would need to regain control of the Dinozords from Pirantishead in order to power the Thunderzords. While Billy and Trini worked on a device to take back the Dinozords, the rest of the Rangers were being savagely beaten by their own Zords wondering if the end had finally come.

Well forget all that tension with the Zords attacking because this episode opens with the Black, Green, Red and Pink Rangers wandering around in a field asking themselves why the Zords aren't attacking them anymore. So our heroes nearly dying last week? That stopped happening off camera. 

This trilogy of episodes has a lot going for it, but both this episode and last weeks have some of the most abrupt resolutions to cliffhangers this show has ever seen. I tuned into prime time for this shit, and this is how you repay me? Well jokes on you suckers, I already wasted my parent's money on your toys.

While the Rangers spit meaningless insults at a monster who could murder them with their own weapons in a heartbeat, Pirantishead gets tired of wasting time and reactivates the Dinozords and sics them on the rally participants you forgot about again. These eagle eyed racers evidently haven't noticed the big dick-off dinosaurs that are within walking distance of them. Just more evidence that the people of Angel Grove have the deductive skills of Inspector Clouseau.

Zordon asks Billy if he's been able to fix up that crummy looking box he calls a Signal Blocker yet, but Billy's been too busy begging Trini to give him the most pitiful pity fuck in U.S. history. Zordon then politely asks Billy if he at some point could consider finishing up this invention in the near future to maybe possibly prevent his teammates imminent and violent mutilation by out of control dinosaur death machines. Then Billy pouts and crosses his fingers that Alpha will be DTF tonight.

What follows is a scene of Zedd talking about how great he is and the Power Rangers don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of beating him. I mention this only because Zedd isn't spitting all this game with no idea what Billy and Trini are plotting. He specifically uses his crazy red eye vision to look inside Billy's garage to watch he and Trini tinkering away. Lord Zedd isn't sending Putties to mess with them, he isn't telling Pirantishead to attack Billy and Trini, all he's doing is letting them try to set up a counterattack while watching and gloating.

You remember how Rita was oblivious to everything going on around her? Well Zedd is actively observing people trying to stop him, but he finds them so beneath him he doesn't even bother. He even watches them try to stop him while he relishes in the futility of it all. What a glorious son of a bitch.

Lord Zedd always cheated when we played Outburst.

The Rangers go back to insulting Pirantishead despite the previous scene establishing that they planned on trying to stop the Zords at the rally. So what are they doing now? Who knows. They're just trash talking the monster because the episode feels the need to pad for more time. The only saving grace in this scene is when Jason finally brings up the elephant in the room: They can't beat the Dinozords, but they can still fillet his fishy ass and serve it with soy sauce.

I cannot tell you how annoying it's been watching three weeks of this miniseries without a single character even suggesting they try to fight the monster. Even if they don't end up fighting him, because that would cost more to film than people standing around threatening each other, I appreciate the show mentioning that beating Pirantishead should be like shooting a fish in a barrel.

Pirantishead deflects this reasonable tactic by telling his opponents they can't beat him because their Zords are protecting him. Which makes sense until the very next scene is the Tyrannosaurus and Dragonzord firing attacks at the four wheelers in the rally. They're either protecting Pirantishead or engaging in nihilistic violence. You can't have your cake and eat it too Power Rangers.

Oh I'm sorry did I say the Dinozords attacked the four wheelers? What I meant was that the Dragonzord fires missiles that make a stock footage explosion occur, and the Tyrannosaurus uses its ground breath attack to spew a bunch of dust all over the rally. All while the drivers say to each other "What's going on?!" Well this time of year I'd say it's either iron plated Paleozoic devils blasting laser beams from 300 feet in the sky or it's aurora borealis.

Thankfully while innocent civilians are getting dust kicked in their face by dinosaurs, Billy's found the time to get his overalls in gear and finish that piece of shit Signal Blocker. Billy says he had to rush completing it, but it should still be in working order. Yeah Billy I'm sure Einstein said the same thing about the A-Bomb.

Billy and Trini morph and immediately teleport to the scene with the Signal Blocker in tow. Billy tries to use his device to stop the Zords when…nothing happens. The Dinozords continue lumbering forward ready to attack. The T-Rex Dinozord stomps down and the Rangers narrowly avoid it, all while Billy frantically hammers the Signal Blocker's button wondering why this piece of junk he scraped together in 20 minutes isn't working right. Truly a question for the ages. Ah well. See you in Hell.

Jason tells his comrades the only way to salvage Billy's masterful botchjob is to buy some time and assemble the Power Blaster. It's at this exact moment that the show goes completely off the rails with what it's trying to make us believe.

Jason arms the Power Blaster and says it's going to be a diversionary tactic. We cut to Alpha and Zordon where Alpha specifically says that "if the Rangers destroy the old Zords they can't take control of the new Zords." Wait just a second here. The show is trying to convince me the Power Rangers are going to destroy the Zords? With the fucking Power Blaster? That thing could only turn Gnarly Gnome into a pile of fucking rocks. If the show wants me to believe they're going to try and destroy the Zords with the Power Blaster, why did they have Jason explicitly say he was only using it as a way to stall for time? Not that I would ever believe something that goddamned ridiculous in the first place, but at least try to synchronize the message you're sending to me.

Just as Alpha feared, the Rangers turn their weapons on the Tyrannosaurus and Dragonzord and aim the Power Blaster at them. Suddenly Jason commands his team to engage in their fake out routine. Which almost makes all that earlier bullshit worth it.

Why didn't we do this two weeks ago?

Man I adore that moment. Pirantishead just getting completely blindsided by a Power Blaster shot while he's busy playing his flute. It's great. Unfortunately because of all the filler, we had to get that scene of Jason telling Pirantishead they can beat him if they can't beat the Zords. While I initially enjoyed that, it takes away from the fun of the moment they actually surprise him here. It seems like the footage wanted us to think they were going to blast the Zords but nobody writing this episode cared enough to adjust the dialogue. C+ effort everyone.

Regardless, Jason commands Billy to fix the Signal Blocker now that Pirantishead is out of commission. Yes Billy please "fix" the Signal Blocker. Whatever is wrong with it surely can be solved in a matter of seconds before the Dinozords trash us. Billy takes one last emergency look at his gadget in the hopes that he can solve the problem when he finds out exactly what was wrong.

The batteries were in upside down.

Billy was in such a rush to finish the Signal Blocker that he put the batteries in the wrong way.

Okay Power Rangers you got me. That's kinda funny.

Billy matches up the plus and minus signs and stops the rampaging Dinozords from crushing he and his friends at the very last second. Naturally. So what happened to the Dinozords that Pirantishead froze? Doesn't matter. We don't have footage for that.

While the Ranger team cheers their narrow escape from death, someone on the moon isn't particularly happy about this. Lord Zedd is more pissed off than we've ever seen him before and is glowing as red as my face when I tell someone in real life about this blog. Without his monster controlling the Zords anymore, Lord Zedd fires energy from his staff to send the Dinozords back into the Earth and strip them of all of their power. His spell will also send toys based on them to the clearance shelves where the poor kids will finally be able to afford them.

A massive hole opens up in the bottom of the earth and the Rangers narrowly roll out of the way. Our heroes then watch helplessly as all five Dinozords are swallowed up into a fiery crevice deep within the earth. Each Ranger calls out desperately but it's too late, all five Dinozords are swallowed up and an enormous explosion triggers. Letting us all know that our old friends are gone forever.

Maybe Lord Zedd should have done that in the first place.

Zordon tells Alpha to get his ass in gear and start working to preserve as much of the energy from the Dinozords as possible if they want to get the Thunderzords in working condition. That's awfully optimistic of you Zordon, but you may have a hard time getting energy from Zords that Zedd just sent to the burning depths of Hell.

Though the other five Dinozords have been demolished, the Dragonzord has yet to be conquered by Zedd. Tommy takes the initiative to command his Zord to go back into hiding in the water before he gets charbroiled like the others. While things look less dire than before, Lord Zedd decides he has one more way to up the stakes as he throws a silver orb down to Earth. Pirantishead catches it and shows the Power Rangers how devoted he is to Zedd.

Allahu Ackbar

Just funnin' ya, that's one of Lord Zedd's growth bombs. As you might expect, it causes Pirantishead to grow sky high and threaten to eat his prey. Since they no longer have the Zords, our brave heroes wisely retreat to run and hide inside the Command Center. Hopefully Pirantishead finds more innocent civilians to kill instead of trying to follow us!

Jason says how terrible he feels for letting the Zords be demolished by Zedd, and now everything they've worked for is meaningless. Zordon tells them to shut the fuck up, what show do they think they're on? Everything always works out great for the Power Rangers and then the fat guy and the scrawny guy get covered in cake. Alpha found a way to recalibrate the burning chunks of Zord from the bottom of the Earth into the new and improved Thunderzords.

The only downside is that Tommy's powers are still far too weak to power a new Zord and he will be unable to join them in the Zord battle. Tommy's still able to morph but when the toys come out, he needs to sit his ass down and let the new toys take the spotlight. Sorry chump, nobody wants a Dragonzord anymore.

With the Thunderzords activated, the five core Rangers teleport into the mountains where they each summon their new Thunderzord. First by calling on the name of their Dinozord, then the name of the Thunderzord. I.E. "Mastodon Lion Thunderzord Power!" Which I only mention because hearing Trini's actress try desperately to say the sentence "Sabertooth Tiger Griffin Thunderzord Power" in a two second timeframe is one of the highpoints of my trash life.

All five Rangers call for the Thunderzords and we get an interesting scene of their individual Dinozords turning into their respective Thunderzord. Hope you didn't miss it this time though, we're only going to see it another nine hundred thousand times.

Filming actual toys leads to mixed results.

The Thunderzords then strut their stuff during a nice juicy transformation sequence. The Red Dragon Thunderzord flies through thundering clouds and roars while fire burns all around him. The other four Thunderzords roll through a mountainous valley while roaring and showing surprising articulation for what are ostensibly giant prop toys.

Then the Red Dragon Thunderzord converts to its previously unmentioned Warrior Mode. Before we can get a good look at it (and I can get a good screengrab of it), the Red Dragon Warrior Mode lets the other four Thunderzords equip to his body and create the Thunder Megazord. Or Mega Thunderzord as Zordon calls it. Stay on brand old man, you can't sell toys if you don't know what they're called.

Congrats Kimberly, you've graduated from chestpiece to skirt.

Here it is. Thunder Megazord VS. Pirantishead. Lord Zedd's newest evil beast fighting against Zordon's brand new fleet of Zords. The battle that you've all been waiting to encounter for the past three weeks.

Or at least it would be if it weren't a hacked together awful mess.

As I've already mentioned, Pirantishead comes from Zyu2 footage. Zyu2 monsters who would grow and battle the Dino Megazord. The Thunder Megazord comes from Dairanger footage. The bottom line is that neither the Thunder Megazord nor Pirantishead can be on screen with one another at the same time. Now take some time to imagine how impressive a fight would look if the most you could see is one person throw a punch then immediately cut to their opponent reeling from that punch. It's impossible for there to be any contact between the monster and the Zords in these fights. Leading to really messy and uninteresting battles.

Sound shitty? Welcome to Season 2!

The newly formed Thunder Megazord poses a little bit before unsheathing its Thunder Saber; then powering it up with surges of electricity while Pirantishead charges at the Megazord. Nothing happens because these Zord fights are held together by staples and a prayer, then Pirantishead suddenly backs away and starts playing on his fish nunchucks. It does nothing because they don't have the footage to portray it doing something, so it just makes Pirantishead look like a drunken buffoon poorly trying to play an instrument he's no good at.

Pirantishead slowly realizes just how fucking boring this whole fight is and tries desperately to spice it up by hurling one section of his nunchucks at the Thunder Megazord. It appears to tie up the Thunder Megazord. At least you'd think that if you weren't looking close enough to see the Dino Megazord is clearly standing in the explosion.

At least one kid saw this in 1994 and called foul. If you are that kid you have my eternal respect.

After Pirantishead sorely throttles the Megazord, Jason demands that the other Rangers reroute the servos. Thankfully the crows and gypsies are still online or else they'd be finished.

Back in the Command Center, Tommy mopes about how cool his friends new toys are and how nobody gives a shit about him anymore. Alpha tries to make him feel better while patting him on the back and promising they'll try to find a way to get his powers recharged. Then Tommy holds Alpha in a tender lover's embrace and the two kiss. Zordon is unable to divert his gaze and watches as the two make passionate love on the Command Center floor.

While the Thunder Megazord is caught up in Pirantishead's flute, Jason powers up the Thunder Saber and electrocutes a monster that is definitely Pirantishead.

If they could find a monster that looks less like Pirantishead, I'd be impressed.

Pirantishead staggers from the attack as he tosses away his cut in half fish nunchucks. He threatens to wallop the Thunder Megazord with his bare fins. Sure you will ya lush, why not pick up that flute and play some more bullshit tunes and wait for the sweet embrace of death.

Speaking of death's bountiful warmth, the Thunder Megazord charges up its Thunder Saber with energy and kicks off the season right by slaughtering Zedd's monster like so.

Boy howdy I bet I'll never get tired of this finishing move!

With his monster defeated and his plans completely shithoused, Lord Zedd is furious. Not in the way that Rita got mad by bitching and moaning about a headache, but by glowing red and screaming at his underlings about how angry this makes him. Goldar bows and says he's sorry Zedd's plan failed, but Zedd has none of it and screams "I DIDN'T FAIL! YOU FAILED! JUST LIKE YOU FAILED BEFORE!" Obviously the great Zedd is projecting here, but that doesn't take away from it being a gloriously unjustified freak-out.

However the best moment of this scene comes when we cut to Finster inside of his lab looking through a small book. He's completely alone and away from Zedd's rage while he silently quips to himself  "Well if he'd used one of MY monsters none of this would have ever happened." What a totally perfect fucking ice burn. God I love Finster. That line is just purified perfection. If you plan on watching this episode, please listen to that line one extra time just for me.

Back at the Command Center, Zordon congratulates the Rangers on an uninteresting hackjob Zord fight that still managed to convince kids to go buy some toys. Zordon promises that in time the Thunderzords will reveal even greater powers than ever before. Such as being on screen with the enemy at the same time, and having punches that physically connect with the opponent.

Kimberly asks if Tommy's Dragonzord will be able to fight alongside them anymore or if it's just as much of a limp dick loser as its owner. Zordon laughs and says the Dragonzord might have once been a grade-A pussy vanquisher, but now it's going to have to use its power sparingly before it shits out during a fight and dies like his name was Apollo Creed.

Tommy frowns about how everyone around him thinks he's useless but says its been fun while it lasted. Jason calms his friends nerves by telling Tommy he'll always be part of the Power Rangers. A sentence that would haunt Jason David Frank's nightmares for years to come. Billy says they might be able to reenergize Tommy's powers and looks at Trini while saying, "anything's possible right?" Trini responds by turning away from Billy while we watch his soul die from the outside. That sound like something I'm making up? Go and watch this one for yourself, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Tommy tries to distract himself from his waning powers by inquiring whatever happened to that musty old space hag Rita? Alpha 5 brings up her image on the Viewing Globe and sees her sitting all by her lonesome inside Zedd's space dumpster while singing "99 Bottles of Slime." Whatever you want to call it Rita, I'm sure you needed a lot of "slime" to take the edge off every week the Power Rangers beat the piss out of one of your dumbass monsters.

This moment is goofy enough, but we then cut to Zordon singing the song himself. Yeah that's right. Zordon. Singing. It's so fucking silly. I can't help but love it though. This stoic giant head in a jar singing an old bar song and giggling about it. What more do you need in life?

Alpha 5 suddenly realizes Pirantishead's magic spell hasn't completely worn off and is still in effect on Bulk and Skull's four wheelers. The Ranger Teens laugh at their supposed friends because they're sociopaths, as Trini suggests Billy help them out. She'd go do it herself but she's already used her allotted screen time this week saying three words. Billy and the rest of the Ranger Teens teleport to the valley where Bulk and Skull's bikes are going out of control, and Billy tunes his Signal Blocker. Oh I almost forgot to mention what the Signal Blocker looks like!

It looks like four dollars at a yard sale.

Now that Billy has perfected the art of putting in batteries the right way, he uses the Signal Blocker to stop Bulk and Skull's ATV's. Kimberly and Tommy do the polite thing and ask the boys why they were acting like such idiots and riding their bikes in reverse, and mercilessly laugh at the bullies while they tell their terrifying story of being hunted by a group of evil pasty faced golems and a fish musician.

Bulk proudly tells the closest thing he has to real friends that he plans on finding out who the Power Rangers really are, which Kimberly responds to with a touch of indifference and a tiny helping of caution. Bulk and Skull may be stupid, but the Ranger Teens teleport out of hallways all the time. Wouldn't be hard to slip up here or there.

The rest of the Ranger Teens bring up their four wheelers and say they've got a marathon to finish. Bulk and Skull hop on a spare ATV before all of our main characters and Trini ride through to the finish line. This episode gets a gold star for not inexplicably having the named characters come in first, but happily cross the finish line a little bit after everyone else. I also have to give credit to all the audience members for sticking this race out though. They managed to think so little of those enormous dinosaurs blasting racers that they stuck out the rest of the race. Kudos Angel Grove, you are breeding some brass balled champions.



Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Singing 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall



Personal Thoughts

This episode is a real whirlwind. We get the destruction of the Dinozords, the first official appearance of the Thunderzords and Thunder Megazord, and the first defeat of Lord Zedd's forces. For all the whining I did earlier I enjoy the majority of what this episode presents. It's a mostly satisfying conclusion to "The Mutiny" miniseries only weighed down by some filler early on and a spliced to shit Thunder Megazord battle against Pirantishead.

Before I get too far into the Megazord battle, I wanted to mention that Season 2 has now updated its credits sequence to include scenes of Lord Zedd, the Thunderzords, and the Z-Putties harassing Bulk and Skull. What I find most intriguing about the new credits is a quick shot of the teens morphing. Well, some of them anyway.

Where are the other two Rangers?

What an oddly random selection of who to spotlight in your opening credits. Ah well, probably doesn't mean anything.

I didn't want to forget showing off the new Thunder Megazord cockpit. It doesn't look amazing by any means, but it's completely American made so you can tell the show was trying their best to at least make something palatable. Let me know what you folks think.

The Rangers give it a thumbs up!

The sequence of the Dinozords getting destroyed doesn't come from Zyu2, but instead is repurposed footage from Green With Evil Part 4. More specifically the scene where the Megazord separates into its Dinozord components and sink into the lava. Interesting to note is that the script of this episode doesn't have a scene of Zedd sending the Zords to the depths, but follows the Zyu2 Zord fight with Megazord and Pirantishead pretty closely. The Dino Megazord would get one last brawl in before upgrading to the Thunder Megazord to finish off Pirantishead when the fight turned against the Power Rangers.

So what all were we missing from the Zyu2 footage? Well just like Two Headed Parrot and Lizzinator before him, Pirantishead ducks prior to growing. Only this time it comes from official unedited footage of Zyu2, and proves my fascinating theory that some 20 year old rubber suits would occasionally squat down.

This is the only thing I discuss with family at Thanksgiving dinner.

What footage did we lose after Pirantishead grows? Pretty simple. An entire fucking Zord fight.

Power Rangers still had 10 Zyu2 monsters left over after Season 1 wrapped up, so they decided not to lose money on that investment and use these monsters to transition into Season 2. Instead of introducing the Thunderzords later in Season 2 after exhausting the Zyu2 footage, Saban Brands wanted to premiere the Thunderzords as early as possible because this show is made to sell toys and don't you ever forget it. This meant splicing together the remaining Zyu2 monster Zord fights with the new Thunderzords and providing some lackluster and altogether unimpressive battles.

Not to mock the people involved in the show, because they made the best out of a bad situation. You're mandated to hack together some battles where two opponents can never be on screen together at the same time AND you have to show off some new toys we're releasing. Also you're going to edit this together using 1994 technology and we're going to air it on prime time so better not fuck up. That's not an enviable position to be in and I actually feel sympathetic for the editors of Power Rangers.

So enough babbling, what happened in the original Zyu2 Pirantishead Zord fight? For those who want to see for themselves I'll link the video right here, but I'll still summarize it for those who don't enjoy watching 20 year old action shows.

Pirantishead tried fighting Megazord by himself, but got his big fishy face punched in. When he realized how bad he was losing, Pirantishead used his fish flute to summon the Dragonzord to double team the Megazord. That explains the nonsensical scene of Pirantishead blowing on his flute against the Thunder Megazord for absolutely no reason.

Pirantishead ties up the Megazord with his flute and causes it to spark burst with energy. Explaining the image posted above where you can still make out the original Megazord. Then Pirantishead and Dragonzord try to go in for the kill together, but are stopped by Titanus blasting the monster with fireballs. Or at least a black screen representing stock footage of Titanus charging, same thing. This attack releases Dragonzord from the monster's control, and Ultrazord is formed to finish Pirantishead off once and for all.

In the script I mentioned above, the Dragonzord controlling was all present and accounted for, but it was the "Thunder Megazord's light" that freed him from Pirantishead. So you decide for yourselves which approach sounds better. The script with the original Megazord being upgraded into the Thunder Megazord, or Zedd eradicating the Dinozords and the Thunderzords fighting Pirantishead on their own.

Before we conclude I need to atone for one of the dumbest theories I've ever concocted. The shot of Pirantishead swinging his flute from side to side in the Zord fight seemed really weird to me as I observed Zyu2 footage long long ago, so I made the really bizarre and arbitrary assumption that this monster was supposed to be portrayed as a drunk in the Zyu2 footage.

I presumed his swaying around while goofily playing his flute and staggering around was supposed to be seen as comical and tipsy. What I didn't realize was this show was trying to make me sincerely believe in a fish monster holding a nunchuck to its mouth while twirling the other half around. In retrospect I think I should have known what the truth was.

In the meantime I've seen maybe one or two people mention "Pirantishead is a drunk???" as an actual idea behind Zyu2. I would like to apologize to anyone who actually heard this half baked theory that came freshly from the mind of some kid with too much time on his hands. Thankfully this wasn't the stupidest theory I came up with regarding Zyu2.

That comes next week.




2 comments:

  1. Major props for the MST3K reference, and for everything you've given us so far, but mostly the MST3K reference

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  2. It's a shame that original Zord fight wasn't used because it was a damn good one. And in the fan edit I really liked how Pirantishead mimicked the Dragon Dagger's tone to control it.

    ReplyDelete