Tuesday, October 6, 2015

MMPR Season 2 Episode 6: Bloom of Doom


Middle Class White Girl Experiences Unsympathetic Problem 
Flower Monster Not Possessed By Devil, Riots Ensue













Today on the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, someone on the show's writing staff remembered that young girls make up a significant enough percentage of their audience that they should write an episode focusing on the two female Rangers. Just to show the kids at home that girls can do anything boys can do. Unless those girls want to learn how to have a personality, in which case they should be watching Blossom.

Today all of the Angel Grove High students that were given names are given the opportunity to start up a club about something that interests them. Zack's started up a Hip Hop Kido Club, Kimberly's started up a Botany Club, and Billy's hosting a club on Convincing Women to Let You Smell Their Hair.

While Zack and Billy have a smattering of participants in their clubs, Kimberly doesn't have a single soul willing to listen to her blather about flowers. The real shocker is that the club that has the most participants belongs to Trini. Probably because they want to know what that one girl who never says anything is into. As it turns out, Trini is all about playing volleyball, and the ladies of Angel Grove need to know the hot tips on serving balls in chumps' faces.

Kimberly starts sinking into a deep depression because nobody wants to sign up for her boring club for losers and everyone's hanging out with Trini instead. While Trini is excited someone on the planet took the time to notice her, Kimberly passive aggressively says "Yeah that's great….for some people." As if the world isn't Kimberly's goddamn oyster. Trini gets one thing going for her and instantly Kimberly throws a world-class hissy fit.

And that's exactly where I take issue with the episode.

You know who has absolutely everything going for her? Kimberly Hart. She's a cheerleader, she's got a hunky boyfriend who loves karate, and she gets two Christmases. Everyone loves her and thinks she's the grumble bees knees. Trini on the other hand? This might actually be the first time in her entire life something has worked out for her. The whole plot of this episode revolves around Kimberly getting jealous that her friend nobody cares about is happy. Forgive me if I have a tough time getting on board.

She just saw Billy's club members trying to sneak a sniff. 

Lord Zedd notices Kimberly in a jealous panic and plans on using her human female emotions to destroy her team from the inside out. Zedd will use his magic to infect one of Kimberly's cactus plants. After she pricks her finger on the cactus, her mind will become consumed with jealousy and she'll turn into such a whiny brat that the Ranger's teamwork will fall into permanent disrepair. Squatt pops up to chime in that Lord Zedd's plan is completely brilliant. Personally if I were Lord Zedd I would take this ringing endorsement from a pot-bellied pedophile as an indication my plan needed a few more minutes to cook.

While Trini's sudden popularity has chapped Kimberly's cheeks, she also has to contend with the fact that Bulk and Skull's Unsolved Mysteries Club is experiencing a huge uptick in participants. Now that's some raw, juicy, unleaded humiliation for you. Being outclassed by Bulk and fucking Skull. Though I wouldn't be too jealous if I were Kimberly, because I think Bulk and Skull might be making up some of their members.

Did Proto's brother Mega sign up too?

Mr. Caplan drops by the Youth Center to complain about how stupid all of his ugly students are, and gripes that all the clubs sign-up sheets are scattered in various locations. He makes sure to mention he hopes everyone can find the right club, and immediately you know exactly what's going to happen because the Ranger Teens live in a perfect world. So if any of you kids go through what Kimberly is in this episode, make sure to let your problem become magically solved through plot convenience. What's that? People didn't join your club and won't show up at the end of the episode to make it all better? Take that shit to Sesame Street, we deal with real problems in Angel Grove.

Then we reach a moment in the episode I can actually enjoy. Kimberly becomes reasonably frustrated at the lack of support her club has, but instead of moping and bitching about how cool and awesome Trini is, she asserts that even by herself she'll be able to build the best damn garden this shithole city has ever seen.

I appreciate this kind of jealousy a lot more than Kim making pissy faces about Trini's newfound fame and fortune. Obviously since this is a karate show for babies we can't have Kimberly expressing her jealousy in a subtle way, but maybe building to that anger would have been preferable to Kimberly giving Trini a cold glare two minutes into the episode.

Unfortunately for poor little Kimberly, Bulk and Skull take notice of her crippling inability to run a club and start taunting her. Bulk astutely asks Kim if she's bummed out because her best friend got all the club member and left her with nothing, and Kim doesn't even have some snarky retort about the two of them being fuckless nobodies. She has no ammo against the two biggest targets on the planet, and it's really impressive to see these morons pull off a successful burn on someone without immediately falling into a tray of used heroin needles.

In Lord Zedd's Chamber of Command, Goldar produces a small vial of dry ice and cough syrup which we are assured is a powerful jealousy potion. Goldar dumps the potion onto a cactus being held by a Z-Putty who is then commanded to take the tainted plant down to Earth and swap it with one of Kim's cacti. Now wait a second, I hear you eagle-eyed readers saying, "How in the hell can a Putty manage to sneak into the Youth Center undetected?" Simple, Putties just so happen to be masters of disguise.

R.I.P. Mitch Hedberg

Kimberly sulks at the Juice Bar while talking to Ernie, and drops the bomb that the most popular club is Trini's volleyball extravaganza. Ernie looks puzzled and asks when Tommy took up volleyball, and Kimberly corrects him that she said Trini. Then Ernie looks stone-faced at Kimberly and tells her he's never met anyone by that name in his life.

The completely inconspicuous Putty Patroller swaps plants from Kim's table and makes a hasty escape before returns. Mere seconds after the evil cactus has been placed onto her table, Kimberly runs her fingers through it, having forgotten that cacti tend to be sharp, and instantly pricks her finger. As soon as Kimberly starts sucking on her prickly finger, a tiny cloud of green energy starts swirling around her finger. The energy causes Kimberly's eyes to literally turn green with envy. If you folks at home heard something, that would be me throwing my laptop across the room.

Having been overcome with magical jealousy, Kimberly begins to exaggeratedly scoff and huff before bitching her way over to Trini's booth. Now that she's been jealousified, Kimberly feels the need to unload on Trini for hogging all the warm bodies for her dumbass volleyball garbage. Trini politely responds that she can help Kim find some losers at school who would be interested in looking at rotting weeds, but Kim tells her to buzz off. Which is the Power Rangers equivalent of telling someone to go suck their dad's dick on Christmas.

Kimberly storms off and takes her pricked finger anger out on Bulk and Skull. As soon as they're confronted, Skull accidentally blurts out that the people who joined their club had to be bribed with free food. You're kidding me, you mean Proto wasn't interested in unsolved mysteries? Next you'll tell me he was lying about his name too.

Bulk tells the angry Kimberly the first mystery they'll be solving is the identity of the Power Rangers. Since the two stooges heard the Rangers' voices, they just need to match what they heard to every voice in Angel Grove. For some reason this means Bulk and Skull need to carry around a shitload of equipment to record every single voice in Angel Grove instead of using those two little satellite dishes on the sides of their heads to discern what they heard. Not to mention the fact this whole club is predicated on solving the Power Rangers' identities, but none of those club members heard the voices you morons did. I'm starting to think Bulk and Skull made a poorly informed decision.

Skull tries to record Kimberly but is promptly rebuked by her jealousy fueled rage. After Kim flies the coop, Skull informs his beefy buddy that Kimberly is definitely not a Power Ranger. Get it? Because she is and they don't know. Hyuck Hyuck Hyuck. 

Though that line was a real groaner, Bulk off-handedly replies "She's in a fight with Trini or somethin' I dunno." Which is delivered so realistically that it feels like an ad-lib. In fact it was so natural I had to go check the script to see if it was even meant to be in the episode, and surprisingly it was.

Somehow, Paul Schrier says that line with the most dismissive apathy for the situation that it feels like he's not acting, but summing up something he's vaguely noticed. It's easily some of the best acting this show's ever had. All in a human moment of disinterest.

Unfortunately, Kim's busy not acting like a human being and Tommy's getting upset. He could try talking to her about karate, but usually that just makes her frown and stop petting his hair. Ernie offers him a shitty looking plastic flower to cheer her up, and Tommy decides this will do the trick. Yeah, what girl wouldn't be brought to climax getting one of these beauties?

Why are you giving Kim an unrolled Fruit Roll-up?

Tommy offers the piece of cellophane to Kimberly and tells her he knows how it feels to be in a fight with his best friend, as he and Jason give each other a brief look. I'm impressed, season 2 is killing it in the continuity game. Sad to say Kimberly is much less impressed as she tells Tommy that she hates flowers and Trini is most certainly not her best friend. Kimberly then leaves after taking the flower she just said she hated because the episode's director wasn't paying attention to the scene's dialogue.

After Trini's first volleyball practice, Jason and Tommy arrive to inquire what got up Kimberly's ass. After she explains what's wrong, Tommy asks why Trini and Kimberly would be mad at each other because they're best friends apparently. The boys tell Trini they should head back to the Youth Center and talk this out, even though we last saw Kimberly leaving the Youth Center in a huff. Look, the director had a busy schedule that day and he'll be goddamned if he has to read the script to this cornball show more than once.

Bulk and Skull mosey on up to the three Ranger Teens and Bulk says these super losers could never be the Power Rangers. Yeah, why would people who are bizarrely proactive and do nothing but good deeds for the community while practicing karate ever be caught dead in costumes doing martial arts and saving their city? Then Bulk throws me for a loop when he stops his prejudice against the Ranger Teens and says they should get their voices on tape to cover all their bases. Also so they can get Trini's voice on tape for the first time in recorded history. Congrats dummies, you're starting to come up in the world.

While Kimberly pisses and moans that she has to dig up a garden all by her lonesome, Zedd takes the opportunity to create a ferocious flower of his own, the Bloom of Doom.

Who named this thing? Dr. Seuss? Fuck outta here.

Zordon alerts Jason, Trini, and Tommy about Zedd's newest creation. Tommy says he's ready to fight, but Trini asks Tommy if he should really be fighting with his dwindling power supply. Zordon tells Trini to mind her own fucking business because Tommy can make his own goddamned decisions and doesn't need some busybody volleyball dame getting all up on his jock.

After informing Billy and Zack of the monster, Zordon gives Kimberly a holler and tells her what's up. There's a pretty great moment when a clearly annoyed Kimberly puts on a fake smile and answers her Communicator with insincere pep. It's something you readers who work retail will know all too well. 

Zordon tells Kimberly about the Doom Bloom and says the Rangers will need additional support to defeat the monster. Unfortunately Billy's been too busy getting nostril deep in some weaves to whip up a can of Ranger Amitrole, so Alpha's created a dinky little ribbon on a stick for Kimberly to hogtie the monster. Then all Kim will need to do is sheer off the numerous red penises on its body and leave the monster defenseless.

The Ranger Teens morph and stand strong against the mutant decoupage. Bloom maneuvers its creepy ass vine arms to summon a batch of Z-Putties. The Rangers make quick work of the Putties with some radiant Wasserman rock to set the mood. In fact the music is so awesome it keeps you from noticing that all of the Rangers get a scene of them beating the shit out of Putties besides Yellow. Remember how the plot of this episode is all about Trini getting more attention than Kim? What are you talking about? Who's Trini?

With the Putties out of the way, the Rangers challenge the Bloom of Doom. Before they can approach her, Bloom starts vomiting pollen out of her head blossom and catches the heroes in a storm of allergens. While the female Rangers manage to roll out of the way, the guys become caught deeper in Bloom's burning pollen and start freaking out and yelling out in pain. This also marks the second time Jason has screamed out "Ow it burns" ever since the night after he and Zack raw dogged it with Angela.

With the boys out of commission, Kimberly and Trini are left to fight the Bloom on their own. Kimberly wraps up the monster with her magical ribbon weapon which causes the flower beast to spark and burst with explosions. Trini, ever the showboating impetuous glory hog we know her to be, decides to take matters into her own hands.

If ever there were a time for Dagger throwing this would be it.

Kimberly becomes reasonably frustrated that her fellow Ranger cocked this battle up so badly and gripes to herself how Trini has once again fucked us all. Watching this scene of her cutting the ribbon only makes me wonder what the hell this episode is trying to do. Kimberly is jealous of Trini and has gotten frustrated with her, and that's completely believable and makes sense. So why is it that Trini makes a really stupid blunder that allows the monster to escape, and Kim getting mad about it is supposed to be in the wrong?

I understand this is Japanese footage the writers had to work with it, but if you're going to make this plot about Kimberly being upset at Trini and how that's a bad thing, you might not want to include a scene that has Trini do something worthy of that anger. If you're going to do this episode about girl power right, then you're going to have to include both girls as main players in the plot. Kimberly is mad at Trini, Kimberly turns jealous, Kimberly becomes frustrated and bitter, Kimberly throws a hissy fit about her club having no turnout. All of this is fine, but then you have no basis for Trini's actions.

If you relegate Trini to a passive observer then moments where she goes all gung-ho and attacks the monster by herself are completely ridiculous. I know Power Rangers wants desperately to shove her in the background, but this is one of the few times they can't get away with it. This episode is begging to focus on both girls at once, but sees fit to only keep Kimberly in the starring role. Girl power my ass.

Kimberly tries using her ribbon weapon once again, but Trini cut too much of it off and there isn't enough to wrap Bloom up. The monster easily hurls Kimberly through the air and creates a cheap looking kaleidoscope effect focusing on the monster's eye. The kaleidoscope circles around Kimberly and begins to disorient her until both she and the monster are transported to Bloom's poorly decorated personal dimension. Though I'm no interior decorator, so judge for yourselves.

You know what this place could use? Some red cacti.

The rest of the Rangers head back to the Command Center now that Kimberly and the monster have vanished, and little do they know how badly she's getting stomped. Bloom spins her vines and produces more pollen to burn up the Pink Ranger. With Kimberly stunned, the monster tosses one of its vine tentacles to lasso her. Just in case you forgot Japan made this. Quick Trini! Slash Kimberly's bindings then look around all confused when she escapes. It's our only hope.

The other five Rangers arrive in the Command Center and all start rubbing their eyes. Even Trini, who was clearly shown not to be affected by the pollen during the fight. Congrats to the director of this episode for achieving the "I don't give a shit" hat trick. Zordon alerts the Rangers that Kimberly is trapped in Bloom's dimensional warp and has been overtaken by a jealousy spell. Thanks for the input Zordon, might have helped to hear that a few minutes ago.

Billy does some calculations by slapping his fingers on a bunch of prop buttons in the Command Center and comes up with a solution. If Trini throws her Power Daggers at a 90 degree trajectory, they will be able to rescue Kimberly from Bloom's shitty dimension AND break the jealousy spell. That sounds just implausible enough to work. Not to mention the plan involves throwing your weapons like a total goober, which is Trini's specialty.

While Bloom continues her assault on the Pink Ranger, she's interrupted by Trini's Power Daggers flying into the dimension and striking her. What do you expect when you keep your dimension at a 90 degree trajectory? That's asking for trouble. Trini tells Kimberly she's here to help, and not by completely fucking everything up this time. With the jealousy spell having apparently been broken, Kimberly thanks Trini for saving her and promises they'll be friends until one of them quits this garbage show forever.

The girls team back up and attack the monster; first with a flying kick from Trini, then a trio of arrows shot by Kim's Power Bow. Bloom of Doom is sent reeling from the attacks and tries to recover as the other four Rangers show up.  Though Bloom tries shit talking the Rangers, they're no longer intimidated by a deflowered chump like her. Kimberly commands the rest of the Rangers to assemble the Power Blaster. With one shot, the Bloom of Doom is obliterated by the Rangers weapons. Weren't Lord Zedd's monsters supposed to be stronger than Rita's? Not when the episode's running out of time they're not!

Watch out for that crash mat down there!

With his monster defeated and his magic dispersed, Zedd becomes infuriated at today's loss. He blasts tiny bolts of lightning at the Earth and threatens to turn the members of the Moon Crew into snakes, which would be quite an improvement for half of them. Goldar tries to diffuse the tension by telling Lord Zedd that his plan was perfect and it's all their fault for being such inefficient losers. Hopefully Rita comes back soon to give Goldar his spine back.

Back at the Youth Center, Kimberly talks with a big group of her nameless mute friends that didn't know where to sign up for her bullshit flower club. As was so masterfully foreshadowed earlier when Caplan explicitly spelled out what would be happening later. Well thank God that crisis was averted, how would we be able to sleep at night if Kimberly didn't have members in this club that will never be referred to again?

Kimberly apologizes to Trini for acting like even more of a stereotype than usual and asks if her friend will ever forgive her. Since Trini has even less personality she's plenty happy to accept Kimberly's apology. Tommy happily says it will take a lot more than Zedd to break up their team, and anyone within earshot of the Ranger Teens now knows of their secret identities. Way to go Tommy, no wonder we gave you the shitty Power Coin.

Bulk and Skull show up covered in mud and branches, having completed another glorious afternoon of public fucking. The bullies reveal that they've uncovered the Power Rangers' secret identities with the help of their crew of randos. Skull tries playing the tape recorder but it's been jammed with a mix of semen and what's hopefully mud. The rest of Bulk and Skull's club become disgusted at the bullies' horse-assery and ditch them. See that you two? You just lost Proto's respect, and that's something you can't regain.



Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Flowers Made From Discarded Candy Wrappers




Personal Thoughts

Bleh. Just not that great. A really middle of the road episode without much to keep me invested. Bloom of Doom isn't as bad as some of the worst episodes in Season 2, but it's mediocre enough for me to not recommend it. The performances are fine, the action isn't bad, but there's not a whole lot of substance to this one. Primarily because the writers refuse to involve Trini in a goddamned thing.

One thing I find rather strange is that only four of the Ranger Teens are starting up a club in this week's plot. For some weird reason neither Tommy or Jason get to create a club of some kind. If I don't miss my guess, it's probably because the only thing these two have is karate, and it would make the writers look lazy if two characters both opened a karate club. So the show decided to exclude both of them instead of letting one character open a club and have the other inexplicably not involved. I appreciate this show's willingness to not give characters traits other than whatever four things were written down in Season 1.

For as bland a monster as Bloom of Doom is, there's quite a bit of Zyu2 lore to be mined from her, so strap in because we've got a bunch of junk to talk about. First and foremost is that Bloom of Doom is one of the many Zyu2 monsters with her footage released. You can watch the footage of Bloom of Doom at this link. Though hey…stick around and listen to me talk about it. It gets lonely around here sometimes.

All of Zyu2's ideas were later stolen wholesale by director Wang Xiaoshuai

Right as this Zyu2 block starts, we get a bit of unseen footage showing off the monster's body. These shots are pretty common in Zyu2 footage and look pretty damn cool. The problem is that Bloom's looks kinda shitty and shows…well two petals and a foot?

Even the cameraman doesn't know where this thing's face is.

After that happens, Bloom does her petal spewing junk all over the place until she gets hit by a blast from off camera. I don't have the foggiest what's meant to hit her, but the Rangers all leap forward immediately afterwards. I assume that Power Rangers was meant to insert stock footage of a Blade Blaster firing or some such thing, but who knows for sure?

After the blast, Bloom starts taunting the Rangers and summons a batch of Putties, of the Season 1 variety. This was replaced with U.S. footage of Bloom calling on some Z-Putties to fight the Rangers for her.

I miss these tiger striped idiots.

U.S. footage Bloom just isn't feeling it today.

The Putty battles are relatively similar, and it almost seems like the U.S. stunt crew was trying to replicate some of the action from the Zyu2 material. Though Trini gets to fight some of the Putties in the Japanese stuff so maybe they filmed her fighting Z-Putties and it got cut?

After the Putty fight concludes, the Bloom of Doom footage continues pretty much uninterrupted. That is until the Power Blaster gets fired. While Power Rangers might have you think this is where the battle ends, that's not quite the case.

When photosynthesis goes too far.

That's right, there was a Zord battle with this monster that went completely unseen for nearly 20 years. However, before we get into all that I need to bring up a bit of speculation that occurred before this footage was revealed.

While many monster costumes would remain in good condition and be reused during later episodes, other costumes would be repainted and slightly redesigned to be used as monsters in various background scenes during later seasons. This leads to the main point, a very familiar looking monster showing up in a later season of Power Rangers.

Debloom Bloom of Doom
Honey...you got real ugly.

This monster is pretty definitely a repurposed Bloom of Doom costume, I'd recognize those dicks anywhere. For those who might be skeptical, this creature was sold under the name Bloom of Doom during an auction of Power Rangers monster suits, despite not being the original costume. This creature was referred to by fans as Debloom, and some fans thought it looked a bit more complex than a standard monster dye job. A high profile fan who went on to become a script writer for Power Rangers discussed this monster at one point and said that not only was Bloom of Doom supposed to have a Zord battle, but she would be powered up by Lokar and become this terrifying new monster.

Zyu2 nerds such as me, myself, and I were in a tizzy over something like that happening. This monster must be so powerful and will have all sorts of cool abilities! Who knows what this Debloom creature could do!

Well nothing, because that was all a bunch of bullshit.

The Zord battle with Bloom of Doom has no Lokar, no Debloom, nothing of the sort. Just a standard battle against Dragonzord and Megazord ending as many of them do, with a Power Sword finisher.

Glad I waited 20 years for this.

Why did this Zord battle go unused? Couldn't tell ya. The script for this episode included a Thunderzord battle, but it's possible the giant fight was cut for time. Oddly enough the script also indicated they should cut out all traces of the Dragonzord, which would be pretty goddamned stupid considering they'd lose a perfectly good scene of the Dragonzord tail-slapping Bloom.

So as it turns out, Debloom really was nothing but a repainted monster costume. All the fan theories and speculation about Lokar showing up amounted to nothing but our overactive imaginations getting the better of us. It's more likely that the Bloom of Doom costume was in bad condition and re-skinned to make Debloom so that her bits and pieces didn’t go to waste in a wood chipper.

Though no matter what we learn about Zyu2 now, it doesn't take away from how fun it was to theorize about all the stuff that could happen in this unreleased footage. There's a few more Zyu2 creatures left to see in Season 2, and there's some other fun stuff to discuss after that. Until then, enjoy yourselves boys and girls, and just this once why don't you let the Trini in your circle of friends have a day in the spotlight?



9 comments:

  1. R.I.P. Mitch Hedberg

    I'd have gone with Scott Shaw myself.

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  2. This site sits at the edge of the Internet. Great reading!

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  3. Tommy didn't start a club because they were maintaining continuity; he forgot about it.

    Jason could've been shown doing a scuba diving club, since he's a certified instructor. But how on the nose is Jason/Tommy's obsession with karate that even Power Rangers was self-aware enough not to do a karate club.

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  4. Tommy didn't start a club because they were maintaining continuity; he forgot about it.

    Jason could've been shown doing a scuba diving club, since he's a certified instructor. But how on the nose is Jason/Tommy's obsession with karate that even Power Rangers was self-aware enough not to do a karate club.

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  5. I keep imagining Zordon talking to the Rangers in exactly the words you use in your write-ups and it's hilarious.

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  6. The bit at the end where Kaplan makes a big scene before he sneezes and ends up not blowing his toupee off was the biggest surprise of this episode for me, made all the more brilliant by him obviously adjusting it himself afterward.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. The bit at the end where Kaplan makes a big scene before he sneezes and winds up not blowing his toupee off was the most surprising part of this episode for me, made all the more brilliant by him adjusting the rug himself in an obvious manner afterward.

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