Tuesday, December 22, 2015

MMPR Season 2 Episode 17: White Light Part 1


Attempted Surprise Party Results in Electrocution and Kidnapping
Cult Formed Around Flying Space Dumpster













Before we get going with today's episode I wanted to plug a really cool event happening tomorrow evening. Phil from Noiseless Chatter will be hosting a stream of 7 awful Christmas specials. Meanwhile, you in the audience will get to make fun of how goddamned terrible they are. You'll also have an opportunity to donate to the Trevor Project, a charity that helps at-risk LGBTQ youths. I can't put into words how much of a good time it is, so see for yourself! Just go to Noiseless Chatter a little before 8 PM EST tomorrow night and you'll get all the hot deets to enjoy yourselves one heck of a Christmas stream. Good luck. We're all counting on you.





I hope you good people are ready, because this is when Season 2 starts to shake things up. While last week's episode was filled to the brim with questionable content, this week is going to rectify that by putting what you want front and center. Just to put your mind at ease and remind yourself that you're tuning into this show for a reason.

Because the very first scene is one with Bulk and Skull. That's how you let people know you mean business.

Our story begins with Bulk and Skull storming into the Youth Center and demanding to know where their sandwiches are. Skull snaps his fingers at nobody in particular as if that would speed up the process and get him his meal as soon as sandwichly possible. Trini asks what these two human-pig hybrids get out of being so goddamned rude. Billy takes her by the collar and reminds her that she's the one who has the gall to loudly interrupt anyone and everyone with her ceaseless prattling and he's had just about enough of her goddamned yammering.

Bulk informs Billy and Trini that he and Skull are going to discover who the Power Rangers really are this season, in case they managed to forget that the last 15 times they were told. Billy then rubs Trini's shoulder and says it's nice to see a couple going out and having a beautiful afternoon together. Trini gently adjusts her shoulder to knock Billy's hand off as she tells Richie he's looking handsome today. Billy solemnly sighs and decides it's time to invent a fleshlight.

Richie gives Bulk and Skull some sandwiches, topped off with a nice batch of saliva sauce. Forget those bozos though, Kimberly comes running in and says she has fantastic news. Oh gee, what do you think Kimberly "Tommy" Hart has to be excited about today? Is it that she did some gymnastics thing? Is it that her parents are still divorced? No of course not, it's that Tommy mailed her a letter and said he's coming home at the end of the week. Oh boy, I can't stop feverishly jerking off at this exciting news. It feels like it's only been three episodes since we last saw Tommy, and only one episode since we last mentioned him. I was really starting to get antsy.

Lord Zedd eavesdrops on the Ranger Teens and cackles when he learns they're planning a surprise party for Tommy. Well he's got a surprise in store too; he's going to give the former Green Ranger his final moments. It's embarrassing how badly this show is bending over backwards to make Tommy the focal point when Lord Zedd, the guy with a sworn vendetta against the Power Rangers, is pinpointing someone who is no longer a Ranger. You know what undercuts the big dramatic moment where Tommy loses all of his powers? Acting like he's still the key component holding together your Ranger team.

In Angel Grove Park, Zack and Jason play football with Curtis. Not because they want to, but because the only thing Haim Saban could get Austin St. John and Walter Jones to film was a friendly game of ball on a beautiful day in the park. Kimberly, Trini, and Billy come up to the guys and tell them Tommy's coming home soon so they better get ready to be shoved in the background again. Zack offers up an unenthusiastic and clearly dubbed-in "Yeah!" It appears Walter Jones was just as happy as I am that the show will continue to be focusing on Tommy and his karate escapades.

Inside of the Command Center, Zordon and Alpha 5 discuss a secret mission they must soon embark on, and that this silence in Angel Grove would indicate it's a perfect time to do so. While I'd usually assume Zordon is working on a top-secret cake for Tommy's surprise party, that can't be the case since Zordon has no working arms. So whatever they actually have planned must really be special.

Instead, Zordon and Alpha transport themselves into some kind of hidden chamber as the rest of the Command Center shuts itself off completely. This probably isn't something you'd want to do when you're the leader of a squadron of teenage death merchants who routinely slaughter aliens in your name. It might not have hurt to leave a note, that's all I'm saying.

Back at Zedd's palace, the big red cheese senses there's a weakness in the "Morphing Grid." A concept that even a turbonerd like me still doesn't grasp fully. Thank God I've rectified that by not giving a shit about the slapdash lore that barely stitches together this mishmash of a baby karate show. Which is why I've decided to obsessively compile information about it week after week all while ignoring interaction with real-life human beings.

Zedd describes the Morphing Grid as a constant struggle in the balance between himself and Zordon. A conceit that is essentially begging to be made untrue with later seasons. Also a fact that implies whoever writes this show has seen Star Wars a couple of times. It's a pretty cool idea that helps explain why the Power Rangers get to bust out new toys whenever some villain is trashing them hardcore, though at this point I'm more surprised Zedd hasn't been awarded some sympathy wins for how bad his side is losing this fight.

Sensing that Zordon's presence in the Morphing Grid has weakened, Zedd declares this the moment he's going to claim victory. He'll nab Tommy and finish off the Rangers by creating a monster the likes they've never seen before. Oh let me guess, is it going to be themed around an inanimate object and created from a statue?

Does a fist count as inanimate? Judges?

Zedd promises this fist thing is going to blow everybody's mind, but until then he needs to prep Tommy to become the heir to his evil throne. Ugh. Of course. Because Tommy is so extra special to everyone, even the fucking villain who spent the first two weeks of this season wiping that little green booger off the map. At least in Season 1 the other Rangers got to do something. Now that we're in Season 2 everyone has to stand around asking each other "Where's Tommy?"

Thankfully, the only people who aren't obsessing over Tommy are enjoying each other's company. Bulk and Skull are sitting out in the park scoping out clues for Ranger related activity. Bulk's highly sophisticated method of observation for the supernatural is as follows: Hold up a telescope and rotate your head 45 degrees and back every couple of seconds. I don't know if I'm asking too much, but at some point I really want a scene of Bulk and Skull detailing how they expect these schemes to pan out. I want Bulk to excitedly explain how he expects to uncover the Ranger's secret identities' with a robotic pig snout. 

Skull tempts fate and allows for lazy writing by asking his heterosexual life-partner why they can't just receive some sign to let them know they're on the right track. Two seconds after making this statement, a small orb of yellow energy strikes the Earth and causes an explosion roughly thirty feet from the boys. God willing it's not some kind of gentle alien like ALF, cause if Bulk and Skull find one of those things it's getting beaten to death before it can tell anyone about how much it loves eating cats. 

Curtis and all the characters you actually tune in to watch and also Trini hear the explosion as well, to which Curtis poorly recites a line in an attempt to endear himself to the viewers who will forget him as soon as he's out of frame. Billy and Jason tell everyone not to worry about the sounds of intergalactic explosions and to resume playing football while they take a look at what's going on.

Before any of the characters get a chance to see what's landed, we in the audience see the crash site. At its epicenter lies a familiar looking trash can, and just as you connect the pieces in your own mind, we get to see just who's waiting inside.

Rita's only way to cope with her fate was hotboxing across the galaxy.

Bulk and Skull rush over to the dumpster and immediately assume that this piece of flying space debris is a clear sign that they're about to find the Power Rangers. Skull tells Bulk this thing looks less like an artifact from the furthest reaches of the galaxy, and more like the place his foster parents found him. Bulk tells him to clam up as Skull puts his ear on the dumpster, causing the young man to recoil as it burns his ear. Of all the times I expected Power Rangers to include a drop of realism in its space physics, I never imagined it would be in a scene with the comic relief bullies handling a shooting star dumpster.

To cope with the horrific heat caused by untold speeds of blazing hot space travel, Skull picks up the trash bin with his gloves and bingo. Problem solved. The flesh searing heat caused by the dumpster hurtling through space just needed some gloves to pick it up. It's exactly like getting a pizza out of the oven, you really need some kind of cooling pad when handling your trash from deep out in the cosmos.

While Bulk and Skull take Rita's space dumpster to Skull Sr.'s "workshop", Billy and Jason show up just in time to see the point of impact. Billy tries fiddling with the crater that was left by Rita's dumpster, as it's the closest hole he's been able to get his fingers next to in months. Billy lightly burns his hand as he approaches the crater, as the young scientist comes to terms with the fact that there is a God, and his entire existence is dedicated to cockblocking him. In a world filled with floating heads, cyborg slaves, dinosaur robots, dog monsters, and juice bars, there is an omnipotent being who will guarantee Billy dies fuckless.

Zack continues playing football with his pals, only for the ball to land right underneath that fist statue Zedd zapped earlier. Zack notices something appears to be slightly off with the statue, primarily the fact it's doing this.

That's why you don't make your statues out of GAK.

Upon seeing this disgusting secret of the ooze, Zack's only response is "Huh. Major funky." That's how black people talk right? Well I already wrote it on the script so it's not going anywhere. Fuck you.

Zack calls off the football game and takes Trini and Kimberly to see Lord Zedd's shitty science project. Trini asks why the Sentinel Statue looks like it's vomiting up its own innards, as we in the audience see a small face-like protrusion growing out of the back of the statue. Zack hedges his bets and assumes this statue sweating green pus might not be on the up and up, so he buzzes Zordon and asks what the hell is going on. Unfortunately Zordon is busy hanging up banners for Tommy's surprise party or whatever, so he doesn't have time to help his indentured servants with Zedd's devil magic. Sorry guys, you'll have to figure out "The Mystery of the Melting Statue" on your own.

Zack tells Billy and Jason to teleport to the statue pronto. Before Billy is able to look over the statue in further detail, Zedd sends down some Z-Putties to keep them from nosing around in his business. The Putties descend on our heroes and attack while we get some Ron Wasserman rock to highlight their clay-asses getting beat. Good thing it's playing too, because it helps distract from Jason, Zack, and Trini's obvious stand-in voice actors dubbing their battle grunts. Thankfully Trini's voice isn't quite as racist as before, but it still sounds like your grandmother attempting to imitate Mulan. It's gross, but not Jeff Dunham gross.

While a lot of these Putty fights blend together, this one feels a little more special. It seems like it's been ages since all five unmorphed Ranger Teens fought together. Either Trini is off with her grandmother, Jason is fishing with his uncle, or Zack is demanding to know who wrote the line "major funky" into his script. It's nice to see all five of them together, and it's a shame that's become so rare lately. A selling point of the show should be all the heroes fighting side by side. Instead we have to keep our fingers crossed we'll get more than half the team to show up. It's also nice to see Zack bust out moves like this during the fight.

Zack Power Rangers gif
Or he might just have a bug on his shoulder.

The Ranger Teens put down the Putties before coming to the absurd conclusion that something fishy appears to be going on. Zordon and Alpha are MIA, a statue is leaking sludge, and nobody has mentioned Tommy in the last 16 seconds. Clearly the work of space goblins is afoot.

Meanwhile, Bulk and Skull take Rita's dumpster into Skull Sr.'s shop, which is filled to the brim with assorted tools, candles, clamps, ball gags, human pony harnesses, fisting slings, and wrenches. Anything that you would find in 50 Shades of Goldar really. The two living, breathing examples of schadenfreude believe that the minute they open this space garbage can, the secrets of the Power Rangers will be revealed to them at long last.

Now far be it from me to question the intelligence of two towering intellects such as Bulk and Skull, but why are they assuming a literal piece of space trash is going to answer their burning questions? For all you know that thing could be filled with intergalactic horse porn some Martian didn't want the space-feds snooping around. You two clowns should stop reading The Secret and take a class in probability.

The Ranger Teens become concerned that mack daddy Z isn't returning any of their calls, so they teleport into the Command Center instead of examining the Sentinel Statue any further. Not that big of a deal though, there isn't anything suspicious they would find on that oozing fist statue anyway.

Unless they were looking for glowing Halloween masks

For as interesting as all of this stuff is, I'm sure we all have a burning question right now. Just where is Tommy and what is he up to? Don't you worry dear readers, Power Rangers anticipated your ludicrous attention span and jammed in a scene of him for just such an occasion. We get to watch Tommy swimming, or as he calls it, "Water Karate" out in a lake somewhere. As soon as he gets out of the water and runs on shore, he's struck by a surge of bad special effects electricity. Tommy grunts and struggles before he vanishes in a beam of white light. HEY! THAT'S THE NAME OF THE EPISODE!!!

As the Ranger Teens transport into the Command Center, they find that it's completely pitch-black with no sign of Alpha 5 or Zordon. This close to Christmas it's entirely possible Alpha is busy kidnapping children and forcing them to sing with him in some slave labor camps, but that doesn't explain why all the lights are off. The teens are perplexed as to why their owners would ditch town without notifying them first, and assume maybe Zordon finally got nailed for his collection of intergalactic horse porn. 

Billy tells everyone he's the only character that can make sense of this vague nonsense, so they'll need to reconvene at his lab to analyze the Command Center's data. Also when they get there Trini has to sit in the chair across from him, and she has to have her hair so close he could smell it too. Cause if she doesn't then the science won't work right.

Inside of his garage, Billy tries to analyze data with his computer the same way everyone did in the 90's; by awkwardly slapping his fingers against all of the keys while hoping nobody in the audience knows how to use a keyboard. Billy explains that the Command Center data indicates a hidden door of light somewhere inside, which is likely where Alpha and Zordon disappeared to. I mean if that hidden door shit doesn't pan out then it's probably not going to be too tricky to find Zordon. Ask anybody if they've seen a giant head being wheelbarrowed around by his robotic slave.

Zedd realizes there's only five minutes left in the episode and fires energy at the Sentinel Statue to finalize the creation of his monster: Nimrod the Scarlet Sentinel. Nimrod's advent shakes the Ranger Teens inside of Billy's lab, and they realize it's time to get dangerous. Zordon or no Zordon. The Rangers Teens morph and find themselves face to face with Nimrod.

Was this bitch made out of a hot dog bun?

Nimrod appears and informs the Rangers that they don't stand a chance against her. Well of course they don't, she's over in Dairanger footage where they can't lay a finger on her. She blasts the Rangers with energy from her staff and leaves them ready to get their asses fried on the mountainside.

With our heroes on the ropes, Lord Zedd tosses Nimrod one of his Growth Bombs. The Rangers call upon their Thunderzords to battle Nimrod, only for the monster to summon two other creatures she refers to as AC and DC. This Nimrod chick is a cheating fuck, monster's don't get to summon more monsters. What a crock of shit.

Gun to my head I could not tell you which is AC and which is DC

The three monsters fire multiple energy blasts that easily overwhelm the Thunder Megazord. It's an incredibly lame blue-ball of a fight to be honest. All of that super cool Thunderzord formation and the Megazord gets blasted into submission in about 15 seconds. It's almost like this whole fight scene was abruptly done to cover up the fact that Nimrod doesn't have any footage where she battles the Thunder Megazord. But that's…no wait…that sounds about right.

While the Thunder Megazord is swarmed with energy blasts, Billy tells his comrades he's hightailing it back to the Command Center. He offers no explanation why, or justification for his action, he just does it. It's not like Zordon's there to ask for help, what do you think you're going to find there Billy? Oh right, you're going to find a safe haven where you won't get murdered by monsters. Way to be a team player. Asshole.

During the Ranger's danger, Bulk and Skull continue to try their best to open up Rita's dumpster. What would normally be a throwaway scene of these two hammering on some piece of shit prop is somehow handled much more professionally than anything else on this show. First and foremost, Bulk and Skull are given a bit of comical filth on their clothing and faces to imply they've been trying to bust Rita out for a while now. 

What also makes me laugh is Bulk's choice of tool to open up Rita's canister. This is only the second time we as the audience have seen them attempting to break it open, and Bulk has gone from a drill to a chainsaw to hack open that goddamned thing. Say what you want about these two, but when it comes to mindlessly wrecking something they do their job well.

Another nice touch is while the boys are drilling into the dumpster, we occasionally cut to the inside of the can where Rita is holding her ears and freaking the fuck out. Usually that doesn't seem like it'd be that entertaining, but there's something charming about this galactic empress being put into a miserable situation because of how stupid Bulk and Skull are.

Now that Billy is safely out of the way of any and all danger, he wanders around the Command Center. Billy looks for Alpha and Zordon, ready to give them the bad news that the other four Rangers died in battle after he heroically escaped from Nimrod. Billy says out-loud to the nobody that's there, "I know you must have a good reason for disappearing like this." Jesus. That is some textbook "fell into the doorknob" rationalization Billy. Cut your losses and realize these two don't give a shit about you.

Billy fiddles with a control panel, which manifests the door of light that Alpha walked through earlier. As Billy walks into the light, he tumbles and falls through a ridiculous looking void of white lights. Upon landing, Billy hears Alpha and Zordon's voices somewhere nearby as they babble about a bunch of meaningless made-up science jargon. Naturally Billy can't keep himself away from made-up science bullshit, so he sneaks forward to find a grate in the floor. Once Billy peers inside, he discovers Zordon and Alpha 5 are working on something a bit more intricate than a pin the tail on the donkey game for Tommy's party.



Well fuck my mouth.




TO BE CONTINUED




Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: GAK





Personal Thoughts



I gotta say this is a damn fine episode. While that new Ranger reveal is shoehorned in literally last minute for a cliffhanger ending, I can't deny it's a charming way to entice viewers to tune in next week. There really isn't one piece of this episode that doesn't fit, and everything feels like it's building to some kind of mystery. It's pretty exciting stuff for a show this simple.

I find the sub-plot with Rita's dumpster crash landing on Earth to be pretty interesting. It seems like the writers knew they wanted to keep her around in the minds of the audience even if they weren't entirely sure what to do with her yet. I appreciate that the Power Rangers didn't toss the concept of Rita Repulsa in the garbage when they threw her character in there. This is the first indication that we're not quite done with her, and that's a welcome change.

Keeping Rita around makes the universe of Power Rangers feel a lot more dynamic than it would if she was promptly ignored forever after Lord Zedd took command. Also interesting to note is this wasn't the first time Rita was supposed to reappear in Season 2. There was a scene scripted in "Putty on the Brain" where Zordon and Alpha would see Rita flying around on the Viewing Globe. Personally I'm glad that was excised in favor of saving her return for this episode. It would feel weird to see her banished by Zedd only to have her reappear two episodes later.

Today's monster is an exercise on how to make a limited amount of footage work for your television program for infants. We don't spend a lot of time on Nimrod blowing shit up, but instead make a big deal about the process of her creation. We get cool scenes like her face emerging from the back of the statue, slime chunks falling off of the statue, and that hilarious moment where her eyes open from underneath that mask. Shit looks like they took it from a Goosebumps episode. Though I will admit, that shitty looking alien mask looks close enough to Nimrod's actual face to pass. Not bad guys, for real this time.

There's also a nice bit of footage editing when Zedd completes Nimrod. He blasts the Sentinel Statue in U.S. footage with energy, and the editor superimposes a Dairanger shot of Nimrod on top of the statue to indicate her emergence. It doesn't look flawless by any means, but it's serviceable enough that it gets the job done.


Another impressive thing that the Power Rangers crew managed to pull off was staging a rather acceptable battle with Nimrod and the Rangers. I constantly mention how bad the Dairanger splice battles look, but this week's fight was done a little more intelligently. By no means am I going to say it looked great, but the editor gave us some kind of fight to enjoy. 

All I want is for them to try and make a fight scene happen. Is that so much to ask? I'll even tolerate it if it looks like this.

Where'd that Blade Blaster come from Zack?

The only tragedy is that Nimrod's Zord fight is so fucking awful. It's her and her comrades firing energy balls looped a couple times before the Thunder Megazord falls over. That is some lamegator nonsense. Thankfully the Zord fight doesn't last long enough to overstay its shitty welcome, and we get a decent enough ground battle to counterbalance it.

That's all for this week, but I wanted to thank you all very much for reading. Whether you've read from the first post to now or you're just joining me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Please have a beautiful holiday and spend that time with those you love most. Also if they remember Power Rangers you can read this to them. If not then you should get them a quilt or something instead.





11 comments:

  1. The MMPR Movie game for Sega Genesis called these guys S. Sentinel Ring (Nimrod), Ear, and Neck (AC/DC in some order). I always wondered if those were their names in the early scripts or something. All the other bosses had the correct names including the ones from the movie.

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    1. I'd like that a lot better. Nimrod's a fine name but AC and DC are pretty lame. Not to mention the fact that you can't discern one from another with names like that.

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  2. Hey asshole, the last time Tommy lost his powers and left the team, you were bitching and moaning that they seemed to have completely forgotten him, and now that they are actually acknowledging his absence and how they miss him, you are still bitching and moaning, what the fuck is your problem?

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    1. I'm glad you mentioned this!! I meant to make a point of this in the Missing Green write-up but I was going to say how that episode did a great job of portraying the Rangers being mournful with Tommy's lost powers.

      The problem is that they don't stop fucking talking about Tommy from the minute he's gone until now. It feels really shitty and dismissive of the other five people we're ostensibly focusing on with this show. I view it really cynically because I assume the show is bringing Tommy up repeatedly now because they know how much of a draw the Green Ranger was. They treated him as disposable in Season 1 because they didn't see how much the audience was going to resonate with him. So instead of doing more with the Rangers we have, they keep reminding the kids at home how cool the Green Ranger was.

      I had that in a draft initially but lost it somewhere along the way. Thanks for reminding me!

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    2. Damn bro, chill out. You're reading a blog about the freaking Power Rangers.

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    3. i can totally understand where you are coming from, I mean I still love Power Rangers, even at my age. I'm 35, but I'm not so overly cynical about these things, because what isn't explored within the realms of the show itself can be explored in a little something we fans call fanfics.

      yes, i know by its nature fanfics aren't canon, and there are some fanfics that are really good and some that are just downright awful, but then again Power Rangers has been really good and it has been really awful also.

      in addition, it is my view that once Tommy was brought back to the show, things became a bit more balanced again, or at least it was a bit more balanced again when Tommy came back and a certain change in cast came about that you haven't covered yet, but is going to happen in a few episodes time.

      plus many fans, myself included, actually consider season three to be where the show really hit its stride with the characters and the storytelling. it still wasn't perfect, but it definitely wasn't all about Tommy by that point. but i'm sure you'll get to that soon enough, or you'll just continue to be a snarky cynical asshole that takes potshots at the characters' sexuality and the limited scope of their worldview that doesn't involve the superficial nature of their character traits.

      But hey, its your blog.

      Delete
  3. As a 32 year old, I can clearly see the superimposed editing on that gif, which probably didn't register among the target audience.

    As a 32 year old reading a blog about a karate show for babies while drinking alone at a bar, I'm pretty sure this is one of the bricks on the road to a tragic self-immolation. Happy holidays and thanks for all the nostalgia!

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    1. Hm, which gif are you referring to? And what would you consider to be the "target audience"? Just wondering...

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    2. The gif following the paragraph where the author specifically referred to a superimposed image.

      As a karate show for babies, I assume the target audience was babies. Or at best, preteens who still begged their parents for dinosaur robot toys for Christmas. Granted though, dinosaur robot toys still kick ass.

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    3. The gif following the paragraph where the author specifically referred to a superimposed image.

      As a karate show for babies, I assume the target audience was babies. Or at best, preteens who still begged their parents for dinosaur robot toys for Christmas. Granted though, dinosaur robot toys still kick ass.

      Delete
  4. Yeah, they did a great job re-splicing in the Stag Beetle Zyu2 footage. In case you missed it the first time, kids! (Keep in mind this was the days of broadcast TV...)

    Always love your work brah. ;)

    ReplyDelete