Tuesday, January 5, 2016

MMPR Season 2 Episode 19: Two For One



Monster Made From Purse Expected to be Taken Seriously
Pursuit of Riches Leads Teens to Drown Themselves











Greetings! I hope you've all had a beautiful New Year's and steeled yourselves for a brand new year of Ranger action and all sorts of new memories with your favorite superheroes! Think of all the cool things we're going to see Zack, Trini, and Jason do this year!

Now that Tommy's back on the scene, Kimberly is going to escort him out on a "You're A Ranger Again So I Can Actually Be Seen In Public With You" date. I have to admit I was acting like a real snarky bitch when this episode started. "Oh an episode with Tommy and Kim on a date? When have we seen that before?"

Then I realized we really haven't seen this. Not once since the two started dating however many episodes ago. The most we've seen of them together is when the two would walk home together or make cutesy-eyes at one another. Fair's fair, Power Rangers got me. Now I'm admittedly curious to see what a date looks like in Angel Grove. 

Kimberly frolics into the Youth Center to show off her outfit to Trini, who was sitting all alone because the blocking needed her to be there and Christ knows she doesn't have any friends. Kim spins around and asks how she looks, and I…don't know? She looks nice. To be honest with you I'd say what Trini's wearing is a lot cuter. Kim's dress only serves to remind me that I will be on my death-bed gasping for air not understanding what's considered fashionable.

Though I could do without Trini's weird hair ribbons.

Trini notices Kimberly's brought in a clear plastic box and asks her if that's the purse that belonged to Kim's mom. Because the director of this episode doesn't know what purses look like, Kimberly says it certainly is. Not only does it belong to Kim Sr., but it's the purse her mother took on the first date she had with Kimberly's dad. Now Kimberly gets to use it and can blame it when she and Tommy go through an inevitable messy divorce just like Kim's parents.

Kimberly informs the audience she promised her mother nothing would happen to that purse, which means all you purse-monster enthusiasts out there are gripping your chairs in excitement. To add a little pep in Kim's step, Trini produces a container of rosy red "Siren Song Lipstick." Jeez. Siren Song Red? Who named these things anyway?

…Oh.

Richie gives the girls some sodas before leering at Trini and awkwardly stammering out an invitation to study for math homework or something. Trini very sweetly says she would love to as the total no-name doofus, whose only character trait is to hit on her, wanders off into the background. Trini offers a sad-sounding "Bye Richie…" as he walks off, which prompts Kimberly to snicker at her. Trini throws the shade and shushes Kimberly for trying to make her feel bad about having a hunk-a-doodle-doo of her own.

While not much has happened yet, I'm already noticing that Thuy Trang is bringing her A-game this week. No I'm serious.

She's really coy and sweet about her Wanna-Be-Beau's macking on her, she plays the role of Kim's excited best-friend trying to pump her up for her date with Tommy perfectly, and she overall has an air of genuine warmth to her. Not that she was some cold nothing of a presence before, but it's amazing what an actor can do when a script takes the time to give them some fucking lines. What an absurd notion. Thanks for realizing that two episodes before it doesn't matter anymore.

While Kim might be on the prowl for a slam-dunk with Tommy, Angel Grove's two most eligible bachelors have their own business to attend to this afternoon. Bulk and Skull clown into the Youth Center with a comically sized metal detector, which Bulk assures us will act as a Power Ranger detector. He knows this because his cousin Waldo built it up at Angel Grove Tech. Either Waldo failed his senior project because his crazy Ranger huntin' cousin was breathing down his neck, or Angel Grove Tech is a degree mill that passed some idiot who made a giant malfunctioning piece of garbage.

Tommy and Jason come in from a nice sweaty session of "karate" and meet up with the girls. Humorously enough, Tommy appears to have thrown away all of his green articles of clothing and traded them in for a plethora of baggy white sleeveless shirts. Easily one of my favorite parts of Power Rangers lore is imagining a Ranger who changes color being glowered at by Zordon if they showed up wearing something green instead of white. You'd have to go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe just because some massive space head and his robot slave didn't have the courtesy to make you a new suit with the same color as your last one.

While Tommy had to take out a loan to supplant his own wardrobe, he's quite taken with Kimberly's and tells her she looks beautiful. Kim asks Tommy if he's ready to ogle her purty looking dress on their date, but Tommy asks why she wants to go on their date an hour early. As soon as Tommy mentions that it's 3 o clock, Kimberly gently clears her throat, and Jason nudges Tommy in the direction of a clock on the wall that clearly reads 4. Tommy realizes he forgot to set his watch and says he'll be right back, assuming he doesn't forget where he lives on the way home while forgetting to breathe on the way there.

Oh man, Power Rangers is not only remembering continuity, but it's remembering continuity from one of my favorite episodes in Season 1? "Two For One" you've got me on your side. Please don't let me down.

Lord Zedd finds this display of teenage romance disgusting, as do Squatt and Baboo who balk at the concept of any form of consensual relationship. Goldar asks if it's time to break their hearts, and if so can he watch because god almighty that sounds juicy. Lord Zedd decides that since there's an extra Ranger scampering around, he needs to up the stakes by summoning an extra monster as well. Perhaps this is what the episode meant when it was titled "No Clowning Around."

Kimberly and Tommy enjoy an, admittedly sweet, date montage in the park. They act playfully with one another and spin around like total sweethearts. While the two lovebirds enjoy themselves, I start to get curious if we're supposed to believe this is the first date these two have ever had together. Kim said that purse she borrowed from her mom was used on her first date, so maybe? If so that's kind of weird. These two characters have basically been dating since the first third of Season 1. Is this the first time they've gone on an official date-date?

Don't take that as anything more than minor nitpicking though, because in just a few short scenes between Kim and Tommy you feel like they're having a real sweet time together. If this episode were phoning everything in I would feel more like complaining, but my questions dissolve when I'm confronted with an episode I actually find myself enjoying. Even if it's just because Tommy picking Kimberly up when she falls and putting her on his shoulders is kinda cute.

Bulk and Skull show up, also enjoying their date in the park. Bulk jitters around with his Power Ranger Detector, and before I'm able to dismiss it as another lame unfunny prop slapped together for these two, the camera cuts to this device's advanced interface.

Flawless

This right here? Legitimate laugh. That's a genuinely funny gag. I seriously love it when Power Rangers uses the fact that it has nickels for a budget as a joke in itself. Unless someone who worked on the show tries to tell me this was done sincerely, in which case I'll jump off a bridge.

Zedd summons his Putties to steal Kimberly's purse, which he claims will create an excellent monster. Goldar asks how he plans to make the second monster, and Zedd promises he'll find something in Kim's purse to make a devastating creature the likes we've never seen. Watch out Rangers! Zedd has summoned Tampaximus Maximus!

The Putties appear in front of Kim and Tommy, but instead of instantly busting out into G-Rated karate shenanigans, Tommy offers his hand to Kim. He asks "may I have this dance?" before locking hands with her and using each other to fling themselves into a nearby Putty and knock them away. It's a bit of dynamic choreography that immediately makes this Putty fight significantly more interesting. Open with something I haven't seen before and you bet your ass I'm going to be invested. No matter how much I bitch about the monster fights in Season 2 I have to admit the Putty battles are getting a lot better. Not to mention the Wasserman rock underscoring this scene fills me with child-like glee.

During the fight, one Putty slips away and snatches Kim Sr.'s purse. Before Kim can inform him that is her purse, and he doesn't know him, the Putty ditches the fight and starts rifling through her belongings. He finds Trini's lipstick inside, which he dumps out onto the ground alongside the purse. Zedd zaps both items with his staff and creates the first of his two monsters. With surging energy he creates the insidious, diabolical, invincible……Pursehead.

Pursehead
Stiff competition for the stupidest design AND stupidest name this season.

Kimberly and Tommy stifle their laughter at this ridiculous monster and morph. Before the fight begins I'd like to point out that Pursehead is actually on-screen with Kim and Tommy? Holy shit! They actually have one of the monster costumes from Dairanger! Guess they just had to dust it off after they found it in the trash. Forget that though, now we can finally get an actual fight with one of these creatures....

That is until Pursehead immediately pulls a compact out of her head and freezes Tommy and Kimberly before they can approach her. Son of a bitch. What a total cocktease. The monster's on camera for 12 seconds and instantly bests Tommy and Kimberly. I thought we were finally going to get a real fight and then…goddamnit. 

Lord Zedd brags about how incredible his stupid looking monster is as we see Squatt and Baboo cheering him on. However they're not alone. For the first time in what feels like an absolute eternity we see someone else in the Moon Palace. It's finally him, he's finally back.

The artist formerly known as Finster

God it's been too long. I've missed you so much Finster. Where have you been? It doesn't matter. I just really wanted to see you again bud. We've been missing your dry wit and artistic touch around here pal. I miss your monsters Finster, I really do. Lord Zedd made a monster and called it Pursehead. Pursehead for Christ's sake. We need you now more than ever man.

With the Rangers on the ropes, Zedd creates his second monster out of Trini's Siren Song lipstick. He calls the creature Lipstick Monster, but thankfully I can promise you that this creature is not actually called Lipstick Monster. Her name is actually Lipsyncher. Fuck you, that's not a bad name.

Lipsyncher
She's ready to work with Zedd's Milli Vanilli monster.

Zordon summons the other four Rangers and tells them some dumbass purse is really wrecking shit today. Billy asks why the White Ranger, someone whose powers were made like two days ago, is already getting chumped by a loser monster like Pursehead. Zordon tells him to cram it because this monster has all kinds of stupid junk it can use to attack people. Are these weapons even more deadly than a compact mirror? You'll have to wait to find out!

Zordon also mentions Zedd's 2nd monster Lipsyncher. A creature who will attack with all sorts of devious techniques from off-screen. Jason vows to take on Lipsyncher by himself, because he heard she would be off-screen the whole time and jumped at the chance. Not to mention Lipsyncher is the name of the person who does all Jason's dialogue when he's morphed.

Zack gets upset that Jason will be going off on his own, but Jason tenderly tells his friend "If I need your help bro I'll call you. I promise." Zack looks deep into his eyes as Billy and Trini awkwardly start constructing some method of stopping the Pursehead monster. All I'm saying is if it's another mirror to reflect her mirror beam at her I'm out.

Jason morphs to battle Lipsyncher while Zack morphs to keep Pursehead at bay. The Black Ranger lands and brings out his Power Axe. Before any semblance of a fight can occur, Pursehead freezes Zack in as much time as it took you to read this sentence. I might have a bit more fun with this purse monster if it did anything other than play Red Light Green Light with everyone who gets close to it.

With half of the Ranger team frozen, Billy and Trini try desperately to concoct a cure for Pursehead's spell. Alpha 5 tells Trini to make sure not to overload the hydro capacitor or else the ent-ZZZZZZ. 

I'm sorry. As much as I enjoy this show I will never even try to suffer its attempts at ratcheting up tension when someone is using the Morphing Grid to make some magic device to stop a monster.

When the actual creature is threatening the Rangers I can buy it. If Zordon's magical floobidy flop is so weak it can't even make a way to beat some stupid looking purse then I don't know what to tell ya.

Jason lands in the park where Lipsyncher blasts him with a energy stream comprised of music notes. Because she's a Lipsyncher? Get it? He poses threateningly, because he can't be on-screen with a monster who only exists in Japan. Lipsyncher taunts the Red Ranger before he whips out his Power Sword and hurls it at her. We hear a loud clank sound effect and pan up to see Lipsyncher with a bloody gash on her face. I'm actually not kidding.

Maybe she just smeared her lipstick

Lipsyncher becomes enraged that her beautiful eyeless face has been tarnished, but Zedd doesn't give two shits about what his ugly monster thinks. He tosses a Grow Bomb to Earth, turning Lipsyncher gigantic. Jason summons the Red Dragon Thunderzord to take on the monster by himself, but she proves much more resilient towards the Red Dragon Warrior Mode's barrage of attacks than you'd expect from a creature made out of cosmetics.

Lipsyncher disorients the Red Ranger's Zord with sonic waves before slashing at it with her lipstick sword. Jason's Zord gets brutally emasculated by Lipsyncher as the Red Ranger wonders if maybe he should have gone after Pursehead instead. Well he tried going after Saban's Pursehead first and we all saw how that turned out.

Bulk and Skull wander around the beach searching with their Power Ranger Detector, and Bulk starts to get positive readings. Skull looks unsure of these results, as their detector is clearly leading both of them straight into the ocean. Bulk reminds him of how rich they'll be once they figure out who the Rangers really are. Skull, clearly knowing this is a waste of his time, unenthusiastically follows his pal out into the water where they will hopefully meet their swift and silent demise.

Now that the episode has gotten far enough along, Billy has managed to complete some piece of trash that will be able to stop Pursehead. Billy's Reverse Ocular Dilator….what? Something that closes opened eyes? Who cares. It doesn't matter. None of this matters.

Billy and Trini morph and arrive to stop Pursehead. Before she can use her novelty sized compact mirror, Trini distracts her with some of that karate shit she's all about. Trini chops and kicks before screaming out an awkwardly recycled line from Season 1 that sounds like it was edited in with a pair of pliers and duct-tape. While Pursehead is confused by someone moving in front of her, Billy zaps Kim, Tommy, and Zack with his magic device. The Rangers are unfrozen and form a circle around Pursehead to keep her at bay. 

Tommy gets word from Zordon that Jason is going to need the other Rangers' help to stop Lipsyncher. White Ranger tells the other four Rangers to go help Jason, and he'll take care of Pursehead on his own. Ignoring the fact that Pursehead was able to effortlessly stop three of the Rangers by herself, Tommy decides this will be the best course of action. The other Rangers agree before teleporting away, leaving Tommy one on one with the big purse.

Tommy and Pursehead pose against one another before Pursehead pulls out a white garbage can labeled "DENTAL FLOSS" to snare the White Ranger. The energy floss ties Tommy up and swings him around the park before Tommy requests Saba's help. The goddamned magical talking tiger sword hovers into the sky and blasts Pursehead with eyebeams that send the monster reeling and free Tommy from his bindings.

Now that Pursehead is on the ropes, Tommy busts out one of the most impressive attacks we've ever seen to defeat this joke of a monster.

...What?

Jesus, that was it? One kick? You kick her and she slides away and dissolves?  You couldn't budget up some sparkly slashes from Saba to finish her off? Pursehead you total jobber. Get the fuck out of this episode, I'm trying to enjoy myself.

The other four Rangers arrive at the scene of Jason's battle to summon their Thunderzords and help him out. Instead of abruptly forming the Thunder Megazord, we finally get to see the individual Thunderzords pull out some cool looking tricks. The Unicorn Thunderzord levitates a batch of boulders and hurls them at the monster. The Griffin Thunderzord blasts fireballs at Lipsyncher. The Firebird Thunderzord creates a massive tornado that hurls Lipsyncher through the air. The Lion Thunderzord caps it all off by performing a u-turn. Yeah that's all he gets. No cool powers for Zack's Zord. Maybe next season, asshole.

The Red Dragon Warrior Mode is re-energized as his comrades join him, and the five Zords form the Thunderzord Assault Team. Lipsyncher tries desperately to blast the flying Zords out of the air, but they prove much too fast for a creature with no eyes. With Lipsyncher on the ropes, the Red Dragon Thunderzord dismounts from the Assault Team and uses its staff to finish off the beast. A move that I'll gif because it's not like we'll ever get to see it again.

Her lips are sealed. Permanently.

With both of the monsters of the week defeated, the Ranger Teens regroup on the beach to celebrate a job well done. Tommy returns the purse to Kimberly, who thanks him for anti-climactically killing a monster that was supposed to be impressive I guess.

The Ranger Teens enjoy a hearty chuckle as they see Bulk and Skull emerge from the cold dead sea. Both of the bullies are covered in all sorts of seaweed and debris, and somehow both survived holding their breath for half an hour underwater. Bulk follows the Power Ranger Detector to a group of kids on the beach and demands to know when they last saw the Rangers. The kids make fun of them for being a couple of limp-dick morons, as Skull jovially asks if he can be the Red Ranger.

Jason looks Skull dead in the eyes and says "No matter what you do, never say that again. Not even as a joke. I wouldn't wish this curse on my worst enemy. Don't you EVER fucking wish for that again. Do you hear me?" All of the kids start to cry as Jason clutches his head and falls to the sand screaming in pain, barely able to breathe with the grip of this show around his neck. He sobs a muffled scream while he buries his face in sand as Tommy smiles blankly and asks if Kim wants to go to a karate tournament for their next date.




Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Milli Vanilli







Personal Thoughts

This was a really pleasant surprise. I had a much better time with this episode than I ever would have expected. The novelty of having two monsters in one episode is always cute, but I appreciate the sense of division it gives the Ranger team. Half of them are wrapped up in nonsense with Pursehead, and the other half are either fighting Lipsyncher or aware of how bad she's got Jason beat.

For my money, the only weak spot in this episode is the aforementioned Pursehead. When you have one of the monster costumes from Dairanger and can finally have some sort of interaction between the Rangers and the monster, I expect a little better than a monster freezing the team without putting up any actual fight. Maybe her costume was in really bad condition and couldn't move very well, but it still leaves a really unsatisfying experience when all the monster can do is freeze people solid literal seconds after they show up. Don't get me started on how easily she got taken out either. No thanks.

Interestingly, not only is Pursehead the first Dairanger monster we'll see in U.S. footage, but the first monster to appear exclusively in U.S. footage. None of the Japanese footage of Pursehead was used at all. She didn't have a Zord battle that could be used, and a lot of her ground footage would also prove difficult to edit around. As luck would have it her costume was one of incredibly few costumes we would have for the Season 2 monsters so the production crew decided to use it here to pad out the Lipsyncher footage. A purse monster and lipstick monster actually fit together thematically well so kudos to Power Rangers for being creative with what they had.

Speaking of, I found footage of the crew from Power Rangers reacting to finally having a monster costume they could film with. Check it out!

While there isn't an awful lot to say about the Lipsyncher monster, you can tell from the footage that her costume is already in bad shape during filming. You can see the foam around her shoulders peeling in just about every scene she shows up in. If I had to hazard a guess as to why we never got her costume for U.S. footage, it probably fell apart during production on Dairanger. That or some creepy weirdo took it home to have sex with. Both options are equally likely.

Interestingly, Lipsyncher was used as a boss/playable character in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Fighting Edition video game. I'm not sure why out of all the monsters she was selected, but I assume it was to give all the sisters who had to play this game with their dorky brother a character to play as. 

In the Thunderzord battle, there's actually a reason as to why the Lion Thunderzord didn't use any attacks on Lipsyncher. In the Sentai episode, the Lion's special attack was creating illusions which he used to summon one of the Dairanger villains. The main villains in Dairanger were Japanese actors wearing leather outfits, so naturally Power Rangers wasn't able to use this scene. Unless they wanted to explain why Zack was summoning Japanese leather daddies for an attack.

I'm sad to say this is the only time that we'll get to see the other four Thunderzords in action on their own. This certainly isn't Power Rangers fault since Dairanger only gave one episode's worth of footage for the Thunderzords to fly solo. It's just a shame that we got so much separated Zord footage last season, but the best we'll get here is a handful of scenes where the Red Dragon Thunderzord fights the enemies by himself. Just add that to the laundry list of little things that irk me in Season 2.





5 comments:

  1. Those poor monsters. Their costumes were unusable. All they could do is use stock footage. Keykeeper couldn't get a fight in his "own" episode. Doomstone went to help, but his two buddies weren't there, Motorpsycho (his master) and Big Phoney.

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  2. I don't think anyone would expect this show to have many high-minded monster concepts, but the "Purse Monster" and the "Lipstick Monster" appear to have hit a new low. They seem like something created from the imagination of a four-year-old child. Regardless, there were some bizarre and inspired touches, such as the lipstick epaulets. What does it all mean? I truly don't know.

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  3. In my personal headcanon Tommy gives Billy two trashbags full of white clothing when he becomes Zeo Red and Billy gives up his powers.

    And rag on the purse monster all you want, it's not the last purse monster we'll see in Power Rangers!

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    1. I'm surprised how much I remember enjoying that other purse monster. I hope that stays true when I get there.

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  4. The original Megazord was a collaboration: A T-rex has no usable arms & bird-shaped legs. It needs the other zords--even the Pterodactyl, which hides the stubby T-rex arms (& ultimately gives the MegaDragonzord one of its attacks).
    The Ninja Megazord will bring that back; each zord is an important component of the body.

    But the Thunder Megazord is just putting armor on the Red Dragon & giving it a less interesting weapon, so this should be the season where showcasing individual Zord powers would be MOST important. That this is the only episode where the other 4 do anything on their own is a tragedy.

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