Tuesday, February 9, 2016

MMPR Season 2 Episode 23: The Ninja Encounter Part 2



Episode Consisting of Abject Tedium Accidentally Aired for Human Consumption
Zedd Makes Flower Guy Appear
















Last week on Power Rangers, a baby got knocked down a hill. Luckily a group of three hip, attractive, affordable teens helped save baby Jacob before he could bore the audience any longer. These three teens; Rocky, Adam, and Aisha, introduced themselves to Kim, Billy, and Tommy. Soon after the six became best of pals, Goldar kidnapped these three new characters and their teacher Mr. Anderson, baby Jacob's father. Now Tommy, Billy, Kim, and three people facing away from the camera while they pretend to be Jason, Zack, and Trini must work tirelessly to save these hostages.

Billy's data indicates that the trio of teenagers and Mr. Anderson (because we're already paying his actor) are being held in a closed-off area somewhere in another dimension. They might also be in the same cave we always film scenes like this in, but that's just a wild guess from me. Alpha 5 blathers out that the kidnapped four must have been taken to Lord Zedd's Dimension of Despair. Alpha is even more shocked by this development because last week we referred to it as the Cave of Despair, but wouldn't it be more exciting if it was in another dimension?

Inside the aforementioned Cave of Dimensions, Aisha continues to struggle with the locked chains binding her and the others. She tries desperately to use a hairpin to pick the lock, but Mr. Anderson tells her to knock that shit off, lest they incur the wrath of these terrifying idiots with prune-faces and a constant case of warble mouth. I'm sure if Mr. Anderson realized that his only son was in the hands of Bulk and Skull he'd be gnawing on those chains to try and break them himself.

Goldar says the teens will join Zedd's forces very soon, and that teacher they kidnapped is still with them for no particular reason. In order to keep the Rangers from snooping around his dimension, Lord Zedd takes a gander at Earth and observes flower petals strewn to and fro. Zedd decides that his last flower monster wasn't lame enough, so he's going to try and up the ante by making an even dumber one this week.

Wait a sec…what was that? Let me slow that down.

Power Rangers Goofs
Hahahaha. Oh man.

Ho-lee shit. Yeah that frame that's a message from the editors was left in the actual aired episode. That's astonishing. How few people actually worked on this show to let that slide? How ridiculous was the turn-around on these episodes that nobody had time to go back and double check this? Power Rangers is no stranger to editing mistakes, but this is a whole new ballgame of peeling back the curtain. Can anyone else out there name a show that leaves fucking editor notes in the show proper?

Well take this moment of editing carelessness with you my friends, because it will set the tone for the entire rest of this episode.

Zedd's terrifying monster Flower Guy…oh wait my mistake. Zedd's terrifying monster Terror Blossom will use its petals to freeze anything that stands in its way. Zordon describes this monster as being particularly dangerous, in spite of everything you'd think by looking at it. It's a guy in tights wearing a cherry blossom branch on his shoulders, I'd say the Rangers have a fighting chance.

Alpha 5 freaks out when he realizes Zedd is jamming their sensors somehow, and he's unable to locate the monster. As this series continues it becomes more and more apparent that Alpha is the master of dropping lines that you're forced to take at face value because the show isn't going to show you something happening.

Zordon picks a group of Ranger Teens to go and rescue the Stone Canyon hostages, and conveniently selects Billy, Kimberly, and Tommy. Those three Rangers sure have been hanging out together a lot lately. Jason, Trini, and Zack are tasked with battling against the Terror Blossom, which thankfully means they can be morphed and dubbed over for the majority of the episode.

Stock footage of Trini and Zack look perturbed at this news, because they didn't have any better footage to insert so who gives a fuck? I imagine an editor nervously chainsmoking as he hacks together reels of Japanese karate babies alongside shots of actors that haven't been on set in three months. This episode is supposed to be done in 20 minutes and he hasn't even made the flower guy appear yet!

Zordon's prepared a new method of travel since the Rangers won't be able to teleport directly to the monster's location. It's called Jetting, and allows the Rangers to survey the land below and see exactly where the monster is. Jason reacts to this unique situation with an appropriate response, "Right." Wow, with dedicated splicing like that, it's like the other three never left!

The Rangers morph as half the team demonstrates just what Jetting entails.

Zordon never read the tale of Icarus.

Please stop laughing. This is serious. Come on guys, it's a superpower.

The three Jetting Rangers locate Terror Blossom in approximately 8 seconds of checking beneath them. They land in front of him as the goofy asshole monster chortles to himself. That's the entirety of this guy's personality. He busts out an incredibly corny "A-hyuh hyuh hyuh" laugh after every goddamn line he's got. Zedd really needs to get out of the monster-making business if this is the best he's got.

Thankfully Power Rangers has the Terror Blossom costume to film with so we get a brief fight between him and the Red, Yellow, and Black Rangers. Unfortunately because this is Season 2, the fight only lasts 10 seconds before the monster vanishes. Christ almighty, is there anything Season 2 can do without leaving the audience with blue balls? All I want to see is a fight and as soon as I get one, it's ripped right out from under me.

Before the Terror Blossom vanishes, he promises that he's going to germinate his seed pods. I think that's plant-talk for buffing the bishop. Maybe the Rangers just caught a monster trying real hard to not get caught stroking off in public. Zordon alerts the three Rangers who talk in shitty lipsyncher voices that he's concerned about the Terror Blossom's promise of reproducing itself. Yeah me too. If I have to watch a plant man and his rosy palms, I'm going to consider switching over to Beetleborgs.

Who the fuck am I kidding? No I won't.

Upon hearing this devastating news, Jason's old man voice croaks out, "OH MAN! CAN HE DO THAT?!" The same thing this actor said when he first saw a young man of color voting. Zordon tells Alpha to scan the park, as Terror Blossom will need an intense heat source to germinate his seed pods. Don't worry Zordon, once he gets going there's going to be enough heat to germinate both those seed pods real good.

Zordon commands his cyborg manservant to contact "Tommy and the Others", which I guarantee you Saban tried to change the show's name to. Alpha manages to get the scanners back online just in time to see the Terror Blossom working his magic. In order to keep the Rangers from bothering him while his DOOR WAS CLOSED MOM, he spawns the Hatchasaurus with a blast of energy. Are we supposed to believe the Hatchasaurus is a flower monster, or is Terror Blossom really grasping at straws?

Hatchasaurus
I guess if you squint he kind of looks like a pitcher plant.

Alpha contacts Tommy, Billy, and Kim to inform them that they need to help the other Rangers battle against the monsters. There's no time to advance the plot now that we've needlessly summoned an old monster from Season 1 to kill time. The six Rangers regroup and discover the Hatchasaurus lounging around in the park. No longer a mute idiot like he was in Season 1, Hatchasaurus politely and jovially welcomes the Rangers and says it's nice to see them again. He asks how Jason, Zack, and Trini are doing before Kim whispers something to Hatchasaurus and the monster sadly says "Oh…that's a shame."

Hatchasaurus summons a batch of Z-Putties to combat the Rangers. The battle with the Putties sinks a few minutes of the episode's runtime before the audience realizes that the Hatchasaurus isn't fighting. He's standing motionless in the background while the Rangers confront the Putties. It's the weirdest thing and makes this episode that already looks bad look even worse. You don't even need to have the Hatchasaurus fight the Rangers. All you need is to have him gesturing cheers to the Putties or disdain for the Rangers. I'm not asking for complicated things everyone.

Hatchasaurus questions the morals of he, a dead monster, coming back to life due to the machinations of another. Is this justifiable? Is this wrong? What purpose does his life even serve if it can be restored at any point by another? If that's the case then was he ever truly alive?

Tommy turns around and is clearly facing the Hatchasaurus as he says "Where'd the Hatchasaurus go?" Just another excellent bit of effort put in by the team this week on an episode it looks like nobody wanted to make. Tommy takes another 30 looks around the park before he realizes that giant bird thing he's been looking at was actually the monster. He spin kicks Hatchasaurus to the ground and the monster starts to get testy. He wasn't even moving, so why are they getting all in his business?

Lord Zedd keeps the pace up by hurling a Growth Bomb to Earth for Hatchasaurus. The monster giants itself as the Rangers call for the Thunder Megazord and the Tigerzord. Oh boy. A monster from Zyuranger fighting the Zords from Dairanger? You lovely readers all know what that means by now right? Yep! It's another Season 2 spliced together Zord fight that nobody wants to watch!

Because this episode is so desperately padding for time, it also makes sure to use the longest possible version of the Thunderzord summoning sequence. It's over 2 goddamned minutes of nothing but Zord appearances and formations. We get some lines from Tommy while he rides on top of the White Tiger Thunderzord, but they amount to little more than "We need to stop the monster because he's big now." I so rarely mention the Zord summoning sequence because it's always the same thing, but when even that's a source of padding, then you know this episode was struggling to limp to the finish line.

So far this probably doesn't seem that padded out, but let me spoil a bit and clarify about this stuff with Hatchasaurus. It has absolutely zero effect on anything that will happen in the next episode. It is solely here to extend these episodes from two parts to three parts and it woefully shows. If you needed to pad out Part 1 with endless baby carriage chasing and you needed to pad out Part 2 with a retread of a Season 1 monster, then maybe you could have cut some of the gristle from this steak and kept it to two fucking parts.

The Hatchasaurus rises from beneath the ground as though he were buried. Even though he grew with Zedd's bomb and was stomping around the last time we saw him. Well we can't eat through another 10 seconds with Sentai footage if we don't have the Hatchasaurus bursting out of the ground now can we? The Tigerzord punches Hatchasaurus backwards from off-screen as does the Thunder Megazord. Since we don't have very much footage of the Hatchasaurus in this fight without the Dinozords in frame, the monster reacts to getting punched the exact same way both times. It's done in such rapid succession that it's nearly impossible not to notice, and it looks just as bad as it sounds.

The Thunder Megazord releases a cloud of smoke from its chest. The smoke surrounds Hatchasaurus and causes him to explode like a total jabroni. Back inside the Command Center, Alpha 5 notices that the Hatchasaurus' pieces haven't dissolved like they usually do and are reforming themselves. Zordon asks Alpha 5 if he's getting paid to forget how these goddamn monsters work, and reminds the cyborg that not dying was sort of the Hatchasaurus' deal. Zordon locates the monster's Cardiatron, which is what keeps it alive for all of you that forgot, and tells Tommy he needs to go kill that thing.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, Zedd blasts Cardiatron with energy and causes the Hatchasaurus to reform its body in the city. Now begins part 2 of this exciting Hatchasaurus battle everyone has been looking forward to. Hatchasaurus rushes at the screen, the Thunder Megazord reels backwards. Thunder Megazord punches, the Hatchasaurus falls backwards. At least the Zyu2 splice fights earlier in Season 2 had the mercy of being short. This fight is supposed to be the set piece of this episode and it completely blows.

Back inside Lord Zedd's cave, Aisha has finished picking the locks. She, Rocky, and Adam jump into action to kick the shit out of some Putties. Of course this is only after Rocky tells them to "follow his lead," before immediately jumping forward and slapping around a Putty anyway. For people calling themselves ninjas these three don't know shit about stealth. You got to Solid Snake those Putties if you want to get out of there.

Back at the fight with Hatchasaurus, this stupid episode finally manages to do something I can appreciate. The Hatchasaurus summons tiny volcanoes on his shoulders that he blasts the Zords with. The reason I like this is because this is footage we never saw during Season 1 and it's cool they took the time to include it here. You're taking the time to show us something new from an old monster, and I enjoy that a lot more than simply going through the motions to pad things out.

The Thunder Megazord and White Tigerzord are brutalized by the Hatchasaurus and his new weapons, but the Thunder Megazord soon retaliates by drawing its Thunder Saber. This is when my last compliment goes completely out the window. Power Rangers makes up for showing us something we haven't seen before by immediately showing us way too much of something we've definitely seen before. Are you good people ready? It's time for the absolute worst edit in all of Season 2.

Absolutely incredible

How the fuck? Seriously. Other splice battles have a lot of little "blink and you miss it" moments where you can make out the general shape or outline of the original Megazord. This is more of a "go momentarily blind and you might not catch our shoddy editing" kind of moment. This instance strikes me as the nadir of frustration that Season 2 exemplifies. It feels like a fed-up editor grasping their hair and saying "You want a Hatchasaurus fight? Fine, here it is you shitheads, and you can choke on it too." It's astounding how many missteps this episode has, and this brief scene still trumps all of them. This scene spits in the face of all the careful and creative attempts at editing Power Rangers has tried to employ while throwing its arms up and saying "Who gives a shit?"

Back inside the Cave of Dimensions, the ninja teens smack around the Z-Putties before Goldar abruptly appears. He launches bolts of energy at the three ninjas and commands the Z-Putties to chain them back up right away. What that means is that any of that tension of Aisha struggling to unchain herself and the others? Well that built to absolutely and utterly nothing. Just like everything else in this entire worthless episode. Thanks for making that moment your cliffhanger in Part 1 when it would become completely irrelevant in Part 2!

Since all these other developments have led to nothing, Goldar ups the ante by summoning a wooden snake that will morph into a real serpent in exactly one hour's time. Something he certainly couldn't have done in Part 1, or it may have cut into that exciting Hatchasaurus fight everyone is so invested in. Goldar's ultimatum is that the ninja trio can either submit to Lord Zedd voluntarily, or they can let the snake fill them with "evil venom" that will turn them into mindless drones. Oh wait did you say this snake would take an hour to transform? Thank God, I was really worried we weren't going to have more needless bullshit padding these episodes out by setting arbitrary time limits that will be followed tenuously at best.

Back at the battle with Hatchasaurus, the show decides we need one final editing fuck-up to send us home. As the Thunder Megazord reaches for its saber, this is the shot left in for absolutely no reason.

No part of this image could look less like the Thunder Megazord or its Saber

The Thunder Megazord slashes Hatchasaurus with its Thunder Saber, which leaves the monster reeling in pain. The White Ranger arms his Tigerzord's Thunderbolt, which slams into the Hatchasaurus and finishes it off. Remember all that palaver about the Cardiatron being responsible for reviving Hatchasaurus? Remember how Tommy was supposed to go and destroy it, despite not being on the team when the Rangers fought Hatchasaurus originally and having no idea what it was? Well none of that's important because now the Hatchasaurus is dead and can't revive himself again. Why? Who cares. The episode's almost over. Thanks for tuning in and sorry you can't get these 20 minutes back.

Zordon summons the Rangers back to the Command Center to remind them that Lord Zedd is still trying to turn Rocky, Adam, and Aisha into his evil minions. Oh and remember the Terror Blossom we haven't mentioned in the last 10 minutes? Yeah he's still jerking off somewhere around here. Alpha notes that a creature that uses its power to freeze everything requires heat to reproduce. Zordon claims that Lord Zedd's monsters can't possibly escape the laws of nature. Which is his way of saying that flower's gotta bust a fierce nut if he wants to make more baby Hatchasauruses.

The team splits up yet again so we can keep the three actors that quit together. As soon as all six Rangers morph, Red, Black, and Yellow land in front of the Terror Blossom once more. Hey that's so weird, if we cut the pointless scene of Terror Blossom vanishing and all that tedious bullshit with the Hatchasaurus, we could have continued the previous fight with him right here and not wasted all of our goddamned time. Wouldn't that have been something?

Upon seeing the Rangers, Terror Blossom immediately fires a beam from his hands that freezes Jason, Zack, and Trini solid. What a coincidence that a monster fighting these three also has the power to make them unable to talk too. I can't wait for Zedd to make a monster that rips up their contracts and bans them from the Saban Studios.

For the second time in the episode, White Ranger stops his team from saving the ninja trio to take a call from Zordon about an emergency. As a matter of fact it's the exact same footage repeated, but with different dialogue overlaid on the scene. I can't wait for Ninja Encounter Part 9 when Tommy, Kim, and Billy are just about to finally save the ninjas, but are stopped when they realize they left Billy's stove on and need to go turn it off for half an episode.

The three Rangers debate what to do since half of their team has been frozen, but those three really cool new characters are in danger too! Hey Rangers? There are three of you. Maybe you can use some of those big noggins of yours to figure this shit out and divvy up your resources. Unless that big spooky Terror Blossom looks like he's too strong for only two of you.

Zordon alerts the Rangers that Goldar's snake is working its way towards his hostages, something that must sound significantly more diabolical to the Rangers considering Zordon never told them about his magical wooden snake puppet. Tommy, Kim, and Billy teleport to the monster's location and discover the people pretending to be their friends frozen in costume. The Terror Blossom tries to vomit its petals onto the others, but they successfully retrieve the other Rangers and teleport them back into the Command Center. That sure sounded like a job you needed all three Rangers for. Way to handle this crisis intelligently.

Billy fidgets with a gadget on the three frozen Rangers, but no matter how much energy or money he tries throwing at them, they're already long gone. Alpha 5 suggests increasing the power, but Kim and Tommy worry that they don't have enough time to rescue the Stone Canyon teens. Well thankfully you're doing so much while you stand around and worry about Billy's science crap. Couldn't do this without you two.

The evil serpent draws nearer to the Stone Canyon teens as they look worried about their inevitable fate. With that, this abomination of an episode limps to its flaccid and embarrassing conclusion. Way to go everyone! You managed to fill 20 minutes with meandering nonsense instead of filming anything that matters. Be proud of yourselves.





Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Monsters That Respect the Laws of Nature





Personal Thoughts




Barf. What a piece of shit. This episode exemplifies apathy. Who cares how it looks as long as the episode gets done? You can feel the editors desperately checking their watches to make sure they're about to hit 20 minutes. It's a shame that instead of getting anything worth watching we were forced to sit through this wretched Hatchasaurus retread. They easily could have introduced Terror Blossom in Part 1, cut out Hatchasaurus, and finished this bullshit in two parts.

How do I know that? Because that's exactly what they fucking did originally. Part 1 would drastically cut back on all that nonsense with baby Jacob, there was no revival of the Hatchasaurus, and the original cliffhanger was questioning if Tommy's group should rescue the three kidnapped teens before rescuing the other Rangers from Terror Blossom. Don't waste more of our time with episodes that clearly don't have three of your primary actors in them. If you want to do this Hatchasaurus revival since you have his costume, wait till you replace the actors if you want to do that. Don't prolong the time we have to spend with three obvious stand-ins that couldn't sound less like these characters your audience presumably wants to see.

Sincerely, I would like to see the Hatchasaurus revived in just about any other capacity than this. It's cool that the US crew had his costume on hand to film with, but they really didn't do much with it. Other than having it visibly stand around during a Putty fight. I appreciated Tommy kicking him over, but it seems like the US crew didn't want to risk busting the suit open. The most he gets to do in US footage is stand in a field as he gestures his claws forward.

This will be the last time we see the Hatchasaurus, and what a note to go out on. He was one of my favorite monsters in Season 1, and his swan song has to be this lousy dreck. His costume would later get auctioned off, along with many other Power Rangers costumes that Saban Productions had on hand. Personally if I ever had a chance to own something like this, I'd cut some eyeholes in it and drive around town wearing that thing. Which would last about 10 minutes before I got dragged out of my car and got beat to death by the cops. Oh well, it was a good life.





4 comments:

  1. I remember this three parter when it aired. I thought it was ok when I first saw it, but I do recognize a lot of issues with it now, and I think a lot of this had to do with trying to come up with something that creates tension and peril but also having to scramble in the aftermath of the departure of three of their stars and also try to hide that from the audience as best as they can while they set things up in order to slide in their obvious replacements.

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  2. My wife and I watched that - and greatly enjoyed seeing part of Terror Blossom fall off when it ducked but nothing else in the episode - and she said at least we get to see the new kids be Rangers in Part 3. When I reminded her that didn't happen then, she swore mightily and refused to watch Part 3 for four days.

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    1. Oh my god I was going to gif that but I chose not to in favor of the editor note. I can not tell you how happy I am somebody else noticed that. Please tell your wife I'm sorry you had to watch this.

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  3. That "Zedd makes flower guy appear" note is incredible. Now I'm wondering whether there is any other show where a production note is left in a frame of an episode like that

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