Tuesday, March 1, 2016

MMPR Season 2 Episode 26: Zedd Waves


Threat of Parental Abuse Met with Attempted Drowning
Elderly Couple Duped into Serving Satan












Ever since it became abundantly clear that Zack, Jason, and Trini had quit the show, Power Rangers has been trying my patience by attempting every trick in the book to keep their characters around. We've had stock footage of the actors, body doubles, and weekly excuses for why one of them couldn't be asked to show up unmorphed. The writing is so clearly on the wall, you'd have to be blind not to see something is going on. That, or you're a five year old watching a children's show. But even if you hadn't noticed that these three stopped showing up, you might have noticed the fact that their morphed dialogue hasn't sounded anything like them the last 20 episodes.

I understand that Power Rangers doesn't want to boot half its team out the door unceremoniously. That's not what I'm suggesting either. What I mean is that we could announce the World Peace Conference in an episode, introduce the new Stone Canyon teens in another, then ship the old Rangers out in the next episode. Hell, you could easily describe the Peace Conference in "Zedd's Monster Mash," and segue straight through "Ninja Encounter," then swap out the three teens after that. Why would you ever write more episodes that you couldn't have half of your principal cast present for? Who wants to watch footage from old episodes nodding while an old man pretends to have the voice of a teenager? Why is it we're wasting time on episodes that nobody could possibly want to watch?

What's that? Today's episode is about a monster standing in a field talking like a radio DJ? Scratch what I just said, this episode sounds fucking incredible.

The Stone Canyon trio are gearing up for a big triathlon to remind the audience they are physically-fit and attractive characters. Kim, Tommy, and Billy show up to cheer them on, but not before we ham-handedly have our characters vomit exposition about the upcoming Peace Conference.

Billy says it would be a tremendous honor to be sent to another country where Saban can keep him off the payroll forever. Instead of rooting for his nerdy friend to go hang out with other dorks from around the globe, Tommy asks what would happen to the Power Rangers if one (or three) of them were selected for this Peace Conference. Did we need to pepper in these very blatant hints about future events? Couldn't we have gotten all of them out of the way in one dumb episode instead of stretching them across six?

Nevermind that nonsense, this triathlon has a much more important purpose than simply providing us with a way to kill time until the episode ends. Nope, the real reason we're at a triathlon is so Rocky and Adam can show off their sweet, sweet pecs.

And Aisha can rock a one-piece bathing suit

These shirtless antics are all it takes to get Lord Zedd in the mood for some evil shenanigans. While the Ranger Teens watch their friends compete, Zedd will send down a devious new monster to hypnotize the members of Earth's populous. No need to hypnotize me though Zedd. I'm staring at Medusa's eyes and they're inside Adam's juicy pecs. Can't help me anymore, cause those washboard abs just turned me hard as stone.

Would you react with surprise if I told you that this trivial event was also being observed by Bulk and or Skull? Would be you taken aback if I also informed you that they happen to believe these triathlon competitors are secretly moonlighting as the Power Rangers? Now would you find it at all queer that these two are engaging in comical shenanigans related to their attempt at discovering the identities of said Power Rangers? If you answered yes to any of these three statements, please pick a better episode to watch first. You owe it to yourself.

Bulk and Skull hang out in a boat while Big Boy Bulky points a prop at the swimmers and says it will detect if any of them are Rangers. Thankfully we in the audience know none of them are, so this scene will lead to nothing but abject failure for the duo. Not that that's anything new of course, but I wanted to make sure we're all up to speed.

Skull tosses a fishing lure into the water, intent on catching whichever triathlete is revealed to be a Ranger. Keep in mind that this means Skull's brilliant idea, which ties this entire conceit together, is to catch a real live human being on a dinky ass fishing rod. If you're using a Super Rod then maybe, but Skull seems like the type to stick to his Old Rod until it breaks. Bulk is a pain though, because he only gives you a bike voucher after you listen to him describe his favorite sandwich at length.

Electric energy zaps Bulk's energy transmogfricatron as well as Skull's fishing rod. The abrupt jacking of Skull's rod sends both of the boys careening out of the boat and into the water. This leads to a line from Bulk that actually floored me. Upon observing all of their gadgets hijacked, Bulk mournfully says to Skull, "Your dad's gonna kill you again." While that's dark enough, Skull's reaction to this line is to dip his head underwater as Bulk panics and asks where he went.

I didn't make up one iota of that scene, even though I wish I did. All my goofin' around about Skull's miserable home life? I think I accidentally invented a character trait that the show went back in time to incorporate. That or Skull is actually getting beaten by his parents and Season 3 will turn into a Lifetime movie about his troubles at home.

Lord Zedd uses the items stolen from Bulk and Skull to create his newest insidious monster. This guy goes by the name Beamcaster, and he's…one goofy looking son of a bitch.

Zedd why did you glue a microphone to that homeless man's body?

Beamcaster speaks like your run of the mill cornball radio DJ as he spouts off lines like "I'M TAKIN' OVER THE AIRWAVES, AND YOUR BRAINWAVES!" Those of you who love hacky radio jokes are in luck this week, because Beamcaster's entire personality is reminding you why radio is a dying industry. Lucky for him, he also has another trick up his sleeve. When he casts his fishing rod weapon, it spews a storm of multicolored Z's that turn all the extras in the area into mindless Zedd-heads. Anyone hit by his technique will immediately hold their arms out like a zombie and chant "Hail Lord Zedd" ad nauseum. No really, that's all they do.

That was Lord Zedd's plan? To make people chant his name repeatedly while stumbling around like jackasses? They're not going to go build some super space laser? Nah, we can have 'em wander around like they're in a Walking Dead LARP instead. That's significantly more fiendish. Though I will give this episode a glowing review if it ends with the hypnotized zombie citizens tearing Baboo apart. Then while they feast on his gooey innards, he demands they "CHOKE ON 'EM!" before succumbing to his wounds.

Beamcaster does his thing and zombifies some of Angel Grove's best and brightest


before chuckling to himself about all his new listeners. Wow, great job Beamcaster. You got a bunch of whitebread losers to listen to a constant stream of Beatles songs. Now make sure they never learn about Youtube or Spotify you'll be able to kick back and collect your steady six figures of mediocrity.

Alpha 5 realizes some shitty DJ is ruining people's lives in the park, but he's not able to get into contact with Tommy. Probably because Tommy is an irresponsible joker. He's putting more emphasis on a triathlon that three people he barely knows are competing in than the safety of the free world. Zordon realizes that things have become desperate and he'll be forced to do the unthinkable. He'll have to get in contact with Jason and ask him for help. Holy shit. You're actually calling in the B-team to solve a problem? Things really are dire. 

Jason, Trini, and Zack emerge from scuba diving, since we had footage of them doing that in Season 1, so we may as well use it here. As he drags Skull's lifeless corpse out of the water, Jason asks Zordon what's up and is informed of the entire situation from off-screen so that we can pretend Jason has any idea what Zordon just said. I'll give the show credit for finding a scene with these three together to make it look like they were too preoccupied for the triathlon, but I could have used a one-off line from Kim about how the others were busy scuba diving. Then I could have bitched about that being a lame excuse before being amazed they actually followed up on it. I just want this show to impress me alright? Is that too much to ask? Yes.

Zack, Trini, and Jason morph and locate Beamcaster prepping his audience for a new song parody that he totally made and certainly didn't buy from a radio prep service. Wait a second here…Beamcaster is in the same shot as the Red, Black, and Yellow Rangers. Are you trying to tell me the show has a Dairanger monster suit it can use for a fight? Alright Power Rangers, give me something to work with here.

Great fight scene, thanks.

Jesus Christ. You take one of however few monsters that you're able to film a fight scene with, and you have him blast the Rangers from off-screen. What's the point in using this costume if it's never going to be in frame with the Power Rangers?  Can't you film them punching and kicking at Beamcaster before he hypnotizes them? Anything? Holy shit. Can't my child-like brain enjoy a mindless karate fight for a little while?

With the three Rangers who wanted more money out of the way, Lord Zedd targets the less expensive trio. The Teens are walking in the park before they're assaulted by a group of Z-Putties. I'm happy this show was smart enough to follow that Beamcaster scene up with an actual battle. It almost makes me forget nobody has fought that monster yet. Usually I'm not too excited by a Putty fight, but after getting blue-balled by Beamer in the Morning, I'll take what I can get.

The Ranger Trio get some assistance in the Putty fight when Adam, Aisha, and Rocky show up. I hope you guys realize you are pissing this triathlon down your legs right now. The teens demolish the Putties in some glorious karate action while Ron Wasserman's soothing rhythms put my mind at ease. I want every last one of you to know the only music I'll allow to be played at my funeral will be the entirety of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: A Rock Adventure" on loop.

After the last of the Z-Putties are finished off, the Stone Canyon teens tell the Ranger Teens that they saw the Putties from the trail and figured their pals could use some help. When Tommy wistfully mentions they won't be able to win the triathlon after taking a Putty detour, Rocky says there wasn't any other choice to make. Fuck you Rocky. You always have a choice. You just happened to make the wrong fucking one.

Oh shoot, Zordon's calling us. I wonder what it's about? The Ranger Teens teleport into the Command Center where they're alerted that Zedd's newest monster has put their friends into a hypnotic trance. Zordon informs them that nobody has been able to stop him…which should seem pretty obvious since the only members of the Power Rangers who haven't quit yet are observing Beamcaster right now.

Tommy asks where Jason and crew are, and Zordon says the unemployment office. The Red, Black, and Yellow Rangers however are currently in the park under Beamcaster's spell. Tommy asks Billy if he can science up some gadget to stop the monster's magic, and Billy says he'll give it his best shot. In other words, Tommy better have a backup plan for when this thing inevitably fails.

Back in the park, Bulk and Skull wander around while bemoaning their abusive parents and how all their things were stolen by space magic. Bulk cuts off Skull's 4 seconds of exposition by saying what's really weird is that giant mushroom-headed monster in front of them. Beamcaster decides these two have the sort of mind that Zedd needs leading his army, so he zaps them with his Z beams to turn them into Zedd Zombies. The only difference is when Skull is hit by the blast, he chants "Hail Lord Fred." All the intergalactic demon magic in the universe was used on this guy, and he's still too stupid to say Zedd.

Not a gut-laugh line by any means, but I'll admit. I got a smile out of it.

At the Stone Canyon triathlon checkpoint, Beamcaster appears behind the spectators and blasts them with his magic, which turns them into more tedious zombies. Oh goodie, another group of people stumbling around like idiots while chanting "Hail Lord Zedd." Far be it from me to question Lord Zedd's glorious vision, but at some point maybe you could ramp up what you're doing. It's cool you taught these morons to say the same three words over and over, but how much is that accomplishing for you? You got two of the good Power Rangers on your side. Maybe it's time to use this gaggle of goofballs to your advantage.

Tommy tells Billy his stupid machine is eating up too much time and they need to go stop that microphone-faced freak. Not only for capturing three of their friends, but also for wearing socks with sandals. Kim, Tommy, and Billy morph to the park where Beamcaster immediately casts his fishing-rod staff at them to try and infect them with the Z disease. Blue, Pink, and White all dive out of the way, but Beamcaster's Zedd Zombies aimlessly wander towards Billy and Kimberly. The citizens clumsily stomp on Billy's device which we're informed is now broken. Even though when we see the prop again, the only thing wrong with it is there's a tiny piece of plastic chipped off. Sorry guys, but here at Power Rangers we don't build a prop twice. Time is money, and I can tell you three of our actors who had to learn that the hard way.

Beamcaster casts his Z waves at the Blue and Pink Rangers, transforming them into a new pair of Zedd Zombies. Beamcaster proclaims "Now for the weather! We got bright and sunny days for Lord Zedd. Dark and cloudy days for the robotic Rangers." Oof, they got you doing weather now Beamcaster? Hope you enjoy being stuck in the Purgatory of radio for the rest of your dogshit career. 

Beamcaster notices that he neglected to capture the most profitable Ranger and tells Tommy he's got some new tricks to try. About goddamned time. We're 13 minutes into the episode and all this guy has done is make radio jokes and wave a fishing rod at people. Tommy, for once in his karate-life, endears himself to me by informing Beamcaster "Nice try, but your jokes are so old you're really starting to bore me." Which I'm willing to bet was the same sentence that haunted the dreams of many writers on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Also anyone who writes blogs about children's programming.

Oh sorry I forgot to show you what kind of moves Beamcaster has going for him. Nothing too out of the ordinary.

Beamcaster bomb
Beamcaster is no stranger to bombing on the air.

Tommy narrowly avoids Beamcaster's ridiculous novelty bombs, but the monster gets tired of playing around and hurls his Z waves at the White Ranger. With this…all six Rangers have been taken under Beamcaster's control. No shit. All of them are hypnotized and Billy's device has been "broken." I hate to say it, but Beamcaster actually managed to defeat all six of the Power Rangers. All this coming from some clown in a poncho throwing frogs at people.

With Tommy under his powers, Beamcaster teleports away so that he can take a call from the 98.9 Angel Grove Fugitive who's stolen 10,000 dollars from the studio! For whatever reason he seems content to let the Zombie Rangers wander around aimlessly instead of doing something intelligent with them. I assume Lord Zedd never actually planned ahead far enough to know what he would do if he actually beat the Rangers.

Which brings me to a big point here. Lord Zedd has actually defeated the Power Rangers. I can barely believe it. This is one of the most clear-cut losses these characters have had the entire series. None of them can fight back, and the only people who can help them now are Zordon and Alpha. Good luck with that guys, I'm sure the robot slave will be able to get you out of this sticky situation.

Oh wait I'm forgetting someone aren't I? Aren't there three dashing young teenagers currently competing in a triathlon conveniently located far enough away from Beamcaster to avoid his spell? Why say I do believe there are! As a matter of fact, Aisha, Adam, and Rocky just so happen to ride their bikes through a cluster of hypnotized Zedd-heads before realizing something might be wrong.

Rocky discovers Billy's gadget on the ground, and two people with tongues stapled into their mouths extras speak robotically about how those three must be Power Rangers too. Adam, Aisha, and Rocky? Power Rangers? What a completely preposterous concepts you foolish Zombies. Zedd's captives stop their needless chanting and lumber towards the Stone Canyon teens, but Alpha quickly teleports them into the Command Center, and out of harm's way.

Zordon tells these three dickweeds that they fucked up real bad when they discovered the secret identity of the Power Rangers. Now anytime Zordon needs an extra pair of hands to get dirty, these three are the first on his list. I didn't realize being an ally to the forces of justice was like borrowing money from the mafia. You don't know when, but they'll come find you when they need payback.

Alpha whines that Blue Ranger's device was the only thing they could possibly use to stop Beamcaster, but now it's been horrendously broken beyond all repair. Aisha tells this panicky robot to calm his shit, because she can probably fix this hunk of junk. Not because she's some brilliant super genius, but because she's worked at a radio station for the past three years. A piece of information that I will bet good money won't be referred to ever again.

Aisha lightly tucks some wires into Billy's frequency broadcastmatic and says it should be able to work again, albeit not at full strength. Aisha, Adam, and Rocky point the device at the Viewing Globe, which displays the six Zombie Rangers wandering around aimlessly. Beams of electricity zap at the Rangers, but it doesn't seem to have any effect.

Zordon's booming voice responds to the situation with "I'LL AMPLIFY THE DEVICE WITH MY BRAIN POWER," which might be the most comical line in this entire series. Every time Zordon tries to say something serious, you realize that you're listening to a giant placenta with a face inside of a glass tube. Sort of undercuts the drama. As opposed to the fact that it's a gigantic blue head saying the line while his comic relief android watches.

Zordon's BRAIN POWER boosts the device enough to release the Rangers from Beamcaster's spell. The Rangers question what they're doing wandering around in a field, and try looking around off-camera to see if there's a monster in Japanese footage they should be fighting. Zordon brings the Rangers to the Command Center to inform them that they had their pasty asses saved by civilians, and that better not happen again. Aisha gives Billy's device back, and without so much as a goddamned thank you, the Rangers teleport back into the park to take on Beamcaster. I get why Trini, Jason, and Zack can't say anything, but the other three are still working on this stupid show. Unzip your lips!

Billy points his frequency reverse-o-ray at Beamcaster and launches an energy blast at him. Despite all the hubbub about how necessary this tool was to stopping the monster, Beamcaster gingerly knocks it back with his fishing rod. It's the most underwhelming goddamned thing and the perfect way to fizzle out the importance of Billy's worthless science garbage.

Tommy is furious and demands that Beamcaster switch to Sentai footage right this instant so they can actually do some damage to him. Beamcaster complies as he pulls out another bomb to chuck at Tommy. Tommy wises up a bit from last time as he catches Beamcaster's bomb and hucks it back at him. The monster, clearly not knowledgeable in the rules of hot potato, lets the bomb explode in his hands as he's thrown backwards. Beamcaster tries hurling another bomb at the White Ranger, but it gets thrown back and Beamcaster learns an important lesson in pattern recognition, and givesies backsies.

Beamcaster wobbles around before unsheathing a sword he probably should have used before now. The Power Rangers decide they're sick of this radio reject and bring together the Power Blaster to finish him off. What? No of course we don't need a Zord battle in this episode. Beamcaster casting a fishing rod 20 times was far more exciting than giant robots could ever be.

Hope you know how to run a Podcast, dickhead.

With the monster defeated, all of its former servants are freed from its evil spell. This scenario obviously doesn't make Zedd particularly happy as he slams his fist down in a boiling red rampage. Goldar stands around in the background as he wonders what would cheer his master up. The only solution he has is to instinctively get on all fours, and wave his hind-end at Zedd while prepping for the business end of a menorah.

Back at the triathlon, Aisha, Adam, and Rocky come in dead last. Since this is Power Rangers, dead last means that they're only a couple of feet behind the rest of the competitors, but they still sort of lost so it still counts right? Tommy and the gang congratulate them on their participation, and thank them for saving the Power Rangers from a microphone wearing a wide-brimmed hat. Adam tells the Ranger Teens that helping them out is the most important thing they've ever done. Particularly because they don't have any defining characteristics other than being athletic and good-hearted.

Christ on the cross these three are a real snore. Could you imagine having Power Rangers this boring? Hopefully this is the last time we'll have to deal with these losers.



Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: BRAIN POWER



Personal Thoughts



I dunno everybody. This episode doesn't feel bad but I was also in a real weird mood watching it. I think it deserves a rewatch but I felt really bored with how one-note Beamcaster is. Until halfway through the episode the only thing he does is fling Z's and talk like a radio personality. Bulk and Skull don't get a lot of material in this episode, and instead we have to waste time watching a bunch of extras wander around with their arms outstretched. It's cool to see the Stone Canyon trio acting as heroes, but I don't think we needed an entire episode to establish that. Just put them in the goddamned pajamas already.

I remember when I went to my friend's house in Kindergarten for the first sleepover I ever got to attend. His mom took us Blockbuster, which you kids out there might know as "That Abandoned Building the Drifter Sells Us Weed." We all got to pick out a videotape for the night, and I picked a VHS with this episode on it. Yeah back in those days we would beg our parents for tapes with one episode on them. What a bunch of shit.

But anyway, two of the other kids told me that Power Rangers is a totally lame show for little kids, and I think that might have been the first time I was ever ashamed for liking Power Rangers. Spoilers: It wouldn't be the last. I was going to turn this into a spiel about teaching kids it's okay to like whatever they want to, but then I realized I just wrote 8 pages about some moron with a microphone for a head. Maybe it's a better lesson to teach your kids to make fun of people who are picking out weird things to enjoy. Look I don't know that's why I don't have kids.

Oh yeah and there's a scene near the end where Beamcaster is standing out in a quarry. If you look behind him you'll see a shitload of weapons sitting behind him, which are all the weapons from Dairanger. There's something about me that loves these scenes where something was clearly off, but the editors rolled their eyes and said "Nobody's going to give a shit. Who cares?" Only me guys. Only me.










5 comments:

  1. What I love about the Bulk-Skull scene is Bulk tells Skull not to rock the boat... until he hears Skull say "I think it's a whale", and then Bulk pauses and _leaps up to help_, forgetting everything he just said. The second best being how Skull seems genuinely panicked that his friend has been Zedd-waved.

    With the Stone Canyon Three, the show seems afraid that if we're not gently handheld through how cool they are, we won't accept them as new Rangers. S3 does this as well with Kat but that's more sensible when you have the bloody actors around for the handover; this just gives you the worst of both worlds, like if Richie and Curtis were on Masked Rider.

    (And then Saban suddenly stops giving a monkey's about this when Aisha's out)

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    1. Personally I think if we're going to spend so long talking about them, we could at least give each of them one episode where they're in the spotlight. Give this episode to Aisha while she talks about radio communications and expand on that just a tiny bit. Give Rocky and Adam literally anything to do. The Ranger Teens can tell us all they want about how cool these new guys are, but maybe if we saw them have a personality other than "Girl in yellow, boy in red, boy in black", it might be more exciting to have them on board as Rangers.

      You're telling me Furbus wasn't Curtis standing on Richie's shoulders?

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    2. They were Ferbus' stunt doubles, to do scenes that were beneath him.

      Giving the upcoming newbies an episode is an idea we know is workable because Power Rangers tried it with Turbo. Carlos got to beef with Adam, and I'd swear Ashley got one I can't remember, and it was certainly planned for the unused characters TJ and Cassie supplanted because we have the scripts for it online. (And Kat gets one long focus) S2's try can't even beat that

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  2. Yes, I learned many interesting things about Japanese hats today. Thank you!

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  3. About that last picture, it looks to me like he's wearing black stockings over white pants, but it could be either way.

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