Tuesday, March 8, 2016

MMPR Season 2 Episode 27: The Power Transfer Part 1


Brand New Toy Introduced For Second Time
Magical Sleeping Gas Cockblocks High-Schooler












I couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief when I saw this episode's title. It's finally time to stop pretending Trini, Zack, and Jason are a presence in this show and drop the characters like their actors dropped this show. I would say I'm going to miss these three, but they've been gone so long it doesn't even feel like a departure. You may as well have Vin Diesel sitting at a stop sign before Jason drives up and says "Thought you could leave without saying goodbye?"

The actors' absence is an issue the show has taken steps to rectify, but it sure takes its sweet-ass time to fix it. It's cleaning up beer cans from your New Year's party on St. Patrick's Day. The problem has been right there and you didn't change it because you're a hopeless alcoholic who writes a blog about Power Rangers.

A big scoop is being heard around the world, and it's about the three teens from Angel Grove who will be participating in the World Peace Conference. We even get an honest to goodness spinning newspaper with the headline "Three Local Teens Chosen For World Peace Summit." For a town that's repeatedly besieged by gigantic pumpkins, diaper mollusks, and Ticklesneezers, I wouldn't think it would be that easy to make the front page of the paper. Every single week the Angel Grove Gazette comes out, its top story should always be "Nuclear Holocaust Narrowly Avoided Once Again."

A side-note on that previous statement. I made up a name for a fake Angel Grove newspaper as a joke, and came up with the blandest possible name to fit this show about a bunch of whitebread clowns discussing the merits of karate. I figured I should rewind and see what the title of the prop newspaper actually was. Lo and behold.

This show has infected me.

Kimberly, Billy, and Tommy (wearing green today so he can match up with stock footage later) hear a TV report inside the Youth Center about the World Peace Summit in Switzerland. Everyone crowds around Ernie's comically small television to listen in and find out who's going to be sacrificed to the World Peace Gods this year.

Bulk and Skull pay no mind to the announcement because they're already certain they'll be the teens selected. They're dressed in stereotypical Switzerland garb as they feed Swiss chocolate to one another. I appreciate this scene mostly because it doesn't have Bulk and Skull talking about finding out who the Rangers really are in Switzerland. They're simply acting like two deluded morons who believe in their heart of hearts that they're the best option America has for forging harmony among the nations of the free world. Can you imagine the international fallout if we let that Bulk in a China shop? 

The three teen ambassadors turn out to be promotional images of Jason Lee, Zack Taylor, and Trini Kwan. Wait just a minute here. Since when did the star of the critically acclaimed Mallrats and the 12th president of the United States start palling around with Trini? Not only that, but how much world peace can be achieved when you've got Jason Lee trying to give everyone his Scientology soup can test? This is who we've got representing America? Way to go Switzerland. You've fucked up attaining world peace yet again.

Kimberly says Jason, Zack, and Trini are out in the park riding bikes so they'll have to go tell them the good news. Upon finding their friends, Old Man Voice Jason is happy to hear he'll be going to a peace conference, because it means he can stop pretending to be a teenager and start collecting his social security checks. The scene with all six Ranger Teens is shot in front of a sunset so the show can visually obscure the fact that the other three Ranger Teens are clearly stand-in actors. Actors who only fit the bare bones description of what the characters are supposed to look like.

Hat, crew cut, long hair. Yep, that's them all right.

Lord Zedd is shocked that getting rid of three Power Rangers was such a trifling matter. If only he'd shown all six of them how terrible their contracts were he'd be sipping a daiquiri atop Earth's wreckage by now. Goldar promises his master that taking care of three Rangers will be child's play for him, but Zedd has had enough of this space gorilla's hubris. Lord Zedd has a new "demon of destruction" that's being energized as they speak. As much as I want to tell you good people it's going to be some dumbass birdcage wearing a sombrero, I'm afraid I have to disappoint you. Lord Zedd has something genuinely incredible coming up. Please ignore every other instance of sarcasm that's come from my serpent-like lips and trust me. Just this once. Please.

Zordon congratulates stock footage of Zack, Trini, and Jason on their inclusion in the World Peace Summit. He also whispers to Alpha 5 to make sure and burn all of their HR complaints before the Department of Labor starts sniffing around the Command Center. Unfortunately all the excitement about three actors quitting the show is short-lived when Alpha 5 alerts everyone that Zedd appears to be building some kind of super weapon on the Moon. Zordon surmises this weapon must be Serpentera, a machine of catastrophic destruction. How does Zordon know all of this? Has Zedd not come up with a new plan in the past 100,000 years or whatever? Maybe the reason Lord Zedd keeps losing is because he's doing nothing but throwing his greatest hits at Zordon.

Maybe this shit used to fly in Jupiter Zedd, but we're on Earth now.

Zordon informs the Rangers that Serpentera is far more powerful than anything they have yet to face. The only way to combat Zedd's new weapon is with the support of a new Zord. This new Zord is named Tor the Carrierzord. He'll be able to provide protection to the Thunderzords if they're in any peril.

Wow! This new Tor Zord sure sounds neat! I sure would be wondering what he could do if Power Rangers hadn't fucked up the continuity and aired his debut two weeks ago.

Zordon announces that the only way to prepare for Zedd's oncoming assault is by selecting three new Power Rangers. Not because the team particularly needs them, but because this show isn't going to be as successful with a team of three white kids. No, this time Zordon can choose far better replacements for the Red, Yellow, and Black Rangers. Teenagers with attitude that work for scale and don't inquire about merchandising clauses. Actors more light-skinned than ever before. If only we had three actors who had been hanging around who fit such lofty requirements.

Tommy asks if transferring powers is really possible. It is, but it's very difficult to pull off because of fucking course it is in this goddamned show. Nobody can wave a magic wand and give three other characters the Ranger suits. No siree. Instead, the Rangers must travel to the Deserted Planet light years away, use a mystical map to find a magical Sword of Light, and use the Sword of Light to transfer the Rangers' powers. Jesus Christ. What is this, an episode of Legends of the Hidden Temple?
 
The Rangers morph as Alpha teleports them LIGHT YEARS AWAY. How many? I'm not sure. The problem is that one light year equates to 6 TRILLION MILES. Holy shit. That might be the most scientifically impossible thing ever portrayed in any form of media and it's glossed over in the span of 6 seconds. I appreciate the balls on Power Rangers to present that concept to the audience completely straight-faced.

Goldar takes the ball gag out of his mouth and alerts Zedd that the Rangers are leaving Earth and headed towards a galaxy far, far away. When Zedd wonders what they could be plotting, Squatt and Baboo suggest the Rangers might be going on a vacation. Lord Zedd threatens the blithering nincompoops by declaring "WHEN I WANT YOUR OPINION, I'LL GIVE IT TO YOU!"

Goodness gracious, I love that line. I wish Squatt and Baboo existed solely to bounce dumbness off Zedd and are met with violent outbursts. Give me something with these two, Power Rangers. That's all I ask.

Zedd pieces together what Zordon must be plotting and sets his own scheme into motion. He and Goldar will depart and head for the Deserted Planet in Serpentera, while Squatt and Baboo will use a device to put the citizens of Angel Grove to sleep. A task that these two are well-versed in. With the population asleep, Zordon will be unable to pick any of them to become new Rangers. Zedd must not pay any attention to the people he works with if he's completely comfortable leaving Squatt and Baboo alone with an entire population of sleeping civilians.

Squatt and Baboo appear on Earth with a sleep machine provided to them by Finster. That's Finster's role now? Making devices off-screen? At least the show didn't forget about him I guess. Now instead of being relegated to cameos, he gets to duct tape disco balls to perfume bottles that spray liquid Ambien into the air. Forget that shit though, because it's time to play my favorite game! Out of Context Power Rangers Closed Captioning!

Squatt prefers all teeth.

The sleep machine sprays out a pink mist that knocks out a group of youngsters in a park. So if any of you good people out there were betting on the three new Rangers consisting of "three kids we've never met before and couldn't possibly give a shit about" then I'm afraid you'll have to go with whoever your second choice was.

Zedd enacts Phase 2 of his plot and boards his death machine, Serpentera. He and Goldar co-pilot the massive mech en route to the Deserted Planet where they'll blast the Rangers sky-high. So from all the information we can gather on Serpentera thus far, it's basically Zedd's personal Zord. For anyone who's unaware what Serpentera looks like, throw out any ideas you've got swirling around that head of yours. It's significantly better than that. Just you wait.

Drag-on the moon. How did it get there?

The Rangers touchdown on the Deserted Planet, which is much less a planet than it is an empty field with a shitty-looking matte painting in the background. To drive home how otherworldly this place is, Power Rangers adds in a reddish filter to the footage. Logically speaking it makes sense to assume the further into space that you are, the redder it becomes. Could someone tweet to Neil deGrasse Tyson and confirm this? Actually don't do that. If he watched an episode of Power Rangers his heart would explode.

The Rangers notice something. You know this Deserted Planet? Doesn't have an awful lot of people on it. All it's got is Sentai footage of spinning upside-down pyramids and red filters. No wonder this place was deserted, it's a fucking dump. Billy chuckles as he informs the rest of the Rangers that they can at least avoid traffic on this planet. Billy, we are not here to listen to your incessant goofery. We are here to transfer powers and that is it. Shove that hacky Hee-Haw nonsense right back up your ass where it came from and tell us where we need to go to find that magic sword.

While the Blue Ranger unfurls the map, Serpentera flies into the Deserted City while roaring. The Rangers ask what a gigantic unholy dragon of slaughter is doing on this planet. Tommy postulates that maybe this evil beast might be affiliated with that red radiator guy who assaults them every week, and he might be trying to ruffle their feathers yet again. Worry not! Old Man Voice Jason tells his friends he'll take on this Serpentera creep in his Thunderzord. As long as the rest of the Rangers promise to visit him when he's sent to the World Peace Retirement Home in Switzerland.

Sorry, all that stupid shit about superheroes on a distant planet fighting giant serpentine robots was a real snooze. Let's bring it back to what this show is really about, high school shenanigans. Particularly for three new students in Angel Grove High!

That's right, Aisha, Adam, and Rocky are all leaving that Stone Canyon wasteland so that they can further their education with the upper crust cornballs of Angel Grove. Only these three teens clearly have a bit more edge to them than your average Power Rangers characters. Their first reaction to their new high school is claiming "The food here has GOT to be better than Stone Canyon's." Hope you weren't expecting these three to be your typical average kids, cause it's the FUCKING NINTIES BITCH!

Bulk sees there's a new lady at school who might not realize how much of a chucklehead he is, so he starts trying to put the moves on her. He asks if she needs help with her new locker combination, and she smiles and says she would appreciate that. Bulk crosses his legs because this is the furthest he's ever made it with a girl, but he remains headstrong and repeatedly fiddles with the locker. In case you thought this was the one moment in Bulk's life where things wouldn't go comically awry, think again. As he tries to unlock the locker, Zedd's sleep cloud wafts into Angel Grove High and knocks everyone out besides Aisha et. all.

Sorry about that Bulk. Better luck next contractual dispute!

Alpha 5 locates the Stone Canyon trio and teleports them out of the High School just before they're forced to take a devastating snooze. Much like the audience is while they wait for some action. Zordon tells Adam, Aisha, and Rocky that the Rangers are on an important mission out on some planet or whatever, so he needs them to go wreck that sleep machine. It's at this point I realize these three characters have been thrust into the most depressing existence imaginable.

The Stone Canyon teens were kidnapped for being modestly athletic. Then, because Billy is a dumbass, they accidentally discovered the identity of the Power Ranger team. This was through no fault of their own, but they were tasked with keeping the Power Rangers' identities secret. That would all be well and good, but now Zordon is calling them in every week to do some menial task while the Rangers are preoccupied with something else.

Why are you trusting the fate of the world in three teens who aren't in magical karate pajamas? When will you stop assigning these three civilians to do your dirty work just because they accidentally figured out who your freedom fighters are? Give it a couple weeks and I'm sure Zordon will demand Adam pick him up a pack of Menthols while the Rangers are off accomplishing even more convoluted space tasks.

Speaking of which, Jason is going toe-to-toe with Serpentera. He summons the Red Dragon Thunderzord, as well as the rest of the Assault Team. The Assault Team soars through the air towards Serpentera, and I can't quite tell who has the advantage. Perhaps you folks could hazard a guess.

HOLY FUCK

You remember how the Zords are taller than buildings and totally huge? To hell with all that, Serpentera makes them look like they're gnats. Look at that beast. It's the biggest goddamn thing this world's ever seen. Ever since I was a kid I was in awe of Serpentera. He's so massive there's no way the Rangers even stand a chance. This Zord gives the kick in the pants Lord Zedd needed to reclaim some of his badass glory from earlier in the Season. To summarize, Serpentera is an 1100 foot tall dragon robot that dwarfs everything in the hero's arsenal. It's utter perfection in every way.

Goldar takes a break from the Serpentera controls to tell his master that someone is trying to mess with his sleep machine. Zedd refuses to be outdone while he's wrecking shit and rocking the dragon, and demands Goldar summon some Putties to stop whoever's interloping. Presumably by finding an alternative method of putting them to sleep.

On cue, the Z-Putties show up to give Adam, Aisha, and Rocky all kinds of sass. The Stone Canyon teens engage Zedd's foot soldiers in battle, but Aisha says this fight might not be so simple. For once I agree with someone who's concerned about fighting Putties. During their premiere, Zedd's Putties could put up a good fight against morphed Power Rangers. I can't even fathom how dangerous it is to be pitting regular humans against them. Aisha, Adam, and all the rest have fought Z-Putties before, but they also had backup from the actual Power Rangers. Even if the Z-Putties have a glaring weakness, they're still fighting three normal human beings.

As a matter of fact, the Z-Putties manage to defeat the Stone Canyon trio and tie all three of them to a tree. Wow Zordon! Never saw that one coming. Guess you'll need to throw more teenagers' lives at this problem until it's fixed huh?

Zedd and Goldar finally land Serpentera in the Deserted Planet, where it immediately starts stomping around and blasting abandoned buildings. Really just making a big to-do about everything in general. The Red Dragon Thunderzord flies in to try and stop Serpentera, but is unable to do much since he's not even as tall as the monster's foot. Zedd attempts to crush the Red Ranger's Zord, but Jason calls Tor to help him out and leaps out of Serpentera's way at the last second.

The Red Dragon Warrior Mode hides inside Tor where he'll be safe from the onslaught of Zedd's Zord. This way he has more time to think of a way to coun-

SWEET JESUS

Tor hasn't been around for more than three episodes and even he's already getting clowned by Serpentera. Holy macaroni, I love this beautiful son of a bitch. This is the best thing Season 2 has done in months.

The rest of the Rangers wander around aimlessly as they pray not to be caught under Serpentera and his gargantuan feet. Aside from Zack who has a notorious giantess fetish. They stumble around the city, which has been reduced almost entirely to rubble after Zedd's attack, and ponder if Serpentera could have demolished the statue. Look Rangers, I've been watching this dumbass show long enough to know that anything convenient to the plot is rendered completely indestructible, especially when it means we can sweep three actors under the rug who started nosing around Saban's pocketbook. That statue is fine. As a matter of fact, Tommy just found it.  

The statue holding the Sword of Light proves to be much more of a pain in the ass than previously thought though. When Tommy tries to yank the sword from its stony palms, the sword refuses to come undone. Zordon, could you for once assign a task that's not so elaborate and goddamned impossible to pull off? Now that I think about it, maybe Zordon was checking his overhead and came to the realization he would save an awful lot more money if he offed all six Rangers instead of those three Peace Conference dweebs.

Jason comes running in and tells the other Rangers that Serpentera is goddamned unstoppable. No matter how many toys he tries throwing at that thing, it's completely unfazed. Unless Zordon packed them like forty more Tor's, they don't stand a chance. Tommy realizes they better hurry and get this sword fast, and has Billy and Jason shoot at the statue with their Blade Blasters. The Rangers all join in on a concerted effort to pull the sword from the statue, but it still refuses to budge.

No offense to that Peace Conference, but if the choice is between three new Rangers and having to face Serpentera again, I think I'd get out of dodge and tell Switzerland to kiss my grits.

Zedd grows tired of waiting for the Power Rangers doing whatever they feel like and boots Serpentera back up. The colossal Zord launches a massive energy blast at the deserted city, which appears to be dissolving the entire planet as well. At least that's what I think the show is trying to convey. Sometimes Power Rangers plugs in Sentai footage and hopes it'll speak for itself. That doesn't always work so well when a giant death dragon is firing lightning at an upside-down floating pyramid, but I digress.

Goldar realizes he's lost the location of the Power Rangers, possibly because the Zord he's piloting is the size of a goddamned planet. Zedd reprimands his lackey by stating, "YOU'D LOSE YOUR BRAINS IF YOU WEREN'T SITTING ON THEM!" That's two for two on great Zedd beratings this week. Keep it up LZ, you're putting some real pep in this karate baby show.

Having lost all trace of the Rangers, Zedd decides it's time to up the ante. He unveils a bright red button in Serpentera's cockpit, and Goldar pleads with him not to press it. That button could potentially cripple the Zord's energy supply if his master chooses to press it. Zedd doesn't give a shit and slams the button anyway. He cackles as Serpentera unleashes a monumental energy blast that causes an enormous shockwave on the planet. The shockwave completely obliterates portions of the entire city as Lord Zedd bids the Rangers a fond farewell.

Hey Power Rangers? That's how you do a fucking cliffhanger.




TO BE CONTINUED




Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Genocidal Cybernetic Death Dragons




Personal Thoughts


Now this episode is the extra bit of spice I needed from Season 2. While the main plot is obviously all about swapping out the Rangers, Lord Zedd is the main attraction this week. He becomes more proactive than Rita ever was in a single episode; he dishes out amazing put-downs to his guffawing crew of jabronis, he dishes out sweet burns on the Rangers' inferior artillery, and he completely demolishes the heroes Zords while in Serpentera. The other pieces of this episode work fine in isolation, but it's Zedd's absolute assholery that makes this episode a rousing success. 

We're finally coming to a head with this peace conference nonsense, and it's kind of amusing to see how little anyone puts up a fight about the former three Rangers leaving. Obviously you can't have Jason, Trini, and Zack reacting to the news negatively since their actors wouldn't show up on set again if you paid them...wait actually maybe they would. I'm more amused by how immediately Tommy, Kim, and Billy wish three of their dearest friends a fond farewell without saying anything about missing them. Obviously we aren't going to write a meaningful farewell for three people who aren't ever going to be in this show again, but Power Rangers takes that extra step to showcase just how little it, and its characters, give a fuck about these three.

I remember watching this episode while my dad was sitting on the couch next to me one day, which was a rarity because he tried to avoid ever putting up with this infant karate malarkey. For whatever reason, I'll never forget his reaction to Zedd's line about Goldar sitting on his brains. "You know what that means son? He's got his brains up his ass!" I can assure you that reading it doesn't do his delivery justice, but every time I rewatch this episode I remember how funny that astute statement from my dad was. He wasn't trying to educate me on anything, and only wanted to explain a dad joke to me. Sometimes it's the smallest moments that live in our memories.

When I was a kid, I always desperately wanted a Serpentera toy. He was the coolest and biggest motherfucker my tiny little eyes had ever seen, and I wanted a piece of that action. One day my mom was walking a 4 or 5 year old me through the store and I saw him. That glorious bastard could have been mine for the low low price of 40 dollars. Since I was a dumb kid who didn't understand that sometimes your parents go shopping for groceries and not to buy you some big dumb hunk of plastic, I got really upset when my mom told me we couldn't get one. This is the only time I ever remember throwing a fit in a store as a kid, and I still feel embarrassed thinking about it. If you ever see my mom, tell her I apologize. I could call her, but I'm much too busy writing about dragons stepping on turtles.





12 comments:

  1. I love the way Serpentera is filmed. It doesn't even have to actually accomplish anything (which is good), but it always manages to look real freaking epic every time it shows up. Of course, it's far and away at its best here since we haven't learned what its shtick is yet. And of course, Tor's wonderful "Just stand there and take it".

    The Stone Canyon teens were kidnapped for being modestly athletic. Then, because Billy is a dumbass, they accidentally discovered the identity of the Power Ranger team. This was through no fault of their own, but they were tasked with keeping the Power Rangers' identities secret. That would all be well and good, but now Zordon is calling them in every week to do some menial task while the Rangers are preoccupied with something else.

    Still less abusive than him hauling the original five out to the middle of a monster-infested desert and telling them that if they wouldn't dress up in fetish gear and fight monsters for him, they had to walk home.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Plus a million points for the MST3K reference. Serpentera is the Tor Johnson of zords

    ReplyDelete
  3. Plus a million points for the MST3K reference. Serpentera is the Tor Johnson of zords

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you do Terrible Blog as well? If not, a great cross connection of people with love for MST. If so, please give me more Terrible Blog.

      Delete
    2. I don't actually! A good friend of mine runs it, which sounds like bullshit but I assure you it's not. He actually edits my material every week, because he's too nice to reject a weekly 10 page draft after he gets home from work.

      He's actually got something new coming down the pipeline but he's been super busy. He said it should be out soon, and thanks a bunch for reading his junk. I'm also going to demand he do more Tales from the Crypt stuff. For both of us really.

      Delete
    3. If not for junk, what else would I read? Science?

      Tales from the Crypt recaps were my life for a good week or so. I have a terrible life. Make sure you add his new stuff to your blogroll!

      Delete
    4. BTW, pulling back the digital curtain/subterfuge, I had contacted you a couple months ago about the type in the eroticism gif.

      Delete
    5. You're doing God's work. If you ever catch any more of my embarrassing typos please point them out. Then I'll delete your comment and deny that another human being helped me in my cold dismal life.

      Delete
  4. "three people who aren't ever going to be in this show again"

    Somehow as a kid, I found out about the money disputes on Power Rangers. So I was possibly even MORE surprised than anyone else my age when Zeo came around & Jason showed up as the Gold Ranger. (I was also surprised that he was called the Gold Ranger instead of the Black Ranger, since his suit had about as much gold in it as any of Tommy's suits.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know why I'm replying to a comment nearly a year old, but whatever:

      The reason why Jason came back was that Zeo's ratings started solid but rather quickly began to slip. Bringing Jason back was an attempt to get eyeballs back to the show that, presumably, left because some actors left.

      Delete
  5. Did anyone ever work out how Serpentera might have been introduced if the actors hadn't left? Would they have just done a "Jason Just Wants to Have Fun" and left it at that?

    ReplyDelete