Tuesday, May 3, 2016

MMPR Season 2 Episode 35: Scavenger Hunt


Clay Monsters Fly From Moon To Steal High-Schoolers Toy
Episode Exhibits Innovative "Zero-Stakes" Premise








Last week I brought up how weird it was to teach high-school aged characters about something like fire safety. It seems like Power Rangers is infantilizing them by making them as dumb as they assume their audience is. Well that's absolutely nothing compared to how stupid they look in this week's episode.

The whole premise of this episode is the Ranger Teens solving clues on a scavenger hunt, and I get that you want to make clues your audience can solve. It just comes across as strange when you have these characters discussing an Algebra test one week, then not able to solve elementary-school level riddles the next. All I'm asking for is consistency. That's the one benefit a show like Big Bad Beetleborgs has over this. You can believe those stupid little shits aren't able to figure anything out because they're like 4 years old. Tommy is old enough to drive Kimberly up to Muffdive Canyon, but he can't figure out what a red object on four wheels that moves fast is?

Not to mention the other problem I have with this week's plot. A scavenger hunt? That smells like a b-plot if I've ever heard one. I am tuning into this show for karate sitcom superhero shenanigans. I'd prefer if I'm not presented with an activity more appropriate for a nursing home.

Enough complaining, because this is all speculative. I don't remember much of this episode whatsover, so it could actually be enjoyable. Let's jump on in the scavenger hunt and see if you can solve the clues with the Rangers and I! But first we're going to need the map!

...

...

SAY MAP! SAY MAP!

Kimberly, Adam, and Tommy read over the first clue on the list. Unfortunately, it's an absolute noodle-scratcher. "It's the color of a tomato, has wheels, and can travel at great speed. A picture of this is all you need."  Tommy is left perplexed by this intricate enigma and suggests a very intelligent guess, "A stop sign on roller-skates." Hold on a second did you say tomato? Oh I know this one! It's a mother embarrassed by a son's obsession with children's television! 

Aw rats, turns out it was actually a red car! I was so close!

Silent Night Deadly Night 2 Red Car
I hear Eric Freeman is playing Tommy in the reboot.

Of the 3 Ranger Teens, Kimberly is the one who figures out the answer to this complex question. Typical Power Rangers feminazi propaganda. A show where only women can come up with the incredibly complicated solution of "red car." Enjoy your cultural Marxism everyone!

Kim tells Adam how happy she is to have him on their team this year, and not that loser Zack. He was always bringing up things like "dancing", "Angela", and "reasonable wages in a competitive business climate." Adam says he's not sure if he can handle more of these intricate brain teasers, but he'll try his best to help them finish the scavenger hunt. No worries Adam, you'll be fine as long as they don't need you to find any self-esteem.

Lord Zedd plots out a way to turn this scavenger hunt into something truly lethal. He's going to send the Power Rangers through every dimension in the universe while he conquers Earth. What.

I'm sorry Power Rangers, but you blew your wad on sending people to alternate dimensions. Zedd sends people to dimensions all the time, but that's never the entirety of his plan. He summons wooden serpents to turn his captives evil, he has a horrible worm monster chase them around, he tries to convert high-school girls into sexual slavery. You're going to need to give me a little more than a simple dimension tossing if you want this plan to be interesting. Zedd's scheme this week may as well be to trap the Rangers inside a closet.

Inside the Youth Center, the other three Ranger Teens seek out their remaining scavenger hunt items. Aisha notes that she hasn't been able to find culturally insensitive portrayals of half-understood cultures anywhere. Oh wait here's one!

Apologies to all of my pirate readers out there.

Bulk and Skull's new friend here is named Gypsy Abollonia, and she's going to use her magical, otherworldly, I'm from a country that isn't America powers to discover who the Power Rangers really are. Though if she's unable to do that then she might at least be able to provide some sort of comic relief while our heroes courageously check items off of a list.

This low-rent Romani lady clacks together her tiny finger cymbals as Billy informs Bulk and Skull that this woman doesn't have any magical powers. Ms. Abollonia is aghast at the ridiculous notion that she doesn't have mystical foreign-people magic in her fingertps, and commands Billy to look into her eyes. Billy yields to her request, as the very idea of looking into a woman's eyes is anathema to him. Abollonia continues to do whatever the southern European equivalent of shucking and jiving is and cements herself as the 2nd most obnoxious Gypsy since Jim Mallon.

Ms. Abollonia: Artist's Approximation 

Back at the Zedd Compound, the evil emperor assures Goldar that he'll soon send the Rangers into the Lost Universe. What happened to throwing them into another dimension Zedd? You do realize that a dimension and a universe aren't the same thing right? You can't throw someone into a Lost Dimension and start saying they're trapped in the Lost Galaxy. Are you making all this bullshit up to impress Goldar? "Yeah we're gonna use the continuum transfunctioneer to telezap them into the gleep glop dimension. You like that ya big gold bitch?"

Though this scene with Goldar groveling to Zedd is worth it for one reason. Goldar blathers about how worthless he is and how he likes it when women step on him with high heels or whatever. Then as Goldar rambles about his servitude, Zedd cuts him off and says "SILENCE! I'm not through talking about me yet!"

I'm always thoroughly entertained by Lord Zedd acting like a pompous ass.

Aisha, Rocky, and Billy read over the latest clue while they're inside Billy's gar(b)age lab, and are thoroughly stumped. "A weapon kings used in battles past, that hit its target from the sky with a great big blast." Oh shit that's easy! It's "A cold sleepless night alone where you wonder if everything leading up to this point in time is really all that your life has planned for you."

Well darn. I guess it was actually a cannon. I thought I had that one in the bag!

Billy whips out a briefcase holding a tiny toy cannon, because how the fuck else did this scavenger hunt committee plan on having people solve that clue? They specified you only needed a picture of that red car, but you have to bring in a goddamned cannon if you want to win this?

That's when it clicks to me. The main reason this episode has failed to enrapture me. In what possible universe and or dimension does it matter if the Ranger Teens win this scavenger hunt?

There are plenty of episodes where one of the Ranger Teens competes in a karate tournament against everloving ninjas. In a sporting tournament, they will either win and receive adulation, or they'll lose and have to accept defeat in front of the audience. There are stakes to what happens to our heroes in that situation. They're not very high stakes, but they are experiencing some sort of risk if they lose. I can't imagine anybody reading this would want to lose a karate tournament in front of all their friends and family.

But what happens if the Ranger Teens don't finish this scavenger hunt on time? There's no prize for finishing it. No orphanage is going to get bulldozed if they don't find all the items. If you don't find all three of Blues' Clues, Steve isn't going to get decapitated by men in hoods. Nobody will even know if they stop halfway through this boring nonsense. None of this matters. This episode seems like it wants to be a fun little slice of life, but it can't seem to shake the impression it needs to add some type of competition as well. Why the fuck am I supposed to care if this scavenger hunt is completed?

Goldar is commanded to steal Billy's toy cannon so that Zedd can transform it into a monster. Oh so that's why one of the clues was for a cannon! It was so expertly weaved into the fabric of the script I didn't even notice. Unfortunately that means Zedd's monster made out of a red car is going to have to wait. Goldar's Putty battalion arrive on Earth to try and steal Billy's swag. Shame for them he's got plenty of swag today.

When Tommy isn't around, Billy gets to do all the cool stuff.

With some transcendent Wasserman rock playing, the three Ranger Teens decimate most of the Z-Putties. A trio of the clay critters survive and scurry away with Billy's bag full of scavenger hunt goodies. All both of them. The Ranger Teens are unable to stop the Putties however, as the editor sped up the footage of them running away. Why didn't the Putties teleport back to Zedd's lair? Because we can't recycle one of our 12 scenes with Zedd stewing in his lair if a Putty has to be holding a unique prop in them, idiot.

Adam, Tommy, and Kim seek out their latest clue inside of Angel Grove High. Billy throws off their groove by buzzing them on the Communicator to whine about how a bunch of mean ol' Putties stole his bag of assorted garbage. Tommy tells Billy to calm down and asks him a much more pertinent question. What is the color of a tomato, has wheels, and moves at fast speeds? He's pretty sure it's not a stop sign on rollerskates, but the jury's still out on that.

Abollonia shows back up with Bulk and Skull for a shitty scene where Bulk falls down for some reason. I seriously don't know why. He was doing some stupid dance and he got dizzy? I seriously don't know. I tune in to this show to see Bulk falling down, and when you can't do that right then you can fuck right off.

Goldar informs Zedd that Billy's toy cannon has been left in the middle of the park. Zedd blasts it with energy from his staff to create a wicked monster by the name of Cannontop. His name isn't Cannonhead? You're really slipping here Zedd.

Cannontop
Overcompensation.jpg

The alarm sounds inside the Command Center, and Zordon asks Alpha 5 to keep an eye on whatever Zedd is planning. Zordon seriously tries to claim that Zedd's plans have become more dangerous ever since the three new Rangers were christened. Yeah, I wouldn't wish beasts like Pachinkohead or Showbiz Monster on my worst enemy. If that's the worst Zedd's got he better put his fingers back to the keys.

Alpha informs Zordon that there's a monster loose in the park. Even worse is that it's one of those devious monsters that the Rangers can't be on-screen with, so he's going to prove to be a formidable foe! Zordon declares this Cannontop creature has the power to launch the Power Rangers into the Lost Dimension, which is what Zedd was planning on doing earlier wasn't it? Cannontop was secondary to Zedd's plan, so why does he have to be the one doing all the dimension sending? It's almost like this script didn't feel like connecting the dots of Zedd sending the Rangers to another dimension and creating a monster, so the show said "who cares" and crammed a bunch of exposition into Zordon's mouth to make sense of this bullshit.

Zordon contacts the Ranger Teens and tells them this scavenger hunt nonsense is on hiatus, because they've got a cannon to deal with. Also he can send them into an intergalactic dimension from which they'll never escape or something. Look, we're all a little fuzzy on the details of how Zedd plans to get you guys into another dimension. Let's just assume Cannontop can do that and all be afraid of the fact that he's definitely going to do something impressive soon.

The Rangers morph to the park where Cannontop lies in wait for them. He blasts them with a flurry of explosions, and the Rangers reel from the direct hit. Hey remember all that stuff we were saying about Cannontop sending people into different dimensions when he hits them? Someone told us that would cost more money to film, so he can't actually do that and all this build-up was meaningless. Sorry!

I can't tell if I'm too harsh on this show or too lenient.

The Rangers are hit by a few more explosions and continue to remain in this dimension. This is usually when Zedd makes his monster turn into a giant, but for some reason he isn't doing that this week. The Rangers decide that maybe they should try doing something other than jumping around and getting hit by energy blasts. Rocky suggests that the Rangers pull their weapons together to form the Power Blaster.

You remember the Power Blaster? It was the thing we replaced with the Power Cannon to make more money in toy sales. Well we're using it again this week for some reason. I wouldn't mind so much if Power Rangers saw our heroes using both the cannon and the blaster to finish fights. Maybe you could try switching them off every once in a while to have other ways to end battles. The issue is that this is the last time we're ever going to see the Power Blaster. It almost feels like they included it by accident.
  
I appreciate Power Rangers staging some kind of ground battle where Cannontop is defeated, but that doesn't stop it from looking a little bit off.

Why'd they have to murder him in front of that Japanese cemetery?

Zedd grows weary of his off-screen monster's antics and chucks a Growth Bomb to Earth. Cannontop goes gigantic, and the Rangers call in their Zords. The battle seems so serious in fact, that Tommy gets off his lazy leader ass and summons the White Tigerzord alongside his friends. Tommy calls for the "Thunder Megazord" to link up, which instead causes the Red Dragon Thunderzord to convert to Warrior Mode. You can't blame Tommy. Why would he bother remembering Zord formations he's not a part of?

Back at the Command Center, Alpha brings up some terrible news. Lord Zedd has opened up the portal to the Lost Dimension! What the fuck? I thought Cannontop could send them there with his attacks. If Zedd has to do some mystic mumbo jumbo door opening magic, why would he create Cannontop before his plan was ready? Did this script get turned in without a Ranger plot and had to be filmed in the next 3 minutes?

At the battle, Tommy calls for the formation of the Thunder Ultrazord. While I'd love to get giddy at the chance of seeing another monster get crushed, that's not the case this week. When Tommy calls on the Ultrazord, the only thing that happens is Tor shows up. The Shuttlezord fires its missiles at Cannontop, then rolls away. Never to be seen again. Sorry Tor! Try showing up in more footage and maybe we can squeeze you in next season.

Tommy calls for the Ultrazord yet again, but actually forms the Megatigerzord. Thank the fuckin' lord. We haven't seen that thing in nearly 20 episodes. It's about time we saw a formation other than the Thunder Megazord for the umpteenth time.

The fight is interrupted by Alpha 5 whining inside of the Command Center. He says he's worried about the Rangers dire fight with Cannontop. The same fight that we just saw them winning not 2 seconds ago. Zordon belches out some lines about how Alpha must have faith in Tommy as the leader of the Power Rangers.

If this moment were handled with any care or consideration, it might feel meaningful. Since this is a shitty episode of Power Rangers, that instead means this scene only exists to pad out time by telling us things we already know. Zordon literally summarizes what is happening in the scene we cut away from. You two are interrupting a perfectly good fight with the Zord formation we've only seen one other time. I have had it with the both of you.

As soon as we cut back to the Zord battle, the Power Rangers theme kicks in and you know that there's no longer any tension. We had to cut halfway through the fight to dick around with Zordon and Alpha 5 for irrelevant trash that means absolutely nothing. They talk about how they hope Tommy-tachi wins, and then immediately the Rangers kill Cannontop. This episode gave me one thing I wanted to see and immediately took it away. Get fucked.

Is he turning around to fall over so he doesn't land on that awkward back cannon?

After the battle, the Ranger Teens drop by the Youth Center with their items for the scavenger hunt. The only problem is they don't have the last item, and this is the most difficult puzzle of them all! "They're the colors of the rainbow and they fight villains too. Find a picture of them and that will do."

THAT'S IT! I'm POSITIVE I know this one. What the scavenger hunt is looking for is "A giant world you know you have a place in. If you keep looking you'll find it. Oh...where have the past 20 years gone? I...I could have sworn there was more time. Oh my God no. It's all turning into a living nightmare SOMEONE SAVE ME

Well heckfire I was wrong again! It's the Power Rangers of course! Ernie comes up with the solution for the Ranger Teens, and even whips up a picture of the superheroes for our pals. It's only natural that our incredibly brilliant superheroes are too stupid to decipher this riddle. A riddle involving the multicolored alter-egos they undergo in order to fight galactic space cannons. Congrats The Other Five, you're all as dumb as Tommy.

Don't relax yet tough! Abollonia is back with Bulk and Skull, and she claims to feel the aura of the Power Rangers. She waves her clacky little finger tambourines at the Ranger Teens, but ends up pointing at Ernie's picture of the Rangers. Wakka wakka wakka, yet another seemingly dead-end that actually puts a bizarre amount of suspicion on those six classmates of yours that hang out together and always seem to be wary of your schemes.  Better luck next time Bulk and Skull!

Oh yeah and then they tell this Romani lady she's fired. What a tragedy for her. Now she won't get paid in hot dog buns and dead fleas.

Then the Ranger Teens win the scavenger hunt. That's the end of the episode. Some lady announces they won. The teens high five each other. Credits.

Hey look at that, I have a scavenger hunt clue too, I wonder if you at home can solve it!

"An episode that sucks, and abruptly ended. This piece of shit doesn't come recommended."




Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: The Word "Gypsy"



Personal Thoughts



Just like last week's episode, this one isn't too great. It's a really mundane experience, and I can't find myself caring about any of it. The through line about the Scavenger Hunt does absolutely nothing for me, and it couldn't possibly pay off in a more lackluster "who gives a shit?" fashion. Cannontop is a sort-of cool monster, but everything we're told he can do is bullshit used to drum up a mediocre episode. I'd rather watch this one again than something as stupid as "Rocky Just Wants to Have Fun," but I'm still feeling really weak on a lot of these Season 2 episodes. I've seen a handful of people comment similar experiences, so I hope I'm not being an old grouse. These episodes are just really feeling weak. Thankfully there are some episodes coming up that I recall enjoying back in the day, so hopefully those have aged a bit better. 

Cannontop is a nice looking monster, but the episode is a bit tied with his footage. Almost all of the scenes with Cannontop involve him crouching down in a valley, and looking like he's planning a sneak attack. Obviously that sort of footage doesn't make him look like he's unloading his entire arsenal on the Power Rangers, so it makes the fight even more jarring. Again, the fight itself isn't particularly bad. It's a marked improvement over shit like Skelerena or Showbiz Monster. I'm just starting to get sick of choppy looking fights that have to be staged awkwardly to make them work.

Speaking of Cannontop, I can give you good people a look into where he ended up after Dairanger was done. He sat in storage until Toei needed a spare costume to use for a background scene in the Sentai series, Choriki Sentai Ohranger. For those of you keeping track at home, that's the Sentai series following Kakuranger, which followed Dairanger

And do you really think someone as obsessed as me would leave you without proof of Cannontop's suit recycling? Come on now. 

Also joined by his friend SpikeShoulders.

Also here's a bonus gif I made from that episode, but it needs a little context. The head villain of Ohranger went to a planet to look for incredibly powerful and dangerous monsters. Obviously it would cost money to get a bunch of monster costumes together for a group shot, so this was what the show did instead to represent these supremely deadly creatures.

I wonder why we never saw this in Power Rangers

There is one thing in this episode that is worth experiencing, and that's the new Power Blaster summoning. Not because it's impressive or cool, but because the actors voice overs sound so hilariously apathetic. Since the three new Ranger Teens are around, we can't use stock audio of the original five Rangers summoning their Power Weapons for the blaster anymore. That means the five Rangers' rerecorded the dialogue for bringing out their weapons, and for whatever reason they sound bored as piss. Rocky says "Power Sword" like he just woke up from a coma. So if you want a laugh maybe watch that part? Or watch an actually good episode instead. You do you baby.








2 comments:

  1. My favorite moments:

    Billy: "They've stolen our bag with all our scavenger items in it."
    Tommy: "...hey, good luck with the hunt."

    I didn't notice this until you point it out, but I'm starting to believe that Tommy is in fact a forgetful cunt.

    -

    Zordon: "Alpha, we must have faith that Tommy, as leader of the Power Rangers, can use the MegaTigerZord's powers to defeat Zedd's monster, CannonTop, and lead them to victory."

    Because Tommy never used this shit before huh? Oh, I get it, you're trying to kill some run-time huh Zordon? Got you.

    -

    As Zedd talks to Goldar, I was so hoping he was gonna say
    "Did you see that, Goldar? Did you see what happen down there? Do you see what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!?"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0kfe5tkdD4

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh good, Walter found the red car for the scavenger hunt!

      Delete