Friday, July 8, 2016

MMPR Season 2 Episode 44: Return of the Green Ranger Part 1


Balding Wizard Concocts Plan to Steal Hair
Aging Man Desperately Clings to Youth













Okay, let's take a second before the episode officially starts and observe our surroundings. Last week, Zedd and Rita got married and became the most powerful couple in America short of Haim and Cheryl Saban. The Rangers have two extraordinarily powerful wizards after their throats. Wizards that have made their lives a living hell with mythological demons made of clay and Zord-destroying piranhas. What's the title of the first episode with them teamed up? "Return of the Green Ranger."

Holy shit.

Are you excited? Cause I'm excited. Think of all the potential that can come from an idea like this. Will Rita and Zedd combine magic to turn Tommy evil and use him as their pawn against the other Rangers? Will Rita capture another unsuspecting karate doofus and turn them into her murder slave? Third option that sounds sarcastic but is actually what happens?

I'm not asking that rhetorically. I seriously don't remember these episodes at all. There's only one thing I know this trilogy for and it has nothing to do with its quality, or lack thereof. I don't think I ever watched these episodes when they came on, and if I did then I barely cared back when they were on.

That gives me the feeling something about this one is going to stink.

At Angel Grove High, Ms. Applebee hamhandedly segues into this week's plot by asking the students which period of time they would most like to live in. None of the students offer any lines of dialogue in reaction, because she's actually talking to stock footage while the Ranger Teens are filming a movie in Australia.

As the stock students depart, the scene transitions to the Ranger Teens leaving class as Bulk and Skull follow behind them. Kimberly questions where she would choose to go if she had to go back in time, and holy fucking shit are we seriously doing this? Come on, you have to be kidding me right? We did a time travel episode FOUR WEEKS AGO. As soon as she said something about going back in time I had to pause VLC and contemplate what I'm doing with my life. This show is a goddamned Ouroboros that managed to swallow me. It's as if Serpentera swallowed its own tail, ran out of batteries in the process, and stalled the episode into a multi-parter.

Oh and in case you wanted to know what time Kim would have wanted to go to? Why last year, when there was a big sale at th-oh for Christ' sake would you shut up? If I have to hear the same one-note joke from Kimberly one more time I'm going to break this goddamned DVD. She enjoys shopping. I got it. Moving on.

Rocky relishes the thought of living in Viking times, because he's an unmitigated sociopath. His eyes turned black as a dolls' eyes as he deadpans, "You kept what you killed." Tommy talks about how he'd love to live in King Arthur's court, where he could teach the starving plebeians how to ignore the black plague with a couple sweet katas. Do these ideas sound like they might be entertaining to watch? Too bad.

Lord Zedd angrily pouts that he wishes he could send the Rangers back in time to be rid of them forever. I'm sorry, but how can you fuck up you own stupid shows' continuity this bad? The only way this could look more slapdash to people that are paying attention is if Zedd also bitched about how hard the bachelor lifestyle is.

I've been promised an appearance by the Green Ranger, so that's worth tuning in for, but you're doing a plot that was done less than a month ago. I know that the airing schedule got screwed up after the actors quit, but that doesn't excuse two episodes in the same season this close to one another. Power Rangers is a formulaic show by design, the last thing it needs is to become even more formulaic when the writers can't think of another way to send the Rangers to a land that is obviously Australia.

Goldar asks if the Ghost of Darkness could conjure up a wizard that could perform such an act. The audience scratch their collective chins as they wonder why Power Rangers is shoveling this garbage exposition dump about things that don't matter at all. Zedd turned back time with a rock a few weeks ago. Why do we need a magical ghost to summon a wizard? That sounds like something an exhausted and annoyed writer put into a script to mock the show they're writing for, only to have it accepted at face value.

Zedd says the Ghost of Darkness is Rita's creation, and only she can make that thing work. There's some pretty funny lines from Zedd about how he isn't even going to bother asking Rita  to help him because of how touchy she's been lately. He comes across as a totally henpecked dork, and it's amusing coming from someone as diabolical as Zedd. Goldar asks why Zedd doesn't demand Rita's obedience, and Zedd laughs off Goldar's /TheRedPill/ post as being shortsighted and illogical. Yeah Goldar you big dumb space dog, you need to handle Darkness Ghosts with a lot more finesse than that.

Then another pretty good joke when Zedd ponders aloud why he even married Rita. Goldar asks why he married her as well, to which Zedd reacts by screaming at him for his insolence. I never thought I would find the antics of a mangled metal skinsuit and Harambe the Golden Spacechimp so entertaining.

Rita prays to the altar of the Ghost of Darkness, and what does it look like? Imagine the cheapest prop you can and then be amazed it's even cheaper than that.

Brought to you by Davis Aurini.

I'm not entirely sure, but maybe this is supposed to be an American version of the skull toy that Rita used when summoning the Green Ranger and Lokar. Unless the writers forgot about that piece of Japanese footage of their crazy old witch lady and coincidentally also gave her a clearanced out Halloween decoration as a confidant.

Speaking of Halloween, the editor decided to spruce up this scene with a bunch of horrible looking "spooky" effects. The kind of special effects that make the devil from Spawn look like cutting-edge technology.

VIEWER BEWARE, YOU'RE IN FOR A SCARE

The Ghost of Darkness promises that his disciple, the Wizard of Deception, can send the Rangers back in time. The only issue is that the Rangers are always being led by that beautiful, invincible, perfect, profitable White Ranger. The Ghost refers to Tommy as "Quick-thinking, wise, and strong." It's at this point that Rita should chuck this piece of junk in the space dumpster, because it's clearly making shit up.

The Ghost and Rita plan on creating someone with the same attributes as Tommy in order to finish off the Power Rangers' leader. In order to accomplish this, the Ghost sends the Wizard of Deception down to Earth in order to put this evil plan into motion. I'm honestly not sure why this episode needed a ghost to summon the wizard instead of having Rita directly summon the Wizard herself. This show is a complete mess as it is, why are you going out of your way to make it even more convoluted?

Anyway, here's the Wizard of Deception.

Wizard of Deception
Nice gut, dick.

As Bulk and Skull walk through the park, they encounter the deviously embarrassing Wizard of Deception. With a gaze from his magical fiery eyes, he turns the duo into his unwitting servants. Once he's Renfielded the boys, the Wizard of Deception starts their portion of his evil plot. He hands the boys a pair of scissors to cut off a lock of Tommy's hair.

Please stop laughing. This is serious.

The Wizard asks Bulk and Skull to locate the human named "Tommy." How pissed do you think the Wizard is going to be when Bulk and Skull bring back the hair from some deaf, dumb, and blind kid who's really good at pinball? That's why you get more specific Mr. Wizard.

The Wizard sends Bulk and Skull on their way and contemplates the miserable life he's been born into. Sure he's a magical wizard, but he's a middle-aged magical wizard. He's putting on weight, he's losing his hair, and the only people he can get to follow his orders are a pair of Blackjack chromosomed nobodies. Now he's playing errand boy for a toy skull with CGI spiders crawling out of its eyes. What the fuck is he even doing with his life?

Speaking of people who are comfortable in their own skin, Tommy and Kim enjoy a tender walk through Australia Angel Grove Park.Tommy asks Kim what she's got planned for this weekend and she suggests spending some time reading a book outside in the nice weather. Tommy smiles and asks which "Hank the Cowdog" book she's going to read. Kim says she's actually planning on reading something by Bukowski, and Tommy's smile fades. He asks if Bukowski knew Bruce Lee, and Kimberly responds with a somber "P-probably."

Bulk and Skull drop in to grab a chunk of hunk hair with the Wizard's supernatural scissors. At least I think the scissors are supposed to be magical. Why an evil wizard would be carrying around run of the mill Size 3 clippers is beyond me. Do all of his ridiculous plans involve a lock of somebody's hair?

The hypnotized Bulk and Skull crawl up to Tommy and Kim and are immediately noticed by the couple. They ask Bulk and Skull if they're doing alright, to which they respond in a synchronized monotone that got a tiny smile from my cold dead soul.

Bulk and Skull retreat back to the Wizard to report their abject failure and overall general buffoonery. The Wizard of Deception zaps them and asks why he has to do everything himself. How about you try doing anything yourself first, you crab-faced fuck?

The Wizard appears in front of Tommy and summons a battalion of Z-Putties to stop the White Ranger. Tommy buzzes the Command Center for help and Alpha asks why some balding white-trash porker with an ashtray over his face is attacking Tommy. Zordon informs Alpha 5 that this is no ordinary humiliating loser, this wizard is his old rival from times long forgotten. Jot that into your loreporium everyone, I'm sure it's going to matter when this stupid wizard gets Thunder Sabered.

While Zordon and Alpha try to contact the other Rangers, the Wizard of Deception showcases his limitless abilities as his Putties pull out all the stops.

My God. They're unstoppable now!

Zordon contacts the other Ranger Teens and summons them to help Tommy. At least that's what he says he's going to do, because they seem to show up nowhere near Tommy or the Wizard of Deception. The Tommy-less Ranger Teens have their own squad of Z-Putties to battle, but they're very clearly in a different location from where their leader is. I don't know if Alpha screwed up the teleportation and landed them in some Podunk Angel Grove Junkyard, or maybe the show forgot to submit a second draft. Smashcut to an intern on the writing staff carrying a stack of scripts before tripping and falling into a filing cabinet.

Credit where it's due, this Z-Putty fight is probably one of the best I've seen in the series. Maybe I'm biased since the last one we had consisted of children throwing dodgeballs at them. I could also be looking for something worth enjoying in an episode that's half over and has failed to deliver on its promises of a returning Green Ranger or a time travel spell.

Through the sheer power of plot convenience, the Z-Putties gain the upper hand against Tommy and pin him down. The Wizard of Deception appears and zaps Tommy with energy bolts that knock him out cold. Once Tommy is on the ground, one of the Z-Putties whips out a pair of scissors and cuts off one of Tommy's beautiful karate-locks. Well that's what happens when you let your foot soldiers hang out with Mitt Romney all the time. 

Once the Wizard has a piece of Tommy's hair, he and the Putties vanish into thin hair. Kimberly and the others soon find Tommy on the ground and ask what the hell just happened. Tommy, shockingly, is ignorant of everything happening around him and offers no solution. The Rangers decide they should probably get in contact with Zordon instead of twiddling their thumbs and wondering why there's a chunk of Tommy's scalp missing.

Out in a grassy field, the Wizard of Deception tosses his the hair of the dog that kicked ya to the ground and zaps it with energy. This evil spell does exactly what we've been informed it would, and creates an exact duplicate of Tommy Oliver. Just what this show needed. Even more Tommy.

Tommy wearing all of his Ranger colors at once.

After we return from commercial break, Billy informs his friends that Zordon has informed him the Wizard of Deception can create illusions that become reality. They would have gone to the Command Center and had this conversation with Zordon there, but Haim Saban wasn't buying a plane ticket from Australia to California unless it's one-way. They also better wish real hard for that movie to be a success or he ain't flyin' em back.

I'm more confused why Billy was the only one of the Ranger Teens talking to Zordon. He almost always discusses situations with all six of them at a time. Not to mention we could have had this conversation on-screen with the Ranger Teens in Australia talking into their Communicators. Splice in some stock footage of the Command Center and it would look fine. Why bother splitting this shit up with a commercial break?

Rocky suggests that they can definitely beat this wizard if they all stay alert. A plan that only a brilliant mastermind like Rocky "I'm Still Not Jason" DeSantos could come up with. Tommy starts to complain about a headache, possibly caused by the scissors that were just jammed into his brain. He leaves his friends but reminds them to pay close attention to their Communicators. If I ever found out that one of my Rangers wasn't listening to their Communicator, I would send them to a Peace Conference so fast it'd make their head spin.

The Evil Tommy Clone lies in wait for the Ranger Teens in the park, but he's not alone. He's about two feet from the most hilariously dressed extra I've ever seen.

HOW DO YOU DO FELLOW KIDS 

Hair Clone Tommy contacts the Ranger Teens on his Clonemmunicator and informs them to head to the Angel Grove city limits ASAP. The Ranger Teens meet up with Clone Tommy at the city limits and ask him why he's acting so evil and wearing a green bandana. Kim scratches Tommy behind the ear as she asks if he forgot what color Ranger he is again.

The Rangers and Clone Tommy are soon surprised by the appearance of the Wizard of Deception. When Adam suggests that they should morph, Clone Tommy grabs his arm and demands that they don't. Mostly so that we don't have to film a fight with the Wizard of Deception who's obviously just a fat guy in a black bedsheet wearing a shitty mask. The Ranger Teens ask Tommy why he's acting like such a crazy prick, but are only met with an energy wave from the Wizard of Deception's wand. Soon enough, the five Ranger Teens find themselves teleported back into…ah great.

Yuck

Remember all that buildup to the Rangers being sent back in time? Remember how the Ranger Teens suggested places they'd like to go and we might have had an idea of some crazy place they could go? Well fuck that. They're back in Colonial Angel Grove. Who could even possibly care? Instead of going to some time period anybody might be interested in, we have to see a bunch of clowns with buckle-hats talking about the glory of slave ownership. The writers couldn't even write a realistic line for one of the Ranger Teens about going back in time to the 1800's because nobody in the history of ever would have wanted to do that. What a load of horseshit.

A handful of villagers scream that the Ranger Teens are some kind of ungodly witches. Adam says that the Power Rangers aren't witches, and they're not going to be for at least another 13 seasons. Billy offers some absolutely worthless input by informing these colonial savages that they're not witches, but travelers from another space and time. These idiots are still using butter churns and you think you can pacify them by discussing the nature of time travel? Billy, you are the stupidest genius I've ever met.

A group of soldiers march into the town square, prompting the Ranger Teens to hightail it the hell out of dodge. Our heroes soon run into an awkwardly Australian peasant who tells them to follow her. She stashes the Ranger Teens inside of a barn. Why she's so happy to harbor these time criminals inside her barn will have to wait for next week, because there's something to wrap up in the present.

The non Clone Tommy wanders around, looking for where he lost his disposable teammates. While he's unable to find them, he does run into a handsome young Clone looking for a good time. When Tommy comes face to face with Clone Tommy, he begins pawing forward and barking angrily. The real Tommy's little karate dog tail points straight down while he bares his fangs at this impostor. As the episode comes to an end, Tommy utters a guttural growl at this horrible monster. Joke will be on him when we reveal next week that we just put a mirror in front of him.




TO BE CONTINUED


  

Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Hair-Based Rituals




Personal Thoughts



I'm at a loss how to describe this episode. Since this is only Part 1, naturally it contains a great deal of buildup. If I remembered almost anything about this trilogy then I could judge how well the next two episodes pay any of that off. I'm not sure right now, but I guess I can say this one isn't atrocious? 

Unless I'm misremembering, the colonial times Angel Grove stuff has always felt like a gigantic waste of fucking time and didn't mesh with the Green Ranger subplot at all. I'll be happy to be proven wrong, but as for now it feels like two plots clumsily glued together. One of those plots being a plot that was basically done no more than four episodes ago.

Interestingly enough, this episode introduced two U.S. original monsters; the Ghost of Darkness and the Wizard of Deception. I'd find the former significantly more interesting if he ever showed up again, but instead he's relegated to a single appearance here before being promptly forgotten. I'm not saying the Ghost of Darkness is some incredibly detailed character who we should see more of, but you're left with an awful lot of questions based on the little we see of him. He refers to Rita as "my child," which would almost make you think she's part of a cult or she's his daughter or something. Instead he only serves as a macguffin to summon the Wizard of Deception.

Man this poor guy. They tried really hard to make something that looks creepy on a shoestring budget. The only problem is everything about him. His wand looks like a baton with a skull glued on top, his mask's flame effects look really crappy, and the whole costume looks like something you'd see in a church play about the evils of balding Satans. He just looks like a total joke. I wish one of the Power Rangers would punch him in his big gut and watch as he crumples to the ground, whimpering.

I find it cool when Power Rangers comes up with their own villain characters, but these two don't hold a candle to Lord Zedd. There's something really imposing and impressive about Zedd, but these two jokers reek of budget cuts. The most embarrassing thing is they look badass compared to what's yet to come next week. Get hyped everybody, and rats off to ya.





9 comments:

  1. What does it mean that in the PRverse, California was settled by the Kingdom of England?

    By which I mean, did Levy and Shell Danielson genuinely not know the history of the state they were living in, or did Saban go "hey, this colonial Australian park will let us film there in exchange for free Ranger autographs?".

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  2. I always thought that was very odd since the colonies that would end up forming the beginnings of the USA started off on the EAST COAST. California around this time I don't think had been discovered, or if it had, it was by the Spaniards, or something.

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  3. This all plays into my theory that Zandar is the Power Rangers Universe counterpart of the Republic of West Florida (A couple of counties in Louisiana that were briefly independent due to a border dispute that ended up being the only piece of land that changed hands as a result of the War of 1812).

    But it's retroactively consistent with the fact that Angel Grove seems to pretty much be Los Angeles with an anglicized name.

    How Boston ended up with a Greek name is anyone's guess though.

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  4. I love villain logic.

    "The leader of our foes is knocked unconscious and we have a pair of scissors. Shall I jam this blade into his ear, oh Wizard master?"
    "No, we have a nice complicated plan to follow. None of these left field ideas, just a snip of the hair should suffice."
    "Well, if we need DNA, maybe we can just slice off a finger and incapacitate him a little bit?"
    "Goddamnit, Z Putty #537, this isn't a brainstorming session or some sort of democracy. We follow my plan or we do nothing."
    "But Wizard, I just think that. .."
    "Nobody's paying you to think."
    "Nobody's paying me at all."
    "You're damn right about that, because you're fired, smart guy."
    "I'm a woman."
    "You just don't know when to quit, do you?"

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    Replies
    1. This comment is fucking beautiful. I totally skimmed over the idea of having scissors right next to your hated nemesis, and all you choose to do is take a little off the top. That fat wizard is a total clown.

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  5. @N-Gauge: Well, now I have to think about sexual dimorphism in magic moon clay golems. Anyone got enough rope to make a noose?

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  6. All I've learned from these comments is how goddamned bad I am at history. I saw a bunch of redcoats running around California and nodded with a big stupid grin on my face. Someone was napping in high school.

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  7. "Instead of going to some time period anybody might be interested in, we have to see a bunch of clowns with buckle-hats talking about the glory of slave ownership."

    Is it wrong that I imagined Rosechu saying this only for Sonichu, who is poorly drawn to resemble Chris Funaro, beating her while yelling: "THERE IS NO SLAVE TRADE IN THE POWER RANGERS UNIVERSE YOU STUPID CUNT! MY GOD! DON'T YOU WATCH THE GODDAMN SHOW!? EVEN AMIT SAID THERE'S NO RACISM!" in those over-the-top voices you'd see in a Spazkid flash animation?

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  8. Oh boy more episodes about Tommy. Can we get four more parts, please? :D

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