Saturday, August 27, 2016

MMPR Season 2 Episode 51: Wild West Rangers Part 2


Magical Robot Cursed to Live in 19th Century
Defeat of Cactus Man Celebrated With Hoedown












Last week on Power Rangers, Kimberly got thrown into a time before slavery was illegal by a magical time warp. Kim soon met up with Wild West variants of her fellow Ranger Teens, who all said some variation on the word "tarnations." While the Ranger Teens in the present time tried to locate Kimberly, Lord Zedd sent his forces back in time to intercept her. Goldar, a pack of Putties, and Zedd's monster Needlenose all landed in 1880's Angel Grove, ready to paint the town red with cowboy blood.


Goldar proudly proclaims that the 1800's Angel Grove is about to be renovated into the brand-new Zedd-and-Ritaville, which is almost as lazy a name as the name of every monster in Season 2. Kim encourages her dumb hick friends to run away before Goldar spots them, which is completely pointless as Goldar and his big dangling dingus notice Kimberly in about 3 seconds. Kimberly encourages the rodeo Rangers to hightail it away from Goldar and the gang, and stays behind to fight the forces of evil by herself. Kimberly becomes concerned that she could be murdered by a gigantic cactus man, so she decides to morph.

Remember when the Ranger Teens couldn't morph back in the 1700's? Because they hadn't met Zordon yet or whatever malarkey the show used to prevent filming an action scene? This episode bypassed all of that bullshit by saying, "Who cares? It's an action show." The correct attitude to have when you're filming a scene where a young woman is confronted with a racist cactus.

Kimberly prompts Goldar to engage her in a battle, and a scene that's supposed to be played kind of seriously is instead turned ridiculous with Needlenose adding a bunch of useless banter.  As soon as you're about to become worried for Kimberly's sake against Goldar's squad, Needlenose needs to chime in with some stupid line about doing a do-si-do.  

Speaking of Needlenose, his voice has stopped resembling a Z-Grade Cheech Marin impression. Now he sounds more like a T-Grade Triumph the Insult Comic Dog impression. After every one of his groan-inducing lines like "Thees iz juan high-tenshun hodown!", I expect him to add "for me to poop on!" 

Goldar sics his Putty crew on the Pink Ranger, because he can't accept when something has been proven time and time again not to work. You have an honest-to-goodness monster there and you won't let him fight with her? Why isn't Goldar doing this himself? When did Goldar become such an unbelievably lazy tit?

Meanwhile, Doc Skullovitch and One-Eyed Bulk manage to escape from prison. How you ask? By prying the bars of the jail cell apart and walking through them. At least that's what One-Eye attempts to do, but he can't fit through them because lol HE'S TOO FAT.

Imagine being Paul Schrier. You come to set that day, feeling like you'd lost a few pounds while filming some flop movie in Australia. Then you read the script to today's episode and realize your primary scene involves you being too fat to fit through prison bars. If there is one actor I would want to give a hug, it's Christina Hendricks, but Paul Schrier is a close number 2.

Bulk Cassidy and the Skulldance Kid get out of prison just in time to witness the Pink Ranger beating the stupid out of some Z-Putties. The bandits are aghast that they live in a desolate hellscape that's not only allowing women to show their ankles, but now golems are invading! Doc Skull is left speechless, but One-Eye realizes the true importance of this event. If he and the good doctor can discover who that mystery gal is, then they could become rich. Ha. Ha. Ha. Because Bulk and Skull think the same thing. Did people really care about secret identities back in the old west? Everybody ran around shooting each other and dying of dysentery. The only mystery back then was why God cursed you to live in such an atrocious period of time.

Goldar and Needlenose thwart Kimberly by hurling her to the ground, and the dastardly duo demand that she surrender. Kim informs her foes that she has a plan to get rid of them once and for all, and it's going to be some of the most convoluted plot they've ever seen.

Kimberly grabs onto her Morpher, and teleports away from the battle. Where does she teleport to? None other than the 1880's Command Center of course!

Really should have turned that tube in the center into a silo.

Yeah, what? I know Zordon has been around forever, but you're telling me he's had a Command Center stationed in the exact same location for the last 200 years? What's he even doing there if Rita is currently locked up and Zedd is off dicking around in the Vica Galaxy? He doesn't even have any innocent teenagers to enslave yet, so what's he doing in Wild West Angel Grove?

I'm certain someone has rationalized this with fan theories and all sorts of goofy shit, but I don't even kind of care. Zordon and Alpha 5 are here because it's convenient for them to be here. Try and make sense of this show's continuity if it trips your trigger, but I couldn't give a fuck less. Now on to the rest of my 10 page analysis on an episode where Kim fights a cactus.

Kimberly unbuckles her helmet and convinces 1880's Zordon that she's a time traveling heroine in the span of two sentences. She tells Alpha 5 that Rita and Zedd are to blame, and the cyborg begins to panic like a jittery mess. Because nothing has changed for these two in the last century. What I'm more curious about is why Alpha 5 looks exactly the same in the past as he does in the future. Are you telling me that the robot-building technology Zordon has access to remained consistent for a solid 100 years? Before fucking planes were invented?

Zordon asks this nosy Nancy what she wants with him, because if he isn't paying her in the future then he certainly won't be paying her in the past. Kim says this has nothing to do with Zordon's unfathomable cheapness, she needs backup against Goldar's posse. That's who Kimberly needs assistance against? Goldar: History's biggest jobber, and Needlenose: A living houseplant. How pathetic were Zedd's monsters in the 1800's if Zordon is taking this shit seriously?

Kimberly says that Rita was in possession of the Green Power Coin, but Zordon should still have the other five with him. Big Blue confirms this, but says he can't authorize using the Pink Power Coin while she resides in his timestream. Zordon proclaims that too much pink energy would prove dangerous, and if the Rangers had another girl on their team than the entire continent would turn into a bunch of ravaging homosexual mongrels. Not to mention it would cost extra to build another Pink Ranger suit.

Kimberly tracks down the four Rootin' Tootin' Point and Shootin' versions of her friends in a valley somewhere. William informs Kim that he thought she was "buzzard bait," which made my brain feel like it was passing a kidney stone. Instead of reacting to the stupid, cornball, hicky nonsense that William says, Kimberly unveils a tiny box. She promises that what resides inside of it will help these countryside goofballs rid their town of villains once and for all.

What good is novelty chocolate gonna do?

In the present day, Tommy ponders how he and the others can help rescue Kimberly. Because it's not like she can do anything by herself. If Tommy "White Knight" Oliver can't come to her rescue then there's no reason for her to be on this show in the first place. Zordon tells his beloved indentured servants that he may have one way for them to help Kim. He has Alpha set the Viewing Globe to detect chroniton particles, and keep an eye out for lawsuits from Gene Roddenberry's estate.

Despite Kimberly's generous proposal, the Rawhide Ranger Teens refuse her proposal. They're nothing but a group of long-dead stereotypes who would best be left forgotten by society as a whole. Kim tells them that she wasn't a hero at first either, but then she shot a frog monster in the mouth with a bow and arrow and now she's just sort of winging it. Also her boyfriend sells a shitload of merchandise, so if she's ever losing a fight then he can come save her. Plus one for the ladies, am I right everyone?!

After another two sentence speech, the old-timey Rangers agree to risk life and limb because some insane woman from the future told them it was a good idea. I wish I had more to say here, but that's all that happens. She says that these four should become superheroes, they relent for a second, then agree to kill the Ghoulies from beyond Pluto. I'd be a lot more dismissive if I were under any impression these four were actual factual characters. Instead, they're the four dweebs in pajamas we see every other week, except they're wearing funny hats.

Following that discussion, we…ugh. Of course we do. We just needed to have a scene where One-Eye and Doc discuss how they can uncover the Pink Stranger's identity. It's an absolute fucking dud of a scene, and it baffles me as to why it's included.

One-Eyed Bulk mentioning how he wants to uncover the identity of the Pink Stranger was a quick little joke. Cute. Next scene. We've moved on. Oh, what's that? We're actually following up on this? Why? We're only going to see these two for another 10 minutes and then they'll never appear again. Why would a couple of bank robbers suddenly become fame-hungry zealots trying to expose vigilantes anyway? Why couldn't this show have left well enough alone?

Not only that, but One-Eye's scheme is the most half-baked bullshit I've ever seen. His plan is to use a divining rod to locate the Pink Stranger. Doc Skullovitch says that won't work because divining rods only locate water. One-Eyed Bulk tells him that's perfect, since human beings are 90% water!

Ignoring the scientific inaccuracy of two baboons from the stone ages, what is he actually trying to accomplish. The divining rod will…lead him to a human? So what? Then that person could be a Power Ranger? Does the show itself want me to find this particular plan stupid? Because absolutely nothing about it makes a lick of sense, and the only payoff is that One-Eyed Bulk falls into a big trough of water. Wow, what a funny joke. It was even funnier when they did the exact same joke last week. Suck my dick.

The Ranger Teens are able to locate enough chronomorphicons or whatever and find Kimberly. About time! It took this episode two whole minutes to pay off that bit of technobabble. Billy spots the Round-Up Ranger Teens in the Viewing Globe and asks why Kimberly is hanging out with that dweeb in blue overalls. Zordon informs them that the people they're currently looking at are the first human beings to utilize the Power Coins. So all you fanfic writers trying to adapt Jetman or something, make them all aliens. That way it can be canonical, and you won't have to stare at the ceiling every night wondering where you went wrong.

Well, that second part's a lie, but I digress.

Kimberly escorts her wild west compadres back into town, but finds that 1880's Angel Grove seems to be completely evacuated. William says that the varmints must have vamoosed. Well thank goodness those dagblasted, yellowbellied, dumfungled, rip-roarin' barow-trams skedaddled, I was getting all-overish when they came knockin' round these parts. DID YOU NOTICE WE'RE IN THE WILD WEST?!?! YEEEHAW! COWBOYS. RACISM. WE GOT IT. HOLY SHIT.

Unfortunately for Kim and her ethnically-diverse Western friends, the Z-Putties leap out to attack. Can you still call it an ambush when it's done so poorly and half-assed? Whatever. The 1880's Ranger Teens attempt to defend themselves against the grey balls of clay and misery, but it only leads to numerous scenes filled with comic mischief. I didn't tune in this week to see Rocky's ancestor throw a washboard tub at Putties. Wait a second who am I trying to kid? That's all I've ever wanted to see!

There's also a quick scene where Abraham and Miss Alicia do a little dance to dodge the Putties. As soon as they finish, Johnny Yong Bosch and Karan Ashley warm my cold dead heart with a little pinch of charm in this dumbass karate cornucopia.

M'lady

Alright fine, I love this stupid scene. There. Are you happy now? Neither am I.

Unfortunately, Kimberly's enlisting of four dumbass southerners who don't know how to tie their own shoes does not pay off quite like she hoped. The Putties are able to overwhelm them, possibly because they're interdimensional space devils, and leave our heroes in a tight spot.

As if on cue, the White Stranger rolls up to town riding on a pony. Stick a feather in his cap and call him macaroni.

Jesus. I thought Kimberly could get away from Tommy stealing all the spotlight by going back in time. He still gets to enfeeble the others as Tommy's great great great grandfather. I guess being a camera-hogging dog runs in the family.

The White Stranger dismounts his horse and starts busting out all sorts of karate on the Putties. Because of course it's karate, he couldn't possibly do anything different. Even in the old west Tommy had to use karate. It's like a fucking curse with this family. No matter how improbable or ridiculous the circumstance, you are physically required to use karate to solve it.

Then this happens for no real reason and Kim causes a space-time paradox by fucking Granddaddy Tommy.

Season 2 in a nutshell.

Goldar and Needlenose reemerge in town, and Kimberly tells her friends' ancestors that it's time to do what they do best. She leads the old-timey Ranger Teens in a morph, and they become the titular "Wild West Rangers Part 2." In case you were hoping for cool or unique looking suits, make sure to squash those hopes immediately. They're the same Ranger costumes, but with neckerchiefs, cowboy boots, and fringe up and down their gloves.

You know what? You don't need to see an image of them. Trust me. They look terrible. Not even the fun kind of terrible. Just the lazy kind of terrible. No thank you.

Now that they're in their (terrible) costumes, Kimberly and the Wild West Rangers start a big 'ol ruckus against the Putties. Oh yeah and also the White Stranger is there for some reason. He didn't get a Power Coin or morph or anything. He's just here cause he heard some carpetbaggers needed a hot injection of karate into their b-holes.

The fight with the western Rangers and the Putties definitely isn't great, but it's a decent opportunity for the suit actors to do some funny gags. William as the Blue Ranger holds up his dukes as though he were a pugilist, Miss Alicia as the Yellow Ranger acts like she's Olive Oil and yelps out in panic whenever someone gets near her, and Abraham as the Black Ranger pulls off some pretty slick moves.

Come to the HOME COOKED MEALS shop

After dispatching the Z-Putties, our hero and her hillbilly friends set their sights on Goldar and Needlenose. When confronted with his opponents, Needlnose remarks, "Too bad I've got to waste you away again in Zedd and Ritaville." Holy shit.

Usually I'm a bit coy to admit when a line in this show makes me laugh, but this one is an out and out funny reference. Of all the things I expected to hear in Power Rangers this week, a reference to fucking Jimmy Buffett was not one of them. Kudos Needlenose, you managed to make me sincerely laugh.

Needlenose launches a paralyzing spore at the White Stranger and knocks him out of commission. That's what you get for not wearing embarrassing rainbow pajamas you dumbass cowboy. Kimberly becomes enraged and requests a showdown between her crew and the monsters. It's not nail-biting or anything like that, but it's a cute little duel. The New Old Rangers blast Zedd's goons with their Blade Blasters, and they're sent careening backwards into a plot-convenient time warp that takes their existence out of the 1880's for good. As long as you ignore the women that Needlenose impregnated while he was here.

After the battle concludes, the Wild West Ranger Teens discard their Ranger outfits and respond by…uh…

Maybe we shouldn't have won the Revolutionary War.

Lord Zedd is enraged that Goldar screwed the pooch for approximately the trillionth time, and demands to know what this dumbass dog plans to do about it. Goldar tells Zedd that he dumped that cactus jobber down on Earth, so maybe he can do something impressive with the last five minutes of the episode. Like grow giant and get unceremoniously killed by the Thunder Saber or something. Zedd thinks this innovative plan is exactly what he needs to finish off those stupid Power Rangers and their big robot animals for good.

Zordon alerts his meat puppets to the presence of Needlenose on Earth. Billy informs the others that he can't leave until he's finished working on reconfiguring the Communicators or something, so Tommy and Rocky elect to battle the monster. The boys morph and meet up with the monster somewhere in the Angel Grove desert, where the cactus responds "Two against one? I love an unfair fight!" What are you talking about you big spiky dipshit? You're the one who's being treated unfairly. Why are you excited about that? What a terrible line. Unfair fight my ass. Just shut up and die already you stupid plant.

Zedd makes Needlenose grow, and Tommy and Rocky summon their Thunderzords. The Red Dragon and White Tiger battle Needlenose, but he proves too powerful for them to defeat on their own. Zordon demands that Billy stop doing whatever stupid science junk he's messing around with so that he and the others can go bail Tommy out. The Ranger Teens abandon the Kimberly situation and board their Thunderzords. They combine with the Tigerzord to create the Megatigerzord! I wouldn't have spelled that out so bluntly, but this thing hasn't shown up in 15 episodes. At the very least we get to see a Zord formation that isn't the horrendously boring Thunder Megazord swinging its horrendously boring Thunder Saber. Thank fuck.

Hey Kim, who's piloting your Zord right now?

Back at the Command Center, Billy explains that he's modified the Communicators to create a time hole. Because of the laws of dramatic tension, this teleportation scam can only be attempted once, and if it fails then Kimberly will be lost in time forever. Shut up Billy. You have two minutes of the episode left, of course it's going to work.

So that thing Billy did? It worked. Hooray, yippee, yeehaw, who gives a shit? She's saved at long last, all thanks to chronitons or something. Was that still relevant? Probably. The episode's over. It doesn't matter.

Oh wait, no it's not. We still have to wrap up the Wild West Rangers and their countless misadventures! Do they still have the Power Coins, are they now in a blood feud with Lord Zedd because of Zordon's convoluted magical powers? Have they been given magic dino robots? Who cares about that? I'm much more interested in the White Stranger's sex life.

The Wild West Ranger Teens talk about how amazing it was to be a Power Ranger, and Kim sure was special. The White Stranger ignores this because he was the only one who didn't get to change into magical pajamas. He departs upon his beautiful horse and sees a carriage with a young woman who looks exactly like Kimberly. Jeepers creepers! I know where this is going. He's going to have a loving and committed relationship with her, and then she's going to dump him with a letter from the pony express. Get dunked on dorkasaurus.



Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Chroniton Particles





Personal Thoughts


It's not perfect, it's not great, but for fucks' sakes at least this episode was enjoyable. It's easily the best multi-parter focused on time travel this stupid season has given us. In fact I would probably enjoy this episode quite a bit more if it didn't have to show up so late in the season and follow so many middling to rotten episodes about the Rangers going back in time. I don't think this one is going to be on any top 10 lists, but it gave me something to enjoy. Other than that garbage scene with One-Eye and Doc. What a bunch of shit. I would rather spend those two minutes tongue-kissing my grandmother than watch that again. I'm sure she would too.

There is an issue I have with the structure of this episode though. Why is Kimberly still stuck back in time when Needlenose is killed? It wouldn't have changed the episode at all if she was rescued while Rocky and Tommy fought the monster in their Zords, then joined the battle in the Megatigerzord. It would have let her Zord get the finishing blow on Needlenose, and have some sort of payoff to Kim being attacked by the cactus. As the episode stands, Kim is stuck back in time while a ghost pilots her Firebird Thunderzord and she doesn't even know they beat Needlenose. Did first drafts get accepted immediately at Power Rangers?

The last thing I wanted to bring up was the Dairanger episode this was based on. Dairanger 34 is where Needlenose comes from, and it's one of the stupidest fucking Tokusatsu episodes I've seen in a while. The Japanese counterpart of Needlenose is a total creep who kidnaps young girls and turns them into machete-wielding dolls, and he spends half the episode rubbing young girls' thighs. It's totally creepy.

There's also a scheme from the villains that is absurdly self-serious all about how the evils of war are going to create a greenhouse effect. A topic that I can understand and agree with, but maybe not in an episode where a pedophile cactus turns the spirit of an actual cactus into a young girl to infiltrate the green Dairanger's home. She doesn't even do anything there, she just apologizes for spying on him. Even though she clearly didn't do anything to try and kill him. It's such ridiculous and misplaced bullshit drama that I can't help but recommend it. Buy the Shout Factory DVD's, Dairanger is actually a good series overall!






11 comments:

  1. I remember reading somewhere that Wild West Rangers was supposed to be the season finale before half the cast quitting and shooting the movie in Australia threw production schedules badly off-kilter. If that's true, even for an at-best mediocre two-parter, it's a much better send-off than what we actually got. We could have even ended the season on a Megatigerzord battle to boot instead of Thunder Megazord battle #365.

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  2. The Command Center was supposed to have been built thousands of years ago according to the backstory, so of course it would be around 200 years ago.

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  3. It's not so much the fact that it was around 200 years ago. It's the fact that all of the technology is exactly the same. That means that a robot like Alpha 5 could have been built while a bunch of rednecks were digging for gold and getting trampled to death by horses.

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    1. It's almost like you're suggesting that Zordon's kind of a dick.

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    2. Given that we eventually find out that Zordon can just grow a new one if the old one blows up, it probably would have made a lot more sense if the command center were like burried or something and only emerged when they detected Rita. In fact, the part that bothers me most about the command center in this one is the sense that Zordon and Alpha have just been, like, hanging out there for the past ten thousand years. I'd kinda assumed that Zordon and Alpha were asleep or something until their "Space Witch Removed From Trash Can" alarm went off. I mean, holy fuck, ten thousand years with no one for company but Alpha? No wonder Zordon's such an asshole.

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    3. More like Alphas, plural. The "5" in "Alpha 5" wasn't just a random number, there were four Alphas before him.

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    4. Kind of telling then that without Zordon around Alpha got stuffed into a box and put in storage until Adam pulled him out in Operation Overdrive. Even more telling Adam knew he was there the whole time and just left him in his crate to rust.

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    5. That was Alpha 6. Coincidentally, Alpha 4's fate was also to be put in a crate (as seen in the background of an episode).

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    6. So he left Alpha's "brother" to rust then. :) Still doesn't show a value for the life of Alpha.

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  4. So, the time is almost upon us, & I guess we all want to know...are you going to recap the movie?

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  5. I liked the Wild West Ranger suits, probably because I'm impressed the show actually spent the $10 to modify the regular suits.

    And I definitely second the plug for Dairanger. I absolutely love that series (other than the White Ranger sexually assaulting the Pink Ranger a few times...for those who haven't seen it I'm not joking), I highly recommend it.

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