Saturday, September 3, 2016

MMPR Season 2 Episode 52: Blue Ranger Gone Bad



Billy Attracts Attention From Budding Serial Killer
Lethal Puppet Goofily Wiggles Around









So here we are, the Season 2 finale. The culmination of all the important things that we've learned throughout these past 50 episodes. Topics such as; Lord Zedd exists, Tommy is a Power Ranger, Don't ask Haim Saban for more money, Filming a movie in Australia while concurrently filming a television show will lead to mixed results, and fights where two people never interact are horrendously boring.

I'm not going to mince words. This is a gigantically underwhelming season finale. It's a standard Power Rangers episode and feels like it could take place anywhere throughout the season. That's not without precedence, Season 1's finale was pretty middling as well, but Season 2 seemed like it was trying to be much grander in scope. It's the epitome of the same vanilla bullshit we've seen all throughout Season 2, and I guess that makes it fitting to conclude with. It exists to showcase how desperately this show has been limping to the finish line for the past 30 weeks.

Our tepid finale begins with the Ranger Teens working on projects in art class. Woof. Exactly what I tuned in for. Tommy making a shitty-looking vase. Kimberly dabs at a canvas and pretends she's painting, Billy makes some science hooplah, and the other three aren't being given anything to do. You enjoy those seats guys? Well keep filling em, we need six teens on our merchandise or Saban's gonna break our thumbs.

Billy shows off his upside-down CD that he proclaims is a hologram projector. It displays Sentai stock footage beautiful images of waves crashing on a beach. Wow cool. I've got a Viewmaster at home Billy. Why don't you invent something that you can use? Like a pocket protector. Or a pocket pussy. 

Hold the thought on that pocket pussy! A geeky gal named Violet comes up and ogles Billy's stock footage machine. She asks Billy if he wants to see her art project, and he happily accepts. It's not like she's made anything horrifically creepy and bizarre.

BURN IT. BURN IT TO THE GROUND

Sweet cuppin cakes look at that thing! Put yourself in this scenario real quick. Some girl who's been making fuck-eyes at you during 3rd period asks if you want to see her art project. Then she unveils a CLAY REPLICA OF YOU. You would be horrified. There's a difference between a charming show of affection, and a Helga Pataki-level obsession.

Even Billy, the world's most anti-social dorkus, is put off by this. His gratitude is offered as "Thanks…I guess." She asks if he'll be at the gym later tonight, and he offers a very mellow "probably." Ladies, if a guy doesn't respond well to your terrifying golem of him, then there's a distinct chance that he's not going to be down for getting drinks with you. Please take your relationship advice from me, Power Rangers blogger extraordinaire.

Bulk and Skull are making a project and it's supposed to be a clay statue of the Power Rangers. When the Rangers come to thank them, the bullies will rip their helmets off to uncover their identities. I hope you can forgive me for not giving that subplot any more coverage than this.

When all of the students depart from Angel Grove High, Goldar and Squatt teleport into the art room. What are you doing Goldar?! You know Squatt can't be within 300 feet of a high school! Goldar zeroes in on Violet's mortifying statue and presents it to Lord Zedd for tribute. The big red moon man blasts the statue with energy, and creates an evil doppelganger of Billy.

Yeah, that's what the episode's going to be about. Sorry.

Evil Billy addresses Lord Goldar and asks what his master's orders are. Do you know how angry I am they didn't take this opportunity to have Evil Billy ask "Lord Squatt" for orders? He was standing right there and they didn't even consider it. Why did they even put him in this scene then? Goldar tells Squatt to be quiet and then he giggles when Evil Billy comes to life. Why don't they throw that goblin in the wood chipper already?

Goldar declares that he'll kidnap the original Billy and have Evil Billy take over his life. Oh sweet lord no! What's he going to do? Get a B+ on his Calculus test? Only run for vice-president of the science club? Give me a break. I was going to ask why Zedd didn't make a clone of someone who could potentially be dangerous, like Tommy, but then I remembered this show already did that. Why does this show keep recycling the same three plots ad-nauseam? Were they seriously running out of ideas that badly? If Season 3 has one instance of time travel or evil Ranger clone creation, I'm going to jump off a bridge.

Out in the park, Tommy expresses disgust at his miserable attempt at pottery. Why can't he do what he always does and smile at the teacher until they give him a B for being so handsome? Life truly isn't fair when you're Tommy Oliver.

The only person who has it worse is Billy. He stutters and mutters about how he wouldn't know what to say to Violet if he asked her out. Hey I know what you could say to her! "Stop making statues of me you fucking weirdo." Before we get too far, let's acknowledge what Billy's issue is. He is saying that this girl, who won't stop creeping on him in study hall, might not fall for his bookish charms. She has glasses Billy, that's this show's way of ensuring that she's all about that big blue dong of yours.

No time to contemplate romance though, because the Z-Putties have arrived! They engage Adam, Kim, Billy, and Tommy in battle before Goldar's plan begins. While Billy is surrounded by Putties, a set of vines slither across the ground and latch onto him. Is Zedd using some kind of devious plant monster today?! No. That would be preposterous. These are simply magical weeds. Stop reading too much into things.

Billy is dragged into the bushes by Zedd's magic flowers and appears inside the Dark Dimension. Remember that place? The one we haven't been to in nearly 40 episodes? I was about to sarcastically talk about how exciting that was, but then I almost fell asleep thinking about it. This is the end of Season 2 everyone. What a roller coaster it's been.

When Billy tries to move, he's zapped by some kind of laser gun mounted on the ceiling. It freezes him in place with blue energy, and never fails to make me laugh. It's such a jarring thing to follow a scene of Billy getting Evil Dead'ed by haunted vines. A magical space laser with freeze capabilities. What an utterly bugnuts show this is.

Goldar and Squatt confiscate Billy's Communicator and backpack, donating them to the Evil Billy so that he fits the part. Better hope Billy's backpack has a thesaurus in there or Evil Billy's cover will be blown instantly.

Goldar's plan is for Evil Billy to steal the other Ranger Teens' Communicators and Morphers. Once they lose access to Zordon, Zedd and Rita will deal a decisive blow to the goody two-shoes nerds. Evil Billy gives Regular Billy the stink-eye before vanishing, and Goldar pulls a huge lever to spread a big cloud of fog inside the chamber. The literal golden retriever assures that this "Fog of Morpheus" will cause eternal sleep. …You mean death? Is that a metaphor or is this show half-assing its censorship? How much more obtuse can this show be about the danger it puts its heroes in? Is Zedd going to attack the Rangers next week with his "Un-Aliving Ray?"

Evil Billy reappears at the park and informs his friends that he is their good friend Bill-Lee and he has no intentions of eating their skin. Tommy laughs at one of 'Ol Billster's hilarious jokes, but feels the need to contact Zordon and ask if Rita and Zedd are up to something. His reasoning for this is that Zedd sent some Putties after them today, and that means something dangerous is happening. Something other than the Putties of course, who are as dangerous as week-old kittens.

While Tommy converses with Zordon, Evil Billy looks the White Ranger up and down in the most erotic scene in this entire series.

How YOU doin?

Kim asks Billy if he plans on asking Violet out, but Evil Billy responds that she's not even his type. Kim finds this rather peculiar, but Billy's next line is what really gives them cause for concern.

"Can we go? I just want to lift some weights."

Holy moly. Which Ranger did that statue think it was copying? Shouldn't an evil clone be the slightest bit capable of acting like the person it's duplicating? Does Lord Zedd think that the Power Rangers are some kind of hivemind with no individuality of their own? Actually, maybe that's not too unfounded of a theory.

While the other Ranger Teens study, Evil Billy completely breaks kayfabe by pumping iron the whole time. If this weren't awkward enough, that weirdo stalker Violet comes into the Juice Bar and asks Billy why he's not wearing the clothes he usually wears on Thursday. Evil Billy utterly blows her off and doesn't even acknowledge her existence. Oh great. Now Violet will try to assassinate foreign dignitaries until he notices she's alive.

When the other Ranger Teens ask Evil Billy why the hell he let that juicy piece of crazy go, he gives them a half-assed answer before telling his friends to fork over their Communicators. When asked why, Evil Billy offers a nonsensical explanation about geothermal whatever signals. Finding nothing bizarre about their comrades' misanthropic personality shift, the other Rangers toss him their lifeline to Zordon, but Tommy declines and holds onto his just in case. Because if one Ranger is going to matter in this episode, you can bet your sweet ass it's going to be Tommy.

While Tommy prevents Evil Billy's plans with his raw stupidity, the devious blue clone starts rifling through the other teens' backpacks and stealing their Power Morphers. Well now here's the issue. Even if the Rangers can't morph, Tommy still has Zordon on speed dial. That supposed threat of the Ranger Teens being isolated from Zordon hasn't been fulfilled. Why did this episode set up a reasonably dangerous threat and instantly pull the rug out from under it?

Back in the park, Aisha mocks Tommy for how hideous his shitty vase looks. Well good job Aisha. Now you can get murdered by Evil Billy as Tommy laughs his neutered balls off. He could have helped you, but you had to go making fun of his art project didn't you?

Gee. I wonder what the monster will be this week.

Tommy deflects from the embarrassment of his terrible artistry by telling everyone else how cool Billy's project is. Evil Billy awkwardly deflects any knowledge of what he made in art class, and distances himself from the other Ranger Teens when they prod him further. Tommy stops listening to Billy's lies when he comes to a conclusion. Billy a big dumb smarty pants nerd. He wouldn't lift weights if his life depended on it!

Tommy calls his head in a jar slaveowner to ask if he wanted Billy to fix those watches they use to communicate with each other, whatever they're called. Old narc-y Zordon blows up Evil Billy's spot by informing Tommy that there's nothing wrong with the Communicators, and to stop bothering him at 4:00. That's Zordon's personal time.

Instead of being a complete dipshit like usual, Tommy runs up to Kimberly and gives her the scoop. Pink and White come to the conclusion that either Billy has started to deceive his friends to make his horrible humdrum life more interesting, or this Billy is actually an evil clay statue turned into a murderous replicant. Whichever seems more plausible.

Zedd and Rita realize the jig is up, so they send Goldar and some Putties to kill the Rangers before it's too late. While this episode has been unbearably underwhelming so far, there is one gag that got me to perk up a little bit.

Jets or Sharks? I can't quite tell.

Goldar has an enjoyably meta line when he asks the Rangers "What's that you usually yell about now? Something about Morphing time?" Gee whiz, it's starting to feel like the only thing I'm enjoying about this show is the villains. I wonder if Season 3 will take notice of the most fun part about this show and continue forward with it.

Well I sure hope not. How are we going to get an episode where a clone Kimberly goes back in time to fight old monsters until Lord Zedd summons stock footage of a Cyclops?

The Ranger Teens realize that this so-called Billy has janked their Morphers. In the span of four seconds, Kimberly snags Evil Billy's backpack and retrieves all the gear he stole from them.

Well there goes the entire crux of that evil plot. Why did we even show up today? Son of a bitch I just want to take a nap.

But wait a minute here! The Putties surround Kimberly and knock the bag out of her hands. It goes flying into the air and lands on a tree branch. Oh boy. Stakes. That's even less interesting than the Morphers being in Evil Billy's hands. How is it that this show can take a semi-interesting concept and reduce it to something even more boring? Your Morphers are in a tree. Why don't you call the fire department? Aisha, I'm looking at you. Bring that hunk Firefighter Newman so he can get oiled up and climb that tree. Please. For me.

Oh I almost forgot. What's Billy Prime up to? Well he's getting caught by a slowly rising mist and muttering out math equations. Way to go shithead. The other Rangers solve things with karate chops and you try to fix problems by talking about cosines. Why don't you grab a marker and cosine deez nuts?

The unmorphed Ranger Teens hold onto Goldar and tell Aisha to retrieve the bag. She rushes over to the tree it's hanging from and is stopped by Putties. She turns back to her friends and informs them, "WE NEED OUR MORPHERS!" …Yeah no shit. That's what you were going to grab the bag for. Why did you stop and tell us that? What is this show even doing?

Inside of the Dark Dimension, Billy comes up with a rip-roaring idea. That hologram disc is still inside of his pocket. He whips it out and uses it to reflect the laser beam right back at that silly prop laser gun. It causes Lord Zedd's dollar bin toy to explode and frees the Blue Ranger from his misty prison. Drats! We could have had him sleeping forever if that plan had worked. Oh well, enact Plan B. Subject him to a viewing of "Blue Ranger Gone Bad."

Back on the Moon, Rita moans to Zedd about how terrible this whole schlocky episode is. She accurately sums up my thoughts on the matter when she says, "Goldar, Putties. Ugh, I'm bored!" Rita, you're a woman after my own heart. At least Power Rangers is becoming self-aware. Rita fusses with her hen-pecked hubby and requests that he make a monster. Zedd fires a bolt of lightning at the Earth and zaps that vase Tommy wouldn't shut up about. Now let me introduce you to Season 2's final monster. Meet Vase Face.

Vase Face gif
Portrayed by Tom Cruise

Vase Face fires lasers at the Ranger Teens and that's all he's going to be doing until he grows. Great. Thanks for the monster Zedd. Why don't you try adapting a better season next time dickhead.

Zordon and Alpha successfully discern that the Billy in the park is a fake! Wow, and only 10 minutes too late for it to matter. Way to be on the ball boys. Zordon teleports the actual Blue Ranger from the Dark Dimension to the park, where Billy spots Evil Billy climbing the tree holding the Morpher bag. Billy Classic yells at Evil Billy, which causes the clone to fall out of the tree. What an…exciting episode to….excuse me I need to... let me just get my pillow here.

The Billy's fiddle with the backpack before the real Billy tosses it over to Tommy. Then the episode realizes it has more time to fill and both Evil and "Good" Billy morph. What. When the fuck did Evil Billy get a Morpher? Could he go inside the Command Center with it? I mean he technically has a Power Coin, even if it is a duplicate. Zordon said that too much Pink Ranger energy was dangerous last week, but does the same hold true for Blue Energy?

Don't ask questions. We made another Blue Ranger suit so now we're going to use it.

I'm seein' double here. Four Billys!

Now that nobody can tell the two Billy's apart, that stupid scene I didn't want to see has to take place. Your standard, "Which one do we shoot?" scene that happens in every case of mistaken identity in every form of fiction in the history of forever. Thankfully it only lasts for about 12 seconds until Kimberly finds Billy's hologram disc. She shows it to the two Blues and asks what it is. Evil Billy doesn't have a clue, because he was too busy working on his traps, and the rest of the Rangers morph and blast him to death.

How appropriate that Zedd cloned Billy, because that resolution blue. 

Unfortunately for the Rangers, Lord Zedd isn't done yet. He still has an ace in the hole ready for them. The devious Vase Face!

…That was the monster he made a couple minutes ago. Don't worry, I forgot too.

Where did his puppet body go?

Now that Vase Face is giant and looks completely different, the Rangers decide to summon their Zords. The Thunder Megazord and White Tigerzord combine forces to battle the giant clay doofus, and we get to watch yet another mediocre Dairanger Zord fight. Vase Face ties up the Thunder Megazord with ropes, slashes with a sword, and a few other generic techniques that don't impress me. It's not the worst Zord battle that we've gotten in Season 2. Not by a long shot. I'm just so tired of this. Tired of all of it. I can't even muster emotion when I see the Thunder Megazord anymore. I've had enough.

Then the fight ends, much as they all do. The Thunder Saber. It's a metaphor for my entire life. Vase Face getting cut down by the same move that every other monster gets killed by. Over and over again I have to live the same experience while I wait to see a variation. But those variants never come do they? It's always the same thing. On loop. I hope for the best, but all I see is yet another Thunder Saber. There's no change. It's always the same thing. Until the day I die. Nothing but Thunder Sabers. It's how I'll go out as well I'm sure. Slashed by the Thunder Saber. In my final breath, I'll try and survive a bit longer. I'll hope to be finished by Tor the Shuttlezord, but he's long gone too. It's over. It's Thunder Sabers all the way down.

Tommy, your art project stinks.

Back at Angel Grove High, Billy comes up to Violet and apologizes for not paying attention to her one time. He asks her if she would do him the honor of continuing to stalk him in order to artificially inflate his self-esteem, and she happily accepts. Someday soon, Violet will have the illustrious honor of acting as Billy's Mark David Chapman.

The art teacher, Mrs. Binks, asks the students to show off their projects so we can get this shit over with. Kimberly made a painting of her friends and how much she loves them. It gets a D+ because she included Rocky in it. Bulk and Skull make fun of her and explain that they had someone else do their project for them, and thank Violet for designing the idealized version of a Power Ranger. The bullies unveil the statue and…

Yikes.

This is the note we go out on. Violet's creepy and obsessive statue of Billy. That's the last thing we'll see of this season? What does it matter what I say. There's no way I could hit a lower note than that. I could end this post with X-rays from my colonoscopy and it would be a better conclusion. This whole episode could have been Squatt and Baboo playing Chinese Checkers and it would have made more of an impact.

I am so happy to be done with Season 2.




Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Out of Place Toy Laser Guns




Personal Thoughts:

Okay let me be fair. I opened by expressing how standard this episode is, and I completely stand by that. It's not necessarily bad, I was just so goddamned bored throughout. I'm sure it shows, but Season 2 has massively burnt me out. As much as I like Billy, I don't care about his misadventures with an evil clone. Almost everything in this entire episode feels like an afterthought. The clone's Morpher theft is subdued almost immediately, Vase Face barely even exists until he grows, and half the Ranger Teens don't even get to make an art project. Why in the hell was this the finale?

Well as it so happens, this wasn't supposed to be the season finale. You mean a boring episode that did nothing special wasn't meant to conclude a season? Get out of town! The original season finale was actually supposed to be last week's "Wild West Rangers Part 2." While it wouldn't have been an outstanding ending, at least we would have seen the Megatigerzord again. That's a positive isn't it? 

The monster Vase Face was originally a bit more complex than we see him in this episode. In Dairanger, He was a little silly puppet body as well as a normal sized bodyguard. Every time the bodyguard was defeated, it would revive itself. It wasn't until the Dairangers defeated the puppet that Vase Face grew and fused the puppet body with the bodyguard body to form the giant Vase Face you see above. 


They actually had a bit more usable footage of Vase Face's "body" fighting, and even could have tried faking a fight scene with it. I'm not sure why they stuck to only using the puppet, but at this point in the Season's run I think Power Rangers was just desperately seeking out monsters to fill a quota. 

Vase Face never showed up in US footage, and with good reason. His puppet body never got shipped over to North America. It would later be recycled and used as a prop in the Sentai series Gekisou Sentai Carranger on two different occasions. 





Oh yeah and the actual body of Vase Face that only appeared in the Japanese version had his mask reused in Kakuranger. I've been scouring my DVD's trying to get a good luck at his dumbass face, but I can't get a good shot of him. He's the background monster who has a big stupid Rasta wig on. His face is painted either black or purple, but I'm almost positive it's him. If anyone can get a good image before I do, let me know! I'll make sure to give you credit for being an even bigger dork than I am.

I'd also like to thank everyone for putting up with my less than consistent schedule. I've been having a bit of trouble balancing everything with my job and I'm hoping that I'll be able to fix things up this coming week. Make sure to get prepared, because what's coming next is...well it's going to be huge. Not going straight into my annual month-long season break, because there's a little interlude into Season 3 that deserves coverage first. Stay tuned! It's going to be momentous.





8 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I once had a friend who was a big Mighty Morphin fan up until around season 2 began when we were in second grade and I had always wondered why his opinion suddenly soured (I never watched regularly when it aired). Then I watched all of season 2 sometime last year and no longer wonder. Frankly I don't know how stuff like Operation Overdrive and Megaforce can possibly be worse than this. It started out fairly good with Zedd making a good impression and the cool Zyu2 fights (except for bringing in the Thunder Megazord too early and messing up the footage), but it all goes downhill after committing to Dairanger. The only element I remotely enjoyed after that was Aisha, and that's solely because I want to see more leading black women in speculative fiction. So I was very surprised when I watched season 3 this year and enjoyed it quite a bit! I'm looking forward to what you have to say there.

    I'm also looking forward to your supplementary posts like the ones you did for season 1. You certainly earned a nice long hiatus for putting up with season 2 for so long.

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    1. Megaforce and Overdrive suffer tremendously from it no longer being the early '90s and therefore the bar is way the fuck higher.

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  3. Is that interlude possibly the movie?

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  4. I'm guessing the interlude is the A Friend In Need three parter that has the Rangers team up with Masked Rider.

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  5. How many "Billy meets a geeky girl" episodes are we at now?

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  6. Best part is Tommy exclaiming "Oh no my art project!" Like he's out of a Toei Godzilla dub.

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  7. I busted out laughing when I saw that whole Dairanger episode summary stuffed into the image description. It is funny that they did two "Evil Ranger Clone" episodes after wasting Photomare on something completely different.

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