Friday, September 23, 2016

MMPR Season 3 Episode 3: A Friend in Need Part 3


Tick-Beast Refuses Vaccinations
Superhero Abandons Dying Planet to Star in Failed Sitcom












Last week on Power Rangers, our heroes battled against a cabal of creatures with cobbled-together costumes. Their new comrade, the Masked Rider, joined the fray to challenge the equally devious Cogwarts. Monstrous gremlins whose powers include wandering around aimlessly and gaining weight. Back on Earth, Lord Zedd summoned another hacked apart monster named Repellator to destroy the Earth. Zordon called the bedridden Kimberly and demanded she take her 108° temperature out of bed and go fight a big green tick this instant. She's excited at first, but then she realizes she misheard Zordon. Then the episode ran out of fumes and ended abruptly. Much like every relationship in my life.

Kimberly repeatedly sneezes while attempting to talk shit to Repellator. The slobber-tongued goblin mocks his fatally-ill foe and grasps her in his claws. He chastises the Pink Ranger for sneezing all over him, and I keep pretending he didn't say something that dumb. Because she's wearing a helmet. The only person she's going to disgust is herself when she boogs all over that Pterodactyl visor. Unfortunately, I have to bring it up. Because it's going to be a plot point.

Yeah, I'm sorry.

Alpha 5 cries out in shock when he realizes that Kimberly is losing against Repellator. Oh man I'm truly perplexed. How is a 7 foot tall bug devil so soundly defeating a hospitalized high-schooler who can barely stand without sneezing her tits off? Maybe you morons should have had a contingency plan in case one of your child soldiers exhibited basic human traits such as "illness" or "fatigue." Next time try not sending all five of your healthy mercenaries into outer space so all you have is 'Ol Bedpan Kimberly holding down the fort on Earth. Idiots.

As Repellator continues to grapple with Kim, she launches an atrocious sneeze right into his cycloptic eye. The monster becomes repulsed by the fact a human has bodily functions, and he gets ready to murder her for her insolence. But he isn't able to attack because he starts sneezing so hard that it shakes the whole camera crew planet!

Eventually I'll hit a point where the phrase "dumbest thing I've ever seen" becomes meaningless. I can only hope today is not that day.

I'm glad Power Rangers is trying to do things differently every once in a while, but maybe they could do something a little less ridiculous than this. There's a huge gap between "A monster is defeated through kung-fu treachery" and "Someone sneezes on a monster and causes it to retreat." If you bring that idea to the forefront, it only opens the doors to more sinister ways to kill Zedd's creations. Why isn't Zordon busting out a big Power SARS Blanket?

Kimberly contacts Zordon and Alpha to inform them that she defeated her foe by disrespecting any and all sense of personal hygiene. The magical head blob and his fuckboi robo-slave congratulate Kim on her utterly preposterous method of stopping Zedd's creation. Pink tells her two surrogate fathers that Repellator will probably be back soon, but she's going to spend the next couple hours in the infirmary cause the only morphin' she wants is the kind she can put in her veins.

Alpha 5 tries to get in contact with the other Rangers on Edenoi, but wastes precious minutes of our lives claiming that he can't reach them. Then he and Zordon make up some more science-sounding words and declare that they can get in touch with the Rangers now. If scenes like this interest you, then I'm sorry that I always gloss over them. I'm also sorry that you enjoy the nonsensically manufactured minutiae of this children's television show that was cooked up in a desperate writer's room solely as a pathetic attempt to eat up precious minutes of their show's runtime. Also I'm sorry for the entirety of that last sentence I wrote. And the last 114 posts.

Alpha 5's signal reaches the Rangers on Edenoi, and Tommy interrupts his battle with the Plague Patrol to respond. Zordon demands to know why they haven't wrapped shit up on that dirtball planet he steals all his android servants from. Tommy tells Zordon he doesn’t know when they'll be able to get back to Earth, and it depends how long Saban wants this miniseries to go on for. Is it going to take four episodes to successfully drill the name "Masked Rider" into kindergartners' heads? Christ almighty I hope not.

Zordon tells the Rangers to ditch all that bullshit with the Plague Patrol, because some big glob of green paint with a tongue stapled to his mouth is on the rampage down in Angel Grove. Well he was a couple minutes ago before Kimberly stopped him. But he'll probably be back eventually. So make sure to leave that civil war with countless casualties on both sides, because a sneezing bug might show up again at some point.
  
Repellator retreats to the Moon Palace while Rita bitches at Finster for having the gall to create a monster that has the capacity for illness. Yeah leprechaun-dog monster, why is your clay tick Cyclops able to get the sniffles? That doesn't make ANY sense. Lord Zedd instructs Finster to concoct a cure for Repellator, because the terrible shaking effect that the editor is putting over the footage of him to make it look like he's sneezing isn't working at all.

It's almost like they're using footage shot for the last episode and shaking it around to imply that something different is happening. 

The Power Rangers in space continue to battle against the Jobber Patrol, and the battle has become one-sided. The Rangers are absolutely clowning the Plague trio, and you start to wonder why they even showed up. They're getting slapped around like it's a Three Stooges sketch. Tommy even does the "have a nice trip, see ya next fall" gag on one of them.

The Plague Patrol realize how boned they are and make a hasty retreat from the Rangers, and that's a wrap on them. No finishing moves to defeat them, no finality to the battle with these three, no end to these slave-driving pricks who are forcing aliens to dig up their own planet. Nope, the Rangers let 'em skedaddle. Why bother killing them? It's not like they're attacking an important planet like Earth. Just some crappy bug planet named…what was it again? Arlia?

Back on Earth, there's another pair of Power Rangers waiting in the wings. Only these two aren't using their powers to embarrass slave drivers or sneeze on ticks, they've using their incredible spandex-clad might to get some poonanny.

Bandai, where are my S.H. Figuarts of these two?

The flu-ridden Repellator sniffles as he sits inside Finster's chambers and begs the monster maker for a cure to what ails him. Repellator complains that he wants to make a good impression on Rita and Zedd, but how can he do that when he's obviously nothing but a recycled costume that was hastily thrown together to add tension to this bullshit crossover Saban cooked up? Oh yeah and he's sick too.

Finster tells the monster that he's going to need to get 7-10 days of rest and mix it with all sorts of fluids or else he's never going to get better. Repellator refuses, since this episode has already dragged on long enough, and asks if there's any other way Finster can help. Finster whips out a comically-sized hypodermic needle, but Not-Silverhorns balks at the giant vaccination he's being offered. Does Finster want him to turn autistic or something?! As soon as Repellator gets back from killing all the Power Rangers, he needs Finster to read some very important literature, penned by Jenny McCarthy.

Because Finster accidentally created a monster with asinine sociopolitical beliefs, he instead resorts to a handful of pills for Repellator. In case you're wondering what kind of pills a monster takes, let me refer you to Finster's personal brand!

Mmm, hockey pucks painted white. Just what the doctor ordered.

So the big green bug takes pills for his big green bug and then Fin-wait a second. Bug? That reminds me of something. Wasn't there some other bug in this trilogy? One we were supposed to be focusing on? One that was going to be headlining a series coming this fall? Oh yeah that's right, the Masked Rider! Well you'll have to forgive me for forgetting about him, but it's hard not to when he hasn't shown up for nearly half an episode's length of time.

Why in the fuck is Power Rangers trying to promote another series by ignoring the superhero and all his cool new toys in favor of a green thunder-bug's medical history? Don't get me wrong, I'm down for anything that means I get more Finster. The problem is that I know this trilogy solely exists to promote Masked Rider. I'm not saying you can't include other sub-plots, but maybe try to include the character you're promoting in-between them instead of shoving him off to the side so you can see Finster give suppositories to a slobbering clown of a monster.

Back up on the mountainside, the two girls from the Youth Center drive up in the hopes that they'll meet the Power Rangers. Particularly those sexy Yellow and Pink ones. They're instead greeted by Bulk and Skull dressed in discount spandex asking if they want to go steady with some depressing faux-superheroes.

If you can believe this, the nameless gals have a hard time believing that two idiots in homemade Halloween costumes are those heroes that beat people up for justice every week. The girls make a pretty reasonable point when they ask why only two of the Power Rangers decided to show up, and Bulk responds "They're off polishing their Zords!"

I laughed. I'm sorry. This show has infected me. Plug me up with some of Finster's tummy tabs. Then leave me for dead.

Bulk and Skull refuse to admit they're actually the two most pathetic men in the world, when suddenly Repellator emerges behind them and asks if someone was mentioning the Power Rangers. He starts charging up globs of poorly-animated green energy, and hurls them to and fro. The girls run back to their car in a panic, and Bulk and Skull follow after them in the hopes they can hide from the monster. The monster who's apparently so stupid that he can't seem to recognize that two men dressed in tinfoil aren't the people he's looking for.

Then the scene shifts to some guy in a bug costume fighting big moles I guess? I don't know, maybe he's Repellator's brother or something.

Yeah, the first time Masked Rider shows up is at 9 minutes into a 20 minute episode. I bet the kids will be clamoring to buy his toys now! Speaking of his toys, here's one of my biggest issues with the Masked Rider show. Dex's primary weapon is his Electro Saber, which is basically nothing but an off-brand Lightsaber he pulls out of his belt. Don't get me wrong, it looks pretty cool. The problem comes in whenever he needs to finish off a monster, and it looks a little something like this.


Masked Rider GIF
What in the everloving fuck was that horse garbage?

Oh wow! Who wouldn't want to tune into such finely edited programming every week? Nothing quite like a horrendously anticlimactic finishing move that doesn't make any sense or look aesthetically pleasing in the slightest. Tune in this Fall for more confusing blobs of energy being launched at gophers without making contact with them!

What could possibly go wrong?!

Back on Count Dregon's ship, the good Count demands to know what happened with Dex. Doubleface informs Dregon that Dex has escaped after murdering those obese hedgehogs that were sent after him. Dregon is incensed by his crew's bungling and asks why they are all so useless. He might as well hire a bug-eating goblin and a simmering vampire ape as his soldiers. Doubleface retorts that they can track the location of the multicolored heroes that assisted Dex, and follow them back to their home planet. Dregon assures his troops that those interlopers will be destroyed soon, so long as Masked Rider is a success and lasts for more than one season.

Lord Zedd observes Repellator's antics on Earth and cackles over the predicament he's put Bulk and Skull in. Truly the mark of a great monster there Zedd, it can harass the mentally-handicapped students that are lightly tolerated by your mortal enemies. Zedd claims this scenario is as entertaining as "big-time space wrestling," which is quite likely the least possible thing to have ever existed in the history of time.

Speaking of big-time, Zedd has grown weary of his slobbery monster being so tiny. He tosses a growth bomb to Earth, and Repellator goes gigantic. Yeah, wouldn't want to risk Bulk and Skull beating the shit out of him would you? Giant Repellator mocks the pint-sized boys and asks if they'd like to become "toe jam jelly." Power Rangers, I tolerated big-time space wrestling, but you can fuck right off if you think I'm going to even suffer the idea of something like toe jam jelly existing.

Zordon, Alpha 5, and Kimberly discover that Zedd's shitty monster has grown gigantic. Kim guarantees to take out Repellator all on her own. Zordon stops her and informs her that Repellator has clearly become too strong for her to fight on her own, and a Thunderzord can't possibly fight an enemy by itself. Kimberly inquires about that one time the Thunderzords were allowed to fight an enemy without combining, and Alpha 5 says "Ay-yi-yi, you're cruising for a bruising Kimberly!"

The Rangers on Edenoi are thanked profusely by Dex for their assistance in the war against Count Dregon. He asks if they'll be willing to show up for an episode of his show when it comes out, but none of the Rangers make eye contact with him an offer a few mutterings for answers. Tommy and Adam claim there's trouble at home so they'll need to cut this visit short. The Rangers ask Dex to keep them informed, but if his toy sales don't cut the mustard he isn't welcome inside their Command Center even if he's starving to death.

The Rangers teleport away from Edenoi, and Count Dregon commands his generals to follow their signal. Cyclopter notes that the rainbow-colored freaks are headed towards some mudhole planet named Earth. Dregon proudly asserts that Earth will be his next target, and ponders if it too will be covered in obnoxious orange-colored filters.

The Rangers land back on Earth and spot Zedd's monster. I guess? Tommy says he does, but it's done in a really half-assed way. White Ranger says "The monster's right there!" but there's no insert shot of Repellator doing his thing or a shot of the giant monster stomping on the Rangers or anything. We're informed the monster is around, and you better believe it because we're not filming any evidence of it.

Kimberly joins the other Rangers (off-screen because fuck you) in summoning the Thunderzord fleet. The Thunder Megazord and White Tigerzord Warrior Mode are formed and engage the "mighty" Repellator in combat. Though I will give Power Rangers credit for filming a US-exclusive Zord battle against Repellator. Something they did a few weeks back, but this time I'd say it's a lot more interesting of a fight. I hesitate to call it good, but it's cool to see Power Rangers dumping any possible Sentai footage to tell the story they felt like telling. It's a shame the story they wanted to tell was about a thick-tongued ball of snot.

The main problem I have with this Zord fight is how goddamned smoky it gets. I'm not sure if all the smoke is there to cover up the wires and technology the crew is using to create sparks, or if it's a stylistic choice to make the battle with Repellator look unique. Either way, it looks pretty weird.

Saban is off-camera lighting cigars with Austin St. John's contract.

Repellator knocks down the Thunder Megazord, but the Tigerzord has its back and slashes at the green goofball. Once the Thunder Megazord gets back up on its feet, it combines its power with the Tigerzord to launch a double punch attack that sends Repellator flying. Okay, I'm delaying the inevitable here. The Power Rangers finish Repellator off with the Thunder Saber. Of course they do. THEY ALWAYS FUCKING DO. 

Back on Zedd's palace, he pitches the mother of all bitchfits over Repellator's demise. What are you so bummed about Zedd? Finster's the one who wasted two perfectly good tummy tabs on that trash ass monster. Zedd's primary concern is that Count Dregon might find out that the Power Rangers spanked him so badly, but I don't think Zedd has much to worry about. If I were using monsters as lame as those Cogwarts, I'd be keeping my mouth shut about how other villains conduct their business.

With all the danger taken care of, Bulk and Skull try one final time to get their rocks off by following those girls who want nothing to do with them into the Youth Center. Immediately, the girls find two nondescript young hunks that they begin to talk to and completely ignore Bulk and Skull. Because that's how romance works I guess? You want to convince two fuckbois that you want nothing to do with them? Go hit on some dudes in front of them. That'll show 'em who's boss.

Back at the Command Center, Zordon welcomes his indentured servants back to Earth. Alpha 5 is overjoyed to learn that King Lexian is safe and sound on Edenoi, which is probably true, but it's not like the Rangers saw him. He could have been killed by another group of those Cogwarts or that Plague Sentry guy we only saw for two minutes. I mean if it makes Alpha 5 sleep easier then I guess it's alright, but Lexian could be facing the wrong end of a guillotine right now for crimes against Dregon.

Adam inquires what's going to happen to Dex and the people of Edenoi, and Zordon says that they're sure to succeed against the forces of evil. Aisha reiterates how nasty that Count Dregon guy was, even though they never really met him or saw anything he was capable of doing. I mean his ship could fire little lasers at people, I guess that was pretty evil? It's almost like you're trying to drum up the villain of this piece of shit show you're trying to pitch to kids. Or maybe Aisha has had super vision this whole time. I don't know.

Speaking of Count Dregon, he announces his plans for the conquest of Earth to his commanders. He's going to annihilate those who aided the Masked Rider, and then conscript the people of Earth into his evil army. Maybe that way he won't have to rely on using Kamen Rider footage whenever he wants to summon a monster.

Meanwhile on Edenoi, Dex finds his thankfully not murdered grandfather Lexian in a cave somewhere for some reason. Lexian tells Prince Dex that he must depart the planet Edenoi as it's far too late to protect it. Dex must make his way to Earth as soon as possible before Count Dregon uses it to fulfill his evil machinations. Dex says he'll miss his grandfather, but Lexian promises Dex that he'll always remain with him in spirit. The two hug each other close and offer a tear-filled goodbye, knowing that nothing could ever taint the potential that Prince Dex has.

Oh.






Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Big-Time Space Wrestling




Personal Thoughts


This trilogy sure limped to a close didn't it? What a bunch of shit. It wasn't atrocious like almost everything the back half of Season 2 provided, but it sure was a lame conclusion. Dregon and Dex became complete non-entities in a series of episodes that should be all about them and their cool new show. I'm not saying I want to be spoonfed exposition about how exciting the mythos of Masked Rider is, but why is this episode so scatter-brained about what it wants to accomplish? There was a decent build-up for what Masked Rider could have been all about, and I think it had the makings for an interesting series. Unfortunately the show decided to piss away all that potential by making a series so terrible that it's considered a war crime to broadcast it.

So overall I'd call this trilogy passable. This episode was definitely the weak point, but I'm astounded that something with the Masked Rider name attached to it was this watchable. The way this series is built up, Saban could have had an interesting counterpart to Power Rangers. Then someone got their dick in a knot and decided to double down on the cheese factor and make it a complete fucking trainwreck.

Would you like some evidence that this show is horrendously cheap? No, I'm not talking about the spandex ripping in Zedd's suit when he throws his growth bomb to Earth.


I'm talking about the scene of Repellator coming back to the Moon Palace. You would expect Power Ranger to film a scene of the monster coming into Zedd's chambers and sneezing all over the place. Instead, what we get is the exact same scene from last week of Repellator introducing himself. The only difference is the monster has different dialogue dubbed in, and the camera "shakes" to indicate his sneezing. The reason it's so noticeable to me is because Rita has the exact same line two weeks in a row. Since she's not in a big rubber costume, they don't have the luxury of dubbing in whatever bullshit they want for her scenes. Which only makes it more obvious when they're using old footage of her and Lord Zedd.

So why does Dex kill monsters in the most confusing and terrible-looking way possible? Quite simple actually! Let me refer you to how the fight with the Cogwarts ended in footage from Kamen Rider Black RX.


That impaling move with the Electro Saber is how essentially every fight with Black RX's standard form would end, but it had to be censored every fucking time they used it. This amounts to the same shitty stock footage of his toy sword firing blasts of energy, followed by an explosion that barely has the monster of the week visible in it. If you're going to port over a Japanese show for use in your children's programming, why don't you first check to make sure you aren't going to need to drastically alter the footage on a near weekly basis?

But what do I know? I'm not the one who came up with the runaway hit Masked Rider.







8 comments:

  1. Well, we know the Ninja Turtles exist in the Power Rangers universe, and the Turtles have been kidnapped by Cudley the Cowlick on multiple occasions to compete in Intergalactic Wrestling (comics), so Big Time Space Wrestling may just be the WCW to the Intergalactic's WWE. #nerdalert

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  2. It took three rundowns until I connected the plot dots: Rangers fighting "Plague Patrol" on Edenou while Kimberly fights her own "plague." See, it's a good show!

    To further drive that reference home, the Cogwarts remind me of Hobgoblins.

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    1. Also, kudos to you for not making the obvious ejaculation joke for the Electro Saber. Luckily I have no such decorum.

      "Electro Saber? More like Ejaculator!"

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  3. Just for the record, my daughter throws her head and arms back when she sneezes, then laughs maniacally about it. But then, she's seven months old.

    Of course, now that I think about it, Repellator is only like, what, an hour old?

    ADAM: Hey Rocky, these monsters basically show up a minute after they're born. They don't really have any way to know good from evil on a teleological level. Does it ever bother you that we're essentially murdering babies every week?

    ROCKY: Not really. But then, I'm pretty much just a slab of meat in spandex with no personality traits or character to speak of.

    ADAM: Fair point.

    ROCKY: At least you'll go on to be a fan favorite who gets invited to make guest cameos. I'm going to be written out by falling off a foam mat and shattering my spine.

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  4. The final victory for the thundermegazord in mmpr terms anyway as what happens in the next episode is heartbreaking to watch never seen such a intense zord battle since this.

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  5. So for the next year or so Zedd and Dregon attack the Earth simultaneously without ever interacting?

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    1. Going by premiere dates, Count Dregon also failed to observe the Machine Empire's presence for all of 1996. Just how far apart are Angel Grove and Leawood?

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  6. Wow, they actually left in the Cogwarts spewing sparks out their backs this time? In the main Masked Rider series you don't even get that, just a confusing cut directly to a screen-filling explosion!

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