Monday, May 29, 2017

MMPR Season 3 Episode 19: Changing of the Zords Part 1


Baboo Makes Joke, Nobody Laughs
Ancient Ninja Master Threatened With Becoming Milkshake









Before we get started, scope out that episode name. There's real beauty in its blatancy, isn't there? It's communicating the most basic message to the audience; "We're releasing more toys. Buy them." They may as well name this episode "American International Toy Fair: 1995 Sneak Preview." The best part about a show as lacking in subtlety as Power Rangers is when it has to be direct about something; namely merchandise shilling. I hope you lovely readers are excited for three episodes chocked to the brim with dialogue about how cool the Rangers' upcoming new Zords are, and how their sleek design would make any impressionable young child happy this Christmas.

But we're not only here to talk about a bunch of new toys. Not this week anyway. Power Rangers gave its formula a big shake-up in the last episode. Rita Repulsa has entered into a pact of some sort with a mysterious young woman named Katherine. Kat has the ability to transform into a cat (of course), as well as turn into a monster.

Hm? What's that? …Oh. I see. I'm quite sorry. I'll let them know.

It appears that Katherine's ability to turn into a monster will never be mentioned again. For those of you who wish to watch television shows featuring cat monsters in scantily-clad outfits, pick out the first anime DVD you find in your nearest FYE. Then do that FYE a favor and burn it to the ground. Those poor saps need to be put out of their misery.

Well regardless of Kat's transformative abilities or lack thereof, she has still successfully infiltrated the Ranger Teens' circle of friends. Which wasn't too difficult. All she had to do was talk about how she likes being a boring white person who hates crime and littering, and they took her in with open arms. The only problem Kat had fitting in was getting Kimberly to warm up to her. But the devious kitten has a plan up her paws to convince Kim she's harmless.

The girls go shopping together!

If you asked the writers room of Power Rangers to name one thing that young women do besides shop at the mall, they would commit ritualistic suicide out of confusion and fear.

Katherine takes a break from being a 90's stereotype of a teenage girl to observe Tommy and Kimberly interacting. She seems to get particularly pissy when Tommy hugs Kim with his ripplingly-biceped arms. Sweet criminy, that's a low point in any person's life. Being jealous of Tommy and Kim's relationship. I'm sure Kimberly loves putting a VHS copy of Sidekicks on every night to keep Tommy from falling asleep post-coitus.

Oh, would you look at the time? It's about two minutes into the episode, which means it's time for our regularly-scheduled visit to the moon. Finster shuffles into Zedd's chambers to offer some good news to the evil overlord, and Zedd snaps "Oh what is it this time, Finster? A monster that blows itself up?" Slow your roll, Zedd. This show isn't going to have balls enough to do something like that for at least another four years.

Far more interesting than any suicidal monsters, Finster has deciphered the ancient scrolls of Zordina. Which is something that has never been mentioned before, and I'd bet my still-beating heart on it never being mentioned again. These scrolls allegedly contain the location of dormant Zords that could be re-programmed to aid the forces of evil. All Finster needs to do is use the energy of a Ninjazord to fuel them, and the Moon Crew will be good to go. Unless the dormant Zords prove to no longer be profitable, in which case they'll need to go dig some new ones up every year or so.

Later in the afternoon, Kimberly meets up with Katherine at Ernie's Café. Kim asks what Kat's up to, and Katherine responds that she's currently auditioning for the titular role in Lolita.

Now to watch as my google analytics skyrocket with the phrase "Power Rangers Lolilta"

Kim asks if Kat would like to join her and the other Ranger Teens for a dip in the Angel Grove lake. Kat responds that she would go, but she's not particularly fond of water. Katherine then takes Kim by the collar and screams, ALSO I LOVE EATING MICE, CHASING LASER POINTERS, AND MARCHING IN PLACE FOR NO GOOD GODDAMNED REASON. MROW! MROW! I AM A CAT PERSON!" Kimberly responds by chuckling and saying people from Australia sure are funny.

After turning down Kim's invitation, Tommy runs up and asks if Kat's going to hang out with the gang. Katherine immediately changes her tone once Tommy asks, which should be the mother of all red flags for Kim. As much as I don't want to watch some tedious love triangle from Power Rangers, I'd almost like to see it play out on one condition. I want Kat to be feverishly attempting to get Tommy to notice her, but her advances fail time and time again because he's too stupid to realize what she's doing.

As the Rangers prepare for a day of sun and sand at the beach, Rita and Zedd's cronies are busy on their own expedition. Finster is accompanied by Squatt and Baboo as the trio search a thick-brushed jungle for the ancient Zords. Oh great! Finster wasn't enough for this task, so Zedd had to summon the gruesome twosome along to help. That's exactly who you'll need for a deep-cover infiltration in the jungles of Borneo. Squatt and Buttfucking Baboo. Maybe Rita slipped Finster 50 bucks and told him to "lose the dead weight."

After 7 seconds of searching, Squatt and Baboo become exhausted with all the energy they've spent whining. Squatt sits down on something, and unfortunately it isn't a cactus. It's one of the long-lost Zords! Congratulations, Squatt. You've managed to do one meaningful thing in the last 2 and a half seasons. Better catch up, Baboo!

Well, Baboo doesn't have much to do in this scene. But he does offer up a real funny line as he scours through the grassy thicket covering the ancient Zords.

"Is this Hollywood? Or just Vine?"

I can tolerate puns, Power Rangers, but this is testing my goddamned patience.

Thankfully, we leave the most repugnant duo on this show in order to focus on the 2nd most repugnant duo on this show. Bulk and Skull have been assigned to keep an eye on the swimmers of Angel Grove Lake. Is that something police officers do? I thought they only went to the beach when sharks were eating people. Well thankfully, the junior police officers see a group of children splashing about and drowning. Now Bulk and Skull can show what they're made of!

With a Baywatch parody.

Bulk and Skull bathing suits
More faithful than the reboot.

You know what? This joke absolutely got me. The scene turns into slow-motion at the drop of a hat, Bulk and Skull have the stupidest looks of determination on their faces, and they're both wearing the silliest black and white striped swimsuits. I usually watch this show pretty deadpan, but this gag took me from "sour grimace" to "big stupid open-mouth grin."

Maybe that's why I didn't like last week's episode so much. No Bulk and Skull? No thank you.

Oh, I didn’t even get to the conclusion of this joke. Bulk and Skull leap into the water and realize that the kids were all just playing and the water was actually very shallow. Hah! You silly fat idiots. When will you ever learn? Oh also, here's a fun game for you to try at home. Leap off of a tall surface into a pool of shallow water several feet below you. Please tell me your results, and remember that you can't legally sue a blog. I hope.

Now that Bulk and Skull have become permanently crippled, we join the misadventures of Katherine, already in progress. Our resident Aussie Kitty is on her way to the beach, but she's halted by Rita Repulsa. Rita issues Kat her newest assignment: Nab a Power Coin from one of the Power Rangers, particularly one who might be planning on quitting the show sometime soon, and avoid suspicion in the process. Also if she might be able to get some nice shots of Tommy's ass in a bathing suit, she could use those when she needs to speed things up during Zedd's birthday present.

Kat meets up with Aisha and Kim at the beach, and immediately eyeballs Kim's travel bag. Instead of yanking Kim's coin out of her bag when the Pink Ranger isn't looking, Katherine seems unsure of what to do. Rita observes the situation from her Moon Base and claims that Katherine can't steal the coin with all those people around. I'm honestly not sure why, because all the people on the beach are busy swimming. Why would they care if some Aussie chick is rifling through a bag that could potentially belong to her? Why does Rita need to waste time creating a diversion to pull this off?

Oh wait a second. This is part 1 of 3? Guess that answers my question. We got 60 minutes to kill and we've only got 40 written. Time for an endless barrage of Tengas with extreme prejudice.

Surprise surprise, Zedd calls on his Tenga warriors to attack the beach-going crowd. Well they don't really attack so much as they steal peoples' towels and fling them around the sand. The Ranger Teens dive underwater while the rest of the civilians flee for their lives. Also because some creepy ass birds were trying to scope out their topless girlfriend sunbathing. Why else do you think they were nabbing those towels?

After the beach is cleared out, the Tengas blather amongst each other about how there's currently nobody left around. They're lines that do nothing but elaborate on things we're already seeing, and I can't fathom why they're here. The birdpersons mention a number of times how they can't seem to find the Ranger Teens, and I'm pretty sure it's only so we can build up to this moment.

Be careful! You get water on those Tengas and their suits'll fall apart.

Alright, that's pretty cool. Kudos, Power Rangers.

The Ninja Rangers leap onto the beach and engage the Tengas in battle. As I mentally prepare for a fight I'm not all that crazy about, this show pulls the rug out from underneath me. Adam gets kicked away by the Tengas before busting out a ninja move I didn’t expect to see. He creates an identical Black Ranger clone! The two Black Rangers perform some really awesome synchronized choreography to slap around the birds. It's easily the coolest thing I've seen the Ninja Rangers do in several weeks. Even better is they didn't shoehorn this cool thing into Tommy's karate paws. Thank goodness.

Why is one of the Adams 20 pounds heavier?

Though nothing lives up to the double Black Ranger bit, there are quite a few good moments spread throughout. Aisha chokes a Tenga with a pool floatie, Tommy gets chucked into the water by a group of Tengas, and Rocky kicks a Tenga off of a boat into the sea. I might have bitched about an unnecessary Tenga fight before, but I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I'm enjoying this one. Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for seeing stuntmen in bird costumes being chucked into the ocean.

While the Rangers are busy beating the birds, Katherine is currently rifling through Kimberly's belongings. She snags Kim's Power Coin, which leaves the Pink Ninja Ranger severely weakened. After she grabs the coin, Kat continues rummaging inside Kim's knapsack. She finds a picture of Kimberly and Tommy holding hands, which prompts Katherine to comment that Tommy isn't going to be hers for long.

Well shit, Kat. I think both you and Kim are in agreement there.

Katherine prepares to snag Aisha's Power Coin as well, but Bulk and Skull arrive to stop her. Not because they realize she's stealing, of course, but because this poor innocent young Aussie is in danger so long as those mutant birds are on the loose. If only you two realized that you were actually talking to a mutant cat monster covered in lingerie, you'd know she could eat those Tengas in no time.

Ninja Kim pitifully cries out for Tommy to rescue her, prompting her boytoy to knock all the birds away from her. The Ninja Rangers gang up on the Tengas, but since these suits need to last for the rest of Season 3 they teleport back to the Moon before they can be murdered.

As soon as the Ranger Teens de-morph, they notice that Kimberly looks extremely weak. I'm sure the show wants me to notice that as well, but I'm noticing something different.

You could cook a steak on those abs.

Back at the Moon Palace, Katherine delivers Kim's coin to Zedd and Rita. The overlords rejoice as they realize how close they've come to victory. All they have to do is snatch one of the Ninjazords and harness its technology to power the ancient Zords. As soon as the Ninjazords are clearanced out and moved off of the shelves to make way for the new toys out of the way, Zedd and Rita will be able to conquer the world!

But wait just a minute here. Kat is hiding something from Zedd and Rita. It's that picture of Kim and Tommy! Um…look Katherine if you wanted to take Tommy as a love slave I'm sure Rita would allow it. She's got to have some of that love potion kicking around somewhere in Finster's lab. Why are you being so coy about this? You're some kind of evil cat spirit, I presume. You don't need to get shy because you have a crush on one of the Ranger teens.

What are those kids on Tumblr calling that now? Thundere? Ah, who gives a shit. Back in my day, women didn't pay attention to us because we were too busy overdosing on Xanax and watching frog monsters eating people in spandex. Those were the days!

The Ranger Teens try to salvage the rest of their day at the beach, but they're soon interrupted by Alpha. He alerts our heroes that Goldar and the Tengas have been spotted in the park, and they're probably not there for some innocent sex trafficking! The Ranger Teens prepare to depart, but Kimberly is still too woozy to follow along. The other Rangers ask her what's going on, but she doesn't figure out what the deal is until she digs through her belongings and finds that her Power Coin is missing! Perhaps it's even been catnapped.

Ugh. Sorry. This show's going to turn me into a pun-spewing goody-two-shoes before my life mercifully ends.

As soon as Kim figures out what's going on, a pink glow surges through her hand. Kimberly panics as Billy surmises that she must be experiencing some sort of energy drain. Tommy buzzes Zordon and asks how this omnipotent lava lamp head that spends his every waking moment observing their lives managed to miss someone snagging Kim's Power Coin. Zordon twiddles his nonexistent thumbs as he posits that maybe Kimberly left it in the wash last night. Or maybe it fell into evil hands while he was busy emasculating Alpha 5. You can't blame Zordon for that one, Rangers! It's 3:30, and that's Zordy's time.

Tommy tells the other Ranger Teens to take care of Kimberly. He's going to take on Goldar himself, because it's been way too goddamn long since Thomas K. Oliver has gotten to hog all the screentime for himself. Though the others are worried, Tommy assures that he'll summon Ninjor if things get hairy. So long as the Ninjor toys are still selling.

The White Ranger shows up in the park and confronts Goldar and his gaggle of ninja geese. Ninjor shows up as well, declaring that he and Tommy will be more than enough for all these winged fuckbois. Ninjor and Tommy duke it out with the Tengas as the pair are watched from afar by Katherine. Rita emerges behind Katherine and instructs her on phase 2 of the plan. Katherine will take Kimberly's Power Coin, for what is sure to be the first and only time, and use it to board Tommy's Falconzord. Then…I guess that's it. Rita disappears before offering any further instructions. Probably because this is the closest she's ever gotten to concocting a successful plan, and usually stops trying at the point where it would result in victory.

Goldar pisses and moans that his troops are doing so miserably against Tommy and Ninjor, but the golden rat has a trick up his wings. He grows gigantic, all by himself! Wow, great job Goldy. You didn't need Zedd or Rita to do it anymore? I'm sure you're going to do great this time, because all the other times you've grown giant have been such rousing successes. Remember when you grew to fight the Rangers the first time and they beat you? When was that again? Oh right! It was in the first fucking episode. Give it up, Goldar. You are the king of all jobbers.

Tommy laughs at Goldar's attempts to seem like a credible threat as he calls forth the Falconzord. Ninjor decides to help out as well, and grows gigantic to match Goldar's "threat." The two titans square off as Tommy flies his Falconzord into the battle; however as soon as we cut back to the Falconzord cockpit, something seems odd. Usually we only spend a second or two with the Rangers in their Ninjazord cockpits, but we listen to Tommy offer up a whole bunch of stupid put-downs to Goldar during this scene. My particular favorite has to be this absolute clunker.

"One Large Goldar with anchovies, comin' up!"

I almost broke my goddamned laptop when he said that. Jesus Christ on the cross. A Large Goldar wi-ah just fuck yourself right into the trash.

Thankfully, the show seems to agree with me. As soon as Tommy barfs out this nonsensical line, Katherine appears inside the Falconzord cockpit and zaps the White Ranger with energy. Tommy writhes in agony before Katherine blasts him again, sending him reeling out of the Falconzord.

Meanwhile, Ninjor gets clobbered by Goldar a few times before falling to the ground. Just when you think Ninjor is going to get up and fight for round 2, he shrinks to human size in a streak of blue energy. Wait a second…Goldar just beat Ninjor? You've got to be kidding me. Ninjor's an expertly-trained ninja master and he just lost to Lord Zedd's fuckchair? What is happening in this series? The state of your gimmick, Ninjor!

Once Katherine takes control of the Falconzord, it vanishes in a streak of energy and turns into an actual falcon. For reasons I can't possibly fathom. The de-transformed Falconzord soon teleports to Zedd's compound and lands upon his arm.

Falconer? I barely knew 'er!

Back on Earth, White Ranger tries desperately to aid the ailing Ninjor. Before Tommy can do anything to help, Ninjor is spirited away in a burst of blue energy. Tommy panics and contacts Zordon, asking his mentor what should be done. Zordon tells him to get his stupid ass back to the Command Center, because he's about to read the fine print of Tommy's Ranger contract. There's a little caveat in there that explains exactly how bad you get fucked if you lose one of Zordon's toys.

On the Moon, Zedd and his cronies all celebrate their approaching victory. Zedd has stuffed the Falconzord into a large cage, and trapped a miniaturized Ninjor inside of a big blue jar. Ninjor refuses to aid Lord Zedd in his evil plot, but Zedd responds by shaking Ninjor around and threatening to turn him into a "cosmic milkshake." Oh blow it out your ass, Zedd. You're just making shit up now.

Back at the Command Center, Zordon elaborates on Kimberly's bizarre condition. Ninjor recharged their Power Coins by linking them to their natural human energy. Now that Kim's coin is in the hands of evil, her body is suffering. Billy concludes that this missing Power Coin is  the reason that the Falconzord could be infiltrated, and Ninjor could be weakened enough to be beaten by a chickenshit like Goldar. Phew! I was worried my boy Ninjor was getting turned into a chump.

Zordon says that things are only about to get worse, because he suspects Zedd is trying to create a new fleet of evil Zords. With the Rangers unable to summon their Ninjazords, they'll be easy pickings for Zedd's own evil Zords. The stress of the situation causes Kim's powerless body to collapse into Tommy's arms as Zordon elaborates further. The Rangers have to get Kim's Power Coin back from Lord Zedd. Not just because they need it to regain access to their Zords, but because she won't survive without it. Holy shit! Looks like Ninjor got Zordon's message about making sure those kids won't leave his psychopathic alien-murdering cult.

Ninjor's like one the townspeople in Texas Chainsaw. The teens go running to him for help in escaping their murderous haunted fishtube, but they find out that he's actually working for the family of blue heads trafficking teenage war mongers.

Oh and then Kat rips that picture of Tommy and Kim in half. Yeah, why bother finish the episode with the announcement that a Ranger Teen might possibly die. Let's instead focus on the plot point about a cat wanting to jump Tommy's bones. Brilliant.


TO BE CONTINUED





Weekly 90's Nostalgia: A Large Goldar With Anchovies


Personal Thoughts


This one was pretty damn good, I'd say! A lot of solid action and a plentiful amount of build-up towards an overarching scheme from Rita and Zedd. The Bulk and Skull scene also made this one a recommend from the minute I saw their jiggling bodies in slow-motion. A definite high start to this trilogy of episodes, and I can only hope the next two episodes maintain this level of quality.

The fight with giant Goldar and Ninjor was entirely made of US footage. I think it's cool they did that and all, but it chafes me because it makes Ninjor look like a total wimp. Whatever stuntman they crammed into the Ninjor costume is clearly concerned he's going to break the damn thing apart, so his moves are really sluggish and awkward. Being that I'm the one fan of Ninjor out there, that makes me sad. I wanna see this dude rackin' heads and slashing mole artists. Not getting pushed over by golden gimps!

Speaking of Goldar, we get a close-up image of his sword when he's gigantic. This normally wouldn't mean much, but you can see the phrase "Grifocaliber" written on it. This refers to the Japanese character that Goldar was adapted from, Grifforzer, who wielded this same sword. I don't know why I bothered mentioning this, but I guess I thought it was cool that the US production has either recreated the original Japanese prop to such a degree, or managed to use the same Japanese prop all the way into Season 3.  



There's a more meta reason for Ninjor's kidnapping that I'll elaborate on soon, but for now just know that Ninjor is going to be persona non grata for a little while. I hate to see him go, but there's another loss we'll see in the next couple of weeks that burns me even worse. See ya then!




2 comments:

  1. Our local FYE, the only location for hundreds of miles, despite actually being fairly popular, was forced to close by its landlord a couple months ago in favor of a Chik-Fil-A....which hasn't even begun renovating or replacing the now-hollow FYE building yet.

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  2. No one made a "Dude Smoothie" reference... I'm sad now...

    ReplyDelete