Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Episode 3: Teamwork

A legendary Greek beast is vanquished by giant toys.
Pollution solved via petition.

This episode begins with a bang; we get to see where the Power Teens hang out when they aren't doing karate and drinking smoothies, Angel Grove High School! Kim and Trini are making good use of their time at school by handing out fliers in the hallway about shutting down some dumpsite that's polluting the shit out of Angel Grove. This seems like a weird thing to take place in the school, so maybe they just didn't feel like going to the Juice Bar set that day.

Oh sorry, I probably lost some of you kids back there. Pollution was this horrible thing back in the 90's that was eating away at our planet and threatening worldwide devastation. Thankfully we were able to learn our lesson and buckle down to help keep our environment healthy!

We also meet Mr. Caplan, the principle of Angel Grove High School. His entire character is that he can sometimes get mad at the students, and wears a toupee. But boy howdy if you enjoy comedy based on a character's wig falling off then please stop reading this blog and call your psychiatrist.  

Zack, Jason, and Billy ask the girls what the fuck they're doing and the girls try and goad them into coming along to help them shut down the dumpsite with them. The guys already have their own things to do. One of them has to teach a karate class, one of them is president of the science club, and one of them is getting called to the command center by Alpha. Try and guess who's who! The girls just give them a passive aggressive look like they're just making shit up, even though they all have legitimate reasons to not go to some awful smelly dump site.

Kimberly and Trini
Shut the FUCK up Kimberly. I know you givin me that stare I don't even have to look.

Trini gives the guys a bunch of hogwash about how they'll be able to get more accomplished if they "act like a team." Oh I get it! Because the episode is called Teamwork! I get that they have to do the mandatory "teamwork is great" episode but it seems like the message here is a lot more toothless. If the guys just said they didn't feel like showing up then there'd be more of a conflict. Instead everybody is just a squeaky clean good guy because these characters have to be shining examples of purity so kids don't do school, stay in milk, and drink their drugs.

After the guys do their BULLSHIT activities, we heard a loud belch from, who else, Bulk. He gives this smug look to the girls and drops a crunched up soda can on the ground and says she oughta pick that up instead. Bulk and Skull are joined in this episode by a girl bully who is apparently named Sharkie. Her character is a holdover from the unaired pilot but they put her in a handful of scripts and must have forgot to cut her out. I'll spare you the details and just say there's a reason nobody refers to the bullies as "Bulk, Skull and Sharkie."

No I'm sure some women did look like that in the 90's, it's fine.

Not even seconds after Bulk drops his can, some randy walks by and sees it. He picks it up really nonchalantly and tosses it in the trash right next to him. It's really fucking funny because Bulk is such a shitty ineffective bully that someone who takes an extra second out of their day can fix what he does wrong. Bulk, refusing to admit he's a terrible bully, dumps the trash all over the guy.  

Trini and Kim call Bulk out on being a huge asshole, which prompts Bulk and Skull to roll some trash cans at the girls which they flip over. Of course they flipped over the cans, it was the 90's, karate could solve anything. Skull tells Kim she "finally flipped over him.", which is sort of interesting because it's one of the handful of things Skull has to his character other than repeating what Bulk says and giggling. I'd like to imagine Skull thinks his bullshit PG bullying and toadying up to Bulk is what will get Kim really moist, but he's just confused why she keeps turning him down.

Kim and Trini are attacked by the bullies, but through the use of flips make the two hug each other. Bulk and Skull scream because it was the 90's and hugging a guy was how you got AIDS back then. Through some more comic mischief the two end up stuck in some trash cans. Bulk and Skull are living proof of karma.

Bulk and Skull hug
Bulk/Skull OTP

Rita starts bragging about her waste dump, which leads me to ask why the fuck is a galactic sorceress making a fucking polluted dump site? I get she wants to destroy the Earth but she isn't going to make a pollution monster or cast a pollution spell? She's just going to make a place where pollution's going to accumulate? Rita should be making some mutant deer with four arms and a leather jacket or some shit. She ain't Hoggish Greedly.

The other problem is her entire goddamn plan is to lure the girls in with Putties and kill them with a monster. So it seems like the actual pollution aspect is secondary. It's really an absurd and convoluted plan that's laughable at best and embarrassing at worst. I was forced to stop thinking about this though because Goldar started talking and his voice was even deeper than it has been so far. It sounded like they put a bottle brush down the actor's throat.

The girls show up to Rita's dump site that really just doesn't look all that bad, just kind of messy with some smoky pipes and dirty barrels laying here and there. I'm going to assume this is just the worst of 90's pollution and I'm just desensitized to what real pollution looks like. That or it's a cheap set for a 90's karate show. Nevermind all that though because Rita's plan has begun! The Putties approach the girls to fight and get their shit pushed in, what do you really expect? Rita gets excited and acts like her brilliant plan is working perfectly, meanwhile the girls are barely struggling to manhandle the Putties. Maybe a monster will be different, but Rita's really acting like those Putties are a total masterstroke.

Zack's "important business" is Alpha wanting him to teach him Hip Hop Kido. His made up dance/karate technique. Alpha acts absolutely in awe over the fact that a person is able to dance and is fascinated by Zack's movements. Alpha 5 isn't a robot, he's just a white person.

Zordon alerts the Zack and Alpha that Kim and Trini are being outnumbered by Putties. He shows the two struggling in the Viewing Globe, which is the first and only time we see the two struggling against the Putties at all. Alpha screeches and complains, it's been 3 episodes and I already hate comic relief robot more than any of the villains. Fuckin 90's. Zordon calls on Billy and Jason to come to the Command Center, and in a matter of seconds they show up, even though they were supposed to be busy. Maybe they really didn't have anything going on and just lied about having something to do so they wouldn't have to go to some shitty run down dump.

Finster is still finishing up on his Minotaur model because the man is an artist and you simply can't rush art. Finster always makes me smile because everyone else in Rita's crew is so comically goofy or evil but Finster is just a guy who loves making clay monsters. Say what you want about Goldar or Squatt, but Finster is just a simple older gentleman who enjoys constructing clay minotaurs.

Minotaur Power Rangers clay
With some awesome mino-pecs.

Just before the guys can go bail Trini and Kim out, Rita sends the Minotaur down to divert their attention. They morph to fight Minotaur but get the shit kicked out of them because they're not working as a team. Also because they're fighting a buff ass Minotaur. Kim and Trini are still fending off Putties, which continue to serve as more irritating than anything else. The girls decide to use the location to their advantage and end up flipping what appears to be the last of the two Putties into some garbage cans. It's weird to me that the teens are willing to do the same thing to the putties that happened to Bulk and Skull. In fact, maybe it's the Ranger Teens who are the real bullies! Rly makes u think.

Anyways Goldar shows up with even more fucking Putties, so the girls decide to nix this garbage and morph. Also a Putty falls out of a tree.

Gravel throat Goldar starts wailing on the girls while Zordon debates showing the Rangers the secrets of the "Power Weapons." I'm not exactly a five star general, but is there really a great reason to keep all the Rangers gear from them at the beginning? Zordon has been giving generic speeches about teamwork and whatever, but it's never implied that they must work as a team before using the weapons. It just seems coincidental at best that the Power Weapons might help the Rangers out and everyone is talking about teamwork arbitrarily. Either way, Trini kicks Goldar in the throat.

Be careful that might make his voice raspy!

The guy rangers are getting walloped by Minotaur because something about teamwork. Just to kick them while they're down, Squatt and Baboo start throwing rocks at them from above. It's really a shitty day for the Power Rangers when even the awful comic relief villains are taking potshots at you. Rita decides to focus on beefing up her credible threat instead and uses her wand to make the Minotaur grow. Kim and Trini see the giant monster in the foreground, all while whoever was editing the footage clearly wasn't paying attention to the fact the Japanese actors are guiding a kid around.

They could have just cut this shot out, but they also didn't care.

The rangers call on the individual Dinozords to bring Minotaur down. Before they go after him the Pterodactyl Dinozord zaps Goldar and his Putties, because you should never escalate a battle unless Rita forces you to, or you're losing.

Pterodactyl Dinozord VS Goldar
This same thing is happening in Pakistan right now.

This fight between the Dinozords and Minotaur is fantastic. We get to see the individual Dinozords' moves on him and it's great. Triceratops and Saber Tooth Tiger fire lasers out of their tails, Mastodon blows a cloud of frost that freezes his shield, Triceratops uses its horns to tie him up, then the Saber Tooth Tiger does this.

Minotaur VS Saber Tooth Tiger
The Minotaur's one weakness: Throwing toys at him

T-Rex gets into a one on one fight with the Minotaur that begins with the monster punching him in the chest. As much as I wanted this to turn into a boxing match I realized how much of a disadvantage that would put Tyrannosaurus at. The Rangers combine their Zords to finish off the Minotaur once and for all....

....but then Alpha calls them back to the Command Center because "nothing they did was working." Which is mostly code for "We didn't have footage of this and we built to it for 10 minutes to eat up time."

Zordon then bestows the Power Weapons upon the Rangers. Billy gets the Power Lance, it's dual sided and fucking radical. Kim gets the Power Bow, which is like a typical bow and arrow set, except the bow acts as a blade as well. Zack gets the Power Axe, which also acts as a cannon because it's a toy, so why not? Jason gets the Power Sword, not the Megazord's Power Sword, but a scaled down one that's still sleek as fuck. Oh and Trini gets the Power Daggers, they're awful. They literally look like slightly bigger Blade Blasters,  but since she's a girl she has to get the shittiest weapon.

Power Weapons, Power Daggers, Power Lance, Power Axe, Power Bow, Power Sword
Don't even bother posing Trini, they're still embarrassing.

The teens morph back to fight the Minotaur and then pose with some weird clay looking versions of their weapons. That looks cool and all, but makes no sense because Zordon literally just gave them their own weapons. Another example of the writers just keeping all the Sentai shit in because they want to fill time, but at least it's pretty to look at so might as well just enjoy the ride.

The Rangers wail on Minotaur using their weapons, and Trini chucks her daggers at the thing. Which seems irresponsible because I imagine after every fight she has to go pick up her daggers after she hurls them. Or she has to politely ask the monster to give her the daggers back. Fuck that's all I ever want to see, Trini getting put in a headlock while she tries to sneak over and pick up her weapons after thoughtlessly throwing them. Someone please draw that oh my god.

Anyways, The rangers bring their weapons together to make the Power Blaster and blow Minotaur away. He got chumped pretty damn fast but that's what happens when you got toys to sell.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Power Blaster
Be careful grabbing it though because that thing is 93% blades.

Rita and the Moon Crew are none too happy about their most recent loss, with Squatt and Baboo cowering and Goldar personally blaming Finster. It results in some really silly physical comedy that makes me laugh.

Goldar beats up Finster
Goldar is holding a massive sword, and instead chooses to give Finster noogies. 

The Rangers return to Angel Grove High and the trash that Bulk dumped out is still all over the floor because Saban was too cheap to hire an actor to play a janitor. Or a janitor to play a janitor. Mr. Caplan walks in and sees the teens in front of the mess. Caplan assumes they're responsible and is about to get mad, but because we need a wacky moment to end the show he gets called away via intercom. The teens clean it up in stupid awful fast motion scene because they worked as a team. See, the moral is teamwork, because their weapons came together and so did they. It's like poetry sort of....it rhymes.

Mr. Caplan comes back in and asks what happened to the mess and Jason asks what mess he was talking about, instead of just fucking saying they cleaned it up? For such innocent high schoolers they sure are lying creeps. This innocent man just wanted his fucking school clean, but walks off all flustered and goes "OHHHHH!" Like he's a 1920's police officer or something.

We end on a goofball scene of Alpha wrecking everything by dancing like a stupid asshole. God I fucking hate white people.

Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Pollution

Personal Thoughts:

I've got a lot to say about my personal experiences but before I get into those I wanted to mention this is the first time the show filmed U.S. stunt actors in the ranger suits to react to the Sentai footage. The actors in the suits are absolutely lethargic and it's really jarring coming off of the Japanese suit actors being really animated. They grow much better at this later on but let me show you what I mean, compare this shot to any of the other Ranger gifs I've posted above.

Power Rangers US Footage
I'm still not sure the Pink Ranger suit isn't just being controlled by Jim Henson.

This episode holds a special place in my heart, because as a kid it was always my proverbial "white whale." I knew there was a Minotaur monster in the show because there was a toy of him and he was a character in the Sega Genesis fighting game. I didn't even own a Genesis as a kid, I just looked longingly at that box that maybe I could see tidbits of what I referred to as "The Minotaur Episode."

I built this episode up in my mind because the Minotaur just looked so cool, and obviously since I'd never seen him before he must be the toughest monster ever. How'd they kill the Minotaur? What kind of stuff did he do? Did the Megazord take him out? I had fantasies about finding all this out as a kid. I was outside a meeting that my dad was at and I imagined a bunch of kids were watching "The Minotaur Episode" somewhere inside the building. Sadly no kids were there and I guess nobody had a tape of Power Rangers either.

With the advent of the internet I found out some rudimentary knowledge about Minotaur. He got killed by the Power Blaster? I wonder if he put up a fight! His episode was called "Teamwork"?! I bet he beat em up really bad! If the internet knows how he was beaten they must be able to show me the episode too!

My prayers were answered when I found a VHS tape promising Episodes 3 and 4 of Power Rangers on Ebay. I promptly begged my mom to buy it. All my questions would finally be answered! 10 dollars later my tape came in the mail but the tape looked really odd. I popped it into the VCR and saw nothing but a blob of black junk all over the screen. No voices could be made out, it was like watching the tape from The Ring. Apparently this was a tape that was released in the U.K. and the seller neglected to mention it. I was crestfallen.

Around this time Fox Kids was airing old episodes of Power Rangers under the banner "One Time Only", or OTO, with the promise that old episodes would never be aired again. As a dumb kid I didn't think of this as an advertising gimmick, but a be all end all threat to my chances of ever seeing "The Minotaur Episode." I watched every chance I could to see that elusive episode, to no avail. As soon as the OTO episodes stopped airing, I felt like I'd never get to see my dream episode. The thing I'd longed for since I was old enough to desire was gone.

As time went on, the internet became much more expansive and able to answer my pleas. I used programs like Kazaa or Bearshare or whatever virus-laden methods to look for a copy of The Minotaur Episode. I didn't have to try for terribly long though because it was during this period that ABC Family had begun to air a variety of Power Rangers episodes, mostly in order, with "The Minotaur Episode" the second episode they'd air! I was 11, and I was ready to experience it. The episode I'd dreamed of and thought I'd never see was going to be mine and all my questions would be answered. I watched it. All of it. How amazing was it?

Eh.... it was alright.


  1. I like the sabre tooth tiger gif because it reinforces that the way I played with toys as a 4 year old was the exact same way they filmed elaborate battle sequences

  2. Replies
    1. Sharkie! I thought you were dead. I hope the years have treated you well old friend.

  3. Anyone else notice the "trash" in the school was, like, the cleanest trash ever? It's almost as if the actors didn't wanna get dirty or something.

  4. Zack's rad dance montage finishes with him throwing a 'Z' at you (It's inverted from your perspective but a 'correct' Z from Zack's side). If that isn't hardcore I dunno what is.

  5. Weirdly this is the first reference I found on google to the "one time only" event. How far into the series did that event get? I remember they stopped well before they got to the then-most-recent 'in space' season.

    1. They actually only made it through "The Mutiny" before calling it quits. I don't think they aired every Season 1 episode either.