Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Episode 13: Peace Love and Woe

Bald Sorceress Blunders Simple Instructions
Russian Immigrants Invade Nondescript Party

Immediately this episode gives me reason for concern. Everyone is setting up for a vague nondescript party inside the Youth Center and Bulk barrels in on a skateboard. Everyone dives out of his way as, what the fuck else could possibly happen, he falls face first into a cake Ernie has. Why is that so suspect? This happens in the span of two goddamn minutes, I'll even prove it with the timecode.

Bulk falls into cake
Bulk Cream Pie.gif

Including the opening credits, it didn't even take this episode two minutes to go to the Bulk cake well. Does this mean the rest that follows is that bad they had to use their trump card early? As we all know in terms of writing Power Rangers scripts, Bulk falling into a cake is the equivalent of pocket aces, it pays dividends. 

Rita plans to send a monster down because the Rangers won't expect it, and it'll be a piece of cake. So the absolute only reason for Rita to use a monster today is because she wanted to make a pun about a fat guy falling into a cake. We haven't been doing the show THAT long guys, if Rita's premises for sending monsters down are already this shoddy then maybe we can start writing around them.

Ernie has had enough of Bulk and Skull's shenanigans and tells them if they're not going to pay for the cake, or stop falling into every goddamn piece of food he has to sell, they will never set foot inside his Juice Bar again. Ernie must have been crunching the numbers and realized if he doesn't put his foot down now with these two he'll be bankrupt by the end of the week.

With the bullies out of everyone's hair, the rest of the Ranger Teens begin talking with Billy. They must take to ignoring him when bullies are around in the hopes that he isn't noticed and dumped into the trash. They ask Billy if he's going to the Vague Party with anyone, and to the surprise of absolutely nobody, Billy will be busy with some science nonsense tonight. Something about electrocuting your testicles while watching anime porno to simulate the feeling of being with a woman. Jason actually prods Billy a bit to ask someone in his class, all while Trini sits in the background twiddling her thumbs, with feelings she dare not speak. That or she's secretly dating Bulk and is too ashamed to tell her friends about it.

The show's in a hurry though, as Billy walks out of the Juice Bar and right into a cute girl named Marge. What's supposed to be a moment of genuine "teenage" romance blooming, is overlaid with patented "fuck-me" saxophone while Billy and Marge make goo-goo eyes at each other. Since this show operates on the simplest of arithmetic, Marge is also very intelligent and speaks fluent thesaurus, so she gives Billy a massive overall piercing erection.

Marge and Billy start talking, and connect over the fact they were both in the Accelerated Baby Genius Program. Luckily for them neither were in the Accelerated Baby Geniuses 2 Program. Marge asks Billy if he's going to the party with anyone tonight, and Billy looks at his shoes and starts mumbling about how he's busy and can't go. Marge gives him a massive smile and says she hasn't asked anyone "yet." The rest of the Rangers call Billy over and tell him it's an emergency, while pointing to their communicators.

When Billy shuffles over to the Teens, they drop the emergency angle and immediately tell him to ask Marge to the dance before he fucks this one up. Billy gets whiny that they lied about an emergency but Zack tells him this is the biggest emergency of his life.

Honestly, this little moment is fantastic, it's something that's totally believable for a bunch of teenagers to do. They have this huge important task under their belts, but they decide to use it to help convince one of their friends he needs to get some action tonight. It beats the Rangers picking up garbage at the local Terminal Illness Orphanage, and it makes them look like human beings. They fight off a bunch of Clay Moon Demons but still find time to help Billy bust a nut. We need more of this and less of the "Gee golly shucks kids at home you should live up to our impossible goody two shoes standards."

Billy says he couldn't possibly ask out a cute girl who's totally into him, and Marge abruptly says it's time for her to go. Before she goes though she asks Billy if he'd take her to the Vague Party, because she's wetter than the Mississippi and if this dork doesn't pick up on it she's gonna find someone else who will. Billy puts his hands in his overall pockets and says he'd love to take her to the party, thanking the ghost of Isaac Newton he didn't have to actually talk to a g-g-g-girl.

Billy and Marge
Billy's scoping out that neck like he's a Dracula

Rita is having none of this romance bullshit though, because if Billy pops his cherry tonight she is going to have the mother of all headaches. Repulsa calls on her newest monster, Madame Woe, to intercept Billy at the park where he's going to meet Marge, and finish him off. We're introduced to Madame Woe on a secluded beach doing all sorts of wack ass magic and it's actually pretty goddamned cool.

Madame Woe Gif
A Valkyrie with scoliosis, Rita's most fearsome warrior yet.

Marge waits in the park for Billy to show up, only to encounter Madame Woe instead. Woe refers to her as a Power Ranger, and teleports Marge into a small dark dimension. Here's where you can unquestionably look at Rita's schemes and realize she has no idea what she's doing. She knew Billy was going to be in the park, she knew the time he was going to be in the park, she knows the identity of all five Power Rangers and is constantly watching them help Billy get laid. She was in such a goddamn hurry to make a monster who could successfully cuckold Billy that she couldn't take the extra half a second of time to say "Oh the kid you're looking for is some dork in overalls, later Woe." Rita bitches to the camera that Madame Woe ruined her super great plan, but she's the one who didn't even tell Madame Woe the gender of the Ranger she was kidnapping.

Billy struts up to the park looking for Marge and his only opportunity to get to first base, only to find her nowhere to be found. He sees her necklace lying on the ground and thinks something fishy is going on. Apparently Billy has never experienced being ditched by a girl who says they want to date him, which I find far more suspicious. 

Rita sends some Putties down to attack Billy, seeing her one chance in a millennium for them to do something right. Billy starts getting backed up against the lake by the Putties while calling Jason for help. It's surprising how long it feels like it's been and Billy still hasn't gotten the guts to at least put up a fight against a small group of Putties. Thankfully Billy's friends are able to drop what they're doing and bail him out against Rita's warbling idiots. Of course one Putty does learn a new trick to use against Kimberly.

Putty Patrol Kimberly gif
Who the fuck left that there?

Zordon brings the Rangers to the Command Center to give them the scoop on Madame Woe. She has power over weather or something, all controlled with a jewel she has stuck inside her forehead. Zordon says they have to combine their powers to defeat her, which seems like it should be a common thread in this show about a team of superheroes, but it's particularly important this time. The Rangers need to combine their Power Coins together to give one Ranger the power of all five combined, and Billy volunteers to be the one who uses their powers to help save Marge. Here's all our Ranger power combined Billy, have a good time getting your glasses knocked off and then pantsed. Idiot.

The Rangers morph to fight Woe, and are immediately sucked into her dimension. While inside the dimension, Billy spies Marge and very intelligently yells out her name while running to her. Marge doesn't think it at all queer that a complete stranger knows her name or sounds exactly like that dork from the Juice Bar she wants to bang. For someone who was such a genius baby she sure is a dense adult.

The Rangers try and defeat Madame Woe, but since they're in her world she just teleports around them and whips them with her braids. Jason and Zack try using their Power Weapons, but Woe just laughs in their face and hurls them around using her hair. Billy leads the female rangers to fire on Woe with their Blade Blasters, but she just floats around in the sky cackling at them. Woe is actually giving a pretty impressive display of ass kicking because the Rangers haven't laid a hand on her yet.

Billy suggests the Rangers should try doing that thing Zordon said they needed to do in order to win. Woe blasts the Rangers even more and says they'll never be able to defeat her. After the piddling fight they've put up against her so far I'm inclined to agree. Billy lunges at Woe with his Power Lance and grapples with her, and the rest of the Rangers combine their energy with Billy allowing him to escape from Woe's dimension and into the mountains. If you aren't following all this power combining stuff don't worry, we'll never use it again. Thankfully Billy's using it to its full extent against Madame Woe!

Madame Woe Blue Ranger
Ma'am please stand still I'm trying to kill you

As you might guess if you have any cognitive abilities at all, Billy tries to fight Madame Woe and gets his ass stomped. Woe blasts him with a bunch of water, strangles him with her braids, electrocutes him, really just fucks his whole day up. It's not even a fair fight. Billy gets his shit pushed in to an embarrassing degree. If this is all the power the Rangers have combined, then Zordon should just throw in the towel already. Billy gets beaten on for a solid minute and a half while Woe just laughs in his face, it's emasculating. Billy decides to stop losing the fight out of nowhere and trips Madame Woe and gets her in a full nelson. After that Billy finds the only way to defeat her is through horrible editing.

Madame Woe US Footage
See if you can spot the difference!

Remember last week when I asked why they didn't try to cobble together a US Terror Toad suit? Fuck all that, never try and make a US monster costume again. They didn't even put a goddamn crown on her. She's got no hair in the back either because they didn't feel like buying more blue yarn. What is that? I'll talk about this more later, but for now Marge and the Rangers are freed from Madame Woe's dimension, and the Power Rangers team up with Billy to take on the hairless Madame Woe.

Madame Woe is livid that the Rangers got out of her dimension and screams "You escaped?" Billy follows up with, "But you won't, Madame Woe." Reading it may not do it any justice, but that line right there? Fucking fantastic. Billy, a dorky nerdlinger in overalls, just told this crazy weather valkyrie that she's about to be murdered. This is Power Rangers at its best, the little moments that bring back the "HOLY SHIT YES!" feeling you had as a kid.

The Rangers bring out the Power Blaster to blow away Madame Woe, all while Rita complains about the fact her monsters always lose. Thankfully the Rangers have saved Marge with enough time to get to the Vague Party happening at Ernie's right now! Billy gives Marge back her necklace, which she gives him a kiss for. Since this is Power Rangers, that's the equivalent of anal, so Billy is floored. Not everyone is having a great time though, because Bulk and Skull really wanted to show up to this party, and found a way around being kicked out.

Bulk and Skull disguise
Sorry pal, no Ruskis allowed in the Juice Bar

Ernie sees right through that bullshit and tells Bulk if he doesn't pay him for that cake he's getting taken to civil court. Bulk decides to finally be responsible for one fucking thing in his entire life that he did wrong, and consults "the bank." This of course refers to the money that Bulk keeps in between his toes because he's a 90's bully stereotype and he's out of his goddamn mind. Ernie gets a single whiff of the money and passes out on top of the new cake he's bought.

The ending resolves with a completely ridiculous scene of a bunch of awkward extra dancing, as Ernie wakes up and dances with them. It's completely surreal and even has Bulk and Skull looking at everyone dancing as if they were tripping on LSD. Maybe they were, that's how Ernie got the new cake so cheap. Oh well, at least Billy got a handy under the table tonight.

Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Toe Money

Personal Thoughts:

This episode is actually a lot more fun than I remembered it being. It moves along at a really fast pace and doesn't care about dwelling on things. The Rangers combine their powers so Billy can escape and that's immediately done with. It seems like a really cool fighting tactic but it amounts to nothing and may as well not have happened since they never use it again.

Billy falls in love with Marge about 3 seconds after bumping into her, which comes about 2 seconds after saying he has nobody to take to the dance. The show sometimes suffers from pacing things quickly like this, but it's all stuff that you anticipate happening so the show doesn't waste time on it, I appreciate that. It keeps things moving along in a fun way.

Madame Woe is the first female monster we'll get to see, and is actually voiced by Alex Borstein, the voice of Lois on Family Guy. Alex will do a scarce number of roles on the early years of Power Rangers, but it's good to see someone from this show going on to get a great deal of success from such humble beginnings.

For all you interested folks out there, Madame Woe's death may look a little different from other Power Blaster deaths! The beam is a little different, but that's because in Zyuranger Madame Woe was finished off by a currently unintroduced weapon combination called the Ranger Slingers. This was one of only two uses the weapon combo had, and was cut so the show could put this episode earlier into the season. Even if you're paying close attention there's little noticeable difference, so I'd say they made the right call. 

Ranger Slingers gif Thunder Slingers
Don't wait to see this in Power Rangers, you'll be disappointed.

You want to know what they made the wrong call with? That fucking U.S. Madame Woe costume. If they knew they had to change the scene and didn't have the Japanese costume all they would have to do is cut to Billy firing his Blade Blaster at her crystal and have the shot of Woe reeling from it. Instead they give us a bald Madame Woe with no helmet and felt eyes.

They had to reshoot the scene because the Japanese episode had a little girl putting a gem on Woe's forehead, and that's perfectly fair; but if you know you don't have the costume and think that thing is going to pass, then take the extra 10 minutes to find a helmet to put on it or something.They took the time to rebuild Madame Woe's head to the best of their ability when it probably would have taken less effort to just figure a way around the footage. It's such a weird and jarring cut that still stands out to me as something they could have fixed with a little out of the box thinking. 

Or maybe it doesn't matter at all since this is a kid's show and who could possibly care? I still like the episode a lot so it's hardly a complete mood killer. Just something I wanted to share.


  1. Madame Woe is like Mrs. Kaplan and they both lose their headstuffs every once in a while.

  2. One thing I really hate about nerd love interests is that the men that get cast usually do look like nerds, while the women that get cast just look like hot fucking women who may or may not have to wear a pair of prop glasses. Marge is smokin' for a baby Einstein. Does she have to be? I'd be much more interested in this if she were relatively homely (explaining why she also has no date, since teenagers are shallow shits), and I think that would go a lot further to demonstrate that Billy likes her for her brain and what they have in common, rather than her...well, I've spent a few minutes trying to finish that sentence in a way that doesn't make me feel perverse and I've failed but I think you get the idea. All it does is teach nerdy, dorky kids that they should ultimately end up fucking cheerleaders anyway. Conventionally unattractive women are always punchlines. Conventionally unattractive men get babes. And that's...kind of horrible.

  3. If Bulk is disguising himself as a woman, why is he wearing a fake mustache?!

    I like Kim's "I think they make a cute couple" line.

  4. I found more footage of the U.S. Madame Woe costume thirty seconds into this video, for anyone who wants more evidence of how little went into it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEoZbaFn92Q

  5. If anyone's wondering about Zyuranger, it explains a lot about the weird way we're introduced to Woe. In the original episode, Dora Laygor was sent by Bandora to send kids to her other dimension to make them into blue fluid which, when combined together, could create a huge thunderstorm to destroy the city. This combining is why Madame Woe appears to be casting something in a ritual when we're introduced to her in this episode. What Samuraikarasau is reffering to with the girl touching the gem is a weird element of Zyuranger. Her gem was actually stolen from a little girl called Saori who knew it's only weakness was the blue gem owned by her sister (since they were both fairys, don't ask). When the gems slammed together, the curse that made all the children blue liquid was lifted and the gem was taken, rendering Lavagor powerless and completely open to destruction.