Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episode 18: Green With Evil Part 2: Jason's Battle

Weapon Possesses Ludicrous Powers
Galactic Soldier Garroted by Testicles

When we last left our heroes, they had just been severely thrashed by Rita's evil Green Ranger, Tommy. They don't know what's with him, or who he really is because Tommy snuck into the Command Center and shut Zordon down after giving Alpha a virus. Billy and Trini are trying to fix Alpha back up but everything really seems up shit creek right now.

This is actually a fantastic way to start things off. The Rangers are as low as they've ever been and have no backup if Tommy shows up again. They can only hold him back, and by then a bunch of monsters could go shithouse on them. It's the perfect place for a multi part episode to leave off and follow up on. There's much more tension than in any of the previous episodes because the Rangers are all on their own against a really severe threat.

Billy uses some giant electric gun on Alpha's back to reboot him so he can explain what the fuck happened while they were off spitshining the RADBUG. It takes about 10 seconds to get Alpha 5 working again, so Trini can nearly burst into tears over how happy she is her robot companion isn't dead. She actually sounds more relieved to see Alpha back online than she was to find her kidnapped uncle. Trini's family is sincerely fucked up.

The rest of the Rangers are relieved that Alpha is functional again but Jason remains stoic and says Zordon's still gone so there's still a lot of work to be done. This Green Ranger shit is really bringing out the best in Jason, he's acting more like a leader now than he has the past 3 months. He's also actually acting, which helps.

Rita plans to activate Phase 2 of her plan and unleash the Green Ranger on the Power Rangers, no really. That's all her plan consists of. The same thing she did with him last time. Goldar interjects and says she should give Tommy the Sword of Darkness, which Rita finds a spectacular idea. It's becoming more and more apparent as this series goes on that Rita has all these amazing evil plans waiting in the wings but it takes her snarling armored dog monster to remember any of them. Maybe all those headaches Rita's getting are signs of Space Alzheimer's.

Rita asks Finster to provide expository dialogue about the Sword of Darkness and he cordially agrees. It was taken from some idiot on some stupid dead planet, shown to us with footage of Nasty Knight fighting a warrior on another planet that would have a thriving population if there was a Power Rangers expanded universe. Finster informs her this sword is able to keep Tommy under Rita's Green Ranger spell forever !!!AS LONG AS NOBODY DESTROYS IT!!! (emphasis mine)

Sword of Darkness
The feather key chain is a nice touch.

Rita sends Tommy back down to Earth in the alley she first abducted him and reminds him not to reveal his identity to anyone. Tommy says he's been on Earth since last time we saw him and this scene is really unnecessary but Rita laughs and teleports away.

Speaking of unnecessary, Bulk and Skull spot Tommy while they're wandering into the alley, as they often find themselves doing for a variety of reasons. Bulk says Tommy isn't his usual John, but he won't be giving Tommy any hand jibbers until he apologizes for humiliating him at school. Why the fuck is he asking for an apology? This is Bulk we're talking about, if he wants someone to say sorry for how stupid he looks why doesn't he ask his parents? Or God? Tommy has a different idea and manages to break Rita's single rule almost instantly.

Bulk and Skull trash
At least they found their way home

Before we close out on this scene, we get another genuinely funny line from Bulk. Skull asks what the hell's going on with the new kid, and Bulk says "I don't know, but he should have his eyes checked." These may sound like total groaners, but these two are sincerely some of the highlights of this show. They're able to elevate really tepid and bland material into something memorable through performance alone, and can turn a stupid scene into something much better by committing to it.

Inside the Youth Center, Jason is going to fucking town on a punching bag. He's totally losing his shit on it and tells Zack he can't get this green guy off his mind. Jason's obviously acting out of character and instead of us just accepting it and assuming the script sucks, Zack tells him to chill the fuck out. Jason keeps grousing about the Green Ranger and starts connecting the dots about what's going on. Zack and Jason come to the conclusion that he must be the one who trashed the Command Center and he might be working for Rita. The former actually impressed me they were able to figure that out, and the latter is so goddamned obvious it pains me it can be considered a revelation.

Billy and Trini both work to bring Zordon back online but find it difficult since Trini is just standing around with her hands on her hips and Billy does all the work. Billy's actually clearly exhausted by all the repairing he's been doing which is a lot more believable than him making a flying car and acting like it's a diorama. When Billy mentions that he'll just need more time to bring the Communicators back online Alpha says time is the one thing they don't have. Nothing's even happening right now Alpha would you fucking calm down for two seconds? Holy shit.

Kim meets up with Tommy at Angel Grove High and timidly asks him what happened to meeting up after school. Without missing a beat he tells her something came up. Doesn't even look at her, just has his eyes glued inside his locker. It's pitch perfect and soul crushing. She asks why he's acting like such a stone cold dickhead, and he informs her that he has more on his mind than the first piece of ass he saw at his new school. Kimberly's retort is a sincere and heartfelt "Well excuse me for living." Just bury the 90's in the backyard guys, we've seen all we needed to.

Rita decides that Tommy's sweet neg on Kimberly is a sign he's ready to inherit the Sword of Darkness. Goldar stammers about how he needs to earn it by illustrating his strength and the only way he can prove that is by defeating one of Finster's newest and most devious creations yet in a battle of intelligence and wit the likes the universe has never seen. Just messin' with ya, he has to fight some Putties without morphing. The same goddamn thing he had to do to become Green Ranger in the first place. This time it's different though, this time he has to fight them on the beach.

Rita and her gang go down to Earth to watch Tommy's test of skill and explain what he must do to receive his new weapon. Rita then uses her wand teleport Tommy from the beach to....a smaller section of the beach, probably 20 feet away. It's the most superfluous use of magic in any form of media in history, but Rita isn't going to tell her new golden boy he came to the wrong spot for his life and death Putty battle.

Tommy meets up with the Putties and they actually put up a pretty good fight. This must be the batch Finster cooked at just the right temperature because they actually employ strategy. One of them is tossed into the air to do a flying kick on Tommy to catch him off guard, they crowd around him in a pattern that he can't really do anything about, and generally don't just run around like morons.

Tommy gains his bearings though and knocks the Putties out one by one until only a single Putty remains. Tommy looks at him, there isn't much time left. If he can't take this Putty out fast he's dead for sure. He has to win, but there's only one move that can do it. Throwing caution to the wind Tommy charges into battle and leaps into the air.

Tommy putty fight

Amazed at Tommy's ability to choke a Putty to death with his nuts, Rita bestows the Sword of Darkness upon him. Tommy promises to destroy the Power Rangers with his new weapon, and he'll take out the Red Ranger first. It's a pretty throwaway line to create a rivalry between Green and Red since it's clearly been pretty one sided with Jason, but we can always pretend Tommy took that tie at the karate tournament REALLY hard.

Jason wanders around the high school looking for Tommy, finding him a couple seconds later because we wasted too much time on that last Putty fight. Jason says he's sorry the two didn't get a chance to work out before like they promised but he had an emergency come up. This isn't some tidbit I glossed over from before, this is the first we hear anything about these two wanting to hang out. It goes back to Tommy making this blood rivalry with Jason out of nowhere to justify the two fighting and it looks really sloppy coming up all of a sudden instead of building it more. Hard to blame the writing though, they only had five episodes to tell this story, who has time for nuance?

Jason offers Tommy a raincheck as he misses the fact his new friend appears to be infested by the souls of darkness and wanders down the hallway. As Jason leaves, Tommy blasts him in the back with a stream of green energy that nobody else sees because it would have required paying extras to be on set. The energy teleports Jason into a small enclosed space known as the Dark Dimension. It's a unique set with a bunch of green pillars and fog everywhere. For an original U.S. idea it actually doesn't look half bad.

Power Rangers Dark Dimension
200 dollars well spent

Jason tries to grab one of the doorways to escape but gets electrocuted as soon as he touches it and goes flying back. He tries to use his Communicator to contact the other Rangers or Alpha, seeming to forget the fact the Communicators haven't been working since Zordon got taken out of commission. All of a sudden Jason hears a gravelly voice from behind him cackling, only to turn and see Goldar before him. Jason reaches for his Morpher behind his back but finds it missing, and now in Goldar's possession. He tries to nab it but Goldar smacks him to the ground and laughs in his face. What the fuck were we watching Squatt and Baboo using roofies for? This should have been the Goldar Show the last few weeks, he's kickin' ass!

Zack and Kim use the RADBUG to fly to the Command Center while Zack notices Kim's not feeling herself. She says it's not just about Zordon but she's also left wondering "Where's Poochie?" Zack says Tommy is the least of their worries right now, as the kids at home say "No Zack wait! Tommy IS the Green Ranger!!!" while they flail their arms around like a muppet and spill their bowl of cereal on the floor, then my mom comes in and beats the shit out of me for making a mess on the carpet.

Zack and Kim arrive just in time to see Billy connecting some more wires which brings the Viewing Globe back online. We see the Green Ranger posing with the Sword of Darkness as the four Ranger Teens try to get in contact with Jason.

Speaking of Jason, he's still having a staredown with Goldar inside the Dark Dimension, trying to nab his morpher out of the monster's hand. Jason uses a flying kick to try and knock Goldar out, but it only pushes him back as he keeps laughing. Goldar then takes him by the fucking throat and pushes him against a wall and says he could finish him off any time he wants, but he's going to take his sweet time since Jason's the prize Rita has given him for his service to her. Jesus Christ. Goldar is a fucking BEAST!

Jason wondering if maybe being a Power Ranger wasn't such a great idea

Though they're without their leader, the rest of the Rangers decide to challenge Green on their own. Tommy is easily able to take the four of them down using his Sword of Darkness. The same thing he did in the initial fight he had with the Power Rangers, but this time it's different since he has a sword. The choreography with this fight is actually really good, and it makes Green Ranger look like a really powerful threat. It's probably just because the actor isn't just wearing a giant lizard costume to restrict his movement and can look a lot more fluid and dangerous, but it really sticks out.

Rita cackles at her plan going wonderfully and then mentions it's time for the next part of her plan which Squatt and Baboo inquire about. She says it's time for a green surprise for the "power geeks." Rita what in the Sam Hell are you talking about? Green Ranger's already on Earth, HE'S FIGHTING THEM RIGHT NOW. I'm mentioning this line because it refers to literally nothing in this mini-series and is such a ridiculous way to fill time. Was this supposed to be before they found him on their own and went to fight him? Did the editor fuck this up? Jesus this moment has bugged me for so long. What a completely pointless way to pad out something that's already five fucking episodes.

Sorry, let's get back to the action. Green Ranger promises the Rangers that he's going to finish them off now. You know shit is getting hot and heavy, and then the best thing yet happens. The rest of the Rangers spontaneously call on their Dinozords. There's no giant monster, they just know Tommy is that big of a goddamn threat they need help in the form of a giant robot. That's so fucking cool it's almost too much to bear. 

Even though they don't have the Tyrannosaurus, the Rangers are able to form the Megazord without issue, and stand tall above Tommy knowing they finally have an edge over this guy who's been beating their asses the past two weeks. It's so goddamned cathartic to see Green Ranger actually shake a bit when he sees the Megazord, and it's even more rewarding to see him not back down and actually try and attack the giant robot. It's the best fucking thing oh man.

Green Ranger Megazord gif
Mammoth Shield Use 1 of 2

Green Ranger teleports away after losing spectacularly to one shot from the Megazord, and the Rangers find themselves back in the Command Center. Alpha almost has a lock on Zordon but he's coming in faint all covered in white noise. Apparently accessing Zordon is similar to hacking cable, you just have to do it really carefully and you're cutting through dimensions, not Comcast.

Jason tries again to contact Alpha as Goldar tells him he's useless without his friends. You guys already tried that plan and he didn't buy it, maybe you should try something else Goldar. Before I could even finish that thought, Goldar seems to have heard me and summons his sword while saying he's had enough fun and it's time to dispose of Jason. Goldar drops Jason's Morpher to the ground and dares him to come find it, while swinging his blade. Jason runs to grab it but gets knocked onto the ground by Goldar who says it's time to end this game. With Goldar cackling and waving his sword above Jason, we get another To Be Continued.

Remember when I said the stakes were high last week? Now the leader of the Power Rangers is about to be decapitated and the nigh-invulnerable Green Ranger's become even stronger. Holy shit.
Just wait though, we're almost at THAT moment.

Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Green Surprises

Personal Thoughts:

I'm honestly pretty surprised rewatching this episode. I remembered thinking I was going to hate this episode and it would be a collection of scenes that didn't matter to pad out time for the series. Well I was partially right there, because there are still a handful of things that are completely pointless or devoid of anything interesting. The Putty fight with Tommy in this episode retroactively makes the Putty fight from Part 1 entirely asinine. However the rest of this episode does keep things moving in some way or another and in a particularly fun way to boot.

The fight with Jason and Goldar is pretty fantastic, and it's in this mini-series they seem to realize how strong a character Goldar CAN be. He's significantly stronger than a lot of the monsters Rita uses and this is only the beginning of what they end up doing with him, for better or for worse.

Goldar seems to be pretty fondly remembered but if you only watched the first 10 or so episodes you'd have no idea why since he didn't do much. He was a glorified monster of the week. This is one of the first times the writers of the show really tried to break out of the cast Sentai had them molded into, since in Zyuranger Goldar was nothing but a mute brute. Here he seems like a bloodthirsty loyal warrior who also acts as a tactician for Rita's crew.

Of all the episodes I've done so far this one has probably used the least Japanese footage so far. Rita's crew on the Moon Palace was Sentai as per usual, and a bit of her talking to Tommy. Other than that it's just Megazord being formed and punking Tommy and an all too brief fight with Tommy and the four non red Rangers.

I think this is just the people behind the show realizing they're not just limited to what Sentai does and can step out of the shadow a bit if they so choose. I'm not sure if Green With Evil just needed creative ways to bypass the little available footage or if this was the point they felt particularly inspired to do more with what they had and saw different ways to do the show, but no matter what I think it makes sense why these episodes are so memorable to people. They definitely have a different feel than the previous episodes which were obviously much more episodic.

Really I just want to one more time sing the praises of Green Ranger fighting the Megazord for a brief moment. It's fucking great for all parties involved. It's actually something I think the U.S. version does much better than the Japanese. In Japan Megazord showed up to threaten Green Ranger for being a prick, but here Megazord is a very clear last resort to defend from Green. It adds a fine point onto just how strong Tommy has become with Rita's spell and it's seriously fantastic. However even with that being said? The best is yet to come.


  1. So why WERE Bulk and Skull walking by that alley at that moment? It seems these two just show up in the most random places when shit's going down.

  2. I'd have totally picked the most 90's moment in this episode as "excuse me for living!" And I, too, remember being a kid and being like, "Hey, Tommy's acting weird and he's dressed in green - y'all haven't figured this out yet???"

  3. FUn fact; this episode was written by Tom WYner. Yep. Master Vile, Bones, and The Giant made one of the best episodes of season 1 despite being a voice actor. Not that VAs can't have other talents but the other episode written by a person who is almost exclusively a actor would be "High Five." Remember that weird ass episode? I'm not counting DOTD since Tony Oliver only really voiced Saba in Season 2.

  4. To things I want to point out sphere about the Zord fight. Firstly, the Guardian Beasts were all sentient in Zyuranger which is why the Tyrannosaurus Dinozord appears without Jason and why we didn't start a cockpit shot before they went to Battle Mode. The original Zyuranger episode had Daiyjurjn form itself so there were no cockpit shots PR could use as all the other shots clearly contained Jason who was in the Dark Dimension.

  5. You may also notice that, before Tommy tried to blast the Megazord in the gif above, he was lying on the floor despite not having been attacked. In Zyuranger, he had been struck down by Geki (Jason's counterpart) who had been away with Garza trying to find a solution to the issue of evil Burai which is why he was absent from the four Ranger battle. They had to remove this plotline since Geki was not morphed and Barza was very Japanese.