Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episode 41: Rita's Seed of Evil

Blue Troll Demon Plants Seeds in Exchange for Toothpaste
Monster Finds Itself Aesthetically Pleasing, Is Murdered

Last week we concluded a pulse pounding battle with a devastating foe the Power Rangers were barely able to defeat. This week the Ranger Teens will be fighting an enemy even more dangerous; deforestation.

Today the Ranger Teens are growing plants for a school project, and causing me to fall asleep just writing about it. Principal Caplan says the seeds they've planted look so good, they're ready to be planted in the park. Why the principal of the school would be observing this and not an actual teacher is anyone's guess.

Zack gets giddy at the prospect of providing the environment with clean air and fresh oxygen. Why are they giving this line to Zack? Isn't Trini the one who's supposed to be environmentally conscious? For once would this fucking show just give that poor girl something to say when it's organic to the miniscule character she's been given?

After some more discussion on why the rainforest is totally tubular, Bulk and Skull stink their way out of the shadows. Bulk offers a mocking rendition of "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary" to ask how the nerds make their garden grow. For the little they give Trini, they sure flesh Bulk out by making him a fan of 18th century children's poetry. Jason informs his fat nemesis that the reason their plants grow so tall is due to Billy's "Special Fertilizer." The bullies are left perplexed why the Ranger Teens would use food to help plants grow.

Bulk and Skull then show off their own special breed of plant, complete with price tags. Kimberly points out that Bulk and Skull are so goddamned stupid, they bought a pair of plastic trees for this project. Though they apparently got them at quite a bargain ringing in at 19.95 apiece. 19.95? Remember the good old days when prices didn't end in .99? Now they're charging us an extra four cents for our shitty fake trees! Thanks Obama.

After Kimberly offers a groaner of a "not" joke, Bulk asks Skull why he didn't take the price tags off of their trees? Now they look like total idiots in front of their best friends the Ranger Teens! Bulk chases Skull around like a big dumb dog before some mundane hijinx ensue.

Bulk just got his green wings.

Rita takes notice of the Rangers botanical efforts and concocts a new scheme. Goldar will send Squatt down to Earth to plant the seeds of her mighty Octoplant monster. The Octoplant's seeds will grow until the monster becomes so powerful that its tentacles will wrap around the Earth and completely destroy it.

This idea sounds pretty foolproof, but you're sending Squatt down to do it? How bad do you want this plan to go belly-up? When you send Squatt to Earth the only time it can be declared a success is when he doesn't break a woman's neck by petting her hair too hard. Then Baboo takes him down to the Moon River and promises he can tend to the Putty Farm before blowing his brains out.

While Rita's forces plot, the Ranger Teens plot, trees that is! No seriously that's all we're doing today. Planting trees. We get a tedious montage of them doing just that, and the montage would be completely worthless if not for the absolutely incredible 90's rock that plays over it. Of course when I say incredible, you good folks know by now I mean terrible. I can't put into words how unbelievably shitty it is, so I'll just write down the mercifully short lyrics.

*shitty drum solo*"

If I don't miss my guess, this is music made by an artist known as The Mighty RAW, or Ron Wasserman. Wasserman is the mind behind the incredibly catchy "Go Go Power Rangers" and was commissioned to do other insert songs in the back 20 episodes of the season. If this was something he did, don't take it as indicative of his actual talents. We'll be hearing more music he does pretty soon, and I promise it blows this weird 20 seconds of puke out of the water.

Jason marvels at the trees in the park and wonders how the little plants they've placed in the ground could possibly grow to be that tall. Zack takes Jason by the cheek and playfully notes that even he was a baby once. It's pretty adorable and reads less as playful teenager ribbing and more flirtatious. Just adds more fuel to my rampant "Jason and Zack are a couple" fire.

The Ranger Teens depart to go find some fresh water, as Bulk and Skull reveal themselves from behind the bushes. The two goons are wearing ridiculous looking helmets covered in leaves as "camouflage." The bullies plan on stealing the Ranger Teens trees so they can pass them off as their own to get a good grade. Since when did Bulk and or Skull give a shit about good grades? They're going to be stuck in high school picking on nerds half their age for the rest of their lives. They think a tree grade is going to balance out the other 7 months of class work they haven't done?

Squatt appears on Earth where he makes plans to plant his seeds. Then he's going to do whatever Rita wanted him to do. The blue troll then happens upon a chance encounter with his very own parents.

Wish they did the Groucho Marx mirror bit.

The bullies run off in terror as Squatt jibbers and falls down. Glad we could trust you with this one big guy. Bulk and Skull find refuge in the nearest shelter they can find, a porta-potty. While inside the toilet, we get the unfortunate pleasure of hearing Bulk scream out "DID YOU SEE THAT THING" and Skull responding "YEAH I SAW THAT THING!" This plays like an 80's college comedy. All you'd need is a wealthy old lady walking by while they say those lines and turning her nose up in disgust.

Squatt decides to do the one goddamned thing he's been sent here to do, and starts dropping the seeds into a tiny hole in the ground. Squatt's so pleased with his mediocre performance of an incredibly simplistic task, he assumes that Rita will reward him with the glow in the dark toothpaste he'd been wanting. Who do you think you're fooling Power Rangers? You think you can convince me that a creature like Squatt would ever use toothpaste?

The Ranger Teens come back to the park and notice Squatt digging in the dirt and rightly assume he's up to no good. Maybe Squatt shouldn't have planted the Octoplant's seeds about a foot away from where the Ranger Teens were digging. The kids prepare to attack Squatt, because they feel like having a shutout victory for once, but the Putties soon emerge to stop them. Rita, if you need the Putties to protect Squatt while he's planting some goddamn seeds, maybe he's not the best man for this job.

Squatt teleports back to the palace while the Ranger Teens combat the Putties. I'm not sure what it is, but this Putty fight actually feels a lot more satisfying than they have been lately. Aside from a weird moment where Billy gets his foot stuck in a bucket and uses it to defend himself against Rita's goons. Are they just undoing him being good at fighting Putties now? Not to mention making him clumsy doesn't really mesh with the character he had before. He wasn't a great fighter before, but it was because he was a timid dork, not because he's the third stooge to Bulk and Skull.

Speaking of the dynamic duo, they're still stuck inside the porta John where Skull inquires what smells so bad. As soon as the show came back the writers must have decided to crass it up a bit, because that's what kids really wanted to see. Bulk realizes the lock is stuck, so now they're both trapped inside. They realize they're going to die coated in human waste, the same way they were born, and make this face.

Skull do you need to be chewing gum right now?

When we cut back, the Rangers are still busy fighting the Putties. My enjoyment of this Putty brawl starts to wear thin as it outstays its welcome. All five Ranger Teens are fighting at full force and they're still not done? This Putty fight hasn't been bad but that doesn't mean I don't want to watch it go on for four minutes. This is the first time in the episode I can make a point of things feeling really friggin padded.  Don't worry. It won't be the last.

Back in the porta John, Skull tells Bulk he's gotta take a shit. Bet you're glad this show got renewed now huh?

The Ranger Teens finish off the Putties when suddenly the camera shakes all around to imply something bad is happening. They head off to the Command Center to demand some answers from Zordon, who informs them some spooky shit is going down, but he doesn't know where. Alpha is trying to locate the trouble on his computer but isn't able to. It must be because Squatt buried it under a foot of dirt. That crafty son of a bitch. Jason says he'll head out to the park to look at what Squatt was up to. Zordon tells him to hurry, or the planet might be destroyed just like this!

Destroy the world
Octoplant will strike by lightly placing its vines on the planet.

When Jason heads back into the park, a bunch of vines pop out of the ground and slither forward. Jason tells Zordon he's found something interesting when he happens upon the section of seeds Squatt planted. His hand is zapped by energy when he tries to touch it, and he's promptly attacked by the slithering vines. It's a good thing Kimberly didn't go check this out. We might have a remake of Evil Dead on our hands.

Jason morphs to combat the vines attacking him, and it's about as exciting a fight as you'd expect. The leader of the Power Rangers battling a bunch of branches, what a fucking treat. Even more pathetic is when Jason starts losing almost immediately, and then gets covered in tentacles that hold him down. This action packed episode of Power Rangers is almost too much to handle.

The rest of the Ranger Teens are alerted to their leader's miserable performance on the Viewing Globe and morph to bail him out. Using their Blade Blasters, they hack at the vines holding Jason and free their leader. You guys know how usually we get a fun little fight with the monster of the week before it inevitably grows? Jason getting autoerotic asphyxiated by a plant was our version of that this week. Hold your applause, cause we're not done yet.

The Morphed Rangers start shoveling to reach Rita's seeds, but the galactic empress says she's not having any of that. Goldar offers to head down to Earth with Scorpina to prevent the Rangers from fucking up her plan(t). The warrior duo appears in front of the Rangers and summons a group of Super Putties to stop them from digging up the seeds.

The scene, which has clearly been in a park the entire time, abruptly shifts to a mountainside where the Rangers fight a group of Putties. If it looks familiar, that might be because it's just a recycled fight from Green With Evil Part 1. Thanks for supporting our show kids, here's an old fight you've seen before. Tune in tomorrow for more garbage.

Suddenly we cut to a fight with Putties in the park, where Billy whips out his Power Lance and spins it around to slash some of the Super Putties. It's a pretty nice looking technique, but just before we can get invested in that, the scene cuts to a shot of the Octoplant's bulb glowing with energy. After that, we cut BACK to the mountainside to a different Putty fight. Would you fuckers pick a location and stick with it? You're giving me whiplash with all this shit. This episode is NOT my tempo.

Goldar and Scorpina blast the Rangers with energy from their crossed swords, with Jason conspicuously absent during the energy blast. We see him off fighting some Putties while his team gets trashed, and after another awful transition, Jason is standing with his team again telling them they need to get it together. What the fuck is going on with this editing? They're clearly cutting together various shots to try and make a coherent scene, but it's failing miserably. I'd rather see Bulk and Skull porking each other inside that porta potty than deal with this malarkey.

The scene makes another lousy cut back to the park where the Rangers are fighting against Goldar and Scorpina. Credit where credit's due, the fight with Scorpina and Goldar is partially new material they hadn't used yet. Only problem is the other half of the fight is taken from the Pineoctopus episode. That would be all well and good aside from the fact that Trini isn't in those scenes at all. Does this show actually want me to forget she exists? Sweet Jesus. Even dumber is when Scorpina "blasts" the Rangers. See if you can notice something a little off when she does.

Scorpina and Goldar
Not quite sure? Lemme give you a hint.

If you remembered this episode without my help let's go out sometime.

This show isn't in short supply of scenes with the Rangers getting blasted with energy. Why didn't they pick out one of the thousand shots that didn't have a pineapple monsters big dumb tentacles in it? Why didn't they have those stand in for the Octoplant's tentacles and say the monster was attacking too? Why is Trini just off taking a smoke break? Fuck all of this.

Baboo pipes up and decides he should make his presence known. He tells Rita the Octoplant hasn't bloomed yet so she hasn't won yet. Rita gets pissed and tells him she's guaranteed to win this time, unlike all those other times she was guaranteed to win. Baboo starts quivering and holding onto Squatt because it's all he knows how to do in his trying times. Rita's words come true as the Octoplant's bulb soon reaches full power and produces the monster in full.

Definitely worth the 15 minute wait.

Rita makes the monster grow and tower over the Power Rangers. The Rangers summon their Dinozords that are blasted by the Octoplant's eye beams. It doesn't do anything but shake them up a little bit because she's a shitty ineffective monster, and the Rangers form the Megazord. Rita is bizarrely shocked by this turn of events as though the Rangers calling for the Megazord was ever even a question. It's almost as if her perplexed reaction is just another excuse to pad for time because they didn't have enough fight footage to lengthen this episodes run time!

The Megazord and Octoplant deal punches to one another but Billy notes that the monster is composed mostly of vegetable matter so punching her isn't going to do shit. Maybe you could summon Dragonzord. Oh you're not going to do that? Oh well. Guess you guys are just fucked.

Octoplant uses her vine to hogtie the Megazord before blasting it with energy from her eyes. Just as the monster charges, Jason calls for the Mega Sword, because the writers must have forgotten what the Power Sword's name was while the show was on break. The Power Sword cleaves through Octoplant's vine as the Megazord dodge rolls out of her way.

Octoplant catches an image of herself in a reflective building and is distracted by her own beauty. The Megazord takes this opportunity to charge up the Power Sword. Rita tells her stupid ass monster to look behind itself, but it's too late and Octoplant is cut down the middle. Thank goodness the Octoplant's never before mentioned vanity gave the Rangers a chance to win. No point in establishing that weakness beforehand, the monster's just going to be vain for half a second during a critical battle and then gets killed because it's too stupid to turn around. Hope you get buried in Billy's special fertilizer you fucking idiot.

With the tediously boring battle completed, the Ranger Teens talk with Principal Caplan about how great it is that they planted some trees in the park and why they think the environment is a good thing to read about at your local library. Then Bulk and Skull come in covered in shit and say how they deserve an A+ for living like disgusting animals. Principal Caplan catches a whiff of them and falls over because they've been swimming through human waste for the past week. Then everyone laughs because the bullies smell like pee-pee.

This show should have been cancelled.

Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Porta-Potties

Personal Thoughts:

Man this episode. I want to like it. I really do. It's just so weak after something as impressive as Doomsday. What a wreck. 

The writers were in a bind with this episode, Octoplant was one of two monsters they hadn't used from Zyuranger. This came with good reason though, she didn't have any usable fighting footage with the Rangers outside of the tentacles strangling Jason. The option that the show goes with, shoehorning in a bunch of Goldar and Scorpina fighting, isn't all that palatable either.

This episode wasn't absolute garbage, and did make use of some scenes that Power Rangers hadn't used before. A lot of the fight with Goldar and Scorpina and even some of the Putty fighting was new to Power Rangers. The new scenes were only cut together with recycled footage because they didn't have enough meat to keep the episode going. Obviously this resulted in a really messy series of fighting that failed to produce an engaging result.

This probably wouldn't be such a big deal if this episode wasn't the first new episode of Power Rangers that was aired after four months. I alluded to it a few times before, but Power Rangers took a brief hiatus after Doomsday Part 2 and this is what they decided to lead with? Yikes. 

I mentioned previously that Octoplant was originally planned to be adapted as a monster in the episode "A Star is Born" where she would be referred to as Thornos. Like Weaveworm and Babe Ruthless, Octoplant was another monster that had no footage fighting the Rangers on ground level so they planned on shoving her in that episode. She was probably the best choice of these three monsters for a solo episode since the sequence with her tentacles attacking Jason could still be retained, but you see how lousy even that was.

It appears the US production crew didn't have the Octoplant costume for filming it. Maybe if they did they would have actually used it to film anything other than overlong Putty fights. What I believe happened to the Octoplant costume was that it was recycled to create a statue creature in Zyuranger that was fought during the Green Candle arc. The body doesn't look too similar but the face is spot on. Take a look for yourselves.

The only other thing worth noting is a really odd looking shot that the US crew put together. It's supposed to be the Power Rangers inside the Megazord bracing the Octoplant charging at them. It was the US Ranger costumes looking at a Sentai shot. Why's it worth noting?

Because it looks fucking awful.


  1. I just found this blog.

    And it's awesome. Lol I'm marathoning MMPR on Netflix now XD

    1. Hope you enjoy! Tell your friends if they also like embarrassing 90's pop culture! Thanks for comin along for the ride.

  2. Lame "not" joke aside, I like AJJ's performance in that scene, particularly her eyeroll.

    I noticed during the closing credits that this was the first 1994 episode, and the credits played at a slower (meaning normal) speed. It also credited a lot more actors, it seems.

  3. I thought I once found the full version of that original arrangement of "Hey Rita," but if I did, I don't know how to find it again. I also don't know how much Ron Wasserman was involved in it to begin with--I just found someone in a 1995 chat log claim it was sung by Jeremy Sweet in this episode--but to me it sounded as if the executives commissioned a fake pop song to include two lines about gardening, and since they wouldn't actually use the rest of the lyrics here, they could just fill the remainder with babbling some nonsense about Rita and call it a Power Rangers song. But later Ron Wasserman fixed up his own arrangement for that Rock Adventure album to sound more palatable. Something like that?

    At least Octoplant gave us a nice preview of how they would handle Dairanger monsters, eh. Say, do you think the tendrils wrapping around the planet inspired the bad ending of DarkSeed II with the Behemoth? (Or the name Rita...)