Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Season 2, Episode 40: Rangers Back in Time, Part II

In the first part of this two part Mighty Morphin Power Rangers story, Lord Zedd reversed the time on Earth and turned the Power Rangers into their childhood selves.  They didn’t remember anything about their time as Power Rangers, though they were still friends for some reason.  That detail was a little bit strange because four of them didn’t even live in Angel Grove at that time.  A monster was sent to Earth that trapped the childhood rangers in a photograph.  And that’s where we left off.

This episode is going to wrap up this story.  The Power Rangers will be returned to their teenage forms and save the day.  The question is how the day will be saved.  What will get the Power Rangers out of the photograph?  How will time go back to normal?  Will Angel Grove be the same Angel Grove that we are used to?  Only this episode will tell.

Season 2, Episode 40: Rangers Back in Time, Part II
Zordon and Alpha had a plan to save the Power Rangers from the trap they had found themselves in.  Alpha created some sort of beam that released the children from their picture trap.  The same beam turned them back into their teenage selves, allowing them to use their Power Ranger powers to battle the threats sent to Earth by Lord Zedd.

Bulk and Skull spent the first little bit of the episode running away from Alpha with the picture.  They were trying to keep their friends safe, not knowing that Alpha was there to help.  Mr. Kaplan caught them running around the school and put them into detention.  In the classroom, Alpha caught them and put them to sleep with the same ray that saved the Power Rangers.

The Power Rangers went to battle with a few different monsters.  First, they Zorded up to take down the camera monster that had put them into the picture.  Then they had to go after the Rock of Time to set the space time continuum back to normal.  Lord Zedd sent Goldar and a few monsters to stop them from getting to the rock.  When they defeated the monsters, they used their Power Cannon to destroy the rock and set the world right.

Speaking of the fights, there were three main fights happening in the episode.  The first involved Tommy going up against Goldar and some putties.  Lord Zedd grew his monster, so everyone else moved onto the second fight.  Rocky got his Zord first and went to fight.  The camera monster created a clone of Rocky’s Zord and when the other Power Rangers got their Zords (except for Tommy), they formed the Megazord and fought both the camera monster and the Red Dragon Thunderzord clone.  They won the fight with a single slash of the sword, taking down both monsters at once.  All the while, Tommy remained with Goldar, fighting him on the ground.  Goldar fled when the monsters were defeated.  The third fight came when the Power Rangers went to stop the Rock of Time.  Lord Zedd’s team of Goldar and three other monsters were a formidable obstacle.  The Power Rangers spent the first half of the fight getting their butts kicked, but pulled out their Power Weapons and turned the tide.  It was one of the most entertaining fights in terms of choreography, giving each of the rangers their chance to shine.  The storytelling helped to elevate it above many of the other fights that the show has featured, as well.  Good stuff all around, this episode.

Not a lot of changes happened in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers during the two part Rangers Back in Time story.  The only major addition to the show was that time travel was introduced.  A show involving the space time continuum would definitely bring up the concept of time travel at some point.  The idea of the Power Rangers becoming children would be revisited during the Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers saga, with the same child actors playing their characters.  But that’s a discussion for a later date.

The one strange thing that should be noted about Rangers Back in Time is the resolution.  For a show with such an abnormal conceit, the way that time returned to normal still stuck out like a sore thumb.  Time was turned back by the rotation of the Earth being reversed.  Why, then, did time go back to normal as soon as the Rock of Time was broken?  The Earth should have had to rotate the normal way rapidly to have time return to normal.  This still doesn’t explain the Power Rangers’ aging.  Alpha returned them to their teenage selves while they were still in the past.  When they broke the Rock of Time, they should have aged forward the years that everyone else did, making them that much older than Bulk and Skull.  That didn’t happen.  They stayed their normal age.  It made no sense.

It was nice that Rangers Back in Time was a story that played out over two episodes.  The only thing that would have helped it out would be if the story wasn’t so self-contained.  It was like a standalone story that played through two episodes.  The next episode will definitely be a game changing episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and I’m excited to get to it.  There will be a wedding.  Come back soon and I’ll tell you about it.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Season 2, Episode 39: Rangers Back in Time, Part I

In the previous episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the team of heroes went up against a team of fishy monsters that Lord Zedd had sent to the beach in Angel Grove.  Each of the monsters had already fought and lost against the Power Rangers.  When the team of monsters was subdued once again, Lord Zedd sent down another monster that the Power Rangers quickly defeated.  It was a wet and wild episode of fishy happenings.

Now we’re moving onto part one of a two episode arc where, I believe, the Power Rangers end up becoming children.  It’s one of multiple times that this happens throughout the series.  More importantly, this episode will be the turning point as the show becomes more serialized and multi-episode arc based. For the rest of season two, at least, there will be more multi-episode stories than standalone episodes.  Let’s begin our journey into the ever growing and ever changing Mighty Morphin Power Rangers with the next episode.

Season 2, Episode 39: Rangers Back in Time, Part I
The class project at Angel Grove High School was for the students to bring in childhood pictures and discuss their past.  It was like a show and tell session and a time capsule put together.  Everyone participated in it.  Even an unseen student who told a story about horse riding did the assignment.

The project gave Lord Zedd an idea that has been his best plan yet.  He used the Rock of Time to reverse time and send the Power Rangers back to their childhood, with no memories of being Power Rangers.  He then turned someone’s camera into a monster and attacked Angel Grove.  That’s the whole story.

One big fight occurred in the episode when putties went to Angel Grove Park to terrorize the child-aged Power Rangers.  Most of the fight involved the children trying to run away from the putties.  One of the kids picked up a ball and threw it at the putties.  Eventually, they relearned that if they hit the Z on the putties’ chests, they would destroy them.  So that’s what they did, with the ball.  Even Bulk got in on destroying the putties.  The other confrontation wasn’t much of a fight.  The monster showed up and immediately trapped the children in a picture.  That was the end of the episode.

There were many notable things about this episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  It only feels right to begin with time travel being added into the show.  Never before has time been altered within the world of the Power Rangers until now.  It will become an important aspect of the show moving forward.  Later in season 2, Kimberly will go back in time to the Wild West.  In season 3, the characters will once again become children, leading into the Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers arc.  There’s even an entire season of the show, Power Rangers Time Force, which heavily uses time travel.  This science fiction concept will become increasingly more important in the stories of the Power Rangers.

With that said, the way that time travel was implemented for the first time in the franchise was absurd.  It was the same sort of time travel that happened at the end of Superman: The Movie.  The rotation of the Earth was put into reverse and that caused time to go backwards.  That would in no way change how aging works.  It would instead cause crazy natural disasters and riots throughout the world.  The idea of reversing the direction that the world spins is a good evil idea because of the repercussions that it could have.  Death and destruction should be things that Lord Zedd desires.  But no.  He simply reversed time by doing it and his plan will surely be foiled in the second half of the arc.  That’s too bad.  The stakes could have been great.

As for the Power Rangers becoming children, there was a reason for replacing the actors with child counterparts.  At the time that the episode was being filmed (which was the final episode produced prior to The Power Transfer, I don’t know why the order was like that), a movie was also being filmed.  Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie was set to be released between the second and third seasons.  It meant that the actors needed some time away from the show to film their parts in the movie.  Replacing them with children was a good way to keep the characters around while the actors could go off and work on the other project.  So, that’s the background behind the episode.

Being part 1 of the story meant that there was no real resolution.  There was a good callback at the end by having the children end up in photographs, much like the photos they had been showing off in class.  The next episode will pick up with the Power Rangers children in their dire situation and have them somehow grow up again and fight the monster that Lord Zedd sent to Earth.  It’ll probably turn out well, but we don’t know for sure yet.  We’ll find out next time.  See you then.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Season 2, Episode 38: A Reel Fish Story

Previously in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a blast from the past arrived for Aisha as Shawna, a friend from Stone Canyon, visited Angel Grove for a gymnastics competition.  This led to a rivalry with Kimberly for Aisha’s friendship.  Lord Zedd took his opportunity to strike at Aisha by taking both her friends, and sending a monster to Angel Grove at the same time.  The Power Rangers overcame the obstacles, and Aisha helped Shawna realize that they would always be friends.  It was as happy an ending as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers has ever had.

Now we move onto an episode about fish.  Okay, maybe not completely about fish, but they will be a big part of it.  The storyline might bring up the last time fish were a major part of the show, or it might ignore that completely.  Either way, it will be the last episode before the serialized push that the show got with Rangers Back in Time.  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though.  Let’s watch…

Season 2, Episode 38: A Reel Fish Story
Rocky, Billy, and Aisha were at the local beach, where Rocky was a lifeguard.  One of the children playing near the water was afraid to go in because he thought there might be monsters in the water.  Rocky and Billy assured him that there weren’t, which wasn’t a lie until Lord Zedd sent some monsters down to terrorize people.  The child overcame his fear when he had to go into the water to save some people later in the episode.

The people he saved were Bulk and Skull.  Their great idea for the episode was to pretend to be lake monsters.  It would attract the attention of the Power Rangers, and they would then be able to find out who wore the helmets.  Billy and Rocky told them to knock it off, so the two bullies just swam around for a while.  When their inner tube disappeared, they had trouble getting back to land and needed saving.

Lord Zedd didn’t only send one monster down to Angel Grove in this episode.  When he heard about the possibility of lake monsters, he resurrected four water monsters that the Power Rangers had already fought.  Rocky, Billy, and Aisha went into battle against them at the beach and were having trouble.  Tommy, Adam, and Kimberly were called from scuba diving to help them and the full team managed to take down the fish monsters.  The final move in Lord Zedd’s plan was to turn Bulk and Skull’s inner tube into a monster to terrorize Angel Grove.  Tommy stayed at the beach to make sure the previous monsters didn’t cause any more trouble while the other five Power Rangers went to fight the giant inner tube monster.

The smaller fight ended up being the final fight.  The Megazord defeated the inner tube monster pretty quickly with a slash of its sword.  The main fight was the beach fight against monsters that had already been in the show.  It was like a putty fight, only the putties were the sea creature monsters in their small forms.  It was the punching and kicking that makes the American footage so fun to watch.  There wasn’t too much to say about it outside of it was fun to see the monsters fighting like that instead of the putties.  A team of monsters went up against a team of Power Rangers.  It’s not something you see often.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers has really been hitting its stride in the middle of season 2 in terms of building out its universe.  Not only have there been hints at other worlds and other forms of life beyond Earth, but there have been callbacks to events that happened earlier in the series.  A Reel Fish Story had a callback to Billy’s fear of fish in Something Fishy.  It also brought back many of the fish related monsters that have been featured throughout the past season and a half.  Building upon the history and mythology of the Power Rangers will help to strengthen the show in the long run and make the characters feel more fully formed.  The show has improved upon that greatly, and can only improve more from here.

One disappointing thing about Mighty Morphin Power Rangers at this point in season 2 is how little focus is put onto the Zord fighting.  It seems as though every episode is becoming a quick slash of the sword and the death of the monster.  Perhaps that’s a problem in the Sentai itself.  The American adaptation may have taken all of the exciting fights for the earlier episodes in the season, leaving little to no excitement in the remaining footage.  Whatever the case is, these climactic battles need a shot of adrenaline so that they don’t feel so underwhelming leading into the final run of the season.

That wraps up another episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  It was a fun enough episode but not one that is going to leave a lasting impression.  The rest of the season should be interesting though.  There are five multiple episode arcs coming up and two standalone episodes, then the season is done.  The next episode, Rangers Back in Time should be just as fun as this one, if not more, since there will be a little tampering with time in it.  We’ll find out next time.  See you then.