Power Rangers Retrospective Part Four: Putties in White Vans

Whew, we’re finally back. Illness and back problems kept this post back for a week but we’re back in the Mighty Morphin’ swing of things! This week, we have no one but TWO monsters specializing in kidnapping children. That kind week, I guess.

Also, Jesus Christ, I didn’t realize how many episodes this fucking show had. Season one apparently has sixty fucking episodes. Holy shit! I had been planning to do the first season at least but wow I might have to reconsider that. That is way too many episodes.

07. Big Sisters

We open on Kimberly and Trini hanging around the Youth Center, looking for a little girl. They ask Billy if he’s seen her, and he says no, and then seems to get kind of handsy with Trini?

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Kimberly and Trini have apparently volunteered to be Big Sisters For The Day for twelve-year-old Maria, which I assume is some sort of really terrible short-term version of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Once again, for a couple supposed teenagers with attitude, these girls spend an awful lot of time doing volunteer work.

While the whole gang is talking this over, a mysterious hand opens a service compartment and turns off the hot water to the men’s shower.

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A whole team of toweled-up dudes come running out, and everyone has a good laugh, wondering who could be behind this.

Cue a crash zoom on the culprit’s face. Meet Maria.

She even waggles her goddamn eyebrows at us.
She even waggles her goddamn eyebrows at us.

Oh yes. It’s going to be one of those episodes.

Trini and Kimberly insist that they’re not mad at Maria, but ask her why she did it. Her answer couldn’t possibly be more on the nose:

I just wanted to get your attention, that’s all.

Of course, Kimberly and Trini don’t have anything much more subtle to respond with.

Maria, just be yourself. We’ll be your friends no matter what you do…now, how would you like to go on a picnic? We’ll have a giant basket and lots of fun. What do you say?

Casual reminder that this kid is supposed to be twelve, not eight.

Meanwhile, Rita has a new plan for taking on the Power Rangers. She’s located the ‘ancient power eggs’, and will use them to ‘surround the Power Geeks with an evil force that not even Zordon can stop’. What are these power eggs? Stay tuned to find out!

Whatever they are, they’re kept in a box, in a torchlit cave, with a…cupid statue outside?

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Rita and her goons teleport right inside, skipping the unusual exterior decor.

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Squatt tries to open the box, but some magic bullshit repels him. Turns out that only a child can open the box. You can see where this is going.

Note: it doesn’t have to be a specific child. It can be literally any kid in the world. There is absolutely no reason for Rita to do anything but bribe a random child somewhere with candy. Certainly no reason for her to attack the one kid in the world who is under the Power Rangers’ protection.

Guess what she does.

Well, first she goes to see Finster to get a child-abducting monster. Interesting note here: you can see that stupid pig on his worktable here!

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This next exchange I have to give to you in subtitled screencap format because if I just transcribed it you would think I was making it up:

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That’s right, a chicken. What does a chicken have to do with child abduction? Your guess is as good as mine. But she gets him!

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Meanwhile, the girls are settling in for a very pleasant picnic.

Thanks for being my friends, guys. My Dad tries real hard, but there’s things he just doesn’t understand, know what I mean?

Like periods! And bra sizes!
Like periods! And bra sizes!

Kimberly and Trini try – of course – to start up some Boy Talk, but Maria’s having none of it. Thankfully, before this incredibly awkward and uncomfortable scene can progress any further, some Putties show up to ruin their fun. Maria’s reaction to seeing them is priceless:

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Kimberly and Trini fight them off, but a couple putties grab Maria and teleport her out while the rest keep them busy. For the record, hitting a Putty still makes a metal-on-metal sound.

While the girls are having some girl time, back at the Youth Center the boys are passing the time in the most masculine way imaginable: eating unreasonably large servings of food.

This is all for Zack, by the way.
This is all for Zack, by the way.

The girls rush in and fill them in on the whole kidnapped girl situation. They can’t figure out why Rita would want a kid, so they decide to go ask Zordon. Bad news, guys! Apparently someone on the writing staff sat up in bed and remembered that teleportation and instant communication wrecks your story if you don’t write around them, because neither function of their fancy wristwatches are working!

Billy says it could take hours to fix it up, but he’s been working on something special in his garage that just might do the trick. What they find there is amazing. So amazing, that I’m going to just let you see it. Submitted for your consideration without comment: The Rad Bug.

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Pfffffffffft. I can’t. I can’t! I can’t.

To be clear, assuming (since this is an American show) that that’s miles-per-hour, that is more than five times the cruising speed of a 747. If you accelerate to that speed in 2.8 seconds, you are looking at (if I did my math right) 137.5 Gs of force. For reference, the absolute maximum limit of the human body is about 9 Gs, and astronauts ‘only’ experience around three during lift-off. The instant Billy hit the gas, they should all be bloody smears on the back wall of that charming VW bug.

But since this is Power Rangers, they get back to the control center just fine, and as soon as he hears what’s happens, he knows exactly what Rita’s up to. He explains the origins of the Power Eggs for them:

It is an ancient tale which dates back to when the battle between good and evil began. Millions of years ago, ancient sorcerers who called themselves the Morphin’ Masters hid a universe of power within two mystic power eggs. By casting the eggs into the sea, the sorcerers believes that their ancient ancestors would look down on the eggs and protect them from universal danger. To ensure the safety of the chest, only the touch of an innocent child like Maria can open the chest.

Innocent?

If you say so.
If you say so.

Anyway, they need to get the eggs back from Rita, and then chuck them back in the sea where they belong. If Rita gets her hands on them, it’ll be bad business.

The Chicken is guarding the eggs when Squatt and Baboo show up to take them to Rita. Remember how before, Rita just teleported into the cave no problem? Now she needs courier service. Sigh.

The Power Rangers drive the Rad Bug over to the cave, which provides us with all sorts of wonderfully dumb shots of this VW bug tooling around the countryside. Goldar sees them coming, though, and sends the Chicken off running with Maria. The Power Rangers transform, pull out the weird little guns they used before they got their weapons, and do…something.

They really need the Green Ranger to complete this human pyramid.
They really need the Green Ranger to complete this human pyramid.

I’m not sure what they just did, but it hit Goldar and co. with a couple explosions and sent the box flying into the ocean again. Then the fight scene proper begins, and the chicken is…back again?

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Whatever, who cares about that, because despite being on the moon only a moment ago, Rita is apparently sufficiently ticked off about her eggs getting sent into the drink that she takes the field herself and…just. Just look at this.

I'll get you, my pretties!
I’ll get you, my pretties!

That’s Rita Repulsa, flying around on a floating penny-farthing bicycle. It’s such a good day to be alive, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, I guess that fight scene must be over, because suddenly Zordon and Alpha find Maria: the chicken has her tied up at the old factory. And despite being engaged in mortal combat with the Power Rangers only one cut ago, suddenly the gang’s all there too!

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The Power Rangers summon their Zords, even though the rules say they can’t unless Rita’s guys escalate first. They go all the way to Power Crystals-powered Megazord without letting up on the stock footage for even a moment.

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The villains are trying to use Maria as a hostage to get the Power Rangers to turn over the eggs. Which seems weird, since they don’t have the eggs; they’re floating in the goddamn ocean. But anyway, they’re dangling her and making threats and every now and then the chicken cuts the rope a little more. And then they drop her, and the Megazord just casually reaches out and catches her.

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That plan was really thought-through, wasn’t it?

Hold on a second! Now that we’ve gotten a good look at her, you can see that that’s not the same girl at all. That’s Zyuranger footage! They just dressed Maria up in more-or-less the same outfit and hoped nobody would notice! Cheeky bastards.

Rita makes the chicken huge and the fight plays out pretty much exactly how you would expect from there on (the Chicken does its special move one time, then there’s some more stock footage and the Megazord wrecks it) but before we can get to that, the Rad Bug gets to do one more thing, taking Maria to safety automatically.

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The true hero of the series.

In the epilogue scene, we get something of weird glimpse into the world of civilian life in the Power Rangers universe: a news anchor reports on the battle, and identifies the Power Rangers and Rita Repulsa by name. We knew that the Power Rangers were well-known already, but this is the first time we’ve heard of anyone knowing who Rita is. Also, Maria has apparently taken this opportunity to heart.

You know what they say, never let a disaster go to waste.
You know what they say, never let a disaster go to waste.

And that brings us to the end of this episode of…wait a minute! We didn’t see Bulk and Skull even once this episode! That can’t be right, where are they?

Just...eating some ice cream and minding their own business, actually.
Just…eating some ice cream and minding their own business, actually.

Yes, there’s a Bulk and Skull sequence wedged into literally the last minute of this episode. But unlike usual, they’re not up to anything bad. They’re just minding their own business, eating a couple banana splits! That is, until Ernie declares that his new batch of vegetarian chili is on the house, causing a big rush at the counter (which is how you know this is a fantasy series). In the melee, Kimberly drops the whole bowl of chili…right onto Bulk’s head.

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For what purpose, Haim Saban? For what purpose?

Bulk Food-Based Humiliation Count: 7

Billy’s Worst Line: He doesn’t have one this episode, but I’m not going to give him a gold star for it because the Rad Bug’s existence is basically a Worst Line in itself.

08. I, Eye Guy

So you know how the past few episodes have had some seriously lame monster designs? That ends here. Because this episode features Eye Guy, a monster to rival Bones in the pantheon of design.

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But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. First, we have to meet Billy’s…um, you know what, I don’t actually know what this kid is to Billy. He’s in Billy’s house, and wearing the same stupid clothes so maybe a younger brother? But the episode summary calls him his ‘protege’. Anyway, his name is Willy.

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And when he grows up, he’s going to be a train engineer.

He’s cooked up a virtual reality machine that is truly, as Trini describes it (sigh) “morphenomenal”. You know those episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation where they come up with a game or something so that they can fill a ton of time with showing off the fancy new computer graphics they whipped up instead of paying actors to do an actual scene? Imagine that, but instead of computer graphics, it’s just footage of a fairly tame roller-coaster with a bunch of color filters flashing.

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This ‘game’ – it’s not at all clear how you’re supposed to interact with it, but whatever – is his entry into the Junior Science Fair. Man, TV writers have a really fucked up idea of what goes on at a science fair, don’t they?

Before they can get to get to the science fair proper, a bunch of putties ambush them. Rita’s been watching, and she wants to steal Willy’s intelligence and make it her own.

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Hey, at least they’ve got a reason for going after a kid under the Power Rangers’ protection this time. Our Ritas is learning.

Our heroes have apparently learned as well, since this time they make a circle around young Willy so the putties can’t just run past them and grab him, like they did last episode. They successfully fight off the putties and force them to retreat.

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On the moon, Finster and Rita are consulting about what kind of monster to send down. Finster comes up with the idea of reusing a monster they used to conquer Rigel II, thousands of years ago: Eye Guy.

If you recall, my queen, we sent him down to capture the smartest children of the planet. His main weapon was his large main eye, which could leave his body and inside of which he would capture the children and steal their intelligence.

Rita likes it. Send down Eye Guy, she orders.

At the science fair, Willy and Billy are running late, and only have ten minutes to set up his table before judging begins. Willy’s worried about the ‘quazitronic circuitry’ acting up, but Billy reassures him that it’ll be fine. They then do a secret handshake that is so dumb I can’t even describe it. Let’s just say that it ends with them both tugging their overall straps while a clown offscreen blows a horn. It’s not a good look.

I pray for Death's sweet and merciful release.
I pray for Death’s sweet and merciful release.

Okay so in more interesting news, Eye Guy is just a bunch of floating eyes. When they all come together, though, there’s a flash of light, and they become Eye Guy proper.

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Look at this sinister motherfucker! And he is seriously committed to his theme:

Eye Guy: Eye Guy at your service, my queen. You are a sight for sore eyes, your loveliness. It’s good to see you again. I assume I can be of service to you?

Rita: Yes!!!!

Eye Guy: Eye eye.

I love him. He’s goofier looking than Bones, for sure, but you’ve got to admire someone who commits that hard to a bit.

Bulk and Skull show up to the science fair, and decide to ruin some nerds’ day. Skull grabs a spray gun out of some kid’s hands and uses it on Bulk’s pants. The pants turn invisible, showing off his boxers to the rest of the room.

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Man, has any TV writer ever been within a country mile of an actual Junior High Science Fair?

Billy tells them to back off:

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Don’t you feel a little out of place here? After all, an IQ is required.

Sick burn, Billy. Zack and Jason show up to back him up, though, and they’re much better at riling Bulk and Skull up. A short, comical fistfight ensues, by the end of which Bulk and Skull are lying, stunned, on a trolley with a bunch of crushed boxes. Kimberly and Trini call them over to some other girl’s exhibit. Billy wheels them over and dumps them into this cylindrical contraption. The machine runs for a bit, and when it opens, they’ve…both been given fashion makeovers!

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Okay, look. I’ll admit, I’ve only ever been to one science fair, and I barely remember it. Am I the wrong one, here? Is every junior high school in America churning out miraculous inventions annually, and I just missed the boat completely?

Anyway, Bulk and Skull freak out, because of course they do.

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Get it? It’s a man in women’s clothing! Haha! A man in a dress! Oh, that’s hilarious. Isn’t that hilarious? Isn’t that the goddamn funniest thing you’ve ever seen?

But then this huge asshole walks up and ruins everyone’s fun.

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What’s going on here, Willy? This isn’t a playground. Your thoughtless antics could wreak havoc on the other competitor’s inventions. You’re disqualified.

Fucking what? Willy had nothing to do with anything that happened. Even if you wanted to blame Our Heroes for being involved, the only thing Willy did is stand behind the table and look alarmed. Fuck this petty old man. Willy runs off to cry about it (I mean, literally, that’s probably what he’s going to do, run off so he doesn’t cry in front of people. I remember being a twelve-year-old boy!). The boys go after him, while the girls stay behind to check out the fair I guess.

While he’s sulking by the edge of a pond, though, Eye Guy sends out his main eye to grab him. He hits him with a beam of light and he’s sucked in, leaving behind nothing but his dumb hat. And he is transported to…one of those things they use at space camp to make you throw up?

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Okay then. I guess this is supposed to be inside Eye Guy’s eye.

The guys run around looking for him, but all they can find is his cap. They suspect Rita’s involvement…and then Zordon calls them up and tells them as much. They have to destroy Eye Guy’s main eye to free Willy.

No, the other one.
No, the other one.

They transform and teleport to where Eye Guy and Baboo are hanging out. Baboo backs down immediately, so it’s all five of them versus Eye Guy. But Eye Guy’s tough; he can shoot blasts out of all of his eyes, and he’s easily capable of taking on all five Rangers alone. So they form the Power Blaster and shoot him with it until he collapses into a pile of eyes on the floor.

Too bad that’s not enough to stop him! He reforms, and then blasts them with his boob eyes, which shoot off and become bombs. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

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God this guy is the best monster.

They all go tumbling down a hill like dumbasses. They’re confused about how he got back up for a moment, until Zordon answers: Eye Guy’s main eye is somewhere else in the park. Billy needs to go find it while the others keep Eye Guy busy.

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I spy some Power Rangers!

Billy runs off, finds the main eye immediately, and fights it. The eye shoots out a bunch of blasts at him, and Billy kind of eats shit; in this shot of him taking a bunch of hits, it looks like he’s covering for someone behind him, but whoever this person is they’re never seen again, before or after.

It's a bit tough to see with the sparks, but there's someone kneeling on the ground behind him.
It’s a bit tough to see with the sparks, but there’s someone kneeling on the ground behind him.

Then he uses his lance to take the eye down, and Eye Guy starts exploding. And that would be the end, except that Rita makes Eye Guy grow. But you know pretty much how it goes from here. Stock footage all the way down until they pop the main eye with the Power Sword (called, once again, the Megasword) and he explodes, leaving Willy free and unharmed. And pretty jazzed up to be in the presence of the Power Rangers.

"Wow, the Power Rangers!"
“Wow, the Power Rangers!”

When they get back to the science fair (Willy somehow unaware that the five teenagers he’s surrounded with are the same five teenagers who saved his bacon) they find Ernie and the dickbag judge from earlier playing around with his rollercoaster simulator.

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I owe you an apology, Willy. It seems I overreacted to something that wasn’t your fault.

No fucking shit! But he’s not only rescinded the disqualification off-screen, he’s given Willy first prize, so…all’s well that ends well, I guess.

Oh, and Bulk and Skull show up in towels, demanding their clothes back. Kimberly and Trini are happy to provide…but apparently they shrank in the wash.

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Comedy.

Billy’s Worst Line: Willy has a couple clunkers that sound like Billy might have said them, but actually, despite this being a very Billy-heavy episode, he sounded like a human being throughout!

good job

Morphenomenal Count: 6

Next week:

Every day we move a little further from God's light.
Every day we move a little further from God’s light.

Oh god. Oh Christ. Oh sweet mercy. Just put me out of my misery.

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