Friday, August 31, 2018

Power Rangers Reflections Redux #14: Goldar's Vice Versa

First time I bore witness to the replacement rangers was this episode; during the time when the local CBS station aired Season 2 episodes Sunday Mornings... of course, they would skip over loads of episodes that would take place between the ones they DID air. As a result, one minute, I was watching the White Ranger suddenly made leader of the team, and the next week, half the team has been replaced with characters that I ultimately did not care for because I only knew them for... one episode total. It was a detriment to not having Fox locally and not the show's fault. Eventually, we got Fox, which meant I was able to catch some (but not all) of the episodes I messed.

Goldar's Vice Versa was the first episode I saw that featured the replacement Rangers back in the Sunday runs. Despite the fact that I last saw them as allies who somehow knew the Rangers' ID and missed out on the subsequent episodes that swapped the Rangers, I wasn't really surprised by this. It was pretty clear that these three teens were groomed to be the new Rangers based on their wider presence and less emphasis placed on the other half of the Ranger team whose actors had already left by this point. That and my recollection of an interview I saw prior where Jason Frank mentioned a casting call for new Rangers sort of prepared me for the changeover.

The episode begins with rocky and Adam sparring in the Youth Center, because that's what Ranger teens do in their off-time. They spar. Apparently there's a dance coming up and Adam seems to be the lone wolf left out of the pack, as he has no date. Even Billy has a date... which, given all the girls he snogged with thus far, shouldn't be much of a surprise. Naturally, Zedd catches wind of Adam's dating woes and hatches a fiendish plan to take advantage of this.

Aisha, also noticing Adam's woes in snagging a lady, informs him that there's a girl who's interested in him and he should catch her in the park. Unfortunately, putties sidetrack Adam and he wasn't able to catch the girl in time. Back at the Youth Center, Adam notices a girl decked in Trini's old preying mantis number doing some impressive moves and is easily impressed by her. Adam goes to greet new girl (Sabrina) who takes a liking to him, but gives Aisha the wrong shoulder. It seems funny that Adam easily trusts this girl who seems a bit off-kilter as it were. Even Aisha has her doubts about Sabrina... and for good reason, as Sabrina starts talking about things going according to plan while a pictogram of a scorpion briefly appears on her forehead.

Yeah, Adam. You may want to reconsider hooking up with this chick.

Meanwhile... I guess I should bring up the other plotpoint involving Bulk and Skull. See, they've been getting notes from an anonymous source that they believe could be someone who knows something about the Power Rangers' true identity, since the duo's whole gimmick was trying to find out who they really are. The thing is, these notes (which has little hearts on them, so you know they're love letters rather than something important) are actually sent by what could be described as the female equivalents of Bulk and Skull (one larger woman paired with a lanky one) who are crazy about them for some reason and the whole running gag has Bulk and Skull hiding from the two women either at school or behind the counter at Ernie's. This was cute... at first, but then a revelation (that I'm holding for the end) made this creepy.

Anyway, Sabrina leads Adam and Aisha into the park where they are almost immediately ambushed by putties. Adam and Aisha stand ready for action, but Sabrina drops the facade and reveals herself to be Scorpina, an occasional enemy from the first season that showed up once every so often and hasn't been seen since the first episode of the second season in a couple brief scenes. Where Scorpina's been all this time and why she's here all of a sudden are questions that are never answered, but she manages to distract the two Rangers long enough to get them tied up.

Meanwhile, the other Rangers are at the Youth Center talking about Adam and the new girl, only to discover that the last new girl to attend Angel Grove High was Aisha and nobody has any clue who this Sabrina person is. So off to the Command Center they go, where they find out that, hey, Scorpina's back and she's bad news. In a nice touch, Rocky asks "Who's Scorpina?" because it's rather obvious he wouldn't know who this new face is through osmosis. They morph, they head to the park, they fight some putties while Tommy (the White RangerTM) make quick work of Goldar and Scorpina, since American fight scenes were still relatively tame and nowhere close to the spectacles that would be on par with the Super Sentai stuff. Adam and Aisha are eventually freed by Billy via Power Lance and they morph to stand there while Tommy delivers the knock-down blow to the two gold people.

So Zedd tosses one of his trademark grenades to make Goldar and Scorpina grow and, of course, we've seen this bit before. Almost literally seen this before, because the footage is taken from Zyuranger and has been recycled over and over and over again in Season 1. Only this time, we're replacing the Megazord footage with the Thunder Megazord stuff and... look, it's a pretty lame fight, as both sides merely toss projectiles at each other until the Rangers bring in Tor the Shuttlezord (a giant turtle-esque zord serving as the Season 2 stand-in for Titanus), prompting Goldar to flee back to home base and Scorpina to flee back to obscurity. This is, to date, the last appearance of the character and we were probably better off. Clearly, the limitations of their hack job editing prevented the creators from depicting a much better zord battle than what we got and it was probably for the best.

Long story short, the girl that was interested in Adam eventually hooks up with him, while Bulk & Skull are eventually caught by the two lovebirds, which should be a somewhat humorous foil... until you realize that the two actresses playing said lovebirds played their MOTHERS in a prior episode. Now it's just being creepy.

In retrospect, I'm relieved that they didn't play the Scorpina card all too often. Nice for a one-off deal, but not necessarily something I would have wanted them to revisit. I wasn't too fond of the actress they got to play the part; she seemed a bit stiff for my tastes and in all honesty, was a far cry from Ami Kawai (the original actress who portrayed the Zyuranger equivalent, Lamy) who flowed a little better in the monster get-up than this Sabrina person. Besides, what were they going to do? Splice old Zyu footage with Dairanger footage whenever it was convenient? Even the Zyu fights started to look the same after a while, which is why you didn't Goldar tangle with the Thunderzords as often as he did in the first season.

As far as the episode goes, like I said, this was my first exposure to Rocky, Aisha, and Adam as Rangers (second time overall since the last Sunday episode aired was A Monster Of Global Proportions... yeah, that's one I have to revisit one day.) and this episode didn't really do much to put them over as suitable replacements for their predecessors. First time watching long ago, I thought they were basically vanilla cookie-cutter replacements that had no real intriguing characteristics and thus I didn't really care for them. They'd grow out of that vanilla status and eventually become interesting characters (and I'd actually grow to like them), but even watching this again, none of these characters really stood out for me. They're sort of there because the people they replaced left due to disputes. They're a blank state yet to be filled.

For the most part, this was an okay episode. Nice to Scorpina pop in again and interesting editing in regards to the Zord fight towards the end, but for the most part, nothing special. At least Adam got the girl... for an episode or two, I guess.

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