14-11: The Gatekeeper, Part 1

Clare has to be told of her heritage when the Underworld wants to find the Gatekeeper.

Last time on Power Rangers: Xander’s vanity got him into the trouble and the team found the last dragon egg.

 

The Oracle Knows (Not?) All

Clare speaks for all of us when she expresses her desire to Udonna to see a baby dragon in the opening scene.  Her cooking skills aren’t good, and she can only make her lower half invisible at this point.  Udonna reassures Clare that the younger woman does have the potential to become a sorceress.

Morticon is frustrated by his entrapment in the Underworld, so Necrolai suggests finding the Oracle.  So she heads out into Briarwood to swoop up an elderly balloon-seller.  Toby, who was loading boxes into the store truck, promptly tries to gaslight himself.

Down in the Underworld, Necrolai and Morticon threaten to go after kids with balloons, so the elderly man reverts to his true form as the Oracle.  Coming over, LeeLee is impressed by his “extreme makeover”.  But speaking of appearances, it looks like she herself has a trend of curly hair while in Briarwood but straight down in the Underworld.  Once I have any idea on why that is, I’ll get back to you.

Closing the eyes on his face, the Oracle opens up an eye on a palm.  His suggestion is to use the Gatekeeper to, well, open the Gate.  Morticon argues that the Gatekeeper “spent her life force” closing the Gate in the final battle.  The Oracle refutes that there is another, “someone close to the Power Rangers”.  LeeLee speaks up, believing she knows who it is.

Toby is still trying to gaslight himself just outside the store when Necrolai scoops him up.  Luckily, Chip was just arriving for work and saw the kidnap.  Necrolai has plopped Toby down in a warehouse area when Nick rides up on his Mystic Speeder, already morphed.  He tells Toby to get to safety and he does go hide as to watch the battle safely.

Also already morphed, the other four jump down from their Mystic Racers to join the fray.  Necrolai wants access to the Gatekeeper, who she claims “possesses more power than all of you put together” before retreating.  The five are understandably baffled.

Morticon is initially cranky with Necrolai for losing the Gatekeeper until the Oracle reveals that was the wrong person and teleports himself away.  The thing is, if he doesn’t know who the other Gatekeeper is then how does he know that Toby isn’t that person?  It’s a possibility that he lied about not knowing and the Underworld denizens just didn’t catch it.  Or Udonna has protection spells on Rootcore to hide it from the forces of evil but the Oracle can ‘sense’ Toby’s lack of magic.

In any case, LeeLee is awkward and clearly hoping she’s not about to be killed by Morticon for her misstep.  But Morticon just takes his wrath out on her mom, telling her, “If you do not come back with the Gatekeeper, then do not come back at all!”

Heir of the Gatekeeper

The five have gone to Rootcore and tell Udonna about their “close encounter with Necrolai”.  Elsewhere in Rootcore, Clare has gotten her upper half to be invisible and wants to show Udonna.  When the Rangers mention the Gatekeeper, Udonna is clearly unnerved.

She explains that the previous Gatekeeper was Niella, who was her sister.  A flashback then occurs.  Niella is played by Antonia Prebble (Clare’s actress), except with brown hair I think.  A male warrior has gone into the Underworld, telling Niella to shut the Gate behind him.  Despite initial reluntance, Niella does so but when the spell finishes, only her garb remains as it “depleted all of her life force”.  Yeah, going ‘poof’ is a standard side-stepping of the death issue on this show.  Afterwards, Udonna reveals to the Rangers that Clare is Niella’s daughter.  Shocked by this revelation, Clare materializes in the room.

Koragg has just been granted “dark energy” by the Master when Necrolai shows up, wanting his aid.  Knowing finding the Gatekeeper will please the Master, Koragg gives her the power the Master had just given him.  They then split up to succeed at this plan at his suggestion.

The five are bemused by the idea of Clare being so powerful when Xander’s morpher chimes to inform him that Necrolai is at the plaza.  They dash off, saddening a just arrived Toby who wanted to tell them how he met the Power Rangers.  Morphed, the five face off against a powered-up Necrolai.  Her plan is to draw out the Gatekeeper, who she’s certain will come to the Rangers’ aid.

11Udonna&Clare

Clare sits down on a log, which Udonna promptly materializes next to her on.  The blonde is upset with Udonna for having not told her about this legacy before and thinks it’s because Udonna thinks she’s “incompetent, and bumbling, and clumsy”.

Udonna assures Clare that Niella was the same way at this age, baffling the younger woman.  While Niella was powerful, before she got a handle on her power she “blew up [the sisters’} cottage quite a few times trying to get her spells right”.  Udonna promised her sister not to let “any harm” come to Clare… I slightly suspect she went overboard.  Rather like Marlin in Finding Nemo; after so much tragedy, Udonna simply cannot risk anything bad happening to the only loved one she has left.

Clare assures Udonna that she’s been a great protector and aunt- although her reaction to saying the latter it’s as if it’s sinking in for her that they’re related.  Udonna doesn’t think Clare is quite ready for her mother’s legacy yet.  The family bonding- well, as it turns out later in the season that Koragg appearing doesn’t exactly break it up.

Without her Snow Staff, Udonna is no match for Koragg.  Luckily, the Dark Wolf is clueless about Clare being the next Gatekeeper and just captures Udonna easily.  Ignoring Clare as a non-threat, Koragg transports himself and the en-bubbled Udonna back to the Underworld.

Over in the Briarwood plaza, the Rangers are struggling against Necrolai.  Returning to Rootcore, Clare initially wants their help until she sees their dilemma in the crystal ball.  Nick gets up for a bit to go after Necrolai, but to no avail.  Spotting her mother’s circlet, Clare realizes what she must do.

“Power of the Shining Moon”

Clare shows up at the plaza just in time.  Putting on the circlet, she undergoes a transformation sequence of her own.  At first Necrolai is pleased her plan worked, but Clare conjures up a staff and quickly removes Necrolai’s brand-new power upgrade.  Down below, the Master is alert to the fact that the Gatekeeper’s power is active again- which alerts Morticon and Koragg.

By this time the Rangers have gotten their second wind and go after Necrolai, who then retreats.  Clare tells them that “Udonna’s been captured” just as Koragg telepathically contacts Nick for him to get a message to Clare: either the two of them fight alone or “your sorceress will perish”.  … That’s a unique way to skirt the ‘never say die’ trope.

Clare accepts his offer.  But Koragg gets more “dark magic” from the Master.  The five are worried but recognize that as the Gatekeeper Clare has a lot of power.  Meeting in a quarry, the two appear to be evenly matched.  It’s a pretty epic battle, although Necrolai doesn’t get why Koragg is drawing it out.  To be fair, I’m not sure either beyond his desire for a fair playing field.

11Gatekeeper

Then Clare, being “through playing”, does something that would have Zordon rolling in his grave if he had one.  She super-sizes herself in what seems to be her Ancient mode.  She escalated the battle first!  I know she’s not a Ranger but she’s allied with them.  In any case, Koragg super-sizes as well and then manages to defeat Clare.  Huh.  Maybe there’s some kind of bioelectric probability that whoever super-sizes first has much higher odds of being defeated and that’s the reasoning behind Zordon’s rule.

The five show up to rescue Clare, but Necrolai pops down to grab Clare while everybody else is distracted.  The vampire queen forces Clare to raise up the Underworld’s great Gate in Briarwood as it gets dramatically dark.

Conclusion

As with most two-parters, this one sets up for the second half’s action.  Not just the viewers, but the Rangers and Clare herself learn of the blonde apprentice’s legacy.  Udonna has been captured by Koragg and the Gate to the Underworld is in Briarwood; things are looking a bit bleak right now.  Toby has had his first encounter with the Power Rangers- as far as he knows, anyway.  I don’t believe the Oracle is ever seen again, which makes no sense unless he decided to hightail it out of Briarwood after this episode.

I think this pair of episodes was among the first I saw.  I definitely remember the striking image of the Underworld Gate rising up in Briarwood and was certainly watching by the time Daggeron showed up.

Next time on Power Rangers: Clare must reseal the Underworld while the Rangers struggle against Morticon.

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