3-14: Final Face-Off

The team goes up against a face-stealing monster.

Last time on Power Rangers: Aisha and Alpha found a way to undo the Hate Master’s spell.

 

Masks and Mayhem

Adam, Billy, Rocky, and Tommy have gone to Angel Grove Museum, where there’s a special exhibit on ancient Kahmala Culture.  I’m reasonably that’s a made-up culture.  Aisha rejoins them, having obtained pamphlets for all of them.  Kimberly is off practicing “gymnastics” so she had visited the exhibit earlier in the week instead on Saturday with her friends.  The reason is that their class has to do a special report on this exhibit.  Although the team is mostly amused, Tommy is also proud of her focus on the upcoming Pan-Global Games.

Bulk and Skull show up, as they need to pass the report to stay on the Junior Police Patrol.  It seems that Bulk still wants to use the uniform to attract ‘babes’.

The lady attached to the exhibit is named Azina, which might be a variation on the Arabic name Azima.  Billy and Adam already know the legend of the face-stealer.  Bulk and Skull scoff at the idea of the legend being true, which is hypocritical given how often they’ve personally encountered monsters.  Azina gives the outline of when the face-stealer did its thing and how it was captured.  In addition to the masks used by the capturing heroes, there’s a sealed jar that contains the face-stealer according to the legend.

Rita wants to use the face-stealer.  Zedd thinks that the story is a “fairy tale” for whatever reason.  Evidently today is the fourth full moon of the year, the time when the face-stealer would act.  Furious at her husband’s dismissal of the idea, Rita is more than determined to use the face-stealer to take out the Rangers.

Rito peers into the other end of her telescope, being an annoying little brother.  Rita gives him the orders.

Rocky is driving the team in a red Jeep, presumably his.  When he spots Rito, Baboo, and Squatt walking towards the museum, Rocky heads after them.  Rito calls upon a group of Tengas.  The quintet goes into ninja mode, a single screen with their faces in circles briefly seen.  Tommy and Rito snark at each other.  One by one, the Rangers go “[Their color] Ninja Power!”

The minions attack the group on Rito’s orders, pleasing the villain as the Rangers have been distracted from him as well as Baboo and Squatt.  Rocky seemingly has super speed.

The trio of villains goes to the exhibit to search for the face-stealer’s jar.

Billy and Aisha team up to fight some Tengas.

Just as the trio grabs the jar, a group of kids nears the exhibit.  The villains (poorly) disguise themselves as part of a nearby exhibit.  Only once the kids are gone do the villains teleport away.

Evading the Tengas, the teens go back to normal and head inside the museum.  Azina reveals to them that the face-stealer’s jar is gone.  Tommy reassures her and the teens are willing to help out.

The Face-Stealer

Rito returns to the moon fortress with the jar.  The siblings’ bickering is mostly affectionate.  Using her staff on the jar, Rita awakens the Face Stealer.  Lord Zedd shows up to be annoyed.  It turns out that the Face Stealer was sealed away five thousand years ago.  According to “Operation Lightspeed”, that’s when the demons near Mariner Bay were sealed away as well.  I’m left wondering if there’s a connection.

Rita wants an apology from her husband, as the Face-Stealer clearly exists.

14Team

Billy is stressing out to Zordon.  Kimberly has paused her gymnastic training to join the team.  Zordon apparently doesn’t know if the legend is true or not.  Adam is particularly fretful about the Face-Stealer showing up, making Alpha worry as well.  The alarms blare and the Face Stealer is seen in the viewing globe.  Zordon isn’t sure if the monster is actually capable of stealing faces but wants the team to be careful.

It’s time to add Titanus again… um, clearly somewhere in production there was an issue about when to reintroduce Titanus as this is the correct airing order.  On that note, there is an issue with the DVD order, as originally “I’m Dreaming of a White Ranger” acted as the finale to the ‘core’ Mighty Morphin, followed up by the Alien Rangers arc before Zeo.  That’ll mean that things will soon get slightly skewed between my order of watching and the DVD order.  Back to this episode, there’s a mention of how the Ninja Ultrazord is being set up by Alpha 5.

Morphing, the team goes to confront the Face Stealer out in a field.  Bulk and Skull show up in uniform, quickly deciding to let the Rangers handle this.  But then the monster steals their faces.  In a Doylist sense, this means a blank plaster ‘mask’ gets put on the actors.

Rocky and Tommy try to attack.  Aisha, Kimberly, and Billy act as a trio.  Poor Adam gets blasted at repeatedly and suddenly can’t talk.  Upon being blasted repeatedly, Aisha falls down.  Tommy and Billy pick up Aisha while Kimberly and Rocky support Adam.  The team teleports away to the Command Center.

With their helmets having been taken off (presumably by the others), it’s clear that Aisha and Adam now lack faces as well.  Tommy is worried for his teammates.  Billy expresses concern for Bulk and Skull as well.  When the viewing globe shows the Face Stealer, Tommy remains worried about the rest of them suffering the same fate.  The blond also wants to find a way to protect themselves from the spell and has an idea.  Kimberly wants to know her friend’s idea but Billy’s on a roll to take action.

The morphed quartet goes to the museum to borrow the masks.  Kimberly expresses worry that they won’t protect them, but Tommy counters that the legend has been true so far.  Tommy and Rocky take point in borrowing the masks with Azina’s permission despite her worry.  Azina is impressed by seeing the team teleport away.

The Face Stealer dislikes the masks, particularly given their usage in how he was captured.  The monster’s beam cannot hit the team if they hold the masks up to their faces.  The beams start to reflect back at the monster, freeing the captured faces to the team’s pleasure.

Restored to normal back at the Command Center, Adam and Aisha are confused by the evident gap in their memories.

Captured Again

Zedd and Rita cross their staffs to supersize the monster, frazzling the morphed quartet.  Alpha 5 reports that Titanus is ready.  Zordon claims that the Ninja Ultrazord is the most powerful Megazord yet.  Aisha and Adam rejoin their teammates and the team calls upon their Ninjazords as a song plays.

Five of the Zords merge together and then the Falconzord combines with them.  It attacks the Face Stealer, who gets briefly battered but gets back up.  Aisha and Billy decide it’s time for the Ninja Ultrazord.

Upset by this turn of events, Zedd gets crackly and tosses the jar onto Earth in a fit of rage.  The jar crashes nearby just before Titanus arrives to combine with the Megazord.  A lot of blasting ensues and it is an impressive combination.  The Face Stealer explodes and shrinks back down into the jar, pleasing the team.  Arriving on foot, Tommy pauses to gloat down at the Face Stealer before putting the jar’s lid back on despite telling his teammates that they have to act “quick”.  There’s a part of me that wants to have seen consequences for Tommy pausing to gloat at the defeated enemy instead of ensuing the Face Stealer got sealed again.  I mean, Carter and Ryan didn’t pause to gloat, as they got there was only a narrow timeframe for success.  If anything, Carter was left worrying if they had succeeded.

Glowing red, Zedd yells at Rita for how this plan failed as well.  She counters that he isn’t doing any better.

Morphed, the team is nearing the museum with the jar.  Bulk and Skull are spying on them nearby.  Skull briefly thinks that the team might have stolen the jar, but Bulk counters that they must have gotten the jar back from the Face Stealer.  Well… Bulk is closer to the right answer.

Bulk approaches them, wanting to take the jar that last bit to the museum.  Bemused, the team does hand over the masks and jar to be returned by the duo.  When Bulk and Skull enter the museum with the artifacts, the pair of security guards is not amused, as they have orders to detain anybody with them.  I doubt they would have tried to detain the Power Rangers.

The team is gathered at a table in the Gym and Juice Bar.  Azina shows up to give the team the good news as well as state that there are now extra guards around the exhibit.  Wait, extra ones?  Where were the original ones when the trio stole the jar?  On their coffee break?  Doing a circular patrol of another area?

Kimberly expresses her preference to read about other cultures than live them.  Given her time travel misadventures to colonial and wild west times, I can’t blame her for getting a bit exasperated.

The end credits bit has the large group at the exhibit, with Bulk and Skull mocking the team and Azina about how a monster could fit in the jar.

Conclusion

I think Koh was the scarier face-stealing villain, but it’s not exactly fair to compare Power Rangers to Avatar: The Last Airbender.  For this franchise, the Face Stealer was fairly scary.  Besides the one legend, almost nothing was told about this ancient culture- or its modern counterpart, which Azina was implied to be part of.  That’s rather disappointing to me, but then I like learning about history (both real-world and fictional-world).

April 25th, a Monday, was the fourth full moon of 1994.  The fourth full moon of 1995 was April 15th, an actual Saturday.  April 3rd, a Wednesday, was the fourth full moon of 1996.  Okay, so I think this means that this episode did occur in April 1995, although it aired at the start of October that year.  And the “Shift into Turbo” trilogy features the team’s graduation from high school (including Tommy & Adam) and it aired in April 1997 but likely is set in June of that year.

This means that the core group was freshmen in 1993-94, sophomores 1994-95, juniors 1995-96, and seniors 1996-97.  The real trouble comes in how we’re at the tail of their sophomore year during season three.  I can only guess that a good chunk of their junior year is covered by the rest of the season and during the ‘alien ranger’ arc.

Possibly there’s some kind of time skip coming up.  Or the crew didn’t have an internal chronology for this franchise, as it’s a kids’ show in the 1990s.  Going by what’s going on with Titanus’ return, I’m betting the latter is what’s happening.  That’s not going to stop me from trying to form one, though.

Similarly, they’re already setting up for Kimberly’s departure with the Pan-Global Games as the new goal.  The annoying thing is… there’s a preexisting reason for Kimberly to be leaving soon.  Remember- leaving for Paris to be with her mom and new stepdad after the school year after the events of “A Brush with Destiny”?  She could be getting tutored in French so that she’s not completely at sea upon arrival, instead of practicing gymnastics.

I’m not entirely sure if it’s even fair for Rangers to formally compete in athletic events.  Even if this team didn’t get augmented abilities from their morphers (and that’s an if the size of a Megazord), they still have life-or-death superhero ‘training’ that they might fall back onto subconsciously.  I have no doubt that the Rangers aren’t aware of their advantage- they’re likely thinking they’re just that good, particularly as they’re the first Rangers and therefore can’t compare notes to anyone.  And Zordon may or may not realize that the morphers augment human abilities as he’s largely been watching them from a distance (this episode confirms that he’s not omniscient), while Alpha 5 depends on Zordon for information.

Also, it’s a bit odd that the Angel Grove Museum has four differently-hued banners- the primary colors and purple.  What is up with that?  Maybe it’s a Super Sentai thing?

 

Next time on Power Rangers: Rito causes trouble with a love potion.

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