Morph In or Morph Out? – Visual Companion: Mighty Morphin’ S1E11 ‘No Clowning Around’

Netflix Synopsis: The gang fights Rita’s minions at a carnival in order save Trini’s cousin, Sylvia.

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***CONTENT WARNING: This post contains images of clowns that everyone will find upsetting.***

 

Angel Grove Fair

As the synopsis warned us – we’re at the Angel Grove Fair!

 

 

Zack on stilts

Zach’s doing his best to upstage the hardworking carnies with his killer stilt skills. How the heck are you still single, Zachary?

 

Kim: "The only thing I can balance is shopping bags!"

We all know that’s utter BS, Kim. C’mon guuurl.

 

Zach takes a tumble, and he and Jason treat us to some high-quality fan service in the process.

It’s about time this show played to its obvious sex appeal, right?

 

The Rangers head off after this little fumble, leaving this EXTREMELY unsettling clown to gaze wistfully after them(?). Then, suddenly through the wizardry of early 90s graphics, a Putty head is superimposed over his…

 

NOPE. SO MUCH NOPE.

 

Trini and Sylvia

After this horror show, we cut away to Trini and her little cousin, Sylvia. MORE little girls? I still haven’t recovered from Maria…

 

Bulk and Skull

Bulk and Skull are here! Up to their old food-related shenanigans as per.

 

The Rangers – plus lil’ Sylvia – are all watching “Pineapple” the clown. Bit of a strange clown name, no?

 

“Juggle my eggs and make them fly. Won’t one of you give it a try?” TERRIFYING. Sylvia goes forward to volunteer, but Billy literally can’t CONTAIN himself, practically punching the little girl in the face to try out the clown’s challenge. Billy, man… WTF?

 

Bulk and Skull come over to see what all the fuss is about, and what do you think happens to them while there are eggs in the air..? Yep.

 

Jason: "They're doing gymnastics over there."

Jason, you see gymnastics every damn day, don’t you? What on earth are you so excited about?

 

Sylvia: "Can I stay here and play with Pineapple?"

Sylvia for some reason wants to stay with the child predator but Trini pulls her away promising they’ll come back later.

 

Pineapple: "I'll catch you later."

I feel like he means that literally.

 

Rita: "Walk into my trap, tinheads."

We cut to Rita to learn that she’s already set a trap up prior to the start of the episode, which is kind of a nice break from tradition.

 

Rita: "The fake carnival is working!"

Wait, it’s ALL fake?! That must have taken a heck of a lot of planning. I mean, is it all run by putties, then? Is it a magical illusion? A hologram? Or did Rita have to put in an application with the city council, hire all the staff, pay for caterers, do the marketing, put up posters around town, invite Bulk and Skull… Like, what’s the deal here? I’d LOVE to see Rita doing admin.

 

Pineapple turning into Pineoctopus

Finster says he trained the clown himself and explains what’ll happen in Phase Two. “First, he’ll use his magic power to turn the power rangers, one by one, into cardboard cut-outs.” We see a crazy look plant-monster [not a clown]. “Then he’ll transform into a horrible pine-octopus [pronounced: ‘pinoctopus’] and terrorize the city.” This is… I mean, who dream this stuff up? A clown that can turn into a pineapple-tentacle monster with the power to turn people into cardboard cut-outs? None of that fits together. NONE of it, but I’m 100% here for this insanity. Rita then suggests: “Have him use that rat Sylvia as bait to get the rest of them.” I kind of love how Rita called a child a “rat” for no reason.

Rita to Finster: "Don't blow it this time!"

Right, because the other times didn’t matter? Apparently, this one sounds like it’ll have consequences if Finster does blow it.

 

The Power Rangers doing a pyramid

Wait, what happened there? Jason thought he saw some gymnastics, rushed over, saw there were none, so now the gang feel the need to provide some? Oh wait there’s a clown at the bottom. Was the clown doing some and then persuaded them to help?

 

Pineapple steals Sylvia

While Trini joins in with the pyramid fun, Pineapple is making good on his promise and “catching” Sylvia. He gives Trini a come hither evil smile, yet Trini’s reaction is to blame the kid: “I can believe she left like that.”

 

Pineapple turns Sylvia into a cardboard cut-out

Trini catches up and tries to take Sylvia back, but Pineapple sprinkles some magic dust on her and turns her into a cardboard cut-out, as Finster promised he’d do. This clown has WAY too much reality-manipulating power.

 

Pineapple: "I guess she's a bit board!"

*CLAP CLAP CLAP*

 

Trini: "Look what that clown did to Sylvia!"

Trini rushes back to the rest of the gang to show them what’s happened to her once flesh-and-blood cousin, and admit that her babysitting skills maybe aren’t quite up to scratch.

 

Yes, Billy, because getting the correct scientific terms to describe this Cronenberg-esque mess is the priority right now.

 

Luckily, Billy has a machine already prepared to fix this very specific problem, because… he’s Billy, I guess?

So, in our ‘Billy Talk’ segment unpacking Billy’s techno-babble, we discovered that ‘Quasitronic’ – as cool as it sounds, it’s a real word. Despite this, it has popped up in pop culture elsewhere, most notably in the Ghostbusters cartoon world.

 

 

Jason, cool-headed, takes control and splits everyone up. He then grabs a megaphone and tells everyone at the fair that it’s a trap, and Rita is attacking the park, and they all just run out straight away – no questions asked. It’s like how people say you can get anywhere by wearing a high-vis jacket, apparently, you can get people to do anything with just a megaphone.

 

Billy: "Bipedally ambulate to the nearest convenient outlet."

Okay, “bipedally” isn’t a word. ‘Bipedal’ means two-legged and ‘ambulate’ means ‘walk around.’ All he’s saying is ‘walk around on your two legs.’ SO UNNECESSARY. Especially when they’ve already demonstrated how smart he is by having him mention an invention he has that can turn people from 2D to 3D.

 

Clowns

Jason’s strategy is good, though, because it not only clears the park of civilians out of harm’s way, but it also separates the goodies from the baddies.

 

Putty

SHOCK! All the clowns are putties! They’d actually be scarier as clowns. Also, why do they keep some of their disguises? It makes them look weirdly… festive.

 

Pineapple and Billy

Pineapple tries to split them up and lures Billy away.

 

Pineapple behind Billy

OMG, GTFO BILLY!

 

 

Kim fights a putty

I like how the Rangers used their surroundings to their advantage in the ep. This is the kind of stuff that makes for a fun battle scene, rather than them just flailing around and improvising.

 

Pineapple: "No more clowning around!"

*CLAP CLAP CLAP*

 

Pineoctopus

Pineapple transforms into Pineoctopus. Have any of the costume designers seen an octopus or a pineapple? This thing looks like a tropical flesh-eating plant on top of a crab. Actually, it kind of reminds me of something else…

 

Venasaur using Vine Whip

…Ah, that’s it.

 

Pineapple is now Pineoctopus. Rita is pleased. But the Idiot Squad reckon Goldar should go down as back-up. Rita calls Goldar and tells him this, and he starts sassing her, asking “Why?” Geez, take the order, G-man.

 

Kim in battle

HOLD UP. I recognise this… They’ve totally just re-used footage from a previous episode!

 

Notes from the Power Rangers Wikia

The notes on this episode from the Power Rangers Wikia seem to suggest that there was a lot of mixing up footage from different episodes of Super Sentai and Mighty Morphin‘ for this one, which might explain the re-use of previous fight scenes.

 

Sylvia, Alpha-5 and Trini

Meanwhile, at Billy garage, “science-expert” Alpha-5 is trying to fix Sylvia.

 

Alpha: "The only critical thing she's missing is H20"

The ONLY thing she’s missing is water? REEEEALLY? She’s made of CARDBOARD, Alpha! She’s missing EVERYTHING! So all she needs is a drink and she’ll be right as rain again? 

 

Sylvia comes back to life

Oh, I take it all back. Guess that really is all it takes to restores a human child from one state of matter to another. Alpha-5 then has to very stealthily and quickly hide before the girl clocks he’s there…

 

Alpha hiding

But, this being Alpha we’re talking about, he instead loudly shouts robot directives and very noisily and clumsily waddles into a corner.

 

Pinoctopus: "Your suits protect you from my magic."

Pineoctopus gets the PRs cornered, but then his ego gets in the way, and he teleports Goldar and the putties away. Unfortunately, he then discovers a critical flaw in his plan – the Rangers are impervious to his cardboard-magic. You’d think Finster and Rita might have known this before going ahead with such an elaborate (and probably expensive) plan. Luckily, he has some other tricks up his sleeve that look suspiciously like Pokemon moves before Pokmeon was even invented…

 

 

Venasaur using vine whip

Basically this.

 

 

Venasaur solar beam

And then this.

 

Trini then returns to tell the Rangers that Billy’s machine did indeed (SOMEHOW) fix Sylvia, just in time for Rita to fulful her growth fetish, as usual. The Rangers call the Zords in and get MEGA.

This time, it’s Trini’s time to shine! And she’s shouting orders out like it’s nobodies business. #Trini4Leader?

 

Pineoctopus defeated

And pretty quickly, Pineoctopus is defeated. Soz, Rita. But you’ve got a bright future in public event planning if you want.

 

The fair

But then we go back to the “fake” carnival… and it’s just carrying on..? So people just came back when the coast was clear? Is Rita still footing the bill for all this?

 

Trini and Sylvia

And here’s the PSA kids: Don’t go walking off with strange clowns you meet at fake carnivals because you might get turned into cardboard. That’s something we can all relate to, right?

 

 

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