Spoiler Warning: The commentary found here discusses events in this episode and beyond.  Read at your own risk!

POWER RANGERS TAKE FLIGHT

Episode 18: "Traitor's Penance"

This episode was completed on March 28, 2007, and released on July 5, 2008.  Its title refers to Will's apparent fate at the end of the episode, and/or his feelings of remorse.

Writer:  Joe Rovang

[ This episode contains footage from Jetman #29. ]

Aside from a single sentai shot of the Rangers descending from the sky, this is a sentai-free episode.  It is the first US-original episode in Take Flight, though several others will follow.  After episode 17 hinted at Will's role in Trask's raid on the space station, I considered including a Will-centric episode later in the series.  At the last minute, though, I decided to work it into the series here, as its supplemental Somebody plot seemed like a novel addition to the "Rangers without Zords" arc.  In retrospect, it was not my favorite episode, and I feel it added little to the series beyond setting up Will's return in episode 32 (which was not planned at this point) and getting me closer to my quota of 40 episodes (I needed some US-original episodes to cover for Jetman episodes which I condensed or omitted).


[ Fade in to INT. HOUSE, DINING ROOM (EARLY EVENING) - At the dinner table, MAGGIE and CHRIS are having a meal of Chinese noodles and vegetables.  Outside, the sun has not yet set, but it appears quite late in the day. ]

This scene and the next take place the evening of Friday, June 19, picking up from the ending of the previous episode.  Casey and Pete are both working, while Luke is on a date with Lisa, leaving Maggie and Chris alone at home.  (Maggie is not yet actively dating Sean again, but he will call shortly.)

[ MAGGIE and CHRIS converse between bites. ]

MAGGIE:
That was some fight against that vacuum monster.

Maggie refers to the Hoser battle in episode 17, in which the Megazord defeated the monster with its flail but then collapsed in a state of apparent inoperability.  I wanted to revisit a few topics for which I didn't have room in that episode.

CHRIS:
No kidding.

MAGGIE:
Nice job with the ball-and-chain.  What made you think of that?

CHRIS:
Oh...  Well, we were close to where we fought the apartment monster, and I remembered it gave us an edge there... so I figured it was worth a try.

Coincidentally, the gas tanks attacked in the Disastros battle (from which the Megazord obtained its flail) were seen nearby during the Hoser battle.  I couldn't resist connecting them here.

MAGGIE:
I'll say.

CHRIS:
We got lucky against this monster though...  I don't know what we're gonna do against the next one.  ... unless it's got a weakness to blunt objects.  We've got a hammer, a ball-and-chain, and a shield.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, their next monster will not be the mirror monster from Jetman #7, as blunt objects would have been useful there (though the footage used the Phoenix Blade to finish him off after the Owl Hammer smashed his mirror).

MAGGIE:
Oh, the Wing Shield's been down for a while.

The Wing Shield never appeared in Jetman beyond its debut against Canhandler; I tried to explain its infrequent usage with Maggie's line here, but we're left to wonder why it wasn't used once the Megazord was repaired.

[ CHRIS grunts. ]

CHRIS:
I'm not even sure we could get the Megazord back together.  Did you see that piece come off the Condor when they disassembled?

This wasn't shown, as I had no footage to support it.

MAGGIE:
Condor...?  I was too busy waiting for Swallow Five to catch on fire.

The Swallow was smoking for a while in episode 16.

[ Done with his meal, CHRIS puts down his fork and looks out the window in thought. ]

CHRIS:
We've gotta think of something else.

MAGGIE:
You wanna try to take them on without Zords again?  What were you doing, anyway?

Maggie refers to his leap up toward giant Hoser in the previous episode, the purpose of which was not apparent to me in the sentai.

[ As CHRIS thinks, we flash to: ]


[ EXT. DOWNTOWN - BLACK RANGER struggles to scale the back of some giant monster, TALON SWORD in hand.  Holding firmly with his free hand, he rears back to stab his sword into the colossus, but we cut away before the blow. ]

This image was inspired by the video game Shadow of the Colossus, and in fact I use the term "colossus" here to make my homage clear.  Though I didn't plan it here, I will reuse this image in the finale.


[ INT. HOUSE, DINING ROOM (EARLY EVENING) - As CHRIS continues to think, the phone rings in the other room.  MAGGIE jumps up and darts into the living room. ]

[ Upon answering the phone, MAGGIE can be seen beyond the door frame. ]

MAGGIE:
Hello?  (pauses, then smiles)  Hi, Sean.  (glances toward the dining room)  No, it's okay.

Maggie is considering getting back together with Sean after events in episodes 14 and 16.  The reader may note, however, that it's a Friday night and they aren't on a date.

[ MAGGIE disappears through the living room with the phone. ]

[ Dissatisfied, CHRIS rises and begins taking their dishes to the kitchen. ]

Chris is dissatisfied with their lack of a solution for the Zord issue.  This could be seen as foreshadowing his Sky Enforcer idea in episode 19, but I hadn't yet planned for it to be Chris's idea.


[ EXT. BOARDWALK (NIGHT) - LUKE and LISA are walking along a well-lit boardwalk at night.  Both are dressed in attractive, casual attire and are in good spirits. ]

This is Luke and Lisa's first official date, beyond their day together in episode 6.

[ As they walk through the crowd, a man in a trenchcoat grabs LUKE's arm to get his attention.  LUKE looks at the man, surprised, and sees it to be DETECTIVE MORALES. ]

DETECTIVE MORALES:
Luke...

[ Beside LUKE, LISA stops. ]

LUKE:
Detective...?

[ DETECTIVE MORALES nods politely to LISA. ]

DETECTIVE MORALES:
Miss Ward...  (to Luke)  Luke, could I speak with you a moment?

Detective Morales questioned both Luke and Lisa in episode 6 regarding a stolen necklace.  Then in episode 14, Lisa told Luke that Morales had been asking her about him.

[ LUKE glances back at LISA, who nods with reserve.  LUKE then steps aside with DETECTIVE MORALES.  The detective speaks in a hushed tone. ]

DETECTIVE MORALES:
I know about you and the others.

Detective Morales was shown investigating Parkview's tenant list in episode 13, and he overheard Luke's identity in episode 17.  This unfortunately comes right on the heels of Frieda deducing his identity (episodes 16 and 17).

LUKE:
What...?

DETECTIVE MORALES:
The Rangers.  You're probably... what... Red Ranger?

Detective Morales has been studying the Rangers; he knows that Red is the leader and that Luke served in the Air Force.

LUKE:
H-- How...?

DETECTIVE MORALES:
Your name turned up while I was investigating the Ranger situation.  The others... well, you bought a house together.

In episode 15.

LUKE:
Did the government send you?  Listen, it was my idea to keep the Morphers.  My friends didn't have any --

The idea of the government reclaiming the Morphers was discussed in episodes 2 and 8.  Luke has apparently been wary of that event.

DETECTIVE MORALES:
Whoa, whoa.  I'm City of Spring Valley.  The mayor just wanted to know more about these attacks.  It's not my business where you got your machines.

I can't say for sure whether this is entirely realistic, but it suited my purposes, as I didn't want the military involved in the Rangers' affairs this early (to give the Kestrelzord a purpose).

The mayor was said to have launched an investigation after the Rangers' media debut in episode 6.

[ LUKE softens slightly. ]

LUKE:
So what is it you want from me?

DETECTIVE MORALES:
Well, for starters, who's attacking us?  And what are these bugs that bring things to life?

[ LUKE glances back at LISA, who stands some distance away with her arms crossed, her gaze directed elsewhere. ]

[ DETECTIVE MORALES notices LUKE's distraction and produces a business card from his coat. ]

DETECTIVE MORALES (cont'd):
I'll tell you what...  Can you come by the station tomorrow?  I'm just trying to find out what we're up against.

[ LUKE nods compliantly, taking the card. ]

LUKE:
All right.

[ DETECTIVE MORALES looks beyond LUKE at LISA. ]

DETECTIVE MORALES:
Does she know?

I had intended Morales to ask only out of curiosity, but Luke's truthful response here could have revealed that Lisa had given him false statements when he asked about Luke (episode 14).

[ LUKE looks back toward LISA but doesn't answer. ]

DETECTIVE MORALES (cont'd):
That's all right.  Enjoy your night.

[ DETECTIVE MORALES departs. ]

[ Concerned, LISA soon joins LUKE. ]

LISA:
What was that about?

LUKE:
He knows.


[ Dissolve to INT. INTERROGATION ROOM - In different clothes, LUKE sits at a drab table in a sparsely decorated interrogation room.  DETECTIVE MORALES sits opposite him. ]

This scene takes place the morning of Saturday, June 20, 1992, the day after the previous scene.  Luke must have excused himself from work to be here.

LUKE:
That's really all we know about them.

DETECTIVE MORALES (skeptically):
So... invaders from outer space...

LUKE:
Right.

DETECTIVE MORALES:
And one of them's a vampire.

Maggie first noticed Trask's vampiric traits in episode 2; he later mocked the humans' quaint mythology (episode 4), and he mentioned the tragic history of his people to Luke (episode 13).

LUKE:
As far as we can tell.

DETECTIVE MORALES:
And another's the heiress to an evil galactic empire.

This was Luke and/or Detective Morales' description; objectively speaking, I would have been reluctant to use the term "evil" to describe the empire, though they were apparently an oppressive and destructive force (at least under Magda).

The Rangers don't know that Magda and Sasha were ousted from the empire Trask described (episode 10).

LUKE:
Yes.

[ DETECTIVE MORALES eyes LUKE for a moment.  He then pushes his chair back and crosses his arms. ]

DETECTIVE MORALES:
Well, I'm satisfied.

LUKE:
You don't believe me, do you?

DETECTIVE MORALES (rising):
Actually, I do.  (paces)  But tell me about this "Mega-Zord."  You said it's not working?

I thought it would be a nice touch for Morales to slightly mispronounce the term "Megazord," being unfamiliar with it.

LUKE:
More or less.

In theory, the Rangers might have been able to reassemble the Megazord one last time, but it probably would have led to the complete loss of the Flyers.  The Rangers suspected this, and so they considered the Zords essentially unusable.

DETECTIVE MORALES:
Can we do anything to help?

[ LUKE reaches into his pocket. ]

LUKE:
As a matter of fact...

[ LUKE produces a cut-out newspaper article which he unfolds and hands to DETECTIVE MORALES. ]

[ After glancing over the article (not shown), DETECTIVE MORALES looks to LUKE expectantly. ]

LUKE (cont'd):
Another flawless synthetic ruby.

DETECTIVE MORALES:
Like the one from the museum.

The previous ruby, which was likewise mysteriously flawless, became Facetia in episode 4.  When writing that episode, I had planned to revisit the subject of the ruby's odd composition, under the premise that it might have something to do with Project Jetman, but it wasn't until I'd linked the Will character with Trask's attack (see notes in previous episode) that I thought to make him responsible for the ruby/rubies.

LUKE:
Right.  Whoever's making them must have some pretty high-tech equipment.

DETECTIVE MORALES:
Somebody connected to Project Jetman?

LUKE:
That's what I was hoping you could tell me.

[ DETECTIVE MORALES nods and slips the article into his shirt pocket.  He then holds the door open.  LUKE rises and exits with DETECTIVE MORALES. ]


In retrospect, I would like to have had more content for this episode, and here is a place I could have fit an intervening scene covering another subject.  (As a matter of fact, Mr. Patterson has just fixed the Rangers' front door prior to this next scene, but I neglected to show it here for a lack of anything interesting to write about it.)

[ INT. MUSEUM LOBBY - In uniform, LUKE is seen entering from the front doors. ]

The middle portion of this episode takes place on Wednesday, June 24, 1992, four days after Detective Morales had been given the newspaper clipping.

[ FRIEDA looks up from her computer. ]

FRIEDA:
Oh, Luke...

[ FRIEDA grabs a small, folded scrap of paper from beside the computer terminal. ]

FRIEDA (cont'd):
A man left this for you.

[ LUKE takes the paper and unfolds it. ]

LUKE:
Who was it?

FRIEDA:
He didn't say.  He looked familiar, though.  (with sudden clarity)  Oh, yes!  That detective who led the ruby investigation!

[ LUKE looks at the paper.  On it is written an address: 5400 Hollis St. ]

While browsing Oakland in Google Earth for a location for Will's factory, I settled on this region of town.  As I searched street addresses nearby, I discovered that in 2003, a lab at 5400 Hollis Street was bombed, perhaps in protest of animal testing performed there.  5400 was very close to my preferred locale, so I used that street address, as I'm fond of neither Will, bombings, nor animal testing.


[ EXT. FACTORY - Looking up from the same scrap of paper, LUKE is now dressed in his normal clothes.  In an establishment shot, we see he stands outside a large, somewhat run-down factory in the city.  Nearly all of the building's windows are boarded up. ]

Luke has apparently taken off from work yet again (taking advantage of Frieda's knowledge that he's a Ranger?).  Currently only Chris is at work; Pete is off, Casey works later, and Maggie's activities are unspecified.

[ LUKE knocks on a rusted metal door on the outside of the factory.  Some sort of distant machinery can be heard within. ]

It isn't specified what Will has been doing in this factory, or whether he has anybody helping him, but it's implied that he's been using Jetman technology to produce the flawless rubies and perhaps other materials, probably for profit.  (Dialog later in this episode mentions that he was on the materials team aboard the space station.)

[ Moments pass.  LUKE knocks harder. ]

LUKE (calling through the door):
Hello?  Is anybody there?

[ LUKE waits a moment and then turns away, discouraged.  He looks across the street absently, lost in thought. ]

[ Just then, the metal door opens, revealing WILL (see episode 11).  He wears a protective smock over a dress shirt with rolled-up sleeves, and on his hands are heavy protective gloves. ]

WILL (impatiently):
Yeah?  What do you want?

[ LUKE turns. ]

[ WILL studies Luke's face (off-screen). ]

[ LUKE, meanwhile, seems to search for a lost memory. ]

LUKE:
Hey, I know you...

[ WILL's face immediately grows pale, and he quickly slams the door shut. ]

When I wrote this episode, I intended Will's reaction to be based on Luke's status as his rival, and the fact that he expected not to be found under his current identity.  When I later wrote episode 36, however, he suddenly had much more to be nervous about, having left Luke for dead aboard the station prior to Trask's attack (not knowing that was future-Luke).  I much prefer the retconned version.

[ LUKE rushes forward and finds the door locked. ]

LUKE (cont'd):
Hey, wait!  (bangs on the door)  Tell me who you are!

[ Frustrated and desperate, LUKE takes a step back and checks the nearby windows, all of which are boarded up. ]

[ Soon, an expensive convertible sports car (appropriate for 1992) races out from behind the factory, its top down.  Its tires squeal as it rounds the corner and takes off down the street.  WILL appears to be driving. ]

The expensive car seems to indicate that his work here was strictly for profit.

[ LUKE momentarily rushes after the car, but it's gone almost immediately. ]

LUKE:
Wait!

[ Giving up, LUKE takes another frustrated look around the warehouse exterior. ]


[ Dissolve to INT. HOUSE, LUKE'S ROOM (NIGHT) - Shirtless, LUKE sleeps restlessly. ]


[ Dissolve to INT. SPACE STATION GALLEY - In the galley (see episode 11), LUKE carries a lunch tray, wearing his flight suit but no MORPHER. ]

Episode 11 established that Luke didn't routinely wear his Morpher around the space station.

[ Though not yet seen from the front, WILL walks past LUKE with an empty tray.  He wears a standard officer's uniform. ]

[ As they pass, LUKE cheerfully greets the officer: ]

LUKE:
Hey, Will.

[ In slow-motion, we see a close-up of WILL's face from Luke's perspective as he passes by without acknowledging Luke. ]

[ The slow-motion continues as LUKE is seen approaching a table where DR. BERING awaits, smiling.  LUKE glances over his shoulder, and we see a hostile glare on WILL's face as he likewise glances back. ]


[ INT. HOUSE, LUKE'S ROOM (NIGHT) - LUKE's eyelids flutter, and he stirs into waking. ]

LUKE:
Will...


[ INT. HOUSE, LIVING ROOM (DAY) - LUKE paces while on the phone.  (When eventually shown, the front door is now repaired fully.) ]

The rest of this episode takes place on Thursday, June 25, 1992, the day after Luke found Will's factory.

Mr. Patterson repaired the door the previous day; it was broken by Maggie in episode 15.

Presently, Luke is playing hooky once again.  Pete and Chris are at work, Maggie is unspecified, and Casey is at home, her shift not beginning until the afternoon.

LUKE:
Are you sure?  (pauses)  All right.  Thanks anyway, Detective.

[ LUKE hangs up.  We see CASEY seated on the couch. ]

CASEY:
Nothing?

[ LUKE stands in the center of the room, looking absently into the distance. ]

LUKE:
Nothing.  His family hasn't seen him in years.  That's probably when he joined Project Jetman.

CASEY:
What did he do there?

LUKE:
I don't remember.  He might've been on the materials team.  I don't think he ever talked to me, actually.

CASEY:
What, was he shy or something?

LUKE:
Not exactly.  More like he was always... upset about something.

Luke was probably too busy making goo goo eyes at Dr. Bering to bother trying to find out what was wrong with Will.

CASEY:
Hmm.  So what now?

LUKE:
I dunno.  I guess I'll check out that factory again.

CASEY:
Want me to give you a ride?

LUKE:
(ponders)  Yeah, okay.  Thanks.

[ Together, LUKE and CASEY turn off the lights and leave, locking the front door behind them. ]

[ Soon, we pan over to the phone as it rings. ]

Detective Morales just found out Will's factory has been torched, but Luke misses the call.


[ EXT. FACTORY - At the same street as before, CASEY and LUKE pull up in her car, the top down.  As they come to a stop, they are astonished by what they see (off-screen). ]

[ A wide shot shows the smoking, charred remains of the factory, which has been gutted by fire.  Numerous fire trucks and Spring Valley Police cars surround the front of the lot as police and fire personnel begin to wrap up.  Across the street is a Channel 6 news van. ]

Will burned down his factory early in the morning after having been found by Luke.  He's now on the run.

[ LUKE looks on, stunned.  A POLICE OFFICER approaches the driver's side and addresses CASEY. ]

POLICE OFFICER:
Miss, you're going to have to move your car.

CASEY:
Oh, sorry.

[ CASEY puts the car in reverse and begins to back out.  LUKE continues to stare at the building. ]


[ EXT. DOWNTOWN, ROOFTOPS - Seen from a wide angle, the RANGERS individually leap up to various rooftops downtown, hopping from one to the next to gain higher ground.  Upon reaching a satisfactory high point, each RANGER touches two fingers to the left side of his or her helmet and appears to survey the city below, each RANGER facing a different direction. ]

I wanted this visual to be reminiscent to the Psycho Rangers' rooftop shenanigans in Power Rangers in Space (1998).

Chris has had to leave work to help out.  Pete was on his midday break.

[ In close-up, we track around each RANGER as he or she surveys the area (or perhaps a vision unseen to us). ]


[ EXT. DOWNTOWN (VARIOUS) - In a variety of locales downtown, each of the five HOVERBIRDS is shown flying over the city, over streets, or between buildings. ]


[ EXT. FREEWAY - WILL drives his sports car on a freeway leaving the city; the scenery to the side is a vista of desert mountains.  The convertible's top is still down, and in the back seat we see several suitcases, one of which has a pant leg hanging out.  A car phone (appropriate for 1992) is also in the front seat. ]

It's unspecified what sorts of calls Will tended to make with his car phone.

[ While driving, WILL somewhat anxiously glances in the rear-view mirror.  Traffic is light, with the exception of a semi-trailer truck approaching on his left side. ]

[ As WILL continues to drive, a human-sized shadow briefly falls over his car, moving from right to left.  He anxiously looks up. ]

Somehow, one of the Rangers found Will with a Hoverbird (presumably Luke had described his car and appearance).

[ Sentai (Jetman #29) - The five RANGERS fly down from a glimmer in the sky, their underarm wings extended. ]

Rangers flying down Rangers flying down Rangers flying down Rangers flying down

This shot only appeared once in Jetman; more commonly, only four Rangers would be shown descending at any one time (as in episode 8).

This shot is the only sentai footage in this episode.

[ The RANGERS land on the back of the semi-trailer as it pulls up beside WILL's car.  WILL remains transfixed by the RANGERS above as they stand with arms crossed; his gaze breaks from them only briefly to glance at the road ahead. ]

[ BLACK RANGER cups his hand to his mouth area and raises his voice over the sound of the road: ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
How about you pull over, there, fella?

[ WILL momentarily stares ahead at the road, disconsolate, before beginning to change lanes to the right. ]


[ Dissolve to EXT. FREEWAY SHOULDER - His car slowing as he pulls onto the desert terrain beside the freeway, WILL eventually stops where the RANGERS stand waiting: in front, closest to Will's passenger door, stands RED RANGER. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
We need to talk, Will.

[ WILL avoids making eye contact.  His demeanor is obstinate. ]

WILL:
I'm not telling you anything without a lawyer.

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Do we look like the police?

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Guys, maybe he'd rather talk to THEM...

Ahh, nothing like blackmail...

[ WILL narrows his eyes and looks at the RANGERS. ]

WILL:
What do you want to know?

[ RED RANGER checks for oncoming traffic.  After a lone car passes, he speaks: ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Power down.

Will would already know Luke's identity, so no harm done by demorphing, Luke figures.  A face-to-face conversation probably has more chance of being productive anyway.

[ LUKE demorphs with a red gleam.  He places his hands on the edge of Will's passenger door, his demeanor almost pleading.  (It may also be noted that from this point on, no further traffic passes their location, at least on this side of the freeway's divider wall.) ]

If the police were to investigate Will's abandoned car following reports about the Somebodies in the desert, they would find Luke's fingerprints on the passenger door.  I speculated that perhaps Detective Morales helped cover up this incident (hooray for more illegality!).

Notice that traffic stops coming by at this point.  This wasn't merely to protect Luke's identity; rather, Dillik has sent his Somebody army to the location where Will was detected in a Hoverbird (some distance back on the freeway).

LUKE:
How did you escape?

[ WILL looks away petulantly. ]

WILL:
I don't remember.

[ BLACK RANGER takes a half-step forward. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Wrong answer, slick.

[ LUKE extends a hand to calm BLACK RANGER.  He then returns his attention to WILL. ]

LUKE:
Will, please...  What happened to the others?

WILL:
I didn't see anything.  Everyone blacked out when that vampire guy hit Life Support.

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Vampire guy?  You mean Trask?

WILL:
I guess.  Whatever.

LUKE (gently but perhaps suspiciously):
Will...  What made you think he was a vampire?

Will met Trask personally during his raid (off-screen during the prologue of episode 1).  Prior to that, Trask used some sort of long-range communication to broker a deal with Will after Omos had pointed Trask to him (see dialog in episode 17).

WILL:
What...?

LUKE:
The invader in Life Support.  What made him seem like a vampire to you?

WILL:
Uhh... I dunno...  He was really pale, you know... dressed in black, that kinda stuff...

LUKE (gently):
That's weird, though, because you didn't work in Life Support, did you?

I found it interesting how Luke unraveled Will's lie.

WILL (with increasing anxiety):
I... (shrugs) ... saw him over the monitors.

LUKE:
Well, except Trask doesn't show up on video.

[ WILL's eyes dart around nervously. ]

[ LUKE's demeanor begins to darken. ]

LUKE (cont'd):
Say, Will...  How do you suppose Trask got inside the space station?

[ WILL chuckles nervously. ]

WILL (stammering):
W--

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Vampires need to be invited in.

This being what led Maggie to conclude he was a vampire in episode 2.

LUKE:
You know, Will, Trask can send radio signals from his ship.  It's almost like he was in contact with somebody from the station.

I tried to use this dialog to reinforce that Trask's ability to broadcast his voice from his ship (as in episode 13) was intentional; I later clarified the issue by inventing biophones for episode 26.

[ After an anxious pause, WILL suddenly flings his door open and dashes around the car, fleeing into the desert beyond. ]

[ LUKE chases after him.  The other RANGERS stay behind but watch warily. ]


[ EXT. DESERT - WILL continues running through the desert, some distance away from the freeway.  LUKE finally catches up to him and tackles him to the ground.  They roll across the dusty ground, but LUKE soon emerges the victor, standing over WILL as he crouches exhausted on the ground.  Both are dusty, slightly scraped up, and out of breath. ]

LUKE (upset):
Why'd you do it, Will?!

[ WILL continues to avoid eye contact. ]

WILL (bitterly):
Because I hated you.  And I hated Dr. Bering.

LUKE (stunned):
What...?

WILL:
I worked with her for TWO YEARS, and she treated me like dirt!  I kept trying to get closer to her, and she pushed me away.  She said it wouldn't be "professional" to get involved.  ... And then you came along.

Dr. Bering apparently broke her rule for Luke, or she only made up the rule to deter Will, similar to Miss Fairweather's rebuff of Joel in one episode of Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue (2000).


[ INT. SPACE STATION GALLEY - As previously seen from a different angle (episode 11), WILL glares across the galley at LUKE and DR. BERING, the couple lost in their conversation. ]

WILL (voice-over):
The hot-shot test pilot swoops in, gets the Morpher AND the girl...

Will predated Luke aboard the space station; he may have been jealous of Luke's status as a Ranger even before he began flirting with Dr. Bering.


[ EXT. DESERT - WILL rises and dusts himself off.  He then fiercely locks eyes with LUKE. ]

WILL:
So, yeah, I let Trask into the station.  My life in exchange for access.

Will is a petty, unstable man (apparently psychological screening for Project Jetman was lacking).  I found his motivation less believable than Trask's, or even Sasha's; I guess my heart wasn't into this character much at all, or else I might have spent more effort fleshing him out.

[ LUKE closes his eyes in despair.  Just then, his MORPHER chimes, drawing his attention. ]

PETE (over Morpher):
Hey, Luke, we've got big trouble!

[ LUKE glowers at WILL, his jaw clenched furiously.  He then turns and runs off.  In mid-stride, he morphs with a red gleam and leaps into the sky. ]

Luke presumably did use his voice command to morph, but it must have been out of our range of hearing (which has the advantage of not revealing his morphing code to Will).

[ Now alone, WILL lowers his eyes. ]

Will appears to be ashamed of his actions, to a degree.


[ EXT. FREEWAY - At a location other than where Will's car was parked, the four RANGERS stand in defensive poses as RED RANGER joins them. ]

[ From behind the RANGERS, we see a wide angle of the freeway as two wrecked cars, one of them overturned, have caused traffic to grind to a halt.  Atop the overturned car stands a SOMEBODY (see episode 3). ]

I had been planning to reuse the Somebodies at some point, and I figured they were a fine addition to my US-original Will episode.  (At one earlier point, I had considered merging the Will plot with the Zephyros episode, but I'm glad I kept them separate.)

Dillik has used Jinnsects #20-29 out of 46 to create a Somebody army.  As hinted in episode 21, he used Nobodies as monster hosts despite their instability (see episode 3) because he felt their group-oriented nature would allow them to work together effectively, even despite the Jinnsect monsters' tendency to be territorial.  They did indeed work together well, but the Rangers managed to outlast them.  I found this to be an interesting approach for a monster battle, with the Rangers needing only to survive long enough for the monsters to disintegrate.

These Somebodies were created from Nobody battalion 5, which was only used for this purpose (battalion 4 had been created too long ago, and they had surely deteriorated by now).

[ The SOMEBODY hops down onto the asphalt. ]

SOMEBODY:
Ahh, Rangers!  You're all here!  So are we!

[ The RANGERS' attention is drawn to their right as a second, SOMEBODY2, crawls over the concrete divider wall.  The RANGERS twirl around as three additional SOMEBODIES, 3 through 5, approach from further down the freeway.  Finally, SOMEBODIES 6 through 10 arrive from the desert. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Whoa!

[ The RANGERS stand back-to-back as the ten SOMEBODIES approach from all sides. ]

Not only were ten Somebodies an imposing challenge (two per Ranger), but they also helped to use up Jinnsects, as I was beginning to realize that 46 was too high a number for me to exhaust in Sasha's monster army in episodes 21 and 22.  (Fifteen monsters at once was bordering on ridiculousness, but 25 would have been utterly insane.)

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Who are these guys?!

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
They're just like that mutated Nobody we fought!

[ The original, SOMEBODY1, gestures with his claw-like forearm. ]

SOMEBODY1:
We prefer to be called Somebodies, thank you very much.

Somebody1 is the only one who speaks, as I found the idea of ten smart-mouthed foes overwhelming.

[ The RANGERS are surrounded.  In the background is the traffic jam. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
We've gotta draw them away from all these people.

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
The desert?

[ RED nods. ]

[ The five RANGERS leap into the air, almost vanishing instantaneously into the sky. ]

[ Watching the sky in the direction of the desert, SOMEBODY1 reacts: ]

SOMEBODY1:
After them!!

[ Just as quickly, the nine other SOMEBODIES leap into the air after the Rangers.  SOMEBODY1 then follows. ]


[ EXT. DESERT - The five RANGERS are running through the desert. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
So how'd you guys destroy the first one?

In episode 3, Luke arrived in the quarry only after the original Somebody had melted.

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
We didn't!  He just melted!

LUKE (Red Ranger):
He what?

[ Suddenly, RED RANGER is blasted in the back with yellow eyebeams, causing him to stumble with a burst of sparks from his back. ]

[ The other RANGERS help RED to his feet. ]

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Luke!

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
You okay, man?

[ Advancing quickly through the desert is the horde of ten SOMEBODIES. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
So we just wait these guys out?

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
It's better than destroying them.

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Yeah, Pete's right.  If we destroy them, they might grow, and then we're out of luck!

The Megazord probably would have been destroyed if used in its current state (for that matter, it might have blown up just trying to assemble).

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Sounds like a waiting game.

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Let's do it...?

[ RED pumps his fist with a nod. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Let's do it!

Maggie's question is a subtle nod to episode 16, in which she humorously commented on the frequency of their "Let's do it!" cries.

[ Swarmed by the SOMEBODIES, the RANGERS fight back to the best of their ability.  The SOMEBODIES' attacks include yellow eyebeams and swift attacks with their forearms, while the RANGERS have SKY BLASTERS at their disposal, in addition to martial arts and superhuman jumps.  (The TALON SWORDS are not used during the battle.) ]

This fight could be impressively elaborate, but alas, I'm no stunt coordinator, so I have to leave it to the reader's imagination.

Casey accidentally made a monster grow with her Talon Sword in episode 4, so they are off-limits here.

[ During the battle, RED briefly interjects: ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Remember, guys, not too hard!

SOMEBODY1:
You're going easy on us??  I'm touched... but we won't be returning the favor.

[ The fight continues. ]

[ Behind a rocky outcropping nearby, WILL watches. ]

[ The fight rages on.  Eventually, one SOMEBODY is pained as it crackles with yellow electricity. ]

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Look, it's happening!

[ A second SOMEBODY crackles as well. ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Come on, guys!  Just a little longer!

[ The RANGERS continue battling the SOMEBODIES as others crackle momentarily as well.  In each case, a SOMEBODY remains stunned for a short while after crackling before resuming combat. ]

[ In time, a SOMEBODY is knocked to the ground, where he crackles and melts into a black puddle.  A slimy JINNSECT twitches in the ooze and then begins to crawl away, leaving a trail of slime. ]

This echoes events in episode 3.  The fate of that Jinnsect was not revealed (but see episodes 24 and 25).

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Yeah!  One down, nine to go!

[ RED RANGER calls across the battlefield while fending off a SOMEBODY's attacks. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Casey, can you take care of that Jinnsect?

[ PINK RANGER is desperately fending off attacks from two other SOMEBODIES as the JINNSECT crawls off into the distance. ]

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Sorry, little busy!

[ Nearby, WILL turns and sneaks away. ]

[ The fight continues.  In time, three more SOMEBODIES crackle and melt, some after being struck, but at least one dissolving spontaneously.  In each case, a briefly stunned JINNSECT crawls away. ]

[ As one JINNSECT is crawling away, RED RANGER takes several shots from his SKY BLASTER but misses each time. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
This is no good!  They're all getting away!

[ A car is heard approaching.  Just then, WILL drives up in his convertible, undeterred by the bumpy ride (he is wearing his seat belt).  He slows slightly as he passes RED RANGER. ]

WILL (to Red):
I'm on it!

A seemingly jarring U-turn for Will's character, but perhaps he wishes to redeem himself for the deaths of his comrades after having been forced to confront his misdeeds.  In any case, Demi-Gog (episode 32) will be dismissive toward this act of benevolence, indicating it was motivated by loneliness.

[ WILL steps on the gas and speeds ahead, bouncing over bumps and rocks as he goes.  He approaches the latest retreating JINNSECT and runs right over it with his left tires.  As it crunches under the weight of his car, the JINNSECT dissolves into yellow shards. ]

This is the same effect used when Sasha destroyed Bobo's Jinnsect in episode 14.  The image of large insects being crushed by car tires reminds me of Hot Rod and Kup running over Insecticons in Transformers: The Movie (1986).

[ Looking back, WILL laughs and gives a thumbs-up to the Rangers (off-screen). ]

I can't help but think of Skull's laugh from the early seasons of Power Rangers here.

[ Several of the RANGERS look on speechlessly. ]

[ WILL makes a sharp turn and pursues another errant JINNSECT. ]

[ The RANGERS continue fighting the remaining SOMEBODIES.  Two more melt. ]

[ As one JINNSECT is crawling away, BLACK RANGER takes a few shots with his SKY BLASTER.  One of his beams finally connects, causing the JINNSECT to shatter with yellow energy. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Finally!

And yet I still hadn't planned for Chris to be the one to devise the Sky Enforcer strategy (episode 18).

[ Soon, three more SOMEBODIES expire, all three JINNSECTS falling victim to the RANGERS' SKY BLASTERS (BLACK, PINK, and RED slaying one each). ]

[ Finally, the RANGERS surround the last survivor, SOMEBODY1, with SKY BLASTERS ready. ]

SOMEBODY1:
Let me tell you, Rangers, I'm not going down so easily!

[ SOMEBODY1 crackles and falls to one knee, exhausted.  He gestures with his claws for a time-out. ]

SOMEBODY1 (cont'd, winded):
One sec.

Similar to Mainframe's demise (episode 40).

[ After a moment of rest, SOMEBODY1 stands again. ]

SOMEBODY1 (cont'd):
All right.  Now --

[ SOMEBODY1 spontaneously melts.  The RANGERS simultaneously fire on the fallen JINNSECT, destroying it. ]

I didn't intend for any Jinnsects to have escaped destruction in this sequence, but I can't help it if readers' imaginations insist otherwise.  (Six were shown being destroyed, while a seventh was seen pursued by Will.  The others were intended to have been run over.)

[ The RANGERS triumphantly holster their weapons and share embraces and high-fives. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
All right!

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
We did it!


[ Break. ]


[ EXT. DESERT - The five unmorphed HEROES walk through the desert.  LUKE is contemplative, while the others are in good spirits. ]

Giving away your identities there, fellas?

CASEY:
You guys, I can't believe we took on all of those guys!

PETE:
That was pretty cool.

MAGGIE:
I knew we could do it.

CASEY:
And Will was a big help, taking care of the Jinnsects we missed.

MAGGIE:
You think he could help us fix our Zords?

The heroes are especially forgiving toward their murderous new ally.  But the "foe turns friend" plot typical of Power Rangers is quickly turned upside-down here.

[ CHRIS looks ahead and falters slightly. ]

CHRIS:
Uhh, where is he?

[ Ahead, Will's car sits abandoned in the desert. ]

[ Confused, the HEROES quicken their pace and approach the car.  WILL is nowhere in sight, but CASEY draws attention to the driver's seat belt fastened loosely in place. ]

CASEY:
You guys, his seat belt's still buckled.

[ The sound of a metal container rolling across the ground causes the HEROES to twirl around.  A biomass container rolls to LUKE's feet, where he stops it with one foot, producing a sloshing sound from within.  The HEROES look to the distance and see: ]

[ Some distance away, TRASK stands under the shelter of a darkness dome.  In his hand is his BIOMASS GUN, which he places into his coat. ]

TRASK:
Well, I suppose I'm done here.  'Til next time, Rangers.

When I wrote this episode, I did intend for Will to have died here.  When I later realized I hadn't settled the issue resolutely, however, I gave in to the temptation to have him return (see episode 32).

Fortunately for the sake of events in episode 26, Sasha didn't happen to be in the space station at this point, so she had no reason to know that Trask had two humans rather than one in his possession.

[ TRASK vanishes with a ripple effect, and the darkness dome fades away. ]

[ As the HEROES stare ahead blankly, we pull back as the camera slowly rises to a high elevation.  Below, the quintet remains beside the abandoned car, the canister remaining at their feet.  Though distant below, CASEY may be seen weeping into her hands.  Cut to black. ]

I think this is the grimmest episode ending in the series.