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

POWER RANGERS TAKE FLIGHT

Episode 31: "The Ranger Blues"

This episode was completed on November 15, 2007, and released on October 4, 2008.  Its title refers to Maggie's difficulty in her Ranger role, but also the assorted Blue Rangers (Maggie, Lance, and Lisa) who serve in this episode.

Writer:  Joe Rovang

[ Sentai footage is primarily from Jetman #28 and 35, but all sources are indicated. ]

See episode 20 for a summary of Jetman #28.

In Jetman #35, Radiguet creates a monster (Smog Rat) from toxic drums dumped in a lake.  Blue saves an heroic dove downtown, and Red Ranger ultimately severs the monster's arm.  The Rangers then track the dove to a medical school where its friend, a young girl, is worried about her upcoming surgery.  Blue takes the girl out for a walk, but they stumble across the monster, who has revisited the lake to regrow his arm.  Blinded by the monster's gas, Blue escapes with the girl; Radiguet pursues them but is driven off a cliff by a flock of birds.  Downtown, Blue uses her hearing (and her Echo Blaster) to fight the monster, and he grows after a blast from the Echo Enforcers.  In the Swallowzord, the girl helps guide Blue's aim, and the Quad Cannon then finishes the monster off.  Oh, and now the girl's fine with the idea of surgery.

I chose to adapt Jetman #35 here because it was a Blue Ranger focus suitable for Lisa's debut as the Blue Ranger (though I reinterpreted her apparent blindness for the sake of originality, and I had to omit an Echo Blaster sequence).  I revisited Zephyros from Jetman #28 as a means of making Lance disgust the Rangers.


[ Fade in to INT. LAB - LISA watches as DR. BERING finishes affixing the five AVIMORPHERS to an apparatus on one of the tables.  It bears five wrist-sized prongs for holding the MORPHERS in place. ]

The first portion of this episode takes place on Saturday, August 15, 1992, one week after the Rangers' battles with Infernis, Sashaga, Gog, Zin, and Drek, as well as the debut of the Mega Kestrelzord and Battlezord (episodes 29 and 30).

Dr. Bering is giving the Morphers a firmware upgrade to incorporate new features the Rangers have requested (episode 30).  The upgrade will now allow for unmorphed use of the talk button, filtering of recipients when making a call, voice activation of the Hoverbirds' infrared imaging, in-glove summoning of the Morphers in morphed form.  They now also sport a new locator mode (and related stealth mode) and new Hoverbird frequencies, though they remain able to listen to the old frequencies as well (see episode 37).

Lisa is continuing to grow into her role as Dr. Bering's assistant.

[ DR. BERING moves to a computer terminal, where she types in a few commands. ]

DR. BERING:
... All right, it should just take a second now...

I originally wrote this scene in much further detail, addressing Dr. Bering's discovery of the Rangers' future duplicates, but I cut it for the purpose of suspense; I later incorporated this cut scene into episode 37.


[ EXT. HANGAR - CASEY and MAGGIE are taking a stroll outside the enormous hangar.  Above, the sky is bright blue. ]

Currently only Luke is supposed to be at work now; Pete is on his midday break, and the others don't work today.

[ CASEY takes a deep breath and exhales pleasantly. ]

CASEY:
What a pretty day...

[ MAGGIE trudges along, staring at the ground.  CASEY looks at her. ]

CASEY (cont'd):
Hey, are you okay?  You've seemed kinda down for a while.

She's been in a funk since she was seen to lack a duplicate in episode 25, which raised the issue of her uncertain future; she's also had difficulty with romance (episodes 26 and 27) and with her education (mentioned in episode 28) as a result of her Ranger duties.

MAGGIE:
Ehh, yeah...  I've been trying to make a decision, but I think I've made up my mind.

CASEY:
Do you want to talk about it?

MAGGIE (with a soft chuckle):
No.  You'd try to talk me out of it.

Maggie has already decided to step down.

[ CASEY makes a puzzled face.  They continue walking. ]


[ INT. HANGAR (Jetman #34) - We see the KESTREL and BATTLEZORD standing in the hangar. ]

hangar

[ LUKE and PETE are looking up at the Zords (off-screen).  Neither of them is wearing his Morpher.  LUKE speaks loudly for the sake of someone off-screen. ]

LUKE:
Still no word on the Mega Kestrelzord, I take it...

General Taggart forbade its use in the previous episode.  Before that, it was only used once (episode 29), with positive results.

[ SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST saunters into the area. ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST:
What can I say, Rangers?  You can't rush science.  General Taggart doesn't want you forming it until our engineers can figure out what's wrong with the power coupling.  It's just not safe.

This will be resolved in episode 34.

PETE:
Oh yeah?  What about the safety of us going into battle at half power?

[ SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST joins PETE and LUKE in looking up at the Zords (off-screen). ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST (gesturing upward):
You've got the Battlezord, don't you?

PETE:
Yeah?  Is it as powerful as the Mega Kestrelzord?

[ SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST cocks his head awkwardly. ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST:
Its firepower is... NEARLY as powerful...

I unequivocally indicate that the Mega Kestrelzord is more powerful than the Battlezord, even though the Battlezord is the most recent addition.  I like that this defied the cliché of the latest weapon/Zord/powerup being the most powerful thing ever.

[ PETE strokes his chin slyly. ]

PETE:
Uh huh... Uh huh...  So what you're saying is --

[ DR. BERING's voice echoes through the hangar. ]

DR. BERING (voice-over):
Rangers, please report to Laboratory A.

This is the only time the usual lab is named.

PETE:
Wow, finally.  (to Luke) I thought she said it'd just take a few minutes.

As revealed in episode 37, she spent extra time implementing the future Rangers' request for a stealth mode within the locator function.


[ Dissolve to INT. LAB - The five HEROES enter as DR. BERING awaits.  LISA stands nearby.  Four of the MORPHERS rest on the table, while the fifth MORPHER is in DR. BERING's hand. ]

DR. BERING (with a nod):
Rangers, sorry for the delay, but your new functions are ready.

PETE:
Sweet.  What do they do?

DR. BERING:
Well, I added some more overflow routines, tweaked the voice recognition, fixed the faulty talk loop, enabled voice-activated thermography, added recipient filtering, changed the Hoverbirds' frequencies...

Presumably "overflow routines" handle the Morphers' power management; it's probably meaningful only to Dr. Bering.  Voice recognition is another academic pursuit of Dr. Bering's; none of the Rangers probably notice the difference.  The "faulty talk loop" fixes the problem of the Morphers' talk buttons being unusable while the Rangers are unmorphed.  Voice-activated thermography allows the Rangers to switch the Hoverbirds to infrared at their command.  Recipient filtering means the Rangers can designate which Morpher they're trying to call, rather than broadcasting to everyone.  Finally, the Hoverbirds' frequencies being changed means the villains can no longer spy on their video; though their spying had been a convenient plot device until this point, I felt it was only reasonable that Dr. Bering would make the Hoverbirds more secure upon returning.

[ The HEROES appear glassy-eyed. ]

DR. BERING (cont'd):
Umm... but the most interesting is probably the new locator function.  It shows you where everybody is when you hold the upper left-hand button.

Pressing the upper left button normally toggles the Hoverbird video on and off, but holding it down for a longer duration now activates the locator mode.  I introduced this new mode simply because it seemed useful; I wasn't yet sure how it would become relevant in episodes to come.

[ As DR. BERING concludes her comment, she demonstrates.  As we see in close-up, the MORPHER's watch display changes to a black display which shows a red ring, within which is an array of four dots - purple, yellow, pink, and blue, arranged in the relative positions and direction of the other four MORPHERS.  At one end of the ring is a small "N" indicating north relative to the Morpher's direction, and at the bottom of the ring is a small "5m". ]

This isn't the first time Project Jetman/Phoenix has made measurements using the metric system.  I don't exactly know why, though.

DR. BERING (cont'd):
See?  These dots represent the other four Morphers.  (glances at Lisa)

[ In the background, LISA subtly nods to DR. BERING. ]

This is a "nod" (so to speak) to the fact that Dr. Bering knows about the hidden duplicates, and that she knows Lisa knows.

[ CASEY cocks her head. ]

CASEY:
That's cool, but... we can only use it when we're unmorphed?

[ DR. BERING smiles with a twinkle in her eyes. ]

DR. BERING:
I was hoping you'd ask that.

[ DR. BERING fastens the MORPHER to her left wrist.  She then speaks into it: ]

DR. BERING (cont'd):
Sky Hawk.

[ The HEROES and LISA are moderately surprised as a red gleam morphs DR. BERING into the RED RANGER.  Her suit is identical to Luke's version of the Red Ranger suit, with the exception of a red skirt in place of briefs (compare with Blue Ranger's normal suit design). ]

I thought it would be fun to have Dr. Bering demonstrate the new Morpher-summoning function by morphing as the Red Ranger.  I'm one of the Power Rangers fans who would appreciate seeing more female Red Rangers, but until super sentai is willing to break the Red Ranger gender rule, we'll have to settle for US female Reds (see also: A-Squad from Power Rangers S.P.D., 2005).  Incidentally, when I wrote this scene, I hadn't yet conceived of the finale's female Red Rangers.

Note that the Ranger suits apparently change the gender of their suits on the fly according to the gender of the user.  I built on this idea when it came to Lance's Blue Ranger suit.  It also made me wonder what the male form of the Pink Ranger suit would look like (white briefs, pink leggings?).  I toyed with the idea of Chris having to use Casey's Morpher at some point, but I never found a place to work it in.  Had it arisen, I wouldn't have expected Chris to make a big deal out of it.

[ RED RANGER gestures reassuringly. ]

DR. BERING (Red Ranger):
All right, everybody, let's calm down.  This is just a demonstration.  Now, what you do is twist your wrist twice in succession...

The "calm down" was as much for the audience's sake as the Rangers'.

[ RED RANGER twists her wrist twice quickly.  With a red gleam, the face of her MORPHER appears, embedded in her glove where it would reside on her wrist (no wristband is present). ]

The wrist-twist gesture reminded me of the Zeonizers being summoned in Power Rangers Zeo (1996), through the Zeonizers only required single twists (which seemed too easy to trigger accidentally, in my opinion).

LUKE:
Whoa...

DR. BERING (Red Ranger):
And then do it again to hide it.

[ RED RANGER twists her wrist twice more, and the MORPHER face vanishes with a red gleam, returning her glove to its normal appearance. ]

PETE (fairly impressed):
Hey, that's pretty cool.

CASEY:
Yeah, that should make it easier to control the Hoverbirds.  That eye gesture stuff inside the helmets gives me a headache.

Explaining how they've managed to control their Hoverbirds while morphed prior to this point.

[ RED RANGER speaks into her wrist: ]

DR. BERING (Red Ranger):
Power down.

[ DR. BERING demorphs with a red gleam and unfastens her MORPHER. ]

DR. BERING (with a nod to the other Morphers):
Go ahead, make sure I've got the accelerometers set to the right sensitivity.

[ LISA hands the remaining MORPHERS to the HEROES, and DR. BERING hands hers to LUKE, but MAGGIE doesn't step forward to claim hers.  It instead remains in LISA's outstretched hand. ]

This moment foreshadows Lisa's upcoming role as Blue Ranger, but this staging was also just the most practical, with Lisa serving as Dr. Bering's assistant.

[ CASEY looks to MAGGIE as everyone else fastens his or her MORPHER. ]

CASEY:
Maggie...?

[ MAGGIE steels herself, taking a breath.  She then speaks: ]

MAGGIE:
I'm sorry, guys.

Being handed a Morpher seemed like a good time for Maggie to step down, as she could simply refuse to take it.

[ Everyone in the room is perplexed. ]

LUKE:
What is it?  What's wrong?

MAGGIE:
I... can't be the Blue Ranger anymore.

[ Everyone is stunned. ]

PETE:
What??

LISA:
Maggie...

MAGGIE:
I'm sorry.  I just can't do it anymore.  I... just got put on academic probation.  If I don't focus on school, I'm going to get kicked out of the program.  (turns)  I'm sorry.

As mentioned in previous commentary, I had long planned for Maggie's education to be affected negatively by her Ranger duties, but it wasn't until some time mid-series that I decided to have her step down.

[ MAGGIE exits, leaving everyone in stunned silence.  LISA awkwardly looks down at the MORPHER in her hand. ]

Mmmm, foreshadowy...


[ Dissolve to INT. HANGAR - The four HEROES sit on crates in the hangar. ]

[ CASEY enters.  The others look to her. ]

CASEY:
She's talking with Dr. Bering right now.  I don't think she's gonna change her mind though.

Interesting that Maggie has a talk with Dr. Bering rather than her teammates.

PETE:
I understand how she feels.  I turned down a sous chef job at Regala.

It was offered to him in episode 29.

CASEY (sitting with them):
What?  You didn't tell us about that...

PETE:
Yeah... I didn't think I could juggle that and being a Ranger.  Who knows if Mr. Franco's ever going to promote me, but at least there I know I can get away for a battle every now and then.  Well, I have so far anyway...

This subject will be revisited in episodes 36 and 37.

CHRIS:
Wow, man, you chose being a Ranger over being a chef?

PETE:
Well, yeah, I guess...  I kinda figured I'd get other opportunities.  But Maggie...  Well, I mean, I guess she could've stopped and gone back, like she did when she and Sean were together...

This reminded me of a few other discussions in Power Rangers, such as when Kimberly considered stepping down in "A Different Shade of Pink, part 3" (MMPR season 3) and when Tanya put her singing career on hold in "Song Sung Yellow" (Power Rangers Zeo).

CHRIS:
Yeah, but she's in the middle of her Master's degree now.  She'd probably lose a lot of credits, right?

PETE (blankly):
... I dunno.

CASEY:
I don't think it's just about school, though, you guys.  She's been telling me for weeks now about not being able to open up with people because she has to keep this a secret.  I mean, she dumped two guys in a row because of it.  I think she's just... ready to move on with her life, and she can't do that and be a Ranger at the same time.

In a way, it seemed more natural to explain Maggie's decision without her actually being present in the conversation.

Maggie's romantic troubles were covered in episodes 26 through 28.

[ There is a short pause. ]

PETE:
... Oh.

CHRIS:
Huh.

LUKE:
I didn't realize it was taking that kind of a toll...

CASEY:
Yeah, well... I didn't either.  But I guess since it is, I'm glad she's taking control of things instead of burning herself out.

CHRIS:
Yeah, I'm glad she finally said something.

LUKE:
You guys, I'm sorry I got you mixed up in all this.  I didn't realize --

Give it a rest, Luke.

PETE:
Whoa, whoa...  Stop thinking like that.  You didn't force us to do anything.  We're Rangers because we want to be.  Am I right?

CHRIS:
Absolutely.

CASEY:
Definitely.

[ LUKE nods meaningfully.  He then ponders. ]

LUKE:
So what should we do about the Blue Ranger vacancy?

PETE:
Y-- You're kidding, right?

[ LUKE looks searchingly at PETE. ]

PETE (cont'd):
Well, it's obviously Lisa, right?

By now, surely the audience was expecting Lisa to become Blue Ranger.  I wanted to be a little mischievous first.

[ LUKE looks to CHRIS and CASEY, who meet his gaze without dissent. ]

LUKE:
Oh... well, yeah, I mean, I think she'd be a great choice, but I...  I figured I was kinda biased.

CHRIS:
I think it's a no-brainer.  ... Assuming she wants to.

LUKE:
(chuckles)  It's a no-brainer.

[ They all rise. ]


[ INT. LAB - The four HEROES enter to find GENERAL TAGGART and SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST speaking with DR. BERING, with an unrevealed male alongside them.  LISA and MAGGIE are seated nearby, uncomfortably silent.  The fifth AviMorpher isn't seen. ]

[ As DR. BERING crosses her arms in apparent frustration, GENERAL TAGGART turns to face the HEROES. ]

GENERAL TAGGART:
Oh, hello, Rangers.

[ As GENERAL TAGGART turns, we see the male behind him.  He is LANCE, a uniformed man in his twenties with short hair and a slightly smaller build than Luke's.  On his left wrist is the fifth AVIMORPHER.  He does not wear a wedding band. ]

I specified a smaller build for Lance so he might be able to double for the Blue Ranger (from the waist up) in sentai cockpit footage.  In retrospect, I probably could have just reshot the Megazord cockpit footage.

GENERAL TAGGART (cont'd):
Allow me to introduce Airman First Class Lance Hutchins.

[ LANCE nods politely. ]

GENERAL TAGGART (cont'd):
...your new Blue Ranger.

It seemed plausible that General Taggart would opt to fill a vacancy with his own airman, perhaps defying the audience's expectations, as Zordon generally let the Rangers choose their own replacements or new teammates in Power Rangers.

[ The HEROES appear outraged. ]

PETE:
What??

CHRIS:
You're joking.

GENERAL TAGGART:
I'm not a joking man, Mr. Jacobs.  I am, however, generous.  You'll notice I allowed Mr. Branson to remain your squad leader, even though he's now a civilian.

Taggart thinks of this gesture as generous, and perhaps it is, given his preference for military men as Power Rangers.

[ LUKE narrows his eyes. ]

Luke doesn't appreciate the so-called generousness of this act.  He also resents being demoted to a civilian.

[ LANCE steps forward with an amiable nod. ]

LANCE:
Rangers, I'm looking forward to working with you.  I've studied your videos closely, and I think you'll find I complement your abilities.

Project Phoenix has been monitoring the Hoverbird transmissions, so it seemed natural that a fill-in candidate would have studied their videos in preparation for his new role.  This indicates Taggart had Lance (and likely other candidates) lined up in case the Rangers needed replacing.

CASEY (to Taggart):
But... what about Lisa?

[ LISA silently looks at the others as GENERAL TAGGART replies. ]

GENERAL TAGGART:
As a gesture of goodwill, I will continue to allow her on the premises.

Not much compensation, but as far as Taggart is concerned, this is also generous.

[ Dissatisfied, the four HEROES exchange glances. ]


[ Break. ]


[ INT. HOUSE, LIVING ROOM (EARLY SUNSET) - CASEY and LUKE are folding laundry. ]

The sunset scenes take place later the same day.  By this point, Luke's shift has ended, and Pete has returned to work for his evening shift.

CASEY (brusquely):
I can't believe the general just assigned a Blue Ranger without even asking us.

LUKE:
I know... but what can we do about it?  (folds more items)  Maybe we'll like this Hutchins guy once we get to know him.  We'll see how our training session goes tomorrow.

Lance won't last to the training session.

[ CASEY doesn't appear satisfied. ]

[ CHRIS enters from the dining room, studying his MORPHER while holding its upper left button. ]

CHRIS:
Uhh, hey, guys...  What do you suppose Little Boy Blue is doing fifty kilometers northeast of here?

Hey, look, a use for the locator mode already!

I envisioned the Phoenix base as being in the mountains east of Fairplain (Fremont).  Fifty kilometers northeast from there is Windvale (Stockton).

[ CASEY and LUKE appear puzzled. ]

CASEY:
Northeast?  Our Hoverbirds aren't set to patrol out there, are they?

LUKE:
No.  What is that, Windvale?  What could he --  (suddenly alarmed)  Zephyros!

Though it wasn't mentioned in episode 20, the Rangers left Zephyros in the hills outside Windvale, a town I imagined to reside in place of the real-world Stockton, CA.


[ EXT. FIELD (SUNSET) - At sunset, the four RANGERS land in a rolling field.  Windmills line the hillside.  RED RANGER's MORPHER is visible in his wrist.  (His suit design is now back to the male variation.) ]

A wind-themed setting seemed appropriate for Zephyros' home for the past six weeks.

[ RED steps forward while dispelling his MORPHER with a double-twist of his wrist.  It vanishes with a red gleam. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Hutchins!

[ His back initially to the RANGERS, BLUE RANGER turns.  His suit now features briefs like the other male Rangers.  His SKY BLASTER is in hand, but he holsters it upon seeing the RANGERS. ]

More gender-bending in the form of a male Blue Ranger suit.

LANCE (Blue Ranger):
Rangers.  Nice to see you.

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Yeah, pleasure's all yours.  What are you doing out here?

Chris's attitude toward Lance is similar to his initial attitude toward Luke in the beginning of the series.

LANCE (Blue Ranger):
Special Agent Turnquist collected reports of monster sightings out here.  I almost got him, but he disappeared.

This kind of rogue Rangering is probably what the Rangers could have expected, had they let Lance stay on the team for any length of time.

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Aww, jeez...  Do you know how long it took us to convince him to trust us?

A whole episode.

LANCE (Blue Ranger):
Trust you?  What are you talking about?

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Yeah, now you ask questions.

[ PINK RANGER touches two fingers to the side of her helmet. ]

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
I've got a reading downtown.

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Oh, great.  (to Blue)  We've gotta try to calm him down before he does anything he'll regret.

[ As the four RANGERS depart, BLACK impatiently gestures to BLUE RANGER. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Well, come on!

The Rangers would probably prefer to keep Lance close to them so they can keep an eye on him.  But unfortunately, that strategy doesn't work.

[ BLUE RANGER appears puzzled, but he follows the others as they take a running leap into the sky. ]

What I find interesting about Lance is that he isn't a terrible guy; he does actually mean well.  It's just that he hasn't shared the Rangers' experiences to know what's important to them (but one wonders how he would've fared if he'd been with them from the beginning).


[ EXT. CITY ROOFTOP (SUNSET) (Jetman #28) - We see the sun low over the city.  (Sentai until further notice is from Jetman #28.) ]

sunset

Zephyros' sunset sequence was cut from episode 20 because it just didn't fit into the episode.  Though I liked Zephyros and didn't wish him destroyed, I found this scenario (his being provoked into a giant rampage, to the Rangers' consternation) was too compelling of an opportunity to pass up.  Also, I now have the Quad Cannon which can destroy foes without their costume needing to be present, so I now had an ending for the scene (albeit a sad one).

[ On a rooftop overlooking a busy city street, ZEPHYROS walks into frame in a black cloak which he brushes off his shoulder with a flourish.  (This shot is mirrored from sentai.) ]

Zephyros on rooftop Zephyros on rooftop Zephyros on rooftop Zephyros on rooftop

ZEPHYROS:
So, we meet again, Spring Valley...  I'll bet you thought you'd never see me again!

[ ZEPHYROS looks down upon the city, gesturing as he speaks.  He then turns with a flourish. ]

Zephyros Zephyros Zephyros Zephyros Zephyros Zephyros

ZEPHYROS (cont'd):
But if you humans want to pick a fight, you got it!!  To be honest, I was kinda bored anyway!  (turns)

Prior to developing the Lance subplot, I did wonder whether Zephyros would be able to resist being evil, since the desire seemed to be so deeply ingrained into him in episode 20.  I considered that I might find a use for his giant rampage footage, but I expected him to spontaneously give in to temptation; this version, his being provoked into it, is a sadder twist of fate.


[ EXT. CITY (SUNSET) (sentai) - In giant size, ZEPHYROS rises from behind a building, now lacking his cloak, and cavorts downtown.  He swats two buildings with his brush arm, causing spark explosions, and more erupt behind him. ]

Zephyros' rampage Zephyros' rampage Zephyros' rampage Zephyros' rampage Zephyros' rampage Zephyros' rampage Zephyros' rampage Zephyros' rampage

ZEPHYROS:
Ahhh, finally!  (grunts and swats)  This is what I was put on Earth to do!  Why fight it?

The evil destiny angle still creeps into the picture.

[ Nearby, the MEGAZORD assumes a ready stance. ]

Megazord Megazord


[ INT. MEGAZORD COCKPIT (Jetman #44) - As the RANGERS look on, PINK RANGER speaks while standing, and BLACK strikes his controls with his fist. ]

Rangers react Rangers react

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
He's gone crazy!

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Darn it, Hutchins!


[ EXT. CITY (SUNSET) (sentai) - The MEGAZORD charges. ]

Megazord charges Megazord charges


[ INT. MEGAZORD COCKPIT (Jetman #15) - BLUE RANGER pounds his palm into his fist, thumbs his nose, and thrusts his joystick forward. ]

bold Blue Ranger bold Blue Ranger bold Blue Ranger bold Blue Ranger

As hard as I try, I just can't imagine Blue Ranger as male.  Perhaps I'd have been better off reshooting this as US footage, but by this point I still hadn't mentally committed to a US Megazord cockpit set.

LANCE (Blue Ranger):
Leave it to me, guys!  I'm a pro on the Megazord simulator!

Project Phoenix has a Megazord simulator.  Who knew?

I had Lance take control of the Megazord to explain its aggressive actions against Zephyros.


[ EXT. CITY (SUNSET) (sentai) - The MEGAZORD throws a punch at ZEPHYROS but misses.  ZEPHYROS swats its hand with his brush arm, kicks the MEGAZORD, and then strikes it across the face. ]

Megazord vs. Zephyros Megazord vs. Zephyros Megazord vs. Zephyros Megazord vs. Zephyros Megazord vs. Zephyros

[ ZEPHYROS strikes the MEGAZORD with his hand and then again with his brush arm, causing bursts of sparks each time.  The MEGAZORD staggers back and strikes a ready position. ]

Megazord vs. Zephyros Megazord vs. Zephyros Megazord vs. Zephyros Megazord vs. Zephyros Megazord vs. Zephyros Megazord vs. Zephyros Megazord vs. Zephyros Megazord vs. Zephyros


[ INT. MEGAZORD COCKPIT (Jetman #34) - BLUE RANGER rises to his feet, transfixed. ]

Blue Ranger's awe Blue Ranger's awe

LANCE (Blue Ranger):
Man, this guy packs a punch!

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
You think?


[ EXT. CITY (SUNSET) (sentai) - A gust of wind blows from ZEPHYROS' nozzle (footage faintly tinted reddish-orange). ]

Zephyros's wind

[ Jetman #21 (footage tinted) - As the MEGAZORD is blown by the gust of wind, it sparks all over. ]

Megazord blown Megazord blown Megazord blown


[ INT. MEGAZORD COCKPIT (Jetman #21) - The RANGERS writhe as the cockpit is inundated with wind. ]

Rangers blown around

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
(groans)  It's hot!


[ EXT. CITY (SUNSET) (sentai) - ZEPHYROS shakes his fist in the air. ]

Zephyros triumphant Zephyros triumphant

ZEPHYROS:
You're done for, Rangers!

[ Jetman #21 (footage tinted) - We zoom in on the fallen, smoking MEGAZORD. ]

Megazord down Megazord down


[ INT. MEGAZORD COCKPIT (Jetman #15) - BLUE RANGER turns and addresses the others. ]

Blue Ranger volunteers Blue Ranger volunteers

LANCE (Blue Ranger):
Guys, don't worry!  I'll get the Kestrelzord!

[ US footage - Looking back, RED RANGER appears tense, but he neglects to speak up. ]

Luke could stand to assert himself more as a leader.  If he had done so here, Zephyros might not have been destroyed (though the monster's growth is irreversible).


[ EXT. ANYWHERE (Jetman #25) - The KESTRELZORD transforms. ]

Kestrel transforms Kestrel transforms Kestrel transforms Kestrel transforms


[ INT. KESTREL COCKPIT (US footage) - BLUE RANGER situates himself at the center seat. ]

LANCE (Blue Ranger):
Sky Kestrel, battle ready!


[ EXT. ANYWHERE (Jetman #39) - The BATTLEZORD transforms into the QUAD CANNON and descends to the KESTRELZORD. ]

Battlezord transformation Battlezord transformation Battlezord transformation Quad Cannon Kestrelzord receives Quad Cannon Kestrelzord receives Quad Cannon


[ INT. MEGAZORD COCKPIT (Jetman #21) - The four RANGERS startle. ]

four remain four remain

LUKE (Red Ranger):
What's he doing?

CHRIS (Black Ranger, simultaneously):
He's nuts!


[ EXT. ANYWHERE (Jetman #39) - We zoom in on the KESTREL as it holds the QUAD CANNON. ]

Kestrelzord with Quad Cannon Kestrelzord with Quad Cannon Kestrelzord with Quad Cannon


[ INT. KESTREL COCKPIT (US footage) - BLUE RANGER presses a few buttons.  PETE's voice emanates from his controls. ]

PETE (from controls):
Dude, stop!  We can talk this out with him!

LANCE (Blue Ranger):
Yeah...  In the meantime, look what he's doing to the city!

Lance does have a point: in his current state, Zephyros is placing people in definite danger.  Whether the Rangers had any viable alternatives here is open to the reader's imagination.


[ EXT. CITY (SUNSET) (sentai) - ZEPHYROS continues to strike buildings downtown. ]

Zephyros' rampage Zephyros' rampage Zephyros' rampage


[ INT. KESTREL COCKPIT (US footage) - BLUE presses a final button. ]

LANCE (Blue Ranger):
Firing Quad Cannon!


[ EXT. ANYWHERE (Jetman #39) - The QUAD CANNON fires its four energy blasts.  The blasts fly in unison. ]

Quad Cannon fires Quad Cannon fires Quad Cannon blast Quad Cannon blast

In Jetman #28, Zephyros fought the Megazord and then Mega Kestrelzord before waking up, as this battle was merely a daydream.

[ US footage - A silhouette of ZEPHYROS (animated) is struck with a blinding light.  It breaks apart and dissolves into nothingness. ]

As mentioned in previous commentary, the ability to show monsters being destroyed in the form of animated silhouettes was a useful aspect of the Quad Cannon.

In this instance, Take Flight is crueler than the sentai; in Jetman, Zephyros lived on beyond his episode, working as a hair stylist.

Zephyros is the only Jinnsect monster to be defeated by a Zord other than the Flyers.


[ INT. MEGAZORD COCKPIT (US footage) - BLACK RANGER shakes his head bitterly. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
You rotten jerk.

[ RED RANGER hangs his head in dismay. ]


[ INT. LAB - As shown in close-up, LUKE firmly plants his AVIMORPHER onto the table, as do CHRIS, PETE, and CASEY. ]

[ The four HEROES stand defiantly by the table as DR. BERING, SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST, and GENERAL TAGGART look on.  LANCE stands sheepishly by the door, his hands clasped behind his back (though he will later be shown to be wearing the fifth AVIMORPHER). ]

LUKE (firmly):
Count us out, General.

Oh, now you take a stand, Luke.

GENERAL TAGGART:
I beg your pardon...?

LUKE:
You want to replace us all with your pet airmen?  Go ahead.  We're done.

The Rangers are disgusted enough by Lance's actions that they're willing to resign rather than serve alongside him.

[ SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST appears unfazed.  DR. BERING looks to GENERAL TAGGART plaintively.  He appears stoic for a moment before replying. ]

GENERAL TAGGART:
Hutchins.

[ LANCE stands straight. ]

LANCE:
Sir.

GENERAL TAGGART:
Remove your Morpher.

For reasons not stated outright, Taggart doesn't wish the entire civilian team to step down, even though he apparently had replacements in the wings.  Perhaps he thinks a team of rookies (simulator time notwithstanding) is too risky at this point.

[ LANCE slumps slightly. ]

LANCE:
Yes, sir.

[ He unfastens his MORPHER.  DR. BERING approaches, and he hands her the MORPHER. ]

[ As DR. BERING returns to the front of the room with the MORPHER in hand, GENERAL TAGGART eyes the HEROES expectantly. ]

[ LUKE eyes the general for a moment before taking his own MORPHER back from the table. ]


[ INT. LISA'S APARTMENT (NIGHT) - An eager knock at the door duly summons LISA.  She opens the door to reveal LUKE.  He beams as he dangles a spare AVIMORPHER in his hand. ]

Lisa is now the Blue Ranger and will be for the rest of the series.

I neglected to mention explicitly that Luke should be wearing his own Morpher once again in this scene.


[ Break. ]


[ EXT. ROOFTOP (DAY) - On a tall rooftop downtown, the RED and BLUE RANGERS circle one another, TALON SWORDS ready.  BLUE's suit is once again in its feminine form. ]

The rest of this episode takes place on Sunday, August 16, 1992, the day after Maggie's exit and Zephyros' destruction.  Currently Luke is once again playing hooky from work.

Luke's Talon Sword is now intact after it was broken by Zin the previous week (episode 30).

LISA (Blue Ranger):
All right, I don't want you going easy on me, now...

LUKE (Red Ranger):
We'll see.

[ RED leaps forward and delivers a few basic strikes at medium strength.  Wielding the weapon as though it feels strange in her hands, BLUE somewhat clumsily deflects each blow with her sword. ]

[ RED pauses and nods approvingly. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
All right, good...

[ BLUE RANGER taps his sword blade with hers. ]

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Oh, come on...  You can do better than that.

[ RED readies his sword. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Okay...

[ RED delivers a longer series of strikes at a slightly increased speed.  BLUE blocks them with increasing dexterity. ]

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Ha!  Is this how you fight the bad guys?

[ Unscathed, BLUE RANGER places her fists on her hips. ]

LISA (Blue Ranger, cont'd):
Lame...  Are you gonna try and hit me or what?

Lisa likes to be challenged, to the degree that she sometimes gets in over her head (see her encounter with Smog Rat).

[ RED RANGER readies his sword once again and lunges, unleashing his swiftest attacks yet.  BLUE blocks them with intensity. ]

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Come on!

[ RED finally catches BLUE with her guard down and delivers a strong swipe to her chest, triggering a flash of sparks as she falls back.  She rolls back, sword still in hand. ]

[ RED urgently drops his sword and rushes to her aid. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Lisa!

[ BLUE RANGER rises with minimal help.  Her sword is still in hand. ]

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Now that's more like it.

[ BLUE RANGER hops into the air and delivers a side kick into RED's ribs, launching him some distance away (off-screen).  Landing back a distance herself, BLUE immediately readies her sword and charges out of frame. ]

LISA (Blue Ranger, cont'd):
En garde!  (charges)


[ INT. LAB - DR. BERING and SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST watch the sparring match in a monitor.  SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST's arms are folded. ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST:
Are you sure this is a good idea, Vanessa?  Yet another civilian Ranger?

DR. BERING:
I'd say the others made fine Rangers, wouldn't you?

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST:
If I had to.  The girl's a thief, though.

DR. BERING:
Easy, Jon.  You wouldn't happen to have any skeletons in YOUR closet, would you?

[ SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST grunts and continues watching the monitor. ]

We never find out what secrets Turnquist's life holds.


[ EXT. ROOFTOP - RED RANGER faces BLUE RANGER.  Their swords are sheathed.  Hovering a few feet from BLUE, and focused on her, is the blue-striped HOVERBIRD. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
All right, this next drill's kinda like being blindfolded.

LISA (Blue Ranger):
(laughs)  What?  You want me to fight blindfolded?

LUKE (Red Ranger):
For starters.  Then I'll have you jump from building to building.

[ BLUE RANGER seems to glare disbelievingly at RED. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Don't worry, you won't be totally blind.  Say "visor off."

Presumably Luke just blinded himself.

LISA (Blue Ranger):
"Visor off?"

[ BLUE startles slightly and seems disoriented as though blinded suddenly. ]

LISA (Blue Ranger, cont'd):
Whoa.  Okay...  What's this blinking --  Oh, hey!  I see myself!

[ We look down on RED and BLUE from behind the floating HOVERBIRD. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Yep.  After Maggie had to fight in the dark, we realized the importance of learning how to fight from the Hoverbirds' external vantage points.

Maggie fought in the dark in episode 26.  The training, however, must have occurred off-screen after that episode.

[ BLUE RANGER assumes an initially wobbly defensive stance, but she steadies herself. ]

LISA (Blue Ranger):
All right, so I'm supposed to fight while I'm having an out-of-body experience.  (steadies)  Let's do it.

[ RED RANGER nods and advances.  They engage in hand-to-hand combat.  BLUE doesn't appear to be an expert martial artist, but what she lacks in precision, she compensates with spunk.  She appears only slightly disoriented at times but in general defends and counter-attacks quite well. ]

Luke presumably trains Lisa at martial arts in the coming days, as he trained the others following episode 3.


[ INT. SPACE STATION, HOLDING BAY - In the distance, DILLIK is hard at work soldering wires inside an access panel in a large, mechanical construction of some sort, the project's scale too wide to see clearly at this vantage point.  DILLIK works at a frenzied pace, and his suit is somewhat grimy. ]

Dillik has apparently conceived of the Gigazord and is now adapting their aborted Battlezord project (see episode 30).

[ In the foreground, MAINFRAME is working on a standalone computer terminal when TRASK approaches. ]

TRASK:
Quite a project.

[ MAINFRAME startles. ]

MAINFRAME:
Oh!  Trask!  Umm... yep, hard at work.

TRASK:
So what is it?

MAINFRAME (with a chuckle):
Well, it's not a Battlezord anymore, that's for sure!

[ Unamused, TRASK nods in DILLIK's distant direction. ]

TRASK:
Has Dillik been here this whole time?

MAINFRAME (more seriously):
He has.

TRASK:
Does he even sleep?

MAINFRAME:
Well, sometimes he falls down for a while.  But then he gets up and works some more.

TRASK (seemingly concerned):
He's going to work himself to death.

Trask is genuinely concerned for his friend's health.

MAINFRAME:
I've tried to tell him his energy levels look low, but he won't stop.

[ TRASK ponders. ]

TRASK:
Hmm.  Could this have anything to do with the missing biomass canister from my quarters?

Trask apparently knows Dillik took Sasha's biomass from his quarters (episode 29).  He may have witnessed Sashaga in action (episode 30).  In any case, he doesn't appear angry.

MAINFRAME (sheepishly):
Um, maybe.  (looks at the distant Dillik)  All he thinks about is destroying the Rangers.

TRASK:
Well, I have no objections there.  But what do you say we send a monster and try to save him the trouble?

[ MAINFRAME nods. ]


[ EXT. ROOFTOP - From off-screen, RED RANGER tumbles through the air and skids to a stop on the concrete. ]

[ Nearby, BLUE RANGER assumes a martial arts pose. ]

[ RED rises and brushes himself off. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Not bad.

[ RED then notices something unseen. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
We've got a monster.  Ugly one, too.  At least he's not a demon, though.

The Rangers fought four demons the previous Saturday (episodes 29 and 30).

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Where is it?

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Looks like the warehouse complex down by River Street.

LISA (Blue Ranger, eagerly):
Oh!  Let me go by myself, okay?

LUKE (Red Ranger):
What?  No way.  This isn't a game.

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Oh, come on!  He's not anywhere dangerous, and you can keep an eye on me with your Hoverbird...

[ RED RANGER remains stoic. ]

[ BLUE puts a hand on her hip. ]

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Look, is anybody in danger right this second?

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Well, no...  He's gnawing on some crates.

This poses the tricky issue of whether the Rangers were justified in attacking him.  However, how prudent would it be to wait until monsters actually threatened innocent people?  Ah, preemptive warfare, you baffling minx...

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Then what's the hold-up?  This is a perfect learning opportunity!

[ RED RANGER looks down. ]

Luke just doesn't stick to his guns much, at least not in this episode.


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - MAINFRAME is watching the main viewscreen, which shows only an audio waveform, when TRASK approaches. ]

TRASK:
What's this?  Where's our video?

MAINFRAME:
I-- I don't know...  I can't seem to get a signal from the Rangers' cameras anymore.  I'll see what I can do.  For now, though, I built a sensor into Smog Rat's body so we could pick up the audio.

Dr. Bering switched their Hoverbird frequencies the previous day.  The villains won't have a connection to the Hoverbirds until episode 39 (but Mainframe won't put it to much use before he's destroyed).


[ INT. UPSTAIRS (HOUSE) - CHRIS hurries downstairs from the attic and, in passing, calls down the side hallway leading to Casey and Pete's rooms. ]

CHRIS:
Come on, guys!  We've got trouble!

[ CASEY pokes her head out from the bathroom door on the left.  Her hair is damp.  She puts something down in the bathroom and then emerges to follow CHRIS. ]

I guess I forgot to mention she was clothed.

[ PETE is ready at the bottom of the stairs. ]

PETE:
What is it, boy?  Trouble at the old mill?

A Lassie reference.

[ CHRIS and CASEY are now at the top of the stairs. ]

CHRIS:
There's a rat monster downtown.

[ PETE grimaces. ]

PETE:
Ugh.

Apparently Pete isn't fond of rats.  Seemed plausible for a chef used to living in the city.

[ Beside CHRIS and CASEY, MAGGIE opens her door and emerges, seemingly ready for action.  CHRIS and CASEY look at her, at which point she notices her left wrist is bare.  She slinks back sheepishly. ]

Old habits and all...  Plus I wanted to show that just because she'd retired as a Ranger, Maggie hadn't vanished from the series.


[ EXT. INDUSTRIAL AREA (Jetman #35) - SMOG RAT, a rat monster with a yellow and gray body and a gas tank for a chest, performs a flying hand strike.  (All further sentai footage is derived from Jetman #35 unless otherwise noted.) ]

Smog Rat Smog Rat

[ SMOG RAT strikes BLUE RANGER in the face, sending her flying. ]

Smog Rat strikes Blue Ranger Smog Rat strikes Blue Ranger Smog Rat strikes Blue Ranger Smog Rat strikes Blue Ranger

[ BLUE lands, rolling across the pavement.  She rises to a kneel and looks around while shielding her eyes, as if blinded. ]

Blue blinded Blue blinded Blue blinded Blue blinded

LISA (Blue Ranger, inwardly):
All right, lucky shot, punk.  I'll get the hang of this yet.

[ US footage - The blue-striped HOVERBIRD floats nearby. ]

In the sentai, Blue Ranger had been blinded earlier by Smog Rat's gas.  It seemed incontrovertible that she was blind in this footage, but I interpreted it as voluntary blindness as Lisa challenged herself to fight without her visor on.  I felt this effectively demonstrated Lisa's personality and was a sufficient contrast from the sentai, as I'd already had Maggie fighting blind (in a sense) in episode 26.

This Hoverbird shot takes the place of a sentai shot featuring blurry vision through Blue's visor as Smog Rat charged toward her.

[ SMOG RAT runs by BLUE RANGER and delivers a spinning hand strike in passing.  Sparks burst forth from BLUE. ]

Blue struck Blue struck Blue struck

SMOG RAT:
And take this!  (punches)

[ SMOG RAT then delivers another strike. ]

Blue struck Blue struck

SMOG RAT (cont'd):
And this!

[ Struck, BLUE sparks and falls back, but she then rises into a crouch and draws her SKY BLASTER. ]

Blue struck Blue struck Blue struck Blue struck Sky Blaster

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Sky Blaster!

[ BLUE stands and aims her blaster, but SMOG RAT is upon her, gnawing furiously on her wrist. ]

Sky Blaster Sky Blaster gnawed

[ BLUE struggles but ultimately drops her SKY BLASTER. ]

gnawed Sky Blaster falls

LISA (Blue Ranger, cont'd):
Get off--  (drops blaster)

[ The SKY BLASTER skids across the pavement. ]

lost blaster

[ Her wrist still in his mouth, SMOG RAT hurls BLUE RANGER into the air.  As she flips over him, however, she punches him with her other hand, freeing herself. ]

Blue flipped Blue flipped Blue flipped Blue punches back Blue punches back

[ We see through the Hoverbird's vision (US effect) as SMOG RAT rolls back.  He then rises, irritated, and charges forward again. ]

Smog Rat down Smog Rat down Smog Rat down Smog Rat down

SMOG RAT:
Hey, I wasn't done chewing on that!  (charges)

[ Initially looking down, BLUE turns her head and rises while unsheathing her TALON SWORD.  She then charges out of frame. ]

Talon Sword Talon Sword Talon Sword

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Talon Sword!  (charges)

In the sentai, Blue attacked Smog Rat and struggled against him as her new friend, the young girl from the medical school, watched with concern.


[ EXT. ROOFTOP - RED RANGER is standing on the ledge of a building, seemingly concentrating on something.   The BLACK, YELLOW, and PINK RANGERS land behind him, and he turns.  (Visible in PINK's wrist is her AVIMORPHER. ]

Luke is carefully watching Lisa's battle with his Hoverbird, as she suggested.

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Luke!  What are you doing here?  Lisa's in trouble!

LUKE (Red Ranger):
She asked to fight the monster by herself for a while.

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
And you let her?!

LUKE (Red Ranger):
W--  "Let" her?  She's a grown woman.  I'm not her boss.

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Well, yeah, but... you ARE our leader, right?

[ RED hesitates. ]

As I began writing this episode, it occurred to me that Luke might have trouble with his dual role as Lisa's team leader and boyfriend, so I incorporated that into the episode.


[ EXT. INDUSTRIAL AREA (sentai) - SMOG RAT delivers an upward strike to the sword-wielding BLUE RANGER, causing her to spark and fly back against a wall.  She lands on the concrete below and writhes a bit. ]

Blue struck Blue struck Blue struck Blue struck Blue struck

LISA (Blue Ranger):
(groans)  Visor on.

After having been fighting blind voluntarily all this time, Lisa figures this might not be the best approach.

[ SMOG RAT leaps up onto a nearby roof. ]

Smog Rat jumps onto roof

SMOG RAT:
Whee!

[ SMOG RAT lands on the roof.  In the foreground, still holding her sword, BLUE RANGER scans the ground searchingly. ]

Smog Rat on roof Smog Rat on roof Smog Rat on roof Smog Rat on roof

SMOG RAT (cont'd):
Try to get me, Blue Ranger!

LISA (Blue Ranger, inwardly):
Where is that blaster...?

Ha!  Of course, Blue remained blind in the sentai, as her condition wasn't voluntarily inflicted.  I just lucked out in being able to reinterpret it as Lisa looking for the Sky Blaster Smog Rat knocked out of her hand earlier.

[ SMOG RAT readies his hand and then thrusts it forward, revealing nozzles in his fingertips. ]

Smog Rat's hand Smog Rat's hand Smog Rat's hand

SMOG RAT:
Ohh, why didn't you say so?

[ Sparks erupt around BLUE RANGER, but she somersaults forward. ]

Blue blasted Blue blasted Blue blasted

In the sentai, Blue then stuck out her arm and summoned her Echo Blaster, but clearly those hadn't been introduced yet in Take Flight.

SMOG RAT (cont'd, off-screen):
My tanks are full of explosive gas!

[ SMOG RAT touches his face mischievously. ]

mischievous Smog Rat mischievous Smog Rat

SMOG RAT (cont'd):
Did I forget to mention?

[ A beam from above strikes SMOG RAT, causing to erupt in sparks.  He falls off the roof and lands with a thud on the concrete below. ]

Smog Rat blasted Smog Rat blasted Smog Rat blasted Smog Rat blasted Smog Rat falls Smog Rat falls Smog Rat falls Smog Rat falls

[ Switch to US footage - BLUE RANGER looks up. ]

[ The four RANGERS land on a different rooftop.  RED RANGER is holding his SKY BLASTER. ]

In the sentai, this blast was simply Blue's Echo Blaster beam after it had bounced around.  I've reinterpreted it as a blast from Luke as the others arrive.  (In the sentai, all five had arrived at the same time, and it's unknown why they let Blue fight alone for so long before rejoining her.)

[ BLUE RANGER calls up to the Rangers (off-screen) and picks up her fallen SKY BLASTER. ]

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Aww, come on, guys!  I was just getting warmed up!

[ RED coolly shakes his head. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
We do this together from now on.

[ Sentai - SMOG RAT rises with irritation. ]

Smog Rat irritated Smog Rat irritated Smog Rat irritated

SMOG RAT:
Jeez, this place is getting too crowded!

In the sentai, the Rangers regrouped at this point and blasted Smog Rat with the combined Echo Enforcer blast, prompting him to grow.  I have him run away instead.


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - TRASK and MAINFRAME are watching a waveform of SMOG RAT's grunts and remarks. ]

SMOG RAT (from console):
(grunts) Hey, stop following me!  Can't a rat destroy some stuff in peace?

How convenient for Take Flight that Mainframe's embedded sensor only picks up audio - no sentai required!

[ MAINFRAME turns to TRASK and asks: ]

MAINFRAME:
He said, "filled with explosive gas," right?  Why does that give me a bad feeling?

[ TRASK scowls. ]

Explosive contents previously cost Wing King (episode 3) and Flamion (episode 21) their lives.  It will also be Smog Rat's undoing in Take Flight, while it was not to his detriment in the sentai.


[ EXT. CITY PARK (sentai) - Now in a park downtown, SMOG RAT blows a stream of noxious black fumes from his mouth. ]

smoke attack smoke attack smoke attack smoke attack

In the sentai, this park scene took place prior to Blue Ranger's blinding.  (In that case, where did the replacement Sky Blasters come from after they were ruined in this scene, I'd like to know?)

[ Inundated by the black cloud, RED RANGER draws his SKY BLASTER, as shown in close-up. ]

smoke attack

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Sky Blasters!

[ The five RANGERS draw their SKY BLASTERS, but they immediately choke and gag as they are overwhelmed by the shroud of toxic smoke. ]

smoke attack smoke attack smoke attack smoke attack smoke attack smoke attack

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
I can't breathe!

LISA (Blue Ranger):
It burns!

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
What is this stuff?!

Despite the smoke's corrosive properties, I decided to defy realism and avoid having the Rangers' lungs be scarred horribly from this incident.

[ A scooter parked nearby quickly corrodes. ]

scooter corrodes scooter corrodes

[ In RED RANGER's hand, we see a gnarled, blackened SKY BLASTER.  RED inspects it, alarmed.  He then looks beyond, to the monster (off-screen). ]

Sky Blaster dissolved Sky Blaster dissolved Sky Blaster dissolved

LUKE (Red Ranger):
It dissolved our blasters!  (looks)  Huh?

The Rangers' original set of Sky Blasters have been ruined, having survived thirty previous episodes.

[ SMOG RAT titters gleefully and then extends his fist. ]

Smog Rat's hand blast Smog Rat's hand blast

SMOG RAT:
That's right!  Corrosive and explosive!

[ When SMOG RAT opens his hand (foreground), sparks suddenly erupt around the five RANGERS. ]

Smog Rat's hand blast Smog Rat's hand blast Smog Rat's hand blast

I cut a shot of the little girl's dove watching anxiously from a tree nearby.

[ SMOG RAT then leaps into the air with his hand extended.  He grabs RED RANGER in passing, and the pair fly back together. ]

Smog Rat vs. Red Ranger Smog Rat vs. Red Ranger Smog Rat vs. Red Ranger Smog Rat vs. Red Ranger

[ RED flips onto his back, while SMOG RAT lands with a cartwheel. ]

Smog Rat vs. Red Ranger Smog Rat vs. Red Ranger Smog Rat vs. Red Ranger

[ SMOG RAT lunges in for a strike. ]

Smog Rat vs. Red Ranger Smog Rat vs. Red Ranger

SMOG RAT:
Gotta be quicker than that!

[ In a flash, RED grabs SMOG RAT's wrist, draws his TALON SWORD with his other hand, and strikes the monster's arm with the blade.  Sparks erupt from SMOG RAT's arm, and an explosion (US effect) quickly travels up through the monster's arm cables and erupts from the tanks on his back. ]

Red Ranger's counterattack Red Ranger's counterattack Red Ranger's counterattack Red Ranger's counterattack Red Ranger's counterattack

In the sentai, Red actually severed Smog Rat's arm, causing him to retreat to his pond of origin; there, more of the toxic chemical which spawned him caused his arm to heal.

[ US footage - Smoking but still holding his TALON SWORD, RED RANGER flies back a great distance and rolls across the grass.  The other RANGERS help him up.  Once he rises, they look up. ]

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Luke!

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Jeez, man, are you okay?

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Yeah...  (all look up)

[ Sentai - From red energy, SMOG RAT materializes in giant form.  He then bends down menacingly. ]

Smog Rat grows Smog Rat grows Smog Rat grows Smog Rat grows

SMOG RAT:
(laughs)  Peekaboo!

[ RED RANGER calls into his wrist: ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Sky Flyers!


[ EXT. SKY (Jetman #11) - The RANGERS streak up to the FLYERS as beams of light. ]

Rangers beam up Rangers beam up


[ INT. SWALLOW COCKPIT (Jetman #21) - After situating herself, BLUE RANGER clasps her fist in her hand and then thrusts it forward. ]

Blue Ranger ready Blue Ranger ready Blue Ranger ready

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Swallow Five, online and ready!

Is this Lisa's first time flying the Swallowzord?

In the sentai, Blue Ranger was accompanied by her little friend, who served as her eyes during this battle.


[ EXT. DOWNTOWN (US footage) - A cyclist is biking down a road outside the city.  He screeches to a halt as SMOG RAT's giant foot steps nearby in passing, shaking the ground and leaving an indentation behind. ]

SMOG RAT (off-screen, with a booming voice):
Now, where's that delicious pollution smell coming from...?

This was my way of explaining how Smog Rat progressed from the park to the remote industrial area.  Had I kept the original sentai order of the battles, this wouldn't have been an issue.

[ The cyclist watches, dumbfounded. ]


[ EXT. SKY (Jetman #12) - The FLYERS fly overhead. ]

Sky Flyers Sky Flyers

LISA (voice-over):
Hey, he's leaving town!


[ INT. SWAN COCKPIT (Jetman #4) - PINK speaks while piloting. ]

Pink Ranger Pink Ranger

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
He won't get far!


[ EXT. SKY (Jetman #4) - The five FLYERS swoop down. ]

Flyers swoop down Flyers swoop down


[ EXT. REMOTE FACILITY - We zoom in on giant SMOG RAT from above as he prances back and forth near an industrial facility at the edge of the mountains. ]

Smog Rat prances Smog Rat prances Smog Rat prances Smog Rat prances

SMOG RAT:
Try and get me!  I'm over here!  Now I'm over here!  I'm a rat on the move!

In the sentai, Smog Rat was taunting Blue after she'd missed him once with the Wing Blade.  Her little copilot then guided her for a direct hit.


[ INT. SWALLOW COCKPIT (Jetman #4) - BLUE RANGER gestures and then pulls on her side lever. ]

Blue pulls lever Blue pulls lever Blue pulls lever

LISA (Blue Ranger):
You got it, buddy!  Wing Blade!


[ EXT. SKY - The WING BLADE detaches and flies down. ]

Wing Blade detaches Wing Blade detaches Wing Blade detaches Wing Blade detaches


[ EXT. REMOTE FACILITY - The WING BLADE flies toward SMOG RAT, slicing him with a burst of sparks as it flies by. ]

Smog Rat sliced Smog Rat sliced Smog Rat sliced Smog Rat sliced Smog Rat sliced


[ INT. HAWK COCKPIT - RED RANGER looks up to his right and gives a thumbs-up.  He then looks ahead once more. ]

Red kudos Red kudos Red kudos

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Nice job!  (looks ahead)  Now...


[ EXT. SKY (Jetman #5) - The FLYERS streak into the sky. ]

Flyers streak into the sky

LUKE (voice-over, cont'd):
Let's try some teamwork!

[ Switch to Jetman #6 - The FLYERS transform, and the MEGAZORD assembles. ]

Condor and Swan transform Condor and Swan transform Owl and Swallow transform Owl and Swallow transform Hawk transforms Hawk transforms Megazord assembles Megazord assembles Megazord assembles Megazord assembles Megazord assembles Megazord assembles Megazord assembles Megazord assembles


[ EXT. REMOTE FACILITY (Jetman #35) - SMOG RAT reacts as the MEGAZORD lands in front of him. ]

Megazord lands Megazord lands Megazord lands

SMOG RAT:
What took you so long?

This is a joke on the amount of time giant monsters would have to spend waiting for Megazords to assemble.


[ INT. MEGAZORD COCKPIT (Jetman #21) - We zoom in on the BLUE RANGER as she clenches her fist. ]

Blue is ebullient Blue is ebullient

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Oh, man, this is awesome!

I have to use cockpit footage from other episodes during this fight because the little girl was present in the footage from this episode.


I cut a brief use of the Aero Glaive (the Megazord's as yet unused polearm weapon) just because there seemed little need to introduce a new weapon for this battle.  It was also arguably a bit more imitable than a sword battle, as children have more sticks and poles at their disposal than swords and flails.

[ EXT. REMOTE FACILITY - The MEGAZORD readies its flail weapon, which it then throws. ]

flail flail

[ The flail catches on SMOG RAT, and he's jerked into the air. ]

flail flail

SMOG RAT:
Hey, what's the big i-- (jerked) whoooaa!

[ SMOG RAT flies over the MEGAZORD.  As he crashes to the ground, the flail is released.  He rises agitatedly. ]

Smog Rat thrown Smog Rat thrown Smog Rat thrown

SMOG RAT (cont'd):
Hey, come on!  I'm delicate!


[ INT. MEGAZORD COCKPIT (Jetman #6) - We zoom in on RED RANGER as he pumps his fist and presses his cockpit button (prior to which BLUE RANGER can be seen swinging her fist in a celebratory gesture). ]

Phoenix Blade summon Phoenix Blade summon

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Yeah?  That's good news for us!  Phoenix Blade!

[ The Phoenix Blade appears in RED's display.  He thrusts his joystick forward. ]

Phoenix Blade summon Phoenix Blade summon


[ EXT. REMOTE FACILITY - The MEGAZORD brandishes its PHOENIX BLADE. ]

Phoenix Blade Phoenix Blade Phoenix Blade

[ SMOG RAT blows black smoke from his mouth. ]

Smog Rat's smoke

[ The MEGAZORD recoils from the smoke and soon finds the end of its PHOENIX BLADE melted away. ]

Phoenix Blade melted Phoenix Blade melted Phoenix Blade melted Phoenix Blade melted Phoenix Blade melted

This is the first time the Phoenix Blade has been ruined in Take Flight (though not the first in Jetman).  I regarded it as a serious setback not immediately recovered from.  Of course, with a Quad Cannon at one's disposal, I suppose it's a less disastrous turn of events.


[ INT. MEGAZORD COCKPIT (Jetman #44) - The RANGERS startle.  YELLOW appears forlorn. ]

Rangers startled Rangers startled

RANGERS (collectively):
What...?

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
It's melted!


[ INT. LAB - DR. BERING types a command into the keyboard. ]

DR. BERING (inwardly):
Looks like you could use some help, Rangers.


[ EXT. REMOTE FACILITY - SMOG RAT issues an utterance and then leaps. ]

Smog Rat vs. Megazord Smog Rat vs. Megazord

SMOG RAT:
Watch this!

[ SMOG RAT performs various leaps and bounds around the MEGAZORD in quick succession as the robot continues to grip its ruined sword. ]

Smog Rat vs. Megazord Smog Rat vs. Megazord Smog Rat vs. Megazord Smog Rat vs. Megazord Smog Rat vs. Megazord

[ Finally, SMOG RAT performs a leaping strike.  Landing, he swats the MEGAZORD twice, causing sparks to burst from its chest. ]

Smog Rat vs. Megazord Smog Rat vs. Megazord Smog Rat vs. Megazord Smog Rat vs. Megazord Smog Rat vs. Megazord

[ The MEGAZORD staggers back, continuing to brandish its melted PHOENIX BLADE. ]

Smog Rat vs. Megazord Smog Rat vs. Megazord


[ INT. MEGAZORD COCKPIT (US footage) - As the RANGERS are residually jostled, PINK RANGER nearly rises in alarm, and BLACK RANGER makes a quip to RED RANGER.  DR. BERING's voice then chimes in. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger, to Red):
Hey, you think we might wanna use the Battlezord?

Sometimes it was difficult to explain why the Rangers waited so long to call in their supplemental Zords.

DR. BERING (from controls):
Already on the way, Rangers!


[ EXT. REMOTE FACILITY - The BATTLEZORD runs in at high speed and then performs a leaping punch (shown twice). ]

Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks

[ Punched in the face, SMOG RAT rolls back.  As he rises, the BATTLEZORD runs up and delivers a turning punch to his face.  It follows with a kick to the stomach and a barrage of punches. ]

Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks

I cut a few groin punches which followed.

[ Finally, the BATTLEZORD jumps and kicks SMOG RAT in the face (shown twice), sending the monster flying through the air. ]

Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks

[ SMOG RAT lands some distance away, and the BATTLEZORD arrives in the foreground.  The MEGAZORD stands ready nearby as the BATTLEZORD hops gingerly from foot to foot. ]

Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks Battlezord attacks


[ INT. MEGAZORD COCKPIT (US footage) - RED RANGER turns back to BLUE.  She nods and faces her controls. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Lisa, you want to do the honors?

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Absolutely!  Quad Cannon!


[ EXT. REMOTE FACILITY - The BATTLEZORD leaps into the air. ]

Battlezord transforms Battlezord transforms


[ EXT. ANYWHERE - The BATTLEZORD transforms into the QUAD CANNON and descends to the MEGAZORD. ]

Battlezord transforms Battlezord transforms Battlezord transforms Battlezord transforms Quad Cannon to Megazord Quad Cannon to Megazord

[ We zoom in on the MEGAZORD as it holds the QUAD CANNON. ]

Megazord with Quad Cannon Megazord with Quad Cannon

[ We then zoom in on SMOG RAT as he reacts. ]

Smog Rat reacts Smog Rat reacts Smog Rat reacts

SMOG RAT:
Hey, come on!  Put that thing away!

[ The QUAD CANNON fires.  Its energy blasts fly in unison and obliterate SMOG RAT. ]

Quad Cannon blast Quad Cannon blast Quad Cannon blast Quad Cannon blast Quad Cannon blast Smog Rat destroyed Smog Rat destroyed Smog Rat destroyed Smog Rat destroyed Smog Rat destroyed Smog Rat destroyed


[ EXT. REMOTE FACILITY (Jetman #31) - Flames burn in the foreground as the MEGAZORD holds the QUAD CANNON victoriously. ]

Jetman #35 lacked a victory pose; rather, the little girl was shown fainting in the cockpit after the Rangers' victory.

Megazord victorious Megazord victorious Megazord victorious


[ Break. ]


[ INT. LISA'S APARTMENT (LATE AFTERNOON) - LISA sits by the window wearing somewhat formal clothes.  It is not yet sunset outside.  LISA waits anxiously for a moment before raising her MORPHER near her mouth and speaking: ]

LISA:
Call Lisa.

Lisa now understands a bit more of why she had a time-traveling duplicate like the other Rangers.  And now that she has a targeted call function, she tries giving her future self a call.  This conversation will be shown from future-Lisa's perspective in episode 37.

[ LISA watches excitedly as a small blue indicator pulses in the upper-right hand corner of the display.  It then remains solid blue. ]

[ Lisa's voice, designated here as LISA 2, replies from the MORPHER: ]

LISA 2 (from Morpher):
Hey.

[ LISA grins.  She presses the MORPHER's lower talk button as she speaks (and each subsequent time she speaks). ]

LISA:
Hey.

LISA 2 (from Morpher):
So, congratulations, Blue Ranger.

LISA:
(laughs)  Thanks.

LISA 2 (from Morpher):
I guess things are starting to make a little more sense...?

LISA:
A little...  (ponders)  So, I guess I went kinda overboard trying to prove myself today, huh?

LISA 2 (from Morpher, somewhat amusedly):
Kinda.  Just remember you're part of a team now.  (more cheerfully) You'll do fine... I promise.

[ LISA smiles softly.  Just then, there is a knock at her door. ]

LISA:
Oh, I gotta go.  Man, I wish I knew what happened to you guys.

LISA 2 (from Morpher):
Ehh, you'll find out soon enough.  Tell Luke I said hi.

LISA (with a smirk):
Very funny.

Future-Lisa may have told Lisa in their previous conversation that she should keep her knowledge of the future a secret.

[ LISA rises and answers the door.  LUKE stands outside in somewhat formal clothes, holding a hymnal (compare with episode 6). ]

Luke and Lisa are going to church together (Luke goes on Sunday evenings due to his work schedule, though he hasn't been very strict on the "work" part of the equation).  Whether this is a form of Luke trying to turn Lisa into something she isn't (see episode 38) is open for interpretation.

LISA (cheerfully):
Hi!

LUKE (seriously):
Hey, um, Lisa...  About earlier...  I, uh... I hope I wasn't too... um...

[ LISA smiles coyly. ]

LISA:
Too what?

LUKE:
I just don't want things to get awkward between us when I have to... give orders.

LISA:
Orders like, "Hey, Lisa, maybe we should work as a team...?"

LUKE (nodding):
Nice example.

LISA:
Don't worry about it.  I got carried away.  I could probably use some discipline.

[ LISA frowns awkwardly to herself for a moment, but it goes unnoticed by LUKE. ]

Never mind what Lisa was thinking there.

LUKE (more at ease):
Okay, good.  So, um... shall we go?  Am I too early?

[ LISA grabs his arm and shakes him with mock intensity. ]

LISA:
Good grief, man!  Take charge already!  Say, "I'm here.  Let's go."

A prelude to Lisa's attempts to change Luke (see episode 38).

[ She exits, closing her door behind her, and they begin to walk down the hall. ]

LUKE:
Okay, okay... whatever you say.

[ LISA groans as they walk out of frame.  Fade to black. ]