Spoiler Warning: The commentary found here contains spoilers for this episode; future spoilers are censored out.

POWER RANGERS TAKE FLIGHT - Season 2

Episode 2: "Welcome to Windvale, part 2"

This episode was completed on July 22, 2008 (two and a half months after season 1 was completed), and released on July 7, 2009.

Writer:  Joe Rovang

[ This episode contains no sentai footage, but all sentai comparisons refer to Liveman. ]

In Liveman #1, three top students from Academia leave with a superiority complex, first killing two classmates.  Two years later, the villainous trio returns, having joined the evil organization known as Volt.  Three of their former classmates become Rangers thanks to a project pioneered by their slain comrades and completed by their professor, who dies in the latest attack.  Much later, starting with Liveman #28 and 29, the Ranger trio is joined by two new Rangers, Black and Green, who are actually the younger brothers of the trio's slain classmates.


This scene was meant to immediately follow a recap from episode 1, in which Slade declares there's no way he's going to a boarding school.

[ INT. BALLARD RESIDENCE, DINING ROOM - MRS. BALLARD, a thick-framed woman in her early forties, stalks past the dining room table, where SLADE is draped lazily in a chair.  The table is covered with mail, bills, and various personal items, suggesting the table hasn't been used for meals in some time.  MRS. BALLARD is carrying a filthy-handed male toddler, HENLEY, toward the kitchen.  She wears a wedding ring.  Their house appears slightly run-down. ]

Continuing from the previous episode, this scene takes place on Saturday, August 28, 1993.  (As indicated in the previous episode, this is the same day Rita was released in Zordon's universe.)

Henley is an old English name meaning "high meadow," to fit with the topographical theme of his older brothers' names.

It isn't revealed where Mr. Ballard is, but he and Mrs. Ballard are apparently still married.

MRS. BALLARD:
Oh yes you are!

[ SLADE is speechless, apparently frustrated by efforts to persuade his mother otherwise. ]

SLADE:
... I... I don't believe this.

[ SLADE briefly glances toward LANDON, who is silently tossing a foam football into the air and catching it from a living room chair nearby. ]

I thought Landon's casual ball-tossing was an interesting contrast to Slade's outrage.  It seems likely that twins who grow up together often mold themselves in contrast to their siblings, perhaps out of an unconscious desire to be unique.

SLADE (cont'd):
You just get to ship us off wherever you want?  This is so unfair!

Slade arguably sounds a bit whiny when he's at home.

[ MRS. BALLARD calls out from the kitchen, into which we can't see from this angle. ]

MRS. BALLARD (from the kitchen):
Sorry, kiddo.  When you start a family, then you can decide what's best for your kids.

[ SLADE sighs exasperatedly. ]

MRS. BALLARD (from the kitchen, cont'd):
Besides, did you know we tried to get you two into a private school when you were younger?

LANDON (still tossing his football):
I didn't know that.

MRS. BALLARD (from the kitchen):
We tried so hard, but we just couldn't afford it.  And there wasn't a scholarship to be found.

To add to Mrs. Ballard's motive for insisting they attend Windvale.

[ MRS. BALLARD emerges from the kitchen and waves Henley's clothes in her hand as if to emphasize her point. ]

MRS. BALLARD (cont'd):
So I don't want to hear about unfairness.  Not being able to get you into a safer school without moving out of our home - that was unfair.  Finally getting this kind of a gift...  Well, all I can tell you is you'd better not blow an opportunity like this!

We don't know the specifics of the Ballards' life in their former town, but apparently their school was considered unsafe.  If they live in Spring Valley now, it's curious to think that they moved into a crime-ridden city to get into a safer school; what was the previous one like??

[ A seemingly nude HENLEY, mostly obscured by the dining table and its piles, dashes past MRS. BALLARD with a giggle.  She chases after him. ]

Alert the indecency police!

MRS. BALLARD:
Henley, get back here!

[ SLADE sighs and rolls out of his chair into a standing position.  He approaches LANDON, who continues to toss his football. ]

LANDON:
I hope this boarding school has girls.

Landon likes girls' attention.


[ Wipe to EXT. EAST HALL - We see an establishment shot of a two-story dormitory building.  It has two parallel wings with a courtyard between them, and connected with a rear portion (such that the building is a square U shape).  Each wing has a total of ten rooms per floor (five facing either side), for a total of forty rooms in all.  A sign out front reads, "East Hall." ]

I designed the dorm halls in Google Sketchup before writing this episode.  I had to scrap my first version because it had inner dorm rooms that lacked windows.  My second version added the courtyard to give everybody a window, but it had double the necessary number of rooms.  The third version was just right.

The following scene takes place on Friday, September 3, 1993.  This gives the new arrivals three days to settle in before classes begin on Monday.  Incidentally, beyond the 29 freshmen and five Ranger teens, there are twelve other new students at Windvale (most of them international students); they include Elisa, Jake, Kainda, Nate, Sandi, Lathro, Raul, Tulia, Werner, Xiaoxia, Jack, and Ranjan.

Though the student body of Windvale Academy currently consists of 121 students, the dorm halls house only 101 students; the other twenty are day students.  The day students include Brandon, Brian, Carol, Clayton, Max, Natalie, Daisy, Edward, Richie, Trip, Grant, Mitch, Shawn, Terrence, Cameron, Lea, Lucy, Melody, Tiffany, and Trevor.

I began creating the student body by generating placeholder student records in a FileMaker Pro database and assigning their genders, races, and other characteristics by random algorithms matching data I'd looked up on boarding school student body demographics.  I then assigned names to match their ethnicities and nationalities.

Once the student body was all set, I assigned the boarding students to rooms in such a way to minimize single-occupant rooms.  Actually, I started by assigning rooms for the previous school year, then moved them around to adjust for the departure of graduates and other students, the arrival of freshmen and other students, the moving of sections by their new grades, and a few arbitrary roommate clashes.  This was how I arrived at the current room assignments.  Why put so much effort into these details?  Just in case.


[ Dissolve to INT. TRINI AND APRIL'S ROOM - APRIL is unpacking her belongings in a smallish dorm room (though no smaller than 120 square feet).  Of the room's two beds, APRIL has picked the one on the left.  Her belongings include a CD player and CDs, as well as assorted clothes and swimming gear.  She is presently wearing smart casual attire, but a navy blue school uniform consisting of a navy blazer and plaid skirt (complete with pockets) hangs on the wall. ]

Of course, not all private schools require uniforms, but the idea seemed appealing for Windvale.

[ Though not shown in great detail, the blazer bears a small embroidered crest, the emblem of Windvale.  This crest consists of a ring (bearing "Windvale Academy" and "Est. 1907") around a shield bordered with laurel leaves.  The shield bears four quadrants: in the upper left are two open books; in the upper right is a fleur-de-lis (a stylized lily design); in the lower left is the emblem representing the villains in Liveman (see Liveman #1); in the lower right is a torch.  A banner under the shield reads, "Transire suum pectus mundoque potiri." ]

Laurel leaves can symbolize many things, but commonly they represent peace or accomplishment.  The books symbolize knowledge; there are two to represent the two halls on campus.  The fleur-de-lis here represents purity, but it may be associated with France, the Christian Trinity, or the Virgin Mary in other contexts.  The so-called villains' emblem represents the Warrior, the school's mascot which was inspired by legends of Rordru.  The torch represents enlightenment passed to others.  The Latin motto can be translated as, "To rise above oneself and grasp the world," or more interestingly, "To transcend one's humanity and become master of the universe."

[ With several bags in hand, TRINI, dressed in smart casual attire (with pants instead of a skirt), enters through the open door (which bears the number 215).  APRIL turns with a wide smile.  (Though not much of it may be seen here, this wing consists of rooms 216 through 220 on the opposite side, and rooms 211 through 215 on April and Trini's side, with 220 opposite 215.  A stairwell and showers are around the left corner outside their room, and taking a U-turn to the left out of April and Trini's room would lead one down a hallway leading to the parallel boys' wing.) ]

Within each dorm hall, the left wing is the girls' wing (looking down on the building as though it's a square U shape), and the boys are on the right.  The upper floor (room numbers in the 200s) is reserved for upperclassmen (seniors on the left, juniors on the right), while the lower floor (room numbers in the 100s) is for lowerclassmen (sophomores on the left, freshmen on the right).  In certain cases, students of mixed grades are allowed to room together (ideally no student would room alone), so long as they remain on the proper floor and wing.

APRIL:
Hey!  Trini!

[ APRIL approaches with arms out to hug TRINI, but her hands are clearly full.  APRIL takes a bag from her instead. ]

APRIL (cont'd):
When I saw you were my roommate, I couldn't believe it!

[ APRIL places the bag on the unoccupied right bed, and TRINI follows suit. ]

APRIL (cont'd):
I was talking to Michelle across the hall...  She's Sophie's roommate, but she's in our class even though she's on the seniors' side...  Anyway, she was saying they never put two new students in a room together.  Well, at least they didn't used to, but since the school's under new ownership and has a new headmaster, nobody really knows what to expect.  Remember Brad, that kid who won the flying competition?  They've got him in a room all by himself.  Poor guy.  Do you mind being on this side of the room?  I can switch with you if you want...

Michelle is an example of a student rooming with someone not in her grade: Sophie is a senior, and Michelle is a junior.

Several guidelines on room assignment have been violated to ensure the Ranger teens some privacy; it wouldn't have worked out very well to have a Ranger rooming with a non-Ranger.  Brad is left alone in a room because there is an odd number of Rangers, but he doesn't mind, as revealed below.

April calls Brad a "kid."

[ TRINI blinks coolly. ]

TRINI:
It's fine.

[ In the distance down the hall, a male voice (LANDON's) can be heard indistinctly.  It grows progressively closer over time. ]

Landon is introducing himself to all the girls on his floor.

APRIL (blushing):
Sorry, I'm talking your ear off, aren't I?  I'm just so excited to be here.  Windvale's such a prestigious school...  It's gonna look so good on my college applications.  I was worried about getting accepted to the ones I was interested in, but now...!  I mean, it's froggin' Windvale Academy!

[ TRINI studies APRIL. ]

TRINI:
... Did you just say "froggin'?"

[ APRIL laughs self-consciously. ]

APRIL:
Yeah.  My parents wouldn't even let me say the words that people say when they're trying not to swear.

In need of a minced oath (the term for April's faux-expletives), I made up "froggin'," only to learn afterwards that it was already in use by others for the same purpose.

April's parents might be a tad overbearing, some might say.

[ TRINI chuckles. ]

TRINI:
"Froggin'."  It's not bad.

[ APRIL sits on her own bed. ]

APRIL:
What made you come here?  I mean, if you don't mind my asking...

[ TRINI sits on her own bed as well. ]

TRINI:
Well, it's kind of a long story, but my dad --

I had not thought up Trini's reason for attending at this point, but I was sure it would involve her dad.

[ There is a knock on the door (which remains open).  APRIL and TRINI turn to find LANDON in the doorway looking nonchalant.  He is dressed in casual clothes with a unique flair by 1993's fashion standards.  Prominent in his outfit is the color green. ]

LANDON:
Hello, ladies.  Sorry to interrupt.  I just --  (drops his suave demeanor) Oh, hey, I know you.  We all won that pentathlon together.

I found it entertaining to see Landon drop his suave act around people he already knew.

[ APRIL gives a bashful little wave as she rises from her bed. ]

APRIL:
Hi.  April.

LANDON:
Right, April.  Nice to see you again.  And...

Landon apparently didn't remember either of their names.

[ TRINI stands.  She doesn't appear especially amused. ]

TRINI:
Trini.  Which one are you?

Ouch.  Trini seems a bit antagonistic here, but she really isn't all that amused by Landon's antics.

[ LANDON chuckles coolly. ]

LANDON:
I'm Landon.  Here's how you can tell us apart... I'm the good-looking one.

[ APRIL smirks bashfully. ]

April, on the other hand, seems quite amused at times.

LANDON (cont'd):
I'm just messing around.  Slade's got some good qualities too.  (inwardly, with mock passion)  He's just got to!

[ APRIL giggles. ]

LISA (off-screen):
Mister Ballard...

[ LANDON straightens to face LISA, who has arrived at the doorway as well, from the direction of the stairwell. ]

LANDON:
Yes, Ms. Ward.  You're looking lovely today, by the way.

Landon tries to charm authority figures, which sometimes helps him get out of trouble.  Could this be seen as related to his power of evasion which helped him win the dodgeball event?

LISA (with a hint of an eye roll):
Charming, Landon.  I trust you've read the school handbook already.

LANDON:
Oh, yes ma'am.  Cover to cover.

LISA:
So I'm sure you're familiar with the rule on co-ed visitors.

LANDON:
I sure am, Ms. Ward.  That's why I wouldn't want to go in without the dorm counselor being notified.  (looks at his feet)

Boys aren't allowed in girls' rooms, or vice-versa, without a dorm counselor being notified.  Only after I wrote this episode did I decide who the dorm counselors would be.  Ms. Smalls will appear in this role in episode xx, and Mr. Dowley in episode xx.

[ LISA looks down as well.  We see that LANDON has artfully positioned his feet such that his shoes just barely avoid crossing over onto the carpeting of the girls' room.  LISA looks back up at him skeptically. ]

Landon also stays out of trouble (sometimes) by following the letter of the law, if not the spirit.

LISA:
Right.  Be sure you study the part on the dress code too.

[ She turns to leave. ]

LANDON:
Yes ma'am!  I'll have it memorized by the time it goes into effect on Monday morning!

He's breaking the dress code rules, aware that they technically don't go into effect until the school year starts on Monday.

LISA (grumbling as she exits):
Uh huh.  And don't call me ma'am.

At age 22 (biologically age 23 after reliving a year last season), Lisa is averse to being called "ma'am."  She'll have to get used to it working here, though.

[ LANDON bows with a flourish in her direction (off-screen). ]

LANDON:
Yes milady.

[ APRIL giggles once more.  TRINI rolls her eyes and begins unpacking. ]


[ Dissolve to INT. GYMNASIUM - Seated in bleachers is the relatively small student body of Windvale Academy (presently a total of 121 students).  The students are arranged in four groups, from freshman on the left, to sophomores and juniors in the middle, and seniors on the right.  All are in uniforms, with boys in navy slacks and girls in plaid skirts (though a few girls, including TRINI, wear slacks instead).  Common to both genders are dress shirts and ties, in addition to the standard navy blazers.  Each student also has a standard navy backpack bearing the school's crest. ]

Judging from various schools' policies listed online, it appears most will allow girls to wear slacks instead of skirts if they choose.

[ Standing along the far side of the gymnasium are sixteen assorted teachers and staff (though they aren't the focus of this scene).  Some of the faculty appear free-spirited or artistic; they include MRS. BRADY, MR. ECKLES, MR. GRANT, MS. HORTON, and MR. WRIGHT.  The more straight-laced group includes MR. DOWLEY, MR. FINCH, DR. GREEN (female), MRS. KEY, MS. ROSALES, MS. SMALLS, DR. SPENCER (male), MRS. SWEENEY, MS. WATSON, and MR. YANG.  Also among them is ERIN, an attractive young woman in her early twenties.  (Those wearing wedding rings include Mr. Finch, Mr. Grant, Dr. Green, Mr. Yang, and the women titled "Mrs.") ]

Mrs. Brady teaches art; Mr. Eckles, history (and boys' dorm counselor for West Hall); Mr. Grant, science; Ms. Horton, performing arts; Mr. Wright, music; Mr. Dowley, math (and boys' dorm counselor for East Hall); Dr. Green, science; Mrs. Key, English; Ms. Rosales, ESL; Ms. Smalls, English (and girls' dorm counselor for East Hall); Dr. Spencer, English; Mrs. Sweeney, math; and Ms. Watson, Spanish.  Mr. Finch is the dean of students, while Mr. Yang is the dean of academics.  Erin is solely the girls' dorm counselor for West Hall.

Staff members not present include business manager Ms. Joyner; dean of admissions Ms. Regan; dean of college counseling Mrs. Collinsworth; IT director Mr. Rowe; librarians Ms. Page and Mrs. Singleton; nurse Ms. Grayson; kitchen staff Mrs. Tull, Mr. Harrison, and Mrs. Ewing; custodians Mr. Mathis and Mr. Anders; and office staff Mrs. Blake, Ms. Costello, and Mrs. Ryan.

I based Windvale's faculty on the list of faculty members and their job titles, as found on the websites of various private schools with student bodies of a similar size to Windvale's.  I then threw in some names and assigned a few of them as dorm counselors (the unmarried ones, that is).

[ Seated beside SLADE among the juniors, LANDON tugs at his collar and tie. ]

LANDON:
Oh my god, this thing is so itchy!  I can't stand it!

[ SLADE doesn't reply.  LANDON notices that SLADE's tie is quite loose, and he promptly loosens his own tie in kind. ]

Landon seems to look up to Slade.  In fact, Slade is the big brother, albeit only by a few minutes.  I borrowed this relationship from Liveman, wherein Black was a surrogate big brother to Green, as I thought a particular sentai shot of the Rhino Zord eagerly following behind the Bison Zord gave this impression.

[ Seated beside TRINI, APRIL notices TRINI's slacks, as contrasted with APRIL's standard plaid skirt. ]

APRIL:
Went with the slacks?

TRINI (with a smirk):
Yeah, family tradition.  We all hate skirts.

I threw in this facet of Trini's character to offer some sort of explanation as to why neither she nor her MMPR counterparts had skirts as Yellow Ranger even when their female teammates did (apparently her great-grandmother rejected skirts and dresses and carried this preference down to the modern Trinis).  Even without delving into these specifics, it seemed to be a satisfying visual parallel for April to be the only team member in a skirt in both Ranger suit and school uniform.

[ In the center of the gymnasium, JON approaches a microphone.  Some distance away stands LISA, in her normal professional attire.  JON speaks into the microphone, his voice amplified through the gym. ]

JON:
Good morning!  I'd like to welcome you all to the start of a new year here at Windvale Academy!

[ The student body applauds modestly. ]

Below I will list points of interest about the various students, including nation of origin for international students.  This may seem like a high number of international students (37 out of 121), but this ratio is not especially uncommon according to my research on boarding schools this size.

Incidentally, I chose to name all of the students in the script from their first appearance because the size of the school meant the same peers would continue to reappear in the Ranger teens' classes in future episodes.  In theory, I suppose I could have named just the juniors and referred to the other grades in generic terms, but I wasn't sure what role the other grades might play in future episodes (sporting events for instance).  This approach seemed safer than to risk later introducing characters who were absent from this initial gathering, though it does pose an interesting casting challenge (season 1 called for about fifty named supporting characters over the entire season, while just the premiere of season 2 calls for over 130).

[ JON faces the seniors.  Most are age 17, while a few are barely 18.  The girls include BAN, BETH, KATIE, LAURA, LEA, LUCY, MELODY, SOPHIE, TIFFANY, and ZORA.  The boys include ALEKSY, BILLY, BRYCE, CAMERON, CHAD, DENIS, ERIC, HAGAN, JACK, JESSE, KIYOSHI, NOEL, RANJAN, RUFUS, TREVOR, and VANCE. ]

Zora's little brother is Caleb, a sophomore.  Aleksy is from Poland, Billy is from South Korea, Chad is from England, Denis is from Canada, Hagan is from Germany, and Ranjan is from Nepal.  Jack and Ranjan are new to Windvale.

JON (cont'd):
Good morning, class of 1994!

[ The seniors applaud and cheer. ]

[ JON turns to the juniors.  Most are 16, while some are barely 17.  The girls include AMBER, APRIL, DOROTHY, GABRIELA, GIGI, KASIA, LARISSA, MICHELLE, NIKKI, TIA, TRINI, TULIA, and XIAOXIA.  The boys include ANDREW, BRAD, CONWAY, DEXTER, DILLON, GRANT, GUNNAR, JUSTIN, KEN, LANDON, LATHRO, LUIS, MITCH, RAUL, RYAN, SHAWN, SHIRO, SLADE, TERRENCE, and WERNER. ]

Andrew's little sister is May, a freshman.  Lathro is from Bhutan, Gabriela and Werner are from South Africa, Gunnar is from Norway, Kasia is from Croatia, Ken is from Japan, Raul is from Mexico, Tulia is from Samoa (known at the time as Western Samoa), and Xiaoxia is from China.  Shiro skipped a grade at some point and is younger than the rest.  Lathro, Raul, Tulia, Werner, and Xiaoxia are new to Windvale.

JON (cont'd):
Good morning, class of 1995!

[ The juniors respond more loudly than the seniors. ]

[ JON turns to the sophomores.  Most are 15, with some 16.  The girls include ANA, ANGELA, CANDICE, DAISY, DANA, ELISA, JENNIFER, KAINDA, LILY, MEGAN, NICOLE, NIKA, TARA, and YASMIN.  The boys include ADAM, CALEB, CARLOS, EDWARD, ISAAC, JAKE, JEFFREY, JULIO, LAMAR, MALIK, NATE, REGGIE, RICHIE, RICK, SANDI, TED, TIM, TRIP, and TYLER. ]

Caleb's big sister is Zora, a senior.  Ana is from Paraguay, Dana is from Canada, Elisa is from Finland, Kainda is from Kenya, Malik is from Pakistan, Nate is from England, Nicole is from New Zealand, Nika is from Russia, Sandi is from Algeria, and Ted is from Canada.  Elisa, Jake, Kainda, Nate, and Sandi are new to Windvale.

JON (cont'd):
Good morning, class of 1996!

[ The sophomores respond nearly as loudly. ]

[ JON turns to the freshman.  Most are 14, but some are 15.  The girls include ALISHA, AMY, CAROL, CATHERINE, EVA, GRACE, MANDY, MAY, NATALIE, RACHEL, RASHA, and RITA.  The boys include ADEEL, ANTHONY, BRANDON, BRIAN, CLAYTON, DAVID, FARID, HAL, HARRY, HECTOR, HETAL, JOEY, MAX, MICHAEL, NICK, SIRI, and VAUGN. ]

May's big brother is Andrew, a junior.  Alisha and Hal are fraternal twins to each other.  Farid is from Iran, Hector is from Argentina, Hetal is from India, Mandy is from Canada, Rachel is from Ireland, Rasha is from Saudi Arabia, Rita is from Spain (no relation to Rita Repulsa), and Siri is from Laos.  No comment on Joey.

JON (cont'd):
And WELCOME, class of 1997!

1997 is the same graduating class shared by Zordon's Ranger teens in the first several seasons of Power Rangers.

[ The freshman respond loudly as well, their voices shriller than the rest. ]

[ Once the students begin to settle down, JON resumes. ]

JON (cont'd):
I know many of you have been here for some time...

[ As JON continues, we see successive shots of TRINI, BRAD, APRIL, SLADE, and LANDON. ]

JON (cont'd, off-camera):
And others are new to campus.  But one thing most of you have in common is...

[ We return to JON. ]

JON (cont'd):
...you have no idea who I am!

Jon seems to have a bit of a sense of humor, at least in this role.

[ A small collection of students chuckle in the bleachers. ]

JON (cont'd):
Well, my name is Mr. Newgard, and somebody thought it would be a good idea to make me headmaster.  But don't worry, this is the same old Windvale.  Your education and growth are our top priority, and if there's anything we can do to make your stay here more productive, don't hesitate to speak with us.  (looks to Lisa)  To that end, let me introduce my administrative assistant, Ms. Lisa Ward...

Jon is apparently trying to sound self-effacing with the remark about someone making him headmaster, but it's more than a joke: he was nominated for this position by General Taggart.

[ LISA approaches and waves to the student body as they applaud politely. ]

JON (cont'd):
And our new school counselor...

[ From one of the entrances emerges a somewhat bashful MAGGIE, dressed in professional attire.  She still does not wear an AviMorpher. ]

JON (cont'd, off-screen):
Ms. Maggie Lu!

It's uncertain how much Maggie knows about the nature of her un-hiring from McCloud Middle and her subsequent invitation to Windvale.

It might seem like a long commute between Windvale and Spring Valley, but I assumed Dr. Bering could teleport them on a daily basis.

[ MAGGIE waves politely to further applause.  She and LISA exchange a smile.  Suddenly, LISA notices her blinking AVIMORPHER, prompting her to catch JON's eye.  He nods in response. ]

They've apparently been waiting for Tomato King's next attack once the Ranger teens were in place at Windvale.  It isn't revealed here whether Lisa's AviMorpher remains tuned in to her old Hoverbird at all times, as it was last season, or whether Dr. Bering simply sent Lisa an alert.

JON (cont'd, somewhat hurriedly):
And so, in conclusion, welcome to Windvale!  Dismissed!

[ MAGGIE, LISA, and JON exit the gymnasium as the student body begins to rise. ]

[ In the stands, LANDON remarks to SLADE: ]

LANDON:
Jeez, that was kind of abrupt.  Dude needs to work on his outros.

[ SLADE grunts noncommittally. ]


[ EXT. GYMNASIUM - As the students are filing out of the gym beneath a covered walkway, TRINI and APRIL are walking together when APRIL catches sight of BRAD shuffling through the crowd nearby.  She calls out to him. ]

APRIL:
Brad!

[ BRAD seems not to hear her. ]

APRIL (more loudly, with a smile):
Bradley Ito!

[ BRAD notices her, and the trio meets up. ]

APRIL (cont'd):
Hey, are you going crazy in that room by yourself yet?

BRAD:
No, actually, it's fantastic!  (leans in to elaborate)  I've had to share a room with my brother Nick since I was five years old.  He can be kind of a pain.

Nick's character will be revisited later.

Given that Brad had to have a room by himself (there are three male Ranger teens, and it only made sense for Landon and Slade to room together), I thought it would be merciful to invent a reason why he was at ease by himself.

APRIL:
Eesh... I don't know if I could've shared a room with my sister... and we like each other!  She's in college now, though.

Will April's sister be mentioned again later?

[ As the students pass by, LISA catches the trio's attention. ]

LISA:
Excuse me, Miss Flynn?  Miss Moore, Mr. Ito...  You're needed in Mr. Newgard's office, please.

[ APRIL appears confused. ]

APRIL:
What?  All three of us?

LISA (distractedly):
That's right.  Excuse me one moment.

[ LISA squeezes through the students to catch up to SLADE and LANDON, whom she's spotted elsewhere in the moving crowd. ]

LISA (cont'd, calling out):
Excuse me!  Mister Ballard!  Uhh, both of you, that is!

She'll have to think of a better way to refer to Landon and Slade collectively.  "Misters Ballard" perhaps?

[ BRAD, TRINI, and APRIL exchange perplexed looks and then set out together. ]


[ Wipe to INT. SECRETARY'S OFFICE - LISA leads the five TEENS (TRINI, APRIL, BRAD, LANDON, and SLADE) into her office and directs them to the five chairs outside the headmaster's door. ]

LISA:
Please have a seat.  I'll let Mr. Newgard know you're here.

[ The TEENS sit as LISA enters the headmaster's office (we don't see inside from this angle) and shuts the door behind her. ]

LANDON:
Man, first day of classes, and I'm already getting sent to the office.

Landon is apparently no stranger to the principal's office.

[ LANDON notices his tie is loose and promptly fixes it. ]

...yet he knows when to make it seem as though he's been following the rules all along.

APRIL (concerned):
Are we in trouble?  I've never been sent to the principal's office before.

SLADE:
You still haven't.  This is the headmaster's office.

This is the only interaction between April and Slade in the whole premiere.

APRIL:
That's even worse!

BRAD (perplexed):
Are we going to miss first period?

Brad is concerned about his studies, but not in the college-centered way April is.

TRINI:
You guys, let's just chill out, okay?  Maybe it's nothing.

Trini is the most level-headed of the group.  Fitting that she becomes leader.

[ Suddenly, the five TEENS dematerialize from their seats with greenish-silver vertical streaks of light. ]

[ Moments later, LISA pokes her head out of the headmaster's office.  Finding her office empty, she opens the door further and speaks to JON, whom we see standing by the window in his office. ]

LISA (with a nod):
They're gone.

[ JON nods. ]

I thought it would be more practical for Jon and Lisa to watch the space station meeting over Jon's desktop communicator, and so they would know the teens had been teleported already, but I preferred this means of letting the audience know the teleportation was part of the plan.


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - Having been working a wall console, DR. BERING turns as the five TEENS materialize on the opposite side of the central console.  Having been in their seated positions, the five TEENS exclaim and fall onto their backsides with nothing to support them any longer.  (Of note, all of the command center's exit doors are currently closed.) ]

The teens' surprise teleportation and landing in a heap are both reminiscent of Zordon and Alpha's summoning of the five teens in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  This wasn't the primary purpose of writing the scene this way, but I certainly didn't try to avoid the parallel.

Note that the doors are all closed to prevent the teens from running off or wandering around in off-limits areas, at least until they agree to Dr. Bering's offer.  They will be given a full tour next episode.

DR. BERING:
Oh!  Sorry about that.

[ The TEENS help each other up and look around in bewilderment.  A few groan. ]

APRIL:
What in the world just happened?!

Alternates I considered for April's line: "what in the freckle" and "what the speck."

BRAD:
I think we fell through the floor...

LANDON (looking around):
Is this the science lab?

I figured a sudden falling sensation and a new environment could be interpreted as falling through the floor.  Who would jump to teleportation as their first explanation?

[ DR. BERING chuckles softly. ]

DR. BERING:
No.  You're a little over 22,000 miles above the Earth's surface.  This is the Jetman space station.

This is the first time the station has been named as such.  The name is derived from last season's Project Jetman, which was named after the sentai series Jetman because this name appeared on the side of the Rangers' Echo Blasters in the sentai footage.

An orbiting body must be positioned at roughly 22,240 miles above the Earth's surface to maintain a geostationary orbit, which the space station does.

[ The TEENS blink in disbelief. ]

TRINI:
I'm sorry, what?

[ DR. BERING presses a button on the central console, at which point all of the wall monitors show various views of outer space.  The central monitor shows a wide view of Earth (specifically, the Americas). ]

DR. BERING:
My name is Dr. Bering, and I work here aboard the space station.  I've brought you here in hopes that you might be able to help us.

BRAD (with growing excitement):
Wait...  We're in THE space station...?!  The secret station that the government won't talk about??  Is this where the Power Rangers live?

Early last season, Luke learned from an astronomer about the space station: the government wouldn't reveal anything about it, though it was visible from Earth with the aid of telescopes.  Since then, it appears some people have speculated that the station and the Power Rangers were connected, which in fact they were.  This speculation has not been lost on Brad.

DR. BERING:
Not quite... but close.  This station has been used as the Rangers' base of operations in the past.

SLADE:
Hang on.  You know the Power Rangers, but you want OUR help?  (glances at the other teens)  Do you know something we don't?

APRIL:
Yeah, we're just five high school students.

DR. BERING:
Five exceptional high school students.  Because of the abilities you've demonstrated, we wish to offer you the opportunity to become the next generation of Power Rangers.

This exchange brings to mind an exchange from Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997): Tanya notes of the Turbozords, "They're just ordinary cars!" to which Zordon replies, "No, Tanya, they are extraordinary cars."  Ah, writing at its finest.

Dr. Bering introduces the concept of the season 1 Rangers being the first-generation Rangers, making this team the next generation.

[ The TEENS are stunned. ]

BRAD:
What?!

LANDON:
No way!

TRINI:
You're joking.

DR. BERING:
This is no joke.

BRAD:
What happened to the old Power Rangers??

There will be no inane, "I thought the Power Rangers were just in the comic books!" remarks this season.

SLADE:
Yeah, what'd they do, tick off the wrong evil space alien?

Slade uses the term "evil space alien," which was used in the MMPR toy line to describe the Rangers' foes.  Apparently the public at large has a general sense of who the Rangers were fighting last year.

DR. BERING:
Ah, no...  The first-generation Rangers are alive and well, ready to protect the planet if they're needed.  But we're looking to train a new team who could ultimately determine the fate of the entire galaxy.

Why?  Because the first-generation Rangers are too old and too set in their ways.  Taggart wants young blood he can mold to his own standards.

The intent is for this new team of Rangers to ultimately participate in the assult on the empire.  We don't yet know whether this plan involves warriors being groomed on other worlds as well.

[ BRAD gulps. ]

APRIL:
The galaxy...?

LANDON:
Well, I'm in!

SLADE (to Dr. Bering):
Gimme a break.  The galaxy?  Why don't you just say the whole universe is at risk?  That'd get us all nice and jazzed up, right?

Slade cynically thinks Dr. Bering is exaggerating to motivate them.  This is also a jab at the tendency of Power Rangers to frame crises more broadly than is necessary, just for the sake of trying to impress the audience.  But though I'm a fan of understatement, the empire really is a galactic threat.

DR. BERING:
I understand your skepticism, but the danger is real.  We need a team of Rangers who will be ready when the time comes to confront it.

Just around the finale, probably.

[ SLADE humphs. ]

TRINI:
What sort of abilities have we demonstrated?

DR. BERING:
I'm sorry...?

TRINI:
You said you were offering this to us because of abilities we'd demonstrated.  What are they?

DR. BERING:
Well... our operatives were present at the recent pentathlon in Spring Valley...

Clarification that the pentathlon was actually held in Spring Valley.  The operatives, of course, were Jon and Lisa.

TRINI (coldly):
So... you chose us to be Rangers just because we're athletes.

This was something I noticed as I was writing the premiere, so I had Trini bring it into the open.  These teens were not chosen for being virtuous, nor even for being "teenagers with attitude" (a lousy criterion for selecting Rangers in its own right, if you ask me).  Instead, they've merely been chosen based on physical abilities.  However, to Trini's satisfaction, two of the three Ranger rules at the end of the episode require them to follow an honor code of sorts.

LANDON (whispering to Trini):
Hey, man, don't jinx it!

BRAD (dejectedly, to himself):
I'm not even an athlete...

DR. BERING (forthrightly):
No, you're exactly right, Trini.  We have chosen you based on your physical specialties.  Trini, you possess formidable combat abilities.

[ APRIL listens politely as DR. BERING moves on to her. ]

DR. BERING (cont'd):
April, your agility underwater is unrivaled.

And how many times does she go on underwater missions this season?

[ BRAD is next, listening with wide-eyed wonder. ]

DR. BERING (cont'd):
Brad, you reign supreme at aerial combat.

How much aerial combat does he do?

[ Then comes LANDON, who appears to be raring to go. ]

DR. BERING (cont'd):
Landon, your ability to escape danger will serve you well in battle.

How many times does he dodge things?

[ We end with SLADE, who listens skeptically. ]

DR. BERING (cont'd):
And Slade, your expert marksmanship is a great asset to your team.

Not too much, it turns out.

BRAD (inwardly):
So those events WERE based on a type of soldier... sort of...

Referring to Brad's observations on the strange pentathlon events last episode.

TRINI:
But I don't want to be a soldier.

LANDON (exasperated):
Well, so don't look at it like being a soldier!  The lady's giving you a chance to be a superhero!  (to Dr. Bering) I'm in, by the way.

TRINI (to Dr. Bering):
The problem is, you picked us because of what we could do, not because of who we are.  You don't care about a sense of honor, or humility, or compassion...  You just want strong bodies.  I don't want to be a Power Ranger that way.

I was mindful of the fact that Trini might come off as difficult in this scene, but at the same time, I thought it was an interesting objection for a Ranger candidate to make.

DR. BERING (to Trini):
I'm sorry you feel that way.  (to the rest) But unfortunately, your first mission requires your attention right now.

Hurry, Rangers!  Tomato King might get away, and then who would you whale on?

[ DR. BERING presses a button on the central console, causing a monitor to reveal an image of TOMATO KING terrorizing people at a farmers' market in morning light. ]

DR. BERING (cont'd):
This is Tomato King.  He's attacking a farmers' market just outside San Francisco.  Time is of the essence.

Tomato King is attacking a market that was selling tomatoes.  I chose San Francisco as the setting just for variety, to show that Tomato King wasn't bound strictly to Spring Valley (though he's still in the area).

APRIL:
Um, don't we get some kind of training first?

DR. BERING:
We've found that morphing will imbue you with sufficient insight to use your powers and weapons.

I based this on the Rangers' acquisition of combat and Zord-piloting skills in the first season of Power Rangers.

SLADE:
Imbue us with insight...?  So... you're going to reprogram our brains...

DR. BERING:
Not exactly.  It's more like a heightening of your instincts.

[ SLADE ponders. ]

DR. BERING (cont'd):
But keep in mind, the effect is temporary, only as long as you're morphed.  And more importantly, it doesn't give you knowledge or experience.  This is why we wanted candidates familiar with your respective disciplines.  You have to know WHY to do what you're doing.

[ BRAD sees TRINI still doesn't appear to be appeased.  He then inquires: ]

BRAD:
Um, Dr. Bering...  Just for argument's sake, why can't you send the other Rangers?

DR. BERING:
This mission is reserved specifically for you.  I've been instructed not to call the others.

LANDON:
All right, well, shoot us with your gamma rays or whatever it is you do!

[ DR. BERING presses a button, causing a silver case to materialize with greenish-silver vertical streaks on the flat edge of the central console. ]

BRAD:
Whoa.

[ DR. BERING opens the case, revealing five POWER COINS, below which are five POWER AMULETS.  The POWER COINS (compare with last season) bear embossed images of the Rangers' respective animals - bison, falcon, lion, dolphin, and rhino.  (Though not shown here, each POWER COIN bears the same image on both sides.)  Each POWER AMULET, meanwhile, is a silvery-gray disc roughly two and a half inches in diameter and just over a quarter-inch thick.  Most of the front surface of the disc is covered with a circular glassy surface which is presently a dull gray with little apparent depth. ]

[ DR. BERING removes the center POWER AMULET, positioned below the LION COIN.  When eventually shown, the amulet's reverse side features a round depression which exactly fits a Power Coin, as well as smooth indentations on either side of the depression to facilitate the removal of said coin. ]

DR. BERING:
These are your Power Amulets.  (removes the Lion Coin)  They channel the energies from your Power Coins.

[ DR. BERING inserts the LION COIN into the back side of the POWER AMULET.  As soon as she does so, the glassy surface on the front of the amulet changes its color and reflectiveness: instead of a dull gray, the surface is now a rich yellow of seemingly infinite depth. ]

BRAD:
Wow, look at that!

[ DR. BERING absently admires the POWER AMULET in her hands. ]

DR. BERING (with a nod toward the case):
The Power Coins are an ancient power source created by a wise being named Ninjor.  One of his pupils, Argus, brought the coins to Earth long ago, but only within the past year did our agents track them down.  They are now yours to command.

APRIL (inwardly):
This is crazy...

DR. BERING (with a nod toward the case):
Brad, you have been chosen as the falcon.

[ BRAD peers carefully at the FALCON COIN. ]

DR. BERING:
You may take it.

[ BRAD cautiously approaches and removes the FALCON COIN and its respective POWER AMULET.  He turns the amulet over and inspects it tentatively. ]

BRAD:
I just... put this in here...?

[ DR. BERING nods. ]

[ BRAD inserts the FALCON COIN.  As he turns the POWER AMULET over, its gray circle turns a vibrant red. ]

BRAD (enthusiastically):
Awesome!  (to Dr. Bering) I'm the Red Ranger?

[ She nods. ]

DR. BERING:
April, the Dolphin Coin is yours.

[ BRAD clumsily steps back, continuing to gape at his POWER AMULET.  APRIL, meanwhile, approaches.  She gently removes the DOLPHIN COIN and its POWER AMULET.  She inserts the coin and turns the amulet over to see its front surface turn a stunning shade of blue. ]

APRIL (with a smile):
Blue Ranger.

[ She steps away. ]

DR. BERING:
Slade, will you accept the Bison Coin?

[ SLADE shrugs and advances. ]

SLADE:
Might as well.

[ SLADE takes the BISON COIN and POWER AMULET.  Once they are assembled, the surface turns infinitely black.  He rejoins LANDON. ]

LANDON:
Hey, Black Ranger.  Nice.

[ LANDON does a quick mental computation and grows apprehensive. ]

LANDON (cont'd):
Wait a minute...

DR. BERING:
Landon, the Rhino Coin awaits.

[ LANDON wearily steps forward and takes the remaining coin and amulet. ]

LANDON:
I'm Pink Ranger, aren't I?  You made me the Pink Ranger?  (sighs)  That's okay, I can take it.  I'm comfortable with my masculinity.

I liked this gag quite a bit.  Landon, familiar only with the previous team's colors, believes he is Pink because that's the only color left (to his knowledge).  But in fact he won't see a male Pink Ranger this season; he's green.

[ LANDON winces and averts his eyes as he inserts the POWER COIN.  He appears too afraid to look down.  Then, however, he takes a peek and sighs with enormous relief to find the disc is colored green. ]

LANDON (cont'd):
Green!!  (laughs, shows it to everyone)  I'm the Green Ranger!  (inwardly) I didn't even know there was a Green Ranger!

Apparently the brief visit in last season's finale by the six alien Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (which included a Green Ranger) wasn't widely known.

BRAD:
But what about Yellow?

[ DR. BERING continues to hold the yellow POWER AMULET.  She looks to TRINI. ]

DR. BERING:
The Lion Coin is yours if you'll have it, Trini.  As is the role of team leader.

[ The four TEENS look to TRINI as she meets DR. BERING's gaze. ]


[ EXT. FARMERS' MARKET (MORNING) - The market is now devoid of people.  The five TEENS materialize from greenish-silver vertical streaks, each still in his or her school uniform. ]

The streaks haven't changed to Ranger colors yet because the team hasn't yet morphed.

[ We see TRINI holding the yellow POWER AMULET.  BRAD nods to her. ]

BRAD:
You made the right decision, Trini.

TRINI (sheepishly):
Well, it's hard to say no with the fate of the galaxy in the balance...

Too sudden of a turnaround?

SLADE:
I still think "the fate of the universe" would've sounded better.

TOMATO KING (off-screen):
Halt!  Who goes there?!

[ The five TEENS spin to find TOMATO KING standing some distance away. ]

TOMATO KING:
Hey, you're not the Power Rangers.  Darn it all, I've been tearing up the place for nothing!

BRAD:
Oh, you want the Power Rangers, do you?

TOMATO KING:
I sure do!

APRIL (to the others):
Well, let's not disappoint the man!

[ TRINI nods. ]

TRINI:
Let's do it, guys!  It's morphing time!

[ With her right hand, TRINI extends her POWER AMULET with a flourish, such that the yellow glassy surface points outward (coin toward her palm), but she finishes by rotating her wrist such that the amulet then faces her.  While doing so, she calls out: ]

TRINI:
Power of the lion!

[ A translucent yellow lion spirit emerges from TRINI's POWER AMULET and bathes her in yellow light.  She emerges in the form of the YELLOW RANGER, her POWER AMULET now affixed to her belt rather than in her hand.  She strikes a martial arts pose.  (Note that YELLOW's costume matches her sentai counterpart, including the lack of a skirt despite her feminine physique.) ]

TRINI (Yellow Ranger, cont'd):
Yellow Ranger!

[ BRAD extends the red POWER AMULET and then turns it toward himself. ]

BRAD:
Power of the falcon!

[ A red falcon spirit (compare with season 1, episode 40) emerges and similarly transforms him into the RED RANGER.  He poses as well, with comparable grace and authority. ]

BRAD (Red Ranger, cont'd):
Red Ranger!

[ APRIL likewise extends and flips the blue POWER AMULET. ]

APRIL:
Power of the dolphin!

[ A blue dolphin spirit transforms her into the BLUE RANGER.  She poses. ]

APRIL (Blue Ranger, cont'd):
Blue Ranger!

[ LANDON extends and flips the green POWER AMULET. ]

LANDON:
Power of the rhino!

[ A green rhino spirit transforms him into the GREEN RANGER. ]

LANDON (Green Ranger, cont'd):
Green Ranger!

[ The four morphed RANGERS look at SLADE, who continues to hold his POWER AMULET by his side. ]

SLADE:
I'm not yelling all that stuff.

[ SLADE simply holds his POWER AMULET in front of himself, black side facing him, and a translucent black bison spirit emerges, transforming him with purple light into the BLACK RANGER. ]

[ The five RANGERS strike a pose in unison. ]

RANGERS (in unison):
Power Rangers!

[ TOMATO KING appears utterly dumbfounded. ]

TOMATO KING:
W--  But...  How did --  (stamps his foot)  Darn it, nobody told me there were two sets of Power Rangers!  (shrugs)  Ah well.  I can practice on you.

In fact, there are three Ranger teams so far in this universe.  Tomato King is out of the loop.

[ TOMATO KING charges. ]

TOMATO KING (cont'd):
Yaaaaaahhhh!

[ YELLOW RANGER extends her hand. ]

TRINI (Yellow Ranger):
Scatter!

[ As TOMATO KING charges, the five RANGERS almost instantaneously scatter from their previous positions, in the form of respectively-colored, uneven streaks of energy, each Ranger's patch of streaks resembling an assortment of claw marks.  (Black's streak is colored purple.) ]

This streak maneuver was inspired by a similar maneuver in Liveman, though the sentai version commonly had all streaks colored gold.

[ The RANGERS rematerialize, now more spread out, behind TOMATO KING.  He stops and turns, perplexed. ]

TOMATO KING:
Hey, how'd you do that?

[ RED RANGER looks at his own hands. ]

BRAD (Red Ranger):
That's what I'd like to know!  (looks to Tomato King)  Let's try that again.

[ RED streaks forward, his energy bouncing all around TOMATO KING.  Each bounce which comes into contact with TOMATO KING causes his body to spark at the point of impact. ]

TOMATO KING:
Hey!  Ow!  Get off me!

[ BLUE RANGER cheers. ]

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
Way to go, Brad!

[ As the streak attack continues, TOMATO KING twirls and vanishes in a puff of leaves.  RED RANGER solidifies in place and looks around. ]

BRAD (Red Ranger):
Where'd he go?

[ TOMATO KING appears behind YELLOW RANGER and attempts to grapple her. ]

TOMATO KING:
Surprise!

[ YELLOW RANGER deftly grabs TOMATO KING by the arm and hurls him over her shoulder.  He flies through the air, at which point, she quickly springs into the air and punts him straight up, even higher into the air.  He yelps when kicked. ]

[ BLUE RANGER exclaims with amazement. ]

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
Wow!

[ YELLOW lands below. ]

TRINI (Yellow Ranger):
Slade!

[ Watching the villain peak in mid-air (off-screen), BLACK RANGER draws his WILD BLASTER from the holster on his right hip.  The WILD BLASTER is a white laser pistol remotely matching the sentai. ]

SLADE (Black Ranger):
I'm on it.

[ BLACK aims his WILD BLASTER at TOMATO KING above, who begins to tumble back to earth.  As he falls, however, TOMATO KING snaps his fingers. ]

TOMATO KING:
Ted, I need you!

[ A large basket, apparently crafted from hardened brown vine-like strands, appears over BLACK RANGER's head, effectively blinding him.  He appears startled for a moment. ]

The idea that Tomato King would use baskets in battle was taken from his remark last season that one of his hobbies was basket-weaving.  This is the first time we see him naming his baskets, however.

SLADE (Black Ranger):
Hey, what the...?

[ TOMATO KING lands nearby.  BLACK RANGER struggles to tear the basket from his head (made somewhat difficult by the WILD BLASTER he clutches in one hand).  Meanwhile, GREEN RANGER streaks by and materializes in a different direction, drawing TOMATO KING's attention from BLACK. ]

LANDON (Green Ranger):
Did you just call your basket "Ted?"

TOMATO KING:
That's right.  (derisively) What do you name YOUR baskets?

LANDON (Green Ranger):
Uhh...

TOMATO KING:
That's right!  You don't name them anything!  No wonder they won't help you in battle!  (extends his hand) Arthur!

[ In TOMATO KING's hand appears a basket with a handle, filled with plump, ripe tomatoes.  It is fashioned out of the same material.  TOMATO KING grabs a tomato with his free hand and hurls it toward GREEN RANGER. ]

TOMATO KING (cont'd):
Take this, Ranger!

[ GREEN RANGER casually dodges the tomato. ]

LANDON (Green Ranger, as if rolling his eyes):
Oh, please...

[ TOMATO KING makes an explosion gesture with his throwing hand. ]

TOMATO KING:
Poof!

[ When the errant tomato strikes the abandoned fruit stand behind GREEN RANGER, it explodes with considerable force, breaking part of the stand apart and obliterating the fruit thereon. ]

[ GREEN RANGER startles and looks back.  He then looks at TOMATO KING again. ]

LANDON (Green Ranger, cont'd):
Whoa!  This dude's not messing around!

[ BLUE RANGER looks on anxiously. ]

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
Landon!  (inwardly) Ohh, monkey-butter!  What am I supposed to do to help?  I'm a water expert without a drop of water!

Get used to it.

[ TOMATO KING rapidly removes tomatoes from his basket and hurls them, one after the next. ]

[ In slow motion, GREEN RANGER dodges and weaves, avoiding each of the tomatoes.  They explode in the background.  One particular tomato just misses him and lands a short distance behind him.  GREEN RANGER utilizes the force of the blast to leap forward at high speed (the slow motion now returning to normal speed).  He performs a head-butt with his helmet into TOMATO KING's midsection, sending the villain flying backward through the air (his basket falling to the ground and spilling its tomatoes). ]

I didn't go into this battle planning for Green Ranger to execute a head-butt attack (which was also featured in Liveman); it just happened to be a satifactory means of interrupting Tomato King's barrage.

[ BLUE RANGER remarks again. ]

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
Whoa!

[ BLUE reacts as though something is hovering in front of her which she wishes to shoo it away, but she then appears to realize that nothing is there. ]

APRIL (Blue Ranger, cont'd):
W--  That's weird.

[ BLACK RANGER finally rips the basket from his head and catches sight of the distant flying foe.  He quickly aims his WILD BLASTER and pulls the trigger, releasing a blue laser pulse (similar to the Sky Blasters' lasers last season, but colored blue rather than gold). ]

[ TOMATO KING manages to land on his feet with a skidding stop.  He laughs proudly but is then struck squarely in the chest with the blue laser pulse, eliciting a flash of sparks as he staggers back slightly.  He then brushes himself off. ]

The Rangers' blaster lasers were also blue in Liveman.

TOMATO KING:
(laughs, then blasted)  Hey!  (brushes himself off)  You know, I think I'm getting used to these bright thingies you keep shooting at me...

[ BLACK RANGER looks between his WILD BLASTER and his distant foe. ]

SLADE (Black Ranger, sarcastically):
Yeah, go marksmanship.

[ TOMATO KING is alarmed upon looking at the ground toward the distant Black Ranger (off-screen). ]

TOMATO KING:
Hey, what did you do to Ted?!

[ BLACK RANGER looks down at the torn-up basket on the ground beside him. ]

SLADE (Black Ranger):
Uhh...

[ BLUE RANGER resumes trying to put a finger on something invisible in front of her.  She appears increasingly flustered. ]

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
All right, what in the world is this thing??

[ Finally, BLUE RANGER firmly extends her hand and seems to pluck something out of thin air. ]

APRIL (Blue Ranger, cont'd):
Dolphin Bow!

[ With a blue gleam of light, a blue and white archer's bow (compare with sentai) appears in her extended hand.  Its design resembles two dolphins pointing toward each other, their bodies together forming the arc of the bow.  This is the DOLPHIN BOW.  BLUE is astonished. ]

As I wrote this scene, I thought it felt a bit familiar, but it wasn't until after the episode was written that I realized the idea of a Ranger having to "feel" his or her respective weapon and pull it out of thin air came from a Power Rangers fanfic - my own, actually!  In my first web-published fanfic, Power Rangers vs. Aliens (1995), Billy teaches Kat to feel the presence of her Power Bow in order to summon it on their mission to rescue Ninjor from an alien-infested world.

APRIL (Blue Ranger, cont'd):
Whoa!

[ TOMATO KING turns to look at her. ]

TOMATO KING:
Hey, nice trick, Blue Ranger!  But I'd like to see you stop me without any arrows!

[ BLUE RANGER readies the DOLPHIN BOW in TOMATO KING's direction and summons a gleaming blue energy-based arrow from thin air.  She pulls back the bowstring, preparing to fire. ]

[ TOMATO KING appears disappointed. ]

TOMATO KING:
Ohh...

[ BLUE RANGER releases the gleaming arrow.  It flies through the air and strikes TOMATO KING in the midsection.  A spark explosion erupts all around him as he flings himself backward.  Amidst the smoke, he lands on his back, his body smoking as well.  He then simply fades away, leaving behind a few shriveled-up leaves which are carried away by a light breeze. ]

[ The other RANGERS regroup around BLUE RANGER as she continues to hold her DOLPHIN BOW. ]

BRAD (Red Ranger):
Whoa!  Where'd you get that thing?!

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
I... I don't know!  It was just like it was there the whole time!

SLADE (Black Ranger):
I guess that's one of the instincts that lady was talking about.

[ RED RANGER tries to summon a weapon. ]

BRAD (Red Ranger):
Falcon Bow!

[ It doesn't work. ]

Brad was trying too hard to concentrate, ignoring his Ranger instincts, or else he would have known to summon the Falcon Sword instead.

BRAD (Red Ranger, cont'd):
Nothing.

[ BLUE RANGER casually dismisses her DOLPHIN BOW with a blue gleam, apparently without even thinking about it. ]

Ranger instincts are easier to use the less you think about them.  This parallels my experience with martial arts or any sort of muscle memory; overthinking tends to hinder your performance.

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
Well, I'm sure Dr. Ber--  (notices the bow is gone)  Whoa!  How'd I do THAT?

[ The blue-striped HOVERBIRD circles around the RANGERS.  YELLOW RANGER nods in its direction. ]

TRINI (Yellow Ranger):
We're done here, Dr. Bering.

[ The five RANGERS dissolve into vertical streaks now matching their Ranger colors. ]

They now teleport with their Ranger colors, as they've bonded with their respective Power Coins.

[ We slowly pan over to a stand nearby, behind which lurks an OLD MAN who has apparently watched the entire scene.  We zoom into his eye, revealing some sort of electronics within his pupil.  We then transition through these electronic visuals to: ]

Strife has Nobot spies all throughout Spring Valley and neighboring areas, including San Francisco.


[ INT. BUNKER, COMMAND ROOM - A monitor in a refurbished control panel against the wall shows the farmers' market from the old man's perspective.  We zoom out from the control panel to see it resides in some sort of bunker complex, perhaps originally serving a military function, but abandoned for some time.  It is now in a partial state of refurbishment using not-particularly-futuristic parts.  One notable addition to the room is a glowing blue orb, the MINDSPHERE, which is embedded into equipment in the rear wall.  It is about the size of a small coconut. ]

As will be revealed later, xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxx x xxxxxx xxxx xx xxx xxxxx (the Mindsphere) xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxx xxxxxxxx xxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxxxx xx xxx xxxxxx xx xxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxx.  The Nobots then built x xxxxxxx xxxx xxx xxx Mindsphere to control remotely; xxxxx xxxx xxx xxxxxxxx, xxx xxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxx, based on Dillik's similar robot creation last season.

[ Before the control panel stands a figure in robotic black and dark red armor, his design vaguely similar to both Liveman's robot warrior and last season's Strife (see Jetman), with dual laser cannons on each wrist.  On his back is a round shield (a buckler, no more than a foot wide) known as the SPIRAL SHIELD, its front surface colored black and bearing tight, subtle spiral ridges (a total of twelve ridges).  Like the previous robot, this warrior shall be known as STRIFE.  His voice bears certain characteristics of both Mainframe and Strife from last season. ]

I included precise details about the nature of the Spiral Shield's size and ridges because I needed to have a sense of the weapon's ultimate length once it unfurled from its compact buckler form.  (My calculations indicated a spiral of these specifications would straighten to a length of 20 to 25 feet.)

STRIFE:
So, I have five more Rangers to destroy.  (ponders)  I'm going to need more Nobots.

I wasn't sure how quickly the audience would deduce that xxxxxx xxx xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx, but I thought xxxxxxxxxxx xxx xxxxxx xx xxx xxxx xxxxxxxx would be an interesting revelation for starters.


[ Break. ]


[ EXT. SPACE STATION - Establishment shot. ]

APRIL (voice-over):
So where'd that "Dolphin Bow" come from, anyway?

Originally, I had Brad instead ask where the Power Coins came from, but I figured April's curiosity over the Dolphin Bow would be more pressing.


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - The five TEENS stand before DR. BERING in the command center.  The side doors remain closed. ]

DR. BERING:
That'll have to wait until next time.  I think you're all a little late for class.

APRIL (disappointedly):
Awww...

DR. BERING:
But first, three quick rules you'll have to follow to continue serving as Rangers.

In the first season of Power Rangers, Zordon gave the teens three rules after their first battle: "Now that you have become Power Rangers, you must follow three basic rules or lose the protection of the power.  First, never use your power for personal gain.  Second, never escalate a battle unless Rita forces you.  And finally, keep your identities secret; no one may know you are a Power Ranger."  He later repeated these rules verbatim when Tommy joined the team as the Green Ranger.

In the second season, when Rocky, Adam, and Aisha replaced departing Rangers Jason, Zack, and Trini, Zordon's rules were reworded as follows: "Rangers, you possess powers so that you may protect the Earth.  Use them to defend, never to attack.  To ensure justice, never for vengeance.  To preserve righteousness, never for selfish glory.  Remember this, and they will protect you forever."  After their first battle, he advised them to remember that their strength lay in their ability to judge each situation and avoid the use of force whenever possible.

Subsequent additions to the team (notably, Katherine in season 3 and Justin in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie) were simply told to follow the others' lead.  From this point onward, there were no formal rules.  I, however, liked the formal rules, and I felt they were appropriate for a new team of youths, especially given that Jon seemed to have no intention for the first-generation Rangers to mentor the new team.  I do find it peculiar, though, that two of the rules amount to an honor code of sorts; whose idea was this?

SLADE (rolling his eyes):
Oh, here it comes.

DR. BERING:
First, keep your identities a secret.  This is for your safety, and the safety of those around you.

Secret identities were the subject of the third of Zordon's original rules.  In his second version, this was probably covered under the prohibition on "selfish glory" (and I speculate that a direct rule against revealing their identities might have been awkward so soon after the Rangers' identities had been revealed to Rocky, Adam, and Aisha).

I've kept my rules concrete like Zordon's first set of rules (as opposed to the vagueness of his second set), but I've also added a justification for why each rule is important.  This probably reflects my parenting and teaching style, as I'd prefer students know why a rule should be followed, in addition to the rule itself.

LANDON:
Secret identities...  No surprise there.  What's next?

The public at large (including Landon) would have known that the previous team of Rangers had previous identities, so this would be seen as par for the course.  Landon will sum this rule up as, "Be stealthy."

DR. BERING:
Second, your powers exist to protect others from harm.  You are not to use them for vengeance or personal gain.

Here, I've effectively combined all three of Zordon's second set of rules into a single rule: "never to attack," "never for vengeance," and "never for selfish glory" become a catch-all prohibition against vengeance or personal gain.  This gave me room to introduce a third rule, below.  (With regard to the first set of rules, my version certainly encompasses the "personal gain" clause; the escalation of battle clause, not so much.)

Landon will sum this rule up as, "Be humble," which may slightly misrepresent the rule, but being humble could produce the required behavior just the same.

TRINI (with a nod):
I like that one.

Trini may take some solace in the fact that the team must follow an honor code, even though the teens weren't chosen for their personal virtues.

BRAD (interjecting politely):
Um, could I have something to write these down?

Brad, ever-studious.

[ DR. BERING eyes BRAD. ]

DR. BERING:
I'll send you a transcript.  (to all)  Finally, never strike down a foe who can't fight anymore.  You might be destroying your next ally.

We never see any such transcript.

This third rule was my own invention.  It could be seen as thematically similar to Zordon's prohibition on escalating battles unless forced, but his rule simply seems to proscribe minimal force in battle; mine more directly addresses mercy, a topic which fascinated me about the early seasons of Power Rangers (in that the Rangers sometimes showed their foes mercy, but at other times the issue simply didn't come up).  This rule amounts to, "If your foe is helpless and poses no further threat, you aren't justified in destroying him."  Seems like a decent rule of thumb to me.  (In general, the Rangers informally followed this principle last season, such as on the few occasions when they had the upper hand against Sasha.  Dillik's later transformation from a foe to a friend may have inspired this rule, in fact.)

Landon will sum this rule up as, "Be merciful."

LANDON (mispronouncing "publicity"):
(nods)  Plus it's bad plubicity if you do it in front of people.

That too.  (Originally, this was the explanation I had Dr. Bering offer as to why they should grant helpless foes mercy, but I decided it was just too cold.)

APRIL:
(giggles)  You just said "publicity."  I mean pub-- plubl... Bleah!  I can't even say it wrong!

DR. BERING (somewhat impatiently):
Are you taking this seriously?

LANDON:
Yeah, we got it!  Be stealthy, be humble, and be merciful.

DR. BERING (moderately impressed):
That's... not too far off, actually.  Oh, one last rule of thumb.  If you ever feel you're not acting like yourself, stop everything and contact one of us immediately.

The person who crafted this guideline was concerned about the spells which overcame the previous Rangers at times last season.

SLADE:
You mean aside from our powers telling us what to do?

DR. BERING:
Yes, aside from that.

BRAD:
All right, well, I think we've got it.

DR. BERING:
(nods)  I'll send you back now.  Keep your amulets handy in case of an emergency.  And don't lose them!  (inwardly) Well, we could track them down if we needed to, but... (sternly) ...don't make us.  ... Please.

By analyzing the residual energies in the ancient Red Ranger's cave (after season 1, episode 33), Project Phoenix managed to track down the amulets and coins which had been scattered across the planet.  Though she wishes the Rangers not to misplace their artifacts (something MMPR's Tommy might have done), she could actually track them down again if she needed to.

[ LANDON removes his green POWER AMULET from his pocket to take a brief peek at it.  He then slips it back into his pocket.  (Unless otherwise noted, the POWER COINS will remain inserted into the POWER AMULETS, and the front of the amulets will retain their respective Ranger colors.) ]

If these things give off "residual energy," who knows what kind of radiation these glowy things are pumping into the teens' pelvises from inside their pockets?  If I were them, I'd take out the coin when I wasn't using it.

LANDON:
Roger.

[ DR. BERING prepares to press a button on the central console. ]

DR. BERING:
'Til next time, Rangers.

[ She presses the button, and the five TEENS vanish with Ranger-colored streaks. ]

[ A moment later, one of the side doors slides open.  DR. BERING turns to face GENERAL TAGGART (see season 1) as he emerges in uniform.  Her tone may not be entirely deferent. ]

General Taggart was a late addition to the script.

DR. BERING:
Was that what you had in mind, General?

I was trying to suggest that Dr. Bering's entire encounter with the Rangers was preplanned by someone else, namely General Taggart.

GENERAL TAGGART (with a nod):
Yes, that will do nicely, Doctor.


[ INT. SECRETARY'S OFFICE - The five TEENS materialize in the office with the same streaks.  APRIL smoothes out her uniform. ]

APRIL:
Yikes, that feels so weird.

JON (off-screen):
Welcome back.

[ The TEENS twirl to find JON and LISA standing nearby, formerly off-camera.  LISA displays a faint smile.  The TEENS, however, are alarmed to have been found out. ]

TRINI:
Mr. Newgard!

BRAD:
You saw us?!  (inwardly) Oh, man, we already broke rule number one!

Brad is a stickler for rules.

JON:
Not quite.  We called you into the office this morning specifically so Dr. Bering could summon you in secret.  We're part of the plan.

SLADE (dryly):
Wow, man, thanks for warning us before we got beamed into outer space.

JON:
We didn't warn you because we didn't want our roles disclosed if you chose to decline Dr. Bering's offer.

If they had declined, Jon and Lisa wanted the teens to be unable to identify them as conspirators in the plan.  Hopefully they also would have remained oblivious to the fact that five of their peers at Windvale were recruited instead.

APRIL (directing her attention to the building at large):
So... is everyone here in on it?

JON:
No.  There are only three faculty members who know your secret: myself, Ms. Ward, and your counselor, Ms. Lu.  We'll be your cover when emergencies arise.

LISA:
And if you need to talk with somebody about... anything... please come see us at any time.  You can talk to us, or Mag-- uhh, Ms. Lu.

JON:
Your affairs are confidential with Ms. Lu, unless you pose a threat to yourself or others.  That's the only circumstance under which she may disclose information to us.

Jon's project is shady at times, but decent at other times.  Here, he was aware the teens could get overwhelmed in their new roles, and they might need to talk with someone other than an authority figure, for the sake of their mental health.  This is a luxury which was not afforded to Zordon's Ranger teens (though their seasons were rosy enough that they surely had no such problems).

APRIL (slightly concerned):
Umm, okay...  Like if we stop acting like ourselves...?

LANDON:
Yeah, what's the deal?  Dr. Bering warned us about that.  What, are we gonna turn into monsters or something?

This idea haunted the teens more than they let on at the time.  Either that or Dr. Bering didn't pick up on their concern.

LISA (with a gentle smile):
No, it's not like that.  She's just talking about spells.

BRAD (with wide-eyed wonder):
Spells...?

LISA:
Yeah, you know...  Like when a monster zaps you and makes you lazy, or steals your voice, or gives you a really big appetite...

A laziness spell affected four of the Rangers last season (episode 7), but Lisa wasn't on the team at the time.  In season 1, episode 16, Lisa helped the Rangers against Reverbit, who had stolen their voices.  We don't know where Lisa got the idea of an appetite spell, but it could remind the audience of Tommy's appetite spell in the MMPR season 3 episode, "Rita's Pita," or of the ant monster's spell in Jetman #36 which made White Ranger ravenous for meat (this element wasn't adapted for Take Flight).

[ The TEENS stare blankly at LISA. ]

It would seem the public was unaware of spells put on the Rangers, though some may have remembered the Fretter incident in season 1, episode 22.

LISA (cont'd, embarrassed):
Sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself.  That may not happen to you anyway.

[ JON produces five small pink slips of paper, which he appears to intend to give to the TEENS. ]

JON:
But if it does, you'll be more prepared than your predecessors.  (prepares to hand out slips)  Now, take these.

BRAD:
Are those our Ranger rules?  (inwardly) I kinda thought they'd be laminated or something...

JON:
No.  They're hall passes.  You're late to class.

[ The TEENS take them. ]

BRAD (sheepishly):
Oh.

[ JON nods politely to them. ]

JON:
... Rangers.

[ The TEENS share an eager glance (though SLADE's expression is more subdued). ]


[ Wipe to INT. ADMINISTRATIVE HALLWAY - The TEENS exit the secretary's office.  Last out, TRINI shuts the door gently.  Once the door is shut, APRIL, BRAD, and LANDON silently pretend to scream with excitement to each other.  TRINI smiles, and even SLADE appears less dour than usual.  They then set off down the hall together. ]

Originally, this was the end of the episode, but I added the subsequent scene for a more compelling cliffhanger.


[ INT. HEADMASTER'S OFFICE - JON takes a seat at his desk as LISA follows him into his office. ]

LISA (upbeat):
Well, that could've gone worse.

JON:
They've got potential.

LISA (with a mischievous smile):
So what kind of Zords did you make?

JON:
(chuckles)  I'm glad you think so highly of our engineers, but we're years away from our own Zords.  Starships, yes.  Zords, no.

Project Phoenix's original deal with the Rangers was to provide a base and repair services, in exchange for allowing them to analyze the alien Kestrelzord they had brought back from space (season 1, episode 26), as they wished to build new Zords without Zordon's help.  However, we learn here that original Zords appear to be off the table this season.

LISA (confused):
So...  There are no Zords...?

JON:
Oh, there are Zords.  Ancient Zords.  They're just in empire territory.

In MMPR season 3, "Ancient Zords" was an alternate term for the Shogunzords.

[ LISA cocks an eyebrow. ]

LISA:
Come again...?

JON (casually):
Yeah, we'll have to send the Rangers in after them.  But let's give them a while to acclimate to their new lives.  (considers)  A few days should be fine.  Let's pencil it in for Saturday.

A.K.A. episode 3!

[ LISA eyes him with disbelief.  Cut to black. ]