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


Episode 3: "Stranger Among Friends"

This episode was completed on February 16, 2006, and released on March 22, 2008.  The title reflects both increasing strangeness in the Rangers' affairs, as well as their mistrust of Luke.

Writer:  Joe Rovang

[ Sentai footage is from Jetman #2 unless otherwise noted. ]

See the previous episode's commentary for a summary of Jetman #2.

Whereas Jetman #2 contained both Podling and Wing King, Take Flight has split them up into separate episodes; this is the second of the two.  I chose to tackle Podling and Wing King in separate episodes because I didn't feel I had ample time to reintroduce Hawk One properly in episode 2.

[ Fade in to EXT. SPACE STATION - Establishment shot. ]

This episode takes place on Sunday, April 19, the day after episodes 1 and 2.

DILLIK (voice-over, defensive):
What?  What's with the look?  I'm telling you it's ready!

[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - TRASK confronts DILLIK with a narrow-eyed gaze.  DILLIK mans the center console.  In the background, several NOBODIES stand at attention, though a few may appear bored from time to time. ]

These are still the first battalion of Nobodies, created in episode 1.

Lord Omos will be pleased.  (casually walks closer)  But tell me, Dillik... How did you manage to squander the other forty days we've spent here?

Well... (chuckles)  Forty days...  It's not really that long when you take out ship repairs, lunch breaks, naps, blocking that bald guy from our computers...  Oh, plus the Nobodies helped out last night.  You know, they catch on kinda quick.  Watch this.  (turns to the nearest Nobody in the background)  Hey, do that trick I showed you!

Dillik has just alluded to Zordon, whose signals were sent to the space station on a regular basis prior to Dillik's block.  This routine communication was a function of the wormhole generator which wasn't specified overtly for quite some time (see episode 33).

[ The NOBODY looks at DILLIK unresponsively. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
You know!  The one with the step-step-step and the twirl at the end...?

[ The NOBODY looks aside and then up at the ceiling, seeming not to know what Dillik is talking about. ]

Nobodies apparently feel shame (also see episode 20).

Enough.  Have you pinpointed a colony?

[ DILLIK resumes looking at the monitor in front of him.  In it is a three-dimensional computer simulation of a complex subterranean hive with numerous red dots (approximately 50) within its tunnels, some moving and some stationary. ]

DILLIK (looking at the console):
Oh, yeah.  I found a good one, right at symbiotic age.  I think the wormhole's gonna grab about fifty of them.

The Jinnsects live on a planet in an alternate dimension (though their extradimensional nature isn't stated here).  When the larvae reach symbiotic age, they seek out host objects to infect and transform into monsters.  Their method of reproduction was never specified, but it's possible that on occasion, one Jinnsect will infect another, creating a Jinnsect queen monster.  This queen would be short-lived unless Jinnsects had a means of preventing organic meltdown seen in this episode and episode 18.

Although the wormhole generator's dimension-spanning nature isn't specified until episode 17, I had always intended for the Jinnsects to be extradimensional, whereas Trask and Dillik were merely aliens from this universe.  In retrospect, I find it surprising that it took me so long to specify outright that the wormholes were in fact bridging dimensions.

The Jinnsects' name invokes the word "jinn" (sometimes "djinn"), also the source of the term "genie."  In Arabic, it describes a type of hidden spirit, some of whom change their shapes.

Though Dillik mentions "about fifty" Jinnsects, he actually brought 46, as revealed in episode 13.  Four of them die in transit, perhaps severed by the swap zone's borders or crushed by settling rock.  The rest are used as follows:

#MonsterEp(s)Destroyed/defeated by (small)Destroyed by (giant)
5Somebody #13melted--
Mainframe25-40Zord explosioncharged sword fragment
6Wing King3crashHawk lasers
7Facetia4Casey's swordCruiser firebird
8Traffico5Casey's Battlizer BeamCruiser firebird
9Busster6Pete's blasterPhoenix Strike
10Spoutfire7Sky EnforcersPhoenix Strike
11Canhandler7Sky EnforcersPhoenix Strike
12Threadletter8boulderPhoenix Strike
13Ramenator11Phoenix CannonPhoenix Strike
14Snapshot12Phoenix CannonCruiser firebird
15Disastros13--Phoenix Strike
16Bobo14Sasha's Star Handle--
17Papyria15Phoenix CannonPhoenix Strike
18Reverbit16Phoenix CannonPhoenix Strike
19Hoser17Chris's X-strikecharged flail
20Somebody #218melted--
21Somebody #3
22Somebody #4
23Somebody #5
24Somebody #6
25Somebody #7
26Somebody #8
27Somebody #9
28Somebody #10
29Somebody #11
30Arcanum19Phoenix Cannon--
31Zephyros20, 31--Quad Cannon
41Fretter21-22Phoenix Cannon--
42Arella21-22Casey's X-strikeSasha-mon
46Flamion21Chris's Enforcer--

Is the containment field online?

Oh, right!  (flips a switch and chuckles nervously)  Boy, that would've been a mess, huh?

The containment field was used to ensure the Jinnsects wouldn't infect the space station itself.

[ The hum of some sort of reactor begins in the background.  DILLIK, meanwhile, presses several more buttons. ]

All right, the containment field's up, the atmosphere in the holding bay is set, and the swap zone is defined.  We're about to be crawling with Jinnsects.

Well, get on with it then.

[ DILLIK's finger hovers reluctantly over a button on the console, then presses it quickly.  The hum in the background grows louder.  Both TRASK and DILLIK listen and look around.  Several yellow electrical bolts creep along the walls and leap from floor to ceiling. ]

TRASK (turning to Dillik):
Do I assume this happened in the test runs?

DILLIK (startled):
Test runs?!

[ EXT. SPACE STATION - The space station and villains' ship crackle with residual yellow electricity. ]

[ INT. SPACE STATION, OBSERVATION BOOTH - In a small domed booth, DILLIK and TRASK enter, followed by two NOBODIES.  Below is a brown, rocky terrain plucked from an alien world.  Several tunnels roughly the size of a football in diameter can be seen throughout the ground.  All this is located within what was formerly an expansive holding bay, which is now filled roughly three-quarters of the way to the ceiling with the rocky landscape.  No signs of life can be seen below. ]

Well, there you go.  A few thousand tons of rock.

At least that's how much it would weigh according to my estimations.  I wouldn't be surprised to learn I missed the mark.

Rock which they won't infect.  We need something else...

The Jinnsects wouldn't infect the rock of their home colony; this was a species defense mechanism.  But it would be understandable if readers concluded from this that Jinnsects can't infect rock at all.

[ TRASK looks back at one of the NOBODIES behind them.  It looks around nervously, at which point TRASK makes a hand gesture which causes the NOBODY to vanish with a ripple effect. ]

[ INT. SPACE STATION, JINNSECT HABITAT - We pull out from a low-angle shot of the observation booth above and pan down to the level of the NOBODY, who is now standing on the rocky terrain.  He looks around nervously.  Soon, we see something crawling out of one of the dark holes in the ground.  In close-up, we see it to be a black insectoid alien, a JINNSECT, with a long body and tail, perhaps two feet long, with yellow markings along its body (matching sentai Jinnsects). ]

I didn't show any sentai Jinnsects because I felt their puppetry was a bit lacking.  I kept their appearance, however, to match the Jinnsects embedded in the early monsters.

The Jinnsect which creates the Somebody (and later Mainframe) may be counted as #5 of 46, the first four in the tally being those which died in transit.

[ INT. SPACE STATION, OBSERVATION BOOTH - Our vantage point is in front of TRASK and DILLIK as they watch the scene below.  DILLIK watches with unease for a moment, then reacts with a wince to an unseen action below.  He then takes a further look at the aftermath.  TRASK is unfazed. ]

[ INT. SPACE STATION, JINNSECT HABITAT - In a series of various close-ups, we see glimpses of a new presence standing in place of the Nobody.  This is a SOMEBODY.  It retains the color patterns of a Nobody, but with a hulking, monstrous frame.  Its forearms are elongated and claw-like, and its head now features alien facial features with yellow eyes.  In one side of its abdomen, as seen in close-up, the JINNSECT is slightly visible, protruding from the body in which it's now embedded (matching the Jinnsects embedded in sentai monsters).  We finally see the SOMEBODY in a full-body shot. ]

I wanted to rule out organic hosts early on, to indicate that under normal circumstances, inanimate objects were to be used as hosts.  The name "Somebody" was just a natural evolution from the term "Nobody," whether or not it sounded especially creative.


Now there's a real somebody!

[ EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING (MORNING) - We see an establishment shot of the Rangers' beige, seven-story apartment building at late morning. ]

[ INT. CHRIS AND PETE'S APARTMENT (MORNING) - CHRIS sits on the couch playing a video game on the living room TV.  He wears a casual grunge outfit with a black and gray theme. ]

[ PETE enters from the rear hallway in a casual outfit with a yellow theme.  He heads to the kitchen. ]

Hey man.

CHRIS (continuing to play his game):

[ PETE gets ingredients for an omelette out of the refrigerator. ]


I'm good.

In episode 13, I thought to use Chris's eating of Pete's meals to represent the strength of their friendship.  This retcon gave new significance to Chris's rejection of Pete's breakfast offer here.  (For those unfamiliar with the term, "retcon" is short for "retroactive continuity," as when additional details or context are added to earlier material; retcons may or may not violate previous continuity in the process, but I aimed to avoid such violations in my retcons.)

[ PETE begins chopping vegetables with ease. ]

Did I miss any group discussions last night?

Don't think so.

PETE (chuckling):
Man, I couldn't concentrate at all last night.  I think I screwed up, like, five or six orders...

[ PETE cracks two eggs into a bowl and begins whisking. ]

Oh, Casey's looking for Luke.

Initially, Casey was a bit clingy toward Luke.

PETE (stopping):
What?  What happened to Luke?

Dunno.  Ran off again, I guess.

Chris refers to Luke's departure in episode 2, wherein he left Casey and Maggie behind to battle Podling's pod.

PETE (displeased):
What?  Man, that is not cool.

[ PETE finishes whisking and pours the egg into the pan, where it begins sizzling. ]

PETE (cont'd, adding vegetables to the pan):
Then again, he's probably out saving the valley from some alien attack again.  I just wish he'd let us help him!

CHRIS (pausing his game to turn around):
I don't think there's an attack.

What are you talking about?

[ CHRIS rises and nears the kitchen divider, showing PETE the display on his AVIMORPHER.  In close-up, we see the screen displaying a high-altitude flight over the city in a sentry-like path. ]

PETE (neglecting his cooking for a moment, enrapt):
Whoa, how did you get it to do that?

CHRIS (pointing to the Morpher's upper right side button):
When you press this button, it kinda looks like it's checking out the city.  (points to the upper left button)  Well, you have to turn the camera view on, but...  Anyway, it looked pretty cool in night vision when I was... (self-consciously) ...messing with it last night.

The Hoverbirds' thermal "night vision" imagery will be seen in episode 26. It activates automatically in low light levels, at least until Dr. Bering's AviMorpher upgrades in episode 31.

PETE (devilishly, continuing to tend to his cooking):
... You like this stuff!

Chris had a sour attitude in episode 2.

[ CHRIS retracts his arm self-consciously. ]

PETE (cont'd):
Did you show Casey and Maggie?

Apparently he did, at some point this morning.

[ EXT. CITY PARK - CASEY is walking through the park watching the display of her AVIMORPHER.  In close-up, we see its bird's-eye view above the park, which includes CASEY.  Below, CASEY compares the screen to her surroundings, takes a final look around, and heads off in another direction. ]

The Rangers haven't yet realized that the villains can also see through their Hoverbirds.  I found this dynamic interesting.

[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - DILLIK looks up from the central console.  TRASK is nearby, as are customary NOBODIES. ]

I think I have a lead on the pink one.  It's hard to tell though... All these humans look alike.

Dillik simply isn't familiar enough with humans to tell them apart very well.

It's time to test our Somebody.

[ EXT. CITY PARK - CASEY is continuing along.  No bystanders happen to be in this area. ]

[ Sentai (Jetman #4 ) - Several NOBODIES leap over the camera as they swarm down on the area. ]

Nobodies arriving

[ CASEY reacts, suddenly surrounded as the NOBODIES swagger around her. ]

Ohhh...!  (summons additional resolve)  All right, what did you guys do with Luke?

Actually, Luke is fine, having been to church and grocery shopping.  Casey doesn't know this because the Morphers' talk buttons don't work.  (The defective talk button was a retcon I added in episode 10 to explain the hereos' failure to use their talk buttons.)

[ The NOBODIES look at each other.  They then shrug and continue advancing on CASEY threateningly. ]

Fine.  You wanna do this the hard way?  (speaks into her Morpher)  Sky Swan!

[ CASEY morphs into the PINK RANGER in a pink gleam.  As the NOBODIES lunge toward her, she acrobatically leaps high into the air, draws her SKY BLASTER, and fires a barrage of yellow laser blasts at the NOBODIES below.  They flip onto their backs.  Upon landing in the center, PINK RANGER is attacked by several remaining NOBODIES, but she fends them off with open-handed swats and chops.  Soon, the blasted NOBODIES return to attack.  One grapples her from behind.  She grabs its arm and flings it over her shoulder with unexpected strength.  It flies into a nearby tree trunk and splatters into black goo on impact.  PINK RANGER is startled, even concerned, and the remaining NOBODIES appear taken aback as well. ]

In Jetman, the White Ranger seemed to use her blaster quite a bit, so I reflect that here.  It's also easier to fire a blaster than wield a sword when one has no martial arts training.

Casey clearly doesn't know her strength while morphed.

CASEY (Pink Ranger):

Casey has compassion for living things, including her Nobody attackers.

[ The splattered NOBODY coalesces from its gooey form into a humanoid shape.  Returning to its original form, the NOBODY clutches its head dizzily while regaining its composure. ]

The ability to re-form was shown in episode 1.  It will not appear again.

CASEY (Pink Ranger, again assertive):
... Yeah!  What do you guys think of that, huh?

[ The NOBODIES regroup around the formerly splattered NOBODY and vanish with black ripples.  A gravelly voice comes from behind PINK RANGER. ]

VOICE (off-screen):

[ PINK RANGER spins to find the SOMEBODY standing nearby.  It stands nearly a foot taller than PINK. ]

[ In the sky, we see a HOVERBIRD with a black stripe fly onto the scene. ]

[ INT. CHRIS AND PETE'S APARTMENT - CHRIS is still standing across the partition from PETE, who's eating his omelette and drinking milk.  CHRIS's AVIMORPHER chimes its alert tone.  As both PETE and CHRIS react, CHRIS touches the MORPHER's upper left side button, then reports to PETE. ]

Casey's in trouble.

What?  Where is she?

The park, I think.

Well, let's get to it.  We'd better get Maggie.

[ PETE hastily takes a final bite of his breakfast, and the two then depart. ]

[ EXT. CITY PARK - PINK RANGER sparks and rolls back from the SOMEBODY (off-screen).  She draws her SKY BLASTER and fires at the hulking SOMEBODY, striking an area of its torso (somewhere other than its embedded JINNSECT).  As shown in close-up, smoking scorch marks heal in a matter of moments, leaving no trace. ]

Is that your best?

[ PINK RANGER looks around anxiously, still clutching her BLASTER. ]

CASEY (Pink Ranger):

[ The SOMEBODY shoots yellow eyebeams at PINK RANGER, flinging her further back with spark explosions.  She lands beside a tree.  Just then, the BLUE and BLACK RANGERS land beside her and help her to her feet. ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Casey!  Are you okay?

CASEY (Pink Ranger, holstering her Blaster):
Yeah...  I'm glad you guys are here though.

[ Leaves begin to fall from the tree near PINK, BLUE and BLACK.  They look up to see YELLOW RANGER tangled in the branches above.  He then falls out and lands at their feet.  The others help him up as well. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Man, I've gotta work on those landings...

This references Pete's difficulty flying in episode 2.

[ The four RANGERS assume a defensive stance against the SOMEBODY.  It then charges, attacking the RANGERS with a flurry of physical attacks, primarily using its claw-like forearms.  The RANGERS attempt to defend themselves with various blocks and basic counter-strikes.  Although they are swift and agile on the whole, they are clearly not martial arts experts.  In time, each of the RANGERS is slashed with a sparking strike and falls back, until the SOMEBODY is ultimately the last combatant standing. ]

Well, that wasn't much of a challenge.

Jinnsect monsters' personalities tend to reflect their host objects; in this case, the Somebody enjoys fighting.

[ Unexpectedly, RED RANGER leaps in from behind the SOMEBODY and slashes it in the back with his TALON SWORD. ]

CASEY (Pink Ranger):

[ The SOMEBODY staggers forward and turns to confront RED RANGER. ]

You again...!  (advances)  You're really starting to irr--

The "you again" will make the others suspicious that Luke is hiding something, but it actually reflects the Somebody's origin as a Nobody Luke fought in the quarry in episode 1.  Jinnsect monsters' memories involved their host objects, not their Jinnsects, which were only minimally aware of their surroundings.

[ The SOMEBODY suddenly crackles with painful yellow electricity, most of which centers around the JINNSECT in its chest.  The RANGERS look on.  The SOMEBODY then vanishes with a black ripple. ]

The Jinnsect is being rejected by its organic body.

[ Still holding his sword, RED RANGER looks around before demorphing. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Power down.

[ With a red gleam, LUKE demorphs (his sword vanishing), and the other unmorphed HEROES join him.  LUKE is wearing a red polo shirt, khakis, and a lightweight brown leather jacket. ]

You know that guy?

No, I don't think so.

But he said--

Seriously, I don't think I've seen him before.

[ PETE doesn't seem entirely convinced. ]

CASEY (to Luke):
Are you okay?  Where were you?

I'm fine... I was just out getting some groceries when my Hoverbird spotted you.

CASEY (slightly puzzled):
But... you were gone for a pretty long time.

LUKE (not enjoying the questioning):
... I was at church before that.  Is something wrong...?

My early plans for Luke included his religious beliefs, as I felt they would be interesting when contrasted with the alien events around him.  Though Power Rangers doesn't generally speak of religious affiliation (aside from Judaism, occasionally), I found it only natural to mention it.  I don't attempt to endorse any particular faith by doing so, however.  Luke simply happens to be a church-going Christian.

[ CASEY seems displeased as well.  MAGGIE speaks up, trying to break the tension. ]

Casey was just worried that something was wrong.  But... (shifts her eyes around the group) ... everyone's okay.  ... Right?

[ Everyone is silent.  CHRIS then speaks. ]

Come on, guys.

[ CHRIS turns to walk away from LUKE.  PETE, CASEY, and then MAGGIE each turn to leave as well (in order of increasing reluctance to leave), leaving LUKE standing alone.  He makes a puzzled face and turns to leave in another direction. ]

[ Break. ]

[ EXT. SPACE STATION - Establishment shot. ]

[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - TRASK enters, followed by DILLIK. ]

Well, from what I can tell, the Jinnsect larva isn't meshing very well with its host.  I've seen it happen a few times with organic hosts.  It's usually pretty messy.

Dillik has monitored the Jinnsects' activity with the wormhole generator, if for no other reason than to identify a colony at symbiotic age.  One is left to wonder what kinds of organic hosts have been infected by Jinnsects in their home dimension.

So find an inorganic host and send down another one!

Another one...?  Well, see, the thing is, they're pretty territorial after metam--

Their territorial nature was my explanation for the one-moster-at-a-time formula, though it wasn't applicable in this episode.  It did become important in episodes 21 and 22.

[ TRASK turns and glares at DILLIK. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
Yeah, okay.

[ EXT. CAFE - We see the exterior of a cozy brick cafe downtown.  The name on the sign is "Vanishing Point." ]

This cafe appears several times throughout the series.  It was my version of a "hang-out" location for the team in their civilian lives, though it was used less frequently than I originally expected.

[ INT. CAFE - Inside, the cafe is trendy (for 1992) and relaxed.  Near one side of the cafe, PETE and CASEY sit at a booth with CHRIS and MAGGIE (the booth large enough to ultimately seat five or six people when necessary).  All four team members have been served drinks (sodas for Pete and Chris, water for Casey, and hot tea for Maggie), but no food is on the table. ]

No, I agree, it does seem kinda weird.

It's possible they met before Luke's crash, and he just doesn't remember...

But it sounded more recent than that.  ... Didn't it?

[ PETE nods as CHRIS answers. ]

That's what I thought.

You know, I'm not even sure I buy the whole "groceries and church" story either.

So you think he, like, ran off again without telling us?

CHRIS (dryly sarcastic):
Man, who does he think he is?  Saving the world behind our backs...

CASEY (to Chris):
Very funny.

Look, you've all gotta keep in mind, none of us picked up any aliens before Casey got attacked.  (glances at his Morpher)  Mine's been on since last night, and nothing happened.  He might be telling the truth.

PETE (to Chris):
You're sticking up for him now?

I didn't say I liked him.  Just... don't jump to conclusions too quickly, you know?

Chris's dislike of Luke aside, he does remain fair-minded and slow to condemn others.

[ Wipe to INT. LUKE'S APARTMENT - We initially focus on a nondescript hymnal on the counter, shown looking toward the kitchen from the living room.  We then tilt up to focus beyond the counter at LUKE, in the kitchen, putting away the last of his groceries.  Afterward, he walks into the living room and flops himself onto the couch, lost in thought.  The room is mostly unpacked, but a few boxes remain.  His jacket is draped over the back of the couch. ]

The hymnal and groceries serve as evidence that Luke was telling the truth.  The hymnal, borrowed from his new church in Spring Valley, will presumably be destroyed in episode 13.

[ After a while, LUKE absently activates his AVIMORPHER (using the upper left button) and begins to guide the Hoverbird's flight by manipulating the lower left button with his thumb as if it were a pressure-sensitive joystick.  As shown in close-up, the flight path meanders over the city at high speed on Luke's whim.  Seen in close-up, LUKE's head bobs slightly from side to side as he recreates the experience of flying.  He almost smiles. ]

Luke misses flying.  He is also shown demonstrating a rarely-featured button on the AviMorphers, whereby the Hoverbirds can be steered manually.

[ In the MORPHER's screen, the Hoverbird catches sight of a distant fighter jet in the sky.  LUKE, shown in close-up, takes notice. ]

[ EXT. SKY - We see the HOVERBIRD, in flight over the city, accelerate upward toward the distant jet.  Closer to the jet, the HOVERBIRD draws near and shadows its flight along the left side of the aircraft.  The jet (matching sentai footage) bears a distant resemblance to an F-14 Tomcat but is a single-pilot craft and is not modeled after any specific real-world jet. ]

In the sentai, this jet was flown by the team's mentor Chokan alongside the Hawkzord as they searched for the last two Rangers.

[ INT. JET COCKPIT - Inside the fighter jet's single-pilot cockpit, we see a male pilot, HENDERSON, in an Air Force flight suit and a white helmet with a breather. ]

Wilco, Delta Leader.

I researched pilot-speak while writing this episode; I can't guarantee my output is completely accurate, however.

[ HENDERSON glances off to his left, then does a double-take, noticing the HOVERBIRD cruising beside the aircraft.  He checks his display before looking again. ]

Uhh, Delta Leader, confirm bogey at left 9 o'clock.  Over.

DELTA LEADER (transmission):
Negative contact.  Over.

[ The HOVERBIRD suddenly zips out of sight, to HENDERSON's astonishment. ]

DELTA LEADER (transmission, cont'd):
Delta Two, status.

[ HENDERSON shakes his head disbelievingly.  Suddenly, an object strikes his canopy and latches on, startling HENDERSON.  Clinging to his aircraft is a JINNSECT. ]

Dillik has sent Jinnsect #6 of 46 to infect the jet seen through Luke's Hoverbird.  In the sentai, the Jinnsect was released by Radiguet's giant spectral form in mid-air.

Bird strike!  Repeat, bird--

[ HENDERSON watches in horror as the JINNSECT begins crawling around the side of his canopy and onto the fuselage. ]

Elements of this scene indicate my original intent to use sentai footage of the Jinnsect infecting the jet.  Eventually, however, I decided to replace all Jinnsects with US recreations, which I felt would look more realistic.

[ EXT. JET - On the side of the fuselage, the JINNSECT gleams briefly with a yellow light.  Its appendages then melt into the metal fuselage as the creature merges with the aircraft.  It sinks into the metal until only a portion of its body remains visible (as seen on sentai monsters). ]

[ INT. JET COCKPIT - HENDERSON looks at his controls as all of the readouts go haywire.  The controls are unresponsive. ]

Mayday!  Mayday!  Delta Two down!

[ HENDERSON notices tendrils buried beneath the instruments along the sides of the cockpit, causing them to buckle slightly as they creep forward from behind his seat. ]

[ EXT. SKY (sentai) - In mid-flight, we see two grayish monster hands extending outward, followed by a full shot of the jet, which now sports two massive red and gray arms from its fuselage.  A monstrous growl is heard over the roar of the engines and wind. ]

jet hand jet hand jet with arms

This intermediate stage in Jinnsect monster transformations is its pupal form, to continue the insect metamorphosis analogy.  I assumed monsters spent a while in this pupal form prior to full metamorphosis (though the Somebody's exception may be due to its organic nature).  The pupal forms would later be used as a convenient means to show monsters (or proto-monsters, rather) in US footage without having the sentai costumes on hand.

[ INT. JET COCKPIT - As the cockpit continues to buckle around him, HENDERSON fumbles for his ejection handle and pulls it. ]

[ EXT. SKY (sentai) - The canopy blows off the two-armed JET, and HENDERSON is ejected. ]

Henderson ejects

In the sentai, this was Chokan ejecting.

[ US footage - HENDERSON tumbles violently through the air in his ejector seat.  In a distant shot, we see his parachute open, and his descent slows. ]

[ Meanwhile, the JET flies off and vanishes into the clouds. ]

jet departs

[ EXT. APARTMENT ROOFTOP - LUKE runs out from the door, searching the sky.  (He is again wearing his jacket.)  In the distance, the parachuting HENDERSON is barely visible.  LUKE continues scanning the sky, checking his AVIMORPHER briefly.  He soon notices a growing roar of jet engines.  He turns quickly to see: ]

[ Sentai - The JET quickly roars down.  In US footage, LUKE reacts as our perspective swoops down on him.  The JET then flies into the air holding LUKE (a jacketed male) by the arms, one arm clutched by each monstrous hand (image mirrored from sentai). ]

In the sentai, the jet actually snatched Black Ranger's civilian form from downtown.  This took place after Red Ranger's dogfight downtown (below), which in the sentai did not end in the jet's defeat.

It isn't revealed how Wing King knew where to find Luke, unless he simply had excellent vision.

jet swoops down Luke reacts jet holding Luke

[ Shown in close-up as he dangles in-flight, LUKE struggles, to no avail. ]

[ INT. CAFE - We begin with a close-up of CHRIS's AVIMORPHER as it chimes, the upper left light blinking.  MAGGIE looks on as CHRIS consults his MORPHER.  He then looks to CASEY. ]

What is it?

CHRIS (modestly puzzled):
Nothing.  It's just the cafe.

[ As the HEROES look out the window, we see Chris's HOVERBIRD floating outside, its lens focused on the cafe.  Suddenly, there's a shriek from inside the cafe, and the HEROES startle to find the SOMEBODY standing near their booth.  Patrons scatter in panic, but the HEROES are cornered. ]

And yet this confrontation somehow failed to expose their identities.

You owe me a second round.

The Somebody may have secretly followed the heroes to the cafe.  Further episodes will be more careful about villains somehow tracking down the Rangers without the use of Hoverbirds.

[ PETE looks around incredulously as the cafe clears out. ]

What, here?!

We'll fight you at the quarry.

At times, it became difficult to explain the numerous quarry scenes featured prominently in Jetman.  I believe this instance, however, was explained sufficiently.

[ The SOMEBODY glances around as well.  The cafe is now deserted. ]

I kind of like it in here.  But have it your way.

[ The SOMEBODY then vanishes in a black ripple.  Slightly stunned, the four HEROES look at each other for a moment, then scramble out.  As they rush out the door, PETE's MORPHER chimes; he gives it a brief listen but doesn't answer it, as if unsure he heard anything. ]

Pete's Hoverbird has detected the jet monster.

[ EXT. SKY - An initial sentai shot shows the JET flying with LUKE (a jacketed male) still dangling from its monstrous hands. ]

jet holding Luke

[ Switch to US footage - Shown in close-up, LUKE continues to dangle.  A deep voice is heard from the JET above. ]

I remember you.

[ LUKE looks up in confusion. ]


[ We see a close-up of the JET's nosecone.  Its cockpit remains open. ]

I remember you... Luke.

[ LUKE shifts uncomfortably. ]

Yeah, well, I'm a real celebrity today.

You were the best pilot I trained with.

Wing King remembers Luke flying in him when he was a jet.  Luke is shown in flashback flying a similar jet (if not Wing King's jet itself) in episode 36.

Luke's status as a noteworthy pilot likely explains his selection for Project Jetman.  It may not explain his crash-landing in the quarry (see episode 2), however.

[ LUKE glances up skeptically. ]

JET (cont'd):
And now we can rule the skies together!  Wing King and pilot, lords of the air!

Wing King's desire is to rule the skies, with or without Luke's help.

You know, uh... that's probably not such a good idea.

You're right.  I'm more of a solo monster.  (pauses)  Well, it was nice knowing you.

[ A look of dread appears on LUKE's face. ]

[ Switch to sentai - The JET and LUKE are seen head-on through a targeting system.  It scans over LUKE and the JET and ultimately locks onto the JET's starboard wing. ]

target lock

[ US footage - LUKE notices something straight ahead.  He comes close to smiling. ]

Having been holding in low-Earth orbit with the other Flyers after somehow recovering from its crash-landing, Hawk One has detected that Luke is in trouble.  The Flyers would not come to the Rangers' automatic rescue once they were able to call them at will.

[ Seen from below, the JET and a red craft approach each other on a collision course (image mirrored from sentai). ]

jet and craft

[ In close-up, the red craft, HAWK ONE, fires a series of red lasers. ]

Hawk fires

A careful examination will reveal an erroneous white-helmeted pilot inside Hawk One; in the sentai, the unmorphed Red Ranger was piloting the Hawk to rescue Black Ranger from the jet's clutches.

[ As HAWK ONE narrowly flies past, the JET erupts with a spark explosion from its side. ]

Hawk fly-by Hawk fly-by

In the sentai, this blow was responsible for Wing King's lingering injury in the quarry; in Take Flight, I made his defeat the result of a crash downtown (see below).

[ US footage - LUKE begins to plummet toward the city below. ]

[ HAWK ONE banks and approaches. ]

Hawk banks

[ US footage - LUKE calls into his AVIMORPHER. ]

Sky Hawk!

[ US footage - Seen from below as a distant speck in the sky, LUKE morphs with a red gleam into the RED RANGER and continues falling toward the camera. ]

One is left to wonder why falling is a concern for winged Rangers.  Perhaps this is difficult to remember when an inexperienced Ranger (even test Ranger Luke) is in free-fall.  Or perhaps he would have glided down if given the chance in this instance, whereas his quarry fall (seen in flashback in episode 2) was simply due to being distracted trying to catch the Morphers.

[ EXT. CITY (sentai) - As RED RANGER plummets downtown (US addition), HAWK ONE swoops out from between the buildings and catches RED in its cockpit. ]

Hawk catches Luke (Luke to be added) Hawk catches Luke

Clearly there was no Red Ranger catch in the sentai; this was an ordinary Hawk One shot.  In Jetman, Red Ranger leaps out of the Hawk and tosses Black his Morpher in free-fall, allowing him to morph and save himself.

[ INT. HAWK COCKPIT (Jetman #7) - RED RANGER lands in his seat and fastens his shoulder restraints before gripping the stick. ]

Luke buckles up Luke buckles up

Zyuranger apparently recycled Jetman's Zord cockpits.  I felt this evoked pleasant connections between Take Flight and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  This connection also makes sense within the series, given that the Flyers (and Dinozords, I posit) were designed by Zordon.

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Long time no see!

Luke's memory of the Hawkzord has apparently been jogged.

[ EXT. CITY (sentai) - Reflected in a mirrored building nearby, the HAWK flies through the city.  We then see the HAWK from the front, flying through the city.  Another shot shows the HAWK in profile as it banks to depart over the rooftops. ]

Hawk reflected Hawk downtown Hawk banking

[ EXT. SKY - From the distance, the JET roars over our point of view.  As it banks, it then fires blue electrical bolts from rockets under its wings.  Flying over a mountainous landscape, the HAWK narrowly misses a series of explosions erupting from the terrain below. ]

jet roars down jet fires electrical bolts Hawk amidst mountain explosions

[ INT. HAWK COCKPIT (Jetman #5) - Seen in profile, RED RANGER pulls up and quickly glances over his shoulder. ]

Red Ranger cockpit shots had to be culled from other episodes (a luxury afforded by reviewing the entire sentai series before writing Take Flight) because this sentai episode exclusively featured Red Ranger unmorphed in the cockpit.

Red Ranger pulls up

LUKE (Red Ranger):
You're mine!

[ EXT. SKY - The HAWK does a loop in the sky over the camera.  The JET roars overhead.  We then see it firing energy bolts as it flies toward our point of view.  The bolts narrowly miss the HAWK, shown in close-up, and it then returns fire with red lasers.  From behind the canopy, we see the JET zoom overhead, and it zips past the HAWK in a near collision. ]

Hawk loops Hawk loops jet roars down jet blasts Hawk dodges Hawk fires back jet zooming overhead near collision

[ INT. HAWK COCKPIT (Jetman #10) - RED RANGER banks to his right. ]

Red Ranger banks

[ EXT. SKY - As the HAWK banks right, the JET closes in from behind.  With the JET on its tail, the HAWK heads down toward the city below. ]

jet follows Hawk jet follows Hawk Hawk and jet fly down to city Hawk and jet fly down to city

[ EXT. QUARRY - The four RANGERS, minus RED, are seen searching the quarry.  A moment later, the SOMEBODY is seen to be standing behind them.  He speaks, causing the RANGERS to twirl to face him. ]

Here we are again... the quarry.  Not the most creative choice, but it'll do.

This is an inside joke referring to the prominence of quarry scenes in Jetman, though the joke may have occurred a bit early in the series.

CASEY (Pink Ranger, to the others):
"Again?"  Why does he think we've fought him here before?

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Wait a second... Look at his markings...

[ We see the orange, yellow, and white splotches on the SOMEBODY's torso. ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger, cont'd):
They look just like the ones on those goons who keep attacking us.

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
So maybe he mutated...?

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Then... Luke wasn't hiding anything.  We HAVE fought him before, when he was a ...

SOMEBODY (circling the Rangers):
A Nobody.  Brilliant deduction.  Now, I believe I was about to destroy you, and then the rest of your species...

Now the Rangers know the term "Nobody."

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
You're delusional.  Here, we'll knock some sense into you.

Chris becomes plucky and bold when morphed, perhaps due to the sense of anonymity provided by his Ranger form.

[ The SOMEBODY charges and engages the RANGERS in hand-to-hand combat.  The RANGERS once again display an array of nimble maneuvers due to their enhanced dexterity and strength, but they remain untrained martial artists. ]

Unlike in some seasons of Power Rangers, my Rangers don't automatically gain martial arts prowess upon morphing.  I felt such inexplicable skill would be implausible for a technology-based series.  Jetman took the same approach.

[ EXT. CITY - The HAWK flies between the rooftops, the JET in hot pursuit.  We see a first-person perspective flying close to the main street below, tall buildings whipping by on either side (Jetman #1).  We then see the HAWK in profile, panning back to see the JET close behind. ]

jet follows Hawk flying downtown flying downtown jet follows Hawk jet follows Hawk

[ INT. HAWK COCKPIT (Jetman #10) - RED RANGER again banks to his right. ]

Red Ranger banks

[ EXT. CITY - The HAWK turns down another narrow channel between buildings, shadowed by the JET.  From in front of the HAWK, we see the JET immediately on his rear as they fly through this second path. ]

Hawk and jet turn jet follows Hawk

You can't shake me!  I'm king of the skies!

[ INT. HAWK COCKPIT (Jetman #4) - RED RANGER spots something ahead. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
We'll see about that!

Red Ranger spots something

[ EXT. CITY - Our perspective careens into a dead end in the form of a partially constructed building.  From the other side, we see the HAWK narrowly fly through the girders as explosions erupt from the building behind it. ]

construction site dead-end construction site dead-end Hawk flies through

In the sentai, this girder scene was more elaborate and showed the jet firing at the Hawk from above the building; the explosions were simply due to these blasts, and the jet then proceeded to fly off and abduct Black Ranger (see above).  By editing this scene down, I was able to turn it into the jet's defeat.

[ INT. HAWK COCKPIT (Jetman #26) - His cockpit slightly shaken, RED RANGER coolly pumps his fist. ]

Red Ranger pumps fist

LUKE (Red Ranger):
We did it!

[ EXT. SKY (Jetman #1) - The HAWK flies over the camera and into the distance. ]

Hawk flies by Hawk flies by Hawk flies by

[ EXT. QUARRY - On the offense, BLACK RANGER swings with a series of strong but wild punches which the SOMEBODY dodges before side-kicking him aside.  PINK and BLUE leap in together with a dual jump-kick, knocking him back briefly.  As the SOMEBODY recovers, YELLOW grabs his legs and swings him around in circles by the ankles.  He then releases, sending the SOMEBODY flying.  The SOMEBODY rebounds off a rock wall and flies toward PINK, BLUE, and YELLOW with a flying claw strike, but BLACK RANGER catches him with a flying punch to the ribs, causing him to spark and roll to the side. ]

Fights are probably best left choreographed by professional stunt directors.

[ Returning to his feet, the SOMEBODY looks ready for more combat but suddenly doubles over in pain as his JINNSECT again crackles with yellow electricity.  The RANGERS look on. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
What's wrong with him?

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Who cares!  I'm blasting him!  (draws his Sky Blaster)

[ Before BLACK can fire, electricity flares out from the SOMEBODY.  As BLACK hesitates, the SOMEBODY's body suddenly melts away, leaving behind a twitching JINNSECT (shown in close-up) writhing in the remaining black slime. ]

[ PINK RANGER reacts. ]

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Eww, gross!  What is that thing?

[ Its bearings seeming to be regained, the JINNSECT scurries away, leaving black slime in its wake.  Elsewhere, it vanishes over the ledge of the quarry's ravine. ]

This Jinnsect will remain in a cocoon in the ravine, to be found by Trask in episode 24 and turned into Mainframe.  When I wrote this episode, I expected the stray Jinnsect might become Zephyros, whose episode was originally planned to take place much later in the series (after the Jinnsects had been used up).  Eventually, however, I moved that episode forward and created Mainframe as Trask's replacement for Dillik.

[ EXT. QUARRY, RAVINE EDGE - Looking up from below, we see the four RANGERS approach the edge (Black Ranger's blaster now holstered). ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
It's gone!

[ From behind them, RED RANGER approaches and looks over the ledge as well. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Wow, what happened here?

[ From above, we see the five RANGERS turn from the ravine and intermingle. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Hey!  We just had a run-in with a Nobody on steroids.  Where were YOU?

I suspect a mention of steroids wouldn't be allowed to air.

LUKE (Red Ranger):
I found the Hawk.  Or, I guess it found me.

[ There is a massive, thunderous step nearby, mildly shaking the area.  The RANGERS startle, and the step is followed by another.  They look up. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger, cont'd):
And so did he!

[ EXT. QUARRY (sentai) - Above, the giant WING KING, a monster form of the JET, lumbers through the quarry toward the scrambling RANGERS below. ]

Wing King lumbers near Rangers

In Jetman #2, Wing King approached as the five Rangers were gathered together for the first time (see episode 2).

LUKE (Red Ranger, cont'd):
How'd he get so big?!

I'm not sure about Jetman, but in my series, I wanted to make it clear that Wing King was the giant form of the possessed jet, in order to set a precedent for monsters growing after sustaining heavy damage (per his crash downtown).  Unlike all other Jinnsect monsters, however, he retained an injury after growing (though we don't know whether he was destroyed downtown before growing, which might play a role in whether his injury should have been healed).

[ WING KING is shown in close-up.  He appears injured somewhere in his torso as he clutches himself in pain and staggers slightly.  His right wing is mangled. ]

Wing King advances in pain

A little crash... won't stop me.

As mentioned previously, Wing King was injured by the Hawkzord's flyby in the sentai.  Here, he is injured from his crash.

[ US footage - In front of the others, RED RANGER notices something above. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger, softly, to himself):
He's hurt...!

[ As WING KING continues to lumber forward, a close-up reveals a small spot leaking a viscous green fuel in heartbeat-like gushes. ]

Wing King leaking fuel Wing King leaking fuel

[ His eye twitching, WING KING speaks before spewing a fiery red energy blast from his mouth at the RANGERS below. ]

Wing King blasts

I'm not hurt!  But you will be!  (spews blast)

[ The RANGERS, seen from above and again at a closer angle, are thrown around by numerous large explosions. ]

Rangers blasted Rangers blasted

In the sentai, as the others battled Nobodies at this point (the fight later used in Take Flight episode 5), Red Ranger assaulted the giant monster in midair with his sword, but he was smacked aside.  Though this was appealing due to its familiarity (Power Rangers has repeatedly featured Red Rangers attacking giant monsters in vain), I found the special effects unappealing and cut that sequence accordingly.

[ WING KING bellows triumphantly, his arms in the air. ]

Wing King bellows

Some of Wing King's shots are used out of their sentai order.

(laughs evilly)  I'm the best!

[ US footage - Rolling onto his feet, RED RANGER calls into his left wrist. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Hawkzord, I need you!

In the sentai, Red Ranger did not call the Hawkzord.  If he had, he would have had to pilot it himself, as the Flyers in Jetman were far less automated than in Take Flight.

[ EXT. SKY (Jetman #1) - The HAWK flies in from a spot in the distance, roaring by the camera (image mirrored from sentai).  A hawk's cry is heard.  In another shot (Jetman #1), the HAWK is shown in close-up as it flies at top speed (image mirrored from sentai). ]

This is the only time one of the Flyers makes a bird sound.

Hawk flies in Hawk flying at top speed

[ EXT. QUARRY (US footage) - Watching the sky, RED RANGER calls into his wrist again. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):

[ EXT. SKY (Jetman #1) - The HAWK fires red lasers. ]

Hawk fires

[ EXT. MOUNTAINS (sentai) - In close-up, WING KING's leaking fuel pipe is seen exploding, and WING KING explodes in a massive fireball. ]

Wing King's fuel pipe exploding Wing King explodes Wing King explodes Wing King explodes

In the sentai, Wing King's leaking fuel was ignited not by the Hawkzord, but by Red Ranger's Sky Blaster from below.  I felt this was too easy a monster destruction, and incorporating Hawk One into the monster's destruction fit well with the rest of the episode.

[ EXT. SKY (Jetman #1) - The HAWK flies over the camera and into the distance (image mirrored from sentai). ]

Hawk flies away Hawk flies away

[ EXT. SPACE STATION - Establishment shot. ]

[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - DILLIK has been watching the console monitor but now looks up at TRASK, who stands nearby polishing his sword.  Several NOBODIES attend. ]

When this episode was written, Trask's sword-polishing was merely something for him to do to look busy.  As of episode 38, it was retconned into application of Ancients' tears.

Well, that didn't work.  So I guess we're going home now...?

TRASK (calmly):
No, Dillik, we aren't.

Well, we followed the plan.  Bring Jinnsects, make monsters... Oh, well, we didn't do so hot on the "eradicate mankind" part, but two out of three--

We learn the villains' plan for the first time.  Dillik believes all three of these tasks were assigned by Lord Omos.  To my recollection, I had not yet decided that Lord Omos was Trask's invention by this point.

I'll tell you what we're going to do.  YOU'RE going to scrap these decrepit Nobodies...

Though Trask wants this battalion of Nobodies destroyed, Dillik mercifully releases them into the wild instead, as hinted in episodes 5 and 6.

[ The NOBODIES perk up. ]

TRASK (cont'd, shouting at the very end of his line):
...make a fresh batch, and put a Jinnsect in something that ISN'T FULL OF JET FUEL!

I thought it only prudent that the villains reflect on the monster's manner of defeat and intend not to repeat it.  It may be noted that the first biomass monster, Two-Fish, was full of missiles which similarly caused his demise (episode 25), but this was Mainframe's monster.

[ TRASK vanishes with a ripple effect.  DILLIK reacts with disappointment. ]

Oh.  Right.

[ Fade to black. ]

[ Break. ]

[ EXT. APARTMENT ROOFTOP - The five RANGERS land on the roof and demorph with the following line: ]

RANGERS (in unison):
Power down!

[ Demorphed with respectively-colored gleams (Black's being purple), the HEROES turn awkwardly to face each other, with particular hesitation between LUKE and the other four. ]


Luke... (hesitates)

We're sorry, man.  We shouldn't have given you a hard time.

I thought I did something wrong.

Well, we... thought you weren't being open with us.  But it was just a misunderstanding.

(nodding)  No, I guess I need to treat you guys like teammates instead of...


(chuckles softly)  Something like that.

Luke will continue to struggle with teamwork at times, however.

[ CASEY extends her fist toward the center of the group. ]

So... saving the world...?

[ PETE places his hand on CASEY's. ]

You're on.

[ LUKE nods and adds his hand on top of PETE's. ]

[ MAGGIE places her hand on LUKE's. ]


[ The HEROES look at CHRIS, who locks eyes with LUKE.  CHRIS remains expressionless, while LUKE appears conciliatory and hopeful.  The others alternate their gaze between CHRIS and LUKE.  Finally, CHRIS breaks the tension with a smirk. ]

CHRIS (chuckling mildly, to Luke):
We're cool, man.

[ CHRIS places his hand on MAGGIE's, completing the hand-link. ]

CHRIS (cont'd):
Saving the world.

So, uh, what do we call ourselves, anyway?

[ None of the four have an answer, at which point they look to LUKE. ]

Power Rangers.

[ The others are speechless for a moment. ]

Did you just make that up?

[ LUKE shrugs coyly.  CASEY smiles to the others. ]

He did not; rather, he must have heard the term aboard the space station.

Ready?  One, two, three...

[ Together, the HEROES jump, each throwing a hand into the air. ]

HEROES (in unison):
Power Rangers!

[ Freezeframe.  Moments later, the scene comes back to life as the HEROES land.  Full of smiles, they begin to exit in the direction of the door.  PETE nudges LUKE as they walk. ]

I thought resuming the freezeframe would make for an interesting twist on an old classic.

PETE (to Luke):
No, seriously, man... You've gotta teach us how to fight.

Between this episode and next, Luke will have taught them to fight, but Casey will later note that Luke "went kinda fast on the swordfighting lessons" (episode 15), explaining her preference toward her Sky Blaster in combat.

The sentai Rangers received martial arts training in Jetman #3, but their teacher was their mentor, Chokan.

[ The HEROES exit.  Fade to black. ]