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


Episode 1: "Welcome to Windvale, part 1"

This episode was completed on July 22, 2008 (two and a half months after season 1 was completed), and released on July 7, 2009.  Its title is straightforward, referring to the teens' arrival at Windvale Academy; the phrase is actually spoken by Jon in episode 2.

This episode was originally planned as a one-parter, but I had too much material, as I noticed upon doing a table reading for timing.  Instead, I wrote just a bit more to stretch it into a two-parter.

My original plans for this season involved calling it a "sequel series" by the name of Power Rangers Go Wild.  Ultimately, I decided to stick with the familiar title of Take Flight (but "season 2") because the existing title already had some notoriety, and because it was tidier for my webhosting purposes.  I was willing to live with the fact that this season didn't have a huge amount of aviation in it.

Writer:  Joe Rovang

[ This episode uses sentai footage from Zyuranger #1. ]

This episode was intended to be free of sentai footage, but as I was retelling Rita's concurrent release at the end of the episode, I decided to add footage from Zyuranger to spice things up.  The rest of this season, however, is based instead on Liveman (1988-89).

When I began working on Take Flight season 1 in November, 2005, I obtained footage from both Liveman and Jetman, as both were available and conceptually interesting.  Though I chose to adapt Jetman for season 1, I began sneaking in elements from Liveman in episode 30, just in case I ever felt motivated to write a sequel series.  (I wasn't actively trying to make room for a sequel at the time, but when a need for a certain type of element arose, such as robot foot soldiers, I was happy to use material that would fit with Liveman.)

As when I began planning season 1, I approached an adaptation of Liveman first by studying its usable sentai footage and noting which Rangers, Zords, and villains appeared in which episodes.  Ultimately, however, I came to the grim conclusion that not much of the footage would be usable, given the poor film quality, unimpressive special effects, grisly foot soldier fights, and abundance of visible Japanese actors.  Further, I realized that even if I were to use some footage of Rangers fighting monsters, splicing in US footage on a shot-by-shot basis would be unacceptable, given the exceptionally poor quality of the sentai footage (though perhaps I just got a bad video transfer).  In any case, this led me to decide to scrap the sentai Ranger footage and retain only the Zord footage, under the premise that a change in scale (small foes to large foes) could more reasonably accompany a change in film quality.

Incidentally, the scrapping of the Ranger footage made it easier for me to carry out a major deviation I had been wanting to make for some time, which was to rearrange the Liveman episodes to xxxxx xxx xxxx x team of five xxx xxxx xx xxxx xxxx xxx xxxxx xxx xxxxx xxxxxxx, x xxxxxxxx xx Liveman's core trio xxxxx xxxxxx xx xxxxx xxx xxxxx xxx xxx xxxxxx xxxx xx xxx xxxxxx.  Without having to worry about which Rangers were present to fight which monsters, I was free to rearrange episodes much more liberally (for some, I even swapped out which Zords were used against particular foes).  This let me create new story arcs which wouldn't have been possible by following Liveman more closely.

[ Fade in to EXT. WARP - As the camera travels through a black void punctuated with amber streaks (compare with season 1, episode 38), we hear GARAVAN's voice (see same episode). ]

This void is styled after the one seen in sentai footage in season 1, episode 38, when the Mega Kestrelzord and Battlezord were returned to their own dimension.

GARAVAN (voice-over):
My name is Garavan.  I watch other universes.

I felt Garavan would be an effective narrator for the opening of this season, to reintroduce the season 1 characters, and to catch new readers up on the alternate-universe setting.  Garavan, of course, was the being in another universe altogether who enlisted the help of Luke and the others to take care of Queen-Empress Magda.  Using his spanner to view across dimensions, Garavan has apparently taken up the role of a Watcher of sorts.

[ The void gives way, revealing: ]

[ EXT. COMMAND CENTER (MMPR) - The familiar COMMAND CENTER structure (compare with "Day of the Dumpster") rests nestled among pointy mountain peaks in the desert. ]

Command Center (for reference only)

An interesting visual for the start of a season.  The current date is Saturday, August 14, 1993, which places it before Rita's release in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, by my reckoning.  Also of note, this is over nine months after the final scenes of Take Flight season 1.

GARAVAN (voice-over, cont'd):
In one universe, I've found the elusive Zordon.

Upon arriving in Garavan's dimension, Luke asked about Zordon, whose name he had heard previously.  Zordon was elusive because the Rangers knew most of their technology had been designed by a being named Zordon in another dimension (see season 1, episode 33), but they had no means of contacting him.  Here, we see Garavan has found Zordon's dimension (or at least one particular dimension which contains a Zordon).  Were he to expand his search, he might find Zordon in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie universe, and a counterpart named Zoltar in the MMPR pilot episode universe.  (The Zordon who designed the previous season's Ranger technology, however, is assumed to be the one from MMPR canon.)

[ The camera rushes away into space at lightning speed, settling on: ]

[ EXT. ALIEN DESERT - We arrive on a desert on another world, where a SPACE DUMPSTER (compare with "Day of the Dumpster") lies partially buried in sand. ]

This scene takes place on the MMPR equivalent of the planetoid where the Power Coins were found in season 1 of Take Flight.  Unlike in the Take Flight universe, the planetoid apparently has come to approach Earth by the opening of MMPR, prompting Earthen astronauts to explore it (see the end of this episode).

GARAVAN (voice-over, cont'd):
He appears fascinated by a certain unremarkable space dumpster...

What Garavan doesn't yet realize is that this space dumpster contains Rita Repulsa, the release of whom will trigger a chain of events in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

For the purposes of this narration, I took the liberty of asserting that Zordon was watching the space dumpster prior to its opening.  MMPR was ambiguous on the subject.

[ We fly back through the black and amber void until emerging in: ]

[ EXT. SPACE - The camera reveals an establishment shot of the Milky Way galaxy. ]

The events in Take Flight have thus far been limited to this galaxy, so a shot of the Milky Way seemed fitting as Garavan recapped the previous season.

GARAVAN (voice-over, cont'd):
In another universe lives a team of Power Rangers who once spared my planet from disaster.  Their names are...

Garavan, of course, is referring to season 1, episode 38.

[ INT. VAMPIRIAN DOME - In a relatively dark domed room with earthen walls (compare with the domes in season 1, episode 17), LUKE (see last season) wears a black uniform (worn by the heroes last season).  On his wrist is his AVIMORPHER.  He speaks (no audio) to a group of pale-skinned Vampirian youths of various ages, including LIRA, a Vampirian girl roughly sixteen years of age.  Her hair is long, straight, and black; the other children's hair are varying shades of black, purple, and maroon.  (Though they aren't shown closely, it may be noted that two of the Vampirian children are wearing necklaces bearing Christian cross pendants fashioned out of stone.) ]

A recurring race from the previous season, the Vampirians are vampire-like beings who were forced to flee Earth long ago; one of them, Trask, was the main villain of season 1 until his capture in episode 35.

When I began writing the series, I was planning for Lira to xx x xxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx xx xxxxxxxx, but I figured she would still be xx xxx xxxxxxxx at this time.  I decided to insert her here despite the fact that it would xxxx xxx xxxxx xxx xxx xxxxxxxx once she later xxxxxxxx xx xxxxxxxx.

GARAVAN (voice-over, cont'd):
Luke Branson, currently an emissary to an alien world...

Luke, the Red Ranger, volunteered for this task in the finale of season 1 after the (unnamed) President of the United States requested that one of the Rangers travel to New Vampiria to listen to their grievances.  (It may be noted that by this point, a new presidential term would have begun.)

I gave a few of the Vampirian children cross pendants because I thought it would be unlikely that Luke, a Christian, wouldn't discuss his faith at all, and I figured at least a few of the populace would find Christianity's messages compelling.  To this end, I considered referring to Luke as a missionary rather than an emissary, but surely conversion wouldn't have been his official role as a representative of Earth.

[ INT. MAGGIE'S APARTMENT - In an apartment bearing similar decor to her original apartment (see season 1, episode 2), MAGGIE (see last season) peruses what may be the classified section of a newspaper.  She is wearing casual clothes and no AviMorpher. ]

Maggie, the former Blue Ranger until her voluntary retirement, now lives in her own apartment since the Rangers had to sell their house featured in season 1 (as explained later in this episode).

GARAVAN (voice-over, cont'd):
Maggie Lu, looking forward to her first job as a school counselor...

Fitting with events in season 1, Maggie completed her Master's degree in school counseling in the summer of 1993.  She should now be preparing for her first job, but her employer has essentially un-hired her due to some sort of meddling by Jon or his agents, leaving her without a job just before the school year is about to begin.  This is part of Jon's plan, of course, as he wishes to hire her to counsel the Ranger teens at Windvale.

I chose to use the ambiguous phrase, "looking forward to," in order to avoid specifying outright that she didn't have a job (though the newspaper is a visual clue).

[ INT. SECRETARY'S OFFICE - In moderately dressy attire, LISA (see last season) types on a computer, beside which is a nameplate reading, "Lisa Ward."  She is wearing an AVIMORPHER.  Not far from her desk is an office door with frosted glass.  The name on the door reads, "Headmaster," but below it in a different style of lettering, perhaps covering up a previous name, is "Jonathan Newgard."  Outside of the door is a waiting area consisting of five chairs. ]

GARAVAN (voice-over, cont'd):
Lisa Ward, government agent in disguise...

Lisa, to whom Maggie gave her powers in season 1, began working with Dr. Bering in episode 33 and by in the finale was approached to help develop new Ranger projects.  She has now been incorporated into Jon's Windvale plan, playing the role of headmaster's assistant, though she doesn't yet know all the details of the plan.

His name given in the previous season as Special Agent Jon Turnquist, Jon has now adopted the alias Jon Newgard for his role as headmaster.  He must have had some sort of education background prior to working for the military.  I chose the name "Newgard" because the new Ranger team may be considered a "new guard" of sorts.

[ INT. PET STORE - In casual clothes, CHRIS and CASEY (see last season) are holding hands as they browse a section of scratching posts and cat gyms.  They both wear wedding bands (see season 1, episode 40) and AVIMORPHERS. ]

Chris and Casey are shopping for a cat they keep at their new residence, probably Moasi, the cat seen outside the Rangers' house in season 1.

GARAVAN (voice-over, cont'd):
Chris and Casey Jacobs, still newlyweds by most accounts...

They wed on November 8, 1992 (shown in the finale of season 1); they have been married for over nine months.  They will celebrate their first anniversary later in the season.

[ INT. BANQUET HALL - In a chef's uniform, PETE (see last season) walks past an audience in slow motion as reverent music plays in the background.  In his hand is a tote bag full of cooking equipment.  He is wearing an AVIMORPHER. ]

GARAVAN (voice-over, cont'd):
And Pete Williams, chef extraordinaire.

Pete, the Yellow Ranger, attended this cook-off the previous year, in season 1, episode 29.

[ At a table in the competition area (compare with season 1, episode 29), SCOTT (see last season) calls out.  The tag on his table reads, "Scott Williams." ]

Hey, Pete, come on!

Between episodes 37 and 38 of season 1, Scott hired Pete as sous chef at his restaurant, which is named Regala.  They originally met at the previous year's cook-off in episode 29.

[ Having been walking slowly intentionally, PETE picks up the pace.  The background music stops. ]

A bit of humor.  This two-parter ended up including more humor than I expected.

[ PETE arrives at his own station, located beside SCOTT's.  His tag reads, "Peter Williams."  PETE begins unpacking the tote bag, which contains the last of his belongings, the rest having been set up previously. ]

In season 1, I gave Pete and Scott the same last name for an off-handed joke, but it's here to stay now!

[ An ANNOUNCER's voice is heard (same as season 1, episode 29, if possible). ]

ANNOUNCER (voice-over):
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the seventh annual Kingston's Tomato Sauce Cook-Off!

I suppose it goes without saying last year's was the sixth annual.

[ The audience applauds (off-screen). ]

SCOTT (to Pete, over the applause):
All right, Pete, I may be your boss, but that doesn't mean I'm letting you win without a fight.

That's cool.  I'll try not to beat you too badly.

(laughs)  Your second year here, and you're already a hot shot.

Last year, Pete was nervous and doubted himself.

[ PETE smirks. ]

[ The ANNOUNCER speaks into a microphone in front of the competition areas. ]

ANNOUNCER (voice-over):
As most of you know, each of today's entries must be prepared using at least a half-cup of Kingston's brand tomato sauce.  Judging will be based on --

[ The ANNOUNCER is cut off as the sound system squeals.  The audience recoils from the noise. ]

[ As the sound continues, cans of Kingston's tomato sauce at various workstations begin to warp and rupture.  Tomato sauce oozes out.  The sound system's noise warbles and cuts out, but despite the abated noise, glass jars of tomato sauce begin to shatter.  The crowd borders on panic. ]

[ PETE and SCOTT look over as a glass shatters at the station on PETE's opposite side.  People in the crowd are beginning to make their way toward the main exits. ]

What the heck?!

All right, I'm starting to think this cook-off is cursed!

During last year's cook-off, an attack by a powerful giant demon (Infernis) left numerous buildings destroyed.  There was also a small fire during 1988's cook-off, as Scott mentioned last season.

[ Standing atop PETE's table, a being fades into view.  He has a green humanoid body with leafy growths around his wrists and ankles (compare with Jetman #46 or season 1, episode 28).  Around his neck is a red cape.  His head is an oversized tomato bearing a yellow face like a jack-o-lantern, atop which is a leafy crown bearing the Japanese kanji for "king" (王).  This is TOMATO KING. ]

Prior to this point, Tomato King has only appeared in Pete's dreams (season 1, episodes 28 and 37), which were triggered by the demon-eater.  I liked Tomato King so much last season that I wanted to bring him back (Vang's existence meant that Tomato King might be real as well, as pointed out by Luke later this episode).  At first, I was disappointed by a lack of footage for a reappearance, but it then dawned on me that his costume was quite simple and would be very inexpensive to recreate for US footage.  Hence, be becomes a main villain for season 2.  Had I known he would return, I might've given him a better name when I wrote his first appearance.

Last season, I arbitrarily decided that the tomato sauce cook-offs were held on the second saturday of August, which placed it just prior to the start of the school year.  Around the same time I was reflecting on this tidbit, I realized that its focus on tomato sauce would be a great reason for Tomato King to rear his head!  This would conveniently serve to get the retired Rangers back in the game, and to give the new Rangers a formidable-but-not-too-formidable opponent for their first battle.

[ The villain extends his hand and issues a bold proclamation (his voice matching season 1, episode 28): ]

Citizens of Earth!  Your massacre of my people has gone on too long!  Nevermore shall innocent lycopersica suffer at the hands of mankind!

As soon as I noticed the connection between a tomato sauce cook-off and Tomato King, I decided the villain would be motivated by mankind's injustices against his people.  This could be seen as a light-hearted tribute to Trask's motivation last season.

Last season, Tomato King referred to himself as the "lord of lycopersica," using my preferred pluralization of the scientific term "lycopersicum," which describes tomatoes.

[ TOMATO KING turns and speaks gleefully to PETE, behind him. ]

TOMATO KING (cont'd):
I mean it, too!

In Jetman #46, this gesture would have sent Yellow Ranger into conniptions, given his overwhelming fear of this tomato demon.  Fortunately, Pete doesn't share Yellow's fear.

[ As TOMATO KING returns to the audience, PETE mutters privately to himself. ]

It's the guy from my dream!  But how...?

Technically, Pete dreamed of Tomato King twice: first when the demon-eater approached Earth in season 1, episode 28, and then again while he relived that same year (season 1, episodes 36-37).  The dreams were slightly different, but both featured Tomato King as the antagonist.

[ Meanwhile, TOMATO KING hops off the table and approaches the remaining crowd, which begins to flee with increasing urgency. ]

[ As the competitors head toward the rear service doors backstage, SCOTT grabs PETE by the arm. ]

Pete, come on!

[ PETE watches the chaos (off-screen). ]

[ TOMATO KING waves his arms menacingly toward a crying child being carried away by her mother. ]

Oogity boogity!

In Tomato King's first appearance, he listed "scaring small children" among his hobbies; in fact, he even used the phrase "oogity-boogity" in a flashback of his antagonism of a Japanese boy.

[ TOMATO KING lowers his arms as the mother and still-crying child escape.  The last of the crowd exits, leaving the exit doors wide open. ]

TOMATO KING (cont'd, dejectedly):
Well, jeez, it's no fun if you're already crying.

[ PETE remains mystified by the sight. ]

Am I dreaming...?

[ SCOTT grabs PETE by both shoulders and shakes him thoroughly, partially rousing him from his daze. ]

Pete!  We've gotta leave!  Now!

PETE (distantly):
Wha...?  Yeah, o-- okay...

[ Meanwhile, TOMATO KING turns to look at SCOTT and PETE, now the only people left in the banquet hall. ]

Hey, what are you two still doing here?  You want a go with the baron of beefsteaks?

Another title Tomato King used for himself in his first appearance.

[ SCOTT pulls PETE away in the direction of the nearest rear exit. ]

Uhh, no, that's okay.  We were just leaving.

[ TOMATO KING snaps his fingers. ]

That's what you think.

[ From nowhere, tomato vines emerge and wrap around the door handles of the rear exit.  SCOTT and PETE arrive just in time to find the door sealed tight. ]

Tomato King's control over tomato vines was seen in season 1, episode 28; notably, he wrapped the Rangers in vines and shocked them, in a move called the Tomato Shocker (as referenced later).

We're locked in!

[ TOMATO KING approaches, casually tossing a tomato into the air and catching it several times.  SCOTT leads PETE aside a few feet to place a short stack of tomato sauce boxes between them and the approaching villain. ]

You see, humans, your planet is stained with the juice of my people.  (increasingly upset) You plant them, raise them with care, and then ship them off to be diced and sliced, boiled and roasted... (shakes his head woefully) ...and smooshed up into paste.  (sobs)  It's just not fair...  (then suddenly collected)  Anyway, yada yada yada... I'm here to destroy you now.  Take this!  (throws tomato)

I enjoy the occasional goofy villain.  Like Dillik last season, Tomato King will add a comical element to this season's villain cast, but his personality is vastly different from Dillik's.

[ As the tomato flies through the air toward SCOTT and PETE, it's suddenly obliterated by a blue streak flying by. ]

[ PETE and SCOTT are startled. ]

What the...?

[ BLUE RANGER (see last season) leaps in through the open exit doors on the opposite side of the banquet hall.  On her wrist is a BATTLIZER brace, to which her BATTLE BIRD returns and reattaches. ]

The Battle Birds were introduced late in the previous season, as a replacement for the sentai-exclusive Battlizers in Jetman.

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Stop right there, creep!

[ SCOTT is awestruck.  PETE's reaction is more subdued. ]

Blue Ranger!  (devilishly) Oh, this'll be great!  She's the spunky one!

Heh.  I leave it to the audience to speculate how Blue Ranger got this reputation, but a likely cause could have been her rebuke of the media in season 1, episode 34.

[ TOMATO KING glowers in BLUE RANGER's direction. ]

"Blue Ranger," eh?  All right, let's see what you've got, you tiny-headed...

I thought it would be fitting for such a large-headed demon to think humans had comically tiny heads.

[ The BLACK and PINK RANGERS arrive at another exit.  (They are not wearing Battlizers.) ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
You got a problem, pal?

[ TOMATO KING stops. ]

TOMATO KING (inwardly):
Hmm.  I like it better when they run away.  (boldly) You win this time, Blue Ranger and friends!  But you haven't seen the last of me!

Tomato King doesn't know the collective term for the Power Rangers; he only knows Blue Ranger's title after Scott uttered it.

[ TOMATO KING prepares to do a backflip but notices the stack of boxes behind him.  He takes a step to the side and then performs his backflip.  In mid-air, he vanishes in a puff of tomato leaves. ]

TOMATO KING (cont'd):
Tomato King...!  (notices boxes, steps aside)  Tomato King... (backflips) ...away!!  (vanishes)

That wacky Tomato King...

[ The three RANGERS exchange glances. ]

[ EXT. CONVENTION CENTER - The three RANGERS accompany SCOTT and PETE outside.  (BLUE is no longer wearing her Battlizer.)  PETE still looks inwardly confused. ]

Thanks for saving us.  It's nice to see the Power Rangers are still watching over the city.

This is where Tomato King learns the Rangers' collective title.  It also gives a glimpse into Spring Valley's reaction to the Rangers' downtime over the past year.

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Just doing our job.

[ BLACK RANGER looks to PETE. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Uh, sir, you look a little out of sorts.  Would you like us to take you to get some medical assistance?

[ PETE clears his head.  Though dissatisfied, he appears willing to put the issue to rest for now. ]

Nah, I'm okay...

CHRIS (Black Ranger, more pointedly):
Umm, no, I think you should really let us take you...  (gestures beckoningly with his head)

PETE (with sudden realization):
Ohhhh...!  Right, right!  I really should get some... assistance.  (to Scott) You know, better safe than sorry.

SCOTT (with a nod):
Right.  Get some rest, Pete.  Don't worry about your shift tonight!

Pete's night off has no relevance to the rest of this two-parter, but it demonstrates Scott's generosity as Pete's boss.

Thanks, Scott.

[ The three RANGERS stand apart with PETE.  BLACK RANGER speaks into his left wrist. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
We're ready.

Chris is of course speaking to Dr. Bering (below).

[ A moment later, the RANGERS and PETE vanish with respectively-colored vertical streaks (Pete is yellow).  SCOTT looks up and all around, now alone. ]

Good thing Scott didn't notice Pete's energy color.  He won't deduce Pete's identity as Luke's boss did to him last season.

Wow.  Neat trick.

[ We pan up to see TOMATO KING has been hiding on the roof of the convention center, listening.  He, too, looks around for the Rangers.  He then departs. ]

I had Tomato King stick around simply for him to learn the Rangers' collective title, but I felt it also helped to sell his infiltration of the space station below.

[ Dissolve to EXT. SPACE STATION - We see an establishment shot of the space station (see last season), now restored to its original appearance (no chunk is missing from the side).  (When LUKE's voice is heard, it is slightly muffled, as though through a transmission of some sort.) ]

PETE (voice-over):
So how could that demon from my dreams be real all of a sudden?

LUKE (transmission):
I think I know how.

I wanted Luke to participate in this discussion for the sake of including the complete Ranger cast from last season, but it also made sense that he would be the one to guess Tomato King's nature, given his experience with Vang last season.

[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - The command center looks as it did last season, with the addition of a restored central console.  Standing together to converse are PETE, MAGGIE, LISA, CHRIS, CASEY, and DR. BERING (see last season).  Also included in the conversation is LUKE, who appears in a transmission in the wall monitor.  DR. BERING is in her normal station attire (complete with silver wristband, as seen last season), while the rest are in their last attire seen. ]

As we left off last season, Dr. Bering continues to man the space station.  Her wristband was introduced in season 1, episode 33, to give her a means to control her own teleportation from afar.

[ In the monitor, LUKE is speaking from a different domed room from the one shown earlier. ]

LUKE (cont'd, from monitor):
When the demon-eater gave us those dreams to ask for our help, he showed me a demon warrior who used to be real, before he was captured ages ago.  His name was Vang.

Vang was adapted from a serpent-themed samurai armor monster who was exclusive to Jetman footage.

So you think Tomato King was a real demon too?  And somehow he got out?

But how?

Trask couldn't have gone mining for more demons, could he?

This refers to the four demons Trask acquired from the demon-eater last season (episode 28); they included Infernis (used in season 1 episodes 29 and 39), Gog (episodes 30 and 32), Drek (episodes 30 and 35), and Zin (same).

No, he's still locked up here on New Vampiria.

Trask was captured by his former comrade Kora in season 1, episode 35.  He was seen imprisoned on New Vampiria in episode 38 and remains there to this day.

Well, it couldn't be Dillik... right, Dr. Bering?

Right, he's back in the Yag system finishing his studies.  We keep in touch.

In last season's finale, Dillik originally accompanied Luke to New Vampiria to help with the planet's climate problems, but he has moved on to finish his exobiology studies (alluded to in season 1, episode 17).  I leave the reader to assume his climate project was successful.

Somebody else must've released him.

Well, what if WE released him?

PETE (skeptically):
Say what?  I don't know about you guys, but I haven't been visiting any demon-eater breeding grounds.

In the finale, the demon-eater announced it was departing for its breeding grounds.  But first, it offered to cleanse the Earth of its lingering spirits, which the Rangers declined, apparently finding the idea distasteful.

But remember when it asked us about exorcising the planet?

[ As the discussion continues, LUKE listens intently from the monitor. ]

We told him we didn't want him locking up all of Earth's ghosts...

So he let go all the ones he'd captured?!

Well, maybe the ones from Earth, anyway...

I don't revisit this subject, but the Rangers are apparently correct.  It seems the demon-eater picked up on the Rangers' displeasure over the idea of captive Earth spirits and not only avoided capturing more, but also released the ones it had previously captured.  This was presumably a misguided good-will gesture.  In reality, it was the only way I found I could plausibly make Tomato King a real demon.

TOMATO KING (off-screen):
I'll bet that's exactly what happened!

[ The HEROES nod thoughtfully.  Then all and DR. BERING suddenly look to one of the side doorways, where we whip-pan to see TOMATO KING stroking his chin.  Startled by the attention, he quickly looks over his shoulder but sees nothing. ]

TOMATO KING (cont'd):
What?!  What is it?  (looks at himself, then to heroes)  Oh, right.

This type of comedy is exactly why I was eager to have Tomato King return.

[ TOMATO KING quickly hurls a leafy green vine.  It wraps around the HEROES and DR. BERING, pinning their arms by their sides despite their struggles. ]

[ LUKE cries out from the monitor. ]

LUKE (from monitor):

Awkward position for Luke to be in, roughly a day away from helping his friends as they're assaulted live in front of him.

[ PETE struggles. ]

Oh man, not the Tomato Shocker!

The Tomato Shocker was featured in Pete's first dream last season.

[ TOMATO KING crosses his forearms but then pauses, mildly surprised. ]

The Jetman version of Tomato King crossed his forearms before executing this maneuver, so I had the US version do likewise.

Wow, you know about the Tomato Shocker?  (brushes knuckles against his chest) Well, I guess my reputation precedes me...

[ Just then, GUARDS armed with laser rifles appear in the hallway behind the distracted TOMATO KING and unleash a hail of yellow lasers.  The villain convulses as his body erupts in sparks. ]

Oh yeah, the space station is manned by the military now!  Incidentally, the lasers are colored yellow under the premise that the guards' weaponry was based on the same technology as the Rangers' Sky Blasters from last season.

TOMATO KING (sparking):
Hey!  Ow!  Stop that!

[ In desperation, TOMATO KING hurls something unseen toward the GUARDS. ]

[ The barrels of the GUARDS' laser rifles are plugged with tomatoes.  The GUARDS pause, mystified. ]

Tomato King did the same to Pete in his second dream last season; his tomato plugged the barrel of Pete's Echo Enforcer (a weapon which was destroyed last season).

[ Smoking, TOMATO KING staggers aside and points vengefully toward the vine-wrapped HEROES. ]

All right, you guys are on my list!  ... the very second I start one!  Note to self: start list.  (points again)  Yeah!!

To justify Tomato King's status as a recurring villain.

[ TOMATO KING twirls and vanishes in a puff of leaves. ]

TOMATO KING (cont'd):
Tomato King away!  (vanishes)

[ The GUARDS help the HEROES and DR. BERING wrestle out of the vines, which they toss to the floor.  (The guards' rifles still have tomatoes stuck to their barrels.) ]

LUKE (from monitor):
Are you guys okay?

(grunts)  We're fine.  Computer, get me Turnquist.

[ Dissolve to INT. HEADMASTER'S OFFICE - Dressed in a suit and tie, JON (described last season as SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST) sits at a desk in an office befitting of someone serving in an educational role.  (Note that this office connects with the previously featured secretary's office.)  JON is speaking into some sort of object on his desk. ]

One early draft of this script had Jon speaking through a Power Amulet rather than this communicator, but I found it unnecessary to have the amulets in his hands at this point.

I've taken to describing Turnquist as "Jon" this season to account for his dual identities, both of which share the first name Jon.

I understand your concern, Rangers, but we've had our eye on Tomato King for a while.  We consider him a low-level threat.

Technically, Tomato King has been scaring people around the planet for the year he's been on the loose.  He hasn't seriously hurt anyone, which explains his status as a low-level threat.  I wanted to avoid disregarding his threat entirely, though, or else the new Rangers' intervention next episode would seem unjustified.

Jon's use of the word "we" goes unexplained, but presumably General Taggart (see last season) is still involved in the decision-making.

[ We see a close-up of the object on JON's desk.  It appears to be a Hoverbird (see last season, though it lacks a Ranger-colored stripe around the middle) affixed to a squat metallic stand resembling a paperweight.  In the base of the object, hereby described as a COMMUNICATOR, is a tiny monitor, in which we see the HEROES and DR. BERING in the space station's command center, as seen from the wall monitor.  In the command center, the guards are gone, and the floor is now lacking the previous vines and leaves. ]

After I decided not to have Jon use a Power Amulet here, I needed to invent a new communicator device.  For the sake of familiarity, I recycled the Hoverbird design from last season.  The Hoverbirds, of course, were the Rangers' flying cameras, the signals from which were monitored by both the villains and the military.

CHRIS (from communicator):
A low-level threat?  I don't think all the people he attacked would call him a "low-level threat."

Nice indignation, Chris.

[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - JON replies, his image now appearing in the large wall monitor, from the perspective of his communicator, while LUKE listens from a smaller monitor. ]

JON (from monitor):
Understood.  However, I assure you we're on top of the situation.  Please, just carry on as you were and let us take care of this.

[ The HEROES seem somewhat dissatisfied, but none voices an objection.  LUKE then speaks up from his monitor. ]

LUKE (from monitor):
Uhh, if it's all the same to you, Agent Turnquist, I think I'm gonna head back to Earth.  Just in case.

Luke doesn't want to be so far away the next time Tomato King attacks.  Plus, I needed him to be on Earth a few episodes later (episode 3, as it turns out), so I took this opportunity to introduce the idea.

JON (from monitor):
You're free to come home whenever you like.  Send our regards to the Vampirians.

A reminder of Luke's diplomatic mission.  The Vampirian transfer program (see episode xx) goes unmentioned for now.

[ LUKE nods.  DR. BERING, meanwhile, remains silent as the dialog continues. ]

JON (cont'd, from monitor):
As to the rest of you, please, go about your lives.  If we need you, we'll contact you.

As explained below, Jon wants to leave Tomato King as a training exercise for the new Rangers.

PETE (reluctantly):
Yeah, well... all right...

JON (over monitor):
By the way, Miss Lu, how goes the job search?

Jon will be contacting her soon about the opening at Windvale.  The audience is left to assume he was probably responsible for the job at McCloud falling through.

[ The HEROES are puzzled. ]

MAGGIE (suspiciously):
Um...  Fine...?

[ JON nods. ]

JON (over monitor):
I'm sure something will turn up.  Take care, Rangers.

[ JON appears to touch the communicator, and the monitor goes black. ]

CASEY (to Maggie):
Job search...?  I thought McCloud Middle School hired you.

I found it pleasant to use a name evocative of the sky, given last season's emphasis on aviation.

Yeah, well... it fell through at the last minute.

What?  No way!

I didn't know...

I didn't tell anybody.  I mean, except my parents, and they're in China.

This is the first canonical revelation that Maggie's parents live in China, but the fact that she talks with them regularly is a clarification of her phone call in season 1, episode 12.

So how did Smiley find out about it?

This is the first time Chris has used this sarcastic nickname for Jon.

That's what I'd like to know.

[ LISA keeps mum.  CHRIS looks to her. ]

Lisa?  Anything you'd like to share?

After Lisa's extended period of secrecy about their time-traveling duplicates in season 1, the Rangers are no longer shy about asking Lisa what she's hiding.  However, they're also used to her recent responses about Jon's plans being classified.

[ LISA opens her mouth but is reluctant to say anything.  She appears remorseful over her silence. ]

CHRIS (cont'd):
Right, classified.  We know the drill.

I'm sorry, guys.

Specifically, Lisa has been told not to reveal the new Ranger project or their roles at Windvale.

[ Dissolve to INT. PETE'S APARTMENT - LUKE places two large suitcases beside a convertible couch in the living room of Pete's apartment, which bears understated decor.  PETE sets down a third suitcase.  Both wear casual clothes (Pete's different from the previous scene) and AVIMORPHERS. ]

This scene takes place the next day, on Sunday, August 15, 1993.  (Luke's spaceship must be quite quick.)  The scene was a late addition to the episode after I considered that I wanted something to come of Luke's earlier intent to come home.

Thanks so much for letting me stay here, Pete.

As I wondered where Luke would stay after having been away from Earth for so long, I decided it would be reasonable for him to stay with Pete for the time being, as they had been on friendly terms in the first season.  This also had the benefit of facilitating the discussion below.

No problem, man.  It's been kinda lonely since we sold the house.

I didn't want the audience to spend too much time wondering what happened to the Rangers' house from last season, so I was sure to mention it here.

LUKE (absently):
Yeah, that was a shame...  I liked that house.

Yeah, sorry, man.  Maggie and I just couldn't --

Oh, no no...  I totally understand.  I mean, it doesn't help that I just went off into space and left you guys short a roommate...

Well, I guess, but... you know, Chris and Casey got their own place, and Lisa was up on the station... so it just worked out this way.  Nobody's fault.  Things just change.

With everyone else out of the house, Maggie and Pete were unable to afford the house payments alone, and it was more room than they needed anyway.

[ LUKE nods soberly. ]

Speaking of which, I guess our hero days are over.

Yeah, that's kinda weird how Turnquist's giving us the cold shoulder.  (ponders)  You think we should go after Tomato King anyway?

(sighs)  I dunno.  Maybe there's a chance Turnquist knows what he's doing.

[ Wipe to EXT. PENTATHLON STAGING GROUND - A large number of people are gathered for an outdoor event.  Banners read, "1993 Liveman Pentathlon."  Though attendees are of mixed ages, all of the competitors appear to be of high school age, and none younger than sixteen. ]

The rest of this episode takes place on Saturday, August 28, 1993, two weeks after Tomato King's attack on the cook-off.  This date is coincidentally the date Mighty Morphin Power Rangers premiered in real life, and likewise the date I assumed Rita's release took place (see below).  My reasoning for sticking with the original airdate was that the premiere was stated to occur on a Saturday, and it seemed to slightly predate the beginning of the school year; hence, August 28 was quite suitable.

The pentathlon scenes were the first scenes I wrote for the new season.  I had decided to recruit the new Rangers through an athletic event even before I decided on the idea of a boarding school.  As I searched for a name for the event, I considered that "Liveman" was as good as any, though I hadn't specifically set out to include the sentai's name in the series.

This event was originally billed as the first annual Liveman Pentathlon by the announcer below, under the premise that Jon might think this terminology would help make it sound more legitimate.  Ultimately, I decided the annual element (even if it was a ruse) was distracting, but I chose to leave the "1993" on the banners because the year wasn't stated outright anywhere else in the premiere.

ANNOUNCER2 (voice-over):
Welcome, one and all, to the Liveman Pentathlon!

[ EXT. PENTATHLON STAGING GROUND, STAGE - Alone on a stage, ANNOUNCER2 speaks into a microphone, his voice echoing over the area. ]

ANNOUNCER2 (cont'd):
Aristotle once said that the most perfect sportsmen were pentathletes, because, he said, "in their bodies strength and speed are combined in beautiful harmony."  Well, with all due respect to our friend Aristotle, we've mixed things up a bit today.

In the traditional pentathlon, athletes had to compete in all five events, and their cumulative performances would determine the competition's winner.  This was the basis for Aristotle's musings on the perfection of pentathletes: they had to excel at all five events.  This is thrown out the window, however, for the Liveman Pentathlon, which is looking for five candidates with individual skills, not a single candidate who excels at all.

[ Standing by themselves in a relatively secluded area behind the stage, LISA and JON watch the crowd.  Both are in formal attire, each wearing a navy blue blazer.  LISA continues to wear an AVIMORPHER.  ANNOUNCER2's voice recedes indistinctly into the background. ]

Jon and Lisa's blue blazers seemed appropriate for their role as overseers of the pentathlon; it was coincidence that they happen to match the students' uniforms at Windvale.

ANNOUNCER2 (voice-over, cont'd, becoming indistinct):
In this competition, points will not be carried over between events.  Instead, each event's gold medal winner will be awarded a college scholarship of...

As revealed later, the award is a $5,000 college scholarship to each gold medalist.  I figured this amount was just large enough to draw in an ample number of candidates without being over the top.

[ JON appears pleased as he surveys the crowd. ]

Nice turnout.  Should give us plenty of candidates.

Yeah, but what's with the age cutoff?  I thought the whole point of the academy was to start with freshmen...  You know, you're not really keeping your so-called "assistant" very informed.

The original plan for the takeover of Windvale Academy was to groom young teens into Ranger candidates over a number of years; by the time they reached adulthood, they would be skilled and obedient soldiers.  However, a new sense of urgency (see below) has led Jon to seek slightly older teens who are still impressionable but who can stand more of a chance in battle from the beginning.  In this context, it becomes ironic to realize that, according to retroactive continuity, Zordon's teenagers in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Jason, Zack, Billy, Trini, and Kimberly) had to be freshmen when he chose them, notwithstanding the unrealistic ages of their respective actors.  If this casts Zordon in a somewhat negative light, so be it.

Coindicentally, Liveman featured an academy of its own: the Rangers (and villains) were all from the same advanced facility on Academia Island.  It was abandoned in the first episode, however, following the villains' attack.

I chose to make this season's Rangers teenagers as variety from the previous season's adult Rangers, and also because I found it an enjoyable setting for the first five seasons of Power Rangers.  And now I can finally call them "teens" collectively!  That's much better than the "heroes" term I had to invent for the unmorphed Rangers last season.

[ JON makes sure they're relatively alone before replying in a hushed tone. ]

It seems the empire has spread more quickly than we expected.  That made the general reevaluate his equations.

What equations?

Malleability versus strength.  Originally, we wanted to train them from the ground up, but we need recruits who have strength and skill right now.

By malleability, of course, he means youngsters who will grow up to do whatever they say.

This scene originally meandered down a more light-hearted path from here as Lisa joked about her team not being needed to train the new recruits.  (Tomato King also wasn't brought up originally, because when I wrote the first draft of this scene, I hadn't yet thought to make him the villain of this two-parter.)  Not only did I find the more serious version more appropriate, but I also changed my mind about having the first-generation Rangers train the new Rangers.

(ponders)  So what's the deal with Tomato King?

An incidental diversion.  As long as he sticks to just scaring people, we're content to save him as a training exercise.

LISA (somewhat outraged):
A training exercise?!  THAT'S why you won't let us stop him?!

JON (coolly):
Please keep your voice down, Miss Ward.

[ With some frustration, LISA forces herself to quiet down. ]

So I guess the moral of all this is that you don't need my team anymore.

JON (deadpan):
Well, we might always need reserve forces.  You know, if these kids get themselves destroyed.

In the light-hearted version of this scene, Lisa playfully smacked Jon's arm, and he reminded her with mock-seriousness that he was her boss now; she rolled her eyes and replied, "Yes sir."

[ LISA scowls at him. ]

JON (cont'd):
I'm kidding, Miss Ward.

[ LISA looks away, calming slightly. ]

JON (cont'd, absently):
That's what the silver medalists are for.

Is Jon just trying to rile Lisa up, or is this attitude sincere?  We'll just have to wonder.

[ LISA rolls her eyes and walks away.  JON smirks privately. ]

[ INT. GYMNASIUM - TRINI, a slender black female, approximately sixteen years old, stands opposite an opponent, RIVAL 1.  Both wear white gis with black belts tied around their waists, as well as light padded sparring gear.  TRINI's hair is tied into a tight bun behind her head. ]

After I'd decided to ditch the Ranger footage from Liveman, I realized I could violate the "Red as leader" convention if I chose.  Hence, I chose to make my Yellow Ranger (whom I had already decided to make female, even if I had used the sentai Ranger footage) the leader, based mostly on the fact that the Lionzord seemed to receive more focus than the Falconzord in the sentai, but also simply for the novelty of having a female leader, and an African-American female leader at that.

As I was brainstorming names for the new Ranger teens, I mischievously thought of "Trini" for the Yellow Ranger; this idea amused me, given that there had already been two other Trinis of different races (MMPR's Trini was Asian, while its "unaired" pilot episode featured a different actress of mixed ethnicity as Trini).  I decided to add a third Trini of a separate ethnicity and speculate on the connection between the three of them.  (And for a name seemingly derived from the word "trinity," isn't it fitting that there would be three of them?)

Incidentally, if I had retained the Ranger footage from Liveman, this would be the third Trini to have a male sentai incarnation, as the Yellow Ranger in Liveman was a male.  Previously, both Trinis in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers became the "male but let's pretend he's a female" Yellow Ranger from Zyuranger.

ANNOUNCER2 (voice-over):
And we're ready to begin round one.

[ A REFEREE approaches the duo. ]

Challengers bow...

[ TRINI and RIVAL 1 bow to each other. ]

REFEREE (cont'd):
Ready positions...

[ TRINI and RIVAL 1 assume defensive stances. ]

REFEREE (cont'd):

[ The REFEREE backs away, and TRINI and RIVAL 1 engage in combat, each skillfully employing karate techniques.  TRINI, however, soon scores a backfist against her rival's headgear, her blow precise and using a measured amount of force.  The REFREE dashes in. ]


[ The REFEREE raises TRINI's gloved hand. ]

[ INT. GYMNASIUM (LATER) - TRINI battles RIVAL 2 (female), blocking her blows and then landing a deft roundhouse kick to her ribs.  Again, TRINI's strike is precisely measured, delivering speed but no more force than necessary. ]


[ INT. GYMNASIUM (EVEN LATER) - TRINI scores against a third rival, SLADE, with a precision strike to his midsection.  Here, SLADE is wearing a black gi and a brown belt.  His hair is dark and messy.  He is wearing a small earring in his left earlobe. ]

Slade is a brown belt in some martial art discipline.  I included him as an opponent so the teens would have another means of interacting before Jon brought them all together.  Ultimately, though, their competition here isn't referenced later.

A martial arts event has been arranged to select a leader for the future Ranger team.  Given that the Red Ranger would be the flying expert, it appears that the Yellow Ranger was always intended as the team leader.


[ INT. GYMNASIUM (LATER STILL) - TRINI engages in combat with a particularly formidable opponent, RIVAL 4.  Their match goes on for some time, neither able to deliver a blow which the other doesn't block or dodge. ]

[ Finally, RIVAL 4 delivers a lunging kick which TRINI sidesteps, spinning into a reverse roundhouse kick (shown in slow motion).  RIVAL 4 barely manages to duck the kick, sending TRINI's foot (heel first) sailing just over his head.  Just as it seems RIVAL 4 is in the clear, however, TRINI's foot circles under his head and returns to the original side, striking his headgear almost gingerly with the top of her foot (her knee turned in the other direction from her original roundhouse kick).  RIVAL 4 blinks, startled either by the unexpected move or by its gentleness. ]

[ As TRINI lowers her foot to the mat, the REFEREE rushes in and takes her hand. ]


ANNOUNCER2 (voice-over):
The winner...!  Trini Moore!

I've given Trini a different last name from MMPR's Trini Kwan on account of her divergent ethnicity; on this basis, I assumed the Trini from the unaired pilot would have had a different last name as well.

[ The crowd of spectators applauds and cheers as the REFEREE raises TRINI's hand.  TRINI flashes a thin smile to the crowd, perhaps more out of politeness than overt excitement. ]

[ In the stands, MR. MOORE, a black man seemingly in his late thirties, applauds while sporting a broad smile.  His is not wearing a wedding ring. ]

Mr. Moore is a single parent, though we don't know any specifics.

[ Apparently catching Mr. Moore's eye in the stands, TRINI smiles more genuinely. ]

Trini and her father have a strong bond.

[ INT. WOMEN'S LOCKER ROOM - Seated on a bench near the showers (currently unused), TRINI puts on socks and sneakers.  She is now wearing a hooded sweatshirt and athletic pants.  Beside her on the bench is a sports bag containing her gi and black belt. ]

Good thing I noted the "currently unused" part, or this scene would be a bit tricky to film!

[ The announcer's voice can be heard distantly outside. ]

ANNOUNCER2 (voice-over):
Next up: swimming!

[ From elsewhere in the locker room, a teenaged girl, APRIL, walks past TRINI, dressed in a one-piece competitive swimsuit.  She has curly auburn hair which hangs loose, and a swim cap is in her hand, as well as several small hair clips.  She appears to be approximately sixteen as well.  TRINI flashes her a polite smile as APRIL (face unseen) heads toward the showers. ]

[ As TRINI finishes tying her shoelaces, APRIL turns on the water, soaks her hair under the spray, and then turns it off and exits the shower.  TRINI curiously glances up at APRIL as she passes once more, this time clipping her wet hair back and affixing her swim cap over it.  In passing, APRIL notices TRINI's attention and pauses.  TRINI glances away awkwardly, but it's too late to escape APRIL's notice.  APRIL flashes a self-effacing smirk. ]

I know, it's weird, right?

[ TRINI refrains from making eye contact as she tries to hold back a chuckle. ]

I didn't say anything.

Trini isn't particularly sociable.  She remains polite but doesn't have any urge to get involved in other people's business.

[ APRIL finishes tying the swim cap in place. ]

Some of the girls on my swim team make fun of me when I do it, but I don't care.

[ TRINI shakes her head with a smile as she stands and drapes her bag over her shoulder.  She still resists making eye contact. ]

I'm sure you have a good reason.

Well, nobody else believes me, but I swear it stops the chemicals in the pool from getting in your hair.  It's like... it's already as wet as it's gonna get, you know?  So it can't soak up the pool water.  Otherwise, your hair turns all green and everything... (grimaces)

As I was researching facets about swimmers' lives that might be relevant to April, I came across this trick for preventing hair discoloration.  I planned for April to use it at some point in the season, but I didn't realize until writing this scene that it would come up so soon.

I'll take your word for it.

Trini would seem to have little use for this piece of information.

[ APRIL chuckles self-consciously.  She then studies TRINI's face. ]

Hey, didn't you win the karate event?  Trini Moore, right?  You're really good!

[ TRINI finally makes eye contact and bows her head politely. ]


"Trini"...  That's a nice name.  Is it short for something?

TRINI (matter-of-factly):
It's short for Trini Rodriguez.  My great-grandmother.

Here's how I attempted to tie the three Trinis together: they shared the same great-grandmother, and each version of Trini received her name.  And yes, this does require that the audience tolerate the idea of MMPR's Trini (who was purportedly Chinese) being an eighth Mexican.  (Further, the audience must also believe that one of Trini's parents, shown in MMPR season 1, must therefore be one-quarter Mexican despite appearances to the contrary.  I speculated that it was her mother, given the xxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx connection from episode xx.)

The life of Trini's great-grandmother is detailed in episode xx.

[ APRIL appears moderately puzzled. ]

TRINI (cont'd):
I'm an eighth Mexican.

Oh yeah?  I'm an eighth Gaelic.  (pauses)  ... And seven-eighths Irish.

I'm sure someone will be happy to point out the differences between "Gaelic" and "Irish," but I considered them synonymous enough to make this just a joke on April's part.

[ TRINI smiles softly.  APRIL extends her hand. ]

APRIL (cont'd):
My name's April.

[ TRINI looks at her hand briefly and then shakes it. ]

Nice to meet you.

Hey, you should come watch the swimming event.  I think it's gonna be kinda crazy.  (glances at Trini's outfit)  I'm guessing you're not competing.

[ TRINI chuckles. ]

No.  Maybe I'll check it out though.

APRIL (with a smile):
All right...  Well, see ya!

[ APRIL turns and leaves. ]

[ EXT. SWIMMING POOL (UNDERWATER) - Swimming gracefully through the water while wearing goggles in addition to her swim cap, APRIL navigates a novel underwater obstacle course.  Once through, she darts up to the surface. ]

Jon or someone else connected to the Windvale project has designed an underwater obstacle course to find a proficient swimmer as their Blue Ranger.

[ EXT. SWIMMING POOL - APRIL breaks up through the water's surface and slaps her hand against a large panel on the side of the pool. ]

ANNOUNCER2 (voice-over):
35.28!  That gives April Flynn a generous lead!

[ EXT. STANDS - Seated in the stands overlooking the swimming pool (off-screen), TRINI claps along with the rest of the audience. ]

[ We pan up to the rear of the stands, where LISA and JON stand apart from the crowd, watching the event below.  LISA speaks to JON as the applause begins to die down. ]


Looking that way.

[ EXT. POOLSIDE - APRIL anxiously stands with a towel draped over her shoulders.  Her hair is wet but uncovered.  With her are MR. FLYNN and MRS. FLYNN, an attractive couple passable as Irish-American.  Both are in their late thirties and wear matching wedding rings.  Together, the trio listens as the announcer's voice begins. ]

ANNOUNCER2 (voice-over):
And Rachel Lee finishes with 42.94!  That means April Flynn is our first-place winner!

It seemed cliché for the winner to be the last one to compete, so I avoided that here.

[ APRIL gasps as the audience erupts into applause.  Her parents hug her in delight. ]

[ EXT. STANDS - TRINI rises for a standing ovation.  She smiles without making any vocal outbursts. ]

[ EXT. POOLSIDE - APRIL excitedly waves to the applauding crowd.  MR. and MRS. FLYNN have moved into the background.  Meanwhile, JON approaches her and addresses APRIL privately, catching her parents' attention. ]

Congratulations, Miss Flynn.  If you'll meet us in the registration booth after the final event, we'll get all the paperwork straightened out.

[ APRIL nods with bewilderment. ]

O-- Okay.

[ JON departs.  The applause continues, and APRIL continues to smile toward the stands.  Her parents watch JON leave. ]

Note that the Flynns are suspicious of the stranger talking to their daughter.  They struck me as slightly overprotective in other ways, but keeping an eye on unfamiliar older men talking to your teenage daughter just seems prudent.

[ INT. ARCADE - BRAD, a somewhat slender Asian teenager in casual clothes, wanders through an arcade-like room full of sixteen flight simulator capsules while continuously checking a numbered tag in his hand (it bears the number seven).  (BRAD routinely wears a digital watch, though it is clearly not an AviMorpher.) ]

The flight event was designed to select a Red Ranger to pilot the Falconzord.

I chose to make my Red Ranger Asian to break new ground, as (at the time of this writing) Power Rangers has never featured an Asian Red Ranger, with a possible exception of Shane, a Samoan Red Ranger in Power Rangers Ninja Storm (2003).  For a brief time while writing episode 3, I considered a plot wherein Brad debated giving up his powers, at which point I would have made him Caucasian and renamed him Matt Weaver to avoid Asian stereotypes (due to the similarity to Maggie's retirement last season).  Ultimately, however, I abandoned this storyline, and Brad remained Brad.

[ As BRAD navigates the arcade, we see that each capsule is numbered (some with teenagers waiting beside them), and BRAD eventually makes his way to number seven.  Beside it is number eight, against which leans LANDON.  LANDON is a teenager in casual clothes as well.  Curiously, he happens to look identical to Slade (seen earlier), though they wear their hair somewhat differently, and LANDON lacks an earring or even a pierced ear. ]

I thought twin Rangers would be an interesting novelty.  I figured it might also have the advantage of having to hire only one actor for two roles, given that x xxxxxxx xx xxxxxxxx (xx xxxxxxxxx) xxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxxxx.

Note that if Landon and Slade were played by the same actor, Slade's pierced ear would pose a problem if Landon's ear was supposed to remain unpierced (assuming the camera would show his ear in sufficient detail to notice).  This problem could be solved using a magnetic or adhesive earring when the actor played Slade.

Landon is an old English name meaning "long hill."  I found it a fitting name for a Green Ranger.

In Liveman, the Green and Black Rangers were not related, but Green regarded Black as a surrogate big brother of sorts.

[ BRAD nods politely to LANDON, who nods in return. ]


Hi.  Looks like I'm your neighbor.  (chuckles and shakes his head)  What a weird pentathlon.

[ LANDON is mildly amused but cocks his head curiously. ]

What do you mean?

Well, I mean, THIS!  Who's ever heard of a flight simulator event in an athletic competition?


[ LANDON laughs.  His demeanor seems quite laid-back and easily amused. ]

Oh, yeah, I guess so.  I'm kinda glad this one's not physical, though.  I'm beat from that last one.

Dodgeball?  Hey, I was in that one too!  (ponders)  I got eliminated pretty quickly though...

I had a tough time thinking of an event for Landon to win.  Originally, I noted that the Falcon, Lion, and Dolphin had a clear air/earth/water connection, and hence their events could be based on those elements.  However, given that I wanted all five Rangers to debut together, I was left without clear associations for Rhino and Bison.  Ultimately, I thought shooting would be a useful Ranger skill, but that left a fifth event unassigned.  I eventually settled on dodgeball, as I found the idea of evading attacks to be useful in battle.  (An alternate idea I discarded for the fifth event was soccer, to parallel Green Ranger's head-butt attack.)

[ Flash to INT. GYMNASIUM - A robotic mechanism pivots in a random direction and then uses two spinning wheels to launch an inflated rubber dodgeball toward a crowd of teenaged athletes.  In slow motion, the ball flies toward BRAD.  Apparently unable to dodge the ball, BRAD turns just in time for the ball to slam against his back, sending him careening to the gym floor in a comical manner. ]

We're left to wonder why Brad even entered this event to begin with.

[ INT. ARCADE - LANDON smiles with dawning recollection. ]

Oh yeah!  I remember you!  You were that guy who left on his hands and knees!

Brad isn't an athlete, as he soberly notes next episode.

BRAD (matter-of-factly):
I was trying to avoid being hit again.  (cheerily) How'd you end up doing?

[ LANDON tries to hide a proud smile. ]

LANDON (attempting humility):
Oh, well, first place...

That's Landon for you...  Always humble.

BRAD (eagerly):
Wow, seriously?  Congratulations!  So that's a five thousand dollar scholarship right there!

LANDON (with a chuckle):
Yeah, I guess so.

ANNOUNCER2 (voice-over):
Ladies and gentlemen, the practice round will begin shortly.  Please take your places at this time.

I considered ditching the practice round, but I found the idea of throwing these competitors into an instant-elimination event without any experience whatsoever would be a bit unfair.

[ BRAD and LANDON turn to situate themselves into their simulator cockpits. ]

Well, good luck.

Yeah, you too.

[ INT. SIMULATOR 7 - BRAD climbs into his cockpit and situates himself.  The dark screen then comes to life, revealing a computer simulation of a jet cockpit of some sort (no particular similarity to the Falcon cockpit in Liveman #2) as the simulated craft flies over a mountainous terrain (the mountains arranged in a vast ring around what is likely the intended combat zone).  The graphics are fairly advanced by 1993's standards. ]

I originally described this cockpit display as resembling the Falcon's sentai cockpit; though I planned to re-shoot the Rangers' cockpit footage, I thought I might end up using footage of the Stingers flying by from Brad's vantage point.  Upon further reflection, however, I realized that Jon's organization probably wouldn't have had detailed information on the ancient Zords by this point, and so they wouldn't have been able to replicate the Falcon's cockpit for the simulator.

I cited the presence of a mountainous ring as an obvious visual border for the battlefield to keep the action contained.

[ INT. ARCADE - Atop simulator #7, a red light turns on. ]

[ BRAD grips the joystick with his right hand, a simple button trigger available for use with his index finger, and his left hand rests on a throttle lever to his left.  A recorded computer voice plays through the cockpit's internal speakers. ]

COMPUTER (voice-over):
Welcome to the Liveman flight simulator.  The controls are quite simple.  The joystick controls your flight direction, the joystick trigger button fires your lasers...

I threw in the "Liveman" name again just because I thought a name would be appropriate here.

[ BRAD experimentally squeezes the trigger, firing a pair of blue lasers into the distance. ]

COMPUTER (voice-over, cont'd):
... and the lever on the left controls your flight speed.

This combat simulator vaguely reminds me of the novel Ender's Game.

[ INT. SIMULATOR 8 - In his own cockpit, LANDON studies his controls as a number of smaller displays light up below his main viewscreen.  They show various views from all angles outside the ship: left, right, rear, above, and below. ]

COMPUTER (voice-over, cont'd):
The displays below show your surrounding environment.

[ INT. SIMULATOR 7 - BRAD checks his displays and then readies his hands on his controls. ]

COMPUTER (voice-over, cont'd):
Your objective is to destroy or be destroyed.  The winner will be the last pilot flying.  In the event of a draw, the pilot with the greater number of shoot-downs will be declared the winner.

I considered removing the reference to a tie since I wasn't planning for the match to end in a tie, but I thought it would provide motivation for the competitors to actively shoot people down rather than lurk on the edges of the battlefield.  Incidentally, a tie could have occurred through a simultaneous mutual shoot-down (unlikely), or if the last competitors crashed into each other (more likely).

Got it.  Let's do this.

LANDON (off-screen, muffled):
Hey man, are you talking to yourself in there?

BRAD (slightly embarrassed):
Uh, no...?

LANDON (off-screen, muffled):
Oh, all right.

A brief moment of humor before the action starts.

COMPUTER (voice-over):
A two-minute practice round begins... now.

[ In the viewscreen, additional fighter ships, each an identical single-passenger craft, suddenly appear in the sky, likewise flying over the same landscape.  There are a total of fifteen craft at this point, though all may not be seen at once.  Each craft, while on-screen, has a translucent number superimposed above it (1 through 16, with the exception of 7). ]

[ BRAD pushes his throttle forward, and his ship races into the fray, where ships have already begun firing on each other with blue lasers.  The giant battle takes place over the mountainous ring. ]

[ INT. ARCADE AUDIENCE - At the back of a set of stands overlooking the arcade below, LISA speaks with JON.  A giant monitor on the far wall of the arcade shows an overview of the action. ]

LISA (sarcastically):
Oh, okay, you're not rebuilding the Flyers.  I believe you.

No comment.

They may or may not be rebuilding the Flyers, but as Jon indicates next episode, they are years away from manufacturing their own Zords without Zordon's help.  Instead, this event is to find a pilot for the preexisting Falconzord.

[ Wipe to INT. SIMULATOR 7 - BRAD is flying his craft when the display suddenly goes dark, surprising him. ]

COMPUTER (voice-over):
The practice round is now over.  All fighter positions will now be reset.  Prepare to battle... in three...

[ BRAD grips his controls with intensity. ]

[ INT. SIMULATOR 8 - LANDON smirks with amusement and readies his controls. ]

COMPUTER (voice-over, cont'd):

[ INT. SIMULATOR 7 - BRAD remains steady. ]

COMPUTER (voice-over, cont'd):
One...  Begin!

[ The viewscreen returns, revealing sky and mountains.  Most significantly, however, all sixteen ships are arranged as nodes on an invisible dome, each flying inward and none directly facing another ship from the outset.  The invisible dome of ships begins to collapse inward as all ships lazily approach one another. ]

[ BRAD forcefully thrusts his throttle stick forward, and his ship speeds ahead. ]

[ INT. ARCADE - On the large monitor, we see an external viewpoint as most of the ships rocket inward toward each other, and a hail of blue laser fire crisscrosses the battle zone.  Each ship is numbered, 1 through 16. ]

[ In close-up, we see ship #14 struck by laser fire.  It explodes in a spray of fire and shrapnel. ]

[ The red light above #14 switches off. ]

ANNOUNCER2 (voice-over):
And number fourteen is eliminated!

[ In the monitor, ship #6 explodes as well. ]

ANNOUNCER2 (voice-over):
Number six is second to go!

[ The red light on simulator #6 goes dark. ]

[ On the monitor, we see the aerial battle raging from assorted angles.  Various craft weave through the air and exchange laser fire.  One after the next, ships explode in midair (though not #7 or #8). ]

[ In the arcade below, we see an overview of the simulators as assorted red lights shut off.  In short time, only a handful of red lights remain: 2, 7, 8, and 11. ]

[ INT. SIMULATOR 8 - LANDON pilots his ship deftly as he pursues ship #2.  He misses several times but then succeeds in striking his foe, blowing up the ship ahead of him.  He pumps his fist. ]


[ Suddenly, another ship (#7) darts straight up across his viewscreen, and he weaves to catch it. ]

LANDON (cont'd):
Where do you think you're going?

[ INT. SIMULATOR 7 - Having been flying straight up, BRAD levels off and keeps his eyes on his smaller displays as ship #8 begins to tail him.  He also sees ship #11 approaching from the distance on his right. ]

Just a little closer...

[ INT. SIMULATOR 8 - LANDON steadily pursues ship #7, setting it in his sights. ]

You're going down, man.

[ LANDON prepares to squeeze his trigger button. ]

[ INT. SIMULATOR 7 - BRAD suddenly yanks back on the throttle and veers down into a sharp dive to the left. ]

[ INT. SIMULATOR 8 - LANDON is startled as ship #7 suddenly peels off.  To his surprise, ship #11 approaches from his right with a hail of laser fire, striking his ship.  LANDON yelps as his screen is engulfed in a white flash.  The computer voice comes in: ]

I find it interesting that Brad defeated his final two competitors without actively shooting them down.

COMPUTER (voice-over):
You've been destroyed.  Please remain seated until the event is over.

[ LANDON releases his hands from his controls and jestingly shakes his fist in the direction of simulator 7. ]

LANDON (with mock wrath):

Good old mock wrath.

[ The white screen partially dissolves to show a detached overview of the combat area as ship #11 pursues #7.  LANDON watches with interest. ]

[ INT. SIMULATOR 7 - As BRAD swoops down near the ground, ship #2 swings down to pursue him.  Laser fire peppers the air around his ship, but he expertly weaves out of the way of each volley of shots, his eyes darting back and forth between his main viewscreen and his rear display. ]

[ INT. ARCADE - LISA is enrapt by the giant monitor.  If seen below, simulators 2 and 7 are the only red lights remaining. ]

Dang...  How does he keep dodging all those lasers?

Just good at video games, I suppose.

[ INT. SIMULATOR 7 - BRAD pulls up, continuing to dodge laser fire from behind as he gains altitude. ]

[ INT. ARCADE - In the large monitor, ship #7 quickly drops into a dive.  Ship #2 follows.  They soar earthward as ship #7 continues to evade hail of lasers. ]

[ INT. SIMULATOR 7 - The ground approaches rapidly. ]

[ INT. ARCADE - LISA watches intently. ]

He's gonna crash...

[ INT. SIMULATOR 7 - As his collision with the earth seems imminent, BRAD suddenly jerks back on the joystick and pushes the throttle to maximum. ]


[ INT. ARCADE - Ship #7 performs a dazzling swoop upward, just barely missing the ground below.  Ship #2, behind, attempts to pull up as well but smashes into the terrain with a mighty explosion. ]

This incident was meant to set up sentai footage in which the Falconzord performed a similar maneuver to dispose of Stingers on its tail.

[ LISA reacts excitedly.  Meanwhile, JON steps forward out of frame. ]


COMPUTER (voice-over):
Simulation over.

[ Below, BRAD emerges, someone confused and bleary-eyed. ]

ANNOUNCER2 (voice-over):
The winner... pilot number seven!  Brad Ito!

[ The audience cheers and applauds.  BRAD waves and bows his head self-deprecatingly. ]

[ LANDON climbs out of the adjacent simulator. ]

LANDON (with a smirk):
All right, what the heck, man?  You dodge a jillion lasers, but you can't dodge a dodgeball?

[ BRAD shrugs sheepishly. ]

[ JON approaches. ]

Mr. Ito, congratulations.

[ Wipe to EXT. REGISTRATION BOOTH - Standing beside unmanned tables under a large tent, TRINI and APRIL are talking (mostly April talking to Trini).  Some distance away, MR. and MRS. FLYNN are chatting with MR. MOORE, his demeanor slightly reserved.  APRIL is now wearing slightly preppy casual clothes, along with a promise ring on her left ring finger (which she will continue to wear with all clothes except her swim outfits). ]

Part of me wished I had a classier locale for the teens' first group meeting with Jon, but I considered that the pentathlon was thrown together somewhat hastily and didn't have an enormous budget (not counting the $25,000 in scholarships which are awarded).

[ BRAD approaches the tent, hands in his pockets.  APRIL and TRINI look at him as he approaches. ]

Hi.  Is this where the winners go?

APRIL (looking up at the tent):
That's what they told us.  (extends her hand to Brad)  My name's April.  This is Trini.

[ BRAD bashfully shakes APRIL's hand. ]

Hi.  Brad.

What are the chances of Brad developing a crush on April?

Which event did you win?

Oh, the, uh... flying event.

[ APRIL giggles. ]

Flying event...  This is such a weird pentathlon.

[ BRAD lights up with enthusiasm. ]

I know, right?!  I did some research on pentathlons before I came.  It turns out the Greek pentathlon events were based on their soldiers' skills, like jumping, and wrestling, and javelin-throwing...

[ TRINI listens. ]

BRAD (cont'd):
And then the modern Olympic Games based them on cavalry soldiers, like with the horse-riding, fencing, all that...

That's some nice researching, Brad.

[ TRINI grows interested enough to speak up. ]

So what kind of soldier is all this based on?


Well, all I know is I can use that scholarship.  Um... as soon as I decide what college I wanna go to.

Of the future Ranger teens, April is most concerned about academics and college, no doubt partly due to parental encouragement.

[ JON approaches with SLADE, who is now wearing casual black clothes. ]

Ladies... Mr. Ito...  I'd like to introduce Slade Ballard, winner of the shooting event.

Slade is an old English name meaning "valley," to parallel Landon's name.  His name should please readers who complained that last season's Ranger names were too mundane.

I got the surname Ballard from a local politician whose campaign signs were plastered all over the county where I live at the time I was planning season two.

Slade is skilled in both shooting and martial arts.  For some reason, neither activity seems to interest Landon.

BRAD (astonished):
Holy cow...  You won at shooting too?!

[ SLADE coolly eyes BRAD without a response. ]

Slade is relatively dour and antisocial, at the risk of making him seem too similar to Chris, last season's Black Ranger.  I felt Slade's attitude was more a product of his opinion of himself and the desire to stay "cool" at all times, whereas Chris's initial attitude was more in response to his perceptions of the world around him (in part due to his parents' death).

Ah, no, actually...

LANDON (off-screen, distant):
Hey, wait for me!

[ They all turn to see LANDON running up from the complex nearby. ]

[ BRAD does a doubletake as he looks between SLADE and the arriving LANDON.  They are virtually identical in appearance, with the exception of clothing, hairstyle, and SLADE's earring, as well as a perpetually icy expression on SLADE's face, while LANDON appears more cheerful. ]

Hey, you guys are twins, aren't you?

Very observant, April.

(laughs)  You think?

[ MR. FLYNN, MRS. FLYNN, and MR. MOORE approach. ]

I'd like to congratulate you all once again for your accomplishments today.  However, I'm afraid I need to come clean with you for a moment.

[ MR. and MRS. FLYNN eye him somewhat suspiciously. ]

JON (cont'd):
In our promotions, we indicated that the winner of each event would receive a five thousand dollar college scholarship.

What, there's a catch?

Not exactly.  The scholarships are still yours to keep.  But I'm actually the headmaster of Windvale Academy.

APRIL (privately, with recognition):

April and her parents are keenly aware of prestigious schools in the area, though we're left to wonder why April wasn't sent there previously.

Note that Windvale was the town near which the relatively harmless monster Zephyros went into hiding, as indicated in season 1, episode 31.  The fact that virtually every Liveman Zord battle took place in the mountains led me to set this season in a remote town, and I preferred to use an existing locale rather than invent a new one.  Continuity!!

Though we didn't advertise this aspect of the competition, I'm prepared to offer each of you a full scholarship to Windvale for the remainder of your high school education.

Windvale Academy will frequently be referred to simply as "Windvale" this season, despite the potential confusion with the town itself.

[ APRIL and her parents are astonished.  TRINI and MR. MOORE share a glance, and SLADE and LANDON appear mildly perplexed. ]

MRS. FLYNN (astonished):
But... the school year starts the week after next!

This timing arose due to the required placement of the tomato cook-off in August, followed by a hastily arranged pentathlon.  It was mere coincidence that this date also happened to be the date of Rita's release.

Yes, I... regret the short notice.

I'm sorry, Windvale Academy?  Is that like one of those charter schools?

As I was researching private schools for this season, I noticed that, coincidentally, California's first charter schools opened for the 1993-94 school year.  I considered making Windvale a charter school, but I decided that it would be unwise to have Windvale governed by a strict charter and funded by the state; for the independence necessary for a Ranger training program, I felt the school had to remain privately owned.  However, I thought I'd throw in a reference to charter schools, since they would have been on people's minds in 1993.

No.  We're a private boarding school in Windvale, about forty miles from here.

Whoa... boarding school?

It was actually my wife's suggestion to put the Ranger teens in a boarding school; prior to that point, I'd been trying to figure out how to keep their identities secret if attacks occurred during the school day (and unlike Power Rangers, I did actually intend for some attacks to occur while classes were in session).  With the school secretly headed by people who knew the Rangers' identities, I could now freely have them pulled out of class without resulting in academic penalties.

Our college acceptance rate for the past four classes is one hundred percent.

This seemed hard for me to believe, but numerous private schools boast the same.  I can only assume they mean, "...among those who applied to one or more colleges."

[ APRIL looks to her parents.  A car horn honks, and everyone looks back. ]

[ Driving a sports car (appropriate for 1993), an older teenager named NICK waits impatiently.  He calls out to Brad: ]

Hey, knucklehead!  Hurry up!

Nick is Brad's older brother.  As mentioned in episode 2, Brad and Nick have had to share a bedroom for over ten years now.

[ BRAD sheepishly looks to JON. ]

JON (to Brad):
Let me get your paperwork.  (departs)

[ LANDON looks to SLADE. ]

Wow, Windvale Academy...  That's kinda crazy.

Yeah.  There's no way I'm going to a boarding school.

A little irony.

[ Unbeknownst to them, a HOVERBIRD (see last season) watches the group from above.  Its stripe is blue. ]

When this script was a one-parter, I simply cut directly from Slade's line to Mrs. Ballard contradicting him.  As a two-parter, though, I needed some sort of cliffhanger for the episode, so I added the Hoverbird, Lisa, and Dr. Bering for tension (however unjustified it may be).

[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - On the wall monitor, we see the group from the Hoverbird's perspective above them.  Watching the monitor in the command center are DR. BERING and LISA.  LISA still wears her same blazer. ]

So what happens if none of them agree?  Tomato King's still on the loose, and the empire...

Lisa's concern may be a bit unfounded; so far, only Slade appears like he might wish to decline.  Ultimately, all five will attend.  We're left to wonder, though, what would have happened if some had declined.  Would their respective events' silver medalists have been invited in their stead?

Let's hope they change their mind.

[ "To be continued..."  Fade to black. ]

The Rita scene below was a late addition to the script, though I had planned for Garavan to at least mention Rita at some point during the premiere.  I find it interesting for a trailing segment to come in after the "To be continued..." has already appeared on-screen.

[ Fade in to EXT. ALIEN DESERT (Zyuranger #1) - Two silver-suited ASTRONAUTS remove the lid from the SPACE DUMPSTER (no audio), freeing four familiar space aliens: GOLDAR, FINSTER, SQUATT, and BABOO.  The ASTRONAUTS scramble away in terror.  RITA REPULSA then emerges, stretching her arms with a sense of refreshment. ]

Just to fill the audience in on what's happening in the Power Rangers universe right now.  Originally, Garvan simply uttered a line explaining why Zordon was busy, but I thought using the actual footage would get people all giggly.

Rita's release Rita's release Rita's release Rita's release Rita's release Rita's release Rita's release

I trimmed a small amount of footage in this sequence to show Rita's emergence as expediently as possible.

GARAVAN (voice-over):
Addendum: In Zordon's universe, the space dumpster has just been opened.  I suspect this may keep Zordon busy a while.

So don't expect him to be interacting with this universe this season!

[ Cut to black. ]