Spoiler Warning: The commentary found here contains spoilers for this episode and next; spoilers beyond episode 4 are not included.


Episode 3: "Dig Deep, part 1"

This two-parter was completed on July 16, 2009 (almost a year after the pilot preceding it!) and released on July 25, 2009.  Its title refers to the strength Brad must find within himself, but also to the Rangers' quest for Zords.

Like the pilot, this episode was originally planned as a one-parter, but I had too much material for one episode, so I expanded it to fill a second episode.

Writer:  Joe Rovang

[ Sentai footage is from Liveman #21. ]

In Liveman #21, one of the evil generals (named Meta-Gog here) battles the Rangers and ends up regaining his humanity.  I wasn't planning to use any small-scale battle footage from Liveman, but as I wrote this episode, I figured a dream sequence would allow for grainy footage, and it also doesn't require a tidy ending (as I learned with season 1, episode 28).  I chose Liveman #21 for Brad's daydream because I wasn't otherwise planning to adapt it (primarily because of a violent Zord battle), and it featured a Red Ranger sword attack that was useful for my story progression.

[ Fade in to EXT. SCHOOL GROUNDS - A sign in front of the school's main administrative buildings reads, "Windvale Academy, Est. 1907." ]

The first time the audience would see the establishment date up close.

Most of this episode takes place on Wednesday, September 8, 1993, two days after the pilot.  This is the teens' third day of classes.

[ INT. HEADMASTER'S OFFICE - At his desk, JON is calmly filling out a form of some sort.  We hear the door open off-camera.  JON politely looks up at his visitors. ]

[ There stand LISA and MAGGIE in normal work outfits.  LISA appears to be filled with with a bold sense of purpose, while MAGGIE refrains from making eye contact with JON. ]

May I help you?

We've made a decision.  Our team needs to know about the Windvale project, and we're going to tell them.

As seen in episode 1, Lisa felt she had to hide the Windvale project from her teammates.

[ Unfazed, JON shrugs coolly. ]

All right.  Go ahead.

I couldn't think of a good reason for Jon to want the others to stay in the dark any longer, so I thought this response would suit his character.

[ MAGGIE and LISA exchange puzzled glances. ]

JON (cont'd):
Is something wrong?

[ LISA blinks in disbelief. ]

But --  (glances at Maggie, then back at Jon)  You --

There was never any rule against telling your teammates, Miss Ward.  I'm sorry if you got that impression.

Jon may have done something to give Lisa the impression she shouldn't tell the others, but Lisa takes responsibility for the purported misunderstanding below.

[ LISA scowls at JON a moment.  MAGGIE looks to LISA, watching her carefully.  LISA then turns and exits without a word.  MAGGIE follows, glancing back at JON briefly.  She then shuts the door behind her. ]

[ Dissolve to INT. COUNSELOR'S OFFICE - In an office befitting a high school counselor, LISA and MAGGIE are talking.  LISA appears frustrated. ]

Uggh, I dunno what to say, Maggie.  I --

Don't worry about it.  I trust your word over Turnquist's.  Or "Newgard's."

Maggie and Lisa didn't get much bonding time in season 1, but they seem to be fine friends now.

No, but he's right!  That's the problem!  He never told me not to tell you guys!

But, again, what might he have implied in other ways?


LISA (unhappily):
I automatically jumped to secrecy as soon as he told me.  I guess I'm just not built for telling the truth.

Lisa still feels bad about deceiving the others a number of times in season 1.

Now, I don't think that's true...

[ LISA smirks. ]

Very funny.

[ MAGGIE smiles apologetically. ]

Sorry.  But I think you have pretty good reasons for your secrecy.  You know, protecting the timestream, working in covert government programs...

Lisa covered up the Rangers' time traveling duplicates from episodes 25 to 37 of season 1.  The government programs refer to testing the Power Coins (as set up in the season 1 finale) and now working for Turnquist/Newgard.

Yeah?  You figure that's good enough for Luke?

Luke and Lisa aren't dating anymore, but clearly Lisa still worries about what Luke thinks of her.

[ MAGGIE blinks. ]

LISA (awkwardly):
... and, you know, the rest of the team?

I think they'll understand.  When do you want to tell them?

Probably the sooner the better.

After last bell?

Last bell occurs at 5:00 to signal the end of study hall (below).  I figured Maggie and Lisa had a good reason for waiting until study hall was over for their conference call, but I don't know what it was offhand.

Yeah.  I'll ask Dr. Bering to set up one of those private conference calls.

Plot device for this episode.

Okay.  I'll give the others a heads up.

Originally I planned for the senior Rangers to meet in person in Pete's apartment, but I couldn't reconcile their work schedules at a reasonable time of day.  A conference call over the Morphers seemed like a fair compromise.

[ LISA ponders privately. ]

[ Dissolve to INT. CAFETERIA (AFTERNOON) - The school's cafeteria, normally able to seat 150 diners, is currently functioning as a study hall, with students clustered in assorted groups.  The students include all boarding students from grades 9 through 11, as well as roughly half of the school's day students.  Also present are just a few seniors.  All students are in uniform.  At the front of the room, seated at a small desk as he reads a mystery novel, is MR. GRANT (see episode 2).  A clock on the wall shows the time is roughly 4:30. ]

Mr. Grant is a science teacher and coach, in addition to being study hall monitor.

[ At a table of their own, SLADE, LANDON, APRIL, BRAD, and TRINI sit in a row.  LANDON and APRIL are writing answers on paper while referring to matching statistics textbooks.  TRINI is writing an essay of some sort, while SLADE is reading from a history textbook.  BRAD, meanwhile, is reading a library book about aviation history. ]

[ LANDON leans over to APRIL. ]

LANDON (whispering):
Hey, what'd you get for number six?

[ APRIL checks her paper. ]

APRIL (whispering):

I figured a statistics course (which seemed appropriate for 11th grade math) would begin by describing the difference between descriptive and inferential statistics.

[ At the front of the room, MR. GRANT clears his throat, his eyes on the TEENS' table.  APRIL shrinks back meekly, and LANDON straightens in his seat.  TRINI glances at them. ]

[ LANDON resumes his work quietly for a moment.  Not long later, he begins to look past SLADE toward the side windows. ]

LANDON (whispering):
Man, how come the seniors get to go where they want during study hall?

Landon is a bit of a complainer.  It was actually Slade who complained about unfairness in episode 2 when their mom insisted on sending them to Windvale, but he's sure to play it cool around others.

[ SLADE responds without lifting his eyes from his textbook. ]

SLADE (whispering):
They're special.

LANDON (whispering):
But it's kinda unfair, you know?  Just because they're a year older...

SLADE (whispering):
Well, what do you want me to do about it?

[ LANDON humphs privately. ]

LANDON (whispering, inwardly):
It's just kinda unfair, that's all.

[ Briefly suspending his reading, BRAD whispers around APRIL to LANDON. ]

BRAD (whispering):
At least we get a later lights-out time than the underclassmen.

Freshmen and sophomores have a lights-out time of 10:00 PM, while juniors and seniors are 10:30.  Breakfast begins the next morning at 7:30 AM, followed by an 8:15 assembly in the gym (one assembly was shown in episode 2 but was cut short).

[ LANDON looks toward BRAD but then looks up beyond him instead.  There stands MR. GRANT with arms crossed.  LANDON straightens and returns to his homework.  BRAD gulps as he realizes MR. GRANT is behind him. ]

MR. GRANT (speaking softly to the teens):
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a silent study hall.

[ LANDON begins writing on his paper. ]

LANDON (softly):
Yes sir!

[ MR. GRANT looks down at BRAD, who has apprehensively returned to his book.  (Nearby, a few students at other tables may glance over toward this area.) ]

MR. GRANT (softly):
Mr. Ito, I believe you have some assignments to work on...

Mr. Grant doubles as Brad's physics teacher.

[ BRAD meekly turns and looks up at him. ]

BRAD (softly):
Umm, no sir, I've finished them all.

[ MR. GRANT appears slightly flustered and glances at the clock on the wall (only a minute has passed since the scene opened, if the clock is shown). ]

BRAD (softly, cont'd):
Uh, sir, on question ten, you didn't say whether we should assume a frictionless environment like you did on all the others.  I did it both ways just in case.  Is that okay?

[ MR. GRANT blinks. ]

MR. GRANT (softly):
But... we haven't covered friction yet.  How did you...?

BRAD (softly):
I looked ahead.  I wasn't sure what to use for the coefficient of friction, but a lot of the examples in chapter six used .05, so that's what I used.

The particulars of Brad's extra work seemed realistic by my estimation.

[ MR. GRANT nods, still a bit surprised. ]

Uhh, that's fine.  Well done, Mr. Ito.  (to all, while wandering away)  Let's just keep it down over here.

[ As MR. GRANT leaves, APRIL snickers quietly, and TRINI smirks as well.  BRAD flashes the girls a dopey smile, seemingly unsure what's so funny. ]

Brad is studious and Japanese.  Am I perpetuating an Asian stereotype?  Well, not consciously.  But yes, Maggie is Chinese and the brain of her team, and Brad is Japanese and the brain of his team.  My bad, perhaps.  If it helps, I did think of Brad's brother Nick (episode 1) as an obnoxious jock.  All better?

[ The clock dissolves from its previous time (roughly 4:30, plus a minute) to 5:00.  A bell rings. ]

[ EXT. CAFETERIA (AFTERNOON) - The students exit the cafeteria and split up along assorted walkways leading across campus.  BRAD, TRINI, and APRIL walk together, while SLADE and LANDON trail them by some distance, talking amongst themselves.  All have backpacks.  BRAD is holding his library book. ]

TRINI (to Brad):
So how'd you do all your assignments that quickly?

Huh?  Oh, I did most of them between classes.

LANDON (muttering to Slade):
Man, and here I was spending my breaks talking to GIRLS...

APRIL (peeking at his book):
So what are you reading?  (sees the cover)  Aviation history?

What a shock that I'd pick aviation as a topic of interest for Brad, given his piloting skills and air element.

Yeah, for our history paper.

[ APRIL blinks. ]

You mean the paper due at the end of the quarter?  (inwardly) I haven't even picked my topic yet...

[ LANDON stops in his tracks. ]

Hey, uh... why do I want to put my hand in my pocket all of a sudden?

SLADE (continuing without him):
That's your business, dude.

I liked this joke.  I don't know if it could make it to air on a family show.

[ APRIL stops. ]

Wait, I do too.

[ The other four TEENS now stop and look around cautiously. ]

What's going on?  Are we under a spell?

The teens were concerned when Dr. Bering and Lisa warned them about spells in episode 2.

I don't know.  Let's go around back.

[ The five TEENS furtively head around the building. ]

[ EXT. CAFETERIA, REAR (AFTERNOON) - The TEENS gather in a secluded spot around the back side of the building.  They remove their POWER AMULETS.  In addition to retaining their respective Ranger colors (see episode 2), the amulets' faces are now pulsating slowly with respectively-colored light. ]

[ APRIL studies her pulsating amulet. ]

So... they wanted our attention...?  But why?

Why, I can do all sorts of fun things with mystical powers.  Like have Morphers alert their users psychically when they're needed!  That should come in handy on campus.

[ Without warning, the blue surface in APRIL's amulet ripples away, revealing an image of DR. BERING in the space station's command center, as though the amulet is functioning as a communicator. ]

DR. BERING (from amulet):
Hello, Rangers.

[ The five TEENS are mildly surprised, each POWER AMULET now showing the same view of DR. BERING. ]

Dr. Bering...

[ In TRINI's amulet, DR. BERING smirks. ]

DR. BERING (from amulet):
You should probably work on not looking so surprised.  This is how we'll call you, unless Ms. Ward has to call you out of class.

...and yet, even with psychic Morphers, the teens would need an excuse to step out if they were needed during class (this isn't Angel Grove).  Therefore, I figured Lisa might have to call them to the office from time to time.

So... what, is there a celery monster on the loose or something?

Hilarious.  (Their only battle to date was against Tomato King in episode 2.)

DR. BERING (from amulet):
Not right now.  I wanted to show you around the space station.

[ BRAD's eyes light up with excitement. ]

Though he may be studious like Maggie, Brad could also be considered the "Pete" of this team, in that he's most excited about Power Rangers business.  Specifically, he apparently followed reports and rumors about the previous team closely.

[ INT. COUNSELOR'S OFFICE (AFTERNOON) - MAGGIE stands nearby as LISA speaks into her MORPHER. ]

... So that's pretty much the gist of it.

[ EXT. GARAGE (REAR, AFTERNOON) - CHRIS speaks into his MORPHER behind a garage of some sort. ]

I must not have been paying attention, because I thought you just said Taggart made Power Rangers out of HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS.

I felt the senior Rangers would have reason to find Taggart's choice hard to swallow, even though this may cast a negative light on Zordon's selection of teenagers in Power Rangers continuity.  Zordon even chose freshmen rather than juniors, if you accept that Tommy and pals served for four school years before graduating (it appears they did).

Chris is still working at Mike's (see season 1, episode 37).  He may or may not be doing tattoos now (episode 38), but I tend to see him sticking with motorcycle decoration.

[ EXT. PARKING LOT (AFTERNOON) - In his chef's uniform, PETE speaks into his MORPHER in a back parking lot behind Regala. ]

Of course Pete still works at Regala; this was shown in the previous episode.

Uhh, I think I heard that too.

[ EXT. ALLEY (AFTERNOON) - In her Booksmart uniform, CASEY speaks into her MORPHER in a back alley (see season 1, episode 4). ]

Casey chose to keep working at Booksmart in season 1, episode 37.

Me too.


Luke apparently hasn't gotten a job yet, even though he came back from New Vampiria over three weeks ago.

Are they... specially trained or something?

Luke would apparently object less if Taggart's teens had special training already.  You know, like all those secret programs that train teenagers as special agents...


Well, the thing is, their powers have this... sort of auto-pilot.  It, like, enhances their fighting skills and stuff.

[ EXT. GARAGE (cont'd). ]

Fancy.  Back in my day, we had to read instructions out of our helmets!

As mentioned last season.

PETE (from Morpher):
Heh, yeah.

[ EXT. ALLEY (cont'd). ]

But still, why'd they have to pick people so young?


Hmm, well, you guys probably aren't gonna like this one, but, uh... it seems like they want people who are easier to train.  Maybe a little more impressionable.

Jon explained as much in episode 1.

[ EXT. PARKING LOT (cont'd). ]

Uhh... wow.  That's kinda twisted.

CASEY (from Morpher):
Those poor kids.


Yeah, well, Maggie and I are trying to watch out for them as best we can.  Maggie in particular.

Useful psychology degree.

[ MAGGIE smiles appreciatively. ]

LISA (cont'd):
I think they'll be okay.

LUKE (from Morpher):
Well, give us a call if they run into any trouble.  Taggart probably won't be keeping us in the loop, but that doesn't mean we're not gonna help.

In episode 1, Jon asked the Rangers to go about their lives and let his people handle Tomato King.  Lisa later spoke of Jon not letting them go after Tomato King, but she may have overstated (or misinterpreted) the strictness of his request.  I figured Jon wouldn't call the senior Rangers for help, but he wouldn't expressly forbid them from helping.  And though Luke was willing to give Turnquist the benefit of the doubt and stay away in episode 1, he's changed his tune now that he knows the new Rangers are just kids.

Right.  Will do.

LUKE (from Morpher):
Oh, Lisa?

Uhh, yeah?

LUKE (from Morpher):
Thanks for telling us.

[ LISA flashes a self-conscious smile. ]

No problem.

But what will become of Luke and Lisa's relationship??  And why did Lisa decline to go to New Vampiria??  Find out... at some point.  Probably.

[ EXT. SPACE STATION - Establishment shot. ]

DR. BERING (voice-over):
But even though Dillik went home and Mainframe was destroyed, we actually still use quite a bit of their technology.

Mainframe was destroyed in the season 1 finale.  The season 2 pilot indicated that Dillik had returned home to the Yag system, presumably after completing his work on New Vampiria.

[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - DR. BERING leads the five TEENS into the command center, where the doors to adjoining corridors now remain open.  The teens remain curious about their surroundings, though SLADE appears more nonchalant. ]

For instance, Dillik designed the teleporter we still use today, and Mainframe was responsible for the forcefield that protects the station.  (shuffles awkwardly)  Of course, we've had to adjust the frequency to keep out Tomato King... but we don't expect any further trouble.

I don't recall whether I assumed the humans weren't using the forcefield (electrical grid) when I wrote Tomato King's visit in episode 1, or whether I just assumed a demon could pass through it.  In any case, I introduced this dialog to rule out future visits, since it seemed like too dangerous a security hole.

[ BRAD raises his hand.  DR. BERING smirks and nods toward him. ]

I liked the touch of Brad raising his hand as if he were in school.  I'll repeat this a few times in the series, no doubt.  Heck, I repeat it once in this episode alone.

DR. BERING (cont'd):
Yes, Brad?

Um, did you say the Rangers fought a monster in the galley?

That's right.  He was left behind as a trap when Trask abandoned the station.

Demi-Gog, in season 1, episode 32.

[ BRAD seems mildly suspicious of his surroundings. ]

D-- Do you think he left any other traps?

Brad will discover a bit more self-confidence in this episode and next.

Dude, relax.  We're Power Rangers.  We can take 'em.

And as it turns out, Landon will exhibit less bravado when they're faced with empire forces on Kadix next episode.

DR. BERING (to Brad):
The station has been combed thoroughly.

Are we to assume there's absolutely nothing still hidden in the space station?  Depends how badly a plot called for it...

[ A mild alert tone sounds from the console behind her.  She turns and presses a button to silence it. ]

Ahh, those mild alert tones.  Feel free to ignore those.

DR. BERING (cont'd):
Sorry.  We get false alarms from the Bay Area from time to time.  I need to redesign the Hoverbirds' behavior analysis algorithm.

Unlike the original Nobots (retroactively identified as the 100 series), these new Nobots (200 series) are able to avoid detection by the Hoverbirds by generating thermal as well as visual holograms.  In order to get the Rangers to respond to Nobots on this occasion, however, I had to introduce the idea of the Hoverbirds detecting odd behaviors which Dr. Bering had previously dismissed as glitches in her own programming (perhaps most disguised Nobots weren't acting so utterly weird as to make Dr. Bering suspect them of being inhuman).

Dr. Bering, did you design the Ranger powers?  I mean, the first generation?

It becomes apparent that I don't have an official title for the senior Rangers to distinguish them from the new team.  For a while I thought of them as the "Jetman Rangers" to associate them with Project Jetman, but that seemed too evocative of the sentai.  I'm now left without a term, though I have informally dubbed the new team "Windvale Rangers" in my notes.

[ DR. BERING smiles. ]

No.  My team built the Rangers' AviMorphers under the guidance of... someone we're no longer in contact with.

I wanted the teens to learn about the AviMorphers at some point, and I figured this was a decent opportunity to throw in this dialog.

I don't know why she makes an effort not to mention Zordon by name.  However, she was choosy in season 1 about whom she would reveal this information to.

But... you did build them.  That means you could build more, right?


Wait, wait...  That doesn't make any sense.  You gave US the priceless alien artifacts, and you left the disposable powers with the pros?

DR. BERING (flustered):
They're hardly disposable!  It would take... YEARS, at least, for us to rebuild the AviMorphers.  If we even could.

Dr. Bering is defensive about her technology at times (also see season 1, episode 33).

I took the conversation in this direction to note to the audience that the AviMorphers would be hard to replace if something were to... you know, "happen" to them.

Whoa.  Sorry.

[ DR. BERING calms. ]

Yes, well, in any case, it seems your amulets and coins may be more durable than the AviMorphers...

[ The alert sounds again. ]

DR. BERING (cont'd):
...but let's try not to put that to the test, all right?

I assumed the coins and amulets were not indestructible.  I don't know, though, exactly how one would test their durability without damaging them slightly.

Whatever you say.

Dr. Bering, when will we get to meet the other Rangers?

Ahhh, well... as it turns out, it's not actually planned for your respective teams to cross paths.

Irony in 3, 2...

[ LISA's voice emanates from the console. ]

LISA (from console):
Uhh, Dr. Bering, are you getting this?

[ DR. BERING turns to the console and presses several buttons.  On a monitor appears a group of five NOBOTS (their suits a rich forest green where last season's were drab green) causing chaos downtown.  Fires burn and people flee. ]

The senior Rangers, or at least Lisa, have witnessed the Nobots' recent (undisguised) attack via Hoverbird.  This is apparently the first time the 200 series Nobots have gone on the warpath, at least without disguises.  As revealed later, Strife is specifically testing these Nobots against the Rangers to improve on their design.

As I'd decided to scrap Liveman's small-scale battle footage, I planned to give a unique color to each Nobot series (no need to match the sentai footage anymore), but when I unexpectedly found myself using Liveman Ranger footage in Brad's daydream below, I changed the 200 series back to drab green in fear that I would regret not being able to use Nobots in sentai footage (specifically, that a monster battle I needed in small scale might include Nobots).  I later changed it back at the last minute after deciding the chances were slim that I would need any Nobot footage.  In any case, I expect the color distinctions to be more valuable than whatever small-scale fight might be lost down the road.

Neither Dr. Bering nor the senior Rangers are seen commenting on the Nobots' new shade of green.

It can't be...

[ The TEENS advance warily. ]

Who are those guys?

They're... Nobots.  Mainframe built them, but... they were all supposed to have been destroyed.  We even demolished their Siberian fortress...

New continuity tidbit added here: apparently someone (the Rangers, or the military?) went to Russia and demolished Mainframe's lair (formerly Magda's and Sasha's) after the events in the season 1 finale.  This only seemed prudent, and it explains why Dr. Bering would find these Nobots so alarming.

Of course, there is an explanation for the Nobots' return, but I won't be using this space for future series spoilers just yet.

Well, let's not just stand around.  Isn't it morphing time?

As in season 1, we have another play on the "morphing time" call from Power Rangers.

Yes, of course.  But be careful, Rangers.  The Nobots tend to... uh, explode.  And they have holographic disguises, but the Hoverbirds can help out there.  (nods)  Go.

Dr. Bering doesn't yet know these Nobots have more advanced disguises than those thwarted with Lisa's Hoverbird in the finale of season 1.

Right.  Let's do it, guys!

[ The TEENS produce their AMULETS.  Standard morphs follow: ]

Power of the lion!  (morphs)  Yellow Ranger!

Power of the falcon!  (morphs)  Red Ranger!

Power of the dolphin!  (morphs)  Blue Ranger!

Power of the rhino!  (morphs)  Green Ranger!

Yeah, let's all yell.  (morphs)

Slade is once again too cool to call out his morphing phrase (see episode 2), though it works just as well without.

[ EXT. SPACE STATION - Five Ranger-colored streaks fly down from the space station. ]

[ EXT. CITY SQUARE (AFTERNOON) - The five RANGERS materialize in a city square.  The NOBOTS immediately take notice. ]

[ GREEN RANGER cracks his knuckles. ]

LANDON (Green Ranger):
Well, do you want some or don't you?

[ The NOBOTS charge, their arms out wide (compare with sentai). ]

LANDON (Green Ranger, cont'd):
I thought so!

[ Using martial arts, the RANGERS do battle with the NOBOTS for some time.  (Note that BLACK RANGER should not be shoved back or knocked off his feet during this fight.) ]

Black Ranger's sturdiness was a late addition to the script after I noticed that Blue's swimming ability (next episode) and Green's headbutt (episode 2) seemed to necessitate the others having animal-specific abilities as well. Black's was added to episode 4, but I placed a note here to make sure the (hypothetical) choreography didn't preemptively negate the ability.

BRAD (Red Ranger):
Wow, I can fight pretty well!

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
I know!  This is awesome!

Only Trini used any martial arts against Tomato King last episode.

[ At one point, YELLOW slashes a NOBOT across the chest with her fingertips, causing it to spark and stagger back.  She pauses to look at her hand, her fingers curled into a claw shape. ]

TRINI (Yellow Ranger):

Another animal-specific ability I added late: Yellow can scratch stuff.  And no, these will not turn into unmorphed powers.  Unmorphed powers are silly.

[ The RANGERS eventually succeed in beating the NOBOTS back into a central group.  At this point, their five foes shimmer and are replaced with the images of assorted civilians.  Despite their new appearances, however, their behavior remains slightly amiss, belying their robotic nature. ]

It doesn't make a tremendous amount of sense to don disguises in front of the Rangers, but perhaps Strife wanted to test the Rangers somehow.  It works in his favor, because he ends up learning the 200 series' behaviors need work.

LANDON (Green Ranger):
Whoa, what just happened??

TRINI (Yellow Ranger):
Must be those disguises Dr. Bering warned us about.

You think?

[ The blue-striped HOVERBIRD watches from above. ]

Where are the other Hoverbirds??  Beats me at this point.

[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - DR. BERING puzzles over her monitor.  In it, the "civilians" are shown in thermal imaging, their outlines having the appearance of normal people. ]

This is really strange...  The Nobots have cloaked their heat signatures.  They didn't used to do that.  (ponders inwardly)  But they're still tripping the behavior algorithm... which must be why... (wide-eyed)  Good grief!  ALL those people were Nobots??

One of "those people" was an old man seen watching the Tomato King fight in episode 2.  Strife apparently had spies all over the Bay Area; their behavior only rarely made the Hoverbirds suspicious.

[ EXT. CITY SQUARE (AFTERNOON) - The RANGERS approach the "people" in the center of the square. ]

LANDON (Green Ranger):
I don't get it.  What's a behavior algorithm?

BRAD (Red Ranger):
I guess the Hoverbirds noticed they act kinda weird.

The above two lines were strictly added as a plot device for Strife to overhear the nature of the disguises' shortcomings.  After all, as we learn in episode 4, he can't tune into the Hoverbird or station-to-Ranger broadcasts, so anything he learns from afar has to be revealed in the presence of Nobots.

TRINI (Yellow Ranger):
Careful, guys...

[ Suddenly, the "people" dash toward the entrance to a nearby business. ]

APRIL (Blue Ranger):

[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - DR. BERING watches anxiously. ]

Rangers, don't let them them get away!  They'll be hard to track down inside!

Oh, sure, the Hoverbirds might find people acting oddly at some point, but it would take a while, it would endanger people, and it's not guaranteed to work.  Plus, Hoverbirds don't usually go into buildings, what with the difficulty of navigating doors and windows.

[ EXT. CITY SQUARE (AFTERNOON) - The RANGERS dash after their targets. ]

LANDON (Green Ranger):
Get back here...!

TRINI (Yellow Ranger):

I originally had the senior Rangers save the day when the juniors couldn't catch up to the Nobots in time, but I realized the juniors should have been able to use their teleport maneuvers to zip ahead of the Nobots.  Therefore, I had the senior Rangers show up right at this moment, such that the juniors didn't actually need their help.  Their arrival now says more about the senior Rangers' desire to help than the juniors' shortcomings.

[ The RANGERS suddenly stop in their tracks, noticing something above. ]

BRAD (Red Ranger):

[ The five senior RANGERS (from last season) land in front of the doorway sought by the fleeing "people."  They stop, and their appearances revert to their NOBOT forms. ]

[ The senior BLACK RANGER calls out to the junior RANGERS as his own team draws their SKY BLASTERS. ]

Why do the senior Rangers use their puny Sky Blasters over their ridiculously powerful Battle Birds?  Maybe they figured these were good enough to do the job (and they are).  Plus, I liked the idea of the ten Rangers cooperating (apparently you need a lot of blaster lasers to destroy a Nobot); had the Battle Birds been used, there would have been no need for the junior Rangers to join in.

CHRIS (senior Black Ranger):
Hey, you guys have blasters, right?

[ The junior RANGERS draw their WILD BLASTERS. ]

SLADE (Black Ranger):
Uhh, gee whiz, mister, you mean these shooty things in our holsters?

Zing.  I figured the two Blacks would have the most antagonistic relationship among the ten Rangers.

CHRIS (senior Black Ranger):
Easy, slick.  Just aim for the badguy closest to me.

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
Wait, what if we miss?  You'll get hit!

CHRIS (senior Black Ranger):
Won't be the first time.  Ready?  Three... two... one...

Chris was struck by Sky Blaster fire a number of times in season 1.  It stung but didn't cause lasting damage.

[ The NOBOT nearest the senior Black Ranger looks around warily. ]

CHRIS (senior Black Ranger, cont'd):

[ The yellow lasers from the senior RANGERS are matched by the blue lasers from the junior RANGERS.  The targeted NOBOT explodes in a large fireball, triggering a chain reaction of explosions which subsequently demolish all four additional NOBOTS. ]

Before writing this episode, I'd grown uneasy about the massive threat posed by exploding foot soldiers; if the villains used this ability to its utmost, it could have proved disastrous to the Rangers (or the human populace in general).  I felt using the explosions against the Nobots would be a fair motivation for Strife to remove the explosives from future Nobots.

BRAD (Red Ranger):

[ The senior RANGERS holster their blasters. ]

CHRIS (senior Black Ranger):
See ya round, fellas.

I considered, but decided against, revealing the senior Rangers' identities at this point.

[ The team then leaps into the air, leaving the junior RANGERS alone in the square. ]

[ INT. BUNKER, COMMAND ROOM - STRIFE watches on the monitor as a five-way splitscreen shows the Nobots' perspectives of their chained explosions, each monitor going to static when its respective Nobot explodes.  Quickly, all five segments are static. ]

Originally I wrote this scene using a Hoverbird vantage point in the monitor, but then I saw this contradicted my intent in the pilot for Strife not to have access to the Hoverbird feeds.  Hence, they must have a new frequency (mentioned next episode).

[ STRIFE considers. ]

Hmm...  So the 300 series needs refined body motion... and no explosives.

I based the term "series" and numbers in the hundreds off of two standards: the Terminator movies, and the Roomba.

Strife will be continually adapting the Nobots to be more effective against the Rangers (it may remind some readers of Superman's foe Doomsday, who tends to come back to life immune to the things that killed him previously).  This may pose difficult for the Rangers (if not difficult for me to write!).

[ He turns to leave. ]

STRIFE (cont'd):
Thank you for the data, Rangers.

So Strife only wanted data.  This explains why the Nobots revealed themselves and were present in such a small number so as not to be an enormous challenge.

[ INT. COUNSELOR'S OFFICE (AFTERNOON) - MAGGIE and LISA are speaking with the five TEENS.  LISA is smiling. ]

So I hear you got to tour the space station AND meet the other Ranger team...

Lisa's identity as a senior Ranger has not yet been revealed to the teens (but see episode 4).

Initially, I had a hard time deciding which of the Rangers' mentor-type figures (Jon, Lisa, Maggie, or Dr. Bering) should advise them at any given point.  In general, I favored Lisa for lesser assignments that involved school absences, Dr. Bering for technical briefings or more elaborate missions, and Maggie for emotional support when needed.  They do not routinely meet with Jon.

I know!  That was great!

Man, that Black Ranger's kind of a knob, isn't he?

This remark would probably not make it to air, given that "knob" could be an anatomical reference, but I don't consider its usage here unduly vulgar.

That'll be enough of that, Mr. Ballard.

I intended for Lisa to scold Landon for speaking ill of her teammate, but it was also a nod to the possibility that some people might find his remark vulgar.

He's actually very nice.

Chris got on Maggie's nerves a bit while they were in space in season 1, but they're on good terms now.  That's probably easier when you aren't in close quarters 24 hours a day.

Anyway, there are two things I need to tell you.  First, you'll be receiving a special assignment on Saturday.  I recommend you not make any plans.

Jon alluded to this assignment last episode; it will be the focus of episode 4.

You're giving us work on the weekend?

[ LISA glares at LANDON.  He backs down. ]

LANDON (cont'd):
Hmm, yes you are.

Second, this assignment could be dangerous, so I strongly suggest you become familiar with your Power Weapons before then.

Really?  All they do is "strongly suggest" something like that?  Odd.  We don't know whether the teens would have been allowed to go without mastering the weapons.

[ BRAD raises his hand. ]

More hand-raising for comic effect.

LISA (cont'd):
Yes, Brad.

Um, what if we don't know what our Power Weapons are?

Yeah, I-- I was the only one who found a weapon, and I'm not really sure how I did it.

April summoned the Dolphin Bow last episode; they somehow know it counts as a Power Weapon.

Sorry, Rangers.  That's for you to figure out.  It wouldn't help you even if we tried to give you instructions.

It's useless to instruct them because the Power Weapons are summoned by instinct rather than knowledge, as shown below.

Just follow your instincts.  Try not to overthink it.

Lisa has apparently told Maggie how these things work (see below).

You'll get it, I promise.  Just... get it before Saturday.

Lisa promises they'll get it because she secretly has first-hand experience with the Power Weapons (at least the Dolphin Bow) when she tested the Dolphin Coin before the Windvale project began (not yet detailed this season but set up in the finale of season 1).

[ The TEENS have no response. ]

That's all.

[ MAGGIE opens the door.  They shuffle out, seeming not especially satisfied. ]

[ INT. BUNKER, MACHINE ROOM - In a factory-like area, numerous automated machines are assembling NOBOTS; their suits are now blue rather than green.  Nearby, STRIFE watches.  (Some distance away is an adjoining door leading into the command room, where the MINDSPHERE continues to glow with blue light.) ]

Another place where I waffled on the Nobot suit colors but eventually decided to keep the new colors.  I made the 300 series blue, which seemed like a decent base color, under the expectation that these might be the standard Nobots for a while, and that any future Nobot colors would be more vibrant (red?) to denote added danger.

Let's see how the Rangers handle THESE Nobots...

TOMATO KING (off-screen):
Ah, you don't like the Rangers either, eh?

Tomato King has a tendency to drop in unannounced and then interject unexpected comments (see episode 1).  I figured he followed a Nobot here (though we don't see any of the 200 series roaming the facility).

[ STRIFE twirls and immediately fires dual red laser blasts from his wrist cannons.  Having been standing nearby, TOMATO KING yelps and takes cover, the lasers just missing him and instead blowing a hole through a metal wall. ]

Tomato King got used to the Rangers' lasers (episode 2), but Strife's would surely do more damage.

Strife's wrist cannons are based on the first Strife's in season 1 (Gray from Jetman), though this Strife has one on each hand, while the first only had them on his right hand.

Hey!  What gives?!

[ STRIFE continues to aim his wrist cannon at the intruder. ]

It wasn't very smart of you to sneak into my lair.

[ Continuing to cower, TOMATO KING interjects. ]

Smart, no.  But plucky for sure!

I do enjoy writing for Tomato King.

Identify yourself.

[ TOMATO KING straightens. ]

Well, I'm Tomato King.  I'm the Power Rangers' arch-nemesis.  Hey, nice robots you got there.

After fighting the Rangers last episode, he now considers himself their arch-nemesis.

[ STRIFE watches TOMATO KING, his cannons still aimed. ]

TOMATO KING (cont'd):
Shame how the Rangers ganged up on 'em like that.  Well, I mean, plus the fact that they blew up so easily.  Say, what's your name, stranger?

[ STRIFE doesn't budge. ]


For the sake of a hypothetical TV audience who wouldn't be reading these scripts.

[ TOMATO KING paces around idly. ]

TOMATO KING (cont'd):
Strife, gotcha.  ANYWAY...  I figured I'd come here and join forces with you.  Might as well, you know.  Not like there's anybody else trying to destroy the Rangers.  Least not as far as I've seen.

This suggests he'll be open to joining with Gant and Eris (they arrive at the end of episode 4).

[ STRIFE reluctantly lowers his cannons. ]

[ When we next see TOMATO KING, he is suddenly all the way in the other room, his hand nearly touching the MINDSPHERE.  He calls out: ]

Hey, what's this blue glowy thing?

I expect this quick change of rooms immediately after Strife lets his guard down would be pretty funny, visually.

[ STRIFE charges for the doorway at a furious pace. ]

STRIFE (roaring):
Never touch the Mindsphere!!

I also wanted to name the Mindsphere for the hypothetical TV audience, to forshadow its function (which I haven't yet revealed).

[ INT. BUNKER, COMMAND ROOM - TOMATO KING looks at the doorway as STRIFE arrives, bristling with anger. ]

Hey, that's fine.  No need to panic.  You tell me to stay away from something, and I'll stay --

[ TOMATO KING is suddenly enchanted by the MINDSPHERE once again. ]

TOMATO KING (cont'd):

[ STRIFE growls and advances a step.  TOMATO KING returns to his senses. ]

Yeah, you might wanna cover that up or something.

And he will by next episode.

[ STRIFE glowers. ]

[ EXT. WOODS (NIGHT) - As we survey a remote wooded area at night (the moon waning gibbous if shown), YELLOW RANGER enters the foreground. ]

This scene may take place at the end of the same day.

TRINI (Yellow Ranger):
Lion Cannon!

[ With a bright yellow gleam, YELLOW summons the LION CANNON, a two-handled yellow and red cannon (compare with sentai). ]

The sentai Falcon Sword, Lion Cannon, and Dolphin Bow were introduced midway through Liveman, but Yellow previously used a hand weapon resembling a lion's mouth, which I have not adapted into Take Flight.  (I also chose not to adapt Yellow's rocket skateboard.)

[ BLUE RANGER is nearby.  She holds her DOLPHIN BOW. ]

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
Hey, all right, Trini!  Way to go!

[ YELLOW admires her cannon. ]

TRINI (Yellow Ranger):
Thanks.  You were right...  I just had to let myself feel it in front of me.

[ Some distance from the girls, RED RANGER tries to summon his weapon, with no success. ]

BRAD (Red Ranger):
Falcon...!  ...something...  (grunts in frustration)

Brad had difficulty trying to summon his weapon in episode 2 as well.

[ BLUE approaches him. ]

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
How's it going, Brad?

[ RED hangs his head. ]

BRAD (Red Ranger):
I'm never gonna get this.  I don't even know what my weapon is.  I mean, what would even make sense?  You've got a bow, Trini's got a cannon...  I dunno what Slade and Landon have.  I wish they hadn't ditched us.

I don't explain where Slade and Landon went (though episode 4 reveals they practiced independently), but suffice it to say they aren't as team-focused as the others.

[ YELLOW approaches as well. ]

TRINI (Yellow Ranger):
Brad, you're probably overthinking it, like Ms. Lu said.  I know when I'm doing katas in karate, it helps not to think too much about what I'm doing.  It's like your brain gets in the way of your reflexes sometimes.

I had similar experience myself in karate.

BRAD (Red Ranger):
How do I turn off my brain?

TRINI (Yellow Ranger):
Hmm, well, meditation might help...

BRAD (Red Ranger):
What kind of medication??

I only added this joke because I misread Trini's "meditation" while revising the episode, and I thought it would be funny for Brad to mishear likewise.

TRINI (Yellow Ranger):
(chuckles)  Medi-TA-tion.

BRAD (Red Ranger):
Oh.  Does that take a long time to learn?

TRINI (Yellow Ranger):
Uhh, well, that depends...

[ BLUE dispels her bow, almost without thinking. ]

It appears April may be the most intuitive of the Rangers, given her casual summoning and dispelling of the Dolphin Bow.

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
Hey, Brad, try this instead.  Close your eyes...

BRAD (Red Ranger):
Um, okay...

[ BLUE peers into his opaque black visor. ]

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
Are they closed?

BRAD (Red Ranger):
(laughs)  Yes.

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
Okay.  Imagine we're out somewhere surrounded by badguys...

I thought an imagined scenario might be a nice way to loosen up Brad's intuition.  This then made me realize I could justifiably include a Ranger battle from Liveman, so I chose one with a decent Falcon Sword attack.

[ Dissolve to EXT. SHORELINE (sentai) - The BLUE, RED, and YELLOW RANGERS are confronted with an assortment of villains when a monstrous yellow creature (described here as META-GOG) arrives behind them.  They turn.  (A sword can be seen in RED's hand.)  META-GOG then fires a red energy bolt from blades in his own hands.  They RANGERS leap aside. ]

This is the first (and perhaps only) appearance of the sentai Rangers in Take Flight.  Though she (he) isn't seen closely, Yellow is actually a slender-framed male in the sentai, adding to the similarities between this Trini and the one in Zordon's universe.  Further, I didn't require in episode 2 that the Wild Blasters look identical to the sentai laser pistols, so the potential exists for the blasters wrong here in Brad's fantasy.

For trivia's sake (though it's not shown clearly enough here to matter for a TV audience), the sentai Red Ranger is holding an earlier sword he used before getting what I've called the Falcon Sword in Liveman #23.  Aside from its miniscule appearance here, I've not chosen to adapt that sword into Take Flight.  (The Rangers' generic blasters in Liveman could also transform into swords; I didn't adapt them either because they would have robbed the Falcon Sword of uniqueness.)

I offhandedly referred to this monster as Meta-Gog as a nod to his visual similarity to Gog (season 1, episode 30); specifically, he looked like he could have been an upgraded version of Gog.  But let's not make too much of the name; it's just a monster Brad thought up.

Brad's vision Brad's vision Brad's vision Brad's vision Brad's vision Brad's vision Brad's vision

APRIL (voice-over, cont'd):
...and this big monster blasts at us, and we jump out of the way!

[ EXT. WOODS (NIGHT) - BLUE continues as RED is lost in thought. ]

I cut back to the woods to skip over a sentai shot in which the Rangers landed and Red gave lengthy instructions to the team before they leapt for their jump-kick.

BRAD (Red Ranger):
Um, okay...

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
Uhh, and then...

[ EXT. SHORELINE (sentai) - The three RANGERS perform jump-kicks.  META-GOG is knocked back. ]

Brad's vision Brad's vision Brad's vision Brad's vision

APRIL (voice-over, cont'd):
...we jump-kick him!  And he falls back...

[ RED RANGER leaps in with a gleaming red sword strike.  META-GOG crackles. ]

Brad's vision Brad's vision Brad's vision Brad's vision Brad's vision

APRIL (voice-over, cont'd):
...and you jump in with this awesome weapon attack!  Dude's toast!

This strike is similar to the glowing sword strikes last season (which were derived from Black Ranger's sword attack in Jetman).

[ EXT. WOODS (NIGHT) - BLUE taps RED on the shoulder. ]

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
Now, what's in your hand?

Is Brad holding the Falcon Sword right at this moment?  Perhaps.

[ RED still appears lost in thought. ]

BRAD (Red Ranger):
Just my Falcon Sword.

[ RED looks down and finds the FALCON SWORD in his hand.  (Notably, this sword matches Red Ranger's second sentai sword introduced in Liveman #23, not the first one shown in the prior sentai footage.) ]

BRAD (Red Ranger, cont'd):
Whoa!  Falcon Sword!

[ YELLOW laughs. ]

TRINI (Yellow Ranger):
Way to go, Brad.

[ BLUE pats him on the shoulder. ]

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
I knew you could do it!

BRAD (Red Ranger):
You were right!  Thank you so much, April.

[ BLUE casually re-summons her DOLPHIN BOW with a blue gleam. ]

APRIL (Blue Ranger):
Don't mention it.

[ YELLOW gestures with her cannon. ]

TRINI (Yellow Ranger):
Come on.  Let's try these out somewhere where there's a little more open space.

[ They set out. ]

BRAD (Red Ranger):
Anybody know if there's a rock quarry nearby?

[ BLUE giggles. ]

It would seem Brad (and apparently April) heard that the first team fought some battles in a quarry.

[ Break. ]

[ INT. LANDON AND SLADE'S ROOM (DAY) - Someone knocks urgently at the door.  LANDON opens it as SLADE remains in a chair reading a textbook.  There stands BRAD, seemingly impatient.  All wear smart casual clothes instead of their uniforms. ]

The rest of this episode takes place three days later on Saturday, September 11, 1993.

Uniforms aren't required on weekends, unless a student has been assigned to Saturday study hall (a bit like academic detention).

Come on, guys!  We're gonna be late!

[ BRAD hurries off down the hall.  LANDON groans to SLADE, who remains in place. ]

Can you believe this?  Everybody else gets to leave campus on weekends, and we get "special assignments."

Students can signout on weekends for up to two hours; longer absences require parental consent and a form filled out days in advance.

[ SLADE coolly closes his book. ]

So tell Ms. Ward you don't want your powers anymore.

Hey, hey... let's not get hasty.

[ SLADE rises, and they head for the door.  Before they exit, SLADE nudges LANDON. ]

Hey.  You do your Power Weapon homework?

Heh.  No.  Did you?

Pfft, no.

Apparently Slade and Landon are both feigning disinterest (to try to seem cool?).  They both actually practiced in private (see episode 4).

[ Wipe to INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - DR. BERING speaks with the five TEENS.  APRIL and TRINI also wear smart casual clothes (as always, Trini wears pants rather than a skirt). ]

All right, Dr. Bering, lay it on us.  What's this special assignment?  Are we going on a Nobot hunt or something?

Actually, no, a Zord hunt.

Zords?  You mean those jets the other Rangers used to fly?

Of course, the Flyers were destroyed in the season 1 finale.

They were one type of Zord.  We expect yours to be a bit different.

I don't get it.  You haven't seen them before?

Ah, no.  They're currently on a planet thousands of light-years from Earth.  We need you to go get them.

That planet is Kadix; see next episode.

[ The TEENS are startled by the revelation. ]


Is this a joke, Dr. Bering?

No.  We've gotten word that the planet where the Zords were hidden long ago has been overrun by hostile forces.  We need to retrieve the Zords before they're found.  I'm told the Power Amulets have a lens function that should come in handy.

The Thadian Rangers sent word from Argus on their travels (mentioned next episode).  The lens function will also be used next episode.

Hostile forces.  That means people we have to go beat up, right?

Actually, you'd probably do well to avoid unnecessary battles.  These are representatives of a powerful interstellar empire you're dealing with.  But just in case, you did master your Power Weapons, correct?

This is the first time the teens have been told of the empire in those terms.

Dr. Bering is probably aware somehow that the Rangers all summoned their weapons successfully.  I suppose we'll never know what would have happened if they hadn't.

(chuckles)  Of course!

[ TRINI frowns slightly in LANDON's direction. ]

So, um, how do we get there?  Do we just teleport or something?

Seemed like a reasonable guess, but their teleportation can't take them far beyond Earth (as stated in last season's finale).

Actually, for this trip, you'll need to take a starship.  It's waiting for you in the holding bay.  I'm sure you'll have no problem piloting it, Brad.

Jon mentioned in episode 2 that they were able to build starships (thanks to studying the Zords last season), but they are not yet able to build Zords.

Oh yeah, Brad is an ace pilot, right?

[ BRAD's eyes grow wide with apprehension. ]


[ INT. STARSHIP COCKPIT - The five TEENS, now wearing black uniforms similar to those worn last season, sit in the cockpit of a craft roughly resembling the Kestrelzord's cockpit.  BRAD uneasily mans the front controls. ]

The cockpit has to look like something; why not the Kestrelzord's cockpit?

The teens are wearing some of the uniforms recovered from Illam (season 1, episode 22), some of which were worn by the senior Rangers in the latter half of season 1.

DR. BERING (from controls):
All right, Rangers, all systems are go.  Any last questions?

Are-- Are we going to come back and find everybody else has aged a lot faster than us?

As they would if their ship moved them at speeds relatively close to the speed of light.

No, Brad.  It's a jump drive.  It doesn't work that way.

This is a reference to the way the Kestrelzord crossed the galaxy in the middle of season 1.  We'll actually see the end of a "jump" next episode, which is something season 1 never showed us.

Um, Dr. Bering, the friend that's meeting us out there...  Will he help us out if we get into trouble?

Dr. Bering didn't tell the teens that the friend will be Dillik.

DR. BERING (from controls):
Actually, I expect you to help him out if HE gets into trouble.  He's putting himself at considerable risk, sneaking a tow ship into empire territory.

Worth noting is that Dillik once offered to call a tow ship for Trask when he was stranded during their first meeting (season 1, episode 17).

Oh, that's nice.  I feel safer already.

DR. BERING (from controls):
Good luck, Rangers.

[ EXT. SPACE STATION - A STARSHIP flies out from the station's launch bay.  Its design appears roughly Earthen, and its size is smaller than last season's Hawkzord.  Like the Kestrelzord, it is propelled by two red boosters. ]

[ "To be continued..." ]