“At least we’re the good guys. And the good guys always win in the end. Or we learn a lesson about ourselves. Either way, it’s a ‘W’.”
– Evan, to Sofi, in Episode 3 of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.
Things go from better to worse, but then slightly better again, for the Don’t Bothers in the third episode of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers. Evan and his teammates work as a team, but not on the ice; instead, they make a concerted effort to convince Sofi, Evan’s only friend on the Ducks team, to join the Don’t Bothers. Not surprisingly, Sofi does not want to leave the best team to play for the worst, but Evan is undeterred.
Episode 3 of Game Changers also examines the pressure put on kids by their parents and coaches — and in the case of Sofi, the pressure kids put on themselves.
The mystery of why Gordon Bombay hates hockey so much is also peeled back a bit. While making the former “Minnesota Miracle Man” completely 180 his opinion on the sport seems like a cheap plot device at first, Game Changers gives Bombay compelling reasons as to why he no longer likes hockey. But as the title of the series implies, we get the sense that something inside of Bombay is also changing.
Nick — the talkative podcaster-turned-player — gets a chance to shine in this episode, in a subplot involving rink attendant Winnie weathering a breakup with her loser boyfriend, “Cocoa Chad.”
The game between the Don’t Bothers and the Ducks culminates in a hockey action sequence that will please fans of the original Ducks movies. But we are quickly pulled back to reality when we see a darker side of Coach T., the coach of the Ducks, who goes from “Smug Hockey Bro” to “Coach Riley 2.0” when the Ducks play the Don’t Bothers.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is slowly improving as a series, just as the Don’t Bothers are slowly improving as a team. The off-ice drama is enjoyable and funny, and there is enough on-ice tomfoolery to make Game Changers start to feel like a worthy extension of the Ducks movies.
BONUS: Duck Eggs for Season 1, Episode 3 “Breakaway”
Each week, I’ll share a few “Easter Eggs” — which I’m calling Duck Eggs — about the episode reviewed.
There is a framed Minnesota North Stars jersey hanging in the snack bar at the Ice Palace. This is a strange decoration, considering Gordon Bombay’s dislike of hockey.
Gordon Bombay briefly mentions “his friend Jan.” If you recall, Jan (pronounced YAHN) appeared in the 1994 movie D2: The Mighty Ducks as Hans’ brother and the co-owner of the local hockey pro shop.
A statue of Nordy, the Minnesota Wild’s Mascot, sits on a shelf in Evan’ bedroom.
The Mighty Ducks players wear purple jerseys, similar to the “eggplant-colored” jersey the Mighty Ducks NHL team wore in the 1990s, albeit with a different shade of blue (more of a teal instead of “jade”) and with a different, meaner-looking Ducks logo.
When Alex is searching the web for information about Gordon Bombay, a quick screen shot reveal that Bombay “made his big break by coaching for the Mighty Ducks in 1998.” Later, Alex mentions to Bombay that he played pro hockey when he was 34. Neither of these facts add up, as the original Ducks film took place in 1992, and Bombay played for the minor pro Minnesota Waves shortly thereafter. (Unless the implication is that Bombay returned to play pro hockey one year after what happened in D3: The Mighty Ducks in 1996 — he would have been 34 in 1997 — then returned to coach the youth Ducks team in 1998.)
The Don’t Bothers give up 17 goals when they play the Ducks in this episode. In the original Mighty Ducks film, the District 5 team also gave up 17 goals when playing the Hawks.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■