In the fifth episode of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, entitled “Cherry Picker,” the Don’t Bothers are psyched because their next game is against the Hawks. No, these aren’t the black-clad “evil team” from the original Ducks film. The Hawks, who now wear orange and black, are the second-worst team in the league, which means the Don’t Bothers (0-5 thus far) might get their first win of the season. But a surprise visit from Evan’s estranged father suddenly complicates things for Evan, Alex and the team.
The slowly-developing relationship between Gordon Bombay and Alex takes a step forward when Gordon invites her to a Minnesota Wild game, with both of them hastily agreeing that it would be a “field trip” for hockey research purposes.
Soon after, Evan’s dad Rob shows up and wants to spend time with his son. Rob is a middle-aged wannabe rock star who tours small towns to play gigs, and is only a small part of Evan’s life when it is convenient for him. Rob wants to take Evan to watch his band perform at a local bar and grill.
Gordon agrees to take Evan to watch Rob’s gig, and Gordan and Rob seem to hit it off. Gordon lived on the road and chased his dreams as a hockey player, while Rob is still chasing his dream to be a rock star. The two end up having a chicken wing eating contest, which gets Evan and Gordon in trouble with Alex. The fact that Rob is not really a part of Evan’s life is not lost on Gordon, who reflects on the loss of his own father.
The Don’t Bothers teammates continue to develop their friendships off the ice. This time, it’s Maya, the popular girl, and Lauren, the cosplayer, who appear to be bonding — but then resist when they fear losing status in their respective peer groups at school.
“Cherry Picker” is the second consecutive episode that focuses more on the off-ice development of the characters in Game Changers than the on-ice exploits of the Don’t Bothers. The fifth episode explores the latent similarities in some of the characters and culminates in a short, yet satisfyingly hockey scene.
BONUS: Duck Eggs
Each week, I’ll share a few “Easter Eggs” — which I’m calling Duck Eggs — about the episode reviewed.
Evan sleeps with a Minnesota Wild blanket.
When Gordon invites Alex to go to the Wild-Oilers game on Friday, Alex claims that the Wild are her favorite team, and mentions a player named Gorgonzola. It’s a throwaway line, but I’d like to speculate that perhaps the writers meant that she was alluding to Mikael Granlund, who would have been one of the top Wild players when the show was being developed.
In the first episode of Game Changers, we catch a quick glimpse of a framed photo of Gordon with the Minnesota Waves that was buried behind stacks of paperwork. By the fifth episode, the paperwork has been cleared and the photo is prominently visible.
During the game against the Hawks, Evan pulls a one-handed Gordie Howe-style move when he uses one arm to stickhandle and the other to push away a defender.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■