Fly in the Ointment

Episode written by Alan Burnett

Summarized by John Nowak

 

The show opens with a shot of a large, fortresslike skyscraper scowling at us through the night. Inside, we see two security guards who walk down a dark corridor, their flashlights piercing the gloom.

"All secure here," she says, testing a door to make certain it's locked.

"Here too," he agrees, repeating the performance on the other side.

She sighs. "Another exciting night, eh, Nick?" she asks as they move off.

Sooner than you can say "Ironic juxtaposition," a Mysterious Intruder casts a lurksome shadow over one of the locked doors.

The door opens and in pops ... Professor Nimnul. He wears a massive helmet covered with gauges and radio tubes. "Ah yes," he titters. "The new titranium transistors!" He goes over to a glass case and virtually drools visibly. "No self respecting scientific genius should be without them!"

We cut to the security office. An alarm light flashes. "Trouble on the second floor!" Nick exclaims. "Let's go!"

Nimnul gleefully collects titranium transistors, until he hears Nick's distant voice: "This way!"

Nimnul scoots over to a telephone and attaches the handset to two rubber sleeves on his helmet. It may be necessary to point out this was the way modems worked in the early 1980s, in the dark days before ubiquitous phone jacks. He dials a number (at least it isn't a rotary phone).

Outside, the security guards have their guns drawn and stand on opposite sides of the door, ready to rush in.

She tries the doorknob. "It's locked," she whispers.

"It's the only way out," Nick says. "Get ready."

Nimnul begins to glow. His body dissolves and vanishes; the phone handset drops to the ground as he is transmitted through the phone lines, presumably at 2400 baud.

The security guards burst in. She takes the point. They scan the room, looking for a target.

"Freeze!" Nick snaps. "Whoever you are!"

"Wherever you are," she says, hesitantly, realizing they're alone.

We cut to the dingy and fetid lair of Nimnul. His phone literally rings off the hook as Nimnul extrudes from the handset.

"My Phonamatic Modemizer worked like a charm," Nimnul informs the camera. "All I have to do is dial my escapes! Now, I can reach out and rob someone any time I want!"

The twisted maniac laughs, his glee forming a contrast with the icy terror of the audience.

The next day, Kirby and Muldoon (our favorite Rescue Ranger in-joke references to situation comedies of the 1960s) loiter in their patrol car, on coffee break.

"Sure is a slow day, man," says Kirby.

"Just the way I like it," says the pragmatic Muldoon.

We pan up and see they have two chipmunk stowaways. "Me too," Dale agrees with Muldoon.

"Not me," snaps Chip. "I'd like to see some action!"

Zipper flies down and squeaks, "You bet!"

"Calling Car 55, come in please," comes the voice of the radio dispatcher.

"Yeah, what is it?" Kirby asks.

"This just came in, boys. A Gila monster has escaped the zoo. He's unarmed, but approach with caution."

"Very funny," Kirby snorts.

"Gee," says Gadget, appearing in from nowhere with Monty. "The zoo is close by."

"He could be very near," Chip agrees.

In the distance, a Gila monster climbs along a tree branch towards a bird nest. Horrified, the mother bird starts flapping in a desperate attempt to scare it off. The Gila monster licks its lips evilly.

Zipper reacts with horror, and starts tugging frantically at Chip's jacket. Chip is oblivious.

"Better keep your eyes peeled," he says. "And your ears open. No telling --" Zipper pulls Chip's jacket over his head. "What is it?" Chip asks, annoyed.

Zipper points to the impending lunch.

"Omigosh," Chip gasps.

The Rangers advance in a body to the foot of the tree. "I'm going to need someone to distract him," Chip says.

Zipper waves frantically.

"Get going, Monterey!" Chip orders.

"Piece of cake," Monty says agreeably.

"Someone should also protect the egg," Chip muses.

Zipper waves frantically.

"Dale." Chip decides.

"Aye-aye, you bet!" Dale swaggers off. "Dale to the rescue! Charge!"

Chip, Gadget, and Zipper watch him race off dubiously.

"And last, but not least," Chip says while Zipper glows, basking in his approval. "I'll need you, Gadget, to come up with a way to trap him."

"I'm way ahead of you," she grins. She grabs him and drags him off.

The Gila monster draws closer to the egg. Is there no-one to prevent this horrible omlettification?

Monty has the enormous reptile by the tail. "That's far enough, lizard-lips," he snarls. The struggle, making the branch sway up and down. The egg is flipped out of the nest and is caught by Dale, who returns it to the bird with a polite smile.

Meanwhile, Chip and Gadget have not been idle; using a length of fabric, golf ball and hexagonal nut, Gadget has whipped up a device to ensnare the Gila monster. "Good work, Gadget," Chip says, twirling it in the air. "This should bolo him over!"

Before the pun has time to wear off, the Gila monster is wrapped and securely fastened to the tree.

"That's a wrap!" Dale declares, as Mommy Bird holds her egg.

"Time to call in the big guns," Monty says, kicking an acorn into Muldoon's coffee cup. We suspect Monty's tales about scoring the winning goal in the Rodent World Cup are less exaggerated than most of his stories.

"Hey," mutters the guardian of public weal, as Kirby notices, flabbergasted, the struggling reptile on the tree.

"Well, what do you know?" Kirby muses.

The Rangers stand proudly. Zipper looks miffed. "Strikes a blow for teamwork, eh, pallies?" Monty says.

Zipper buzzes, annoyed, and goes off.

"Wonder what's buggin' 'im?" Monty speculates.

Back at the tree, Monty tries to cheer up his little friend. "But of course you're part of the team," he says, "A big part, in your own small way."

Zipper gripes.

"What do you mean no one ever pays attention to you?" Monty asks, shocked at the suggestion. "We always do --"

Dale vaults the back of the couch with a bowl of goodies, landing on the unfortunate insect.

"What's up, Monterey?" he asks.

"You, in about a second," Monty tells him.

Zipper pushes Dale off of him and releases a stream of invective. "I don't like the sound of that," Dale says.

"Don't mind him, mate," Monty sighs. "Our little buddy's been feeling left out of the action. He wants more responsibility."

"Has anybody seen Zipper?" Chip asks, entering the tree with a sheet of paper. "I've got some tough assignments for him."

"Really?" buzzes an excited Zipper.

"See there, little buddy?" Monty asks.

"Yep, I've made a list," Chip affirms.

Zipper shows enthusiasm.

His leader elucidates. "You need to dust the top shelves, the tops of the bookcases, and the tops of the rafters." Chip produces a feather duster.

Zipper shows less enthusiasm.

"Well," Chip says, somewhat put out, "You're the only one who can fly, aren't you?" He hands Zipper the feather duster.

Zipper belabors Chip with the feather duster. He shoulders the duster and goes off to perform his duty.

Dale watches Zipper go off. "Sometimes flies can be so ... flighty," he observes.

The scene changes to a foggy night. The Rangers are flying in the Ranger Wing. Gadget looks down. "Sure is a hazy night for sky patrol," she grouses.

"Too right," Monty agrees. "You can hardly see the whiskers on your nose."

A moment later, the thin sound of a distant alarm reaches them. "Uh-oh. Sounds like a break in," Chip says.

"It sounds like it's coming from that electronics warehouse," Gadget points out. (Gadget presumably has the location of every electronics warehouse memorized, which come to think of it, isn't that far-fetched.) She puts the Wing into a dive.

The Wing lands gently and the troops pile out. "Monterey, you and Gadget go in the front, while Dale and I will take the back."

"What about me?" Zipper buzzes.

"No, you better stay out here, Zip," Chip says, "there could be a burglar inside."

"Yeah," chortles Dale, "What are _you_ gonna do? Buzz him to a pulp?" He leaves, laughing.

This is probably the worst exchange in the episode. Zipper's proven himself more than once in brawls before, and even if we adopt the reasonable (but revisionist) stance that a fly can't fight, he can certainly do reconnaissance, which is exactly what the Rangers need here. The problem, I think, is that the writers wanted to set up Zipper's depression, but did so at the price of continuity. Even the argument that the chipmunks are evil won't make this scene work, because both Gadget and Monterey go along with them. It's a badly written moment in an otherwise good episode.

"Look at it this way, mate," Monty says apologetically, "Every team needs its lookout."

"C'mon, Monty!" Chip yells from offstage.

Monty shrugs and follows his teammates.

Zipper shakes his fist and goes off on his own, entering through the roof. He hears the laughter of Professor Nimnul.

We see Nimnul wearing his Modemizer, emptying a box into a sack. "With these new computer chips," Nimnul chortles, "I'll build a laboratory that will be the envy of every mad scientist in the world!" (I get a mental image of Dr. Clayton Forrester grinding his teeth.)

"Let's look up here," Chip suggests, and the team follows him up a staircase. Dale crashes into a standing ashtray, knocking it over with a clatter.

Nimnul hears the noise and creeps over to a phone. "Time to call home!" he laughs. "When it comes to escapes, I let my fingers do the walking!"

Zipper attacks him, making him yelp in pain. Such a fight can only have one conclusion.

"Buzz off, you icky insect," Nimnul says, swatting Zipper into the wall.

"C'mon, ring, ring..." he mutters to the phone.

Zipper launches himself into the attack once more. Nimnul swings at him as the Modemizer begins its work.

The rest of the team enters the room. "He's here," Chip says.

"What is with you?" Nimnul asks the fly rhetorically as the Modemizer begins to dissolve him. He and Zipper vanish, and the phone drops to the floor.

"Hey! Where'd he go?" asks a baffled Dale.

In Nimnul's laboratory, a white coated figure appears. It wears the Modemizer, and its back is towards us.

"Oh, thank heavens. Not only have I escaped the authorities, but that insidious insect as well!" Nimnul says. The white coated figure turns to reveal primal horror -- a Chimera with the body of Professor Nimnul and the head of Zipper: Zipper/Nimnul.

"Perhaps I should consider developing a three-day underarm pest repellent pad," muses a fly with the head of Professor Nimnul: Nimnul/Zipper.

At this point, I will adopt the convention of naming characters by giving their head's name followed by the name of their bodies.

Zipper/Nimnul buzzes softly, beginning to realize Something is Up.

"What's that buzz?" Nimnul/Zipper wonders. He flies off and comes face to face with Zipper/Nimnul. Both scream horribly.

Nimnul/Zipper gets a look at himself in a mirror. "Where's the rest of me?!" he cries, in an in-joke whose obscurity surely surpasses references to _Car 54, Where Are You?_

Zipper/Nimnul is as horrified as Nimnul/Zipper, and runs about in a panic. The phone is still attached to the Modemizer he wears, so it crashes into objects and generally produces havoc. Zipper/Nimnul races into a mirror and shatters it, his fragile sanity barely able to endure the horror of his reflection.

"Watch it, bug-face," Nimnul/Zipper snaps, unwisely.

Zipper/Nimnul makes for the door. "Hey, wait!" cries a alarmed Nimnul/Zipper. "You can't go, you've got the Modemizer ... AND MY BODY!" Zipper/Nimnul flees, regardless.

Nimnul/Zipper squeezes through a keyhole, muttering, "I can't lose him..."

An exhausted Zipper/Nimnul stumbles through an alley. A dog barks, and Zipper/Nimnul flees -- directly into a woman walking a French poodle. They wear matching berets.

"Aaak!" she screams. "A monster! Help! Help!"

Zipper/Nimnul cowers, flinching with each scream.

"Omigosh -- it's a spaceman!" cries out a kid on a fire escape.

"Ew, gross!" says a woman in a window.

"Quick, Stella!" yells Marlon Brando's character from _A Streetcar Named Desire_, "Call Cable Network News!"

Zipper/Nimnul races across a street, panicked, causing cars to pile up behind him. A terrified hubbub of frightened urbanites pursues him into an alley. He climbs a fence and pathetically tries to fly away, crashing in a heap. The Modemizer falls off his head, and he leaves it, fleeing the rapacious human dogs of society.

It is next morning, and we are at Ranger Headquarters. "See for yourself, maties," Monterey says, squinting into Zipper's little alcove, "'E 'asn't slept in 'is bed all night."

"Gee, I thought he left us last night because he was mad," a worried Chip says, leaning thoughtfully against the wall. "Now I'm not so sure..."

"Why would a fly stay out all night?" Gadget asks.

"You suppose there's been another garbage strike?" Dale suggests.

Zipper/Nimnul, bereft of the dubious concealment of the night, ducks behind a mailbox to avoid a car, and dives for cover in some bushes next to a school. He overhears a teacher talking through an open window.

"Now then, Franz, I've read your short story," she says, "and frankly I find it ... bizarre. Do you expect the reader to believe that one night a fellow went to bed and the next morning he woke up as an insect? I mean really. Have you been reading too much Spider-Man? Do you know anyone who looks like a Daddy-Long-Legs?"

Franz thinks, and says a single word which I regret I cannot understand. I'm sure it's hilarious, though.

The teacher looks out the window and sees Zipper/Nimnul.

"It's brilliant!" she says. "A+!"

This reference to Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis" easily beats out a reference to Ronald Reagan's autobiography as the "Most Obscure Rescue Ranger In-Joke."

Zipper/Nimnul makes his way into the park. Nimnul/Zipper flies overhead, conveniently enough. "Oh my, oh me. I've looked for that fly head everywhere! Where would he go? I wonder if there's a fertilizer factory in town... Ah-ha!" he cries, seeing Zipper/Nimnul below. "There's that buzzy buggy body robber!" He goes after Zipper/Nimnul, not noticing the attack helicopter behind him.

"That is correct," says the pilot, a sergeant with binoculars. "We've sighted the alien in Sector Three. Better send in the reserves. Over and out!"

Zipper/Nimnul raps on the Ranger tree with a stick, his squeaks beseeching help from his friends.

A pensive Gadget and Monty sit at a table. "Poor Zipper," sighs Gadget. "So tiny and helpless!"

"What should we do?" Monty asks. Start a search party?"

The Chipmunks circle nervously under the headphones. Zipper's chatter is audible.

"That sounds like him!" Chip cries out.

"Oh, thank heaven!" Gadget grins.

"He'd better have a pretty good excuse for not coming home when he should," Dale grumbles, walking outside. He returns a moment later, dazed. "Yup, it's a good one, alright," he admits. "Real good. Convinced me! Oh yeah."

The Rangers pile out, and behold the terrifying apparition of Zipper/Nimnul. "Zipper," Gadget says, stunned, "Is that really you?"

Monty holds a monocle to his eye. "Pally, what happened? Have you been in the Vegemite again?"

"I don't think this is a case of over-eating, Monterey," Chip opines.

Nimnul/Zipper appears and buzzes around Zipper/Nimnul. "The Modemizer! Where is it? Tell me, you body-snatcher!" Nimnul/Zipper fumes.

"It looks like a fly," Monty says, still peering through the monocle, "but it sounds like a snake."

"Egad!" Nimnul/Zipper ejaculates, buzzing about the Rangers' heads. "It's those vermin!"

"Nimnul!" gasps Dale.

"They've switched bodies!" Chip observes.

"How observant for a lower life form," Nimnul/Zipper snorts. "Hey, wait a second -- you can talk!"

"He understands us!" Gadget says.

"That's because he's half bug," Chip theorizes.

"The better half," Monty says grimly. He grabs Nimnul/Zipper. "Now change my little buddy back -- or else!"

"Nobody wants to undo this horror more than me," Nimnul/Zipper assures his captor. "But I can't change anything without the Modemizer."

He bites Monty on the hand and escapes. He shakes Zipper/Nimnul.

"Where is it? Where?" he barks.

"I don't know," Zipper/Nimnul buzzes, tears in his eyes.

A siren wails and the troops move in. Attack helicopters thunder overhead; police in riot gear and gas masks pile out of trucks.

"Zipper! Run! Hurry!" Chip orders.

Zipper/Nimnul and Nimnul/Zipper hurry and run, as a gas-masked police officer yells "Over there, men!" to a squad of helmeted cops with mortars. Zipper/Nimnul evades a few mortar-fired tear gas rounds. The other Rangers are not so lucky, gagging on their tree. Perhaps it is after this that they began to carry the chemical warfare gear used in "Bearing Up Baby."

"I hope he made it out of there," Chip somehow is able to say.

Dale watches as a helicopter flies off, a net dangling from a cable. Snared in the net is Zipper/Nimnul.

"He did," Dale says grimly, "but not the way we wanted."

"They've bagged me bud!" Monterey cries.

"Hurry!" Chip yells. He and the others drop to all fours for speed and race off, going up a fire escape.

Nimnul/Zipper desperately chases his one way of returning to humanity. "Come back!" he cries, despairingly. He positions himself in the path of the helicopter, with a cry of "No! No! Stop!"

This works about as well as you would expect, and Nimnul/Zipper is fired towards Earth, screaming and out of control.

The Rangers have made it to the top of the building. Unfortunately, the helicopter is gone.

"We lost him," Monterey admits.

"And his bottom half, too," Dale chimes in.

"We've got to get them both back," Chip decides.

Meanwhile, in an outdoor cafe, a patron raises an issue with his waiter.

"Waiter, what is this fly doing in my soup?" he asks.

"The hundred-meter breast stroke, what does it look like, idiot!" sputters Nimnul/Zipper.

The Rangers smile and Chip goes after him, sliding down a drainpipe. As the waiter says, "I am sorry, m'sieur, I assure you this has nevair happened before --" Chip flashes over the table, grabs Nimnul/Zipper, and escapes. "And neither has that," the waiter concludes, dropping the accent.

"Thank goodness," says Nimnul/Zipper. "I was almost part of the second course."

"You're not out of the soup yet," Chip grimly assures him.

The Ranger Plane flies over head, while the Rangers stare at the ground. "We've already been over this area," Dale says, "and I still don't see any helmet."

"I'm doomed. Doomed!," whines a defeated Nimnul/Zipper. "All those years of study and sacrifice, and how do I end up? As the only fly with two masters degrees."

"Oh, quit your belly-aching," Monty snorts. "We'll find the blasted helmet. It couldn't 'ave gotten up and walked away. Then again..."

They overfly a playground. A kid with a wooden sword wears a cape and the Modemizer. He addresses his playmates.

"And so I, the Lord High Star Commander, command you to go into battle, my minions!" he declaims.

"Not again," complains one of three kids playing with him. "I'm tired of being onions. I wanna be the Lord High Star Commander."

"Forget it!" says the power-mad Lord High Star Commander. "You can't be a Star Commander without the helmet, and there's no way anybody's going to take it away from me!"

A magnet on a tether attached to the Ranger Plane proves him wrong. The Modemizer flies off.

"Mommy..." says the former Lord High Star Commander.

"Happy now, Nimnul?" Dale asks, winching up the Modemizer.

"I have to admit, you're awfully clever for vermin," Nimnul/Zipper acknowledges.

"Thanks! ... I think," Dale mutters darkly.

"Now to get Zipper," Gadget says.

The Ranger Plan flies off.

It's night in front of a heavily defended base. Guards with Dobermans are on patrol, and a female TV reporter gives her story in front of the gate.

"It's rumored that the alien is being kept in this government installation for observation. As you can see, the place is sealed tighter than Fort Knox. Not even a flea could get inside."

"Oh, poor Zipper," Monty moans. "All he wanted was a little action."

"I wonder what they'll do to him," says Chip.

"They'll poke and probe and pinch until my body is black and blue!" sobs Nimnul/Zipper.

"We've got to get him out, tonight!" decides Chip.

"But how?" Dale asks. "You heard the news lady.

"Hmm..." muses the black-nosed chipmunk. He spies a pay phone outside the wire, and with a triumphant smile, sits on the Modemizer.

"Anybody have a dime?" Chip asks.

"You want to use that hunk of junk?" Monty asks, amazed. "Don't forget what it did to fleabrain here."

Nimnul/Zipper snarls, "There's nothing wrong with my Modemizer, fat rat. What happened to me was just a fluke!"

"Let's hope so," Chip says, pulling Nimnul/Zipper off of Monty's mustache. "Right now, I don't see what other choice we have."

A phone in the installation rings off the hook and the Modemizer extrudes Nimnul/Zipper and the Rangers.

"Blimey," says Monty/Chip. "It worked!

"Told you," Nimnul/Zipper sniffs.

"Sure beats the subway!" Dale/Gadget says with a smile.

"We'd better turn on the light," Chip/Monty says. He walks over to a desk lamp and turns it on. "There."

"Say, Chip old pal ... when did you get taller than me?" Monty/Chip asks doubtfully.

Realizing the horror, they gasp.

"Hey, Dale," asks Gadget/Dale, "Why do I have your shirt?"

Dale/Gadget gasps. "You've got more of me than just my shirt!"

Gadget/Dale sees the horror and screams, trying to pull Dale's shirt down to cover her/his groin (Hey, I'm just reporting the facts here).

Dale/Gadget echoes Gadget/Dale's scream and leaps into Chip/Monty's arms.

"Oh, no," sighs Nimnul/Zipper.

"You said it," agrees Chip/Monty. "We've just turned into... the Rescue Mutants!"

Gadget/Dale continues to try to stretch Dale's shirt to cover more of his anatomy.

"Look at me," sobs Monty/Chip. "I'm nothing but fur and bones."

"Why do I have this sudden urge for cheesecake?" Chip/Monty asks rhetorically.

"It's ... kind of breezy in here, isn't it?" Gadget/Dale fibs. She/he takes a paper cup and pops her/his head through it, improvising a skirt.

"Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear," moans Dale/Gadget. "I've always wanted to be close to Gadget, but not this close." He/she lays a hand lightly on his/her backside.

Gadget/Dale rudely shoves him/her from behind, with a snarled "Keep the hands off the body," getting, as usual, the Best Line of the episode.

"Sorry," Dale apologizes, obviously stifling hysterical laughter.

Nimnul/Zipper is snatched out of the air by Monty/Chip.

"A fluke, eh?" Monty Chip asks menacingly.

"I, uh, guess the Modemizer must be malfunctioning after all," Nimnul/Zipper giggles as Gadget/Dale glowers at Dale/Gadget.

"Well, you'd better fix it fast." Chip/Monty says.

"All right, all right," Nimnul/Zipper grumbles. He flies off to the Modemizer. "Don't lose your heads!"

"It's a little late for that!" snaps Dale/Gadget.

"Someone's coming!" Chip/Monty warns.

Outside in the corridor, Zipper/Nimnul is strapped to a gurney and is being wheeled along by medical staff. "Once the examination begins, no one is allowed inside the operating room."

The Rangers watch from an ajar door. "Oh, my poor pally," Monty/Chip says.

"Gadget," Chip/Monty orders, "you keep an eye on Nimnul, while the rest of us get Zipper."

"Hey," Dale/Gadget gripes, "you can't expect me to go out in public like this --"

He is dragged off.

Zipper/Nimnul is strapped to a chair while a doctor speaks to him.

"I have decided to run some tests on you. And I will begin the psycholoog -- physicaloo -- psycogaloo -- the head test. This is a multiple choice question.." He holds up a picture of a mushroom cloud.

"What do you fear most? A: nuclear annihilation. B: a gruesome plane crash. C: a flyswatter."

Zipper/Nimnul makes it clear that C: is the one.

"Hmm. A trend is developing. Either you're part fly, or a frustrated art critic. One more test ought to confirm it. Which do you find more attractive?" He pulls down a picture of a Human female. "This woo-woo girl, or this wasp?"

Zipper/Nimnul prefers the wasp.

"I kind of like the wasp myself," confides the doctor. "But who said a doctor can't be sick?" (Coming very close to scoring the Best Line award, I might add.)

"The tests are not conclusive," the jolly doctor goes on. "I need to take a closer look, to see what makes your ticker tick." He looks off screen. "Soldiers! Take him to the operating room!"

Zipper/Nimnul is soon being wheeled down a hall, strapped to a gurney. The Rescue Mutants race between the feet of the grim warriors, and clamber aboard.

"You should only experience only minor discomfort," the doctor says in a comforting manner.

"Oh no!" yells Dale/Gadget. Zipper whimpers.

"We need a diversion," Monterey/Chip says. "One with _major_ discomfort."

He climbs up the doctor's leg, and gives a mighty bite on the ankle. The gurney runs down the hall with momentum, leaving the doctor and soldiers behind. "Keep it going!" cries Dale/Gadget, and the Rangers push the gurney down the hall, and into an elevator. Chip/Monterey presses a button, almost closing the doors on Monterey/Chip. "Going up," Dale/Gadget says gleefully.

An exhausted Chip/Monterey slumps to the floor of the elevator, gasping for breath. "If we ever get our bodies back, Monty," he says, "you have to go on a diet."

The doctor and soldiers reach the elevator, and see the floor lights flashing. "Quick! To the stairs!" the doctor orders.

In the elevator, Monty/Chip comforts his friend. "Don't worry, pally, we'll get you out."

They work on the buckles holding down Zipper/Nimnul. Zipper/Nimnul buzzes "Not you, too!" sympathetically..

"Yeah. All the rangers are rearranged," says Dale/Gadget.

Zipper/Nimnul buzzes something self-deprecating. "This is no time to blame yourself," Chip/Monty says. "Right now, we've got to get out of here!"

The elevator opens Zipper/Nimnul stands over his friends. "Coast is clear. C'mon," Chip/Monty says.

The stair door opens, and the doctor and soldiers pile out. Zipper/Nimnul takes the gurney and crashes it into the Humans with terrific force, sending them shooting down the hall.

Inside the Modemizer, Nimnul/Zipper tugs at a transistor. "Do you think the problem might be a bad connector?" Gadget/Dale asks.

"Will you please back off? Nimnul/Zipper commands. "Remember, "I'm the genius, you're the mouse." He pokes Gadget/Dale in the nose, making a "doik" noise. He returns to work.

"Hey, I think I've just spotted our problem," Nimnul/Zipper says lightly. "A burnt connector in the bioelectric regurgitator."

"Well, imagine that," Gadget/Dale says with sarcasm.

"If I can replace it, we can all change back to normal on the next telephone trip!" Nimnul/Zipper explains.

"Who ho!" "Look out!" This way!" The rescue party returns.

"Zipper!" Gadget/Dale cries out happily.

"My beautiful bod!" Nimnul/Zipper says. To do him justice, even that one is an improvement.

"I sure hope the Modemizer's fixed," Chip/Monty says, climbing up onto the table.

"Not without a new connector," Nimnul/Zipper tells them.

"Well, let's get one," Dale/Gadget suggests.

"Oh, sure," Nimnul/Zipper scoffs. "Maybe you know of an electronics store in the neighborhood."

The door, barricaded by Zipper/Nimnul, begins shaking as soldiers pound it.

"We're trapped," Nimnul/Zipper despairs.

"Let me try something..." Gadget/Dale says, picking up a paper clip and twisting it quickly into the shape of the connector. She slips it in. "There. We're all set!"

"Upstaged by a household pest!" Nimnul/Zipper grouses, unaware this is not the first time.

"Quick, Zip," Chip/Monty orders, "Put on the helmet and dial us out of here."

"And I know just the number to call," Nimnul/Zipper says. "505 ..."

We do not hear the rest of the number. Presumably, Zipper knows to dial a "9" first to reach an outside exchange.

The soldiers burst in, just in time for Dale/Gadget to wish them a fond "Toodle-loo" before vanishing.

The Humans stare at the phone in mute amazement.

In Nimnul's lab, a phone rings and the previously rearranged protagonists appear, properly arranged once more. Nimnul is surprising unaware that phone records will lead the military to his lab in a matter of minutes.

"I got my body back!" yells a happy Gadget.

"And believe me, it looks much better on you," Dale tells her.

A re-integrated Nimnul looks down at the Rangers with an evil smile. He stuffs them into a cage, and locks the door.

"How I love happy endings," he informs them. "Not only do I get back my manly physique, but now I can exterminate you meddlesome pests, once and for all!"

"What a grateful guy," Dale sighs.

Zipper flies through the bars of the cage and tugs at them helplessly.

"Foolish fly," Nimnul chortles, "You will be the first to go." He opens a drawer and removes ... a flyswatter. Fortunately, this isn't 1940 or it would be a flit gun and Zipper would be doomed.

"Save yourself, Zipper!" Chip begs. "You can't fight a human!"

"Here, buggy, buggy," Nimnul taunts Zipper. "Where are you? You have to start buzzing some time..." Nimnul is unaware Zipper is on the phone, still connected to the Modemizer. With an "Uh-oh," Nimnul sees Zipper just as he dials the last digit of "911", the police/fire/emergency number used almost universally in the United States (explanation inserted for foreigners).

Meanwhile, in the switching station, "Hello?" asks a burly cop with a hands-free phone headset. "This is 911. Who's there, please?"

Nimnul extrudes out of the headset and lands on his lap. Naturally, since the headset doesn't fit the rubber sleeves of the Modemizer, it pops off and leaves Nimnul with no escape.

"Uh-oh," says Nimnul as a massive hand rests on him. "Wrong number."

A paddy wagon zips down the street. The Rangers are hitching a ride. "Well, Zip old boy, it's sure good to 'ave you back on the team again," Monterey tells his little friend.

"Hear, hear," Dale seconds.

"Yeah," Chip agrees. "And after the way you handled Nimnul, you can bet that from now on, you're going to get a lot more responsibility."

"How would you like to start by helpin' the police escort the prisoner?" Monty asks.

"Yeah!" Zipper says enthusiastically "You bet!"

The paddy wagon has stopped, and Muldoon and Kirby open the doors. "Okay, Professor," Kirby says gently. "Time to visit the nice hospital."

"I'm coming!" squeaks Nimnul, wearing a straitjacket. "I'm coming! Just promise you'll keep the vermin away!"

"The ... what?" asks Muldoon.

"You know, those despicable rodents and their little fly friend," Nimnul explains. "He's the worst one of all! You've never met a more insidious insect!"

"Yeah, right on, buddy," Kirby agrees gently, as they escort Nimnul into the hospital. "Bad bug. We've got you..."

Zipper winks into the camera for a deserved closing shot.

***

This has been called "The most mature Rescue Rangers episode" (Matt Plotecher) and I've got to agree - with references to Franz Kafka and Ronald Reagan's autobiography, not to mention the overtones in Gadget/Dale's warning to Dale/Gadget, and the "Who says a doctor can't be sick?" line (a strong personal favorite which I have shared with friends) it's got quite a bit to make the adults laugh.

The story itself is, of course, based on the 1958 film "The Fly," remade in 1986. This is the film which made "Help me!" (said in a high-pitched squeaky voice) a running gag which has been used too many times to recall. Several shots are virtual frame-by-frame echoes of the 1958 film, especially Zipper/Nimnul's horror at discovering his new condition.

Unlike the original, however, there are only a few hints that the composite creatures have their behavior affected by the combination.

Unfortunately, fitting the episode into continuity is problematic. It is generally agreed that the Ranger Wing episodes took place after the Ranger Plane episodes, and the notion the Rangers ignore or neglect Zipper would have to put it early in continuity. However, this means that Nimnul has spent most of his criminal career aware his arch-enemies are rodents, that he knows where they live, and yet has never attempted to destroy them in their tree.

Great episode, though.

 

Rescue Rangers and all characters and episodes copyright the Walt Disney Corporation and used without permission.

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