TV Recap: “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers” Season 1, Episode 1 “Game On”

It’s here! After decades away, we’ve finally returned to the ice. Our beloved Mighty Ducks have taken a turn for the worse, however. What was once a team built on the backs of camaraderie and a love of sport now strives to pick off the scum and rise to the top. The new coach is instantly a lot, talking to the group of middle schoolers as if they are about to join the Navy. Chill dude, it’s the Ducks!

We meet Alex and Evan Morrow, with Alex trying to leave work in order to bring Evan to his first practice of the season. They make it just in the nick of time, though it wasn’t completely necessary, as Evan is quickly cut from the team. He’s been a Duck for years, but according to Mr. Coach Dude, he just doesn’t cut it. “If you’re not great at hockey by twelve, then, like, don’t bother.”

With that comment, Alex is ready for war. How can children’s sports be co-opted like this? Where is the fun of lighthearted competition? Why are pediatric sports psychologists present to watch a twelve-year-old shoot a puck into a goal? It’s all too much! Alex spirals on the ice and utters the instantly perfect catchphrase “You don’t bother, sir. You don’t bother.”

Evan is, understandably, devastated. Being a Duck means popularity and pursuing his dreams of being a hockey all-star. Alex is devastated to see her own child devastated. It’s devastation all around. When neighbor, and comedy all-star, Nick ventures over to console Alex, an idea is sparked. Why not make a team with the intent to just have fun? Let the titular game changing commence!

They have three days to put together a full group of players and find a facility where they can practice before the local league stops sign-ups. Times ‘a tickin’! Evan and Nick work on finding a “strong” group of players to join the team at school, while Alex races from phone call to phone call to try and find a rink to use.

In a bizarrely kismet turn of events, Alex is sent by the law firm she works for to do some dirty work. As she’s questioning every life choice that has led her to that exact moment, she comes across The Ice Palace, a dilapidated ice rink (aka an untouched option) that could host the new team. The owner enters via a cloud of zamboni-induced fog (?) and turns out to be the legendary Gordon Bombay. The man we met in the film franchise has taken a turn for the worse, mind you, as he is anti-hockey. I mean, there’s a sign that says “No Hockey.” How much more explaining do you need?!

After Alex bribes with a big wad of city-funded cash, Gordon reluctantly allows the new team (soon to be known as the Don’t Bothers) to use his rink as their new home. Let’s just say this time around the ice, he’s ready to take a back seat approach to the hockey team.

Evan, with his social status ruined thanks to his mom’s disastrous blow-up, decides to take matters into his own hands at school. After days of coming up short for teammates, he delivers a lecture to the cafeteria about taking back the power, standing up for what’s right, and giving an all call for other misfits to join his new hockey team. By the grace of the hockey angels, he finally gets enough members. The Don’t Bothers are officially an honest-to-goodness team in the league. This should go perfectly…right?

Penalty Box Thoughts:

  • Logan was the highlight of the episode. The Canadian twist had me laughing out loud and congratulating the writers (who could not hear me) on a job well done.
  • Gordon and Alex have quickly become a dynamic frenemy duo, ending in a Whitney Houston ice skating routine to end the episode. I can’t tell if they are setting this up to be romantic, but honestly, I’m not mad whatever way it goes. What a fun rapport!
  • Don’t Bothers? Really? What would that mascot even be?
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Marshal Knight
Marshal Knight is a pop culture writer based in Orlando, FL. For some inexplicable reason, his most recent birthday party was themed to daytime television. He’d like to thank Sandra Oh.