REVIEW: ‘The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers,’ Episode 5 – “Cherry Picker”

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Mighty Ducks Episode 5

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is a Disney+ Original show based on the classic movie series. Lauren Graham, Emilio Estévez, and a team of young actors star in this wholesome hockey show. In The Mighty Ducks Episode 5, Evan’s (Brady Noon) dad is in town on a gig, Lauren (Bella Higginbotham) and Maya (Taegen Burns) are going through it, and Alex (Graham) and Gordon (Estévez) need to go through it.

Ah, the classic “dad who is never around is in town and he promises to come to my game” episode. As I’ve said plenty of times, this show is the epitome of corny, but it’s also so wholesome I don’t even care. I’ve also said though that if the show doesn’t start bending some expectations, it’s going to run the risk of growing stale. Thankfully, this episode delivers. I think it’s always been there, but this episode makes it abundantly clear: Gordon is a certified Good Guy. Typically in this type of story, the new love interest and the dad get into a row, the dad sulks off in shame, and the new guy comes out looking amazing. Here though, Gordon totally goes out of his way to get along with Evens dad in a way that feels nothing but genuine. The whole scenario bucked my expectations completely and left me just more endeared by him and rooting for he and Alex even harder.

Meanwhile, in pre-teen land, Lauren and Maya are subverting some tropes of their own. The episode starts with Maya scorning Lauren by recording a TikTok, promising to post it, and then not out of embarrassment. But ultimately, it turns out that Maya is just as embarrassed about being friends with Maya too. It’s this neat chance to flip expectations while never for a second painting Lauren and her nerdy friends as weird or less than any other group of kids. The path through this relationship in this episode is really aspirational and I’d frankly use it with students I teach as an example of how to not only accept but include people who you wouldn’t think you’d be friends with.

Of course, Nick (Maxwell Simkins) also gets a chance in the middle of this scenario to deliver another several absolutely killer lines and a great inspirational speech. I only wish that the other team members got to have lines this episode. I got exactly my wish from the last episode of having a chance to meet more of the team, but at least the others were just absent. Here, they are just standing there stoically or nodding their heads. Disney, I think you can cough up the money to pay these kids to at least have lines if they’re going to appear in episodes. It was just a bit awkward seeing them on the bench or at the lunch table not saying a word.

Nonetheless, the episode is strong and has the series swinging in a fun direction as it continues to take on classic sports show tropes, but wringing the misogyny, homophobia, and other gross stuff that has so often come as part of the package. The small twists on cheesy moments this episode had me hooting and adoring every minute.

The Mighty Ducks episode 5 is streaming now on Disney+. New episodes air on Fridays.

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers Episode 5 - "Cherry Picker"
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Nonetheless, the episode is strong and has the series swinging in a fun direction as it continues to take on classic sports show tropes, but wringing the misogyny, homophobia, and other gross stuff that has so often come as part of the package. The small twists on cheesy moments this episode had me hooting and adoring every minute.