REVIEW: ‘The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers,’ Episode 8 – “Change on the Fly”

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The Mighty Ducks Episode 8 - But Why Tho?

This week, in The Mighty Ducks Episode 8, “Change on the Fly,” starring Lauren GrahamEmilio Estévez, and a team of young actors on Disney+, the streak of tropes has been broken, and the show feels like it has excitingly entered uncharted territory. Alex (Graham) has been letting the excitement she has been having over the Don’t Bothers’ recent successes get to her head. She’s been amping up the intensity as a coach, and none of the players, Evan (Brady Noon) included, are feeling okay with it. Meanwhile, Nick (Maxwell Simkins) is feeling jealous of Logan (Kiefer O’Reilly), who has been getting extra lessons from Bombay (Estévez). Plus, the whole team is convinced that it’s the fact that they haven’t worn new socks in weeks that is keeping their winning streak going, thanks to Koob (Luke Islam).

What makes this episode feel like it’s passed to a new level for this show is that it, for the first time, has a character acting outside of my expectations. While the fact that Alex has become over-invested and the kids now have to reel her in is perhaps not novel, I’m sure it’s happened dozens of times in sitcoms over the years. It’s a trait that goes against what she has been all about from the beginning. And logically, what better conflict for the end of the season could there be than for the main driving force of the team, just having fun, to get inverted. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s outside of the usual set of tropes the show has followed just enough that it has elevated the stakes beyond simply wondering whether the team will ultimately prevail.

The acting in this episode is some of the best yet from the young cast. I have lauded Maxwell Simkins in the past for how excellent his comedic timing is, but O’Reilly really brought excellent dramatic acting to this episode. Logan has had some moments here and there over the season, but this episode was really his to show growth. The direction his conflict with Nick goes is no more novel than anything else the show typically does, but the delivery from both actors is so good and the resolution so sweet. I couldn’t help feeling completely elated by the end.

Koob, Lauren (Bella Higginbotham), Sam (De’Jon Watts), Sofi (Swayam Bhatia), and Maya (Dylan Playfair) all get good moments to be funny as well as show that the team is really bonding as a group. I hope the rest of the season continues to illustrate that bond. Islam, in particular, is just hilarious, and I continue to appreciate that neither his comedy nor his skill as a goalie are portrayed as related to his weight and size. Also, if you have never seen his America’s Got Talent audition from 2019, stop what you’re doing immediately, watch it, cry, and then come back.

On a small hockey note, I found it weird and noticeable that for some reason, in this episode, Logan wasn’t wearing his signature Maple Leaf’s jersey. But I’m very glad that not only does he get to perform a very impressive currently popular hockey maneuver, but it seems like he may have been actually doing the puck work himself. There was some corny camera work going on a few times in this episode, in the beginning with some odd CGI puck shots and later with some multi-camera oddities in the locker room. I kind of liked the former, but the latter was a bit dizzying.

I really appreciate The Mighty Ducks Episode 8 for letting some of its cast flex their acting skills while taking the final conflict of the season in a slightly different-enough direction than my expectations for the first time this season. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Don’t Bothers’ growing bonds and skills combine to wrap the season up in the final few episodes.

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is streaming now on Disney+ with new episodes on Fridays.

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers Episode 8 - "Change on the Fly"
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

I really appreciate The Mighty Ducks Episode 8 for letting some of its cast flex their acting skills while taking the final conflict of the season in a slightly different-enough direction than my expectations for the first time this season. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Don’t Bothers’ growing bonds and skills combine to wrap the season up in the final few episodes.