Piratsy Under the Seas
Episode Rating: out of 5

Arrgh! This be a fine episode, mateys! It all starts in Ranger Headquarters, where Dale’s apparently been up all night, watching one of his late-night movie marathons. Food is strewn everywhere, and when the others come in, they’re not happy at all. Dale tells Chip that “you’re not the boss of me” but then Gadget comes in and demands for the mess to be cleaned up. Monty, Chip and Zipper point out the culprit and Dale grudgingly gets to work.

Outside, Dale takes the bag of trash to the trashcan, slipping and falling into the trashcan. Chip laughs at this, but then his laughs turn to a cry of concern as a garbage man picks up the can with Dale in it and dumps it into the garbage truck. Quickly, the Rangers are mobilized to save Dale, and here we see that they store the RangerSkate under the base of the tree. That tree really must have some room under it…

The garbage truck stops at a stoplight, and the Rangers have to dodge a truck, sending the RangerSkate and them flying through the air. With a plop, they all end up in the garbage with Dale. Next thing we know, they’re on a trash barge, being towed out to sea.

Now this bit here always seemed a little non-sequitur to me. There’s Gadget, in the middle of the trash heap, smiling and admiring the view of the city behind them. “There’s something romantic about a sea voyage.” Now either Gadget’s got a really weird sense of what’s romantic, or her olfactory senses don’t work all that well! And we know that they’re not acclimated to garbage from the first part of the episode. And then of course there’s Chip agreeing with her, when you know good and well he’s just sucking up to her. Oh well—nice try, Chip.

Soon enough, he has other things to worry about. Dale’s playing king of the trash heap and tips over the bottle he’s sitting on (or in) and the two chipmunks end up trapped in it. Monty’s about to break them out when Gadget points to a barrel that pops to the surface. Several guns emerge, along with an upside-down pirate flag, and a net shoots out and grabs a bunch of garbage along with Chip and Dale.

In moments, the chipmunks in a bottle are under the surface, dragged down to an upside-down pirate ship. They avoid the clutches of Billy the Squid and end up inside the ship, where they meet the pi-rats, led by the first mate, Jolly Roger. After a pirate feast (consisting of the aforementioned garbage), it’s time for a pirate treasure hunt. But first, they have to clean up, which pleases Chip no end. Then they dump the table’s contents on the floor, which pleases Dale no end. Chip doesn’t like any of it, but Dale’s all hyped up and quotes one of his famous comeback lines: “You’re just jealous ‘cause you don’t have a hat!” Chip gives us a look that’s reminiscent of the Oliver Hardy glance at the camera.

This doesn’t please Chip at all, but he goes along. Soon enough they find the treasure, and Dale is jubilant—doesn’t he remind you of Amos, the mouse in “Ben and Me” in this pic? Then Chip suggests going home, but now that they’ve seen the treasure the pi-rats demand that they stay forever.

Back on the surface, Gadget builds a makeshift submarine and soon she, Monty and Zipper are inside the old galleon as well.

The three of them enter the treasure room, where Billy the Squid is after them. This scene is also pretty unique in that Gadget and not Monty is the aggressor against Billy. It shows the mouse inventor has a brave heart to her, as well as fast legs. She ends up snapping one of the treasure chest lids shut on Billy’s tentacle, forcing him to retreat. Monty’s ready to abscond with the treasure, but Gadget reminds him that they’re there to find Chip and Dale—this shows that Gadget is willing to take the leadership role when needed, and that Monty’s loyalties to the group may not be as strong as his desire for fortune and glory.

Monty obeys Gadget’s orders and finds the chipmunks, who are locked in a bird cage. He listens while the pi-rats tell of their captain who left 200 years ago, Long-Lost LaFitte. The name is a reference to the real-life pirate leader Jean LaFitte, a legendary pirate from the early 1800’s Louisiana. Monty dresses up as LaFitte and passes the pi-rats’ tests to make sure he’s the captain—no one said they were discerning :-) Btw, when “Arrghvey” asks about Monty’s little parrot—Zipper of course—Monty says, “Aye, he’s been sick”. That’s a wink at a line from the old Tex Avery cartoons, where you’d run into a character that’s much wimpier than he should be.

Monty’s plan nearly works—Zipper goes and gets Gadget, and they’re all about to leave when Young Ned, LaFitte’s old cabin boy, brings out the “captain’s cheese”. Monty loses it and goes for the cheese, and all the Rangers are captured and tied up. Jolly Rogers forces them to walk the plank with Billy the Squid waiting below, but thanks to Monty’s tail and some quick thinking by Zipper they avoid Billy’s clutches.

Gadget realizes that the only way to save the day is to get rid of all the treasure on board. While the guys distract the pi-rats, Gadget primes one of the old cannons and when it goes off the shot manages to disgorge the treasure. The ship floats to the top like a cork, and the pi-rats’ world has been turned “upside down” and they’re overjoyed at the thought of having real adventures again.

The pi-rats give the Rangers the barrel to get home with, and Dale fires off a trash cannon salute, plastering the Pi-Rats. “Just making myself at home!” Dale says, and the Rangers laugh as the show irises out to black.

Evaluation: Four Acorns out of five. A very imaginative and often humorous episode that gave all the Rangers time in the spotlight. The pi-rats made the story interesting, and the constant action kept the interest going. If there’s anything I’d dock the episode for, it’s being a little too active and not giving the characters a chance to gel more. Still, they did a pretty good job with the small amount of time they had, and the episode stands out as one of the better ones in the Ranger canon.