To The Rescue Part Three
Originally Aired 09/13/1989
Episode Rating: out of 5

With the start of the third part of “To the Rescue”, we find our heroes in imminent peril. The ship they’re on is heading at a good clip straight for the docks and the skyscrapers just beyond. However, that wonderful ship’s speed gauge tells a different story.

When first we see the gauge, it’s on “Slow Ahead”, but then Chip and Dale somehow defy the laws of physics and move it to “Stop”.

Monty, never one to worry about the laws of physics, takes a whack at the gauge with a crowbar he picks up and sends it over to “Half Ahead”. But then the wheel gets insulted and moves itself over to “Full Ahead”! Yeah, it’ll show those Rangers who’s boss ;-)

So now we finally know the truth—the ship they were on had a mind of its own and decided to do as much damage as possible. After plowing through the docks, the ship ends up a couple of blocks into town. Oboy, I think those city work crews are gonna be busy for a while…

Monty and Zipper agree to join in with the chipmunks, mainly because Monty wants revenge on Fat Cat for sinking his house. Meanwhile, the felonious feline and his Goon Squad are paddling their way back to shore—well okay, the Goon Squad’s paddling.

The chipmunks and their new friends trail the baddies to a helicopter, where Klordane is set to take off for Glacier Bay, Alaska.Our heroes are too late to catch a ride on the helicopter and watch as it rises into the sky. Meanwhile Fat Cat manages to distract Klordane while he spits the ruby back into Bozo’s…er Klordane’s jewel case.

Klordane then dials the number of the local police station and disguises his voice, pretending to be one of Donald Drake’s old lady friends. When Drake replies, Klordane gets in some gloating which drives Drake ballistic. The police are convinced that Drake has “cracked” and gone off the deep end.

Meanwhile, across town, Monty has led the chipmunks to one of the local airports. It’s notable that this is the only time we get to see the airport where Gadget was living before she met the Rangers. You can just make out low-lying hills, even with the nose of the plane in the foreground. Wonder what hills those might be…

The soon-to-be Rangers enter the airport’s terminal, where Monty explains to Dale the finer points of survival while traveling. Rule one is to “grab a bite whenever you can, because you never know where you’re going to find your next meal”. However, Dale’s a little busy fighting off an attack from the nearby drinking straw dispenser. Monty is distracted a moment later by a CHEESEburger, and ends up forcing the lot of them to run for their little lives.

Monty leads them outside and through the grass, explaining that he “occasionally” has these cheese attacks. Zipper looks at him disapprovingly, causing the Aussie to admit it happens “most times”. Zipper isn’t impressed and Monty fesses up to his attacks happening all the time. “When there’s a hint of cheddar in the air, something inside me snaps”.

Chip isn’t impressed with the idea of Monty getting them to Glacier Bay, but that’s when Monty explains he’s taking them to an old friend of his, a pilot by the name of Geegaw Hackwrench. Monty regales them with talk of Geegaw, telling of how he could “land a plane on a polar bear’s nose in the middle of a blizzard”.

Now we see the plane in question for the first time. It appears to be a WWII bomber that cracked up a long time ago—it looks like a B25 Mitchell to me (though bock’s car may have a more informed opinion). The existence of the plane would suggest that the Rangerverse has a similar if not the same history as our reality.

As they enter the plane, Monty informs the chipmunks that he’d known Geegaw for a long time and that the pilot would be sure to help them—“provided he’s still not mad about Zanzibar. I’m sure ol’ Geegaw’s forgotten all about the cheese bread”. This quote has been a source of rampant speculation for the Rangerphiles, wondering just what Monty meant by it. The clueless expression Zipper gives Chip and Dale would suggest that the incident in question happened before Zipper and Monty joined up as traveling companions.

Now the guys enter the cockpit of the plane, only to find that it’s “a veritable cornucopia of death and destruction”. Provided here for the first time, you may view the full composite of this “cornucopia”. Monty’s comment indicates he’s been here before, introducing the possibility that Geegaw and Gadget had lived in this plane for most of her life.

Okay, now for a bonehead mistake from me--I honestly thought Gadget had put down sand on the floor of the plane, but as Fish and JohnnyB have accurately said, it was a tarp she laid down. I think sand would've been better :-) I count at least 16 separate weapons ready to activate in this picture. What could it be that would possess a mouse like Gadget to haul in all those human-size weapons? That too, of course, has been a rampant source of speculation…

However, the most insidious weapon in the plane was not of the mechanical variety, but the block of cheese on top of one of the trap switches. This would suggest that either some mouse/mice were coming around and bothering Gadget as she later says, or it was set for Monty. Given Gadget’s positive reaction to him, this seems to be a non sequitur.

Monty goes into cheese attack mode and starts tripping all the traps. Plungers, axes, harpoons and various deadly objects rain down, but as Sparky noted in “Does Pavlov Ring a Bell?” it’s impossible to stop a motivated mouse. Monty picks up his companions and gets them to the cheese. As he eats it, a net falls down and they’re trapped. “Nice of Geegaw to leave us an appetizer,” Monty says.

However, as Chip notes next, that’s not all he left. A door to the nearby microwave oven opens, and out comes a mechanical monstrosity. It’s got a knife, a fork, a corkscrew and a spatula on it—a swiss army personal tank? The tank’s fork grabs up the lot of them, sending Monty into an instant sweat and he shouts out his name. The knife shoots out and cuts them free of the net, leaving Monty shaking and apologetic.

How did Gadget get in that tank in the first place? There’s no hole cut into the microwave’s interior to allow access, and if she’d gone around it would seem to defeat the purpose of the tank. Whatever the case, the next moment in the show changed its flavor forever. A happy, bubbly voice shouts, “Monterey!” and out of the tank comes a mouse.

Chip and Dale point in total confusion as the mouse hugs Monty. “That’s Geegaw Hackwrench?” To which Monty starts to say no, but the newcomer saves him the trouble. “It’s me, Gadget!” Monty immediately knows her, “Geegaw’s little girl? Why, the last time I saw you, you were knee-high to a knee.” She removes her helmet and goggles and says, “Well, I’ve grown up some.”

That was all it took—Chip and Dale were smitten with the lovely blonde mouse. Gadget introduces herself to them, and immediately we get a sense of her unique quirkiness. “Say, you’re not salesmen, are you?” Gadget explains she built the traps to keep salesmen out, but Rangerphiles have speculated whether this was the true reason.

Monty explains why they’ve come, causing Gadget to lose some of her happy demeanor. She informs them that Geegaw’s not there and that “she lost him over a year ago”. With Gadget’s tears, the message is that Geegaw Hackwrench is no more, but again there’s been repeated speculation that Gadget’s father may not actually be in the world beyond.

This is the only time in the series we see Geegaw Hackwrench, in the cherished picture that Gadget’s kept of him. Notably, he’s wearing a similar jacket to Chip’s, though not exactly the same. His fur color would suggest that Gadget’s mother was a blonde as well, though with the constant variations we see with her hair color, that’s far from certain.

Monty laments his friend’s passing, and that he won’t get to fly in the Screaming Eagle anymore. Gadget corrects that assumption and brings the plane down from far above. She tells us that it was an experimental model from the Ultra-Flight Laboratories. This in a way does lead credence to the idea that Geegaw was dead, since this apparently was his favorite plane.

Monty attempts to fly the Screaming Eagle, leading to his being catapulted out of the pilot’s seat. Gadget smiles giddily, explaining she made a few modifications. “Don’t you just love ejection seats?” Gadget then volunteers to handle the flying herself. This leads to the Eagle having a bunch of dynamite placed to its rear in order to boost the plane out of the B-25’s cockpit. Chip then points out that the cockpit’s skylight isn’t open, and again Gadget smiles and says, “Oh, silly me. I forgot to open it…now where’s that switch.” Monty starts a countdown and Gadget messes up, turning on the windshield wipers. Dale has a panic attack, banging on the plane, screaming, “LET ME OUT!”

We also learn at this point that Geegaw was left-handed, meaning that Gadget is right-handed. So it’s likely that her mother was right-handed as well. Gadget flips the right switch, the skylight opens, and the dynamite propels them into the air. Of course, this must have been a special grade of dynamite, or all those sticks would’ve killed them and leveled the B-25 as well.

Once in the air, Gadget hitches a ride with a jet-liner and gets them to Glacier Bay in no time. We also encounter two more non sequiturs. First, Dale congratulates Gadget on her idea to hitch a ride on the big jet, but he uses Chip’s voice! Dale must be a better ventriloquist than we thought. But the real surprise is that they’re suddenly all wearing winter outfits! Where did this winter gear suddenly come from? It’s possible Gadget could’ve stowed her coat in the plane, and Geegaw could’ve left one or two things around, but Monty had a form-fitting coat and Zipper even had stuff that fit him! This is a plot hole that’s so deep you don’t want to dare get near the edge…

Plot hole or not, the Rangers land at Glacier Bay. Gadget forgets to use skies for the landing, and ends up crashing the Screaming Eagle into a snow bank. The plane is ruined, and Gadget’s spirits are ruined for the moment with it. “Dad would never have crashed it,” Gadget says. Chip reminds her that Geegaw was a flyer, and what they need is her, an inventor. She realizes he’s right and perks right back up, giving them all a hug to which Monty gladly joins in.

The guys prepare to search for Klordane, while Gadget repairs the Screaming Eagle. She quickly fashions them an ice boat, notably the first invention she made for the team. The guys find Klordane at what appears to be an old weather station outpost. Here we meet Professor Norton Nimnul for the first time, the mad scientist with an ego as tall as he is short—with a temper to match. However, Klordane has the better of him at the moment and gives him the ruby to use in a large ruby-powered laser weapon.

Nimnul uses the laser to cut deep into the ice, walking his contraption around to cut out a huge square of the glacier they’re on. Nimnul sits there in his “Nimnul Laser Cannon”, proud as a peacock. “Well done, Professor,” Klordane says, “but will it fly?” Nimnul laughs. “Will it fly? You just watch!” With that, Nimnul presses a button on a remote switch which activates a series of huge turbines with propellers attached—notably, these appear similar to the ones used on the Iron Vulture in “TaleSpin”, though more powerful.

As the guys wonder what’s happening, a huge chunk of the glacier rises up from its foundation. Klordane leaves in his helicopter to oversee the next phase of his “Master Plan”. He leaves Fat Cat with Nimnul, the only time in the series that these two criminals share the spotlight. It doesn’t last long, as Nimnul spots “the vermin” on his laser, trying to get the ruby. “Rodents are your department!” he tells Fat Cat, kicking him in the cannon’s direction.

Fat Cat is insulted, but doesn’t dwell on it long. Now he sees our heroes as well, holding Dale up so he can grab the ruby. A couple of well-placed snowballs knock them off the laser cannon and they slide down the snowy hill beyond, nearly falling off the world’s largest ice cube.

As Monty and the others pull themselves up, they’re just in time to see Fat Cat bowl a snowball in their direction. The snowball grows and grows, until to the horrified eyes of our heroes it appears certain to knock them off the glacier! Will Chip, Dale, Monty and Zipper survive? The answer to that will come in part four…

Evaluation: Five Acorns out of five. This episode has it all—interesting characters, near-constant action, a good mix of humor, a complex scheme and a master villain to boot! You’ve got to give the writers credit here. They could’ve done something simple and made it a nice kiddie story but instead they gave it a complex plotline with a surprisingly well-developed villain and henchmen. You really felt that they were putting in a lot of effort, and it showed.

Of course, introducing Gadget into a storyline makes it special enough. Without her, the show would still have been interesting but would have lacked some of the warmth and fun that she brings—not to mention it would’ve been a whole lot harder for the guys to have gotten to Glacier Bay :-)