Writing Credits: Julia J. Roberts
First Aired: First aired in the US on November 15, 1989.
Title Reference: Shell shock, also called combat stress reaction, is a form of stress and fatigue that affects soldiers in combat situations, especially prolonged combat with little rest.
Episode Number: 42
Production Number: 53
While the Rescue Rangers enjoy a day at the beach, Dale becomes unhappy with Chip's micromanagement and asks to be leader for the day. The others agree, and everyone enjoys their time under Dale's direction. The Rangers soon meet a group of garbage-clad hermit crabs whose shells disappeared overnight along with every shell on the beach. The Rangers take the case, but Dale insists on remaining leader. Dale is mostly lost on how to find the shells, searching at both a gas station with a shell on its sign and a comic book shop for "research."
While Dale leads the group on a wild goose chase, Fat Cat's gang is setting the shells outside an old cannery. Fat Cat's plan is to use the sound of the ocean heard from the shells to trick all nearby fish into a holding tank. From there, he will force the cats in the city to pay him for their fish.
When following the sound of the ocean to get back to the crime site, Dale is also tricked by the shells' sound of the ocean and leads the Rangers right to Fat Cat's base. After watching Fat Cat's plan work flawlessly, Dale has the Rangers try to ambush Fat Cat. The result is that Fat Cat captures the Rangers, shoves them into a boot, ties it off, and throws them into the ocean to drown. As the boot fills up with water, Dale has a panic attack and asks Chip to take over again. Chip asks for Gadget's assessment, and she quickly hatches a plan to use a balloon Dale had to propel the boot back to land. Gadget's plan works.
Upon regaining land and escaping the boot, the Rangers discover a horde of cats in Fat Cat's cannery. Chip has an idea and asks Dale to round up the hermit crabs, but first has to talk Dale out of a funk. He and the others convince Dale that although he isn't cut out to be the leader, he's still an important part of the team.
Fat Cat begins lording over the cats who have come for fish, but is interrupted by a loud noise. The Rangers, with the help of the hermit crabs, have reversed the shells to guide the fish back to the ocean. The fish escape and the hermit crabs take back their shells, leaving Fat Cat to deal with a horde of violent felines. The episode ends as the crabs decide to throw a party for the Rangers, Chip tears up his schedule after pretending to check it to see if a party will fit the timetable, and Chip and Dale argue at the speed of chipmunk over whether Chip's joke was funny or not.
The Rescue Rangers
Gadget's Miner's Helmet
Dale: (reading Chip's schedule) "Organize equipment, 10:00 to 10:30. Supervised group nap, 10:30 to 11:00. Fun, 11:00 to 11:05."
Chip: (examining his exquisite three-story five-tower sandcastle) "Darn. If I'd only spent longer on the blueprints, I could have built something really special."
Hermit Crab Leader: (whenever he can justify a catchphrase) "Mother of pearl!"
Hermit Crab Leader: (to Dale) "Its a good thing you're not any sharper son you'd cut yourself."
Gadget: "I'm sure that if we can find their missing shells, they'd be much less crabby. I mean, still crabs, but not so crab-like. Well, wait, still crab-like, since they are crabs after all.
Monty: Gadget, love, drop it.
Gadget: (drops the beach towel she was holding)
Fat Cat: (To Mole) "Shells don't use batteries. The ocean sound they make is a mystery of nature - like how you manage to operate without any brains."
Gadget: "At times like this I usually don't resort to shrill emotional outbursts, but in this case... (screaming) You've got to do something!"
Dale: (after Chip and the others give him a pep talk) "Thanks, guys. I never knew feeling bad could feel so good."
Gadget: "See I told you they'd be less crabby once they got their homes back. Back on their backs I mean. I mean their still crabs and everything I guess what I'm trying to say is that..." Monty: "Gadget love that's getting on my nerves."
Monterey Jack is the first Ranger to start asking Chip to take over again, interesting because he tends to be the least plan-oriented Ranger. Chip is initially adamant about Dale remaining leader, but automatically supplies ideas and directions in the middle of a crisis. Gadget routinely supports Dale as long as he continues to want to be leader, and Zipper never offers an opinion.
Alert Pros will be delighted to notice that Chip, when building a sandcastle, has adopted Gadget's preference for blueprints.
Dale manages to pull a large amount of objects out of his pockets while trapped in the boot, a trick usually reserved for Chip.