dalegardener: Starsky and Hutch, smiling, monochrome pic (Starsky and Hutch)
[personal profile] dalegardener
The ep opens with sirens sounding and armed guards scrambling at a federal penitentiary. Nearby two men wait in a car until they hear someone banging on the grate of a drain, and one of them helps another man in prison blues emerge. He is urgently demanding they get out of there and the car drives off.

Next scene is the police station, and our favourite cops sitting down writing a report. S lounges at his ease, while H is doing the hard work of actual typing. (Perhaps he got sick of Dobey growling about S's embellishments to the official reports). Apparently flamingo was a genuine colour for Studebakers back in the day, although it doesn't sound like either red or orange to me. S keeps questioning H that he's not annoyed about what happened last night. H keeps saying that he's fine before he tosses S a book - a self-help programme to become right handed. So S is a lefty? He keeps excellent company. *g* H extols the virtues of fitting in with the mainstream of the world. Do tell, H? You who drive a crappy old beater, and love your cowboy clothes and manly indoor gardening and out-there health foods, and who potentially sacrificed your marriage to become a cop? Whatever it was the night before - yeah, I think you're annoyed about it.

We switch from this interesting scene of friends getting on each others nerves to a dark-room. Pictures of an African American man are being developed - he is dead, and Dobey performs exposition for the watchers. He's seeking to appear on the tv show of a Miss Hutton to push for further investigation into the death of his friend, Isaac Douglas, who was also a civil rights leader. Dobey is then tempted by the candy machine, and S and H are downright mean to (and unfooled by) their poor, dieting captain. H displays that touch of cruel streak he has by ripping the packet open and offering it to his accomplice (who is reading the book on becoming right handed as he walks down the hall.) I'm always in two minds about these sorts of scenes. They're cute, and they're useful shorthand for maverick S & H who get the job done and work well together in small things as well as large, but still. Harold Dobey is treated like a buffoon a little too often for my liking.

We have a scene of charming domesticity as Dobey's wife and daughter help him choose his clothes for his big tv appearance. Alas, S & H appear with bad news. Leo Moon, a cop gone bad, has escaped from prison. Dobey is stoic but Edith draws back in obvious anxiety behind him. S&H expositionalise about the prison break and subsequent security, and then we have a nice little scene reinforcing the happiness and stability of the Dobey marriage. Yet more exposition is leavened with a bit of business involving Cal and Rosie's bikes.

Moon the prison escapee and his helpers land at White Airport (which I presume is a dig at Woodfield's later revealed racism), and make nefarious plans before we move to a poolroom. A burly, giggling chap is clearly cleaning out a young blond man. Burly chap is Fatman, an informant, who is apparently bribable with baked goods. Fatman says he will find Lola, Moon's girlfriend, for S&H.

TV studio time, with S&H bantering away about Maxi Malone, a children's show. It sounds like poor Maxi did a Peewee Herman. Our boys, vainglorious in their own beauty and fitness, are rude about how tv puts the weight on their boss. Dobey explains the background to Isaac Douglas' investigations and shows a picture of someone he was investigating, CJ Woodfield. The scene switches to Woodfield's office, where he and his minions plot the death at Moon's hands of not only Dobey but his entire family. Woodfield takes a dry twisted pleasure in this idea, establishing himself as just a big a monster as Moon.

Fatman's tipoff leads the guys to a 'massage parlour', where the madam manager has an eye for both handsome cops, but alas, Lola is gone, 'bag and baggage'. The madam's info, however, makes the guys realise that if Moon flew as part of his escape that he could be anywhere - and that includes being far too close to the Dobey home. As indeed, he is. Dobey's unsuspecting family watches the tv as Moon kills the cop on security and then cuts off the power and phone. However Edith makes a spirited defence of herself and her family and a wounded Moon retreats. Edith discovers that the cop on watch is dead and then finally loses it when our guys come haring down the road, blinding her with their car lights. Hutch, as is common, gets the job of comforting the scared civilian. Yeah. I'd like a little Hutch comforting myself.

Moon, only mildly injured, is hiding out with Lola and planning on South America. Back at the Dobey house, investigations are afoot and the place is swarming with cops. Moon calls to make threats, and there's a sweet scene where H's white knight tendencies again come to the fore, as he sits little Rosie on his lap and comforts her, too.

Our boys' investigations at the airport result in a link to Woodfield, and another airport to check out. S & H are very pretty as they stand around detecting. They tough talk an airplane mechanic and get some answers and more questions.

Our boys have tea or coffee with Dobey and then are invited to breakfast by C J Woodfield. I will indulge a brief shallow moment of appreciation for the beauty of H's hands as he answers the phone.

My goodness but Woodfield is a slimy, hypocritical piece of work. You just know that he stole from widows and orphans while assuring them that he would pray for their souls. H is in his element, imitating and mocking Woodfield's hypocrisy, calling him a liar and then coolly requesting more milk for his cereal. I think I love H ( a little more) in this scene. And then I love them both as they make their departure, having rubbed Mr Woodfield's nose in their contempt for him. He does not like this. No sirree, not at all.

Moon and Marty the pilot set their evil plans in motion - namely to shoot down Dobey at church. S and H get a lead on Marty's whereabouts, which leads them to Lola. She's subdued and the boys make her an offer she can't refuse. Dobey is in Moon's sights as the red Torino screams down the streets to the rescue - to borrow from the Starsky style of writing reports. There is a shoot out, complete with a beautiful car skid as avenging H leans out the window firing away. H dispatches Moon, and the God-fearing Dobey returns to church.

Woodfield sends Marty the pilot to dynamite the Dobey's house, while planning to dispose of him straight after. Woodfield must have his tentacles everywhere if Marty can impersonate the telephone repairman. Or maybe that's just another murder to add to the list. Marty is spotted at the airfield in the telephone company uniform, which cues in our heroes that bad doings may still be afoot.

Woodfield's minions shoot it out at the airfield until S and H arrive to add to the flying bullets. H (or DS's stuntie at least) makes an amazing flying leap to arrest one of the men. Marty the pilot sings like a bird.

The final scene is quite well done. Woodfield misses his chance to end it all 'honorably' and when Dobey steps in to make the arrest Woodfield salves his disgrace by calling Dobey 'boy'. Dobey reacts with dignified professionalism as his men look on approvingly. My feelings about their earlier teasing are also salved.

Woodfield's use of 'boy' takes my mind to Starsky's use of the word to Hutch. What a difference in associations and attitude. One time it's a tease, but the other two occasions (The Fix, and Gillian) are in highly emotional and tender contexts. There must be a story as to why S has that particular word in his repertoire.

Overall, it's not one of the great fan favourite episodes, but it's decently put together barring minor plot holes and some unlikely time frames, and showcases Bernie Hamilton quite nicely. We never do find out what Starsky thought might have annoyed H or why H thinks that S should forsake his left-handedness. And indeed, why should he?

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Dale

July 2015

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