Episode 35: The Psychic

Collandra, a psychic, reluctantly helps Starsky and Hutch locate Joanna Haymes, the kidnapped daughter of sports magnate Joe Haymes.

Joe “Collandra” Collins: Allan Miller, Moo-Moo: Cliff Emmich, Joe Haymes: Herb Voland, Earl Pola: George Loros, Joanna: Dianne Kay, Su Long: James Hong, Charlie Sireen: Sylvia Anderson, Julio: Edward James Olmos, Policeman: Larry Mitchell, Fireball: Robert Tessier, Cha-Cha: Charles Everett, De Meo: Michael Keenan, Ringo: Chris Peterson. Written By: Michael Mann, Directed By: Don Weis.

QUESTIONS AND NOTES:

This is a wonderful episode in every way – the acting is terrific, the script suspenseful and tight, the characters vivid, and the ideas relating to vision and clarity are fascinating. This is an ambitious and complicated episode where we are never sure what truth is or who is capable of telling it. There is also a lot of love here, from the partnership itself to a father’s love for his daughter, a woman’s love for her doomed man, and the psychic’s martyr-like suffering on behalf of humanity.

Why is Joanna dressed like a 50’s girl with her saddle shoes, and why is she eighteen and still in high school, unless she’s at the tail end of it? Isn’t she a little old for all this daddy-coddling and gee-whizzing? Her father perpetuates the anachronistic feeling  by using the word “swell.” Joanna is no dummy though, despite her somewhat silly demeanor she gives a pretty sharp evaluation of her father’s football team woes and probably plays up the little-girl act because it pleases him. The fact that she is named Joanna, a feminized version of her father’s name, is a nicely subtle indication not only of being an only child but that Joe really, really wanted a boy and so may treat her more like a son as much of his generation did, i.e. draw her into his confidence, treat her with respect, and allow himself to be closer to her than he might otherwise be.

Their affectionate bond goes a long way in ramping up the tension meter when she’s taken, as well as having the effect of canceling out the invisible mother. My guess is the only reason for her being eighteen, rather than eight or ten (which would make the situation so much more frightening) is the writers had second thoughts about putting a small child in a situation that has her bound and gagged and on the way to being crushed to death in a scrap yard. It’s a sidestepping of the gruesome realities of life and crime I can never decide is laudable or naive, but most likely is simply a case of being severely restricted by the “standards” of the times.

Why did Moo-Moo and Earl need Julio in the first place? Why drag a third guy into the plan? They could have gotten a van from anywhere, and Julio, despite his familiarity with the Haymes place, doesn’t do anything special. He doesn’t get them through security gates, and he doesn’t lure Joanna anywhere, he just stalls her briefly. If they wanted information – the address, her schedule, the best time to grab her, her father’s net worth – they could have gotten that from other sources. Starsky and Hutch theorize she saw Julio and “that’s why she didn’t scream”, but in fact she doesn’t scream because they moved too fast when grabbing her – her familiarity with Julio had nothing to do with it. When Julio becomes unwanted baggage they’re forced to kill him and dump his body, which is extra trouble. One explanation may be Julio himself concocting the kidnapping plan because of serious gambling debts, then recruiting Moo-Moo and Ernie to help. Rather than a stooge this would make him the mastermind who profoundly underestimates the greed and paranoia of his compatriots (who appear, throughout, to be under the influence of crack). It’s either that or he has been violently coerced. Coercion makes more sense, if only because we later witness Charlie’s genuine grief when she learns he’s dead. Charlie doesn’t strike me as being someone who is easily snookered by a psychopath. But then again, she wouldn’t be the first.

Hutch’s burst of dime-store psychology while in the Torino – “you know Starsky, the underlying hostility that triggers bursts of temper like that is usually associated with immaturity” – is doubly amusing because it’s something better leveled at himself. This whole scene sparkles with energy, the guys really enjoying themselves and each other; Hutch is never so happy as being the Mature One, especially if it’s at Starsky’s expense.

Why is Starsky in such a rotten mood? Even the dispatcher is aware of it. No explanation is offered. At the drive-in he complains his food is “too greasy,” which is about as contrary as he can get.

“Breakfast at last,” says Hutch in the beginning of the last scene, before they’re called to a “DB” to find Huggy at the cafe. The estimated time would be what, ten or eleven in the morning? This timing is interesting because Huggy is already drinking a beer – maybe two – and smoking cigarettes, not something he would normally do during a busy work shift.

Why is Huggy at Joe Collins’ café, anyway? At first he’s a customer – itself an oddity, since Huggy’s bar serves coffee, booze and food, unless the bar has closed – and then, later, he’s an employee, although his excuse is that he’s the “sorcerer’s apprentice”, quite possibly on his way to striking it rich after learning the secrets of the occult. However he comes to be there Joe doesn’t even like him that much: at the first sign of trouble he throws Huggy under the bus, shouting derisively, “You gonna believe this two-bit hustler?”

“How am I supposed to know who he is?” Starsky says rudely when Huggy seems to assume they know who the Joe Collins is. “Just give him a chance,” Hutch says, all sweetness and light, putting a hand out to Starsky. Hutch is liking himself as the Nice One, the diplomat, the Reasonable Thinker in opposition to Starsky. (If Starsky was pleasant and reasonable, Hutch would be the irritable, contentious one.) It’s this need to contradict Starsky that puts Hutch in the uncharacteristic position of being the “believer” when normally he positions himself as skeptical of all things outlandish or supernatural. Note, however, he takes a very new-age spiritual approach to the subject, which is truer to his personality than a more Starsky-inspired “weird-things-just-happen” attitude.

“The Amazing Collins,” Huggy explains.  “He took that name after all that ethnic-pride jive here.” Hmm. What could Huggy mean by this? Collins is hardly an ethnic name, and throwing an “Amazing” onto it hardly makes him a soul brother. As an aside, Huggy referring to any kind of ethnic or cultural advancement as “jive” is hilarious, both because it betrays his deep skepticism and his pragmatism.

Hutch’s recognition of Joe Collins again shows his great memory. Atlantic City four years previously, and Hutch wasn’t even involved.

Collins calls the Torino “the red tomato”, which is the nickname Hutch has for Starsky’s car. This is eerily accurate, although he incorrectly identifies Hutch as the owner of the car, something neither Starsky nor Hutch don’t appreciate, for opposing reasons. One can really go to town speculating on why Collins makes this error after being so dead-on about his earlier statement about the body at the fairgrounds. Could it be proof that Starsky and Hutch really are a single entity, and that Hutch has as much ownership in the Torino and all it represents as Starsky does? Or does it mean the Amazing Collins is not so amazing after all?

The two young kids trying to steal the Torino’s wheels are like miniature Starsky and Hutch, blond and dark, curls and straight, plaid-shirt and not. Afterward, in happy lecture mode, Hutch throws his arm around Starsky in genuine affection, and keeps his hold on him for a long time.

“And you think I do some very weird things,” Starsky says, beginning to enjoy his bantering with Hutch, which appears to be dragging him out of his bad mood.
“You know, I had this dream one time,” Hutch says as they get into the Torino.
“You know,” says Starsky, “I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that.”
The conversation is cut off, which is bad news for fans.

If Joe truly is psychic, it’s difficult to believe Starsky and Hutch didn’t return in other episodes to exploit his talents, although it’s likely Joe disappeared from Los Angeles, driven out by the misery of his own success.

It’s interesting to note the psychic’s powers flare only because the facts concretely replicate the Atlantic City case (same perps, same circumstance). He’s successful because he knows the facts already, and because he’s become familiar with Julio over time. Therefore, this is not some out-of-the-blue flash with no connection to the mundane and ordinary. This lends a kind of grim realism to a story that could easily become far-fetched.

Starsky attempts to take Hutch’s shirt and use it to open the doors of the van. This is the sort of boundary-obliterating details that define their partnership, and Starsky, generally, is more comfortable with the intimacy than Hutch is. It doesn’t matter to him that Hutch is wearing that shirt. He just dives for it. But Hutch recoils, says irritably, “I can do it, I can do it.” “I can do it, I can do it,” Starsky mimics, frustrated by his partner’s temper.

I love Starsky’s neatly timed flashing of the badge to the car wash owner. He later flashes the photo of the guy in the same manner, like a magician with a trick set of cards.

“He went to the Elysian Fields where little fat babies play harps,” says Hutch, in – perhaps unconscious – mimicry of Collandra’s psychic premonitions. He adds, dryly, “the man’s dead.”

I like how both the guys tap him on the shoulder in exact imitation of each other.

I like how Starsky interrupts Joe Haymes talking about how you can’t negotiate sensibly with terrorists by saying “(but) she’s your daughter”, and then shooting a look at Hutch, although there’s no real reason for it, other than the need to connect during a difficult conversation.

Are we to make anything of the fact that both Collins (hero) and Haymes (victim) are named Joe?

Joe Collins’ speech about the fears and frustrations of being a psychic is one of the greatest moments in this and any other episode. The speech is affecting, bitter and real, and a beautiful moment for Allan Miller. Interrupting the litanies of his own misery to slap the photo violently on the counter and say “twenty one,” and then amend it to “two-one-one” is genius. Note that his vision of an armed robbery comes in as police code, which is something he probably doesn’t consciously know (how many citizens do?). This implies his skills have less to do with something purely supernatural and more to do with an extreme form of empathy. In a flash, he sees through the eyes of the detectives. He is, briefly, embodying them. Which is why, I suppose, he uses their private “tomato” slang for the car.

Charlie Sireen is a real character, yammering on about fish and whales, the Call of the Siren, doing a routine that is as much about smoke-and-mirror distraction as it is about flirting.  (The old-timey magic show allusions flood this show: carnivals and sleight-of-hand, death-defying stunts and trick motorcycle riding, Charlie’s stage patter and even Su Long’s exotic “Chinaman” act). Her reflexive, almost compulsive speech has the quality of a long-practiced routine, used to great effect on every guy she meets. Wails, whales, whatever. But beneath the show-offy act she’s a sweet girl; when faced with awful facts she shows real grief, the only one to show respect for poor Julio. This is also another instance in which a “man” turns out to be a woman, a gag repeated many times throughout the series which reflects the rapidly changing sexual politics of the times.

It’s stated Su Long is Korean, but everything about James Hong’s character, including his name, seems more Chinese than Korean.

And now, dropped like a rock in the middle of the show, is the ransom run. It’s a transcendent, marvelous, self-contained set piece that can be viewed independently from the rest of the episode. Beautifully conceived and directed by the legendary Michael Mann, it’s a little movie unto itself. If pressed, I would admit this is my favorite scene in the entire canon, because it not only has all the best elements of the series compressed into a few intense minutes – action, grit, love and loyalty – but also because it has other, less definable components to it. Call it a kind of environmental sensitivity. There is empathy with the neighborhood and its denizens (the gay couple in the laundromat, for example, is a priceless detail) which both Hutch and Starsky must blast through and destroy like a meteor blazing through the cosmos.

Both partners often use sarcasm to offset or distract themselves from fear. They throw barbs at each other as a way of both hiding their own trepidation or bolstering the other with a “you’re not in trouble, because if you were I wouldn’t be so mean” kind of inverse (masculine-specific) logic. And Hutch’s routine starts immediately as Starsky arrives at the site. He remarks irritably, “what are you doing with that?” when Starsky puts down the rifle. Starsky explains with equal asperity about needing “extra reach” (which is, I suspect, a back-handed compliment regarding his partner’s speed and agility), then mentions a having motorbike, and Hutch says, “you got a bike too, huh?” with disdain, as if he didn’t know and now that he does, he’s disapproving. But he must know, because this is a carefully orchestrated police procedure. But he isn’t finished yet. “Will you put that away,” he gripes as Starsky looks at the ransom money. Then grabs it from him. “Whatya going to spend it on.”
“I thought I’d get some flowers for you,” Starsky says, mock-hurt, playing the role with his usual good grace.

It goes on, too, as they exit the van and Hutch watches Starsky prepare the bike. In a sarcastic, nearly demeaning tone, he makes the following statements: “You sure you know what you’re doing on that thing, huh? What you got a dirt bike on the street for? Got enough gas? Check the oil? How about the chain? Tight enough? Air pressure?”
To which Starsky replies with phlegmatic yeps and nopes, then mimics Hutch’s questions by saying, “Shoes tied?” Hutch looks down at himself. He deflates. It’s a lovely micro-second in which he gives up the act and thinks Hutchinson, you’re an a-hole. “Yeah,” he says.

In the end it’s Hutch who amps up the emotional content of the moment – and also signals that the game of fake-insult is over – by telling Starsky to “be careful,” staring at him intently and then touching him on the arm. Starsky looks shocked by the gesture, unpleasantly reminded of his own feelings and how much is riding on this risky endeavor.

How often does Hutch make it “real” in the middle of ersatz bickering, and when does Starsky do the same thing, and is it evenly matched?

Filming notes: David Soul ran the actual grueling ransom route himself, as filmed. He is never better than here, managing to balance extreme athleticism with emotional subtlety, and best of all make it look entirely real.

I wonder who the kidnappers think is the stand-in for the ransom run. Surely they don’t think Haymes is running the route – he’s in his late fifties and out of shape. “Not bad, clown,” smirks Earl as Hutch gets to the phone in time. There’s no indication of suspicion, of Earl thinking, who the hell is this guy? So why do they so easily allow other people to be involved?  Why not set it up so Joe has to drive to a drop-off? That would be the sensible thing to do. Or is this an exercise in sadism? Does Earl get off on seeing somebody go through a tortuous obstacle course while suffering verbal torments?

“Get moving, Baby Blue,” Earl says as Hutch heaves for breath at the Laundromat – exactly what Hutch has been called many times in the past, and it’s about as startling as Joe Collins and the “tomato” remark. Is he close enough to see the color of Hutch’s eyes, or is he just making a supposition? Is there more than one psychic here?

Yet, when he sees the police car, Earl freaks and cries out, “Man, you called the cops.” And then announces “she’s dead”. It seems as if he really does assume Haymes hired a civilian stand-in (maybe one of his football players) programmed to do his bidding exactly. The idea of being double-crossed really shocks him.

Do you think Starsky meant to kill both kidnappers as they drive away in the car, or is the spectacular conflagration a lucky gas-tank hit? It seems most likely he only meant to stop the car, but it’s possible there’s a more troubling reason, that he fully intended to kill them in an act of revenge (I say this even though there is no evidence for it, and in fact would go against his compassionate and rational nature) because he says later to Hutch, almost as an explanation, “I thought you were dead.” But killing the kidnappers means almost certain doom for Joanna, something Starsky would never deliberately cause.

Hutch refers to himself and Starsky as “Lazarus” when uniformed officer says “who are you guys?” It’s Hutch who’s been shot and returns to life and not Starsky. And yet he is inclusive when he says Lazarus refers to both of them. I wonder if he’s thinking back to the time earlier in their career (“Pilot”) when Starsky announces to the bar crowd – all of whom are expecting them to be dead – that he’s tired of being looked at like “we’re Lazarus – the day after.”

The series has never had a good record of keeping details straight. But here Hutch keeps coughing, in obvious distress, long after being shot in the bullet-proof vest.

Clothing notes: nothing special, although they both wear their iconic signatures: the brown leather jacket for Starsky and the dark green t-shirt for Hutch.

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14 Responses to “Episode 35: The Psychic”

  1. Daniela Says:

    ok, I looked at the ending of this episode and the scene I mentioned in another comment.
    At the end, when S&H are at the cafe with the psychic, commenting about possibly getting him a reward and then Huggy comes out with the burgers, notice Hutch: pours a beer, gets the cup of coffee, gets the milk pitcher, it’s empty.
    He is ignored when he tries to get the guy’s attention with it, then takes the sugar, it’s a solid block, no sugar comes out….
    He gets the burger, and checks it out, then at the very end, tries to put salt on the fries, nothing comes out, the last moment you see him going to shake the salt shaker on his hand, obvious sign that the salt is not coming out!
    Either a bad job on the props dept side, or a very funny moment well staged and acted out by Soul! Or maybe both!
    Good episode, the ransom run, like you said, was an amazing piece of work!

  2. Kit Sullivan Says:

    Yes, this was surely one of the best of the entire canon. The daughter Joanne acting too-young and too innocent for her age is a little disconcerting, as mentioned abopve, but it was most probably done to give the most sympathetic and horror-filled characterization while portrayting her as a younf adult. I agree that to write the part as a much-younger girl being subjected to the horrors that she must endure was likely just too disturbing according to the TV standards of the day.
    I also agree that Alan Miller’s portrayal of Collandra is one of the most riveting and unique performances out odf all four years of this show. His unique and attention-grabbing display turns a potentially farcical and preposterous story and scenario into something believable. Kudos.
    The ransom scene sure is a great scene…one of the best of any 70’s era TV shows. Some may not know it, but this entire scene was “inspired” near-verbatim from “French Connection II”.
    Starsky & Hutch seemed to take “inspiration” from a great many popular movies for some of it’s plot lines during the run of the series. That’s OK, I like ’em anyway.
    The “Dirty Harry” series of movies, as well as other Clint Eastwood films seem to have been plunderd with great regularity for thier story elements for several S&H stories.
    For careful watchers of other popular TV shows from the 70’s, you will see many scripts that are only slightly modified and filmed almost shot-for-shot on several different Cop shows. “Charlie’s Angels”, “TJ Hooker”, “SWAT”,”The Rookies”, and “Dog & Cat” have all presented episodes nearly identical, beat for beat, to a S&H episode.
    No matter…this episode came together perfectly and represents the canon well!

  3. King David Says:

    It’s only from reading here that I learned that David Soul did the ransom run, and it’s a beauty. So many things to comment on!
    * The happenstance of the thugs who accost Hutch for the bag, delaying him and costing precious energy
    * The cops who see Hutch running with the bag and go to head him off, causing the hysteria of the villain
    * the disjointed bit where Starsky comes off the bike
    * the explosion of the car, and the disregard of it by Starsky, who would normally be affected
    * his overriding concern for, and fear of finding dead, his partner

    I cannot watch this though without shouting to Joanna, who is in the van, to wriggle out of those flimsy-looking bindings and stop snivelling. Get a grip girl, and assess your situation! Why haven’t you been kicking the walls and making a racket any way you can? That gag should’ve come off with a bit of scraping on your shoulder.

    UK TV had a show which came about after S&H was a couple of years old, called “The Professionals”, and inspired a huge fan base with deep feelings of love and loyalty such as S&H have, and wonderful episode and character analyses ad infinitum. We speculate how closely the writers of Professionals watched S&H and pinched outright aspects of the show. It was supposedly a partnership of equal closeness and warmth and body contact, but with British reserve, but love it as I do, it hasn’t got the beautiful genuine physical oozing warmth that S&H S1-S3 has.
    What it does have is:
    two physically fit lawmen of incorruptible nature
    emphasis on the cars and who drives what
    a leader who holds them together

    Episode similarities, in no particular order:
    a running from payphone to payphone
    a kidnapped girl (in flimsy bonds)
    undressed shop mannequins
    one partner shot and near death, huge outpouring of effort from the other
    much-loved bantering between the partners
    Recycling of supporting actors
    Recycling of common names
    Many location sets
    One partner eats junk, the other is a health nut
    Originally, one dressed sharply and the other dressed down

    What they DIDN’T have was the wonderful big blue California sky and sunshine. They were filmed, for a short time, contemporaneously; I wish they’d had an excuse to go to Bay City and meet The Partnership – wow.

  4. Anna Says:

    While I’m certain Starsky would never have killed them, no matter what, if he had actually *thought* of Joanna, this particular scene happened so fast I don’t think it’s implausible to suggest he didn’t have time to think of anything except for the fact that Hutch had apparently just died before his eyes. I mean, he didn’t remember the bullet-proof vest either. So he may have impulsively killed them, or even shot at them without conscious intent but with a desire to kill them, in a split-second explosion of grief and rage. As much integrity and reason as Starsky has, he has also on more than one occasion briefly physically lashed out in blind fury in highly ill-advised situations.

    So while I don’t think Starsky would ever commit thoughtful, pre-meditated cold-blooded murder for any reason, not even in revenge for Hutch being killed, I think he’d be fully capable of *homicide* in revenge for Hutch being killed — though Hutch would be the only exception, IMO.

  5. Wallis Says:

    How do I love that scene where Hutch gets shot and Starsky thinks he died? Let me count the ways. When Starsky crouches down, and the way he touches Hutch’s face like he can’t believe he’s really alive. The way Hutch touches his face and hair back in the same way, so openly, even though they’re in front of people, until Starsky realizes Hutch really is alright. The way Starsky’s legs seem to go rubbery and he slowly crumples up in a limp heap against the wall in utter exhaustion from relief while still clinging to Hutch’s shirt in a death grip. The way that Hutch is the one whose in shape to talk to other people, and Starsky’s the one so shaken he’s not even looking up, even though Hutch is the one who got shot. The way Starsky’s expression changes throughout the scene and goes so completely open and naked when he sits down against the wall. And how quiet and understanding and kind Hutch is to him, as if he can imagine exactly how Starsky must feel.

    It’s so often the little acting and directing details in this show that provide these gorgeous memorable wells of depth.

  6. Sharon Marie Says:

    Oh my gosh…. the actress playing the girl is Dianne Kay who played Nancy on Eight is Enough! And Edward James Olmos in a bit part. Who didn’t get their start on S & H?!

    I think the girl is wearing a Catholic school uniform. They haven’t changed much since then, except maybe the saddle shoes.

    Sometimes those two bicker like an old married couple who spend too much time together! Or maybe siblings on a long, boring family road trip with the parents in a small car with no A/C.

    I find the characters a little mixed up here. Starsky is the cranky pragmatist and Hutch is the one wanting to believe in the Psychic.

    I’m pretty sure if I were that girl I would have found my way out of there. At least I’d like to think so.

    Hutch’s coughing may not have been an act. David Soul was a chain smoker.

    Love how when Starsky is fighting his way through the onlookers to get to Hutch in the doorway – “GET OUT OF THE WAY” – you can hear one of the crowd spew a frustrated, “Jesus”! Then when the uniformed cops ask S & H who they are, As you point out, Hutch declares, “Lazarus”. Biblically, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead as told in the Book of John. And in today’s world, there is the Lazarus phenomenon which refers to an event in which a person spontaneously returns to life.

  7. stybz Says:

    It’s not the first time an Aaron Spelling cop show has used this obvious plot device of the innocent, but too-old-to-be child who gets kidnapped by the evil men. It’s obvious contrasting here, dark vs light, good vs evil, innocent vs malicious. The Cathlic School uniform emphasizes that even more. Plus, as Paul said in a recent interview, TV of the 70’s was very naive.

    As to why drag Julio into the whole thing, one never knows how easy or difficult it will be to lure someone to the van, so they decided getting Julio involved would make it easier. He’s another innocent they prey on. He seemed to be a good guy whose weakness was gambling. The kidnappers prey on weakness and lure the innocent to do what they wanted. So rather than steal the van themselves and try to capture Joanna on their own, they get Julio to do it.

    They seem to get a kick out of controlling others. They say where the money is dropped, they lure someone into luring someone else into being kidnapped, they end the partnership with death, they order the delivery man around then kill him. Lot’s of controlling/power play going on here.

    There’s definitely a role reversal going on at breakfast. The tension Starsky feels is broken briefly by the lovely, sing-songy “Thank you” and “Wel-come” exchange between the two. I loved that, although I wondered why Starsky would respond in kind to Hutch when he’s in such a bad mood. Then I figured he probably did it absently as something they did with each other very often and he just responded that way because he always does.

    I wondered if Michael Mann was doing the actors a favor and giving them a chance to do a role reversal. Also, it makes Starsky’s disbelief of the psychic more palatable, since he is the one more likely to believe in them. 🙂

    When Starsky enters the diner, I thought he said, “Hugs,” not “Huch.” He often calls Huggy Bear “Hugs”.

    I believe Huggy’s bar has been closed down for a while. He’s spent the last few episodes of season one and most of season two doing a variety of jobs. So I just accepted it that he’d be at Collins’ place.

    I did find the vaguarities of the description of the amusement park to be totally unbelievable unless it was Huggy’s embellishment of what Collins told him, since we never hear Collins say it himself. Dead Horses is a merry-go-round? Why would he think them dead?

    It seems Collins needs to touch or be in close contact with someone or something for his psychic ability to work, although his first visions of Joanna come from staring at her photograph, unless her father touched it, which is possible. Later they give him a scarf to hold.

    The whole male/female switcheroo is apparent several times in this episode. First there’s Fireball who is dressed as a woman, fleeing Starsky and Hutch at the beginning of the episode. Then it’s the man robbing the bar down the street from Collins’ place (at first I thought it was Fireball again). And then it’s Charlie Sireen.

    When Starsky quips about buying Hutch flowers, it looks like Hutch chuckles for a moment before getting all serious again.

    I love the exchange as Starsky is strapping the rifle to the motorcycle. When Starsky asks Hutch if his shoes are tied, it’s as if up to that moment he was worried about Starsky. Then he realizes that he’s the one who is in real danger. It all starts with the coin toss. Hutch calls tails, and it’s obvious on Starsky’s face that Hutch won the toss and that Hutch would be the delivery man. If Starsky had won, he’d be doing it. Both men would gladly change places to save the other and hate it when their partner’s life is on the line.

    I don’t think Starsky intended to kill the kidnappers. He wasn’t thinking. He wanted to stop them and get back to Hutch. In the end he probably hoped they would have made it out of the car before it got totally engulfed, but his mind was elsewhere.

    I don’t think Collins’ place lasted. I think it was all intentional that everything was either not working properly or empty. And Huggy wasn’t making it any easier by mixing up the orders. 🙂

  8. Sharon Marie Says:

    I just watched this again. During Hutch’s run, as you point out, they refer to him as *Baby Blue*. That caught my attention and I wondered, did they know he was a cop and his identity? It confused me. (Back at the house he only tells the dad that he is to get a delivery guy.) Then, in the Laundromat, at the end of the call he says quite clearly, “You got 30 seconds, *Skutch*.” WHAT?? It was as if, as it implies, a combination of Starsky and Hutch. Now, I checked the closed captioning and they have it as “skudge”. I’ve never heard that before. I just think that calling him Baby Blue and hearing Skutch was too coincidental. Is this an editing snafoo or am I nuts?!

    So I did what all good researchers do. I googled it. Urban dictionary has Skudge as a noun: A tar like substance with rank odor. There is a verb form, but not repeatable in proper places! I don’t know. It just makes me scratch my head. Sounds like Skutch, not skudge.

  9. McPierogiPazza Says:

    That Catholic school uniform made me do a double take because it’s the same as the one I wore toward the end of when this series ran. The saddle shoes were weirdly out of date. I don’t know anyone who was required to wear them with their uniform past the mid-’60s.

    I don’t think Starsky meant to blow up the car, it was just a “lucky” shot — lucky for us at least, but because that was indeed satisfying. S&H are generally, like all good guys with guns in Hollywood, unrealistically good shots. We end up with this image of cops being able to just shoot someone in the leg or arm, but that’s far from how it works in real life. But hey, it works for me in the context of the show.

  10. DRB Says:

    i wondered why Starsky forgot about the vest. Is it just the trauma of hearing the report and seeing Hutch propelled through the plate glass? The first thought I had was “Thank God for the vest,” and worried about how badly Hutch was cut. (Scars might add character to his face, but I think we all prefer His Handsomeness to remain unscarred.)

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