Episode 40: Starsky’s Lady

George Prudholm returns from the past (“Pariah”) to avenge himself on Starsky by fatally shooting his girlfriend Terry.

Terry Roberts: Season Hubley, George Prudholm: Stephen McNally, Woody: Sandy Smith, Christine: Rita George, Dr. Quo: Beulah Quo, Freddie: Joey Viera, Sally: Angela McClelland, Clerk: Wayde Preston, Attendant: Rob Curtin. Written By: Robert Earll, Directed By: Georg Stanford Brown.

QUESTIONS AND NOTES:

This is a beautiful and deeply touching episode that merges the personal with the professional, as tragedy not only hits close to, but utterly destroys, home. David Starsky is such a stable, strong, private personality it’s sometimes easy to forget how much serious acting is involved in bringing him to life. Starsky is a true cop, in every sense of the word: pugnacious, determined, moral, a ruler-follower, and very different than the notably intellectual, fiery Paul Michael Glaser. Never a showy, selfish actor, but rather a quiet subtle one, Glaser really gets to show his chops in this episode, and it’s wonderful to watch.

I always have the feeling Starsky was born to be a cop, while Hutch came to it by accident and sometimes struggles to make the role fit.

Throughout the series Starsky has dated some so-so girls. But Terry would probably have worked out just fine as a life partner. She’s level-headed, practical, sweet-natured, and relaxed, but with a core of steel. In the things she says we see a woman who completely understands Starsky in a way very few ever have. She says, “I know you. I know what you have to do in your life.” She calls Starsky “my best friend” five times, because she likes him as much as she loves him. She has a good job and loves children. Altruistically, she asks Starsky at the hospital if he’s all right and reveals the depth of her loyalty by saying, “I’ll be there whenever you show up.” She also cares a great deal about Hutch and is not jealous of their close relationship. She encourages Starsky to stay on the police force when he’s frustrated and considers quitting, and tells him “I love you” four times that we witness. She has a sense of humor. She says she doesn’t want Starsky to change. Starsky says that after Terry died, he “wasn’t sure he had enough strength to remain on this earth.” (This in “Partners”). Best of all, Hutch likes her too: they snuggle together in the Torino in the front seat with Starsky. At the end, following her death, she entrusts Hutch with the special gift, and the message: “don’t let either one of them (Ollie or Dave) change.” Accepting someone as they are, especially if they have a demanding and dangerous job, is a wonderful thing.

The first line in this show is telling. Starsky says to Terry, pointing to Hutch, “Seems like it’s the only time he gets to relax.” He’s thinking of Hutch, wanting to take care of him, and the rest of it – “me too, for that matter” – is an aside. He then interrupts Terry by shouting, “C’mon Horace! Don’t let that big blond blintz beat you!” It’s a lovely resurfacing of a familiar nickname (“The Set-Up”, although variation on the “big blond” occurs in the tag of “The Plague”) Starsky’s shouted encouragement is typical of the affection-then-attack approach, though far less biting and impersonal than how Hutch uses it.

Terry’s worth is proven in her first scene with Starsky, in which she dismisses his promises as irrelevant and unnecessary – a perfect cop’s girlfriend.

Prudholm calls Woody “Gary”, the name of the son he believes Starsky killed on purpose. This is a classic case of dissembling (in which a mentally ill individual’s reasoning becomes increasingly fragmented), and to top it off his cheeks are fiery red as if he has a temperature or dangerously high blood pressure. “By the time we’re through with every thing and everyone Starsky cares about,” Prudholm says, watching the basketball game, “he’s gonna wish he’d never been born.” Yet, if he really wanted to hurt Starsky, and hurt him profoundly, personally, why not go after Hutch rather than a fairly recent romantic relationship, which for all he knows is a superficial one? Is Prudholm blind to this most obvious tactic? He’s been trying to destroy Starsky for years but never goes after Hutch until he rigs the bomb to go off in the abandoned apartment. This bomb always seemed to me to be an afterthought or something spur-of-the-moment. Does Prudholm lack the imagination and empathy necessary to choose Hutch as the ultimate victim?

There’s a scene beautifully directed by Georg Sanford Brown (also a good actor) when Hutch, talking to the shopkeeper in the aftermath of the shooting, realizes it’s Terry on the stretcher. The scene is filmed just above the the stretcher itself, emphasizing Hutch’s shocked realization. It’s the sort of sensitive direction that manages to convey great emotion through something as technical as framing – watch Hutch’s perfect double-take.

If this scene had been filmed today, I doubt that the director or the writers could resist showing the previous scene in its entirety, the bullet smashing through the victim’s skull.

When Starsky’s hand is on Terry, I like how you can see Hutch’s hand on his shoulder, offering comfort to him.

Hutch tells Starsky he has a theory about the robberies being personal. “Maybe everything (the importance of a thumbprint) if I was right before,” he says. Starsky doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about, and Hutch patiently explains. He must have come up with this theory very quickly after the shooting, showing how fast his mind works, even under extreme stress.

Dr. Quo (Beulah Quo) always strikes me as a welcome anomaly in this series: a doctor and a woman who is quiet, assured, strong and compassionate.  She is to Starsky what the doctor was to Hutch in “Coffin”, a voice of reason amidst the chaos.

“I love you,” Terry says to Starsky. And like his buddy Hutch, Starsky is unwilling, or unable, to say something as simple as “I love you too.” Instead, he is momentarily mute.

Terry tells Starsky to check on Sally and her pom-poms, making sure she continues to try, “it’s really important,” she says.  Does Starsky ever do this? Does he ever return to the Center for Exceptional Children after Terry is gone? Note that, as he leaves the room, Starsky does a lovely little miming of the pom-poms to show Terry he remembers what she asks of him.

The scene on the road after the hospital: one can imagine the fight in the parking lot in which Hutch insists he’s driving the beloved Torino (“you’re too tired to drive.” “I’m not too tired.” “I’m driving anyway, dummy.” “Who you calling dummy” and etc) that Hutch, uncharacteristically, wins. So he’s driving. They’re having a quiet conversation about Terry’s condition when Starsky suddenly asks, “What are we doing?” Hutch: “Oh, I thought we’d go back to my place and have a little sleep.” After some token argument Starsky concedes, “Okay.” No question, no hesitation at all about this most unusual invitation.

Prudholm and his lackeys don’t mind terrorizing Freddie in front of some lunching construction workers. Can they really be that foolhardy?

Starsky shows his most commanding side when enters Terry’s hospital room with red roses. “Marry me,” he says, and it’s not a question.  Equally good is Terry’s refusal to answer.

Note that Starsky has already told Terry about Prudholm. This implies they have had some pretty heavy talks. Starsky, certainly not the kind to talk about his work, shows his love and trust for Terry in all kinds of roundabout ways.

The whole situation demands Hutch not be his normal challenging self. He resists all jibes, even the little ones, and seems content to lay back and enjoy things as they are. He chuckles at Starsky’s “compromise speed”, he doesn’t argue and is accommodating. It’s easy for him, too. The constant arguing and meanness is actual work – this is practically an emotional vacation for him.

It’s a nice squeeze-to-the-shoulder in the car when Starsky is talking about the possibility that the doctors are wrong about Terry when they both know they aren’t – Hutch at his most silently supportive. Note how often his hand goes to Starsky in this episode: he attempts to hold him back when Starsky is on the offensive and acting like a bull in a china shop, he also touches him at the grocery store following the shooting, when Starsky argues with Dobey about being on the case, in the hospital, in the hallway of the station when Starsky hears the second opinion of the neurologist, and in the school yard, breaking the news about Prudholm.

Now how would Woody – the surfer-dude weasel– get such a high falutin nickname like “Woody the Magic Man”? Is there such a thing as jailhouse irony?

Starsky goes high, Hutch goes low. Prudholm comments on their habit. How does he know?

Poor Christine – she really is the odd man out here. Sometimes I wonder of Starsky and Hutch met the two girls at the same time, performing one of their amazing conjuring tricks to pick them up (as they have before – witness the duo’s magic in “Class in Crime”, “The Vampire”, “Targets”, “The Action”, and, miserably, in “Starsky Vs. Hutch”). Hutch likes Christine well enough but she’s just a place holder, much in the same way as Starsky’s ditzy pal Nancy was in “Gillian”.

During the miniature golf scene, and despite the presence of their dates, Starsky and Hutch hassle, joke and harangue each other endlessly. Imagine how irritating this might be to the women.

Starsky tells Terry he isn’t driving the bumper cars because Hutch won’t let him; Hutch is worried Starsky will “start driving like that on the street.” Yet Hutch already thinks he does and has made this very thing the subject of his blistering sarcasm many times in the past. Starsky’s joke, then, implies he doesn’t take Hutch’s criticisms seriously, to the point of shrugging them off as nonexistent.

More on this little bumper car moment: Starsky is a fast driver but has also proven many times he’s an extremely skilled one too. Yet Hutch seems very invested in the idea that Starsky is dangerous and impetuous behind the wheel despite all evidence to the contrary (“Partners” aside, one of the few instances when he really does act recklessly.) Of the two, Starsky may be a better driver only because he really, really likes cars and seems to prefer to drive. Hutch only drives when necessary.

Season Hubley is amazing throughout this episode, but it’s her scene in the amusement park that really shines. She tells Starsky he can’t stop living because she has, and also that “it’s really foolish for me to let a little piece of metal in my head stop me from doing the things I love to do.” She’s both practical and completely without self-pity, and to top it off she flushes a deep pink as she talks and her eyes rim with unshed tears. It’s a great, natural, unforced scene.

Terry is back in hospital, blind. Dr. Quo tells Starsky there’s nothing to be done. Watching Starsky hear the news, process it and then gather himself to face the inevitable, is maybe Glaser’s finest moment. Everything about this scene is subtle and lovely. He blinks, he tightens his mouth. He breathes. Small, infinitesimal movements which nevertheless conveys tremendous emotion.

“I love you”, Starsky finally says, and this is when Terry turns away from him. She then tries to change the subject to the basketball game. Is it too much for her to hear the sentiment she herself expresses so freely?

Terry isn’t hooked up to any life-prolonging machinery in the hospital; when she slips away, it’s strangely silent. Is the normal protocol? How would this scene play out if she flat-lined, forcing Starsky to endure the doors bursting open as doctors push carts and EKG machines in? Why the lack of monitors, the beeps and blinking lights which allow medical staff to monitor and regulate her vital signs? Did she have a DNR in place, or did doctors underestimate the grave consequences from this latest setback? This may be accommodation for the sake of drama, or cause for medical malpractice, but I’m thinking it’s the best ending for life we can imagine: full of love and calm.

Terry doesn’t have any family, which is most likely a writer’s attempt to streamline the narrative at the expense of reality. While it indeed does focus the story on Starsky, amping up the intensity, this gaping hole in Terry’s biography does lend a sense of surrealism to the episode.

This is another instance of, “you’re grieving, but the job’s not over”, something we’ll see in “Gillian” and other episodes. This series shows that the shock and grief of unbearable loss can be mitigated – slightly – by duty and justice, which in turn brings forgiveness.

If Prudholm “doesn’t even care about the money” and is robbing stores to “rip up” Starsky and Hutch’s beat and mess with Starsky, why does he rob the grocery warehouse after Terry dies? Perhaps he doesn’t realize Terry has died, having no way of finding out. Obviously the shooting was news, but not her death. Besides, he’s so poor maybe he actually needed the money from the robbery to survive.

Dobey tells Starsky and Hutch “we got lucky” and the silent alarm worked, so it wasn’t that Prudholm wanted to get caught. If he wanted to confront Starsky, he had a hundred other easier ways to do it. This might show how badly Prudholm is disintegrating, but it also reveals something that is less about insanity and more to do with a strange kind of rationality. Prudholm is a natural strategist, a cat-and-mouse kind of guy rather than a creature of habit. Remember in “Pariah” he used a high powered rifle on Tinker the patrolman, but then changed his m.o. to a bomb to catch the next guy? He is someone who will continually alter an approach to fine-tune the situation with the hope of a better or faster result. You can easily picture him down in the basement fixing old radios or inventing a combo vacuum cleaner/leaf-blower. He may be fixated on Starsky but his thinking isn’t methodical or even logical. He’ll try anything. As he himself says – and as his nickname attests – he’s always been “crazy”.

Hutch and Starsky arrive at the warehouse hostage situation. Hutch says he has an idea but then doesn’t explain it, he just walks over to a motorcycle and gets on it.  “Wait a minute,” Starsky says, “this one’s mine.”
“This one’s ours,” Hutch says. Then adds, “partner.”
There’s a moment of perfect understanding. The Starsky, without further comment, gets on the bike behind Hutch.

What’s the plan? Nobody seems to be asking. Dobey obediently calls Prudholm and stalls him without demanding to know what’s going to happen. If he knew what Hutch was planning you better believe he’d bluster his objections to such a foolhardy plan. Starsky never asks either.

Smashing through the doors with a motorbike while two armed men hold hostages doesn’t seem all that feasible, at first glance. And yet Starsky and Hutch just diligently go about it, as if it was written months ago in a notebook. Warehouse, March 12. Will ram with bike.

Unlike his earlier lunatic statements, the last two things George Prudholm says to Starsky are completely true. He says to Starsky, “You’re not going to shoot me, you’re too good a cop.” Also, “we know sick men aren’t responsible for what they do, remember?” My question is, if a mentally ill man says these things, is he truly ill? My vote is “yes”, but Prudholm is a fascinating and contentious case.

This is the best tag of the series. It’s hushed and magical, takes its time, and is one of the few moments in the series where you get the feeling the writers, producers and actors are giving the audience exactly what they need and deserve. Well-written and acted with extraordinary sensitivity, it’s the kind of scene fans always turn to as an exemplar of the series.

Who do you suppose is answering the B.C. Lion’s Front desk at midnight? Some low-level office worker trying to make good with the boss, offering to do the dirty work? Maybe there’s a big trade in the offing, and they’re all there, all the brass, waiting on the line. Harry Mariscipio is the name of the friend of Hutch’s brother-in-law, whose name is Lou.

I like how, in the end scene with monopoly, Starsky says “pelicans” when he means “penguins.”

Interesting that Hutch is very reluctant to start the proceedings. When the clock strikes midnight, he looks terrified. He really doesn’t want to do this. Starsky, the really injured party, has to go first. Is Hutch afraid of a loss of control? It’s rare to see him as vulnerable and open as he is in this scene. Starsky, having a more immediate and natural emotional life, isn’t much different than he usually is. You can tell he’s processed everything that’s happened already, is in touch, as they say, with his feelings. But Hutch is totally demolished. He doesn’t even know what to do. He’s jokey and enthusiastic one moment, scared shitless the next. Without the veneer of sarcasm and superiority it’s possible to see the secretive underside of him. He’s genuinely shocked at the contents of the letter, literally losing his voice as he reads it. I like how he doesn’t even want to open that envelope, preferring to open the gift instead.

Imagine what Hutch is thinking when he finds out the name of Terry’s beloved old teddy bear is “Ollie”, half of the legendary comic duo he and Starsky have been riffing on for years, and the only name they ever call each other (never in four years has either of them said to the other, “that’s right, Stan”). It’s a lovely and believable coincidence and I always wonder if Hutch takes that as some kind of spiritual sign that he and Terry are more deeply connected than the facts would suggest. Ollie, you remember, is the boss of the Laurel-Hardy duo, whose relentless intimidation of his weaker, sweeter sidekick is a mere mask for a deeply insecure ineptitude. Terry may be saying to Hutch that she understands this about him, and in fact may share this trait. You and me, we’re alike. It’s not only acknowledgment of their shared love and responsibility for the Laurel-like Starsky (whose childlike lapses, occasional naivety and sincerity puts him firmly in that category) but is, in fact, forgiveness for the side of himself Hutch must often despise. This gives the whole scene a heart-wrenching subtext quite apart from the grief in the foreground. Hutch has been found out, and absolved. And not only absolved, but encouraged. Terry is saying: yes, you’re controlling and superior, but that’s okay.

Does Hutch keep Ollie? I’d like to think he does. I’d like to think he put it somewhere, like a closet or a drawer, and every time he gets out his spare sheets or the Christmas platter he sees it, and it brings back memories.

Imagine the funeral: the stiff, uncomfortable service at the chapel with the school kids, a few social workers, Dobey and his wife Edith, an uncle and aunt, and a far-off cousin from Chicago. Then, two weeks later, the memorial as commanded by Terry in either a will or, more informally, a letter. Starsky and Hutch having a few at Huggy’s, then a few more over dinner, then a few more at Starsky’s place. The suggestion of monopoly, first refused by Hutch, who doesn’t want to reopen the wounds, and Starsky insisting, saying Terry would have wanted them to play, etc, Hutch saying something like, yeah, well, I’m not doing it here. Meaning the living room, site of many evenings with Terry. Starsky saying, well, where, on the kitchen floor? And so it is, on the kitchen floor, Hutch in drunken loyalty offering to quit the force too, a sloppy “we can do anything together” pledge that has him on the phone calling the friend of a brother-in-law, of the brother of a friend-in-law, or something like that. Saying, “we should have candles,”  to which Starsky at first scoffs, then relents. Thinking that, as a girl, Terry might like candles. So they light candles. It takes awhile to find them, Hutch tripping over the couch, banging his hand on a drawer. They drink some more. Then resume their conversation about quitting the force. Both of them drunk. Hutch says, “My brother-in-law, he’s got this friend.” Then, ignoring Starsky’s complaints, gets up to make the call.

Sartorial notes: Starsky is, unusually enough, a bit of a fashion-plate in this episode. He wears the iconic wrecked brown leather jacket, and the Adidas, and his timeless low-waisted jeans. At the amusement park he wears the red shirt with the white placket, the one that seems to change hands between him and Hutch. Later, he wears a great black and white striped athletic shirt with a black jacket and, weirdly, wears a tie during part of the show (kicking in the booby-trapped door). Hutch wears his usual green leather jacket throughout, and the blue turtleneck we’ve seen before. At the amusement park and mini golf he wears yoga pants in pale yellow. As a footnote he has a Band-Aid on his right index finger throughout the episode.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

16 Responses to “Episode 40: Starsky’s Lady”

  1. kit sullivan Says:

    Tha tag here is simply one of the besr scenes on any TV show, ever. The lighting, acting, directing, editing and script are all note-perfect in this one scene. Too bad “Starsky & Hutch” could not “burn” at this level consistently. No character(s) from any TV show could ever bring more immediate emotion and heart-pathos to the fore as here. To me, this particular moment ranks very highly, right up there with the Edith Keeler death scene ftom Star Trek’s ” The City on the Edge of Forever” episode.
    I must note however that as actors, each of these boys have different “gifts”. I hate to admit it, but in these types of scenes, Mr. Soul consistently outperforms Mr. Glaser’s best efforts. In highly emotional, personal scenes involving true emotion and crying, Glaser always comes off as less beleivable…very unconvincing.very episode that features one of the guys seems to have a twin somewhere in the canon that pushes the other guy through the same or similar story beats. Soul is the master at these types of scenes while Glaser is “merely” only excellent by comparison.
    Not my overall favorite episode, but surely my favorite scene from the entire series.

    • merltheearl Says:

      Thank you, Kit, for your excellent commentary. This series – along with many others, I may add – always underestimated the staying power of the more personal scenes between the two leads. Very often the moments viewers treasure most (and remember most vividly) are simple conversations that may have little to do with the plot or action.

    • King David Says:

      I’m so sorry, Kit, but I don’t agree with you on this point in this episode. I can remember being absolutely staggered, when I watched this episode back in the day, how Starsky, realising Terry has passed away, gives such a great performance of grief. The eyes look away, he tries to hold it in, and the sobs escape. It was (and still is), gut-wrenching and so understated.
      At the tag end, I still feel PMG is convincing as being emotional, but he’s caught between keeping a grain of his grief to himself, and allowing himself to be comforted by DS’s Hutch, so that Hutch can believe that Starsky will be all right. It was pretty groundbreaking stuff, and intoxicating to see that two gruff, manly men could experience grief, and that TV had reached a point where it could show this element at all. S&H had such traction that displays of grief and emotion in no way emasculated them, and made them so wonderfully lovable.
      I think I may have wandered off track a bit there, and I am partial to Starsky, but I think that as he usually wore a veneer of being less mercurial, to have tears and grief poke through that veneer was more affecting. PMG pulls this off in what I feel is masterful style. I take nothing away from DS, I just feel they are both on the same level.

  2. Dianna Says:

    Merl, as always, your perceptive comments are right on the money, especially the first two paragraphs about Starsky; and I love your descriptions of the scenes we don’t get to see.

    Terry’s death being in a quiet, private room, is probably because she was moved her to a hospice setting when it was clear that her death was inevitable and near.

    My theory about Woody’s nickname: maybe he is best known for selling magic mushrooms.

    I’m glad they brought Prudholm back because I find it reassuring to have a little continuity between episodes.

    I have to agree with King David that Glaser’s performance here is wonderful. Look at the way Starsky’s shoulders slump after Dr. Quo gives him the news, and the way he walks so robotically and trembles afterward. His monotone delivery in the car, in the next scene, with a voice that truly sounds like it has been choking back sobs. That is not our normal irrepressible bouncy Starsky. That is a man whose world has just collapse beneath his feet.

    And I think that any woman who loved Starsky or Hutch would fall in love with them because of, not in spite of, their constant joking with each other. We know the relationship is long-standing because Christie’s comment about next year’s vacation implies that the four of them have vacationed together in the past, and Starsky has had time to give Terry a lot of his backstory. But we’ve never heard of her before, and I feel a bit manipulated when they introduce her in order to get her fatally injured a few minutes later!

    The acting is superb, and the story is quite touching, and the directing is excellent, but I’m afraid I have one really big problem with the episode — Terry’s injury.

    My father had brain surgery 15 months before this aired, so I’m fairly familiar with brain injuries and the state of brain surgery during that era. Terry doesn’t show any symptoms other than a little mark on her forehead before she goes blind and dies. There is no swelling, no cognitive impairment, no speech problems, no asymmetric paralysis, no uncontrolled weeping, not even a headache! If the bullet is lodged near the surface, it should be operable; if it is deep she should have a lot of symptoms. If it passed all the way to the back of her head, where the vision center is, then it damaged an awful lot of brain tissue on its way there, and she would have even more symptoms from the bleeding and swelling! Also, CAT scans were available in smaller cities than LA — I know there was one only 300 miles away — so why are they using mere x-rays and sending to New York for an opinion? Sigh.

    So I have to force facts out of my mind in order to appreciate the wonderful sad story. And it is a wonderful story. The couple is so tender with one another; Starsky is absolutely helpless. His complete vulnerability and Terry’s beautiful giving attitude absolutely break my heart.

    Continuity error: Starsky pins down Prudholm, with his gun in his left hand and Prudholm’s collar in his right. The camera angle shifts, and he has both hands on Prudholm’s collar. The camera shifts back, and Starsky’s left hand holds his gun again. Then he throws the gun away so he can grab Prudholm’s collar with both hands.

    Also: That warehouse would need a couple of loading docks, not just a front door and a steel fire door that Prudholm could somehow jam.

    Re-used sets (which I always find amusing): The hospital hallway was used in the “crummy jeans” scene of Coffin, and the adjacent waiting room was in Las Vegas Strangler. The bridge where they meet Freddy is where they ordered hot dogs in Tap Dancing. The street view of the booby-trapped apartment is the building where Vic lived in Coffin. The miniature golf course was the scene of the shoot-out at the end of Death Notice.

    • merltheearl Says:

      Thank you again for your valuable insights, Dianna. I especially appreciate your comments on the nature of severe head injuries, and I’m sorry to hear of your father’s. It’s too bad the writers didn’t take a more realistic approach to Terry’s situation – much in the same way they will minimize Emily Harrison’s shooting in Season Four’s “Blindfold”. Sometimes the philosophical aim of storytelling – here, the dual portrait of fragility and resilience – outweighs more practical matters, such as, I don’t know, reality. Plus, of course, they had a pretty tight schedule – no time for scenes of rehabilitation or recovery. I guess we could say the same for all similar injuries throughout the run of the show.

      Thanks again for all your thorough comments, here and previously.

      • Dianna Says:

        Ooh, fragility and resilience, yes. The kids Terry teaches are fragile and resilient too. Now I’ll have to go watch again! Thanks!

  3. Sharon Marie Says:

    I’ve wondered about Prudholm’s choice of going after Terry instead of Hutch to punish Starsky as well. I think he lacks the ability to see an emotional platonic relationship between two men. He is a disturbed individual, certainly. And many times those with mental deficiencies and illnesses that result in violent behavior tend to live in a world of myopia. They see only the one obvious and hyper focus on it, usually applying their paranoia, obsessions, compulsions and whatever else is in their mental health bag of mania.

    He and his cohorts had been following Starsky and Hutch for two weeks. They see the two work together, note their mannerisms and habits. Day to day stuff. But when Terry is thrown into the mix, it’s then that Prudholm sees affection and love. Every morning for two weeks they saw him with her at the school. Starsky was very affectionate with her – lots of kisses and smiles. He hyper focuses on that as the first and most obvious target of hurt.

    It drives me crazy that Season Hubley is wearing a different earring in each ear!

    Soul has band aids on his right hand index finger throughout, and at the beginning also on the pinky finger.

    The scene in the hospital room as Terry lays dying is heart wrenching. I could only think about PMG’s future tragedy with his family and the fact that he may have had a similar conversation with his wife. His acting in this episode is spot on. Just as she passes, her hand subtly slips down. Starsky looks at it in disbelief, perhaps a moment of denial, before looking back at her face realizing that she is gone.

    Hutch on the phone, drunk, jonesing for jobs playing Canadian football is priceless. “Well, no. We aren’t currently playing football for anyone” – with a look of utter fibbing on his face!

  4. stybz Says:

    This is a well done Starsky episode, although I found Prudhome’s portion a bit weak. I thought Paul and David did a great job in this one.

    Just a quick note about Terry’s death scene. It’s actually Starsky who repeatedly says, “I love you,” with Terry not responding. He says it twice. Then he insists he wants to talk about life without her. This is when she tells him she will always be around for him.

    • merltheearl Says:

      Stybz, thank you for correcting my error, and it was a major one! If you don’t mind I will amend my commentary to reflect your excellent insight. Where would I be without my perceptive, sharp-eyed fellow fans?

      • stybz Says:

        I don’t mind at all, Merl.

        I enjoy your blog very much. I love analyzing the show and you provide an excellent forum by which to do so. 😀

  5. Fetchinketch Says:

    Thank you so much for your blog! Love, love, love it.

    I like to imagine the Hutch driving Starsky’s car scene less as a argument between characters than an argument between actor(s) and the director and/or writer. I’m thinking that David would never have allowed Paul to drive in those circumstances, so insisted that Hutch would have done the same.

    I also think that Prudholm had every intention of punishing Starsky by killing Hutch as well. His speech to his cohorts indicated that was his plan, and he assumed he was speaking to an (again) bereaved Starsky on the phone after the failed door trap “Hutch went high”.

    I’ve been spending the last couple of weekends binging on my favorite episodes and reading your blog with pleasure.

    Thanks,
    Lisa

    • merltheearl Says:

      Lisa, thank you so much for weighing in and your very kind words. I like your opinion about the driving and believe it. I also realize Prudholm would have eventually gone after Hutch; it’s the “eventually” part that intrigues me.

  6. Lisa Says:

    After reading (again) your comments re Laurel and Hardy, I did a some quick research on that duo. I quickly learned that Stan called Ollie “Babe”. More riffing on the Laurel and Hardy theme when they call each other “Babe”? I would like to think so.

    Thanks again for the great blog!

  7. Laurie Says:

    I agree with a number of the posters here. I agree with Sharon Marie that Prudholm isn’t sophisticated enough to comprehend Starsky and Hutch’s closeness. He is almost of a “caveman” mentality and couldn’t fathom a guy’s work partner being anywhere near as near his heart as the woman he hugs and kisses.

    I like Merl’s comment about the beauty of the shooting on the stretcher scene and I think it is also supposed to suggest that we are seeing from Terry’s point of view when we look up at Hutch and the grocer.

    Yes, Dr. Quo is a great (dare I say 21st century?) character! (Especially when juxtaposed on the DVD with the stereotype window-dressing “walk this way” blonde nurse that appears right afterward in “Huggy and the Turkey.”) Interesting she uses her own name.

    I agree about the driving. As actors or characters, or putting the shoe on the other foot, none of them would let the other drive under those circumstances.

    Prudholm and Woody do take Freddy a bit off to the side and shove him into the truck when they hassle him. They are probably counting on his silence after he sees his wife’s ring not to alert anyone else nearby.

    Freddie tells Starsky and Hutch the $80 isn’t much to risk his life. And it’s not. When they tell him that there is another hundred to come if the information is good, he knows it’s hopeless. It’s only going to be the $80. The information is not good, and and people he could get it from will likely be dead after they check it out. At minimum, they will be unhappy that he set them up. Though I’m sure they will figure out that he was pressured.

    (Didn’t see anyone else mention this small correction. In the apartment was a shotgun rigged to blow a hole in the door, not a bomb.)

    If one of them had been hit when the shotgun went off, would the other really have answered the phone while his partner was dead or dying on the floor? Possibly, I suppose, those police instincts may have kicked in. But I almost tend to doubt it. The fact that he could call the second it happened must mean he was very nearby in order to hear the gunshot. We don’t know how he found out Hutch was not really dead. But he may have just seen them both leave by looking at a nearby window wherever he was waiting to call. And got even more frustrated.

    I like Dianna’s idea that maybe Woody got his nickname from selling mushrooms. Though who knows. Like a former Packer quarterback, he may have a surname that lends itself to that nickname. Or Prudholm might have recruited him while Woody was trying to pick up spare change doing lousy magic tricks on corners.

    Dr. Quo has told Starsky there is “nothing more that we can do”, TV code for, “any minute now.” (Though she has told Terry that she can expect her vision to come and go. For what, the next ten minutes? The next couple hours max?”) So I agree that this is more a “hospice” setting for saying goodbye than anything.

    I had agreed that PMG reacting to Terry’s death is very touching and realistic. And painful. It’s almost too good, too uncomfortable to watch, an intrusion on grief. As Sharon Marie (I think) alluded to, it’s hard to take, knowing that in far too few years, he would have to be grieving at his real life wife’s bedside, after she was struck down by something that had to seem just as crazy and out of the blue at the time. I’d almost rather have seen a weak, fake, hammy grief scene because of this.

    I think we are supposed to think that it is just a few hours after Terry’s death when the warehouse hostage situation takes place. Starsky has come back to the school at least once, though it is now deserted. And he is still wearing the same white sweatshirt he was wearing when he took Terry to the hospital. If they meant it to be a different day, I think they would have had him change outfits. Hutch has had time to change out of his exercise clothes.

    So probably Prudholm didn’t know Terry was dead…or perhaps he had a snitch at the hospital and did know and decided it would be a good time to catch Starsky at his weakest, perhaps kill Hutch in front of him (Prudholm does say “Send Starsky and Hutch in,” not just “Send Starsky in”) –then finish him off?

    However, once Hutch leaves the building with Woody and the hostages, clearly he has left Prudholm’s mind, and nothing else is left in there but rage and “Kill Starsky!” Unlike Alex Drew, he has no thoughts of “Where has your partner gotten to; what is he up to?” Even if he knows that Hutch has left, he has to know he will be back as soon as possible. But nothing is left now but his primal need to get Starsky.

    Like Dianna, I noticed the bad continuity with the gun and the collars.

    And yes, the wondrous tag. I like the comment about robbing banks in South America, suggesting a Butch and Sundance relationship. How much teddy bear shopping did they have to do to find such a perfect bear, the one with the wisest, kindest, most knowing face, to look Hutch in the eye like that?

    Does Hutch keep Ollie? After the lady love of Starsky’s life’s last request of him is to “love them both”?

    I’m sure the answer is yes, and I have a hard time imagining that it’s in a drawer.

    And I agree with Kit Sullivan that this episode ranks right up there with The City on the Edge of Forever (which I have been fortunate enough to hear Harlan Ellison discuss in person).

    Thanks, Merl, for this blog. I know I am late to the game compared to the rest of you, but I just recently bought the DVDs (as one untimely born, as Shakespeare might say) and went looking for something like this, although I could not imagine I would find something this good.

    So as you like to imagine that Starsky and Hutch is in the present tense, I like to imagine that you and the others have just written these messages in the last few days, and I’m replying to them right after.

    (You can edit this out, but any chance I can take my last name off my “user name”? I didn’t realize that when I was signing in, that the whole thing would appear.)

    • merltheearl Says:

      Laurie, I’ve manually edited your name in all previous comments but a permanent change can only be made on your end, in your email program. And thank you for your wonderful understanding of this precious episode – you’ve added much to the discussion. As for the bear, I believe it is PMG’s own.

      • Laurie Says:

        Thanks. To clarify, as to the “untimely born” line above, I just mean as to when I bought the DVDs and found this blog.

        I was actually one of those teenagers watching this show in the 70s and having episodes like The Fix burned into my mind as capital-i Important and willing to speak a truth about men sharing thoughts and feelings, in a way that was new and different from a lot of other boilerplate-plotline shows.

        Rediscovering them via DVD with the help of your blog and your followers’ comments has been wonderful!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: