Episode 61: Satan’s Witches

While vacationing in the woods, Starsky and Hutch are caught between a coven of Satanists and the frightened locals under threat.

Joe Tyce: Charles Napier, Hank Ward: Taylor Lacher, Cabot: Robert Raymond Sutton, Rodell: Joseph Ruskin, Rachel Tyce: Patricia Wilson, Julie: Deborah Zon, Tricia: Jeri Lea Ray, Ellie Ward: Bess Gatewood, Lizzie Tyce: Lark Geib. Written By: Bob Barbash, Directed By: Nicholas Sgarro.


This episode’s title really cracks me up. It’s overkill to add “witches” to “Satan” but the somewhat silly excess hints at what is wrong here. This is one of the episodes I have always feel has the germ of a good idea but falls apart in execution, a failure solely to do with the decade it was made in. It’s pretty toothless. The cult is outlandish but not really frightening (although Rodell himself has a rough-hewn, dour appearance that is a bit spooky); this puts it in the same camp as transvestites and polygamists, laughable terrors of perversion the average viewer could tsk-tsk at and then file away under Crazy California and go to bed with doors unlocked. Nothing to do with me. And so the kidnapping of a young girl barely registers on the fright meter. At times this episode has more in common with a 1950s B-movie than a cop drama, sans giant insects (although we do get a snake). All of this is a shame, because a vacationing Starsky and Hutch, stranded in the woods battling bad guys, sounds really, really good. Television at the time was so deeply conservative and so restrained by critics and censors this episode is doomed from the start: instead of thrilling chases through the forest and hardcore survivalists we get hot pants and campfires. It makes any viewer, even this one, crave a torture scene or some genuine blood splashing the front door of the cabin, anything to save it from its primetime cheeriness.

The cult’s raison d’être is a bit of a puzzle. Group leader Rodell seems too smart to be out in the woods chanting nonsense and exercising a bit of meaningless power. And even though supernatural fanaticism often relies heavily on drug use, and this one in particular seems fueled by both drugs and a certain barbaric carnality, we see no evidence of either, not even the inferential hints this series is often very good at – so good there are certain episodes (such as “Vendetta”) which have a whole other storyline running below script like a palimpsest. An explanation of Rodell’s beliefs would be interesting. As well, we could do with some insight into why they kidnap the sheriff’s daughter of all people. Wouldn’t that be the quickest route to extermination? If they’re hoping to avoid trouble, maybe picking a less contentious victim to sacrifice, someone who wouldn’t be missed so quickly, would be the order of the day. Or did Satan point a bony finger at Lizzie and say, “I want that one”?

Also, one wonders about the series’ preoccupation with cults and vampires and Manson-like killers. Sign of the times? The shadow-side to the permissive seventies, or just an excuse for an exciting clash of good and evil?

Throughout this episode there is a distinct feeling of rural vs urban, with small-town folks exposed as provincial, superstitious, ineffectual, and morally suspect. The cultists, the official bad guys here, aren’t really in the equation. Rather, the failure of the townsfolk to control their own prejudices and fears is held up here as the real problem. A close correlation of this would be Arthur Miller’s “Crucible”, ostensibly about the Salem Witch Trials but of course is really about the ugly politics of McCarthyism. Nuttiness (typified here by Rodell) will always exist on the extreme end of humanity, an exotic and occasionally poisonous flower with no intrinsic harm. Just as Edmund Burke said, all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, and so the bigotry and ignorance exemplified by the townsfolk is what makes the story tragic, not the Satanists dancing around in their costumes. If this is the true meaning of this story – and I’m convinced it is – why is there so much wasted time here?

The episode opens with a pan of Los Angeles on a particularly smoggy day. Is this meant to emphasize the clean air of the countryside?

Dobey is so not the type to do a spot of fishing with the family, build a camp fire, swashbuckle through the forest with a machete to clear some trails. So where did the cabin come from? It’s most likely a neglected family inheritance, one he’s reluctant to part with for sentimental reasons.

Starsky hates everything to do with this “vacation”. His complaints about “itching and scratching and the bees and the bears” litter the first few seconds of the episode. He’s made comments in the past about wanting to go camping, but now it becomes clear Starsky didn’t mean what he was saying. So why did he agree to this in the first place?

“Lotta water, lotta trees …” this whole segment is a gem. Also an interesting bit that shows their unity of thought; both of them separately say the same things about the woods at the same time.

The “Friendly Town”: It always strikes me as interesting that the first thing they do when arriving at the cabin is to turn around and go back into town. Even though Starsky and Hutch are ostensibly buying food (no doubt finding the vast, gleaming supermarkets in the city not to their liking) this is obviously sacrificing logic for narrative trajectory. Also, since when does a town in California have no asphalt? This place (and the people) seem awfully backwards with the dirt roads and faded grey timbers like a gold-rush outpost. The episode might have been so much spookier, and more believable, if filmed in an actual town and not some lazily constructed “Psycho”-era set, but perhaps there were budgetary restrictions or planning issues.

Notice how Starsky reacts to trouble brewing: he relaxes. His body language changes, it’s all alert laziness. It’s one of his most powerful characteristics, the key to his success as a police officer, and always fascinating to observe. It’s the best scene in the entire episode, and the only one not infected with implausibility. It feels stark and real, and Glaser is arresting in his few moments of isolated screen time. “It’s okay,” he tells the young woman at the gas station, “I get off on hostility”. Were any truer words ever spoken?

When danger looms, Starsky defaults to pleasantries, seems generally “nicer” and more accommodating. In the same situation Hutch can be more intense, caustic, and apprehensive. Starsky tends to go silent and rely on his keen observational skills, measuring his opponent’s threat level. Hutch tends to become argumentative, and talk his way out of a situation – or escalate it, whichever fits the bill.

Why is the guy at the gas station so murderously hostile toward Starsky in the first place? They have a glaring showdown twice as menacing as anything Starsky experiences in the Big City, even though it’s obvious Starsky is just a tourist and poses no threat. It’s possible, but unlikely, the guy is trying to frighten him into leaving for his own good, although we have no evidence this is the case.

In contrast, across the street in the general store, the sheriff’s wife is all sweetness and light, happy to have Hutch as a customer, only noticeably tightening when he mentions staying at the Dobey cabin. And her daughter’s been kidnapped! Why is she coping so well, and gas-jockey Joe there looking like he’s about to implode?

Hutch is extremely funny in this episode – Starsky is full of righteous indignation but Hutch knows he’s the agent of this comical adventure and is determined to enjoy it. He’s playful and encouraging, never impatient with Starsky’s whining and secretly plotting to make his discomfort worse. It could be said that Starsky is generally happier when working and Hutch is generally happier when vacationing. Incidentally, this is the only episode in the entire run of the series that is not connected in any way to Bay City business.

The cult, with their candles-in-skulls props and cranberry-red robes, has an interesting gender makeup: the guys are all exceptionally rough-looking older biker types, tending to downright homely, and the girls are Playboy Bunnyesque blondes. Chief Satanist Rodell’s recruitment posters must be very specific.

Starsky says the vandalism is drawn in blood, but we can see this isn’t blood at all but obviously red paint. The properties of blood, its greasy thin consistency and the fact it turns black when exposed to oxygen seems like a big clue. And Starsky is more familiar with blood than the average person. Is all that fresh air and blue skies impairing his detective skills?

It’s very funny that the moment Starsky has Hutch in a arm-lock the personal moment is interrupted by the arrival of two pretty girls. They attempt to ameliorate any notion of effeminacy by shaking each other’s hand. This nicely echoes other embarrassing moments, such as the dip interrupted by Ginger (“Dancing”) which was also canceled out by a vigorously manly handshake. The hilarity of the moment almost, but not quite, obscures the fact there was no real reason for Starsky to grab Hutch in the first place. What was he protecting him from?

Starsky, vanishes inside the cabin when the girls arrive because he’s in his underwear. But he reappears in a dirty apron – and underwear. In the time it took to find Hutch’s apron, couldn’t he have found his own pair of jeans? And while we’re on the subject, wouldn’t an apron be even more emasculating than a pair of long-johns?

Funny how Hutch, when looking for a way to trap the rattlesnake, overlooks the conveniently hanging trout net and goes for a flashlight first, then a blanket.

Sacrifices, chanting, fires, medallions, red cloaks, just what are Satan’s Witches up to, anyway? Wedding a teenage girl to Satan should imply this cult is concerned with preventing calamity by appeasing a god, or at the very least ensuring the continuation of good fortune. Satanism as a complex individualistic philosophy devoted to the worship of the carnal self among other aspects – hardly scary. Still it’s used as a conveniently spooky device here, as was “voodoo” in an earlier episode. This willingness to hold up the customs and beliefs of others as bizarre or perverse is such a widespread problem it hardly bears mentioning, but it’s a shame, nonetheless.

The two women we meet in this godforsaken town are the voice of reason. They act compassionately and logically while the men are sulky, unimaginative, and argumentative.

“Blind Man’s Bluff” is an interesting choice to make when attempting to subdue the bad guys. Starsky and Hutch, with the help of dramatic light effects, perform a series of comedic actions – a rattle, a telephone, ironic comments, silly offers – to distract and overpower the evil Satanists. It seems very lighthearted when the life of a young girl is at stake. Why the extra fooling around?

The capture and probably torture of Starsky and Hutch, as well as Lizzie, is cut short by the arrival of cop cars. The sheriff hugs his daughter and thanks the guys for their work. Question: why didn’t the sheriff act sooner, especially since it was his daughter in trouble? What would be a greater motivation than saving his child’s life? Even a threat like “don’t go after us, or your daughter pays with her life” wouldn’t stop a grief-stricken parent, especially a law enforcement officer with vast resources at his disposal.

The tag: Starsky’s waxing on about the beauties of nature while Hutch begs to leave is another example of mutable identities. The roar of a bear brings the scene to a sudden amusing halt, and the scene is so charming it seems nit-picking to mention that bears hardly ever roar or do much in the way of vocalizing at all. A growling or roaring bear is largely a cinematic invention. So, an artificial end to a largely artificial storyline. And again with cultists and bears! Remember “Bloodbath”? Does Starsky flash back to the cave again when he hears the familiar sound?

Clothing notes: mostly the guys wear weekend-camping duds, but it takes a great deal of confidence to pull off Starsky’s skin-tight red long-john outfit, complete with back panel. He wears this throughout the episode under his clothes.


16 Responses to “Episode 61: Satan’s Witches”

  1. June Says:

    I know it’s corny and cliched but I love this episode – probably as much as it’s the only time we see them on vacation as anything else. Still, Starsky’s long johns tick all the boxes.

  2. merltheearl Says:

    Todd, I feel your pain. And I share it. But you know, oddly, such badness has an up side. It hints at – and sometimes embodies – a kind of freedom of expression. It’s creatively hedonistic in a way contemporary drama can never be, unselfconscious and licentious and all kinds of crazy. But you definitely have to be in the mood for it, otherwise it just makes you crabby. I see this most clearly in “Dandruff”, in which breathtaking awfulness is elevated to a campiness you can’t help but admire.

  3. King David Says:

    I want to like this episode, truly, but just can’t. And I note that the aerial shot of the Ford going up the hill road is seen in Survival, too. (Cheapskates.)
    Why does Starsky wear full-body long-johns? What on earth is he trying to armour himself against? The cold? It must get cold in Bay City, yet we often see his shirt ride up exposing his skin (not often enough IMO), so does he think camping equates to extral undies? And I sure hope he takes them off long enough to bathe. Erk. They are very snug, aren’t they…
    Perhaps the awful red paint/blood was for the benefit of those of us who watched this originally in black-and-white. It needed to show up as bright. In colour it looks laughable. In the bit where Starsky grabs Hutch and Hutch is caught off-balance, Hutch has such a pretty face in profile, with that flyaway blonde hair.
    It is absolutely beyond comprehension that a Sheriff would comply so lamely and spinelessly with Rodell’s demands. He’s a Sheroff – doesn’t he get law enforcement info? Read articles and accounts of other crimes in other areas? He must’ve been able to liaise with someone! Why is it always Hutch who has the incredible memory?
    I went back and watched Starsky’s ‘get off on hostility’ scene, and it’s very subtle, but you are tight, Merl, it is telling.
    When it’s reveealed that S&H are the law, why not take them into his confidence and ask for help? Surely if he knows Dobey he knows Dobey is the law.
    I think the lake looks horrible, and couldn’t imagine swimming in it.
    I am always amused by the lotta water, lotta trees echoes…well played out.They each see the same things but from opposite standpoints.
    I too kept wondering why Hutch didn’t grab the trout net immediately. And when the snake is caught, it merely goes out the window and is forgotten. Starsky didn’t even ask for it to be killed. He has nice pink woolly socks on. I hate his oversize-peak cap in the tag.
    Hutch got the bed (room) and Starsky got the sleeping bag on the sofa. We’ve seen Starsky curled up, sprawled out, on other sofas, often Hutch’s; does this tell us anything?
    Why is it that S&H can’t believe ill of a pretty girl? They should know better by now. And, if Starsky was inside when the girl went inside, where was he? It isn’t huge in the cabin.
    Back to the Sheriff: his apology is pretty casual for something so serious, and they are pretty offhand.
    So much could’ve been done with this premise, and it’s all ruined by cheap sets, poor scripting and shallow thinking. We weren’t THAT unsophisticated in 1977.

    • merltheearl Says:

      Very perceptive comments on this most divisive episode. I forgot many, if not most, viewers would have seen this on a black and white TV. I myself saw it in black and white the first time around, so that fake paint/blood scene makes much more sense. Also, the pond does look scummy and disgusting, now that I think about it. And yes, how cold would it get to have those long johns start to make any kind of sense? It can get cold in Northern California but we have no idea where this cabin is, and why Starsky feels the cold much more than anyone else, including those irritating girls in tiny shorts.

  4. Dianna Says:

    Merl and King David, you have already said almost everything I was going to say about this episode, particularly my complaints — from the stagnant lake, to the inexplicable cult, to the sheriff’s irrational behavior and overly-casual thanks. So here are some random thoughts.

    The episode is pretty stupid, but it ranks it ahead of both “Murder on Voodoo Island” and “Bear and the Turkey,” because it does have a couple of redeeming points — the “lotta water, lotta trees” scene, which is quite amusing; a reasonable amount of other banter between the guys, though most of it is overly adversarial for my taste; and the scene with Starsky in his tight red long johns — if only for its, er scenery.

    On the drive to the cabin, Glaser once again reveals his Boston-area roots by saying, “What if you want to go see a movie, or, uh, have a hamburg, or a CocaCola, or something?” Later, when the guys are echoing each other, he schools himself to the standard usage and says “hamburger.”

    When Starsky sees the pretty girls walking up, he glances down before he runs inside to grab a cover-up, which suggests that he is trying to simply to camouflage any unauthorized salutes from his nether regions! (Hutch pats him on the butt when he goes by!) What he puts on is not Hutch’s apron, although it is a similar color: it is a shirt, which was much easier to grab and wrap around his middle than his snug jeans would be.

    When Starsky discovers the rattlesnake, I thought it was an allusion to the Synanon rattlesnake-in-the-mailbox case of the late 70’s, till I saw that this episode actually aired several months before the incident, so maybe that was an assassination method whose time had come. (Or maybe this was the inspiration for it!)

    To catch the snake, Hutch is right to use the blanket rather than the net, which is full of holes through which it could escape.

    What seems odd to me about Starsky sleeping on the couch is that the cabin has a second story, and certainly seems large enough to have more than one bed. It is presumably big enough for Dobey to bring his family, as the townspeople imply that he’s been there in the past month or so.

    Does anyone know what the cultists chant between the repetitions of “Hail Satan”?

    Not only do bears not generally roar, as Merl points out, but Hutch says that there have been sightings of grizzly bears around here. Actually, no grizzlies have been seen in California since 1924.

    • Laurie Says:

      They are saying “Dominus Satanis”. The Latin version. (The cult leader shouts it at one point.) But it took me awhile to figure it out as well, even though I took Latin in school. At first it sounded like “Long Live the (something).” Then it sounded almost like “long list of cats.” But that would fit better with “Hail, Kitten” than “Hail, Satan.” 🙂

    • DRB Says:

      About the grizzlies: My impression is that Hutch doesn’t care what he has to say to get Starsky moving. He would probably have told him that aliens were about to land if it would motivate Starsky to get packed and get out of there.
      Love it that Starsky includes the fish in the plan: “C’mon, guys.”

      • DRB Says:

        Sorry to keep going on but…! Can’t help visualizing the fight over packing the fish in the car😁 The outcome probably depends on whether Hutch thinks of the master stroke: “You clean them; I’ll pack them.” Imagine Starsky’s expression when he thinks about that process! Somehow I see the fish left for the wildlife as Hutch’s clunker rattles away😎

  5. Anna Says:

    The entire episode was worth it just for the sight of Starsky in those red longjohns. That’s a sight that mildly but palpably improves your quality of life until the day you die, or until senility wipes the memory of it from your brain.

    Well actually, there are several little gem-like scenes in this episode, mostly the stuff that is totally incidental to the supremely lame plot (and the entire concept of Starsky and Hutch taking vacations together is basically the best thing ever – 75% of the time, Hutchinson? That’s lowballing if I ever heard it). But mostly, the longjohns.

  6. Sharon Marie Says:

    That’s no cabin! It’s a two story house. I agree. Why is Starsky sleeping on the sofa when there is most likely more than one bed in the building!

    These guys are cops. They travel with their badges. They always have their guns. They practically take them in the bathroom with them. So why would they go camping in the woods and not take their guns? We’ve seen them take their guns outside of Bay City plenty of times!

    There’s no toilet in their jail cell and nobody else in the building. Um…..

    The whole time they are hiding in the bushes I’m thinking, “ticks… TICKS”.

    • Laurie Says:

      Yes, the lack of guns struck me, too. Okay, maybe Dobey doesn’t hunt and as a cop would see leaving guns at a rarely-used cabin risky, but there’s no reason in the world the guys wouldn’t take their guns on vacation. To the woods, especially! Because, well, bears, rattlesnakes, cougars, whatever? Okay, maybe they wouldn’t wear gun holsters on a Hawaiian beach. But the woods? Hutch should be smart enough about the forest to know he should bring one and Starsky should be nervous enough about the lions and tigers and bears, oh my, to demand to have it on him constantly.

  7. stybz Says:

    Another episode that I feared would be worse than it was. While I didn’t love it, it wasn’t as cringeworthy as I anticipated. Were there stupid moments? Yes, but the scenes between Starsky and Hutch made up for it.

    Would I watch it again? Perhaps not, unless I want to fast forward to one or two key scenes just for the heck of it. 🙂

    Merle asked why Starsky would even go along with Hutch on this vacation. My theory is two-fold: 1) Because Hutch often reluctantly goes with Starsky to some questionable eateries he would never venture to try on his own. 🙂 And 2) Because Hutch would have gone anyway without him. 🙂

    I liked Hutch’s playfulness with Starsky. In a way he was taking advantage but also trying to loosen Starsky up and help him relax. He does let Starsky sleep in, despite that push off the sofa. 🙂

    I found Starsky’s line (“I get off on hostility”) amusing in a few ways including the one you mentioned Merle. I also wondered if this truism is what makes him tolerate the meanness and hostility that Hutch launches at him on occasion. Hutch keeps him on his toes. 🙂

    I laughed so hard when they were driving to the cabins at night and Starsky told Hutch to turn off his headlights. When Hutch did so, I thought, “They’re not used to the woods. How on earth will they see anything?” Then….

    Starsky: “Watch out for the tree?”
    Hutch: “What tree?”

    Bang! His car hits the tree. I thought that was hilarious. Just the way the car hit the tree, and the comic timing was perfect. 😀 I just love the 70’s cars on this show because they were like tanks. They could take a beating. This is why I laugh whenever Paul drove the Torino into something. Today’s cars would be a totaled, but in the 70’s they took a beating and kept going. 🙂

  8. Lioness Says:

    My take on two of the questions posed:

    1. Starsky’s longjohns. He probably hoped they’d protect him from the voracious insects he was expecting.

    2. Starsky sleeping on the couch. He was probably afraid to be too far away from Hutch. 😉

    • Laurie Says:

      I think you could be right on both counts. Maybe he was an early proponent of tick safety.

      And yeah, I just can’t picture one sleeping upstairs and one sleeping downstairs. Too far apart in case of emergency. And these guys always have an emergency. And you’re right, as the nervous one, Starsky may well have been offered an upstairs bedroom but would want to stick close.

  9. Laurie Says:

    I don’t think they picked the sheriff’s daughter because Satan liked her best. They picked her because she made the best hostage. A big city cop, yeah, he’d call it in regardless. And even this guy, if it had been someone else’s daughter, chances are he would have been more rational and gone with standard procedure. But if the leader was oily enough and convinced him she was totally safe and it was just an insurance policy they used to make sure they were not bothered…unless…he crossed them. And it’s that small an isolated town… Then he might have just believed that the odds were slightly better in leaving them alone and being cooperative than coming at them with a dozen police cars while they held her…maybe keeping watching from a distance, just in case. I think his emotions were throwing off his logic. Unlike Starsky and Hutch, he probably doesn’t deal with judgement calls on major life and death dramas too often, and it being his own daughter was affecting his judgment and he defaulted to freaked-out father who thinks any move against the status quo could be dangerous to his daughter, instead of policy-flow-chart cop. We are talking about a sheriff who wears his “CAT” hat even when driving around in his squad car, after all.

    Not sure what Merl meant by townspeople’s “bigotry and ignorance”? I didn’t see any terribly egregious examples of these that I can think of, except perhaps the ignorance of trusting a bunch of random devil worshippers who blow into town with your daughter’s life.

    About arriving at the cabin, then turning right around and going to town. The cabin was a bit tricky to find, so that was their first focus. Then after finding it, they were going to unpack, then maybe go do some shopping. But once Starsky heard there was a store and a friendly town, he wanted to go there right away before unpacking, and Hutch obliged.

    I thought it tied in to “Starsky longing for civilization” and was far less clunky then the cult leader just happening to be sitting parked in a car on Main Street when the sheriff decides he needs to tell him that the two strangers are cops.

    I agree on the “gold-rush outpost”. It looked like a very mildly reworked Bonanza or Gunsmoke set. Throw a couple gas pumps in front of the livery stable and cover the sign with one saying “garage”. Hang some lawn chairs on the front of the general store. Ta-da. What should we do about the board sidewalks? Ahh, leave them. There’s even an old gray building with “Sammis and Co., 1867” in weathered paint, that looks like it’s supposed to be…well, not 110 years old.

    Note “contains lead” on side of gas pump. Remember “Regular or Unleaded?”

    Different townspeople seem to have different ways of following the sheriff’s instructions on how to act around strangers to shut them out of what’s going on. I guess he wasn’t too clear about it. Some seem to think it means to ignore them even when spoken to. Some, like the man at the gas station, seem to think they are supposed to be surly and owly and hope people go away. The sheriff’s wife and the gas guy’s wife seem to think, “smile and nod and be generically nice and unobtrusive and don’t call attention or raise a fuss” is what’s called for.

    Starsky may get off on hostility, but nature sure throws him off his game and makes him clumsy, and as jumpy as a room full of grasshoppers. How many times does he freak out, be totally thrown by something, and/or fall over, in this episode? It’s almost slapstick. The fireplace, the “spider”, the lights going out while the owl hoots, when spotting the symbol on the door, and of course, the rattlesnake. And he is far more freaked out and hesitant about simply walking into Dobey’s cabin when they arrive, than we ever see him when walking into a warehouse full of bad guys with guns in the city.

    Did anyone else do a double-take at the voice of the guy we see only from the back, who goes in by Lizzy and says, “And now, through the rites of blood…” I could almost swear that’s the same voice that was used for a million thriller two-partners in the 70s. Especially starting with that phrase, “And now…” Like they would have shown you a synopsis of what happened last week, then the voice-over guy says in that same tone, “And now…the exciting conclusion of…Charlie’s Angels: Strangers in Paradise” (or whatever).

    I think besides making use of their limited resources, the Blind Man’s Bluff was meant to throw off the satanists by startling them with behavior that was the opposite of what they expected. They were in all totally dark and serious evil mode, and the guys changed it up on them wirh craziness and threw them off their game. Throwing light into darkness, if you will.

    Why couldn’t Lizzy go on “in the shape she’s in”? Were they starving her or something, or did they just mean “stressed and in shock”?

    When the sheriff arrived with reinforcements, it wasn’t because he finally decided to act when Starsky and Hutch were in danger, but didn’t when it was just his own daughter. By this time his friend/deputy/whatever would have told him that Starsky and Hutch had realized these were the same people who had killed a girl hostage before in similar circumstances, and that he had released them and they had gone after the Satanists.

    So at that point there was no value left in his “If I’m nice and just do what they want, they’ll probably let Lizzy go in a day or two and go on their way like they said and that’ll be a safer choice than storming the place with Lizzy inside” option that he was betting on. Now he knew they were killers, that they wouldn’t be letting her go, and that two police officers were already headed toward the cult. Reinforcements were the only option then.

    Interestingly, this is one of the few situations where Starsky and Hutch weren’t able to totally save the day on their own, but could only get so far without other police officers arriving.

    Note that even as swarms of squad cars arrive, the cult leader wraps his arms around his two favorite “Playboy bunnies,” as if this will ensure they won’t be separated or something.

    I saw a lot of subtext in that apology scene.
    Sheriff: I don’t know how I can ever thank you. (But hopefully saving your bacon just now is at least a good start?)
    Starsky : Don’t bother. I’d probably only be rude. (Yeah, I think you’re an idiot cop for trusting these kidnapping wacko-freaks instead of us–or other brother cops like us–in the first place, and for throwing us in jail, but you already know I think that, and I’m not a father so I’m not gonna judge too much, and hopefully you’ve learned your lesson, you dope, but I’m mostly just glad that your daughter is safe.)
    Sheriff: I’m sorry I gave you such a hard time. (Yeah, I was a dolt. Anyone would dive into this mess outnumbered and save my daughter after what I did deserved better. You guys did great. I owe you.)
    Starsky: It’s okay. (We’re both cops, after all, and everyone’s all right. We’ve seen much worse. Have a nice life.)

    Hutch may well know that there have been no grizzlies sighted there since 1924. But at that point, he just wants Starsky to get out of there, so, whatever works.

  10. DRB Says:

    S:Why don’t I rescue the girl?
    H: Because I thought of it first.

    Works for me😘

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