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Targets Without a Badge Part 1

I never look forward to this episode trilogy, because there's so little about it that feels good.




The flirtation at the beginning, while on stakeout waiting for the "mule" girls, is quite a lovely moment, and the only real levity during the episode.  Of course, Hutch says No, in various ways, that he doesn't want to pick a card from Starsky, but of course he ends of doing what Starsky wants.

I think Hutch should always wear a poncho.  Unless he's wearing black.

It's hard to watch with a straight face the night scene of them listening to Lionel meeting with the judge, knowing that it's the same scene that's in the blooper reel, when DS shoves PMG's head down to his lap.

Speaking of off camera moments, it's during the "stakeout" filming that DS did the Public Safety Admin piece about wearing a seat belt, with PMG holding the cue cards. 

The sadness of this episode is heightened by the fact that Lionel is so likable.

Poor Hutch.  He is in such moral agony.  He's so nervous on the witness stand.  I think that's why Starsky makes the decision for both of them to go ahead and name Lionel.  Starsky has a much more black-or-white view of the world, and he seems to go with the flow of the way things have to be, while Hutch bangs his moral head repeatedly against the wall.  I think Starsky couldn't stand Hutch's dilemma anymore, so spoke up for both of them that they would name Lionel.


Of course, it's a lovely moment when Starsky runs out to see to Hutch, and does pet-and-cuddle after Hutch's car explodes.  But surely it was a dereliction of duty on his part to leave Lionel alone.

As painful as it is to say, Starsky and Hutch really did get what they deserved, in a manner of speaking, concerning Lionel's death.  They toyed with his life, toyed with their friendship with Huggy, and toyed with the DA's office.  They had an arrogance about them that I don't think was caused by their badges.  It's was caused by their own past success and their sincere belief in their own infallibility.

I can't see where it's their badges that was polluting them.  It was their own moral codes which, throughout the series, had grated against any kind of authority.  They're so very righteous about their own ethics, but couldn't carry those personal ethics into a court of law that was going to demand otherwise.  They should have known better.

As such, I'm jumping ahead to Part 3, I think, where Hutch quietly says something to Starsky like, "We did everything our fathers told us not to do."  Starsky doesn't have a reaction.  He just doesn't wrestle with things the way Hutch does.  He wrestles against his own personal dilemmas -- his dealings with George Prudholm, blinding Emily, etc. -- but he doesn't wrestle with big picture situations. 

For that matter, in Part 2, at the Pits, Huggy says something grating to them about Lionel's death, and Starsky asks oh-so-casually, "Would you prefer that we feel more guilty?"  That's just it, though -- Starsky in particular doesn't seem to feel guilty at all.  Not that I think he doesn't care -- he just seems to accept Lionel's death as "the way it is".  He threw his badge into the ocean because Hutch did.  He wouldn't have done that if Hutch hadn't.




One of the greatest song vids I've ever seen was in the pre-internet days.  Someone did "Losing My Religion" to Part 1 of this episode.  It was incredibly poignant.