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Partners

As baffling and unbelievable as this episode is in a lot of ways, its great contribution to the series and the relationship is the tag.





On one of the British interviews with both guys -- I think when the VHS tapes first came out -- PMG was having them take credit for the idea of doing a script where they used scenes from prior episodes.  He said they thought that because it would require so few days of filming, that they'd get a few days off.  Not only did he admit that days off didn't happen, but DS didn't seem to remember that, though he didn't disagree.  I had always thought this episode came about because DS had recently been seriously injured in a skiing accident and couldn't move around much.
 
Anyway, in the beginning we have Hutch trying to dictate to Starsky how to think and feel.  It must be a Thursday, because he's decided it's a good day to appreciate springtime.  Starsky isn't interested, and is a lot more tuned into his car.

It is quite an adorable moment when Starsky is settled in his hospital bed, and then realizes the bed beside him is empty.  His loud, dragged out, "Huuuutch" is so typical, childlike Starsky. 

Of course, there's a lot of better scene choices they could have made for this episode -- the dune buggy I most certainly could have done without -- but at least they did choose some nice ones.  It's just that the lead-in and follow-up to "The Fix" seems like it would have generated a more intense reaction from Hutch, however much he was trying to keep up the pretense.

Of course, we do get some sense that Hutch remembers things -- even before we know such -- when he does react to the "Gillian" scene, and then later when Starsky verbalizes the setup for the "Starsky's Lady" scene.  Perhaps not so surprising is that, when things are brought to a head, is when Hutch can't help but correct Starsky -- ie, be the one who's always right -- when Starsky tries to claim that he was good at playing Monopoly.  It's so ingrained in Hutch to have to be the smart one, that he forgets his own amnesia stunt when he needs to inform Starsky that he was bad at playing Monopoly.

This episode really is a prime demonstration of how insecure Hutch is about himself, including just downright not liking himself very much.  His treatment of everyone around him  -- as an outlet for his inner demons --  is, of course, what makes this episode so uncomfortable and easy to dismiss outright as a not a legitimate part of canon.  But I think it fits in a lot of ways -- it's just a more extreme manifestation of Hutch's need to make the people around him do his bidding.  In the later "The Game", he presents the hide-and-seek idea as a way of having Starsky "prove to me you love me".  He's doing the same thing here.  ("I'll treat everyone around me like crap, and if they really love me, they'll forgive me.")  Someone who loves themselves and loves their life is hardly likely to stoop to such manipulations.

In fact, the lead-in to "Gillian" is particularly interesting.  Hutch is the one who wants to hear the story of when he punched Starsky.  If one chooses to take this episode seriously, then the psychology of that is pretty powerful.  It's like Hutch needs to hear, now, that Starsky is okay about it -- in fact, had to think a moment before recalling that Hutch had punched him once.


For that matter, when Starsky assures Hutch that Hutch has been there for him many times, as well as vice versa, Hutch seems a little too eager for Starsky to relay such.  

In any case, the real beauty of the episode -- and why I would never want to see it eliminated from canon -- is the tag.  There's two lovely moments in it.

First, there's the sheer fact that Starsky's forgiveness is, once again, expedient and thorough.  He forgives Hutch any trespass.  He's so thoroughly in a I'll-go-wherever-you-want frame of mind, that he even perpetuates the amnesia stunt, by playing along when Dobey is in the room.

Secondly, when Hutch is feeling so uncomfortable with Dobey in the room, he tries to get into Starsky's bed!  I can't decide if it's a Freudian, subconscious thing, or if it was thoroughly intentional on his part to seek the safety of Starsky's bed, when he knows he'll never be able to take back the awful things he said to Dobey.  In either case, the gem of the moment is that it shows how Starsky represents safety, security, and unconditional love to Hutch.  

Actually, the most ridiculous part of this episode is Dobey saying they have to report for traffic control early the next morning.  Like, Hutch is actually going to be released as fit for work by then?  I don't think so.

Hutch's basic complaint about Starsky's unsafe driving might hold water, if he'd ever given any prior indication of being worried about such.  But he's usually just as eager as Starsky to catch the bad guys -- and is agreeable to whatever abuse his or Starsky's car needs to be subjected to in the pursuit of such.  So, I see Hutch's whole reason for faking amnesia as being yet another example of how he doesn't really know himself very well.  What he really wants is to have Starsky prove, yet again, that he loves him, rather than wanting Starsky to drive more safely.