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Targets Without a Badge Part 3

My local station aired part 2 yesterday, which I've already talked about.  And here is my post on the conclusion of the trilogy.




The psychology of the relationship between Starsky, Hutch, and Allison really intrigues me.  Hutch is interested in Allison as a lukewarm romantic interest.  Starsky is interested in using Allison as a way to compete with Hutch, but sees her as more a sibling relation.  And Allison is more a I-don't-need-a-man type of self-sufficient gal, who seems fond of both Starsky and Hutch, but doesn't give the impression of desiring to bed either of them -- or any man at all.  

What intrigues, too, is how Hutch usually strikes me as more the needier one between Starsky and Hutch. But when they're no longer anchored via being employed as cops, Starsky seems to need Hutch's nearness and companionship a whole lot more.  Before he knows Allison is Laura, he can't even take her on a date without bringing Hutch along.  (He gets three tickets to the concert.)  He so, so wants Hutch to come with him to a movie matinee -- even one showing a porn flick.  Apparently, it doesn't occur to him that people are allowed to go to movies by themselves.

One thing I really appreciate about the whole S&H series is how open it was about racial inequality -- rather than having a hush-hush "nice people don't talk about that" attitude.  The scene at Huggy's where Hutch orders orange juice, and they discuss the mortgage stuff, is just one of many, many examples. 

It really is quite a poignant moment when Hutch questions his and Starsky's tendency to rebel against "everything our fathers told us".  In the first season or two, such rebellion could have been attributed to hot-blooded youth.  But as time went on, Starsky and Hutch kept rebelling more and more intensely against authority figures, even as they matured in other ways.  As a viewer, I found it increasingly tiring when they argued against authority for its own sake -- in other words, with no goal or purpose.  That all climaxed with events that got Lionel killed, and Hutch, at least, is starting to realize that.

What's more interesting in the above scene is that it's hard to know how agreeable Starsky is.  He doesn't disagree with what Hutch says, but he only sort of vaguely nods his head.  It's hard to know what he's really feeling about the subject.  If nothing else, it shows yet again that Hutch is the one who metaphorically butts his head against the wall at the difficulties and unfairness of life, while Starsky tends to let the bad stuff roll off, as though he just accepts that "that's the way it is".  

For that matter, I squirm when Hutch more or less forces himself on Lionel's widow at Huggy's, wanting to talk with her about "how we feel".  Since when does she owe him that?  Starsky and Hutch screwed up big-time, concerning Lionel.  Hutch seems to be seeking forgiveness that he isn't owed, and trying to rationalize their actions.  It bothers me more that he says that Lionel "went in with his eyes wide open".  What I recall is that Lionel trusted Starsky and Hutch to not name him as a witness, and then to protect him.  He paid for that misplaced trust with his life.  

Getting back to personal relationships....  The climatic shootout at the old amusement park is quite dramatic, however contrived.  (I mean, why would a cold-blooded killer come up with the "take one step, then she takes one step" thing?  Soldier wants Starsky and Hutch dead.  Why not just blast them when he can?)  It's one of those moments where Starsky and Hutch are very lovey-dovey toward each other, without being at all outwardly lovey-dovey.   Hutch's concerned, "Why you?  Why not me?" when Starsky decides he's going to be the one to move forward, says so much more than just the words.

More poignant is right after the shootout.  The wonderful hand-on-stomach that Hutch does.  But particularly intriguing is the fact that neither of the guys make a move toward Allison to in any way comfort her.  Granted, she is wonderfully self-contained and doesn't come off as needing a big, strong man to soothe her after such a life-threatening event.  Yet, it's notable that neither Starsky nor Hutch even look at her.  And she doesn't seek out either of them -- as though she knows that it is they that have the tightest bond, and they need to decompress with each other, without her interference. 

Hutch is very sweet at the porno theater.  When Starsky (for some strange reason) gets all hot and bothered about having conversation before the movie starts, Hutch so nicely assures him that he'll shut up when the move actually starts.  And then, after Hutch realizes something about Claiborne and the time, and needs to prompt Starsky to leave just as the movie -- or, ur, "commercials" -- are starting, Hutch soothes by pointing out that Starsky is "much better looking" than the actor up there on screen. lol!

There's still two more episodes in the series after this, but I consider the tag for Part 3 to be the series' finale with the "I'm Starsky, he's Hutch" gag that ran throughout all four seasons.  They were such a single entity, that others saw one where there were supposedly two.  There's even the "Husky and Starch" t-shirts that the actors had made up and wore at the infamous beach photo shoot which, to me, seems a clear statement that they considered the characters such a single entity, that it couldn't be said where one ended and the other began.  That, on top of that lovely little tidbit on a talk show early in the first season, when DS read a card he'd received from a real policeman, complimenting the show, and it ended with, "P.S.  Are you Starsky or Hutch?"

Such a powerful statement all that is, for two characters who didn't look the least bit alike.  And yet, whatever specific names were given to two, others only saw one.