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Shootout

Here's to the little back office that allowed for everything wonderful.....




In one of my earliest LJ entries last February, I talked about how seeing "Shootout", when it originally aired December 17, 1975, still is easily one of the top five most significant events that shaped my life.   This time around, I'm much more focused on its place in canon.  

Lots of manhandling in the opening scene, lol.  

Hutch steals candy out of Starsky's hand, and Starsky just accepts it and gets something else for himself.  It's ironic that the whole conversation is Hutch lecturing Starsky about proper eating, and yet Hutch wants a sweet snack.  Hutch also apparently had the say-so that day about lunch, because Starsky references eating "seaweed", and now Hutch wants them to go back to his place and have scrambled eggs.  It's like it doesn't even occur to them to maybe have dinner apart, especially since they have such different preferences.  Anyway, Hutch walks away when Starsky starts to detail what he wants.  

When it's back to the interrogation room, Harry wants to talk about how innocent he is, and Hutch wants to talk about Starsky.  Funny that, while Hutch usually likes to be so contrary, he gives the impression that he'll go and get the coffee just because Starsky says so.  

Starsky talks like Hutch "has a date tonight", which Hutch doesn't deny.  After all, he and Starsky pretty much had just made a date out in the hall, lol.  

I love how Hutch feigns being fearful when Starsky suggests he go for coffee.

Those poor bad guys, Tom and Joey.  They've got to stay in a motel room with super flat pillows.  

It's so cute that, ultimately, Hutch ends up going where Starsky wants, despite him having walked away from Starsky's suggestion earlier.  But, for Starsky, the fact that he "wins" where to have dinner isn't what he really wants.  He continues to babble about how much Hutch is going to like being there.  He wants Hutch's attention.  In fact, when he orders, he's looking at Hutch, rather than at Theresa.  For him, this isn't about dinner, but just being with Hutch.  

And, of course, he does have Hutch's full attention.  Hutch is so attentive that he recognizes the signs that Starsky's bladder is full.  And Starsky is so attentive to Hutch that he can't simply go to the men's room.  First, he has to express appreciation for Hutch recognizing his full bladder by calling Hutch "a regular shaft of sunlight", and then he gets all insecure when Hutch stands up, too, and he wants to know what Hutch is doing.  And then is eager to give Hutch change for the music Hutch wants to listen to, but Hutch says, "It's free."  Starsky almost seems disappointed that he couldn't give Hutch money.

Really, just from this little bit alone, the guys come across as so co-dependent upon each other, and so tuned in to each other, it seems like it could be a case study for an advanced psychology class.

This is very much a "Hutch under stress" episode, and it starts at the jukebox.  I just love his little nuances of expression when Tom puts a gun in his back.  You know Hutch is frantically trying to figure out the best way to handle this, and what should he do, especially considering that he and Starsky are separated at the moment.  

Joey is all tough-guy bluster.  Because when he comes through the kitchen, after Starsky has been shot, it's like he's never really been around blood before, and he's pretty rattled.  I also think, for everyone there, that seeing Hutch's intense concern brings home the fact that there isn't anything glorious about shooting somebody.  

I love how Hutch says, no nicely, that he needs to take Starsky to the hospital.  It's my understanding that cops are considered to be on duty 24 hours a day, but Hutch has thrown that all out the window.  All he cares about is Starsky, and he has no concern about why the shots were fired, and that is such an incredibly genuine, tender, loving thing.  

For that matter, I consider a big part of Starsky and Hutch's interaction in this episode to be parent/child.  Hutch is so extremely tender and nurturing, in a way that fathers aren't, and that best friends aren't.  Even when he earlier recognized the signs that Starsky had to pee, is more like a mother would be toward a child.  

Kudos to PMG for his ongoing little writhes and winces of pain.  He does that so well.  

For the longest time, I thought it had to be stunt doubles that did the "carry" scene.  After all, it was shot from above, and the rule is, if you don't see the actors' faces clearly, then it isn't them.  But all the behind-the-scenes chatter, as well as clearer DVDs, indicate that it's really DS carrying PMG.  It just blows my mind and makes me cringe.  I don't understand how he can carry him like that.  In fandom, it's been discussed throughout the decades how unrealistic some hurt/comfort situations are, because writers put the characters in physical positions, relative to each other, that aren't possible.  But one grown man carrying another grown man, like a child in his arms (rather than over his shoulder), is hereby proven here to be indeed possible.  

Oh gosh, the first scene in the back room.  Hutch is so wholly focused on Starsky, constantly muttering, "take it easy", tenderly beckoning him to shift positions.   It's just the most intense hurt/comfort.  Not that comparisons really matter, but in "The Fix", Hutch was pretty much in his own world.  The beauty of the h/c in this episode -- which might very well be the greatest h/c of any piece of media of all time -- is that Starsky is aware enough that they're able to interact.  And Hutch is so concerned, and so sweet, while under so much stress.....

The guys are so into their h/c-ness, that Starsky's hand flops into Hutch's crotch, and they just let the film keep rolling.  

Once Theresa enters the room with supplies, then Hutch does start to wonder how he's going to get them out of there.  In the meantime, Starsky decides that Hutch's knee is a wonderful security blanket, and he tries his hardest not to let it out of his grip.  

There is a moment of miscue, though.  After Theresa goes silent after saying too much, Hutch goes into another round of "take it easy", and then Starsky grabs Hutch's knee with his second hand.  It always strikes me that Starsky/PMG was supposed to grab the knee first, and then Hutch was supposed to go into another string of "take it easy"s.  

Anyway, Hutch goes way beyond the normal television fare of taking care of an injured person. He's got Starsky all covered up with anything he can get his hands on, has done his best to stop the bleeding with tablecloths, applies a wet compress to his head....  And, in the midst of all his efforts, he decides it's all Theresa's fault that Starsky got shot.  I just love that.  I don't have anything against Theresa, but I just love how Hutch's feelings toward her aren't swayed at all by the fact that she's a svelte female.  That fact alone makes this episode way, way different from anything else on television at the time.  

Of course, when Hutch finally has to leave the office, after wiping blood from his hands, Starsky's first whispered word is, "Hutch?"  He, too, isn't interested in the female around.  He reaches for a hand that, unfortunately, isn't Hutch's.  

Theresa later comes out of the back office and says to Hutch, "I think he needs you."  Too bad we don't see how Starsky communicated such.  Maybe he just kept murmuring, "Hutch", and Theresa felt helpless to ease his distress.  

Of course, as soon as Hutch goes back to the office and sits beside Starsky, Starsky's hands want to reach for that knee again.  

It's such a neat tidbit that Hutch tries to wet Starsky's mouth with the damp cloth, but Starsky doesn't like how it tastes.  That's such an unusual thing to occur during a caretaking scene, that I have to wonder if Starsky was supposed to bite down on the cloth as a way of getting water, and it truly did "taste awful", so maybe they just decided to use that bit of realism in the scene.  And then Hutch's expression as he bathes Starsky's face... he just really seems to relish his role as caretaker.  It's a moment's respite from having to think about how he's going to save their lives.  In fact, it's Starsky who asks, "What are we going to do?"  He knows he can't leave the burden all up to Hutch.  

Another unique moment when Hutch takes out his pocket watch and asks, "What time you got?" and poor Starsky can't move his arms enough to see his wristwatch.  And then when Hutch notices, he turns into a big softie all over again, and gives Starsky his pocket watch.  After they discuss strategy, Starsky lightens up the moment -- with Hutch oh-so-attentive -- and references Butch Cassidy and Sundance.

Poor Hutch.  Just as he leaves, Starsky mutters, "The next time you want scrambled eggs, don't let me talk you out of it."  The look on Hutch's face, as he again is plunged into the seriousness of their situation.  

I really can't blame Robin for trying to do what she can to get herself out of there alive.  Just sitting around waiting for others to call the shots doesn't make much sense.  Still, how interesting that Joey ends up recognizing her lack of integrity, since she'll "be anything you want me to be".  Now that she's alienated the other men in the room, she tries Hutch.  He doesn't even look at her, but ends up giving the advice, "Maybe you have to give a little."

At fourteen-til-twelve, Starsky reaches for the pitcher on the floor, which is rather far from the sofa.  How did it get that far away?  When we last saw him, he was cradling it.  

There's a blatant error in the logistics of this.  Theresa tells Jimmy that the bad guys mentioned, "The accident my mother would have", if she didn't help them set up Vic Monty.  Yet, later, Hutch tells her, "They won't touch you -- you're family."  If Theresa is family, then isn't her mother also family?  

What an ironic situation, that Hutch ends up having to attack Jimmy, thereby defending the bad guys, for the sake of everyone's safety.  

It really doesn't make sense that, ten minutes before Vic Monty is supposed to arrive, Tom allows Hutch to go back and check on Starsky.  I almost wonder if the fact that Hutch attacked Jimmy is what makes Tom trust him a little more.  Yet, he's such a professional hitman, it doesn't seem that he would let that sway him.  

But thank goodness he does let Hutch check on Starsky.  It's the best scene of all.

Hutch has got Starsky cradled on the floor.  And what a great line when Starsky says, "I thought they'd killed you" and Hutch asked, "Is that what you're doing on the floor?"  Then Starsky mutters something about tunneling out, lol.

But poor Hutch is no longer amused.  Starsky's arm flops to one side, so Hutch thinks it might be broken.  He picks it up by the sleeve and feels along it.  And then, his voice is so, so tender, when he asks, "Are you sure your arm's all right?"  And Starsky says, "Couldn't be better.  I told you:  Gene Autry gets it there all the time."  (Starsky apparently thinks Hutch is still talking about his shoulder wound.)  And then Hutch feels Starsky's ribs, worried that he might have hurt them when he fell.  The tenderness and love in these gestures is just beyond words.

And then Starsky wants to know, "How do I look?"  Without looking at him, Hutch automatically replies, "You look terrific."  Starsky obviously knows that's a lie, and says dryly, "I bet I do."

And then it's another one of those ultra, ultra tender moments from Hutch, when he asks so sweetly, "You want me to sit you up?"  I mean, he's got about eight minutes to figure out how to save everybody, but nothing's going to detract from him taking whatever moments he can to non-sexually make love to his buddy.  

He calls Starsky "a big lug", and Starsky offers to "try to help" and Hutch gasps, "move your legs for me."  In this intensity of who-knows-how-many remaining moments, they're still very much on the same wave length.  

There's more frantic efforts of Hutch to make Starsky comfortable, and one can see that it's getting to Hutch that he isn't sure how he's going to save them.  He's breathing heavier than Starsky is.  It's such a poignant moment when he leans his outstretched hand against the wall.  At that moment, he's both the tender maternal figure, as well as the heroic paternal figure.  The weight of their world is on his shoulders.  It's all up to him.  

Later, when he gets the gun, he has hope, but it's Starsky who is starting to realize the seriousness of their situation.  He banters, but then is sorry for joking about Hutch "wanting to get your teeth capped."  He's so worried when he says, "See ya."  But, of course, that's after them taking a moment to rest their foreheads together.

They love each other so, so much.

I watch the tag so infrequently, that I forgot that Huggy calls Starsky, "David Michael Starsky".  So, we do officially have his full name.  I know some thoroughly detest the tag for its meanness, but surely Starsky's small audience didn't go far.  It's a typical Hutchinson stunt.

Plus, it just doesn't jibe to have Starsky mutter about "feeling all alone in the world" and that "nobody loves you".  How can anyone feel sorry for him, after the treatment he got at Hutch's hands during this episode?

"Shootout" might be the purest example of hurt/comfort that there is.