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Ninety Pounds of Trouble

There's That Scene in the hotel room.  And Hutch's dresses up so nice.  Otherwise... ugh.  It's like the thinking was, "This is going to be an incredibly stupid episode, anyway, so why bother with trying to have it make any sense?"




The whole premise of this episode is nuts.  I watched it with another fan in the 90s, who was my age but hated being referred to as a "grown up", and even she couldn't stand the fact that all these grown men were catering to an obnoxious teenager like Joey.  They've really got nothing better to do in their lives, except to keep encouraging her to annoy them?   They expect her to go away while they enable her?  What's more, why did Joey need to be the same Kristy McNichol character from "The Trap"?  Granted, her mother is an amusing piece of work, but this just seemed to be utter laziness on the part of the powers that be.

Starsky enters the squad room, looking stiff and tired, and tossing a small bakery bag toward Hutch (and then is surprised later when Hutch had some bites of what's inside) .  It's somewhat reminiscent of the subplot in "The Heavyweight", but we don't know what the story is behind his demeanor this time.  Joey enters to report a "hit and run", and Starsky tells her that he's getting tired of her games.  But he doesn't make her leave -- at least, not before he (for some strange reason) tells her he'll take her out for pizza the next day.

In Dobey's office, after giving the back story on why they need to bring in Eddie Carlyle, the hitman, Dobey warns Hutch to be careful because Carlyle is a "well-tuned killing machine."  Hutch has such a disturbingly nice smile when he counters, "What do you think we are, the school crossing guard?"  I really could do without the inference that Starsky and Hutch are killing machines, too.

It is a neat visual when Carlyle shoots through his hotel room door, and Hutch flings Starsky out of the way, and onto the other side of himself.

Carlyle falls off the fire escape after Starsky shoots at him, and lands face-down on top of a car.  The next moment, his face is looking just fine in the hospital.  Dobey mentions that the doctor says he'll recover.  So, is he unconscious because of being shot, or because of the fall?  Either way, he's later walking around as though he's perfectly healthy.

Starsky and Hutch come up with the plan to have Hutch take Carlyle's place, since Schiller and his people have never met him before.  As professionals, of course Starsky and Hutch are eager to take on a challenge.  But Starsky in particular is disturbingly cheerful about the idea of Hutch going undercover on such a dangerous assignment, even after Dobey warns of all the things that could go wrong "including Hutch winding up on a slab."

The hotel room.  Hutch is dressing up in Carlyle's clothes, and posing for Starsky, while Starsky sits on the sofa with a big, long, hard, rifle between his legs.  (Nope, no symbolism there.)  And then the super boner... er, bonus... Starsky running his eyes up and down Hutch's lean form.  **swoon**

Hutch asks, "What's the matter with you?"  Starsky is flirting with his eyes when he says, "Why don't you tell me?"   Hutch then goes into a defensive explanation that he's checking out Carlyle's "characteristics, like an actor working on a difficult role."  Starsky claims that rather than being difficult, it's impossible.  Hutch asks why, and Starsky replies, "You playing a classy character."  Huh?  Why is it impossible for Hutch to come off as classy?  He's done it numerous times.

Hutch then says, "Starsky, I may have the salary of a cop, but I have the soul of an aesthete."  I do love that word.  The reason I love it is because it came from PMG.  One of the very first lengthy interviews he did was for one of Rona Barrett's gossip magazines.  At one point, when he was asked what he looked for in a woman, he said (among other things), "I'm an aesthete.  I know that sounds like athlete's foot, but I'm an aesthete, so I like a pretty lady, too."  After all, it's not a very common word, so how else would they have come up with it?  In fact, it just now occurs to me that the reason Starsky needed to question Hutch's classiness, was just so it would lead to Hutch using that word.

And then Starsky asks what that word means, and Hutch mutters, "You know." (Suggesting that he himself doesn't know, lol.)  Starsky says, "No, I don't know."  Hutch doesn't (or can't) try to enlighten him.

Though the whole scene is cute, it really doesn't make sense that Hutch is so into the fact that he needs to be like an actor.  He behaves as though this is the first time he's ever gone undercover in a dangerous situation.

Anyway, the big bummer is that Starsky and Hutch are separated pretty much the rest of the episode,and neither have very interesting scenes.

Sid Archer is a bit of a compelling character.  Another one of the many women on the show who ends up trapped in an unwanted situation with powerful men.  I'd like to think that Starsky felt a little bit bad about wooing her.

The scene between Hutch and Joey's mother is pretty funny, especially when Mrs. Carston is worried about her missing golf clubs, in the trunk of the Mercedes, rather than her missing daughter.

Of course, Joey causes all kinds of trouble with her interference.  It really is dumb, at the end, how Hutch is so grateful that she "saved his life", when she's the one who put him in danger, in the first place.

Schiller's office is at the "Port of Los Angeles".  So, they are in Los Angeles, as opposed to Bay City.

Hutch's feigned execution of Starsky could have been interesting, if it would have been handled better  For one thing, how comes Damon doesn't question that Sid and "Carlyle" don't recognize each other?  For another, it's my understanding that even "blank" bullets can cause some damage, especially when shot as up close as Hutch shot Starsky.  I do like Starsky's surprised reaction, though, and then how he plays along.  It's hard to know if he and Hutch had already planned that Hutch would do that, if a situation came up where he needed to prove himself; or, if Starsky simply made the deduction, within a split second, of what Hutch was up to.

Anyway, that's the second time Starsky has pretended to be shot.  The first time was earlier in the season, in "The Game", when he was trying to lure Hutch in.

Of course, it makes no sense that the real Carlyle is perfectly healthy, and then escapes the hospital, and changes into nice clothes -- all in time to show up at Schiller's, so soon after Hutch "killed" Starsky.

Once there are two Carlyles in Schiller's office, what intrigues me is Hutch's demeanor.  I mean, he's got to be absolutely scared to death.  When they send for Sid, he knows she's going to identify which one is the real Carlyle.  And then once they decide to do away with him, it's hard not to wonder what's going through his mind.  He's very calm and cool -- almost like, "Oh, they're going to murder me.  Bummer." -- but his insides can't possibly be that calm about it.

Contemplating this is what prompted me to write Fallout, which was technically AU, because it pretends Joey doesn't exist.  It's my most favorite of the "lightweight h/c" that I've done.

Anyway, there's not much more to say about the episode.  Joey's role, and particularly how the adults behave toward her, keeps getting more and more unbelievable.  The climax is shoddy and corny.

The tag is only noteworthy in that Hutch mentions that he's "only a little younger" than Starsky, which is in line with their real life ages.