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The Action

For me, this is easily a bottom five episode.

For starters, Starsky and Hutch aren't the least bit convincing as high rollers.  They both look way out of place.  And the fact that they come as a pair is all the more odd for addicted gamblers.  If the Malborough Club is run by such bad-asses, it seems them being paired up and so phoney would be a big red flag that something was up.

The dialogue throughout makes no sense.  There's the automatic animosity with the guy in charge of Vice, and weird dialogue at Ted's family dinner, all the way up through the silliness about Starsky and Hutch arguing about digging each other's graves.   It's like trying to force something out of a story that didn't have much plot to begin with.

The "sweat contest" in the steam room makes me want to look away.  They both look like they're straining to have a bowel movement.  And if they're in a steam room, already sweating, how can they tell a new drop of sweat from old sweat or from water?

The only warm moment in the entire thing is when the truck first starts moving, causing Hutch to fall over, and Starsky quietly asks, "Are you okay?"

Hutch smokes for one scene in this episode (I wonder why he wasn't doing it the second night), prompting speculation that he was once a smoker.  I hope not.  Because if he was a prior smoker, then he would have had to be an addict.  And for an addict to smoke even just a little bit... well, I don't think there's any such thing as being "a little bit addicted".  For that matter, the idea that the likable Freddy can stop gambling "cold turkey" seems highly naive.  Or maybe I've just been subjected to way too much of Dr. Drew Pinsky's teachings.

Hutch is fine with Starsky carrying the briefcase of money, and counting out bills.  But he sure doesn't like Starsky touching money at the gambling table.  It's reminiscent of "Las Vegas Strangler", when Hutch gets all bossy and controlling and has to take all the money from him.  Just exactly what is Hutch so insecure about?  What godawful thing is going to happen if Starsky touches money?  And yet, he's perfectly fine with Starsky doing the rolling the second night -- I guess because, if Starsky makes a mistake, then blowing the case will be all his fault.

Just like, when Huggy takes Starsky literally about placing a $1000 bet on Salty Babe, Hutch is all over Starsky for blowing their money.  Never mind that Hutch didn't have any objections to Starsky giving Huggy a phoney call from the club (which Huggy understandably thought was real).

This feels like an overly bland episode, doing a very bad job of trying to spice things up with bizarre dialogue.  It doesn't succeed, and is the one of two very bad apples in an otherwise decent season.