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Black and Blue

This episode is pretty tolerable for being one where Starsky and Hutch are separated through most of it, but it's still a challenge to get past the implausibility of the opening scenes.

Hutch is never too tired, or hurt, to be contrary.  He doesn't want to play Starsky's game, but he eventually plays after Starsky persuades enough.  Then he denies that he was thinking what he said he was thinking as he's being wheeled into emergency.

How likely is it that homicide detectives would respond to a mere 211 (robbery) call?  Seems like they'd leave it to the black and whites.

Of course, the shooting scenario defies explanation, mostly in terms of Starsky's behavior.  When he briefly checks Hutch before running into the street, he doesn't do anything to stop the bleedling?  Then, after running into the street, why not take the time to get on the radio in Hutch's car and call an ambulance, which would surely respond much faster via the police?   Then he runs back inside to tend to Hutch, looks mildly alarmed at the amount of blood, and does absolutely NO first aid, and doesn't go looking for a phone?  Sheesh!

Then the hospital is more frustrating.  I can buy that some hospitals don't let cops break their precious rules, but I bet a lot of them make special circumstances for cops, firefighters, military personnel and the like.  And here's the kicker -- they aren't supposed to give Starsky any information because he's not a family member, but the doctor tells Starsky that Mrs. Greene has terminal cancer, based upon the fact that he's a cop?  Okay, granted, that's all actually very realistic -- it's not the rules that matter, but how each individual employee chooses to administer them.

Still, the lack of any TLC for Hutch is particularly frustrating.  The situation with Mrs. Greene  would be heart warming if it wasn't at the expense of precious time that could have been spent with Hutch.

Yet, considering that these opening scenes are so incomprehensible for viewers that watch because of the relationship, I do mostly like how this episode proceeds, considering that Hutch is laid up at the hospital.  Starsky's concern and restlessness is palatable, especially considering that he knows Hutch is going to be all right.

I've seen some fanfic say that Hutch was shot in the chest.  That's inconceivable to me.  Granted, Starsky gives a very vague "missed his heart by this much" indication to Meredith (remember, men don't know how to measure), but later Hutch says, "Another six inches, and it might have all been over."  Six inches from one's heart is hardly the chest, unless it's on the other side of his body. Clearly, with his sling and all, and the degree of blood (which surely would have been more extensive with a chest wound) -- to say nothing of how quickly Hutch was alert and talking -- Hutch was shot in the shoulder.

I love Starsky's attitude toward Meredith, and I love how Meredith handles him.  Starsky's bitchy, which is quite understandable, and he's not interested in being patronizing.  But Meredith handles it easily.  I love Starsky's line about, "Put your head closer to the window so everyone can see you" when she mentions meeting two departmental quotas.

I love, too, how Starsky expresses how much Hutch's strength and capabilities mean to him, by expressing concern about how someone as petite as Meredith can "protect my delicate features".  The way Meredith shows how able she is, is a bit over the top.  But at least it put them on a different wavelength, because it would have gotten rather tiring for them to be snapping at each other throughout the episode.

I also like that, when they go to bed together, neither of them try to pretend it's anything other than the one-night-stand that it is.  They're both very adult about it.

Hutch is wonderful in the hospital.  Him hitting his head on the wooden thing when he hears Starsky is partnered with a woman is a nice touch.  Also, the way he is trying to think through -- moreso than Dobey is -- about how the crime ring works.  In fact, when Dobey says that all Hutch needs to worry about is getting better and the rest of them will get the thieving kids, Hutch says softly, yet emphatically, "Those kids almost killed me."

Then, when Starsky visits Hutch in the hospital, he's being quite sincere when he answers Huggy's phone call and indicates that Hutch is doing better than him.  When Starsky rushes to leave, and Hutch says, "Wait a minute, partner, fill me in", it sounds a bit cold when Starsky says, "My partner's already 'filled in'" and leaves.  But I'd like to think that Starsky is also considering that he doesn't want Hutch thinking about cop stuff.

(I really could do without the flirtatious nurse.  I think that's a male fantasy that nurses are going to flirt with them in the hospital.)

But thank goodness that Hutch does want to keep thinking about cop stuff, and most particularly the case.  DS has some really wonderful scenes, playing hurt and with limited capacity, while also being determined.  Walking around in that bloodied shirt, accompanied by painful grimaces, is quite profound.  He also bats his eyelashes a lot, which has quite a unique effect on the viewer (if not the other characters).

When Hutch and Dobey are driving to the answering service, they pass by a business called S&H Dry Cleaners, with the S&H quite prominent in the sign.

Of course, it is frustrating once again that, in the final scenes, Hutch still doesn't get any TLC for what he's been through.  That prompted me to write the story Hero, which is one long, plotless h/c piece, where Starsky drives Hutch home and takes detailed care of him.