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The Deadly Imposter

This isn't one of my favorite episodes to sit through.  For one thing, no matter how determined I am to listen, I never quite seem to understand the nuances of what's going on, other than Colby is supposed to kill somebody, and pretends to be looking for his ex-wife and child in order to set it up.  For another, there's too many Colby et al scenes.  

Starsky always gets along well with motherly types.  He doesn't mind that Maggie McMillan is a total put-on.  He knows just how to talk to her, and enjoys doing so.   I tend to think Hutch's mother wasn't particularly motherly, so I've always wondered what Starsky would think of her.   

I love how, after Hutch pops up from the laundry basket, Colby says, "All right, where's the other one?"  It's like they don't have individual names, because he knows StarskyHutch as a single entity, going back to their academy days.  

Starsky says to Colby, "How are you, kid?" -- even though they're all presumably about the same age.  Or maybe Starsky and Hutch each entered the police academy at a later age than most?   And yet, the trio was close knit enough that they were "The Three Corcisan Brothers".  Which sort of defies Colby referring to the Starsky and Hutch as such a tight pair, that the missing one is "the other one".  

This scene of meeting up with Colby is another reason I can't buy Vietnam as being a part of Starsky and/or Hutch's past.  If they're sympathizing with Colby about having been in a POW camp for five years, it just seems like they would have brought up their own war experience.   You know?

It's weird how Hutch says, "We've got a party tonight" as an afterthought.  Like, he and Starsky have parties so often that they don't have to do much planning.  

Boy, there sure are lots of people at the party.  How is it that they're friendly with so many people, especially considering how, in the pilot, so many "hang out at a bar" people dislike them because they talk down to everybody?  The only explanation I can think of us that the party goers are all cops, along with their dates.  And how is it the poor Fifi gets stuck serving everybody?  What?  It's like, "The fat girl gets to join in as long as she plays servant and gets to be demeaned?"  Nobody wants her around, but for some reason she's there, and getting lots of camera time.

In short, I'm really not impressed with this attempt to show that Starsky and Hutch are part of the "swinging 70s" youth.  Their later lack of much socializing makes much more sense to me, for their occupations and personalities.  And if this is merely the network trying to show how heterosexual they are, it's an attempt that's way overblown.  

It's a cute scene with Starsky wanting to come on to the girl walking down the street.  (Ditto the later street scene of Starsky looking at a girlie magazine while Hutch is on the phone.)  I guess he struck out at the party after Colby appeared, beaten up.

It's such a cute "they're so married" scene at the vacant lot, when Hutch is frustrated and yelling at Starsky.

I just love, at Huggy's, after Hutch takes the phone call, he comes back to the table where Starsky and Colby are, and leans on Starsky's outstretched leg while he informs him that they have to go back into work.  That ease and freedom in violating Starskys personal space... melt city!

In the alley scene where Huggy gets beat up, and Colby signals the bad guy to slug him... I was once watching this episode with a boyfriend and his brother's family in the 80s.   The brother scoffed that it was cheesy 70s television, like he thought it was one stunt guy trying to signal another stunt guy.  I didn't bother trying to explain that it was an actual part of the episode.

Earlier, in that back alley, Colby had pretended to be drunk while muttering to Huggy about "Starsky and Hutch" and "Husky and Starch".  He says, "I was the first one to call them that."  I'm not sure which pair of names he means.  But I love the symbolism of the latter name, for it suggest that the two are so blended that it's hard to know where one ends and the other begins.

I guess being beat up by "an associate" also explains why Colby had shown up at Hutch's cottage all beat up... it was just to garner sympathy and a sense of urgency.

At the hospital, Hutch tells Colby to "go to my place" and get a hot shower and change of clothes.  Once again, it's Hutch putting up those who are in trouble.  Starsky never offers.

Okay, this is where I get confused.  Karen Karpel references her ex-husband "John", who was killed in Vietnam.  Yet, Colby is not her ex-husband.  So, if his real name is John Colby, and Hutch tells Karen that her ex-husband John is there to see her, and yet he isn't really her ex-husband... I just don't understand all that.  Or is it all based on the sheer coincidence that Colby and Karen's ex-husband share the first name John and Vietnam experience, and that was part of Colby's master plan of getting close to her?

We'll overlook that since Colby is a cold-blooded killer, he probably would have knifed Hutch in the spine, instead of merely knocking him out.  

But since Hutch was merely knocked out, it makes for some sweet, albeit minor, hurt/comfort moments.  I just love how Hutch doesn't try to pretend it doesn't hurt, and how Starsky wants to fuss over him.  And then when Hutch holds up his hand like he has a thought, and Starsky nods and asks Dobey for Karpel's address -- showing they're thinking the same thing and not needing words.  

When Colby meets with a minion on the beach, why doesn't Karen Karpel get out of the car and try to run to safety?

The climax is pretty typical gun play, until it reaches the point where Hutch confronts Colby on the beach.  It doesn't make sense that Colby says, "I don't kill anyone I'm not paid to kill", and yet he murdered that young woman who recognized him from Florida.  So, that line still doesn't explain why he didn't kill Hutch when he had the chance.

A nice bit of choreography for the fight Colby and Hutch have.  And how fantastic the way Starsky takes liberties with Hutch's person and smoothly pulls the handcuffs from Hutch's back pocket.  Then Hutch puts his hand on Starsky's shoulder in appreciation -- surely, because he's winded and Starsky is handling Colby from here, but also because, I suspect, Hutch is acknowledging who it is that he trusts from his academy days.  

Of course, the tag introduces Abigail "Abbey" Crabtree, who shows up in at least a couple of more episodes as Hutch's girlfriend.  She leaves him in "Vendetta".