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The Psychic

A wonderful banter episode, and with peripheral poignancy.  Just that one little problem....

The little problem is that Hutch is the one who believes in psychics, and Starsky is the one who is skeptical to the point of agitation.  In the series up until now (and I'm pretty sure from here on out), Starsky has always been the one prone to believe in things beyond the five physical senses, while Hutch tends to blow off such.  So, the role switch is a little puzzling.  

The episode starts out with the same chase scenario, going after "Fireball", that begins first season "The Omaha Tiger".  This is one of two times that the show repeats an opening scenario.  (The other being the laundromat robbery at the beginning of both "Nightmare" and "The Crying Child".)  I wonder what the purpose of that is.  What, the scripts ran short, so they had to come up with another scene to use, after-the-fact?.  That doesn't seem likely, given that the global problem with writing has always been that scripts and stories, etc., always start out too long and need to be trimmed down.   I can't recall any other TV series I've ever watched where a scene in one episode is repeated in another episode (except, of course, for deliberate flashback episodes).  

But on with the actual episode....

Starsky's bizarre agitation starts before he ever meets the psychic, Joe Collandra.   Hutch is in an unusually sunny mood, as he brings their breakfast to the Torino, and Starsky seems to be irritable for no particular reason.  I confess that, during the first run when it hit the press that PMG wanted out of his contract, I did some rough calculations and decided that this was the episode being filmed when that fact became public.  I have absolutely nothing of substance to base my belief on.  I think it was my own way of explaining why Starsky seems more edgy than usual in this episode.  

Anyway, Hutch doesn't have the best solution for easing Starsky's mood.  He talks down to him.  He oh-so-calmly tells Starsky, "The underlying hostility that triggers outbursts of temper like that are usually associated with immaturity."   Which, of course, only serves to make Starsky all the more agitated and hostile, lol.  

After Starsky snaps at the dispatcher, she says, "Bad mood again, huh, Starsky?"

Did we miss an episode where Starsky turned over a new leaf and was in a perpetual state of hostility?

I love it when Collandra calls Huggy, "A two-bit hustler trying to make a fast buck."  Those are probably the truest words ever spoken about Huggy Bear.  

I can't believe they just let those kids go, who were trying to steal the Torino's tires.  Not exactly teaching them about consequences.  Surely, it wouldn't have taken much to call a black and white to come pick them up, and then have their parents called from the police station.  

Hutch gets a tad parental when he says to Starsky, "You of all people ought to know not to leave your keys in the ignition."

Poor Starsky.  He can't do anything right today.  

In terms of the idea of psychics, Starsky says, "Like the lady who predicted that the Russians were the first to land on the moon?"  Being his typical contrary self, Hutch asks, "How can you be so sure they didn't?" 

Starsky speaks the episode's second great truth.  He tells Hutch, "You're never wrong."  (I love the challenging expression on Starsky's face at that moment.)  Yes, Hutch does have an inclination for always needing to be right.  

Then, moments after Starsky almost slams the trunk down on Hutch's hands, Hutch says, "You  know, I had this dream one time...."  Starsky replies, "I've been meaning to talk to you about that."  LOL!  Now, that's a loaded line.  First, he sounds like he already knows what Hutch's dream was about.  Second, the subject matter is something that needs a discussion.  I'm not sure what he means, but it's pretty funny, any way one wants to look at it.  

After they approach the parked van at the amusement park, the little exchange about using Hutch's shirt to protect against fingerprints is just hilarious.  They are so married!  

Never mind that Hutch uses his left hand to touch the doors of the van.  

Doesn't it seem weird that the car wash owner knows so much about Julio (what he does in his spare time, etc.), when he doesn't seem to care about his people at all?  

The family that is the victim of the kidnapping is called Haymes, but Starsky pronounces it "Himes".  

For all his hostility that day, Starsky is the one who's mind is operating sharp enough to ask about Julio Guiterrez, thereby tying the murder case and the kidnapping case together.  Though I'm not sure why he would have drawn that conclusion, considering that the only coincidence was that the car wash was five minutes away from the Haymes home.  

The actor who plays Joe Collandra is really good in this.  I love the scene where he's trying to explain what his life is like, especially when he yells, "Do you think a psychic lives on a grant from the government?"  

For comic relief, we get the bar robbery scene.  

"Charlie" is an interesting accessory character.  I vaguely recall that in the novelization of this episode, she made some comment to Starsky about how her height, "would put your nose in an interesting place."  lol.  

The coin toss, to see who does the running, is interesting.  Hutch tosses it in the air as they're leaving Haymes' office.  Starsky is the first to call, "Heads."  So, Hutch calls, "Tails", and continues leaving, as though he has no interest in the outcome, or already knows what it's going to be.  Starsky is the only one to see the coin toss -- which means he can decide how it came up (they usually aren't honest with each other about the result of coin tosses); and yet, his expression suggests that he loses.  The first thought would be that he wants to be the runner because, of course, the runner's life is at stake.  But I wonder if he knows Hutch is going to be a lot faster than he is, with his long legs able to cover more ground, so Starsky's expression means the coin toss is irrelevant, and he's glum because he knows Hutch has to be the runner, to have any kind of chance at succeeding.   He's resigned to do the following, trying his best to save Hutch from being killed after it's over.  

Of course, the preparation for Hutch to do the running is one of the great dry, tense, banter scenes of the entire series.  Including when Starsky defends his leafing through the money as being because, "I thought I might buy some flowers for you."  When they're at the motorcycle, they're unusually non-emotive with each other, and yet we all know that their volleying words are nothing but emotion.  I guess they feel they don't have time to get mushy, except for Hutch's final "be careful" and arm clasp.  

Were the running scenes really so lacking in drama, that they felt they needed to include the ridiculous fight scene in the alley?  I think more than the allotted 30 seconds went by.  

Does anyone want to contemplate the morality of Starsky blowing up the bad guys' car with his elephant gun, after he thinks Hutch is killed?  I don't.  

I love the way they hang on each other in the broken door window.  It's such a gentle scene, after all their gruffness throughout the episode.  

I hope, after they found Joanna, that Starsky took Hutch home and gave him a hot, soothing bath.  In the next scene at Collandra's, his appearance and painful gestures begs comforting.  

So, apparently Starsky became a believer?  It's hard to know.  


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 26th, 2012 01:26 am (UTC)
I like that Starsky gets to be in a bad mood every once in a while, even saints have bad days sometimes. And it's nice that Hutch can be happy and not just a selfish grumpy know it all, all the time!LOL!

I love the scene when they are getting ready for the run. Hutch looks good in a bullet proof vest and I love the love that is passed between them.

I capped this a while back and I just loved every minute of it.

Thanks for the review.

Edited at 2012-11-26 03:11 am (UTC)
Nov. 26th, 2012 01:27 am (UTC)
One of my favorites! That " one little problem" is a mystery. Why is Starsky the grumpy nonbeliever? But it is actually one of the things that makes this ep so fun...makes for interesting interactions! Lots of great banter and great moments here.....
Nov. 26th, 2012 01:49 am (UTC)
I think believing in the possibility of psychic ability falls in line with Hutch's personality. He's a new age thinker--health food, yoga, biorhythms--not sure how long he stuck with any of them, but he did give them all a try with an open mind.

Nov. 26th, 2012 08:18 am (UTC)
I think that all non-believers/cynics eventually fall into the belief trap, and obviously a psychic is Hutch's could be. As Keri said, he can be open minded about things. I like the fun element in them swapping roles. We all have mood changes, people don't stay 100% true to their character the whole time. I'm generally a happy person, but when I bomb, it's war--lol. A bit like Starsky, I guess.

I love the bullet proof vest, too. I find something very erotic about Hutch in that vest! And the bad guys shooting Hutch presses my buttons--at least it does now. When I first watched it in the 70s, I was annoyed and upset that they dare shoot Hutch. How we change as we mature!!!!!

I love the scene with the kids. It played exactly as I would expect. They only take action against kids if made to by the wronged party.
Nov. 26th, 2012 08:51 pm (UTC)
I always wonder what happens with Collandra. They leave it so open-ended.

I must admit I love the amusement park scene. I love a carnival/circus/etc as backdrop; it adds such an interesting atmosphere.

I also like to imagine them going back later and having fun there, cheering up Starsky. :)

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )