Directed by Paul Stanley (The other Paul Stanley)
Written by Leslie Stevens
The saga of Sam Casey continues. At least, it does on DVD. The show is no longer on the network at this point in its run. It's been replaced by a show called The Fantastic Journey, which no one watched also. Thursday night from 8-9 was a bad time to be NBC. Up against The Waltons, Welcome Back, Kotter and Barney Miller. Maybe the network was throwing away Gemini Man for whatever reason. Who can say? (Well, I can't.) So, regardless, with the magic of the DVD set, we can watch the six episodes that did not air in the U.S. That is a good thing. But, is Escape Hatch a good episode? Yes. Yes, it is.
Be cool! I haven't disappeared from your lives yet
Jane Wyatt plays the oddly coiffed Ms. Carlisle who owns a huge number of ships, for cruising and for defense. In the middle of an exotic cruise, her crew kidnaps her. Soon after that, the government receives a video featuring Miss Carlisle announcing that she is selling all of her very valuable ships to a foreign power. Well, this can't happen. I know it, you know it. Intersect definitely knows it. So, Sam Casey is sent with Abby to the cruise ship to find out what the heck is going on. It involves turning invisible a lot, chicanery with early video technology, Abby in a tube top and all sorts of fun times.
Go Team Intersect!
(Oh... and Hi Sam!)
Selling out your country... what would Robert Young say about that?
This episode is written by Leslie Stevens, the show's creator. This is the first episode with his name on it as writer since the TV movie. So, I would imagine this is some sort of Mission Statement for where Stevens thought the show was going to go. But, the credits also state that Steven Bocho and Harve Bennett were co-creators. Their names are not on the TV movie so the network must have brought them in later on. I'd love to know what the changes made were. The addition of that 10 second failsafe thing, probably. Although, that becomes a big part of this episode so maybe Stevens did have something to do with that. At the end of the day, Stevens' name on it means it's probably going to be a good time. It is.
All Invisible Action!
Abby and Sam make a great team together. This one mixes in Pamela Franklin as the extremely cute cruise employee, Daphne. She helps our good guys out when Miss Carlisle is in the most trouble. Sam gets to be invisible a lot here. He manipulates one of those spinning wheel things in a casino to get Abby a seat at the captain's table. There is also an awesome Deck B, which is off limits with guards on the elevator and a secret recording studio where they are manipulating video to make Miss Carlisle seem like a traitor. One should get used to the portion of the set with the elevator. That will appear a lot.
(I noticed that this is the third episode of Gemini Man that gives a character a very defining characteristic so it can be used for something important later on. A blind woman on a train, a deaf Christian woman and now Miss Carlisle's odd wig.)
I would have watched The Love Boat more if she had been on it
The whole adventure has not one, but two, time deadlines on it. Sam is going to run out of his 15 minutes. Plus, at 10PM, the deals will go through and the ships will be transferred to the bad guys. The tension builds as the episode goes along. Daphne and Abby are stuck in a cabin. Sam is running out of time trying to get Jane Wyatt out to prove to the Navy that she is under duress. Things arc up and up. It's never Hitchcock level suspense but it's good stuff. Stevens has worked out the plotting. The slow reveal of how the video was manipulated, with an early discovery of sound not syncing to the lips, is cool. Maybe a touch far-fetched. But, when you have Sam Casey turning invisible with the help of an atomic watch, Far-Fetched is not even part of the equation.
It's too bad that America didn't get to see this episode. It's a good one. It's fun, loaded with suspense, clever and it has lots of Sam and Abby doing what they do best: saving people. Leslie Stevens did a fine job of making The Invisible man a la James Bond via a surfer. However, things are about to get tricky. With the next episode, the format of the show would begin to change slightly. The next episode doesn't do it in a bad way but doesn't bode well for the future of the show. A future, technically, that the show didn't actually have. Things will begin to go off the rails soon... That's too bad.
But, I will not go out on a down note! Enjoy these screenshots of the sequence where Abby flags down the cruise ship. There is a surprise at the end...
One continuous shot...
Around the boat... Sam is hiding...
Still moving around the boat...
Insert of Sam turning himself invisible...
But... upon cutting back to the same shot...
Yes, on the far right, lower corner...
That is Sam's hunky (visible) shoulder.
Ducking down one second late.