Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Gemini Man Episode 7 - 8, 9, 10... You're Dead

Never aired on the network
Directed by Andy Sidaris and Alan Crosland
Teleplay by Frank Telford and Richard Fielder
Story by Richard Fielder
(I know. Andy Sidaris! I bet he did the boxing scenes.)

And the format of the episodes begins to change... Slowly in this episode. But, more forcefully in the next. Gemini Man had always been about Sam Casey, Abby & Leonard helping folks via the power of Intersect! The three main characters (and always Sam) were generally at the front of each episode. Many times, the episode would be about them.

 Is Leonard about to turn invisible?

That was awesome. Most shows of this time period are about placing the lead characters into other people's worlds and, at times, the leads can become almost secondary. One example is Columbo. It's all about the killer with appearances from Lt. Columbo. Sometimes Columbo doesn't appear until 10, 20 minutes into the episode. That, however, is an example of that format being done very well. In other shows, the main character is inserted into someone else's story. It's the supporting character (generally to never be seen again) that gets all the character development and the story arc. Quite a few episodes of The Rockford Files are like that. (However, James Garner's charm can steamroll all else there.)

Phone Montage!
All from the opening pre-credit teaser 

Gemini Man always kept its focus more on Sam and Pals. (Although, they never actually did an episode where the bad guys find out about Sam's invisibility and try to kidnap him, which seems like a super obvious one.) With 8, 9, 10... You're Dead, for much of the time the focus is on the boxer Arch Kingston and his dad, Pop. Basically, this episode begins with Abby & Leonard watching a boxing match where it looks like Kingston is going to throw the fight. Everyone is looking around for Sam. Then, Leonard tells Abby a story...  the story of the last 24 hours.

 It's Harry O's friend! And Zorro too...

 Texas Leonard!

Leonard is friends with Arch and Pop. Arch is about to fight a championship match to benefit sickle cell anemia, from which his brother died. But, a crook named Trent wants him to throw the fight. Sam is sent to help Arch out. Chicanery ensues. Pop is kidnapped. The time of the fight is nigh! Will Sam rescue Pop in time for Arch to whoop his opponent's behind?

 The kids follow The Champ everywhere

I like Arch. I like Pop. Trent is played by Henry Darrow, Harry O's first cop buddy in Season 1 of that show. This episode is well paced and entertaining. Leonard dresses as a wealthy Texan to insinuate himself into Trent's poker game and get Invisible Sam into the penthouse. Abby is, sadly, only in the framing sections. The word "Honky" is used. Twice. Sam pretends to be Irish but does NOT put on an Irish accent. Spoiler: Good triumphs. But, there is one small issue...

Getting beat up by an invisible man hurts

Somewhere right after the start of the flashback until about the halfway point the main characters here are Arch, Pop and Trent. Arch is cool. Pop is very religious. Trent is pretty sleazy. But, for a long stretch, our main characters are not really doing much. This, to me, is what most 70s hour long drama did. It's pretty standard. The problem is that the points where I love Gemini Man the most are when a madman with a giant robot is threatening Intersect or when Sam is making pals with a trucker who keeps CB-singing at him or Sam & Abby teamed up on a cruise ship to find a kidnapped woman. When the characters starring in the show are the stars of the show. For a bit of this episode, our stars kind of leave the limelight. That's too bad.

 Sneaky Sam!
(I just like this shot.)

The episode holds itself together, though. When Leonard puts on that cowboy hat, we're back in Gemini Man Town, Population Dan. There's a possibility that the Pop-related shenanigans involving Sam turning invisible and visible a lot and beating up thugs in a hidden room in the penthouse might be something we've seen before. But, there is enough variety here in the escape sequence (coupled with Pop's faith in God and miracles so that Sam's invisibility seems natural to him) to keep it fun. And the suspense is milked nicely because even after Pop is brought down to the ring and Arch sees he's safe...  Arch doesn't have the energy to beat his opponent so Sam has to "help" him a bit.

After the episode...
The Gang hangs out (for maybe the last time)

This episode works. The question is: Does it set a precedent for future episodes? (That nobody saw.) The answer is: Yes. In fact, the next episode is probably the first one where I will not use the term "fun" in the review. And I will also rarely use the name Abby, which is a shame.

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