SCORE: 2 out of 4 Tennis Balls
March 9, 1977
Mood Ring: Gray
The Bionic Woman helped a little girl who was a brat but really she was just sad because her mom died and her father was a crook. Jaime started a campfire without matches in the woods. I want to be a bionic girl scout like her someday except I don’t want to eat a stick.
THE BIONIC WOMAN 2x18
The episode that caused Helen to quit the series for good. Was it something we broke?
March 18, 2014
Dear Bionic Blondes,
Mood Ring: Green
Tonight we get to sit back and enjoy what I consider a justjeraverage Bionic Woman ep... mildly consisting of two, seemingly mixed audience gender stories. Plot A: Jaime helps a poor little girl who suffers from PTSD, which was more Lifetime Movieish and sweet and completely drew me in. Plot B was something about a cranky Vietnam army vet stealing technology to get even, which for me had all the excitement of Military Channel programming at 2 am. (Also because it's soldierly, I'm sure it was politely plagiarized from Steve's show anyway.)
Tonight's viewing supplies: An internet connection so you can wander off and check your Pinthingy page during the boring army base break-in scenes. Plus two or more martinis depending on your tolerance for bratty kids breaking your things (Plus a standby, because we have to raise a toast to Helen; more on this later).
As for snacks, I recommend the wilderness survival route with Girl Scout cookies, trail mix and smores. However, everything must be eaten from paper plates, no exceptions. Ready? Set... show!
I Saw What You Did: Hooray the Bionic Woman was precisely on time tonight! We open in her classroom on the air base, where Jaime is sitting at her desk supervising her student named "Arty" —who appears to be serving some kind of after-school detention. (Yeah, so that'll teach you to praise Lisa Galloway as "the best teacher in the world" in Deadly Ringer. Evidently the real √ Miss Sommers was not amused.) But I did notice Jaime's wearing the same lovely, emerald green satin-y blouse that shows up again next season to color-coordinate with Helen Hunt's green acting skills. (Sanctuary Earth)
Arty keeps rocking in his chair while he's writing something and it's driving Jaime nuts so stop it! She complains that she "told the janitor to fix that chair" and he hasn't done it and Artie chimes in and says yeah, he told the janitor to fix it, too. (Hint: perhaps said janitor suffers from lack of motivation because everybody—including the kids—tells him what to do instead of politely asking. No charge for this basic management tip. Carry on.)
Suddenly Oscar shows up, so Jaime excuses Arty because get lost kid, it's time to talk undercover agent stuff.
While Oscar is describing her upcoming weekend mission, Jaime decides to multi-task OSI with her OCD, and take the crooked chair matter into her own hands. She grabs a hand saw from the back shelf (because doesn't every classroom have one of these?), props the chair up on her desk, comparatively tape-measures the legs, and begins to bionic-saw one of them down to make it even.
Jaime will go on to completely ignore the New Yankee Workshop cardinal rule to measure twice, cut once, and saws the chair legs down 3 times—but they will still come out aggravatingly uneven.
Hallelujah! *drum roll* At last, I am thrilled to report the (practically perfect) Bionic Woman is no longer just inept at nursing. We can now officially add "light carpentry skills" to Jaime's list of monumental #fails. Sure, she can bionic hammer an occasional nail, but UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you ever allow this woman anywhere near your next barn raising. Unless you are purposely going for that leaning tower of Pisa look.
Also sadly since Jesus was a carpenter, I guess this cancels her membership in The Divinity club. *mails halo and wings back to the Vatican* But I still solidly maintain based on visual evidence that Sister Jaime is taller than him so there's still that.
Where was I? Oh yeah, Oscar is assigning tonight's plots. Jaime has to give up her weekend to go on a wilderness survival training excursion with a military Major, because apparently being stranded on a deserted island in Fly Jaime doesn't qualify for a Girl Scout badge.
But her REAL purpose is to spy on this Major John Cross and assess whether or not he is mentally stable. Meanwhile, his Vietnamese-American daughter is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, having sadly witnessed her mother die in a civilian casualty incident in their war-torn village, and has not been able to speak ever since. No question, our future Dr. Sommers would like to pick what's behind door number 2, please.
When Major Cross arrives in the classroom with his daughter Kim, for a split second I thought he was going to become another Not!Steve and Jaime even almost flirted with him but then he gave this cold, I have anger issues AND probably a dead tarantula collection 'hi' back, and she was all like never mind I like my men in uniform to be ranked Colonels anyway so Imma focus on this adorable little troubled child instead.
I especially love how Jaime instantly approbates Helen and Jim to babysit Kim while she and Major Loss Cross go off and do these wilderness scenes. Because AARP people are always home with nothing better to do.
The Call Is Coming From Inside The House: Then the major asks to borrow Jaime's teacher phone while she and Oscar and Kim leave so he can BLATANTLY RIGHT THERE ON THE AIR FORCE BASE make treason-atory plans with another thug to steal some missile guidance system so have his money ready tomorrow! (Well at least it was a free, local call.)
I still find it amusing that Miss Sommers even HAS a class-invasive phone on her desk like this, or that anytime she stepped out for a minute her adolescent students wouldn't be randomly prank-calling people to ask if their refrigerator was running so why don't they go catch it. (Um not that I have ever done this.)
Dishing It Out: Yay, mommy and daddy return! Our next scene is Helen and Jim Elgin's familiar Ojai living room, where they likely had to give up Senior Karoake night to babysit this girl they don't even know as a favor to Jaime and Oscar. Kim is silently admiring a collectible china plate that Helen says has been in her "family for generations."
Dissolve to imaginary flashback: You just know Helen was standing in line with her priceless Ming Dynasty plate on Antiques Road Show when they stopped in Ojai, California. Unfortunately the appraisal probably came back as a $10 repro and was traced to the prop department at Universal. (Helen totally wound up in the Feedback Booth at the end screaming FuuuuuuBLEEP)
But regardless of actual value, Helen clearly hearts, hearts, hearts this Oriental floral themed plate that goes with her 2 similar Oriental porcelain table lamps that pattern-coordinate with her couch upholstery that also perfectly matches her draperies. So be careful Kim, DO NOT break this or it could ruin her entire decorating scheme!
Book of Revelation: Then I love how Helen decides Kim might like to see the scrapbook she made for Jaime. OMG Helen and her scrapbooks. Does this sweet woman ever do or read anything else? Remember that time in WHJ when Steve's scrapbook turned out to be all about Jaime after like page 3?
Tonight, as usual, Jaime's scrapbook will also contain a generous amount of Steve photos. I can't decide if Helen keeps getting her children mixed up, or if she has resigned herself to the fact the only way she will ever see the Ausommmers as a couple again is to tape their pictures together on the same page. Which eventually worked like matchmaker voodoo.
Suddenly Daddy-O, determined to compete with Helen's award-winning scrapbooks, then delivers a particularly cloddish line asking Kim what she'd like to do tomorrow. Ride a horse? Try a little fishing at the lake? Awkward pause. blink. blink. More awkward pause. This really seemed more like a stumbled line than an expression of befuddlement that Kim didn't answer his question. Yes I actually typed befuddlement because it's my new word of the day. Also. Jim smokes a bong pipe. Did we know this b4?
Children of the Corn: Helen, who senses she's pressuring the little girl too much, gives Kim permission to just "wander around the place" while she and Jim go senior-wash dishes and discuss Medicare benefits.
Kim begins flipping through Jaime's scrapbook and when she comes across Steve's photo in his Air Force uniform, it causes flashbacks to her own father in uniform, too—which reminds her of that fateful day there was a bombing in her village and her mom died all because her father didn't come back to save them like he promised. She starts to make a multitude of angry + sad + Damien Omen faces, picks up a pen and begins scribbling in Helen's precious scrapbook. Noooooooooo!
Meanwhile Oscar is with Jaime (who is wearing a lovely velvet dark green, pre-army robe) in her carriage house crib giving her the psychological history file on Kim and more exposition on the girl's troubled mental condition and why she can't speak.
Jaime pretty much sums it up for me by determining, "I think I can be more help by working with Kim, than going out and playing Camp Winnimuck with her father." Ahaha!
Oh by the way Oscar says Kim was an unholy terror in her orphanage earlier. Oh great NOW you disclose this! (Um, shouldn't someone give Helen a courtesy, CHILD DEMON ALERT call? Never mind, it's past 8 o'clock so I'm sure these old people are already in bed anyway.)
Suddenly we cut back to Steve's scrapbook photo and Kim has scribbled all over his face. She closes the book before Helen can see, and when they leave because it's bedtime, the camera pans over to show us Helen's beloved plate is missing, too. Noooooooooo!
The next morning a stock footage army chopper gently lands Jaime and Major Cross into the California wilderness which he whines about, but Jaime explains they had to travel this way because… and Imma print this really really big so Steve doesn't need his bionic eye to read it and stops MERCILESSLY PUSHING Jaime out of airplanes:
Welcome to Camp Winni*uck: Yay Jaime is back in a green army uniform and combat boots similar to her outfit in Angel of Mercy, only this time she gets promoted with an official SOMMERS name badge.
Major Boss-y tells her they don't get any survival camping equipment and orders her to follow him until which time they reach a clearing and he tells her to build a shelter using just tree branches and to start a campfire… you know how to do that?
"Yeah, rub two boy scouts together," Jaime jokes, and then he wanders off to find more brush while having some PTSD war flashbacks of his own.
Sticks and Stones: Jaime bionic starts a fire rubbing sticks and makes a Proud of Me™ face as she piles more wood onto it. When Major Cross returns, he's amazed she's got a roaring campfire AND shelter already built. Now, what's for dinner? The Major nixes Jaime's idea of poison berries and hands her a stick to eat instead.
OMG I love Jaime's sour face when she attempts to taste it. And then he says he has to go "scout the area." Jaime bionic-hears him running away, and she realizes she's being ditched. WTF? Yeah Winnimuck you.
So Jaime bionic races through the woods and intercepts him at a road where he's trying to hitch a ride to steal that guidance system tonight. Jaime greets him with a smile and stalk of hayseed wave while relaxing on a hillside. Haha!
He claims he was leaving her behind figuring she knew plenty and could learn the rest of wilderness survival by herself and then they stroll down the road while he yadda yaddas about how his daughter is angry with him for not saving her and her mother that fateful day.
Okay at this point I begin to worry that Jaime just up and dangerously left her campfire burning unattended and that they may not be going back to put this out? Nah, Jaime would NEVER do this.
Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Deadly Pissed: Then suddenly it's later in the day and Jaime drops by Helen's house, who presents Jaime with her much revered, broken antique plate and damaged scrapbook evidence and says this is what she's found so far from babysitting that unholy terror you forced on us, remarking "that child is a one wave girl of destruction."
Jaime says gee she's sorry about all this Helen, so she'll take over now— BTW where is Kim? Helen says Jim has taken her riding, causing Jaime to lovingly recall how Daddy-O used to do that for her when she needed help. However Helen corrects in a snippy way, "I'm sorry but she doesn't remind me of YOU very much."
OMG Helen—who just a few weeks ago was full of sympathy for the Wicked Witch of the South Lisa Galloway—has absolutely NO forgiveness for this little brat and her broken plate and I completely love this about Helen. You can mess with her family, but honey, family china will break her heart.
Barns and Noble: Jaime—wearing the return of her Old MacDonald blue jean coveralls— finds Kim out in the barnyard sitting atop a horse. In what might have been a more touching moment of bonding if the composer hadn't reprised the creepy Lisa Galloway tune again, Jaime confesses that when her parents died, having an animal to care for like this really helped her a lot. Jaime invites Kim to follow her into the barn and come help her with the chores—ingeniously free child labor disguised as her next stage of therapy.
First chore: Soap your saddle, kid. Kim resists until Jaime reminds her it's for the horse, not for her. Okay that's cool then. A short while later when Jaime is busy hand milking their cow named "Bossy," Kim sneaks off to go steal a Hitchcock-style knife out of Jaime's kitchen drawer. Eek!
In addition to the disturbing behavior of this child, this scene mostly serves to remind me that Jaime Sommers actual-lives IN A BARN and how come these nasty odors don't suffocate her living room upstairs 24/7?
She must have some serious extra strength Renuzits placed throughout her apartment. And also who drinks this raw, un-homogenized Real California Milk™ Ms Bossy produces into a pail every day? It's like the Elgin family is Amish, but with all the modern conveniences like telephones and bionics.
From Major to Minor: Oh good, now it's time to check my Pinterest page while Major Cross is breaking into some military airplane hanger complex in the darkness of night and stealing some guidance missile system from inside a fighter jet and replacing it with all his medals of honor as a payback calling card for the botched Army tank mission that caused his wife's death and daughter's emotional meltdown. Sure, this is a completely rational response and fixes EVERYTHING. Whatev. Oh hey, I got 3 repins.
Amber Alert: Oops, missing kid. Jaime follows her bionic hearing upstairs to find Kim has dented her really expensive Ginsu knife against some iron pot and wants to know why on earth she would do that.
No response of course, because Kim still doesn't have a speaking part until the next act. After Jaime turns her back to bionic-bend-fix the damages to her blade, she asks Kim to please put it away. Kim's like sure so she yanks out Jaime's kitchen drawer and dumps all its contents on the floor. Jaime bionic puts it all back without spanking Kim because she's gonna reverse-psychology her.
When Jaime asks the girl to set the table, Kim purposely drops both plates and smashes them. OMG PLATES? Helen of course would have justified child homicide at this moment, but Jaime, with some amazing super heroine patience, slyly hands Kim paper plates to set the table instead. 50 Angry Bird points for the clever substitution, plus another 100 points for not calling in Linda Blair's Exorcist.
Later while Jaime lets Kim sleep in the Bionic Woman's royal brass bed, she dials up Rudy for some pre-Dr. Sommers therapy advice. Because Rudy knows everything, he easily determines Kim's destructive behavior is the result of daddy resentment and she needs to learn to trust her father again. Jaime says kay thanks and hangs up to go to sleep on the sofa.
But that night it thunders and lightenings and Kim starts having shell shock nightmares and wakes up screaming something like "chobba!!" Jaime rushes over to comfort her and says you spoke you spoke! Then while it's still dark outside during the thunder claps while also being sunrise and early in the a.m. Major Cross, who is finished stealing the device, just nonchalantly drops by Jaime's apartment to pick up his daughter. Oh sorry were you still sleeping?
Jaime updates him on Kim's breakthrough and he says "chobba" means father. Hurry he needs to wake her up and get her dressed because he's such a great and caring dad and children don’t need their rest this is all about him.
Suddenly Oscar calls and asks Jaime if Cross is there and to secretly bionic listen for the missile tracking device in his pocket. When Jaime looks at his jacket Cross realizes he's been busted so he pulls a gun on Jaime. Nooooo! He says she's not gonna get in the way of his money and fabulous new life.
Jaime who appears to not feel intimidated by his gun yells at him to stop dumping his guilt on everybody else because "man you are stuck in the past just as bad as Kim is." When it thunders really loud again, a frightened Kim hugs Jaime and doesn't want her father near her. Cross yanks Jaime aside and Kim decides to make a break and runs away and jumps on a horse bareback and rides away.
Blazing Saddles: Daddy decides to grab another horse to gallop after Kim, while Jaime takes a different, bionic running route. Soon poor Kim gets bucked by her horse in the storm and falls down a steep cliff.
OMG y'all, this frightened little girl starts crying and makes the saddest of faces and keeps having mommy dying flashbacks and I have to close my eyes because I cannot watch this due to the admission of sympathetic feelings.
Then her father whatever has a change of heart and won't give his buyers who land in a helicopter the stolen tracking device because suddenly his priorities have changed and he wants to go find his daughter instead. (Sorry but I just didn't buy into this blink and you'll miss it born again scene.) So Cross shoots the bad guys' helicopter so they can't escape when he notices Oscar's limo coming down the road, and then jumps back on his horse. Hi-yo Silver, away!
Meanwhile Jaime ingeniously follows the horse tracks and locates Kim down the cliff, but accidentally miscalculates a mudslide and slips when she tries to bionic jump down. Even though Jaime landed on her bionic legs and is actually okay, she pretends to be hurt by her fall when she realizes this could become that trust breakthrough Rudy was talking about earlier.
Dr. Sommers coaches and encourages Kim to call out for her father to come save them. It's actually kinda touching how hard this terrified little girl tries to open her mouth to speak, and then at last, she finally manages to scream for her father, who follows her cries and tosses down a rope to rescue them. Hooray!! Don't you just love happy endings?
All's Moderate That Ends Well: In the last scene, they're all back at Jaime's carriage house for hot mugs of something. While Major Cross and his daughter warm up by the fireplace… Hey which reminds me, whatever happened to that campfire Jaime started? Because I actually woke up the following day after watching this episode still worried about that silly fire Jaime left burning. And then I had to go check to make sure I remembered to unplug my curling iron, too.
Anyway Jaime and Oscar discuss what Major Cross' punishment for treason might be, which Oscar thinks will probably be a court martial, but Jaime hopes they'll go easy on him because of his emotional issues caused by the war and that he still earned his medals of honor. Well um…. sadly as I just learned in a recent news story, a lot of Vietnam Vets were discharged or court-martialed for the same types of emotional symptoms that are common with soldiers coming home from war today—because PTSD wasn't clinically recognized during the Vietnam War ( or even at the time of this episode). Shockingly, these vets are still being denied benefits today.
I would have liked for the writers to (PUT OUT THAT CAMPFIRE) and devote a few more scenes to Major Cross coming to terms with his completely misguided, self-serving actions so we could trust his daughter would be safer with him. What they offered in one short scene just didn't convince me that DCS wouldn't be coming for custody of this girl in the end.
But not to worry, Kim will be back! Next season (this same child actress) will wreak havoc as a scientist's daughter on The Bionic Woman all over again—by unforgivably humiliating Jaime as a "Robot Lady," causing her to decide to go On The Run and end her television series forever.
I'm beginning to think Helen could 6th-sense this child's devil mission long before the rest of us could. Because although we would see Jim Elgin once more in the 3rd season, this was the last time we saw Helen on the series. She apparently packed up her scrapbooks and broken plate and left town. So thanks a lot, Kim.
A Scrapbook Homage To Helen God bless our bionic matriarch. The entire time we knew Helen, it seems like all she ever did was pass around her Steve and Jaime scrapbooks to anybody that would look at them. And cook mommy things like Scotch soup but without any liquor. Well okay she also apparently enjoyed cleaning behind her refrigerator, mixing wallpaper paste, playing matchmaker and planning (doomed) weddings, plus chaperoning her daughter at beauty contests and allowing herself to be emotionally confused by plastic surgery impersonators. Once they even let her visit Aunt Berdine and go into town. Helen Elgin was television's classic Norman Rockwell picture of the perfectly aproned housewife and doting mom, with a dash of everybody's saintly grandmother. But my all time favorite was Helen's fantasy pay phone affair with her old schoolmate Mr. Lipschitz in Bionic Beauty. She was truly divine with a knack for great comedy, and I so wish she and Jaime had gone on more missions together. Sigh. I am truly gonna to miss our Helen of Joy, so wonderfully played by Martha Scott. *raises glass* Chin-Chin.
It was a mostly green theme in this episode, with 5 separate pieces of wardrobe. In class, Jaime (with her hair in a bun and barrette) wore a bright green, long satin blouse belted at the waist with black slacks. This same blouse will return in the 3rd season’s Sanctuary Earth. Her green army fatigues were different from last season, but it’s possible the same shirt was updated to add her name and a “US ARMY” patch. The pocketed army pants were a slightly different shade of green, and she had on a pair of black combat boots.
For Jaime’s barnyard adventures, it was the return of her blue jean overalls from Welcome Home Jaime, worn with a light blue long sleeved t-shirt. The night of the storm, she had on bell bottomed blue jeans with a white cowl neck pullover, and then later she grabbed a light blue zippered hoodie when she raced out the door. This lovely, full length dark green velvet bathrobe for lounging around home was worn in two different scenes.
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