3 Wilson soccer balls out of 4
May 5, 1976
Mood Ring: Blue
Tonight on the Bionic Woman Jaime was a stewardess but her plane crashed. They landed on a desert island but it wasn’t Gilligan’s. Jaime helped save Rudy and smashed a coconut and killed another snake because she hates them.
January 24, 2013
Dear Bionic Blondes,
Mood Ring: Blue
Ladies, gentlemen and Bionic Blondes, welcome aboard! Please observe the fasten seatbelt and no smoking signs, and make sure your seat back and folding trays are in their full upright position.
At this time, we request you turn off any mobile phones and/or electronic homing devices communicating with enemy ships hidden inside your carry-on brief case—that embarrassingly made it past our TSA screeners while they were busy confiscating your nail clippers and examining your shampoo and underwear for explosives. Dinner will be served on this flight, but please ignore our stewardess if she disses the quality of our food. For any self-pitying, medical student failures aboard who look exactly like Jaime’s 3rd season BF, cocktails are complimentary.
In the unlikely event of a crash on this very same Trans Pacific flight and script that went down on The Six Million Dollar Man 2 years ago—because lightening keeps striking the exact same engine and killing our look-alike pilots—please utilize your oxygen masks during emergency cabin decompression, and watch this life jacket demonstration video featuring panic scenes from "Titanic".
Thank you for flying Trans Pacific. We hope you survive—I mean—enjoy your flight!
Hooray, tonight we get to fly the friendly skies of the Bionic Woman, where Jaime goes undercover as a 70s airline stewardess on a charter flight so she can body guard Dr. Rudy Wells. Of course, Oscar could have just assigned her to travel as a non-distinct, Air Marshally companion, but what's the fun in that, especially when you can dress her up like a fast food cashier from Jack in the Box?
Ugh. When I first saw this uniform that Jaime is forced to wear for this entire episode, I winced a bit okay I screamed. And then I decided to write the 70s and beg them to take this fashion ensemble back. After after a while (naturally with the help of a couple martinis), the initial shock wore off for me and I began to build an immunity and actually even sorta started digging her go-go boots. Especially when I discovered this old Southwest Airlines photo and realized that the Bionic producer people actually weren't making this up. This fashion torture was REAL. (I bet these poor retired flight attendants are in wardrobe support groups now. If not, please don’t hesitate to write Dr. Sommers. Trust me, she feels your pain.)
Tonight's episode opens with Dr. Rudy Wells talking to an old scientist friend, who has just given him some top secret cobalt formula to memorize, while he burns the document originals in a fireplace to prevent them from enemy theft. And then the two men embrace in front of this romantic fire, but I'll try not to read into this or anything. #BrokebackCobaltMountain
And then Rudy arrives at a little Brazilian airport looking like he’s just come from a Florida retirement village, sporting a leisure suit and straw vacation hat, where he's cheerfully greeted at the airline ticket counter by…. Jaime Sommers! Only shhhhh, her undercover name on this mission is "Miss Winters," Get it, Summer/Winter? (I guess Spring or Fall might advertise she has bionic superpowers and/or falls out of airplanes.)
Miss Winters appears to be on uppers, gleefully checking in Rudy's baggage and speedily filling out his passenger ticket for a special Charter flight to Rio where he will relay the formula to Oscar. Jaime has already memorized the customer service employee manual in both Spanish and English, and slogans to Rudy: "We really MOVEMOS our CADA for you, señior!" Loosely translated, Jaime just promised her airline will move their bionic asses for their customers. I think.
And move she did, because in the next scene the passengers begin boarding the flight, which means Jaime has to transition from I-love-my-job as ticket counter clerk to I-love-my-other-job as stewardess (yes, in this episode we'll adopt the official 70s title for flight attendant). In her new position, Miss Winters gets to bionic eavesdrop on everybody's conversations to screen out any possible terrorist suspects who might try to nab Rudy, but chooses to ignore the bad guys while they freely mention packing GUNS in cargo, and instead, zones in on the juicier gossip from the other passengers—a colorful assortment of missionaries and drunks and extras.
Wherefore Art Thou: Jaime is also suspiciously watching a sleazy Italian guy who goes out of his way to sit next to Dr. Wells. Miss Winters, we’re all staring, because "Romero" is famously familiar. He's played by Vito Scotti, an actor I first remember watching on the Flying Nun—and has only played a character calling for a thick accented, ethnic Italian/Spanish/Mexican/Annoyance guy on every single television series spanning like five decades. (Romero will return for more comic relief next season in Assault on the Princess, where he chases Jaime again on a gambling cruise and jeopardizes her undercover assignment.)
Romero makes a chauvinistic remark about Jaime's legs, so Rudy naturally sticks up for her intellectual integrity by respectfully joining in with his own sexist commentary: "I couldn't have asked for nicer ones if I made them myself." Jaime, you have my permission to bionic-kick Dr. Wells with his own leg experiment.
Time for takeoff: So Jaime gets on the intercom, which is a giant black telephone that makes her look like a little girl, and addresses the passengers. After introducing herself, she tells them their "aft" compartment is full of cargo this afternoon (which is code for we could only afford to hire enough actors and extras for this small section on the plane).
"And dinner, such as it is, will be served in about an hour." A-hahah, "such as it is?" I'm pretty sure the airline company manual frowns upon stewardesses introducing their food like it's seasoned with e-coli. My mood ring is now purple because Jaime's funny little side slams about their lousy airline food are like my favorite part of this episode.
My least favorite part of this episode? *slaps tv screen* Chris Williams is on board this flight. Yeah, aka Not!Steve from the third season with whom Jaime had a serious relationship, causing him to become the bane of my existence up until Jaime's Budapest!Bonk in 1987. The upside is this same actor is actually playing a different character tonight and is not, I repeat NOT a love interest, so I was able to relax a little more and relish in the fact Not!Chris Williams was a washed up drunk who flunked out of medical school. Karmakarmakarma
His name tonight is "Marlowe," but let’s shorten that to Dr. Drunk. He's seated next to a sweet old mission nurse lady in a braided Swiss Miss hairdo, who later turns out to be the mob leader "Bobby" the bad guys keep referring to. (Oh, like you really care that I gave this away so soon.)
You are now free to fall about the cabin: But oh no, shortly after take off they hit a storm and suffer some serious turbulence. So what better time to begin passing out dinners to the passengers?
Again, Miss Winters sells the quality of their food to their customers, with an insincere smile and an apologetic "This is the best we've got." Then BOOM, turbulence causes Jaime to fall on Romero's lap, who takes advantage of the encounter by fondling her leg and asking if there is something he can do to help. Why "Yes," Jaime says:
Put down those controls boys. It's time to eat! The pilots are struggling to gain control of the plane, so Miss Winters chooses this moment of crisis to come into the cockpit and serve them their crummy boxed dinners, too! But oh dear, turns out this storm is really serious and the pilot tells her go back and lie to the passengers that everything is just fine.
It doesn't help much, because soon the passengers start doing the extreme lean-to-the-left, lean-to-the-right turbulence sway—a maneuver that somehow completely loses its dramatic impact now, thanks to the 1980 comedy film Airplane. Jaime had to help some woman who fell on the floor because she ignored the seat belt sign. Later this same woman will scream that she can't swim. (That's what you get for hiring cheap extras.)
Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night. Suddenly, lightening hits a wing and the engine falls off. Crap! Then all 3 pilots hit their heads or something and pass out in unison, causing the nose of the jet to start going down. Jaime rushes back to the cockpit, wakes up the head pilot, and helps bionic-pull up the steering wheel thingy to level the plane again.
Then Jaime grabs the radio and distress calls "Mayday, mayday we're going down!" While the pilot manages to hold the steering wheel, he tells Jaime to "get the geese ready for ditching!" Huh? Do the airlines really refer to their customers as geese? Because that probably explains a lot.
Miracle on the Hudson: In the midst of panic, screaming and mayhem, Jaime calmly hands out pillows to all their honking geese, however these purple pillows totally don't go with their orange life jackets. I would never fly this airline. With the passengers secured, Jaime finally takes her own seat and crouches in the crash position. Hold on, Jaime!!
CRRRASH!!… SPPLAAASH!! Yay! Captain Sully managed to successfully land them in the water near the coast. The passengers immediately scramble for the emergency exits to beat the rising waters, but the front exit door won't open, so Jaime bionic kicks it off, earning her 1000 Angry Geese points!
BTW this is for those remarks about my legs earlier: I especially love how Jaime begins barking evacuation procedure orders to Rudy. First, he's assigned to retrieve the life jackets and assemble for rescue, and then he’s in charge of checking on the pilots in the cockpit.
Sadly, Rudy only came out with the boss pilot and said the others were dead, although we never do see them. (So are these possibly like the first plot fatalities ever admitted to in a Bionic Woman episode?) One by one, all the passengers jump out of the plane onto the life rafts into the dark, rainy night. Like a model employee, Miss Winters patiently waits and goes last. Hooray—Jaime saved all the geese!
Boys and girls, thus concludes Fly Jaime. We now join the second half of this episode, newly-entitled Lost Jaime. Oh c’mon, you totally knew this classic television parody this was coming...
After the commercial, all the survivors are scattered about the beach on a deserted island. Their plane is gone. Dr. Wells is attending the injured pilot but Jaime is missing, and Locke—well okay Dr. Drunk, tells Rudy she left alone to go inland and explore the island about an hour ago. Oh no, what if she gets kidnapped by THE OTHERS??
Rudy goes a-lookin' and finds Jaime back in the jungle, where she jumps off a cliff carrying a sack of fruit, berries… and a soccer ball nicknamed Wilson, with whom she's already formed a lonely castaway relationship. Rudy jokes that she looks "like a bionic Santa Clause." Ho ho ho. Jaime karate chops a coconut for Rudy's breakfast and reports that this is a "practically a deserted island."
Seriously lets just stop here, because I would like for Jaime to define practically deserted. So it has an Applebee's and ATM, but no tourist gift shops? I’m pretty sure “practically” definitely means no shopping mall, because sadly, she returned from her explorations still wearing this same dreadful outfit.
The one in which the bionic daughter takes care of the old man: This was actually a cute and touching conversation between Jaime and Rudy—our brilliant bionic scientist, who we have not seen since Jaime woke up from her lost memory brain surgery in the series premiere Welcome Home Jaime. The Bionic Woman takes this grateful-to-be-alive attitude and moment to remind Rudy she owes him her life… and Steve <---(woohoo, she mentioned her sweetie, too!) "Besides being one of my favorite people… I mean, what have you done for me lately, Mr. Wells? Yes, I am happy."
Later, Jaime checks on the passengers on the beach and compliments the "boy scouts" building the fire. She stops to say hi to the recovering pilot, who says he "feels like the Red Baron after he tangled with the Sopwith Camel." WTF? I'm not even going to bother to have someone mansplain this for me; I'm guessing it just means he feels like crap. Then Jaime goes into Lost training exercises with the rest of castaways, instructing them they all need to pitch in and keep the fire going to alert any rescue planes, and to please fergodsakes stay away from that underground hatch.
It worked! Jaime bionic hears an aircraft approaching and gives her best Fantasy Island Tatoo impression: "A Plane!" Yay it's Oscar on some kind of Air Force jet that drops Cast Away Fed-Ex boxes filled with Smore supplies for their campfire later. Actually, they’re little parachuted cases filled with supplies being delivered onto the island.
One of them's a CB radio that gets bent in shipping, so Jaime tells Rudy, "Care to make way for the Six Million Dollar can opener?" (sniff, Steve didn't magically appear, so I'm not giving bonus points for this incorrectly-priced bionic script carryover.) Jaime liberates the radio, puts out a call to the rescue plane and Oscar picks up. Whew! A rescue ship is now on its way and will arrive tomorrow.
Of course the bad guys would find and break open the cargo piñata that contained the gun. Later on the beach, Jaime discovers Rudy missing—lured by a bogus message that Miss Winters requested to meet him in the jungle. Rudy gets bonked on the head by the bad guys, and by the time Jaime finds him, she has to save him from a poisonous snake approaching.
Um PETA people, please just ignore this paragraph: Oh you poor, poor snake. Of all the islands in all the seas, you are SO going to regret picking this one to be born on. Jaime skillfully grabs the serpent just before he strikes Rudy, then throws and bionic-bludgeons the serpent against a rock.
"I hate snakes!" she shudders. Oh, don't we know it m’lady! Another shocking reminder that our Queen of calm and gentility towards all living souls abhorrently draws the line at slimy things that hissssss! The good news is now Jaime can finally get that matching snakeskin boot made. Angry Snake Score: 250 points.
Now that Jaime knows there are definitely thugs after Rudy and his cobalt formula, they decide to camp out here in the jungle tonight and avoid the beach. It cracks me up when Jaime chooses an uncomfortable rock to use as her pillow. (Gee, Wilma Flintstone made this look so easy on her chiseled Sleep Number bed.) Rudy sweetly offers her his suit jacket to use as a blanket. But then suddenly the bad guys launch a flare above them, causing Rudy to stand up—making him an easy target. Bummer, he gets shot.
Just then Romero arrives, so Jaime sends him back to camp to get the Swiss Miss-ion nurse, unaware that she's the bad guys' ringleader Bobby. The nurse is fed up with this go-go booted stewardess interfering with their plans to get Rudy, and vows she will take care of Jaime herself. Noooooo!
With a witchy glare, the lady stabs Jaime in the arm with a drugged syringe, but neeners, she hit her bionic arm. Jaime reflexively sends the woman flying, landing her head on the Flintstones pillow and knocking her unconscious. Then Jaime bionic-kicks a big log at the armed bad guy and knocks him back. 500 points!
Is there a Drunk Doctor in the house? Then the med student Marlowe just happens to arrive on scene, because he noticed the mission nurse suspiciously forgot bandages, so Jaime begs for his help with Rudy, thereby soberly boosting his confidence that he could become a value to society after all.
MacGyver Take 2: Dr. Drunk says he can't stop Rudy's gunshot bleeding unless he can cauterize a vein first, so with a resourceful solution and a scalpel, Jaime MacGyver emergency sacrifices herself and cuts her bionic index finger to produce 2 live wires.
Yay, and then with the camera angle cleverly blocked so we are spared from having to see Rudy's blood and innards, we hear sizzling grill sounds and watch a puff of smoke, so we know that burger is burned shut! With tears in her eyes, Jaime assures Rudy he's going to be okay now. In this moment of tender irony, we realize the bionic doctor wound up being saved by his own bionic finger. #OrSomething
Beach Blanket Bingo: In the closing scene on the beach, I am immensely relieved to learn all our passengers and characters really DID live, and we weren't going to have to watch 6 seasons of Lost afterlife/purgatory/parallel universe/orwhateverthehellthatwas drama. Although it is tempting to take this opportunity to pretend Jaime didn't really have to wear this uniform, and that these survival lessons were merely part of her struggle to come to terms with her go-go boots.
Oscar has now arrived on the beach (pretending he doesn’t recognize this was the very same one he was stranded on with Steve) having organized a Brazilian navy rescue team within 24 hours. (Eat your heart out, Gilligan!)
Rudy's conscious now, and while he's being carried out on a stretcher, he stops to ask Jaime what happened to her bandaged finger. “This?” Jaime asks, as she holds it up in an ET-Phone-home pose. Jaime wisecracks that she cut herself shaving, and that her motivation to save Dr. Wells‘ life was just so she could continue to get spare parts. Ha ha.
Then Dr. Drunk stops by the reception line to thank Jaime, too— for changing his life or something and then winks at her when he leaves and whatev. Yeah, here's my wink: Totally looking forward to seeing you again in the Bionic Woman's next disaster flick, The Pyramid. Until then, enjoy rehab! (Seriously, I like to poke Not!Steve fun at him, but I really do think Chris Williams was an okay guy, as well as the handsome actor Christopher Stone who played him in season 3.)
But poor Romero cannot bid farewell without making a final plea for Jaime's affections, offering to split from his wife and nine children so they can be together. Jaime gawks, "NINE CHILDREN?" A-haha, I love how she gives him the same look she gave Steve in Bionic Ever After when he suggested they talk about having kids. Jaime decides to let Romero down easy. "Quick goodbyes are best,... why torture ourselves?" Then she blows Romero a kiss and races to catch up with Oscar.
Woah, this Romero guy was dangerous, Jaime warns Oscar—he had "life imprisonment in mind!" and then she and Oscar movemos their cada outta there, and make a dash for the rescue boat. Don’t you just love happy endings?! Mood ring: Blue Lagoon.
Final Tally: If you happened to see Fly Jaime before discovering The Six Million Dollar Man's first season episode Survival of the Fittest, you may find yourself hurling life jackets at the TV like I did.
While The Bionic Woman producer people would often rip similar plots and bionic stunts from Steve's series, in this case, they barely even bothered to change the script, repeating many of the same lines verbatim, including "the Bionic Santa Claus."
I understand this practice of recycling scripts was quite common in that era, but as a writer and artist, I find this almost insultingly lazy. Reportedly, the late start for BW production and short season left them scrambling for episode scripts to shoot, but still—it would have been nice if the writers had at least challenged themselves to make what was an average episode the first time around, into something a little better—before they cashed their royalty checks for it all over again. Instead, we got a status quo, airline boxed dinner repeat.
Nevertheless, um... “such as it is” —I did enjoy Jaime's version of the script much more. The undercover stewardess gig was kinda fun, even if the uniform did make my eyes bleed a little. We got Snakes (not) On a Plane, Castaways, and my personal fave, a "practically deserted island." —which I will ponder till the end of time on exactly what Jaime meant by that.
While I have not yet reviewed all of the episodes, it is quite possible this will rank as having one of the fewest number of wardrobe changes in the series. One. But on a positive note, it was black—and you know how much I love that color on Jaime. Behold, the 70s stewardess uniform consisting of a black midi-skirt and short-sleeved orange and white striped top, with a matching orange scarf, belt, and black go-go boots.
Also of note was the enneagram necklace from Jaime’s Mother again. Her other fashion accessories were an orange life jacket, Santa sack and a white bandaid on her finger. (Admittedly, I am desperate to accessorize this in any way.)
THE BIONIC WOMAN 1X11
Poor Jaime is forced to become a stewardess and then gets LOST on a deserted island. (O c’mon, you knew these parodies were coming.)
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