SCORE: 1 out of 4 Tennis Balls
May 6, 1978
Mood Ring: Still Black
I am desperately trying to remember the good ole days when I was able to watch the Bionic Woman save the world every week with dignity. Tonight we had tacos for supper. I wonder what Jaime drank.
THE BIONIC WOMAN 3x21
2 FOR 1 MARGARITAS!
This week our Bionic Woman is forced to compete on Dancing With The Stars.
Feb. 17, 2012
(Edited Nov. 1, 2015 to update wardrobe)
Dear Señor and Señorita Bionic Blondes,
Mood Ring: Purple
After last week’s glamorous mission in the Big Apple, I was really looking forward to this new one—the last remaining episode of this series that I had never seen. But in my giddy anticipation, I wisely did not forget to wear the #1 fashion accessory for viewers following the 3rd season of The Bionic Woman: The audience whiplash neck brace. Someday when I find the right injury lawyer, I hope to get all the writers and producers to sign my neck cast.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Drink The Water: So yeah. Ai yi yi. I didn’t even have to go back to find Jaime’s migraine face to post here. She experienced several of them right in this week’s episode.
My mood ring quickly went from purple to the color of refried beans. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I am convinced this episode was just another bad dream. You know how I know? Because just like in The Pyramid, it started with Jaime wearing pajamas.
Meeting in Oscar’s office, she had on a lovely, oversized grayish mauve silk blouse with matching baggy slacks. But you can’t fool me, Jaime Sommers. These were your Jammies™, and you were letting us all know in your subliminal way, that what we were about to see was not real. Let the dream sequence commence....
This Is The Thanks I Get For Showing Up On Time? Oscar must be mad at Jaime. He expects her to go to some cheap, two-bit town known as Hidalgo in the fake South American country of San Rafael, all the while his finger is pointing to Nicaragua on the map. When Jaime asks “why me?” Oscar explains that they have already lost 2 OSI agents he sent there. Okay. So Jaime is the next expendable one on your list? You’re gonna have to sell this one better, Señor.
Furthermore, Oscar assigns her to work with some loudly-leisure-suited ex con named Petey the Weasel. Apparently he’s tired of dating guys in prison, so to earn an early parole, he pretends to be able to helpfully identify some notorious bad guy named Boylin the OSI is trying to find—a scoundrel allegedly trying to sell some printing plates stolen from the US mint.
Of course we all know how devastating this could be to the Federal Reserve, Wall Street hedge fund managers—and most importantly the 1%. How dare some guy try to print a few thousand dollars from his basement?! This is like worse than Doomsday. Jaime, go get him!
Grande Suitcase, But Uno Outfit? The next scene we see Petey driving an old jeep on the South American back roads with a brunette riding in the front seat. Wait, OMG that’s Jaime. With long brown hair!? I’m sorry, but this in not a blog devoted to the “Bionic Brunette,” so technically this review could end right now.
But I have decided to keep riding along, because we have to help get poor Jaime out of this episode. And out of this pitiful dress—a wardrobe that Jaime immediately acknowledges is a “ridiculous outfit.” For the duration of this mission, she has to wear this same ruffled, off-the-shoulder white blouse and traditional spanish full length twirly skirt with black dancing shoes.
Yes, dancing shoes, because her undercover occupation tonight is as Petey’s shady ex con girlfriend, a “Spanish dancer.” Whenever Jaime carries her purse basket with this outfit, I begin to suffer flashbacks of Little Red Riding Hood. Shrreee-k! --->
Rancho Border Patrol: Along the way, Jaime has to bionic-winch their jeep out of a creek bed. And then they run into some crazy dude on a dirt road named “One Eyed-One,” a pirate eye-patched, heavily-armed poster child for the Nicaragua NRA, who acts like that berserk Muppet “Animal.”
He screams a lot and shoots out their tires, tows them into town with two oxen, and then Jaime pays him $20 on demand for the taxi service. While this little comedy scenario fell short of producing any laughs here, I did notice the director didn’t even bother to cut when one of the ox decided to defecate during the take. <Snicker> My sentiments exactly.
Welcome To The Rancho Ramada: Jaime and Petey register for a room in this rundown, Hidalgo saloon-style hotel, crawling with criminals who are hiding out from the law. (Oscar, no more booking on Travelocity. My god, this place didn’t even have wi-fi.)
While “Meesta Weasel,” as Jaime calls him, goes back down for their luggage, Jaime decides to take a shower to rid herself of this Rancho slime, but has to bionically change back into the SAME dreadful clothes again when she spots Petey trying to steal his newfound freedom and run.
Yo, Better Make That A Double: There were a bunch of other scenes where the hotel manager is suspicious of them, they meet a drunk lady at the bar (played by Diane Civita (now Diane Cary), whose familiarity was explained when I realized she also starred as a police cadet student in last season’s Jaime’s Shield). Plus a couple tweed-suited buyers who show up to purchase the stolen plates, and the crazy One-Eyed dude, who—when he isn’t stabbing invisible flies buzzing around— also moonlights as the saloon bartender.
He confuses Jaime’s “me, too” margarita order and makes her two drinks. But natch Jaime doesn’t complain. Oh no. She carefully balances both drinks upstairs to her room, stopping on the stairway for a moment to listen to some guys talking about her, but when she arrives in the room seconds later, she only has one margarita. Yeah, she totally downed that first one on the way. It was part of her necessary warm-up for this next scene. Deep breath, everybody.
Tonight On Dancing With The Stars: Ay carumba. Jaime, I am so, SO, sorry. (Evidently she has something in her contract that requires her to perform bionic burlesque at least once per season. I don’t know why.) But alas, the time has come for Jaime to have to prove to the network cheez and the bad guys she’s a gifted Spanish dancer, so she is forced to prance for them in the saloon—or face a firing squad as a “police spy.”
At this point in a panic, (or more likely, too much tequila) Jaime suddenly begins talking to herself, desperately trying to summon the force of Carmen Miranda as her spiritual dancing guide. Hit it, mariachi maestro.
Ole! Just as Jaime so skillfully does with her bionics, she wings it on the close-ups and lets her stunt double take the wide shots. Bravo, we knew she could do it!! Judges score: 8 out of a perfect 10. Did she get extra points for bionic-tap dancing on the bar with smoke rising from her heels? After the commercial, we’ll see how she measured up to the other celebrity gringo dancers tonight. Audience, to vote for Jaime, just text: #Bionic Brunette Bueno!
Back After These Messages: After being spoiled by a few good episodes lately that reminded me why this character and series had truly earned its place in television history, it was kinda disappointing that they had to swing the pendulum back to this shallower level of camp and silliness at the end. Or perhaps it was by design ahead of the news of cancellation, to remind us why they were circling the drain at NBC.
It did not take long for me to notice that the writer of Rancho Outcast was also involved in several more of my least favorite episodes this season. While The Bionic Woman’s 3rd season team seemed to be unable to produce a stable of episodes consistent in quality from one week to the next, at least this script writer was consistent in his inability to craft a story that could engage or interest me as a viewer. Sorry Señor Rowe, I’m breaking up with choo.
Meanwhile Back At the Rancho: So Petey manages to recover the treasury printing plates that Oscar needed—from (surprise!) Mrs. Boylen (her hubby died), and all the various bad guy characters jump in a jeep and chase Jaime and Petey through Universal Back Lot Mexican Town™ and up into a back alley. As the thugs ascend the hill, Jaime bionics a big wooden water tower and washes them and their jeep away in the flash flood.
Woo hoo! This series has officially been flushed. Thanks for the metaphors!
Adios: In the final scene, Jaime is back at Oscars office, wearing a nice, 2-piece lavender outfit, where she presents Petey with his well-earned pardon from jail and—having taught him that his word does indeed mean something to her, no matter his past transgressions—she gets Petey to agree he will stay out of trouble from now on.
Mucho sigh. I just love happy endings.
Now for a little mail catch up:
From the (Messy) Desk of
Ms. Jaime Sommers Dearest Oscar, Just finished reading your new mission “Rancho Outcast.” Seriously?!! Oh Oscar you are such a kidder! Not only are you proposing to drop me smack dab in the middle of the Universal back lot into a lame, cartoon-style spaghetti western... on the stiletto heels of last week's ultra-glamorous assignment... but this new script is limiting me to just ONE dress the entire mission. A costume that, regrettably, looks like it came from a $3 sale rack at a Mexico City Wal-Mart. I don't care if I did overspend a little last week on my New York shopping spree. I looked. Damned. Delicious. Here are my non-negotiable terms for agreeing to show up for Rancho Outcast: 1) You WILL be giving me my beautiful Mercedes Benz 450SL back. Please have this professionally waxed and detailed with a full tank of gas delivered to me by next week’s show. 2) I want a dark brown wig disguise to wear so(hopefully) my fans won’t recognize me in this episode. 3) Furthermore, if you dare to gratuitously film me jumping off a building where my skirt flies up and the viewers can see — full monty — my red Victoria's Secret underpanties, the next letter you will be receiving will be notice of my resignation from the OSI. It will sound all polite with stuff like pretending I am tired and want to go back to teaching, but we'll both know the REAL reason I submitted it. Rancho la vista, baby.Jaime
Just 3 outfits in this episode plus a yellow terrycloth towel if you want to cheat and I totally am. Jaime's mauve-ish gray silk top and slacks could have passed for Jammies, and her lavendar top and pants (which I originally thought was a dress) worn in Oscar's office at the end were comfy looking, too.
Now about this Spanish dance outfit with green skirt and white ruffled blouse... while a bit over the top, in retrospect it is actually kind of cute, plus this is the only episode in the series where the Bionic Woman got to skip the dizzy blonde wig to became a brunette. And yeah, in a balcony jump they totally did film her skirt flying up to reveal red panties—which makes this the first and last time lingerie was ever introduced in her wardrobe.
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