SCORE: 3 out of 4 Tennis Balls
Sept. 10, 1977
Mood Ring: Black
Tonight I missed my favorite TV show the Bionic Woman. Stupid brothers wanted to watch another channel. TV Guide said it was going to be about a bionic dog. I bet it was really good. I wonder if Steve and Jaime got married, too…oh no, what if I missed that!!!!!!!!? My life is over.
Math test Monday!
THE BIONIC WOMAN 3x01-2
LOOK OUT LASSIE
Tonight Jaime rescues a dog, and Max is better, stronger...faster than you.
Oct. 4, 2011
(Edited Nov. 1, 2015 to include wardrobe + additional images)
Dear Bionic Blondes,
Mood Ring: Red
Tonight I actually saw a Bionic Woman episode for the very first time. I only waited 34 years and 25 days for this, so needless to say my expectations were pretty high. And you know what? It didn't disappoint!
Let’s Get Physical: We open in Rudy’s lab where he’s running Jaime through a series of fitness tests (lifting like a 5 pound weight with her left arm... gads!), and he’s like all getting on her case for not staying in shape. We then cut away to Jaime’s chart, where Rudy uses a bright red marker to note her endurance is BELOW NORMAL. HIPPA patient privacy laws? Yeah, whatever. I’m hitting the pause button and taking this opportunity to peek at other highly personal information on Jaime’s medical chart, like where Rudy has jotted down that she has a “HEART RATE, PULSE and BLOOD PRESSURE.” No readings, just that Jaime has them.
Network of Providers: Yes, Dr. Wells gratefully concludes Jaime has a pulse during this checkup—important to note since ABC tried to flatline her at the end of last season. With credit to NBC’s ER team, The Bionic Woman was resuscitated again and placed in their 1977 Saturday night TV lineup. Although there will be a few episodes this season where I will always wonder if the show producers misread the memo and thought they were writing this show for Saturday mornings.
Oh Yeah, The Plot: Anyway, after Jaime makes this really cute smirky teenager face at Rudy, she leaves to go take a shower elsewhere in the building, and along the way she bionically overhears a dog whining and men yelling at it.
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When she investigates, she discovers a despondent German shepherd dog refusing to cooperate with his masters. She recognizes familiar exercise equipment in this lab, and realizes this dog is bionic, too. Meet Maxi-million (get it, he cost $1 million--LOL, hey I waited 34 years to find out why he was named Max).
Oscar grabs credit for the clever name in the following scene, and while they watch NFL-style film of Max running 90 mph in his happy dog years, he and Rudy explain to Jaime that Max was the lab animal she and Steve have to thank for road testing their bionics first.
Jaime forms an immediate, loving bond with Max and argues with Rudy a lot in this episode, who BTW is being a total Dr. Crankypants and I’m giving Jaime 50 extra points for having the restraint not to show him what his mother-effin’ bionics can really do.
Jaime learns he intends to put Max down because he’s a lazy dog who won’t fetch Volkswagen bumpers anymore. Dr. Wells has decided Max is rejecting his bionics and wants to do an autopsy. The future Dr. Sommers disagrees with her colleague, and diagnoses Max with clinical depression. She wants 5 days with him to prove Dr. Crankypants wrong. Deal.
Yay, 5 days... so that required like a dozen outfit changes to reflect the passage of time. “Wardrobe on set!!” I was partial to the dark brown ensemble. The gold skirt outfit seemed a bit impractical for high jump bar demonstration day, but I was excited that NBC granted Jaime more clothes in this one episode than she had like all last season on ABC.
Unfortunately Jaime didn’t wear anything in classic black tonight (I’ve decided black is truly Jaime’s best color and automatically increases the episode ranking)... but Max was a mostly-black dog, so I'm counting him as an appropriate fashion accessory and adding 10 extra points.
There were some really tender scenes where Jaime crawled in the titanium-forged kennel with Max and curled up next to him. She even played French waiter once trying to get him to eat his dog food. Oui monsieur, you know this woman really cares when she pulls out “Zee Kibbles.”
Back After These Messages: This episode is precisely what I loved about Jaime's character—her compassion and determination to follow her own moral convictions even if it meant defying authority. This nice rescue story would have played well even without the bionic subplot. Jaime saw her own vulnerabilities as a parallel science project and it angered and frightened her. "Are you going to put me down, too?!" Go Jaime! She sticks up for the underdog, pun totally intended.
Max-ipads: By day 5—and the stylish button-flapped, oversized turquoise blouse & blue jeans ensemble— Max made the blissful dog turnaround Jaime predicted, but he failed to perform on cue for Rudy, so to escape Dr. Death, Jaime and Max high-tail it out of there and run away.
Then came the BEST part. The John Denver-ish song while Jaime and Max skipped happily through the flowery 70s meadow. I half expected an announcer to come on and talk about feeling summer fresh and then pitch a feminine protection product. I just love these 70s music montages. Did you know that Friends can bark, chirp or talk? Do-do-do-do-doooooooo.
Jaime smuggles Max back to Ojai, cruising down main street in her awesome blue Datsun 280Z sports car, and while stopping to make a pay phone call from the Donut Shop (she can’t help herself, she worked undercover as a cop once)... Max sees a runaway VW with a little girl in it and chases it down to save her.
I especially liked the braking rubber tire sound effects while his paws were gripping the pavement. Turns out he also makes the same loud bionic noise Steve and Jaime do whenever they run, so Rudy’s interspecies product line performs consistently.
You’re Fired: Back at the Coach House, after telling Jaime she makes great coffee, Daddy-O Jim helps get a fire started in the fireplace, but thanks to a lab accident as a pup, Max is terrified of fire (like Frankenstein) and leaps out the 2nd story window. Jaime chases after him and they both decide to run away from home for good.
This is the last time we ever saw Jim Elgin appear in this TV series, so apparently Jaime’s coffee killed him.
This was the end of part one, and bless the DVD-release gods, I didn’t have to wait a whole week to find out what happened next. Cue part two!
You had me at… WTF? So just when things were going swimmingly for this contented fan—who was curled up on her sofa watching, incidentally, with her own rescue dog, an Australian shepherd mix—fugitive Jaime knocks on a cabin door and out comes some guy named Not!Steve*. I really HATE when they introduce other love interests for Jaime. Hurled at the TV in protest: Four malted milk balls, the TV remote, the DVD remote, another remote that I don't even remember what it goes to anymore, and a can of Alpo.
We learn they used to date back in her tennis pro days, and this poor Not!Steve, the Doodling Ranger, still has the major hots for her and writes Jaime’s name over and over again on a note pad… but I guess at least he didn't dot the i's in her name with little hearts, because then that would have been too serial killerish.
Nevertheless, his obsession kinda scared me. Thank goodness they didn't show us his bedroom, where I'm sure he had press clippings and photos of Jaime plastered all over the walls, too. Am I the only one who was hoping when Jaime hit her head on that rock later, she would wake up and have her Steve-amnesia magically cured? This kind of thing used to work on Gilligan's Island all the time.
Anyway, I wound up being so put off by this sudden subplot romance that it kinda ruined the rest of the episode for me. So allow me to briefly sum it up for you:
Jaime and Max got caught in one of those weekly, major California Wildfires. Max overcame his fear of fire and bravely lead rescue personnel to save Jaime, who had succumbed to smoke inhalation inside an old train steam engine located on the Universal back lot. It was the perfect Lassie ending!! Oh yeah, and that guy Not!Steve lived, too. But unfortunately not the Bionic Dog spin-off series, for which this was intended to be a new series pilot test run.
Okay, Tiny Irk: Jamie hitchhiking when she and Max were on the lam. It really makes me uncomfortable seeing this as an example for young children—even for the late 70s, when my parents taught us hitchhiking was a good way to wind up dead. Unlike in On The Run later, at least in this episode Jaime showed some hesitation in getting into the truck with a strange man and requested to ride in the back. (A detail I later learned in the DVD commentary was at Ms. Wagner’s insistence—original script had her jumping in front with this potential creep, a guy who probably did dot all his i’s with little hearts.)
Hey Mikey, She Likes It! Yes, I really did like this episode (mostly preferred part 1) and have now placed it in my top 10 all-time Bionic Woman favorites. I guess I should enjoy this elation while it lasts, because I know as I go through my season 3 DVDs—based on some reports I have heard—there are some real dogs ahead.
*I began my blog and reviews with the 3rd season of Bionic Woman, and this fella was my first rant labeling of a "Not!Steve," which went on to become a recurring thing in my reviews. For future catalog reference because there were so many of these un-welcomed love interest guys that I started to lose track, this is Not!Steve 3.1, a.k.a Roger Grette, The Doodling Ranger.
Wow, NBC did party-welcome Jaime by delivering 9 different outfits to her dressing room for Part 1. Plus they let her bring her iconic track suit jacket back for a couple scenes.
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