SCORE: 2 out of 4 Tennis Balls
April 7, 1976
Mood Ring: Brown
Jaime had to ride in a boring race across the desert on the Bionic Woman tonight. I have not missed any shows, so I don’t understand what happened and why Jaime doesn’t love Steve anymore because she went on a date with this race car driver and kissed him! Some day when I learn how to drive, the first thing I’m going to do is run over him.
THE BIONIC WOMAN 1X09
Tonight the Bionic Woman shifts gears and drags us into a race across the desert. Because winning is a thing.
December 6, 2012
Dear Bionic Blondes,
Mood Ring: Covered in dirt
"Dune buggy races are SO exciting!" —said nobody, ever.
Winning is Anything. But this. Surely I am missing something here? A herd of dune buggies and other vehicles speeding across the desert in a 500-mile race to nowhere. I guess this must be a "guy thing" because I honestly cannot understand the enthusiasm for this sport. To be fair, I have similar feelings about NASCAR, where all they seem to do is rev up their engines really loud and drive around in circles. Women like to have destinations in mind whenever we 'put the pedal to the metal.' Yes, there is usually a 50% off sale involved. Quantities limited.
Nevertheless, we are asked to ride along on this droll assignment Oscar has given Jaime this week— to team up as a cross country course navigator/map reader with a has-been Grand Prix race car driver, who needs a little lesson in self-confidence, and more importantly, a Bionic Blonde lesson in "I don't care how cute you are, keep your driving-gloved hands off Jaime Sommers—she's betrothed!"
But the good news is that thanks to this episode, Jaime was able to gain lots of experience on how to follow road maps in the middle of nowhere, which will make her the perfect wife for Steve later when they go on family trips and he refuses to stop and ask for directions.
Beginning is Everything: The Bionic Woman was only 90 seconds late for her show tonight. One of many traps set by Oscar, who would take advantage of Jaime's enthusiasm for her job early on in the series before she knew what kind of assignment he was going to stick her with. Especially ones that involved transmission fluid.
Jaime arrives in Oscar's OSI office in Washington, complaining about being dragged out of school during an algebra lesson and thrown on a plane. Oh my, it was also apparently "wear your suit jacket sewn from leftover upholstery to school" day, too. (A precursor to Casual Fridays.) Fortunately, it was a different upholstery pattern than the chair she was sitting in, otherwise we might never have seen her. But sweetie, Ima forgive you for this one. Legendary fashionistas Scarlett O'Hara and Sister Maria successfully made dresses and play clothes from drapes. I think this was a bold statement to wear recycled Ashley Furniture. Let's give it a few more decades to catch on.
So here's the deal. There's this international, 500 mile desert race called the Dasht-i-Ravar in what I assumed was a script-fictional Middle Eastern country called "Taftan," but if you google it, there is actually a town by this name on the border between Pakistan and Iran. Probably not an area that the state department would recommend travel to these days. Not even if your car is an army tank.
Seems there is a cassette tape loaded with federal secrets (or ABBA's greatest hits) that was left in the hands of a bartender by an OSI agent before he got run out of the country when a military coupe shut down the US Embassy.
This bar is located in a town called "Ariram" which just happens to be on the race course. Oscar needs Jaime to make a pit stop to pick up that tape so they can smuggle it out of there. Kapish? No worries. The map on the right will keep us on course. Apple has a great app! #cough
It's cute how Jaime rubs her upper lip in frustration here when she realizes she has to be in this race and sighs in defeat, "oy!" It's as if she is sympathy-feeling the itch of the fake mustache Oscar is about to wear.
Yup, in an odd twist, this week Jaime Sommers keeps her real name and reputation as a former tennis star, (recent crowned Miss USA winner) and school teacher, whom everybody naturally assumes belongs in the experienced cross country racing field. But Oscar is the one who goes undercover this time, sporting a mustache disguise and the name Oscar Bartholomew. Because, as he explains, he doesn't "think the name Goldman would go over too well in this country."
The Meet and Greet: Jaime and Oscar stylishly arrive at the race in a 70s Land Rover. You know, back when they were actually built for rugged all-terrain driving instead of transportation to and from private schools? Oscar and Jaime meet their hired race car driver named Tim Sanders, who is like a Mario Andretti-type who's been suffering a losing streak lately after crashing in the Indy 500 a few years ago. Nobody else will hire him because he keeps having these annoying flashbacks about it.
Woah. Okay, granted Tim is an awfully good looking fella. And Jaime hasn't sung her feelings for Steve in like at least 2 weeks. So perhaps he wouldn't mind if just this once, half-way across the world… annd HEL-LO !? Jaime is totally flirting with Tim here the millisecond they meet. Like jeez guys, get a room will ya? Hurled at the TV in protest: My driver's license, Triple-A membership card, and the olive from my now-second martini, because we are planning to enjoy not being the designated driver tonight.
Kids, meet Not!Steve, aka ‘Turbo Tim’ (Catalog # 1.2; first season, second flirtation after Dr. Disney)... who reciprocates Jaime's (thankfully, only temporary) love sick gazes, and then the three of them meet up for a working dinner that evening to discuss race strategy. And then Jaime sends Oscar to his room so she can stay and have something called "coffee" with Tim. Yeah, right. This ordinarily-decaf series is about to get an after hours shot of Grande Espresso using a code word our children viewers will never decipher. Jaime, we are totally onto your secret "java script" tonight. *high fives*
But Jaime and Tim's little romantic interlude is interrupted at their table by a sleazy, scurrilous driver named Carlos Scappini, who tries to hit on Jaime and tells "Tiny Tim" he drives like a woman. Tim pours an icy cocktail down the guy's shirt and then Jaime bionics Scappini's face into some giant bowl of appetizer dip or something. And then Jaime and Tim leave the restaurant together, presumably to go find an all-night *air quotes* Starbucks. Wink wink.
Wardrobe In Reverse: Next morning at the race starting line, Jaime is re-wearing her tan jumpsuit, this time accessorized with a white t-shirt underneath, a different belt and a big red crash helmet with racing goggles. Not that it matters to the plot, but Oscar Bartholomew is sporting a preppy pink shirt and gray slacks to complement his mustache for the big race day. When Jaime climbs into the passenger side of their dune buggy, Tim points out her "sick bag" hanging under the dash, and tells her she will probably need this. Yes, won't we all.
On Your Mark: The race announcer expediently introduces us to the list of race competition suspects who may try to evil-dispatch to that saloon and get the tape before Jaime. Among them, Scappini who has vowed revenge on Tim, a snarky Russian couple, and a couple from Hong Kong driving a pickup truck. The rest of the race participants whose names appear on the leader board are from unknown countries—some neatly paired with recognizable names of producers and writers of this series, including Bennett, Parriott and Johnson. To be fair, I think they should have made them all ride 500 miles in dune buggies in penance for this episode.
Annnnd they're off. Everybody's racing across the desert. Vroom, vroom, squealing tires, engines roaring, popping wheelies, jumping dunes… Just. Kill. Me. Now. After about a minute of this action I started having painful flashbacks to Herbie in "The Love Bug." Tim gets immediately run off the road and complains about his car being "a dog." In-between checking my Twitter feed and dusting my precious moments figurines, I guess they must have gone the first 100 miles, because suddenly Jaime and Tim reached their first pit stop.
Whereupon Jaime asks Tim if he has another "sick bag." Hahahahah!! But wait, huh? So somewhere along the way Jaime actually hurled? I cannot believe the director deprived us of this scene where, in a sympathetic show of support for this nauseating mission, we could all watch the Bionic Woman ralph while we helped hold her hair back and stuff.
Pit Bull: Suspiciously commandeered by the Russian drivers, Jaime and Tim's pit stop didn't have any fresh new tires or service station attendants waiting for them. So Tim walks off all whiney to go find out why, while Jaime kicks into bionic action, finds their missing radials, elevates the car, torque removes the bolts and switches out the tires. She's a regular pit stop pro! When Tim returns, Jaime pretends some guys came by to help. For anybody who cares, the announcer updates us that Jaime and Tim are currently in 10th place.
Laundry on Set! By the way, thanks to the lack of exits or fast food restrooms on this desert dirt highway to nowhere, Jaime is now ready to do a Tide commercial. She's filthy, her jumpsuit is all dirty, her face is smudged with grease and I bet she has gritty sand in her teeth and smells like motor oil, too. Hard to believe she was a delicate beauty queen just a few weeks ago. Oscar Bartholomew, you will definitely be paying for this. (No really. See invoice attached). But on the bright side, at least Jaime doesn’t have helmet hair.
Back on the road, some sabotaged steering bolt thingy breaks and their dune buggy crash-flips and lands upside down. Oh no!!! Then it cuts to a commercial so we have to wait for a few words from Quaker State oil and another gawdawful GEIKO auto insurance commercial that makes you want to stomp that little lizard… to find out if they survived their crash.
Whew! Jaime regains consciousness first, bionic flips their car upright, then Tim wakes up, asks Jaime to hand him the tool kit, he fixes their steering and they hit the road again. Yay the race is back on because I sure did miss it.
Car Tawk: Before they reached 'Checkpoint B,' I had updated my Pinterest page and painted my kitchen. Well okay not really, but the next time I looked up, Tim was informing Jaime he had no intention of taking that dangerous shortcut through the (secret tape rendezvous) town of Ariram despite promising Oscar, his "half-baked sponsor" he would, and that "no female navigator is gonna tell me how to run my race." Jaime, you now have my permission to poison him with antifreeze.
At another point while chasing the Russians, Tim stops the car again and agrees he does probably drive like a woman (hey buster, enough of this! I only have 2 dents in my car thankyouverymuch) and finally admits that he's a loser. So Jaime has to give him a tennis-pro pep talk about this all being in his head and urges him to stop psyching himself out. And then she flirts with him some more before putting her goggles back on. That should do the trick. Now let's go, we have a race to run!
Then they have to stop AGAIN. Because the Russians crashed and their car is in flames and Jaime and Tim have to play good samaritans and rescue them. Then Tim saves Jaime from the gas tank explosion and they have a tender moment embracing on the ground with more batting eyelashes whatever and then they leave the barely-alive Russians for the rescue helicopter already en route, annnd let’s get those goggles back on, kids!
Herbie Rides Again: The desert run painstakingly continues. On another stop Jaime hands the map to Tim, who finds a dry river bed route as an extra short cut to the town of Ariram hoping to beat the Hong Kong couple—also racing to get the tape. Then surprise Tim wrecks AGAIN, and this time their axel gets stuck on a log so Jaime has to bionic lift it, and then they vroom yadda yadda some more, eventually passing the Hong Kong truck to successfully reach the town first.
Jaime and Tim are speeding down Ariram's main street, where there's some shepherd guy sitting in the road next to a camel (where’s the rest of the nativity scene?) and then suddenly Jaime SCREAMS to Tim:
Yesss! My mood ring, which has been a sadish, sand color this entire time, has suddenly turned purple. I can't think of a more perfect place than a bar for Jaime to end this episode. Bartender, a round for the entire house! We're tired and covered in dirt and parched and in a serious party mood right now. I hope it's happy hour!
Tim of course is unaware that Jaime has an OSI mission here. So to convince him this is important to national security stuff, she breaks her cover, tells him she’s a government agent and pleads with him to just wait 2 minutes for her to run in to get the tape, but the second she steps out of the vehicle, he totally ditches her and drives away. Because winning is everything. Or perhaps because early Menopause!Jaime has now acquired the unsightly appearance of a mustache here thanks to 400 miles of road rage, and suddenly he doesn't find her as attractive anymore?
So a woman walks into a bar… Jaime greets the bartender, who is drying the same glass he was several days ago when the OSI agent was there. Jaime approaches him, says 'hi', explains she came to pick up a tape, he acts like he doesn't understand, she tries to offer a description that "it's a small cassette thing and it goes around in a circle" (Y'know, like the racing plot in this episode.) Turns out he speaks English just fine, but expects her to give him something first? Jaime's like "oh!" and reaches into her jumpsuit pocket.
OMG. It's the return of the Jaime's government-authorized wads of cash bribery sting, just like in the African Connection! Jaime suddenly pulls out all these $100 dollar bills to give to the bartender and add to our national deficit without even asking for a receipt. (WTF—where did this come from, and how many other bills fell out of her pocket when their dune buggy flipped upside down?)
The bartender acts like he's insulted Jaime's cash bonus is so little, and asks her for her credit card, too. Jaime gives him a funny look …because right, as if a woman would EVER surrender her credit card without a bank order, sheesh. Then she pleads for the tape again, and I love how the bartender very slowly and covertly nudges it across the counter, because like you wouldn't want any witnesses in this TOTALLY EMPTY BAR.
It's Also a Swinging Singles Bar: But just as Jaime slips the tape back in her pocket, the Hong Kong racing couple comes running in waving guns. Jaime cleverly jumps up to the giant chandelier hanging above her, swings it like a trapeze and kicks them both down. Woo-hoo, Angry Bird Score 500 points! (250 for each leg in tandem) Then she bionics up a stair landing, races outside to the balcony and jumps back out into the street, managing to dodge their bullets and escape. Pretty cool.
So now Jaime is running trying to catch up with her narcissistic driving partner who ditched her earlier. (Jaime, is it too much to ask… why?) But the good news is she manages to find the only green field oasis in the entire desert in which to do her bionic running exercises. (I'm awarding her an extra 100 points for this amazing navigation). After suffering through this dust bowl episode, it was rather nice to finally see a little landscape color for a change. Please do not adjust your sets.
Commuter Lane: Jaime eventually catches up with Tim, who by now was having second thoughts about his selfish abandonment of Jaime and turned back his car to go get her. They meet up, but the bad guys are still hot on Jaime's tail, so she grabs a wrench and bionic-torpedoes it at their truck and blows out their tire. Once again, the Bionic Woman's impeccable tennis aim earns her 1000 points!
Then they have one more "exciting" showdown with Scappini in a race to the finish line, where according to the announcer they are going 110 mph. Seriously? I did love how Jaime waves and smiles at Scappini when they pass him, right before they cut him off and send his car in the river.
"You really cooled him off again, huh?" Jaime congratulates Tim, harkening back to the restaurant incident earlier when Tim poured a cold drink on him. Bookends are so fun! Especially when they are followed-up by happy endings where Tim and Jaime go on to win the race without having to surrender their titles later because of illegal doping. Fortunately, the audience was waived from the blood test due to necessary pain killers.
Winning is Ending: It's champagne celebration time back at the restaurant in Taftan, where Jaime has cleaned up good and this time her hair is styled up in a bun and she's wearing this really awesome striped blouse. But when they raise their champagne glasses, Jaime says "Cin Cin" just like she did with her fiancé Steve Austin once on the airplane, which manages to upset me immensely. Thanks for cooling us off, Jaime.
So Tim realizes he's a winning race car driver again and Jaime's going back home to teach and oh thank God Oscar arrives to cut this short and tells Tim his RIDE IS WAITING. Buh-bye cute, but completely unnecessary Not!Steve. So sorry that Jaime seems to have run out of her special "coffee" for you. And then Tim and Jaime kiss goodbye and do this little secret thumb push-off, although I would have used a different finger for this. Okay I did.
This Dune Is Done: Hooray—we managed to reach the episode finish line! Thanks to the Bionic Woman, this week I learned that whenever possible you should encourage people to realize their full potential. And during a race, never give up, no matter how many pedestrians you hit on your way to that 50% Off Sale.
Also, you should always carry a spare sick bag. And be sure to keep track of your expenses for the boss, who has a habitat of taking advantage of your "winning attitude."
Hey, a girl’s gotta earn a living.
Jaime wore five different outfits in this episode. Her belted dark brown and tan jumpsuits were repeats from earlier episodes Welcome Home Jaime Pt. 1 and A Thing of the Past, as well as her tennis shoes during the race. While I didn’t exactly love her jacket in the first scene, I did like her in the dark blue—especially the kaftan-style dress she wore at dinner, which had some nice flower detail on the sleeves and I was disappointed the restaurant was too dimly lit to let us see this dress better. I also really adored the brown pattern on her blouse at the end. In the jewelry department, she wore the necklace her mother gave her again, plus a sapphire blue choker.
The Bionic Woman and the character of Jaime Sommers are © Universal Studios. This website is produced by a fan just for fun, and is in no way affiliated with, nor endorsed by, Universal Studios or the cast or crew of this series. No copyright infringement is intended.