SCORE: 2 rocks out of 4 Tennis Balls
December 1, 1976
Mood Ring: Yellow
Tonight on the Bionic Woman there was a rock from outer space and if controlled everybody's minds but Jaime squirted it with a fire hose and killed it. I didn't like that her old boyfriend came back. I wish Steve was there.
THE BIONIC WOMAN 2x09
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGA
So is this possibly what it feels like to pass kidney stones? Asking for a friend.
November 17, 2013
Dear Bionic Blondes,
Mood Ring: Gone Missing
FINALLY, an episode that unlocks all the secrets of the universe using the 3 most powerful words in the science dictionary: "I don't know."
Tonight's episode drinking game is to take a swig every time someone remarks "I don't know," which is lazily offered no less than 7 times. After a while, I discovered I also enjoyed substituting "I don't CARE." It really is cathartic.
But first, put away those schmanzy martini glasses…we're gonna drink our beverages from a STYROFOAM cup this time. For snacks, I'm going retro with Pop Rocks® candy. And you may as well give your mood ring the night off. It will only feel dwarfed by this godzilla stone that can turn a hella horde of different colors all at once. My mood ring is hopelessly depressed now.
Third Rock From The Sun: So. I have now decided it is not a good sign when the Bionic Woman show starts with the opening credits. Likely this means they were afraid that if viewers saw a teaser involving, I dunno… perhaps a giant ROCK or something, people might roll their eyes and change the channel. I am onto you, Bionic producer people.
It also just feels wrong to start the episode with the Bionic Woman riding in an airplane right after you showed us scenes where she fell out of one in a parachute and nearly died. (Are you sadistic?) Anyway, there's Jaime Sommers in the very first scene, not late at all, flying in some kind of Air Force B-52 bomber something and she's taking pictures out the window with her camera. Oh look fluffy clouds and stuff. Let's capture this perfect Kodak moment before it all goes to hell—in three, two, one….
DEARGAWDNOOOOOOOO! Okay, who authorized the release of Dr. Michael Marchetti from the Disney Vault?!
And why wasn't I warned Not!Steve 1.0 was going to make an unwelcomed return after the Bionic Woman pleasantly dumped him in Welcome Home Jaime?! Hurled at the TV in protest: 3 couch pillows, the remote and several select cuss words. (Sorry, I was unprepared and had to make do with what I could reach.)
The upside is that while there appears to be some minor residual flirty chumminess between them in this episode, Jaime doesn't seem interested in renewing their relationship beyond just using Michael to mansplain everything to her. (Plus all the other men accompanying her on this mission, but we'll address this mini-rant later.)
What Happens in Vega: Michael swaggers up behind Jaime carrying 2 styrofoam cups and asks her if she wants some coffee. (Hmmmm, remember when this was G-Rated CODE for something else during that winning cross country race episode?) Jaime says no thanks, she's taking pictures of the tundra for the kids in her class. But then she turns around and accepts the cup of coffee anyway and enjoys herself a nice big gulp. Wink wink.
During their coffee chat, we learn they are on their way to London to pick up some secret biomedical gear, but have to make a refueling stop at "Grand Tooley Island" in Alaska first. Granted my world geography is kinda rusty, but aren't there significantly shorter routes flying directly over the Atlantic Ocean that would have gotten them to London a LOT sooner? It’s no wonder they had to stop for gas.
Hard Rock Cafe: Jaime and Michael decide to join the 3 pilots in the cockpit, where Jaime reverts to her stewardess role in Fly Jaime and cheerfully serves one of the pilots coffee and OMG it's the very same styrofoam cup that she has been drinking from. WTF? So now they're having "unprotected coffee" in the infamous mile high club.
Right now this is all I can see in this scene, as Jaime and this strange Sergeant Man pass this SAME CUP OF COFFEE BACK AND FORTH and share all kinds of disgusting germs and saliva backwash. Ewwww.
During this scene the pilots mansplain something to Jaime about WW2 and an Agricultural research facility (hello, INFECTIOUS MONONUCLEOSIS?) and also contact the control tower guy for landing instructions (you might wanna look up HEPATITIS B?) however I couldn't concentrate on anything but the horror that Jaime was going to get fiercely sick from this casual coffee exchange (because what's a little STREP THROAT amongst co-workers).
Oforgodsakes Jaime will you please go get this Sergeant Man his OWN styrofoam cup of coffee?! And please let's make sure Dr. Wells is on call with some antibiotics, too
One Life to Rock: Air traffic control sounded drunk and then they lost radio contact, so the pilot commander Major Man, incidentally played by Philip Carey— who went on to become the legendary 'Asa Buchanan' on the daytime drama One Life To Live) decide to land the plane anyway, but when they arrive there's no ground crew. The base looks abandoned. Jaime can't bionic hear anything, then delivers in a dizzy, childlike voice the cut-to-commercial question:
"Michael? WHERE are all the PEEEEple?"
Da Da Duuuuuuh. Yes, scary music change, because the Bionic Woman appears to be stoned ahead of schedule.
After the commercial, our mission crew ambles across the deserted landing base with stunned looks on their faces. This government shutdown sudden disappearance of federal employees is chillingly spooooky.
Everybody yells "hello?" like five times, and then they discover a car with the engine still running and it backfires loudly so Michael has to coddle Jaime's hand because she's all scared and stuff.
But wait, Jaime can bionic-hear a whistling sound, which beckons them to the base mess hall where there’s a teapot left boiling on the stove. Inside this kitchen, they discover a table with some unfinished food prep and OMG Stop. Here.
This is absolutely the most hysterical cutaway display of food. EVER. -->
If THIS is what was on today's menu, well no wonder everybody vamoosed. (An obscure Cyborgs Podcast reference to prove I actually know what this word means now.)
Personally, I want this set decorator as my private chef just as soon as he or she is released from the OCD treatment hospital.
Then Jaime delivers THE line that for me sums up exactly what has bothered me about this episode thus far:
"Time's like this, it's kinda nice being a girl 'cause I can admit to being very scared."
Back After These Messages: Seriously, this line just made me want to hit "stop" on my DVD player and end the episode here. Why all of a sudden is our perfectly capable female heroine—now in her 24th episode— being kicked back an entire generation into a stereotypical, submissive, panicky little "girl" who is no longer an equally qualified OSI agent alongside her male peers? No. Wrong. Nada.
Yet from the very beginning of this episode, writer Arthur Rowe has depicted the Bionic Woman as the blatantly weaker gender, and does not allow her to exercise any of her intellectual or physical strengths (aside from a couple cute door pushes) until all the men have been taken out of the picture first. Jeez, put an apron and a string of pearls on Jaime, and she might as well be June Cleaver tonight. (Serving us weenies and lettuce, of course.)
Between A Rock And A Hard Place: Faced with this OMG graphically shocking image of un-eaten food, they all decide to split up. Former coffee bud, the Sergeant Man and Jaime explore an abandoned hangar, but she has to secretly help him bionic open the stuck door first. Inside, the director reveals a young teenage girl hiding up in the cockpit of one of the planes and when Sergeant Man disappears behind a Jeep, Jaime calls out to him like ten times. Like this--> "Sergeant?" only x10.
Jaime's voice starts to quiver like she's about to cry as she races back and forth outside the hangar to look for him, then scary-bumps into Major Man, who comforts our damsel in distress.
Don't worry honey he'll help you go look for the missing Seargeant Man… and OMG okay YOU MIGHT WANT TO REMOVE YOUR HAND OFF JAIME'S BREAST HERE, SIR.
Time To Get Stoned: Inside the hanger, Major Man calls out, "Sergeant Rabbits? Sergeant Rabbits?" (I think maybe his name is really supposed to be ‘Roberts,’ spoken with a Bah-stan accent). And then the moment the Major walks behind the same Jeep he disappears, too—accented with a quiet burp. (I swear I am not making this up.)
Jaime re-panics and calls out to the missing Major like another 10x, backs outside the hangar again and this time runs into Michael. His air force man on the buddy system disappeared, too. So Jaime and Michael decide to make a "let's not ever separate again" pact, which I sincerely hope becomes null and void after this episode.
Are we having fun yet, because according to my DVD counter we have now experienced 14 minutes of listless bliss. Topped off with delicious weenies. Perhaps things will pick up when Jaime and Michael decide to check out this research facility building. Oh look, behind this cute little zoo display window is a giant ROCK.
"What is THAT?" Jaime, the Carnegie Mellon-educated teacher who studies tundras in class wonders.
"I don't know." (DRINK!) Michael says, while looking at this fairly obvious ROCK, surmising it might be a meteorite.
Jaime decides this episode and creepy rock look more like a "problem for Oscar now, not us." So what say we try to contact Oscar—who no doubt will then assign a couple of his nearest OSI employees to investigate?
Oops that would probably be us. #NeverMind
Rock Station: Jaime's bionic hearing leads them to the radio communications room where she offers to take care of the locked door for Michael. I love how she sledge-hammer pounds it open with her bionic fist instead of her usual quietly-turn-the-door-knob-till-it-breaks technique. I'm awarding her 200 Angry Bird bonus points for vicariously taking out all our frustrations on this plot so far.
Inside, they hear Oscar's voice trying to radio in: "Can you copy Grand Tooley?" Jaime gets all hysterical when her attempts to radio him back don't work and Michael can't push the buttons right, causing her to suffer an emotional meltdown. There there Jaime. Us girls can't help being weak in the presence of the only man left who can save us.
Jaime collects herself and asks Michael what he thinks is going on. He determines it's "some influence" that is isolating this island from communications. Maybe sunspots or stuff. Jaime says that doesn't account for people disappearing. "I don't know!" Michael complains. (DRINK!) They gotta be here some place. Then he reaches over to hug and kiss Jaime's hair. There there again.
Our next scene cuts back to the girl crawling out of that plane cockpit she's been hiding in, but then she has to duck because somebody's coming. Oh no, it's the Major Man walking like a zombie! And double NO, they are re-using the scary Fembot music here, too!
Be Kind Please Rewind. After the commercial Jaime and Michael are rifling through research papers in the lab to see if anybody jotted down on post it notes anything about that ROCK that is staring at them from the glass chamber.
Jaime finds a video tape on the counter with today's date and Michael puts it in the player and subjects us to annoying rewinding screech audio sounds. I sincerely hope this lazy video renter gets charged extra at Blockbuster for failing to rewind the tape.
Oh look, it's a Discovery Channel documentary showing their science team (which incidentally, I appreciated did make an effort to gender balance by hiring 3 women) unloading the rock from the jeep and testing it in their lab. The head scientist Dr. Boylin handily narrates and explains they just found this stone in the tundra and it's roughly “point 7 million years old.” For some reason they are fascinated with the blackish dust charred residue on said ROCK, which at some point hurtled through the atmosphere as a fiery ball so OMG why might this look burnt? However, I think maybe they were plot-attempting to use this black space dust excuse later to explain the residual sleepy Jeep effect that causes victims to burp.
Well even geektastic Michael finds this story tiresome and fast forwards through the tape, where next we see the ROCK is all prism-y like an out of control mood ring. Dr. Boylin announces "it's alive!" with additional big sciency words like crystalline compounds animate properties and pulsation something rates.
My new favorite part is when the camera cuts to Jaime's Mega Boring Science Reaction Face™ because this was pretty much my expression here, too. --->
ROCKet Science: Bottom line is it appears once the science team turned up the heat on this tundra turd, it started to glow more and then everybody passed out and then the video camera pointed to the lab floor.
Jaime wants to know why the taping stopped. Michael says "I don't know." (DRINK!) Jaime then asks if he thinks the stuff on the meteorite did something? "I don't know." DRINK! But Michael bouldly (get it?) presumes this igneous ROCK can probably think on a basic level for self-preservation, but guess what he says when Jaime asks a follow-up question on how it might affect people. "I don't know." DRINK!
Rock Revival: Suddenly a mittened zombie hand turns up the thermostat outside the lab, causing the ROCK to glow and come alive again with the increased heat. Jaime and Michael both keel over from the reanimated ROCK's piercing sound, and he urges her to hurry up and get out of the lab. Save yourself!
So Jaime battles blurry vision and bionic runs outside… where she bumps into Major Man and Sergeant Rabbit—along with an entire army of rock controlled minds zombie-ing towards her, one of whom is wearing furry Bigfoot boots. Jaime escapes into a hangar and bionic shuts the garage door. Whew! See what happens when you feed people a low energy diet of weenies and lettuce?
Teen Team: Inside the hangar Jaime discovers the teenage girl, and turns out she's Laurie Boylin, the research doctor's daughter. But the zombies are banging on the door so Jaime suggests they go find someplace safe where they can resume this part of the script.
Jaime creates an instant side exit by bionic kicking them out of the hangar (Angry Bird Score 150 slow points) and they race towards a green station wagon as their getaway vehicle.
But oh dear, Jaime suddenly starts to keel over from the ROCK noises, whose unfortunate side affects also cause the Bionic Woman to run with an Igor-style foot drag.
With the zombies closing in, Jaime beckons the girl to please come back and help her, but seriously are you kidding? You just gave an underage teen permission to DRIVE, so of course she is fiercely focused on just getting behind the wheel of that awesome car. Vroom.
Jaime rallies the strength to get to the passenger seat after all, and I love this "you little b*tch" face she shoots the defiant teen, right before Laurie lays down the gas pedal and they race outta there. You are totally grounded young lady. No texting for a week.
Now Hear This: That night while hiding out at the girl's home on “Officer's Row”, the power is out so they have to light candles. Jaime notices Laurie doesn't pay attention to her when she's talking so she reaches over and grabs her face, turns her head to ask a question, then pushes her chin back and demands to know what she just said to her. (Jeez remember the good ole days when Miss Sommers used to just passively rip phone books when kids didn't pay attention to her?)
This was a pretty intense scene and way to reveal that the girl is deaf and can only read lips. So essentially, unlike all other normal teenagers who have a gift for tuning out grown-ups, Laurie hasn't been purposely ignoring Jaime when she talks. Laurie explains she had an accident about 4 years ago and lost her hearing, and Jaime replies with great relief, "Oh thank god!" Yup, the Bionic woman literally just told a girl she was glad she had an accident and lost her hearing, so I think we can pretty much cross Children's Hospital visits off Jaime's list for future charity work.
Plus Mine Runs On Batteries: The Bionic Woman reveals she has the "granddaddy of all hearing aids," (so NEENERS) and thinks it may be filtering the sound differently so she's not getting a full dose of the rock's come hither effect.
No sooner do they bond on their hearing deficiencies than Bam! Bam! Zombies are knocking at the doors and windows. I love how Jaime quickly snuffs out their candles so the zombies can't see them. (refresh browser for animated gif)
Then in a probably not so bright moment, Jaime decides to bionic-drag a furniture hutch over to block one of the 187 windows in this house that the zombies are already crashing through. When a couple zombies kick down the front door, Jaime grabs a chair and smashes it through a window and she and Laurie escape outside.
...where Jaime comes face to face with the army of winter-clothed zombies, and this time she bionics one out of her way. Angry Bird Score 200 points! Bonus Science News Alert: Did you know zombies falling in bionic slow motion are essentially the same speed as Zombies in normal motion? Please feel free to use Jaime’s Mega Boring Science Reaction Face™ right now.
With the zombies in hot, okay chilled, pursuit, Jaime and Laurie decide to stop and chat.
What is it? Laurie asks, leaving Jaime no choice but to delight us with another perfectly good excuse to DRINK "I don't know."
Then Jaime goes on to re-splain the rock mind control plot for those either 1) just joining us or 2) didn't read their lips when they recapitulated all this earlier or 3) were distracted while live tweeting how awesome this episode was.
So, Laurie decides maybe it's like some kind of "crystal radio in reverse?" Jaime shrugs in a sure whatever way. I mean seriously don't add anything else to this plot, kid.
Quite The Opposite of Speed Dating: O hey look, it's your old BF Michael approaching, but oh dang he's a zombie now, too.
"Jaaaaaaaammmmeeeeee?" He begs her to "Joinnnnn us." OMG I cannot stop laughing when he drones on in this decidedly unsexy drunk zombie voice.
And how much do I *heart* when Laurie grabs a trash can lid and wants to bonk him on the head? I am suddenly overcome with joy, shouting at the tee vee, HIT HIM LAURIE… DO IT CLUNK HIM HARD BECAUSE HOW OFTEN DO WE GET TO WHACK OUR NOT!STEVES? But I forgot she's deaf and couldn't hear me.
Jaime attempts to reason with Michael even though he's clearly having an acid trip. "Michael, you're saying my name like it was just a word. It's Jaime, remember? I'm your friend." O JUST SMASH HIM LAURIE READ MY LIPS YOU KNOW YOU WANNA.
Michael monotones on about how he wants to disconnect Jaime's bionic hearing so she can be one of them because she's threatening its safety or whatever GO LAURIE TAKE OUT THE TRASH FOR US SISTER HIT HIM ON THE HEAD NOW! then more zombies are advancing and the rock radio sound is getting stronger so Jaime and Laurie decide to flee again.
"Run Jaime, run—it's too strong…" Michael slowly cautions, and then he slowly changes his slow zombie mind and pleads slowly for her to come back.
At this point I don't know what is rendering me more fatigued. The pace of the zombies or the fact that I am realizing that Jaime is likely going to come back after the commercial still wearing this SAME outfit for the remainder of the episode. While I have a wardrobe meltdown, don’t touch that dial kids, we’ll be right back after these messages...
STONEHENGE: The next morning, Jaime and Laurie are back at the air base of howling wind, hiding behind a stack of barrels. Shush, Jaime is thinking and trying to figure out how to take this rock down. But first I think we should have another science plot review on how the rock thrives on heat and that's why all its rolling stone groupies are dressed so warm because just like the mother meteor, they fear the cold temps will kill them.
Evidently sometime overnight, our ROCK STAR booked a trip on Travelocity to a warm tropical retreat, and the zombies are now busy loading their leader onto a flight. For all of its intergalactic sophistication, I find it remarkably ironic that it needs a litter box, don't you? -->
Jaime sends Laurie to go grab her some air force issue ear phones to protect her from the debilitating rock sound waves, and when Laurie dutifully returns with them, Jaime asks her what's the coldest thing on this base that she can think of.
Quite obviously Laurie knows a good drinking game when she sees one, and purposely tosses us a final "I don't know." (DRINK!) But really she did have the answer… because oh yeah the fire truck uses liquid CO2 to put out fiery plane crashes will that work?
Blaze of Glory: Laurie points the Bionic Woman in the direction of the Fire Truck Garage. Jaime, you kinda look silly in these HUGE headphones so I hope you at least have some Led Zepplin cued up on your iPod right now to make it all worthwhile. Jaime finds the fire truck with the DANGER HIGH PRESSURE CO2 labeled tanks loaded on the back and jumps in the driver's seat of truck, but forgets to put on a fire hat and sound the siren. (I’m deducting 50 points from her score for this.)
Vroom, Jaime barrels out of the garage and races towards the B52 plane where the rock is already on board and thankfully the Zombie Airlines staff is pushing buttons too slowly to accomplish a speedy take off.
In a scene right out of Aliens, Jaime pulls a Ripley (or rather, Ripley pulled a Jaime) and race rams her vehicle right up the ramp of the aircraft into the cargo belly, except she didn't squash any aliens in her path. Angry Rock-Scissors-Paper Score 1000 points!!
Jaime gets out and suffers an extreme lean/migraine episode as a result of the rock's piercing sound--even though she still has the headphones on. But it makes her cranky and I love how she bionics the head scientist dad zombie out of her way so she can go grab the hose and freeze this mothereffing rock.
But then Michael catches up to her and acts like he's going to choke Jaime, but instead he grabs her ear phones and pulls them off so OH NO now the sound makes Jaime stagger and lean even more.
Jaime still somehow manages to grab the fire truck hose nozzle and finish her mission. I seriously love this pose while the Bionic Woman attempts to cover her ear with one hand and spray the rock with the other whilst drunk-sprawled over the hood of this truck. If I had a nickel for every time this happened to me...
At last the Bionic Woman hoses it with enough CO2 to turn it ice-white and freeze its a*s off. Instantly, all the zombies are released from its mind control and return to normal, which means Jaime can now stop having to be the hero and rush into Michael's arms.
Hurled at the screen in protest: My trash can lid.
Yay We Finally Hit Rock Bottom: in the final scene Oscar has arrived, and everybody's standing around in the lab rehashing the science of it all. Jaime—who is clearly just being polite— says she finds this (episode) fascinating.
"Okay I admit this is the most bizarre experience I have ever had in my life... the thought of a completely new life form? I mean I LOVE it! "
Funny that Jaime didn't seem nearly this excited like six episodes ago when she met Shalon, Gillian and all those other jumpsuited aliens in The Return of Bigfoot and even got invited to go live on their planet with her true love Steve. Clearly, alien rocks are WAY more fascinating.
Well WHEREver this thing came from, Michael gets the final line by saying he doesn't ever want to see another snow suit again!
It makes everybody laugh but that's because they secretly know he will never be back. Jaime has a new Not!Steve coming next week, and I hear that episode serves the crew hot pizza instead of weenies and lettuce.
Just one outfit in this episode. (I’m beginning to go thru wardrobe withdrawals.) Bell bottom blue jeans with double zip front pockets, with a light blue pullover shirt worn with a long sleeved blue striped blouse; rolled up sleeves and tied at the waist. (This looks like the same blouse she wore during the opening scene in Assault on the Princess). Jaime also wore white tennis shoes and a dark blue bandanna/neck scarf.
While I obviously enjoy poking a little series character fun at Dr. Michael Marchetti, by contrast, the actor who portrayed him—Rick Lenz, actually seems like an amazingly nice guy. I highly recommend listening to this Cyborgs A Bionic Podcast interview with him, where he talks about working on this series, in addition to some other Hollywood stories. I found Mr. Lenz really interesting and he's also an accomplished artist and writer now, too.
Lastly, I couldn't help but notice when we were shown the rock one last time in the final frame, that from this new angle, there appeared to be a prominent V chiseled onto this styrofoam rock prop.
As you probably know, 7 years later, Kenneth Johnson would go on to produce the highly popular, Emmy-nominated sci-fi mini-series entitled "V."
Sheer coincidence? I don't know.
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