Recap: Colonel Steve Austin is on a mission in a forested area somewhere near the Hungarian border. Oscar Goldman is gabbling at him via an earpiece, telling him that an illegal purchase is about to go down...and by illegal purchase, he means a nefarious counterfeiter named Joseph Ronaugh is attempting to get possession of a special plate (stolen by the Denver Mint) that can replicate American twenty dollar bills. [I wonder if there's a reason he didn't target the fifty or hundred dollar generating plate??] A truck appears on a small pathway in the woods, and Steve zooms in on it with his bionic eye so he can watch the criminals make the exchange. Joseph Ronaugh and his sidekick emerge from the truck wearing matching white suits...and then two other men appear, one of whom is carrying a large steel box. Ronaugh is heard confirming that the deal has been made, and his sidekick exchanges a briefcase filled with cash for the large steel box. Subtle, guys. Ronaugh and his sidekick then load up the steel box in the back of the truck and drive off.
Oscar warns Steve that if he fails to rescue the plate from Ronaugh's clutches, he might replicate enough twenty dollar bills "to bring chaos to the U.S. economy". Steve's like, "I'm on it", then leaps out of his hiding spot and starts running after the truck at bionic speed. He jumps onto the back of the truck and uses his bionic arm to slash an entryway through the metal and climbs inside. He quickly locates the steel box containing the plate - but while he's fiddling with it, an alarm sounds. Ronaugh and his sidekick, who are in the front cab, use some sort of infrared flashlight to peek into the back of the truck...and they're all, "Wha-a?!" when they see Steve extract the plate, then leap out of the truck and speed off. Ronaugh and his sidekick stop the truck and start chasing after Steve - but they soon realize the chase is futile when all they can see is Steve getting tinier and tinier. The side-burn sporting Ronaugh throws up his hands in frustration and snarls, "I saw his face"...and his sidekick wonders aloud how it was possible for the man to get into the truck, steal the plate, then run away at the speed of light. Ronaugh scrunches his pudgy face with confusion and says he has no idea, then narrows his eyes all sinister-like and declares, "But if it takes me the rest of my life, I'll find him. And when I do, he's a dead man." Nooooo!!
After that gripping cold open, the opening credits for The Six Million Dollar Man start rolling...and it's just as awesome as I remembered from the '70s:
Steve Austin, astronaut, a man barely alive.
Gentlemen, we can rebuild him.
We have the technology.
We have the capability to make the world's first bionic man.
Steve Austin will be that man.
Steve has decided to pack it in (at least temporarily) and settle down in his hometown of Ojai, California. While he's en route to Ojai, Oscar Goldman calls him to inform him that the Treasury Secretary wants to give him a plaque for recovering the twenty dollar replicating plate in a ceremony that is to take place tomorrow morning. Steve says he'd be happy to accept his award - but in two weeks...after he's had time to settle into his new digs. Oscar's all, "Wha-a?" but it looks like he has no choice but to accommodate him. Steve arrives at "the old Marsden ranch" to meet with a real estate agent, and the two quickly wrap up the purchase of the rural property. As Steve signs the papers, he asks the agent to keep the news of his purchase on the down low until he can straighten up the place...and then we get some superfluous footage of Steve cleaning, fixing stuff, and using his bionic strength to install a new fence. LOL. Eventually, however, his parents get wind of his return to Ojai and drop by for an impromptu visit and guilt trip.
Steve and his parents are hanging in his kitchen, chatting and reading the local paper. Steve comes across an article about Jaime Sommers, a cute tennis pro he was once sweet on in high school. He stares down at the black and white photo and murmurs, "Jaime.."
The camera cuts to Jaime Sommers, who's playing tennis in teeny tiny white shorts to gratuitously showcase her long, toned legs. Steve arrives at the court and watches her play, then waves her over and says hey. The two hug and kiss, then stroll along and get caught up on each others' lives. He invites her to grab a pizza later, but she declines and tells him she has a date. Steve urges her to cancel - just as they hear a honk, then see a man waving in their direction. Jaime tells Steve that he's her date, David Welsh, and that he's a very nice man. Steve makes a blech face and says he hates him...and Jaime refuses to break the date, but urges Steve to call her tomorrow.
Back at the ranch, Steve looks over his high school yearbook and reads over what Jaime wrote to him. Mama Austin remarks that he and Jaime were once so close she expected them to fall in love...and Papa Austin chimes in and says they'd be delighted if he and Jaime got married. In the next scene, Steve and his dad are ambling around downtown Ojai...and Steve bionically zooms in on a restaurant patio and spots Jaime eating dinner with David Welsh.
Joseph Ronaugh and his sidekick, who are still decked out in their bad guy white suits, are examining a stack of head-shots of Interpol agents to see if any of them resemble the man who stole the plate - but their search is fruitless. Ronaugh barks at his sidekick to assemble a photo file of American agents...and when the sidekick points out that that could get expensive, Ronaugh gives him the green light to spend as much money as it takes the ensure that the unidentified bandit can never cause trouble for him again.
Steve is canoeing on a lake when he bionically zooms in on Jaime while she ambles along a trail. He kicks into bionic gear and speedily paddles until he reaches the shore...and Jaime looks startled to see him. He poutishly tells her it looked like she was having fun on her date last night, and she looks a tad weirded out as she asks, "Are you spying on me?" and Steve replies, "Yeah, why?" and admits that, yep, he's definitely jealous. Jaime says she's kind of turned on by his stalking and jealousy, then informs him that she broke up with David. Steve's all, "Woo hoo!" and says her breakup with David paves the way for the two of them to reconnect. They reminisce about a kiss they shared in high school, and then start smooching. We then get a slo-mo, softly blurred montage of them falling in love, which is summed up with the typical activities that TV characters engage in when they're in the process of falling in love: horseback riding, smilingly eating pizza, and leisurely bicycling together.
Jaime and Steve are hanging at the ranch, and she's cooing about how much she loooves their relationship. Oscar calls to ask Steve when he's planning on returning to work, and adds that he's been getting disturbing reports about Joseph Ronaugh. Looks like the scoundrel has gotten his hands on a coining press that can mass produce spare change. (Bwahaha! Just kidding.) Steve's just like, "Whatever" and tells Oscar to go pee up a rope until he gets around to calling him back later...and Oscar looks understandably miffed. Jaime tells Steve it's going to be a challenge for them to spend time together, but Steve insists it'll all work out somehow.
Steve and Jaime are spending the afternoon skydiving, which...er, OK. After leaping out of the plane, the lovebirds happily float around in mid-air before it's time to open their chutes. Steve zooms in on Jaime with his bionic eye to check on her and is aghast to notice that her chute is deflating. When she realizes she's in peril, she shrieks, "Helllllp me!" as she hurtles toward the ground and lands in a forest. Ouch.
Steve is pacing the waiting room of the local hospital when the doctor comes out to give him an update on Jaime's situation: both legs are broken, her right arm and shoulder are toast, and she has a smorgasbord of internal injuries. The doctor tells Steve they're doing their best to save her, but considering what a broken mess she is and that it's the '70s, there's only so much they can do. Steve goes into Jaime's room, and we see that her bloodied head is wrapped in gauze. When her eyes flicker open, Steve tenderly assures her she'll be OK...but she stares at him sadly and says it's obvious she's a goner. Steve looks contemplative for a few seconds and mutters, "There may be a way.." then earnestly asks, "Will you let me try? Will you trust me?" and Jaime sleepily murmurs, "Uh huh."
Oscar bellows at Steve, "That's not possible!" but Steve argues that he's living proof it is possible. He kicks over a chair to demonstrate his frustration, then stomps over to where Oscar is standing and snarls, "I need help - not a handful of red tape!" He agonizes about how Jaime has no hearing in her damaged ear, and that most of her limbs are crushed beyond repair. He insists to Oscar that he has the power to cobble her back together with bionic parts - the way he was reassembled in his show's pilot. Oscar heatedly reminds him that that operation cost taxpayers six million dollars...plus there had been a specific need. Steve argues there still is a need, and that Jaime could be an asset to the Office of Scientific Intelligence - LOL - even though no one's thought to get her (or her next of kin's) consent to rebuild her as a bionic person and then be forcibly recruited as a government spy. Oscar accuses Steve of suggesting this merely because he's in love with Jaime, but then contemplatively stares into space as he mulls over the ill-conceived idea. He asks Steve what Jaime thinks about all this (right?!), but Steve just whimpers, "She's dying" and once more begs Oscar to rebuild his girlfriend.
Jaime is in surgery, and I notice that there are two hilariously fake looking "bionic" legs sitting on a nearby table waiting to be attached. The camera zooms in as Dr. Rudy Wells inserts a bionic implant into her right ear...and I'm guessing he also fixes up all the internal damage she suffered so she doesn't go into multi-organ failure.
Steve is pacing the hall when Dr. Wells comes out to give him the good news: Jaime is responding to her bionic implant and appendages remarkably well! He says she'll probably regain consciousness by morning, then tells Steve that since this whole thing was his bright idea, he should be the one to tell her she's now a cyborg who will forever be beholden to a little known government agency. Steve looks uncomfortable with the task, but reluctantly agrees.
When Jaime regains consciousness, she's delighted and surprised to realize she's not dead. She asks Steve how the doctors managed to repair her shattered limbs, and he tells her she's in a very special hospital where doctors rebuild people into bionic cyborgs. Jaime's all "Wha-a?!", wigs out, and berates him for allowing the doctors to make her into a freak...so Steve tells her he went through the exact same thing, and demonstrates that he too is a bionic freak-show by picking up a metal chair and crushing it with his bionic arm. Steve offers to help with her recovery every step of the way - but emphasizes that her survival will depend on her will to live the rest of her life as a government owned cyborg.
Steve wheels Jaime over to the hospital's gym so she can undergo her first physiotherapy session. She manages to take a few short steps...and in the next scene, she squeezes a tennis ball until it pops. Steve's like, "Ooooh dear" and tells her she's going to have to get her new arm re-calibrated by Dr. Wells.
After a few sessions, Jaime is in the gym, being monitored by Steve as she lifts weights and speed walks on the treadmill. Soon after, the two are jogging outside...and Jaime tells him she's kinda digging being bionic, and jokingly refers to herself as the Bride of Frankenstein. Steve's all, "Wuh?" and asks her if she's hinting about wanting to get married, and she mulls that over and decides it might be a nice idea. Steve says she's just going to have to wait to be asked...then a few seconds later goes, "So...will you? Marry me?" and Jaime happily accepts and gives him a smooch.
Steve and Jaime are at the ranch, having breakfast with Steve's parents. The four excitedly gabble about the wedding and toast the future Mrs. Steve Austin - but when Jaime lifts her glass to partake in the toast, she accidentally shatters it with her bionic hand. When Steve's parents scurry out of the room to get something to mop up the juice, Steve discreetly urges Jaime to get Dr. Wells to re-calibrate her arm. Wasn't she supposed to have done that already? Mama and Papa Austin return with a dishcloth and start mopping the juice that spilled all over the newspaper, which published a photo of Steve above his and Jaime's engagement announcement.
On the other side of the world, Joseph Ronaugh is reading the paper and laughing maniacally as he circles Steve's photo with red ink. It's interesting that engagement announcements from small town California get published on the front pages of major foreign newspapers. Ronaugh gleefully tells his sidekick he now knows the identify of the man who stole the Denver Mint plate: Colonel Steve Austin. He cackles, "Wonderful!" and says that Colonel Austin can expect a very special wedding present from him.
Duhn duhn duhn!
Thanks for reading! If you are enjoying TVofYore's recaps, consider thanking me by buying me a "coffee"!
4/29/2018 08:16:59 am
I forgot how implausibly goofy these old shows were...Isabel, I love your recaps! You are hilarious and I anxiously await the episode of any series you cover where there isn't a sh*t tiny enough for you to give about a ridiculous plot point! You rock!!
Isabel K. French
4/29/2018 04:43:03 pm
Thank you for the kind words! Means a lot. Writing these recaps is definitely a labour of love.
1/2/2021 09:25:51 pm
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Television of Yore
Snide recaps of television's most entertaining classics