"The Inspector / A Very Special Girl / Until the Last Goodbye"
Original airdate: 2/10/1978
Episode summary: A plain-looking friend travelling with her gorgeous BFF unexpectedly finds love. A father who's unnaturally close to his daughter enjoys one last vacation before his end-of-life hospital visit. The crew is tipped off about a cruise line inspector being aboard the ship.
Recap: Brian Sherwood is milling around the purser's lobby when he asks Julie when the ship will be setting sail. She tells him it'll be another half hour and chirps, "She'll make it" 'cause she's assuming that a silver fox such as himself has to be waiting for a lady friend - but he doesn't confirm or deny her assumption and just solemnly thanks her for the info.
A clueless middle-aged woman named Mrs. Corwin checks in with Gopher, and he's soon visibly bewildered by her general airheadedness.
Doc races over to help Gopher check in a beautiful young blonde named Melanie Taylor and her far less beautiful friend, Plain Jane Cole. Gopher gushily flirts with Melanie, but is soon put to shame by his serial womanizer colleague, Doc, who puts his arm around Melanie and invites her to come by his cabin for a private welcome...while Jane's all, "Hey! Wait for me!" as she scampers after them.
Two male passengers, Mike Andrews and Doug Ketchum, attempt to "rescue" Melanie from Doc's creepy clutches...while Jane rolls her eyes at the openly smitten men her friend is always attracting everywhere she goes.
A grumpy arrival named Marvin Waterman complains to Gopher about how long he's had to wait in line to get himself checked in, and Gopher explains that things tend to get plugged up when the passengers all arrive at the same time. Mrs. Corwin wanders back over to tell Gopher she can't figure out how to find the Fiesta Deck, followed by a panicked looking Russian man in a black hat and coat (we later learned is Mr. Zidreczky) who asks something urgent sounding in Russian, but is completely ignored.
Captain Stubing tells his crew he got a tip that there's going to be an inspector aboard this cruise to judge how well everyone's performing their duties...and that since he has no idea what this inspector looks like, it could be anyone. Julie assures the captain that since they're such a super marvellous crew there's nothing to worry about - just as Gopher remembers that he left Mr. Zidreczky standing haplessly by the ship's entrance.
Sarah Lambert arrives on board and greets Brian Sherwood, who gushes about how it's been three long weeks since he's seen her. The two then get all hand-holdy as they check in with Julie...and as they make their way through the lobby, Brian tells Sarah that he booked them a pair of connecting cabins 'cause he figured she'd want her privacy, then adds, "I also didn't want to tarnish your reputation." Mmm hmm..?
Melanie changes into her bikini and tells Jane that of all the men who were buzzing around her earlier, she digs Mike the most. Jane bitterly tells her she's going to have a ball as usual, then complains about being talked into taking a cruise that is most definitely not her scene. Melanie chides her for her negativity and assures her that they'll both have plenty of dates, but Jane just stares back at her looking justifiably skeptical.
Doc and Julie fill in Isaac about the inspector, and he grimaces and says he has a friend on a different ship who told him that after a particularly brutal inspection, much of the crew was fired. A few seconds later, Mrs. Corwin ambles over to ask where the doctor's office is, so Doc introduces himself as the ship's physician and asks her if anything's bothering her. Mrs. Corwin says she's fine, and that she just wanted to know where his office is...then rightly points out that he doesn't seem to spend much of his time there. Doc explains that he'd be paged in the event of a medical emergency, so she questions why he needs an office at all...and after she ambles off, the crew wonders aloud if perhaps the middle-aged airhead [who was somehow spot on about Doc's lackadaisical work ethic] could possibly be the inspector.
Brian toasts his and Sarah's togetherness, then asks if her marriage situation has improved enough to want to stay with her husband. Sarah says it's bearable enough to endure for the sake of her children, kind of like the way he did before he finally got divorced. She then chides him for bringing up the topic of her troubled marriage when they're supposed to be enjoying this time away from the rest of the world, and Brian apologizes and gently kisses her hand.
Over by the pool, Doc flirts with Melanie, then invites himself to escort her to the gift shop. A glum Jane stares after them for a few seconds, then buries her nose in a book - just as Mike wanders over to ask if she knows where Melanie is. She tells him she's over in the gift shop with Doc, then has to repeat herself a few seconds later when Doug saunters over to ask her the same thing. Following that, Mr. Zidreczky pops over to anxiously blather something in Russian, and she bellows, "She's in the gift shop!" LOL.
That evening in the lounge, Jane looks sad and lonely while Melanie dances with Gopher, and then Doc after he cuts in.
Julie watches Brian and Sarah dancing and remarks to Gopher about how lovingly the two are always touching each other. Gopher makes a blech face and calls the relationship "cradle snatching" 'cause of how much older Brian is than Sarah...but when Captain Stubing wanders over and joins the conversation, he says he doesn't find it at all icky 'cause he could totally see himself with a woman that young, then remarks on how blissful the two look together.
Isaac delivers a drink to Marvin and asks him why he's not dancing with any of the lovely ladies in the lounge, so Marvin grumbles that the crew is busy doing that. Isaac explains that it's somehow Doc's and Gopher's job to lecherously flirt with the most attractive female passengers...and after he heads back to the bar, Marvin opens his notebook and starts jotting something down.
Doug cuts in on Doc so that he can dance with Melanie, while Gopher brings a drink to where Jane's sitting and tells her it's for Melanie. Once he's out of earshot, Jane bitterly mutters about what a thrilling time she's having, watching Melanie dance and have drinks personally delivered - just as Mike cuts in on Doug and tells a smiling Melanie, "Welcome home."
Marvin seats himself beside Mrs. Corwin and asks her what she did today, then jots down some more notes. Isaac notices all of Marvin's note-taking and tells the crew he strongly suspects him of being the inspector, and Captain Stubing concurs, but instructs them to treat him the same as they would any other passenger...before they all rush over to where he's sitting and fawningly offer to provide him with whatever his heart might desire.
Mike escorts Melanie to her cabin...and when she invites him in, he perks up and says that he and his penis definitely like the sound of that. Melanie then opens the door and is all, "Ack!" when she sees that Jane is there, and suggests to Mike that they head over to his cabin - just as Doug happens to amble over to see if there's any possibility of him getting lucky with Melanie. That notion is firmly put to rest when Melanie asks Doug if he wouldn't mind taking Jane out for a drink so that she and Mike can bump uglies in her cabin, and Doug mulls that over before deciding 'Sure, what the hell? I've got nothing better to do this evening'.
Jane happily accepts Doug's invitation of a drink...and the two head off - just as Melanie and Mike sneak back over to her cabin and put a do not disturb sign on the doorknob.
The entire crew is in Marvin's cabin, tucking him in for the night, when he tells them that this level of attention isn't necessary 'cause he plans to stay up late finishing his latest book. When the crew's all, "Say wuh?", he explains that he's a children's author who likes to jot down notes a lot...and that he's currently working on the newest of his Marvin series: Marvin the Camel Takes a Cruise. The crew's all, "Fuuuuuuuuuuck" and immediately beats a hasty retreat to continue their hapless search for the elusive inspector.
Jane is miffed when she sees the do not disturb sign on the doorknob of her cabin and complains to Doug that Melanie's always doing this kind of inconsiderate shit to her. Doug invites her to spend the night in his cabin and pinky swears that he's not going to try any hanky panky, and Jane takes him up on the offer.
Brian tells Sarah that he loooooves New York and could never get tired of it, and Sarah talks about her life in Beverly Hills, and how it never seems to change. He says he hopes to return to California in a month or so, but then starts coughing in a way that reveals for the first time that something is seriously amiss with his health.
Jane borrows Mike's PJs, then declines Doug's offer for room service or a nightcap. He says the only thing left to do is go to bed, and Jane nervously climbs into Mike's bed and pulls the sheet over her mouth while staring anxiously over at Doug.
Captain Stubing drops by Marvin's cabin to ensure that he's getting enough special attention ['cause I guess no one on the crew thought to tell him he's no longer suspected of being the inspector], and an exasperated Marvin shuts the door in his face.
Sarah tells Brian he's looking very handsome this evening, then sadly adds, "Don't leave me", and he caresses her face while wistfully replying, "Darling, if it were only up to me."
The next day by the pool, Melanie cackles to Mike about how Jane spent the night with Doug, and Mike chuckles and calls his friend "a son of a gun" and asks Jane if the experience was to her satisfaction. Jane jokingly says she enjoyed wearing his PJs, and they all chortle as Mike and Melanie head off to the dining room to get some lunch. A few seconds later, Doug appears and explains to Jane that he exited the cabin early 'cause he figured she'd appreciate some privacy, given that she slept in an upright position with the sheet pulled up to her mouth...and the two giggle 'bout that while they too head over to the dining room for lunch.
Julie tells the crew she now suspects Mrs. Corwin of being the inspector 'cause of all the phone calls she's been making to the mainland. A few seconds later, Mrs. Corwin appears and compliments Isaac on his coffee and sweet rolls and tells him she's going to make mention of this in her next report. In the next scene, the entire crew needlessly escorts her to the gift shop - just as Mr. Zidreczky pops over to anxiously ask her something in Russian, only to be ignored by the group.
After exiting the gift shop, Brian presents Sarah with a special gift: a necklace with an ace of diamonds card. Sarah beams happily and calls him her "king of hearts", then insists that she'd really really like to accompany him to New York after the cruise. He firmly says no and reminds her about their agreement...and she immediately falls silent and doesn't argue further.
Melanie tells Mike how nice it is of Doug to keep Jane distracted by continuously dancing with her, and Mike concurs and says, "He's going waaaay beyond the call of duty" and calls his friend "a heckuva good buddy".
Brian and Sarah are cloistered in a private booth of the lounge, enjoying cognacs and recalling the first time he ever took her out to dinner. Brian recalls exactly what she was wearing that night, and Sarah remembers that at the time she thought, "Gee, I hope I'm the only girl he ever brings here", then recalls how he later carried her to the bedroom. Brian suddenly notices that a man at a nearby table is eavesdropping and chuckles about how he "just drank his candle".
The crew is hovering over Mrs. Corwin as she downs three drinks, then declines any more 'cause she'll get too tipsy to call in her next report. Captain Stubing agrees that business should come before pleasure, but Mrs. Corwin scrunches her face confusedly and says, "What business?" and explains that her daughter, who paid for this cruise, is making her report on everything she's been doing. She then pauses and says, "Or maybe it's my niece. They both look alike." As the crew visibly deflates at this revelation, Mr. Zidreczky appears and anxiously asks Mrs. Corwin in Russian whatever he's been repeatedly asking, and she assumes he wants her barstool, which she happily offers to him before she heads to her cabin.
Doug escorts Jane to her cabin, and the two agree that they had a lot of fun hanging out together. He then invites her to breakfast the next morning and gives her a big smooch...and she happily grins at him before he wanders off to his cabin.
The crew watches in wonderment as Brian and Sarah slow dance together, and agree that of all the couples they've ever gawked at on the ship, this one seems to have the most special relationship. Brian requests of the piano player one last song, You and I, then sings the lyrics to Sarah, who soon becomes so emotional that she runs off...and he chases after her - but starts coughing so much that an alarmed Isaac rushes over to assist him.
Doug knocks on Jane's door and wryly tells her that he's not going to be able to sleep in his cabin on account of Mike invited Melanie to spend the night. Jane says she's A-OK with him sleeping in the spare bed, then saucily asks him if he wants room service or a nightcap...and when he declines, she declares that the only thing left to do is go to bed, and the two begin smooching passionately.
Later, Brian stops by Sarah's cabin, and she apologizes for running off earlier, then cries, "What am I going to do without you?" before hugging him sadly.
The next day while canoodling by the pool, Jane tells Doug she's going to get them some coffee. A few seconds later, Mike and Melanie amble over and applaud Doug for being such a good sport about keeping Jane outa their hair - just as Jane returns with the coffee and overhears that last part. Looking visibly humiliated, she hands Doug the coffee and gives him a hard face smack before fleeing for the elevator.
Marvin and Mrs. Corwin are enjoying each other's company while coming up with ideas for his new book - just as Mr. Zidreczky appears and anxiously babbles something in Russian, which is once again ignored 'cause by this point he's being regarded by everyone on board as a non-person.
Julie, Gopher, and Isaac are racking their brains trying to figure out who the inspector could be, then decide that every passenger is going to get some super special treatment before the ship docks, whether the hell they want it or not.
Doug drops by Jane's cabin and explains from the other side of the door that he didn't have a chance to answer Mike and Melanie, and that if he had answered he would have told them about what a quiet, sensitive, and real woman she is...then declares, "I love you." Jane flings the door open and gaily asks, "Why didn't you say so in the first place?" and gives him a smooch. As that's happening, Mike and Melanie wander over to ask Jane if she'd mind vacating the cabin so that they can enjoy another fuckfest [despite the fact that Mike's/Doug's cabin is clearly free at the moment], and Jane snaps, "Yes, we would!", then pulls Doug inside and puts the do not disturb sign on the doorknob. Bwahaha!
Sarah is knocking on Brian's door when a grim-faced Captain Stubing and Doc approach and tell her they need to inform her of something. When the three go inside her cabin, Captain Stubing informs her that earlier Brian was transported to a hospital in Los Angeles...and that he's still alive, but in a great deal of pain. He then hands her a letter that Brian left behind - but Sarah can't bring herself to open the envelop and asks him to read it aloud. Captain Stubing indulges her, and the letter is a sad goodbye, reminding her that he intends to "see this thing through alone" 'cause otherwise it'd be too torturous for the two of them. He urges her to not fret, and that his undying love for her will live on, and signs off as "your devoted father". Sarah tears up and asks which hospital her pa was taken to...and when Doc says he can't say 'cause he's suddenly choosing this episode to concern himself with doctor/patient confidentiality, Captain Stubing says that since he's not the ship's doctor, he's more than happy to blab that Brian is at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, and promises to arrange transport for her once the ship docks.
Exhausted after all of the special attention she's given to every passenger in the hopes of impressing the inspector, Julie staggers into the lobby, slips her shoes off, and sinks herself into the seating bench...and Gopher and Isaac stagger over and do the same. The three are slumped together when Captain Stubing walks over and sternly asks them if this is how they lounge around when there's an inspector on board, and the three stare up at him in mute haplessness.
Marvin and Mrs. Corwin depart the ship together and coo at each other about how they've fallen completely in love, which...er, OK.
Mike tells Melanie that boning her throughout this cruise has been fun, then breezily blows her off with, "I'll see you sometime!" as he beats a hasty retreat. [Smooth, Mike.] Jane, meanwhile, is happily coupled with Doug, who offers to get them a cab. Once he's out of earshot, Jane announces to Melanie that it's official: she and Doug are an item. A chagrined Melanie says, in that case, she may need to ask Doug to set her up with another of his friends.
Captain Stubing tells Sarah he's arranged for a car to take her to Cedars-Sinai...and after she rushes off, the crew is mystified that Sarah and Brian turned out to be father and daughter...which is totes understandable, given how unnaturally close the two were always looking.
A young man rushes over to the crew and demands to speak to whoever's in charge...and when Captain Stubing identifies himself at The Love Boat's Numero Uno, the man introduces himself as the inspector, and explains that he missed the cruise 'cause he was busy searching around the port for his missing father. A few seconds later, he exclaims, "Dad!" as Mr. Zidreczky races over and gives him a relieved hug. Julie finally thinks to ask what the old man was repeatedly muttering in Russian, so the inspector translates: "Have you seen my son, the inspector?"
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