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****Sharkey's Review****
The Choice
 3rd Episode/8th Season (1997-1998)
Date Aired: 10/12/97   Encore: 10/18/97
Week of: 10/12/97 - 10/18/97 
My Score:  3 Rescue Cans
This Week's Quote: "There can be no failure to a man who has not lost his courage, his character, his self-respect, or his self-confidence. He is still a King."
                                             -Orison Swett Marden
5 rescue Cans/Exceptional (Super Waves!)
4 Rescue Cans/Excellent
3 Rescue Cans/Good
2 Rescue Cans/Fair
1 Rescue Can/Poor (A Total Wipeout!)

This week's episode, The Choice, introduces us to and solely centers on veteran lifeguard Jack "J.D." Darius (Michael Bergin). J.D. was a rookie at Baywatch years ago before moving to Daytona Beach. He left duty for a while after a victim died in his arms as a result of his following the rules to place the victim between him and the pilings. The victim was crushed. J.D. was overwhelmed with guilt and had never quite gotten over it. He returned to Baywatch to apply for the Lieutenant's position that Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff) had recently vacated. J.D reminded Mitch that he thought that the job was in the bag. But he was interviewing someone else. Mitch reassured him that it was only someone that the Chief had sent over. He had to interview her. Mitch was going to give him the position anyway after a few "formalities." They had to get him certified.

Things took a serious turn when the other candidate showed up that was strongly recommended by the Chief (Erin Gray). Taylor Walsh (Angelica Bridges), who Mitch thought was going to be a man for the interview, turned out to be a woman. Dismissing the candidate, Mitch had decided that the position was locked in. Even as Taylor tried to prove herself in his eyes. J.D. on the other hand, had ruined his own chances when he froze during a rookie pier-training exercise. Sky was the first to go and she had gotten into trouble when she slipped off the pier. The current was too strong. J.D. was sent to help her out and Mitch encouraged him to show the kids how it was done. Sky saw when he froze-even though she needed help. She had cried out for him to help her. Using her witts, she quickly used the dummy victim between her and the pilings to protect herself from getting killed. Mitch wondered what went wrong and had sent Newmy down to see what the problem was. J.D. told Mitch that he just couldn't see her. After Sky was safe, she confronted J.D. in private and told him that he did see her. They had made eye contact. J.D.managed to talk her into not saying a word about it. He told her about his plight with the failed pier rescue. She told him that he had her word.

However, Mitch wasn't satisfied with J.D.'s answer and called his old boss at Daytona Beach, who gave him the truth as to why he left. He later confronted J.D. concerning this. J.D. got angry and stormed out. He later faced Sky and told her how she stabbed him in the back by telling Mitch. When Sky tried to explain that she didn't, J.D. told her that she was the only one who knew. While Taylor had Mitch meet her on the beach to showed him that she could row, J.D. was rescuing fisherman who had gotten into trouble by getting too close to the rocks. The tower on this beach was vacant. J.D.had to break the lock on the tower to call for backup. The water was rough. J.D. broke the rule this time by placing himself between the rocks and the victim. He was knock over by a strong wave and was sent under unconcious. He got caught in his rescue can. The fisherman didn't panic and desperately held onto the rocks until he could be rescued. Mitch and Taylor rescued J.D. and had to administer CPR until responded.

Later, J.D.'s problem was the main fact as to why Taylor was chosen for the job. Mitch had to pick who he felt was best for the position. Someone who he could depend on. His wanting be Lieutenant was for all the wrong reasons. After it was announced to them both in Mitch's office, J.D. was ready to leave Baywatch. But Taylor had heard of his fine reputation as a lifeguard and wanted him to stay. Her first official act as the new Lieutenant. J.D. accepted her offer. Later, Mitch had a talk with J.D. and asked if he understood why he chose Taylor. J.D. told Mitch that he did. He had some problems to work out. And Mitch added that since Sky never told him anything, J.D. owed her an apology. J.D. met her later by the rocky shore. He apologized and asked if they could be friends.

I analyzed this episode, which centered around a new cast member, and realized that it was badly lacking at least a second storyline. A second storyline could have given the episode such a big boost to the excellent status. A little more information on Taylor, please! Michael lacks the necessary strong acting skills to carry a one plot episode by himself. He will have plenty of time to improve, though, as he has the potential. More challenging episode situations will help him as he progresses. Michael demonstrates strong water skills.

The veterans David Hasselhoff and Michael Newman gave some lift in the acting department and barely kept this area from sinking into the "fair" ranks. Expansions of their roles could have lifted it above the "good" mark. The scenes were all well directed. Both the script and plot themselves were excellent. I looked for major flaws in this area and could not find any. The story had purpose. It wasn't an empty plot.   My Score: 3 Rescue Cans

Next Review: Memorial Day


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