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****Sharkey's Review****
 
Homecoming
 9th Episode/8th Season (1997-1998)
Date Aired: 11/23/97   Encore: 11/29/97
Week of: 11/23/97 - 11/29/97 
 
My Score:  5 Rescue Cans
 
This Week's Quote: "Circumstances do not make a man strong or weak. They show him for what he is."
                                             -Anonymous
 
Ratings:
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, Homecoming welcomes back Craig Pomeroy (Parker Stevenson) who had been a Baywatch lifeguard in the show's first season. We also see the long awaited return of Neely Capshaw (Gena Lee Nolin), who reported that she was on vacation at a ski resort and had serious spill, injuring her back. She took time off from Baywatch to recover. Gena Lee Nolin and Parker Stevenson gave fine performances. To the rest of the cast: a job well done in supporting them! I had to give this episode 5 rescue cans, the highest score.

Three very strong, but serious plots constitute an exceptional episode. I really liked this impressive piece. As with Rookie Summer/8th season's premier episode 1997-1998, Next Generation/8th season's 2nd episode 1997-1998, Memorial Day/8th season's 4th episode 1997-1998, and the brilliant Charlie/8th season's 5th episode 1997-1998, Homecoming had an old episode feel to it.

The first plot is about Neely's return. While waiting for her prescription to be filled in a local pharmacy, a young thief robs the place, and demands for the pharmacist to give him the money from the register. An old man is so overwhelmed by the situation that has a heart attack and falls to the floor. Neely reacts quickly by giving him CPR. The thief grabs the money and flees. The security camera caught all of the action, and later, the Baywatch staff watched it with the story concerning the robbery on the news. She was soon coming back to work. Donna Marco (Donna DErrico) was designated by Mitch to help her get back into shape for the upcoming recheck to stay qualified as an L.A. county lifeguard.

Donna suspects that something is wrong with Neely when she embarrasses them all by flirting with Craig and causes him to spill his drink. Donna reminds Neely that in order to stay qualified as a lifeguard, she must pass a physical, which includes a blood test. On the day of the recheck, Neely suddenly changes her mind angrily and walks out of Baywatch. Later when Donna examines Neely's locker, she discovers that Neely is hooked on prescribed painkillers. When she comes back to clear out her locker, Neely is upset to find Donna there with it opened. Donna tries to talk Neely into giving the pills to her. She wouldn't and they end up struggling over the pills when Donna tries to forcibly take them. The top flew off of the bottle, and the pills fell all over the floor. The scene when Neely was on her hands and knees to pick them up out of desperation was brilliant on the part of both actresses. Neely does see the recheck competition and longs to be out there with the other lifeguards.

The second plot welcomed Craig back as Eyes That See At Night's lawyer. On tower duty, Lani McKenzie (Carmen Electra) sees a group of Indians constructing something out of driftwood on the beach. Going over to see what they were doing, she discovers that they are building a Chumash Death Bed for an old man, Eyes That See At Night (Siginaw Grant). He is dying and wishes for his final days to be on sacred Indian ground. Lani gets Captain Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff), and he tries to talk them out of the sacred ritual on the public beach. The man refuses to leave and was waiting for his lawyer to get there. That lawyer turns out to be Craig.

They reminisce about the old days and catch up on what they were doing now. Invited as a guest at the Buchannon's home, Mitch finds out that Craig is going through a separation with his wife, Gina. That he hated his job-it was everything. He needed to think things over and re-evaluate his life. Mitch asks him to try for a spot at Baywatch in the recheck. Craig said that he wasn't lifeguard material anymore. Later, on the pier, when a woman leaves her grandson unattended, he gets out of the stroller that held him, and climbed onto the railing. Craig tried to get to him before he fell over. Craig dived in to save him. He held the little boy close as he carried him under the pilings. Craig revived the boy, giving him CPR. Later, Craig joins the others to qualify. A child's cry made him change his mind. He makes the team and Mitch proudly had a jacket ready for him knowing that he'd make it. Craig figured that he'd open a small law office in Venice, and work part-time as a lifeguard.

The police tries to force Eyes that See At Night off the beach after Craig's motions are overthrown. A crowd of supporters hinders the police. During the continued ceremony, Eyes That See At Night dies unnoticed by arguing parties. Craig and Mitch administer CPR, but it is too late. Everyone looks up and sees an eagle in the sky and it flies off into the horizon. This sensitive plot was very moving. It involved a lot of beliefs and laws on both sides, and makes you think about the issues brought out. 

In our last plot, a filler that didn't really have an impact on the story except that Craig was asked to be Hobie's lawyer. The other storylines were so strong, that it didn't hurt the episode. Hobie Buchannon (Jeremy Jackson) is talked into getting a fake ID by his friends J.B. (Joshua Beck), and Connor (Corey Schwartz). J.B. knew the guy who made them. The boys go to the Club Rio. They have no problems getting in at the door. The club's dancer Kyla is taking on all challengers to a dance-off. Whoever could out-dance her would win $1200.  Hobie is surprised to find that Kyla is Lani! Hobie wins their dance-off . When it came time to collect the money, the manager asks for ID. 

The manager examines the ID and realizes that it's fake. He is unable to get the money. Hobie didn't want Craig to tell his dad about it. Lawyer/Client confidentiality. But Mitch did find out about the hinted situation and had to speak to his son about it. After all, claiming to be 32 year-old Alphonse Trieste, who was 6 feet, 2 inches tall, weighing in over 300 pounds and had blue eyes was serious business! He had to step into Mitch's office. My Score: 5 Rescue Cans

Next Review: Missing

 

 
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