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****Sharkey's Review****
 
Countdown
 13th Episode/8th Season (1997-1998)
Date Aired: 02/08/98   Encore: 02/14/98
Week of: 02/08/98 - 02/14/98 
 
My Score:  2 Rescue Cans
 
This Week's Quote: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."
                                             -John F. Kennedy/35th President of the United States
 
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!)

After viewing Countdown, I reasoned that unlucky episode # 13 was not nearly as impressive as the strong episodes shown so far this season. I guess it had to happen somewhere in the course of the season. I have a lot to say about this one. The episode had two main plots that were tied in together. I'm afraid that could only find 2 rescue cans floating about to use in rating this episode.

The first was about hand grenades washing up on the beach. Captain Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff) was at his tower watching the beach. A little girl who sat at the base of his tower went to the ocean. She sees it, not knowing what it was and picks it up. She pulls the pin! Mitch sees her with it and races out to her. He throws it out as hard and as far as he could. It exploded and he protected her by pulling her close. The blast scared her and Mitch told the little girl that it was all right. Another one was discovered when little boys were examining it. It was retrieved without them touching the pin. A full search to comb the water was put into effect to find out as to why the grenades were washing up on shore. April found a container housing the grenades.

The second storyline was about Neely's (Gena Lee Nolin) living arrangement with Mitch. Their conflicts about her not quite knowing how to do the laundry correctly, putting on decaffe instead of caffeine loaded coffee, and placing his cups in a different cupboard. Neely felt that she had imposed long enough and it was time for them to go. And that it was time to look for Peter-he was Ashley's father. She looked for an apartment and when the agent called her to see if she still wanted it, Mitch didn't want her to go. To keep her there, he told her that he hated the shrunken sweater that she had placed in the dryer after washing it, and could get used to his cups in another cupboard. Besides, what was he going to do with a pink bedroom? My guess: paint it another color? She told the agent that she was no longer interested in the apartment. When she had finished talking to the agent, Mitch kissed her. Neely's eyes opened wide in surprise, but she didn't protest. She was actually waiting for him to do it anyway. I wondered what took him so long to actually pursue her.

But there is another hitch here concerning Neely's background. Neely is from an old money family. That's right, her family is loaded! What happened to the rich aunt who owned a prestigious building and was very fond of Neely, giving her a break on the rent on a nice plush apartment? You'd have to wonder why her own family wouldn't help her with money concerning the baby and a place to live. I take it that she didn't tell her family about the addiction to painkillers.

This episode was badly lacking, and had too many holes in the script that could not be explained. First, Captain Mitch Buchannon had a tower assignment without explanation. I know that they are a bit short without Neely, but couldn't Mitch have asked his own son Hobie (Jeremy Jackson) to take a temporary assignment at Headquarters to fill the void until she is able to return? He would do anything for Mitch.

You'd think that Mitch was just one of the other lifeguards with a tower assignment. Hobie could then return to Zuma beach after the assignment was completed. This has been done before when Stephanie Holden (Alexandra Paul) first came to Baywatch headquarters to fill in for Jill Riley (Shawn Weatherly) while she was on vacation. Second, Mitch is the Captain and has no place in a tower. Its odd seeing him running around watching the beach covered in a jacket when he used to guard the beach without one. He would be better used and in specialty assignments. It was really hard looking at a displaced Mitch in this episode. Or Taylor (Angelica Bridges) could be used a little more in tower assignments. I don't think I've actually seen her in a tower. As a Lieutenant, she should be used in more episodes. Let's get to know Taylor a bit better and about this fiancÚ that she is supposed to be so loyal to.

Another is Neely's living arrangement with Mitch. That's exactly he way it seemed. You'd think that by the way Mitch and Neely spoke that Hobie didn't even exist. Nothing was mentioned about what he thought of the arrangement. Or how he got along with Neely and the baby. It would be nice to see a couple of episodes to see this living arrangement.

Although it was supposed to be a humorous part of the plot, I also thought that Mitch and Cody Madison's (David Chokachi) little battle of who could stay underwater longer was something that the writers should have saved for teenaged rookie youngsters Manny Gutierrez (Jose Solano) and Hobie. This was unbecoming for both Mitch and Cody. Instead of centering around this little game, even when Cody was pinned in by a heavy barrel and the bomb's timer was ticking down and Mitch finally got him out with seconds to go, they were still arguing over who should have the air. Mitch has never screwed around this way facing bomb situations in any of the episodes I've ever seen! Unreal! We don't need to see any more displays like this one in serious situations. It doesn't make him look very good as a Captain.

And then there was Cody mentioning the situation about Neely and the baby when he and Mitch were in a scarab to investigate to trace to the grenades. Cody went on to assume that Mitch would be relieved not to listen to all of that noise. Mitch said that he didn't mind. The baby didn't cry that much, only when she was scared or hungry. She was just doing her job. Cody mentioned the fact that when Hobie goes off to college that he will be living alone in that big house. Mitch didn't like that. But as I recall this year, in the Premier episode, Rookie Summer, we learned that Hobie didn't want to go to college. He was rebelling against it. He wanted a career as a musician and had a band. He was working as a lifeguard while he was pursuing his dream. If he did change his mind to go just to please Mitch, with so many good colleges in LA, why would he have to go away to one?

This episode needed support from other cast members, and could have used a much stronger script. You'd have to wonder when certain other lifeguards will ever show up again-Skylar (Marliece Andrada/she's really been gone a long, long time), Jordan Tate (Traci Bingham/You'd think that a second year returning cast member would have seniority over the new additions), Hobie and Donna Marco (Donna DErrico). Where in the heck are these two? Donna should be shown more.

Donna would have been the better choice used here instead of April Giminski (Kelly Packard), who hardly knows Neely if at all. I don't mind Kelly Packard getting a lot of screen time, but I would like to see the mainstays get even more screen time and the other new cast members get as much as she is getting. Let's be fair about this! Donna was supposed to be the close friend. April had no real purpose in the script. It would be nice to actually see Donna again. And why in the world did Mitch have to train youngsters about diving when he has other lifeguard staff under his charge to do this?

And a few words about the crime fighting duo action team of Mitch and Cody. Well, actually more than just a few words. It just doesn't work. They have absolutely no magic on the screen together. They just don't click! Cody and J.D. (Michael Bergin) have personalities that work well together. They seem to pair very well on screen. There is a glimmer of hope for these two, if only they could be used more together as a team. I even liked Cody fighting by himself against an obsessive maniac in Rookie Summer/Premier Episode 1997-1998. The fight looked real and he got help from Lani (Carmen Electra) so that he could finish it. Mitch pairs well and shines brightly on the screen with Newmy (Michael Newman) and Hobie.

I have to admit that on the positive side, the ever-growing acting talent of David Chokachi continues. He's growing into a fine actor. Such a tremendous difference from his first appearance in joining the cast as a regular (Trapped Beneath the Sea/Parts 1 & 2/6th Season Premier). Kelly Packard has displayed strong skills since her debut on the show. But neither could pull this episode together to make it a bit more interesting to watch.  My Score: 2 Rescue Cans

Next Review: Surf City

 

 
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