Monday, April 06, 2009

Fire In The Hole

22 Fire in the Hole
January 12, 1980
Music: Stu Phillips
Teleplay: Sidney Ellis
Story: Richard Kelbaugh
Director: Bruce Kessler

For this BJ AND THE BEAR episode, writer Richard Kelbaugh brought back Pogo Lil (Anne Lockhart), who has given up racing rigs to mine gold out of Universal's old western town. She isn't especially happy to see BJ (Greg Evigan) when she sees whom he's brought with him. His client is Joe Pogovich (Harry Carey Jr.), Lil's estranged father who left her and her mother fifteen years earlier. After a life of playing poker and raising hell, Joe has purchased mining equipment to get back into Lil's good graces. However, no sooner have BJ and Joe arrived than Lil loses her mine to businessman Cummings (Bruce Glover), who forces her to sign it over to him and his henchman (John Quade).

By the point in the series, Evigan was really becoming comfortable in the role. Not that he was ready to do Ibsen, but he comes across as very relaxed and likable, particularly when sharing scenes with his chimp co-star. "Fire in the Hole" is nothing special as an episode, giving us a few old-fashioned shootouts and explosions. Director Bruce Kessler stages a decent slo-mo car crash. Teleplay writer Sidney Ellis' and Kelbaugh's knowledge of the law doesn't seem to wash, as a lawyer explains to Lil that if she can force her way into the mine and hold it for a couple of days, the courts will be on her side in any ownership dispute with Cummings. Glover and Quade were veteran television heavies, and their performances in "Fire in the Hole," as professional as they are, are not exactly taxing their abilities. More impressive is Lockhart's curvy body poured into some very tight denim shorts.

Not a bad episode, though, and again the filmmakers were ahead of their time by having the characters reference earlier episodes in a conscious attempt at building some continuity.

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