episode #82 - Deadly Countdown

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episode #82 - Deadly Countdown

Post  BoG on Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:42 pm

episode #3 of 5th season / Air Date: 9/25/77  Arrow  written by Gregory S. Dinallo Arrow   directed by Cliff Bole

Another 2-parter right after the first one of the 5th season: this is about a rocket launch into orbit, so Austin has another chance to play astronaut in this. OSI intel has it that the planned launch will be sabotaged and Oscar figures that the best way to avoid this is to reschedule it for 4 days earlier. This places pressure on the mission control head, McGrath (Philip Abbott), to get things done but he manages. Austin is to go up in the rocket with a pretty British scientist (Jenny Agutter, extra lovely, as usual) to effect repairs on an orbiting satellite. Only his bionics can safely open a pressurized door up there. OSI intel is correct: a secret launch base has been set up by baddie Lloyd Bochner and his cohorts, including Mills Watson as an inside-man; they plan to take over the rocket after it launches. To delay the launch, they decide to kill off Austin in a supposed accident, using an ex-con who has a 12-year old grudge against Austin. Since Austin is bionic, the attempts fail, so the bad guys then kidnap McGrath's daughter.

This 2-parter utilizes both location filming of NASA's Cape Kennedy and stock footage to give the impression of a big budget episode. You see all these shots of all the huge rockets, whether lying on their side or waiting to be launched, and even footage of that huge tractor moving the rocket into place. There's also the 'money shot' of the rocket actually exploding at launch time, a startling scene of destruction. There are cool shots of Austin and his new lady escaping the rocket, sliding down the special escape tube; this is presumably real escape procedures. Of course, the main plus of this one is Agutter in the guest role; this is one time that it's no surprise that Austin gets romantic with a lady; I mean, who wouldn't? She certainly gives Jaime Sommers a run for the money as the ideal girlfriend. Cute scene: Austin reveals his powers during a physical test in Rudy's lab; this time, it's OK because the lady has a security clearance of 6 or above. BoG's Score: 7.5 out of 10

Bionic Trivia: Lloyd Bochner almost made a career out of playing villains on this and The Bionic Woman show; he was also in Day of the Robot and Carnival of Spies (not credited on IMDb), besides the Bionic Woman's Biofeedback. One of Bochner's assistants has a strange speaking voice, as if he's announcing; this is not an actor but author Martin Caidin in a rare acting gig. The escape tube used by Austin & the lady astronaut is real NASA stuff; Lee Majors did the stunt himself and enjoyed it so much that he asked to do it again; the 2nd time, he was given a camera so that he could film himself as he slid down the chute.
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