[probe_control] In Search Of Midas (review)
- I suspect this was Grover's second episode. It has some dreadful music
that was used way too much in his first episode (Short Circuit) and Murdock
and Keach are in the control room (when we have all the episodes I may
write a scholarly analysis of the different control room personel...Murdock
and Keach were early ones and they disappeared by the middle of the
series.) Also, the script calls for, but which did not make it to air, a
montage of Grover's beach bum activities, which is a carry over from his
first episode...I think wanting to establish him as a "cool...fun loving
guy"...which really didn't work, and they also stopped doing...although
they did continue with his sometimes reluctant attitude towards the missions.
My random reactions to this episode:
Why is Grover in Probe control during the beginning of this episode? This
is something I've talked about with Bryan in separate conversations. If
he's the Emergency Stand-by Probe, then he is called in at the last moment
and he basically should be put into action right away and be briefed as
things proceed (as they did in Short Circuit.) My feeling has always been
that he should never be seen in Control until either the case is over and
they are summing up, or in the middle of proceedings, or when the emergency
has to deal with Control (such as in Moment Of Madness.) I know the
argument can be made that everyone else is on assignment or on vacation,
but I don't think that entirely pans, because from the various episodes, we
know there are quite a lot of agents employed, and they can't all be
elsewhere, and they have sent Grover on overseas assignments...where they
have agents in place (I think we should assume.)
The script even addresses this issue (although it didn't reach
air.) Barnett says there is no time to bring in a regular agent and brief
him, so they will have to use their Stand-by Agent (and Barnett is a little
reluctant when he is reminded that it is Grover...because "hey! Grover is
such a cool out of control dude!") I don't buy this though...there is no
time to bring in a regular agent and brief him, but there is time to bring
in the Stand-by agent and brief him? Why? Does Grover live a block closer
to the building? If they had aired it the way the script was written, we
would have seen Grover doing his beach lifestyle and having to pull himself
together and get cleaned up and get into Control, where some other agent
might have just had to throw on a shirt and jacket and come in (like one of
their many married agents we have seen in the series.)
Within seconds of her meeting Grover, Kate Dawes (played by Barbara Feldon)
is throwing herself at Grover. I know the format calls for the agents and
the attractive women and all, but it almost seems like a desire to get it
out of the way, rather then legitimately dramatize the reasons why such a
powerful newspaper gossip columnist would go in this direction. I'm also
not to crazy on the whole with how Feldon plays this character...she's too
kittenish throughout...and I don't see any of the independent, aggressive
gossip columnist/journalist in her.
The fight in the bar starts very nicely. It is one long shot with Grover
grabbing Striker and holding him against the bar, the hand reaching into
shot and punching Grover and him flying back and flinging a chair as he
goes. It really looked like Grover got hit, and I just love how he throws
the chair as he goes flying. They obviously spent some time on this shot
and it works.
Grover establishes himself in Vegas to draw attention to himself, and they
do this with a montage of him and Kate gambling over scenes of the
City. This is where they use the dreadful music I mentioned earlier. The
music fits with this scene, and fortunately is not used again until the end
of this episode. You really need to have the episode Short Circuit in mind
to understand why I am pointing this out. In Circuit they used this music
constantly with Grover, again as part of that "hey ain't he a cool rockin'
dude" and it just did not work...and I suspect we will see they didn't do
it again for the rest of the series.
All right. We know that when we see the actors in the back of the limo it
is a set and not really moving. The story says they are suddenly driven in
the wrong direction and on a rough ride where they are tossed back and
forth. However, the car is bouncing so wildly, that it looks like the SS
Minnow on it's fateful 3 hour cruise.
I love Cameron's reaction when they realize Devlin is going to sign the
documents by remote control. Cameron gets up, hits his chair and the whole
tone is just right.
I always think it's funny when Griffin gets intrigued by some code or some
electronic lock, as he does in this episode.
Kevin remarked somewhere that he had forgotten the agent's aversion to guns
in this show. We see this here, when Grover disarms one of the bad guys,
and he empties the gun of it's bullets. That in and of itself is nothing
noteworthy, and make sense to some degree in the scene, but it is more
interesting when seen over the course of the whole show. I've always
wondered if it was some subtle message Leslie Stevens wanted in his series,
or if it was some kind of attempt to deal with reality that these agents
are private citizens, and do not have official police powers.
The fight at the end of the episode simply did not look good. It was very
clumsy, and stillted. It did not work.
I'm not sure about this next one. It's a little confusing. We hear in the
beginning that Probe was hired by the Kane newspaper group. Through out
the episode that he is from the building commissioner's office. At the end
we hear that Devlin hired him. At first I thought it was a continuity
error, then it occurred to me that we are supposed to deduce that Devlin
really owns the newspaper group (as in the rich recluse in Citizen
Kane). Of course I still don't understand how that means the building
commission would go along with all this, unless they were happy to let
Probe do their work for them. I think it's a little too muddy.
I've always liked the computer graphic (the squares going across the
screen) used to transition scenes...which they stopped doing towards the
middle of the series. By that time you only saw that in the opening teaser
and the closing teaser.
Those are my thoughts on the episode. Please tell me what your reactions are.
My permanent address is actingman@...