Thursday, April 14, 2016

Charlie’s Angels 1:2 “Hellride”

Airdate: 9/22/76

A female race car driver dies in a track explosion; her mechanic hires the Angels to contest the official cause of engine malfunction. Digging for clues, they discover some nefarious goings-on the form of a greedy promoter and his assistant, along with another female driver, appropriately named “Bloody Mary” – the one who instigated the fatal crash. When their role in the murder becomes clear, Sabrina gets behind the wheel herself to participate in a trans-Mexican border race, where she follows Mary to discover that all the heaves are in on a diamond-smuggling ring. The mysterious crash? A woman originally in on the plot but later having second thoughts – and thus numbered days.

Ever wonder what a mash-up between a race car drama and a jewel heist would look like? Well, wonder no more, and now Western Civilization can continue on. Yes, it’s every but as preposterous as it sound, but somehow, with a healthy dose of the Angels’ trademark kitsch, it carries the day. Sure, they could’ve just explained away the exploding car as some kind of vendetta or enmity from a rival racer, or the machinations of a money-grubber looking to drum up stadium business, but kooky, byzantine plotworks are (so far) what the series is all about (although this storyline is definitely easier to follow than that of the pilot).

Sabrina gets to play the adventure-girl role this week as a race car driver, while Bosley is a real hoot as a revival minister helping Jill, as his daughter, warm up to the men in a effort to get info. Best performance by a guest actor this week goes to prolific TV character actress Jenny O’Hara, as Bloody Mary; she plays the toughie with all the glowering, snarling camp the show will allow (a lot), and reminded me of a cross between Rizzo from the movie Grease and Pink Tuscadero from Happy Days. As this episode predated both those works, perhaps they were inspired by Miss O’Hara’s performance.

First episode with standard opening, using clips from the pilot and first few episodes of the series, including this one. We also learn the official name of Charlie’s business: “Charles Townsend Detective Agency,” as revealed by a exterior shot of the building where the agents get their directives.

Rating: ***

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