Friday, June 24, 2016

Charlie’s Angels 1:18 “Terror on Ward One”

Airdate: 2/16/77

A would-be rapist is attacking young nurses at a nearby hospital; its administrator hires the Angels to nab the guy, and bring order (and safety) back to his institution. Undercover as nurses, Jill and Kelly investigate possible suspects like the “kissing intern” Quincy and head surgeon Dr. Danworth, while Bosley poses as a patient (he actually does have a toe malady) to get the skinny on his irascible roommate, George Halvorsen.  

Possibilities: rampant amphetamine abuse on the ward, particularly by Danworth, could lead to emotional side effects (e.g. attempted rape), and Quincy’s frustration over his failure to uphold his Don Juan image could be acted out physically (e.g. attempted rape).  But in the end, he Angels discover the true culprits: an orderly and his mother, a nurse, exacting revenge on Danworth for the failed-surgical death of their father/husband. All’s well that ends well., except for Bosley, who gets the wrong surgery when Halvorsem switches meds and ID bracelet with him.

Decent enough potboiler with refreshing change of scenery – a hospital – to liven things up. I must confess that I didn’t guess the actual whodunit – there are plenty of red herrings throughout to keep even the most devout Christie fan guessing, including the Halvorsen character, whose byplay with Bosley amount to the funniest, quirkiest dialogue the series has seen yet.
But the episode certainly seems a bit dated, owing to a couple of factors. For one, the topic of rape is taken far more seriously now (thankfully); it’s impossible not cringe during one early conversation in which a nurse glibly explains her attempted rape with the line, “Maybe he heard blondes have more fun.” Even the word ‘rape” is thrown around all-too frequently as a shorthand for ‘attack,’ and using it as a topic, without confronting its emotional and psychological ramifications would be deemed nothing less than irresponsible by today’s standards.

And the other thing: it’s pretty hard for us to accept a hospital so loosely run that they wouldn’t notice a pair of strange nurses (Jill and Kelly) come from out of nowhere, or fail to assign them duties or even wonder why they don’t seem to be performing any. And even bigger stretch comes when Halvorsen switches meds and ID bracelet with Bosley, evading the notice of any authority figures or even the nurse who administered them. Either hospitals were not as security-conscious back then (doubtful), or those TV-audiences didn’t care as much (more likely).

Gotta love the Quincy character – the Lothario with cold feet – who has his own private pad on the ward, complete with then-novel microwave oven (well, he does keep people out with a “DANGER: RADIATION” sign).

Good, not great, late-season entry.

Client: Ed Main (hospital adminstrator)

Plot difficulty level: 5

Rating: ***

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...