Average episode, but sexy fangirl moments are not to be missed
I am so excited to do start up my reviews again. Passport to Murder was not the strongest episode, but it's not a bad romp. An early first season episode, it continues to set the stage for just who the Harts are. If the plane in the credits doesn't sell you on his richness, maybe the yacht will. In this episode Jonathan, Jennifer, and Max sail to Mexico to help an old friend. The excuse to get them there kind of eludes me, but all that sort of falls away with the bad guy setup stuff. The absolute menace very convincingly played by John Aquino (whose career would end in 1982 when he appears to have left acting) sucked me in pretty quickly. This guy was scary. I did have to click back several times and go, whoa, cuz dude appears to be practically fondling the breast of actress Louisa Leschin, as he forces her hotel clerk character to strip. But soon enough the Harts figure out that something ungood is afoot, and off they go guilting themselves into being drug mules in an effort to re-goodify it. Their motivation to do so is fuzzy at best, but no episode without it, so okeydokey. A lot of eye (and other sensory) candy here: RJ's adorable windblown hair, the incredibly real backward stunt down the stairs, the weirdly American accent on the Mexican doctor, nurses who still wore little hats, Jonathan looking Hottie McHotterson in his undone tux, and Jennifer and a Mexican hotel guy having the most adorable argument in Spanish. I also love how this episode is an early example of how the costumers would be dressing Jennifer in timeless classics that would stand up today. Seeing as how this series would last four more years, I thought it was a little early for the in-joke line, "Jonathan, don't you ever wonder how it is we always manage to get into these things," but I'm sure the writers enjoyed that bit of cheekiness, especially as it came as part of a jail cell scene that involved Jonathan's bare chest, and an ambiance that screamed Brady Bunch ghost town. So, campy. Not campy, though, was the acting of Margarita Garcia. This Mexican cop was a throwaway character, but she was so fantastic that she stole the entire show, AFAIC. No lines. All it took was presence, facial expressions, and her expressive propwork to make me believe that woman meant business. I seriously mean it when I say I loved her performance. However, the very best part of this episode was the fangirl giddiness I found myself in when Jonathan wakes up with his hand on Jennifer's ass. It's not a quick, cheap shot, either, that hand stayed there on the swell of her butt for a seriously long time. It's where his hand should be when they wake up in that position, it's deeply affectionate, it's believable, and it's sexy as hell. Juxtaposed with prison matron Marge staring at them while she has her breakfast, it ruins the mood, but that was the whole point. The entire thing is beautifully played by all of them. BLOOPER ALERT? I'm not sure about this one, but there's a trip and fall during the chase through the foliage that really didn't seem planned. The tumble Stefanie takes seems so unchoreographed, and then RJ says, "Are you alright?" and he doesn't say it in character voice or context. They just kept filming, and then they run off camera, so I'd think if it was real they'd stop the filming. But they my have just made an acting choice to keep going, and then it worked well on film so it was kept in, I don't know, but it sure didn't seem scripted to me. Either way it was really brilliant, and I also appreciate how during this change they're sweaty and dirty and gross. Overall, this episode is a bit weak in the plot. At one point Jonathan says, " to get the dope back, remember why we're here?!" Well, after having watched it I'm still trying to figure that out, so that line's pretty prescient for me. But holy sexiness, man, the final scene where Jennifer positively mounts him in the gorgeous golden light of the top deck of their yacht really just makes you go, oh who cares.
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