This episode earns a 7 from me. I find it somewhat far-fetched. The on-location scenery helps make up for the plot deficiencies. In a way, it's almost surprising that Philip DeGuere did not attempt this story earlier-- since knowing more about the father's background helps us understand A.J, Rick and Cecilia better. I suppose if DeGuere is French, or at least French-American, it makes sense he wanted to go to France to film a story.
The episode's weaknesses-- I don't think the villains are very menacing. Terrorists would be a lot more deadly. The dialogue is okay, but in terms of their actions-- kidnappings and a high-speed boat chase are not quite sinister enough. I expect to see them murder more people-- an episode about terrorists and weapons of destruction suggests a lot more violence than what is actually depicted. Also, it is unbelievable that a San Diego police lieutenant (Town) is going to be allowed to leave his precinct so he can fly half-way around the world to help save the day. Surely, the anti-terrorist experts in Paris would be able to handle the situation in their own city.
Given what we have seen with world terrorism since 1984, this episode is kind of a naive time capsule. The scene where Rick says he could have brought guns in his bags because the airport inspectors do not look inside, makes airport security seem fairly lax. Later when Town flies in and a security guard finds all the firearms in his suitcase, he is easily passed through when he says he's an American policeman. At another point, he tells a driver he's Kojak. Amusing certainly but nobody would literally believe he was Kojak.
The reveal at the end about Emilie being the boys' sister plays like something out of a soap opera. I think Rick's unknowing attempts to romance her in the last sequence have come out of nowhere and give us a bit of an 'ick factor' when Cecilia admits Emilie is their father's illegitimate daughter. They suddenly seem happy to have a half-sister. We then get a tidy ending back in San Diego where they at home calling Emilie on the phone. But of course, she is never again seen on the program.
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