I am so confused with Season 4 episodes, I don't even know what to think anymore. The first three episodes gave me a Hutch I couldn't recognize and hardly any scenes with Starsky and Hutch working together. Now I've seen several shows that are put together well, have good Starsky/Hutch scenes and have a Hutch that seems mostly like the same guy from the other seasons. I can't make sense of it. Just when I expect to hate it, something right happens and my mind is boggled.
This is a pretty good episode. Complex enough so that you really don't know how it's going to end. Hutch's mentor/cop friend comes into the picture. The guy's wife turns out to be in deep debt from gambling, forcing this good cop to do some bad things for the criminal who owns the wife's markers. Hutch tries to help his friend get out of the mess he's made once he makes a deal with the bad guy.
I expected most of this would be Hutch doing everything alone, keeping Starsky on the sidelines while he helps this great friend of his (ok, I get it. Starsky is not Hutch's only pal. Why don't you hit me with a brick to make sure I didn't miss that?). But, Hutch doesn't. He includes Starsky, just like a good partner should. And even though Starsky sees that Hutch's friend is screwing up, he never once says to Hutch that his friend is doing bad cop things. Nope, he lets Hutch come to the realization on his own and then Starsky is right there to help Hutch help his friend. The part I like best is when Hutch promises his cop friend that he will come alone, and as soon as he hangs up the phone, he gets Starsky to go with him. Not even a question of going without his partner, even if he did promise.
So, yeah, this is what I expect from Starsky and Hutch. I don't know what is happening in some of those other episodes of Season 4 when all they seem to do is snipe at each other and work separately. I started my project of reviewing every episode as something of a postmortem, to see if I could identify how this show died. The body is pretty cold after forty years, but I thought I had the answer in Season 4 after seeing the big changes to Hutch, and feeling there was a strain in the relationship between Starsky and Hutch. I had no idea if those changes were planned or evolved, but they seemed to me the smoking gun that caused this show's death. I thought David Soul just didn't want to be a "nice" Hutch anymore and wanted to shake his character up, and he shook a little too hard, the gun went off and boom....the death of Starsky and Hutch. But now they give me this episode, and the cause of death becomes a mystery yet again. My postmortem is resulting in more questions than answers.
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