Signed, Steeled & Delivered – 11

We find ourselves …
CIAsign

… in the lobby of some government building, where the top secret organizations’ branch offices are neatly enumerated. Steele seems surprised, but Laura tells him he shouldn’t be:

fixyourtie

“They’re listed in the phone book; why shouldn’t they have a sign in the lobby?” (I actually did a bit of Googling to try to find the LA branch office of the CIA, but kept ending up on the CIA website and decided my blog wasn’t worth attracting the attention of this government agency.)

Steele and Laura proceed to the elevator. Steele has a bit of unfinished business to discuss.

tellmeaboutthisfella

“Tell me about this fella you lived with.”

lauragrins

Oh, I think Laura is enjoying this side of Steele.

steelegrinstoo

He seems mildly amused himself!

cleaninglady

They exit the elevator onto the third floor, where a random cleaning woman is somewhat overdressed for her job. (What’s the point of this cleaning lady, BTW?)

eugenepriceops

They arrive at the glass-enclosed offices of Eugene Price, Operations Director. (I guess this is what they mean by “transparency” in government operations.) A male voice calls to them, inviting them into the office. They enter through the door, which is standing ajar. High security at this security organization!

comeonin

They are greeted by a very tan, casually dressed guy with a large golfing trophy on his desk. (What is it with trophies on this show? Must be an in-joke.)

awkwardreunion

He seems glad to see his old pal Steele!

howlonghasitbeen

“How long has it been?” he queries, then answers himself: “Danang! The rainy season!”

funfacticonDanang is a port city in South Vietnam. Its rainy seasons is September-March.   Well, that’s not really much of a FUN fact. But it’s a fact. Price seems to be insinuating that he and Steele were covert operatives during the Vietnam War.

handsyonsteele

“Good to see you, too,” Steele says. (Love the look on Laura’s face here: What planet are we on?)

welltannedsmarm

“Sit! Sit!” invites Smarmy CIA Guy.  “You and … uh….”

youandlaura

“Laura.”

sothisislaura

“So this is Laura!” Price says, as if he’s heard all about her. “Your … secretary?”

assistantassociate

“Assistant,” says Steele.

“Associate,” says Laura.

whatever

“Whatever,” says Price. He invites them again to sit down. They don’t.

beenreading

“I’ve been reading about you,” Smarmy CIA Guy says, beginning to pace. “Scoring all those big bucks in the private sector.”

adequateliving

“It’s an adequate living,” Steele concedes coolly. He is not pacing.

donbullartist

“Remington,” he says, calling him by his first name because they’re such good, long-standing friends. “Don’t bull a bull artist.” So THAT’S the key to getting ahead in the CIA? Mr. Steele could have a brilliant career here.

ishepaying

“Is he paying you enough?” Price suddenly asks Laura, randomly.

payingyouenough

“Because if he gives you any trouble, you tell me,” Price continues. “I’ll have him audited.” They all enjoy a little chuckle at this implied threat.

spoileralert emoticonLaura might do well to ponder the implications of Mr. Steele being audited.

sosheprompts

“So,” Laura prompts, moving closer to her well-paying boss.

Price wants to know what brings Steele to his office on a Saturday.

goodolddays

“Nothing in particular,” Steele hedges. “Just thinking about the good, old days. Danang, the rainy season …”

Laura gives him a rather obtrusive unobtrusive nudge.

ohand

“Oh, and … um … who did I run into the other day?”

pricedoesnknow

“Who?” Smarmy CIA Guy doesn’t seem quite so friendly any more. I wonder why?

shellyquarry

“Shelly Quarry,” Steele says, springing the trap. “You remember Shelly Quarry? Information retrieval?”

nope

“Nope.”

theanswermanhesays

“Of course you do,” Steele persists. “The Answer Man?”

whattimeisit

Smarmy CIA Guy’s never heard of him! By the way, what time is it?

itsonepm

“A little after one,” Laura supplies.

oopssmileyIt was 9:00 am when they were at the gas station. What have they been doing for the past four hours?

nicemeetingyoulaura

Suddenly, Price has to leave. He promised to take his kid go-kart racing. “Nice seeing you again, Steele. Nice meeting you, too, Laurie!”

thatLaurasmarmy

“Laura,” she corrects him.

whateveragain

“Whatever.”

He shows them to the door.

welluhhesayts

“Well … uh …” Price says.

buhbyethen

“Well … uh …” Laura says.

noseandhair

Well … uh … that was a productive use of their time!

BeardedSMiley More body language! We see Mr. Steele’s familiar nose touching, which has already been discussed. But here we see one of Laura’s more common gestures: running her hand through her hair. This can mean either flirtation or – far more likely here – vexation. Interestingly, she also did it on their way in to the office, just after their banter in the elevator:

flirtatioushair

Pretty sure it fits the first category in this case!

handonbackalmost

The detectives head back to the elevator. Steele has thrown his coat over his shoulder and is making a kind of guiding gesture toward Laura. Not sure what the body language experts would say about this, but to me it feels protective.

whoskiddingwho

Back on the elevator, they’re trying to work out what just happened. “Who’s kidding who?” Steele wonders.

The elevator deposits them in what seems to be an underground parking garage.

signaltoSheldon

Laura gives a little thump on a door …

sheldonemerges

… and Sheldon emerges from hiding. Steele is putting on his overcoat. What, Laura and Sheldon don’t get cold?

straightenitout

Sheldon wants to know if Steele got everything straightened out. Laura tells him it’s all very confusing. The Answer Man doesn’t agree!

“It’s very simple: They’re trying to kill me!”

manbent

Mr. Steele points out that someone seems to be a man bent over their rental car.

fixintoblowup

Yep! There he is!

whosisthat

But who is it?

thatscharliewebb

“That’s Charlie Webb!” Sheldon informs them. He starts toward the man.

shellynohewarns

Charlie warns him off: “Shelly, no!” Suddenly …

firstexplosion explosion1 guythrown

Goodbye, Charlie.

ducking

The explosion is powerful. Steele pushes Sheldon to the ground.

steeledetermined

As the dust begins to settle, Mr. Steele rises to survey the carnage.

didnthurttoolbox

Nobody’s going to be driving that car again soon. (But at least the toolbox seems to be okay!)

disheveledshelly

As the scene fades to black, we see Laura and Sheldon shell-shocked.

This is another one of those “turn on a dime” scenes. We begin in a light-hearted vein and some flirtatious banter between Laura and Mr. Steele. Then there is the surreal semi-comedy of the office scene – and the scene concludes in a shocking fashion.

The initial elevator scene, with Steele oh-so-subtly trying to draw Laura out about her former live-in, is cute. Laura likes having a secret from Mr. Steele for a change. He’s not the only one with a mysterious past!

The dynamic between Steele and Laura is interesting during the office scene. Both Steele and Laura are clearly puzzled by what’s going on, but Steele is much better at hiding his confusion. He is in his element here, dueling with Price in this subtle battle of intimidation. I think Laura might not have been fully cognizant of the game Steele was playing – she nudges him to get to the point of their visit, but Steele knows what he’s doing. He plays it very cool, and Price is clearly unnerved.

I’m interested in others’ perspective on the final frames of the scene: Steele getting to his feet to look at the aftermath of the explosion, while Laura and Sheldon stay in hiding. The image of Steele standing there creates a heroic, alpha male feeling. Is this the first instance of what I call the “Bondification” of Steele?

Share your thoughts!

10 Comments

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10 responses to “Signed, Steeled & Delivered – 11

  1. steeleinterested

    ROTFL about the audit. Once I pull myself together, I’ll finish reading the post. I so needed that laugh today!

  2. eaz35173

    Yes, funny about the audit!

    I love that face that Laura makes in the elevator when Steele is asking about her former live-in. She is definitely loving every moment about having a secret about HER past!!

    I don’t think this is the beginning of the “Bondification” of Steele. That happens later in the series. What I think this is, is Steele’s protective and chivalrous nature coming out. I think he just gets up first to survey the damage and make sure everyone is ok. After all, he’s been responsible for several deaths in prior episodes, I don’t think he wants another one on his conscience. They certainly shoot this from a low angle, in order to make him look more alpha, but I never got that impression. Remember, he also has an image to uphold to Sheldon, so that may be playing into this here.

    • steeleinterested

      Good point about keeping up his image with Sheldon. Staying in character is one of Steel’s strengths since he seems to have always been playing a role.

  3. steeleinterested

    Seems like Laura is still a bit touchy after the morning after debacle. While she may be enjoying his obvious curiosity about her past–her personal past. But getting the wall up and the ice princess back in place is her goal, at least intellectually. The rest of her isn’t following her keen mind quietly back to the castle, though. I’m not sure if her flouncing out of the elevator is more a message to him or herself. I think Steele’s amusement may be appreciation that the prize is worthy of the battle. And the battle may be even more delightfully challenging than he anticipated.

    The end of the scene has a Clark Kent/Superman feel to me. Not sure if it is the overcoat, the music or the hair 🙂 I suspect it was suposed to have a classic detective feel with the turned up coat collar, the heavy mist, er, smoke.

    Sheldon does look shell shocked. Speaking of shells, I almost expect Shelly to pull his head back in his. Maybe a result of those huge tortise rim frames? I do try to forget just how large a frame was fashionable in eyewear then, and I admit to being as guilty as the next myope 😉

    I think Laura is once again wondering excactly who Steele is and what she’s gotten into with him.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  4. Daph

    The first time I saw this scene I thought of Steele as James Bond. For me it was the superbly tailored coat with the upturned collar, his stance, atmosphere, etc that reminded me he would make a great Bond. I love this still.

    Laura needs to quit. Lol. She most certainly enjoys game playing with Steele, keeping him on the hook. She is loving his display of jealously much more than ‘I got a secret’. Her indifference to his questioning is not fooling Steele. They seem to have an understanding that he has a right to ask which is wild considering they have not even been on a date yet. This scene shows they really enjoy each other and their relationship whether working, playing, or stealing private moments in between.

    I agree Steele handled himself brillantly with the CIA. (When I first saw this episode in 1983 I looked up the CIA in the phone book and found them. Things have changed since then.) If Laura hadn’t been so confused she would have noticed how brilliantly Steele handled the CIA. He is a born detective.

  5. It’s still a question for me whether Steele is so persistent with Laura because he already knows he wants a real relationship with her, or whether it is as she suspects, that she’s merely a challenge. Previously Laura had suggested her reluctance to get involved with him was for business reasons, but in this episode she expresses her fears of being hurt by him. Does this change his perception of her, of their current and potential relationship, and of his own motives in wooing her?

    • steeleinterested

      Great questions! I do think he is picking up some very mixed messages, and for good reason as Laura is a very complex person struggling with identity issues of her own. The business reasons for being cautious are real and easier for her to admit to him and herself. And having discovered she’d lived with a man before, in her house, certainly points to her being one kind of woman, the kind he’s used to dealing with, the kind that knows the rules and is okay with them. The Laura that he met in the car that morning is not the kind of woman he’s familiar with but probably the kind he usually avoids–that girl has long term commitment written all over her. And I think that is one of the reasons he pulled away. I haven’t decided yet if he is simply reverting to type with his flirtatiousness but I am leaning towards thinking that the answer to his question about the other man in Laura’s life has more to do with understanding who she really is than any true jealousy at this point. Now if that other fellow happened to show up sometime… 🙂

  6. Daph

    These are all great questions and issues. We should pick up this discussion of Steele pursuing a challenge or wanting something long term again. I am very interested in discussing when Laura stopped being an impossible challenge and when she became a keeper.

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