I’m under several pressing deadlines in the real world this week, so won’t be able to post a new update for a few days. In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves!
Monthly Archives: February 2014
Our scene continues, and the following is some of the funniest in the whole series, imo. Let’s go!
When last we left Laura Holt …
… she had just expressed some frustration with how her reunion with mom was going.
“Try to be patient, Laura,” Steele counsels. “It’s hardly what she expects from a dental assistant.”
Just then the doorbell rings, and Laura hurries to answer it, followed by Steele.
“Here,” she says, pushing a wad of bills into the cab driver’s hand. “Keep the change.”
Mr. Steele wants to know what’s going on.
“You’ve had some kind of mishap. Are you all right?”
“I was kidnapped by someone named Guffman coming out of your apartment!” Laura explains while Steele inexplicably boops himself.
“I knew we shouldn’t have accepted this case,” Steele I-told-you-sos her.
“What do you know about this?” she presses (literally).
Thanks to Elise for sharing this little nugget of script, which illustrates the next bit of business in which they talk/shout over each other:
Steele and Laura begin to argue – it is an epic battle of wills!
HE: Laura, it’s important you not jump to any hasty conclusions.
SHE: Who is this Guffman and what does he know about this woman Felicia?
HE: This is a dangerous situation and mutual trust is absolutely essential if we’re all to survive it in one piece.
SHE: I nearly got my neck broken tonight and don’t think you can get out of here without giving me some answers!
Just then, the doorbell rings again!
It’s Kahlil Ahmed! He looks relaxed.
“It’s … the … curse …” he wheezes as he falls.
Well. That was unexpected!
Just then …
“Laura!” Abigail calls from the guest bedroom.
Laura’s evening isn’t getting any better.
“Oh, God! This isn’t happening! My mother is NOT going to find a dead body in my house!”
She races off, leaving Steele holding the bag … er … pot.
In the bedroom, Abigail is … apologetic?
“I’m sorry I lost my head a moment ago. Not that I forgive your behavior, but it was wrong of me to say so in front of your employer.”
“That’s all right, mother.”
Abigail knows it’s all right (because she hasn’t done anything wrong!), but she feels she owes Mr. Steele an apology.
“It really isn’t necessary,” Laura assures her.
“I think it is.” (Mother knows best.)
NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!
Laura explains that Mr. Steele is with a client. In her living room. At this hour of the night. He just dropped in.
“It’ll only take a moment.”
Laura follows her mom to the doorway of the living room. They hear Mr. Steele discussing the case with his client:
“Fascinating bit of evidence, Achmed, mmm?”
“Ah, Abigail!” Steele greets her. Uh, oh. I smell trouble: Laura would never allow anybody to smoke in her house!
Abigail makes her apologies.
“Barely remembered it,” he assuages her.
“Would you care to join us?”
Laura doesn’t seem to think that’s a good idea. And as it happens, neither does Abigail. She’s tired and wants to go to bed. Finally the two Holt women agree on something!
Aw. What a touching reconciliation. Abigail bids a final farewell to Mr…
“Khalil,” Steele supplies helpfully.
Abigail trundles off to bed.
Laura is relieved.
Achmed is … still dead.
Mr. Steele is … pleased with himself.
I enjoyed this opportunity for Stephanie Zimbalist to show her comedy chops – frazzled Laura is a hoot! We see how evenly matched Laura and Steele are; I’m willing to bet Murphy wouldn’t have gone toe-to-toe with her like Steele did. We also see just what a risk taker Mr. Steele is. He was definitely tempting fate to invite Abigail to join them. Seems like it would have been less chancy to simply drag Khalil out the door and deposit him into the bushes for safekeeping, but what fun would that be?
We get one of those arty fades that they did in the first season …
Here we are back at Laura’s house.
Abigail is home, and she’s serving tea! As she brings in the kettle, she’s sharing her family problems: “Laura has always been a very sensitive girl. My middle one.”
And here is our second continuity error! SPOILER ALERT: We know that Laura has one sister, but no other sibling is ever mentioned over the course of the series. So how can she be the “middle” child? This has vexed fans for a long time.
Abigail tells Steele that she and Laura fought in the car on the way over, and that’s why she ran off.
Unlike Mommy Dearest, Mr. Steele has the grace to feel a little guilty about his own interaction with Laura. “I’m afraid she was out of sorts with me as well.”
Abigail shares a memory of Laura’s childhood, when they thought she had run away. But she was found – in the laundry hamper.
Mr. Steele appears to be contemplating a search party, starting in the laundry room. But Abigail has already checked.
Abigail gets comfortable, and shows a perhaps inappropriate amount of leg to her daughter’s boss.
Well, the gal’s always had good gams.
Abigail admits to Mr. Steele that she can’t bring herself to tell Laura’s Nana what she does for a living.
Steele is curious: What does Abigail tell gran Laura’s profession is?
“Dental assistant,” she confesses. “With great prospects of marriage.”
Abigail asks Steele if she’s awful for creating a complete fiction about someone.
“Sounds more like a family trait.”
Abigail doesn’t get the joke.
Just then …
… Laura bursts in the front door.
She seems happy to be home! “I did it!” she exults. “I got away!”
In the living room, Abigail and Steele are startled by the outburst.
Laura dashes about the entryway. She pulls off her coat and drops it on the floor. (Maybe Abigail was right to criticize her housekeeping.)
Laura picks up a coffee pot (she seems to collect them) and starts rummaging; she’s got to pay the cabbie. But Miss Holt seems to have forgotten she has house guests.
“Mother!” Her ebullience fades a bit. “Mr. Steele.”
One of these people seems happier to see her than the other. (Hint: It’s not the one who gave birth to her.)
“Laura, look at you!” Abigail blusters. (I have to wonder if Laura was supposed to look more disheveled than she actually does here. She looks pretty good as far as I can tell. Shrug.)
Profuomo Magazine (whatever that is) has this to say about knit ties:
Formal but unconventional
A formal outfit has various gradations, so “suit up” is thus a broad concept. Even though on some occasions you can’t do otherwise than appear in a two- or three piece suit, for other occasions you can include a certain amount of frivolity in the accessories. The tie is a great accessory that offers you the ability to give your outfit a casual character. A knitted tie is a real eye catcher in this case. Stars like Paul Newman, James Dean, the Beatles and Sean Connery didn’t wear a “knitted tie” with gusto for nothing. With its straight edge, the so called “bobtail,” the knitted tie gives your outfit a personal and unconventional allure.
Understandably, Laura wants to share her triumph with mom. “I was brilliant!” she tells her.
Abigail doesn’t seem to agree. “Mr. Steele was kind enough to ask us to dinner, you disappear for over two hours, show up looking like this and call it brilliant?”
“Well I certainly DON’T!”
Now we know where Laura gets her nice, even temperament. Speaking of which …
Laura seems disappointed in her mother’s lack of approval.
I’ll stop here, because the second half of this scene is a whopper. We do get some interesting bits here. We learn that Laura has always been “sensitive.” This seems at odds with the cool, confident woman we’ve come to know thus far. She also has a history of running away/hiding from difficult situations. Hm. I think Mr. Steele’s impassive response to Abigail’s chatter indicates he’s gaining some insight into Laura and why she behaves the way she does sometimes. He is cordial to Abigail, but not overly friendly; I think Abigail’s criticism of Laura and outright embarrassment about her career, irks Steele. He thinks any woman should be proud to have a daughter like Laura!
It does surprise me a bit that neither Abigail nor Steele seem particularly worried about Laura, who after all just disappeared. She didn’t take her car, Abigail didn’t see her come out of the building, so where did she go?
Laura’s exhilaration at her escape is more evidence to me that the nature of her work has grown more exciting since Mr. Steele came on the scene. I don’t think she’s had a lot of experience escaping abductors (her panicky response to being followed in “Signed, Steeled & Delivered” reinforces this.) I like the little nuggets of Laura’s life we see in this scene – she keeps spare cash in a coffee pot, she doesn’t bother to hang up her coat. Here again we see the little girl inside Laura desperate for her mom’s approval – and not getting it. Sad.
Meanwhile, back in the barrel …
Elevator Guy is unloading the barrel inside what looks to be a garage. Let the bad lighting commence!
Elevator Guy is with another guy, better dressed. Guffman, I presume?
“Well, Felicia, you disappoint me,” Presumably Guffman sighs.
“First you fail to deliver the painting on time, then you go running to a famous detective.”
Elevator Guy flips his lid, giving Presumably Guffman a peek at what’s inside the barrel.
“You fool!” He snarls at Elevator Guy. “This is not her!”
Elevator Guy tells Guffman he ain’t gettin’ out of payin’ him this time.(If he’s screwed you before, why are you working for him again? I don’t think Elevator Guy is the brains of this outfit.)
Elevator Guy says he was told to snatch the woman in Steele’s apartment, and that’s what he did. He pushes over the barrel.
Hey! That’s no industrial slime! It’s Laura. She looks a little dazed.
Guffman says he should know better than to hire a man who pumps iron for a living.
Are you listening, California voters?
Elevator Guy isn’t concerned. His body is his temple. (Apparently “body” doesn’t include hair, because what’s up with that?)
Laura craws shakily to the van. Guffman decides that she might know something, even if she isn’t Felicia. He wants Elevator Guy to make her talk.
“That’ll cost you extra.” (Not much extra, I bet. He looks very keen.)
“No, it won’t,” woozy Laura mutters. “I’ll just call a cab or something.” She starts to wander away.
But Elevator Guy blocks her path. Suddenly …
… Laura begins gasping for breath!
She looks like she’s fainting! The bad guys are alarmed. Guffman tells Elevator Guy to go get some water for their prisoner.
Laura, wheezing, sits on the back end of the van. She motions for Guffman to get something out of her purse. He bends to do so, and …
Whack! She hits him with the van door.
She hits him so hard he is knocked clear across the garage, into another truck. Given his position when she struck him, this seems hugely unlikely. Oh, well.
Laura makes a break for it.
Guffman is mad, and who can blame him? He was trying to help the lady!
Elevator Guy tries in vain to stop the van, but Laura shakes him off.
She crashes the van through the garage door!
She exits the truck!
She runs off on her high heels!
Elevator Guy can only watch her receding figure (why?). He seems impressed by her pluck. I think he’s in love!
Here we see Laura’s quick thinking in a very precarious situation. She has to be completely disoriented, having no idea who these guys are or why they abducted her. She’s never heard of Felicia … but the word “painting” must have caught her ear. The phony asthma attack ties back to her conversation with her mother earlier that evening. I wonder if that will come up again? 😉
Laura has been abducted! Meanwhile, back in Steele’s apartment …
“Formidable entrance, Felicia,” Steele grouses as she makes herself (even more) at home. I’m not sure he’s glad to see her! Steele wants to know if the front door was too traditional for her.
“Too dangerous,” she explains. “There are some desperate men looking for me right now.” Desperate men? Do they hang out in elevators? Oh, dear!
“So you thought you’d pop in and tell me all about it.” Mr. Steele is genuinely cranky! I guess he really, really wanted to have dinner with … Abigail.
“The evening does seem to be ours now,” Felicia smirks. Ooh! Hate that Felicia. Hate her!
She lolls back on Mr. Steele’s bed.
Meanwhile, down in the parking lot …
Abigail has had enough! She decides to see what’s keeping Laura and that nice, eligible Mr.
En route, she helpfully holds the door for a gentleman toting a barrel. Nothing out of the ordinary here, ma’am. Just removing a barrel of toxic waste from a luxury apartment. Happens every day in L.A.
The guy (Hey! He looks familiar!) wants to know if that’s Abigail’s car in the drive; it’s blocking his toxic waste disposal truck.
Sighing at being so put upon by her daughter, Abigail tells the nice man she’ll move the car.
Back upstairs …
Mr. Steele is getting dressed. Is he still planning to have dinner with the Holt ladies?
“So …,” Steele says in a fairly obvious redubbing, “You swindled a fortune from this Guffman character, is that it?”
“Waiting for Guffman,” a mockumentary from the team that made “First in Show” and “A Mighty Wind,” is one of my favorite movies. Here’s a clip! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0zGgkRKbVo
Felicia says she had every intention of paying him back with interest. (Wow. Pierce Brosnan was a tall, thin drink of water in those days!)
According to his idmb entry, Pierce Brosnan holds the title of both lightest Bond (164 lbs. in “GoldenEye”) and heaviest Bond (211 lbs. in “Die Another Day.”) In an entirely unrelated note, PB is on the record as saying his wife Keely is an excellent cook.
Felicia says she was threatened with some “rather grisly results” if she didn’t make amends.
“Why do it with the Five Nudes of Cairo?” Steele wants to know. He notes that the insurance company they recovered it for showed their gratitude by not paying them.
(Ah. So that previous heist was a Good Deed in the service of the rightful owners, eh, Steele? Kind of like stealing the Royal Lavulite was on behalf of the South African government. You are a good citizen, Mr. Steele.)
“Sentimental reasons.” She happened upon a photograph of the famous Remington Steele, and when the painting happened to be in the same city …
“Kismet,” Steele notes.
Miss Thing undresses Mr. Steele as fast as he dresses himself. She knows he’d be only too willing to help her steal the painting – and by the way, must he get dressed?
(Is it me, or did Cassandra Harris have enormous hands?)
Steele slaps away her roaming hands (good on you, Steele!). He thinks her proposal sounds like blackmail!
She thinks blackmail is a tacky term. (How about sexual harassment, Felicia? That sit better with you?) She suggests they steal the painting together, steal away to someplace decadent and brush up on their “Bacchanalian whirl.”
Sorry, Felicia. He’s all whirled out.
Felicia is miffed! “Surely being Remington Steele can’t be all that much fun!”
“You’d be surprised.”
Felicia says she’d hate to expose him as a fraud. It would be such an awful flap! “And that associate of yours … won’t she be crushed when she finds out you’re not really Remington Steele?”
“Mortally, I’m sure.”
Felicia is glad they’ve reached an understanding. Steele looks a little tense here, no?
Still, Mr. Steele never turns down a smooch.
Felicia isn’t satisfied with his response – or lack thereof. “You know darling, if I didn’t know better, I’d say some woman’s finally caught you by the heart.”
Steele wants to know what makes her say such a ridiculous thing! Well, the fact that he’d firmly turned down a cheap sexual encounter with her, for one thing. Felicia says there’s a new feel about him (she’d know, I guess; she certainly was feeling him up). It’s as if he’d been … “smitten.” Aw.
Before he can refute her ridiculous assertion, the doorbell buzzes.
Steele goes to answer the door, wrestling with a sweater on the way. Looks like he was planning on a casual evening. Maybe he was taking Laura and her mother to Denny’s?
Speaking of Laura’s mother … here she is!
Mrs. Holt is steamed. She considers herself a patient person …
… but if Laura thinks she can just leave her sitting down there by herself-
“You mean she’s not with you?”
Dum dum DUM!
This scene offers some tantalizing peeks into who Steele used to be … and who he is becoming. I’m not sure Felicia views his transformation as a positive thing! I think Steele had every intention of getting dressed and following Laura and her mother to whatever restaurant they had planned on. He certainly was NOT interested in a tete-a-tete with his former lover. Interestingly, Laura already thinks he’d have sex with Felicia, so one might expect him to indulge himself, since he’s earned Laura’s disapproval anyway. But he doesn’t. Is this because of his feelings for Laura, his sincere desire to be someone other than who he has been, or both?
… Mr. Steele is getting ready for his dates! The doorbell buzzes, and he goes to answer it.
Outside his bedroom window, something suspicious is afoot!
It’s Laura at the door – but where is Abigail? Laura explains her mother is downstairs in the car. Steele apologizes for not being dressed yet.
“Pleasant reunion?” he asks.
“Just peachy,” she answers. “Do you have any aspirin?”
You’ve got to stop letting your mother get to you like this, Laura!
Back in the bedroom, the sneak is sneaking in!
The masked figure crosses he room and closes the door, then turns …
… and reveals her secret identity. Katherine!Felicia!
Back in the living room, Laura is pressing Steele for an explanation of why he didn’t want to take the nekkid ladies case. (Apparently they don’t care that Abigail is sitting in the car, thumbs twiddling.)
“Why, the curse, of course,” he answers. Laura didn’t think he was the superstitious type.
“A minor flaw in an otherwise stainless Steele.”
Oh, Mr. Steele. You are a wit!
Meanwhile, back in the bedroom …
The lady who wants to steal the nekked ladies is getting nekkid herself.
In the other room, we hear Mr. Steele is enumerating other people’s phobias: “For some it’s walking under ladders, black cats, opening umbrellas indoors …”
“For you it just happens to be paintings with curses.”
Apparently cursed paintings are fairly common. Want to know more? Here’s a website: http://www.csicop.org/si/show/curse_that_painting
“Particularly those with a track record.”
“Tell me: How do you feel about Irish names? Any favorites?”
“Irish names … Hm. I once knew an O’Casey I was rather fond of.” Mr. Steele develops a sudden, passionate interest in the inventory of his liquor tray.
“How about an O’Leary?” Laura asks.
Just then …
KatherineFelicia appears in the bedroom doorway, casually dressed. (You vixen!)
“I’m sorry, darling,” she purr. “I didn’t know you were expecting someone else.”
“I’m a touch surprised myself.”
Well. This is awkward.
“Miss … Bolt, isn’t it?”
“Is she here on business, or did you have something wicked in mind?”
Oh, YOU’RE the wicked one, Felicia.
Laura plays it cool; she won’t have this icy bedroom blonde thinking she’s a prude. “Sounds like fun, but I have my mother downstairs.”
“Ooh, that’s too kinky for my blood!” Felicia smirks (somehow I doubt it). Mr. Steele seems to find this repartee rather painful.
“I won’t hold up the action any longer. I’ll give mother your apologies, Mr. Steele.” She turns to leave.
“Laura, would you believe me if I said I have absolutely no idea how that woman got into my bedroom or my bathrobe?”
“Not a chance.”
She jerks the door open, apparently hitting Mr. Steele’s bare toe on the way out.
“Just thought I’d ask,” he grimaces as she departs.
Outside the apartment, Laura leans against the wall. She is sad.
Then she’s MAD.
She goes to the elevator and presses the button.
The car is previously occupied, by some guy who is looking curiously relaxed as he lounges against the back.
When he sees her, he springs!
He covers her face with a rag. Presumably it’s soaked with chloroform.
Apparently chloroform is fairly easy to make; you can find recipes on the Internet. (Don’t do it!). According to some website that apparently promotes the legalization of drugs, the effects of chloroform are as follows: ” First your extremeties begin to go numb; next your vision and hearing begin to fail. Complete unconsciousness sets in a few seconds later, provided you keep breathing. Recovery generally occurs as soon as the chloroform is removed, though it may be a few minutes before the user feels completely normal.” Okay, then.
That certainly seems to be the effect it’s had on Laura as the elevator door closes. What a cliffhanger!
This scene contains both comedy and pathos. I have to feel for Laura, who has had a bad day already. She’s no doubt worried about how the dinner with Steele and her mother will go, Murphy’s insinuations are weighing heavily on her … and now she’s humiliated by Steele’s bedroom bunny. She must wonder how he acted fast enough to seduce the woman from the museum, who looks a lot less nerdy out of her lab coat and glasses. And who’s this guy in the elevator?
The scene opens with Laura …
… getting ready for her dinner with mom and Steele. Her dress is very 80s, with the tie neck and ruffled sleeves, but it’s a pretty color for her.
She heads toward the bathroom. We see a photograph on a small bureau – it looks like a man with a little girl on his lap. Could be young Laura and her dad?
Turns out the bathroom is already occupied – by Abigail, leaning over the tub and scrubbing furiously.
Laura is embarrassed. “Mother, you don’t have to clean my bathroom. It’ll aggravate your asthma.”
“You know how I hate mess,” her mother responds. Funny, I would have pegged Laura as a neat freak – she’s so precise in everything she does. And her house looks immaculate to me. Could it be that mama is finding fault where there is none to be found?
Abigail wants to know if Laura has spoken to Frances lately.
“I called her on her birthday.”
“Your sister has done very well for herself, Laura. You could take a lesson from her.” She informs Laura that Frances’ husband Donald’s company now owns 12 athletic footwear stores. She asks Laura if she knows how far the jogging shoe has come in the last five years?
Here is the first of two statements Abigail makes in this episode that will be problematic, continuity-wise, in the future. This one will be given an explanation (albeit kind of a lame one) in a future episode.
Laura is saved from having to answer by the doorbell. “I have to go answer the door now, mother,” she says, a little peevishly.
“Always running somewhere,” Abigail mutters. One senses that there may have been many such scenes in these two women’s history together. Is it possible that our strong, independent Laura has felt the need to run away from her mother’s disapproval?
It’s Murphy at the door. “Hello, partner,” he says, rather overstepping his bounds again. He’s got the background information on that painting that Laura asked for.
“So where’s your mother?”
“Cleaning the bathroom.”
“You made your mother clean the bathroom?”
Laura doesn’t find this funny.
She and Murphy sit on the couch and get down to business (Not the same sort of business she and Steele would get down to on a couch, I’ll warrant.)
Murphy reports that the Five Nudes of Cairo have been through a lot of hands, and most of them are not around to talk about it.
“But get this,” he says, a little gleam beginning to appear in his eyes. “Six years ago the painting was stolen from a private collector by a woman and a guy calling himself Michael O’Leary.”
“Ring any bells?” Oh, you’re just a little too smug, Murphy.
At first Laura can’t place the name. Then it dawns on her: It was one of the aliases in the five passports they discovered among “Remington Steele’s” belongings, way back in episode 1!
“But you’re not seriously suggesting-“ she protests.
Oh yes he is! “Think about it: If he really is a thief, what better place for him to watch for a big score to come along than in a detective agency.”
Laura reminds Murphy that Steele didn’t even want to take the museum case.
“Less interference that way,” Murphy gloats. He tells Laura he’s sure Steele has been waiting for an opportunity like this, and there’s nothing to keep him from stealing the painting and leaving “OUR agency to take the rap for it. He’s stolen it once already.”
OUR agency, Murphy? I don’t think so. Mr. Michaels seems very determined to position himself as Laura’s equal in their work and the business.
Laura thinks he’s jumping to conclusions. “I know him better than that.”
“No, you don’t.”
Laura says they both need to keep open minds. She orders Murphy to run a check on the museum’s employees (sounds like an equal partnership there, Murph.)
Murphy urges her to call him if she needs him. (Hm. Bit of foreshadowing here, perhaps?)
At the door, he cracks wise again: “Is your mother really in there cleaning the bathroom?”
Laura is not amused.
The scene shifts abruptly to Laura’s cute little car pulling into the drive in front of Steele’s apartment building. We hear Laura and her mother discussing Frances’ wonderful life in voiceover.
Except as they pull up, we can clearly see that neither woman’s mouth is moving, even though we hear Abigail say, “Why is it so awful to settle down with someone like Donald?” (Perhaps mother and daughter have a telepathic bond?)
Laura informs her mother (using her vocal cords) that she doesn’t want to marry a pair of jogging shoes.
Abigail doesn’t like your attitude, missy! She tells Laura she’s not asking her to marry footwear; there are other alternatives. Laura can’t believe what she’s hearing. Then she can.
“Take your Mr. Steele, for instance. I bet THERE’S a catch and a half.” (I can’t say I disagree, Mrs. Holt.)
Laura breaks the painful news: “Mother, men aren’t fish any more, and my line isn’t out there to hook a big one and reel him in.”
“Well, your line has to be somewhere,” Abigail snaps.
“I’m a licensed private investigator.”
Abigail professes not to know what that means. What, she didn’t watch The Rockford Files in the 70s? Mannix? Barnaby Jones? Cannon?
Laura seems discouraged. “Are you coming with me upstairs?” she asks, a little timidly.
Nope. Abigail prefers to wait in the car and “collect” herself.
Laura heads off to fetch Mr. Steele. Something tells me there’s a bumpy night ahead!
I’ll stop there. I have to feel for Laura in these scenes. Mom is a piece of work, no? And yet somehow I can’t really dislike Abigail (maybe because I associate her with the much more sympathetic Dotty West.) I believe Abigail really does want the best for her daughter, but her worldview and idea of what constitutes “best” is very different from Laura’s. And on top of the stress with her mom, now Laura has to deal with the possibility that Steele is preparing to betray her. What a lousy day! Do you think Murphy has shaken Laura’s belief in Mr. Steele?
We see an establishing shot of some big, old building.
Anybody know what building this is?
Ah, we’re in the museum. Mr. Steele is investigating the security system. But his mind is not on his work.
“Do you mean to tell me you haven’t spent any time with your mother in nearly three years?”
“We don’t communicate very well,” Laura answers.
Laura points out how the would-be thief got into the museum – through the skylight.
“But she gave you life!” Steele remarks. (He’s not one to let things go, is he.) “Nurtured you from infancy!”
“Can we just drop it?”
Steele apologizes; he didn’t realize Mama Holt was such a jolt to Laura’s equilibrium.
Peeved, Laura stomps off, declaring there’s nothing wrong with her equi-
– and stumbles into the arms of our old friend Achmed. Way to take advantage of a lady’s lack of equilibrium, pal.
Achmed presents Steele with the radio control vehicle left at the scene of the crime, then leads the detectives to see the painting in the … er … flesh.
We see a random guy unpacking Egyptiany statuettes.
Achmed and the detectives join a blonde, already in progress. We know she’s a scientist (or something) because she’s wearing a lab coat and glasses. Achmed introduces her as Katherine Simone, his assistant.
Achmed tells Laura and Steele that it was Katherine who recommended the Steele Agency. I wonder how she knows about them?
Mr. Steele seems quite taken with Ms. Simone. (He does have a weakness for blondes.) Frankly, I don’t trust her. What kind of scientist has a name like Katherine Simone? Sounds like a Bond girl. Wait a minute …
Mr. Steele asks what kind of security system the museum is using, but Achmed says the insurance company forbids him from sharing that information. Because why would the agency you’re paying to protect your painting need to know something like that?
Laura and BondGirl move closer to the painting, and blondie provides some art history: the nekkid ladies’ religion forbids them from being seen, well, nekkid. But the sneaky artist somehow got them to get nekkid for him. So, “The reigning Pasha got wind of this so he tried to have the picture destroyed, but it was smuggled out of the country, so he placed a curse on any one who dared to possess it.”
Laura, a sensible gal who doesn’t believe in such nonsense, says it sounds bizarre.
“Not to the last five owners, they were all killed,” BondGirl says. “Accidentally, of course.”
Meanwhile, Achmed sidles up to Steele with a proposition: “I need to see you tonight. Alone.”
Hm. It’s beginning to look like his flirting with Laura was a smokescreen. It’s hottie Steele he has eyes for!
Achmed leads the group out of the gallery. Steele brings up the rear. Once outside, BondGirl snags the detective and …
Hey! HEY! Nerdy scientist girls aren’t supposed to act this way!
“Katherine, wasn’t it?” Steele says, when he comes up for air. “And I always thought Felicia suited you so much better.”
“You’re hardly one to talk of names, Mr. Steele. Have you missed me?”
“Whenever possible.” (Oh, that sassy banter, Mr. Steele!)
“Poetic that the ‘Nudes’ should bring us back together again, isn’t?” Bond girl notes. So they’ve handled these nudes before!
“Don’t tell me, let me guess: You’re here to steal it,” he intuits.
“No, darling,” she breathes into his face. “YOU are.”
You vixen! Leading our Mr. Steele astray!
Just then Miss Holt notices that her associate is associating with someone else!
“Care to join us, Mr. Steele?” she inquires.
“Remarkable sculptor, that Rodin,” Steele assesses, wiping the lipstick from his mouth. (Smooth, Mr. Steele.)
“It’s a Catelli,” Laura schools him.
“Still love it,” Mr. Steele insists as he and Laura take their leave.
Well! Something is indeed afoot here. Maybe I’m judging hastily, but something tells me that Miss Simone – er, Felicia – isn’t a nice, wholesome girl. Even if she does wear glasses. She and Mr. Steele obviously have a past, and likely a torrid and sordid one. Tsk. Just when I was beginning to think you’d mended your wicked, wicked ways, Mr. Steele. But will Steele return to a life of crime and steal the nekkid ladies for Felicia? Worse, will he get nekkid with blondie? I shudder to think of it …
We rejoin Mr. Steele and Laura en route to a testy confrontation in the file room.
Mr. Steele looks distinctly uneasy! He fiddles with his jacket button. What does that mean?
Laura can’t believe Steele turned the museum guys down.
“Believe me, Laura, we want no part of this,” Steele insists.
Laura accuses Steele of falling in love with the letterhead again. “Since when do YOU get to decide which cases I’m going to take?”
“This picture has a very nasty background,” Steele says. “I was only thinking of the agency.”
“Well, the agency has bills to pay and a reputation to maintain.”
“Surely then, there’s a missing person we can find.”
“An unsolved murder that’s baffled the finest minds in law enforcement?”
“A child, weeping for his lost cocker spaniel?”
Steele decides to take a firm stand: “Laura, I realize we haven’t known each other very long, and that refusing this case may cause the agency a great deal. Nonetheless, with no questions asked, no explanations demanded, I’m simply asking that you accept my instincts about this on faith and-“
Oh, yeah. THAT’S gonna work.
Looks like a deal being sealed here, no?
Hm. Achmed seems a little friendlier than he needs to be.
Stealin’ Steele’s move, Achmed? Tacky.
I don’t think Mr. Steele appreciates Achmed’s attention to Laura.
Coxworth tries to herd Achmed out of the office, but the curator seems reluctant to part from Laura. Dude. Step off.
After the museum guys leave, Laura asks Bernice if Murphy has come up with that museum research she asked for.
As she strides away, we see Mr. Steele with head slightly bowed, one hand over his stomach and the other in his pocket. WHAT CAN IT MEAN?
A hand over one’s stomach is said to indicate anxiety, while a hand in one pocket suggests a man is feeling unsatisfied with his self image. And the lowered head/gaze? Here’s what one website says: Lowering the head also lowers the eyes and hence can be a sign of submission, effectively saying ‘I dare not even look at you’. The eyes are typically also lowered here. It can be driven by affection (‘you are so wonderful’) or fear (‘you might hurt me if I look at you’). I suspect Mr. Steele might be feeling both those things at this moment! For her part, Laura has her hands clenched into fists, which indicates an unyielding mindset. Hm.
After Laura goes to her office, Steele pumps Bernice for info.
“Miss Wolfe, does it strike you that Laura seems unusually …”
“Wired? Cranky? Bent out of shape?” Bernice informs Steele that Laura asked her to overload her schedule once before, when she was expecting-
Laura reappears, briskly. “Somebody call for the car.” (Somebody? Laura really is treating her friend Bernice as a nameless employee today.) Laura wants Bernice to tell Murphy she needs to see him, pronto. Laura then heads for the other office, briskly. (I haven’t quite figured out the layout of these offices. Presumably the one she just came out of was Murphy’s office, and now has gone into her own. Yes?)
Steele turns back to Bernice for more info. But her lips are sealed:
Looks like Mr. Steele is going to have to do some legwork of his own!
He heads for Laura’s office, briskly. “As usual, you’ve been an enormous help, Miss Wolfe.” You sound so sincere, Mr. Steele!
Mr. Steele bursts into Laura’s office. He’s agitated!
“Laura, I don’t mean to pry. But if something’s happened …”
“I’m fine, and we’ve got work to do,” Laura answers.
“But you’re …” Steele stammers.
“I don’t know what your problem with this case is, but you’re beginning to sound a lot like my -“
As we hear a female voice call, “Hellooo,”
Laura reacts. Badly.
“Mother,” she squeaks.
“Mother?” Steele is confused.
Laura goes to greet her mom. Not briskly.
“Still have to wear your hair up, I see,” Mom
criticizes notes. Laura weakly protests that she would have picked Mom up at the airport, but Mrs. Holt sniffs that the cab drivers have to get rich off somebody’s money. Laura turns to introduce her mama to her associates.
Mr. Steele seems eager to make her acquaintance!
Laura stammers a bit. “This is … uh … Remington Steele.”
“So you’re Laura’s mother!” Steele charms.
Mrs. Holt expresses pleasure at meeting Laura’s boss at last.
“Heard a lot about me, have you?”
Laura apologizes because they have to run out, but tells her Bernice will get her settled at home and they can go out for dinner later.
Mr. Steele thinks that’s an excellent idea! He knows just the place!
Laura reminds Mr. Steele that he has a previous engagement.
“I’ll cancel it, whoever it is,” Steele says. “Until tonight, then … ah …”
“We musn’t be late, Mr. Steele,” Laura nudges, while Steele looks like the cat that ate the canary. They head for the exit.
“You know, these offices aren’t really bad at all,” Abigail damns her daughter with faint praise.
She’s a delightful woman!
That’s the end of this scene. NOW we know why Laura has been so tense! Something tells me her relationship with mom might be a little strained. Steele seems glad to have the upper hand back, after losing the battle over the museum case. I love the banter between Laura and Steele when arguing about taking the case. Cocker spaniel? Bahahaha. (SPOILER ALERT: In general, the Steele Agency doesn’t handle animal cases.) And how about Steele’s little look of jealousy over Achmed slavering over Laura’s hand? Finally, what do you make of Steele’s misapprehension of Bernice’s words, assuming Laura must be pregnant? He certainly seems genuinely concerned for her. Surprised, but not necessarily shocked. Hm. Your thoughts?
We segue from a shot of the five nekkid ladies to …
… another shot of the five nekkid ladies, this time on a screen. (Remember slides? How quaint!) We hear Mr. Steele’s voice naming the painting: “The Five Nudes of Cairo.” He knows this from his reading!
“Then you are familiar with our painting?” says the guy on the left.
“Only from my reading,” Steele answers.
“Our most important acquisition!” says guy sitting down.
Bearded guy continues our rather boring exposition: “It represents the absolute peak of Fouchard’s career, and it was painted on Egyptian ground, during the-“
“-building of the Suez Canal,” Steele finishes. He seems very engrossed in this painting of five nekkid ladies. Feeling a little … er … frustrated, Mr. Steele?
“Your reading must be quite extensive,” bearded guy says. Steele notes that the work has a colorful history.
Gray-haired guy says this is what the crooks were after; bearded guy insists they must remove it from the display.
Gray-haired guy says they can’t; exhibit is scheduled to open tomorrow, yada yada. Bearded guy is peevish! He tells Steele to tell gray-haired guy that if the painting is stolen, there will be no exhibit. He calls gray-haired guy a Philistine.
The Philistines were among the “Sea Peoples” who appeared in Canaan at the beginning of the Iron Range (circa 1175 BC). They were enemies of the Israelites. In modern parlance, a “Philistine” is a person who is said to be “ignorant, ill-behaved persons lacking in culture or artistic appreciation, and only concerned with materialistic values.” Presumably Bearded Guy is using the term in that sense to describe Gray-Haired Guy, though his bushy mane does look a little like the hat in this heiroglyph.
“Spare us your precious temper, Achmed,” says Philistine (aw, let’s just call him Phil). Phil reminds Achmed that the alarm system worked.
“Alarm system,” Achmed sneers. “Ptooey!” Hey! Are you gonna shampoo the rug, expectorating guy?
The argument seems to be pointless, since Steele informs the men that the Steele Agency can’t help them. Phil thinks it’s because of the money, but Achmed knows better:
“It’s because of the curse, isn’t it?”
Well, THAT’S ominous!
… Laura is having her own horror: dealing with insurance! Apparently she committed a moving violation, created a small dent in this guy’s car, and now has to pay for it. Is that a really, really tan Farrah Fawcett behind them?
Laura finally makes it to the office. She’s looking a little … schlumpy. Maybe it’s the polyesterish pantsuit or the schoolmarm hair.
Laura wants to know about her schedule for the week. Bernice starts to tell Laura that the museum guys are already there.
“I believe I asked about my schedule,” Laura snarks. Those aren’t polyester pants – they’re crankypants!
Bernice is … taken aback … at her boss’s attitude. She tells Miss Holt that her schedule for the week is light.
“Not good enough,” Laura says. “By punch-out time today, I want it wall-to-wall. Understand?”
So Bernice is supposed to go out and murder somebody to generate a case? Hope she gets time-and-a-half for that.
Bernice weighs her alternative employment options as Laura stalks off.
Back in Steele’s office …
… Phil can’t believe Mr. Steele is the superstitious type. Is it just me, or does Phil look like:
This guy, the alien scientist from “This Island Earth”? Or:
This guy, from the classic Star Trek episode, “The Apple”?
Maybe I watch too much cheesy TV.
Laura enters the office, and Phil introduces himself as Edward Coxworth. Just when I’d gotten used to calling him Phil!
Phil Ed introduces his colleague, the curator Achmed Kahlil. They’re disappointed that Steele feels his caseload is too great to take on their account!
Busted! Laura is surprised to hear of Mr. Steele’s reluctance. He explains.
“What with the Murphy affair and the Wolfe case …”
“As a matter of fact, something urgent just has come up,” Laura says.
She leads an uncomfortable looking Mr. Steele from the room. Given Miss Holt’s current mood, I have a feeling this isn’t going to be pretty! (not unlike her pantsuit)
I’ll leave us here on the cusp of another Holt-Steele confrontation. What is your impression of Mr. Steele’s attitude toward the painting. Does he really believe in a curse? And what’s put Laura in such a snit? The fender-bender, or is there something more? Stay tuned!