Thou Shalt Not Steele – 18

We left Mr. Steele hanging around in a warehouse. But here comes the cavalry!

LauraFeliciaarriving

Laura’s little Rabbit pulls up outside 7249 Hammond Street.

ladyinred

Felicia seems to have come along for the ride. She’s put a red jacket over her hideous blouse.

askingmomtowork

The ladies bond while searching for Steele. Felicia thinks it’s sweet that Laura has employed her mom! (Laura has changed into a conservative, business-like suit.)

discoveringSteele

The two gals round stacks of boxes and barrels … surprise!

steelehanging

Mr. Steele being seen in public without his suit jacket? This must be serious!

ohmygosh

The ladies are alarmed!

runninginheels

They race to the rescue …

goodheavens

“Ah, Laura! Felicia!” he greets them. (He actually says “Laura” as he’s looking down at Felicia. Freudian slip?)

thoughtyouwere

“For a moment we thought you …” Felicia begins.

justresting

“Just resting, actually,” he says with Bondlike coolness. (And can I just say his anti-perspirant is amazingly effective!)

gutmanwgun

Uh, oh. It’s Gutman … and now he’s a Gunman! He’s glad the ladies could join them. “You brought the others with you, I trust.”

Okay, it took me an unreasonably long time to figure out he was referring to the Nudes of Cairo. Can’t anybody just call this thing a painting?

abigailstilrecep

Back at Remington Steele Investigations, Abigail seems to be settling into her new role. It’s Laura on the line, apparently wondering if Bernice and Murphy are back yet. They’re not.

abigaillooking

At Laura’s prompting, Abigail enters Steele’s office …

snapshots

… and heads for the couch and Mr. Steele’s reverent homage to himself. I’ve always gotten a kick out of these photos. Steele at the firing range! Steele throwing out the first ball at the stadium! Steele and the ballerina! Steele at the piano! What a Renaissance Man.

gotthetube

Abigail fishes behind the couch and retrieves a tube that presumably contains the naked ladies.

yesdear

“Yes, dear, I found it. What should I do now?”

Meanwhile, back in the warehouse …

rockinfelicia

Felicia is waxing nostalgic with a gently swaying Mr. Steele. I had no idea he was a swinger!

ohbehave

Oh, behave! (I’m incorrigible!)

“I’ll miss you feeding me strawberries on the Riviera, wild drives with the top down along the Autobahn …” Felicia sighs.  She gives Laura smug look: “He’s shown you his mastery of the Tibetan massage, hasn’t he?”

notrecently

“Not recently.”

tibetanmassage

So Tibetan massage is a real thing. Doesn’t look that erotic to me. Different strokes! (Literally.)

nopointfelicia

“There’s no point trying to make Miss Holt jealous, Felicia. Ours is a strictly professional relationship.,” Steele insists.  Felicia ain’t buyin’ it … but she says she’ll keep their secret. Just then we hear Abigail calling from a distance.

dontcomefurther

“Mother, don’t come any further!” Laura calls. “Just leave the painting and leave!”

Too late.

roughingupmama

Gutman grabs Abigail and roughs her up. Cad!

flingsabigail

The scoundrel flings Abigail across the room into Laura’s arms.

draggedintothis

“I’m so sorry you had to get dragged into this,” Laura apologizes. It’s interesting that Laura and her mother are dressed quite a lot alike here.

wherethepainting

Gutman has unwrapped the canvas. Looks like the nudes were painted using invisible ink.

killagain

Gutman doesn’t find the joke funny. Meanwhile, Stakovsky is apparently so bored with the proceedings that he’s put the gun to his own head.

oopssmileySmall continuity error here. The shot cuts from the view of all the players, where we see Stakovsky holding the gun on the hostages, to a close up of Gutman, where we see Stakovsky holding the gun up

.gunposition1

Anyway, Gutman tells Stakovsky he can go ahead and kill whichever one he wants, in order to get Steele to give up the painting.

takeyourpick

Looks like Stakovsky was only half cocked.

asthmaattack

Abigail finds this all very upsetting.

abigailunwell

In fact, she collapses with an asthma attack!

falltwice

“You don’t expect us to fall for that twice?” Gutman sneers.

notfaking

“SHE’S NOT FAKING! SHE NEEDS HER INHALER!” Laura shouts. She is really distraught!

lauratorescue

Desperate to help her mom, Laura makes a break for it.

thwarted

Foiled! Gutman grabs her and throws her back.

Big mistake.

sonofa

Laura’s had enough. “You son of a –“

Hi-ya!

gutmanglasses

Laura slugs Gutman with her purse, sending him tumbling backward, where his heft carries him …

thruplywood

… right through a plywood wall!

headlock

Steele takes advantage of the distraction to put Stakovsky into a headlock, knocking the gun from his hand.

thereisgun

It skids across the floor …

feliciaun

… and is immediately snapped up by Felicia. Meanwhile, in the background, Mr. Gutman is apparently dead.

gooshot

Steele is still in hand-to-hand – or rather hand-to-thigh combat with Stakovsky. “I wouldn’t resist further, gentlemen,” he says, apparently not having noticed that Gutman is deceased. “Felicia is a rather good shot.”

deadGutman

Felicia pivots to cover Gutman, who remains glassy-eyed and slack-mouthed. Pretty sure Strakovsky is the bigger threat here, Felicia.

retrievepurse

Laura races to retrieve her mom’s purse. Look, even their purses match.

sosorry

As Abigail uses her inhaler, a badly shaken Laura repeats, “Oh, Mother, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m sorry …”

itsallright

Abigail pulls Laura into a hug. “Don’t be, darling,” she says. “It’s all right. Now I know what you really do!”

I find the dynamics between the characters very interesting in this scene. First there is Laura/Felicia. Again we see Laura in serious, professional mode, while Felicia is flashy in her red jacket. Although Felicia is ahead of Laura as they walk through the warehouse, Laura takes the lead  when they discover Steele hanging. When they get to Steele, Laura immediately reaches upward, looking for a way to release him, while Felicia turns Steele to face her – she wants to be the focus of his attention. (It’s not clear to me whether Felicia knew this was Gutman’s lair and expected to come upon a scene much like this; perhaps that’s why she hung behind Laura.)

Then we see Felicia/Steele. Felicia seems unconcerned for her paramour’s plight, only lamenting what SHE stands to lose when the bad guys kill him. Steele, for his part, seems mildly disgusted. Felicia wants to rub her previous intimacy in Laura’s face with the Tibetan massage crack. Steele’s rejoinder that Felicia is wasting her time trying to make Laura jealous is interesting; he gives her several looks as he says it, as if to gauge her response.

The dynamic between Laura and her mother is the most interesting, in my opinion. We see that Laura has changed into an outfit her mother would surely approve of – it’s modest, sensible and almost matronly. Was Laura trying to convince her mother that she wasn’t wild and irresponsible after the break-in debacle? Despite the tension between them, we see that Laura cares very much about her mother, and what her mom thinks of her. She is as distraught as we ever see her when Abigail is in the midst of her asthma attack, and afterwards sounds like a little girl pleading with her mommy to forgive her. I’d like to believe Abigail’s affectionate reassurance at the end of the scene marks a turning point in their relationship, but a small piece of me wonders if Abigail’s tenderness wasn’t prompted by Laura’s vulnerability.

I look forward to your thoughts on this scene. Next up, the tag!

 

5 Comments

Filed under Season 1

5 responses to “Thou Shalt Not Steele – 18

  1. steeleinterested

    All the dynamics! One could probably write a fairly lengthy psychology paper from this scene alone.

    Somehow, I sense more similarity in Abigail and Felicia in terms of behavior and personality than Abigail and Laura. Perhaps it is the ‘it’s all about me’ mentality where as Laura seems very others focused.

    And Steele does seem much more concerned with what Laura’s thoughts and feelings regarding him are than what Felicia’s are. In that assessment, Felicia was spot on in the previous scene. Wonder if that had any impact in how she responded here. If she thought ‘Michael’ was hers for the taking, would she have been more focused on trying to get him out of there? I would think in her line of work, she would be more…competent, prepared, creative, devious…something than she is here.This can’t be the first sticky wicket Felicia has found herself in while engaged in her chosen profession.

    It is easier for me to believe Laura is Abigail’s middle child here than at any other time I can think of. It seems either a first or youngest would be, by stereotype, more likely to be expecting approval of their heroic deed than apologetic and in need of reassurance of their mother’s love and approval.

    I have often felt disappointed that Beverly Garland ended up on Scarecrow so we have no more episodes with Abigail after the first season. Today, I feel differently. The relationship between Abigail and Laura is so dynamic and the on-screen interaction between Beverly and Stephanie can steal a scene faster than my dog can swipe a PBJ sandwich off the table. It would have taken the series in an entirely different direction and taken the focus off of Laura and Steele. I’ll be paying attention to see if I have the same thoughts about Daniel in later episodes. Certainly there would not have been enough room for Abigail, Daniel and Mildred, along with Laura and Remington. The small screen just isn’t that large for all that presence on a weekly basis 😉

  2. Steeleinterested— I really like your assessment of the Daniel, Abigail, Mildred, Laura and Steele. You are sooo right, that is a lot of presence!

  3. eaz35173

    It’s very telling that Steele utters Laura’s name first when she and Felicia get to him. Laura is the one he is concerned about. He’s got Felicia’s “number” when he tells her that her attempts to make Laura jealous won’t work. This also seems to me to be an indication that he’s letting Felicia know that he knows Laura well enough.

    You’re right, SI, that Felicia and Abigail seem to be more interested in themselves in general. But Felicia is doing nothing here that would help anyone! At least Abigail came down with the painting and admits that she finally sees/understands what Laura does for a living.

    I also wanted to see a bit more of Abigail in the series, but you bring up a good point about not having time for R & L with all the other characters on the screen. And if I had to pick, (spoiler alert?) I’m glad we see more of Daniel, than Abigail.

  4. daphgg

    I agree with all the comments. Abigail and Laura’s relationship definitely would have stolen the show away from its original premise of the thief and his lady love/ boss. Stephanie and Beverley did a great job of portraying the complicated details of their relationship in such short scenes. Very powerful acting and skilled writing.

    Yes Steele certainly showed his feelings for Laura while hanging by his wrists. And she did also by running to his aid. Poor Felicia – she got dumped right then. She knew it and took a couple of jabs to even the score. I say poor Felicia because she got the poor Murphy role. I think Steele stared at Felici a while talking to Stephanie because she was trying to read if Felicia was going to be friend or foe.. I often wonder if Laura ever recognized how Steele feels about her from this scene.

    Felicia is definitely self serving. I don’t see Abigail as self serving but a woman who is a traditional mother who (old fashionably) wants her daughter’s future secured by marrying a capable husband. Abigail doesn’t think a woman’s career is secure. (Like anyone’s is nowadays.) Her perspective is so much different than Laura’s. It makes them contentious. Yet Abigail obviously is struggling to understand her daughter and despite being in a dangerous situation, is delighted to discover what Laura does for a living. After Abigail’s mama bear action in front of the jail and now this, I realize she is annoying and like Laura stubborn more than anything else.

    • eaz35173

      Interesting point about Felicia and Murphy being in the same boat with their respective objects of affection. I hadn’t ever looked at it that way, but it makes sense.

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