We left Mr. Steele hanging around in a warehouse. But here comes the cavalry!
Laura’s little Rabbit pulls up outside 7249 Hammond Street.
Felicia seems to have come along for the ride. She’s put a red jacket over her hideous blouse.
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.)
The two gals round stacks of boxes and barrels … surprise!
Mr. Steele being seen in public without his suit jacket? This must be serious!
The ladies are alarmed!
They race to the rescue …
“Ah, Laura! Felicia!” he greets them. (He actually says “Laura” as he’s looking down at Felicia. Freudian slip?)
“For a moment we thought you …” Felicia begins.
“Just resting, actually,” he says with Bondlike coolness. (And can I just say his anti-perspirant is amazingly effective!)
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?
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.
At Laura’s prompting, Abigail enters Steele’s office …
… 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.
Abigail fishes behind the couch and retrieves a tube that presumably contains the naked ladies.
“Yes, dear, I found it. What should I do now?”
Meanwhile, back in the warehouse …
Felicia is waxing nostalgic with a gently swaying Mr. Steele. I had no idea he was a swinger!
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?”
So Tibetan massage is a real thing. Doesn’t look that erotic to me. Different strokes! (Literally.)
“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.
“Mother, don’t come any further!” Laura calls. “Just leave the painting and leave!”
Gutman grabs Abigail and roughs her up. Cad!
The scoundrel flings Abigail across the room into Laura’s arms.
“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.
Gutman has unwrapped the canvas. Looks like the nudes were painted using invisible ink.
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.
Anyway, Gutman tells Stakovsky he can go ahead and kill whichever one he wants, in order to get Steele to give up the painting.
Looks like Stakovsky was only half cocked.
Abigail finds this all very upsetting.
In fact, she collapses with an asthma attack!
“You don’t expect us to fall for that twice?” Gutman sneers.
“SHE’S NOT FAKING! SHE NEEDS HER INHALER!” Laura shouts. She is really distraught!
Desperate to help her mom, Laura makes a break for it.
Foiled! Gutman grabs her and throws her back.
Laura’s had enough. “You son of a –“
Laura slugs Gutman with her purse, sending him tumbling backward, where his heft carries him …
… right through a plywood wall!
Steele takes advantage of the distraction to put Stakovsky into a headlock, knocking the gun from his hand.
It skids across the floor …
… and is immediately snapped up by Felicia. Meanwhile, in the background, Mr. Gutman is apparently dead.
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.”
Felicia pivots to cover Gutman, who remains glassy-eyed and slack-mouthed. Pretty sure Strakovsky is the bigger threat here, Felicia.
Laura races to retrieve her mom’s purse. Look, even their purses match.
As Abigail uses her inhaler, a badly shaken Laura repeats, “Oh, Mother, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m sorry …”
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!