We left Laura and Mr. Steele being asked to don blindfolds.
It appears they complied. Hey, wait. This is a surprise party, right? It’s Laura’s birthday?
Guess not. The bad guys unblindfold the detectives and, inexplicably, leave them “caged” in a hallway made of rice paper.
“Who even knew this was up here?” Laura asks. Mr. Steele doesn’t care.
Uh, oh. We hear muffled shouts and fighting from the other side of the wall! What could be going on in there?
Mr. Steele doesn’t think so.
“Sounds like a movie,” he explains. Laura wants to know how he can be so sure.
“I think I paid to see it this afternoon. Twice.”
“Twice?” Laura asks. I think she’s impressed by his dedication! (Though technically, she paid twice, because he’s on her payroll.)
“Yes. When I went back in to look for …”
“Pleasure to see you again, Mr. Steele,” says the Mystery Lady.
Laura has already figured it out. “You mean she was-“
“Kenji’s bereaved lover, wasn’t it?” Steele fills in the blanks. “Remarkable recovery.”
“What is life, Mr. Steele, but the playing of roles?” Mystery Lady says.
Indeed. But some play them better than others.
I’m looking at you, Mike.
Mr. Steele wants to know if Mystery Lady’s mother offered her that pearl of wisdom, too. Nope. It was Dad.
“Tenaka-san is most anxious to speak with you. Follow me.”
She slips into another rice paper room, leaving Steele and Laura alone. Steele is disgusted.
“Is there a B&F in our private lingo?” he mutters.
“What for?” Laura asks. Good try, Laura, but that would be W&F.
“Bloody Fool,” Steele explains. “I didn’t find that girl. She found me. I should have known something was wrong right off.”
“What do you mean?”
“She obviously works for Tenaka. And right after I enlightened her about Mike and his restaurant …”
“-he was kidnapped.” Laura concludes.
These two have developed the habit of finishing each other’s sentences, just like a real couple.
Isn’t that adorable?
Mr. Steele is still feeling guilty. “I led the buggers right to him. Damn!”
Instead of berating him, Laura is surprisingly understanding. “There’s no way you could have known.”
Steele won’t be soothed.
“I’ve never seen you fall for a gob of lines like that.”
Laura seems nonplused by his confession. “You really mean that?”
“Of course I do. Why else do you think I would ask you to teach me?”
Laura’s not buyin’ it.
“To be perfectly honest, I thought you did it to win the argument we were having at the time.” Does Laura give Steele an affectionate little poke in the stomach here? I think she does!
“I did,” he confesses, “but I’m learning.”
Aw. I’m glad Tenaka-san is dawdling long enough for Steele and Laura to have this meaningful exchange.
Just what IS Tenaka-san doing in there, anyway?
Actually, that’s more interesting than what the aged Asian is actually doing, which is:
… word processing.
That’s some high tech gadget you’ve got there, Tenaka-san.
Anybody care to translate?
The Japanese goddofa-za- (that’s “Godfather” in Japanese; see how educational this blog is?) gets to his feet.
“We build these machines to serve us, and instead we end up serving them.” Tenaka-san thinks that’s profound.
Maybe, but …
Now, THAT’s profound!
I think that ancient wisdom has gone right over our detectives’ heads.
Tenaka tries a different tack.
“I always like to begin such encounters with the profound. It tends to keep the conversation … constructive. Some tea, perhaps?”
“How very civilized,” Steele replies. Well, an Englishman WOULD say that.
“I’m pleased you accepted my invitation. Now perhaps we can settle this without any further-“
“Need for tea?” Steele finishes for him. Wait. Does this mean he and Tenaka are a couple, too?
“Violence,” Tenaka corrects him.
“I’m all for a stab at that,” Steele quips. Oh, you’re a cool customer, Mr. Steele.
“Pity Kenji can no longer agree with you,” Laura adds.
She casts a sidelong look at Steele, who has not broken eye contact with Tenaka.
“Kenji Ito was what is known in our business as a free agent. While managing a business transaction for us, he was captured by your intelligence. And then, just as suddenly released. A most alarming situation.”
Thanks for the exposition, Tenaka-san!
“So you ushered him into the next life.”
Perish the thought, Mr. Steele!
“No. We merely sought to question him on his extraordinary good fortune. But he fled. Taking with him something of great value to us.”
I think we all know what he’s talking about.
Oh, 1970s and your casual racism – you so crazy!
But Laura does her own laundry, so she has a different guess.
“The Palace of Heaven.”
Wait. I thought that was the name of the theatre.
“One of my most trusted men has already disappeared searching for it.”
Boy, life before Google maps was hardcore.
“What if I said we don’t have it?” Steele asks.
“That would be most unfortunate,” Tenaka replies, apparently stunned by Steele’s chutzpah. (Note: That is NOT a Japanese word.)
“Because then you would have nothing to trade.”
“Trade for what?” Laura wants to know.
Oh, that’s right. Mike Ito.
The thump of Mike Ito hitting the floor is finally enough to get the detectives’ attention.
“Steele! What the hell is happening? What do they want? What are they talking about?” Mike
articulates shouts incoherently.
Honestly, wouldn’t it be better to put him out of his misery? (Better for us, at least.)
These guys with swords seem to agree.
“Kenji must have passed it on to someone before he was killed. But we are now convinced that Mike Ito is ignorant of Kenji’s circumstances. You, on the other hand, are Remington Steele.”
See, Mr. Steele? SOME people are aware of your reputation. Isn’t that great?
“That says a lot to you, doesn’t it?” Steele says.
“Volumes. Bring me the Palace of Heaven within 24 hours, and I will release Mike.”
“And if we don’t?” Um, I don’t think he was talking to you, Laura. Drink your tea quietly like a good
geisha professional detective.
“Have you never seen a film called ‘The Yakuza’?”
Maybe. Have YOU ever heard a joke about a cat on the roof?
“I’m afraid I have no time for such diversions,” Steele replies.
“So much killing in it.”
Everyone’s a critic.
Laura’s had enough. “I might remind you, Tenaka-“
“-that you’re still on American soil!”
Technically, Laura, I think you’re all on Tenaka’s bamboo floor mat.
Ninja guy with sword deosn’t like Laura’s sassy talk.
Wait a minute. Why is he using a sword? Didn’t we all learn from old commercials (a rich font of wisdom) that …
“In Japan, the hand can be used like a knife!”
Laura hasn’t seen that commercial. She has no time for such diversions!
“Miss Holt, please. Make no sudden moves,” Tenaka advises. “It would be most embarrassing for you to die at my table.”
Not only that, but those bamboo mats are hell to clean.
Mr. Steele makes nice. “Well, we certainly don’t want anyone to be embarrassed, do we?”
See? We’re all friends here!
In this segment, we first see Mr. Steele expressing disappointment in himself for trying to do Laura’s job. He recognizes that she has skills in this area that he lacks. Later, in the confrontation with Tenaka, Mr. Steele takes the lead again. We are reminded that dealing with people is perhaps more Mr. Steele’s forte than Laura’s. She tends to be confrontational/blunt, raising hackles and defenses. She is emotional in her interactions, while Mr. Steele has (spoiler alert!) icy calm. I think we’re learning in this episode that both Steele and Laura have unique talents to bring to their partnership. I wonder if Laura will learn this lesson as well?