We are approaching the exciting climax of the episode! Oh, dear. Did I say climax?
We see Steele and Laura racing toward the sound of the giggling.
Here they come.
As they arrive back in the drawing room, they are shocked to see …
Miss May, cavorting on tape.
This, it seems, is an unexpected development.
I thought Laura had this all figured out?
Laura hits the pause button, and we note that it’s 9:08 pm. Does Mr. Steele get overtime for these long hours? Just then ..
Steele and Laura whirl at the sound of a voice behind them: “Come out, come out, wherever you are.”
Um. I’m pretty sure they’re right there. Not hiding or anything.
Look! It’s Mrs. Roper, dressed like a Bond girl. Or a janitor.
Steele keeps his cool. “Miss Russell. I must admit, this is quite a surprise.”
Is that your hands in your pockets, Mr. Steele, or are you just glad – nope. Just his hands in his pockets.
Mrs. Roper has a gun trained on them, and now she’s insulted. You may wish to work on your people skills, Mr. S.
“Why? Because you thought I was too dumb to plan this weekend?” she says.
“No offense,” Steele assuages her.
“… but you do give the impression of someone more comfortable with cartoons than Kafka.”
Well, that should smooth things over.
“Shame on you, Mr. Steele,” she answers, leaning provocatively against the wall. ” You’re just like everybody else. When you have a face and a body, that’s all people figure you have.”
Something tells me Mr. Steele’s not so sure about the whole “face and body” rationale.
“Devil magazine was going to be my chance to prove I was good at something besides showing myself,” she continues.
” Only, Ambrose didn’t give me what was coming to me.”
“So he got what was coming to him,” Steele says.
Steele seems to appreciate the symmetry of her solution, but Laura wants answers. “How’d you get him to tape that greeting?” Laura asks.
“He LOVED to prove how clever he was. When everyone was in watching him on television, he was going to sneak through the kitchen and be waiting at the dinner table when you came back.”
Can we just get on with the take-down?
“I didn’t fool you for a moment with my impersonation of Dr. Bellows, did I?” Steele makes chit-chat.
“No, Mr. Steele. Not when it took two years in Switzerland to put me back together after that drunken butcher cut me up.”
Is there any point in us knowing this backstory?
“How did Dominic get in the house?” Laura wants to know.
“I hope you don’t mind us asking all these questions,” Steele adds.
“But we’re really quite taken with your creativeness.”
“I unlocked the rear door. Didn’t want the poor man to catch his death outside.”
So … Randi killed Feldman, then ran back to the house, hid someplace while Steele & Laura locked all the doors, then unlocked the back door when they were elsewhere, then waited for Dominic to come back to his room and managed to get a noose around his neck and hang him (she’s stronger than she looks!), then got back downstairs ahead of Steele & Laura and turned on the VCR, then hid again until they came downstairs and confronted them instead of just shooting them dead when she saw them.
If you say so.
“Obviously you intend to leave this island before tomorrow morning,” Laura surmises. Meanwhile Mr. Steele, like the rest of us, seems on the verge of dozing off.
“There’s a boat moored on the next island, just two point six miles with the current.”
” I swim every day to keep in shape.” Plus, she has a pair of flotation devices supplied by Dr. Bellows!
According to Wikipedia, “The Mae West was a common nickname for the first inflatable life preserver, which was invented in 1928 by Peter Markus (1885–1974) (US Patent 1694714), with his subsequent improvements in 1930 and 1931. The nickname originated because someone wearing the inflated life preserver often appeared to be as physically endowed as the actress.”
The Mae West life preserver; the Mae West
Steele seems delighted by the plan. “I, for one, salute you, Miss Russell.”
Meanwhile, Laura steps back, pushing the resume button on the VCR.
Cindi starts giggling again.
Randi is demented distracted.
Steele makes his move!
See, Laura? This is what happens when you turn Mr. Steele down too often. He lowers his standards.
Randi, in her most familiar position (on her back) has the last word: “You know, I liked you a hell of a lot better when you were Dr. Bellows.”
So now they just have to sit on her for another 12 hours in a house full of corpses, wait for the helicopter to come back, contact the authorities and explain what happened and undergo questioning at the police station for a few more hours. Sounds simple enough.
And now we know where they got the idea for that reality show …
But Steele and Laura are cozy, albeit uneasy, by a roaring fire.
The intimacy of the scene moves Steele to feel like sharing. “Laura …”
“On the remote chance that we don’t survive this til tomorrow …”
“… I’d feel better if you knew a few things about me.”
“Perhaps not very pleasant things.”
Laura seems oddly distracted here. After pushing him to open up for so long, you’d think she’d be more interested. Of course, there is the matter of the house full of bodies and the crazy killer on the loose. But still.
Mr. Steele takes a deep breath. Clearly this is difficult for him.
“It was Dublin,” Steele begins. “The city was rife with unrest. Trouble to the north, trouble to the south -“
“Is that where you were born? Dublin?” Laura interrupts.
Steele doesn’t appreciate her interrupting the flow of his narrative. “Laura, please. These confessionals are trying enough without interruptions.”
She apologizes softly.
Steele decides to continue. “Uh, where was I? Ahh, Dublin.”
Suddenly there is a bang from somewhere above them.
“What was that?” he asks.
“It- sounded like a shutter,” Laura answers.
“Does that mean we have to go back upstairs with all those …”
He seems … eager scared stiff.
“Well, I don’t think we want Dominic to find a way in, especially with him having the only gun in the house,” Laura says.
One more butt shot, for the road.
Steele has been thinking about this detective business, by the way.
“If we’re fortunate to leave this island alive …”
“I’m going to insist that we carry weapons.”
” Especially when we’re NOT working on a case.”
They continue ascending the stairs …
Nice atmospheric lighting in this scene. Once again, Laura leads the way.
They walk side by side in the darkness. Seems like it might have been a good chance to hold hands for mutual comfort. But there’s not quite there yet.
Another bang, coming from one of the rooms.
“I suppose this is- one instance where ladies don’t go first?” Steele ventures.
“Think of me as your backup,” she assures him.
They enter. Lightning flashes, revealing a horrible scene.
Silent Partner is even more silent than usual.
“Dominic?” Mr. Steele sputters. “Laura? If he’s … then who …?”
“Of COURSE,” Laura exclaims, apparently not at all wigged out by the hanging body. (Remember how she reacted in “License to Steele” when she and Murphy came upon Ben Pearson’s body? You’ve come a long way, baby.)
“Of course what? This would seem to suggest that one of us is the murderer,” Steele notes.
“Oh, what a weekend!”
“Something I said,” Laura muses.
“Something you said?” (Note the reflection of Dominic hanging in the mirror behind them, BTW.)
“About somebody ELSE having seen the movie.”
The lightbulb goes on for Steele. “You mean, pretending to be a victim?”
“We have to start checking rooms,” Laura decides.
Just then a kind of maniacal, very familiar, giggling erupts below them.
“I’m afraid that won’t be necessary,” Steele concludes.
Suddenly something causes Steele to stop short. Did he see something, or is it a cunning maneuver to feel Laura up?
You’re not fooling anyone, Mr. Steele.
Oh, wait. I guess he DID see something. Specifically, Dominic bending over Feldman’s dead body.
Dominic sees them and pulls out his piece.
The Silent Partner fires his loud gun at our heroes.
They take cover. Steele seems better covered than Laura. Not very gentlemanly, sir.
Dominic scampers off into the forest.
Laura and Steele leave their not-very-adequate cover.
They head for Feldman’s body. Look at Laura’s bouncing hair! Look at Steele’s nicely toned butt!
They find Feldman still dead.
Steele picks up the murder weapon. “Not very poetic,” he comments.
“But it certainly got the job done.”
Well, there’s something to be said for efficiency.
“We’d better get back to the house before he does,” Laura suggests.
Um, considering he ran off a while ago and you’ve been here musing over the corpse, I’m pretty sure he will have beaten you back to the house already if that’s his destination, Laura. But what do I know; I’m not a detective.
They approach the house at a gallop.
Laura’s firing off orders: “You lock the doors and windows down here, I’ll take the second floor.”
Even in times of great stress, they make a nice looking couple, don’t you think?
Steele slams the door shut behind them …
… offering us another butt shot. Why not take off that jacket, Mr. Steele?
You must be a little warm.
He races into the drawing room to lock the windows.
What’s this? Piano music coming from upstairs? (Steele looks genuinely rattled here.)
Well, that’s weird. Especially since the piano is down here, in the same room Steele is in.
Perhaps concerned for Laura’s safety, Steele sets his own fear aside.
He heads upstairs …
… enters Ambrose’s room and discovers …
Laura, and a tape player. “I found it hidden in Dominic’s room,” she tells Steele.
Steele is relieved. “That seems to nail it. He killed Madeline, put that tape on and was back in his room in time to react to the attempt on your life.”
Okay, but: “He won’t leave this island until he’s positive we’re not around to testify against him,” Laura reminds him.
“What a wonderful, romantic weekend this has turned out to be,” Steele comments as they head for the door.
“Trapped in a house piled with corpses while a determined killer lurks outside.”
In the doorway they look right … (Note how Steele’s hand is protectively on Laura’s arm here. Aw.)
Moments later (or perhaps hours later; time seems to run a little wonky on this island) …
… Feldman spins his tale. “It was Randi who came up with the initial financing for Devil’s Advocate magazine.”
“Ambrose promised they’d split everything down the middle.”
“But when the magazine took off, which was almost after the first issue, he realized what a gold mine he was sitting on and he didn’t want to split up anything with anybody. ”
Oh, look! Someone took the time to make tea. Just because the place is strewn with bodies doesn’t mean we can’t all be civilized, eh?
“So, she hired me to take him to court,” Feldman continues.
“She had him, too. Even though there was nothing in writing, they had a verbal contract, an oral agreement …”
“…witnessed by one other person.”
“Madeline Vickers,” Laura deduces.
“Lawyers, Miss Holt, are a glut on the market. When you’re merely adequate, as I am, there aren’t a lot of firms clamoring for your services.”
“So it wasn’t a difficult decision for me to make when Ambrose offered to let me represent the magazine in exchange for sabotaging her case. No, it was depressingly easy.”
Whatever. Get to the point, pal.
“Everybody has a price, I guess.”
“And Madeline’s was a recording contract,” Steele remarks, genteelly lifting his cup.
Suddenly this is reminding me of that series of Taster’s Choice commercials in the 80s.
Gotta love me some Anthony Stewart Head. Anyway …
“Ambrose set up the label, she had a convenient lapse of memory, the case didn’t even come to trial.”
Silent Partner breaks his silence. “Why don’t you ask him who gets control of the magazine now that now that Ambrose is dead?”
Steele wants to know if congratulations are indeed in order. Wait. Are Feldman and Dominic getting married? How modern!
Feldman looks stunned as Dominic accuses:
“Only, as long as those two broads were alive there was always the chance that Madeline would tell the truth and he’d wind up with Randi as a partner.”
Feldman retaliates. “What about you, huh?”
“With Ambrose with out of the way, he’d have full ownership of the Devil’s Playground clubs.”
Boys, boys. Let’s not squabble. There’s enough pornography to go around for everybody!
“Great reason to ice Ambrose,” Dominic retorts. “But I had no beef with the others.”
Could Dominic be any more of a stereotyped Italian mobster? Faggetaboutit. But his comment raises a question about the plot of this episode.
Just where is the beef, anyway?
“YOU are it, Feldman,” Dominic fingers him.
Feldman declares he’s had enough of this kangaroo court.
According to Wikipedia, “Although the term kangaroo court has been erroneously explained to have its origin from Australia’s courts while it was a penal colony, the first published instance is from an American source in the year 1850. Some sources suggest that it may have been popularized during the California Gold Rush of 1849, along with mustang court, as a description of the hastily carried-out proceedings used to deal with the issue of claim jumping miners. Ostensibly the term comes from the notion of justice proceeding “by leaps”, like a kangaroo. Another possibility is that the phrase could refer to the pouch of a kangaroo, meaning the court is in someone’s pocket. The phrase is popular in the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand and is still in common use.”
Not to be confused with a kangaroo ON the court. Kangaroos suck at basketball.
Feldman high tails it.
“Well?” he demands “Aren’t you gonna stop him?”
“We’re on an island, Mr. Dominic, he can’t get very far.”
“You think he was planning to be found here with all these stiffs when the helicopter showed up?” Dominic points out.
“He’s got a way off this island. We gotta find him!”
“He does make a certain amount of sense,” Laura concedes.
Yikes. When Dom’s the smartest guy in the room, we’ve got trouble.
Laura follows Dominic out; Steele dawdles. I think he’s had about enough of this sex comedy.
We left Miss Holt and Mr. Steele contemplating their relationship. The next morning …
They are bright-eyed and bushy tailed (though one wishes Laura had spent a bit of that quiet time contemplating her wardrobe.)
Steele, at least, is well turned out. He carefully adjusts his pocket square.
He knocks on a door. “Rise and shine, Dominic!”
Laura is Feldman’s wake-up call. Meanwhile, Mr. Steele does seem very concerned about that pocket square. There’s such a thing as being too fastidious about one’s grooming, Mr. Steele. Makes one seem a little precious.
Steele attempts to roust Randi. “Miss Russell!” No response. He tries again; same result.
Dominic and Feldman appear, fully dressed. Guess nobody bothered to shower this morning.
The whole crowd converges on Randi’s door. Apparently the lady needs her beauty sleep.
Steele decides to intrude on her boudoir.
Oh, dear. Such a tragedy. I mean, have you ever seen an uglier headboard? The interior decorator should be ashamed.
Mr. Steele discovers the murder/suicide/accidental overdose weapon.
He sniffs it. No, no, no. You SNIFF glue; you INJECT heroin. Get it right, Mr. S. In any case, he can’t smell a thing.
“Could have been an air bubble,” Laura suggests.
Now, Miss Holt. The poor woman is dead. No need to insult her.
Detective Feldman makes a solemn pronouncement: “Poor Randi. She slept her way right to the bottom.”
“You want to tell us about it, Mr. Feldman?” Laura asks.
We see Laura looking pensive in the big, satiny bed. (I wonder if anybody got anything to eat? Who is doing the cooking now that Miss May is dead?)
Steele has assumed the position on the fainting couch. “Laura?” he says quietly.
“I’ve been thinking of what you said. About honesty in our relationship. And in the interest of a new forthrightness, I feel there are certain things you should know about me.”
Well, that’s a surprise!
Laura wants to know if he’s about to share pleasant things.
Laura decides ignorance may be bliss. “Sometimes, not knowing is better.”
“For instance, I wouldn’t want to know you had a wife and kiddies tucked away somewhere.”
“Or that you killed someone …”
“… or swindled little old ladies out of their life savings.”
Laura, in a confessional mood, continues. “When I invented Remington Steele, I gave him all the qualities that I admire in a man:”
“honesty, integrity, compassion, desire to help others …”
Sorry, Laura. If you found a guy like that, he would certainly be gay. Because that’s how it works. #bitterspinster
“Sounds as if you’re destined to be endlessly disappointed in me,” Steele notes.
“Maybe I created an impossible role for anyone to play.” (One wonders if Laura created such a paragon of virtue knowing no one could live up to her ideal – giving her an excuse to not become attached to any man who might break her heart.)
Time for a bathroom break? Nope. Laura needs to get closer to Steele as she’s baring her soul.
“We have a very. .. tenuous relationship, you and I,” she concedes.
Reaching him, she gets down on her knees to bring herself to an equal level with him. Significant?
She is very serious here. “And if we ever … cross that line … take that step …”
“…turn that corner …”
“All those awful eufemisms for going to bed with someone …”
“Then maybe I’ll want to know – everything.”
I think Steele is falling hard for this honest, vulnerable woman.
“Then again, maybe I won’t.”
Sounds like Laura is a little conflicted. But there’s one thing she is sure of:
“But I would want to know it would mean more than a moment.”
Oh, dear. And things were going so well.
“That it would last longer than a weekend in the Devil’s Playground.” Steele knows what she’s getting at.
“A commitment, of sorts.”
Mr. Steele responds with heart-breaking tenderness. He can’t give her what she wants to hear.
“I’ve spent the better part of my life avoiding those things like the proverbial plague.” (Note, however, that he doesn’t say anything about his future …)
Laura figured as much.
“But the fact that you wanted to be honest with me is a hell of a start.”
A bittersweet moment, an acknowledgement of mutual attraction but potentially insurmountable differences. Still, there is always hope …
Reluctantly, it seems, Laura returns to the bed alone.
However, it appears she has forgotten that corpses don’t move.
I stand corrected. Anyway … we hear Madge at the piano as Laura dozes.
Suddenly we see the handle of the door turning. Could it be Mr. Steele, sneaking in for a tryst?
Laura stirs. Presumably she also assumes it’s Mr. Steele, as she makes not move to resume her funereal pose.
The door opens a crack …
Is that a gun, Mr. Steele, or are you just glad to see her?
Sorry, Bruce. It was a lame joke.
Laura is aroused (tee hee) by the sight of the long barrel of the gun.
She rolls out of the way just as a shot rings out!
And the killer claims another victim. RIP, satin pillow.
Hearing the shot, Steele races to the rescue.
He meets an undead Laura in the hallway. “Somebody else saw the movie!” she informs him.
“Did I hear a shot?” Steele wants to know.
Either that, or that franks and beans dinner has affected someone’s digestive system in a big way.
Hey. It’s perfectly natural. But that’s not it.
“I hope so,” Laura says, “because there’s a bullet hole in my pillow the size of Detroit.”
Just then Randi appears, dressed for action.
She’s joined by Dominic, who is surprisingly fastidious about his hygiene for a pornographer.”Miss Groggins!” Randi says. “You’re not dead!”
Mr. Steele concedes the lady is very much alive. Then he drops a bombshell: “In fact, Miss Groggins is not Miss Groggins.”
“She’s Laura Holt, my most able assistant, from the detective agency which bears my name:”
“Perhaps you’ve heard of me.”
“Oh. Well, it is a bit far south for us.”
Just then, our hero Feldman appears, coyly revealing a hint of his brawny chest in a plunging bathrobe. What a man!
“I heard a shot!” the amateur sleuth declares. Then he spots another clue: NotDeadNotMyrtle!
“What the HELL’S going on here?” he demands.
Laura’s got this. “We’re private detectives, Mr. Feldman, investigating the death of our client, Dr. Arthur Bellows.”
“You mean I bared my soul to a … peeper?” Randi exclaims.
Oh, is that what the kids are calling it these days?
“And a delightful soul it was, Miss Russell,” Steele smirks. “Surgically speaking.” I expect the pepper is rather delightful in its own way as well.
Hey! I resemble that remark.
She raises a hand (rather languidly, actually) to strike Steele. But he parries the blow.
“Just a moment, Miss Russell,” he says sternly.
“Someone attempted to kill Miss Holt just now.”
He suggests it’s time to search everybody’s room for a weapon. Randi and Feldi seem … open to the idea.
But Laura can save them all some time.
“Unless Mr. Dominic cares to show us his friend.”
(How grim Mr. Steele looks here! I think he doesn’t take kindly to anyone trying to hurt his inamorata.)
Dominic plays dummy. He don’t know nothing about no gun.
“The one you carry in your inside coat pocket,” she reminds him.
“I’m not showing you anything, lady.”
You won’t make it very far in the pornography game with that kind of attitude, Silent Partner. In any case, Steele begs to differ. He makes a grab for the man in white.
“Hold it!” Dominic says.
Now THAT’S more like I would expect from a porn king.
Apparently eager to prove his XXX movie cred, Dominic begins to disrobe.
“Where is it?” Laura asks.
You’re even more innocent than I thought, Miss Holt!
“Where you’ll never find it,” he says.
I should think not. She’s a nice girl.
Steele’s had enough of my sophomoric humor. “I’ll find it.”
Oh, now you’re just egging me on.
Just then, Randi remembers that someone is missing. Our gal Madge.
“She was downstairs playing,” Feldman reminds them.
“But she stopped,” Steele remarks, “right before the shot.”
That’s all the info Silent Partner needs to solve the case. “It was here. That dippy broad always hated Ambrose. She’s probably downstairs, waiting to pop us off, one by one.”
He leads the group off to get popped.
Away they go again!
Once again Laura is in the lead as they arrive at the darkened living room.
Apparently possessing keen night vision, Laura rushes toward something she sees across the room.
Looks like we won’t be hearing any more piano music his episode.
Mr. Steele, who isn’t interested in things like “contaminating the crime scene” or “fingerprints on the murder weapon,” Steele picks up a long, cylindrical object next to Madeline. (You may insert your own dirty joke here.)
“Ivory,” he declares. “For someone who tickled the ivories. Another grim piece of poetry.”
I think that’s a bit of a stretch, Mr. Steele. It doesn’t even rhyme.
“Well,” Laura points out. “We’re down to four possible victims, … and one definite murderer.”
As the lights flicker again, Silent Partner pronounces, “I’m gonna turn off the generator.”
Feldman asks if Dominic wants company on his journey. Nope.
He’s brought a friend. (and a cummerbund!) Meanwhile, back on the dance floor …
Steele has an indecent proposal for Randi: “Why don’t we continue our gyrations up in my room? You slip away now, and I join you at the propitious moment?”
I’m going to assume Randi thinks “propitious” is something kinky.
Yep. “You didn’t happen to notice if there was any honey in the kitchen, did you?”
Artie promises he’ll check. Randi heads off for the rendezvous.
Laura and Feldman are still putting finishing touches on the mood lighting.
Steele appears to ponder a moment, then moves to join Laura.
“Care to finish this dance, Myrtle?” Oops. Try again, Mr. Steele.
“Excuse me. Laura.”
As they prepare to trip the faltering light fantastic, Steele is apparently pondering how condiments other than honey can be sexy. “Is the ketchup still on the dining room table?”
Laura is fretful “I wish we could find something a little less phony.” Is she referring to the ketchup, or her dancing partner?
“No one will be able to tell.” Something tells me he’s done something like this before.
Just then the lights go out.
Good thing Madge plays by ear. The sudden darkness is accompanied by a piercing scream.