Airwolf (1984) – Sweet Britches and Firestorm

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Season two of this helicopter thriller starts with a bang for Stringfellow Hawke (Jan-Michael Vincent) and Dominic Santini (Ernest Borgnine).

First up, with an airdate of 22 September, 1984, is Sweet Britches, which was written by Bellisario, and features a couple of familiar faces, like Lance LeGault as corrupt sheriff, J.J. Bogan, and Jeff MacKay as the doomed Buddy.

When String learns that a friend of his escaped from a local jail, and ended up dead, he goes to investigate, tucking Dom and Airwolf in an African animal hunting park. Once there, he finds himself in the same jail, confronting Bogan, and forms an uneasy alliance with the series new co-star, Caitlin O’Shannessy (Jean Bruce Scott), a police chopper pilot.

She doesn’t show up in the next episode, but the end of this episode implies she is going to try to hunt String down to find out what is going on.

Bogan sets String loose in the hunting grounds, to be shot and killed, this is where Buddy comes in. Unfortunately, no one knew that this is where Airwolf is currently being hidden.

It’s nice to come back to this series again, and there’s a nice new matte painting of the cavern that Airwolf is hidden in, and hearing that theme kick in anytime she powers up, or String puts her through her paces… it’s still pretty awesome. I’ll be curious to see how the season goes.

And I’ll be curious to see how long it takes for Caitlin to track String and Dom down.

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The second episode, Firestorm, was written by Calvin Clements Jr. and originally aired 29 September, 1984.

Eddie Donahough (Eugene Roche – another familiar face) is a friend of Dom’s, but he’s also a bit of a drunk. This is the reason that no one believes him at all when he claims of seeing lights out in the desert, where he lives. It doesn’t help that he says they are UFOs.

Dom persuades String to investigate, against the pilot’s better judgment. And when Dom and Eddie go missing, String prowls the desert, and the photos he and Dom took from Airwolf to find a clue to where his friend could possibly be.

When String stumbles onto a hidden compound, he recognizes the leader from his time in Vietnam, General Elliot Sandhower (Joseph Campanella). Sandhower has left the service, but still remains committed to the States in his own way, even if that means a preemptive nuclear strike against Moscow.

String and Eddie have to take Airwolf into action, Dom is injured during their escape, and must stop the nuclear weapon before it takes off.

What we learn here is that Airwolf, can survive a nuclear blast, though it’s unclear how close to it that the helicopter is.

Dom also learns that despite the best intentions and help of friends, to leave the bottle behind has to be Eddie’s choice and we’re left wondering if he will or not.

Caitlin is probably still out there somewhere, I think I would have left her name off the opening credits until she’d joined our heroes permanently. With her name in the titles every week, we know she’s going to show up, the surprise doesn’t exist, it’s just a matter of when.

Oh well, more high-flying adventure next week!

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