Airwolf (1984) – Flight #093 is Missing and Once a Hero

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Stringfellow Hawke (Jan-Michael Vincent), Dominic Santini (Ernest Borgnine) and Caitlin O’Shannessy (Jean Bruce Scott) take to the sky again this week, and this time they take on two elements that seemed to permeate 80s culture… Plane hijackings, and Vietnam M.I.A.s.

First up is Flight #093 is Missing, which aired 17 November, 1984. It was written by Calvin Clements Jr. and Chester Krumholz, it also features Bellisario regular John Calvin.

Caitlin is off to Dallas for her sister’s wedding, much against her will, but the plane is hijacked, rerouted and crashed into the ocean, by Hergos (Calvin) in the hopes of cashing in on a giant ransom.

As the 747 sits on the bottom of the ocean, not incredibly deep, so obviously not too far from shore, Caitlin tries to keep passengers and crew patient, while String and Dom take on a hurricane to try to track her down.

As the pair hunt down the sunken plane, slowly leaking, and filling with water, Hergos races to the site to make sure that all evidence of the plane is destroyed.

It’s chopper against cutter as Airwolf faces off against the weaponry of a small boat, while trying to launch depth charges to shatter the shell of the plane, and drown its inhabitants.

This one could have been a little tenser, it was nice to see Caitlin a little more front and center though she didn’t do a lot whilst trapped aboard the plane. She helps keep a few people calm, and looks after a little girl, who is flying alone, and in first class!

A light disaster story filled with some fun attack scenes.

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The second episode, Once a Hero, screened 24 November, 1984, and was penned by Alfonse Ruggiero.

Thanks to some contacts that Archangel (Alex Cord) hunts down, String gets a possible lead on where his M.I.A. brother St. John may be; held in a prison camp in Laos.

With Dom at his side, Caitlin blatantly missing, and a few of his fellow servicemen, and contacts from his tours in Vietnam, Hawke puts a plan to action. His allies don’t initially believe they have a chance, but after being introduced to Airwolf, their opinion rapidly changes.

Once they are in country, they run down every lead, and option they have, hoping St. John will be at the end of it, but while they are there, trouble arises and connections and revelations about time spent in a P.O.W. camp may tear the team apart before they can escape with their lives.

Airwolf has to tangle with some enemy fighters, and friends need to make a safe escape…

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that they don’t find St. John in this episode, and String is left heartbroken, and crying, he broadcasts over Airwolf’s external speakers that he will find St. John, that he will be back for him.

I like that we’re seeing String’s obsession a little more this season, but in other episodes it doesn’t seem to weigh so heavily on him. I understand that this is the episodic nature of drama television of the 80s, but it’s too bad his character seems to only care about his brother missing in the episodes that requires it.

More next week!

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