And we’re back in Hawaii, to join Thomas (Tom Selleck) and the rest of the gang for season 3 of Magnum. two hour season opener, Did You See the Sunrise? Bellisario wrote the season opener, which aired 30 September, 1982. And what he’s written may be one of the best episodes of the series.
Thomas is watching Stalag 17, one of his favorite movies, but his own time, 3 months, spent in a POW camp in Vietnam continue to haunt him. He, T.C. (Roger E. Mosley) and Nuzo (James Whitmore Jr.) all suffered at the hands of a sadistic and racist colonel, Ivan (Bo Svenson).
When Nuzo shows up in Hawaii to warn T.C. that Ivan is still alive, and after them all, T.C. is a little unsure, but quickly begins to believe his old friend. Thomas, who’s been out practicing his surfski, is less than willing to believe him.
But Colonel Buck Green (Lance LeGault) suspects Nuzo may be right, and makes sure that Mac (Jeff MacKay) stays close to Thomas, saying he’s resigned from the Navy as his cover story. Working at Green’s side is a recognizable face in Maggie (Jean Bruce Scott), though she has a less than stellar opinion of her C.O.
On the estate, we see Higgins (John Hillerman) beginning his matchstick model of the bridge on the river Kwai, something he claims he was there for the building for, and there are some nice moments of levity here as the story gears up to go darker than we’ve seen the series get before.
When Mac intrudes on a date, Thomas just about has enough of his friend, but things get worse as the Ferrari explodes and apparently takes Mac with it. Now, furious, Thomas goes to Green, pissed as hell, and convinces Maggie to help him out.
He learns that Green has been using he and TC to flush Ivan out, as he suspects the Russian of an even more dastardly plan than continuing his torture of Thomas and his friends, and TC may be at the center of it.
Thomas feels sorry for himself, and the loss of his friend for awhile, until he decides to take the fight to Ivan, and find out what is really going on. As we race to the story’s climax, shots are fired, plans are unveiled, and we get a glimpse of one of my favorite places, the Valley of the Temples.
Due to political machinations, and diplomacy, it seems Ivan may in fact elude any form of justice, something he points out gloatingly to Thomas in the final moments of the episode, mocking our hero, and for the first time, to protect himself, to avenge his friend, and fight back against the ghosts of the past, Thomas does something that until thing may have been unthinkable for the character…
And it’s a brilliant moment, well-earned, and completely believable. It takes Thomas from being a character we love on the screen, and defines him even more three-dimensionally.
Man, I love this show!