All series have their handful of weaker episodes, but most Miami Vice has been solid storytelling, but of course they are going to stumble on occasion. And this, The Big Thaw, is definitely one of those.
Written by Joseph DiBlasi (Michael Duggan), it aired on 23 October, 1987. Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson), Ricardo Tubbs (Philip Micheal Thomas) and Switek (Micheal Talbott) bust what they think is a drug lab, and instead find a cryogenically frozen Reggae star, Robillard Nevin (Raycell Long).
Soon two different groups are after the frozen body with Izzy (Martin Ferrerro) in the middle. And the vice team.
Some of it is played for comedy, and consequently works fairly well, but overall, it’s a bit of a silly mess, and a swing and a miss.
Music includes What is Life? by Black Uhuru, Mi Vieja by Familia Andre, and two tunes by Bob Marley ,Wings of a Dove and Wake Up and Live.
The episode also features an appearance by Alfred Molina as Nevin’s wife’s attorney.
You have to give the series credit, however, it wasn’t until season four that some of the episodes became questionable. There are a trio of episodes that are considered the worst of the series…. this is one of them. There’s another one coming up next week.
Still, once the bad ones get out of the way, it’ll just be the good stuff. And like I said, we’re four seasons in, and only get some crappy episodes now. Of course, it does suggest that the end is coming for the series…
Child’s Play features a teleplay by Micheal Piller (!!!) from a story by Priscilla Turner. It first aired on 30 October, 1987.
Crockett, Tubbs and the team are trying to take down a gun runner, but during a stakeout which goes wrong when a domestic disturbance (featuring Ving Rhames) interrupts things, Sonny is involved in a shooting, that results in him injuring a thirteen year old boy.
Understandably shaken, and distraught, Sonny tries to reconnect with his own son, Billy (Clayton Barclay). This is the first time we’ve seen Billy, and Sonny’s ex, Caroline (Belinda Montgomery) since season one.
It’s a sharp, and on-point episode. There’s some great work during the interrogation sequences when everyone talks directly to the camera, as they process domestic abuse, gun violence, and kids dying as a result.
The episode also deals with teens in gangs, and using them to commit crimes because of the way the legal system operates.
On a character note, Crockett’s character is becoming increasingly jaded, and cynical, striking out violently at suspects. They are setting up an arc. He’s becoming increasingly frustrated and feeling futile in his actions to stem crime…
Music includes The Dream by Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland and U2’s Race Against Time.
A smart, well written and executed episode that definitely cleanses the palette after the previous episode.
Isaac Hayes makes an appearance as a dealer, one that is on the receiving end of some of Crockett’s violence.
There’s more coming next week (including another horrid episode) as season four of Miami Vice continues.