Moonlighting (1987) – Cool Hand Dave: Part 1 & 2

Tired of waiting for Maddie (Cybill Shepherd) to return, David (Bruce Willis) flies to Chicago to confront her, after Agnes (Allyce Beasley) spills the pregnancy news to Bert (Curtis Armstrong) who in turn shares it with David.

The episode aired on 17 November, 1987, and was written by Roger Director and Charles H. Eglee.

Unfortunately, upon arriving in Chicago, things go awry when David’s identity stolen and he is mistaken for a criminal, and is consequently arrested and placed in solitary confinement.

And while we’re at it, let’s take a moment to realise that we’re on episode five and six of season four and our two leads have yet to share a scene together. Consequently all the joyful banter and simmering tension that made the first couple of seasons enjoyable is gone. Now we’re left to wonder about problems on set, of course it does let Allyce Beasley and Curtis Armstrong have stronger roles this season.

The jailbird story serves to keep the characters separate for not one episode, but two, as it’s a two-parter with the story’s conclusion debuting on 1 December, 1987, two weeks after the first part, also written by Director and Eglee.

The series with it’s shortened seasons, caused by problems with scripts and actors, does tell some interesting stories, but it’s frustrating seeing what was once a really good series with some great banter, become a good series about separate characters.

coolhanddave

The episode, however, does feature famed character actor, Tracey Walter.

You can also tell that Addison’s character is changing with Willis’ rising star. He’s still got his comedic chops (something he’s seemed to have lost over the years) but Addison is becoming harsher and rougher. One could argue from the changes Maddie has wrought on his life, but I think it was more something Willis pushed for with his increasing popularity (and the first Die Hard was on the horizon).

And it’s been awhile, but the episode also features a food fight, something that has happened for a bit.

The episode breaks, and all we get is a regular recap, at least for a moment, until we find out who is telling the recap, and where, and the idea of some recasting is even floated. All while David is out slaving in the sun working with the other prisoners, and he’s catching them up on everything else that has been going on in the series.

And this results in a prison musical number.

Seriously.

This pair of episodes is very much a showcase for Willis (and it seems like he’s prepping for John McClane) which is all well and good, but Shepherd puts in maybe five minutes in the story altogether, and sadly it shows. The show was about them, and so far the fourth season has done nothing but keep them apart.

On the flipside, watch for a quick appearance by beloved character actor, Dick Miller. And somehow, they got to use a musical cue from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

David eventually gets out of prison, and the casework continues next week and maybe we’ll get some actual interaction between David and Maddie when they both return to the Blue Moon Detective Agency? Guess I’ll have to wait and see.

bertviola

 

 

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