For those of you who don't know me, via the various Lancer sites, the following reviews were, for the most part, written during a heightened period of seismic ( earthquake) activity that struck my home time of Christchurch between September 2010 and January 2012. So hopefully, that will put into context the various somewhat hysterical references to earthquakes that are made in several of the reviews. Writing them was, in essence, my coping mechanism for dealing with my world ( and house) shaking apart. So hopefully, that will go some way to explaining my slightly, irreverent, self indulgent look at the episodes reviewed; for which I make absolutely no apology! I'm sure a shrink would have a field day.......
Ok, when I first went to see this episode, I had read a number of reviews on the episode so I knew it was going to be an episode I honed in on. In fact I think it was one of the first ones I ever watched.
Even if I hadn’t read the synopsis beforehand however, the ominous intro music as the episode began told me all I needed to know…oh ho one of our boys is gonna be in trouble…and it ain’t long before we see its our lovely Scottie boy (yippee!), left afoot in the desert…carrying his saddle…squinting up at that big old hot sun…with that music they always dig out in westerns when someone is stuck out in the desert and the sun is beating down… It doesn’t bode well…he checks his compass but it’s obvious he is lost. Oh goodie…. I mean “oh dear, what a catastrophe…”
Ahem, think I got away with that…. right?
Next we see him staggering even more…. and it’s time to lose the saddle…. well, it ain’t gonna do you much good without a horse to put it on is it sweetie? And I am sure you’ll be able to afford another one (yes, I know they are expensive)…. Besides, you gotta leave Murdoch and Johnny some clues to follow…. I mean they’re good trackers but they’re not THAT good…aha, clever Mr. Writer…(Yes, Penrod Smith – I am assuming that’s a Mr…what kind of name is ‘Penrod’ anyway?)
And so the Gorgeous one grabs his canteen and on he staggers…. prettily… …(And yes, to all you detractors, you can stagger prettily, 'cuz he does it, so there!)
Next frame and Johnny is in a hotel enquiring after Scott. He was supposed to meet his brother here but it told by the starchy ma’am that there is no one by the name of Lancer registered. Johnny naturally asks if there are any other boarding houses but nope, not in this two-bit town – unless Scott is sleeping on a pool table somewhere. Johnny is momentarily amused at the thought of this but yep, we can tell that he’s worried…
The starchy proprietress takes pity and asks where Scott is travelling from? On finding out its Tonopah she is able to alleviate their concern somewhat by telling them that the stage schedule has changed (doncha just hate it when they go and change the schedules on ya?! Bloody public transport…grrrr) So his stage is not due in until tomorrow allowing Big Daddy and little bro to sigh a collective sigh of relief…for now…
But, oh dear, for those of us ‘in the know’, that’s another day for our boy to be struggling in the desert on his own unlooked for. And to illustrate the point (clever Mr. Writer) Murdoch quips “well, it looks like we’re stuck in this bake oven for another day.” Ok, so its real hot there…thanks for that.
As they leave the boarding house…the scriptwriter (not confident in the intelligence levels of his viewers, clearly) pushes the point even more through Murdoch.
“Johnny, he would take the stage down. He wouldn’t have gotten impatient, tried to make it by horseback?”
“Oh Murdoch, that’s some of the meanest desert I’ve ever seen” (heck, and Johnny’s lived in Mexico so it must be bad!)
“I know that and you know that but does he know that?”
Well clearly not Murdoch coz right now, he’s staggering around in the desert in desperate need of help with a compass that don’t work…Oh no, he’s in “The Nevada triangle!!”…”(Kinda like the Bermuda triangle but a lot more...arid)
And as if he hasn’t laboured the point enough, the scriptwriter ‘treats’ us to the lovely image of a dead cows skull stuck on the wall (why the hell do people DO that??!! Beats me..…. Gross…) like that could be what’s gonna happen to Scott …Nope, you silly sausages, I don’t mean someone’s gonna mount his head on the wall…. what I mean is he could end up as dead as that there beef if his oblivious Big Daddy and little brother don’t come find him pronto….eeeekkkk.
Sure enough, next frame, we get the ominous music yet again (which they found in the studio archive labelled ‘ominous, lost in the desert’ music, along with the archived ‘vultures/buzzards circling’ footage) and our poor boy is now on all fours squinting up at that fierce sun but still managing to look particularly gorgeous (or is that just me?) and things are clearly not looking good for him. And silly boy, what on earth has happened to your hat??! You had it earlier when you left your saddle behind sweetie. How the hell did you lose it? Did a big old buzzard sweep down and steal it, just to hasten your demise? Or a sudden dust eddy that whipped it off your pretty head, never to be seen again? Who knows…. but whatever it’s fate, it ain’t currently on the Gorgeous one’s head. And that ain’t good…
Now if he had had any form of survival training, the Scottster would know that in such fierce sunlight the thing you most need to protect is your head. So, with my common sense practical head screwed firmly on (honest), off would have come that shirt and it would have been wrapped around his pretty head and just as an added bonus, we, the audience would have been ‘treated’ to some taut, toned, tanned skin. Phew…it just got VERY hot in here…. But nope, clearly neither Scott, nor the perishing writer (darn it!) learned that particular lesson, so Scott’s tattersall shirt (that HATED tattersall shirt) remains buttoned up tight, sleeves unrolled, in that scorching heat…grrrr…
But wait, what’s that I hear? We hear a jingle of bells…. this ain’t a Christmas episode is it? Nope, my bad, not Christmas BUT we are witnessing somewhat of a minor miracle, in the shape of a herd of goats…yes, GOATS. Not sure what particular brand of acid the writer was taking when he came up with that one but, hmmmm…ok…. I’ll buy it. For now….
Poor Scottie, though, would be forgiven for thinking that he’s hallucinating (I know I thought I was for a spell there) and certainly doesn’t appear to be in the best of wits when he calls out hoarsely to the goats “Go, lead me”.
Now pardon me if I am wrong but goats are not really known for being that smart are they? And this is borne out by their taking the most awkward route there is back to the Sinister Sickles place…leading the poor Gorgeous one (ok his stuntman) to do a very fake, less than graceful tumble down the side of the rocks and land right where the most annoying child to ever live (ok, second most annoying – I forgot ‘dem Golden Slippers’…. shudder) is waiting for him. (So do you all have the song now firmly planted in your heads?! Tee hee! I know…I have an evil streak…can I blame the quakes?)
Now if you are gonna be semi –conscious, suffering from sun sickness, dehydration and have just fallen down a fairly steep incline, the last person you want finding you really is Andy Jack Sickles, the most annoyingly inquisitive kid ever. But that is exactly who poor Scott has to deal with.
The first thing the kid proceeds to do is listen for a nano second to Scott’s chest to ensure he is alive stating “heart’s loud enough” (I would have made a MUCH more thorough job of it) and then proceeds to rifle through his pockets…nice kid. Already has a mercenary streak in him a mile wide. Glad he’s not mine….
He retrieves the compass and starts to interrogate poor Scott, who is barely conscious, about what it is…but all poor Scott can croak is ‘water’… in response. Yep, he’s delirious, it’s official. But of course, he’s not that far gone that he thinks the compass is water…. silly billies…is that what you were thinking? No, he’s just darned thirsty and it’s the only word he can croak out of his parched throat.
S’ok Coop’s off set with a bucket of iced water, ready to give the Scottster a good immersion. In fact, think I’ll join him…could be kinda fun… and when it’s empty I even have a good use for the bucket. And it has something to do with Andy Jack…. And would go somewhere along the lines of ‘Come here” and “Ouch”. ‘Nuff said…
But give the little brat his due, Andy Jack gives Scott some water; not out of any real sense of compassion mind, as he informs his hapless victim “I’ll give ya some but you better close your eyes.” Nope, he has his own plans for his hapless and helpless victim. Yeppers, I got your number kid, you just don’t want Scott to see that you’re robbing him blind. Or for him to know where you are taking him…yes, sirree, the kid has been well trained by his Uncle Luke. Oh wait, we haven’t met him yet…. oops…forget that one…. for now.
So here’s where things get a little…. well, daft. So ok, the kid may only be 10 years old but he has lived out in the desert long enough (I know this because I have seen the episode already 2 or 3…hundred…. times…ahem…) and we know that he is more than aware of the dangers posed by being out in that scorching desert with no protection as he has already intimated to Scott. So he’ll know that it’s important to get him under cover ASAP, right? WRONG! The annoying little twerp proceeds to interrogate the Gorgeous one about whether he went to school and even though Scott is doing his best to pass out (and does so, sooooo prettily) the persistent little squirt won’t let him. He doesn’t want Scott to die – not because of any inherent instinct to preserve human life – nope, it’s because he wants to know what school he went to, how long for etc etc. Heck, he should come here to Christchurch, he’d be right at home – that’s always the first question that most people ask the minute they meet you. Ok, second one now. First one these days is “How’s your house?” But I digress…. sorry, I tend to do that a lot…deal with it.
So anyway, Andy Jack grudgingly agrees to take Scott back to his lair….I mean home….to help him recover. And so he can interrogate him some more. ‘Cuz I have a theory – most people that cross that Sickles threshold never leave and Uncle Luke and the rest of the deceased Sickles clan have always been the ones to take the blame. But I have a different theory. I reckon it was the kid. Yep, he’s the brains of the operation, I’m convinced. Don’t be fooled by that so-called cute freckly innocent face…. He lured them into his den and bored them all to death. Or turned them slowly insane with his incessant twittering until they ran screaming out into the desert, chasing goats until they eventually succumbed to the powerful force of the sun.
Yep, I’m convinced the child is the devil incarnate. There’s a reason they chose a ginger haired kid you know. Red, for the devil. Wonder if he has 666 tattooed on his head beneath that curly mop?
So anyway, next frame, and cue corny music – you know the kind of ‘home on the range,’ soppy type music, like everything is gonna be fine and dandy - that kinda music? And we are in Andy Jacks safe little place (or in Coops darker version, his secret laboratory where he conducts unspeakable experiments on his hapless victims)
To be more accurate, its an old mine and even though its dark there, we can see just enough to see the Scottster trying to sleep off what I am sure is the mother and sister of all headaches (although the headache is likely to be replaced with a real crick in his neck ‘cuz he don’t look none too comfy). And yep, I was right, the kid is starting to show his true colours as he slowly disarms his defenceless prisoner. Yeppers, he wants to keep Scott around - or maybe he’s learned the hard way not to leave a blind and disoriented person armed…?!
Hmm, I think I need to rewrite this where he DOESN’T disarm Scott. Could be WAY more interesting. Yep, I could introduce Andy Jack’s long lost annoying cousin from The Sierras who has any annoying penchant to break into song at the most inopportune moment, come to pay a visit. Oooh yes that has DEFINITE possibilities. Maybe long lost cousin, Willie Sharpe could be invited too? Take all three out in one hit? Let’s park that…. for now.
So next we see Ma Sickles clanging on a big triangle thingy. She calls out Andy Jack’s name and when he doesn’t respond, she proceeds to state the obvious “Andy Jack, I’m calling you” (‘Cuz, you know, I can see how Andy Jack could easily have assumed she was calling someone else….doh!).
As she does this, a slimy young man barges by into the house, holding up what looks like some kind of instrument of torture.
Ma says to him “Where’d you get that. That belongs to Andy Jack. You put that back”
To which Luke petulantly replies “’S’pose I don’t?”
But it just goes to show it don’t matter how old you are, you’re never too big to get a slap around the kisser from your Ma, and that’s just what Hannah Sickles does to son Luke.
Well poor old Luke; he clearly had no toys of his own when he was a nipper if he has to go and steal Andy Jack’s playthings. Explains a lot about Luke actually….
Warning – for this next scene it is recommended you don’t watch either after just eating your dinner (‘cuz you’ll vomit) whilst you are eating your dinner (again, you’ll vomit), or just prior to eating your dinner (it’ll kill your appetite), because Luke starts to suck face with Dolly Parton’s long lost sister from New York. Yep, Pearl Sickle’s ‘New YAAWK’ accent sounds as out of place in the Californian Desert as mine would (in fact I reckon I would be well at home in California – figure I have a lot in common with the inhabitants there. The earth having a tendency to move a lot for one thing. And sadly…NO not for the reasons you are all thinking…. tsk tsk…minds in the gutter…. chance would be a fine thing though…) But back to the dumb broad (Pearl, not me, smart asses) Whoa, heck, girl, can’t you strap them things down? Don’t try running anywhere whatever you do else you’ll end up with black eyes. Either that or get a REALLY good sports bra. Hate to tell you hun but I don’t think Luke married ya for your mind…I think what he was/is after is a little more…err… ‘due south’ if ya know what I mean…
So now is that vomit inducing moment I mentioned, where Luke and Pearl start to suck face. And really, it is exceedingly nauseating. Even moreso as they are doing it in front of Ma. Ick…I mean, that’s just so WRONG! I mean, would YOU do that in front of your Ma?! On seconds thoughts, don’t answer that…. I don’t think I wanna know….
Luke just oozes sleaze and having also played Chapel in “The Buscaderos” it would seem Rex Holman forged a career out of playing these types of roles. And just to assert his virility a bit further, Luke starts to sharpen his knife, asserting to dear old ma that he wants a little red meat in his belly so he’s “gonna kill me a goat, and no one’s gonna stop me”. Now it makes sense why those ‘dumb’ goats tried to kill Scott on that cliff face earlier – clearly they have seen what happens when one of those lolloping great humans comes to visit. One of their buddies ends up as dinner…stands to reason they’re not gonna wanna play nice. Not so ‘dumb goats’ after all…. Can’t say as I blame ‘em….
Anyway, this scene tells us a lot about what’s gonna happen next. Because clever Mr. Writer gives us lots of fat juicy clues as to what’s going on. Firstly, Ma chastises Luke “How many times have I warned you about going out in daylight?” Hmmmm…so is Luke a vampire?! I mean look at the clues – not allowed out in daylight, sucking face with Pearl Parton there (he would have gotten to the neck if Ma hadn’t have stopped him) and now he wants to go kill a goat…hmmm….
But nope, Perky Pearl gives us a few more clues when she mentions that there could be bounty hunters out there looking for him…yes, I hear a certain Herr Abraham Van Helsing happens to be a feared bounty hunter in these here parts…
Maybe I should rename this eppy “Child of Rock and TWILIGHT”. Hmmm…. again, that has possibilities….Coop’s alternate version.
But nope, Ma finally confirms it. Luke ain’t no vampire but he is a very naughty boy. A wanted man in fact. Because she tells him (and us) straight “You’re gonna end up like you Pa and brothers. In a prison or a graveyard.”
Well, that hits a raw nerve with old Luke. “You don’t care two pins for me. All you care about is that precious Grandchild.” And he throws his toys outta the cot. Well, ok, on the floor. And its Andy Jacks little toy (Yes, I know it’s a heliograph but we ain’t been told that yet…patience my friends…patience) much to Ma’s horror.
So, back in the bat cave…oops, sorry, all that talk of Vampires…back in the MINESHAFT, the Gorgeous one is finally coming to. And its not a pleasant awakening as, Andy Jack, with all the subtlety of a well placed brick through the window, shines the lantern right into the Gorgeous ones, stormy, beautiful but, somewhat sensitive, eyes. To which he reacts, quite understandably “Get that light outta my eyes.” (In Coop’s alternate version he won’t be so polite.)
Oh dear…sleeping in the day…sensitive to light…could it already be too late? Has the Scottster been turned over to the dark side already by Andy Jack and his vampiric goats?! Well, if he has, well, he can suck my neck anytime…really, I'll make an exception.... sigh…
Ahem…. Again, Coop’s alternate version of this eppy…R18 ……
But the poor Scottster is disoriented and his head is somewhat scrambled because he demands that the pint sized pickpocket take him to where he lives…to the adults who will be able to help him. Oh dear…lousy timing Gorgeous one. If you had only stayed unconscious for a few minutes longer, you might have avoided yet another headache courtesy of lecherous Luke. Yep, poor old Scott is having a REALLY bad day as he is sent ‘night nights’ once more by a pistol whip to the back of the head as the rest of the Sinister Sickles clan arrive on the scene.
And little Andy Jack is beside himself because he hadn’t gotten a chance to ask him questions and he had the bamboo shoots and the electric nipple clamps all ready too…. whoops, sorry, again, Coop’s alternate version…. the two somehow keep merging…sorry ‘bout that…. phew. Again, can I blame quake fatigue?
Ma asks him if the stranger told him who he was? Was he a bounty hunter? Did he have a Dutch accent and silver bullets in his gun (oops – sorry, again, Coop’s alternate version) but Andy Jack says nope “But he went to school” All right already kid, change the record will ya?! Besides, I can assure you school really ain’t what its cracked up to be. Especially with your colour hair…. did no one ever tell you that it’s always the ginger kid who gets beaten up?
In the meantime, just in case we hadn’t already realised what Mr. Scriptwriter is setting things up for here, Luke tells Pearl to have a rummage about Scott’s person - is there a wanted poster on him? Now this is the only time in this eppy when I am in any way shape or form jealous of Pearl. Because she gets to have a rummage around the Gorgeous one’s person. And in my opinion, doesn’t do as thorough a job of it as I would have. No telling what could be hidden inside that shirt you know…. and I’ll leave it there. Again, Coop’s alternate version….
So Pearl manages to find some papers on our poor, prone Gorgeous boy but, surprise, surprise, she can’t read. But as luck would have it Ma knows enough of her letters to know that it shows he’s a rancher, with money – a lot more than the $11 in his pocket.
Oh dear… Luke has a plan. To hold the Scottster for ransom. Well, that is as far as Ma is concerned. And we see that he knows just how to catch his Ma in the soft spot to get what he wants. And we get the corny ‘everything’s a box of fluffy’s” music to go with it. Oh Puleease……….
But it works on Ma. As Luke maintains that she will ‘talk nicely to the stranger,’ find out who he is, so they can get the ransom and send Andy Jack to school. I mean, how can she refuse? An opportunity to get the freckle faced snot bag off her hands for good. Yep, she’s off as fast as her little legs can carry her to get a bed ready for her new houseguest. Sorry Scottster, much as I loves ya, I’d do the same in her shoes…
But as soon as she disappears, so too does the cutesy music, to be replaced with a more sinister soundtrack. Luke grabs hold of Scott’s hair and lifts his head up to the light and asks, “You think that he looks like me?” Coop’s yelling at the screen at this point “Are you kidding? You couldn’t hold a candle to the gorgeous one, you sleaze bag. Sorry Mr. Sickles but you are a man in serious denial if you think you could be favourably compared to his Gorgeousness. Even Pearl, who is not known for her inherent intelligence, has to say, “Err, not really”. First sensible thing she has said…and I suspect it’ll be the last.
But it matters not. Cuz Luke’s got a plan and by the time he’s finished with the Scottster, well he ain’t gonna look like much at all…eek!
So back at the shack (tee hee) the Scottster is just waking up. I guess we have to presume that it’s the next day (which is later confirmed by Hannah) but you’d think they could have undressed him, put him to bed properly…I mean if he was sun sick and fevered and all… WHAT?! You hadn’t thought the same? C’mon….we’ll sort that out in Coop’s alternate version…and of course he’ll need someone to sit with him all night….and smooth those bangs…and mop that fevered brow…. and anywhere else that might need a good…well, mopping…..
So he wakes with a very fetching bandana tied around his eyes, which he proceeds to remove before being stopped in his tracks by the arrival of Ma Sickles. Well, that was good timing wasn’t it?! Wonder what alerted her to the fact that he had awakened at last? Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s obvious…. it was in the script…. of course, silly me…moving on..
So she tells him not to take it off, that his eyes got good and scorched yesterday. Well, that’s funny, no sign of redness, sunburn, any crusting of skin…. maybe it was the make up artists day off? Or maybe the director decided that we couldn’t have the gorgeous one go through an eppy with crusty, weepy skin. Might have been a bit too graphic for 1960’s family viewing. And for once, I have to agree. I mean, I am into realism on screen but well, I’m with the Director on this one. The Gorgeous one has to stay looking gorgeous. It’s compulsory.
So Ma offers Scott some nice hot broth (anyone notice that every time he comes around having gotten sun sick in the desert he is offered broth? Hmmm…)
Scott accepts the offer, still addled clearly, asserting, “Thanks, maybe it’ll help me put things together.” What, so, is it magical broth? With special healing powers? Memory enhancing properties? Maybe it’s the special mushrooms that grow in the desert…
Now, considering the Scottster can’t see, and therefore can’t see when the spoon is heading towards that gorgeous kisser of his, I am impressed that he doesn’t end up wearing half that broth all down him. But nope, he is unerringly accurate in opening up just at the right time…. We’ll have to change that in Coop’s version…yep, the shirt will get all mucky and will just HAVE to come off. And there’ll be no sign of that bloody kid….
Anyway, I digress…again. So Ma is testing the waters to see how much the Scottster remembers. And conveniently, he has entirely no memory of being pistol-whipped. Nope, it was pure luck that brought him here. Yeah, right, we know better don’t we? It was Andy Jack and his killer goats in cahoots. The goats bring a human sacrifice and they all get to live another day. Apparently the flaw in their plan was that they failed to let Uncle Luke in on it. Whoops…
So anyway, The Scottster proceeds to tell Ma that he met a little boy, “a strange little boy.” Well, if that ain’t the understatement of the century. Try, ‘nauseating’ ‘annoying’…and that’s just for starters… Ma confirms with a resigned sigh “That’s my grandson” Oopsie…I think that’s what is commonly termed ‘putting one’s foot in it’. Give the Scottster his due, he does do an impressive backtrack saying that “The strangeness was likely in my head” but nope Ma is nothing if not honest and she sighs again and tells him “No, you’ve seen him right.” She tells him that with nothing but the rocks and the sunlight (don’t forget the goats Ma) it’s turned him in on himself and he’s become solitary. Awww….almost makes you feel sorry for him don’t it? Nope? Ok, me either…I know, I’m a heartless wench but the kid is taking up WAY too much screen time, child star or no child star.
Scott, ever the gentleman, makes it easy for Ma and formally introduces himself. But heck, the ginger whinger chooses that moment to arrive into the room and asks if he can feed Scott. Ma, clearly taking pity on the Scottster tells the little oick that it’s “women’s work” (usually I would get all women’s lib with that sort of remark but I have to agree. Feeding the Scottster is women’s work. And I am gladly volunteering. Although sadly I think my aim might be a little off…never did like that tattersall shirt. Snicker.)
But the Scottster is still, clearly, somewhat addled from his ordeal and he asserts, “I’ll be obliged for the boy’s help. I think we should get to know each other.” Famous last words…. sometimes Scott darling you are just TOO nice for your own good!
Ma, who clearly has a troubled conscience, (not sure whether its because of the ransom plot or the fact that she has left the Scottster with the second most nauseating child that ever lived. And it was a photo finish for second between he and Willie Sharpe..…) hands the broth over to the boy and leaves him to it.
And so the interrogation begins. And yes, if you look closely, the kid is wearing jackboots…. he starts to ask questions about the compass and how it works. Scott soon realises that, at this rate, he’s gonna starve so he strikes a deal. One spoonful of broth, one question. Yep, our Scott’s a born survivor. And Andy Jack duly agrees with the most unconvincing line delivered (even by a child) in the history of television “Ok, here we go….” (In fact, I now know where Jack Nicholson got the inspiration for his line “Here’s Johnny” In the Shining. Is it any coincidence that the actor portraying Andy Jack was called Johnny Whittaker? Yep, forget Johnny Carson, the kid was Jack’s inspiration…shudder. No wonder that movie sent Jack into therapy…
So, back in Panamint, the stage has just arrived and Murdoch is hurrying down the stairs in anticipation of greeting his errant son. But oh ho, there’s a problem. Johnny enters with an over acting extra who clearly was chuffed at getting his ‘big break’ (Funny I never saw him in anything after that). Mr Arthur B Sloane is totally oblivious to the worry that is etched across Murdoch’s face. Or I guess that pained expression could be abject dismay on Murdoch’s part to find out that his son is a democrat…(and at that point he is seriously wondering if it is even worth rescuing him) Hmmm…either way, Sloane gets his ‘moment’ before Murdoch demands to know where Scott is, and Sloane reveals what we already know. That Scott didn’t wait around for the stage and hired a horse a couple of days ago. Oh dear…. Big Daddy and little Bro waste no time in heading out to look for The Scottster, knowing how long the odds are of finding him…. or of converting him to Republicanism….
Back at the Mine, Scott’s recovered enough to be able to venture back outside again. He’s keen to get a horse and be on his way but Andy Jack doesn’t want him to go. He was annoyed that Uncle Luke spoiled his plans last time and liberated his intended victim from the depths of his experimental lab and so he wants a second crack at it. And Scott, taken in by the freckles and the innocent face (and the incessant whining) is putty in the squirt’s hands and agrees to go back into the mine with him.
This is where we are introduced to the heliograph. Now this is where Coop gets a smidgeon antsy. And its irrational really because Lancer was not known for its historical accuracy, I know this. But at the time that this eppy was set (circa 1871 or so) well, the heliograph had not made its way to the USA. It was first patented in India by the British army in the early 1870’s and not used by the US army until the late 1870’s. So no way that Scott would have used one or, likely even knew what one was at that juncture. Grrrr…and I learned all this from visiting an old fort in the Arizona desert. But of course, when the show was aired, there was likely not the abundance of nor the accessibility to research data as there is for viewers nowadays…Anyway, that’s my gripe out of my system, back to the flippancy!
Scott looks slightly sceptical when Andy Jack tells him he came up with the idea by blinking his eyes but he’s willing to humor the boy, as he warily looks around at all the instruments of torture surrounding him and tries to figure out a fast escape route if one is needed. At that moment, Pain in the Ass Pearl shows up. Andy Jack is foiled again and doesn’t hold back in showing his displeasure. But Pearl is oblivious and is fluttering and flirting at the Scottster (and who can blame her?). When asked by Scott is she is Andy Jack’s sister, she vehemently denies it saying, “No we’re not related, thanks be.” So note that. She says they are NOT related and does not confirm what the relationship is. But she does proceed to say all manner of nasty mean things about Andy Jack, indicating, in a nutshell that he’s simple (talk about the pot calling the kettle black!). And Scott is sensible enough to see through it, asserting that he believes it’s just the opposite. Because he has recognised that Andy Jack, is, indeed, very smart. Yep, hunny, so was Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Milosevic, Hussein – you get my drift?! Anyway, he proceeds to show Dumb Pearl just how clever Andy Jack is by demonstrating what a heliograph is for and he teaches him the distress code. Aha, clever Mr. Writer, methinks we need to take note of this for later (pretend I haven’t seen the eppy the 2 or 3…hundred…times I have). But oh dear, Andy Jack just confirms everything that Pearl thinks about him by doing his best goat impression and telling her that she is dumb enough to eat grass. Yep, Andy Jack has definitely been spending too long with those goats…
Well after Pearl has petulantly stormed off, Scott, wondering why he always seems to be the peacemaker between two hardheaded stubborn personages (sound familiar?) tries to pacify Andy Jack by telling him his Aunt didn’t mean what she said. Now, how did he know that? That she was his Aunt (of sorts?). Hmmm…. bit of an oopsie by the scriptwriter there methinks. Anyone?!
Back at the Sickles shack, Ma walks into the kitchen to see that Pearl is stirring some sort of foul smelling concoction in a big old cauldron. Once she has deduced that, thankfully, it’s not the evening meal that Pearl is preparing, she gets all suspicious as to why Pearl is dyeing one of Luke’s shirts green when he hates the green one he already has.
Pearl, is unable to hold back and blurts out “It ain’t me. Right from the start it was Luke’s idea.”
Ma pushes and Pearl caves, revealing the plan that Luke is planning to make the posse think that Scott is him. Ma snorts that it won’t work; that all Lancer has to do is tell them who he is, (although in my experience posses tend to shoot first and ask questions later.) That aside though, Pearl tells Ma that Scott won’t be in a position to tell the posse anything. The penny drops and Ma suddenly realises what her larrikin son is planning. She don’t wanna be party to it, its too big a price but Pearl has clearly learned a thing or two about manipulation from hanging around (or draping herself around) Luke and she plays the ‘sending Andy to school’ card. And it works…
Meanwhile, entirely oblivious to the plotting and scheming that is going on pertaining to his own messy demise, Scott has managed to find a little peace and quiet away from flirty Brooklyn broads and annoying freckle faced fiends and is enjoying a game of Patience. But, alas, peace is soon shattered as Andy Jack marches in demanding his reading lesson and he couldn’t have chosen a bloody bigger book if he tried. Yep, it’s the family bound bible. Well, I guess it’s likely the only book they have in the house. Anyone notice that it doesn’t exactly look well thumbed…? Anyway, ever a man of his word, Scott agrees to start the reading lesson with ten words. And seeing as Andy Jack blurts out that he already knows the two on the front, Scott agrees he won’t count those.
So, ten words huh? The kid wants ten words? Well, I’ve got ten for him - not necessarily in this order.
BRAT LITTLE NAUSEATING BEEN HAVE WHO SHOULD BIRTH STRANGLED AT
There’s your ten. I’ll leave you to figure out the correct running order….
Andy Jack asks Scott if he has read it all (the bible, that is) and Scott with a rather comedic expression on his face which tells me that he may be telling ever such a small white lie asserts, “I’ve read some of it”. He at least has read one tale that he is sure that Andy Jack will like. It’s the “parable of the good Samaritan.” Andy Jack looks puzzled and asks “What’s a………” and Scott interrupts “Parable?” And it always makes me snicker because I figure Andy Jack would be more flummoxed by what a Samaritan is than a parable. But here we get the cutesy music again and the writer goes all moralistic on us by having Scott tell us that “it’s all about how men oughta behave to one another”. Oh Scott honey, if only you knew what these ‘good Samaritans’ were planning for you. Whoa, wait a minute - is that the writers plan all along? He’s trying to be IRONIC?! Well I never…. wonders will never cease. Well, either way Coop was waiting off camera with a bucket for the Scottster after having to deliver that line. A little too sickly sweet for my tastes…. sorry…
But as the Scottster flicks through the bible to look for something else that will impress the flame haired little fiend, he hones in unerringly on the very thing that Ma wanted to keep hidden. And I guess she figured that none of her godless family were likely to look in the bible. Oh ho…yep, there it is, a press clipping about her deceased sons and husband and a wanted poster. With a very 20th Century looking Polaroid of Luke slap bang in the middle. Hmmmm…way to go props people…gotta love that historical accuracy….
Suddenly Scott realises that he has stumbled right into the proverbial hornets nest. And that his chances of making it are diminishing rapidly. He fobs Andy Jack off by telling him he’s tired and that they’ll continue tomorrow. He realises that Andy Jack needs to get out of that environment if he stands any chance of breaking the family pattern of lawlessness. And he tells him that he has to get away from there. Whatever happens….
Just at that point, Ma comes in with the new shirt for Scott, which he accepts warily. He knows that things are amiss, awry…not right. And I think he also senses that Ma is struggling with her complicity. He grabs Andy Jack and swings him into his lap affectionately. Always wondered about that but I think its Scott’s way of 1. Telling Ma that he wants to help but 2. To try and win her over through her obvious affection for her Grandson because that’s likely going to be his only way of surviving this…
Ok, got a wee bit serious there, sorry. Won’t happen again…
Cue Johnny and Murdoch riding through the badlands hot on the trail, with suitable upbeat ‘quest’ type ‘men on a mission’ soundtrack. And their tracking skills have clearly not let them down as they arrive unerringly at the site of the abandoned saddle and carbine. Murdoch asserts that there are no guarantees that they are Scott’s but I mean, c’mon Murdoch, how many abandoned Saddles are you gonna find in the badlands? Not long after your find a horse carcass? And if you need any further clues, well check the carbine. SURELY you’d recognise your son’s own weapon? No? Not even the little label that Teresa has stuck on the end saying “Property of Scott Lancer” Ok, well then, I would say it’s a fairly safe bet that they were Scott’s and Johnny agrees with me, so off they trot again in a South Westerly direction.
Back at Chez Sickles, Scott emerges from the bedroom buttoning up that nice green shirt. Aw heck Mr Director, couldn’t it have been a bit more open? Or couldn’t we see him actually putting it on?! Spoil sport…ok, we’ll change that in Coop’s rewrite. Maybe he can get new pants too…? Moving swiftly on…
Ma greets him and is very admiring of the shirt “Don’t that shirt fit nice?”
Well of course it does. It’s a well-known fact in movies and TV that when any character is forced to don the clothing of another character it always fits PERFECTLY. Way to go wardrobe department. But then Ma goes a little too far “I could take you for Luke myself.” Err, Ma, I know that to all parents their children are beautiful but, really, its time you got them eyes of yours looked at. No WAY the Scottster in all his gorgeousness could ever be mistaken for your greasy low life offspring. Ick! And besides, errm, you’re kinda giving the game away…but oh, wait, of course, we don’t have much eppy time left so we do need to start wrapping things up. And we already know the Scottster is suspicious. And he didn’t have enough of that broth to put it ALL together…so he needs a little help.
But it looks like Ma has other plans for the Scottster. She’s not gonna wait for Luke to return and enact his dastardly plan - she’s already got her own plan to finish him off if that ghastly looking porridge is anything to go by. Heck, I hope she cleaned out the cauldron after Pearl’s shirt dyeing session before she cooked up that unpalatable gunk. I don’t blame Scott for passing on it and going straight for the coffee.
Scott enquires where Andy Jack is and Ma informs him that he is tending the goats. Yeah, right, plotting with his vampiric Bovidae minions more like….
Scott asks for a horse but Ma fobs him off saying that they are in the high country enjoying their forage. Scott is fobbed off at every turn by Ma until he loses patience and tells her that he found the wanted poster in the bible and we get a delicious close up of him (freeze frame moment) when he tells her that all he wants to do is get back to his family who are waiting for him in Panamint (oh no they’re not Scott, honey, they’re closer than you think). Ma is horrified. He didn’t tell them that his family were so close. Well, no, why would he? As Scott rightly points out “You didn’t ask.”
He tells her that he owes his life to her and her family – he’s not going to tell the law about Luke. Hmmm Scottster, is that a promise you can REALLY keep hunny? Knowing how law abiding you are and all? But ok, I can understand. Faced with certain death, I’d probably say the same and live with the consequences. Even if it does allow a murderer like Luke to get away. But of course, the scriptwriter is never gonna let that happen is he? Because this is Lancer. Where the bad guys don’t prevail…silly me. So the Scottsters conscience will be clear. Darn it! Because I was more than willing to sit up with him in the weeks and months to follow, pacifying and helping him salve his guilty conscience into the wee small hours of the morning as he struggled to sleep. Yeah… I know I’m so dedicated to the cause. Always willing to take one for the team…
So Ma, knowing that the heinous plans are falling apart, reaches for her weapon (yeah, it could be a Spencer repeater, a carbine, a shotgun, a rifle, who knows – I know nada about weapons, so let’s just settle for BIG GUN. Because that’s what it is…a big gun. K?) But the Scottster, lightning quick disarms her and tells her that he’s just gonna take this “until he find outs why she wants to keep him here”.
Ok, so the next image has to be one of the daftest and most contrived I have ever seen in Lancer. And believe me, much as I love the show, really, there are some pretty daft scenes at times. So there Pearl is, standing in the middle of the yard, with a telescope pressed to her eye staring out at the unending desert. No real motivation to be there with the telescope, no valid reason given other than it was obviously pivotal at that moment for Murdoch and Johnny to be spotted by Scott. It is SOOOOO contrived it’s not funny. Well, actually it is… And she looks so out of place with that telescope there. But, ok… just as Scott arrives, its clear that she has spotted something. And asserts “There’s two of them” Yeppers, right at that very moment she just so happens to be looking out into the vastness of the badlands Big Daddy and Little Bro ride into view. And Scott is there just in time to see his would be saviours. But oh, wait…heck, they are so far away…how is he gonna attract their attention? Hmmm…I’m stumped…But, oh, oh, wait… the yet to be invented heliograph! Of course!! And he knows the distress signal too! Heck, it just gets better and better!!! So Scott rushes into the mine and quickly retrieves the (yet to exist –did I mention that?) heliograph and heads to the high ground to start sending his signal.
And yippee! Success! Big Daddy and Lil’ Bro see the light flashes and head down to check it out. Yee haw, we’re heading for a happy ending. Right? But wait a second here…. we still have about 10 – 15 minutes of eppy time left. Hmm…. and this is Lancer. Things can’t be that smooth. Can they? Nope…. because, for a smart, ex military man, the Scottster has forgotten one of the most fundamental things when it comes to survival. NEVER turn your back on the enemy. Especially when there are a lot of loose rocks around. I have to say, that whack on the head that Scott receives from Pearl would have been enough to kill him…especially given he had already been pistol-whipped such a short time earlier. But of course, this is 1960’s episodic television and reality is stretched to its limits. Especially if we are given to believe that Pearl and Ma could haul all 6 ft 1in of his gorgeousness down those rocks and into the mine without breaking a sweat before Murdoch and Johnny ride up. Hmmmm…. get over it Coop…
As Ma covers up the supine body of our hero with a tarp she chastises Andy Jack by telling him that Scott was likely a Bounty Hunter, like the one who was responsible for killing his Pa and his Uncles. But Andy Jack ain’t having a bar of it “But he can’t be a bounty Hunter. He’s teaching me.” Well, quite. The kid has a point. Because it’s a well-known fact that Bounty Hunting is the profession that all those who failed their teaching exams fall back on. ‘If you can’t teach em,’ kill em’” is their reputed motto. But clearly ma ain’t in ‘the know’ about such things, and shoos the boy out as she goes to greet their unwelcome guests.
As Johnny and Murdoch arrive you can tell they are both on full alert. Well, it makes sense don’t it? This is the only civilisation (and I use this word loosely when it comes to the Sickles family) they have come across for miles and if they have followed the South Westerly route Scott would have taken then its highly likely he would have ended up here. (Besides, it says so in the script) And let’s face it; both Murdoch and Johnny are smart men. Johnny especially would know how to read people and know when he was being lied to. And heck, yep, I know we are ‘in the know’ but really, could Pearl be any more obvious??!! And that invented Father when asked by Johnny if there were any men folk around…well…. either Johnny’s lost his edge, had a mite too much sun himself or he’s biding his time…
Murdoch in the meantime is interviewing Ma and Andy Jack and has unerringly headed towards the mine where he quite rightly figures that someone might take shelter if they were hurt…or sick from the sun….or had been whacked over the head with a big rock and covered with a tarpaulin….or were being prepared to be sacrificed to the vampiric goat gods…..( again, Coop’s alternate version).
But give Ma and her pint sized protégé their due, neither of them cave to the imposing 6ft 5 frame of Murdoch Lancer. Even when he does head straight into Andy Jack’s lair. We feel their tension as Murdoch gets close to his prone son but we are secretly hoping that the Gorgeous one will emit a low groan or will start snoring gently to let Big Daddy know he is there. But no such luck. And Murdoch, being a man, has a ‘man look’ - that is, has a speculative glance around the darkened chamber and a quick peek underneath something and then gives up. Coop’s yelling at the screen at this point ‘lift the tarp, lift the tarp” but of course, little point yelling at a 43 year old TV recording is there? Can I blame PTSD? That’s the good thing about living in a quake-ravaged city. You can act as kooky as you like and no one calls you on it…
But to get rid of their unwelcome visitors once and for all, Andy Jack reveals to Murdoch that he was the one responsible for sending the light flashes. Murdoch is smart enough to know those were not random flashes and is cynical until Andy Jack tells him that he knows the distress signal and learned it in case he ever needed to get help for his Ma. Hmmm….tenuous…. who would he tell out in the middle of nowhere? But Murdoch buys it…for now. And he also accepts without question that there are no men folk around. Remember that…and so he and Johnny ride off into the sunset…well, towards Vasquez rocks anyway, leaving the poor Scottster to his fate.
Back in the mine, Ma has wasted no time in moving the still unconscious Scott and tying him to one of the mine support beams. Not quite sure of the wisdom of this – presumably he was just as well tied up and left where he was. But hey, it makes for a better scene. And he does look particularly gorgeous in it. When he stretches to reach the knife, the shirt stretched taut against his well toned body…his hair looking particularly gorgeous. Yeppers, we’ll definitely have to keep that scene in the alternate version. Still deciding which one of us is gonna be tied though…me or him…hmm… anyway, back to Ma…. (And heck, we just had a rather sizeable aftershock…sound familiar?) She brings him around by flicking water in his face. Again, stretching reality a little because Scott is immediately alert and in receipt of all his faculties. In reality he wouldn’t be making much, if any sense with the whack that he received. But silly me, fancy expecting realism in a fantasy world. Maybe in Coop’s alternate version we’ll have a petite blond nurse with an unusual accent arrive in Morro Coyo to help with the Scottster’s rehabilitation, which will require, long rides, picnics, dips in the river to cool off after a long hot steamy day of rehab, and the odd few nights away in a line shack. Yep that sounds like a plan…. I’m really liking my alternate version…
So the poor Gorgeous one is gagged with the same bandana that he had shielding his eyes a day or so earlier (hope they washed it) but Ma promises to remove the gag if Scott promises not to call out. Ever the man of his word, Scott agrees.
Ma tells him “I’m sorry for what has to happen, stranger. I like you. But I can’t let it stop me.” Hmmm…she likes him huh? Well, I would hate to see what she does to people she doesn’t like! But you know, two things here. First off, the fact that she tells him at all that she’s sorry means that she’s distinctly uncomfortable with what she has to do. And secondly, he’s told her his name. And she’s referred to him as Lancer before now. So the fact that she is referring to him as ‘stranger’ again shows that she is doing her best to detach herself from him. To make it less personal. But you can tell that she’s struggling. And Scott sees it to. He’s not gonna let her off lightly. He’s gonna make her say it. He asks her “Stop you from what?”
Although she tries to assert that it wouldn’t do no good to tell him, Scott insists that he has a right to know and Ma reluctantly agrees. Good tactics Scottster – he has the sense that Ma is not as far-gone as Luke nor as dumb as Pearl. She has a conscience and she doesn’t blindly follow. She is merely blinded by her desire that her Grandson should escape the family curse of going bad. Even if her methods in trying to attain that end are reprehensible. As she reveals the plan to him, WM does a good job of showing Scott’s fear at what is likely going to happen but he knows that there are chinks in Ma’s armour and he is doing his best to weaken those defences further. And he’s doing a good job in telling Ma she’s not party to murder. And he’s making progress too. But darn it, time has run out as the clanging and wailing from Pearl outside announces the return of Luke. Ma heads off to greet her son leaving the Scottster tied and trapped.
Ever the resourceful man he is, he soon spots a knife on a shelf that is just within reach of his head as he knocks off a couple of bottles in order to reach it. (With the shirt stretched nicely over his nicely toned torso…did I mention that already? I did…well, deal with it, we’re shaking here! I need NICE mental visuals!) Seeing Andy Jack, who has been lurking outside all along, Scott begs him to help but Andy Jack refuses, telling him that he’s just a dirty old Bounty Hunter (err, kid, you’re cruising for a bruising ‘cuz the gorgeous one ain’t dirty, nor is he old) Scott has to tread carefully here because he knows that the boys Gran told him that and he knows that his Gran is the only person in the boy’s little world that he trusts. Well, her and the goats that is. Because they don’t talk back…. and they bring him lost and sun sick men to drag into his lair… But, well, for the Scottster to tell the boy that his Gran has lied to him would alienate him more. But he’s a man outta time, he don’t have the luxury of time to play nice so he tells the boy that it’s a lie and he knows it. The boy mutters that his Gran wouldn’t lie ‘not to me’ (Coops shouting at the screen “Oh yes she would!”) but deep down Andy Jack knows its true. All he wants to do is to go to school (and get bullied for being a ‘ginger’). But Scott tells him that this isn’t the way, and he knows it.
Andy Jack sees this and does what’s right and unties our Gorgeous hero but he falls short of reuniting him with his side arm. So the Scottster is on the run and unarmed. And Luke is armed to the hilt. Oh ho…
Meanwhile as Johnny and Murdoch ride away, Johnny’s nagging doubts get the better of him and he asserts to Big Daddy “ I think we should head back to that mineshaft, that girls father might have come back by now.”
Murdoch is incredulous. “Father? Are you sure? That old woman said there were no menfolk.”
Well, there you go…rumbled. I always think that’s a rather contrived scene but hey, there’s only five minutes of eppy time left and somehow the writers needs to get Murdoch and Johnny back to effect the Scottsters rescue. Tenuous very tenuous but hey, we’re building to a climax and we have to give Johnny his moment to pacify the Johnny gals…. (If indeed, any are still watching at this juncture)
So back at the shack (just had to get that in there again) Luke is busy sucking face with Pearl again (groan) and, once more Ma is playing gooseberry. Heck, you think they’d get a room’. I mean there must be plenty in the mine… Anyway, Ma wants to know how far the posse are behind and is horrified when she find outs that its only 10 minutes away (5 minutes too long though Ma, there’s only 5 minutes of eppy left)
Poor Scott, with unerring timing, chooses that moment to basically saunter out of the mine (yes, he does kinda saunter…I can only conclude it’s the head injury…) but he soon turns tail and runs as a bullet impacts not too far from his head. Right back into the mine. Oh dear…because of course Luke et al know those shafts far better than he does.
Luke heads on in there and comes across Andy Jack and calls him “Judas”. Oh right, so at least one of the Sickles has read the family bible. Or perhaps Ma read it to him. Maybe it was that page that the Wanted poster was kept in. Who knows?
Andy Jack gets all upset and heads out and grabs the family BIG Gun (whatever….) which is bigger than he is and he seems to be able to lift it very easily…. which tells me that it’s a hollow bulsa wood prop…. But, the clumsy sprite trips and is probably lucky he doesn’t blow his fool head off. Wait a minute…hmmmm…. yep, alternate version…. and Ma rushes over and takes it from him, asserting, “We’ve taken enough from you already…It’s best I do what has to be done.” Now this is kinda ambiguous because at that point we don’t know if its her intention to take Luke out, or go through with the plan and kill Scott so that Luke can get away from the fast approaching posse. Hmmm…I wanna give her the benefit of the doubt here…
But oh dear, she runs right into Luke and he soon has the weapon off her. Heck, so now he’s heavily armed and all the Scottster has is a knife. And Luke knows the mine way better than he does. He starts to shoot at our Gorgeous blond hero but fortunately its dark in the mine, and Luke is a lousy shot. Still Scott needs to do all he can to turn the odds in his favor. And, clearly he is still addled by the several whumps on the head he has now had coupled with the lingering after effects of the sun sickness and Andy Jacks inane babbling. Because he decides his best course of action to prevent Luke getting to him is to set a fire. Errmmmm…well yes sweetie you may have prevented Luke from getting to you but its no good to you if you cut off your own escape route and burn to death in the process is it? Or maybe at that point Scott figures that’s preferable to spending another nano second in Andy Jacks company? Hmmm…either way we never find out because, phew, there is another way out. And the Scottster finds it. But so does Luke…. and he’s hot on our gorgeous hero’s trail …and he has plenty of bullets left.
As the Scottster tries to out run his homicidal nemesis, oh dear, he trips and it looks like its all over red rover. With a self-satisfied smirk, Luke raises his weapon and our poor hero resigns himself to his fate. But wait, with the most wondrous timing we hear a voice that makes all the Johnny gals (those who are still watching) sit up and go all of a flutter “Hold it”. Yep, Johnny at least gives Luke a chance but as slimy Sickles turns and fires, Johnny is faster (but only just it has to be said) and Ma Sickles loses her final son to the bullet.
Love Johnny’s understated “Hello brother” as if he has just caught up with his Big Bro having an afternoon stroll. But at the same time, it is such a loaded statement. Full of relief and concern as to how close he came to losing his brother. Scott, on the other hand is a little more incredulous at his brother’s unerring timing “Johnny, how’d you…” To which Johnny replies, “Oh, we put a few things together…” It sounds so much better than “Well, we read the script…”
Well, poor Ma Sickles, just seen her final surviving son bite the dust, and let’s face it, she likely knew it was gonna come to this (she had also read the script) but still, you gotta feel sorry for her and she tries to hold it all together and says to Scott “That’s my Son, Luke Sickles. I’m identifying him and I’m claiming the reward.”
Well, actually Ma, you’re telling the wrong person – I think you want the sheriff and his posse… but seeing as they’re still five minutes away and to have them arrive would have meant hiring on more extra’s, well, Scott’ll tell them for you I’m sure.
So now we get to the final frame (are you relieved? Know I am….) and the Scottster re-enters the Sickles Shack for the final time. He is back in the grotty tattersall shirt. Shame, I liked him in that green one…fit so nice…and he is looking for Andy Jack to say his goodbyes (I’d have left a note…and yeah I KNOW the squirt can’t read! Heartless wench, I know…)
But nope, the little brat is playing hard to get. But our patient hero knows a thing or two about little boys (seeing as he used to be one) and he heads unerringly to the chair that Andy Jack is hiding behind, bawling his little eyes out. And Scott utters the stock standard phrase that grown ups come out with when they discover a child who has been doing their best to disappear “well, well, well, now what do we have here?” To which the snivelling little snot replies, “ I ain’t crying.” Well, if he ain’t he’s doing a bloody good impression of it! But Scottster recognises bravado and blarney when he sees it. I mean he comes from a household of men who have a complete inability to admit when things are bothering them. So he cuts to the chase “Well, maybe you better.”
Now I have seen the original version of this script and there was an extra part to this line. Went something along the lines of “And I’m more than willing to help things along a little you snot nosed little brat.” But for some reason that line got cut. Can’t think why….
But anyways, its enough to get Andy Jack all fired up and he asserts, little fists clenched by his side “I never cry, my father never, and my Uncles never and I’m gonna be just like them.” Well, hate to tell ya Andy Jack but they are all currently six feet under. But if you REALLY wanna be like them, well, it can be arranged…again, Coop’s alternate version.
He proceeds to tell Scott how he’s ‘gonna rob banks and kill and never care about nuthin.”
But nope, our wondrous hero can see through the façade to the vulnerable little boy (conniving little brat more like) that lies within. Nope, he tells Andy Jack “It’s not in you not to care Andy Jack. You’re special. You’re very special.”
Yeah, Special needs more like…What? You’re thinking the same, admit it….
And Scott continues “We’re gonna make those dreams come true.”
Yep, you’re gonna send him to school where he is going to get the absolute crap beaten out of him for being a ‘ginger’. Heck, no wonder the kid bursts into tears…think I would too. Although anyone can see they’re just crocodile tears. C’mon over here kid, I can make you cry MUCH more convincingly than that….
And this is where The Scottster comes out with one of the most profound lines he ever delivered in Lancer. And to be serious for a moment here (yeah, sorry…. needs must) you can’t help thinking that in helping Andy Jack he is trying to ensure one less kid in the world has to endure what his own little ‘bro had to endure. The loss of innocence at such a tender age. He’s hopeful it’s not to late for Andy Jack to forget what he’s seen and enjoy being a kid
“That’s good. You’ve got to learn how to cry and when to cry, Andy Jack. Those tears will wash away the bad things you’ve seen and help you see the world with clean eyes.”
And even though he’s saying those words to Andy Jack, well, I can’t help thinking that he wishes he could be saying that to a young Johnny.
Yeah, I tried to think of something flippant to say about all that but well, sorry, too profound a moment.
I think its such a well played scene and stops short of getting too sappy, as Scott sets the lad down again and adjusts his hat and gives him a playful pat on the face before making his dignified exit. You have to wonder what passes between he and Ma on the porch before he heads off to join the rest of his family, relieved no doubt to be leaving the badlands and the Sickles shack behind for good. Especially as Pearl is now a widow…and on the hunt for another man. …Shudder.
As a postscript, for those of you who have always wondered, yes, Scott did manage to get Andy Jack into a school. A very good one. Far enough away to ensure no impromptu visits to the hacienda.
So to conclude, yeah, I do like the episode, honest, it’s a great Scott episode and one that I’ve probably watched more than most, because WM gets a chance to show the range of his acting ability and he does look particularly gorgeous throughout (of course, I might be a mite biased). Even if he is wearing the hateful tattersall shirt for most of it…