Co-pilot Gene Knox and stewardess-instructor Angela are marveling at the new automated ILS installed in their Global Airlines flight simulator plane when Gene notices a black rose floating in his coffee cup. As Maxwell House had discontinued their unpopular “Black Rose House Blend", Angela inexplicably freaks out at the sight of the rose (the first but sadly not last in a series of Angela freakouts) and runs out of the simulator.
Next we find ourselves at the office where Angela is explaining the history of the black rose incidents. Apparently the one in Gene's coffee was not the first, but the fourth, found in places where only she should have had access. The black-rose-leaver has also been telephoning her using a disguised voice, but hasn't yet told her what he wants. Sabrina explains that Angela is an old college roommate and that they helped each other through some “rough spots.” Before you can sing the hook to Melissa Ethridge's "Come to My Window," the Angels are on the case!
Angela trains stewardesses at the “Stew Zoo” and Kris and Kelly go undercover as trainees while Sabrina settles into her role as Angela's concerned friend (a cover which would be difficult to maintain by any measure). She moves in with Angela and explains to her not-really-comprehending friend the very simple procedure of pushing two buttons to activate a phone recorder, should the black rose crank caller strike again.
Onwards and upwards! It's flight attendant training time and during a coffee-tea-or-me run-through, Kris accidentally bumps into race-card-playing Mai Ling, causing her to spill her beverage. Even though Kris apologizes, a grudge is born. Kelly remains unamused by a caddish instructor named Cliff who calls all the flight attendants dummies. The stews return to Angela's apartment to find that someone has eluded a snoozing Sabrina and hidden yet another black rose in her kitchen.
The next day in the rec room, while Mai Ling plays extreme blood ping pong in the background, the Angels and Angela play cards and discuss suspects, including angry Mai Ling and creepy peeping tom / assistant apartment manager Eddie, who leers at various females while manically cleaning the same spot on a window over and over. Gene enters and pauses to insult a another stewardess (Too Tall Paula) before sitting with the Angels and upsetting Angela by creating an awkward scene where it is suggested that they have a relationship rife with emotional abuse. On his way out, Gene pauses again to remind a seemingly desperate Paula that she is still too tall.
Angela gets another call from the black rose person and somehow manages to not turn on the recorder. Sabrina tries to get him to keep talking, but he knows her voice isn't Angela's and hangs up. Nice work, Angela. Sabrina can barely suppress her frustration as she comforts her hysterical friend.
The next day, fellow stew Maralyn's car won't start, so she leaves her keys with creepy Eddie and asks him to get the car fixed. At stew school, Captain Glover explains to how the Instrument Landing System ("ILS" to the rest of you dummies) will fly the plane by itself down to an altitude of 50 feet, at which time it will disengage and a human being must land the plane. (Foreshadowing!) Gene takes the floor just long enough to insult Mai Ling and give the class a radio frequency number to reach the tower should an aerial emergency arise. Angela announces break time and for some reason everyone disrobes and convenes in the shower where Too Tall Paula reminds us that she's tall by bumping her head on a low-hanging light. Mai Ling again rebuffs Kris' attempts at friendship, and a fully clothed Sabrina arrives to tell everyone the voice analysis on the mystery caller has lent no clues.
After hitching a ride with the other girls, Maralyn goes to see if her car has been fixed and is suddenly attacked with a deadly karate chop to the throat! The perpetrator jumps in a car, and after almost hitting a pursuant Kris, makes his getaway. Suffice to say, upon finding yet another black rose of death aside Maralyn's corpse, Angela breaks down crying for the 42nd time.
While washing some clothes the next day, Angela is surprised to receive another black rose call on the pay phone inside the laundry room. He/she says that if Angela follows his orders, nobody else will get killed. He directs her to a clothes dryer which contains a gun and a tape recorder with instructions on how to drug the co-pilot's coffee. She returns to her apartment, where Sabrina has just learned the 411 on some of their suspects: it seems creepy Eddie was dishonorably discharged from the Army with a morals charge, and Mai Ling was honorably discharged from the dojo with a black belt in karate! When Kelly inquires about Angela's odd behavior, she breaks down, seemingly upset at the Angels for being concerned with her well being. She flees to a bar. Sabrina follows and tries to get her to open up - despite being loosened by a stream of drinks, Angela's lips are sealed. She indicates cryptically that "after tomorrow it will all be over" and that she won't be responsible for whatever happens. Kelly reminds everyone that “tomorrow” is the stewardess training flight.
Once said flight gets under way, Cliff knocks out the flight engineer while Angela - following the tape recorded instructions - drops a mickey into Gene's coffee cup. She serves the most decaffeinated coffee in the annals of java to Gene, but deliberately leaves the cockpit door unlocked, going against her explicit instructions. Pointing the supplied gun at the pilot, she recites the black-rose-caller's lines as directed. Captain Glover at first appears victimized, but then surprises us all by suddenly karate chopping a not-quite-yet-unconscious Gene Knox in the neck, then yelling at Angela for not locking the door. Somehow, brain-dead Angela puts two and two together after the captain all but spells out the fact that he is the bad guy, then manages to accidentally shoot the only remaining person capable of landing the plane and knock herself out in the process. The Captain locks the door before (apparently) dying.
Everyone hears the shot and rushes to the door. Kelly tries to contact the crew over the intercom, but there's no answer because everyone locked inside the cockpit is dead or unconscious. Cliff whips out a gun to shoot the lock off, at which point it's kind of obvious that he's also a bad guy. He reveals that he and Captain Glover are in cahoots to steal the plane and sell the new ILS equipment.
Gene rouses just long enough to engage the autopilot and then passes out again. The turning of the plane distracts Cliff, and Kris (with an assist from Too Tall Paula) jumps him and holds him up with his own gun. The stews continue to stand near the door and look worried, but alas, this yields no results - the plane remains unpiloted, spiraling ... okay, gliding ... towards the earth.
Sabrina supervises at sea level in the windowless control tower with the rest of the guys until Kelly eventually remembers her emergency radio training! The tower answers and instructs Kelly to try harder to break down that door, because she may have to land the plane herself.
As the flight rapidly approaches its fiery destruction on the runway, Kelly and Paula gently nudge at the door with their shoulders. Mai Ling finally asks them to move aside and karate kicks down the door, just as the ILS was turning itself off.
Kelly takes the controls and Kris stands by - literally - for emotional support instead of strapping herself in for what will most likely be a crash landing. With the instructor's help and Bri's muttered well wishes, Kelly manages to dramatically land the plane safely (shocker).
Back on terra firma, Angela joins everyone at the office to re-explain the fake hijack scheme and act like she didn't just almost kill a plane full of people. Charlie tries to sign Kelly up for flying lessons, but she insists on a trip to Pago Pago instead.
• 3 seconds after the faux flight engineer leaves the cockpit, caddish co-pilot Gene Knox tries to get his freak on (“Wanna fool around?”) with Angela while being monitored and evaluated in a cockpit flight simulator by FAA regulators and training supervisors from Global Airlines.
• They're extreme carpooling once again - only Kelly's Mustang is parked outside the office at the beginning, yet all three Angels, Bosley, and Angela are inside.
• Why does Mai Ling keep spilling her drink after Kris has finished bumping into her?
• Where did they dig up that prop magazine that Sabrina's reading? Burt Reynolds and Steve McQueen were barely even born when magazines looked like that. The generic ad on the back looks like a picture of the Queen Mary. Someday you'll see this thing in a movie from the 40's.
• The girl Eddie ogles through the window walks past it again at the end of the scene, even though we already saw her enter the room and sit down.
• During the lecture, you can get a clear view of Cheryl only pantomiming taking notes.
• Why do all the stewardesses have to shower after taking notes, and why do the Angels use it when their provided apartment is close by?
• Angela's car appears to have blank plates, and then in a later scene it has the Cobra's plates - 861 BMG.
• Look for Kris' stunt double wearing wedges instead of heels when she almost gets hit by the bad guy's car.
• Even though the bad guy turns out to be the pilot, the silhouetted person who talks to Angela from the phone booth is clearly a woman. Also, at one point during their conversation, the phone in the booth is hung up.
• Why does it seem to be dawning on Angela for the first time during the laundry room phonecall that the black rose murderer is the one who murdered Maralyn and left the black rose by her body?
• Sabrina has the nerve to tell Angela that drinking isn't going to help her problems, in a rare scene where she herself is not drinking.
• When the Angels and Bosley realize something is going to happen on the training flight Bosley frowns: “Suppose when Sabrina is in the radar tower ... the killer is there with her," as opposed to “Suppose something happens to Kris and Kelly at 30,000 feet with untrained stewardtesses and a flight crew full of suspects!"
• They give out the radio frequency in case they have to contact the tower to use in an emergency? Aren't planes usually in contact with the tower anyway? Good thing Angels were aboard the plane, since not one of the other stews apparently remembered the one actual piece of information they all learned in school. They better stick to beverage cart patrol for now.
• Did Angela really not listen to the next step on that tape recorder until she was already on the plane? The explanation of how to drug the copilot only took like 8 seconds to cover - why are the rest of the instructions on Side B? Did he put a few songs in between steps, or what?
• Airport security in the 70's was obviously not as tight as it is today, but really? Did Angela ask Mai Ling to hold her gun-and-drugs bag while she walked though the metal detector?
• Captain Glover's behavior rendered his entire faux-hijack scheme pointless. After Gene was already drugged and Angela was going about her hijack routine, Glover keeps playing dumb. This must be for Gene's benefit, right? Because Gene isn't supposed to die, and will later be a witness to what happened in the cockpit. So isn't that all moot when Glover karate chops him into unconsciousness?
• Glover's body changes locations slightly throughout the rest of the scene.
• During the dramatic pre-crash descent, why is the footage of the plane heading upwards?
• Kelly sometimes forgets to hold down the button when talking over the radio.
• Mai Ling, the karate black belt, doesn't think about removing her high heels before kicking down the cockpit door? Doesn't that give you really poor traction and balance, or maybe just snap your ankle? And why didn't she kick the door down 20 minutes earlier?
BAD GUYS BEAT DOWN
SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS
SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS
DAYS TO SOLVE CASE
Kelly and Kris look cute in their stewardess uniforms which they wear throughout most of the episode.
Wardrobe Repeats Sabrina hardly wears anything this week that isn't a repeat - see her blue plaid shirt again in Unidentified Flying Angels, her brown top in Angel in Love, and her robe in Game, Set, Death. Some girl in the background is doing sit-ups in that orange sherbet outfit worn by Kelly in The Big Tap-Out and the alfalfa girl from Game, Set, Death. Too-Tall Paula must've snagged this bike-and-tracksuit combo at the late Mrs. Rodeheaver's estate sale. ("Passed over"?)
Game, Set, Death
SHE REALLY TOLD HIM
Once again an Angel (Kelly as usual) takes a substandard comeback, and says it in a way that sounds like she really just zapped ya with a verbal zinger. When bad guy instructor Meadows tells Kelly “Im just here to teach you dummies a thing or two,” her comeback “Sorta like the blind leading the blind?” is not nearly as brilliant or clever as she seems to think it is. She does almost the same thing in the office wrap up scene with Charlie and the effect is similar.
SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS
A surprising number of Angelless scenes despite this feeling like a really good and full episode. Pretty balanced among the Angels, with Kelly taking a slight lead.
- HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 64%
A fake plane crashes and a real plane lands safely. Kris makes herself roadkill bait by running out in front of a speeding car after one of the stew zoo crew is karate chopped to death! Too Tall Paula aids Kris and Kelly in dealing with the saboteurs and Kelly lands a plane as well as - if not better than - Karen Black did two years earlier in Airport '75, and Doris Day in "Julie" 25 years earlier. But that's debatable.
SABRINA AND THE BOYS
This is another one of those episodes when two of the Angels are going to be undercover as something feminine (models/beauty contestants/stewardesses/cheerleaders) and the other is going to work the case from the outside. In these types of situations the “other” is of course Sabrina, only this time they didn't even bother wasting time drawing fake straws - they just assumed the viewers knew it wasn't going to be Sabrina and Kris wearing skirts and getting sexually harassed by a male instructor at 40,000 feet! So Sabrina fretted away in the control tower with the air traffic controller guys while Kris and Kelly and the ladies took the doomed flight.
ANNOYING ANGEL FRIENDS
Has there ever been a more annoying Angel friend than the helpless Angela?
Could Charlie sound any more condescending after hearing Angela explain her ridiculous predicament when he tells Sabrina: “If it's personal to you Sabrina, it's personal to us.” It sounds as if he's decided to donate time on Saturday afternoon to help Harley Mason build a birdhouse. Angela ends up being not only irritating but stupid and easily manipulated, as she is tricked into helping steal the plane and is almost responsible for the deaths of everyone aboard. Then for the wrap-up, she has the nerve to sit in the office and act like she had nothing to do with it.
Considering this was a personal case for Sabrina, she really let the other Angels take all the risk and involvement. She only had two real functions: 1) Guarding Angela's apartment, which she did by napping on the couch and letting the killer walk right past, and 2) To "monitor" the plane, which she did by standing in the control tower murmuring "Get in there Kelly." Very helpful. She owes Kelly and Kris bigtime, after this.
Lee Travis also appeared in Angels in Vegas, Love Boat Angels, and Chorus Line Angels, and wrote Antique Angels.
Nigel Bullard also appeared in The Big Tap-Out, Counterfeit Angels, and One Love... Two Angels.
Dennis Donnelly also directed Angels in the Wings, Caged Angel, Angel's Child, Dancin' Angels, An Angel's Trail, One Love... Two Angels, Angel in Hiding, To See An Angel Die, Waikiki Angels, Stuntwomen Angels, and Angel on a Roll.
B.W. Sandefur also wrote Caged Angel, Cruising Angels, Nips and Tucks, One Love... Two Angels, Waikiki Angels, and Attack Angels.
Holly's Rating: So does the black-rose-caller have to literally watch Angela enter the laundry room, then run out to his airport phone booth to call her, hopefully having jotted down the number of that pay phone near the tumble drys? It really did take me multiple viewings through the years to comprehend the fact that Captain Glover is the caller due to the repeated shots of what is obviously a girl feigning the physical movements a person makes when speaking on the telephone.
I also never understood why Angela suddenly just passes out on the controls after her tame scuffle with the Captain. Did she drug herself, too?
Anna's Rating: I love this one. Few inter-Angel scenes compare to them joking around while playing hearts. Was that so hard? That's all I want.
This is Kris' 4th episode, and I like how she starts to assume some authority by verbally standing up to the bad guy. We're still easily in rookie territory, so it would have been understandable if she hung back and let the more experienced Angel do it. She was actually the better negotiator here, since Kelly was the one who asked one question too many and made the guy hulk out. Kris was also better at her fake cover job than any of the real stewardesses, including (especially) Angela. She was the only one to display any leadership or safety concern, calming all the other stews and making them sit down.
I have no idea how Sabrina and Angela would ever have been friends in the first place. I like to think it was an odd-couple assigned roommate situation, and now Angela's abusing the "old friends" card to get free work out of Sabrina. I wonder if Gene will still be begging to get back with her when he regains consciousness and remembers she drugged him and sorta hijacked the plane. If so, she better take that and run with it. She may never find another person who can stand her.
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