Angels at Sea


SUMMARY

Newlyweds strolling arm-in-arm through the halls of a cruise ship become trapped in a passageway that seals itself and quickly fills with steam. Their deaths are the latest in a series of "accidents" which the Angels are hired to investigate by the owner of the cruise line. After some discussion about the safety of the mission, all three of the Angels (and Bosley) vote to sail on the jinxed ship, but it seems the mysterious killer already knows who they are before the team even leaves the office! Bosley discovers a dummy pinned to the Townsend Agency's door bearing a threatening note.

Kelly: "Bon voyage - you're dead."

After boarding the deserted Belle Helene, each of the Angels is puzzled to receive their own, personalized threatening note before the ship even sails. Their three prime suspects are the ship's lounge singer, the chief engineer, and a clairvoyant entertainer.

After settling in, the Angels are invited to have cocktails with the captain, and are hit on by most of the crew during a comedy mind-reading act performed by one of their top three suspects, Harry Dana.

Meanwhile, someone has set fire to Sabrina's cabin, and tagged the wall with a blood-red scrawl reading "SORRY I MISSED YOU". This frightening event prompts Kelly's revelation that they should start keeping their guns with them, and the team concludes that it would be wise to separate, each taking a cabin on a different deck.

That night, everyone is awakened by a "man overboard" alert, and Bosley is knocked unconscious by an unseen assailant as he emerges from his cabin. Investigating on the moonlit foredeck, the armed and robed girls discover a rifle and a confused, naked Bosley. Safely back in their cabin, Kelly dusts the rifle for fingerprints, while the others tease Bos instead of being concerned about his injuries.

It occurs to Kelly that someone should speak to the ship's captain about the incident, and after finding the phone dead, ventures out into the halls on her own, still in her pajamas. Jill leaves shortly after to take a different route to the captain, and in her travels, she stumbles upon the hanging corpse of the chief engineer - a 'YOU'RE WELCOME' note pinned to his jacket, written by his killer. Meanwhile, Kelly becomes trapped in that same passageway with the deadly steam thing going on in it, and after a few tension filled moments of coughing, manages to escape through a convenient panel in the ceiling.

The rest of the gang sets up a coup in which they pretend that the attempt on Kelly's life succeeded, and announce to the rest of the scant passengers that they have found the murderer's fingerprints on a steam valve. Out on deck, they set up shop and begin to take the fingerprints of every passenger on board in this clever attempt to flush out the real killer.

Kelly remains out of sight, concealed in an air duct in which she has full view of said steam valve, and witnesses an increasingly erratic Harry Dana whistling sea shanties as he attempts to obliterate his fingerprints. Radioing her observation, Kelly then leaps down to confront Dana, but is instead face slammed into the wall. The rest of the Angels arrive and apprehend the crazed and fleeing Dana in the ship's passageway.

Held captive and interrogated by the Angels and the ship's captain, Dana cryptically informs them that the ship is rigged to blow up - the murders and the eventual destruction of the vessel are his form of revenge for something that is not worth sitting through 8 minutes of explanation to relate. After an interminable series of impressions and rambling stories, Harry reveals the locations of three bombs he's hidden in the bowels of the ship.

After racing below decks to locate the devices, each of the lone Angels are connected to a bomb squad expert (and Peter Graves look alike) via walkie talkies, who talks them through the stressful disarming procedure. After several harrowing minutes, all three grab their dynamite bundles and rush out to the ship's railing, hurling the still-ticking bombs overboard and into the ocean where they finally explode, creating what look like enormous wartime depth charges.

The wrap-up takes place on deck, with Charlie phoning the three Angels as they're relaxing on deck chairs and being served drinks by a man who was initially one of their suspects.

BACKGROUND CHECK

Angels at Sea Episode #80 Season 1, Episode 21 Airdate: Mar 23, 1977 Writer: John D.F. Black Director: Allen Baron Guest stars: Frank Gorshin

FILMING LOCATIONS

The Townsend Agency Office • Queen Mary

WHAT'D YOU THINK?

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CURIOSITIES

• Bri's cryptic note seems incongruous with the others. "I love you. I'll prove it. You won't like it. I don't care." Charlie immediately follows this with an assertion that the author must be mentally deranged.

• Jill makes one of the series' few references to Charlie actually calling them 'Angels' in this episode.

• Why would Jill have given Bosley her lipstick? Bosley, is there something you want to share with the class..?

• Didn't anybody brief Kelly that two of the murders took place in that steam passageway? Why would she go in there?

• When Kelly's climbing out of the steam hole, someone's hand is holding the far edge of the cover in order to help her slide it away.

• When Jill sees the dead guy in the corridor, the rope holding his corpse up does not appear in his shadow. Also, why is his arm swinging?

• Before the Angels come running out at the "man overboard" call, you can see Farrah's hair inside the door as she waits for her cue.

• "I wasn't criminally assaulted, someone just stole my pajamas," Bosley insists after being knocked out, stripped and dragged up on deck. Uh... actually yeah, that's exactly what that's called, Bosley.

• When everyone runs out on deck searching for Harry, the boom microphone dips momentarily into the shot and Farrah glances at it.

• During the fingerprinting scene, you can see the crew's camera and electrical cables running along the deck planks.

• Harry calls Jill a beautiful blue-eyed blonde while looking her in the (green) eye.

• Kelly goes from black tights, to black slacks, to black tights again, all in the middle of the fast-paced climax.

• The bomb expert doesn't make sure that the bombs Bri and Kelly are disarming are wired the same as the one he had Jill tinker with.

• The ship is ordered to be stopped before the Angels take care of the bombs, but when they throw the bombs overboard, the ship is sailing.

• The ship used in long shots appears to be old stock footage of the RMS Queen Elizabeth, which burned and capsized in 1972.

FIGHTS LOST

BIMBOS

SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS

SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS

DAYS TO SOLVE CASE

BOMBS DISARMED

TURTLENECKS

CHARACTER DEATHS

FASHION

The girls' red, yellow and white robes look like humanoid versions of the odd jumpsuits their official Charlie's Angels dolls were originally sold wearing. Bri slips into some sort of lace tablecloth as she sprawls at the ship's railing and talks about her bikini falling off at the wrong time. There is never a right time.

Wardrobe Repeats

Jill wears the same red outfit in Bullseye. We've also seen the same pink suit on Sabrina in Night of the Strangler and Target: Angels.

Farrah Fawcett Angels at Sea

Farrah FawcettBullseye

Kate Jackson Angels at Sea

Kate Jackson Strangler

Kate Jackson Target: Angels

SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS

Interesting contradiction here - about a quarter of this one lacks any Angels on screen, which is an average but not great score. However, it also manages to be the second most Angel-rich episode of the entire series, with all three Angels getting a half hour! That only ever happened in two regular-length episodes, the #1 being Angels in Chains. (Except here, Bosley gets just shy of a half hour, too - the longest he ever spent in a first season episode.) The trick is that while the cast isn't necessarily in every scene, they do tend to ALL be in their scenes together.

  • KELLY
  • JILL
  • SABRINA
  • BOSLEY
  • HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 77%

ACTION

The action consists mainly of the Angels running around the deck in various outfits, although it's still kind of exciting. Kelly demonstrates her iron skull once again by getting her face slammed into a wall with no complaint. Bosley gets punched in the stomach and after falling down, flails weirdly on the floor.

Angels detonating bombs is a pretty unusual occurrence, plus the fact that each Angel gets to work with her own deadly bomb. High tension!

BIMBO REPORT

There's no Charlie bimbo here, but for once the Angels' wrap-up scene looks a little like they're entertaining a male bimbo of their own (the former suspect / crew guy who's pouring them drinks in short-shorts). Jill assures Charlie that they have an activity planned which is "one of the best-loved by man," and we hope maybe this means sailing or drinking until a saxophone starts playing and Kelly adds, "We'll be gentle." What, are they gonna have an orgy on deck? Seriously, what are we supposed to take away from this?

Read our article on Charlie's Bimbos

KELLY THE ESCAPE ARTIST

Kelly begins her career as an escape artist here by climbing out a hatch in the ceiling. She'll use a similar escape method in Angels On Ice and Avenging Angel because luckily there's always a big hole in the ceiling when Kelly's in a jam - all she has to do is figure out how to get to it.

REPEAT OFFENDERS

Louie Elias: The murdered crewman appeared many times on the show, usually as a miscellaneous henchman, including Angels on Horseback, Angels on Vacation, Love Boat Angels, and Mr. Galaxy.

Harold J Stone also played the dad in He Married An Angel.

Allen Baron directed The Mexican Connection, Angels at Sea, Circus of Terror, Unidentified Flying Angels, Angels Ahoy!, Teen Angels, Angels in Waiting, Love Boat Angels, Avenging Angel, Fallen Angel, One of Our Angels is Missing, and Homes $weet Homes.

John D.F. Black also wrote Angels in Paradise, Pretty Angels All in a Row, and Angel Baby.

OUR TAKE

Holly's Rating: 5 stars Despite the tedium of Frank Gorshin's soliloquy (and don't get me wrong, Gorshin is a fabulous talent, the problem here was with CA's writers), you've got an exciting adventure aboard one of the most famous and glamorous ocean liners ever to sail the high seas - the Queen Mary - definitely an Angel among her sister ships. The group bomb diffusion at the finale is riveting, and it's interesting to see that at least Sabrina has an inkling that they may not make it out of this one alive. That's called reality, people.

Brolly's Rating :2 stars Mr. Gorshin's over-the-top-crazy performance spoiled this episode for me.

Anna Rating: 2 stars If you ask me, this is the low point of Season 1. But, keeping the entire series in perspective, it's still pretty good, especially if you can fast-forward Frank Gorshin. The Angels' interaction with Bosley is enjoyable. The bomb scene was actually suspenseful and would have ended the episode on a high-quality note, were it not followed by the dumb wrap-up scene. Was Charlie going to spend extra money to send a jet to pick them up instead of finishing the cruise?