Angels at the Altar


SUMMARY

Kelly, her old friend Sharon (Kim Cattrall), and fiance Scott Miller are driven at by a crazed Robert Walker Jr. It seems many attempts have been made on Scott's life within the past several months, and Sharon wants the Angels to check into this.

Scott co-owns a ski shop with Robert Walker Jr.; Kris makes an investigatively pointless visit there, where all she does is ask whether people wear bikinis in Aspen (and then doesn't buy one).

An excited Kelly joins Sharon at her family's mansion, where she fends off repeated passes from Sharon's drunk grandfather. Randy, Sharon's mal-adjusted Vietnam vet ex-fiance slash wedding photographer, is introduced as an obvious red herring.

Meanwhile, Scott kisses Claudia Harper (Sharon's cousin) grossly at an airport phone booth, and announces that "accident number four is just about to happen." He goes home and feigns food poisoning after allegedly eating some old potato salad. Skeptical, Kelly sneaks the potato salad into her purse to have it tested.

Back at the mansion, violinist Tiffany rehearses with the orchestra and friendly bartender Bosley serves liquor to the alcoholic grandpa. Kelly gets hit on some more and then poses for her wedding portrait with Randy, who appears good-natured but also potentially sinister; no conclusions can be drawn. He does drop another clue, though: Scott is an excellent chef. Kelly adopts a suspicious expression in light of the potato salad thing.

Kris, virtually unseen up to this point, confers with Kelly on the phone; professing to be "thinking like a detective," she wonders whether all these lame attempts on Scott's life are even genuine. Kelly is displeased.

When Sharon and Scott are truant from their own wedding rehearsal, the flower girl tugs at Kelly's dress and points the way to their makeout spot in the woods. Robert Walker, Jr., dressed as a sniper, fires a shot at the couple from behind a tree. For the sake of everyone else's safety, both Scott and Claudia announce that they ought to call off the wedding, however Sharon insists on going through with it.

On another tangential errand, Kris flies to Aspen to interrogate Scott's bitter former partner. There, she learns that Scott is secretly having an affair with Claudia.

At the bachelor party, Randy has a drink too many and flies off the handle when Bosley refuses to serve him another. This provides a diversion while Scott slips out into the woods to rendezvous with Claudia. When Kelly grills her about this, Claudia claims she was making one last try at seducing Scott, but that it's over between them. Kelly seems unconvinced.

Sharon traipses around the house in her 19th century wedding gown until she bumps into melancholy Randy, who makes it clear he's still carrying a torch, but respects her decision.

Kris alights from a maid's van and immediately joins Bosley, Kelly and Tiffany in a public huddle to discuss the case as Robert Walker, Jr. and Claudia observe them from the bushes and wonder what they're up to.

While the wedding ceremony finally commences, Kris and Tiffany ransack the guests' bedrooms searching for evidence. Noticing the frizzy violinist's absence, Claudia sneaks out of the bridesmaid lineup and back inside the house, where she walks in on Kris discovering a rifle in Robert Walker Jr.'s suitcase. She throws a blanket over Kris' head and barricades her in a closet. Tiffany comes to the rescue, and together the girls race out to stop the ceremony in the nick of time and explain the scheme to the whole wedding party.

Caught, Scott tries to hold his intended bride hostage in a headlock; bridesmaid Kelly tries to intervene but gets easily shoved aside. Randy turns out to be the good guy when he chases Scott and wrestles him into submission. Our maid and violinist then emerge from the bushes with pistols, and Kelly has the nerve to announce in a steely voice, "we'll take it from here".

Later, Sharon joins the Angels at the office to re-explain to us what the plot of the episode was (Scott was going to marry her for her money, Robert Walker. Jr would "accidentally" shoot her while pretending to aim at Scott, and Scott would live wealthily-ever-after with Claudia). Sharon says that she "guesses she'll eventually" return Randy's phonecalls. Just then, the Angels have Randy himself walk into the office like a Jerry Springer guest, obligating her to rekindle a possibly unhealthy relationship in which she just expressed disinterest.

BACKGROUND CHECK

Angels At the Altar Episode #72 Season 4, Episode 4 Airdate: Oct 3, 1979 Writer: Larry Alexander Director: Lawrence Dobkin Guest stars: Kim CattrallRobert Walker Jr.

WHAT'D YOU THINK?

Rate this episode:

CURIOSITIES

• The footage of Kris driving up to the ski shop is oddly sped up. Also, her double who gets out of the Cobra and walks into the store is dressed correctly, but has hair half her length.

• F-minus for set decoration... Kris calls Kelly from the same phone bank where we first met Claudia, only this time a poster added to the wall indicates that this particular airport is "DENVER".

• Why is Kris acting all hesitant about that bikini in the store when she's worn smaller ones herself?

• Kelly's big purse is pretty visibly empty when she goes to put the potato salad in it.

• Tiffany doesn't move her fingers while playing her violin.

• The shot of Kelly looking concerned at Sharon's phone call from Scott is backwards.

• Does Scott use the same secret makeout spot to rendezvous with both Claudia and Sharon? Seems sort of risky...

• In the shot of Tiffany's empty seat in the orchestra, the rest of the musicians are still playing, even though the music has stopped and Scott and Sharon are now exchanging vows.

• Tiffany peeks into the hallway when she hears crashing and struggling from the next room, why does she then shrug and dismiss it and go back about her business even though she has to know it must be Kris?

• Why does Kris wait so long to start yelling when she's trapped in that closet? It's not like she was bound and gagged, she just had a blanket placed over her head.

• You can see some of the back wall of the office in this episode, which you don't usually (the one opposite the door).

FIGHTS LOST

UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS PERPETUATED

SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS

SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS

DAYS TO SOLVE CASE

WEDDINGS RUINED

TURTLENECKS

CHARACTER DEATHS

ACTION

Compared to Scott and Randy's fistfight, the Angels' action was disappointing. Kris shamefully loses her cat fight when Claudia puts a blanket over her head and stuffs her in a closet. Kelly's contribution consists of kicking Scott in the knee and getting shoved into some bushes. Finally, Tiffany garners her most iconic fail during the takedown, when she weirdly tips over at the waist for no reason.

action-tiff-tip-altarWith all three losing every scuffle they're involved in, Angels At the Altar is, fight-wise, the worst episode of Charlie's Angels.

THE KIND ANGEL, TO EVERYONE BUT TIFF

Bosley seems impressed and downright tickled to discover Tiffany can play the violin, but Kelly laughs, "I don't think Heifetz has anything to worry about! You never know when one of these little sidelines might come in handy." Ouch. 3 episodes later in Angels On the Street, Kelly burns Tiff again by neglecting to mention her violinistry when listing all the Angels' musical skills to a client. What's your beef, Kelly? (One wonders what little comment Tiffany might have about your dancing, if we're gonna be like that...)

FASHION

Symptoms of the 80's are starting to show. Kelly sports lots of Jaclyn Smithy two-toned blouses/pants ensembles, first in lavenders, then taupes, complimented by matching empty bags. Tiffany follows suit with a bland lavender blouse and skirt. Kris and Bosley are dressed as a maid and butler for most of the hour.

SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS

With a little over twice the other Angels' screen time, this is the 9th most Kelly-heavy episode.

  • KELLY
  • KRIS
  • TIFFANY
  • BOSLEY
  • HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 83%

BUTT OUT!

Watch how unenthusiastic Sharon looks when Randy walks into the office and takes her hand at the end, and the Angels all smile like cats who've proudly brought her a dead mouse. Now, this impression isn't just the result of Kim Cattrall's decision not to smile - her (at best) mildly-pitying interest in her ex is a consistent and recurring part of the script, including in this very scene. Was this intentionally written to make the Angels look like horrible matchmakers and buttinskys? What does this show have against healthy relationships??

DROP THAT BIKINI

If all Kris was going to do in that ski shop scene was ask the potential suspect whether to wear a bikini in a hot tub, they might as well have made it a scene where she does that. After Cheryl Ladd’s famous protest against gratuitous bikinis, maybe they didn’t dare stick her with another “get naked for no reason because this episode is boring” scene, but hoped that maybe Kris holding a bikini would still be titillating (it's not). Instead of this neither-here-nor-there and wholly irrelevant exchange, they should’ve made the dialogue about anything else, such as, oh...  the case she's there to investigate, perhaps?

REPEAT OFFENDERS

John David Carson: We know Scott as the crooked faux-Irish jockey Kevin Ryan from Angels in the Stretch.

Joseph Hacker: Randy also played uptight ex-con Nichols from Antique Angels and Kris's psychic love interest Eric from Haunted Angels.

Parley Baer: Sharon's grandfather also played Captain Jack in Angels Ahoy.

Walter Brooke: Sharon's Dad also played Mr. Twilliger in Marathon Angels.

Marie Windsor: Sharon's Mom played the immediately-murdered Eve Le Deux in Angels in Springtime.

Lawrence Dobkin also directed Angels Go Truckin'.

William Froug also wrote Angels on the Air, Angel on High, and Homes $weet Homes.

OUR TAKE

Greg's Rating:  Uggg, the dissing of Tiffany begins. She gets almost no lines and her big contribution to the take down is to be tipped over? The Angels all step aside and allow the men (both good and bad) to do all the fighting. Dumb.

Holly's Rating:Review  Why is it necessary to dress as a sniper when you are shooting people on your lawn?

Anna's Rating:    Groom is the bad guy? Surprise. Virtually all the Angels' friends are annoying and have horrible taste in husbands (then again, so do they). This episode had potential to gain a whole extra star if only they allowed the Angels to be the slightest bit competent instead of falling down for no reason, getting defeated by a blanket over the head, and letting supporting characters handle the takedown that should've been theirs. Really only Kelly needed to be in this episode. She could've done all work on her own - it's yet another example of a script with one Angels' worth of content having to be spread out to cover an ensemble show. Unless you're a Kim Cattrall fan and/or Kelly is your favorite Angel, I'd say you could skip this one.