Angels in Springtime


SUMMARY

Aging stage queen Eve LeDeux is taking a late night hot tub dip at the swanky all-female Springtime Spa whilst chatting up cute spa worker Amy and smoking one of those long-ass cigarettes that all aging stars smoke while hot-tubbing. A gloved hand shuts the light offs and manages to electrocute Eve by crossing wires in a fuse box across the room from the tub itself. The show's producers probably didn't have confidence in that explanation either, because in the next scene in the office, Charlie is explaining to everyone that this sort of thing happens all the time.

The client is Eve Perkins, niece of the electrifying star, and boy, is she repressed. She is so repressed that she seems to be wearing a big ugly wig, and big ugly glasses just to look as repressed and awkward as possible. That's commitment! She explains that she believes her aunt was murdered because she was a great Broadway actress and quote, "didn't make mistakes". It seems Eve LeDeux's manuscript of her forthcoming autobiography is MIA, so it's Springtime for the Angels. Charlie arranges for Sabrina to pose as a dietician in the spa kitchen, Kris an excersise instructor and Kelly as a guest, which considering the number of blows Kelly has taken to the head in the line of duty, seems fair.

Once at Springtime, the Angels are introduced to the all-female staff headed by managing director Ms. Ingrid, who is openly rude and nasty from the moment they arrive, making it clear that she doesn't want detectives at her spa. Sabrina and Kris agree they can't trust THAT bitch and off to work they go. Later at the oceanside pool we are introduced to the sarcastic, witty and wheelchair-bound Norma Powers who, like the electocuted Eve, is an aging Broadway legend. Everyone changes into their uniforms for a very helpful orientation meeting covering the Springtime rules in their entirety: first names only; employees are slaves; no fat chicks.

Kris decides to go poking around (while poking out of her booty shorts) and runs right smack into Ms. Ballbreaker herself, Zora, the evil lesbian physical therapist (is there any other kind?) who both threatens and flirts with Kris in the same scene. Sigh.  Meanwhile, Springtime's resident man-hating lesbian physician Dr. Slavin stops Bri in her tracks on the way to orientate new arrival Kelly and,  in the second-creepiest scene in the series' entire run, “interviews” Kelly by telling her how beautiful she is while someone watches through a peephole in the wall. After being both disturbing and blunt to an obviously offended Kelly she offers to hypnotize her. Way to soften her up, doc. Next we are treated to the creepy doctor breathing on her stethoscope to warm it up before physically examining Kelly. Happy new year, slashies!

While Kelly and Kris are being exploited and hit on, Sabrina is walking around with a prop tray of carrots rifling though file cabinets. Too bad she doesn't notice sneaky Zora watching her exit Ms. Ingrid's office after poking around for clues. Kris and Norma bond during an exercise session when the grand dame lets on that she's wise to Kris. It seems that Eve was one of Norma's oldest and dearest friends; she indicates that women like Eve don't, quote, "stumble into death, they are dragged into it kicking and screaming!" Actually, we saw Eve die and she was neither kicking nor screaming, but whatever.

Kelly: "My room is bugged and there's a peep hole in there." Kris: "I'd dress in the closet if I were you."

Ms. Ingrid is being a Superbitch by intercepting phone calls from Bosley and telling her staff all the Angels' business. During a steamy pow-wow in the sauna, Sabrina explains that she found a memo in Ms. Ingrid's file cabinet indicating that Eve's manuscript was, and probably still is, on the property. When Kelly and Bri leave, Kris lingers to continue preening in the heat, thus letting her guard down and opening herself up to attack because she's the blonde and this is Charlie's Angels. A gloved ne'er-do-well padlocks the sauna door and cranks the heat all the way up to thousands of degrees! Luckily, Kelly forgets her watch and doubles back, chancing to observe Zora waddling suspiciously away from the gym, and arrives just in time to smash the lock off the sauna door and rescue a wilted and panting Kris.

Later at dinner, Kelly and Sabrina dine with Norma and Ingrid when suddenly the dining room lights go out. An electrician (Oh, Bosley!) arrives to fix the power problem, and despite his otherwise convincing cover, is made when eagle-eye Norma takes note of his costume's incongruously expensive loafers. In secret, Bos relays to Bri that Amy (that blonde you haven't seen since the lady got electrocuted) has been located and was bribed by Zora to dissapear.

Dr. Slavin interrupts Kelly's dinner and asks her to slip into her private office for some after-dinner hypnotherapy. After a few minutes of hypnotic/seductive murmuring and peculiar face-touching, Kelly bluffs her way into a trance. Dr. Slavin begins to grill her about the "married men in her life" - she plays along and feeds the doctor false info (sadly, not in a Lilybet voice) about having had an affair with a guy named Paul who ended up getting shot by his wife. It seems she's even violent in her faux-subconscious.

Meanwhile, while performing rough back rub duties, Zora and Normal reveal the ultimate blackmailing plot and the truth behind Eve's death - Norma did it, and Zora caught her! She explains that she killed Eve because those memoirs included hideously incriminating - and true - things about her sordid past. Unfortunately, Eve hid the manuscript pre-death, so Norma offers Zora $50,000 to find it.

Still feigning hypnosis, Kelly isn't giving the doctor sufficient information for blackmail, so she fills up a syringe with a little something to help her remember. Kelly springs to life and disarms her before she can be injected, and after a wrestle, captures Slavin in a choke hold.

After a commercial break, an embarrassed-looking Dr. Slavin sits deflated on her own sofa, watching Sabrina and Bosley search her office. They find recorded tapes of all her blackmail hypnotherapy sessions, as well as her little black book - proof that she's guilty of blackmailing guests, but not of murder. The Angels look to Slavin for an explanation of what we already found out in the previous scene.

Alone inside Eve's cottage, Kris has just found that elusive manuscript hidden in a vase. The light from her lamp attracts Zora, who just happens to be taking a brisk shuffle around the grounds in the dark. She kicks the door in and, without a word, begins wrecking both Kris and the room. After being backhanded across the face and sent flying through a balsa wood table, Kris is out cold and thoroughly owned.  Zora then attempts to torture the truth out of her via a nude hot towel wrap. Norma tries to interrogate, but Kris plays dumb, and she's intent on selling it up to the point of death.  Zora is having none of that, and advances with a final boiling towel to suffocate her with.

Not a second too soon, the rest of the gang bursts in for one of the most anti-climatic takedowns ever (Bosley pulls a gun on Zora, and she says nothing). Sabrina and Kelly immediately leave the half dead and par-boiled Kris to go chasing after a apparently not-so-wheelchair-bound Norma.

With Norma successfully subdued and hauled away, the team relaxes back at the office. Eve Perkins (remember her?) reappears sporting a makeover courtesy of Kelly, plus a new attitude and job, which is pretty pointless since we have not seen this character since the first five minutes of the show. The Angels are ecstatic when she announces she's brought a photo of Charlie on stage, only to be disappointed - Charlie's playing Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream and his face is masked. "Oh, Charlie!"

BACKGROUND CHECK

Angels in Springtime Episode #50 Season 3, Episode 4 Airdate: Oct 11, 1978 Writer: William Froug Director: Larry Stewart Guest star: Mercedes McCambridge

FILMING LOCATIONS

The Townsend Agency Office • Springtime Spa

WHAT'D YOU THINK?

Rate this episode:

CURIOSITIES

• Why does Eve (client) think Eve (aunt) was murdered because she was "not careless" and "did not make mistakes"?  Neither a spa's defective wiring nor a deliberate murder would not be a result of a guest's carelessness.

• How was Dr. Slavin "just about to" examine Kelly when she bumped into Sabrina walking away from Kelly's room?

• A peephole is not supposed to be the size of your entire eye socket. How hard did Kelly have to "search" her cabin to spot this giant circle cut out of the wall?

• Why did Ms Ingrid bother writing down Bosley's message if she was going to crumple it?

• If Springtime is so anal about calling everyone by only their first name, why is Dr. Slavin known only by her last name, with a nametag that reads, simply, SLAVIN? (And Sabrina's is DIETITIAN. And Kris doesn't get one.)

• How didn't Kris know who locked her in the sauna, since she looked out the little window just as Zora was turning the steam up? And honestly, would there be any mystery anyway? Let's see - could the culprit be one of the silent nameless background guests, or the big mean lady who already literally threatened to kill her? Hmmm...

• From outside the sauna, Kris is tall enough for her face to be framed in the little window, but inside she's barely tall enough to see through the window at all.

• If she was going to break the lock off one second later anyway, why did Kelly have to shatter that sauna window, showering poor Kris with glass and making her walk barefoot over the shards?

• Why would Miss Ingrid think anyone had brought a flashlight to dinner? Why do women on this show always panic/scream when the lights go out?

• Why does Sabrina uncharacteristically giggle when Norma says "sex"? Was it dubbed, or just awkward?

• One shot of the non-hypnotized Kelly looking at Dr. Slavin is backwards.

• Why did Kelly wait to attack until Dr. Slavin had the needle at her arm? It would have been a lot less dangerous a few seconds earlier when all she was holding was a cotton ball.

• Norma claims to have looked "everywhere" in Eve's cottage for that manuscript. Really? That vase was no mastermind hiding place. It was one of about five objects in the sparsely decorated room.

• The interior of Eve's cottage appears to be played by the set of Kelly's house (which also doubles as the set of Kris' house). Sigh. Can they at least stop decorating it so similarly?

• The photo ostensibly of Charlie is really a film still of Anita Louise and James Cagney from A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935).

BAD GUYS BEAT DOWN

ANGELS BEAT DOWN

SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS

SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS

DAYS TO SOLVE CASE

ANGELS ALMOST COOKED (X2)

TURTLENECKS

CHARACTER DEATHS

FASHION

At Springtime wearing the colors is mandatory; while everyone is hot pink, only some are both hot and pink. The pink, buttcheek-exposee short-shorts Kris is forced to wear the entire episode are indefensible. You just KNOW Dr. Slavin was in charge of wardrobe at Springtime, the old freak.

Anyway, while Cheryl Ladd is being exploited within an inch of her crotch, Kate Jackson is stuck wearing the casual, asexual version of the Springtime employee uniform which makes her look like an Avon lady who was promoted to lab testing work. Only Kelly is spared the Springtime look for the first few scenes at the spa, until it all gives way to a one-shoulder, saggy, braless pink wrap. The sauna scene is a fun time to play "One of These Things is Not Like the Other" as we see Kelly and Kris looking relaxed and perfectly at home in their towels while Sabrina exudes discomfort, draped in toga-like sheets and ceaselessly dabbing her face.

Wardrobe Repeats Kris is back in her militant jumpsuit from Antique Angels and lookin' fine. Sabrina arrives at Springtime wearing a jacket that looks just like one she wore in Angel Come Home but is not, leaving us wondering why anyone would buy both.

Springtime

Antique

THE HOTTEST ANGEL

The annual World Sauna Championships were cancelled in 2010 when a finalist collapsed after six minutes at 110 degrees, and later died of first-degree burns. Seems Kris may be the overlooked world champion - she only seems to notice something amiss as her thermometer passes a toasty 200 degrees, and it's visibly past 500 by the time Kelly arrives to bust her out! Fortunately her tolerance for heat is superhuman, and rather than being boiled into a pinkish mush, she's able to be revived by a little cuddling in a fluffy towel with Kelly.

TIP: If someone ever tries to murder you this way, simply get down on the floor. Hot air rises; the floor in your average sauna is said to remain relatively cool. Well, if you want to get technical, your average sauna also doesn't go up to 600 degrees and anchor all of its controls on the outside, but hey, one never knows.

GERM SALAD

Sabrina apparently has never heard of germs and Springtime has apparently never heard of any health codes or food preparation requirements for their dietitian. Watch disease flourish as Sabrina eats out of the bowl with her bare hands as she is preparing it, then presents it to Ingrid and Norma who both eat out of it with their own previously used forks. Only then does Ingrid grant permission to serve it. (Why is she serving the salad in the middle of dinner, anyway? And there's only enough for like 4 people.)

HOLY CONTINUITY, BATMAN

In a rare display of linear continuity, Kelly and Sabrina talk about a situation from an old case that we actually saw happen (in a non-clip-show context), namely Kelly being hypnotized in The Seance. Barney Rosensweig would be pleased. "I don't like that," Sabrina says, not doing much to hide her lack of confidence in Kelly's mental abilities. Did that book she was reading at the end of The Seance explain how not to get hypnotized? Kelly seems quite confident this time around.

SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS

Okay Angel content, and Kris wins this episode for screen time (but not how she spends it).

  • KELLY
  • KRIS
  • SABRINA
  • BOSLEY
  • HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 81%

ACTION

As usual when faced with lesbian-esqe she-men, Kris tends to lose all martial arts prowess. Kelly redeems the Angels a bit by disarming and capturing Dr. Slavin in a chokehold. Kinda. At the end of the hour Kris is victimized again, taking perhaps the most vicious beating ever bestowed upon any Angel. We've seen them take on larger opponents, but this one just makes you wince as you watch Kris getting picked up and thrown through furniture by a burly opponent 100 lbs. her senior. Kris becomes the only Angel ever hit in the face by a bad guy (gal) and she loses some cool points. At least Sabrina and Kelly were tossed an easy win in the form of a senior citizen attempting to escape via wheelchair.

More Kris fight stats

PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE ANGEL ALERT

Try as she might, Sabrina can't mask her incredulous look when she asks the homely Eve Perkins “You're an actress?” If she had a head shot Kelly would have looked at it and said “She looks very nice” with that coy little smile. Bosley also bitches at Kris for no reason when she tells Eve not to be nervous. ("Perhaps the young lady could tell her story without so much chitchat?") Try to NOT empathize with clients Kris, it's unprofessional.

WHAT'S THEIR YELP RATING LIKE?

"Repeated sexual advances and attempts on my life by staff lower my experience to 2.5 stars. Beautiful grounds & facilities though. Try the lemon salad."

For a swanky, exclusive spa catering to major stars, the staff at Springtime is hella rude to new guests and employees. All three senior staff members are instantly some combination of overtly enamored with and/or needlessly rude to and/or physically violent toward Sabrina, Kris, and Kelly. Zora threatened to snap Kris' neck and tried to burn her to death long before even finding out she was a detective.  How they kept a clientele is beyond us, but they're lucky someone didn't smack the mess out of them. Nell Carter was an aging former Broadway star, let Slavin talk to her like that and watch what happens.

GAYEST EPISODE EVER

Similar to Angels in Chains' Pine Parish, Springtime seems to be run exclusively by murderers/lesbians who want to get with and/or kill the Angels. Every word out of Dr. Slavin's mouth is creepy, before we even know why. When she stands physically blocking the path to Kelly's cottage until Sabrina is out of sight, she has not even met Kelly yet and you already know something uncomfortable is going on. The examination scene that follows is perhaps the gayest scene of the entire series. Even Kelly is visibly weirded out. (Usually they don't make the Angels seem aware they're being hit on.)

It's hard to keep track of the love triangles. Are Dr. Slavin and Zora, planning to "fly to South America or someplace" with their blackmail money, merely partners in crime or also partners in.... other? Was Zora looking through the peephole in Kelly's room because she wanted to see Kelly, or was she keeping an eye on Dr. Slavin out of jealousy? Because if Zora tried to murder Kris for merely walking into her office, it seems like she would have plotted a gruesome demise for Dr. Slavin for hitting on/feeling up the beautiful new guest.

BREAKING COVER 15 MINUTES IN

When Norma tells Kris she knows she is a detective, Kris doesn't even try to salvage her cover. “Who told you?" Aw, Kelly would be proud.

But later, when Kris is being fatally herbal-wrapped, why is she trying to insist that she was just in Eve's room because she's a fan? Norma knew she was a detective half an hour ago. And Kris knew Norma knew. Everybody knew that everybody knew. So why was she playing dumb? "I'm a fan, I was just looking for mementos!" And, regardless, when you're 2 seconds away from being smothered to death, it's time to consider dropping that and maybe try bargaining instead.

REPEAT OFFENDERS

Marie Windsor (Eve LeDeux) later played the mom who sang at Kim Cattrall's wedding in Angels at the Altar.

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

OUR TAKE

Joann's Rating: 5 stars You know things aren’t starting well when there’s an old biddy in a hot tub smoking a cigarette in a holder. Crackle! Crisp! She dead. The Angels are called into an exclusive, yucky pale pink uniform-wearing, all women’s spa to discover who barbequed legendary Broadway actress Eve LeDeux.

Kris is (of course) an exercise instructor. She dons pink tight ass terry cloth short shorts. You should already know what ranking this episode is getting. Sabrina is (of course) the dietician. She wears long, (probably) polyester hot pink pants. Did I just have Sabrina and “hot pink” in the same sentence?

I’m not sure what kind of juice the writers were drinking this week, but whee! Thank you. The lesbian overtones in Springtime are about as unintentionally obvious as they are blatant in Caged Angel. Kelly is a guest. Dr. Slavin (apropos name) is a lesbian. Let’s not beat, er, round th--- Na, I can’t. Dr. Slavin wants to study Kelly. Hmph. Kris, wandering around, runs into Zora, a big gym teach--- I mean physical therapist that would have been equally well cast in "Springtime for Hitler." Truly, I think she moonlighted as a shot put thrower for the East German Olympic team. Hey, it’s still the 70s!

Zora doesn’t like Kris’ pretty little neck. Nor the fact that she’s wandering around looking for the flimsy 10 page manuscript that Norma killed Eve for. Basically she does not like Kris. This means she really DOES like Kris and professes her affection by trying to kill her twice in the most diabolical Hooded Claw/Penelope Pitstop ways you can think of for ABC on a weeknight. Now that I think about it, Penelope may be the prototype for Kris. The only thing I don’t like about this episode is how ingenious and helpless Kris is all at the same time. I can still remember my 11-year-old self upset at Kris flying across the room – pink jeans, pink sweat top to boot – then dragged, prone from the room. All that pink! Like a cotton candy machine went haywire spewing PINKNESS! It was a WTF? childhood scarring moment. But honestly, it was her MO a fair part of her screen time on Charlie’s Angels.

Boy, do I digress….

I never get tired of the Kris locked in a sauna/Kelly rescue. I never get tired of the Shakespearean towel death opus. There are so many towels piled on top of poor, tiny Cheryl Ladd, she looks like a sarcophagus. Not the mummy inside, but the actual sarcophagus. Especially with her hair loosely lain like Tutankhamun’s death mask. It’s a shame Charlie’s Angels never utilized cliffhangers. This scene would have been sensational!

And I never get tired of Norma Powers. Norma's the Broadway has-been looking for Eve’s memoirs which reveal a supposedly scandalous past worth killing for. With real Hollywood star Mercedes McCambridge appearing in this episode, the camp and melodrama soar as she holds court with witty quips delivered with the timing of someone who worked within the studio system during days when writing was king, and brass, haughty women were its queens. Whatever juice the writing staff was on this week, they channeled some of that old magic back into this one.

“Fat is the enemy! Regard it as if it’s a social disease!” Wow, how wonderfully un-PC. If I could give this a 10, I would.

Brolly's Rating: 4 stars One of Charlie's Finest! Not a classic but it comes close which settles it comfortably in Above Average territory. It definitely delivers the cheese. The ingredients for your perusal:

- sauna drama - Kris crossing a room airborne with a little help from the opposition - Kris (poor dear!) being turned into a steaming terry cloth taco - Kelly dealing with a bad, lecherous lesbian and her stethoscope - veeery short shorts

What more could you ask for? Well, world peace, maybe. But you didn't believe to get that from an ep of Charlie's Angels, did ya?

Anna's Rating: 5 stars  It's not that it's a good episode, it's just so... great. With so much that's intended to be titillating, it can feel like a guilty pleasure episode even if you're not watching for creepy reasons. It's creepy. Dr. Slavin could rival Big Aggie, in a way. The stethoscope thing alone is just, wow.

This marks the moment when the decision evidently got made that Cheryl Ladd makes the best damsel in distress. Not only is this hour a medley of attempts on her life, but for the rest of the series she remains the Angel most likely to be injured /drugged /sexually threatened /kidnapped /imprisoned /emotionally scarred and otherwise kept in peril for our enjoyment. I mean she does make the best damsel, but she's also the best fighter (not that you'd know it from this one) and that's a weird combination. With three major fails in one episode, I'm just bothered that she's completely deactivated all of a sudden. The occasional failure is fine, realistic even, but it's cooler if there's a redeeming beatdown at the end of the episode (like Caged Angel). Here she gets flogged into unconsciousness without putting up any resistance at all, which is unusual. Even when she does get captured, she usually gives the attacker(s) a run for their money. Today, nothing.

The creepiest scene of the entire episode is the one we don't see: Kris gets knocked out fully clothed and wakes up in nothing but towels. You can think she undressed herself at gunpoint, if you want. Apparently she has to be naked for this murder method. "I'll drop her in the pool, it'll look like she drowned skinnydipping." (At which point I chuckle because Cheryl's song "Skinnydippin'" starts playing in my head.) One minute she's laid out on a pyre for an elaborate nude pink boiling/suffocation sacrifice, begging for mercy, and then it's just over, and we're back at the office chattering about makeovers. I'd like to see her act embarrassed that they kept finding her 99% of the way to being murdered just as they walked through any given doorway.

Greg's Rating: 3.5 stars This was fun. How could it not be? With all of the suspects and bad guys (women), the aging Broadway stars rivalry, and Norma doing a mean Shelley Winters, scenery is chewed, regurgitated and chewed anew! And don't get me started on lesbian lovers Dr. Slavin and Zora (Ms. Ballbreaker from The Porky's movies) and their scheme to blackmail guests by hypnotizing them and copping a feel once they go under. Awesome stuff. Episodes like this are the exact reason I watch Young and The Restless. With so many over the top performances, offensive stereotypes and inappropriate booty cheek shots, the cheese becomes parody and I'm on board. The mystery about the missing manuscript doesn't really matter as Zora and Dr. Slavin tip their hands early on. The final reveal of the wheelchair-bound Norma as the mastermind and murderer is only kinda surprising (kinda) in that Ms Ingrid is apparently not a murderous evil bitch, but just a regular bitch. By the time Sabrina and Kelly are chasing a wheelchair bound Norma down the driveway in the final takedown, the episode wins you over by sheer gall, nerve, and shamelessness.

It's a shame the writers could not provide the talented and delightful Mercedes McCambridge with better jokes. Her timing and delivery is pitch perfect but she is saddled with lines like “Ladies, I'm actually a 35 year old high jumper!” What? They should have let her write her own shtick like Sammy Davis!