Angels on Ice
Part 1: The Angels and Bosley are whiling away a relaxing Sunday at an ice show watching a stock footage chorus line routine from days gone by. As the credits roll and Bos steals Kelly's candy apple, you start to realize “Angles On Ice” sounds like a Sabrina-themed drink offered at Devereux's. As the Angels exit the arena, arm-in-arm, Bosley explains that Max (Phil Silvers), an old friend of Charlie's, is the owner of the ice show and also (shocker) happens to be the victim of a recent break-in where nothing was actually stolen, but some files were disturbed.
Well, you know how much our Angels love disturbing files, so they agree to meet Max in the morning to see if they can figure out who's behind the break-in.
Skating super couple Jack and Helene, two American kids, practice one of their numbers which includes melodramatically looking longingly into each others' eyes. Unbeknownst to them, their hurl-inducing display of love is being observed by Billy, the resident semi-retarded handyman / ice show towel provider. After a rather incriminating phone conversation wherein Billy alludes to a plot to kidnap Helene, whom he seems to obsess over, Billy brings Helene a tiny Dixie cup of water for her asthma medication and you just know that Helene's asthma is going to figure into the plot at some point because Charlie's Angels doesn't introduce character details like that concerning its main cast much less a guest star.
Outside, Billy approaches a big blue limousine which drops off a paper bag full of money to our short-bus riding handyman. All this is observed by a drunk sleeping it off on the side of the arena grounds and you start to realize that Charlie's friend Max has zip when it comes to security or surveillance at his popular L.A. sports arena. Soon after, we spy Jack and Helene making out on a nasty, germ-infested bench in the locker room but then are rudely interrupted and nabbed by goons wearing Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter masks.
Cut to the office where Max is busy shouting at Charlie and making sexist comments about the “three cheerleaders and a guy who inhales nuts” the Townsend Agency has provided to help him. Max explains that in six days he officially opens the season and that his two big stars (Jack and Helene, two American kids) have disappeared and that Jack was having a secret (not so secret) affair with Helene. So after more bellowing from Phil Silvers, Charlie instructs the Angels to “find out why they are missing” - so much for covers or further directions.
Kris strikes first with the standard Angel ploy of going back stage of an Ice Show/Beauty Show/Magic Show/Vegas Show/Film Production and questioning/insulting a fellow dancer/skater/hooker to get information on the case. In this case, Kris ends up talking to Jack's bitter, sorta devastated wife who he'd been cheating on with Helene.
Sabrina comes upon a distressed Billy talking to Helene's picture and presents herself as a representative of the conglomerate that is set to buy the Ice show from Max. As per usual, Sabrina pushes her luck with one too many Helene questions and ends up almost getting slammed by a laundry-cart-wielding Billy. Did we mention he was a bit off?
As we check in on the kidnapped hostages, we find that Jack and Helene (two American kids…ok, last time) are being held at a shady looking warehouse. The skating hostages explain to their masked abductors that Helene really, really needs her asthma pills and the kidnappers remove their masks and - speaking in horrible Hollywood faux Arab accents - agree to drive to Helene's apartment and get her meds. On the way they (riding in the big blue limo) pull up to the arena and snatch a loitering security guard - once again in full view of the drunk who is still lounging on the side of the building.
Back in Max's office, Sabrina suggests Billy as a suspect but Max objects; Charlie suggests Sabrina check out Helene's apartment (seems like they probably should have started there) and Kelly and Kris decide to try out for the ice chorus.
Meanwhile, our faux Arab bad guys are training a robotic man and woman to shoot at melons, later dropping them off (from the big blue limo) at the ice rink right in front of (wait for it) the drunk bum. Turns out the melon murdering assassins are going to try out for the ice show, too, conveniently just in time to replace the missing Jack and Helene. Robo-Couple performs an impressive try-out routine in front of Max, Billy, Kris and Kelly, and are hired on the spot as are Kelly and Kris after giving the show's gay director Alvin a slew of ridiculous compliments.
Sabrina pokes around Helene's digs and runs right smack dab into one of the bad guys who had stopped by to get the asthma meds wearing a gorilla mask. After a brief battle, Bri is locked in a closet, managing to thrash her way to freedom, where she jumps off the balcony and chases the gorilla-masked bad guy in a stolen flower truck. He gets away after Bri crashes into a patrol car and gets arrested.
After being bailed out of jail for grand theft auto, breaking and entering and felony littering, Bri takes a ribbing from her co-workers the Angels conclude that Helene must have been kidnapped.
The next day at practice, director Alvin lets Kris know she is no Jill Munroe on skates and she's demoted to the rank of ice clown. Back at the warehouse, Helene is administered her meds and the Arabs discuss their next step which somehow involves fixing the Americana-themed show's prop muskets to fire real bullets! The head musket maker Iggy (Mr. Magoo himself, Jim Backus) is working on said muskets while Kelly questions him.
Sabrina discovers the drunk bum outside the arena and bribes him for info by taking him out and getting him even more drunk. He reveals that he noticed the limo's license plate spelled DIPLOMAT. The next day the bad guys kidnap their final target - prop master Mr. Howell, er… Iggy. Max discovers Iggy missing and immediately hires the bad guy who kidnapped him (now revealed to be named 'Durgess') who gets the job because one of the assassin skaters says he is her cousin. Part 1 closes with Durgess rigging the prop guns to fire live rounds.
Part 2: Per Spelling Law, the first fifteen minutes of Part 2 are a rehash of Part 1. After the extended instant replay, the second half kicks off with Olga and Luigi (the evil ice assassins) messing up the rehearsal routine by pointing their sticks in the arena's section D East instead of the correct choreography. Kelly cleverly senses something is amiss and asks Max about that section of coliseum's seating - seems it is reserved for the show's special visiting guests, some Middle Eastern oil people.
While questioning Billy, Kris is offered a home cooked spaghetti and meatball dinner awkwardly describing his sexual meatball prowess (he can put four in his mouth at one time, but for Kris he will try five.) After none too many meatballs, Billy freaks the hell out at his second nosy Angel in as many episodes and tearfully spills the beans on the kidnapping.
Kelly interviews the same bum about the limo just as said limo pulls up - this leads to fast-thinking Miss Garrett whipping out her Jive Talking Angel skill and charming passing super fly motorcycle rider Jo Jo (from the downtown side) into following the limo. A Disco Angel action music limo/hog chase ensues with Kelly ending up at a Arabian restaurant. After slipping Jo Jo a twenty and slappin' five, Kelly infiltrates the eatery by grabbing a sexy harem outfit and belly dancing her way right into the Arabs' dinner conversation. Topic? Section D East. What luck! After a wardrobe - well, veil malfunction - she was doin' fine until the up tempo number - Kelly is discovered by Durgess and his boys as an impostor belly dancer. She is duly thrown into the increasingly crowded creepy warehouse that is also holding Jack and Helene, the guard and Iggy.
While Sabrina and Kris fret at the office over the missing Kelly, Durgess insists to Max and Alvin that he and only he will distribute the muskets to the performers. Back at the warehouse, Kelly and her fellow detainees compare notes and figure out the plot to assasinate global oil people sitting in section D East by the ice skating robots Luigi and Olga!
As the curtain goes up, Bosley is undercover as a hot dog vendor and Sabrina is passing out programs while the oil people arrive for their scheduled execution in full turban. As Bosley, Kris and Sabrina try to figure out what is going on at the show, Kelly and her brethren come up with an ingenious escape by catapulting Kelly through the warehouse's skylight. With some help from Billy, Kelly manages to make it back on ice in time for her big number, not missing a beat even though she skipped a whole day's practice belly dancing, joy riding with Jo Jo and being chloroformed.
As Bosley and Bri take their positions at the side of the rink, clown Kris at the last moment figures out the assassination plot and with Kelly's help, manages to subdue Olga and Luigi just at the moment they're about to fire their muskets into the crowd. Sabrina and Bosley seem to have a bit more trouble with Durgess and his lackey at ringside but thanks to the timely intervention of a more lucid Billy plus Bosley's signature hot dog cart to the face maneuver, the Arabian bad guys are vanquished. That is, of course, until Marathon Angels.
WHAT'D YOU THINK?
• The need to begin Part II of any episode with a recap of Part I is obvious, but when about a third of Part II is recap, it makes you wonder why this had to be a 2 parter in the first place.
• Kris is told she is not good enough a skater to be in the chorus, but can work as a clown on skates, even though one would think being a clown on skates would actually require more skill not less . . .
• Once again security in the Angelverse is beyond awful. Even after star skaters are kidnapped in broad daylight the very same limo is able to come back the next day and pull the exact same stunt by kidnapping the security guard.
• Why does Sabrina wear that red shirt for 2 consecutive days?
• Why do the bad guys have to point their sticks in the assassination-direction even during rehearsal? Seems like an awfully big giveaway - in fact, that was what got their plot foiled. Couldn't they just rehearse the choreography correctly, and then simply visually locate the Arabs during the final show?
• Why would elite members of a Middle Eastern oil conglomerate travel to Los Angeles to see a Americana-themed ice skating performance?
• Speaking of the show, if it is supposed to be some big salute to America, why are they staging this in 1977, post-bicentennial?
• The Arabian bad guys are walking cliches. They eat at an Arab restaurant complete with sword-wielding body guard, they listen to Arab music and watch belly dancers. One would think they may want to get a taste of the local culture since they can probably get better Arabian food and music at home, but whatever.
• In one shot of Kelly's foot on the teeter-totter thing, the film's color is adjusted oddly so that her I Dream of Jeannie pants are purple instead of green.
• When Kelly is escaping the warehouse and is catapulted to the skylight you can clearly see her shadow on the “sky”.
• Billy's apartment houses a disturbing shrine to Helene complete with pictures of the abducted skater adorning his walls. The show was never subtle when depicting this type of character.
BAD GUYS BEAT DOWN
SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS
SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS
DAYS TO SOLVE CASE
The Angels all look fabulous in their casual yet smart outfits worn to the ice show in the show's opening moments, and go on to spend most of the episode undercover - Kelly as a belly dancer and then chorus line skater; Kris in her ice-clown costume and Sabrina in a yellow windbreaker hawking peanuts and programs.
Wardrobe Repeat Sabrina gets attacked by a guy in a gorilla mark while dressed as Where's Waldo (which she'll wear again for Sammy Davis Jr.).
|Angels on Ice||Sammy Davis, Jr.|
EARNING HER HALO
This is Kris' first real case (with a client and everything) and we must take a moment to give her credit for solving it pretty much single-handedly. And it wasn't just coming up with the solution while sitting around the office brainstorming - she solved it at the very moment that drastic action was required, namely diving into the finale of a performance and knocking over some of the skaters, thus saving at least several lives. That'd take guts even if it were her 100th case. (Can you imagine how bad it would have been if she were wrong? She'd be demoted to the receptionist desk next to Kim Basinger, and Alvin the choreographer probably would've dropped dead.) You go, little Munroe.
Not only does the skating Rockettes footage look to be about 10 years older than the show, but they keep using it again and again. The shots of the audience reactions seen here would be re-used from time to time for the remainder of the series run (see Pretty Angels All in a Row and Mr. Galaxy)
During the opening conference an over-excited blonde is playing Pong with Charlie. Plus she's actually tastefully dressed in a sweater (unless she's not wearing pants..) making this one of the least sexy bimbo interludes ever.
Later some girl is sitting on Charlie's desk building a house of cards. She's only visible from the boobs down so we can't tell if it's Pong Girl again and she's just multi-talented. But this is Charlie, so why would it be?
SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS
Kelly gets over 10 minutes more than the other girls - although there's plenty of time to play with, this being a two-parter. Angel content isn't stellar, but considering the recap alone was 15 minutes, it could've been worse.
- HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 70%
A bunch. Once you sit through the endless stock footage scenes of ice dancers from the 60's, you will be treated to Kelly and passerby Jo Jo (from the downtown side) in a motorcycle chase; Sabrina gets into a fight with a gorilla, steals a truck and gets arrested; and Kelly once again proves why she is the resident escape artist with a surprisingly well executed airborne escape from a warehouse and then breaks back in to the ice show with the help of Billy.
The final takedown occurs on ice during the main show and the Angels prove once again that if you're a bad guy and need a beat down they will do it in private or in full view of the ticket holding public. The end results are the same. Bosley sees some action as he contributes to the take down at the end by smashing his hot dog box into a bad guy's face, while Sabrina simultaneously loses another fight.
It's almost as if there was a special effort to include nearly all of Charlie's Angels' favorite un-PC stereotypes into a single episode. We've got a gay guy, a slow guy, and a whole bunch of Arabs to boot. You wouldn't think this show would find more than one episode to fill with sheikhs for no real reason, but they'll be back bigger, better, and more offensive in Marathon Angels.
Not only is Alvin the choreographer effeminate and flustered about his ice show (as all gay choreographers are), he also is vain enough to hire unqualified skaters Kelly and Kris just because they compliment him on the color of his outfit. “They are perfection!” he exclaims after watching Olga and Luis skate. “Just like me." Wow, what an original take on a gay character!
DISCO ACTION MUSIC
The exciting disco action music is used for the first time in this episode replacing the slower jazz/funk action music from Season 1. This same music cue would be used again and again for the remainder of the year during car chases, shoot outs and bad guy beat downs, thus representing the single most effective action music on the show.
Timothy Carey also played Burt in The Blue Angels.
Lee Delano also played a bad guy in Angels on Vacation and the apparent bad guy Dancin' Angels.
James Gammon: Special Billy also played the drinky Gates in Angels in the Stretch.
Bob Kelljan also directed Terror on Ward One, Angels on the Run, Angels in Vegas, and Marathon Angels.
Greg's Rating: Although the international terrorist attempting to assassinate foreign dignitaries plot felt kind of epic for an episode of Charlie's Angels, the complex plot of replacing ice skaters with assassins seemed silly and unnecessary. Still, enough was going on to warrant a two hour outing.
All of the guest stars were very well cast, the exception being the wooden acting of Olga and Luisi, but they were played by actual skaters, not actors. The bad guys were stereotypical Arab villains who even catch a belly dance show at the local Arabian restaurant.
All three Angels have important parts to play in the plot and manage to shine individually or as a team. The two hour format also allowed the writers to include action, mystery and comedy all successfully incorporated to make the episode entertaining on many different levels.
Anna's Rating: 2-parters are often 1 hour's worth of content stretched disastrously thin, but this one actually has enough stuff going on to justify its length (well, it's still a tad repetitive and filler-y, but not nearly as bad as some others). Actually, the length of the recap in Part II makes me wonder what this episode looked like when it originally aired in once piece, because all I know is the chopped-up syndicated version. Was it 90 minutes instead of 120, or was there lots of filler that got cut out? If the latter, maybe it's actually better in syndication. Either way, this is the last genuinely good two-parter in my opinion.
Anyway, we've got brand-new rookie Kris saving the day and earning her spot on the team. We've got an uncharacteristically goofy Sabrina getting arrested for chasing a gorilla in a stolen fruit truck. Kelly's the star of this episode though, and she shines bright. My favorite is that she actually gets to be smart and resourceful, which is kinda rare; her jive-talking is probably the feat that most justifies her title of The Streetsmart One; the belly-dancing scene is probably one of Kelly's most iconic moments. Finally, special mention for JoJo (from the downtown side), one of the best one-scene wonders this show has ever seen.
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