The Mexican Connection


SUMMARY

Pilot Dan Mason and his sister Lori are members of the flight crew for Mexican drug dealer Frank Bartone's private airline until they are seriously injured in a fiery plane crash and heroin is found on Lori's body.

Before you can say Nacho Bel Grande, the Angels are off to Mexico going undercover to infiltrate Bartone's operation. Sabrina is guised as a replacement stewardess who has something going on the side with pilot Jim; Kelly as a vacationing school teacher, and Jill as the new American swim coach for Bartone's teenage daughter, Maria.

Frank Bartone takes an instant shine to sexy school marm Kelly, who catches the Mazatlan rays poolside in a bikini, while Jill enters the scene in a one-piece for a few competitive laps around the pool. Stewardess Sabrina, with Jim in tow, stops by and shares a glass of champagne with Kelly as they watch their fellow Angel go for the gold.

Later follows a gratuitous skin sequence when we're treated to a view of Jill showering in her hotel room. Kelly stops by to swap information, and so does Nick, a horny horny henchman, who's hoping to teach Jill a few new strokes. She gets rid of him by claiming to be in the process of "getting to know" someone else (Kelly, hiding in the bathroom, turns on the shower for proof).

It is soon discovered that the main bad guy to watch is a mysterious drug lord named Escobar who is a rival of Bartone's for title of Biggest Drug Dealer in the Universe. Sabrina and Jim trail the beefy henchman to a dark alley where he performs a secret knock on a bolted door labeled "PROHIBIDA LA ENTRADA", and is then admitted. Bri talks her way inside, only to discover that it's a heroin lab and that Bartone's scam is the smuggling of drugs inside of wine bottles. (See Hitchcock's "Notorious" for a better use of this ploy) The scientist at the lab pulls a gun on Bri, but Jim comes to the rescue by knocking him unconscious.

Jill, who's been staying as a guest in Bartone's mansion, snoops around her host's office with a flashlight and bumps into her pupil Maria along the way. While hiding behind a sofa with Jill, Maria confides that she's worried her father's cellar might have more in it than just wine.

Maria: "Jill, thanks for everything - you're an angel."

When all three Angels are invited to a cocktail party at Bartone's compound, Jill picks the lock on Bartone's desk and swipes the key to the wine cellar. Jim gets Sabrina to sneak down to the vault, too, so they can look for bottles of a certain vintage which contain the heroin crystals they'd discovered at the lab. Kelly keeps Mazatlan's police chief Colonel Morales busy dancing for most of the night while the other two are poking around.

Sabrina finds one of the bottles, but Jill accidentally drops it, shattering heroin all over the cellar floor. Before they can clean it up, bad guy footsteps approach. Jill conceals herself as well as a 4-year-old playing hide and seek, and is immediately discovered by Frank Bartone and the henchman. After some fast talking, she manages to convince her host that she is actually working for the infamous Escobar, who is scheduled to rendezvous in the LA marina the following day. They buy the cover, and Jill makes out with the henchman to allow the lurking Sabrina to escape the cellar undetected.

Upstairs at the party, the corpse of the lab scientist is delivered in a crate decorated as a giant gift for Bartone. (Most would prefer strippers jumping out of boxes at parties, but to each his own.)

Everyone jets back to Los Angeles, and Jill leads Bartone and his men into a trap at the marina set by the feds, who see all the shootout action as Kelly, Jill and Bos look on in relative safety.

Finally, when Sabrina reveals to everyone that Jim (duh) is Escobar, he pulls a gun and tries to take Sabrina hostage, but she's able to knock the gun out of his hand. After a thwarted escape, he gets whacked in the gut with a rowboat oar and thrown into the ocean by Jill for his deception.

BACKGROUND CHECK

The Mexican Connection Episode #2 Season 1, Episode 2 Airdate: Sep 29, 1976 Writer: Jack V. Fogarty Director: Allen Baron

WHAT'D YOU THINK?

Rate this episode:

CURIOSITIES

• Sped up film is used when Jill is swimming the race against Maria's coach.

• Jill's still stuck in early Season 1 Chrissy Snow mode with lines like: “My goose bumps are so big I can't tell which ones are the real me.” She doesn't redeem herself any with her clumsy handling of the wine bottle asking Sabrina, “What are we going to do?” after SHE drops the heroin-filled bottle. Hey, Jill how about start with 'don't drop bottles” and go from there.

• Why is Maria hiding under a desk in the dark due to being worried about her father...?

• Jill starts her trend of making bizarre, slightly offensive ethnic jokes by saying to a Spanish man “You bet your burrito” instead of simply saying “yes”.

• Is Sabrina insinuating that Jill is a druggie? "You'll like these bottles - they're filled with heroin."

• Watch the General turn Kelly away when the corpse box is opened, whereas Sabrina comes over with the men to take a look and no one does anything to prevent it.

• After disarming and beating Jim Escobar with a rowboat oar and throwing him into the water, Sabrina insists that Kelly throw a net over him for absolutely no logical reason. Why doesn't he simply swim away?

BAD GUYS BEAT DOWN

BIMBOS

SHOTS FIRED AT ANGELS

SHOTS FIRED BY ANGELS

DAYS TO SOLVE CASE

BIKINIS

TURTLENECKS

CHARACTER DEATHS

FASHION

Sabrina spends most of the episode in a stewardess uniform except for when she changes into a white two-piece dress/pantsuit thing that looks like something Dorothy from The Golden Girls would have worn when she was in her twenties. Jill and Kelly can't help but look smashing while vacationing south of the border, be it chilling by the pool in flattering bathing suits or dazzling bad guys at Escobar's party in formal wear. Farrah makes her first and only appearance in swimwear (unless that pseudo-half-bikini thing in The Prince and the Angel counts).

Wardrobe Repeat Sabrina wears the same white thing again in Lady Killer, and an extra at the marina wears the same blue jogging suit often seen on Bosley.

The Mexican ConnectionThe Mexican Connection The Mexican ConnectionLady Killer

THE KISSING KIND

This episode marks the series' first fauxmance - Sabrina and client/suspect Jim Taylor seal the deal by making out in front of some lady just to sell the part. This is the series' first Angel kiss - and the second one comes in this same episode, in the form of Jill distracting a henchman. These are the only two times Angels kissed guys solely for the case, with no feelings attached. It's possible that producer feedback suggested this cast the girls in an iffy light, because Angels were forevermore given at least some level of genuine interest in the guys they kissed.

In fact, this whole episode is one of the most thoroughly adult, rife with double entendres from every character (ranging from funny to icky to wow please stop) and aggressive advances being made on the Angels both verbally and physically by men in whom they have no interest. The first season was more that way in general due to its later timeslot compared with the rest of the show, but the earliest episodes are most severe.

OVERUSED ANGEL CHIME

Like so many other early Season 1 episodes, the Angel chime sounds any time an Angel enters a room, has an idea, says something clever, hears/makes an Angel pun, or simply transitions to the next scene.

SCREEN TIME ANALYSIS

Jill wins, but not by a landslide.

  • KELLY
  • JILL
  • SABRINA
  • BOSLEY
  • HOW MUCH OF THE EPISODE HAS AT LEAST ONE ANGEL/BOSLEY IN IT 75%

ACTION

The Angels spend the majority of this episode flirting with bad guys, hiding behind couches and breaking into wine cellars and heroin labs. Besides a yawn inducing swim competition, the only other action occurs at the end - first with the feds shooting it out with Bartone's men on a boat, and finally with the Angels giving Jim Escobar a swimming lesson, net and all.

EARLY ANGEL PROFILES

The Mexican Connection is one of those few early episodes that still make sure to adhere the Angels to their original writers' guidelines.

Jill, as "the athletic one," shows off her characteristic abilities in the swimming pool. Her character profile says nothing about her being a dumb blonde, but she sure was written as one initially. In fact Kelly - who's supposed to be slick and streetwise - kinda even treats her like she's stupid here (although her air-headed lines seem to happen mostly in office scenes; she still performs well in the field). Once the show gets better established and everybody settles on their personalities, these two sorta trade IQ's, with Jill becoming more serious and jet-set while Kelly, except for isolated occasions, isn't always the brightest crayon in the box.

Sabrina checks her "Smart One" box by solving the case all by herself, and her "Multiligual Angel" box by speaking a little Spanish. If you ask us, one Spanish sentence at the level you'd learn on your first day in a high school foreign language class, and then a few equally simple French ones later in Magic Fire, really don't earn Sabrina that title very well.

BIMBO REPORT

Some babe in ski-esque attire (because they’re supposed to be in Aspen) drapes herself over Charlie. His leg is in a cast for some reason that is made to sound pervy. Later he’s laid out and making some of the series’ most uncomfortable double entendres, and the same babe comes and starts audibly making out with him, ending the case on an extremely unprofessional  note.

Read our article on Charlie's Bimbos

REPEAT OFFENDERS

Cesare Danova (Bartone) later played Franco in Terror on Skis.

Edward Power (Jim/Escobar) later played Murdock in Hours of Desperation.

Dante D'Andre (the butler) later played Eric in Angel in Love.

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.

Jack V. Fogarty also wrote Angels on Wheels.

OUR TAKE

Kenny's Rating: 5 Stars I love the location of this episode set in sunny Mexico. The Angels look beautiful. This is the only episode where Jill appears in a bathing suit; she plays a swimming coach to a girl whose father is smuggling heroin, Kelly plays a vacationing teacher for an all girls school and Sabrina plays a stewardess. Great covers for the Angels and a twist at the end. Fun stuff!

Holly's Rating: 5 Stars Jetting off to a remote location is always exciting, and this one is done exceptionally well - it's fun, slightly mysterious and intriguing; plus the takedown at the end is a well-formed group effort.