The Lancer Fanfiction Archive

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Helen Cooper (Coop)

 

 

Episode Commentary:
Buscaderos
A review for Buscaderos
For those of you who don't know me, via the various Lancer sites, the following reviews were, for the most part, written during a heightened period of seismic (earthquake) activity that struck my home town of Christchurch between September 2010 and January 2012. So hopefully, that will put into context the various somewhat hysterical  references to earthquakes that are made in several of the reviews. Writing them was, in essence, my coping mechanism for dealing with my world (and house) shaking apart.  So hopefully, that will go some way to explaining my slightly, irreverent, self indulgent look at the episodes reviewed; for which I make absolutely no apology! I'm sure a shrink would have a field day...

 

(With thanks to Suz for the Eye Candy)

http://www.peterbrown.tv/lancercoop14.jpg



Ok, I said I wasn't gonna do this but seeing as we are shaking again and I needed a distraction I thought I would get this last review written. Especially as this eppy is such a keeper…hopefully this won't detract from any serious discussions on this wonderful episode. This is, as usual, with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

 But one could be forgiven for getting confused at the start of this eppy…cuz, what? Has Val Crawford gone rogue? Has Luke Sickles been resurrected from the grave? And has Glory gained a few pounds and dyed her hair brown? Nope of course not, it's just the Hollywood ` recycle an actor' scheme…and hey, Coop ain't complainin' when it comes to Warren Oates. The man was a legend…

 So, ok, we kick off with ominous music and see a whole bunch of mean lookin hombres ridin' through the San Joaquin countryside, so we know that things are gonna get rough. Oh goodie…Coop's excited ‘cuz we MIGHT get some hurt/comfort (imagine for arguments sake I haven't seen this eppy the gazillion times I have actually seen it).

 But lets stretch reality here. We get the impression that this merry bunch have traveled for quite a while and yet Violet is only NOW getting curious about what's under that tarpaulin in the very wagon she's ridin' in. You REALLY expect us to believe that you haven't already taken a sneaky peak, love? I mean, c'mon. And doesn't the "Property of US Army" afford you even the teensiest little clue? Sheessh…. But no Drago has to ride back to satiate her curiosity at last (well of course, we all need to know what the eppy is about don't we – clever Mr. Writer…)

 So Violet demands, " What's the scheme you've got hatched up? Drago, you don't satisfy my curiosity, I won't sleep tonight and if I don't sleep then you won't…" Wait, a minute here. How's that supposed to be an incentive for him to tell her? Surely he would be DELIGHTED at the prospect of them both not sleeping so that they could pursue other…err…pursuits…but wait, Drago clearly knows something we don't as, faced with that prospect of some bedroom gymnastics he doesn't hesitate in revealing what's below the tarp (Hmm. Maybe old Drago bats for the other side? Could explain why he tolerates Chappell…oh wait, we don't know about him yet…my bad. Moving on...)

 So the tarp is removed and gadzooks, it's a gattling gun. Oh dear oh dear, that's not good….  Yep, Drago tells Violet, that there gun is gonna get him three things, Money, Mexico and somebody else…hmmm, well it don't take a rocket scientist does it that all three are gonna begin with M…Of course, its Murdoch …………

 KIDDING. Got y'all there didn't I?

Of course, it's actually Maria ……….Well who else could it be?!…. I'm stumped…

 So next scene, we have Jelly blustering and bitching about being a top cow hand and not being a namby pamby glorified cleaner…just cuz Teresa's been away (S'ok, clever Mr. Writer finds a way to tell us Elizabeth Baur wasn't contracted for this eppy). But he's actually not talking to Murdoch, he's rehearsing what he would have said if he actually had a spine…and Murdoch wasn't 6 ft 5 and his boss…

 So Coop suddenly sits bolt upright because his gorgeousness enters the scene. Jelly gets all ornery because he has been ignored (I'm with you Scott, I would likely ignore him too) So Jelly petulantly asks Scott where he is going and in typical, wonderful gorgeous sardonic Scott style he informs the old goat "Out to Milk a Cow" (now THAT I would actually like to see).

 But no, of course, that's not where he is going, as Jelly (acting again as the writer's mouthpiece) explains. No, in actual fact he is going to the high country to see if the cattle have got to the spring grass, and Scott's all upset because that was supposed to be Johnny's job but he's currently gallivanting around the seven hills of San Francisco (strike two for Jelly – we know Johnny is not around either)   

 So Scott quips back " Well, why tell you what you already know."

 He goes to leave but Jelly tells him that he may as well go out without his trousers on…. (Pause there for a very pleasant image…Coop is in a happy place imagining that little visual…well, maybe not so little...Again moving SWIFTLY on...)   Sadly, Jelly doesn't mean it literally. I mean that would be so…well, WRONG .  No, he is referring to the fact that Scott was fixing to go out sans gun belt and weapon. Whoops....

Scott, suitably chastised, straps on said belt and tells Jelly to inform Murdoch where he has gone. 

 But oh no, in the background, we see a mean looking hombre. There is trouble afoot. Coop's shouting madly at the screen "He's behind you! He's behind you! (Yeah, what can I say, I was raised on pantomimes)   but sadly, neither the gorgeous one nor the daft old Coot can hear her…. Instead Jelly is still acting as the writer's narrator by telling Scott he is as viperfish as his father, and this time has recruited Scott to help him as Scott reveals, " he's always like that when he has to pay his taxes." So, thanks Mr. Writer, we now know that neither Teresa, Murdoch nor Johnny are at home. And we now know there is at least one mean hombre on the scene…. oh heck. Gorgeous one is in danger…. oh goodie. Ahem, I mean, oh dear…. that's terrible…. (I think I got away with that…Phew).

 So Scott heads out and through the gate, I am assuming, to the stable but suddenly finds himself surrounded by several armed men (and believe me, there need to be several of them to take the gorgeous one. He's a tough lad). He turns around very prettily…. and has the good sense to look rather…erm…concerned…especially when they shut the gates and we know the poor lamb is just about to get a pounding (Coop is on hand with wet sponges and other assorted instruments assured to give comfort and smooth away his hurts)

Cue Tax Office…. and the Tax Man makes a very thin (and very old, even for 1870) joke that only taxmen would find funny. Murdoch sure as heck ain't laughing.  Me, I'd have decked him.... Murdoch shows remarkable restraint...   

So we have yet another Sheriff in town (they obviously got rid of Sheriff Sam after his appalling handling of the Samuel Calhoun case) and at least this guy looks more sheriff like…. and he takes up the story narrative baton from Jelly and tells us that they are storing the $10,000 tax money for the weekend in the safe and that he has ordered extra deputies (Presumably from the local branch of "deputies `r' us"). Oh ho…anyone else putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 4 (I checked that on my calculator by the way, it is correct) Yep, methinks that this could be what Drago et al could be after…perchance?  I know, I really am a clever old stick for working that out, aren't I?

 Well, old Murdoch needs a drink after paying those old taxes (Don't blame him, I feel the same way every time I pay a bill). But just as he steps out, heck, all hell breaks loose with the arrival of Drago and his hombres, shooting up the town.  Now, Murdoch just stands there staring like a possum caught in the headlights and I couldn't help thinking why he didn't jump for cover like all the other sensible residents of Morro Coyo or whatever town he is currently in (I am assuming its Morro Coyo) but suddenly, when we catch sight of a small boy and his petite mother, the penny drops. Of course, he's awaiting his moment to be a hero. Silly me…

As the crazed banditos hurtle down the street, Murdoch leaps across and almost flattens this poor unsuspecting woman and her son who are nowhere NEAR in danger of being run down, and if that's enough, he stays on them for far longer than necessary, almost suffocating them both with his 6 ft 5 frame….sheesh….

As the `baddies' do one more circuit of Main Street, we see them roll a body off the back of the cart. Oh dear, it's Jelly…. (snicker)  which means the Scottster is on his OWN out at the ranch. Oh goodie…I mean...oh cripes...!

 So back in the sheriff's office, Jelly is lying on down with a wet cloth on his head. So no damage then if that's where he got beaten.... Murdoch asks if anyone else was hurt and the Sheriff replies no (he didn't want to tell Murdoch about the poor woman with several fractured ribs and that her son would likely never walk again) 

 So Murdoch's stumped. Wonders what the bad guys could possibly be after. Ermmm…Murdoch, I thought you were supposed to be a SMART man…anyway, motor mouth Jelly, the Writer's pet, is on hand to tell him that Drago and his merry men want $10,000 or they're gonna shoot up all the local livestock and ranches. Now isn't that a coincidence? They want $10,000 and it just so happens that was the EXACT sum collected in taxes…well I never…will wonders never cease…. contrived Mr. Writer, VERY contrived…  

 Now at this point, we have the worst extra's in Hollywood gathered at the door. I think they were given the direction of `muttering loudly' to give the impression of a panicked assembled crowd of townsfolk. Well, either most of the extras were dispersed on other westerns on the Burbank lot that day or some bright spark thought that three men who could mutter very loudly would suffice as a panicked crowd. Well, all I can say is, how the actor playing the sheriff kept a straight face when he said his line about the townsfolk panicking if this all got out (or words to that affect) I will never know. If I was wearing one, I would take my hat off to the man...

 So back at the hacienda (you thought I was gonna say `back at the ranch' didn't ya? Well, I can't be predictable now can I…?)

The bad guys are gorging on the ample provisions provided by the Lancer kitchen, and Violet shows up all prettied up (well, in her opinion) but is soon brought back down to earth with a dull thud by Drago who tells her `yella ain't her color". I have to agree…

Violet retorts "Men lie. Mirror's don't." Err…Violet, I hate to break it to ya but….

 But anyway, it was Drago who told her to pretty herself up in anticipation of meeting a special someone…hmmm…wonder who that could be?

The gorgeous one is dragged out and `introduced' as Johnny Madrid. Now here, again, is where reality is stretched to its limits. Johnny Madrid is this well-known, notorious half Mexican gunfighter. Who has lived his life down on the California/Mexico border? So Drago drags out this fair haired, blue eyed, man who any fool can see does NOT wear his gun low on his hip and speaks with a very obvious Eastern and refined accent. S'ok, Drago ain't that smart, and maybe he's so blinded with his jealousy…. hmm…tenuous Mr. Writer, very tenuous but I'll play along…for now…

 So, as soon as Violet sets eyes on Scott she breathes… "Johnny…” Now of course, this is for dramatic effect. Its there to cement Drago's impression that he has the `right' man but also its conceivable that reminded of that name from her past, Violet would utter that name, even though it is obvious that this is not the man before her.

 Poor Scott has been slung unceremoniously, all tied up and very nicely ruffled, and a tad beat up (Coop is waiting off set with her wet sponge and her witch hazel) looking very bemused

http://www.peterbrown.tv/lancercoop15.jpg


It took a while for Coop to notice that expression as usually her eyes were drawn to the substantial amount of skin exposed due to that wonderfully and deliciously open shirt. Took a LOT of self-discipline and pausing and rewinding to notice that facial expression…See, aren't you impressed by my dedication to the cause?   Nope? Thought not....

Violet recovers her wits and is quick to point out to Drago that this is not Johnny. But Drago ain't listening. He tries to impress us all with the fact that he has done his homework and found out that Johnny Madrid has turned from the gun when his Daddy asked him to come home and play rancher like some story book prince. But, nope, Drago wouldn't have gotten a passing grade. Creepy Chappell would though as, he quite rightly points out, this could be the wrong man. There were two sons. Give that man a peanut…

 Scott agrees, telling him "he's got the wrong man…"

 But Violet, suddenly pipes up “Don't Johnny, you can't bluff your way out of this one" Ok, so what are you up to girly?! Oh, of course, we still have two thirds of the eppy to get through yet….  can't spoil it yet...

 But Scott insists " I'm Scott Lancer"

 Now, clearly Drago ain't that smart because faced with the evidence that there is a second brother and the fact that this blond haired, blue eyed, Bostonian sounds no more like a cowboy than I do (no smart comments thank you) is actually TELLING him that he is NOT Johnny Madrid but, is in fact SCOTT Lancer, says "Maybe. Or maybe you just don't like the odds around here, huh?" Heck Drago...

So smarmy Chappell suggests a way to sort it all out once and for all; put a gun in his hand and see if he is Madrid. He asks what the other guys think. He is met with stony silence. Way to go Chappell…. yep, they all see what you are…. shudder (and we are talking 19th century opinion here, not modern)

But, well, despite not having any friends, clever Chappell clearly is the `brains' of the operation and would appear to win either way with his suggestion – if the man before them is Madrid, he is assured of old Drago ending up with a bullet between the eyes and by default, Chappell ends up in charge. If not, his blood lust is satiated anyway with the killing of the gorgeous one. And silly old Drago falls for it. He is THAT convinced Scott is Madrid, and that stupid to think that he could shoot it out with him…. Oh dear…love truly is blind....

Fortunately Violet both loves her man (clearly although lord knows why) and doesn't want to see Scott killed (not quite sure of her motives on that one yet…hmmm…has she got her eye on him? Can't blame her, even if I do want to scratch her eyes out!)   

She runs up to the Scottster who has been untied and gives him the biggest old snog on the kisser. Ok, now I really am baying for the woman's blood! And hey, Scott certainly appears to be enjoying himself, despite his precarious predicament. Well, I like his attitude; if you are gonna go out, go with a smile on your face…although I'm just off set waving madly!! “Here, here I'm OVER HERRRRREEEEE!”

 Drago wrenches her off him and he and Violet go into a full blown domestic about how he showers her with pressies and fancies etc and poor old Scott looks downright bemused at it all…   and the rest of the assembled throng look, well, embarrassed...

Chappell tries to get things back on an even keel by reminding Drago they are there for the tax money and Drago agrees "That's the puddin', Scott is the plum." Eh?! Is Drago loco or what?! What have plum puddings got to do with it all? I think someone has been on the old peyote….    

 Anyway, Drago gets all mean and tells Scott he is gonna cut him up hair by hair and bone by bone. Gonna prove he is human after all.

And we get a delicious close up of the gorgeous one `gulping in fear'. With suitable ominous music. Freeze frame…. and rewind…. freeze frame and rewind…hell, I wondered why it took me so long to write these darned things. Ok Coop FOCUS (btw we just had a 4.9 quake so if the review gets sillier from here that's why. I'm a little freaked…again)  

So we are back at the sheriff's office and they are still procrastinating about what to do. They have just finished counting all the money and yep, they have precisely $10k. Funny that…

The taxman says they can meet the demand but Murdoch says "But should we?" Coop is yelling at the screen HELL YEAH! This is the gorgeous one we are talking about. Your beautiful, Adonis of a first-born son. Your scion…Your…oh wait, wrong story…my bad…ahem. (Shameless plug there…yep, these reviews even come with commercials now...)

Murdoch wants to go straight for the offensive. Jelly, ever one to state the obvious (again, the Writers pet) reminds him "But they've got Scott…"

Murdoch – just a little too clinically in this reviewers opinion responds, "Well what guarantee have we got that they'll release him even if they get the money?" Ya see, that's what I like about you Murdoch, ever the optimist…sigh…. C'mon your guarantee is that there are still a couple of episodes left in this season, even if you know the show had already been cancelled. WM is DEFINITELY contracted to the very end. See THAT'S your guarantee…ye of little faith…sheesh….

So back at the ranch (tee hee) Drago and Scott are now sat down playing cards, which of course is what always happens between kidnapped and kidnapper to while away the time while awaiting the ransom…

Violet really is not helping Scott's or her own cause by standing behind him  - especially as the gorgeous one appears to be on a winning streak.  Drago gets all ornery and tells Violet to get over to his side and stop bringing Madrid (Scott) luck.

Scott gives a wry grin and asks what the stakes are that they are playing for. He soon wishes that he hadn't asked, though, as Drago produces the mother of all knives and informs him very coolly " Your fingers. How many you wanna bet on. One or two."

The gorgeous one does the scared look very well again…poor baby. C'mon Coop'll take care of ya…

Fortunately for Scott the game is rudely interrupted as several of Drago's men shoot off the lock of the wine cellar and Drago goes to `investigate.'

Scott wastes no time in telling Violet "Enough is enough" and gets all masterful with her.  Oohhhh he's so SEXY when he gets masterful huh?  Scott informs Violet that he is gonna tell Drago the truth before he loses his fingers. "He has no quarrel with Drago."

But Violet tells him he can't tell Drago yet – there is still half an episode to go and lots of angst and drama to be had yet. Ok, so she doesn't EXACTLY say that, but well, that's kinda the gist.  She says the immortal words "Trust Me".  Of course, Scott is suitably cynical      "Trust you? You're the reason I got into this mess."

Violet tells him that she didn't mean to  - she was trying to protect Johnny. But Scott ain't buying it. He sardonically retorts

"Protect Johnny, or yourself?"

Violet gets all petulant and stamps her foot and tells him "all right you tell him, see if he believes you."

But yick, yuck, aggghhhh out of the shadows emerges greasy Chappell who says, "Try me. I shouldn't be that difficult to convince."

He gets all smarmy and greasy and I can't exactly remember what he says ‘cuz all I got eyes for is the Scottster as Chappell tries to peel back his shirt with that knife and Coop tries to get a sneaky peak (What? I'm a red blooded woman, so sue me…) but we have NO doubt whatsoever of the gorgeous one's masculinity as he knocks Chappell's knife out of the way and plants the BEST right hook on him (at least I THINK it was a right hook…darn…will have to watch again…for research purposes you understand…) and floors Chappell and then makes a run for it. But oh dear, his flight is short-lived as Drago reappears just in the nick of time …grrr….

Chappell runs up and wants to finish off Scott but Drago growls "He's mine" (Interpret that as you will…) and then goes onto say to Chappell "Why does something always go wrong when I turn my back on you?" Eeeekkk, err, no Drago, I would NOT recommend turning your back on this man…at all…you might get a nasty surprise if you do. And no, I'm not elaborating… you figure it out…

Drago stares out Chappell and Chappell storms off BUT you gotta wonder what hold Drago has over Chappell that keeps him around…. on second thoughts.... maybe I don't wanna know…

Drago warns Scott not to make an enemy of Chappell…well, heck, he wouldn't exactly wanna invite him over for tea either…. Drago tells him he might as well go bite a rattler. Yep, I'll take the snake thanks. Scott's with me on that one.      

Scott is taken away, suitably manhandled by two nameless extras who were a little too vigorous if you ask me. Am sure the gorgeous one will have bruises…. Out comes Coop's witch hazel again…. what can I say...I am sooo dedicated to the cause...  

Meanwhile Violet goes back into vamp mode and tries to charm Drago with her feminine wiles to get him to be kinder and gentler and not hurt Madrid (Scott) too much but Drago has just had an attack of the `smarts' (about bloody time) and can see through her act and once he has had a bit of a smooch and a kiss out of it, tells her she'll do anything to help Madrid.  Suitably `rumbled' Violet tries to extricate herself from Drago's grasp, telling him that he smells like a `wet billy goat." Now am I the only one that is disturbed over how she would know exactly what a wet billy goat smelled like? My mind is boggling…maybe it's the earthquakes…

So meanwhile, outside Murdoch and Jelly are sneakin' up on the hacienda. Murdoch reveals his plan to get into the wine cellar and rescue Scott and bring him out that way. Easy peasy…he hands Jelly some dynamite to use as a distraction if he needs it. You see where you went wrong Murdoch? Jelly? In possession of dynamite? Oh dear…it'll end in tears…or at least one person blown to bits. Dare we hope Jelly himself?! I know BAD Coop…I'm in that sorta mood…

Meanwhile there's a helluva party goin' on in the hacienda, with all the banditos steadily getting paralytic and one of `em laughing like an idiot – like one of those awful laughing policemen you get at carnivals? You know what I mean? No, maybe it's a pommie thing… anyway, Chappell is doing his best to look civilized, reading his book and looking on disdainfully at the drunken antics of the others.

 In the meantime the Gorgeous one is squirming delightfully on Johnny's bed upstairs (what luck they locked him in little brother's room – you'll soon hear why) and is giving us plenty of nice views down that open shirt again…. phew is it getting hot in here?

Anyway, he is soon able to break his bonds. Just in time to hear Violet outside blackmailing her way her way into the room. But oh dear…green-eyed monster Drago is watching and he ain't happy...

As Violet gets into the room. Scott is waiting for her and grabs her from behind covering her mouth and says, " You make a sound, I'll break your pretty neck" Oohhhh Scotty darling, so MASTERFUL.  I'm jealous...I admit it...

As he lets her go, the first thing outta her dumb mouth is, "You really think I have a pretty neck?" I mean…puleease…! I suddenly feel a whole lot more sympathy for Drago. Heck, fickle mare…and if that ain't enough…get this; the next thing out of her empty head is "I've been told my teeth are my best feature." Errrmm, Violet, I wouldn't take that as a compliment if I was you…that's how breeders choose horses…. come to think of it, I knew you reminded me of something…BAD Coop. Yep, I should get me a scratch stick to sharpen those claws huh?! Sorry, all bets are off when it comes to the gorgeous one…

So Scott tells her that Johnny could arrive back from San Francisco any time now and Violet is dismayed. Oh no, if he does, Drago would know for sure which one was Madrid…No kidding? What would give it away? The Mexican hat? The Calzoneras…

 But Scott says `"Lady, I don't intend to stick around that long."

Now we know he is in little brother's room because Scott is busy hunting for where Johnny has secreted his gun, knowing he will have at least one hidden somewhere. Of course Coop is yellin' at the screen, `its under the pillow'   and that was BEFORE she had seen this eppy numerous times but, eventually the gorgeous one gets there and looks real happy when he finds it.

As Scott prepares to make good his escape he tells Violet that perhaps he should tie her up so that Drago won't be so hard on her. OK, Coop is gonna write an alternate version…where Scott ties her up…. maybe I'd best not say anymore… don't think that version would ever be published either...

Violet, the hussy, gives Scott a kiss…for luck (yeah lady, I've got your number, you can run but you can't hide for ever) and Scott, well, he is a red blooded male after all…and maybe that shuddersome experience with Chappell has made him want to assert this more, grabs her back and kisses her passionately (Double grrrrr) and tells her "And that's for the fun of it." Scott darlin' you want fun…you ain't seen NUTHIN' yet…step into my `office' honey….     Again, Coop's alternate version...

Well if that ain't about the final straw for Drago. He bursts through the window and would have shot our gorgeous hero if Violet hadn't literally shielded him with her body. And you can't FAIL to notice where she has her hands. Yep firmly planted on the gorgeous ones beautiful tushie. I bet THAT wasn't in the script….  Can't blame her though really, I'd have done the same thing. And held on for dear life. And if I bruised him…well, I have an ample supply of witch hazel to rub in…

So Murdoch has managed to sneak into the wine cellar and has quickly overcome the drunken guard. As he emerges, he is just in time to see No 1 son thrown unceremoniously down the stairs. Scott tries to escape but Chappell is there.  Murdoch has his `hostage' (nameless extra) and threatens to shoot him if they don't hand over Scott (although of course the writer ensures he is not referred to by name. That would spoil things wouldn't it?)

Now, as if either Drago or Chappell would care about this nameless extra! Murdoch what were you thinking? Drago tells Murdoch that there is a rifle pointed at his precious Johnny boy's head. Murdoch looks very confused (understandably) but the writer doesn't let him say anything but "Johnny?"

 Before he can say anymore (and `cuz its in the script) Scott turns around beautifully, giving us a lovely flash of golden skin…sigh…and WM does a sterling job of delivering possibly the worst line every written for him since "There there" in "The Knot". "He's right. It's a Mexican Standoff (Ok, so the writer had a sense of humor) Take it from me. Johnny Madrid."  I mean, c'mon, WHY would you have to remind your own FATHER what your name is. Surely even Drago would see through that?! 

 Murdoch gives us a "What the f*^$ is going on here" look but before his expression or anything he might say makes Drago twig that things are not as they seem Scott forcefully tells his father to get out (and I bet it felt good too! Probably the only time he would ever get away with talking to Daddy that way!)

As Murdoch retreats (still with hostage) Drago tells him he has until sun up to come up with the money or he will string up his precious Johnny boy (Scott) and will burn the hacienda.

Murdoch barely makes his escape under heavy fire and Jelly gets his chance to use his dynamite (and sadly does NOT Blow himself up) but one of the baddies is able to get it away from the gattling gun before it explodes. You see we still have a good 15 minutes of the eppy left…. And one of the best bits to come with said gun…

Cue Chappell and Drago and several extras hovering around the gun. They don't THINK it's damaged but Chappell won't know until he test fires it. And he has spotted a suitable target…. our gorgeous boy, standing unguarded…hmmm…couldn't he make a run for it under cover of darkness? Nope, it ain't in the script apparently…oh well….

Drago saunters over to Scott and tells him that he's Daddy has gotta lot of spunk. Scott says "Thanks". I mean what else do you say to that? If someone had said that to me about my Dad I think I might have hit them, not the sort of thing I wanted to know about my own father BUT I guess the word had different connotations back in 1870. Hell even in 1970 than it did when I was growing up…

Drago offers Scott a drink but he declines, instead he demands to know what Drago has in mind. Drago just offers the drink again. Scott shakes his head. So Drago then offers a smoke. Again Scott declines (although I bet WM was gagging for one knowing what a chain smoker he was back then!). Then…eeekk…Drago offers the blindfold. This is another one of those pause and rewind moments. WM does a MASTERFUL job of looking resignedly scared as he realizes the implications and says, "Blindfold?"  As Drago makes it clear what the intention is. The reaction  "No. No blindfold" is WONDERFULLY played by WM.  SUPERB!

Drago tells him he's not gonna tie him up neither. Wants to see if he will stay on his feet or fall to his knees and beg.

Drago goes on to tell him the story of a man due to hang and when the rope snapped all the crowd saw it as a sign. But Scott knows the `rope won't break for him'. Awww…our gorgeous boy is sooo brave. Echoes of the brave cavalry officer who survived the carnage of Vicksburg and the prison camp…. (Yes, Coop has suddenly got very serious. Very hard to be flippant about this part…don't worry though, it won't last)

Drago gets out of the way, and Scott stands bravely, like a man, to face his executioners head on…. but here is where Coop gets flippant again. Sorry, can't help myself. Now our gorgeous boy, as far as he is concerned, is just about to be cut to pieces by several bullets tearing through his beautiful flesh. That's what gattling guns do to a man. It ain't pretty. Scott would have seen the results. Yet, faced with that gruesome demise, where does he place his hands? Yep, he is all man…protecting his `jewels' to the very end. I mean, I know men are very protective of their `soft parts', understandably so as they do come in real useful, but they ain't that much good to ya if you are stone cold dead now are they?  I still chuckle when I watch that scene…I guess it's a man's instinctive reaction... 

Back to being serious for a little bit again. Well, once Chappell stops firing, the Scottster has not moved, Truth be told, he is frozen to the spot with fear but WM again, does a great job of conveying the shock of what has just happened and the relief of still being intact (soft parts and all). He almost passes out, does the rolling eye thing real well, and his delivery of the "I could really use that drink now" line is fantastic. WM should have got some kinda award for that performance, he really should.

But even as an admiring Drago tries to lead him away, his hands are still firmly protecting those soft parts….awww…. s'ok Scottie boy, they live to come out and `play' another day…snicker….

So back in the kitchen, Chappell is arm wrestling but the sneaky thing he is, he has kicked the other fella under the table in order to win. He throws  `the gauntlet' to Scott and says "How about you Madrid, try your hand?"

The Scottster gives him a suitably contemptuous look. With those smoldering, smoky gorgeous (you get the picture) eyes of his….

Chappell bates him into wrestling with Drago though - really stirring the pot with Drago, insinuating that Scott is more of a man than him by comparing him with a bunch of literary examples of manly men….It doesn't take long for Drago to take the bait and Scott has very little choice but to follow. But to make life `interesting' Chappell adds some scorching piece of meat (I think), which will give a real nasty burn…ouch. Well our gorgeous boy starts off well but old Chappell's baiting seems to give Drago renewed vigor and it isn't long before the tide is turned and our poor boy gets a real nasty burn (s'ok Nurse Coop is awaiting to apply triage, only for the Scottster. Drago's got Violet if he loses).

Again, great acting from WM as he realizes that he is destined for a nasty burn and he looks more and more apprehensive, finally registering the agony as the hot flesh burns his skin but he stubbornly refuses to cry out but...heck, you can see the tears in his eyes… It's an acting master class....

Even though Drago has `won' he knows he hasn't really because he still hasn't `broken' our boy, and he knows it. In a huff, he sends everyone away and demands of Scott what sort of `magic' he has that he wields to have women (well, specifically Violet) fawning over him. Yep, Drago, there's a whole bunch of women in a certain fandom that want the answer to that question. Although, we are quite happy in our affliction…. we don't want no antidote or nuthin'. Do we gals?!

Scott goes to tell him that he really isn't who Drago thinks he is but Drago has had enough…he puts both Scott and Violet in the cellar. Tells Violet that he's gonna let Chappell have Scott and then throw her back in the ditch where he found her. Awww…I'm beginning to feel a little sorry for Drago…well, apart from him suggesting he'll let Chappell have Scott...yuck...

So back at the Sheriffs office, the money is being taken out of the safe. Jelly is concerned and asks Murdoch if he is gonna allow them to go through with paying the ransom. Murdoch asks how he can justify stopping them?

And here's where Coop gets a bit confused…because Good old Jelly does his narrator bit again but Coop can't figure out for the life of her how he and Murdoch have managed to figure it all out. Jelly says " what about Scott? What if its true they think he's Johnny and their number one has got a grudge against him?"

 I mean? Huh? How on earth did they figure out all that just from Scott's "Take it from me, Johnny Madrid line"? Again, tenuous Mr Writer, very tenuous…but I guess we only have a few minutes of eppy left…   and we need to start wrapping things up… 

And I am not liking Murdoch's response one little bit " He'll be dead by the time they get their tax money, if he's not already" heck Murdoch, have you always been such a pessimist?

But give the old fella his due, he tells the sheriff that he is gonna be the one to deliver the money, even when the Sheriff points out that its his job.

 LOVE Murdoch's response here "Your job, my son. Lancer takes care of its own." YAY! Way to go Murdoch. You're forgiven for that earlier line. Just....

And now a treat for the Johnny gals with perhaps THE best Johnny entrance in the entire series. Heck, I am not a Johnny gal but that vision of him as he appears with his hat casting his face into shadow as he says " Lancer takes care of its own, what?"   Well, I could just imagine all the Johnny gals jumping up and down excitedly as their boy entered (those who hadn't already petulantly turned over to watch The Virginian, disgusted that their boy wasn't appearing this week) See, just goes to show that all good things come to she who waits patiently enough…

Back at the ranch (yay, seeing as this is my last review, HAD to get it in once more) Scott is in the middle of telling Drago that he doesn't expect Johnny back from San Fran for a few weeks. But Drago has had yet another attack of the 'smarts' and really doesn't buy it. He knows Johnny's arrival is imminent (‘cuz it says so in the script).

Drago tells Scott and Violet that when Johnny does return he's "Gonna nail him" (another phrase that has changed connotation over the 40 years or so since this eppy first aired. S'ok, coming from Drago's mouth, we knows he means `kill him' Now if Chappell had said it….)

Chappell has had enough. He doesn't wanna wait around for Johnny to come back; he wants to take the money and run. Suggests they kill Scott and Violet too.

Drago is incredulous " Kill Violet?"

Chappell responds, "Why not, the world is full of women." To which Drago bites back, "How would you know?" Ooohhh and I thought women were bitchy!!   Sharpen those old claws Drago...handbags at dawn...

Again, Chappell storms out to sulk…he does that a lot...

And here with only a few minutes of the eppy left, and with several things still to wrap up, Scott goes into relationship counselling mode. Apparently when they were stuck in the cellar together for however long they were there, Violet told Scott how she came to know Johnny Madrid and he reveals the sad truth to Drago. It was a childhood crush that a 14 year old Violet had on a 15 year old (by my reckoning) gunfighter…Thing is, what I wanna know is how can you be a menacing gunfighter when your voice still ain't quite broke?!  Anyway…I'm getting off track….I know...one of life's unanswered questions....

This is a LOVELY scene, not only with Scott's narration of the sad story of a young girl with a crush on a young gunfighter who barely registered her existence but more so with Warren Oates' acting when he realizes that this whole thing has been the result of Violet's insecurities and of wanting to keep her man by making him think he had a rival for her affections. The soppy music really helps the scene (and yes, I am getting serious again) and I just LOVE Warren Oates line "Do you understand her, `cuz I don't" and then his realization that "You don't know me at all. You don't know me at all" I had tears in my eyes…the emotion conveyed by Warren Oates was so real, so raw, and so believable.  His " Hell, woman" was so emotive....  Again, an acting master class…

Anyway, enough of the soppiness…. Scott looks all satisfied as Drago and Violet have finally reconciled and made up. He has fired cupids arrow…now give me that damned bow Gorgeous one and stand still, there's an arrow comin' yer way.... and its got Coop's name on it….

So now the banditos are all packin' up to go home and as Scott asks Drago about the money (which he seems to have forgotten all about since he and Violet kissed and made up)  ….a voice pipes up

"Its here"

Again another `moment' for the Johnny gals as he saunters in. Acknowledges Scott by saying his name but says so MUCH with that one look and that one word. I take my hat off to JS, he is a great actor…. Johnny hands the money over to Drago and manages to look a little bemused as Drago shakes Scott's hand and tells him " He done himself proud”. Not surprised, here is his big brother, looking all bruised and ruffled and well, gorgeous (well, perhaps Johnny doesn't see him quite that way...) shaking hands with the man that has inflicted the torture on him...

But oh ho…it ain't over yet. Suddenly Chappell appears and in true Western form, the bad guy is all in black…he aims his gun at Johnny but, and this is very fitting, it is Drago who warns Johnny and our beautiful boy's ex gunfighter little brother blows the dastardly Chappell away…Wonder who gets to clean up the mess? Yeah, save it for Jelly...he did a real good job of cleaning up at the start of the eppy...

This affords Drago the opportunity to get `the drop' on Johnny but he is satisfied with just that. He managed to draw on the Great Johnny Madrid (even if said celebrated gunfighter was otherwise engaged at the time) and he's never gonna let Violet forget that.

So our reunited couple head off to make good their escape and again, Johnny is bemused as his brother wishes them good luck. He tells them they will need it as Murdoch and a posse are waiting for them…oh heck…after all that work getting them back together just for them to end up at the end of a rope. Well, that won't make for a happy ending will it?!

Final Scene (phew, Coop's tired) and this is one of those great brother moments. If we were to list the top 10 `brother' moments in Lancer, (Now there's an idea...) this would be right up there. Maybe at the top…or near as damn it.

Scott, finally looks like he is succumbing to the trauma of his ordeal and Johnny is in `take care of brother mode'. Making him coffee and asking if he wants to tell him what went on. Scott tells him it's a long story, but Johnny's got time.

And so we hear about a man and a shadow in his past. And that shadow got so big, the man never thought he could match it.    

We can tell Johnny is slightly concerned for his brother with such a cryptic response so he changes tack and asks Scott how he figures a man like Drago.

Scott tells him he's hard to figure and then holds up his arm for an arm wrestle. So ok, now Johnny thinks Scott has entirely lost the plot (can't blame him – its not that usual a reaction when you have been held prisoner, had a gattling gun fired at you etc but Johnny is prepared to humor him (and another freeze frame moment when Scott smiles, blinks his eyes and says `C'mon" – I LOVE that moment!)

So as they prepare to do battle, we hear Murdoch call out and Johnny yells that they are in the kitchen. As Murdoch arrives looking slightly bemused, he tells us that all the banditos are captured except Drago and Violet (and we are secretly glad, aren't we…even if Murdoch says that they soon will be rounded up. Means the eppy can end happily…even if a short while after they are both blasted to kingdom come by the posse in a huge shoot out)

So Murdoch asks if both boys are ok, like the dutiful parent he is and Johnny answers they are fine, but that Scott `ain't quite himself” Well, no, you don't know the half of it Johnny boy, he's spent most of the eppy pretending to be you! Methinks he is not just talking about Drago when referring to having to live up to a shadow. Hence the arm wrestle and the IMMENSE satisfaction when he wins. S'ok Scottie hunny, we know you are EVERY bit a man as your little brother…and some of us think more so (but shhhh don't tell the Johnny gals…our little secret)  

Ok, so this took, as usual WAY too long and its late on Sunday night but hey, it was my earthquake therapy, yet again…what am I gonna do when I don't got nothing to write??!!

It's been fun writin' these reviews, just a wee bit of silliness. I do LOVE this episode and there are so many things to explore in it and I hope to have some real interesting debates on it over the next few weeks. Of course, it will require repeat viewings…. like That's a chore!

~ end ~

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