You might think that “Airwolf” was the only helicocentric 80s Action television show. You couldn’t be more wrong if you were a creationist taking financial advice from Antoine Walker over the phone with one hand and masturbating to the Little League World Series with the other. To begin with, there was “The Highwayman,” which was technically a show about a truck that turned into a helicopter, but it also co-starred noted Australian jerk-off, Jacko, in the roll of Jetto.
There was also “Airwolf’s” closer cousin, “Blue Thunder,” with Dana Carvey, NFL stars Dick Butkus and Bubba Smith and in the leading role… some guy who wasn’t famous and never would be. In “Blue Thunder” the super chopper is manned by an elite LAPD unit. As far as I can tell from the intro, the crew use Blue Thunder to travel quickly between schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District so that they can give presentations to assemblies of students in which they promote their message of Holocaust denial, another theme “Blue Thunder” shares with “Airwolf.” I don’t want to get too far off track, so I’ll continue this digression at some point in the future. Let’s get back to “Airwolf!”
Episode 5: Sins of the Past
Borgnine’s estranged daughter turns up dead of an overdose. As the story unfolds we learn that Borgnine’s wife is totally psychotic, even for a woman. She absconded with his daughter when she was seven (the daughter, not the wife- it’s Borgnine, not Mohammed) and he sees his girl for the first time since childhood, kneeling before her open casket, only to have the psycho bitch walk up behind him. He doesn’t know how to react. It’s pretty heavy. Seriously, “Airwolf” is tearing me apart inside. In turns out that the town is being run by some crook who is turning it into a marginally legal gambling destination and putting the squeeze on the locals. Airwolf intervenes. I don’t think that most of the people on this show shit their pants sufficiently when String or Dom get involved in some local zoning dispute and then show up in a gun ship. Like, imagine if that actually happened. Two guys are arguing and then, one of them shows up in the parking lot with a sock full of nickles and you turn to your friend and say, “dis shit ’bout ta get REAL!” Then the other dude shows up with a billion dollar attack helicopter. On the show, the guy with the sock full of nickles might be thrown off somewhat, but he will generally try to attack Airwolf with the sock, rather than literally voiding his bowels and fainting, which I think is the normal reaction. Generally, even the police wind up being like, “well, thanks for the help fellas. We couldn’t have done it without you.” Not “Someone in a fucking military helicopter is blowing up half the fucking city!”
Best Melancholy Borgnine Line: I suppose I should have some kind of feeling for the place that I was born. But I don’t.
Episode 6: Fallen Angel
Weird-eye-patch-but-not-as-as-much-of-a-tool-as-Tom-Wolf guy is kindernapped in East Germany. I fall asleep.
Episode 7: HX-1
Right off the bat, underrated 80s cutey, PJ Soles, the chick who played Riff Randall in Rock n Roll High School, is listed as a guest star and like 20 people are killed in the first scene, so I’m optimistic. The HX-1 is the new helicopter that is arguably better than Airwolf and is stolen by mercenaries. That means the government has developed two, unique, cutting edge helicopters and immediately had both of them stolen from under their noses. They’ve also gone from the name ‘Airwolf’ to the name ‘HX-1.’ That would never happen on my watch. The M.O. of the mercs is the same as JMV used with his crew back in The Shit, so he wonders if his MIA brother might be involved in the theft and therefore, most likely still alive. As awesome as Michael’s evil twin was in “Knight Rider,” I was hoping for this to be the case. Lamentably, “Airwolf” takes the high road yet again and the mastermind of the attacks turns out to be a different member of the ‘Nam crew. String’s twin remains MIA, which is unfortunate, but on the upside, he is named Sinjin Hawke. Would it be worth it to spend most of your life in a Vietnamese prison camp to be named Sinjin Hawke? I think that’s one of those questions where the answer depends on your own value system. (editor’s note: Erich apparently isn’t familiar with the whole “Saint John” being pronounced as “Sinjin” thing. I can’t say I blame him, since it’s retarded.)
Best non-Borgnine line: I could have used a man like your brother.
This line is given by some toothy Brit who plays the mercenary leader and is addressed to JMV. As written, it is hackneyed at best. The delivery is great though. We could have used a man. Like, your brother. Ouch! Kudos to you, English guy whose name IMDB will not reveal.
Episode 8: Flight #091 is Missing
This one sort of reminded me of a Margaret Atwood short story, “A Travel Piece.” The premise is basically the same: people trapped at sea after an airline crash with no hope of rescue. This version is better because Airwolf intervenes, in one of the stronger episodes of the season. Hijackers land a plane on the water and let it sink, but the way the plane is designed, the water doesn’t leak in. Why doesn’t it float then? You sure ask a lot of questions. The point is that the hijackers have the passengers trapped under water, undetectable, completely at their mercy and with a deadline that cannot be negotiated: the amount of time it will take for the passengers to run out of oxygen. Caitlin is on board, but I think that is largely to make the scenes in the plane more interesting and that Airwolf would have intervened in this situation regardless of who the passengers were, as this is another mission under the direction of The FIRM. Another brutal moment by the standards of network TV comes when the guys who actually hijack and sink the plane emerge from the ocean in scuba gear, see their partners and start celebrating.”We did it!” “Huzzah!” Their partners whip out the machine guns, open up on their pals and cut them out of the deal.
Things that negotiate with terrorists: East coast, Jewish, cosmopolitan experts.
Things that don’t negotiate with terrorists: Airwolf.
Best Borgnine line: Oh, what the heck? Hooray!
Episode 9: Once A Hero
This episode is one of the worst. I assume they dump all the turds into the middle of the season, so I made note of the Best Borgnine Line (BBL) and googled “Airwolf fan fiction” which led to http://www.fanfiction.net/tv/Airwolf/
On their first mission since Cait’s death, Dominic and Hawke go undercover to bust a drug ring and take a dangerous drug off the street nicknamed Sleeping Beauty.
Jingle Bell Hawke by Maria Thorne
“For worse,” as in having a wife who writes 26,000 word, “Airwolf” fan fiction pieces? Well, there was one piece that was just short of 200,000 words. And… this:
Airwolf and Twilight Crossover» When The Cullens Found Airwolf
Feel better about yourself? Because I do not.
BBL: Are you kidding? At these prices, I’ll pop for the sweaters!