My most recent MANNIX viewing was Season 8, Ep 4, "Walk On The Blind Side", and quite an entertaining episode it was, too. I was impressed at the long segments that *didn't* have Joe Mannix in them. Normally, he's in just about every scene of every episode, but this one focused a good amount of time on Peggy and her efforts to thwart her captors and get a message to Joe. That was refreshing, even though it could be classified as another "Peggy's kidnapped" episode.
Something I meant to mention before, but this thread sort of got quiet and I felt like I was talking to myself: I'm also enjoying the Season 8 version of the opening theme. Those opening bongos during the blue animation are new and different, and give the show a lift. The orchestra was also "on" when they recorded that version. It sounds tighter than it did in some of the earlier seasons.
Cleared the browsing history and the editor is back... for the moment...
First, regarding your last comment -- I'm not sure if you meant me or not, but I look forward to your posts! I've never been entirely sure if it is a good thing for me to respond to them all, or very fast, since I've wanted this thread to be an ongoing discussion about Mannix among all sorts of fans of the series. Towards that end, I often sit back and hope others will join the fun -- and start to interact with each other. Sometimes this is combined with becoming to busy to answer some posts in the depth they deserve. But, I do not plan to abandon this thread so long as it exists and my fingers can still press the keys down in some kind of orderly way.
But, I think that people do read this thread, so, you are not talking to yourself. And, heck, so what if you are? I've talked to myself on this thread quite a bit, at times. The older we get, the better company we make for ourselves.
And hey -- if you are on "Walk on the Blind Side" already -- what happened to your comments about the rest of the episodes of season 7, and even the first few of season 8??? I was actually waiting for those, so that I could respond to them!!! What about Robert Reed's last episode, "Trap for a Pigeon" or MC strung out as a heroin addict in "The Ragged Edge" ???
Comment on those, and nothing will prevent me from responding!!!
As for "Walk on the Blind Side" -- that episode is yet another that holds a special place in my heart.
I have such an incredibly clear memory of watching it first-run. It is a specific episode I waited for, and the first one I watched when season 8 finally -- finally -- made it into my hands on DVD, all these years later.
It is one of the very few disappointments of the DVD releases that the video quality is not up to par with the others -- and there seems to be no consensus as to whether that is due to a lack of re-mastering or degradation of the master. Either way, it is a shame.
Now, to put the episode into context, keep in mind that in 1974 we did not have series like Remmington Steele, Moonlighting, or any of the modern-day (cheap?) relationships between men and women, one or more of which are playing heroic roles. The whole Joe-Peggy thing, it was tantalizing, so utterly different -- and, as life turns out, so realistic at its core.
How many people out there have had chemistry with a co-worker of the opposite sex, chemistry that was always there, but never fulfilled, for one reason or another? That chemistry is only intensified by having a common purpose -- a contribution to humanity -- that supercedes personal desire.
From the early part of season 3, to the first part of season 4 (up until "The World Between"), there was this emergence of more and more closeness between these two. If you think about the end of "The Sound of Darkness" you think things are going to build from there.
But they never do.
And, the end of season 7 has them seemingly more separate again. The best example of this is "The Dark Hours" where you can see that closeness -- that chemistry and intensity -- come through in just a couple of scenes. But, then there is that ending, with discussion of Joe's closet... Their relationship waxes and wanes, even as in real life.
OK, so where was this series going to go in season 8?
"Walk on the Blind" side has this nice interplay in the office when Joe comes back from SF. Some gentle, playful closeness is established. Then, after Peggy is kidnapped, and then presumed dead, you see this very adult reaction. Joe does not go to pieces -- he never goes to pieces. It affects him in an adult way. That's reality. Few of us go to pieces in a Hollywood kind of way when something horrible happens -- it affects us more deeply than that. Peggy does the same thing when Joe is hurt -- you can see it all over her face, but she does not go to pieces.
Then, after Joe discovers the writing in the jacket, some tremendous scenes happen.
We have Joe, posing as Rudy the Real Estate Agent, approach the house where Peggy is being held. He is right on top of Peggy, and does not know it. And, not only that, but MC is great when he is Joe playing someone else -- he is somehow never more in character than when he is Joe in some extreme situation or playing someone else -- because he is still so much in there, as Joe.
And so, when the kidnapper comes back down to Peggy, after Joe leaves, when they are both having tea -- such a great scene happens.
Peggy is asked "What does he look like?"
She has no idea what is going on and says, "Who?"
The kidnapper is forced to say "The guy you work for, Mannix."
Peggy, in an offhand way, starts to describe Joe's physical features! And, when she does, you can see the look on her face slowly change. She is almost out of her dilemma, feeling better, a much more pleasant place -- just for thinking about and describing Joe!
This is the hero motif at its very -- very -- best.
That wonderful look on GF's face -- I'd love to see that a bit clearer. It breaks my heart that this is the one episode of season 8 that is not entirely clear...
After describing his height and weight, the kidnapper asks the color of Joe's eyes. Peggy responds, "Brown." Then, without being asked, she adds, "Brown hair." She seems to do this just because she wants to. When she does, she gives a pleasant nod. She is somewhere else, for a moment.
So subtle. So sweet.
Just pay attention and you will be rewarded.
After being asked what kind of car Joe drives, Peggy starts to come out of her small moment of bliss to catch on to what is really happening. When she does, a moment of pure recognition is all over her face.
This guy has to be asking for a reason!
Her change in describing Joe's car color is not enough, so that when the kidnapper realizes it was Joe that visited and tells Peggy, "Well, he was here," GF practically explodes in recognition, "Oh, he knows I'm alive!"
And that, my viewer friends, is the culmination of a seven year relationship not only between Joe and Peggy, but between Mannix and Mannix fans. Because Peggy conveys, in a pure instant, a Mannix moment -- and what that means.
She knows Joe. And we know Joe.
Those two reinforce each other -- they always have.
She knows and we know that if Joe got that close, he the odds are extremely good that he going to find her.
He might be too late -- is almost too late, the way these episodes go.
But, in an instant, she knows she is not only no longer alone, but has hope -- great hope, the hope of the hero who will not stop short of anything to come through to find you.
She can now almost picture what Joe is up to while she is being held there.
And like real life, people who know each other so well and have that chemistry and appreciation for each other are never closer than when they are apart.
And Peggy knows Joe will stop at nothing to find her.
Notice the look of relief on Peggy's face after the kidnapper is called back upstairs.
This is the hero motif at its very -- very -- best.
There are still more shots of Peggy with this immense relief on her face. Notice when she asks the kidnapper, "Who is it?" in almost an annoyed fashion -- she expected it to be Joe.
This scene culminates years of relationship, all around -- between Joe and Peggy, series and fans. It is nothing short of brilliant -- writing, acting, editing.
Then, we get to the end -- ah, that end!
Ever since "The Sound of Darkness" we wanted to see Joe and Peggy embrace again -- actually embrace fully, since we never did see that in "The Sound of Darkness," since it was still 1969 then. But, we see it in "Walk on the Blind Side."
And it is not cheap, not put there in a soap opera kind of way, not just moving from one human relationship twitter feed to the next.
Mannix gave viewers the credit for taking the time to pay attention -- and rewarded them for so doing.
Mannix always seem to have an awareness that the viewers were following this guy through eight real years, with the backstory of leaving Intertect and going out on his own, with only Peggy -- which was enough. But, the focus was never on relationship so much as contributing, being a hero in the real world. The deeds came first, the relationship came second.
And that made the relationship between Joe and Peggy so much more intense, so much more meaningful, so much more poignant. These were adults living out responsibility to humankind first, and passion way second. They did not accomplish things "by accident." Consider, in contrast, how modern day "heroes" first prize relationships with each other or have all sorts of personal problems -- and accomplish their deeds in an almost accidental (child-like) way. (I'm so special I can do this stuff without really trying....).
And, as a result of that responsibility, Joe and Peggy got hurt and were placed in all sorts of peril.
But that made the relationship between them matter all the more -- one of the many paradoxes of life.
Go back to season 2, then watch "Walk on the Blind Side." Notice how Peggy gets to know Joe through the years, how she evolves as a result, and not only in this episode, but throughout the series, to "get him." Getting him is getting the classic heroic motif in something more than a cartoonish kind of way.
And so you get the beauty of the responsible hero motif as well -- through her eyes.
Such sweet -- sweet -- reward.
Say what you will, but I do not think the basic elements of a classic hero motif were ever pulled off in anything better than in Mannix -- things just came together in that series, in no small part because it was a series (not a movie, or a few movies, or a book) -- a series done in the true golden age of television, and when we just still cared about heroes more than anti-heroes.
And heroes matter to who we are and what we can be and do well beyond mere entertainment.