I'm never adverse to an episode that opens with Saunders running around.

But does Saunders' eyesight being out of whack really have to be accompanied by what sounds like the U.S.S. Enterprise's computer doing algebra equations because it's bored?

Anyone else freak way the heck out when Saunders sticks his hands into that fire?  Gives me "Survival" flashbacks.  Think that was intentional?  He even holds his hands the same way as he did in that episode, which I have to believe Vic Morrow did on purpose.  Maybe?

And doesn't it feel out of character for Saunders to be yelling, "Cochrane?!" over and over in helpless fury?  I mean, yes, he's been bonked on the head and is currently blind, but... Saunders doesn't panic.  Not his thing.  I'm kind of not buying it.

Vic Morrow does a lovely job, though, of keeping those beautiful blue eyes focused on nothingness. 

(DA!)  Speaking of lovely eyes, what a nice shot we get of Hanley's when he's roaring off to find Saunders.

Okay, that final shot of Saunders in the teaser, lowering his pistol and head in weary relief... that gets to me.  Lots of feelsy feels here, folks.  Poor, dear Saunders.  Please let me jump through the screen and give him a comforting hug.

The writers just love incapacitating Saunders, don't they?  More than any other character.  He keeps winding up helpless.  Why?  Is it because he's just such a heroic, unstoppable dude that they have to majorly hurt him occasionally so we remember he's human?  Whatever their reason, I insist that they stop it.  He's been through enough already.

Is it just me, or does the Kraut chaplain look an awful lot like the evil butler in Aristocats?

Okay, this is totally not in character.  Saunders would not tell a stranger that he's carrying sensitive info.  This concussion has really addled his brains.  It's almost like he's having an identity crisis or something.  First he's panicky, then he's too trusting?  I mean, come on, Saunders!  That guy's reluctance to help you get info to HQ doesn't clue you in that he's a Kraut?!?  This is not my Saunders.  I'm starting to suspect that this is an imposter.  Somewhere along the line, we've been slipped a Fake Saunders.  Or maybe it's an alternate universe.  The Real Saunders would tough this out on his own and not go wallowing around in neediness like this.

They have surreally blue skies in France.  Or in alternate-universe France, in this case.  They match Faux Saunders' eyes.

I Hate Near-Miss Stories.  Hanley and the guys are Right There, and they don't know Saunders is Right Here.  UGH.  I really hate that. 

Pseudo-Saunders is horribly trusting.  Real Saunders would never toss off all this sensitive info to a stranger. 

Maybe I should try watching this episode like Fake Saunders:  with my eyes unfocused and my brain switched off. 

Who on earth thought jodhpurs were attractive?  They make everyone who wears them look fat.

Oh, yay!  When Saunders' sight starts to return, so does his brain.  Whew.  I was getting worried.  Hey, look!  His stubbornness is back too.  That's my sergeant!

Isn't Franklin Canyon beautiful this time of year?  All that dead grass...

(DA!)  Lieutenant Hanley!  You are looking mighty studly today!  All clean-shaven and serious.  I love your green jacket, too.  Very good color on you.

(DA!)  Will you look at that delicious Saunders, sprawled in the bunker, lounging about on one elbow, knee cocked up just perfectly?  Waiting around for your doom to descend never looked so good.

(DA!)  And hello and good morning to you, Caje!  Got your sleeves rolled up and your shirt unbuttoned... it's a good morning, indeed.

That's a gorgeous moment between Hanley and Saunders, when they find him, huh?  I'm gonna rewind that and watch it a couple more times.  Such relief they're both exhibiting -- "I've found you, and you're okay."  "You've found me, and I'm gonna be okay."  I love how both of them can say so much with zero words at all.  I have had a couple of friendships like that, where a raised eyebrow or a quirk of the mouth is all we need to communicate.  Those are the best friendships I've ever had.

But despite that great moment at the end, it's a heavy-handed ep, with Saunders too out-of-character for my taste.  No wonder I haven't watched this ep for 17 years.

 

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