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“Claws”

S1 E5

Production 44407
Original Airdate: 25 February 1976
Th-the.bionic.woman.s01e04.claws.dvdrip.xvid-saints
Episode collage
Produced by
Kenneth Johnson
Written by
Sue Milburn
Directed by
Phil Bondelli
Guest Cast
Guest Star(s)
Jack Kelly as Charlie Keys
William Schallert as Bill Elgin
Mills Watson as Sheriff
Tippi Hedren as Susan Victor
Co-starring
Alicia Fleer as Katie
George D. Wallace as Rancher
With
Robbie Rist as Andrew
Robbie Wolcott as Mark
Sam Vlahos as 1st Driver
Bob Basso as 2nd Driver
Broadcast Order
Season 1
← Previous Next →
"A Thing of the Past" "The Deadly Missiles"

While Jaime Sommers is left in charge of Susan Victor's wild animal ranch, she tries to save the life of a pet lion that is being stalked by irate ranchers.


Summary

In her classroom, Jaime Sommers prompts Katie to show the students what she brought for show and tell. Although shy, Katie brings a lion named Neil from Susan Victor's ranch. However, Neil becomes the prime suspect when several animals are killed on the ranches around Ojai.

Visiting the ranch, Jaime learns that Victor is being hassled by her neighbors and doesn't have enough money to pay her bills. When Victor receives an offer to provide animals for a television show, she must travel to New York. Jaime and Katie stay at the ranch to take care of the animals, but while doing chores around the ranch, Jaime's Uncle Bill stops by with Charlie Keys. Keys has lost some animals and blames Neil, threatening to shoot the lion himself. Jaime brings Neil in the house that evening, but while she is asleep, the lion hears a noise and escapes.

Jaime wakes to find Neil at her side, but the house door wide open. While she is fixing a fence, Keys brings the Sheriff to the ranch, and after questioning her, orders Jaime to lock Neil up for a couple of days. Jaime learns that Victor had to start feeding Neil soybean meal, causing her to doubt the lions innocence. While Jaime is on the phone with her Uncle Bill, Katie opens the gate and Neil escapes. Jaime runs after him to find the lion and brings him back to the ranch, then sends Katie home. Sitting by Neil's cage, Jaime hears a cougar and throws a rock at it to chase it off. When Keys refuses to believe her story, Jaime gets on a horse to track the wild cat.

Elgin goes with Jaime to find the cougar, while Keys makes his intentions known to get a court order to have the animal destroyed. Instead, he returns to the ranch to kill the lion. Keys and a neighboring rancher let Neil out of his cage so he won't be on Victor's property when they shoot him. Jaime and Elgin separate to close in on the cougar, but Elgin is attacked by the animal. Jaime scares the cat away by bionically snapping her fingers, then throws a tranquilizer dart at the cougar. She then learns that Keys released Neil, and races off to find him.

Keys continues his chase, recruiting ranchers to hunt the lion. When he spots the lion, Keyes takes aim, but succeeds only in wounding Neil. The ranchers trap Neil in a barn at the old Bennett place. Jaime hears the gunshot, and rushes to find Neil before it's too late. As she arrives, the ranchers are making plans to kill Neil. Elgin helps Jaime in convincing the ranchers to give her a chance to bring Neil out of the barn. Once inside, Neil lunges at Jaime, scratching her left arm and hand. She bionically jumps up a ladder to avoid another attack. Jaime continues to try to sooth Neil, and when she stumbles, Neil comes to her and lays beside her.

Jaime and Katie discuss the possibility of bringing her whole class to the ranch. And when Susan Victor returns, she tells of the good news that they got the show, but is concerned about the bandaged wound on Jaime's hand.

Novelization

"Claws" is one of only a few Bionic Woman episodes to be adapted in novel form. Eileen Lottman combined its storyline with that of "Canyon of Death" for her novel, Extracurricular Activities (which was published in the UK under the title A Question of Life and credited to "Maud Willis"). In the book, Lottman reverses the order of the stories so that "Claws" takes place after "Canyon of Death". An ending much different from the original episode is used in which Jaime, realizing her mortality after her real arm is injured by the lion, asks Oscar not to give her any more assignments for a while.

Deconstructed

Quotes

Andrew: Hey did you train the shark?
Susan: No, all of my animals are the four-legged kind.


Jaime: (listening to all the noise while trying to sleep) Oscar, I hope you never send me on a safari.


Bill: (checking out a cougar track) I think he's heading north.
Jaime: There must be a little Indian in you there, Bill.
Bill: Just a little.


Bill: Everybody - put your guns down.
Rancher: Get out of the way, Elgin. That lion's crazy now!
Jaime: Well, you'd be crazy, too, if somebody was shooting at you!


Jaime: I'm gonna go in now.
Bill: Look, Jaime, I... I know there's something special about you, but... are you sure this is something you can handle?
Jaime: I gotta try.


Jaime: (trips on a rake, leaving her at Neil's mercy) Neil... now, I've got a pretty good right arm here. If you're coming in for another bite, man, I'm gonna hafta deck ya.

Trivia

Real World
  • The old Bennett place is named after executive producer Harve Bennett.
  • Like Susan, actress Tippi Hedren is also an animal lover who in later life also established a wildlife preserve.
Production
  • Oliver Nelson's "Sweet Jaime" is once again heard.'
  • This is the first episode of either series in which Oscar Goldman does not appear (not counting the original 1973 Six Million Dollar Man pilot). Oscar would go on to be absent from several more Bionic Woman episodes, though he retained a perfect track record with the parent series.
  • The basic storyline of the episode is similar to the Six Million Dollar Man storyline "Taneha".
Story
  • This is the third consecutive episode in which the main action of the story takes place during a weekend, in order to allow Jaime to be away from her class.

Gaffes

Editing
  • As Jaime is running, she bionically snaps her fingers to scare away the cougar. However, it is clear that Lindsay Wagner is running in place as it is being filmed.
  • Jaime is shown sitting next to Neil's cage when he suddenly jumps up and (apparently) lets out a loud, percussive growl. Yet Jaime doesn't show a reaction immediately (perhaps she's able to turn off her bionic ear at will?); considering how jumpy she was when she recovered Neil a few minutes earlier, this is odd. Even allowing for the assumption the actual sound effect wasn't played in the studio, it is rather strange that when the lion jumps up there's no reaction at all from Lindsay Wagner.
  • This is the first episode where we're introduced to the bionic hair flip (just after Jaime jumps over the stream).
  • The "bionic throwing" sound effect kicks in too early when Jaime kicks Neil away (plus the effect gives the impression of him being thrown much more forcefully than he was).
Story
  • When Jaime Sommers is talking to Bill Elgin on the phone, she tells him not to worry about her. He then tells her that it's a habit, since they have been doing it since Jaime was twelve. However, Jim and Helen Elgin did not become Jaime's legal guardians until the death of her parents when she was sixteen.
Miscellaneous
  • When Jaime hoists the 100-lb feed bag, she flips it over her shoulder and carries it that way. This isn't actually an error because the opening credits (not to mention discussion in her first appearance) established that her right shoulder is also bionic. However the force of a 100-lb bag hitting her in the back should have been enough to at least stagger Jamie, if not wind her.
Illusion breaker
  • Several aspects of the episode's production reflect changing standards over the past 34 years. In particular, it is doubtful a lead actress and a child actress would have been allowed such close proximity to a lion, even a trained one, were the episode made today. And these days (and possibly not back in 1976, either) a schoolteacher would never be allowed to bring an unrestrained lion into a classroom.
Clawsblooper

Outtake: Lindsay Wagner laughs after her ad-lib stops the take.

Outtakes

  • In the scene in which Keys threatens to shoot Neil, Lindsay Wagner ad-libs "F--- you, Keys!" as the crew laughs. This outtake was later edited into a gag reel which subsequently found its way onto the Internet.
  • Additional bloopers from the episode include the trained lion refusing to turn towards the camera until his trainer calls out "Hey, turkey!" (this is on the DVD version of the gag reel), and another where either Lindsay Wagner or a stunt double slips while trying to corral the elephant.

Gallery

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