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The Bionic Woman (episode)

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“The Bionic Woman”

S2 E19

Production 41244
Original Airdate: 16 March 1975
Vlcsnap-367705
Jaime and Steve get reacquainted
Produced by
Lionel E. Siegel
Joe L. Cramer
Written by
Kenneth Johnson
Directed by
Richard Moder
Guest Cast
Guest Star(s)
Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers
Malachi Throne as Joseph Wrona
Special Guest Star(s)
Martha Scott as Helen Elgin
Allan Oppenheimer as Rudy Wells
With
Ford Rainey as Jim Elgin
Paul Carr as Timberlake
Harry Hickox as John Ellerton
Scott B. Wells as Doctor
Jeremy Robert Brown as Boy
Dana Plato as Girl
Uncredited
Unknown actor as David Welsh
Broadcast Order
Season 2
← Previous Next →
"The E.S.P. Spy" "The Bionic Woman (Part II)"
Related episodes
"The Bionic Woman (Part II)"
"The Return of the Bionic Woman"
"The Return of the Bionic Woman (Part II)
"Welcome Home, Jaime"
"Welcome Home, Jaime (Part II)"
for other uses, see Bionic Woman (disambiguation)

"The Bionic Woman" is a story consisting of two episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man. It marks the debut of the Jaime Sommers character.


Summary

Having completed a mission in Europe to retrieve a stolen $20 bill printing plate, Steve Austin takes some well earned leave and returns to his hometown of Ojai, California to buy a ranch and to visit his mother, Helen, and step-father, Jim. Whilst there he is reunited with his high-school sweetheart, tennis-pro Jaime Sommers. After years of not seeing each other Steve and Jaime discover they have strong feelings for each other and quickly fall in love. Following a tragic sky-diving accident that leaves Jaime near death, Steve pleads with Oscar Goldman of the OSI to save her life by replacing her shattered legs, her right arm and inner right ear with Bionic replacements. Oscar reluctantly agrees on the understanding that Jaime will have to do work for the OSI in the future. Jaime makes an excellent recovery following surgery and Steve asks her to marry him.

Deconstructed

Quotes

Joseph Wrona: I saw his face...
Timberlake: Who is he? How could he have gotten into the truck?
Joseph Wrona: I don't know. But if it takes me the rest of my life, I'll find him. And when I do, he's a dead man.


Steve Austin: (Steve's mom is stirring something up) Do I still get to lick the bowl?
Helen Elgin: (paying attention to something else) What dear?
Steve Austin: What kind of cake is this? (tastes a bit with his finger)
Helen Elgin: Eh? Oh! (tries to stop him)
Steve Austin: Ooh, gah, it's terrible!
Helen Elgin: (laughs) Of course it is, it's wallpaper paste.
Steve Austin: It's not bad for wallpaper paste. (laughs)


Girl: Boy, Jaime's the most important person that ever came out of our town. Except for that astronaut guy.


Jaime Sommers: What did you let them do to me?
Steve Austin: Look, I know how you feel.
Jaime Sommers: No you don't. Why did you let them do that?
Steve Austin: Jaime, trust me, please trust me.
Jaime Sommers: I don't want to be a freak!


Jaime Sommers: (having taken her first bionic step) That's one small step for Jaime.
Steve Austin: Don't kid yourself, that was a giant leap.


Jaime Sommers: Steve, do you think I'll be able to play the violin when my hand gets better?
Steve Austin: Well sure.
Jaime Sommers: Oh, that's so great, because I have never been able to play it before.


Steve Austin: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
Jaime Sommers: And Rudy Wells and those bionic men put Jaime and Steve back together again.


Jaime Sommers: You know, it might not be so bad being the bride of Frankenstein.
Steve Austin: You thinking about getting married?
Jaime Sommers: No, actually, I was thinking eh, it might be kind of nice being bionic.

Trivia

  • This is the last episode produced for season two but it was broadcast earlier.
  • As Steve drives into Ojai, he passes a sign that reads: "Welcome to Ojai, home of American astronaut, Steven Austin." This is a rare "Steven" reference, but would be used in the next episode, as Joseph Wrona addresses him as "Colonel Steven Austin." Rescued scientist Dr. Losey also addresses him as "Steven" in The Winning Smile.
  • Lee Majors recorded two original songs for the soundtrack of this episode: "Got to Get Loose" and "Sweet Jaimie"; the latter incorporates the Six Million Dollar Man theme as a counter melody. "Sweet Jaime" as sung by Majors would be heard again in "The Return of the Bionic Woman" and "Welcome Home, Jaime", while several first-season episodes of The Bionic Woman would feature the instrumental version.
  • Austin's desire to buy property in a small town was foreshadowed in the epilogue of "Taneha" a few weeks earlier.
  • Portions of the two-parter were filmed on location in Ojai and vicinity in mid-January 1975.
  • As discussed in the DVD commentary and The Bionic Book, Johnson coined the term "pocket bionics" to discuss the use of bionics in a non-mission/non-action context - uses the viewers would put their bionics to work on if they had the opportunity. In this episode, for example, Steve mows the lawn, cleans a window, and moves a refrigerator (another pocket bionics scene, showing Steve pulling out a tree stump, was written but not filmed). Pocket bionics weren't new to the series -- Steve's very first use of his strength on the regular weekly series was to bend a roll bar for a dune buggy he is building in "Population: Zero", and he later acted as a human jack in "Survival of the Fittest" -- but under Johnson's watch they would become more frequent, especially in the Bionic Woman series.

Story development

  • In his DVD commentary, Kenneth Johnson reveals a few facts about how this episode, and the character of Jaime Sommers, were created:
    • Working titles for the episode included "Homecoming" and "Mrs. Steve Austin".
    • The story was inspired by The Bride of Frankenstein.
    • In the first version of the story, Jaime was a woman with psychic abilities who Austin is assigned to protect, and who is made bionic after an accident. In the second version, Jaime was a businesswoman. Only in the third version did Jaime become a tennis player and Steve Austin's childhood sweetheart (the first two concepts included a third-party boyfriend).
    • Jaime was always intended to "die" at the end of the story, though Johnson initially pushed for the story to end with Jaime left in a coma with the potential of being rejuvenated later. According to Johnson, the then-popular Love Story was the network's motivator in initially demanding that Jaime be killed off.

Gaffes

Nitpicks

  • When Steve paddles his canoe on the lake, he at first paddles to his left and to his right, as would be normal. After he spots Jaime, he paddles bionically to get to her, but only on one side. This should have made his canoe go in circles.
  • When Jaime departs the tennis court to meet up with Steve, an establishing shot is used which shows her sliding her racquet into a leather carrying bag. When she embraces Steve, however, the bag is completely different.
  • One of the more infamous production errors occurs in Part 1 when we see Jaime's name misspelled "Jamie" in a yearbook inscription supposedly written by Jaime.

Continuity

  • Only a couple of months earlier, we saw Steve fawning over the love of his life in "Lost Love". Yet here he is doing so again, this time with Jaime.
  • The fact Steve doesn't mention Barney Miller when Jaime asks Steve if there are any other bionic people is sometimes identified as a continuity error. In fact, however, at this point Steve's understanding is that Barney's bionics have been permanently tuned down to human strength. So assuming the context of Jaime's question is whether there are more like Steve who can bend steel bars and run 60 MPH, Steve is being truthful.

Miscellaneous

  • Kenneth Johnson's commentary for the 2010 DVD release of this episode (in the Bionic Woman: Season 1 set) contains some factual errors. He states that this was the first two-parter in episodic television. In fact, numerous other series had aired two-parters previous to this, including the original Star Trek (coincidentally, an episode that also guest-starred Malachi Thorne), and Mission: Impossible. Johnson also claims this was the only time Lee Majors sang on television; discounting his reprise of "Sweet Jaime" in The Return of the Bionic Woman, Majors, of course, also famously sang his own theme song on The Fall Guy.
Tennis gaffe
bag switch
ValorAdded by Valor

Novelization

Plot elements from this episode were incorporated into the novelization Welcome Home, Jaime by Eileen Lottman (published in the UK under the title Double Identity and credited to "Maud Willis").

Home Video

Main article: Home Video Releases

"The Bionic Woman" two-parter had the distinction of being, for many years, one of the only episodes of either series to be officially released to home video in North America. In 1978, MCA DiscoVision released this episode on Laserdisc in the US, under the title, The Bionic Woman, inviting ambiguity as to the contents. In the 1980s, Universal put out a VHS tape, again entitled The Bionic Woman and again containing the two-part Six Million Dollar Man episode (complete with standard SMDM opening and closing credits, even though the tape box makes no reference to this actually being an SMDM episode). The tape is long out of print.

On October 19, 2010, "The Bionic Woman" two-parter, along with The Return of the Bionic Woman and Part 1 of Welcome Home, Jaime, became the first Six Million Dollar Man episodes to be issued on DVD in North America when they were included as bonus episodes in the complete first season box set of The Bionic Woman. Later, in November 2010, they were released again as part of a full-series box set of The Six Million Dollar Man issued by Time Life. Kenneth Johnson recorded commentary for both episodes; the same commentary was released in both sets.

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