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The Pioneers

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“The Pioneers”

S2 E2

Production 41204
Original Airdate: September 20, 1974
Tate-hurls-rock
David Tate attacks Steve
Produced by
Lionel E. Siegel and Joe L. Cramer
Teleplay by
Bill Svanoe
Story by
Katey Barrett
Directed by
Christian I. Nyby, II
Guest Cast
Guest Star(s)
Mike Farrell as David Tate
Joan Darling as Nicole Simmons
Special Guest Star(s)
Alan Oppenheimer as Rudy Wells
Co-starring
Robert F. Simon as The Sheriff
With
Vince Howard as Ted Walker
Milt Kogan as Major, A.F.
Bill Sorrells as Chief Master Sgt., A.F.
Bob Bernard as 1st Federal Agent
Justin Wilde as 2nd Camper
Uncredited
Angelo De Meo as 1st Camper
Broadcast Order
Season 2
← Previous Next →
"Nuclear Alert" "Pilot Error"


Summary

Scientists David Tate and Nicole Simmons develop a cell regeneration serum that they feel will eliminate the problems of returning from a suspended state. In the crash of their space capsule--in which they were cryogenically frozen--David gets too much of the serum, resulting in his gaining a great surge of strength, accompanied by periods of violent seizures. He begins terrorizing the countryside, and Steve is forced to run him down.

Memorable Quotes

Steve: Look, Oscar, I'm not one of your eager beavers, you know. Your problems aren't my problems unless you got reasons - reasons that make sense to me.


Steve: (to Rudy) You know, Doc, you haven't changed a bit. Even when you're faking, your bedside manner is terrible.


Steve: You made many jumps, Rudy?
Rudy: Oh, not too many.
Steve: Yeah, I didn't think so: You're putting your parachute on upside down.


Nicole Simmons: Your arm's bionic!
Steve: Two years ago, I was part of an experiment Oscar and Rudy...tried. So far, it's worked.
Nicole: One of Oscar's experiments called in to help another one of Oscar's experiments. Kinda makes us family, doesn't it?
Steve: Sorta. Country cousins.


Steve: You know, I've never met anyone who's been an experiment like me.
Nicole: How does it make you feel?
Steve: It makes me feel...a little less alone.


Oscar: Too much. Too much to pay for something called science, or progress. All right, I'm in government service, but what am I? What am I, really? I'm just a glorified public servant. So why should I have the power to send a man to this death? Here I am alive, right now, right this minute. David Tate is dead. What is it? Am I better than he was, is that it?
Steve: He knew the risk.
Oscar: Come on, pal, he didn't think for a minute he was going to get killed.
Steve: Look, you didn't force him, Oscar.
Oscar: Oh, come on.
Steve: It wasn't for nothing. You know that serum can open up a whole knew world to research. A way to increase a man's physical and mental potential.
Oscar: Potential? You're talking about man's potential. A man has died here. David Tate is dead, don't you understand that? He's dead!
Steve: Yes, he's dead. But you're still alive to finish what you two started together.
Oscar: Oh, come on, now.
Steve: It takes two, Oscar. You wanted him to do it. But he wanted to do it. In a way he was...he was kind of a pioneer. You couldn't have stopped him if you tried. I know you, Oscar, you're not just a glorified public servant. You're a man who has to keep trying to find ways to improve things. In a way, you're a pioneer, too. Where would I be if you weren't?

Trivia

  • Lee Majors' hair is noticeably lighter than usual, almost as blonde as it was in his Big Valley days. It's also noticeably longer than it is in later episodes.
  • Rudy Wells appears for the first time this season.
  • Robert F. Simon, who played the part of the crotchety Sheriff, also played the part of the Daily Bugle's crotchety editor, J. Jonah Jameson in the CBS TV series The Amazing Spider-Man (1977-1978)

Bionic Sounds

  • The Bionic sound effect is applied to David Tate's superhuman strength but not to Steve's. Tate is the third non-bionic character to whom the sound is given. The Robot and Yamo preceded him. At this time, the soon-to-be-iconic sound is not yet standard for Bionics.

Bionic Damage

  • This is the second time Steve's bionic arm is damaged by blunt force trauma from a being possessed of extraordinary strength. The first was in "Dr. Wells is Missing" where Yamo struck him with a light pole he had uprooted from the ground.

Bionics

  • 2 Telescopic scans
    • From the plane (with sound)
    • Scanning the forest (with sound)
  • 3 Infrared scans
    • Scanning the forest (with sound)
  • 5 Strength displays
    • Pulling capsule door shut (no sound)
    • Striking David Tate in the back (no sound)
    • Striking David across the face (no sound)
    • Body slamming David from behind (no sound)
    • Kicking shotgun into the air (whistle sound but no Bionic sound)
  • 2 Runs
    • Twice through the forest (no sound)
  • Rudy states that liquid nitrogen will freeze Steve's Bionic hand
  • Rudy draws heat from Steve's Bionic arm to thaw Nicole Simmons

Gaffes

  • As Steve runs through the forest, sweat appears under his right arm. "Population: Zero" established that his Bionic underarm does not sweat.
  • When David Tate strikes Austin sending him into the pond, the stuntman's pulley cable is clearly seen behind him, requiring a sudden zoom thus blurring the image.
  • After fighting in the water, Austin is almost immediately dry again.

The Spacecraft

  • The configuration of the spacecraft portrayed in this episode wouldn't be able to land using a LEM-type vehicle with Earth's gravity. That's the reason capsules use large parachutes to land on water (American Space Program) or snow fields (Soviet Space Program). No parachute is seen in the episode, but given the prototypical and secretive nature of the Cryonics project involved it's plausible that this spacecraft used a parachute assisted retro-rocket landing on an uncommon area (a forest) to avoid detection. (Not true, the red & white parachute is clearly seen 4 or 5 times on the ground and trees next to the capsule.)
  • However, given the Cold War tracking capabilities of both the Soviet Union and the rest of the United States military complex, there wouldn't be much of a chance of keeping a mission like this a secret (as intended for Oscar Goldman), as it would be tracked both at launch and landing, with a good chance of being mistaken by the Soviet Union as a ICBM launch that would require a proper response. Also, space objects close to our planet are tracked on a daily basis since the early days of the American Space Program, so it would be common knowledge the existence of such spacecraft orbiting (or in close proximity to) Earth, at least for NASA.

The Science Of Cryonics

  • Cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of humans, and is not reversible with current technology. Cryonics procedures involve the use cryoprotectants (as the one used in this episode) to prevent ice formation inside the body tissues during cryopreservation.
  • NASA currently has a Cryogenics And Fluids branch of that does all manner of research on cryopreservation, attempting to discover the most effective, efficient, and economical means of freezing both organic and inorganic payloads for long (and even sometimes short) term storage. So far, the efforts don't involve living human beings. However it's feasible that such attemps could be made in the future. Cryonics experiments are conducted in space on the International Space Station.
  • Human genetic material (sperm and eggs) have been successfully restored after twenty-one years of cryogenic storage, giving birth to a healthy subject. However, this has never been attemped with a living human.
  • As the subjects in this episode never completed their intended experiment and presented serious side effects, at least that scientific aspect of the advanced Cryonics involved in this story is fairly plausible. However, the cellular damage to the tissues wouldn't involve increased strenght, but actually the opposite. Most likely, both subjects would die or survive with severe neurological deficit.

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