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The Return of the Bionic Woman

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“The Return of the Bionic Woman”

S3 E1

Production 43020
Original Airdate: 14 September, 1975
Vlcsnap-492901
Steve promises to be Jaime's friend
Produced by
Kenneth Johnson
Written by
Kenneth Johnson
Directed by
Richard Moder
Guest Cast
Guest Star(s)
Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers
Martin E. Brooks as Rudy Wells
Special Guest Star(s)
Richard Lenz as Michael Marchetti
With
Tony Giorgio as Abe Collins
Al Ruscio as Chester Goddard
M.E. Lorange as Nurse
Broadcast Order
Season 3
← Previous Next →
"Steve Austin, Fugitive" "The Return of the Bionic Woman (Part II)"
Related episodes
The Bionic Woman (episode)
The Bionic Woman (Part II)
The Return of the Bionic Woman (Part II)
Welcome Home, Jaime
Welcome Home, Jaime (Part II)


"The Return of the Bionic Woman" is a story consisting of two episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man in which Steve Austin learns that Jaime Sommers survived her Bionic rejection, but as a result cannot remember him.


Summary

Steve Austin, still morose over the death of his fiancee Jaime Sommers, is nearly killed when a mission goes wrong and his bionic legs are crushed. He is taken to Dr. Rudy Wells' hospital for emergency treatment. Whilst there he discovers that Jaime, whom he had seen die from a blood clot caused by Bionic rejection six months earlier, is still alive.

After confronting Oscar Goldman and Rudy, Steve finally learns that immediately following her death Rudy's young assistant, Dr. Michael Marchetti, successfully used cryogenics to preserve Jaime at a very low temperature whilst the blood clot was fully treated. Jaime was then successfully resuscitated and her long recovery back to full health began. But in order to protect Steve from the trauma of losing her a second time should the resurrection fail, he was not told of this.

However, Steve's relief at the news of Jaime soon turns to horror when he finds out that Jaime has suffered some brain damage as a result of her 'death' and no longer has any recollection of Steve and her engagement to him.

Novelization

Although not directly credited, plot elements from this episode were incorporated into the Bionic Woman novelization Welcome Home, Jaime by Eileen Lottman (published in the UK under the title Double Identity and credited to "Maud Willis").

Deconstructed

Quotes

Oscar: You look a million miles away.
Steve: I was just thinking of... somebody.
Oscar: Anybody I know?
Steve: No, not anymore.


Steve: It may not have affected my eyesight, but boy, my legs must've really got chewed up.
Rudy: Yeah, they were. We had to use a carload of components to rebuild 'em. I'll send you the bill in the morning.
Steve: Waitaminute - I'm still under warranty, y'know.
Rudy: Yeah, well, you were about due for your twenty thousand mile checkup anyway.
Steve: How long will I be in the shop?
Rudy: I'm not sure. You could be on your feet by next week.
Steve: Y'know, Doc...
Rudy: Yeah...
Steve: Tell me something...
Rudy: What?
Steve: And I want it straight... will I ever be able to run sixty miles per hour again?
Rudy: (laughing) Sure you will - eventually - but not for a while, and even then, not very far. Listen... I know you, so don't push it, y'hear?
Steve: I got'cha.


Steve: (threatening Oscar and Rudy) You've got five seconds to tell me what's going on, or I'm gonna start using this Bionic arm you two gave me and throw you both through these walls!


Oscar: We planned to keep Michael's surgery a secret as long as Jaime was in a coma, to spare you... losing her again.


Vlcsnap-479538

Who are you?

Jaime: I still feel a little strange around new people.
Steve: I understand.
Jaime: It's all just so incredible. All of a sudden, just - here I am.
Steve: It must be hard for you.
Jaime: Yeah... but... it's also fresh too, y'know. Everytime I see something new, or touch something, or... or I meet a new person, it just makes me want more. And I wanna look back, too. I wanna know who I was; where I came from. But it's a little frightening too... ummm... it's like something's haunting me.
Steve: I know you were in a lot of pain.
Jaime: Maybe that's it. All I know is that it's... uh... it's very uncomfortable to think about, and Michael says it could even be physically dangerous if I dwell on it, so...


Jaime: How long have you been bionic?
Steve: About three years.
Jaime: Oh... y'know, sometimes I feel like... uh... like a little kid with a new toy. And other times, I feel like... I don't know...
Steve: I do.
Jaime: Yeah, I guess you do. (bends the bed frame back into shape) What does that make me?
Steve: (puts his hand on hers) It makes you like me.
Jaime: Yeah... y'know, Michael's sweet, and I'm very fond of him, but... you and I, Steve... we're kinda special, I guess, and I'm gonna need you to help me adjust... ummm... help me be bionic.
Steve: Well, you can count on me.
Jaime: (puts her hand out) Be my friend?
Steve: (hesitates, then takes her hand) I'll be your friend, Jaime.


Vlcsnap-200676

Richard Lenz as Dr. Marchetti

Steve: What are you intentions about Jaime?
Michael: Intentions?
Steve: Well, obviously, you know she likes you a lot.
Michael: Yes, but would you like my medical opinion?
Steve: What do you mean?
Michael: I mean Jaime's showing all the symptoms of the classic patient/doctor infatuation - doctor saves woman's life, woman looks at doctor with amazement, admiration; a kind of desire...
Steve: And how does doctor look at woman?
Michael: Listen, Steve... I'd be a liar if I didn't tell you that I find Jaime incredibly attractive. Her mind is quick, her wit is sharp, and she's a lovely woman.
Steve: Yeah, I know.
Michael: And I know what you two shared before - how hard this must be on you - her loss of memory of what you two had.


Steve: (pokes head around door) Are you decent?
Jaime: (lying on bed) Go away.
Steve: What?
Jaime: I'm on strike today and there's no work.


Jaime: Steve, sometimes I feel like I'm just on te edge of remembering, and then it hurts and it's so frustrating cause I... It's driving me crazy, isn't there anything they can do?

Trivia

Cast
  • This episode marks the debut of Martin E. Brooks as the third and final actor to portray Dr. Rudy Wells.
  • In this episode Brooks is in makeup intended to make him more similar to his predecessor, Alan Oppenheimer. This would be abandoned later in the season, making Brooks seem to "age in reverse".
  • Oppenheimer can still be seen in this episode: he is seen on screen during the recap of the previous Bionic Woman two-parter, in a replay of a scene where he discusses Jaime's rejection of the bionics, and his voice is also heard when Jaime "dies" during the recap.
Continuity
  • When Richard Anderson says "Last, on The Six Million Dollar Man . . ." in the opening continuity announcement over scenes from The Bionic Woman (Part II), he is not incorrect. In fact, that episode was the final one produced for season 2, despite Steve Austin, Fugitive being broadcast as the season finale and it and Outrage in Balinderry having aired between the two Bionic Woman stories. In addition, according to The Bionic Book, the first airing of "Return" immediately followed a rebroadcast of the original two-parter.
Character
  • Austin's bionic legs needed to be rebuilt following his accident.
Story
  • Austin indicates that he's been bionic "about three years". Assuming this episode takes place the same year it was broadcast, 1975, then Austin's accident and surgery occurred in 1972.

Gaffes

Vlcsnap-119549

Steve clears up a few things

Storyline
  • No mention is ever made of Jaime Sommers' funeral. It is inconceivable that Steve Austin would have left Ojai six months earlier until all Jaime's funeral arrangements had been finalized. Helen and Jim Elgin, as Jaime's legal guardians, would surely also have been very closely involved. Was there no funeral, was a dummy placed inside the coffin or did Steve, Helen and Jim leave everything to Oscar Goldman? No answer was ever given by either series. Similarly, beyond a single reference in Part 2 to an Ojai resident thinking she saw a ghost when Jaime walks by her, and a scene in which Steve informs Jim that Jaime is alive, neither series accounted for how Ojai residents responded to Jaime suddenly coming back to life (including her students, who one would think couldn't resist discussing it).
  • It's odd that, given Oscar and Rudy's strongly stated concerns regarding the danger of Austin discovering Jaime is still alive, that no one thought to close the door to her hospital room when Austin was wheeled in, or similarly relocate her where she was less likely to be seen by Austin -- such as the Colorado Springs facility (an option indicated, belatedly, in Part 2). To be fair, however, Austin's situation was a life-and-death emergency, and likely took precedence over all other concerns.
  • When Steve confronts Oscar (see illustration at right), he states that he saw Jaime talking. None of the three Jaime sightings depicted on screen up to this point showed her conscious, yet alone talking.
Continuity
  • When Jaime asks Michael how many people are bionic, he replies that there's only Steve. This is an incorrect statement as there was one additional bionic person at this time, Barney Miller. Considering Miller's instability, it probably made sense to not make her aware of Miller at this point; it's also possible Michael wasn't aware of Miller. Also, at this point Miller's bionics had been "tuned down" by Wells, so while technically still bionic he would not at this point have the same abilities as Austin and Sommers. A potentially simpler explanation is that Michael didn't want to complicate matters since the intent was to get Steve back into Jaime's confidence in order to help her readjust to being bionic.
Credibility
  • When Steve Austin sees Jaime Sommers in the hospital, he takes off like a 'bat out of hell' in his wheelchair. He steers through a door, manoeuvering with his left arm - and, unfortunately, you can still hear the bionic sound effect when he does so. (Also, if Austin's bionic arm was doing most of the pushing, by rights all that he should have been able to accomplish was navigating in a circle since there was no way his left arm could have caught up to speed.)
  • Oscar causes a brief security hiccup when he radios ahead after rescuing the injured Austin. After announcing "Code Snow White", the OSI security code (which had been used publicly as early as Season 1), he then openly refers to bionic surgery - something theoretically only available to those with security level 6 - over the helicopter's radio.
  • Although Michael and Jaime's potential romance creates tension for the storyline, Michael is crossing ethical boundaries for a physician by encouraging Jaime's infatuation when she is a patient under his care.
Bionic Limitations
  • A major flaw in Austin's bionic systems akin to Achille's heel is revealed when not only are Austin's bionic legs completely incapaciated when struck behind the knee by a relatively flimsy-looking sheet of metal (requiring them to be reconstructed) but that this damage causes Austin to experience a physical collapse including delirium, with Wells worried about Austin's survival. Wells appears unable to rectify this potentially fatal flaw, as damage to Austin's legs again puts him at death's door in The Return of Bigfoot, while Jaime experiences her own near-death, legs-related scenario during the Kill Oscar trilogy.
  • After the reconstruction, Austin has to be retrained to use his bionics (which raises additional questions regarding the effect of damage to his limbs), and several times is shown rubbing his legs as if they are sore or in pain, even though other episodes suggest he does not feel pain.
Illusion-Breaker
  • The software used in Austin's bionic eye appears to include an "image orientation-correction" feature. Austin activates his eye while lying on a gurney and sees Jaime when he arrives at the hospital, yet when we see his point-of-view, the image is perfectly horizontal. (In order for us to see Austin's true point-of-view from his position, the image should be at an angle, or even on its side.
  • The make-up used to "age" Martin E. Brooks as a transition from Oppenheimer's version of Rudy Wells isn't consistently applied. When Austin wakes up in the hospital, Wells' hair is considerably grayer looking than it is at the end of the episode when he and Goldman see Jaime and Steve off on their first mission (see screen capture, above).
  • During the bionic pillow fight, there are several occasions where feathers can be seen spilling out of the pillows before they strike their targets. Watch closely when Jaime makes the first blow -- feathers fly out of the pillow before it finds its mark. Given the need for sterile surroundings, it's also unlikely that a hospital would be equipped with feather-filled pillows in the first place. Also, both Jaime and Steve are shown hitting each other about the back and heads -- actions that one would think would have caused injury to their non-bionic body parts.
  • At the end of the argument that Steve Austin is having with Rudy and Oscar, Lee Majors seems to flub a line. He turns toward Martin E Brooks and calls him Oscar, then he turns toward Richard Anderson and redirects his address, then back toward Brooks and calls him Rudy.

Conjecture

  • The lyrics to "Sweet Jaime", heard in this episode and Part 2, come off as bitterly ironic given the circumstances in which they are heard (in both cases during scenes in which Steve and Jaime are shown reestablishing their friendship). This is part and parcel with the writer's commitment to embrace the tragic side - for Steve - of Jaime's new life. While Steve certainly has a big cross to bear in this two parter, he bears it like a hero, always putting Jaime first.

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