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Winning Is Everything

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“Winning Is Everything”

S1 E9

Production 44416
Original Airdate: April 7, 1976
Jaime sanders
Jaime and Tim Sanders hit the road
Produced by
Kenneth Johnson
Written by
James D. Parriott
Directed by
Phil Bondelli
Guest Cast
Guest Star(s)
John Elerick as Tim Sanders
Special Guest Star(s)
Alejandro Rey as Carlos Scapini
With
Nancy Jeris as Russian Woman
Frank Cala as Bartender
Rene Assa as Attendant
Stephen Coit as Man
Broadcast Order
Season 1
← Previous Next →
"Jaime's Mother" "Canyon of Death"

Jaime becomes Tim Sanders' navigator in a 500 mile international desert auto race in order to retrieve a vital cassette tape from a foreign country.


Summary

Summoned from her classroom in Ojai, Oscar Goldman briefs Jaime Sommers about a race that takes place in Taftan. The south-west Asian country was recently taken over by the military junta. The new government of Taftan invaded the American Embassy.  An OSI agent working at the American Embassy was able to escape with a cassette tape full of six months of top-secret information and deliver it to a predetermined location. In order to get the tape, Oscar informs Jaime that she will be a the navigator in the Dasht-i-Ravar, an international race that crosses the desert through the middle of Taftan.

Upon arriving in Taftan, Jaime learns further details of the race and the mission. Oscar, posing under the alias of Oscar Bartholomew, introduces her to her driving partner, Tim Sanders. The trio returns to their hotel to discuss strategy over dinner. Oscar instructs Sanders to take the short cut through Ariram, yet the driver is still skeptical. Noting the time, Oscar leaves to get a good nights sleep, while Jaime and Sanders stay for a drink. Carlos Scapini, another driver in the race, happens upon the two as they are they are discussing the former Grand Prix winners plans for a comeback. The two rivals exchange words, and after Sanders pours a drink down Scapini's shirt, Jaime pushes him face first into a bowl of food. Scapini vows revenge as the two leave the dining area, all the while the Soviet team watches the exchange with interest. Back in the impound area where the cars are stored, a shadowy figure makes their way to Jaime's car and loosens a bolt.

The next day, with the race about to begin, all of the cars make their way out of the starting area and into the open desert. However, with every obstacle and setback, Sanders finds someone or something to place the blame on. At the first pit stop, some of the supplies appear to be missing, so Sanders starts off to locate them. Getting out of the car, Jaime is greeted by the Russians, who reveal that they made use of the equipment before they continue the race. With no one in sight, Jaime uses her bionics to change the tires. And when Sanders returns, she explains that some men came by to help her.

Returning to the race, Jaime and Sanders finally overtake the Russians. However, it doesn't take long for the loosened bolt to finally fall out, causing their car to flip. Jaime comes to first, and makes her way out of the car. With Sanders still unconscious, she uses her bionics to turn the car back on its tires. Regaining consciousness, Sanders discovers the bolt that was loosened was from the steering linkage. As Sanders struggles to repair the car, he comes to the conclusion that Scapini is to blame. Yet Jaime looks off at the trail left by the Soviets, suspicious of their motives. Reaching the second check point, Jaime and Sanders argue over the shortcut that "Bartholomew" wants the team to take. Sanders refuses, saying it's too dangerous and they still wouldn't win. Jaime, having had enough of his negative attitude, argues that "Bartholomew" is the only one to give him a chance after his accident and that he needs to stop blaming everyone else. Sanders agrees to take the shortcut through Ariram, but they are still in last place.

As the Americans are about to overtake the Russian team, Sanders begins to remember his past accident and have doubts, causing him to purposefully spin-out. He tells Jaime that he is a loser, but she will have none of it, and convinces him to get back in the race. Coming upon an overturned car, the two Americans stop to lend assistance. While Sanders tends to the driver, Jaime makes her way to the car, using her bionics to lift it slightly and pull the navigator to safety. Unfortunately as she tilts the vehicle, gasoline leaks onto the heated tailpipe, causing it to ignite. Sanders notices the danger and pulls Jaime out of the way just as the car explodes. Centering their attention back on the Russian navigator the two Americans are told that the Russian car overturned due to sabotage. Unknown to Jaime, the team from Hong Kong watches this exchange from a distance. Returning to their own vehicle, Jaime and Sanders see that they are trailing the team from Hong Kong, and with this Sanders decides to go down a dried up river bed to pass their nearest opponent. And despite getting stuck on a stray fallen branch, the American team arrives in Ariram ahead of the other teams.

Passing through the town, Jaime insists that Sanders stop briefly at a restaurant along the dirt road. But Sanders is upset about the unscheduled pit-stop. Jaime attempts to explain that she is a government agent before the frustrated driver races out of the town without his navigator. Entering the restaurant where the cassette is supposed to be kept, Jaime approaches the man behind the bar. The bartender silently listens as Jaime tries to describe what the tape looks like before telling her that he speaks English and that she is supposed to give him something in exchange for the tape. Jaime gives him money, and after questioning if she had a credit card, he passes her the cassette. Just as she is ready to leave, the Hong Kong team enters the bar with their guns drawn. Jaime bionically jumps up, grabbing a chandelier, and swings to knock her would be assailants to the ground. She then bionically jumps up to an indoor balcony where she is able to exit the building and bionically jump back down to the ground. Continuing off amid gunshots, Jaime bionically runs out of Ariram chased by the team from Hong Kong in their truck. With the truck accelerating to 100 miles per hour, Jaime does her best to escape.

As Sanders drives along the trail, he reflects on Jaime's words of encouragement and decides to turn back to pick her up. Finally catching up to her American partner, Jaime grabs a wrench from the vehicle and bionically throws it, blowing out the tire of the Hong Kong team's truck. Seeing Scapini cross their path, Jaime and Sanders get back in the race. Driving at over 110 mph, the Americans finally close in on the Italian team. Coming upon a river passing, Sanders is able to edge Scapini off the road and drive the last five miles unchallenged. With the race over, Sanders tells Jaime he will return to the Grand Prix circuit, and she remarks that she will return to Ojai and teaching. Oscar arrives to let Sanders know his car has arrived, and before leaving, Sanders and Jaime share a kiss.

Deconstructed

Quotes

Oscar: (on phone with the Secretary) That's right - and that's why I've sent for our bionic woman, Jaime Sommers.
Jaime: (enters) Sent for? Kidnapped's more like it.


Jaime: Oscar, what is so important that one of your men has to call me out of my classroom in the middle of an algebra lesson, throw me on a plane, take me clear across the country, without one word of explanation?


Oscar: Ever hear of the Dasht-i-Ravar International Race?
Jaime: That's the one in the tire commercial, isn't it? Goes across the desert?
Oscar: Yeah. A man and a woman will be in each car, going right through the middle of the country.
Jaime: (sinks in her chair) Oh, no...


Oscar: (referring to his alias) Oscar Bartholomew excepted.
Jaime: Bartholomew.
Oscar: Shh-shh-shh. I don't want anybody to recognize my name.
Jaime: (in a mock whisper) Bartholomew.
Oscar: Even Tim Sanders. I mean he's a terrific driver, but I don't want him to know this is an O.S.I. mission. (pauses and looks around) Besides, I don't think the name Goldman would go over too well in this country.


Tim: You know, If I weren't waiting for a Grand Prix sponsor right now, I would have told Bartholomew what he could do with that map.


Jaime: Oh, my stomach!
Tim: Keep your eyes closed, we're outta sickbags.


Tim: Come on, you dumb car, come on!


Race Announcer: And the racers are moving out of the starting area and off into the beautiful open desert country of Taftan, which our new military government pledges to preserve unmolested in all of its natural beauty.


Jaime: I came to, uh, pick up the... the tape? You know it's a tape; it's a very small little cassette thing, like... it's about that big. you know, and it goes around in circles...
Bartender: Lady, I speak English, and I know what a tape cassette is. But aren't you supposed to gimme something first?
Jaime: Oh! (pulls out money)
Bartender: (counts it) That's all they gave you?
Jaime: That's it.
Bartender: You got a credit card?
Jaime: C'mon, gimme the tape!


(Tim and Jaime have caught up to Scapini)
Tim: We're gonna take 'em, Jaime!
Jaime: If my kidneys don't give out first!

Trivia

Characters
  • Although her top speed is usually cited as 60 MPH, Jaime outruns a race car doing at least 100 MPH (we see a closeup of the vehicle's speedometer hitting 100, and the gunman is shown having to fire ahead of the vehicle, yet is unable to hit her).
  • This episode marks the first time since her resurrection that Jaime romances someone other than Steve Austin or Michael, albeit briefly.
  • Names of production staff are used as driver/navigator names on the tote board; Johnson, Rowe, Bennett, and Parriott are all listed as drivers.
  • The episode makes a rare reference to religion and ethnicity when Oscar mentions that the name "Goldman" - connected with people of the Jewish faith - would not "go over well" in Taftan, which is why he takes on the alias. (Even though this precaution is rendered somewhat moot by the participation of an Israeli team in the race.) For its part, the franchise has never explicitly indicated Oscar's actual ethnic or religious background.
  • Oscar also sports a rather unconvincing-looking mustache as part of his disguise (though exactly why he required it is never really explained). This is one of the relative few occasions in which Oscar accompanied his agents into the field for the duration of their mission.
Real World
  • Based on the locations and terms used, Taftan doubles for Iran.
    • The events of this episode pre-date the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which resulted in the government changing from a monarchy to a theocracy.
Story
  • This episode unambiguously identifies "the Secretary" as the U. S. Secretary of State, and therefore firmly places the OSI in the State Department. Though mentioned only by title and not by name, the U.S. Secretary of State in 1976 was Henry Kissinger.
  • This episode also marks the first time Jaime visits Oscar's office in Washington within an episode of The Bionic Woman, the site of so many briefings for Steve Austin. However, she had previously as a cameo in the SMDM episode Big Brother, This is also the first episode in which an OSI mission has had to disrupt Jaime's teaching, as she indicates that she'd been forced to leave in the middle of a class.
Continuity
  • Jaime wears the necklace introduced in the previous episode (which had been given to her by her late mother).
Visual effects
  • After escaping from the bar and as she begins her run, Jaime is seen blurring as she picks up speed; this is a rare variant on the usual slow-motion depiction of the speed.

Gaffes

Audio
  • As the race starts, the sound of tires squealing on pavement can be heard, except they are in the sand as this is a desert race.
  • When Jaime mentions needing another sick bag, her mouth isn't moving.
Continuity
  • The use of stock footage results in several continuity gaffes during the race:
  • In closeups, the Russian team is wearing dark brown and tan jumpsuits, but in the long shots they appear to be wearing light blue jumpsuits.
  • The stripes on Jaime and Sanders' car change from V-shape to parallel and the running lights on the top of the car are covered then exposed.
  • Several times during the race, the positions of the drivers are posted on a board. The positions change from one viewing of the board to the next.
  • Jaime lifts the overturned Russian car, but in the close-up of a leaking gas tank the car is not moving.
  • When Oscar is showing Jaime and Saunders a map of the race, the "shortcut" through Ariram is the path on the left. Later, when they come to it -- it's on the right.
  • When Jaime picks up the tape at the bar, it's in a tape case, but when she puts it in her pocket, there is no case.
  • The episode establishes that every step of the race is being followed by a helicopter and relayed to an announcer. Yet somehow they fail to notice a woman outrunning one of the vehicles across the desert while being shot at (there is dialogue indicating that the helicopter doesn't follow the competitors who take the detour into the town, but Jaime's run takes place near where the helicopter would have been following the leader, as only a few moments pass between her arrival at the car and the Italian driving past).
Credibility
  • Although the notion that the new government of Taftan would allow the race to continue as a sign of "everything is normal", the notion that tourists would want to attend the event under such circumstances is unlikely. Also unlikely is the expectation an American team would participate given the actions designed against its embassy (meaning, among other things, there is no embassy to support American visitors). Similarly, the presence of American allies such as Israel is also unlikely.
  • In 1976, Hong Kong was still considered a British colony. Presumably the enemy agents were only impersonating Hong Kongese citizens (which might explain why one of them is clearly Caucasian, though being a British colony it is not uncommon for there to be Caucasian Hong Kong nationals).
  • The map that Oscar uses to show Tim and Jamie the shortcut through Ariram appears to be a tourist map of the nation of Jordan. The Dead Sea, Jordan River and Sea of Galilee are noticeable. The map contains drawings of tourist sites; one of which appears to be Petra. On the right side of the map, the legend "Saudi Arabia" is visible upon close examination.

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