(Review continued from Part 1...)
This review contains spoilers.
As I said on the first half of my review, this Pilot definitely has its plus points, but suffers from maybe a few-too-many clever but slow scenes at the expense of plot pacing. And that is still in evidence at the start of this second half.
The characters are certainly strong enough, and I love the whole relationship that builds up between troubled, "cursed" Hawke and Gabrielle, but at the same time, the story does take it's time to get to the real meat!
The scenes in the middle of the desert, with Moffet torturing Gabrielle (both physically and mentally) are haunting, and surprisingly adult for a prime-time show of its ilk. (When various ITV regions reran the series in the mid-1990s here in the U.K., most of these scenes were chopped – though, in classic ITV style, each region had their own idea of what to and what not to show!)
For all I've said about it's slow spells, the story does build up to an exciting climax, with Hawke and Santini infiltrating the Libyan compound, retrieving Airwolf, and blowing the enemy away! The climatic sequence, after Hawke finds Gabrielle, dehydrated and tortured, just before she dies, as Airwolf is pursued over the desert, lays waste to attacking parties, and finally blows Moffet away, is very powerful.
Which leads me onto the wonderful score. Alan J. Levi's theme for 'Airwolf' is a TV classic, and I love how in the Pilot and the first season it gets full orchestral working. Later second and third season episodes would go more for a synthesised working of the theme, which was okay, but I feel that for these darker, heavier early outings, this orchestral version is much more powerful.
I was very surprised to see that, at time of writing (January 2011), Part 1 of the Pilot currently ranks in this site's Top 10 most popular episodes. It's certainly good (for all of its flaws, slow plot progression et al), but it wouldn't rank in my personal Top 10 favourite 'Airwolf' episodes.
It's much more of a character piece. In fact, I think the Pilot plays better watching it again AFTER the first season, when we are more familiar with the characters and can take to this deep character study of the Pilot more.
After summing up the pros and cons for the first half, I gave it an 8.5 rating. This second half does tend to lean towards the same, but I feel that when things finally do start to build up to a climax, and the climatic air battle and hunting down of Moffet, it is enough to scrape this one a 9/10. I wouldn't have given that rating a few years ago, but now, older and more mature (ha, right!), I've come to appreciate the smaller points of the Pilot.