Blue Heelers

Season 2 Episode 38

Juggling With Smoke

0
Aired Wednesday 8:30 PM Oct 31, 1995 on Seven Network
8.0
out of 10
User Rating
1 votes
1

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Juggling With Smoke
AIRED:
Melbourne Cup day hardly brings Mt. Thomas to a standstill when a series of burglaries rock the town.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • On Melbourne Cup day, whilst most of the town is in town watching the races, a series of house burglaries take place. Tom believes it is just opportunists at work, but PJ insists something bigger is afoot. Good plot lost in a frustratingly off-form ep...moreless

    8.0
    This review contains spoilers.



    Well... where to begin with this episode? One word immediately springs to mind: "Frustrating"! Frustrating because there is such a good plot buried in here, but it is lost in a mishandled and off-form episode.



    Things get off to a bad start. I found the "mirth and merriment" at the Imperial, caught up in the excitement of Melbourne Cup day, to be rather annoying. Worse, Nick, one of my favourite in the series, comes across as just plain irritating and rather stupid. As many of my previous reviews for the series show, I love William McInnes in the role of Nick, but here, he just seemed (to use the term again) off-form, and actually rather unlikable in my opinion. I am a big fan of Australian humour, and of the humour often seen in 'Blue Heelers' in particular, but things just felt so forced and unfunny here.

    The whole shtick with the helium balloon is such an example, and although we had seen him in several other episodes ('Stop For a Bite' and 'Trust Me') previously, Richo inside the horse costume isn't recognisable enough for viewers to "get the joke", leaving even more regular viewers such as myself rather scratching their head.



    Well, that's a shaky beginning, and sadly the episode, to me, never fully feels to find its footing. A very interesting plot starts to emerge, but things just never feel on-form enough to make the most of the proceedings.



    I love the unfolding plot of what PJ believes to be a much larger crime, but felt that things we' rent made a clear as they should have been. And throughout the episode we get "humorous" scenes of Nick, who we aren't sure if has had too much to drink at the pub or is suffering from something else; but there is never any payoff, any real punch-line to this thread. Again, I felt it to be very out of character handling for Nick / McInnes.



    Although I don't believing on picking on one individual actor, I must comment on the ... strange young man who portrays "Slasher", one of the burglars. Coming across as a cross between a man and a woman, completely with squeaky voice and effeminate hairdo (and seemingly a youth played by someone who is about 30), not sure what they were going for here. I initially wasn't sure if it was a "joke" character ... turned out it wasn't! Either way, doesn't do an already shaky episode any favours.



    There is a nice red herring, with the pilot whom Maggie and Adam stop for speeding near the start of the episode, turning out NOT to be involved with the whole crime spree as we – and PJ – come to believe. This is a nice sign of how interesting the plot *could* have been, if handled better.



    (By the way, as a side note, this is the first episode where the Heelers wear their wide-brimmed hats; something that officers would be seen wearing until the end of the series).



    Then there is the "coincidental" ending, where PJ just happens by chance to bump into the mastermind behind the whole crime spree while drinking at the Imperial. I don't mind the rather open ended conclusion, but in an episode where we were left scratching our heads for much of the time anyway, felt that we could / should have been given a few more clues as to much of what had been going on.



    I can't decide if the writing, the directing, or WHAT didn't quite work with this one. Writer Dave Worthington and Director Gary Conway certainly both proved what they are capable of with other episodes; although it might be noted that this is Worthington's first script for series, so maybe didn't have a full handle on the characters at this stage; I don't think all blame can be placed at this door though, as there are a number of elements that feel off with this instalment.



    So you may be surprised, bearing all the above in mind, that I give this episode an 8 out of 10. Well, back to my opening phrase – "frustrating". There is a GREAT plot in here, which shines through at times, and despite all of the other failings of the production, does keep the interest level going (and it is definitely not the worst episode of the second season). It is for this that I give an 8 – but with the right handling, this could so easily have been a 9.5 or a 10.moreless
Grant Bowler

Grant Bowler

Constable Wayne Patterson (1994 - 1996)

Martin Sacks

Martin Sacks

Senior Detective Patrick Joseph "PJ" Hasham (1994 - 2005)

John Wood

John Wood

Senior Sergeant Tom Croydon

Julie Nihill

Julie Nihill

Christine "Chris" Reilly

Lisa McCune

Lisa McCune

Senior Constable Margaret "Maggie" Doyle (1994 - 2000)

Damian Walshe-Howling

Damian Walshe-Howling

Constable Adam Cooper (1994 - 1998)

Michael Burkett

Michael Burkett

Bradley "Slasher" Henries

Guest Star

Kristian Pithie

Kristian Pithie

Kel

Guest Star

Tim Bell

Tim Bell

Harry

Guest Star

Stuart Baker

Stuart Baker

Richo

Recurring Role

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