The second season kicks off with this so-so episode. After leaving the first season on such a high with 'J. "Digger" Doyle' and 'Beauty Knows No Pain', two of my favourite MPI episodes, things come back down to Earth with a bump here.
The new season brings in a new recording of the theme tune (which would only be used for this season) and an updated mix of shots on the opening credits. I used to like "the old days" when shows would use shots from episodes; nowadays most opening credit sequences are over so quickly.
Anyway, also with the arrival of the second season, the King Kamehameha Club has a new location for external shots. Personally I prefer the one used in the first season. Also, Keoki (Patrick Bishop), a recurring Club worker, makes his first of a number of appearances in this episode.
James Whitmore Jr. (who would go on to play another character in the third season's excellent opener 'Did You See The Sunrise') gives a fair performance as the hot-headed Billy Joe Bob of the title, but the character is also part of the problem with the episode, in that it is near impossible to really warm to him.
T.C., Rick and Higgins get very little to do in this story (Higgins doesn't even appear until halfway through), and is probably another reason why I'm not overly keen on it.
And I find the plot just rather plain and uninteresting.
The sequence of Magnum and Billy Joe picking up girls to try and get a lead on Billy Joe's missing sister feels like it should be really funny, but just comes off as so-so. In fact, the whole episode FEELS as if it should be better than it actually is.
Also, when Channel 5 in the U.K. reran the series in 2002-3, this was one of two episodes they skipped (the other being season seven's 'Out Of Sync'). I'm not sure if it was due to the bad guys using nunchaku (until very recently, they were banned in the U.K.), or the climatic scene with Billy Joe planning to hang Ito. Either way, I never got to see this episode until the release of the Season Two DVD set.
All-in-all, not one of my favourite episodes. There are worse, but as a season opener, I just find it rather disappointing.