Magnum, P.I.

Season 7 Episode 16

Solo Flight

Aired Unknown Feb 04, 1987 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
35 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Solo Flight
Magnum decides to get away from various problems by going on a solo hike, without telling anyone where he is headed. But on the climb, and already suffering from a centipede bite, he becomes trapped under the wreckage of an old World War II fighter plane he discovers and faces the prospect that he may die there.moreless

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  • Herman...

    I thought Herman was the name of the fly, not the spider. Shows you how long it's been since I've seen those episodes. All in all still a great episode.
  • Guest star

    My favorite guest star:

    Norman Fell
  • In the middle of a run of bad luck which has included being fired from a case, without telling anyone Magnum decides to climb a remote mountain. But, already suffering a centipede bite, he becomes trapped under the wreckage of a WWII plane. Very good...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    'Solo Flight' is in many ways a remake of the classic fourth season opener 'Home From the Sea' (my all-time favourite episode of the series). But thankfully, instead of being a simple retread, 'Solo Flight' adds enough new elements and good moments for it to rank as an excellent episode in its own right.

    The story could have ended up as a 'flashback episode' – a staple TV device, especially during the 1970s and '80s, where most of the story is made up of flashbacks to previous episodes. However, here, whilst there are indeed a wide range of flashbacks (most prominently from the aforementioned 'Home From the Sea'), they serve to illustrate the story, instead of getting in the way of the overall plot.

    There are some very good moments in this story – one of my favourites is even before Magnum has become trapped under the wreckage, when he first finds the plane, and feels compelled to salute. It doesn't sound much reading it, but on-screen, it comes across as a very powerful moment.

    The music for the story is also very good – slow and dramatic and vaguely menacing, it fits perfectly into the episode.

    Another good element of the story is how Magnum 'remotely' solves the case from which he has been fired.

    Most of the story is simply Magnum laying trapped under the wreckage talking to himself – in lesser capable hands, this would have come across as very dull, but with Tom Selleck, it comes off as immensely watchable.

    As I say, this is in many ways a remake of 'Home From the Sea'. In that episode, Magnum was stuck out at sea treading water, with no-one knowing he was there; this one is similar in that he is again in great peril, with no-one realising where he is. There are a lot of references to the former episode – Magnum even names a spider he is watching 'Herman', a name he also dubbed a shark in 'Home...' (which in turn is a name that he gave the monster under his bed as a kid). But more of a blatant rip-off, 'Solo Flight' comes across merely as a story in the same vein.

    In 'Home...', Magnum's psychic abilities with his friends alerts them to his peril; they could have used the same device again here, but then I think the story really would feel like a rip-off. Instead, Magnum works his own way out of this one – which some may argue is ultimately more satisfying.

    Then there is the nice ending – after trying to save a fly from 'Herman' while on the mountain, at the end of the story, Magnum subconsciously swats a fly on the back of his neck, before realising what he has done!

    All-in-all, this is a really good story. It could have come across as a blatant remake / rip-off, but thankfully it works really well. I give it a 10.moreless
Norman Fell

Norman Fell

David Albertson

Guest Star

Robert Phalen

Robert Phalen

Harvey Michels

Guest Star

Prescott Ogle

Prescott Ogle

Hunter #1

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Magnum: (narrating) Failure is one of life's few absolutes. Success, on the other hand, is relative. For instance, there's this story of a guy who spent his entire childhood dreaming of becoming a fighter pilot. He joined up at 18, came out of flight school number one in his class, soloed like a pro, and was assigned to a top combat wing. A week before he was to fly his first mission there was a fire in his barracks. He pulled two guys from the flames and suffered third-degree burns to his hands in the process. He was a hero, and he wound up a General. But he was never able to fly again. Relative success and absolute failure.

  • NOTES (3)

    • The German episode title is "Rückblenden", meaning "Flashbacks". The French title is "Dialogue au sommet", meaning "Dialogue at the Summit". The Italian title is "La tela del ragno", meaning "Spider's Web".

    • Mixed in amongst delusional dreams of his friends and to do with his last case, there are also flashbacks to: Higgins flying his model aeroplane, and Magnum shooting it down, from the fourth season episode "Distant Relative", Higgins and Magnum trapped in a lift, from previously this season, in "Paper War", held prisoner and tortured by Colonel Ivan, as seen in flashback in the third season's feature-length / two-part "Did You See The Sunrise?", Being forced to sing "Misty" in a karaoke bar, from the fifth season episode "The Man From Marseilles", And his encounter with the obsessed killer from "Death and Taxes" earlier this season.

    • This episode contains many flashbacks and references to the fourth season episode, "Home From The Sea". Magnum remembers a number of parts from that episode, both flashbacks to his childhood, and being stranded at sea in the present in that story. He also nick-names a near-by spider 'Herman', a reference to the name he gave to the shark he memorably encountered in the former episode, commenting that it's like "The Return Of Herman".


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