With Carol in the middle of a controversial court case, Thomas moves her in with her mother for safekeeping. But when he takes the case of finding a woman's adopted child, it emerges the child is Carol, and is torn if / how to tell his friend. Underrated.
Although I'm familiar with just about every episode of 'Magnum, p.i.', for some reason my memory had totally forgotten about this one. As with all the eps they showed, I have an off air recording of it from when Five ran the series here in the U.K. in 2002-3, so I'd defiantly seen it, but, coming to watch it on DVD to review, I just had no recollection of it at all.
Reading the synopsis and rating, I really didn't expect much from this one at all – even expecting it to maybe be the weakest of the season. How wrong could I be – although the more straight-out dramas often aren't my thing in MPI, I really enjoyed this one.
Kathleen Lloyd is always good as Carol, as since she was introduced in the fourth season (and a lone third season episode, 'Foiled', played by a different actress) I had grown to really like the character. All of her appearances are good (Lloyd bounces off of Tom Selleck perfectly), but the stories specifically based around her usually particularly good. (With that in mind, I'm amazed even more than I couldn't remember this episode!).
The opening of the episode is somewhat of a red herring, suggesting that it will be a different, legal based story, from what it ultimately becomes. Although Carol's legal case does form a backdrop, the story soon evolves into a much more personal affair.
Magnum taking Carol to stay with her mother for safekeeping does seem like a bit of an obvious plot point in order to introduce us, the audience, to Carol's mother, but I suppose for the reasons of storytelling, it is excusable.
Going by first impressions, I expected Eileen Brennan as Brenda Babcock, to be the standard MPI 'annoying one-off female' guest star. But as the story progressed and it was revealed that she is, in fact, Carol's real mother, I came to bear her more. (I should have known the two plots would somehow intertwine, though – Magnum seldom has two separate cases on the go that don't tie up eventually!)
The episode is mostly serious throughout, but does have some nice humorous moments here and there (I like Higgins' amazement that Magnum has washed the Ferrari – little realising he's done it to wipe the pelted eggs off; and the scene at the restaurant).
I was curious about the actions of Carol's adoptive mother Abigail at the conclusion of the story, trying to pay Brenda to return to the mainland and leave her alone with Carol forever. Abigail comes across as a very decent person; I can only assume that this act was out of sheer desperation to try and resolve the matter.
This isn't a good episode to show someone new to the series – it's not a typical MPI showcase, and you probably need to have experienced some of Carol's previous episodes to fully feel for her (this story defiantly wouldn't work if it were a new, one-off character in place of Carol).
But, while I don't always like this style of story, and wish we would see some more adventuresome cases from season eight (not necessarily action-packed, just more exciting adventures), I am pleasantly surprised by this episode. Even if I *had* recollected seeing it previously, I don't think I would have cared for this one when I was younger, but my tastes have matured. From expecting it to possibly be the weakest of the season, I think it may even be one of my favourites.
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