"Smoke Screen" was the first episode of "The Fugitive" I've watched that felt like a botched job. All of the pieces were there for a great story (good guest stars, a plot that pits Kimble not against the police, but against nature), but somehow they did not come together in the right way. Don't get me wrong - "Smoke Screen" is not bad. But after the one-two punch of "Never Say Goodbye" and the taut "Decision in the Ring," this episode doesn't measure up.
Maybe it's because of that lack of police or outside pressure. In this show, Kimble isn't "found out," which is usually the case. Instead, he voluntarily unmasks as a doctor to help save a life. And since Gerard and the local police never make the connection that Kimble is the hero migrant worker on the news, the pressure for him to run diminishes. Kimble does have human adversaries - namely, the other migrant workers. Their hostility towards him is explained in dialogue from Paco midway through Act II, and it's helpful. Prior to this point, we don't know why the men hate Kimble so much, and it almost feels like the writers just threw in the loathing as a story point.
The bright side: As always, the acting is stellar, not only from David Janssen (watch his reaction when Paco thinks Kimble is an undercover cop) and Barry Morse (even hundreds of miles away from the action, Gerard remains an ever-present specter around Kimble). Guest stars Alejandro Rey and Beverly Garland round out the cast nicely, and Janssen has good chemistry with both.
Again, "Smoke Screen" isn't bad, but it suffers in comparison to some of the highlights of Season 1.