The Six Million Dollar Man

Season 2 Episode 5

The Seven Million Dollar Man

Aired Friday 8:30 PM Nov 01, 1974 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
29 votes

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Episode Summary

The Seven Million Dollar Man
When Steve discovers that another bionic man exists, he is assigned to help him adjust to his bionics.

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  • One of the better installments for the series, but it's average TV overall. Wastes some story potential.

    Steve Austin learns of a second bionic man and offers to help him adjust.

    "The Six Million Dollar Man" had some of the best potential of any American sc-fi in the 70s. It took me watching almost 3 seasons to finally accept that it was wasted. Stories tend to be standard CIA-style infiltrations of fake Central American countries or out-there science fiction. This installment doesn't fit either model and is one of the better ones overall.

    The premise is good, the mystery of another bionic man being cloaked from Austin, however, the real question of Rudy and Oscar lying is glossed over. Similarly, the character of Barney starts off believably as not adjusting well, but the real questions of whether the OSI expects all it's bionic people to work on missions gets shorter shrift. It's also odd that he feels he can never go back to being a race car driver, as it seems possible if his implants are de-powered. His mental breakdown is a little odd, as anger is replaced by power mania on his first mission.

    Aside from these issues, I have my standard problems with bionics as shown in the program, there is simply no way that bionic limbs could enable lifting great weights or jumping great distances because the stress on the spine would be overwhelming. The climactic slow-motion bionic fight in this episode doesn't work for similar reasons, though the earlier arm-wrestling sequence is good for building suspense.moreless
  • Two roosters in the henhouse.

    It was only a matter of time before the production team would come up with a concept like this, and to their credit the end result is easily of the greatest showdown scenarios in cult tv. Initial candidate for the Steve Austin role Monte Markham gets a second bite of the cherry to play the obnoxious Barney Miller, rebuilt by Rudy Wells "on the sly", much to the horror of the rather staid Steve. Before long, Barney is out on the tiles, showing Steve how high he can do it, while Steve protests his erratic nature to a still unconvinced Oscar (why can the G-man ever take a hint...). In the end, Steve overpowers his more expensive model in a bitter showdown, Barney sees some humillity creeping on to the horizon, and they all live happily ever after. Forgive the mild sarcasm, as when viewing this from a serious perspective, it's a strong candidate for top 5 best epsiodes ever.moreless
  • Barney Miller, the Bionic Man.

    An exciting episode title, a very promising start, but...

    When Steve Austin suspects Dr. Wells's nurse of 'industrial'-espionage, he stubles on an even more disturbing truth : he isn't unique.

    Nurse Carla's new love is an other cyborg, remade by the OSI bionic laboratories. Though Goldman and Wells deny it, an armwrestling competition confirms Steve's suspicions.

    Former car racer, Barney Miller, had all 4 limbs replaced (hence the million dollar more?), which should make him even more stronger, but the weakness of his character makes him a faillure. Unable to handle his superstrenght, Barney becomes a self destructive rogue and turns against his makers. 'If I can't live with it, nobody can.', becomes his moto and reason to completely wreck the bionic program.

    In the finale Steve Austin dons his pink suit and we get served a 5 minutes long slow motion battle. This long scene stammers the action and exposes the fakeness of the fighting. It didn't even beat the 6 minutes 'day of the robot' record.

    This episode could have given a deep inside view of the whole bionic operation and how it really feels to be a 'half machine', but it slams against the 'one hour format' wall.

    This seems to be a recurring problem in the 2nd season where so many interesting topics are being touched, but stay undeveloped within the one episode. Today similar series have one or a more story lines evolving over a multitude of episodes, even a whole season. This enables strongly the character development and keeps the viewer tied, while asking for more.

    And poor Barney? On Steve's advice, his power gets neutralised so he can continue as a 'normal' man, unfortunately unsuited for 'special' missions.

    "You Live!" declares Oscar. (And you cost me a lot of money.)moreless
  • Battle of the bionic men

    Steve has to contend with another bionic man who is not as open about his new abilities. Steve feels angry because Oscar did not tell him about it but forgives him and agrees to accopany Barney on a mission. Steve then really gets worried when Barney goes crazy on the bad guys and tells Oscar Barney cannot handle bionics and needs shut down. Of course Barney disagrees and is gonna destroy bionic materials and kill Rudy if necessary. Steve of course has to stop Barney in one of the greatest battles in the series.

    Then Steve helps Barney and the two part as friends.moreless
  • The Bionic Man Gets Some Competition!

    If I were to compile the most memorable episodes of the SMDM (not necessarily the best, just the most memorable), this one would have to be in the Top 5 (probably along with the first Bionic Woman, Bigfoot, Death-probe and John Saxon robot episodes) just because of the impression it made on me watching it as a kid.

    For the first time, Steve encounters another bionic man, Barney Miller (played by an enthusiastic Monte Markham), and not only did he cost more than Steve, he’s actually got an advantage by having two bionic arms as opposed to Steve’s one. The idea that Steve wouldn’t be the only bionic person was hinted at in the previous episode, with a world leader getting a bionic heart, but with this episode the writers really went all out. Barney & Steve’s first mission together, where Barney goes overboard fighting the bad guys was classic (“It’s wild, Steve! It’s wild!”), and the inevitable showdown between the two bionic men is one of the best fights of the series. But aside from the action the dialogue is quite good (something I never realized watching it as a kid), particularly from the likable Barney, who’s resentful of his bionics and envious of Steve’s ability to cope with his; while Oscar shows another side of his personality, sounding rather sad when confronted by Steve about lying to him and the pressures imposed on him from his bosses. Steve doesn’t even appear too happy with the idea of another bionic man, which is kind of interesting considering in the previous show he mentions to the bionic heart patient that he feels a little less lonely knowing there’s someone else with bionics besides him.

    It’s a shame Barney wasn’t featured in more episodes than he was (he was only in one other episode); it would have been great to see him on a few more missions. With this show, the bionic craze began; next up was the bionic woman, bionic boy, bionic dog, and so on; by the end of the whole saga they were even making Sandra Bullock bionic. But this was the first episode that showed that while Steve Austin was the first bionic man, he wasn’t going to be the last, and boy, was it going to be fun to watch.moreless
Lee Majors

Lee Majors

Colonel Steve Austin

Richard Anderson

Richard Anderson

Oscar Goldman

Alan Oppenheimer

Alan Oppenheimer

Dr. Rudy Wells (2nd Pilot - Season 2)

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions