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The Big Blow

Episode Screen Caps Episode Number: 62
Season Number: 3.22
Air Date: 4/7/1983
Writer: Reuben Leder
Director: Alan J. Levi
Producer: Chas. Floyd Johnson
Exec Producer: Donald P. Bellisario

Recurring Characters
Orson Welles (Robin Masters - voice only)
Guest Stars
James Doohan (Archie MacPherson), Barry Van Dyke (Duke Davis), Sondra Currie (Princess Wanda Martine), John McCook (Prince Roland Martine), Richard Cox (Randy), Linda Ryan (Candice Wingate), Kelly Ward (Lou Blassingame), Lori Lethin (Gail Blassingame)
Episode Brief
A hurricane battering the islands isn't enough to stop Robin Masters' spring equinox party, a lavish event attended by a close circle of friends, but the arrival of an about-to-give-birth young woman and two ex-cons intent on grand larceny does. Further complicating matters is Robin's assertion that one of his guests is plotting to kill him that evening.
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1 This episode is heavily influenced by the classic 1948 film Key Largo (w/ Bogart & Bacall). Candice Wingate (Linda Ryan) actually references the movie directly in this episode ("How droll, just like Key Largo"). Similiar to this episode, the film Key Largo features people being held hostage by fugitive criminals while a hurricane approaches. Hurricane Iwa, which hit the islands in November of 1982, also appears to be an influence on the plot of this episode.

2 Almost all of this episode takes place entirely inside the main house of the estate, and there's no narration from Magnum at any point in the story.

3 Robin Masters makes a rare on-screen "appearance" in this episode (seen only from the neck down), and his second and final visit to the Estate (the other being Season One's "J. "Digger" Doyle"). Robin is voiced by the legendary Orson Welles (4 episodes only). An early Robin Masters novel is mentioned, Blood of the August Kitten.

4 Many people believe that this episode (and Season One's "J. "Digger" Doyle") proves that Higgins is not Robin Masters (as is hinted at in future episodes), as Robin appears in person at the same time Higgins is around. This indeed proves that Robin Masters is a real person, but it doesn't necessarily mean that Robin is the one who writes the novels and owns/runs the Estate. Higgins could easily have hired someone to perform this role (to make appearances and take the credit for writing the novels). Higgins would have an interest in doing this because the nature of the novels ("tawdry pulp novels") would sully his family name. So, he ghost writes the novels, pockets most of the money and lives the kind of life he wants to live (in anonymity) on Oahu.

5 The estate's location on Oahu is mentioned for only the second time. During the storm, a radio newscast says that the "phones are out on the North Shore". In "Italian Ice" (2.16), Magnum stated that the estate is on "Kalakaua Drive, North Shore".

6 Higgins accidentally destroys the River Kwai Bridge model that we see him making in "Did You See the Sunrise?" (3.1 & 3.2). The bridge will be destroyed several more times in future episodes.

7 Despite being filmed entirely inside, there seems to be a lot of looped (re-recorded in post-production) dialog in this episode. (Noted by Jay-Firestorm)

8 Several rarely seen rooms at Robin's Nest are seen in this episode - the kitchen, the dining room, the upstairs hallway and bedroom, and the wine cellar.

9 We learn several things about Higgins' past in this episode:
  • For six months in 1942, he was in Turbia (fictional), a picturesque principality high in the Pyrenees, with monks who had a vow of silence. He drove one to cursing him.
  • In 1947, he graduated from University of Cambridge as a Doctor of Mathematics.
  • In the spring of 1948, General Chiang Kai-Shek gave Higgins a Ming vase. At the time, Higgins was a military advisor attached the Indian 5th Infantry Division. The general who refused his advice is now a dishwasher in a mediocre Mandarin restaurant in Stockton, California.
  • In 1951, he was deep sea fishing in the Florida Keys with Ernest Hemingway in his ketch when the shortwave warned them of an approaching hurricane. Jonathan later helped Ernest rewrite The Old Man and the Sea.
  • In Persia (date unknown) where he was midwife to a young Kurdistani peasant girl who spoke no English. He had to render her unconscious.
10 Sondra Currie (Princess Wanda Martine) is the wife of episode director Alan J. Levi.

11 At mark 39:36, Candice Wingate plays the beginning of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Minor "Quasi una fantasia" (Moonlight Sonata). (Bernd-Christian Schulze)

12 John McCook (Prince Roland Martine) will guest star in "The Case of the Red Faced Thespian" (4.12).

13 Duke Davis (Barry Van Dyke), the fictional Detroit Tigers slugger, had a monster year in the Majors. According to Magnum, he had the following stats: .326, 34 HR, 116 RBI, 105 R, 36 2B, 9 T, 47 SB, 6 E. He also won the Gold Glove Award. He plays 3B and hails from Donora, PA, Stan Musial's hometown.

14 Magnum is seen carrying a Walther PPK in an ankle holster. In Season Four's "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime" (4.17), he will use a Detonics Pocket 9 as his secondary weapon.
Magnum: Look, Higgins, it doesn't make any sense. You can't have a party during a hurricane.
Higgins: Magnum, your propensity for overstatement and panic never cease to amaze me.

Higgins: My God Magnum, the look on your face is reminiscent of that of an adolescent who's just received his first kiss.

Candice Wingate: How droll, just like 'Key Largo'.

Magnum: Doc?
Higgins: Cambridge, 1947 - Doctor of Mathematics, actually.
Magnum: Higgins, what did you do with your life?! Is there anything you havn't done?! - Anywhere you havn't been? Cambridge...Mathematics!
Higgins: We don't have time now for your rhetorical irrelevances. Who is your prime suspect?
Magnum: I don't have one!
Higgins: Brilliant. Typically, you've failed to do your homework. How Robin could've entrusted you with this is beyond my comprehension.
1 Some of the guests arrive at the front door completely dry. Most of the guests arrive soaking wet, as they should be coming in from a hurricane!

2 When the Prince and Princess show up, they think Magnum is Higgins. When they actually DO meet Higgins, the Prince needs to ask Higgins if he IS Higgins. Now, that being said, Higgins says to Magnum that he knows the guests are as familiar with him as they are with Robin. Now, if the Prince and Princess are "fixtures at all of Robin's parties", wouldn't they know Higgins? (Noted by Doc Ibold)

3 Higgins refers to the Prince and Princess of Turbia with the title "your majesty", while everyone else uses "your highness". "Majesty" is reserved for a monarch while "royal highness" or "highness" is reserved for princes and princesses. This is a rare spoken blunder from Higgy Baby. (Noted by Sean Culligan)

4 In the scene where Higgins is in the wine cellar using the shortwave radio to call for help, there is a glimpse of a crew member's arms behind the wine barrel. Just after the thug shoots the barrel containing "a quite immature Chateau Marsel 1977", you can see arms behind the barrel attempting to stabilize it as Higgins is looking toward the thug. (Noted by Wally)

5 The bad guy Randy shoots Higgins' shortwave radio with a double barreled shotgun (he probably only used one barrel since he had previously shot a barrel of wine with the other barrel). After the shot, the camera cuts to a close-up of the radio, smoking, with a big hole in it from the shotgun blast. Directly in front of the radio, and just a few inches from the hole created by the shotgun, is the radio-mike, and a candle in a glass candle holder (again, just inches from the smoking hole in the radio). The flub is that a shotgun blast, even using only one barrel, would have blown the radio, mike and candle/glass holder to bits! At the very least, the blast would have knocked them off the table, or caused them to be knocked askew. However, after the blast, the mike, candle and glass candle holder are in perfect condition and undisturbed! (Noted by IslandHopper)

6 Unbelievably, there is a fourth flub involving the shortwave radio! Higgins uses a California call sign prefix (W6) instead of the correct Hawaii prefix (KH6). (Noted by Fabrizio Valdirosa)

7 After Higgins stains his shirt, it changes in size and shade of color as the episode progresses. (Noted by Mark Seaman)

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