This episode seems to divide fans’ opinions. I have to say, it’s not one of my favourites.
A woman hires Magnum to prove that her father, a famous forger recently released from prison, is back in business. Thomas refuses the case, but soon after, the woman locks herself and him into a bank vault, trapping them both inside. A love it or loathe it ep…
This review contains minor spoilers.
‘Rembrandt’s Girl’ (working title: ‘For Love or Money’) is an episode that seems to split the vote with fans – some love it, some loathe it. Personally, I have to confess that it is one of my lesser favourite episodes.
Being a Brit, I don’t really know who Carol Burnett is; I wonder if my opinion of this episode may be different if I was more familiar with her? Anyway, I must admit that, while she has the odd amusing moment, I find her a bit annoying for much of this story.
The plot of being stuck in a bank vault, with the air supply running out, could have potentially been quite good, but I didn’t think it is as sharp as it could and should have been. Also, I felt it was a bit too soon after the classic ‘Home From The Sea’ at the start of the season, to do another “time running out” plot.
Also in this episode, Deborah Pratt makes her first of a few appearances in the series as T.C.’s sometime girlfriend, Gloria. Pratt was married to series co-creator Donald P. Bellisario at this point, and would go on the pen the fifth season episode ‘Little Games’ and season seven’s ‘Little Girl Who’. She was also involved in several other Bellisario productions (she played the recurring Marella in the first two seasons of ‘Airwolf’, and would go on to serve in several capacities on ‘Quantum Leap’).
Not only that, but playing party guest Sherry is Jillie Mack, who Tom Selleck would go on to marry in 1987. Mack is uncredited for this role – maybe she was embarrassed about her truly terrible English (if that’s what you can call it!) accent. She would go on to play a bigger role in the fifth season’s ‘Professor Jonathan Higgins’.
Anyway, back to the plot itself… part of me wants to like it, but for the most part I find the story tedious. The scene where ‘Bill’ becomes stuck in the vault with Magnum and Susan, with the two of them laughing insanely, plays like it should be really hilarious, but personally I found it very grating – and a bit embarrassing.
The b-plot, of Rick and T.C. holding a party in the guest house, upsetting Higgins’ spiritual readings weekend, could have been amusing, but comes off as little more than filler material.
It was about this point, with episodes such as this and ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’ before it, that the series started to lose some of it’s freshness in my view. It still offered up some good episodes, but the sharpness and quality that had gone before started to tarnish a little around this point, and would even more so in the fifth and sixth seasons. (Thankfully, things would pick up a bit before the end of the show’s run).
All-in-all, while I can think of far worse, this is not one of my favourite episodes. It just feels as if it should have been much sharper than it actually is.
Other notes, bloopers and misc.:
* After the bank vault’s control panel shots out, the doors still open and close several times through the course of the story. If the controls were fried, it’s unlikely that this would happen.
* Susan’s radio can pick up a signal in the bank vault. Such vaults are typically constructed by thick metal and such – getting such a clear reception (if any) is unlikely.
* I was going to comment that the plot of this episode would be totally different if they had cell phones back then, but regarding my above point about the radio reception, it’s debatable whether they would get a phone signal in the vault.
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