Reviews/The Bionic Woman - Fembots in Las Vegas

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SparkyX's review

Fembots In Las Vegas: An In depth look.

There's two ways fans that are first time viewers of season 3 can go into watching this. One way is to view it on it's own merits. It has some good moments and the usual good character interactions but with some slightly annoying plot holes. However, if one were never to have seen the Kill Oscar trilogy, they could most likely rate this episode a winner.

I however, went into viewing this episode viewing it as the sequel to one of my all time favorite episodes. Sometime sequels turns out to be superior than it's predecessor or sometimes a sequel can be not as good but still enjoyable to watch

Fembots In Las Vegas fails for me on all levels. As a sequel, not only does it not gel well story wise with it's predecessor when viewing it back to back with Kill Oscar, it's an over all disappointing inferior sequel.

The story is set one year later after the events of Kill Oscar. Doctor Franklin recently dies in the federal pen and then a new line of fembots (and one leftover duplicate of Callahan from the previous crisis) emerging under the control of Carl Franklin, the vengeful son of the deranged and recently deceased Dr. Franklin, in a scheme to steal America's first directed energy ray weapon.

It's a big surprise to me that this sequel was written by Arthur Rowe, the same writer who wrote the excellent Kill Oscar trilogy and it's just as baffling that this so called professional writer doesn't seem to know what was previously established in it's predecessor.therefore contradicting his own previous work by establishing new information that doesn't gel with things the viewers learned from the previous Kill Oscar trilogy.

One of the most unforgivable aspects of Fembots In Las Vegas was not just the fact that Steve Austin was not included in this story of this world-threatening event but this story completely erases Steve's involvement in the previous Kill Oscar trilogy. In fact at this point of the series is when the Steve Austin character no longer existed. Carl Franklin in part 1 mentions that the three people responsible for the destruction of his father was Jaime, Oscar and Rudy with no mention of Steve Austin. Later on in part 2 after stealing the directed energy ray weapon, Carl's first list of demands were personal in reference to the immediate surrender of Jaime, Oscar and Rudy but no mention of Steve. If anything Steve Austin was a bigger thorn in the senior Doctor Franklin;s side than Rudy ever was and one would think that this vengeful son would demand the immediate surrender of Steve more so than Rudy.

Season 2's, Doomsday is Tomorrow which also had a world-threatening event, simply explained away Steve's absence through dialogue stating that he was aboard NASA's Skylab space station at the time leaving the fate of the world in Jamie's hands. An explanation of Steve's absence wasn't needed that badly in DDIT (at least when comparing it to the events in FILV which is suppose to be a story of personal vengence) but never the less, it was icing on the cake which was desperately needed in Fembots in Las Vegas.

A scene from the predecessor, "Kill Oscar" of Col. Steve Austin fighting the Callahan fembot while infiltrating Franklin's base.

The fact that The Six Million Dollar Man's 5th season's Dark side of the Moon parts 1 and 2 (where Steve Austin spent a week or so up on the moon) first aired about the same time as Fembots in Las Vegas did was a perfect opportunity to explain away Steve's absence through dialogue. Unfortunately the writers never took advantage of it.

Another blunder, was the Callahan fembot being put into storage in the OSI vault after the events in "Kill Oscar". I'm putting aside the fact that we've all seen the Callahan fembot struck down by lightning on Saint Emil Island and then washed away to sea when the damn busted. I'm also putting aside the fact that the remains of Callahan, along with Katy and fembot # 5 should be somewhere at the bottom of the Alantic Ocean corroding away from the salt water, However, I must ask who was the idiot that left the power module/light bulb intact on this miraculously recovered and restored Callahan fembot before putting it into storage? Was it Rudy?.

The miraculously restored Callahan fembot that was clearly seen destroyed on it's predecessor, "Kill Oscar"

It should be noted that in the original script dated June 7th, 1977, the fembot that was stored in the vault and then escapes was the fembot duplicate of Lynda Wilson, Rudy's assistant keeping with the established continuity of the previous Kill Oscar Trilogy. So in essence, Arthur Rowe did attempt to keep the continuity flowing. It's just unknown how and why the Lynda character and her fembot duplicate got rewritten and replaced by Callahan. Enquiring minds want to know.

Another downer, was that the fembots seem to have lost some of their creep factor. They just weren't as scary this time around. They barely lost their face and when they do they just didn't look as menacing probably because of budget cuts.

The internal facial mechanism and circuitry that gave the fembots that inhuman image of a lot less detailed this time around. It's just eye balls and a sub wolfer mouth piece with little to no additional circuitry.

Perhaps the biggest contradiction to the previous established cannon was when Carl Franklin revealed his secret identity. Yes, it was a cool twist but yet again it opens up another can of worms that contradicts everything we've learned from the Kill Oscar trilogy.

Not to say this episode was complete pile of rubbish because there were some good things in Fembots in Las Vegas:

  • Although Jaime's didn't seem to be fully recovered from the psychological trauma of her previous encounter with the fembots, there was a great scene in part 1 where Jaime actually stands toe to toe and fights the fembot duplicate of Tami Cross in contrast to her usual repel and escape tactics. Of course she does eventually repels and escape later durring the fight but it was still a refreshing change while it lasted.
  • Also, out of all the episodes in the entire series, this episode looks to be Lyndsay's most physically demanding role and she plays it superbly, it's just too bad that it sometimes gets ruined by all the bad writing throughout this episode.
  • Oscar Goldman gets to shine during this fembot crisis in contrast to Kill Oscar, where Goldman serves most of the trilogy as a helpless hostage. This time around Oscar gets his hands dirty and is involved with most of the action.
  • Grown up child actor Michael Burns does a good job playing the vengeful Carl Franklin. Although he doesn't sound or talk like John Housman, his physical mannerism is convincing as the son of Doctor Franklin. Also this Franklin is more cold blooded than his father. If he no longer has any use for his captives, he'll just execute them. The only flaw about how is character is written (besides his secret identity) is the fact that he seems to be acting out on his father's behalf instead of his own.

The story would have played out a lot better if Carl vegence stemmed from blaming the OSI for the death of his father. Instead the events proceeding this episode establishes that Doctor Franklin was coaching and planning this new fembot crisis during his son's visits to prison. This again throws everything from the final scene of Kill Oscar out the window. Although the defeated Doctor Franklin knew he was going to prison, viewers were under the impression that he was going to be changing his ways.

  • Then there's millionaire tycoon, weapons designer, Rod Kyler who's one part Tony Stark and one part John Travolta's bubble boy character, played by character actor James Olson (not to be confused with Superman's pal). I always enjoyed him in villainous roles but it was also good to see him play this likeable character who teams up with Jaime to help defeats Carl Franklin's. He's no Steve Austin but still an interesting male character for Jaime to play off of. It's too bad the writers didn't give him more to do do in the final acts considering that Carl Franklin stole his weapon and also abducted his girl friend and replaced her with a fembot.
  • Another fine addition was the new sound effects used for fembots that helps maintain what little creep factor they had left in them.

Still over all, this could have been another grand epic adventure if only it was planned and written better and didn't show so much contempt for it's predecessor. As a stand alone episode feature length, Fembots in Las Vegas succeeds on some levels. However, as a sequel, it fails on every level.

I rate this feature length episode:

One and a Half out of Five Smiling Baltars

Early draft script "Fembots in Las Vegas" In depth

by SparkyX

I just finished reading the early draft of Fembots in Las Vegas part 1. I think there may have been an even earlier draft floating out there somewhere.

Despite my disappointment with the final product that made it on film.... I was pretty impressed with this early draft script. The basic story is the same on what appeared on the episode but this early draft script is most definitely a lot different and IMO a lot better.

The most obvious difference in the script was the surviving fembot from the Kill Oscar trilogy (if you want to call it that) that escapes from the OSI vault is the Lynda Wilson fembot. In fact, neither the fembot Calahan nor the real one is in the script.

Another significant change from the script were the fembots' attack. It was more intense and more brutal in the script. I guess that's what a TV script looks like before the netwok censors butchers them.

Here are the list of changes/alterations from the early draft script that didn't make it screen:

  • Jaime has a longer reaction upon seeing the ALEX computer in the vault.
  • The fembot in the vault was Lynda Wilson (Rudy Well's assistant from The Kill Oscar Trilogy) not Callahan.
  • There's no flashback of John Housman's Dr Franklin. Instead Oscar quotes Franklin's famaous lines "Programable, Obiediant yadda yadda yadda....."
  • Jaime's flashback from her fight in Callahan's apartment only emphasized her fight with Katy and when she jumps out the window, her legs sparks (in contrast to re-edit version).
  • Lynda Wilson's dialog is almost word for word of the revised version of Callahan's dialog up until she is confronted by her fembot double.. Although the script mentions that Lynda is Rudy's assistant. she's clearly acting as Oscar's assistant .... which I find to be a little too far fetched..
  • The fembot's eyes are pure dark grey (when deactivated) and only lights up when activated.
  • The Direct Energy Weapon is called a C.P.B - Control Particle Beam.
  • Fembot Lynda doesn't attack the real Lynda with knock out spray when she stalks the real Lynda in Oscar's office.. Instead the script suggests that she/it strangles or breaks the neck of the real Lynda and the assualt scene is described as being seen from the point of view from the fembot's TV monitorfembot's in an abstract manner.
  • Carl Franklin scolds the Lynda fembot for killing the real Lynda. Then commands her/it to hide her body somewhere safe in Oscar's office. ( I guess Carl was feeling confident enough to know that he would succeed in his plans stealing Kyler's weapon before Lynda's corps begins to stink up Oscar's office). Yuck !

RIP Lynda - I guess you no longer have to go on that diet.

  • The script fleshes out Ellen Andrew's character more than what appeared on screen. She is described as being another one of Rudy's assistant and also suggests that she was killed and replaced by a fembot some time prior to the events of this episode.

Let this be a warning to all the ladies reading this. Working for Rudy Wells can be hazzardous to your health .... especially when there's a Franklin lurking about.

  • Backstage manager tells Jaime (while she was still sporting her skimpy showgirl oufit) to take Tami's place while she visits Kyler. Jaime refuses. Mangager threatens to fire her. Jaime tells him that he can't fire her because she quits.
  • Jaime didn't have a dime to call Oscar at Dan Meyer's office so she bionically slaps a side of a slot machine and it spits out a shitload of dimes. Durring that scene, she befriends a drunken out on his luck casino patron.
  • While Jaime is spying on Tami/fembot, she jumps on top of the elevator and rides it. (In contrast to her bionically running up and down the stairwell).
  • The fight between Jaime and fembot/Tami takes place in an outside alley (in contrast to the revised final version where they fight back stage)
  • Tami tosses Jaime into some garbage cans.
  • Jamie takes a garbage can lid and whacks Tami's mask off.
  • The rest of the fight is bare knuckle brawl in ally until Tami gets the upperhand and Jaimie runs off towards a highway.
  • Jaime intentionally tricks the pursuing Tami/bot to run out in front of an incoming mac truck during the chase .
  • The Fembot's assault on Neal is not shown on screen. Instead the script describes Lynda entering Kyler's penthouse holding Neil up in the air (the script didn't state whether he was unconscious or dead) and then she shakes and tosses his lifeless body like a ragdoll.
  • Jaime is NOT knocked unconscious during the fembot's entrance into Kyler's penthouse. In fact she screams and pleads with Kyler to make the call to Dan Meyor himself and promises him that they'll find another way but Kyler refuses to believe the fembot's threat and Lynda/fembot breaks the glass.
  • To save Kyler from capture, Oscar stands between Kyler and the fembots and then gets beat to a pulp by the Lynda fembot and eventually knocked unconscious by a blow to the head from Billie's punch... giving Kyler his chance to escape. Jaime throws the chair knocking Gina through the glass and pins Billie to the corner wall with the desk and then engages a one on one brawl with the Lyda fembot. Lynda grabs a corner post from a bookshelf and attacks Jaime with it (using it like a staff). Jaime repells and escapes to the roof.
  • After the scene of the helicopter lifting off from the roof Oscar wakes up in great pain and hears Kyler's helicopter. He looks out the window with great concern when he sees the helicopter flying off into the distance with Jaime hanging from it.
  • When Oscar heads to the elevator there's another tense scene as he sees the three fembots approaching him. He steps in the elevator and the doors close just in the knick of time as the fembots were about to grab him..
  • The bogus US Airforce plane with the stolen Directed Energy Weapon (or the CPB as it was called in the script) piloted by the fembots almost hits the helicopter with Kyler and Jaime during their liftoff in an attempt to repell them.
  • There's additional scenes of Oscar consulting with the Secretary after his narrow escape from the fembots.
  • Additional dialog from Carl suggests that the senior Dr. Franklin helped orchestrate this current fembot crisis from prison up to his death two months prior. (perhaps Carl's plans was the immediate release of his father from prison upon his list of demands upon stealing the CPB weapon).

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