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TKR: Out Of The Past

A little while ago I found some episodes of Team: Knight Rider on video tape. Continuing to work my way through the collection, I find that I have another episode. And boy is it a special one...

"Out Of The Past" is the best episode of TKR. It doesn't have a lot of competition, I'll grant you, although there are a few episodes that I'm quite fond of. "Out Of the Past", however, wins by such a gigantic margin that it's in a whole other league; and it wins for a whole slew of reasons.

As I said last time, I'm never entirely sure how to take TKR. It wants to be a comedy, it wants to be an action-led drama, and it's all too clear that the writers aren't sure how to combine the two. They're not helped by several cast members who can't act, and they're also not helped by having altogether too many cast members to begin with. The ingredients for something good are all there, sort of, but somewhere between the mixing bowl and the oven there's usually a fatal accident. In this instance, I think the chef got confused, and shook the wrong little packet of herbs into the bowl. Presumably he got a hell of a surprise when he went to roll a joint later, and found himself with a lungful of singed oregano.

So anyway. We start with Kyle. You can always count on Kyle. He's the one properly thought-out character, he has the best car, and he can pull off the action and the comedy very capably. That's just as well, as boy is he going to need those abilities during this episode.

Kyle. Say hello, Kyle. (He's being all dark and dramatic).

Kyle has gone rogue. A mysterious call has sent him running away from the team, to steal a fabulous jewel from a mansion in Brazil. This is good for a number of reasons. Number one, he's on his own, without the irritating team to get in the way. Number two - jewel robbery! Number three, we have no idea why he's doing it, and the story builds up nicely. Also, numbers four through eleventy-seven, he's on his own, without the irritating team to get in the way.

The jewel heist is fun. There's some great action sequences, and we get Dante, Kyle's brilliantly arch car, providing a snarky commentary.

Jewel heist!

Priceless jewel of international renown.

Having liberated the jewel from the mansion, Kyle strikes off into the jungle with some unidentifed men, leaving Dante fuming. He soon has even more reason to grumble. Tracking him via satellite, the rest of the team turn up seeking answers, which is highly unfortunate, and not just for poor Dante. Still, I suppose given the title of the show we couldn't hope to be staying shot of them forever.

Kyle and unidentified shady people. Everybody in this show is taller than Kyle. I think it's a conspiracy.

The gang find Dante alone on the edge of the jungle, and set out to find Kyle. Take your time, gang. No, really. Please do.

Kyle, meanwhile, has been taken to a large camp in the middle of the jungle, where we discover that an old girlfriend of his is being held hostage. The jewel is the ransom - amongst other things.

Pilar. Ex-girlfriend. Hostage. And, as we're soon to find out, spectacular nutball.

There are fisticuffs. Of course there are; that's what people go to the jungle for. Praise be, they even manage to dig up some machetes to nearly have a sword fight with. Kyle and Pilar then escape, leaving the kidnappers to enjoy their jewel.

Pilar, it transpires, is the daughter of a traitor. Kyle helped the pair of them to escape justice some time ago, because... not sure. The traitor was sick, and Kyle didn't want to upset Pilar, and has his own issues, since his father is a traitor as well. I don't know. Anyway, they're wandering about in the jungle, catching up.

So, given that they're a: in a jungle, b: being chased by a gang of kidnappers, and c: in a damn jungle, for goodness sakes, what does Kyle immediately do, but take half his clothes off. Seriously, who decides that trekking through a jungle is the perfect time for a little random shirtlessness?! Well, except for John Black, obviously - but then he's John Black. At least Kyle's managed to keep his shoes on, I suppose. It's insane. They don't even pretend it's for any sensible reason. He's a guy, let's just have him get undressed in the middle of the jungle. Why not? People do that all the time.

You can tell how much of a hurry they're in, can't you. Them being chased by bad guys and all.

The bad guys catch up. Shocking, I know. In even less of a surprise, since it's clear that this episode was written by his biggest fan, Kyle winds up not merely shirtless but picturesquely bound. He then discovers that Pilar, far from being a helpless kidnap victim, is the brains behind all of this. She had him steal the jewel. Why she then "escaped" with him across the jungle for half an episode, I have no idea. Presumably she was bored. Anyway, Kyle attempts to get some sort of explanation out of her.

Why Kyle, says Pilar. Actually she doesn't, I'm paraphrasing considerably. Once, long ago, a great king and a great queen ruled this jungle together, with this amazing, super-powered jewel. That's you and me, that is. We were that king and that queen, and now that we're together again, with our large chunk of shiny green magic, we will once again reign supreme over all of the jungle!

I am not a jungle king, says Kyle, rather more patiently than I would, given the circumstances.

Of course you're not, you moron, she tells him. Again, I'm paraphrasing. I'm the king of the jungle. You're the queen. Now kiss me, baby, and let's get married.

Kyle is overcome with joy and enthusiasm. And shoulder cramp.

Touched deeply, the bridesmaids arrive for the bridal shower, bearing Kyle's wedding outfit. He can't wait to try on the veil and train.

Elsewhere, the rest of the team are, unfortunately, homing in. But before they can interfere where they're not wanted, and rescue Queen Kyle from his loving bridegroom, there's just enough time for a bit of race fail. Deputy team leader Jenny announces that one of the team is going to have to pretend to be a native tribesman, in order to do a recce on whoever's holding Kyle. Unobtrusively. Somebody who can blend in, and look just like a jungle native. So she chooses? Duke. Because Duke's black, and all jungle natives are black, right? Except that this is the South American jungle, Jenny. Duke's going to stick out just as much as a white person would. Skirting over the fact that it's Jenny herself who is the right colour to pass as a member of an indigenous South American tribe - skirting around the fact that the whole idea is pretty wince-inducing - skirting around the fact that they try to make a lame joke out of it... it all turns out to be pointless anyway. Duke pretending to be a native doesn't even achieve anything. So what the hell was it all for?! They've spent a good five minutes making themselves look utterly stupid for no reason whatsover. Except to have the entire audience staring at their screens in disbelief, and wondering what Jenny's been smoking, that is.

Duke. The world's least convincing South American tribesman.

Anyway, Kyle goes off for his wedding, only to find that Pilar has extra fun planned. The giant jewel that he stole for her is a crystal designed to sit at the heart of a temple, where it collects the sun's rays and becomes a magical jungle solar ray gun. Kyle is sadly less than impressed, which is rather disappointing of him. Jungle kings and queens, Kyle! Massive ray guns hidden in giant statues! This does not happen every day. Anyhow, having figured out what's going down thanks to... I have no idea. Irritating whiz kid Trek just announces it all to the rest of the gang elsewhere in the jungle, as the episode draws to its close... the team deflect the beam before it can hit its target, the home of an evil property developer who is trying to destroy the jungle. Huh? Which side are we on here, guys?! They deflect the beam back at the temple, leading to Perilously Nearly Fricaséed Kyle, and explosions. And Kyle is still underimpressed with the day's events. Oh Kyle. He then politely declines the chance to become Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, leaving a broken Pilar to mope prettily amid the ruins of thousands of years of important cultural history, which TKR have just blown up. Go team.

Jungle ray gun!

Why the big green shiny jewel creates a red laser beam I have no idea. It looks good, though.


And another boom!

Poor Pilar. Her jungle queen has forsaken her, in favour of a shiny silver SUV with matching upholstery.

Lost in sadness for his ferociously whacked out former love, Kyle has a Moment. It's brilliantly hard to take seriously, given the circumstances, but I love that they threw it in there anyway.

And then the episode ends - or approximately then. Lame, teamy-orientated tag scene, where the writers try to stir up the sporadic Kyle/Jenny non-romance. I do wish they wouldn't do that. He has better chemistry with his car, for goodness sakes. Anyway, there you have Team: Knight Rider's finest hour. And to think that this show got axed. Some studios just can't tell a good thing when they've got one.

They should let me run television instead. I bet I'd be much better at it than they are.


( 3 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Apr. 8th, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
You so inspired me to reply with this avatar, how could I refuse?
Apr. 8th, 2012 10:33 pm (UTC)
Hello Adam. :) That's a great lyric, too. Always did like that song.
Apr. 8th, 2012 10:44 pm (UTC)
Had to honor the person my LJ is named after, after all...! I wish I could have met him when he was in Roslyn for Northern Exposure! I was on the right side of the state!
( 3 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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