The Six Million Dollar Man: Death Probe (part 1)

Oscar: "Irina, you know that Steve is bionic, so if he's careful..."
Irina: "You don't understand. I designed that probe for Venus. Venus, Oscar. A planet with temperatures of 900 degrees, 300 mile-per-hour winds, pressures up to 90 Earth atmospheres. Even a bionic man couldn't survive under those conditions."
Oscar: "And anything that could would be more powerful than...Steve..."

episode number: season 4, episode 14 (1977)
viewing setting: home DVD, 7/9/12 and 1/5/09 and 11/5/05

episode synopsis: Steve (with some help from the Army and Russian spies) faces off against a wayward space probe that accidentally crash-landed on U.S. soil.

impressions: Though dated, this is one of the good ones (and was actually written by Steven de Souza, who went on to be the screenwriter on many great movies.) The basic plot is strong: hero vs unstoppable tank. Steve and his allies try just about everything to stop this probe...and fail. If anything, the problem was one of logic: why exactly does this thing pose a danger to the town in its path? All the probe does is drive around and run through fences. How can it "destroy the town" (Oscar Goldman's words) ? On top of that, if they really wanted to stop it, all they had to do was blast some craters or ditches around it - the probe had no apparent means of bypassing such an obstacle. Yet, despite these logic gripes, the episode works and is highly entertaining.

notable guest stars: Jane Merrow is Russian scientist Irina. John de Lancie has a brief early-career appearance as an Army medic. Austin Stoker is an Army captain.

significant bionic antics: Steve runs and jumps to chase down Soviet spies, throws a hubcap to stun one, stops a car by holding it in place, runs around to find the probe, hurls a tree stump, hurls some small boulders, dodges and fences with the probe, and fails to peel open the probe's armor plating.

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