Sunday, August 16, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 15: Favorite Season Three Episode

At first, the entire reason "By Hooker by Crook" was my favorite third season episode was because it featured George Takei as the bad guy, but after repeat watches (thanks to the El Rey Network back when Three and I were living in the apartment paid for by his employer), I realized it was probably one of the better episodes of the whole series, from plot to acting to ... well, everything. Directed by Don Johnson himself, it also starred Johnson's then-girlfriend (later wife) Melanie Griffith and Vanity, one of Prince's muses, who is now oddly enough a Christian preacher, and those two women enough make this episode that much better.
Via Miami Vice Online
This is another episode that the 2006 movie drew upon as inspiration for Crockett's love interest, Isabella. It's not a perfect adaptation, seeing as they went more with "Smuggler's Blues" as a backdrop, but Christine's (Griffith) relationship to Takei's Togaru mirrors that of Isabella and De Jesus: they are business partners and occasional lovers, and Sonny's romance with each respective woman puts her and her job in jeopardy. In the end, both Isabella and Christine leave the country and Sonny, and his life continues after their departures.

Like I said above, the plot of this episode is top notch. Everything fits perfectly, from Izzy's involvement in erotic photography to Christine and Sonny's flirting around their true professions - "A little bit of this, a little bit of that" is what they say when Christine means she's a madam and Sonny means he is an undercover cop - fluidly working together to create a bittersweet ending, where Christine calls Sonny the "biggest bastard of them all." Takei essentially is playing himself, but it works so well with his character, so I can't really bitch about it; plus, I love watching him perform in any way, and while this isn't the episode of Star Trek where Sulu's gone nuts and is chasing people around and trying to force them into fencing, it's just as entertaining.

Now, this is one of the episodes I recommend to someone who's never experienced the world of Miami Vice*, as it has all of the show's signatures: moral ambiguity, gun fights, femme fatales, and plenty of great music (if you like 80s New Wave music, naturally). I would recommend it for Takei alone, but it helps that it's on a show that I love.


BACK TO CHALLENGE

* The others being "Brother's Keeper," "Prodigal Son," "Definitely Miami," and "The Dutch Oven" (which is Trudy-centric but still an excellent primer to Giancarlo Esposito and Miami Vice, in general). Notice that no episodes from Seasons Four or Five are present. 
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