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Thread: The Joker's Wild, Man, Wild!

  1. #1
    Decided to re-watch one of my favorite Season 2 episodes. Hadn't seen it in a long time.

    First off, check out this excellent review by Mr. Mike, complete with pictures.

    Beverlee McKinsey played Jo Louise Miller, the main villain of this episode. Jo Louise was supposed to be 25 years old, but McKinsey was 35, and looked it (Mike mentioned this, as well). She had a nice body, and appeared youthful from a distance, but you could see the age on her face and neck when they did close-ups, which really strained credibility regarding seeing a spoiled "25-year-old" Daddy's Girl type. They should have casted a younger actress. (Just two years later, McKinsey was playing a middle-aged woman in a regular role on Another World!)

    The gimmick of this episode was Jo Louise's contest for her affection, involving a deck of cards, each of which had a crime a suitor had to commit, and the "points" they would get for successfully committing it. The more serious crimes would earn more points. The two competitors were the white Craig Howard and the native Hawaiian Billy Hona. Craig is her former fiancee, and Billy is more of a recent beau. While it's not made entirely clear, it's implied that Billy is the better lover and is generally more exciting, whereas Craig is the ex she can't completely get over, and also the more socially appropriate mate for her Texas family.

    The game will end when all of the cards are dealt, and the man with the highest score will win Jo Louise's lasting love.

    As Mike mentioned, there are a lot of racially-related insults throughout the episode, uttered by all three of these characters. There's no way something like this would air today.

    Jo Louise doesn't seem particularly concerned about being seen taking pictures of the various crime scenes (which are non-violent acts of vandalism in the early portion of the episode). This ends up being her undoing, as McGarrett figures out she must be involved, and has the police look out for her.

    Jo Louise is incredibly bitchy and sarcastic -- the stereotypical TV spoiled rich girl. At one point she asks McGarrett, "Did someone bend the points on your little badge?"

    Her father, who is eventually shown to be exasperated with her, reluctantly agrees to let McGarrett investigate her without interference from his lawyer (whom he had hired for her). It appears that the father feels that jail might actually be what Jo Louise needs to get back in line, but this was before the attempted murder we see at the end of the episode.

    While both seem to have no problem committing crimes for this "game", Billy is the more principled of the two men. He eventually develops sympathy for a bum he nicknamed "Stumbles", who is soon to be killed by Craig, and decides at that point to quit the game and dump Jo Louise.

    Interestingly, once Billy is no longer competing for her affection, Jo Louise quickly becomes pathetic and begs him to stay with her, going as far as telling him that she never wanted Craig to win. Prior to this, Jo Louise is cool, calm, collected, and acts as if she's in control, even when McGarrett is grilling her. This scene actually isn't too far fetched. I remember at age 17, a girl who had little interest in me suddenly wanted me badly, once I told her that I wasn't really interested in her anymore. People want what they can't have!

    Billy ends up killed by Craig when they struggle for the gun that Craig was going to use to shoot Stumbles.

    The "dramatic ending" showed Stumbles throwing his bottle of booze (the thing that lured him into this mess in the first place) into the ocean, after having almost been murdered and watching Billy getting killed.

    Being an early episode, we saw some things which vanished in subsequent seasons, including various forms of the theme song being used for background music at various points of the program. (How comes it seems like newer shows do things like this?)

    I really enjoyed this episode the first time I saw it in the mid-1990s, and I very much enjoyed this re-watching of it.

    Four out of four stars.

  2. #2
    I can't believe I'm late again! (OK, yes I can believe it I've been busy with this thing called life).

    Anyway, December 17th was the 50th Anniversary for The Joker's Wild episode.

    Again, not one of my favorites but it's a very solid episode with a villain (can we call her that) who gives McGarrett and company a run for their money. Beverlee McKinsey plays Jo Louise Mailer who is nothing more than a spoiled little rich girl. Her father (Jimmy Smith) expects to write a check to take care of the damages as usual but McGarrett tells him to back off in no uncertain terms. As Mr. Mike writes in his review that is found here: the father surprisingly backs down and let the chips fall where they may.

    Jo Louise is playing a deadly game between two boyfriends (Kaz Garas and Lani Kai) and the stakes keep getting steeper. When the episode opens, they're dealing with a cut down tree and a jeep fire. By the end, it's about kidnapping and murder. This last bit gives my favorite scene in the episode and I think it's in the promo too.

    Jo Louise is brought into McGarrett's office again where McGarrett and Danno volley between themselves about the photos tracked down to her and a deck of cards. They realize the game has escalated and are all set to hold her but suddenly McGarrett lets her go. Danno is about to come unglued and can only watch her leave. But there's a plan: the "kill" may not have been played yet and McGarrett wants to stop it if they can.

    They do, sort of. The boyfriends struggle for a gun but it goes off killing one of them. Only when this happens does Jo Louise somewhat realize the damage she's done. Because of how she is, Jo Louise is one of nastiest people in the entire series. No conscience, no remorse - bleh!

    However, the episode is worth checking out. Happy 50th!

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