Knight Rider: Season 1, Episode 5: Slammin’ Sammy’s Stunt Show Spectacular
I imagine the biggest challenge for the writers of Knight Rider was to come up with weekly crimes that could be solved by driving around in a car for forty minutes. I like to think that in their office, there was a whiteboard with the word CAR written on it. Underlined. Maybe with an exclamation point after it. And they would stare at the word CAR!, sometimes for hours, trying to draw fresh inspiration.
Here in Episode 5, they seem to already be scraping the bottom of the CAR! barrel. The plot revolves around a stunt car show, which takes place in a parking lot and features a couple of AMC Gremlins driving on two wheels and jumping small ramps. The stunt show has been partially bought by a shady businessman who plans to close the show and develop the parking lot into something more profitable, which, judging by the stunt show, would be just about anything. Naturally, no one is more concerned about the fate of a small-town stunt show than the multi-billion dollar Knight Foundation. After Bonnie fits KITT with improved boosters and the ability to oxygenate his interior — two things I can’t imagine him ever needing — Michael decides to join the stunt show to make sure the shady businessman doesn’t do anything shady.
The businessman does something shady that results in Slammin’ Sammy getting injured while doing his show-stopping car jump through a ring of fire four feet off the ground. Michael auditions his driving skills for Sammy’s daughter, who is naturally hot (at least 80’s hot), and he becomes Sammy’s replacement. The shady businessman worries that Michael’s awesome two-wheeled driving could save the show and decides he needs to meet with an accident as well. His goon tries to sabotage KITT’s undercarriage, but KITT deflates his tires, threatening to crush the goon, who runs away.
This leads to the weird moment of the week. After the goon has fled, KITT makes a remark out loud to himself. I know people talk to themselves (I certainly do) but it seems strange for a computer to do so. Can’t KITT internalize? Is there a logical reason for him to make a snarky remark when he’s the only one around to hear it? At least we get a whimsical, lighthearted version of the Knight Rider theme to listen to as we ponder the nature of KITT and his growing electronic schizophrenia.
Michael does a new stunt for the show, jumping over a moving truck and car, which is so impressive Sammy’s daughter immediately starts making out with him. Meanwhile, the shady businessman decides Michael Knight needs to be straight-up murdered. (Reminder: this is all over the use of a parking lot.) The goon drugs Michael right before his big stunt, and Michael passes out while driving. KITT makes the jump, using his improved boosters, and resuscitates Michael using his new oxygen vent. Wow, I was wrong, those two new features came in handy almost instantly. Michael chases down one goon and interrogates him.
Michael chases down another goon, then parks KITT over a bomb the goons were planning to use to blow up the stunt show, which explodes safely under KITT’s car-butt. Sabotage, murder, terrorism… seriously, there are probably other parking lots you could buy, shady businessman.
Michael confronts the businessman, who sneeringly details all of his crimes, because why not? It’s not like this big-haired stunt driver has a wristwatch communicator and his sentient car is listening in and recording everything, right? Wrong, shady businessman. Wrong.
MICHAEL’S INCOMPETENCE: LOW
He gets drugged by a goon, but KITT witnessed this same goon trying to sabotage him and didn’t bother to tell Michael to beware of him, so really, this is kind of KITT’s fault.
MICHAEL’S ROMANCE: MEDIUM
A full-on make-out sesh with Sammy’s daughter should count as HIGH, but Sammy was not just watching but leering as they went at it, so it’s kinda gross.
Seriously, I don’t think a dad should be outraged when his daughter kisses a dude, but he shouldn’t be totally into it, either.
Two-wheeled driving, turbo boost (enhanced) (x2), tire auto deflate/inflate, suspiciously fortuitous oxygen vent
Last week’s episode featured a biker who was played by Michael Champion, who also played Richter’s right-hand goon Helm in Total Recall. Also, the woman who played the waitress Sherry last week, Anne Lockhart, did voice work for Total Recall. This week, one of the goons was played by Marc Alaimo, who played Martian Security Officer Everett in Total Recall! Plus, Total Recall also had a talking car: Johnny Cab! Stay tuned in case there are more crazy connections between Knight Rider and Total Recall! Except I just went and checked and there are no other connections, except for random industry stuntmen. So, forget I even brought it up.