Baywatch “War of Nerves” (part 3 of 3)
Right on cue, Mitch gets a call from Garner, telling him he needs to come down to the station. He hears Sato is pressing charges, and Garner is suddenly taking action… against Mitch. Seriously, does Mitch owe Garner a ton of money, or what?
He leaves Hobie in the care of Kaye, and this brings us to the dramatic apple scene. With the fireplace lit, Kaye gets two apples from the fridge, and there’s tension spilling over, complete with atmospheric music.
As Kaye slowly slices the apples, her eyes dart about the cottage at various noises. With each slice, she hears a dog bark, a branch scrape a window, and the fire crackling at 50db. The scene plays like something from Food Network: After Dark.
She finishes the plate with some bits of cheese and turns, and then encounters Sato, holding a knife sans apple residue to Hobie’s neck. She drops the plate, so I guess all that buildup was for nothing.
Meanwhile at the station house, things are understandably testy between Mitch and Garner. When Mitch is released, the two share soap opera melodramatics in the parking lot, with Garner telling Mitch to just lay low, continuing this character’s streak of diligent inactivity. Mitch storms off in his truck as a bemused Garner can only watch.
Mitch returns home to find the front door open, and he knows there’s a problem when he steps over the shattered apple plate—the same plate Kaye actually dropped in the kitchen. Oops. Then he finds a note stabbed into a post with a knife, telling him to go to the shipyard… alone!
Well, why wouldn’t he go alone? If there’s one thing Mitch has learned, it’s to not expect help from his friend the cop.
Obviously, this is all leading to some kind of standoff between Mitch and Sato. Wouldn’t it be fitting if Garner somehow arrived in the nick of time to finally do his job and stop the bad guy at the last minute? Fitting, as well as clichéd, but let’s hope the big guy finally earns his paycheck.
“Action” music plays on a Casio keyboard as we go to the dramatically lit Sato Shipping warehouse. Kaye and Hobie are tied to chairs, while Sato glowers at them in the dark, threatening a woman and a young boy like the coward that he is!! Uh, sorry about that, the Casio chords really got my blood churning.
Meanwhile, Garner arrives at Mitch’s house, where he spies the knife embedded in the post. He draws his gun, finds the note on the floor, and darts out the door. Thus leaving me with the impression that he might actually engage in some action related to his job.
Still in his roadhouse shirt, Mitch pulls up and charges into the warehouse, just as Sato is putting a gag on Kaye. As Mitch creeps through the warehouse, Hasselhoff is able to find much better lighting than his nemesis, which is a mixed blessing. While it possibly exposes him to the enemy, it also dramatically highlights his hair, so it’s a wash.
As he’s standing near some crates, a knife is hurled and barely misses him. It’s sunk into the wood, and Mitch’s lifeguard skills come to the fore as he wastes no time grabbing the weapon for himself. He also decides to finally seek some protection and crouch down behind the crates.
Creeping along, Mitch finds his family and works to free them. We clearly hear him ask if they’re okay, even though he just placed the knife handle in his mouth. Our clever hero also tries to untie the ropes, though I’d think it’d be easier to use the blade in his mouth to cut them loose, but hey, I’m not a trained lifeguard.
Naturally, Sato was able to hear him, and he drops in with a flying heel, then uses a roundhouse kick to knock the knife from Mitch’s hand. He mutters some rote revenge dialogue, and proceeds to beat Mitch senseless. And I’ll refrain from drawing comparisons to other times Hasselhoff has been seen fumbling on the floor in a stupor.
Despite having an immense advantage here, Sato takes the time to whip off his shirt, like that was necessary. Mitch seems to become invigorated at the sight of the guy’s pecs, and he begins to fight back for the first time. I believe some latency might be showing through here.
As the two guys hash out their issues, we see the knife has conveniently landed beside the chairs, and Kaye strains to reach it to free them. Sato’s domination continues, and after another kick, Mitch is sent through a wooden wall and almost topples over a railing, just managing to hang on. This turn of events inspires Sato to take out a samurai sword. I mean, honestly. If he had that thing all along, why wasn’t he using it from the start?
As Mitch dangles perilously, Sato chooses not finish him off. Instead, he yells and then sends the blade through the cross board, causing Mitch to plummet. That is, if “plummet” is the proper term for falling about four feet. Which makes me wonder why Mitch was hanging on for dear life.
Then Sato gives an even greater banshee yell prior to an acrobatic leap from the landing. Which might have been impressive had we not just seen Mitch drop casually from the same height.
Outside now, Sato stalks Mitch with wan attempts using the sword, but Mitch is able to grab a long length of metal pipe from a rack. Nothing at all phallic going on here.
Sato herds him near a dock railing, and gets close enough to punch Mitch with the sword handle. At that range, the blade could certainly have been used, but I guess that would have ended this conflict too early.
Soon, they clinch and crash through the rail together and into the harbor. More grabbing and face-to-face wrestling underwater ensues, and this episode has turned out to be the most homoerotic thing I’ve seen since The Birdcage.
Having given up on Mitch saving them, Kaye frees herself and Hobie, and they cautiously step outside. Garner now leaps out of the shadows to scare the crap out of them for no reason, and he guides them to the broken railing to look into the water, where the guys have been submerged for minutes.
Eventually, the two guys make it to the surface and somehow, without doing anything, Mitch comes out the victor, even helping Sato up the ladder as the police arrive. I guess his superior water skills turned the tide in that battle. Or maybe it was the script. Could be either. But this means Garner’s record of not doing his job has luckily lasted the entire episode.
Sato is loaded into a squad car, but not before the two men share a glance, and frankly, I’m getting uncomfortable around these two.
Lastly, we go to the epilogue. It involves Mitch and his family, so apparently that cliffhanger involving Shauni and surfing is never addressed again.
Hobie replaces the shorn photo with a new one of him and his father on the mantle. He and Kaye then go to the dinner table, where Mitch has prepared an ornate meal for them. And remember that interplay earlier about his bad cooking? Well, it turns out this meal is much better, which we know because Hobie says, “Dad, you really kicked out the jams on this dinner!” Because that’s how kids talked in 1992.
Mitch breaks into a lengthy monologue about how much he slaved over the meal the entire day. But then there’s a knock on the door, and without an invite, a stereotypical Italian chef barges in to fuss over the meal. It turns out dinner was actually created by a professional caterer after all! That Mitch—what a scamp!
And that’s how we end this adventure. Despite the trauma they endured, and despite the show positioning this as a happy ending, we see that Mitch has learned nothing, because he continues to lie to his family.
As for Sato? The Southern California court system must be pretty damn lenient, given he makes a return appearance in Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding.