Knight Rider “Trust Doesn't Rust” (part 1 of 4)

It’s time to catch up again with Michael Knight, KITT, Devon, and Bonnie, in this, my latest Knight Rider recap. I’m skipping forward a few episodes, to view the highest-rated first season episode—according to IMDb voters, anyway.

Breaking with the pattern of the episodes we’ve seen so far, this week’s episode doesn’t involve lonely divorcees, adorable moppets, rock climbing, or erudite bikers. Instead, in an incredibly apt twist for the Agony Booth, this is the episode where we learn that KITT has an evil twin!

No, goatees are not involved. This time. Gonna have to wait for the first episode of the second season for that, I’m afraid…

This episode is fun, folks. The writers had a ball, the special guest voice work is a blast, and the stunts are great. There are some continuity issues, which we’ll see later, but let’s face it, stuff like that makes episodes like these even more enjoyable for people like us. Right?

Right.

So, without further delay, let’s look at the eighth episode of the first season, “Trust Doesn’t Rust”!

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We open at night, back on the premises of the Knight Industries laboratories where KITT was created way back in the pilot. Apparently, the Foundation is preparing to donate the building and its contents to the city, to serve as a museum of technology.

Knight Rider "Trust Doesn't Rust" (part 1 of 4)

Two drunks named Rev and Tony poke their heads out of the surrounding bushes, clearly up to no good. Rev is played by William Sanderson, lately of some pretty well regarded HBO programming, but… I don’t subscribe to HBO, so that’s not where I recognized him from. I couldn’t put my finger on it, exactly, until I did my IMDb homework. Then it hit me. Of course! He was Larry!

Tony is played by Michael MacRae, who’s done a ton of TV work, and was also one of the minor Psychlos in Battlefield Earth. That’s appropriate, because as we’ll soon see, he munches scenery in this episode like he was already training to be a Psychlo even back then. Granted, the scenery chewing is nowhere near as ridiculous without the stilts and mangy Rasta dreadlocks, but still.

Caption contributed by Mark M.

“And this is my other other brother, Tony!”

Tony, in between gulps from whatever stomach-destroying firewater he keeps in his brown paper bag, excitedly tells Rev about all the loot he plans on finding once they break into the lab. They’ve heard about Wilton Knight’s death, and Tony figures that “guys that rich have gold and silver on the plumbing!” Other than the gold-plated crapper theory, his primary evidence that there must be something of worth inside is that there’s a single night security man wandering around the premises. That line of thought seems a little shaky to me, but then again, Tony doesn’t appear to be the type of person with a long history of well-reasoned decisions.

Rev, who has more of a conscience than Tony, is nervous about the break-in. And I guess he is/was some type of reverend, because he even misquotes the Ten Commandments:

Rev: I don’t like this, Tony! Thou shalt not trespass… on thy neighbor… or something like that.
Tony: Rev, Rev, Rev. Don’t start with the Ten Commandments stuff again. Here, have another slug, you’ll feel real warm and spiritual!

Tony and Rev wait until the guard walks around the corner. They manage to easily jimmy a door open and slip into the building.

The scene shifts, and we find that Knight and KITT are also on the way to the laboratory. Their goal is to “secure the building”—ooh, rather too late for that, I’m afraid—before it’s turned over to the city in the morning. KITT chews Michael out a bit, claiming they could have done this errand much earlier, had Michael not been out canoodling with one of his many, many girlfriends. Rosalie or Rosalyn—who can keep them straight?

I think the writers are trying to establish here that KITT is a bit lonely sometimes. “When you’re one of a kind, companionship does not compute,” to quote the car. As we’ve seen on the Agony Booth, however, all is not lost for poor ol’ KITT. There are options. From a purely physical point of view, KITT could make sweet love to a gold SUV. Or, if he needs to engage with someone in a manner less likely to give him a disease, he could have Bonnie whip him up some fancy electronics that make him more human.

Or, he could just be content with being an indestructible, wiseass, egghead, black Trans-Am. That’s what I would do. I’d be happy in my alloy skin, and merrily cause the fiery crashes of all the people who don’t know how to drive. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! Die! Die! Die! Boom! Crash!

Ahem.

So, what I’m saying is that, temperament-wise, I probably have more in common with another one of the characters in this episode, who we’ll meet shortly.

Inside the lab, which is littered with discarded mainframe computer components and cardboard boxes, Tony and Rev eventually find the light switch. Actually, what really happens is that Tony goes up to the breaker panel and starts throwing all the master switches, until one finally causes the lights to turn on. Nice way to keep a low profile at night, doofus—turn all the lights on. That never ends badly, does it?

But Tony isn’t satisfied with merely alerting the night watchman to their presence, because he keeps on throwing switches even after the lights come on. Maybe he’s looking for the siren? The last one he throws causes a shower of sparks to fly. Tony and Rev are none too worried about the sparks, and they move on.

Once they’re gone, the camera shows us the sign on the breaker box that caused the sparks: “Laboratory 3 – DANGER – Do Not Engage Power”. Told ya. It’s not gut-munching zombies, but it’s not good news, either. Should’ve left the lights off, dude.

The drunks find the door to the aforementioned Laboratory 3, ignore the “DO NOT ENTER” signs, and break off the flimsy lock securing it. They don’t do a good job of locking up important or dangerous things in this universe, as we’ve seen before. They enter the lab, and even though they turned on the power to this area, it’s dark inside. Rev wants to leave, but Tony insists (contrary to any evidence at all) that “it’s a gold mine!”

There are more sparks at the breaker panel, then some sparks in the dark lab, and then familiar Cylon LEDs light up, and… holy crap! It’s another Knight 2000! Tony and Rev turn to run, but the doors close by themselves for some reason, and then the car traps the drunks up against the doors.

Back outside, Knight pulls up to the lab, and notices that the guard isn’t on duty and the door is open. He gets out of the car, and we’re treated to a nice view of the seat muppet. The poor bastard inside the seat suit keeps KITT right behind Knight as he eases toward the building. That must have been hot, miserable duty, to drive a car while sitting on the floorboard, while dressed like a tan, faux suede seat. On top of that, Hasselhoff is putting quite a bit of faith in the muppet-man’s ability to see out of that little slot in the suit. A couple inches of misjudgment, and smoosh! No more Hoff!

Caption contributed by Mark M.

The worst part is the funk from Hoff’s tight jeans.

KITT is getting “unusual readings” from inside that are like “sensor echoes of [his] own telemetry,” which is spooking him. Knight goes into the building, leaving KITT outside as backup.

It’s dark in the building again, despite Tony turning on the lights just a few minutes ago. After shining his flashlight around a little, Knight notices the guard, lying on the floor. When did he get KO’d? That might have been something to show us. The guard mumbles something about “Lab 3”, just in time for the doors to burst open.

The second Trans-Am, driven by its very own seat muppet, peels out of the lab, nearly running Knight over in the process! Knight carries the guard out to the waiting KITT, as the other car tears off into the night.

KITT obviously notices that the other car is exactly like him, but Knight corrects him with: “Not exactly, buddy! It almost killed me!” Cut to commercial.

Mark M. Meysenburg

Mark teaches at Doane College, a liberal arts college in Crete, Nebraska. Most of his teaching involves computer science, but Mark also occasionally teaches mathematics and the history of science; he has also been known to offer three week courses on the worst movies ever made.

Mark’s bad movie obsession was kindled in the early 1980s by the Medved brothers, then fanned to full flame by late-night showings of Plan 9 from Outer Space. Who could have predicted the long term effects of satin-pajama-clad, mincing alien menace?

Mark’s other interests include homebrew beer and wine, and practicing and teaching martial arts.

Multi-Part Article: Knight Rider "Trust Doesn't Rust"
TV Show: Knight Rider

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