The Six Million Dollar Man 2.15 – Return of the Robot Maker

You’ve heard of Chekhov’s gun, right? Well, there’s a horrible missed opportunity in this story by Del Reisman and Mark Frost. It’s the third, and, I think, final outing for Steve Austin’s recurring arch-villain Dr. Dolenz, played by Henry Jones, meaning the least I can do is actually include a photo of the actor. This time, he has a robot duplicate of Oscar, meaning this episode is probably the specific inspiration for that Maskatron toy we talked about alongside “Day of the Robot” back in April.

Well, comic relief is provided by a field agent who’d like to be an inventor instead, and he tries to get Oscar – replaced by a robot – to approve some supplies for Steve. Watching this from his base, Dr. Dolenz gets the robot to approve by pressing a button marked “agreeable” to change the robot’s personality circuits.

At the climax, Steve is having the inevitable slow-motion super-strength battle with the Oscar robot, while the real Oscar has got hold of Dr. Dolenz. Yes, our son adored this fight. He said that he liked it even more than the brawl with the John Saxon robot in season one. It’s certainly shorter, for what it’s worth. That first fight went on forever.

Yeah, I know Oscar wasn’t about to let Dr. Dolenz get away for a third time, but what he probably should have done was gone back in the base to screw with all the robot’s programming and give Steve some help. At first I figured he should have smashed all the computers with a chair, and then I remembered that button marked “agreeable.” He should have hit that a dozen times so the Oscar robot would have stopped scrapping and said “I don’t know why I’m fighting… you seem like a really reasonable fellow…”

But then I suppose we’d have been robbed of the real ending, when Steve knocks this robot’s head off. Never mind me and never mind Chekhov, I can assure you the six year-olds in the audience really, really preferred things the way they originally did it. I guess that’s why they make TV and not me.

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