The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. 1.17 – Fountain of Youth

Until I realized that this was the terrific episode that climaxes with the revelation of the villain John Bly’s origins, and that it kind of demanded that I accompany this little post with this fine shot of Billy Drago being commandingly evil, the obvious image would have been one of the gunslinging gang of hilariously beefcake 1990s-haired male models running around shirtless in this story while comparing notes on fashion and admiring each other’s hats. I’m sure they’re wonderful for anybody with an eye for the fellas to admire, even with their remarkably anachronistic and consequently extra-silly haircuts, but Drago just steals the show out from under them anyway.

This episode is the penultimate chapter in the battle against John Bly, and I remember being really disappointed in 1994 at a single moment when Drago delivers one line what seemed to me to be more grandiose and over-the-top than he usually went. Looking at it again, I was mistaken. Drago was perfectly in sync with what he needed to be doing, and everything he did fit perfectly in place with all the science fiction, time travel, and de-aging formulas in this installment, even if most of the time he’s just commanding everybody’s attention quietly, with a devilish look in his eyes.

The story also brings back a character from the first episode, Lee Pow, played again by James Hong, and it gives us a surprising explanation for something we didn’t even realize needed explaining: the carved ivory handle of Brisco’s pistol. All in all, this was a very, very satisfying little hour, even if Lord Bowler, who wants all this Orb business to end so he can just be a traditional Western hero again, probably wouldn’t agree.

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