Episode Six :
Anna Shoun is introduced, a 29-year-old General Physician, the daughter of a fisherman. A Buddhist, Anna works for Hanimed, a multinational company that endorses much of the space exploration program and supplies drugs to forty million people on Earth. Both Anna and Krivenko were friends of Christina Janssen, a Nobel-prize-winning Danish Biochemist who invented the drug Jagodil.
Nathan describes Lee as "the only woman I ever cared for."
Colin Devis's fourth wife was called Elena.
Hanimed is run by the company president Richard Ho. A German magazine is on the market, called Heute, as well as Ferromel, a leading brand of iron tablets.
The Star Cops are investigating the case of Pluto Five, a freighter that contains eight rotting corpses, with no discernible cause of death...
Hanimed were using Janssen to develop a new experimental drug. The Ferromel tablets, known as Project K/532 (a retro-site membrane stabilisation with semi-synthetic liver protein polymers) were covertly laced with Jagodil and tested on trial group P5 - the Pluto Five. Unfortunately the tablets developed a lethal side-effect when the surrounding temperature reached 410c. Nathan tricked Ho into believing he had spiked his drink with the same compound in order to force a confession. Ho's employee, Anna Shoun, is disillusioned and leaves to join the Star Cops...
Nathan and David's Movie-Buff Challenge:
One thing John Collee gets wrong is David and Nathan's movie quoting. Previously seen as a male-bonding pastime, it now becomes merely a childish fixation of Theroux's, with the following exchange: David- "Well, there's no such thing as original sin" Nathan - "What's that, one of your movie quotes?" David - "No, it's a line from a song." With David explaining that "The co-pilot of the Pluto 5 was into 1980s pop".
One of the most embarrassing oversights of this Anorak's Guide was a previous declaration that "the song that it could have been referring to is "I'm Not Angry" from Elvis Costello's debut album My Aim Is True (1977)." Okay, maybe Theroux's misindentifying of the era threw me a little, but I should have given a positive indentification considering Kenzy puts the song on the music system and plays over 20 seconds of it. They talk over it for the most part, but it's no excuse. Minus 50 Anorak points for me there.
At the end of the opening title sequence then the final shot of Earth doesn't cut or dissolve to the first scene - as it does in all eight other episodes - but instead zooms off above the camera.
"It's ten past one - my dinnertime!"
John Collee's first script for the series introduces Sayo Inaba as Dr. Anna Shoun. The most inexperienced of the regulars, she overplays in this first episode, but is better than recalled. For this fifth look at the series, celebrating its 30th anniversary, I made the unusual decision to watch the episodes in a completely random order. While this does mean the underlying narrative is somewhat lost, it does remove, or blur, what can be seen as progressive weaknesses of the series. One such example is that, while Inaba's accent is a little impenetrable, her performance can be appreciated much more by watching her last three episodes ahead of her first.
As for the episode as a whole, then it's a story full of good moments, including Nathan's sauna interrogation, that somehow never quite comes off as anything more than average when put all together. It's possible it's that, while Richard Rees puts in a great performance as the company head, his character, like all the Japanese characters, is more than a little stereotyped. Producer Evgeny Gridneff commented on such matters in the 2006 documentary The Cult Of... Star Cops: "We're more aware of it now... because everyone is afraid, and everyone's PC that you mustn't call an Italian a Wop, or you mustn't use any called, termed 'racist remarks' nowadays. Then... nobody took any notice of it."
While this might seem a crass statement today, it's notable that contemporary episodes of Only Fools and Horses were using racial terms, highlighting how what we would regard today as casual racism was still prevalent even in relatively recent times. It does, unfortunately, make the series somewhat anachronistic, as Colin's racial remarks ("Cheerful Ching" is one such event in this episode) wouldn't be regarded as off hand in 2027, but a sackable offence.
But then maybe it could be the fact that, purely for a bit of fun, I ran a poll on this site (which is still open under "polls") to pick the most embarrassing moment of Star Cops. Of the three moments selected, two of them feature in this instalment. At date of writing, the poll has received 88 votes, with 30 of them suggesting that they're not embarrassing at all. (As one commenter put it, "Even the corn in Star Cops is good corn.") However, while Anna's shouted introduction came way behind Theroux "emoting" in This Case To Be Opened In A Million Years, topping the poll from the three choices, with 27% of the vote, was the ending here, with Colin Devis doing some chronically unamusing "kung fu" schtick. Trevor Cooper is a funny guy, and brought a lot of humour to the part, but even he can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and, with this awful ending to an okay episode, he's definitely been scripted a piggy.
In Warm Blood is the most consistently rated of all the Star Cops episodes on this site, getting average marks every time I've reviewed it.