LULU'S GONE AWAY
Fed up with her neglect by Boss, Lulu decides to leave him; but his devotion is put to the test when crooks kidnap her.
A very solid start to the season and a delight to have an entire episode built around Lulu. Peggy Rae shines in the title role and Sorell Booke turns in an affecting performance as a man genuinely distraught. Indeed, Boss is shown to care nothing for money, so long as his wife is
safe; a side of him that it's gratifying to see.
The 'Boss is a villain' aspect of the series was toned down from Season Six onwards, presumably in an attempt to come up with more interesting storylines and that certainly proves to be the case here, as the Duke and Hogg families are seen to exhibit great loyalty to one another.
Tom Wopat's Direction is fast-paced and rather inventive for his debut outing and the episode is constantly entertaining.
ROSCO MOMENT Attempting to emulate the General's flight, he hurtles into the side of a Farm and succeeds in picking up the owner (asleep in Bed) on his Bonnet.
BEST STUNT Although not a new jump, the alternative camera angles for the General's flight over the farm makes it seem fresh. But it's Rosco's unintended visit to the Farm itself (see above), which is the undoubted highlight.
A BABY FOR THE DUKES
When a Hazzard girl entrusts her newborn baby to the Dukes for safety, they must keep their charge away from the pursuing (irate) Grandfather.
Another well meaning but slow episode. The substitution of horses (without or without amusing flashing lights on their heads) for Patrol cars is not really a good idea and the episode rather fizzles out toward the end. (The Finale involves the General crawling along very slowly).
There are interesting moments; particularly the sequence where Boss realises that the wealthy Grandfather is both arrogant and greedy, (to a degree much greater than him) and subsequently decides once again to support the Duke family in their endeavour.
The musical sequence at the start is charming.
ROSCO MOMENT His attempts to ride a horse,
BEST STUNT Rosco's crash through the Fruit Stall and its subsequent aftermath.
TOO MANY ROSCO'S.
In order to pull off a daring armoured car robbery, crooks abduct Rosco and replace him with an (identical looking) actor.
If there is one 45-minute episode that can ever be considered 'the best of the best' it must surely be this!
A no-fail 'Rosco episode' par excellence, this never puts a foot wrong. The story is clever and well thought-out (note the occasional very small slip-ups in the fake Rosco's performance that gradually make the Dukes suspicious), with clever special effects; good action; terrific comedy scenes; and, most of all, a simply brilliant performance by the great James Best. His was a tough challenge; he not only had to play Rosco (easy enough, although his reactions toward the fake are brilliant in themselves) but he had to give Woody (the 'fake Rosco') enough subtle character weaknesses for the imposter to be found out, but not so many that he fooled no-one. His portrayal of Woody (an Actor who thinks he's much better than he really is) is perfect. Indeed, Woody (despite looking identical) is the very antithesis of Rosco; he's arrogant, boastful, conceited, potentially dangerous and a bit of a lecher (note his wonderful scenes with Daisy, where he hugs her in a 'not-at-all-Rosco' fashion!) The most wonderful moment comes right at the end, when the two characters face one another and (without either making exaggerated mannerisms) the viewer is immediately aware which one is which; a touch of genius on the part of James Best.
The episode also abounds in delightful, tiny moments: the Dukes initially believing they were responsible for Rosco's 'death'; Flash' reaction to the fake; Boss waiting for Rosco to launch into his telephone routine; the lovely line "The ugly one who looks like me!"
It also has an exciting Finale, as well as several other fine action moments. In short, wonderful!
ROSCO MOMENT Are you kidding? The whole episode is one huge 'moment'!
BEST STUNT The General's last jump is obviously destined to have a very uncomfortable landing, but the well-paced editing prevents the viewer from witnessing it.
Luke's long-lost younger brother, Jud, unexpectedly turns up at the Duke farm; but harbours a shady past.
Yet another 'relative we never knew they had' storyline, but exasperation is cut short when we discover that Luke never knew he had one either! It's all a little contrived, but they cleverly don't allow for a 'happy ever after' ending. Jud survives his ordeal and leave's Hazzard at episode's end, but it's not been a smooth ride for him or his new family (he was responsible for almost killing Bo and Luke in separate incidents) and it's doubtful if he'll want to return.
This is a solid action episode; with an interesting 'almost look-alike' actor for Luke's brother; decent villains; and unusual stunts.
ROSCO MOMENT "You're scuffing my Fern!"
BEST STUNT Plenty here, but the villains’ car spinning through the air upside down and into the water is an original twist on an old gag.
THE BOAR'S NEST BEARS
Bo and Luke are put in charge of the Hazzard Junior Basketball Team, but they may have bitten off more than they can chew.
A highly courageous and ambitious story from new script writers Michael Michaelian and Michael Severeid, combined with clever individualistic Direction from Tom Wopat, adds up to one very unusual episode. It's probably fortunate that they never varied the Formula as much as they did here again in the series, but this sort of thing is always worth trying once.
Once again, Boss and Roscoe are on the side of the Dukes, and the threat comes from 'outside' (in this case, from a couple of genuinely nasty villains). There is an unusual and effective reliance on character moments and back-stories, some well-paced chase scenes (Sheriff Little turns up again) and a cleverly shot Finale which doesn't involve a single piece of automotive action, but which is gripping and exciting (even for those who've never watched a Basketball game in their lives!).
It was doubtless a good thing that they never attempted this type of story-telling again, but it was certainly worth a try, and must be commended for it.
BEST STUNT The General jumping the road-works. An old gag, but it never fails.
BOSS BEHIND BARS
The Beaudry's return and frame Boss for a car crash in which Uncle Jesse is the victim.
The sequel to "Daisy's shotgun wedding" and by far the more successful of the two, this is an excellent vehicle for a group of excellent villains. Admittedly, they have been lightened up a little; but their scheme is devious and (not for the first time this season, nor the last) audience sympathy lies squarely with Boss. Once again, the Dukes come to his rescue and it's shown vividly that Boss and Jesse may be at the opposite ends of the spectrum financially and politically, but they're still two very loyal old friends.
The scene where Boss is booked by Rosco is another classic and Boss' escape from the Courthouse is hilarious and perfectly set up.
The Old-timers car race is perhaps over a little too quickly, but is fun to watch nonetheless; and this time, the Finale is suitably spectacular, with the Beaudry's finally getting hoist by their own petard!
ROSCO MOMENT Definitely his booking of his little fat buddy; but it's also fun to see him in hot pursuit of Boss, for once.
BEST STUNT Uncle Jesse's car crash is one of the most spectacular in the series.
A BOY'S BEST FRIEND
Flash is dognapped and confusion arises when an identical hound appears on the scene.
They've had many a Boss; Rosco; Cooter and even a Lulu episode, so a Flash episode must have seemed a logical idea.
Unfortunately it just doesn't work and the end result (being mostly devoid of thrills and high on sickly sentimentality) looks more like a cost cutting exercise. The Rosco/Flash scenes work reasonably, but the whole adoption sub-plot is so thickly laced with treacle that (without the distraction of big stunts) the viewer is left feeling a touch nauseous at episode's end.
This could generously be looked at as another 'change of pace' episode; but only if you're in the mood!
ROSCO MOMENT Attempting to arrest the Dukes because of a crooked License plate has to be his thinnest excuse yet!
BEST STUNT The Motorcycle stunts in the Finale aren't bad.
TARGETS: DAISY AND LULU
When Lulu picks up the wrong suitcase at the Airport, she instigates a whole lot of trouble!
This is the old plot standby (seen in countless movies) of 'mistaken luggage’, but it initiates a whole string of events, culminating in the most uproariously funny sequence in the entire series. Once again, the Dukes and the Hoggs are allies (in fact, they’re now being treated as trusted old friends) and come to each others rescue several times in the space of this one episode.
The plot development is a little wild and wooly to begin with, but settles down to a quite superb final 20 minutes, with Sorrell Booke and James Best achieving there finest ever moments together. It's pure vaudeville schtick, but of the highest order!
The action is well handled too; the Daisy/Lulu chase being particularly fine.
ROSCO MOMENT Just wait until you see him in that outfit!
BEST STUNT The General jumps the baddie's car. Considering that the car is not exactly dawdling, it’s an impressive automotive feat.
Bo and Luke are the victims of a frame-up involving identical-twin sisters.
This is a reduced version of "Carnival of Thrills" twinned (chortle) with "Coy Vs. Vance" and works far better than you would expect, under the circumstance.
The sisters make effective little villains and their plan very nearly succeeds in driving a spoke into the Duke boy’s friendship. Added to this Boss and Rosco comically scheming to take advantage of the situation and more stunts than you would think possible to cram into 45 minutes (it's a Paul Baxley episode, after all!) and this all adds up to one fun outing.
The (very) temporary substitution of Quad bikes for Hazzard Patrol cars is a much better idea than the horses from "A baby for the Dukes" and allows for a far more varied selection of stunts; while the character conflict adds spice to the whole mix. In Rosco's words,” This one's a doozy!”
ROSCO MOMENT His 'interrogation' of Cindy is quite amazingly ineffective and consequently brilliantly funny.
BEST STUNT Cash Calloway (the Fence) wiping out his car is smashing stuff.
ENOS'S LAST CHANCE
When a hired killer comes to Hazzard to exact revenge on Enos, he uses Daisy as bait.
Quite a sharp change of pace here; this turns it's back on comedy (for the most part) to concentrate on the dramatic effects that a serious threat to Daisy's life would provoke. It's an interesting idea for a drama and the episode is only weakened by the attempts to wedge a few slapstick sequences in to the story. In this instance, Rosco's clowning just doesn't sit very comfortably within the scenario; although, in all honesty, the pace does slacken a little in the second half. This is not helped by the use of old stunt footage (positively antique, by the sixth season!) in the final chase; and it really does seem terribly unlikely that an old Pro like Scanlon would be so easily taken in by Luke's 'illusion' ploy.
Don Gordon (a veteran character actor and former confidante of Steve McQueen) gives a good, sinister performance as the brutal hitman who stops at nothing.
STUNT The General's jump over the Lorry is
superb but spoilt by some not-very-well-chosen camera angles. The big jump in
HIGH FLYIN' DUKES
Boss' attempts to spray a poisonous insecticide over a worthless field (to collect on the insurance) goes wrong when two crooks steal the
spray and attempt to wreak havoc.
A throwback to Season 4 storytelling, but it works quite well (although Boss should be ashamed at attempting to frame the Dukes after all the assistance they've provided him so far this season!) and is played mainly for the action set pieces.
Daisy's flying sequences never ring true, but the set-up does at least allow for some interesting variations on the usual stunts and the episode moves along at a good pace. A standard adventure yarn.
ROSCO MOMENT He provides Boss with a longer than usual 'wild ride' in his patrol car (in fact, one of the longest pursuit sequences in the series), during which he succeeds in soaking him with water AND smashes an egg over him.
BEST STUNT The drive through the explosion is pretty impressive stuff; but Bo's "car to 'plane to car" transfer is the undoubted highlight.
Cooter fails to impress his visiting daughter, until he helps the Dukes in breaking a toxic dump scheme.
A lovely star vehicle for Ben Jones, who really shines with his performance as a once neglectful father trying his best to impress his daughter, even though circumstances continually conspire against him.
Into this sweet little tale, a 'Hazzard is about to be destroyed' action sub-plot is inserted, which gradually takes over; slowly pushing the supporting characters out (or at least, very much to one side). The use of a Glider is interesting, although two 'flying' episodes in a row may be pushing it a little; and Luke Duke's manual targeting skills are seen to be amazingly spot-on for the explosive Finale.
Boss and his schemes are played down once again, Rosco's role is less obvious; but Cooter gets to perform one of the General's more memorable jumps!
This episode tries to provide a little something for everybody and very nearly succeeds.
BEST STUNT Cooter jumps the General over a Perimeter Fence, while simultaneously being shot at by a couple of heavy's.
HEIRESS DAISY DUKE
Boss has Daisy hypnotized into believing she's the long-lost Granddaughter of a millionaire, in order for him to collect a substantial reward; but this plan inadvertently puts her life in danger.
Another classic episode, with a superb and touching performance from Catherine Bach, who really makes you believe that Daisy has become two entirely different people. Especially noteworthy are her frequent shifts from one person to another in the same scene; a change in character that relies not on differing exaggerated movements, but on subtle changes of expression in her eyes and slight inflections of her voice. This is a performance to rank up there with James Best's 'two Roscos';(and he had split-screen to help him!)
The story is well plotted, with an interesting selection of 'one-off' supporting characters (Harry Bobo is particularly fine) and very clever comedy routines. The character conflicts are nicely worked out and the action sequences come along at just the right moments to give the episode added zing.
Episode continuity was not one of the series' strong points, so it's a lovely touch to have Luke refer specifically back to "Goodbye, General Lee" from series 4 (of which, this is a sort of sequel).
Also praiseworthy are the scenes between Daisy and Carter Stewart, which are poignant and almost make you wish that Vivienne Stewart really did exist. Delightful.
ROSCO MOMENT He gets extraordinarily carried away while setting up his roadblock. (Perhaps to compensate for his driving into a Haystack about 2/3 of the way through the episode and inexplicably having no further scenes).
BEST STUNT The General's final jump is, without a doubt, one of the very best ever committed to film (superior even to the jump in 'Double Sting'). Although it may just conceivably be unseen footage of a leap from elsewhere in the series, it’s hard to identify which. Whatever the case, it’s simply breathtaking.
DEAD AND ALIVE
Boss fools some important Art collectors into thinking that Hazzard's resident artist has died, thus increasing the value of his paintings. However, the Artist in question is a valuable witness to a crime.
A curiously flat affair, which tries to be much funnier than it actually is. Rosco is a strangely subdued chap this time around (possibly due to James Best directing the episode) and the Sheriff duties are handed over to Don Pedro Colley's Sheriff Little, who certainly rises to the occasion. Indeed, this episode is really only worth seeing for Little's antics (which are very enjoyable, in his typically exasperated way). Everything is just a little too formulaic for a Season that had otherwise been attempting to stretch the possibilities of the Formula and the Finale (although quite protracted) isn't as spectacular as we've come to expect.
James Best's paintings are good, though.
ROSCO MOMENT Getting hung from a lamppost by Sheriff Little.
BEST STUNT Little's Patrol Car jump is actually a re-play of the stunt from 'Treasure of Soggy Marsh' (which no-one watched anyway, so it doesn't matter). The General's jump while escaping from Boss and Rosco is rather good.
PLAY IT AGAIN, LUKE
When Luke's former girlfriend (who has become a top C&W singer) tours Hazzard, her bankrupt Manager attempts to have her killed so that he can collect on her Life Insurance. Luke prevents it.
...and there you have the entire 45 minutes of plot. There's nothing more to it.
Obviously this needed a very deft hand to direct, in order to maintain a fast pace and in so doing prevent the audience from becoming bored. All hail Paul Baxley, then! Once again, he manages to generate a sense of momentum which never lets up and which carries the viewer along from one chase to the next; culminating in a pursuit through a wrecking yard.
The musical sequences are enjoyable (the duet at the end makes good use of Tom Wopat's appealing voice); and the episode (while entirely throwaway) succeeds in entertaining for its duration.
ROSCO MOMENT He very nearly searches a Glove Compartment for a missing person!
BEST STUNT The General jumps a Hay-Wagon and a couple of horses. They must be fast running out of new things for it to jump over.
UNDERCOVER DUKES, PART 1
When the daughter of a Crime Boss asks Bo and Luke to drive for her newly-formed racing team on the NASCAR circuit, they initially refuse; but are then approached by the FBI and asked to accept the offer in order for them to infiltrate the Organisation. Not being able to reveal their true motives to Jesse and Daisy causes a split in the Duke family and Bo and Luke are on their own as spies for the American Government.
An epic tale with a lot of plot to get through; but unlike 'The 10 Million Dollar Sheriff’, this is handled with just the right directorial touch, thanks once again to Paul Baxley, who fully understands the story's requirements.
In this first episode the emphasis is on the storytelling and the action is toned down in order for as much plot and character development as possible. The clever incorporation of the NASCAR story-arc not only gives Bo and Luke a perfectly sound cover while infiltrating the Organisation, but also refers back to their career during the Coy and Vance era, cunningly implying that their absence from most of season 5 was planned deliberately (presumably as part of an on-going storyline). As a result, Bo and Luke must break the pact (that they will never race professionally again) that they made with Jesse and Daisy; and this very effectively allows the scriptwriters to create some terrific conflict and fully exploit the potential of a fearsome rift in the Duke family; the scene where Daisy slaps Bo in the face as a parting gesture is genuinely shocking.
Into all this Boss and Rosco are cleverly worked. Not as villains (they seem to have had this element removed from their characters by now; quite wisely, as more ambitious storylines can be created as a result), but as bungling and potentially harmful busybodies. One more danger for the Duke boys to have to avoid (as if they didn't have enough in the first place!).
A burgeoning romance for Bo; a vicious thug who is immediately suspicious of them; and a cute Monkey.
What more could anyone want?
Well, an exciting resolution in part 2 would be a good thing (in fact, essential; in order not to have the whole thing sink, as '10 Million Dollar Sheriff' did). Watch this space.
ROSCO MOMENT Attempting to rid Boss of a pesky mosquito.
BEST STUNT Not much here; although Rosco driving into the water-filled ditch is OK.
UNDERCOVER DUKES, PART 2
Bo and Luke must break the Organisation; avoid Boss and Rosco; win the NASCAR race; and keep from being killed.
A sensational resolution to the story! Having patiently set everything up in Part 1,Paul Baxley now puts together what he does best..a really top-class action episode. Essentially, Bo and Luke succeed in their mission by literally driving themselves out of danger. As a result, some of the chase scenes are just breathtaking.
Daisy's substitution for Bo on the racetrack is initially implausible (they just swap around during the Pit-stop and no-one notices!) but is ultimately logical (she was selected for NASCAR herself once upon a time, don’t forget) and the scenes where Boss and Rosco realise their error too late are great fun. The way everything reverts to normal at episode's end is smoothly done, especially as the viewer is treated to a big Finale: Bo and Luke's escape from the Organisation's Mansion; and Daisy on the Circuit, literally racing for her life!
ROSCO MOMENT His bedtime story (although essentially a replay of a similar scene in 'ColtraneVs. Duke) is nonetheless hilarious.
BEST STUNT A huge amount. The 'corkscrew' jump is brilliant; but it has to be the Mobsters car flying upside down through the air and into a Tree.
HOW TO SUCCEED IN HAZZARD
Boss' OTHER nephew, Dewey Hogg, arrives in Hazzard claiming to be dying of an incurable illness. No sooner has he requested that Boss donates money toward a hospital, than he makes a complete recovery and attempts to escape with Boss' wealth.
You can almost accept the fact that Hughie Hogg could have an equally conniving older brother, but you also ask yourself why it couldn't simply be Hughie himself behind this particularly despicable scam; after all, he doesn't appear in this season and it's the first he's missed in five years.
Robert Morse isn't too bad as Dewey, but generally overplays in the style of Jim Carey; and way too much time is devoted to his over-the-top histrionics at the expense of a fast-moving storyline. As a result, the episode tends to feel rather sedentary; although the final ten minutes are as exciting as anything seen so far in the series!
Even though Bo is missing (he's been offered a temporary job on the NASCAR circuit, as a result of his experiences in 'Undercover Dukes 1 & 2'), Dana House makes an appealing character substitution as a sexy (and bogus) Nurse.
ROSCO MOMENT His pantomimic faked death is outrageously over-the-top; perhaps to compete with Robert Morse's performance?
BEST STUNT Without a doubt, the scene where the little four-wheel drive Buggy meets its end. So good, you need to see it again immediately!
CLOSE CALL FOR DAISY
When Mobster 'Nervous' Norman Willis inadvertently gives his incriminating Book of contacts to Daisy, her life is immediately in danger.
A lukewarm effort, due to the implausibility of the set-up and the ineffectiveness of Willis as a villain (he seems too weak-willed to be much of a danger). The chases are all rather half-hearted (until the very end, when things hot up a bit) and the fact that Boss is no longer an enemy has rather diffused his comedy potential. He and Rosco now seem to be no more than Laurel and Hardy substitutes: at one moment it's a ladder and a bucket of paint, the next it's a foolhardy attempt to emulate a daring General stunt. All of which is quite fun, but seems to be a desperate attempt to give them zany things to do.
A sign of the Sixth season running out of steam? Hopefully not.
ROSCO MOMENT A Ladder, a Truck and a bucket of paint.
BEST STUNT The General's jump over the Lorry is a 'wow' moment; and observe the camera movement when Rosco attempts to perform the same gag: the film crew were clearly not expecting his car to end up quite so close to them!
When Boss 'promotes' Enos, he hires a new Deputy, but picks a really 'bad apple'; as this new individual is intent on extortion and will stop at nothing to achieve his aims.
A really good Thriller plot and one that exploits Boss' new status as a non-villain very effectively. Now himself a victim of a potentially deadly extortion threat, he gains in sympathy and as a character. The Duke's attempts to save Hazzard from drowning are suspenseful and Billy Joe Coogan is a truly nasty individual; probably the most effective villain in the series' history. (And the stronger the villain, the better the story).
Just when you think the Season is running out of steam, this episode appears out of the blue to prove you wrong. Only the slight lack of action (possibly due to end-of-season Budget cuts) holds the story back a little; although what action there is, is well handled.
ROSCO MOMENT Inadvertently setting fire to Boss' hat.
BEST STUNT The Dukes spectacular rescue of the General from the Impound yard is a real 'yes!' moment.
THE FORTUNE TELLERS
A traveling fake Fortune Teller distracts her Hazzard clients while her 'vertically-challenged' Assistant robs them of their jewellery.
A terribly thin outing, which never does much to pique your interest. The scenes of Boss sweet talking Lulu are funny, but the episode is missing Bo (still off racing) and even Paul Baxley (in, sadly, his last directorial assignment for the series) can't do much with this.
Definitely a 'file-and-forget' episode.
ROSCO MOMENT Standing quietly by while Boss get smothered in smoke and water at his desk; the episode's funniest moment.
BEST STUNT The Fortune Teller's van wipes out spectacularly at story's end.
When an old friend takes the rap for a Truck hijacking, Cooter gallantly steps in and pleads guilty.
This is a lovely Cooter tale, with another smashing performance from Ben Jones (who really knew how to make the most of his material). You immediately get a sense of male bonding between him and Jonas even without being told and Cooter's sacrifice of his own freedom is brave and immensely big-hearted.
This is all top stuff and your attention is held completely, while the Duke family set off on a quest to clear Cooter's name, exonerate Jonas and catch the real perpetrators. In fact, everything is going swimmingly; until twenty minutes in, when Luke suggests jumping a House in the General, at which point the show's integrity is put into question and credibility in the story takes a terminal pounding. The reason?
Not Luke's suggestion (which is perfectly reasonable under Hazzard conditions; the General has jumped over many a House in his time) but the absolutely appalling shot of a Model House with a toy General Lee flying over the top. This hideous image is not only an insult to the brave stunt team, who are clearly being thought of as a potential redundancy; but to the intelligence of the loyal audience.
Even in the darkest days of Season 4 repetetiveness, or Season 5 stiffness, viewers could at least rely on the spectacular stunt sequences to keep them entertained. With this alarming development, that particular guarantee has been taken away from them in the space of a few seconds of ghastly 'special' effects. A later 'stunt' involving Rosco's car is equally phony (although the Train sequence appears to have had rather more time spent on it and is just about acceptable) and the viewer is left watching the remains of a once good story and wondering what this new development might mean for the next Season.
ROSOCE MOMENT the scene with Boss where he attempts to guess the blindingly obvious (that Bo and Luke are implicated) is classic Rosco.
BEST STUNT This was the first of the infamous 'model shows' and is hard to objectively rate as a consequence. Can a toy car thrown over a model building, in all honesty, be classified as a 'stunt'?