'Knight Rider': Less than human

Justinbruening_knightrider_240 Are cars people too? According to tonight's episode of Knight Rider, the answer is a resounding "no." It seems as though the answer isn't even dependent on whether or not the car has the ability to transform into any Ford vehicle, is loaded with weapons, or has a pretty good artificial intelligence system.

Tonight's enemy was Walt Cooperton. He was running some sort of private militia who had their own secluded compound. Though Walt stated that he was just training his group for overseas work, they had a handy little video manifesto which implied something very different, something more akin to fomenting a rebellion within the borders of our country. Combining that little bit of information with his having pretty expensive, hi-tech, and dangerous weaponry meant that Michael was going undercover to investigate.

Rather than doing something like ingratiating himself to the militia, Michael opted for the more high profile approach -- he chose to steal one of Cooperton's lieutenant's potato chips while the guy was walking out of a convenience store. He gave some ridiculous reason to KITT for going about it that way (something about military men being eyes-forward predators). One chase sequence later, Cooperton's men were doing some light torturing of Michael when Cooperton intervened and brought Michael into the group. Okay, yes, the plan worked, but that didn't make it a good one.

Rather than laying low for a while, Michael opted to skulk around the base on his first night there. He went to Cooperton's tent, he went hunting elsewhere on the base for explosives that KITT thought were there, and he ran into Cooperton's girlfriend (who had been instrumental in Michael's torturing). After Michael dropped her to the floor, she dropped her American accent, opting for a British one instead, and informed Michael that her name was Cassandra Banks and that she was from MI-6 (that would be the employer of my hero, James Bond).

Banks is apparently not quite as wise as my good friend James, because despite her having been at the camp for months and months on end, she failed to note the video surveillance equipment. She and Michael were being watched by Cooperton and had to depart from the camp before completing their mission.

Poor KITT, during the flight from the camp he hit a landmine mid-transformation. The supercharged car was stuck in a ditch, and Michael made his priorities clear. Apparently in Michael's mind the phrase "leave no man behind" doesn't include talking, thinking, transforming cars, because he and Cassandra ran off into the night, ditching the car that has already saved his life on countless occasions. Classy.

Not content to hit one famous film/series over the course of the evening, while running away from the bad guys, Michael and Cassandra found themselves standing on a cliff above a river. There were men with guns behind them and their only choice was to pull a Butch and Sundance.

Like Butch and Sundance, the two lived, but unlike the Western heroes, Michael and Cassandra were left sopping wet and with hypothermia a very real possibility. Not surprisingly, the solution to hypothermia on Knight Rider was the exact same solution Sarah proposed in the first episode, when she and Michael were overheating -- get naked. Yeah, when Sarah had KITT divert energy from his repairs so that he could provide her with an infrared image of Michael and Cassandra, she got exactly what she deserved (a lovely picture of Michael, to paraphrase Bond, keeping the American end up).

If only Sarah hadn't temporarily diverted KITT's power he might have been fully repaired by the next morning, which happened to be when Cooperton was "making his move." It was only when following the truck with the big old bomb in it that morning that Michael learned from KITT (the car finally had enough power to run background checks, something that everyone at KNIGHT must have felt to be beneath them) that Cooperton and one of his top lieutenants were actually mercenary bank robbers.

Oh that clever Cooperton, he was using the extremists in the militia for his own dastardly plans. You see, he had convinced them that what he was doing was legit rebellion fomenting, and that's why they supported him. He even threw them the bone of trying to blow up a massive dam (Michael foiled that) while he was really putting all his energy into stealing some gold from the Federal Reserve in Phoenix (KITT stopped that by firing some rockets into a few Humvees). So, he failed, and the episode ended happily, but I'm going to give him points for lying to his own bad guys. I think that's pretty slick.

Other thoughts:

  • Michael had to take out his earpiece tonight when first infiltrating Cooperton's militia, but apparently stored a back-up one in his calf that he scooped out with a key later. I wonder what else he has hidden on his person.
  • Apparently the producers are working hard at trying to find something for Zoe and Billy to do. Tonight it was having Zoe train Billy to fight. It was kind of pointless, but I tell you about it just in case you're a big Billy or Zoe fan.
  • Oh yeah, Michael didn't end up having sex with Cassandra, he cut it off after some fooling around saying that it was "complicated," he then had a date with Sarah on her birthday at the end of the episode.

Question of the Knight -- where is the line between human and not so much? Michael totally ditched KITT tonight and later said that he wouldn't leave Cassandra behind when she got hurt. I would be so humiliated if I were KITT.

The TV and Film Guy's Reviews - we leave no car behind.

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