Burning Bright

The Six Million Dollar ManTwo weeks after returning to Earth from a mission during which he conducted a spacewalk and began acting strangely, astronaut Josh Lang is on the verge of being grounded, which would end his space career. NASA contacts Lang’s old friend (and former fellow astronaut) Steve Austin to see if he can get through to Lang, understand what’s happened to him, or why Lang keeps talking to someone named Andy. Lang confesses to Austin that he came into contact with some kind of electrical field that boosted his mental abilities exponentially, and that he can even talk to dolphins telepathically. But when he’s sedated and confined for further study, Lang reveals another side to his new abilities, including the power to attack people with the power of his mind, knocking them unconscious without a physical blow. Lang goes on the run from NASA and military police, and Austin insists on trying to reach his old friend to convince him to stop fleeing. In the meantime, Lang’s powers are growing, at the cost of his survival.

written by Del Reisman
directed by Jerry London
music by Oliver Nelson

The Six Million Dollar ManCast: Lee Majors (Steve Austin), Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman), William Shatner (Josh Lang), Warren Kemmerling (Ted), Quinn Redeker (Calvin Billings), Rodolfo Hoyos (Ernesto Arruza), Anne Schedeen (Tina Larsen), Joseph diReda (1st Deputy), Ron Stokes (2nd M.P.), Aaron Mitchell (2nd Deputy), Charles Floyd Johnson (3rd M.P.), Trent Dolan (Technician), Mary Rings (Millie)

Notes: Clips of Steve Austin running (from the pilot movie) and pole-vaulting (from last week’s episode) are reused, though the footage from The Last Of The Fourth Of Julys creates a bit of a jump-cut error, as Oscar is seen standing alongside the huddled NASA scientists watching Austin, and is then instantly seen standing away from them, near the crossbar Austin is trying to clear. The spacewalk footage from the opening teaser is instantly recognizable as footage of Ed White conducting the first American The Six Million Dollar Manspacewalk during the Gemini 4 mission in June 1965, even though much more recent spacewalk footage was available and had been used in previous episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man. Oscar protests Austin wanting to run “two whole” computer searches for him on the grounds that “it’ll cost a fortune”. Lang wants NASA to send dolphins up on “the next space shot, the Apollo-Soyuz“; as the third and final Skylab crew had returned to Earth in February 1974, this was technically correct, even if the notion of strapping a dolphin into an Apollo capsule is impractical at best. Guest star Anne Schedeen, here playing a NASA computer programmer, would have later brushes with suspicious space travelers as one of the stars of the 1980s sitcom ALF.

LogBook entry by Earl Green