Episode Title: Nowhere to Run
Season 05, Episode 03
Episode 078 of 344
Written by Jeff Freilich
Directed by Nicholas Sgarro
Original Airdate: Thursday, October 13th, 1983
The Plot (Courtesy of TV.Com): Abby and Gary move to the ranch. Abby gets an office in town - complete with apartment. She and Westmont secretly start a subsidiary of Gary's company. Gary offers Laura a position as his real estate investor and asks her to keep an eye on Abby. Police find that Diana used her credit card in Oklahoma, so Karen and Mack fly there. Diana assures Chip she loves him. After being spotted by a state trooper, they take off down a dirt road. They find an abandoned shack. The next morning, Chip and Diana find they are surrounded by police and Chip pretends to hold Diana hostage. A policeman shoots, which causes confusion, and Chip is arrested. Karen tries to hug Diana, but Diana pushes her away, and runs to police car and tells Chip she loves him. A reporter asks Diana a question, and she replies "It's not Miss Fairgate. It's Mrs. Tony Fenice."
If our last episode, Fugitives, was about suspense, then I would say our episode up for discussion today, Nowhere to Run, is about action as we continue to follow the path of Diana and Chip, now officially on the run from the law. I’m gonna spoil the very ending of this episode right away just to sorta give you my perspective as I watched this wonderful 48 minutes along with My Beloved Grammy. Okay, so at the end of the episode, the big twist is that suddenly Diana doesn’t want to get away from Chip, but instead is calling herself “Mrs. Tony Fenice,” and acting like the two are married. The reason I note this is because I want to know: When does Diana makes this transition? When we last left off in Fugitives, she seemed legit terrified of Chip/Tony and wanting to get away as fast as possible, and yet somewhere along the way, her feelings changed. So, does that mean they changed between episodes or do they change right here within the course of this particular episode? The reason I mention it is because we start the ep with the two of them chatting and it seems remarkably comfortable and casual, as if Diana is not afraid of him at all anymore. In fact, if I remember correctly, the two are outside of the car, parked at a roadside convenience store, and then they climb back into the car. This tells us that they stopped, that Diana was allowed to wander off and buy soda or whatever, and that she still chose to come right back to the car. Has she already made the bizarre mental switch and now she loves Chip deeply? What do you think, my dear readers?
Looking back on this episode, it’s really very tightly focused on just Chip and Diana, even more so than last week. In fact, the only other characters I really wanna talk about (besides Karen and Mack, of course, and they’re sorta involved in proceedings this week directly because of Diana) are Abs and Gary. See, if it seemed like the show was glamming up last season with the richie rich tennis club and Daniel and The Beach House, you ain’t seen nothing yet. This week we get to see the couple officially move into Westfork, which is exciting, and we also get to see Abs unveil her absolutely ridiculous new office, which is nearly as exciting. This office is like a cartoon brought to life. Looking at it, I could only imagine what the rent on a dream palace like this could possibly be (something like a million dollars a month, perhaps?). Abs first unveils it when showing it off to Westmont (who has morphed from the Transmorpher who played him in The People vs. Gary Ewing back into the guy from Nightmare on Elm Street 3) and they begin in the main entrance area of the office, which is already lavish enough. It’s adorned more like an apartment and has big open spaces and this bizarre light switch on the ceiling (I believe later Gary asks, “Is that a waffle iron?”) and even steps that lead to….well, I’ll get to that. First Abs just takes Westmont around the main floor, showing the area where she will be working and then showing an entire other office area where, presumably, her staff will be working. It only gets better when she takes him up the flight of stairs to show him what’s up there. We reveal it to be another floor which is basically a built-in apartment so that Abs can conduct business without ever having to go home. If it gets too late (or if she wants to have an affair with somebody), she can just climb the flight of stairs and she’s in her own little apartment. But not only is it this huge, lavish space fully adorned with couches and other furniture, it also has an outdoor patio that she can go and enjoy the sun in. Did I mention that this is all a part of Abby’s new office?
Now would be a good time to discuss the inflation in monetary value and materialism of some of our KL characters. I’ve discussed in the past how KL somehow manages to go through all these different eras and styles of storytelling while never betraying what it’s always been about since the very first episode. I feel that a set like this office, or a set like Westfork, couldn’t even be allowed to exist back in season one, and yet now that it’s here, it doesn’t feel out of place. I think the reason for this is because the writers are so good at organically weaving change into the series. Abs may have started the series as a recently divorced housewife used to the suburban drudgery, but she’s always had her eye on the prize, and now that she’s got Gary and the two are just inches away from being married, she is starting to enjoy living in the lap of luxury. It makes sense for Abby’s character that she would buy such a lavish and ridiculously over-the-top office to conduct her own business. Contrast this with Dallas, where, when the writers started to get nervous about the competition from the glamorous Dynasty, they decided to suddenly start dressing all the characters in lavish ball gowns and ridiculous outfits for no real good reason and it made no sense and it was awful. Here, KL allows the characters to drive the change throughout the series, the hallmark of good writing.
As for Gary, he’s continuing nicely along that path we found him on last week. He’s keeping busy, being super productive, and working to get his life together. He has a wonderfully candid chat with Laura this week that I’m gonna have about seventeen talking points on. The two are riding on horseback together, which is just a nice image, and Laura just flat out asks Gary why he stays with Abs. Gary has one of his wonderfully candid responses where he just says, “I love her, but I don’t trust her.” He elaborates on this somewhat and explains the appeal of Abs by saying, “Being with Abby is like high speed racing,” which struck me as a strange bit of foreshadowing since, if I recall correctly, Gary does in fact get involved with high speed car racing a few seasons down the line.
I wanna note the friendship of Laura and Gary, which I feel we are seeing grow right before our very eyes. I’m thinking back through the first four seasons, and I don’t think we got a whole lot of Gary and Laura one-on-one, did we? One moment that springs immediately to mind is when Richard was holding Laura hostage back in Night and Gary came into the house to check on her and see what was wrong. Aside from that, though, these two have generally felt pretty isolated from each other. Here, however, they are riding horses together and look rather chummy. In fact, the key development of this scene is that Gary asks Laura to come work for him as his own real estate super smart lady. He’s all like, “Come on, Laura, we haven’t even had any scenes of you in your real estate office since the end of season three,” and that manages to convince, in addition to the fact that Gary makes it clear he wishes for Laura to keep an eye on Abs and see what she is up to.
Last thing to note on this scene: I also feel like season five unveils the Laura that I tend to think about whenever I think about Laura. This is the Laura who’s a little sassier, who talks back more, and who speaks her mind very frankly and without shame. This is also the Laura who is pretty damn funny, demonstrating KL’s very underrated ability to always be pretty funny in the midst of all the drama. I feel like now that Richard is gone, Laura is really coming into her own, not having to worry about the fragile ego of her husband. By this point, the Laura of season one (remember The Lie?) feels a million miles away; she has grown so much throughout the last four seasons.
Okay, enough about that, let’s back to the main storyline. So Chip and Diana are continuing their big drive, but Chip’s getting nervous due to that A.P.B. (“What is an A.P.B.?!”) that was put out for them recently. When we next catch up with them, they are at a sleazy used car lot talking to the Texan dealer. As soon as we saw this guy, My Beloved Grammy and I both looked at each other and said, “Why do we know that guy?” Demonstrating my bizarre ability to immediately recognize random actors and then connect the dots to whatever it was I saw them in, I said, “I think that guy was in Django or something.” Well, after the episode was over (no looking at cell phones during the show, of course), I checked his IMDb and discovered that he was, indeed, in Django Unchained, playing Bob Gibbs. The actor’s name is Gary Grubbs and he has also been in five thousand other things; he’s one of those actors you just recognize right away. Okay, so Chip and Diana wind up getting screwed pretty bad by this guy, who tells them he’ll take a trade in on their nearly brand new vehicle and then give them a clunker for $600.00. Chip reminds him that their car is worth something like $8,000.00, but the dealer isn’t budging. He can probably tell that Chip is desperate and so he uses the opportunity to take full advantage of him. Well, he’s right and it works because Chip agrees to trade in for the clunker and he and Diana take off.
Their getaway doesn’t last long, however, because the two pull off to some side road to enjoy a nice picnic together, only to be interrupted by a cop. Now, maybe I’m just having a hard time remembering the exact details of this development, but I can’t really figure out what goes on here. See, the cop slowly and creepily drives over to them as they have their picnic, sorta staring them up and down. Diana smiles and says, “How are you, officer?” After that, the cop drives away and Chip flips, convinced that he’ll just be waiting for them when they drive back from this area. He insists that they drive up through some trail that goes through the woods, or something like that. My question is: Is Chip correct? Watching this, it seemed to be that this was just another useless cop who comes really close to Chip and Diana and fails to recognize that these are the people they are supposed to be looking for. We’ve already had two useless cops in our previous episode, one in the diner and one driving on the highway. Does this cop drive away and then immediately report their whereabouts? I’m just sorta blanking on the details here.
Meanwhile, back on the cul-de-sac, Karen finds out that Diana used her credit card 24 hours ago to get gas, giving her some notion of where she might be, which is somewhere in Oklahoma. As soon as Karen hears this, she prepares to take off and find her, and no matter how hard Eric tries to persuade her to stay, she won’t budge. Mack comes home to find Karen gone, but not too long after that, he gets a call from her. We find out that Karen checked into some shitty motel (The Something Or Other Hideaway) and that she’s just gonna hang out for awhile until she hears more about Diana's whereabouts. Well, after a brief bit of thinking, Mack decides to fly to Oklahoma and meet up with her. There’s a nice bit of detail in continuity when we see Karen asleep and she’s in the same pajamas that we saw her packing as she was leaving (I wouldn’t have even noticed this if My Beloved Grammy hadn’t pointed it out; she has a sharper eye for wardrobe than I do). Anyway, the two fight a bit and Mack is mad that Karen just up and left town without any warning, but Karen gives an impassioned speech about how she’s closer to Diana now than ever and she’s not gonna give up until they find her.
By this point, Chip and Diana are hauled up in some super shitty, like, farm. In any case, it’s some sort of big shed out in the middle of the country. At first Chip doesn’t want to stay there because it’s probably cold and smelly, but Diana says it’ll do just fine. The two get some sleep but are interrupted in the morning by a large gang of police officers surrounding them. The main sheriff guy (who is a Transmorpher, by the way; I looked him up and he appears in four Dallas episodes, two from 1988 and two from 1989) is rather jovial and humorous in his methods of threatening Chip. He takes the loudspeaker and is all like, “Good morning, Mr. Fenice, and welcome to Oklahoma! Now come out with your hands up or we’ll shoot you.”
Inside the shed, things are getting complicated. This is where that query I brought up near the start of this writeup comes to the forefront again. See, Chip is panicking and saying how it’s hopeless and they have to give up, but Diana has ideas for how they can escape. She grabs this, like, wrench or something and tells Chip to hold it against her back and act as if it’s a gun. They will open the door long enough for him to tell the police that Diana is his hostage, then they’ll figure out a way to escape.
Okay, so as we’re watching this, My Beloved Grammy is sorta speaking aloud, and she says, “Diana must be tricking him.” In the back of my mind, I remembered how these events played out, so I knew that Diana was serious in her efforts to protect Chip. Upon a first viewing, you might think that she’s working on a plan to lure him out into public so that the cops can handle him, but really she’s being sincere and wants to keep him safe. This is expanded upon in just a few moments, but first we have Mack, rocking an utterly fabulous pair of 1983 sunglasses, creeping up to the shed to try and talk some sense into Chip, all while Karen watches and hyperventilates from the hill above.
Mack makes it to the door and manages to speak with Chip face to face, but to no avail. Eventually, some shooting breaks out, there’s some general chaos, and Chip is, in fact, apprehended by the police. Of course, if you thought this incarceration marked the ending of this exciting storyline, you would be wrong, because then Karen runs up to try and hug Diana, who pushes her away. Wow, what a bitch! Then, when some reporter or other asks Diana a question and addresses her as Miss Fairgate, Diana spins around and says, “It isn’t Miss Fairgate; it’s Mrs. Tony Fenice!” The music swells as we get our “Executive Producers” credit and then the episode ends.
Before I discuss my final thoughts on the episode in question, can I just ask: What the hell is wrong with Diana? Watching it this time, really focusing in on her character and trying to figure out what’s going on in her brain, I finally came to this conclusion: Diana is, in fact, crazy. Now, follow me here, because I’m not just saying that as some bold piece of hyperbole or as an insult to the character. While I think you could make the argument that she’s suffering from Stockholm Syndrome and feeling a connection to her kidnapper, that’s not how I see it. I really think Diana is mentally ill and has something wrong with her brain. That explains this sudden and bizarre turnaround from being terrified of Chip to suddenly wanting to protect him, and it also explains her generally erratic behavior throughout the last four seasons. Remember how sometimes she would be a total mega-bitch and then other times she would be randomly nice? Or how about her insane belief that everything in the world revolves around her? Okay, you could make the case that all teenage girls think the world revolves around them, but Diana really takes it to the max.
The final argument in my thesis is her reaction to finding out Chip killed Ciji. Ciji was a bright, sweet, beautiful, and talented young girl and Chip bashed her over the head, smashed her skull, and then dumped her dead body in the ocean. Not only did he take a life, but he went through all the trouble of cleaning it up and hiding the evidence and trying to get rid of the body. Now, when most normal people hear about something like this, they realize the killer is a crazy person. When Diana hears about it through his twisted, “I did it for you,” logic, I would say she feels flattered, like she is really loved. Need I say more? Only a mentally ill person could be so twisted as to think this cold, nasty murder committed in the name of love could possibly be romantic or noble in any way. Therefore, my thesis that I plan to stick with all the way through season five is that Diana is a mentally ill person.
So how about the episode itself? Well, obviously it was pretty damn great. I may have said this in the past, but I fear I’m going to be sounding like a real broken record for many seasons, because KL just starts to blur into this one amazing run of quality and awesomeness. It’s happening right now, in fact, because even though we are starting a new season and we got some new cast members and we lost some old ones, because of the way the stories are propelling and everything is building and growing from week to week, it really feels like it’s fusing with season four and just creating this big, amazing season of television, like the longest but greatest year of television ever made. I’m curious to see if this feeling in my brain fades as we get deeper into season five or perhaps as we begin season six.
In an effort to keep every episode as its own special little snowflake, let me note a few things I especially liked about this ep. For one, like all the best KL eps, it just zooms by and it’s over before you even feel the time. 48 minutes of Dallas could so often feel like such a slog, but when KL is at its best, we’ll reach the closing credits of the ep and I’ll be like, “Oh, it’s over? I felt like we just started.” That tells me that I’m hooked into the show in such a way that I don’t even feel the time going by. I’ve often declared that I could sit through an entire season of KL without ever having to get up, and even though I sorta say that in a joking way to show how obsessed I am with the show, it is actually true at this juncture. If I didn’t know I’d be going home to write detailed essays about all these eps, I guarantee you I would have just asked My Beloved Grammy if she’d like to power through another disk of five eps.
Secondly, there’s a real sense of urgency to this ep that I appreciated. Like I said, Fugitives was about slow building tension while this one is about immediate excitement. If Fugitives was a slow hand job, then Nowhere to Run is violently fucking you in the ass, and I mean that in the best way possible. It stays exciting and frenetic for its entire run; you feel the emergency feeling that Karen must be having all through this week. Also, I like the way that this ep (along with the last one) kinda takes us on a road trip and we get to leave the California setting for a little while to follow Chip and Diana on their adventures. There’s even a feeling of authenticity in the small details, like the accents of the cops at the end as they swarm Chip and Diana. The Transmorpher who plays the sheriff just feels exactly right as an Oklahoma sheriff; I buy him as a real person even though it’s a teeny tiny little role.