One of the episodes Kate Jackson was missing in action, because of her breast cancer treatments. The original episode title was "Amanda Redux". Amanda was supposed pass classified information to a civilian, as Lee had done in "The First Time", taking Lee and Amanda’s relationship full circle. Because there was no time for a rewrite and Kate’s shooting availability was day by day, the story was changed to Francine and the new twist painfully did not work. I also did not like the Agency in this episode and how quickly they turned on their best agent. I almost would have preferred them to quit the Agency and live normal lives at the end.
Another Amanda-lite episode, due to Kate’s illness. I did not like Eliza Dalton smarminess towards Lee, nor her trying so hard to bed him. Although he resisted her passes, it was unnerving to watch, after all, he was a married man (although, no one knew). Reading the original script there is a scene which I call the ‘cookies and milk’ scene. It is too bad this scene had not been filmed, for it could have changed this episode to possibly becoming one of my favorites, even if Kate was not in it much. I also think Kate looked ill and has excessively too much makeup on.
Another Amanda-lite episode, although this time Kate Jackson was absent because she went home for her father’s funeral. There are some cute moments, including the tag, but the episode was missing the chemistry of Lee and Amanda. In the script, there is a scene of Lee and Amanda dancing—how I would have loved to have seen them dance again, since they only had one other dance together and that was "The First Time". It would have been fun to see them dance again, especially with them beginning to explore the feelings they had for one another.
An episode where Amanda only appears briefly for one scene and then again in the tag, even though the chemistry between Lee and Amanda is off. Not sure if it was Kate’s illness or the uncertainly of what was going on at the end of the series? I have never seen a script for this episode so cannot say what is different from the way it was filmed. Amanda also comes across as cold and unfeeling to Lee’s loss of two of his ‘family.’ “They knew the risks.” Yes, they did, but Lee’s still feels responsible, and they were civilians, not agents who had just been murdered by his nemesis. I think the redeeming feature for this episode is the scene with Lee and Dotty. Oh, how I wish we could have had more interaction with Lee and Dotty. And by the way, Lee, you’re so busted!
Several SMK friends and I jokingly refer to this episode as “Welcome to American, Mr. Bland.” The story is out of place and feels more like it was a leftover episode from season two then season three. The story line is bland, forgettable, and riddled with juvenile humor, and the distraction at the garden party is just lame. It also has a very boring tag.
Just not a favorite of mine. I don’t like the story, the humor, or dumb-down Amanda. Yes, she was a bit naive in the world of espionage, but she was not stupid. I also just cannot get past Kate’s ‘hair-don’t’ and then the monstrous earrings she wears. Not one of my favorite story lines either, I guess I am not interested in sex and lobbyists, maybe because it happens too often in D.C. in real life. I also do not like to see Lee on the prowl, especially with ‘Randi-baby’ who is a Barbie-doll want-a-be. Not one of my favorite tags either.
So many things I do not like about this episode. First, continuity problems—even in the script. In one scene, Lee says Khai had two children, and the in another scene he shows a picture where there is clearly three children and he mentions his friend has three children. Second, this episode started the whole mystery marriage. Now, I have said before I did not mind the mystery marriage—I thought it was an interesting plot device, but how I would have loved to have seen a nice backyard wedding. Third, I don’t understand Amanda’s reluctance to Lee’s enthusiasm over the wedding and buying a house. Whenever he expressed ideas, she kept shooting him down. Finally, the plot is confusing. I felt I needed a scorecard to keep up with the players.
Although, season four is my favorite season, there sure were some clunker episodes and "Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag" is not an exception. Lee, I think is out of character—it’s almost as if they are trying to resurrect season one Lee who hates Christmas, but with the growth of Lee’s character and changes he had gone through the last four years —it did not work. I dislike the lame toy story line, did not like Joe’s constant appearance in this episode, nor liked the bit of Lee dressed in a Santa costume. The only bit I like was when Lee and Amanda were shopping and before he runs off, he tells her he loves her. I still don't think we heard it near enough, in my opinion. I much rather have seen them explore more of Lee’s first Christmas with his soon-to-be family, and the tag while cute, is rushed and odd. Why does Amanda apologize that Dotty called Lee her boyfriend? Isn't he? Moreover, the on-going scarf gag was no longer funny.
Another season four clunker, and again an episode that had potential, but was poorly written. The only saving qualities are the wink Lee gives Amanda at the end when she mentions marriage, although Billy interrupted them. Dang it, Billy! And the cute scene when Lee tells Amanda, “Funny how a little romance complicates things.” There is little or no romance in this episode, and by season four, I (as in most fans) now cared more for the B plot, then the A plots.
I don't like a dumb-down Amanda. She could keep up with Lee is "Magic Bus," yet was scattered brained and nonathletic in this episode. It's a continuity error, considering she's a Junior Trailblazer's den mother and all. And the tag is just awful and lame. She washes out of Station One, after saving Lee’s ass. . . again, and then has egg all over her face. Ugh!