The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries - Sole Survivor (1978)
"Sole Survivor" is an interesting episode of the Hardy Boys. It opens with Joe Hardy slipping in and out of consciousness in an ambulance after some kind of accident. He finally wakes up in a hospital in Hong Kong, and is told that he has been in a coma for a year, and that his brother and father are dead. Heavy stuff. Of course, since the show wasn't retitled "The Joe Hardy Mysteries," it won't come as a surprise that all is not as it seems. But it's still interesting to watch Joe as he reacts to his new circumstances, and then starts to unravel the mystery.
Doctors Examine Joe's Hairless Chest
The style and tone of the episode is also a bit different than usual. It kind of seems like a cross between a film noir and an Italian giallo, albeit one filtered through a 1970s television sensibility. In particular, there's a few scenes that take place in an closed clothing store in the dark, with the rooms full of shadowy mannequins, that were just a violent stabbing away from being part of a Dario Argento flick.
A Killer Stalks the Fashion Boutique
Eventually we check in with Joe's brother and father, Frank and Fenton. Just as Joe was told that they were dead, they believe that he is dead, after his car is fished out of a river, but no body was found (they believe it washed out to sea). It's kind of weird, because the show has the brother and father react not with tears or grief, but with extreme stoicism. They lay on their hotel room beds fully clothed, with the lights on, just sort of staring into space, and then Fenton grits his teeth and basically says that they are in Hong Kong with a job to do, and they can grieve for Joe after they finish it. I guess in 1978 this was supposed to show Fenton's strength of character, but by modern standards it seems unfeeling and f---ed up. It wouldn't hurt your masculinity to show some emotion, and maybe give your son Frank a hug, Fenton!
Frank and Fenton Sleep in their Hotel Room. Fully Clothed and With the Lights On.
Overall, I found this to be decent episode, and the focus on Joe having to unravel a mystery on his own was a nice change of pace.
BONUS! MUSIC VIDEOS:
Herman's Hermits - Sleepy Joe
The Rolling Stones - Soul Survivor
More screencaps after the break...
Joe in an Ambulance
Being Wheeled in to the Hospital
Joe Trips Out
Joe Wakes Up
Doctor Pulaski attempts to treat Joe, but Joe screams out, "you're an impostor! I demand to see Dr. Beverly Crusher!"
Joe Recieves Experimental Hong Kong Cotton Ball Therapy
The Doctors Hook Joe up to a Seismometer, but it Doesn't Seem to Help
"Dear Joe, I hope you are enjoying your coma. Signed, Nancy Drew"
Smoking a Pipe in the Hospital. God Bless the '70s!
The Doctor uses a penlight to examine Joe's hair. "Even after a year in a coma, his hair is still perfect!"
Joe's Wrecked Car
Hong Kong Alley
Hiding in the Mannequin Attic
Weirdest Sex Position Ever
Back From the Dead
A "Hilarious" Joke Ends the Episode. Well, Would You Believe, "Mildly Amusing?"
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