Rewatching 21 Jump Street! You wouldn’t guess it from the title “Fear and Loathing with Russell Buckins,” but season two episode twelve is all about illegal street racing and bear wrestling.
What’s goin’ down: Street racers are making a mess of city traffic, so the Jump Street crew is sent in to take them down from the inside. When things don’t work out, the plot takes some unexpected turns, including a wedding and a bear.
Here’s Hanson: This one’s all about heartbreak for Hanson. He reunites with an old friend, Russell Buckins, who tells him that Hanson’s high school crush is getting married. He spends the rest of the episode fretting about lost opportunities. Also, his precious car is refitted as a street racing machine, much to his agony.
Penhall’s prerogatives: Penhall acts as Hanson’s conscience throughout, encouraging him not to be such a goody-goody, but to take risks and live a little.
Undercover blues: Hanson’s newfound recklessness goes too far, trashing a car in a street race. He and Penhall get temporarily sent back to the academy, but Hanson does the bad boy thing, blowing off the academy and road-tripping to find his high school crush.
Goin’ to the chapel: On the way to the wedding, Hanson and Russell stop by some country western bar, where a cowboy brings a live bear into a wrestling ring. To prove his newly rebellious self, Hanson wrestles the bear. Calm down, we don’t actually see him fight the bear, we only see Hanson get tossed out of the ring.
Torn from today’s headlines: The “Fear and Loathing” title is obviously a reference to Hunter S. Thompson’s writings, most notably Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Hanson and Russell do develop a sort of Raoul Duke/Dr. Gonzo relationship on the road. And, yes, Johnny Depp went on to star in the movie version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Trivia time: The stern academy instructor is played by Marc Alaimo, best known for playing Gul Dukat on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Also on the wild road trip, there’s joke about Hanson getting a tattoo. They used Johnny Depp’s real-life tattoo for this scene.
Jumpin’ or not? This episode is all over the place, from car race action to Penhall’s emotional crisis to goofy hijinks at the academy to bear wrestling. This is a huge step in Hanson’s ongoing journey from straight-laced cop to rebellious bad boy, and that one makes it worth seeing. It’s jumpin’!
Next week: It’s THAT episode. You know the one.
Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.