Listen to the heartbeat (Air date: September, 12th 1977)
Lucan falls in love with a gymnast and must protect her from a sinister plot to keep her out of the competition.
Full Recap (Spoilers ahead)
Lucan’s out jogging and see’s a pretty girl bike riding. She’s ambushed and chased by a man who tries to drag her into his car where his partner-in- crime’s waiting. Lucan rushes to help. Her name’s Tashi and she’s unsure why she was attacked but she needs a place to hide. Lucan takes her to the Zoo where he temporarily works taking care of baby animals. At first Tashi doesn’t trust him, and is curious why he doesn’t have a last name. They develop a fast bond and Tashi asks Lucan to help her get a letter to her best friend Elena – only if she’s alone to receive it. Lucan genuinely wants to help, and he’s also attracted to Tashi.
At a hotel Elena get into a car with a mustached man. Focusing his senses, Lucan runs the entire length of the car ride. They stop at an arena where a pre-olympic Gymnastics tournament will be held. Lucan gives Elena the letter. She’s very worried, but she’s also working with the mustached man, her husband Miklos. While in the control room, they trap Lucan in the Arena and automatic lock the exits. But then Miklos lets him go.
Lucan attempts to run all the way back to the Zoo. (Kevin Brophy must have been some kind of track star with all that running he did!) The baddies stop Lucan, pretending to be cops. Who better than Brian Dennehy to play the more evil of the two? They threaten him with imprisonment and by now we know that Lucan hates cages. Lucan jumps out of the moving car.
Tashi tells Lucan the truth. Her real name’s Natasha Travolinka and she’s a world class gymnast from Bulgaria. She’s afraid because someone’s trying to kill her. Within three days they’d tripped her in the dark, cut her practice ropes, and left her dangling in mid-air, and finally the men grabbed her in broad daylight off the bicycle path. The International Gymnast Festival, there’s a lot of money is gambled and invested on the winner. In the park, Natasha shows off her athletic skills, and Lucan stuns her with his flipping. She can’t believe he’d never trained professionally.
A recurring theme on the show is when every one tries to guess Lucan’s ethnicity. Natasha asks if he’s Indonesian, because of his darker features and the fact that he doesn’t use a last name. Lucan responds that he’s unsure and opens up about not having a family. Although he doesn’t keep his identity a secret, he doesn’t tell her he was raised by wolves. Lucan senses they are being followed and he takes Tashi’s camera and chases the man. He shows Tashi the photo and it turns out to be Miklos’ cousin, a journalist.
Tashi doesn’t want the Police involved because she can’t betray Elena, her friend and fellow gymnast. She’s convinced that Elena is only going along with her husband’s plan. Miklos begged Tashi to lose on purpose and let Elena win. Tashi’s still very young, but this would be Elena’s last chance to fulfill her dream. Tashi refuses to do that even though she loves Elena.
Back in Lucan’s bunk, Tashi asks Lucan to be her bodyguard until the competition. He obliges and they share a kiss. Tashi and Lucan are kidnapped by Miklos’ men. Lucan and Tashi find an escape, but she sprains her ankle. She’s determined not to lose and Lucan teaches her to control the pain.
Miklos attempts to sabotage Tashi while she’s competing, but Lucan thwarts him. Tashi flubs the landing in her first attempt because of her ankle. But her last routine is flawless. Miklos is arrested and deported. Tashi cries that she never wants to leave Lucan. He cries too, but it’s impossible to care for her. He has no home, and he needs to find his family. He tells her to make the best of her life for him.
As the plane flies overhead we hear mournful howls.
“Listen to the heartbeat” is the sweetest episode because it introduces Lucan to a romantic first love. Lucan proves he’s loyal and trustworthy. He discerns a need and gets involved. He puts his life on the line to help others even if they don’t ask. We know their relationship’s won’t last, but you hope that Lucan will eventually find the answers he seeks so his heart can be settled enough for true love and the possibility of a stable life.
“Listen to your heartbeat. Listen so hard it becomes as loud as thunder.”
“I don’t see what I could get by winning a game that would be important to me. Or how losing a game could hurt me. But doing your best, that’s different. You have to do your best…to be the best that’s in your nature to be.”
“I know what winning is now. It’s just status, and status is almost nothing. People shouldn’t worry so much about so little.”