Hogan’s Heroes Episode Review: “The Empty Parachute”

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 5 television episode that first aired in December 1969.

Synopsis: A courier arrives in Stalag 13 with a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist. In an effort to find out what is inside the case, Hogan (Bob Crane) and his men plant an empty parachute to make the Nazis believe the Allies have sent a commando into camp in an effort to steal whatever it is the courier is carrying so the courier will be forced to put it in Colonel Klink’s (Werner Klemperer) safe.

Guest Stars

Guest stars include Ronald Long and Parley Baer.

A Few More Surprises Than Expected

My biggest concern when I started watching this episode at lunch was it would end up being too predictable. And, as is often the case with this series, the audience was let in on Hogan’s plan early on, something that made me believe there would be no surprises. As it turns out, this episode had a few unexpected twists that kept it interesting.

I think the part that really impressed me about this episode was the fact it wasn’t as simple as just stealing the briefcase and opening it. Instead, as they quickly learned, the case was booby-trapped with explosives, resulting in Hogan having to go through step-by-step instructions in an effort to disarm it (which included having to choose which direction to turn the final switch and hope it was the right way).

Of course, since he was the star of the show, there was no doubt he would get the case disarmed. But, it still made things much more interesting than expected.

I also found I liked the sudden twist at the end, with Hogan trying to return the briefcase only to have Newkirk (Richard Dawson), his safe cracker, get sidetracked at the last second, forcing Hogan to come up with a new plan on the fly.

And, to be honest, his plan, which involved a stolen grenade, was actually much more clever than I was expecting it to be, partly because the didn’t take the time to explain, ahead of time, what was going to happen and kept the surprise intact as a result.

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Final Opinion

As I said before, I was a little concerned this episode was going to be too predictable, especially when Hogan’s initial plan was spelled out a bit too much to start. But, there were just enough surprises in this episode to keep things interesting and, overall, I have to say it was considerably better than I was expecting it to be when I first started watching it.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 12/02/2016, StevenHelmer
 
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