My Thoughts - Gilligan's Island: The Big Gold Strike (1964)
Synopsis: The castaways have an opportunity to escape the island after finding the Minnow's life raft. However, Gilligan's (Bob Denver) discovery of a gold mine on the island leaves the castaways with a dilemma as they all develop gold fever.
How did Gilligan and Mr. Howell (Jim Backus) get out of that cave? It seemed fairly deep with no signs of another way out and it wasn't as though they had any ropes or vines nearby. They weren't even dirty when they did get out.
I was surprised to see Ginger (Tina Louise) and Mary Ann (Dawn Wells) fishing. This show normally has some firm and outdated gender roles on this series, I would have thought it would be one of the men. In fact, I'm a little curious why it wasn't Gilligan considering he apparently had enough free time to be Mr. Howell's caddy. In fact, now I'm wondering if they actually managed to catch any fish.
This episode has one of the show's funniest sight gags. Mr. Howell seeing the Professor's (Russell Johnson) feet under the raft and thinking Gilligan possessed unnatural flexibility is classic, especially the part with him tying the Professor's shoe. The best part, in my opinion, is how the writers chose to set it up by not revealing the Professor's whereabouts right away. I'm not sure it would have been as funny without that surprise.
What made Mr. Howell the "owner" of the gold mine? It's not like any of them have any property ownership rights to the overall island and it was Gilligan who discovered it. I feel like, if they would have made more of an effort to get rescued, they could have easily collected their fair share of the gold in court.
So, it wasn't just Gilligan's fault they didn't get off the island. As much as he gets blamed for his share of mistakes, the castaways seem to be quick to forget the incidents he wasn't involved with, such as when he was the only one who didn't sink the raft by bringing gold on board.
That being said, couldn't they just have recovered the raft and tried again? It sunk from the weight of the gold but didn't look like it was damaged. Plus, it's not like they were in the middle of the ocean when it happened. The raft sunk just a few yards offshore. Heck, even the gold was there for the taking if someone wanted to make a little bit of effort to get it.
Final Opinion: There are a couple questionable plot points in this one, especially about who really "owned" the mine. However, the episode also has quite a few funny moments and is worth watching as a result.
My Grade: A-