The best episodes of the entire series, an action packed & fun filled double episode that would become the flagship of the series Due South. Mountie On The Bounty Parts I & II – I just watched them last night. Ofcourse this is the second time that I am watching them; the first being during the run of the show on Indian cable tv channel Star World during the 1998-2000 era. The episodes end the shortened season 3 which ran 13 episodes (shortened compared to the 1st season which had 22 episodes and season 2 had 18 of them). The episode starts with RCMP Constable Benton Fraser (Paul Gross) & Det. Stanley Ray Kowalski (Callum Keith Rennie) being shot at by 3 gangsters and having to jump into the waters. Ray can’t swim and Fraser has to pull him out. However both of them have an argument when Ray says that he is tired of Fraser always niggling him and correcting him. The argument gets heated up and Kowalski punches Fraser in the jaw. The two go their separate ways.
When Ray comes back to the station, he finds a transfer waiting for him. If he wants, he can go back to his old life and his old name (Kowalski has been impersonating Fraser’s previous partner Ray Vecchio while the latter is undercover). It’s totally up to him. Meanwhile, Fraser finds a similarly difficult situation at the Consulate; he’s been offered a transfer to Ottawa. With the tensions between the two, it looks like they are headed for spiltsville. Fraser & Ray meet that night again and Kowalski asks Fraser to punch him back to set things right between them before they split up. However a dying man dressed like a pirate stumbles upon their car, with a knife in him, and dies. It seems they will have to solve this case before taking their respective transfers.They find a treasure map carved on his chest and investigation on the ‘pirate’ leads them to another sailor Vic Hester and the ship the Wailing Yankee.
The sailors on the docks also talk about a doomed Great Lakes ship, the Robert McKenzie which went down in a storm in 1969. It seems that some sailors have seen the ghost ship and are scared of it. They also find a gold bar in their search which is traced back to a bank heist a year or so ago. It seems that most sailors on the Wailing Yankee have criminal records. Hester is now working on the Henry Allen and our duo make their way over to that ship, undercover. A great scene occurs when Fraser engaged the sailors in singing the late Stan Rogers’ sea shanty Barrett’s Privateers. Ray is caught snooping and is handcuffed in a room. Meanwhile in the waters loom the form of the ghost ship, the Robert Mackenzie, but Fraser knows it’s nothing more than the Wailing Yankee made up to look like the ghost ship and that the ghosts are criminals. The Henry Allen is smuggling all the gold & also chemical toxic waste in an illegal dumping operation and the disguised ship was to keep away sailors from them.
Fraser has to rescue Ray and board the so-called ghost ship. Meanwhile Inspecter Meg Thatcher (Fraser’s boss) has rounded up a group of Mounties and along with Constable Turnbull & Lt Welsh mount a rescue for Fraser & Ray. A showdown happens when the mounties’ ship attacks the ghost ship and the criminals are taken into custody. The case is solved but what about our heroes? Well, both Fraser & Ray decide not to take up their transfer offers and resume their partnership having bonded more during this case. Great double episode with a guest appearance by Janet Wright (from Corner Gas). But the episodes are punched in with added vigour due to the song Robert McKensie, clips of which appear all through the 2 parts and the whole song is played during the attack on the ships.
Paul Gross intended to use the Gordon Lightfoot song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in the episode and Lightfoot granted permission on the condition the families of the sailors (the ones who died on the real ship The Edmund Fitzgerald, on which the song is about) agree. But reluctant to cause the families additional pain, Gross and Jay Semko instead wrote and composed Robert Mackenzie for the episode. It’s one of my top 10 favourite songs of all time. There’s even a slower piano only version of the song that plays during parts of the 2nd part. Here is the music video to the song.