I’m no expert in pharmacology, but all three characters in this episode must be strung out on the 50’s version of Xanax or be pioneers of medical marijuana. Their muted reactions to infidelity and murder are so bizarre, they are more like pod-people than human beings.
Charles Hendricks is starting out with his morning coffee into which he dumps 2 spoons of sugar — believe it or not, a critical plot point. He is heading out of town for work as he frequently does. His wife is clearly devoted to him, tying his tie, packing his bag, watching his diet, opening a fresh pack of cigarettes for him — although those last 2 don’t seen entirely compatible. She is all smiles and good cheer until she whips out a lighter and suggests it belongs a lady friend. She seems to accept that he mysteriously picked it up at some unknown office.
It is very strange as he doesn’t seem alarmed by her accusation, and she doesn’t seem too upset by his cheating. Yet again, after Three’s a Crowd, And So Died Riabouchinska, and The Dead Man, we have spouses that react to infidelity with a yawn. Sure enough, he is soon having a martini with his girlfriend. AHP really stacks the deck against Mrs. Hendricks by casting a much prettier woman in the role of mistress Beryl.
Upon returning home, his wife accuses him of meeting a girlfriend in Lockton with the initials B.A. as engraved on the lighter she found in his suit pocket. “So what if I happen to see a woman in Lockton,” he says. “What of it?” Charles is certainly a bag of the douche variety, but this is pretty callous.
Hendricks returns to his girlfriend that night, He tells her of his wife’s suspicions. When Beryl suggests that maybe they should get married, he says the current arrangement suits him just fine.
Back at home the next — frankly I’m having trouble keeping up with his schedule — his wife says that he is still seeing that woman and there is lipstick is all over his shirt. He replies, “I’m trying to work it out. You’ll just have to be patient.” He says. To his wife. What a stud.
The next day, Mrs. Hendricks drives to Lockton. Pretending to be collecting clothes for a charity, she enters Beryl’s home. While there, she puts poison in the sugar bowl. Only after she arrives back home does she get a message that her husband will be late because he has gone to Lockton. Doh!
Charles tells Beryl it might be a good idea if they took a “break” for a few months. She is not thrilled at the idea.
The wife rushes back to Lockton to warn Beryl about the poison before her husband has his coffee. Beryl, as befits the tone of the episode, seems pretty cool with Marcia nearly MURDERING her. Beryl tells Marcia she didn’t get here in time — that she just watched Charles drink his standard coffee with two spoons of sugar. She is not too choked up over the attempted murder of her lover, either. She says he left about an hour ago.
Marcia leaves, intending to confess to the police. After she leaves, Charles comes strolling out of the bedroom where he had been hiding. Beryl coldly offers him a cup of coffee — one for the road.
Great story, perfect plot for this series. Acting was fine except for the odd acceptance of murder. And refined white sugar. I rate it a Venti.
- AHP Proximity Alert: For crying out loud, Mickey Kuhn was just in the previous episode!
- AHP Deathwatch: As mentioned before, Mickey Kuhn (who was in Gone with the Wind) is still alive. Georgeann Johnson is also hanging in there at 88, probably having finally gotten over her father clearly wanting a boy. Here she is in Star Trek TNG 32 years post-AHP.