The ubiquitous John Williams just appeared in I Killed the Count three episodes ago. That story was told over the span of 3 weeks and still seemed shorter than tonight’s offering.
Williams is a hen-pecked man of 54 whose nagging wife won’t even let him play solitaire in peace, nagging him about talking to younger women, and taunting him about his thinning hair. AHP really stacks the deck by casting a woman 12 years older than him as his wife. Didn’t they know that by Hollywood law, after a 5 year difference, you’re supposed to cast the woman as the mother?
Finally, he has had enough and goes upstairs to his man-cave, decorated with posters of Tahiti, Mexico and Hawaii (still 2 years away from statehood, ergo still officially exotic). His eyes land on the poster beckoning him to “Come to the South Seas . . . Land of Enchantment” (later bogarted by New Mexico for its license plates). It also features a woman in a sarong with an orchid behind her ear. He has named her Lalage.
His imagination sweeps him away to titular Dream # 1 in the South Seas where Lalage welcomes him with a drink served in a pineapple. She knows how to make him relax even tells him his thinning hair makes him look important and distinguished. Wow, she’s turning me on!
He confesses that there is a titular Dream # 2 without Lalage where he comes home to find the maid in tears. Their doctor comes down the stairs and tells him his wife has died of a stroke.
The next day, out for a very British walk in his suit, flat cap, and umbrella in hand, he imagines Lalage in the woods. She joins him and they fortuitously find an abandoned car with a pistol laying on the seat. Now that he is packing untraceable heat, he is starting to have a titular Dream # 3 . . . about Minnie.
He and Lalage come up with a plan to murder Minnie involving a goofy disguise and the unlikely act of Williams climbing down a rope from a 3rd story window and back up. After months of working on an alibi, and his upper body strength, Williams decides it is time to do the deed.
In disguise, he goes to his own house. The maid meets him in tears just as in Dream # 2. The doctor comes down the stairs just as in Dream # 2. And Minnie has had a stroke just as in Dream # 2.
So what? This is AHP — where is the murder? Where is the post-game comeuppance? Minnie died just as Williams desired, and he is completely in the clear as he did nothing to cause her death. Hitchcock does not even have his standard epilogue in this episode — he is shown asleep and snoring.
He’s not the only one.
OK, it was actually pretty good and Williams is always a pro. It’s just not what I’m looking for from AHP.
- AHP Deathwatch: No survivors.
- The name Lalage shows up in several places, but nothing seems relevant to her character — a yacht, an asteroid, a few animals. The name shows up in a Roman Legion marching song by Kipling. It would have been a nice allusion if Williams had been working on a history of the Roman Legion rather than Exminster.
- Story by A.A. Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh. Is that why there is no killing? Although that Eeyore was really asking for it.