Night Visions – Cargo (09/23/02)

nvcargo09The first five seconds of this episode are just wrong and wronger . . . no, the ones after tattoo-boy‘s introduction.  But we’ll get back to that.

As well as I can make out on the crummy YouTube presentation, the camera is winding through a dark junky area . . . an alley, a construction site, a warehouse, a post-apocalyptic city?  A woman is calling out in a whisper for Sergei.  A man and a very sick woman join the search.  The woman fires up a lighter and they pass some sad souls . . . homeless, refugees?  One is eating a rat.  A drop of blood falls on the woman and they see Segei’s bloody corpse above them.

The camera pulls back through a hole to reveal that this has all taken place in a shipping container.  The problem is that the very first shot of the episode is an exterior of the ship, and the second shot is the exterior of the shipping container on-board.  This could have been a very cool reveal, but it is not just telegraphed — it is HD-transmitted to ruin the impact.

nvcargo04Crewman Mark Stevens is inspecting the area and hears the screams from the container.  He finds the Captain [1] and First Mate Taforner and tells them he thinks they might have stowaways because he hears “whispers, moans and screams” in the cargo hold of the ship, and they don’t sound like Kate Winslet.  Also, the rat problem has subsided. Taforner is suspiciously defensive and dismissive of Stevens’ concern.

Back in the titular cargo container, they discover that two more of their comrades — they all have eastern European or Russki accents, BTW — have been similarly killed. Stevens is inspecting the hold again when he finds finds higher than normal carbon dioxide levels indicating stowaways.[2]  Taforner is again angry, but Stevens tells him they have been at sea for weeks and the people could be starving — the only people ever to lose weight on a cruise.  After Taforner leaves, the woman calls to Stevens.

Through the world’s highest glory hole, she begs Stevens not to tell the Captain because he might kill them.  She does want to be let out, though, because something inside is killing them.  And the smell!  My God, the smell! Stevens finds an acetylene torch and a crowbar. As another person is being attacked, he begins cutting into the container.  For some reason he only cuts out a section about one foot square — why, you could only fit a human head through there!

nvcargo11Turns out the Captain and Taforner are in cahoots.  They tell Stevens the things inside are not human.  The Czars used them to terrorize the serfs.  The Russian mob uses them as assassins.  And as they get hungry, they feed on their own.

The Captain and Taforner [3] force Stevens’ head into the hole and the things chew it off.  In another scene graphic for TV, his headless body does a little dance before collapsing.  The camera pulls back to reveal this container is being shipped to New York.

Like many of the episodes I’ve watched, I think this would have been really good if it just had a better transfer.


  • [1] Philip Baker Hall — he is usually so good that miscasting him seems impossible. They pulled it off here, though.
  • [2] This is so dumb I don’t even know where to start.  Micro-changes in air density is sounding more plausible.
  • [3] C’mon, you were thinkin’ it, too.  Dayum, I don’t care how corny it is, that song is awesome.
  • The IMDb lists a character called Dad From the Past.  I have no idea what that is about.  Even if there were a cut scene, I see nowhere to insert daddy-issues for any of the characters.

2 thoughts on “Night Visions – Cargo (09/23/02)

  1. The Captain says “They’re called ….” and then I can’t understand the final word. It sounds like “glocoslock” or something like that. Any idea what that word was?

    • It must be vlkoslak. It doesn’t get many hits in English on Google, but seems to be Serbian for werewolf or vampire. I can’t even pretend I knew that. Just got lucky sounding it out.

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