The episode starts out like Koyaanisqatsi with a fast-mo montage of clouds moving across the sky, cars racing along the freeway, people rushing through a train station, people walking down the street.
Dr. Fellows is going to see Albert Brock in Meadowbrook Penitentiary. En route, he gets a cell call from his son asking for a tele-transfer of his allowance, gets a pass printed out from a fax machine in his briefcase, punches in an electronic code to enter the prison, and enters another code to enter the the hallway, and enters another code to enter Brock’s cell. So we kind of see where this is going.
Fellows comments on how quiet it is in the cell. Brock demonstrates why it is quiet by biting a chunk out of the doctor’s phone. And dropping his tape recorder in a glass of water; although, since it was set on Record, I don’t think it would have made much of a racket. See, Brock is in jail for murder . . . of machines.
He recounts the day he lost control. Awakened by a robot alarm clock, blasted by music in the shower, hit with cell calls before he reaches his desk, met with yards of paper spewing out of his cutting-edge dot-matrix continuous feed printer. Back at home, the robot cook tells him to take dinner out of the oven, the robot maid tells his son to wipe his feet, and his wife won’t shut the hell up with her electronic interactive Spanish lessons.
The next day at work, he pours a pitcher of coffee into the videophone system. Then he stomps on his cell phone. And pours a chocolate milkshake into his fax machine.
He complains of the tyranny of the majority: “They figure that if a little music was charming and keeping in touch was good, that a lot of a good thing would be that much better! But it’s not!” Actually, I’m starting to like this guy. Out with Barack, In with Brock!
After his adventure on the subway, he is arrested. So he purchases an “equalizer machine” which looks a lot like a gun. Fortunately, his rampage is limited to electronic devices spewing noise pollution.
Dr. Fellows returns to his office. Besieged and assaulted (if those are not the same thing) by all sorts of noises that he had taken for granted before, he begins to sympathize with Brock.
There is a lot of truth and prescience in this episode. That is good because the acting and script are pretty weak. Although, there is none of Bradbury’s usual flower prose, much of the script is just set-up-and-spike exposition dumps from Brock to the doctor. Unfortunately, I think Bruce Weitz is a good actor who just made some bad choices in his performance.
- Roger Tomkins directed 5 RBT episodes. Nothing else before or since. I continue to ask, where did they get these guys? And where did they go?