The Hitchhiker – Dead Heat (03/03/87)

Although the score is immediately dreadful, I was quickly hooked by the artwork of Luthor Redmond (Fred Ward).  Most of it is macabre, but some of it is just strange.  Sadly, my favorite is only seen for a split-second — a toaster with a piece of toast coming out of one slot, and a hand coming out of the other.

Luthor has regrets about his girlfriend Arielle walking out.  He jumps in his red Mustang and goes after her.  She has literally walked out , so he quickly catches up to her on the road hoofing her way to the bus station.  His “Need a ride?” and charming “Going my way, little girl?” strangely do not entice her back into the car.  His next approach is, “You know what you look like?  An Eskimo igloo during the thaw” which I don’t understand at all.  Finally, he takes the pragmatic approach, telling her she’ll never make it to the bus station in time on foot.  She gets in the car after he promises to take her straight to the bus station.

He slow-drives her a little way toward the bus station, then turns the car around to take her back to his farmhouse studio.  She demands that he stop the car.  Mr. Literal slams on the brakes which strangely throws her forward, but not him.  He calls her a whore and throws her out of the car.  As she resumes her journey on foot, he guns the engine and drives toward her.  Like Charlize Theron, she has not mastered turning as she runs mostly straight along the road.  Luthor pins her against a wooden gate.  She is only a little banged up and Luthor carries her back to his studio.

3-D, comin’ at ya!

That night, while Luthor is working on a welding project, a drifter sneaks into an old beat up car just a few feet from him.  It is impossible that he did not see Luthor — if not him, then at least the blinding welding flame. When Luthor confronts him, he swings a log at the camera like it is a 3-D movie.  Luthor reacts by offering him a modeling job.

The next morning, Arielle uses her head and sneaks out the back-door, escaping from this abusive lunatic.  This time, wisely avoiding the road, she runs through the woods finding freedom and regaining the spirit that Luther’s oppression had crushed.  No, wait, she goes to the kitchen for breakfast.  She sees Cal the drifter at the table and is immediately hot for him.  He is filthy, wearing a wife-beater, sporting the mustache of a 13-year old, stuffing his face like he hasn’t eaten in a week, chugging milk, barely raising his eyes to acknowledge her — what gal wouldn’t be?

After Cal gets cleaned up, Luthor puts him to work washing his car.  Through the window, Luthor sees Arielle dressed like June Cleaver bringing them lemonade.  He makes an excuse to leave so they will be alone.  Later, he poses them as the couple recently found in a murder / suicide scene.  After a few hours shooting, they take a break.  Luthor recalls how he got his start:

I was 5 years old.  I was playing on the front porch.  I heard this tremendous crash.  Two cars had collided.  I ran down to the curb, something rolled from one of the over-turned cars.  It was the head of a little girl.  When I was about 15, I became interested in photography.  I bought a camera.  I spent hours, days looking through the lens.  Then a miracle happened.  I realized I wasn’t holding a camera.  It was the little girl’s face.

What does that even mean?  I get that witnessing that horrific event led to the macabre nature of his work.  The girl’s face as a metaphor for a camera just makes no sense, though.  Maybe if he said the image he was searching for was the little girl’s face . . . but, the camera?

Arielle amazingly tears herself away from this yarn and goes out to sit under a tree.  Luthor orders Cal to “go out and entertain her for me.” They have an awkward conver-sation.  It isn’t awkward because of what they are saying.  It is awkward because Cal just isn’t much of an actor.  Here, as in previous scenes, he just isn’t there. There are awkward silences.  OK, if the lines aren’t in the script, then there is going to be silence.  However, I never get the sense that he is listening.  He just seems to be lurking, hovering, an interloper in the scene, like a crew-member who got caught in the shot.  You can have no lines and still be a presence.  He does not come off as stoic, taciturn, laconic, contemplative, scheming . . . I see no wheels turning.  He is just vacant.

They go into the barn.  She takes off her top and says, “Let’s go south.”  However, they skip the foreplay.  Even during this, he hardly reacts.  Arielle throws her leg around him and he just stands there.  She kisses him and he just rubs his face along her shoulder like he’s checking for a melanoma.

Luthor calls for Cal to come back to the studio.  Cal walks into the studio and says nothing.  Luthor says, “Where have you been?”  Cal says nothing.  Luthor says, “I’ve been calling and calling.”  Cal says nothing.  Luthor says, “The girl.  No telling where that little harlot has been.”  Cal says nothing.

From here on, I am completely lost.  This seems to be happening a lot.  I would think I was getting dumber, but people seem to think that isn’t possible.

Luthor tells Cal he knows what is going on; he knows about their plan to drive south.  He starts in with Bible verses and Cal puts his hands over his ears like a child.  Shouting “The wages of sin are death!” he shows Cal a woman (or maybe a dummy of Arielle, who the hell knows) in a casket with a burned face.  We saw it earlier in the episode, but that ain’t helping.  Was this a previous Arielle? Luthor says, “Do you believe me now?”  He slides Cal the car keys and says, “Put this evil woman to rest.”

Cal goes to the garage.  Arielle walks into the dark garage.  Cal says nothing.  She calls his name.  He says nothing.  He gets in the car.  She calls for him again.  He says nothing.  He starts the car, turns on the lights, and guns the engine.  Having been in this situation before, she knows just what to do — she stands directly in front of the car.

She does finally jump in the car, but certainly not because Cal said, “Hey, get in the car!”  She says, “Kiss me” and he barely makes a move.  Than he floors it, puts it in gear and busts through the closed garage door.  Luthor cries “Noooo” as they drive off.  They go a little way, then suddenly stop.  It kind of looks like there is a cable restraining the car, but I think that is just a poorly composed shot.  Or maybe it was part of the stunt rig and they were too addle to shoot around it — I certainly wouldn’t doubt that.  It kind of sounded like he ran into a pile of junk and there is a pile of garbage nearby, but the next shot is of the front of the car and there is no obstruction.  So, I have no idea what happened.  Mostly it gave Luthor time to go inside and get a goddamn flame-thrower!

Suddenly free of whatever mysteriously stopped them, Cal & Arielle drive off, leaving Luther behind.  Despite the car speeding in a straight line, seconds later, Luther jumps out in front on them on the road.  Cal runs him down, then crashes into a tree and all three die in a fiery explosion.  The end.  Seriously.

At a few points during the episode I thought Luther must have killed Arielle in the opening scene and this was a flashback to explain why.  Actually I’m still not positive that there were no flashbacks.  But I have no idea of the motivations:

  • Luther chases after Arielle, then throws her out of the car.
  • He orchestrates an affair between Cal and Arielle, then gets angry when they take the bait.
  • He gives Cal the key to his car then seems surprised when he drives off.

The three performances are perfectly distributed on the spectrum from pretty poor to pretty good (hint: Fred Ward is pretty good).  The script desperately needed another pass, especially by the producers when it was submitted.  And, not to bash our European friends, but we have another episode directed by someone with no prior directing credits in English.  Add an overly melodramatic score and you get a pretty bad episode.

Some Other Stuff:

  • Title Analysis:  Lazy random crap.  If you are calling an episode Dead Heat, you better have some racing in it.  Or some heat — Arielle wore a heavy coat when she ran away, and you can see their breath at night, so it ain’t hot.  The heat was the raw lust and animal passion between Cal and Arielle, you say?  No.  No, it was not.
  • Cal is played by the same actor who told Uhura she was old in Star Trek III.  Where the hell was he when she started fan dancing in Star Trek V?
  • In Oh, God! Book 2, Denise Galik (Arielle) is credited as “Joan, Don’s Big-Boobed Girlfriend”.  If her character has a name, why further identify her that way?  And in a G-rated family movie?  Forget it Jake; it’s Hollywood.

The Hitchhiker – A Whole New You (02/01/91)

I try not to pre-judge, but this does not bode well . . .

  1. The opening shot establishes this as a European production which has been a bad sign, from The Miracle of Alice Aames in this series, to dozens of Ray Bradbury Theater episodes.
  2. It is from the writer of the aforementioned Miracle of Alice Aames, although she has a fine resume otherwise.
  3. It is from a director with no other American credits.  No offense to foreign directors, it just makes her un poisson hors de l’eau.
  4. It stars our least-talented successful living American actor (regaining first place after the sad, untimely death of Bill Paxton), Elliott Gould.
  5. It is The Hitchhiker.

A white van pulls up to a French hotel and disgorges Elliott Gould and his gendarme body-guards.[1]  He might as well have come in a Mini Cooper for all the help his entourage provides.  A room service waiter in the hall pulls a gun as they pass.  Only Gould has the brains — am I really writing this? — to kick him down the stairs and pound his head into the floor.  This, BTW, after they magically appear on the stairs via a botched edit.

In his room, Gould lambastes the “stupid frogs supposed to be protecting me.”  While Gould is sometimes tolerable when he is just lumbering through a role, here he — God help us — tries to act.  He chews out LeBreaux, the French cop, for their “frog talk” and reminds them they promised to keep him safe while he was “here to get me a new face.”

We get a few hints about why Gould is looking to change his looks other than the obvious, but you have to be smarter than me to put it together. Some guy named Palazzo was killed by a car bomb in the states.  The sweaty, screaming Gould threatens to expose what Palazzo and LeBreaux “were up to.” He tells the cop, “You agreed to print that story about Palazzo if he would come here and give evidence for you!”  Wait, is LeBreaux a cop or a reporter?  Gould gives an extended buffoonish laugh that might be the most unpleasant thing I’ve ever seen on TV.

LeBreaux says, “OK, we’ll do it your way . . . for now” although I’m not clear on what that way is; or the other way.  Gould — and why is he so sweaty? — says, “Now you’re being smart.”  The camera is tight on the cop’s face and Gould’s grubby fingers creep into the shot to pinch his cheek.  BLECCH, as Mad Magazine used to say.[2]   At this point, Gould is not just sitting down, he is slouched in the chair.  HTF did he reach the cop’s face?  Maybe these French directors is just too smart for me.

The next day, they go to see Dr. Renaud.  Discovering the doctor is a woman, Gould rants, “She’s a dame?  I don’t trust dames!  They’re always flapping their gums at the wrong time!”  Gould meets Renaud in her office and they have a very strange silence. They aren’t sizing each other up, they aren’t attracted to each other.  It is just a long, weird lull like they were bored, waiting for the director to say “action.”  Finally, she says, “Welcome to the institute.”

Gould is a complete dick, smoking a cigar  in her office after she asks him not to. He demands they get started immediately on replacing his face and, really, who can blame him?  Dr, Renaud tells him, “Here at the institute, we feel that cosmetic surgery is just one step in a much larger process.”  He suggests they get down to business “before I shove this desk down your stinking throat!”

LeBreaux suggests he talk to Dr. Renaud alone.  Gould says, “Well talk good, cop, or they’ll be fishing Palazzo out of the river!”  That would be the same Palazzo that LeBreaux told Gould was killed by a car bomb?  Christ, could anyone on this set read English?  Renaud understandably does not want to treat a psychopath like Gould. LeBreaux tells her if she doesn’t do this, she could lose her government funding.

Gould is subjected to tests like he was trying to be in the Mercury 7 [sadly, the relevant Right Stuff clip is not on You Tube].  After a week of this, Gould puts his hand on her throat and tells her she better not be playing him for a sucker.  Just repulsive.  The doctor’s assistant walks in and he lowers his hand.  He takes the opportunity to light up another cigar in the lab after spitting the tip on the floor.  Just repulsive.  Later, he starts feeling up Renaud’s assistant to unwind before his operation.  Just repulsive.

That night, Gould sneaks in to Bloc 6 where the surgery will be done.  He picks up a couple of instruments which look like a garlic press and a mixer to me, but I’m no brain surgeon; or chef.  On the X-Ray screen there are a lot more shots of brains than you might expect from a cosmetic surgeon.  He finds a room of men either bald or with their head in bandages.  One of them repeat–edly asks, “Bon jour, comment tallez-vous?”  I think they were lobotomized, but to be fair, Gould never answers him.

Gould decides to not have the surgery, runs oafishly out of the complex, steals the white van and speeds off.  LeBreaux finds Gould and tries to take him back.  Gould uses his one martial art — banging a guy’s head into the ground — and beats LeBreaux unconscious.  Blah blah, some other goons knock Gould out and take him back to the institute for surgery.  After the surgery, his head is bandaged like the men he saw at the institute.  And:

  • LeBreaux comes to visit, carrying flowers.  Hunh, they’re suddenly bros?  Or is it frères?  Is this the beginning of a LeBreaux-mance?
  • Gould’s personality is completely changed.  He is now warm and smiling and friendly.  Was he supposed to have gotten a lobotomy?  I don’t think this would be the result.  Why is he not like the other men?
  • And why is the doctor so gung-ho about lobotomies anyway?  It wasn’t just revenge against Gould — remember, there was a room full of these guys.
  • There is a long, purposeful close-up of Gould’s eye which I don’t understand at all.  I know lobotomies can be done through the eye-hole, but there is no indication of that. There is no tear which would indicate something . . . anything.  It just seems random.
  • The cop lights a cigar as he leaves, just as Gould had smoked them before. LeBreaux had only smoked cigarettes.  Are we supposed to think that Gould and the cop switched faces?  Clearly they did not, but why else throw that scene in?

Merde.  Just a steaming load of merde.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] Kudos where due.  They exited the van with all the men wearing military garrison caps, except one wearing a fedora.  I immediately thought they were idiots by making their charge so easily identifiable, but Gould was wearing one of the caps.
  • [2] And maybe still do.  Every 10 years, I’ll look at a current issue — same jokes.
  • After some time back in the US, the titular hitchhiker is back in France.  This guy really needs an AAA membership (remember, this was pre Google Maps).

The Hitchhiker – Cabin Fever (05/12/87)

In a purely perfunctory opening, a man comes out of his beach-front home and goes running with his dog. Scoundrel Rick Hinton enters the unlocked house and goes through his desk.  He finds an envelope full of cash, but only takes some of it.  He goes into the bathroom where the man’s wife was clearly expecting him.  They have the sex. Elapsed time:  2 minutes (including the sex).

I understand they used this opening to establish Hinton as a playa on the playa.  It is just so disconnected and laughably condensed that it leaves you thinking it should have more meaning.  Strangely, though, it takes the extra time to establish him as a thief, which plays absolutely no part in the rest of the episode.  He’s not even a very good thief — he takes enough money that its absence will be noticed, but he doesn’t take it all so it might be thought misplaced.

Next, at a marina, he spots a woman struggling with the sails on her boat.  Again, the narrative is so compressed it is just crazy.  From stranger on the dock, through flirtation, to him being hired takes literally 35 seconds.  Her husband Cameron pops up through a hatch.  She says she hired the stranger to help on the island. Her husband refers to him as a “cabin boy” and says, “Welcome aboard, young man” to the 30 year old.

On the island, Hinton sees Cameron chopping up some mushrooms. Cameron spears a mushroom and holds it up, proclaiming it morcellus esculente, but I think he means morchella esculente.  He also calls it “the ambrosia of mushrooms”, but I’m not sure there really would be a fungus of the gods — wouldn’t they kinda be above that?  In any case, people who make such a fuss over mushrooms are even more insufferable than wine snobs.  And WTF uses that Olive Bar at Fresh Market?  But I digress . . . Miranda pops in to assure Hinton that the mushrooms are safe; Cameron grows them in the basement. He says, “Mushrooms are admirable creatures.  So much more reliable than people.”

Hinton learns that Cameron is a movie director.  He asks if Cameron has directed any thing he’s seen and Cameron zings both Hinton and himself pretty good, “Unfortunately, just the sort of thing you would see.”  Miranda reels off his oeuvre, Sister of Dracula, House of Cadavers, Beach Blanket Bloodbath.  Hinton has seen that last epic, but says, “It was a little opaque.”  As usual, The Hitchhiker doesn’t know a funny line when they have one.  However, it does give Cameron another opportunity to demean Hinton as a “house-boy.”

He grabs a bottle of tequila and takes a swig before unsanitarily offering it to Hinton. Cameron proclaims — again with the proclaiming! — it, “The only proper drink, really.  You know, the Mexicans sometimes put a little worm in the bottom of the bottle.  That’s how you can tell the best tequila.”  Actually, you find a worm at the bottom of a bottle of mescal, not tequila.  Except that you don’t usually find one there, either.  And it isn’t a sign of quality.  And it’s a moth larvae, not a worm.  Other than that, he is spot-on.

Hinton deftly accuses Cameron of emulating the worm — soaked to the gills, seeing life through the bottom of a booze bottle.  The drifter working as a cabin boy then tells the guy who owns the yacht and island getaway, “I know a has-been when I see one.” Cameron harrumphs and goes out to “check the traps.”

After Hinton gives Miranda a few smooches down below — in the basement, I mean — she is ready to dump Cameron.  The scene also informs us that Hinton is claustrophobic and that the basement door will slam shut by itself and lock you in.  Fortunately Miranda keeps a spare key in a jar.  She later shows Hinton a pistol and tells him Cameron sometimes hits her.

They start kissing, but Cameron gets back from his trap-checking.  She runs out to meet him and Hinton goes to the basement.  For no reason that I can figure, he takes the basement key out of the jar where it is usually kept and transfers it to a bottle of tequila. He is planning to lock Cameron down there?  That’s a pretty lousy hiding place.  Why leave it there at all?  Is it some kind of metaphor for the tequila worm?  I don’t get it.

That night, Cameron orders Hinton around as “house-boy” to fetch some booze.  Hinton suggests champagne and invites him downstairs to pick out a good vintage (ahhhh). Cameron instead sends Miranda downstairs to get the champagne saying, “Nothing but the best for our servant.”  After she leaves, Cameron calls an audible [1] and decides on martinis.  Cameron again demonstrates his knowledge of mixology by making martinis with no vermouth, no olives and no onions, which sounds a lot like straight gin.  Miranda couldn’t find the champagne, so returns with tequila.  Cameron says they are celebrating his new production.

He rambles on about a prince and a princess and a troll as a metaphor for their triangle. Cameron pulls a knife, but Hinton pulls a gun.  Hinton accidentally shoots him.  Miranda brains Hinton with a tequila bottle.  I must say she does it with such force that it is my favorite shot of the episode.

Blah, blah . . . the shooting was staged.  Miranda and Cameron drag Hinton to the basement.  When he wakes up, through the door, they tell him it was all in good fun and that he can catch the ferry at 9 am.  It seems like a prank they have played before.  He scrambles to get the key, but it was in the bottle of tequila Miranda took upstairs the previous night.  Hmmm . . . there are two possible scenarios:

  1. Miranda showed Hinton where the key was kept, so she believes he will get out safely.  In that case, while she and Cameron are yukking it up over their little charade, isn’t she worried he will unlock the door and kick their asses?
  2. Miranda is aware that Hinton moved the key and purposely chose that bottle to take upstairs.  Unfortunately, there is zero suggestion off that.  Why would she leave the bottle with the key in it in plain sight upstairs?  She and Cameron seem to honestly be in love and think this was all a hoot.

And once again, what kind of place is a liquor bottle to hide a key?  Everyone knows, the have to finish a bottle of booze after you open it or it will go bad.  Did Lucille Bluth teach us nothing?

While the pacing was choppy in the beginning, I do appreciate that they didn’t pad out the episode . . . boy, do I appreciate it!  At its most basic level, I did like the story and the twist — just the details were a little loopy.  Thank God they had Jerry Orbach as Cameron to carry the episode.  His energy helped distract from Michael Wood’s dreadful performance as Hinton.  He has had a long career, so maybe this was just an early misstep.  Season Hubley was entirely adequate as Miranda.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] This might not be used correctly.  Football bores me just as much as wine.
  • Director Clyde Monroe is a one-credit oneder.

The Hitchhiker – Perfect Order (02/17/87)

The episode begins with an art exhibit so uninteresting and devoid of talent that it could be real.  Three models are caked with mud and hanging from ropes.  One of them complains when she begins to bleed.  The photographer, Simon, tells his assistant Nishi to give them some money to get rid of them.  Or, as we say in the real world, pay them.

He later arrives at a showing of his dreck.  The vacuous, trend-sucking ignorati wildly applaud him as he walks into the party like he was walking onto a yacht.  A sad little critic in a please-notice-me suit and please-please-notice-me over-sized glasses ridiculous even for the 1980’s lavishes praise on the smug artiste.  He responds, “I don’t care what you critics think.  You’re just policemen.”  I applaud his refusal to be swayed by critics, but he speaks as if he is saying something profound and is profoundly not.

The great Simon pulls an automatic weapon from beneath his Jedi robe; yeah, he is dressed in a robe.  He says, “Would you like to see a suicide?” and places the barrel in his mouth.”  Before I can say yes, he swings the rifle around and shouts, “How about a mass killing?”  He then blasts automatic weapon fire over the heads of his cowering sycophants.  As he leaves, blonde model Christina gushes, “You’re incredible.”

The sheeple naturally give him a standing ovation — now that standing up will not get their heads blown off.  Christina runs after him to his car.  She begs him to let her pose for him.  He says, “To model for me you have to be a victim, a slave.”  Who could pass up that opportunity?  She gets in his car.

That’s it for me.  The big city art elite are laughable and ripe for derision and satire, but this comes off as one of their own products.  The only emotion it evokes is tedium.  We have the thoroughly unlikable anti-hero because decency is for the rubes.  We have the empty headed poser desperate to be part of this hollow world.  Compound that with the usual terrible 1980s light shows and synths and this is unwatchable.

Go read The Painted Word instead.  It won’t take much longer than the episode and, unless you’re reading in a dim light, will be easier on the eyes.


The Hitchhiker – True Believer (03/11/86)

The episode opens with carefully composed shots of a priest killing himself.  The shots call attention to themselves, but in a good way.  They don’t take you out of the story, but they do let you know the director isn’t just a point-and-shoot guy — hey, it’s TV’s Carl Schenkel, director of the great Homebodies.

Tom Skerritt is playing the role he was born to play — Tom Skerritt.  The mustached, stoic, competent, weary everyman / manlyman he is portraying this time is Detective Frank Sheen.  He goes to the scene of the crime — an abandoned convent — but no one answers his knocks.  As he looks for another way in, a POV shot from inside the house begins shaking, a plastic tarp over the window melts and reveals Sheen standing in the snow below through the hole.  Way to go, Carl! [4]

He finds a way in and sees a nun sitting alone surrounded by a hundred candles.  He knocks on the glass door of the chapel, but she does not respond.  We do see that, like most TV nuns, she is a beautiful young woman.  He goes to the church to get a key and is a complete dick to the priest.

The priest tells him the house is infested by demons.  Years ago “a young nun desecrated the blessed sacrament by committing suicide on the holy altar.”  After hearing sounds of howling and banging on walls, and finding excrement smeared on the walls, the convent was shut down.

After that blatant bit of exposition, Sheen returns to the convent with the key.  He sees the young nun.  She says she was a novice here.  The dialogue is a little dry, but it is intriguingly shot.  Schenkel shoots her very close so that the entire frame is her cowl tented over her lovely face like she is peeking up from under the sheets.  If that was the intent, more kudos to Carl; if not, I really need to get some help.  She says she knows Sheen is a cop “by the bulge . . . of your gun.”  She tells him to watch out for the demon and walks away.

Sheen walks upstairs and finds the usual haunted house stuff — shaking, noises, being pushed down by an invisible demon.  He goes back to Father Exposition [1] for more info.  He tells Sheen there is no nun there, the convent has been closed since 1910.

He goes back — whew — to the convent, drinking from a liquor bottle he got from a diner.  Hitting the hooch in the room where the suicide occurred, he has a B&W flashback to an argument with his ex-wife and ex-daughter.  He lost his temper and smacked his daughter.  She ran out onto a fire escape and fell to her death.

Back in the abandoned convent, he hears a noise — his ex-wife Linda walks in.  Well, he seems to see Linda, but we see the young nun.  She says she doesn’t care about her new husband’s big house or big car — she mercifully ends the big list there.  She tells Sheen she wants him back.

I won’t even mention the doggie-style chalk outline of the the priest’s suicide. However, I did like that Schenkel had Sheen collapse in that pattern after getting drunk.

Meanwhile, Father Exposition finds an old newspaper about the novice who committed suicide at the convent.  The headline says February 19, 1912, but he said the convent had been abandoned since 1910.  Of course, the newspaper banner also says February 19th was a Thursday when it was actually a Monday, so it is clearly fake news.  The picture is of the nun. [3]  Even though this provides no useful information that he did not already know, he speeds out to the convent to see Sheen.  Spoiler: Sheen shoots him.

Sheen and Linda/Nun have just made out.  From behind, he says he loves her (no, I mean orally verbally).  She turns around and says, “I love you too, Daddy.”  He screams his daughter’s name.  The police find him in a corner blankly clicking empty chamber after empty chamber into his mouth.  The cops just let him click away, but how do they know he isn’t just Russian-Rouletting his way to the money-shot?

This is another one you don’t want to think about too much.  It is always complicated when a character sees someone different than the audience.  They were wise to cast an actress that had a small birthmark on her nose.  Even at that, I was not positive who I was seeing at least one time.   I believe it was the same actress at all times in the convent scenes. [5]  It was just jarring then that he screams his daughter’s name when we have a close-up of the woman we met as the nun.  Yeah, that was the jarring aspect.

We are never told what the first priest did that caused the nun/demon to drive him to suicide, but I think we can all make up our own story.  Also, another pair of hands give him the pistol he uses to kill himself.  I guess we can assume that was the nun/demon.  I suppose a priest was not as likely to be packing his own heat as a cop.

So maybe a little over-written with the jumping back and forth between the priest and the convent; and a little under-written on the characters and story.  This is a case where cell-phones would have actually improved a story.  Still, Schenkel keeps things moving along and gives us some good visuals.


  • [1] Yeah, like Basil.
  • [2] Father Exposition then calls the diner looking for Sheen.  He asks if they have a customer about 40 — Tom Skerritt was 53 at the time.  F’in actors, man!
  • [3] Not unusual in the days before HD and dumbbell bloggers, but the story does not match the headline.  It is, at least, religion-related.  It is about church leaders publishing a guide “which will include sections on homosexuality.”  Probably not a how-to.  I thought the article was being a little harsh referring to the “Anglican Primate Archbishop,” but apparently Primates are a thing in the church.
  • [4] It would just be churlish to point out the inconsistency.  In in the DVD commentary, Schenkel points out in a future room-quake that the contents are not moving; it is just in Sheen’s mind.  If that is the case, who is imagining this room-quake?
  • [5] I take it as confirmation that the wife and daughter are not credited.  Because for flashbacks, you don’t need actors or sets.  It’s not real, right?
  • This is the second consecutive post to feature an incestuous relationship.
  • As Sheen is first driving to the convent, he has Reverend Nolan Powers from WGOD on the radio.  I appreciate the call-back even if it doesn’t make much sense.  1) Sheen is not a believer, so would not be listening to a Christian station, 2) this case is unrelated to Nolan Powers, so he is not doing research, 3) Powers died in the episode that which aired four months earlier (or maybe would be in an asylum).
  • The only IMDb credit for writer William Kelly.