Twilight Zone – Voices in the Earth (07/10/87)

“Spectroscopic readings indicate that the atmosphere is in perfect chemical equilibrium.”  OK, what but do these figures mean?  They can’t be percentages because they don’t add up to 100%.  Whatever they are, Carbon Dioxide seems to be winning in a rout.  Sensors show no life, not even “simple amino acids in the oceans.”

Tuvok — wait, what?  Tim Russ, anyway — asks “There was a name for this one in one of the old languages wasn’t there Professor?”  Professor Knowles [3] says, “Yes, Earth.  They called it Earth.”  If any of these guys is named Adam, I’ll scream.  Even though that’s the kind of simplistic cornball story I secretly love — so really, there’s just no winning with me.  There were very smart guys working on this show.  Why would they use such a clunky, illogical line anyway?

  1. The crew is from Earth.  They all seem to be from English speaking countries.  The captain actually is English.  They are still speaking English.  How is it an old language?
  2. Wouldn’t history classes in 2987 teach about Earth since it was, you know, the unambiguous origination point of the entire human race; the one thing we could all agree on?
  3. Wouldn’t science classes use it as an object lesson on the importance of ecological awareness?
  4. Hey, Tuvok, did ya get on this ship not knowing what the destination was?  No wonder you got lost in the Delta Quadrant.

The ship lands and the crew gets out to explore the sepia colored planet.  Captain Jacinda Carlyle says, “There’s not much left after 1,000 years, is there?” as they walk through the incongruously intact city.  To be fair, the overhead shot as they landed showed much more destruction.  Presciently, the Twin Towers are gone.

Carlyle says all artifacts have been stripped from Earth.  Knowles says he is looking for  “feelings, a sense of place, what it must have been like to live here when the skies were blue.”  This is the first space flight funded by Hallmark.  Carlyle tells him to take a good look because in 4 days, mining vessels will begin tearing the planet apart looking for precious metal, minerals, and loose change.Knowles goes off exploring by himself even though Carlyle is played by the lovely Jenny Agutter.  He finds an old record store which puts the abandonment of Earth somewhere between 2001 and  2006.  He places a CD in a player.  Some other bloggers have a beef that the CD player still works, but whaddya gonna do?  Ghostly images of hipster customers appear, browsing through the vinyl LPs.  As Knowles heads for the door, a pale figure in a boxy suit appears and says, “Are we not men? Remember us, Professor.”  Then, like all record store customers, he disappears.

Knowles goes back to the ship.  Carlyle asks the historian how Earth got in this condition.  What Knowles says:

They used refrigerants that slowly ate away the ozone layer.  They burned the tropical rain forest to make way for farmland, using the ashes for fertilizer.  Entire species simply vanished forever from the Earth.  By the time they poisoned the whole biosphere, they had the technology to leave it behind.   So they fled into space, and cast the Earth aside like a half-eaten apple . . . You know the irony?  The Earth today is almost exactly as it was millennia ago, before the very first rainfall.  And for millions of years, there had been no rain.  Then when the Earth cooled enough, rain fell, delivering nutrients to the ocean, and life emerged.

That’s pretty good, but what he should have said was:  “Hey, there’s M*F*ing ghosts over at Tower Records!”

This is a great looking set, but is really a good location for a record store? It is the window at the bottom right. It looks more like where you would buy a Mogwai.

He goes back to the record store without telling anyone about his discovery.  Many more ghosts appear.  A transparent woman says, “We’ve been waiting so long.”  A translucent old man says, “Why did you leave us?”  A see-through girl says, “Are you back to stay, all of you?”  Their leader explains, “We’re the ones you left behind.  All the souls that ever were.”  [1]  The old man explains that humans are their children; they wish to see see their children grow up.  The souls are unable to travel in space, thus they are doomed to stay on the Earth.  The leader asks Knowles to convince others that Earth still contains life of a sort.”

Knowles brings Carlyle back to the record shop to prove the existence of the souls, and that Michael Jackson wasn’t just a myth .  He finally tells her what he has seen, but she is skeptical.  When they get to the store, it is as empty as a Sears (I got tired of the record store references).  He shouts for the souls to appear, but they do not come.  As soon as the pair leaves the building, hundreds of souls appear.

That night, the leader enters the body of Professor Knowles, when Jenny Agutter is just a few feet away (this should in no way be considered a rape-joke; it is barely a -joke).  He tears a table leg from the deck and goes to the bridge.  He begins clubbing the computers like a baby seal, but the crew restrains him.

Knowles goes back to the building and shouts to the souls, “You cowards!  Show yourselves!”  They reappear, and the leader explains.  They can’t travel in space in this form.  But if they can possess the crew as he did with Knowles, they might be able to make the journey.  He admits he doesn’t know what would happen to the crew’s bodies as a result of this prolonged possession.  Oh the irony, of using them up like they did to the Earth and casting them aside.

As the ship is about to lift off, the crew hears thunder.  It is beginning to rain for the first time in 1,000 years, which is typical since Al Gore DXII [2] just said rain was a thing of the past.  They are even beginning to pick up signs of life in the oceans.  A crewman says, “It is as if something is accelerating evolution somehow.”  There is even a small patch of vegetation under the ship.  Well until they take off, when it will be burned to a cinder.

This transformation was fore-shadowed as the souls were earlier revealed to have some ability to manipulate their environment.  They weren’t sure what the risk would be to them, however, if they did it on a global scale.  This is why Knowles called them cowards.  It all wraps around pretty nicely, certainly better than I am describing it.

The episode also looks great, hence the larger pictures.  The only minor quibbles I could make are about the space-suits and the ship.  The suits are a little silly — not the Reynolds Wrap numbers they wear outside, the casual gear in the ship.  And there are a few shots of the ship after landing where I can’t even figure out if the POV is from above or the side; but that could be the low-quality DVD.

Martin Balsam (Knowles) gets most of the screen time and shoulders most of the story.  He handles it as effortlessly as you would expect from a guy who has been doing it 112 years.  Jenny Agutter (Logan’s Run, American Werewolf in London) is not given much to do, but is a classy and elegant as always.  The rest of the crew are fairly non-descript except Tim Russ who has the mustache of a 14 year old boy.

A welcome, all-too-rare, stand-out episode.  There is one more episode left in the season.  From what I’m reading online, it does not get better in season 3.  But what do a bunch of bloggers know?

Other Stuff:

  • [1]  That would be over 100 billion souls, so Earth must be getting pretty crowded.  Also, everyone seems to be from the latter days of Earth; and the suburbs.  What was the cut-off?  Did some Cro-Magnon get to come, but his dad didn’t?
  • [2]  Other than kings, why do you never hear about anyone higher than a rare IV?
  • [3] If my last name were Knowles, I would tell everyone my nickname was Grassy.

Twilight Zone – Time and Teresa Golowitz (07/10/87)

 

Well, the episode gets right to business; I’ll give it that.  Mono-monikered Broadway composer Bluestone is pounding out a new tune on the piano in his swanky Manhattan condo when a man appears.  He says, “Who the hell are you, and how did you get in here?”  The man compliments the tune, but says Bluestone will never get a chance to see it performed.  Bluestone steps through the piano and is horrified to see his body in a sweater-vest; also, because it is on the floor dead.

The man — the Prince of Darkness — says the gang “below-decks” loves his music.  What would it take for him to play them a tune now and then?  Bluestone says he wants “to make it with Mary Ellen Cosgrove.”  He is careful to add about his long-ago crush “as she was.”  Let’s hope they didn’t meet in 6th grade.

The man sends Bluestone back in time.  Some awkwardness is ironed over by the fact that he puts Bluestone back in his high-school body; and also, for some reason, made him Middle-Eastern.[1]  However, it is a little disconcerting that the actor portraying young Bluestone is 24 and the actress portraying Mary Ellen is 15.  Not to mention the fact that it is a 52 year old man in the younger dude’s body. [2]

Bluestone is greeted by his original moniker Binky Blaustein as he enters the party of high schoolers.  He realizes that his memories of Mary Ellen are warped, that she is “just a kid”.  He spots another girl, the titular Teresa Golowitz.  The Devil has now possessed the body of Laura — Gina Gershon, who frankly blows every other girl at this hootenanny off the screen.  Binky admits he never paid much attention to Teresa because she was too plain.  The Devil reminds Binky that Teresa committed suicide the night of this party.  He tells Binky the whole sad story, then says, “Excuse me.  Laura has to go to the little girl’s room.”  What?  Ewwwww . . . That’s creepy even for the devil.

Binky starts talking to Teresa, but is impressed into service by a jock.  He says, “You’re a big show-tune man, Blaustein.  How about something from Broadway?”  Wait, shouldn’t this line have been delivered by a kid the jock later beats up?  OK, this scene is set in 1948.  Maybe this was normal behavior for high school kids then.

Binky begins playing How About You.  Mary Ellen begins singing, but is quickly eclipsed by Teresa emerging from the background to belt out the tune.  Binky catches up with her outside and begs her to work with him to develope her talent, thus preventing her suicide.  Back in the present, Teresa is now a Broadway star, famous singer, expert on politics, and respected climatologist.

Despite having no physical resemblance to Bluestone, Grant Heslov is excellent as Binky.  I didn’t really associate him with the older character, but I completely bought him as a character older and more mature than his physical appearance.  Gene Barry as the Devil seemed to play his role a little effeminate for reasons that elude me.  The other performances were unexceptional; except Gina Gershon who was exceptional.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] I’m not good at guessing ethnicities.  It is Grant Heslov, who was just in The Outer Limits.  He seems to play a lot of Middle Easterners.  Also Hispanics.  I guess Hollywood isn’t good at ethnicities either.
  • [2] Although not as egregious as the movie Big where a 28 year old woman slept with a 14 year old boy.  A offense like that could get her a weekend in jail.

Twilight Zone – Shelter Skelter (05/21/87)

Sally Dobbs and her daughter Deidre are lugging luggage out to the car.  The men-folk — Harry and his young son Jason — are downstairs practicing on the family pistol range.  Sally calls Harry on an intercom to send Jason up.  He tells her to send down another beer . . . his third . . . to the pistol range.

Sally (Joan Allen) dutifully brings the beer down to the titular shelter.  Harry (Joe Montagna) is teaching Jason to shoot, including the importance of ear-protection (although he clearly considers eye-protection to be for pussies).  She sends Jason upstairs and hands Harry the beer.  He opens it, carelessly spraying her with fizz.  She thinks Jason is too young to train with guns.  Harry says he wants his family to be safe.  I know he is being set up as the bad guy, but I’m not seeing it so far.

He goes upstairs to see his family off to visit Sally’s sister.  Sally is surprised he will notice their absence at all because he spends so much time in the shelter.  Harry grabs her arm and warns her to not tell her sister about the shelter.  “It’s just for the four of us.  Don’t you ever forget that!”  So he wants to limit the occupancy to fit the provisions he has on hand to safely assure his family’s survival; just pure evil.  C’mon, he’s a little crude, but he is protective, spends time with the kids, surprisingly has no beer gut, and they have a very nice home.

Harry’s pal Nick stops by.  He mentions the news saying things are heating up in the Middle East.  Wow, so that area was a powder keg even 30 whole years ago! [1] A 1980s linebacker-shouldered, big-haired reporterette says the President and First Lady have been taken to a secure location.  Nick says Harry is right that “the whole world is going straight down the toilet.”  Harry says we’re already there, “drugs, terrorism, pornography!”  He thinks a bomb would set a lot of things right again.  He says he and Nick don’t belong in a world of degenerate rock stars, hair-dressers and bureaucrats.  He dreams of raising his son in a world with “all the scum burned off.”  Uh, dude, you do remember Nick is not on the guest-list, right?  Awkward!

After a few beers, he breaks his own rule and gives Nick a tour of the shelter.  He tells Nick there is room for five and he is invited to join them.  He just better hope there is a nuclear holocaust before the Dobbs have a third kid.  Luckily for him, I think Sally would prefer that to having sex with Harry again.  Harry show off his communications system, filtration system, food stock, water.  He figures five people can survive down here for five months.

While demonstrating his antenna system, they see a news report that all hell is breaking loose.  Harry calls Sally and tells her to come back immediately.  Her sister calls him Godzilla, and Sally mocks him before hanging up.  Then the big one hits.  Harry and Nick are in the shelter, but the antenna has been destroyed so they have no contact with the outside.  Nick wants to leave to find his parents, but Harry physically restrains him and shows him the lethal radiation level, saving his life.  Yeah, Harry is practically Hitler.

Six weeks later, they seem to be holding up well.  Both have beards, Nick is playing solitaire, Harry is doing a little ironing.  The place seems clean and orderly; although, I suspect Harry is now regretting his stand against pornography.  They hear noises above.  Nick thinks someone is coming to rescue them.  Harry sees the radiation level and says “they would be the walking dead.”  Nick tries to yell for them, but Harry silences him lest they be subjected to that godawful last season.

After ten months, the radiation has not lessened.  Nick goes for a walk outside. When he returns, Harry won’t let him in, and rightly so.  Through the door, Nick says the city is in ruins and it is perpetual night.

What happens next is a cheat, but like so much of Joy Ride, it is a good enough episode that I can overlook the flaws.  It turns out, the blast was not global Armageddon, but an oopsy at the local Air Force Base.  Somehow, within 10 months, the debris has been cleaned up, the radiation is gone, and parks are green, leafy and sunny, and the Women’s Olympic volleyball team practices there.  All of the radioactive ruins have been bull-dozed into a heap, and a giant concrete dome built over them.  It’s not quite as crazy as it sounds.

While I like the image of moving from the dark confined shelter to the sunny park, a few things irk me.  Harry didn’t really deserve this fate.  Cruel undeserved fate is always welcome in the TZ, but they were trying to make him worthy of this and failed.  Also, Sally seems way too happy that her husband, the father of her children is buried under this dome.  She has to suspect he survived the blast in the shelter, but she didn’t speak up when it was being built?

And what was up with that dog-POV shot?  Right after the camera moves outside, we get a shaky-cam at a low level racing along the grass.  There is a dog seen later, but this isn’t his POV:  1) There was no establishing shot of him, and 2) the shot actually begins at human-eye level.  The shot ends with an atrocious portrayal of another reporterette.

But all that can be overlooked.  The great story, combined with an atypically appropriate score make this one a winner.

Other Stuff:

  • [1]  Boy, I was way off!  This conflict has been going on for thousands of years!
  • Classic TZ Connection:  The Shelter.  But mostly just because they both feature a fall-out shelter.
  • Title Analysis:  Would also have accepted Helter Shelter.
  • Skipped Segment:  Private Channels — An obnoxious punk’s Walkman allows him to hear other people’s thoughts.  With his Watchman, he can see their underwear.
  • I don’t think the Sony Watchman portable TV ever really caught on.  Maybe if they could have added a phone to it.  Also a pretty good segment; but seriously, that kid is annoying.

Twilight Zone – Joy Ride (05/21/87)

Not to nitpick, but Robert Knepper has a very distinctive voice, plus he is Greg’s brother. You’re telling me Greg would not have seen through this in a split second?

Deena and Greg are walking down a suburban street at night.  Greg is trying to lure her into some kind of delinquency.  From the shadows, they get a gun stuck in their faces.  After demanding their cash, his wacky brother Alonzo steps out to say it was a funny comedy joke.  They all share a good laugh.  Alonzo admits it is just a starter pistol, the kind they give to li’l criminals just starting out.[1]  He fires it into the air.  A porch light comes on and they take off running.

Alonzo wants to show them something.  He leads them to the late old man Taylor’s driveway, on top of which sits a pristine ’57 Chevy.  I can’t tell them apart, so all old cars are ’57 Chevys.  Alonzo’s girl Adrienne needs some dialogue, so she says, “I wonder what the inside is like.”  Fortuitously, Alonzo also has a starter car thief tool with him.  They are amazed at how spacious the interior is.  Alonzo wants to take it for a spin.  Greg has some car thief skillz too. He pops the hood and flips that big ON/OFF switch that all other guys seem to know about.  Alonzo starts the engine.

They shoot out of the driveway with Alonzo at the wheel.  When he makes a sharp turn, a pistol slides out from under the seat.  He says, “Charlie Taylor must have been some crazy guy!”  Yeah, he was such a fascinating character that they cut his backstory completely out of the segment.

The gang does not recognize the street they are on.  Then, they notice all of the cars are ’57 Chevys, although of various years, makes and models.  Alonzo tells Adrienne to get him a cigarette from the glove box.[2]  She asks how he knew they would be in there.  Greg tells him to pull over because “Something weird’s going on.”  Just then a police car pulls up behind them.

Alonzo pulls the stolen car over.  The cop says there was a robbery at the Five and Dime Store.  Greg remembers it was torn down years ago.  Alonzo pulls out Charlie Taylor’s pistol and shoots the cop.  The cop goes down, but as Alonzo drives away, a cop is shooting at him.  Was this the cop’s previously unseen partner?  Why didn’t he tend to his fallen partner?  Or maybe Alonzo had only used his starter pistol which he hallucinated as Taylor’s gun?  However the cigarettes were real, so why would the gun . . . . forget it.

In any case, the cop is using a real gun.  He starts firing at the car as it pulls away.  Somehow, in a shot even the Warren Commission wouldn’t believe, from behind the car the cop manages to shoot Adrienne who is sitting in front of Deena in the passenger seat of the enclosed sedan.  With the cops in pursuit, Greg and Deena beg Alonzo to take Adrienne to the hospital.  He does the next best thing — he pulls off the road, and shoves her out of the moving car onto the ground.

I am just baffled by much of the editing in this episode.  It is seems likely that this was a much longer segment which had to be edited down for time.  That would explain Charlie Taylor non-sequitur, and the mysterious identity of the cop shooting at them.  However, this last scene is inexplicable.  Alonzo’s struggle to open Adrienne’s door seems to have some significance, but what?  Whether he was Alonzo or possessed by Charlie, I think both know how to operate a door.  Besides, a) Alonzo would not ditch his wounded girlfriend, b) Charlie would know how to operate his own car.  Here are the shots that baffle me:

  1. Alonzo struggles with the latch.
  2. He gives up and sits up straight in his seat.
  3. He presses the accelerator, the car starts moving.
  4. From outside, we see the door open.
  5. He pushes Adrienne out the door.

Why did Alonzo have such trouble with the latch?  When he sat back straight, had he opened the door and we just didn’t see that shot because it was cut for time?  Then why do we have two separate shots of him struggling with it?  Why does he start driving before he pushes Adrienne out?  Forget it Jake, it’s TZ.

As they drive off, Greg notices Adrienne is not behind them.  Most people would think she’s being dragged under the car.  But to be fair, “sucked into time portal” would be most people’s second explanation.  The cops continue chasing them.  Greg and Deena complain so much that Alonzo pulls over again and tells them to get out.  Alonzo is somehow able to reach from the driver’s seat to the rear passenger seat door and push Deena out.  I’ll give him credit for flooring it only after Deena hit the dirt.  Greg looks out the window and, like Adrienne, Deena has disappeared.

Greg climbs into the front seat while the police are still on their tail.  Although they should be safe — these are the worst cops on earth.  Alonzo has stopped twice and they didn’t catch up.  He could stop off for a bucket of chicken and still get away.  Alonzo refuses to stop again because he knows they will be peeved at him shooting a cop.  Greg jumps from the car while it is going about 40 MPH.

He finds himself back in the driveway where they stole the car.  Hey, there’s Deena and Adrienne!  Greg sees the car is still parked in the driveway.  EMTs are trying to get into the car.  A cop on the scene says he doesn’t know what’s going on, “but that car was used in a robbery 30 years ago.  A cop was killed.”  They are able to crowbar the door open.  The interior is filled with fog, green light, and lots and lots of chrome.  A fireman is held by the waist as he leans into the car to pull Alonzo out.  Of course, Alonzo / Charlie thinks he is still leading a high speed chase.

The fireman is able to pull Alonzo completely out of the car.  Not having an attorney present, he blurts out, “I killed a cop!  With this gun!”  The cop examines the gun and says it has not been fired in 30 years.  Greg tells Alonzo, “It was old man Taylor.  After all these years, he was trying to confess.  I guess this was his way.”  Confess to what?  It sounds like the cops already knew he had killed the cop; OK, technically, they knew his car was involved.  And how exactly was a confession being communicated in this scenario?  Cue the — as usual on TZ — entirely incongruous music that sounds like the closing theme to a 1980s sit-com.  I’m surprised they didn’t have the kids jump into the air and freeze the frame.

The episode succeeds in spite of itself.  It accomplished everything I described in an economical 11 minutes.  Unfortunately, paring it down that much caused a few problems.  I’ve said many times that these minor issues don’t matter in a good episode, and this is a good episode.  It took a great high-concept, added some simple set direction in the form of old cars, and came to a suspenseful ending.  Normally, I would not have even posted about an 11 minute segment, but this is worth a viewing.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] Correction, after further research, a starter pistol is used to start races.
  • [2] It was a glove compartment where I came from, and I’m sticking with that.  Apparently in Idaho, they call it a jockey box.
  • Classic TZ connection #1:  You Drive — A car takes on a mind of its own, returns to the scene of a crime, and delivers the criminal to the police.
  • Classic TZ connection #2:  Little Girl Lost — A man is anchored in our world as he leans half-way into another dimension to pull someone back to our reality.  It’s a minor point, but I love this trope.
  • The cast was unexceptional, but Robert Knepper (Alonzo) would go on to create one of the most interesting characters in TV history — T-Bag on Prison Break.
  • I can’t emphasize enough how terrible the score is for this episode.

Twilight Zone – The Card (02/21/87)

Linda Wolfe is invited to the offices of the THE CARD card.  It is an exclusive new invitation-only credit card operated out of a strip shopping center across from the   7-11.

Ms. Foley immediately brings up Linda’s past problems.  “Mrs. Wolfe, you have a very spotty credit record . . . AMEX, Visa, MasterCard have all cancelled you in the past.  So have the department stores.  Even Union-76.” [1]  Linda swears she’s learned her lesson.  Mrs. Foley says they offer credit to those who can’t get it anywhere else, but they have some stringent requirements:  They require a minimum payment within se7en days of purchase.  She is honest that there are some serious penalties.  Mrs. Foley hands Linda a contract which has only slightly more fine print than a standard non-Twilight Zone cardholder agreement.  Like only 100% of applicants, Linda signs without reading.  Mrs. Foley hands her an onyx THE CARD with her name already embossed on it.

Back at home, her husband notices a bottle of perfume and the new card and asks about it.  Linda replies 3rd personally, “Are we going to start fighting about Linda’s problem again?”  Her husband, hoping to ever see her naked again, says, “No, I don’t think that would be a good idea at all.”  He does carefully ask her to be careful, though.

You know there is going to be trouble when a title card pops up that says “ONE WEEK LATER.”  She is looking for their cat, but he has disappeared.  No one else in the family even remembers them having a cat.

Two days later, they are shopping for a new refrigerator.  They pick out one with a $1,698 price tag, which would be — holy crap — $3,700 in today’s dollars!  Natch, she blows this purchase also, and the dog disappears.

Then the car breaks down; there’s another $360.  Using the card again even though she is already delinquent earns her an immediate penalty.  When she gets home, the kids have disappeared and her husband doesn’t remember them.  The mass extinction of all 3 kids at once answers one of my questions — why not just buy a bowl of goldfish and be late on the card every week?  I guess they delete all like items at once, so that wouldn’t work.  But you could still make it work for you — did I mention my pet termites, Mrs. Foley?

Linda understandably flips out like a woman whose kids are missing.  She runs to the kids’ room, but their stuff is gone.  The family portrait seen earlier is now just she and her husband.  She realizes it is the THE CARD card.

The next morning, Linda goes to the THE CARD office and demands to see Mrs. Foley.  While she is waiting, she sees her kids in the hall [2].  She screams for them, but they seem not to recognize her.  Mrs. Foley calls her into the office.  “Yes those were your kids.  Earlier this month, we acquired your cat and your dog.  What seems to be the problem?”  Linda finally hands Mrs. Foley a check to get her kids back.

Linda rushes home to yell at her husband about her day.  She says she wrote a check out of their joint account.  He says the bank called him to approve it and he told them not to honor it.  She screams and runs out to the car — which disappears.  She tries to call Mrs. Foley, but furniture starts disappearing.  Then her husband disappears from the family portrait which is now just of her.  Her The Card, lying on the floor, now says Linda Wilson, presumably her maiden name.  There is a good laugh as she digs through a kitchen drawer looking for scissors.  As she removes each item from the drawer and places it on the counter, it disappears.  Great stuff.  Or maybe I’m just reminded of Zinc Oxide.

She cuts the THE CARD card in half.  In an exterior shot, we see the house disappear.  The card halves flutter to the ground.  Even Linda has disappeared.

Great episode, and not just because I’m a sucker for nobody-else-remembers-what-I-remember stories.  There was a lot packed into this episode and they did an amazing job making it fit.

I’m undecided on whether they should have shown the kids again.  It provided an opportunity for Linda to give a great reaction; plus, it is creepy that they no longer recognize their mother.  On the other hand, I would have liked the idea of them just being gone, blinked out of existence.  I guess the The Card needs to make a profit off of them, though.

Maybe they have an adoption service that places the kids for a fee.  But what lucky guy gets the pixie-haired Linda as part of his Rewards Program?  Actually, it would have been the interesting for the 2nd segment of this episode to be a stand-alone story that showed The Card operation from the opposite POV.  We would see where the cat, the dog, the kids, Linda, her husband and the house go.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] I was prepared to say Linda had caused the jingoistically-named Union-76 to mercifully go under before it had the chance to trigger any snowflakes.  Turns out, they still have a few stations.  OK, 1,800.
  • [2] I have no idea if that link is representative of their work.
  • Classic TZ Legacy:  And When the Sky was Opened.  A rocket returns to earth with its crew.  One by one, the crew disappears with only one crew-member remembering them.  Then he disappears and no one at all remembers any astronauts . . . just like today.
  • Skipped Segment: The Junction.