Tales of Tomorrow – Seeing Eye Surgeon (09/05/52)

Chief Surgeon Dr. Foyle is chewing out his protegee Dr. Tyrell for his bold work in the operating room.  The 67 year old Foyle says he has 25 years of experience, so maybe he ain’t such an expert if it took him until he was 42 to become a surgeon.

Nurse Martha overhears this unpleasantness.  After Foyle leaves, she agrees with Tyrell that he has not kept up with the times.  Now this is someone to pay attention to — she is an O.R. nurse at 19 years old!  Plus, she’s 19 years old!

Martha takes a call from Foyle, that despite his outburst, he wants Tyrell to assist in a critical operation on Dr. Ross the next day.  The patient is a nuclear physicist who has a growth on the frontal lobe.  Hmmm, how could that have happened?

Martha says “he’s not just another patient,” he’s an important man.  Much as that statement might concern the other patients, Ross is critical to our national defense.  Tyrell goes back to his office and is greeted by Dr. Xenon.

Hmmm . . . Martha, Dr. Ross, Dr. Tyrell, Dr. Foyle, Dr. Xenon . . . which one is the alien?  Way to blend!  Xenon also stresses how important it is that Ross survive.  Dr. Xenon has come to ensure that the operation is a success.  He presents Tyrell with a pair of glasses “I have processed in a special way.”  He also gives Tyrell some cleaning fluid in case the glasses get foggy.  Tyrell tells Xenon he isn’t even performing the operation, Foyle is.  Xenon seems to know differently.

That afternoon, Martha informs Tyrell that Foyle has gotten sick and that Xenon was right — he will be performing the operation.  Tyrell wonders if Foyle is just faking it to avoid the responsibility for this 1,000 to 1 operation.

The next day in the eerily dark operating room, Tyrell is losing his patient.  He fears he will have to perform a lobotomy when he begins thinking about Dr. Xenon.  He sends Martha to get Xenon’s glasses out of his desk.  She returns and places them on his face.  They enable him to see at a microscopic level, able to differentiate good cells from bad cells.

Foyle gets the news that the operation was a success.  He calls Tyrell to get an explanation of the crazy report he submitted about “miracle glasses”.  When Tyrell tells him he got the glasses from Dr. Xenon of a university in Europe, Foyle says, “Don’t give me that, Doctor,  I happen to know that legend.”  He snootily says Tyrell wouldn’t know the legend because he never studied in Europe.  Fearing this might lead to an interesting narrative twist, he never mentions the legend again.

When Foyle demands to see the glasses, Martha retrieves them and the cleaning fluid from the desk.  Foyle looks at them and says, “These glasses have no lenses.”  Tyrell theorizes that maybe the cleaning fluid dissolved the lenses after one use in this critical operation.  Foyle questions whether there ever was a Dr. Xenon.

I have this feeling we’re being watched.

Tyrell says, “For that matter, do we three standing in this room really exist?  Maybe we’re just the figment, the product, of someone’s fevered imagination.  Someone from another world.  Perhaps Dr. Xenon.”

This show, still in its 2nd season, is so primitive you have to grade on a curve.  In its own way, it is one of the better episodes of the series.  Sure, the writing was inept — dropping the Xenon-as-legend thread was a yuge mistake.  However, the dark background in the operating room provided a great deal of suspense and atmosphere.  The stock score was used effectively; more effectively than 1980s TZ ever does, anyway.  I even enjoyed the open-ended resolution and Tyrell’s existential musing.

The episode wraps up with the host telling us the show has received the 1st Annual Television Award from the sci-fi magazine Galaxy.  I believe the category was “Only Sci-Fi Show on TV.”

Other Stuff:

  • Title Analysis:  I kind of like the sound of it, but it’s nonsense.  I guess they were playing off the phrase seeing eye dog.  But we don’t give special viewing equipment to the dog.
  • In 1994, Constance Towers (Martha) played a piano teacher who was Frasier Crane’s “first time”.  This was her first credit on IMDb.  Unlike most actors on Tales of Tomorrow, she is still working; also, still breathing.
  • Bruce Cabot (Tyrell) starred in King Kong the year Constance Towers was born.
  • Dr. Xenon, Dr. Xenon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.