Tales of Tomorrow – The Dark Angel (09/28/51)

ttdarkangel1Tim Hathaway is knocking back the hooch.  This show is so old, you could only get 3-year old scotch back then.  Heyoooo, I’ll be here all weekend!  I mean right here, on the couch.

The doorbell rings and he gets a visit from Det. Will Jethroe of the 24th Precinct Jethroes.  There has been a shooting and eyewitnesses described a man looking just like Hathaway.  Without the benefit of counsel, he blurts out, “The woman I shot was my wife.”  I feel a flashback coming on.

Five years earlier:  Joanne Hathaway is struggling with some buttons on the back of her blouse and calls Jim up to help.  Dr. Farleigh drops by with x-rays he took of Joanne a few days earlier when she broke a rib.  Realizing she had additional insurance, he took additional x-rays on Monday, and discovered the injury had completely healed.

After Joanne goes up to bed, Farleigh shows the x-rays to Tim.  Farleigh recalls that in her previous check-up, Joanne had a healthy heart and now it is only half the normal size.  Her appendix has vanished completely.

ttdarkangel4Tim confronts Joanne about the mysteries and she admits that she has changed.  She has also discovered that she can control objects with her mind.  As proof she makes a statue topple over and shatter — pretty racy for 1951 TV, the statue was topless.  She believes she is evolving to “a brand new kind of human being.”  Her night table now groans under the weight of thick books on physics.  Say, a woman reading science books — that is crazy!

She worries that she is outgrowing her husband and that soon her love for for him will be like the love she has for “a lower species” like their dog; or veal.

Commercial Break:  The episode is once again sponsored by Kreisler Watchbands.

The next morning, Joanne is gone.  Jim scours the papers day after day searching for her. She finally appears in the paper for discovering a new radiation process.  The picture is blurry, the name is slightly different, and the article says she was 15 years younger than Joanne.  Jim gets on a plane to California to reunite with his wife, or at least hook-up with this younger look-alike hottie.

ttdarkangel5In the Berkeley Electronic Lab, Tim begs her to come back to him.  She says she is the first of a new race, a new kind of being.  In a nifty scene, she goes through a door to get her coat.  A few seconds later, Jim checks the door and sees that it is just a broom closet and Joanne has disappeared.

She did not reappear, but over the next 4 years he would see reports of her discoveries in newspapers and scientific journals.  Finally, tonight Tim sees Joanne again in their old hang-out.  He puts his arms around her, but she says Tim means nothing to her anymore, that she is waiting for someone else. She ominously says, “Our time to rule is coming soon.”

The bartender overhears this and drops a glass.  Joanne induces a heart attack in him and feels nothing at his death.  Tim sees that she has too much power, has become “ruthless, hard, cold” and will destroy anyone who stands in her way.  Continuing that she is “a menace, a terror, Godless” he puts four slugs in her.  He then runs home and is soon-after visited by the detective.

Tim defends his actions saying that she would have made the world unfit to live in. Jethroe tells him that the bullets could not harm Joanne.  Not only that, but Jethroe is also one of the new race.  Proving that Joanne really was too smart for him, Jim stupidly pulls a gun on Jethroe.  He suffers the same fate as the bartender.

ttdarkangel6A great deal of potential was squandered in this episode.  The idea of the woman evolving was a great concept.  In fact, it was so great that they used it again in another episode in the same season. However, they could have made it the basis for apocalyptic story, an alien invasion, or an allegory for women’s post-war liberation from the kitchen. Sadly, it just became a cog in the wheel of a murder mystery.

On the plus side, Ms. Hathaway finally hooked up with Jethroe.

Post-Post:

  • Title Analysis: The title reminds me of a TV-movie called Dark Angel which aired in the previous millennium.  Not otherwise relevant here, it just always amused me that Roberts’ character was named D’Arcangelo.  On the tortured scale, that is somewhere between water-boarding and the SHIELD acronym.
  • The title was recycled 4 years later for a short-lived series starring Jessica Alba.
  • Dark Angel is used in the title of several other productions.  My favorite usage has to be as the name of an actor in Barely Legal Lesbian Vampires: The Curse of Ed Wood.

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