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This was arguably by far the best episode this show ever produced! It basically had all the elements that ever made this show great on it's best days and took those elements to a level it never quite equalled. I have other favourites too but this one edges them all out.
First off the tank of ideas perhaps burst at it's peak with this episode. It came late in the game and washed away most of what was left to offer. Truelly the shows's finest hour.
The use of a swimming pool this time was one of the more unexpected places to turn the image of on it's head. They made very effective use of tieing the premise into the more typical fear some people have of the unknown of water in general. The makeup department etc really out did themselves with another of the show's best monster visuals. It's very as another reviewer so fittingly put it, similar to something E.C. Comics (of Tales from the Crypt fame) would think up. A sort of play on the creature of the blackmagoon. Even more impressive though is how the monster spends the bulk of the episode being built up in the viewers imaginations as an unknown quantity, which is so much creepier than if you saw what it looked like too soon. It's also given the rare special status of having actually a real death toll under it's belt. It's not the typical wishy washyness and it's history with the haunted Janitor character is genuinely felt. The actor behind said Janitor did a good gritty sad turn selling the hell out of the monster's legacy.
But the real icing on the cake that makes this episode the most memorable is that the characterisation was at it's strongest. The cast just felt more special than the average ones too, maybe the fact they were a little older than the usual brat packs played some part. Everything seemed to pull together nicely. The budding romance was my favourite verison, the duo dynamic. They kept it so much more true to life, from the extremely entertaining, pretty yet spicy Clorice character being initially resistant to the school nerd to how it takes an indirect challenge to lower her defences.
The afore mentioned lead, Zeke the geek is such a remarkable character for this show. Some of the other geeky leads were a lot of broad fun but this guy was undeniably the most well drawn, fleshed out and well rounded of all. On the surface he would superficially appear the paper nerd stereotype but there's just something about this guy. The actor to his credit manages to suggest a lot about him deceptively. He isn't just smart, he displays real guts and a sense of cunning. It's that cunning that gets him time with Clorise, I like how he realises the use he can make of the swimming pool he found and gets her attention through taking a clever chance. He must know full well the odds didn't look good and he tries anyway. His back story, the hole 'My leg got tangled up with weeds in water as a kid' thing is refreshingly convincing, hell it's actually happened to me. It's nice how it develops at just the right pace, the more they got to know each other, the more of a special balance they found they could get from each other. he softend her edges while she kind of helps him go from boy to man in a sense. The mini character arcs reach a fitting climax with Zeke's willingness to face his fears in an attempt to save Clorise. Both actors were simply a lot more raw and real than this show is used to. I hope both did well in whatever they went on to and would love to see more of them.
This will always be among my top childhood favourites that I treasure above all others. It forever floats on in my heart.
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