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"Friday the 13th" Brain Drain (1988)

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

get smart

Author: Allexander Lyons ( from United States
16 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A mentally handicapped man uses a device known as a trephinator to transfer intelligence at the cost of the victim's life, and Micki and Ryan discover that his next target is Jack's new fiancée...

In "Brain Drain," we get a small peek into Jack's past, which is nice considering he's the most enigmatic of the three main characters. The guest cast is also much better than usual here.

The guest stars really do give terrific performances. While I wouldn't consider any of them Emmy-worthy, they do a far better job than in most other episodes. Denis Forest is playing the villain for a second time and redeems himself from the disaster that was "Cupid's Quiver." He really shows some range and he cleans up rather nicely as he plays a pretentious and devious intellectual.

However, the major bright spot to this episode is the casting of Carrie Snodgress as Dr. Viola Rhodes. Not only does she give a great performance, she has great on screen chemistry with Jack. The scenes with the two of them together are very touching and memorable. They both perform so well together that you can really believe that they have a history. She's classy, intelligent, and attractive; everything that you would probably expect of an old flame of Jack's. Friday the 13th never seemed to get many competent guest stars, but they really knocked one out of the park here.

There are a few things that kept me from giving this episode an even higher rating. The plot reaches a B-movie-mad-scientist level of outlandishness towards the end as we're actually asked to accept a talking brain, which Dr. Pangborn manages to achieve in a matter of days, no less. The trephinator, in addition to being a bit large for the vault, seems like an odd choice for the spotlighted antique. I can't imagine any legitimate store selling something like this, but like many other episodes of this series, you can overlook it because the script written around it is highly entertaining.

"Brain Drain" is a great episode. It was really refreshing to see Denis Forest play a character you would more than likely not expect from him. I will admit I was sad to see Jack's fiancée succumb to the trephinator but then again, the show obviously couldn't have continued with them staying together.

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A "Friday the 13th" tearjerker!

Author: gridoon2016
28 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The "cursed object of the week" is almost secondary this time around: a "trephinator" that enables one man's brain to be transferred into another's, leaving the "donor" practically a vegetable that will die within hours and making the recipient smarter. That part of the story is not very well thought out - for example, Denis Forest's character is supposed to have "the I.Q. of a house plant" at the start, but what he does even before the trephinator is put to work is hardly the work of a retarded man. Anyway, what matters most in "Brain Drain" is the love story between Jack and an old flame of his whom he hadn't seen in 20 years (played by Carrie Snodgress). Chris Wiggins puts a lot of emotion into his role, making Jack look almost like a lovestruck schoolboy at times. The ending is inevitable (we know that Jack won't get married) but sad, and Jack's last few words are beautifully written. *** out of 4.

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