Ryan's estranged father contacts him to announce he's remarrying. While Ryan has his reservations, they discover that his father is now a successful inventor, thanks in part to a special gift from Uncle Lewis...
"Pipe Dream" is a really good episode. There really aren't too many negatives that I can point out. It's very well written and has a fairly high degree of plausibility to it (as plausible as a show about antiques with supernatural powers can get, I suppose).
The writing is definitely the strongest point in this episode. There are all kinds of exciting new angles to keep things interesting: making the cursed pipe be a gift so it's sale wouldn't appear in the manifest, the further fleshing out of Ryan's backstory, creating a villain that is not entirely evil, and having the cursed antique owner be a close family member thus creating a serious moral dilemma for the heroes.
The reactions and behavior of the characters come off as quite believable. Ryan is understandably hesitant about reconnecting with his father but still loves him deep down and is in denial about him using an antique. Micki fears that Ryan is in danger and is torn between getting the pipe back and tarnishing his image of his father. Ray Dallion is tired of being a loser and genuinely wants to provide a better life for his family but also idolized Uncle Lewis and therefore sees no problem in using a cursed antique to get ahead.
Michael Constantine really delivers a solid performance as Ryan's father. Both Lemay and Constantine have a good chemistry which is bolstered by the high quality of writing. Constantine also does a good job at making you truly feel for him, especially at the end when he chooses to sacrifice himself to save Ryan.
"Pipe Dream" is one of the strongest episodes of season one. It succeeds due its human elements and above average performances. It also has decent special effects to boot.
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