Tod and Linc, in Maine, encounter a "long-lost son". Tod works with the man's abandoned wife, Linc with the man's hated father. The son has old grudges and cannot be reasoned with. He is ...
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Tod and Linc, in Maine, encounter a "long-lost son". Tod works with the man's abandoned wife, Linc with the man's hated father. The son has old grudges and cannot be reasoned with. He is especially obsessed with doing his father harm and causes a violent feud before challenging his father to a fight to the death. Written by
Frank Pierson wrote and directed this episode in the forth season of Route 66. Pierson strikes me as a fearless writer first and foremost. He has a vision and many times it is a bit harrowing. As a director he may have been as great, but he seemed to butt heads along the way such as he did when he directed the 70's remake of "A Star Is Born" in which he and Barbara Steisand endured a painful shoot of which he was highly critical of her in the press. Frank Pierson gravitated to mainly producing which complimented his razor sharp writing skills. All in all, Pierson couldn't compromise as a director.
Pierson, when given full rein, takes no prisoners. Witness his lone darkly written Route 66 episode which he he also directed. There's lots of melodramatic glimpses of the underside of a seemingly peaceful town and it's inhabitants. Do the inhabitants of this small town love one another or only live and work around their distrusts and fears? One thing is for certain, there's an invisible black cloud infecting the place.
Pierson coaxes powerful performances from Pat Hingle and William Shatner in their portrayals of an estranged father and son whose only final solution is a deadly reunion fueled by their mutual feelings over Shatner's long absence and the death of his brother. These two are a bit "over-the-top" in their smoldering uneasiness. Shatner's being assumed dead only to return with a mind for retribution is the catalyst for a final solution; perhaps, after which, it is believed a kind of healing may finally be embraced?
This isn't television entertainment by rote, but a painful look at a fractured family in an unforgiving town inhabited by a population with a strange detachment forged by the hard scramble life of lobstering.
This episode is fairly strong with Pierson manning the helm and the standout performance of William Shatner. Pat Hingle's excellent performance is the centerpiece of what makes the town tick as a thriving source of lobster, but where humanity is in short supply as silent suffering is confused for strength. Glenn Corbett, as Linc, turns in a restrained rendition of an outsider who struggles between the problems of a father and son attempting to bring reason as he can see the futility of it all. Linc's "interference" isn't welcomed as the locals make it known they are openly glad he'll soon be leaving. Martin Milner is barely featured this time out. "Build Your Houses With Their Backs To The Sea" ultimately works even if it is devoid of joy. Pierson's fearless style is much in evidence in this black story and, within, there lies a flash of brilliance.
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