|Index||4 reviews in total|
Decent episode that is helped immensely by O'Herlihy's excellent
performance as the twisted head of a Neo-Nazi group. He definitely
should have won an Emmy for this one. The story has Tod and Buz being
courted by the F.B.I. to infiltrate the group to find out where they
are hiding some major explosives and what they plan on doing with them.
The episode has a very shocking scene where Tod takes part in a gang beating of Buz! However the story does have a lot of weaknesses. One is the group's absurd plans of blowing up a crowd of would be followers and then using the ensuing trial as a pulpit to promote their agenda. Even if the O'Herlihy character is written in as a nut-case it is hard to believe that his followers would be so stupid as to go along with the plan and not see how utterly ridiculous it is.
The script is also too quick to write off hate groups as simply the lunatic fringe without digging into the more deeper complexities that causes it. It also doesn't acknowledge how much hate groups have permeated the American society and are more a part of the American fabric than we may like to think.
There is also a scene where Tod and Buz are shown a film of one of the Neo-Nazi groups meetings that was secretly captured by an undercover agent. The film that they watch has a lot cutaways of reaction shots of the members, which technically would not be possible if it was really taped by just one person. Otherwise it is a pretty good episode with good supporting performances by Ramsey and Sutton as O'Herlihy's henchman.
Buz and Tod's journey through America continues in genteel Boston, the
Cradle of Liberty, which becomes the appropriate site for a tale about
a monomaniacal political zealot. The zealot, John Westerbrook, is the
leader of a nativist group whose distorted form of patriotism leads
them to cry "Awake, America!" - awake, that is, to the dangers of
immigrants and "mongrels." Dan O'Herlihy is subtly creepy as
Westerbrook, a man whose hatred of immigrants is rooted in an admitted
self-hatred. His inner circle consists of his girlfriend and two
half-mad henchmen. DeAnn Mears gives a sensitive performance as the
girlfriend, a woman for whom love for Westerbrook overrides all reason.
The episode culminates near the Paul Revere monument in Boston, where
Westerbrook's gang plans to carry out a terrible and violent coup. Can
Buz and Tod stop them?
This is the episode that got me started on ROUTE 66, and retrospect it was a good first episode, having all the hallmarks of the series: edgy subject matter, keen character psychology, and naturalistic location filming. Don't heed the reviewer who gave the episode a one-star review and complained that it singled out the far-Right to the exclusion of the far-Left. ROUTE 66 was as "conservative" a show as they come, and Buz and Tod as clean-cut rebels as you could find. Would today's "hipsters" be caught exuding gee-whiz enthusiasm at a patriotic historical site, as our boys do here? Or cooperating with the good old FBI in bringing our nefarious hate-mongers to justice? And let's not forget that just a year after the episode's airing President Kennedy would be murdered in a manner eerily similar to the technique used by the sniper in this episode...not by a nativist right-winger but by an avowed far-leftist.
The bottom line: "To Walk with the Serpent" is vintage ROUTE 66, just one example of the timely and timeless dramatic fare this series produced.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've always felt that the leading cause of violence in the world is
illusion. Those who cannot or refuse to deal with reality create their
own worlds to live in with their own set of good guys and bad guys, and
everybody will tend to be in one of those groups, if they are allowed
to exist in the dream-world at all. These people then view the real
world a threat to their dream world and respond by lashing out at
reality or by trying to force the real world to conform to their
illusions. There will probably always be such people. The important
thing is to keep them away from any real power to minimize the impact
of their evil.
Zoom! We're back in Boston and the boys are touring the famous patriotic monuments in the city when they meet a gang of "super patriots" led by Dan O'Herlihy. They call their organization "Awake America" and, predictably, they are worried that 'mongrel' immigrants are taking over the country. They signify their determination to waken America with a Nazi-like salute, (fist to chest and then extended out). The corpulent, sweaty Logan Ramsey looks like Goering but plays a Goebbels equivalent. Frank Sutton is a jumpy bodyguard who I suppose would be Himmler. An actress named DeAnn Mears is the Eva Braun who believes anything O'Herlihy tells her because she loves him.
Todd impresses O'Herlihy when he admonishes some kids not to deface a statue. They are less impressed with Buz, especially when they find out he's adopted: he could be a 'mongrel'. Simon Oakland and Joe Campanella play government agents who convince Tod to infiltrate the organization, (to replace an agent who died in an "accident") to see what they are up to. They know the group has acquired some plastic explosives. It turns out they plan to hold a rally at Paul Revere's statue and plant the explosives on the statue. Sutton will set them off with a rifle shot and many in the crowd will be killed. The incident will be blamed on the opposition and the dead spectators will become, (unwilling), martyrs. (The Burning of the Reichstag!) It ends with Sutton being shot before he can get his shot off and O'Herilhy being carted off in a conveniently available straight jacket.
The show has an obvious relevance to our times, when there is no shortage of extremists. The difference is that the mainstream parties have invited many of them on board because they need the votes. It's a dangerous situation as we've seen such groups take over the politics and eventually the government of a country.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have gotten very tired of these episodes from shows that rely on hate to move the story along. It is always 100% of the time, a right wing hate groups. It's as if Hollywood is blind to the fact that most of the hate in this world comes from the Left Wing Liberal cooks. And most of them are in politics and are in Hollywood writing this garbage. With that said, I am not stupid enough to believe there are not hate groups from either side of the political fence. There are also hate groups from all races, not just white people. There are also a lot of good people from all races, and good people from both sides of the political fence. This episode has little to like about it and only the episode with Robert Duvall as a drug addict was more of a waste of 50 minutes. Route 66 has some really good episodes, but there are quite a few that just are not worth watching.
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