Effective Remake With a Fine Michael Moriarty Performance
Warren Cribbins (Moriarty), a mild-mannered loan officer for a rural bank, is given the power to see the future through his newly-cracked glasses. This power leads him to intervene to help one of the customers, and to break out of his own shell.
This episode is essentially a remake of George Clayton Johnson's "A Penny for Your Thoughts" from the original series, which featured Dick York in the Moriarty role, who could read minds as the result of flipping a coin onto its edge. Robert Walden's modern version of this story is equally as charming as its predecessor, and it's given extra substance by the development of the Cribbins character and his impact on the people around him, particularly the desperate farmer (Grant Roll) facing foreclosure. Walden's script does a nice job of making the changes come about through believably small acts of kindness, rather than less credible grand gestures. The strong supporting cast helps, with Cynthia Belliveau giving a nice performance as the clerk with feelings for the lead character, David Hemblen effectively smarmy as Moriarty's boss, and particularly Roll's intense performance as a proud man who has everything to lose.
The episode rises and falls, however, on Moriarty's lead performance, and he doesn't disappoint. His Cribbins is a subtly nuanced portrayal of a likable, soft-spoken man who realizes that his new gift is telling him something about what direction his own life should take. This realization is gradual and it calls to mind some of Moriarty's best acting work ("Law & Order", "Bang the Drum Slowly", "The Glass Menagerie").
Perhaps there are no deep messages here, but the episode is genuinely fun to watch, and fits quite nicely with some of the best episodes of the original series.
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