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A Disappointment for Jessica Fletcher Fans
Angela Landsbury makes a brief appearance and then disappears. We are left with the character of Dennis Stanton, insurance investigator. Even with Keith Michell and Roy Dotrice, the story falls flat. It revolves around a forged manuscript, allegedly written by Mark Twain, (ridiculously entitled 'Wild, wicked wench'). The manuscript is authenticated and on display, about to go on auction when it's conveniently destroyed by a fire. Dennis Stanton (Michell) investigates since it's his company that insured the manuscript for 5 million.
I don't know if Angela Landsbury had to be absent for another commitment or they were trying to create a spin-off. But it doesn't work.
A Great Episode for Eastwood Fans
Wishbone gives Rowdy money to purchase 150 replacement cattle before Mr. Favor returns. (Now as to why you would purchase more cattle, unless you think you'll make a good profit on them in the end is a bit odd to me as you're going to lose some on a trail drive. But maybe something happened to lose that many that they don't know want Mr. Favor to know about.)
Rowdy comes to a town where the saloon seems to be more of an English pub and Rowdy quickly becomes a fish out of water with their expressions and mannerisms. When asks about the whereabouts of the man, Ashley, who is the owner of the herd he wishes to purchase, he is told Ashley won't sell the cattle to him. Undaunted, he runs into Ashley's daughter Laura (played by the exotic looking Debra Paget) who has heard of his interest and is eager to make the sale so she and her father can travel back to England. She takes him to their home, which is a huge Georgian style mansion.
Ashley turns out to be a very nice English gentleman who welcomes Rowdy to his home, but who seems unwilling to sell him the cattle without talking to his foreman, Winch (played by John Ireland). Ashley, however, insists on Rowdy dining with them and staying the night. Since the herd will meet them near there, he reasons business discussions can come later. There's a very funny scene where the butler insists on helping Rowdy dress for dinner in a loaned black tux and white tie while his own dirty clothes are being washed and *shudder* pressed!
From there, the show becomes a mystery of what hold a foreman has over the old gentleman. I won't give anything away because it's well worth watching.
Remington Steele: Elegy in Steele (1984)
Lame 10 minute plot stretched into 60
I'm a big fan of the show, but they sure missed on this one! Major Descoine spent time in jail because of the Remington Steele detective agency, while his wife committed suicide rather than do jail time and wants revenge. While Mildred is on an early lunch date, Descoine shows up and tells them they will be dead by noon. He then pitches a smoke bomb and runs out the office. They see him in the elevator as the elevator doors close, but instead of one taking to the staircase, while the other calls the police (as anyone sensible would do). They spend time analyzing the scarf that he left behind as a clue and that leads to a country club.
From then on, the show becomes an unexciting game of cat and mouse with Descoine being aided by his daughter, Minor. Descoine is always one step ahead and has, even more unbelievably, managed to steal one of Laura's childhood diaries. This gives him the location to a childhood hideout, a drainage area that seems unlikely for Laura to have played in considering her reaction to the rats they find. They also seem to have the idea that if they just make it to noon and stay alive, they will somehow be free and clear. It's all very contrived and not remotely believable, even for this show.
Thriller: A Good Imagination (1961)
Another Excellent Thriller from the Pen of Robert Bloch
Robert Bloch, best known for writing the Hitchcock-produced Psycho, has always been one of my favorite authors. This one doesn't disappoint and Edward Andrews portrays bookstore owner Frank Logan in his usual outward milquetoast manner containing an evil streak. Frank's problem is his wife Louise has a bad habit of taking up with young male lovers.
Because of her dalliances, there's empathy for Frank's character as his wife and her lovers think he's none the wiser and they can just assault his dignity. But Frank is an avid reader and his beloved selection of books give him ideas on how take out her current boyfriend and get away with it. Afterwards, he torments his wife by indirectly hinting his involvement, which causes Louise, through her brother, to hire a private detective to look into the matter. Frank soon dispatches both of them, making it look like an accident before moving Louise out to a remote area home for her "health." When Louise yet again takes another lover, this time the good-looking, local handyman, Frank plots an ingenious method from an Edgar Allen Poe tale to take care of the two lovers and rid himself of his unfaithful wife. There's a nice twist at the end that I won't give away here.
Dabney Coleman and Rue McClanahan make this episode worth watching
The synopsis for this is wrong regarding matching titles to their stories, btw.
"El Kid" had Robert Urich and his real-life wife Heather Menzies-Urich as a couple going to Mexico to pick up an adopted baby. Now this really makes no sense because most people would have flown down and back. They've set up the cabin like a nursery, complete with crib! What if the baby became sick and needed something more than a ship's doctor? Of course, what happens is they get down there and the Padre tells them that the mother decided to keep her baby. In a little Padre bait-and-switch, he tells them there's another child who needs a home, a boy named Pepito (who just swiped Urich's sunglasses) and who is basically a sticky-fingered thief. After remarkably little convincing, they decide to take him instead. Plot from there is predictable.
However, "The Last Hundred Bucks" with Dabney Coleman and Rue McClanahan make the episode worth watching. Coleman is Van Milner, an ad exec who had been fired from the company he created and hasn't found work for over a year due to age discrimination. He decides to blow the rest of his money on a cruise. He runs into a friend, Wes and his wife, who have brought along a friend, April (McClanahan). April's mind can't seem to get off her business (she's in charge of a hospital), even while on vacation. The couple set her up with Van hoping she be distracted away from her business worries. None of the other three realize Van will soon be down to his last hundred bucks. As Van and April are falling for each other, Van makes the mistake of tell his fair-weather friend Wes of his plight and asks him for a job. April who has been worrying about marketing the hospital talks to Van about hiring him. But Wes pulls her aside later and tells her about Van before he can tell her himself. Wes makes it sound like Van may be romancing her just to get a job. She breaks up with him and a despondent Van puts his last hundred dollars on a roulette table and amazingly (yes, but it's Love Boat) wins back several thousand dollars while April looks on, flabbergasted. Even more so when he takes his winnings and give it to April for the hospital. Of course, everything works out from there.
The third story is a bit of silliness called the "Isosceles Triangle" where the Captain and Doc vie for Julie's friend, played by Connie Stevens. Gopher and Issac have a bet on who will win.
Not their best
Full disclosure--I really dislike the character of Amy Farrah Fowler. While the guys are nerdy, but funny, she is just weird and not funny. And why are the women on this show with brains (with the exception of Bernadette) purposely made to look homely and expressionless? In this episode Amy veers away from her usual lesbian leaning commentary when she becomes attracted to one of Penny's old boyfriends. Of course, she can't figure out "what's wrong" and why she feels the way she does. Is she sick? She and Sheldon try to diagnose her problem--hence the title.
Meanwhile Wolowitz and Koothrappali are in a debate as to which of them would be the hero vs. the sidekick if they got super powers. Yeah--that's it. It's very disappointing and has none of the usual clever banter.
Overly silly episode in an otherwise good series
After laughing at his neighbor's seeming overreaction to a woodpecker keeping him awake at night, the neighbor is able to shoo the bird in Bentley's direction. Then Bentley finds he's not only dealing with a noisy bird but a nosy reporter who humorously chronicles his attempts to get rid of the bird.
While I enjoy this series, this episode becomes unbelievable silly because, of course, woodpeckers don't actually peck/feed at night. (If there had been a light left on that confused the bird, that might have worked.) From personal experience, woodpeckers will hammer on your gutters the minute the sun starts coming up, like an alarm clock, however.
Thriller: Portrait Without a Face (1961)
So many holes you could shoot an arrow through it!
I watched this primarily because I saw John Banner was going to be in it. I like a good mystery/suspense and this looked like a good locked room type mystery with a little of the supernatural thrown in. Unfortunately it deploys cheats (not playing fair when giving you the clues necessary to solve the mystery) and by having reveals that are impossible because of previous facts asserted.
Narcissistic artist, Robertson Moffat, gets an arrow to the head by a hooded shooter with a bow and arrow who stood on a balcony and shot through an open skylight. Several months after his death, a gallery representative, Arthur Henshaw, comes to take some of the paintings back, presumably to sale. The wife unlocks and opens the studio door and tells him he can take any and all that he wants, even the blank canvas. Of course when Arthur looks at that canvas there's a partially finished painting showing the upper torso painted of the dead artist in the crime scene. As the story goes on more of the painting gets filled in and the killer will soon be revealed. Furthermore an expert in Moffat's art (Banner) incredibly concludes that it must be the artist although he can't believe that's possible.
I agreed with the other reviewer--the cackling sister was extremely annoying. Leaving her out would have improved the story. Then, just before the revelation of who-done-it, Arthur confesses that he has been the artist of the supernatural painting of the crime scene in order to trap the killer. However it's never explained how 1) Arthur got into the room to paint the first part when the door was locked by the only key to the studio, which the wife now has (this fact is stressed early on); 2) Conveniently, Arthur just happens to be an expert at copying other painter's styles and so was able to fool Banner's character; 3) Why the killer uses a bow and arrow to kill Moffat when he or she could have taken a much more direct method and still left no fingerprints.
Quincy M.E.: Memories of Allison (1981)
Interesting Start, but Leads to a Lackluster Ending
This Quincy started out as an interesting case of amnesia when a frightened, young woman takes a fall down an escalator being perused by someone no one else sees. She can't remember anything about her life, including her name and shows signs of short termed memory loss...(although it seems she doesn't have a problem remembering Quincy's name.) The doctor says it's a hysterical amnesia she should start to remember things in time.
SPOILERS START HERE: Quincy, who witnesses the fall and helps the woman, is immediately smitten with her. The first night in the hospital, someone enters her room, but is caught by police before he can kill her. The man is a hired killer and it's speculated that she must be in serious trouble. Quincy allows her to stay at his cabin as they try to figure out who she is. On the way to the cabin (and this is an inexplicable coincidence) she recognizes the street they're on and has him stop at an abandoned field. A neighbor who still lives there recalls a house fire and a young girl who jumped to avoid the flames, but broke her leg. Since Quincy had told her she'd had a mended broken leg, she thinks she may be the girl Allison, but the neighbor says she looks nothing like her. Subsequently when they look for her birth record, nothing is found.
At this point, I thought this was going to be something where the family was in witness protection and maybe she recognized someone involved with the fire; perhaps she being the sole survivor, they were coming after her and that's what caused her to blank out. Personally I think that would have been more interesting.
But no, we need a body and autopsy, she ends up suddenly dead (she is in witness protection as she testified as an adult against her boss and has had plastic surgery.) No explanation is given on how they found her. The last 15 minutes are Quincy coming up with a convoluted and highly questionable solution as to who killed her. It was almost like one writer wrote the first half and then handed it over to another with no discussion on the plot.
The Big Valley: The Jonah (1968)
Schlemiel or Schlimazel?
I was never a Marty Allen fan, but he plays a sweet and lovable, but unfortunate character of Waldo Diefendorfer, a man who seems to cause catastrophe just by his presence wherever he goes. When he gets into town, a man who recognizes him steers him to where the Barkley's are hiring.
But is Waldo a schlemiel or a schlimazel? For those who don't know Yiddish, a schlemiel is a bumbler or clumsy oaf while a schlimazel is a very unlucky person. The schlemiel spills the soup, but the schlimazel is the one the soup spills on. Waldo seems to be a bit of both as most of the actual bad luck seems to those around Waldo. True to form, once he starts at the Barkley's, a string of bad events occur. The rest of the workers think he's a jinx and want him to leave, but Audra thinks that if he had a little faith in himself his luck would change. Some will find this episode corny, but I find it one of the best of the series...humorous and sweet.