Friday, September 28, 2012

F13:TS 25 - The Inheritance


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Episode Recap #1: The Inheritance

Original Airdate: October 3, 1987

Starring:
John D. LeMay as Ryan Dallion
Louise Robey as Micki Foster
Chris Wiggins as Jack Marshak

Guest cast:
R.G. Armstrong as Lewis Vendredi
Sarah Polley as Mary Simms
Kynne Cormack as Mrs. Irene Simms
Michael Fletcher as Mr. Simms
Esther Hockin as the Babysitter

Written by Bill Taub
Directed by William Fruet

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The show opens on a rainy night, a small family, the Simms,  huddled under an umbrella outside a shop called "Vendredi Antiques". The family enters the store, seeking shelter from the storm. The owner, Lewis Vendredi - a crusty, agitated old man - tells them to leave, but they persuade him to let them wait out the rain.

The little girl, Mary, starts touching things and gets scolded by her step-mother. The old man heads upstairs, the couple move off to look at antiques and Mary spies an old porcelain doll. Grabbing the doll, Mary heads outside into the rain. The doll speaks to Mary, telling the girl her name is Vita. A couple of guys in the alley approach, concerned about the little girl. Vita lashes out at them, cutting the throat of one of them.

Mary rushes back into the store. Her parents again scold her and Lewis grabs the doll away, shooing the family out of his store. He then grabs a bunch of antiques while grumbling that he "won't do your bidding no more". In the basement, he opens a vault and stows the items inside. Meanwhile, the windows of the shop have blown open and chaos ensues.

On the basement stairs, Lewis watches as cloven hoofprints are burned into each step. Laughter fills the air from someone - something - unseen. The vault bursts open and the ghost-like spirits of the antiques fly about, tormenting the old man. Suddenly, a crucifix appears floating before him. "Merciful God." Lewis says, and reaches out and grabs the cross. It burns his palm, scarring the flesh. 

Lewis backs into the freight elevator and the door slams shut behind him. A satanic symbol is burned into the floor and Lewis struggles to escape. But the floor vanishes and the old man drops down, falling into the depths of Hell.

Sometime later, we see a young, Yuppie couple arguing about her trip to deal with her inheritance from an Uncle Lewis she has never met. The young woman, red-headed beauty Micki Foster quells the annoyance of her fiance, a lawyer who thinks they should sue the cousin she hasn't met but with whom she now shares this antique shop.

Once Micki arrives at the store, we see it is now closed, items covered by sheets. The place is even gloomier than before, if possible. As she looks about, she is startled when a man in a strange mask jumps up from behind the counter. Micki smashes a vase on his head.

The young man turns out to be her cousin, Ryan Dallion, who was expecting his cousin to be a man.  The two get off to a rocky start. Micki is creeped out by the shop and its inventory, while Ryan thinks everything is fascinating and cool.

In the garage, they find that their uncle has also left them an old car. Briefly, the two enjoy a moment of fancy, Ryan acting as a limo driver for the lady. A black cat jumps into the car and scares Micki, who runs out and off to the basement, determined to get to work appraising and selling off the store. Ryan wants to explore and finds a way to open the vault.

Ryan props open the door and they proceed inside. Micki feels like something isn't right about this place. A noise causes Ryan to go investigate and Micki is locked in the vault. She looks about and sees the doll, Vita, sit up and turn toward her, seemingly alive. Stumbling about, Micki is nearly killed by a falling scythe. Ryan finds the secret brick to open the doors and Micki rushes out and up the stairs.

Back in the shop, she trips and grabs a spindle for support, the wood turns in her hand and a secret grate on the celiing opens, a thick old book dropping out. Micki and Ryan continue to disagree about what they want to do with the store. Ryan pleads his case for reopening the place and running it themselves.

We then cut to a going-out-of-business sale. Ryan has apparently come around to Micki's way of thinking. People mill about the shop, including Mr. Simms. He is back to find the doll he knew his daughter loved. Ryan finds it, but Micki doesn't want to sell it, remembering the way the doll moved in the vault. Ryan says no go, she wanted to sell it all, that includes the doll. Vita is purchased by Mary's father.

Late that night, as the cousins gather more antiques to sell, they hear a noise in the shop. Someone is prowling about. A man pulls a sword on the duo, introducing himself as Jack Marshak, a supplier of antiques to the shop. He has come to collect money from Lewis. They tell the intruder that Lewis was their uncle and he is dead. Jack is shocked.

In the kitchen, he tells them about the uncle they never knew and how he taught Lewis about the supernatural world. He explains that Lewis wanted to avoid death and be rich and that obsession drove the man to delve into the dark, demonic side of the other world. He recalls that Lewis had a plan to make a pact with Satan for immortality and immense wealth. But since Lewis is dead, Jack assumes the plan must not have worked. The cousins tell him about the book they found, which Jack says is Lewis' manifest for all the antiques he sold.

Our heroic trio sit down for their very first chat. 


Jack recalls another secret compartment, this one filled with news articles about suspicious deaths people have suffered with various arcane objects. They are able to match these objects to ones sold and listed in the manifest. Ryan and Jack realize Lewis did make his pact with Satan, cursing the items he sold and released into the world, while Micki is less impressed. Jack says Lewis must have tried to break the pact, but Satan took his life, instead. When Micki remembers the doll in the vault, she begins to wonder if the curse is real.

We then see Mary receiving the gift of the doll from her father. She is thrilled to have Vita back, but her dad asks her not to mention it to her step-mother. Vita tells Mary that, together, they can do anything they want.
The Simms argue about him giving the girl the doll. The step-mother doesn't think Mary deserves it and is determined to get it away from her.

Micki and Ryan search for the receipt for Vita and find the Simms' address. They decide to head out to retrieve the doll, while Jack says he is going to consult a friend of his, a medium, about the curse on Lewis' antiques. He also tells them that they could just forget about it all and go back to their lives, but Micki speaks for them all when she says they have to get the doll back before thinking about resuming their lives.

Mary and Vita are having a tea party, with the doll slowly pushing Mary into dark thoughts about her step-mother. Mary is reluctant at first, but is easly swayed by the manipulative doll. Her step-mother arrives and lectures the girl, taking Vita away from her until the girl can learn to behave. She hides the doll, but Mary secretly watches.

Micki and Ryan are searching a map to find the Simms' home. Ryan asks if Micki is sure she knows what she is doing. She says no. He responds, "At least we have one thing in common."

Mary retrives Vita but is caught by her step-mother. Vita looks at Mary and then psychically moves a roller skate to the top of the stares. The stare from Vita causes Mrs. Simms to back up and then Vita hisses at her, causing the woman to tumble back and fall down the staircase.

As Mrs. Simms is being put into the ambulance, Micki and Ryan finally arrive. A neighbor tells them what happened and they see Mary with Vita. They approach and are startled when Mary snaps at them and Vita hisses. The girl and doll are loaded into the ambulance by her father, and the Simms head off to the hospital.

Mr. Simms tells his wife she is in the hospital and goes off to find a doctor, leaving the woman alone with Mary and Vita. The girl brings the doll up to her step-mother's bed, lifting her over the woman. Vita attacks, scaring Mrs. Simms to death. Mary's father comes back in and finds his wife dead, but is unaware of Mary's role.

Micki and Ryan approach some nurses, telling them they are the injured woman's niece and nephew. They are informed of her death. Unsure what to do next, they head off.

Mary's dad leaves her with a neighbor as he goes off to make funeral plans. The old woman watches as the girl plays with Vita and her other toys. Mary doesn't seem very upset about recent events, snapping at the old woman when she won't give her more cookies. When the woman pushes Mary to rest, the girl snaps and Vita helps her attack with the toys in her room, eventually causing a book case to topple over on the old lady.

Micki and Ryan arrive then and hear the commotion in the house. Ryan gets the door open and they rush in, finding the neighbor lady unconcious on the floor, the toys all having magically gone back where they belong. Ryan calls 911 as Micki spies Mary and Vita outside at the nearby playground. She rushes out after them.

Micki tries to talk to Mary, telling her she doesn't want to take Vita away, but she has no choice. Mary declines and uses Vita to torment Micki with the playground equipment. Micki is shocked that the doll can actually do these supernatural things, but she persists, leaping onto the merry-go-round when Mary won't let Vita go. The two are spun around, faster and faster, as the wind picks up and the sky darkens. Soon, Ryan jumps on and wrestles with Mary for the doll. As he pulls it free, Mary is thrown off. The sky clears.

Vita would be a match even for Chucky!


Mary is alive, but injured. Micki takes her back to the house, but not before reminding Ryan that, while they got this doll back, there are many other cursed antiques still out there.

Jack puts the doll into the vault, locking the doors behind him. He tells the cousins that since they objects were cursed they cannot be destroyed, so the only safe place for them is in the vault, in the basement of the store. Micki then calls her fiancee and tells him she is going to be staying at the store longer than she thought. He hangs up on her.

Ryan says they should change the name of the shop and Jack suggests "Curious Goods". Micki points out that they need to get back everything Lewis sold, plus everything they unwittingly sold, as well. Where do they begin? she asks, as Jack gasps at an article in the newspaper.

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My thoughts:

For a pilot, this is a damn good episode! It presents the characters, the setting, the ongoing plot for the series and even their first adventure in recovering the cursed antiques!

We are given accurate glimpes into the personalities of all the main characters here. Micki is shown as a modern beauty who stands her ground, but with class and a good heart. Ryan is spirited and goofy, but brave as well. Jack is mysterious and worldly, but willing to stop all that to help undo something he feels partially responsible for. In fact, all three of the characters put their lives on hold, knowing that they have to get these items back because if they don't, who will?

The store itself is a character here, not only the place where it all begins and a good part of the action happens, but also where the items need to be stored for the safety of the world, and where dark forces are held at bay. It is a great, creepy set, with multiple levels and dark corners.

I know I am biased, since I love this show, but for me this episode just hits all the right notes. Upon original viewing, I am sure a lot of people we sitting asking where the hell Jason Voorhees was. But for me, but the time the credits rolled, I didn't care that Jason wasn't here. In fact, I was glad! This was a different world and I wanted to get to know it and these characters. For three years, we had that opportunity and to this day, I, for one, still miss this show, and these characters.

So, I hope you enjoyed this laid back walk down memory lane. Whether anyone reads or comments, I intend to do all 72 episodes.

This is my tribute to my favorite show.

Next week: "The Poison Pen"

2 comments:

  1. Love this series,grew up watching it,excellent review.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wings! You must miss the episode club! Great review and I agree it's a great episode and one of my favorite episodes from the series. The doll is creepy as hell and robey looks terrific.

    ReplyDelete