Episode Recap #4: A Cup of Time
Original Airdate: October 24, 1987
John D. LeMay as Ryan Dallion
Louise Robey as Micki Foster
Chris Wiggins as Jack Marshak
Hilary Shepard as Lady Die
Maxine Miller as Birdie
Lubomir Mykytiuk as Langley
Lisa Jakub as Kristen
Richard Fitzpatrick as Lieutenant Fishbein
Written by Barbara Sachs
Directed by Harvey Frost
Next, we are in a studio as current pop music sensation Lady Die is recording her latest single. She isn't happy with the synth sounds they try to lay in, snapping at the crew and heading off to her dressing room.
As she examines her face in her mirror, taking Polaroids of herself even, Langley, her manager, comes in with publicity shots. She asks about the benefit concert she has planned and Langley says they should have the arena cover the costs and asking why she chose the homeless for her cause. She snaps again, telling him that what she says goes. She isn't even sure why she pays him. She heads out, back to the studio.
As Die records again, Ryan is listening to her latest album in the store. Micki returns from shopping and turns the stereo off. Ryan makes a comment about Micki acting like an old bag as their neighbor Birdie hears. She comes inside with the curtains she has altered and pressed, hoping to impress Jack, who is busy with an experiment on his rats. His potion is causing an aphrodisiac effect in his subjects and Birdie offers to be a guinea pig.
Micki invites Birdie for coffee and she mentions that there was another murder in the park, a young runaway. As the social worker, she had to ID the girl and says the girl was strangled, by a rope or something, and that there has been others. She mentions an elderly homeless woman, Sarah, who vanished earlier in the year. Birdie doesn't think the police care enough to investigate throroughly. Ryan mentions Die's benefit and Micki tells Birdier her and Ryan will look into it themselves. Ryan says "The fear of the unknown is always worse than the actual thing." But Jack adds, "Not always."
Such an innocent item with such a dark curse.
In the coroner's officer, the Detective Fishbein is hearing the cause of death for the young woman when Micki and Ryan come in, asking about the homeless deaths. He scoffs, annoyed at them, believing them some neighborhood watch people. He thinks it is just some sicko killing them. Micki points out that there have been five murders, maybe it isn't as random as he thinks. He condesceningly asks if she is planning a career in law enforcement. He says there isn't much they can do. The coroner notices a green stain on the girl's neck. Without being noticed, Ryan grabs some loose ivy leaves off the sheet the girl was wrapped in. The detective dismisses Ryan and Micki and they leave, annoyed at his attitude.
Back at Curious Goods, Jack compares the leaf to one he finds in an old book, saying it is Swapper's Ivy. He says he didn't think it existed anymore, it was believed to be an evil plant. He browses the manifest and finds a listing for it on a porcelain cup that had the Swapper's Ivy design, sold to one Fat Eddie Burrell.
Ryan and Micki head out to Burrell's place, which looks abandonded. The door opens and the pair head inside. Flashlight in hand, they go upstairs and Micki walks into hanging ivy and screams. A Murphy bed falls out of the wall, a decayed skeleton on the mattress, tangled up with ivy. Ryan points out that they don't have to call him Fat Eddie anymore.
At the preparations for the benefit, Lady Die is distracted and takes off, leaving Langley behind. He is annoyed and sees a little girl, Kristen, stealing food off the craft services table. He gives her another piece to go and she hugs him and runs off. He then realizes the girl snatched his wallet and chases her, but she hides under a bush.
In the park, the woman approaches a homeless man, offering him tea. He says ok and she pours some into the porceleain cup. Kristen arrives, asking for some tea. The woman gives her a bracelet if she will run off and leave them alone. The man drinks the tea and the ivy wraps around him, killing him. We see the woman is Lady Die herself, and Kristen sees her from the bushes.
The next day, Birdie is with the police as they show her the man's body, but she can't identify him. She walks off, meeting Micki and Ryan, who drove her to the park. Kristen arrives, asking if they have any food for her. Birdie recognizes the girl's bracelet as belonging to Sarah Burrell, her missing social case. Micki asks if Sarah was related to Fat Eddie and Birdie says that he was Sarah's brother. The little girl tries to leave, but Micki stops her. They ask about the bracelet and she tells them about the lady in the park, with hair like fire. Birdie says it can't be Sarah, she was over 70 and her hair was white as snow. Kristen tells them the woman gave the man who died a drink from a little cup. Micki says the girl should come with them, but she runs off and is nearly hit by Ryan, who slams on the brakes. Detective Fishbein watches the whole scene, curious.
Driving back, Birdie talks about how horrible it must have been for the girl to watch the murder. Micki asks for a picture of Sarah, Birdie says she will give her one. Lady Die comes on the radio, Ryan turns it up and Micki asks him to turn it down. Birdie smiles, saying the song Die is singing was one of Sarah's favorites.
At the store, Ryan is altering Lady Die's photo to resemble Sarah. They think they may be one and the same. Jack is pondering how the curse on the cup must work, swapping the victim's lifeforce to the one who offered the cup. Just then, Birdie comes in, dressed up to impress Jack, asking him out. He begs off, saying he needs to check his experiment. She is dejected and Micki tries to say Jack is just shy. She asks what Ryan is doing with the photo, he says just doodling. She says everyone gets older, even Lady Die will. Ryan says he thinks age is all in the mind and Birdie says it is too bad you need a young mind to think that way and storms out.
C'mon, Jack. She's a cutie!
With the coast clear, Jack comes back. Ryan says Lady Die and Sarah have to be the same person. He wonders how they can get to Lady Die, though. Micki mentions that Lady Die is being interviewed tonight for a radio show. Jack heads off to print them some fake credentials.
Kristen sees a photo of Lady Die and realizes it is the woman from the park. Just then, Micki and Ryan arrive, under the guise of being a rock magazine interviewer and his chauffeur. Inside, Die is being interviewed about her benefit concert, but she is more worried about her looks, especially when Langley says she looks tired. Ryan and Micki come in and attempt to talk to Lady Die, asking her about Sarah and the cup. But chaos ensuses and they are forced out as Lady Die slips out another exit.
Could do a whole blog on just their disguises and aliases!
Outside, Lady Die bumps into Kristen, who lifts the cup from her pocket without her knowledge. Birdie is there and sees Die, calling her Sarah. Die panics and runs off in the opposite direction. Ryan and Micki are thrown out of the studio and bicker about who should drive.
In the park, a rapidly-aging Lady Die approaches another homeless man and offers him a drink. But she finds the cup is missing. Elsewhere, Kristen is playing with the mug, singing nursery rhymes.
Ryan and Micki are walking through the park, searching for Lady Die. Micki still has problems accepting how the impossible can be possible. They realize they have until tomorrow to find her, then she goes on tour. Die, even older now, is searching the park for the cup. Micki and Ryan see a white-haired person and scare the woman, but it isn't Die. Birdie watches from a distance.
Kristen is also in the park, in her hiding spot with the cup. She tries to sleep, but someone approaches. Hearing a twig snap, the girl jumps and runs. But it is just Micki and Ryan, who catch up to her. They try to get the tea cup from her and Micki says she'll trade the cup for a hot meal, a bed and a different cup. Kristen relents and they finally get the cup. Someone watches as they leave the park.
The group arrive at the store with the girl and head upstairs. Ryan, hungry, decides to leave the cup on the desk for now. A masked figure breaks into the store. Ryan and Jack look for food in the kitchen as Micki makes up a bed for Kristen. The intruder grabs the cup and heads out, but they hear the bell as the person leaves. Ryan rushes down and falls, unable to catch the fleeing intruder. Jack realizes the cup is gone, as well.
We see the intruder get into a cab and pull of the mask. It is Birdie.
Back at Curious Goods, Micki is tucking Kristen into bed. The girl wonders if she will be able to live there, but Micki says it isn't a good place for her, but that she can stay for a little while, until they find her a good home.
In the park, Birdie approaches a sleeping man, waking him. She asks if he wants to share a drink with her. He is wary, but agrees. Birdie talks about loneliness, then pulls out some booze. He wants to down it, but she says they should be civilized and pours it into the tea cup. She hands, saying its for youth. As he drinks and the ivy begins to move, she changes her mind and grabs the cup back, cause the ivy to vanish. He is confused, so she gives him the bottle to placate him as she cries. He offers her a drink to calm her down.
Ryan doesn't think the intruder was Die, thinking she moved like someone Birdie's age. Jack speculates that the longer Die goes without using the cup, the older she gets. Micki says than it must be Sarah Ryan saw, not Die. The two bicker and Jack tells them to relax. They need to get to Die soon or she will kill again.
In the park, the homeless man and Birdie have spent the night talking. He heads off to make his rounds. Birdie says she doesn't feel like an old lady anymore. She goes to a payphone and calls the store, telling Ryan she has something of theirs she'd like to return. Die, looking ancient now, watches from the bushes.
As Ryan, Micki and Jack drive to the park to meet Birdie, they pass by the detective, who follows them. The trio split up to find Birdie, who is being chased through the park by Lady Die. Birdie trips and falls, dropping the cup. Die hits the woman with a rock and takes off. Ryan and Micki find the unconcious Birdie and then the cops find them. They arrest Micki and Ryan and call for the paramedics. They tell them it is Lady Die who did this, but he doesn't listen. Jack watches from the bushes and then runs off.
Die calls Langley from a phone booth, making sure he doesn't cancel the show tonight. She heads off with the cup as Micki and Ryan are loaded into the back of a squad car and Birdie into an ambulance.
Lady Die searches the park for a victim and finds an old man on a bench, reading a paper. She pours some tea into the cup and offers him a drink. He says yes, then grabs the cup and reveals himself to be Jack. He runs off with the cup as Die drops to her knees, in despair that she has lost it once again.
At the concert that night, Langley knocks on Die's trailer door, but she tells him not to come in, she will be out in a second. Ryan and Micki - out of custody- and Birdie - out of the hospital - come around the back of trailer, still in search of the cup when Jack appears, showing them he has already gotten it. Langley comes back and wonders what they are all doing there. He calls to Die, who opens the trailer door. She is a hideous, ancient creature now and collapses to the ground and dies.
Yikes! No comeback tour for this pop diva!
Back at the store, Jack tells Ryan about his experiment and how he swapped bugs for ginseng and gave them double the energy but calmed the sex drive. Ryan says that it went wrong, then. Micki comes down with Kristen, all dressed up. Birdie arrives then and asks if Kristen has changed her mind. Kristen says no and asks if she wants to play tea party?
Another fun, early episode of the series. I like how they weren't instantly good at their new job of tracking down these antiques. Micki mentions how she still has hard time believe the impossible is possible, showing that even though she has seen some outrageous things, it still goes against all she previously believe. And Ryan has the line about how the fear of something is worse than it actually is, showing the innocence we love about him. Jack, jaded, man-of-the-world, knows better.
We also see their stumbling steps when they approach Die at the studio. Instead of being subtle and getting her alone, they just blurt out that they know about Sarah and the cup. Not smooth, guys. And when Ryan places the cup they have tried so hard to get back on the desk, instead of immediately locking it up in the vault.
Birdie is a great character and potential love interest/pest to Jack. Sadly, we never see her again in the series. She would have been fun as a recurring character.
Lady Die's rise to popularity is a bit hard to swallow. Sarah only went missing earlier this year and now she is an in-demand pop star with an album and throngs of fans? And her hit, a pop version of "I'm a Little Teacup"? All tongue-in-cheek, I suppose, but hard to take in the reality of the show.
Love the cop being suspicious about these people and what they are doing around the park where all the murders are happening. Makes sense to have the police get these people on their radar, even if that element is dropped almost completely from here on out.
The transformation of Die back into Sarah is interesting, seeing her growing increasingly older until the end. The make-up there in the final shot is great. She looks like a corpse, which is what she basically is, even though she is in denial, expecting to go on stage. How they ever explained any of that to Langley or the cops, I have no idea. Or why Birdie didn't ask them just what they hell goes on in that store, once she knew what the cup was capable of. Maybe she felt like she had best not get involved. LOL
Next week: "Hellowe'en"