Saturday, November 24, 2012

F13:TS 25: Root of All Evil



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Episode Recap #9: Root of All Evil

Original Airdate: November 28, 1987

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

Guest cast:
Enrico Colantoni as Adrian
Barclay Hope as Lloyd
Jack Mather as Smitty
Ian White as Charles
Kay Tremblay as Amanda
Thomas Hauff as Harley O'Connor

Written by Rob Hedden
Directed by Allan King

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This week, we open at a suburban home. An old woman is cutting her hedges while also nagging her grown son about his laziness. He snaps and hits her with a metal rake. But he's not done! He takes her and slides her into a giant mulcher!

At Curious Goods, Jack finds a letter Lewis never opened, postmarked the day after he died. Inside is a crisp, $100 bill. Ryan wants to go have lunch with the money. Jack reads the letter and sees that the cash is a "thank you" from someone. Checking the manifest, Ryan matches the postmark to a purchase. Seems one Harley O'Connor bought the mulcher from Lewis. Jack tells Ryan he should call and check if Harley still lives at the same address. Picking up the phone, Ryan hears Micki talking to Lloyd, her fiance. Micki has been crying and tells Lloyd she can't leave the store yet. He accuses her of having an affair and hangs up.

Ryan and Jack, on the case!

An expensive car pulls up the drive at the soon-to-open Harrington Gardens and splashes a groundskeeper with muddy water. Charles and Amanda, the rich people in charge of the land and gardens, talk about opening the place to the public tomorrow. The groundskeeper, Adrian, watches and listens. Smitty, the head groundsman, arrives and takes Adrian away to do more work.

Adrian's week is going to get much worse.

Jack and Micki arrive at Harley's home to find the place abandoned. Micki wants to leave, says they'll never find him. She's growing impatient with their mission to retrieve all the antiques. She tells Jack she never wanted any of this. He says none of them did, but it is their responsibility. She reluctantly agrees to check out the inside of the house.

Back at the gardens, Adrian is intrigued and entranced by the mulcher Smitty uses. Smitty notices the weird way the man acts.

How the hell are they going to fit this in the vault?

Back at the old O'Connor house, Jack and Micki poke around while someone follows them. Micki knocks over some debris and Jack finds a brand-new five dollar bill. Just then, a man comes in and confronts them, demanding to know what they are doing. They explain that they are looking to buy an antique. He orders them outside. He tells them about Harley being in a mental institution. Seems he had a bag of money and his mother was missing. When the cops confronted him, he snapped and went off about "the teeth of hell".

Micki can pull off any hairstyle.

Back at the gardens, Adrian can't keep his eyes off the mulcher. Smitty says he is sore, so Adrian tells him to go home and rest. A homeless man watches them. Smitty leaves and Adrian heads right to the mulcher, kneeling before it as it turns itself on. The bum shows up and knows Adrian, says people are looking for him who don't take kindly to being owed money. The man attempts blackmails Adrian to keep his location quiet. Adrian smashes the man's bottle on his head, knocking him out. After he pushes the drunk into the mulcher, money comes flying out the chute. Adrian laughs as he collects the bills.

At Curious Goods, Jack is analyzing the five dollar bill while telling Ryan that the mulcher was sold at auction to a Robert Smith (Smitty), who owns a gardening business. Ryan tells Jack how he loves the detective work they have to do in their search for antiques. He is worried about Micki and her stressing over Lloyd. Jack says the bills are dated 1937 but appear to be brand new. He wants to talk to O'Connor but Ryan reminds him the man is an asylum. He tells Ryan to let Micki work out the Lloyd issue herself.

In her room, Micki is brushing her hair while a figure appears outside her window. She nervously backs away and out of the room, getting Ryan to come help her. They both see the man and Ryan tackles him until Micki pushes him off. Seems it is Lloyd, her fiance. Lloyd is perturbed to have been roughed up. Micki is upset that Lloyd came out to check up on her. He said he had no choice, he had to know if there was someone else. He says he had Ryan checked out and that the two of them are cousins by marriage only. Micki scoffs at the thought of her and Ryan being an item. Ryan overhears. Lloyd wants the real reason why she can't leave the store. Micki makes up excuses, saying that she wants to go home but has no choice. Lloyd says he has no choice either, that it is tough to marry someone who won't be honest with you.

Ryan, meet Lloyd. Lloyd, Ryan. Nice of you to drop in.

Ryan visits the gardens and Amanda Harrington, the owner. He asks about Smith and the old lady sends him off to Smitty. Ryan and Micki walk through the grounds to find Smitty, but Micki's frustration with their job is growing. They find the old gardener and ask about the mulcher. He says its not for sale. Ryan offers to give him money to buy a new mulcher, so Smitty agrees and heads off to get the item. Adrian overhears and follows, while Micki scolds Ryan for giving away so much money.

Adrian lures Smitty into the garden shed and hits him over the head with a shovel. He then takes the mulcher and hides it in the bushes. When he gets back to the shed, Smitty is gone. Adrian grabs a tool right before Smitty jumps out and they struggle. Adrian plunges the weapon into Smitty's back. Soon enough, the mulcher is running again, with Smitty inside. The bag fills with more cash.

At the mental hospital, Harley O'Connor sits, strapped in a wheelchair, spinning in circles. Jack arrives tells Harley that Lewis Vendredi asked him to stop by and say hello and Jack shows him the bills. Harley tells him to leave, so Jack tells him Lewis is dead. Harley is surprised to hear this. Jack tells him Lewis reneged on his deal with Satan and paid the price. He asks the man about the mulcher, pretending to want to use the mulcher himself. Harley wants Jack to agree to use "riskier stock," as in bankers and doctors. Harley then starts laughing maniacally.

Harley is one of the few who used a cursed item and DIDN'T die.
Although the alternative isn't much better. Maybe worse.

Micki and Ryan arrive back at Curious Goods. Jack is inside and as they approach and tell him about their trip to the gardens, Jack tries to get them to hush. But they mention the curse. Jack then informs them that Lloyd is there to see Micki, and her fiance stands up, having heard everything. Micki is thrilled but Lloyd wants to know what is going on here. She takes him to the basement and asks him to keep an open mind. She shows him the vault.

Love the long shot of Curious Goods. Wish this place was real.

Upstairs, Jack and Ryan talk about the mulcher and how it works. The richer the person who goes in, the more money comes out the other end. Ryan tells Jack the year 1937 is the year the mulcher was built.

In the vault, Micki explains Lewis' curse and how they have had to collect all the items and store them. Lloyd scoffs and picks up Vita, the doll. Micki takes it away and puts it on the shelf. As Lloyd leaves, Micki sees Vita turn and look at her. Upstairs, Lloyd rushes out. Micki runs up to her room, and Jack tells Ryan to give her time.

Lloyd shouldn't play with cursed things.

The next day, back at the gardens, Ryan and Jack go undercover as workers. Jack tells Ryan that Smitty is missing. Adrian listens in. Back at Curious Goods, Micki is in her room when the door opens and Lloyd enters. He says he doesn't want to lose her and they embrace.

Charles talks with Adrian about the plans for the gardens then asks about Smitty. Adrian tells him he is by the shed, then runs off to beat Charles there. At the store, Lloyd says he believes that Micki believes in the curse. Imagination is a powerful thing, he tells her.

As Charles arrives to find Smitty, Adrian has the mulcher running.  In her bedroom, Lloyd gives Micki at ultimatum. Either leave for California with him or he will assume she wants to call off their engagement.

Adrian attacks Charles with a blade, then sends the rich man into the mulcher. Charles awakens right before the mulcher rips him to shreds. Back at Curious Goods, Micki tells Lloyd she is going home. They kiss.
At the gardens, Amanda is giving a tour and tells Adrian he is doing a fine job. He smiles then kisses some of his cash.

Adrian, you are so happy here, you creep.

That night, Ryan arrives home from the gardens, tired. Micki and Lloyd come out of her room. Lloyd leaves and Ryan says he worked all day trying to find the mulcher and she stayed with Lloyd in her room. Ryan knows she is leaving with Lloyd and asks about their job getting the items back, saying it is their job. Micki says she never made a pact to do this and that there are plenty of things in the world she can't fix. Ryan badmouths Lloyd and Micki slaps him, but Ryan tells her they need her to do this, he needs her. She says sorry and runs back to her room.

The next day, Ryan and Jack are back working at the gardens. Seems Smitty has completely vanished. Jack tells Ryan he'll miss Micki, too, but they have to let her go if she wants to go. Searching the grounds, Ryan finds Adrian's bag of cash. Adrian spies him. Ryan runs off to find Jack and finds Charles' broken glasses and, nearby, the mulcher. Adrian jumps out and tries to attack Ryan, but he gets away. Adrian chases after him. Ryan trips and hits his head, knocking himself out. Adrian drags him back to the shed and locks the door.

Jack grows impatient wondering what happened to Ryan. A taxi pulls up and Micki gets out. Lloyd tells her to hurry. She says she couldn't leave without saying good-bye and her and Jack hug. She asks about Ryan, then goes off to find him, Lloyd following.

Adrian gets the mulcher, planning to use it one last time before he takes off. Jack approaches and asks if he has seen Ryan, but Adrian says no and takes off. Jack keeps looking and finds the mulcher and then hears Ryan's screams for help. He goes to the shed and breaks the lock and frees Ryan. They realize Adrian is the one they have been looking for and rush back to the mansion.

Inside the mansion, Adrian approaches Amanda and tells her she can set him up for life. Micki and Lloyd hear the old woman's screams and rush inside, but Adrian has a knife to her throat and takes her out. Micki tells Lloyd to do something but he freezes.

As everyone converges on the mulcher, Jack tells Adrian to give up, they know everything. He scoffs, but Ryan takes the bag of money and dumps it into the mulcher. Adrian pushes Amanda to the ground and rushes to stop Ryan. He dives into the mulcher to save the bag of money and Ryan has to look away as Adrian is torn to shreds. Micki comes over to Ryan and asks if he is okay. He says it is just his head and she jokes there is no serious damage, then. Jack notes that the bag on the mulcher is filled with blood. Adrian wasn't even work a dollar, he tells Lloyd.

Micki comforts Ryan, realizing what he risked
and what she was going to run away from.

Back at the store, a bandaged Ryan listens as Lloyd tries to explain away what they saw. He tells her Ryan and Jack have gotten her into bad stuff. She says she has to stay, she has a responsibility. He calls Ryan a dropout and she yells at him, defending Ryan and his courage. Lloyd leaves, Micki heads upstairs. Ryan tries to stop her, but she snaps at him and goes up. He follows and asks if he can help. She again tells him to leave her alone. Ryan puts up a banner he made that reads Welcome Home Micki. She comes in and apologizes and sees the banner. She smiles and says thanks and he smiles as well.

Ryan is just a good guy, plain and simple.

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My thoughts:

A great episode with a gruesome antique. The mulcher is big and not your typical antique, but is straight-forward in its use. Put a body in, get money out. I also like how it calls to Adrian, sort of puts the man into a spell. Once that happens, the greed inside him grows til he kills with no remorse.

Also great in this episode is the closure for Micki where Lloyd is concerned. We see the growth she has gone through, even though she is at first in denial of it. She wants to get back to her old life and attempts to, but in the end, she makes the right choice. None of them want to do this, but if they don't, no one will.

I like the scenes with her and Ryan, showing the growing bond between the two. We see them discuss the curse and their "job" to get the items back. We even get some cute scenes, like when Micki comforts Ryan after his fall and at the end, with the banner he makes for her. Good stuff.

And I like the little nod at the pilot episode, with Vita turning and looking at Micki. Creepy!

Next week: "Tales of the Undead"

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