Friday, November 16, 2012

F13:TS 25: Shadow Boxer



Episode Recap #8: Shadow Boxer

Original Airdate: November 21, 1987

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

Guest cast:
David Ferry as Tommy Dunn
Jack Duffy as Manny King
Patricia Hamilton as Sadie King
Gerry Quigley as Doorman
Dennis Lundin as Pepper Boliski
Philip Akin as Kid Cornelius

Written by Josh Miller
Directed by Timothy Bond

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We open outside Manny's Gym. Inside, guys are sparring and training. One man, Tommy, is sweeping the floors, clearly jealous about one boxer in training. He is mocked by another man and heads off to Manny's office where he pulls a pair of boxing gloves out of a box. Tommy begs Manny to let him borror them, saying they are good luck, since they belonged to a fighter named Killer Kelsey. Manny won't hear of it, saying Tommy would just use them to beat up someone else. Tommy says no one will give him a break. But the gloves made him feel different, like he was on fire. Manny continues to berate Tommy and takes the gloves away from him.

"Killer' gloves, indeed.

Later, Tommy is working out when another fighter, Cornelius, ribs Tommy as he works out. Manny and Cornelius talk about his schedule as Tommy watches. Later, in the locker room, Tommy puts on the gloves, having taken them from Manny's office. Manny prepares to leave, warning Tommy not to steal from him or he'll fire him. Tommy starts sparring, alone, feeling the gloves come alive on his hands. he has an urge to touch his own shadow with the gloves and when he does, the shadow version of himself moves away and leaves the gym. The shadow stalks Manny in the alley, scaring the old man. Manny tries to flee, but he is cornered. In the gym, Tommy is beating on a bag, while the shadow version of himself enacts the moves on Manny, who manages to write "TO" with his own blood before dying.

The cops or his wife couldn't figure out he was trying to write "Tommy"?

At Curious Goods, Ryan is reading a comic when Micki appears, snapping pictures. She is making a picture diary for her fiance, Lloyd. Ryan is surprised she is still engaged, seeing as how she is living with two men. She doesn't think he is funny. Jack tells them Manny's widow wants them to look at some boxing memorabilia  She needs cash to settle her husband's estate. Jack tells them Manny had bought some stuff from Lewis, including Killer Ken Kelsey's boxing gloves. Seems Kelsey killed an opponent in the ring one time.

Love how we see Ryan reading a comic book at the beginning, 
showing his young, carefree spirit before he has to do something so dark.

Back at Manny's Gym, our trio arrive, Micki with her camera. In the office, they search through Manny's stuff, not finding the gloves. His widow, Sadie, says this is everything he had. Jack asks about the gloves. She says they have to be around somewhere. Sadie tells them Manny was beaten to death and tells them about the letters, "TO".

In the gym, Micki snaps pictures of the boxers, secretly trying to get a look at the gloves the men are wearing. Tommy puts the moves on Micki until Cornelius tells him to beat it. The two men bicker until Tommy leaves. Cornelius and Micki chat, and he tells her about Tommy. Micki flirts with Cornelius and snaps his picture.

Later, Tommy asks someone to watch him fight but the guy blows Tommy off, mocking his past boxing success, or lack thereof. Tommy leaves, laughing, as Jack hears the exchange from the car.

In the locker room, Tommy dons the gloves and again touches his shadow, sending it on its way. Tommy is in the ring boxing, with Micki, Ryan and Jack watching. Outside, his shadow approaches the man who laughed at him. Tommy is wailing on his opponent, the man is barely able to stand. Tommy ends up knocking the guy out, to the boos of the crowd. With her camera, Micki sees that Tommy has the gloves they are looking for. A man runs in and yells to the crowd that a man, Terrific Tony, is dead outside. Jacks tells them about the exchange he witnessed between Tommy and Tony. Ryan goes to see if the gloves are in the locker room. A shadow approaches as Ryan breaks into Tommy's locker. It is Cornelius, who thinks Ryan is just trying to rob the locker. Ryan makes up an excuse, but Cornelius doesn't buy it and throws Ryan out.

That night, the trio watches outside Tommy's apartment, waiting for him to leave so they can search for the gloves. Micki comes up with an idea to lure Tommy out, calling him on the payphone and asking him to meet her for a cup of coffee at the diner near his place. Tommy bites and heads out to meet her.

Micki truly takes one for the team, meeting Tommy for coffee. Ugh.

When Tommy leaves, Ryan and Jack head up to search his apartment. Tommy works his rough charms on Micki and she plays along to give her friends time to search. In the apartment, Ryan and Jack look for the gloves, not caring to leave things undisturbed. Micki tries to keep Tommy at the diner, but he gets impatient and calls her a tease. He throws money down for the coffee and pie and leaves. Micki rushes to the phone to warn the others.

In the apartment, Ryan almost answer the phone, but Jack stops him. Tommy enters and sees the mess and then spies the not-well-hidden duo. He grabs the gloves from their hiding place, tosses Jack out and, with his shadow-self outside, proceeds to try beat up Ryan while the shadow goes for Micki outside. Ryan dodges the punch, but Tommy keeps at it. Micki uses her camera and its flash to stun the shadow and, in turn, Tommy. Ryan uses the distraction to escape the apartment and the trio jump into their car and take off. Tommy's shadow, unsuccessful, dissolves away.

Back at home, Jack asks if Micki might have seen a man dressed in black and not just a shadow. She tells him she knows the difference. Ryan arrives with the developed pictures Micki took, which show no shadow person. She swears there was someone there. One picture, where her flash didn't work, does show the shadow man. Jack figures out how the curse works and tells the others. They realize for Tommy to win his fight, someone must die.

At the gym, Tommy's ego is riding high. He gets in Cornelius' face, telling him he isn't afraid of him anymore. He challenges Cornelius to a fight, but the other man blows him off.

Jack, Micki and Ryan arrive at the gym, trying to figure out how to get the gloves from Tommy. Cornelius overhears them say Tommy killed Manny, so he goes and clocks Tommy. He says he has his chance, he will fight him after all. Our trio tries to talk sense into Cornelius, but he isn't concerned about Tommy beating him, he just wants to get revenge for Manny's death.

At the fight, Ryan stays behind as Jack goes into the locker room to try and get under Tommy's skin. He tells the boxer he knows about the gloves and he knows that he stole the gloves from Manny. Jack tells Tommy he can keep the gloves if he gives Jack 70% of his winnings, otherwise he goes to the cops. Tommy tells him to meet him in the parking lot.

Outside, Jack meets up with Micki, who has her camera. They are hoping Tommy comes outside and into their trap.

Love the shadow effect! Well done, I think!

In the ring, Tommy tries to psych himself up for the fight. Jack arrives and reminds Tommy about the parking lot meeting later. The fight begins and Cornelius immediately has the upper hand. Tommy's shadow stalks Jack and he feels the gloves grow more powerful. Micki turns a flashlight onto the shadow, weakening it and, in turn, Tommy. The shadow appears to vanish.

The fight continues and the shadow reappears. Micki's light dies and the shadow knocks it to the ground, breaking it. The shadow goes after Jack, who lures it away from Micki. As it approaches, Micki jumps into the car and turns the headlights onto it, again weakening it. Tommy is weakened in the ring and Cornelius lands a hard blow to the man, knocking him out. Cornelius wins. Ryan jumps into the ring, gets the gloves off Tommy and leaves the gym.

Back at the store, Ryan has locked the gloves in the vault. Him and Jack are happy they were successful, but Micki snaps at them. She can't believe that Tommy is going to get away with two murders. Ryan says the cops would never believe them if they told the truth. Jack says they are stuck in a rough spot, between justice and the law.

That night, Micki lies awake, thinking of Tommy as well as her fiance, Lloyd. Ryan tries to talk to her, but she tells him she is fine. He goes off to bed, still worried about her. Tommy appears in Micki's room with a knife, telling her to lead him to wear the gloves are. Ryan hears a noise and enters her room, finding Tommy with the knife. Tommy threatens Micki's life if Ryan doesn't get the gloves. Jack arrives, as well. Tommy sends Ryan off to get the gloves or Micki will die. Jack tries to approach Tommy, but is told to turn around. Tommy raises the knife to stab Jack, but Micki distracts him.

Jack tries to convince Tommy it would be best if he just left, since the cops know nothing. Tommy won't hear of it, he won't go back to his life as a nothing. He needs the gloves to be somebody, he's sick of people picking on him.

Ryan arrives with the gloves, handing one to Tommy. The other one is on Ryan's hand and he uses to punch Jack in the gut, then the face. At the same time, Ryan's shadow self punches Tommy, knocking him out. Ryan continues to goad Jack, the curse on the gloves working to make Ryan want to hurt his friend. Micki stops him and gets the glove off Ryan's hand. Jack is down and Micki asks why Ryan did that. Ryan says he had to, to save Micki. He is worried about Jack now, helping him to his feet. Jack scolds him, saying Ryan was stupid to use a cursed item. Ryan is torn over what he had to do. Micki runs off to call an ambulance. Jack tells Tommy that sometimes you bring justice upon yourself.

Poor Jack! Ryan truly did what he thought was best, for Micki and Jack.

A later day, Cornelius arrives at the store with more of Manny's boxing stuff. Ryan asks about Tommy and Cornelius says the doctors have said Tommy had scar tissue on his brain from all the times he was beat up. Cornelius says beating Tommy in the fight was supposed to make him feel good but it didn't. They tell him they have no idea why Tommy arrived at the store that night. Cornelius says he is going to be running the gym for Manny's widow, for awhile.

Yowch. Jack was a walking reminder to Ryan, I am sure.

After he leaves, Micki consoles Ryan with the news that he wasn't responsible for the condition Tommy ended up in. Jack, sporting a black eye, says may be, but he holds Ryan responsible for what happened to him. Micki snaps a photo of Jack and laughs, trying to get Ryan to laugh. Jack, kidding, says he'll get Ryan, one day. Ryan is still clearly torn over what he did.

Micki tries to be fun and cute, but Ryan is just not there yet.
Bittersweet ending, at best.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My thoughts: A great, early episode.

I love the idea of cursed boxing gloves and the way they are used, with the shadow boxer doing the killing, gives the one who wields them such power! Not only do they make the fighter unbeatable, but they give them a rock-solid alibi every time. Too bad they were used by such a dimwitted boxer as Tommy!

Micki is quite resourceful in this episode, defending herself with both the camera and the car and also brave in luring Tommy to the diner to give the others time to search the apartment. Hanging with Tommy as he clumsily flirts was no easy task.

Ryan has the hardest time here, having to not only use a cursed item, but use them on Jack, his friend. We can see his conflict and, at the end of the episode, we see that he is not quite over it, either. Micki tries to have fun with him, but hurting Jack has hurt Ryan. I guess this is the very beginning of the darkness that having to collect these antiques brings upon Ryan's carefree spirit. Sad.

And poor Jack! Last week he was nearly killed by the doctor and the scalpel and this week he is beaten by the gloves. Sheesh!

Next week: "Root of All Evil"

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