Episode Recap #18: Brain Drain
Original Airdate: April 30, 1988
John D. LeMay as Ryan Dallion
Louise Robey as Micki Foster
Chris Wiggins as Jack Marshak
Carrie Snodgress as Dr. Viola Rhodes
Denis Forest as Stewart Pangborn
Brian Paul as Dr. Verner
Francois Klanfer as Dr. Robeson
David Walden as Dr. Maxwell
Written by Josh Miller
Directed by Lyndon Chubbuck
We open on a museum. In the lab, a Doctor Robeson is monitoring hope a below-level intelligent man functions doing menial tasks. Another man comes in and the doctor tells him he has something to show him that is big news. Robeson leads the other man to a secret room in the basement. The patient, Harry, follows the men and spies on them.
Denis Forest, great actor, gone too soon.
Another huge freaking antique!
Harry, the patient, has heard all the doctor said about how the machine works and when the other man leaves, he grabs Robeson and straps him into the machine. He sits in the other seat and pulls the lever. Both men are hit in the back of their heads by the trephinator mechanism. However, since it is a cursed antique, the machine does work, transferring Robeson's intelligence into Harry and vice versa.
Yeah, that's the stuff, man...
At Curious Goods, while Jack is complaining about again, Ryan is going through the mail and finds a letter about the trephinator from the manifest. He thinks they are going to get to go to Africa, but finds out Dr. Robeson has moved back and is working at the museum nearby.
At the museum, Jack finds out Robeson died a month ago after walking into traffic and being hit by a truck. Jack then spies a woman and approaches her, calling her Vi. She is Dr. Viola Rhodes, and she is just as surprised to see Jack. She tells him she is working at the museum for awhile. They both are very happy to see each other. Viola tells Jack to call her tonight, she wants to catch up. Micki and Ryan tease Jack and he tells them he was engaged to Vi once, 20 years ago. She wanted him to go to Kenya, he said no, and the engagement ended. Ryan tells Jack they found out Robeson had an assistant, Stewart Pangborn, who took over his research, so they go to see if he has any of the late doctor's belongings.
Jack cannot believe his eyes.
Dr. Pangborn is Harry, the patient who used the trephinator to steal Robeson's intelligence. He has gotten even more intelligent and has called on another man, Dr. Verner, to help him. Verner comments on how Stewart has some of the same mannerisms that Robeson had. Jack, Micki and Ryan come in and ask about the trephinator. Stewart says no and rudely tells them to leave. After they leave, Verner tells Pangborn he remembers Robeson saying something about a trephinator. Stewart takes the other doctor to the basement and shows him the trephinator, telling him it was a machine to measure the size of a person's brain. Playing on the man's ego, he gets Verner to sit in the machine so they can compare their brain sizes. Stewart pulls the lever and the machine hits both men, transferring the doctor's intelligence into Stewart. Dr. Verner then stumbles away and falls down the marble staircase. Jack calls for an ambulance as Micki notices the puncture wound on the back of Verner's neck.
At the store, the group tries to decide what their next course of action should be. Micki thinks they should talk to Verner, in the hospital. Jack comes into the kitchen, dressed up for his date with Viola. Micki comments on how good he looks and his cologne.
At dinner, Jack and Vi reminisce about their past. Jack tells her he was married once. Vi tells him she was married to her work. He asks what she is working on, but she says she can't tell him, but it is very exciting and experimental. She tells him she needs to get back to the hotel, she has to work early. Jack says she is the same old Viola. She says she isn't the same, she wouldn't make the same mistake twice.
Ryan comes back to the store and tells Micki he got an autopsy report for Dr. Robeson. Micki tells him she couldn't see Verner, he died before she could visit. Ryan tells her Robeson also had a puncture wound on the back of his neck.
At the hotel, Vi invites Jack up to her room and they share a kiss. Jack then goes with her upstairs.
It is like no time has passed for these lovebirds.
At the lab, Stewart, speaking in the accent of the doctor he just killed, tells the brain in his lab that it will make him famous.
It's alive! It's ALIVE!!!
Arriving home late, Jack attempts to sneak into the store, but Micki and Ryan are awake and waiting for him. They tell him about Verner dying and how Robeson had the same puncture wound. Jack speculates that the trephinator must have transferred their intelligence into Stewart Pangborn. Since the museum isn't opened yet, Jack says he was take a nap and then they will head over. Ryan asks if Jack is going to see Vi again. Jack says he is having lunch with Viola.
At the museum, Stewart tells Viola he is honored to have her working with him. She thinks the work is revolutionary. When she tells him they could get the brain learning language in months, he snaps, saying he wants results sooner. She tells him he needs patience, he wants her to work faster. She tells him she cannot help and then begins to leave to meet Jack. Stewart stops her, apologizing and asking her to come see one other piece of equipment. She tells him she has to go and will see it later.
Brains make a make clean up well.
At the museum, Ryan and Micki snoop around, looking for the machine. In the basement, Ryan remarks that the items are as strange as what they have in the vault. Micki adds that at least these items aren't cursed. They search through files and are about to give up when Ryan finds a file for a patient named Harry Bradden who is Stewart. Since they can see what his IQ used to be, they realize he is the one gaining intelligence using the trephinator.
In the storeroom of the basement, Stewart hears a noise and calls out for Dr. Rhodes. Micki is surprised that Stewart knows who Vi is. They try to be quiet, but Ryan bumps into something and Stewart keeps looking. Both Ryan and Micki have a hard time being quiet, so Stewart arms himself with a spear and searches the room. Micki hides in a crate. Ryan is just about to be discovered when Dr. Pangborn is paged by security. He hurries out. Ryan finds Micki in the crate and lets her out. She is shocked to see there was a mummified corpse in the crate with her. She wants to leave, but Ryan insists they keep searching.
Upstairs, in the lab, the see the brains in fluid, pulsing and alive. Ryan goes through more files, but finds nothing. They hear a guard come down into the basement. He looks around and leaves.
At the hotel, Jack and Vi are finishing lunch and Jack asks what is on Vi's mind. She tells him that she believe there is something wrong with the director of the program, Stewart. She says the program could be ground-breaking, however. Jack comments that is sounds like she could be around for awhile. She says she could be. Jack then pulls the old engagement ring out of his pocket and Vi says she would love to marry Jack now. He gives her the ring, telling her it was always hers. He wants to spend the day with her, but she says she has to go back to work so she can have the night free.
Micki and Ryan argue about what to do. Ryan says they need to find the trephinator, Micki says they should warn Vi first. Jack arrives and tells them he has news about Vi. Micki says Dr. Rhodes is in danger and fills him in on what they learned at the museum. They rush out, worried for Viola's safety.
Stewart chides Vi for being distracted, she says she just had a personal matter to deal with. he asks for her help with something and she agrees, following him.
Jack speeds to the museum, snapping at Micki and Ryan as they try to comfort him. He tells them Vi is going to marry him and he can't lose her. They tell him they want to help and he apologizes. Jack is in a near panic, worried he will lose Vi again, and this time, for good.
Stewart shows Dr. Rhodes the trephinator and when her back is turned, he hits her, knocking her out.
Arriving at the museum, the trio rush to find a way into the closed building.
Vi awakens strapped into the trephinator and before she can grasp what is going on, Stewart pulls the lever, transferring her intelligence into his brain.
Zoinks! That's smarts!!!
Unable to find a way in, Jack worries for Vi's safety. Searching around the back of the building, Micki comes across Vi, laying barely alive in the alley. Jack tells Ryan to get the door open, telling them there is only one chance to save Vi, they have to reverse the process and get her mind back from Stewart.
Stewart works with the brain using Vi's knowledge, getting it to make a sound. He tells the brain the world is waiting for them.
Inside the museum, the group brings Vi, hoping to save her. Ryan says Stewart could be anywhere. They bring her to the basement, looking for a safe place for Vi so they can go and look for Stewart. She begins to come around, but is incoherent. Ryan asks if Jack is willing t kill Pangborn and Jack says there is no other way, he can't watch Viola die. Micki and Ryan rush off to find Pangborn. Jack looks around for the doctor or the machine. In the lab he finds a gun and takes it with him.
Micki and Ryan, debating what to do about Pangborn and Viola, are stopped by a security guard.
Jack chases Pangborn, who sneaks up behind Jack and gets the gun away from him. Stewart tells Jack he knows what the woman thought and knew about Jack. Just as Pangborn is about to shoot, Vi stumbles out and rams into him, causing the gun to shoot wildly. Jack sees the trephinator and demands Pangborn tell him which seat to put Vi in to get her back. Stewart tells him it is too late, Vi's memories only live in his mind now. Both men struggle around the room, but eventually Jack gets the upper hand, stunning Stewart, who collapses into the trephinator seat. But before Jack can do anything else, Vi pulls the lever, and the machine hits Pangborn as well as the brain in the glass case. The brain in the case dies, Pangborn is given even less intelligence than he started with and Vi dies.
Would it have been better for him to have not reconnected with Vi?
Later, at the store, Jack rues the events, wondering if he could have done something different. Ryan and Micki comfort Jack as best they can. Ryan tells him that they do what they have to and, if they are lucky, it is good enough. Micki tells him to remember the time he did have with Viola. Jack speaks to Viola, telling her to wait and maybe they can be together, someday.
My thoughts: Quite an interesting episode! Not only do we get an unique and unusual antique with a very cool curse, we get a glimpse into Jack's past!
The trephinator is a great item, giving the user such a gift for the deaths the person has to give in return. It is yet another huge item for the vault, however. Going to run out of room before season one even ends!
Love the glimpse into Jack's past and the romance he rekindles with Viola. Sadly, he loses her again, but this time in the most awful and final way possible. Damn Lewis, yet again.
Love Micki and Ryan being the one to give Jack words of advice and comfort at the end, words he has given them many times before. They are all growing and changing, even if it is due to some horrible events along the way.
Also love seeing Denis Forest, yet again. He was almost a member of the cast!
One thing I have to wonder is what would have happened to our Curious Goods group had Viola lived and her and Jack married? Would have been interesting!
Next week: "The Quilt of Hathor (Part One)"