Episode Recap #17: The Electrocutioner
Original Airdate: April 23, 1988
John D. LeMay as Ryan Dallion
Louise Robey as Micki Foster
Chris Wiggins as Jack Marshak
Angelo Rizacos as Eli Pittman
Frank Adamson as Warden Hobbs
Marcia Bennett as Peggy Hobbs
J. Winston Carroll as Judge Miller
Jennifer Cornish as Melissa Duvall
Ron Hartman as Mr. Downing
Written by Rob Hedden
Directed by Rob Hedden
We open, in black and white, outside of an old prison during a storm. The year is 1978 and a man is taken from his cell, his head is shaved and he is brought to the room with the electric chair. Other men and guards are standing, ready to witness this prisoner's death. Another man sits by the phone. When it rings, he has the unfortunate task of telling the prisoner, Eli Pittman, that his stay of execution has been denied. Eli professes his innocence, but they flip the switch and he is electrocuted. Once it is over, the doctor examines him and reports that Eli is not dead. The switch is flipped again, he is again electrocuted. This time the doctor declares him dead and he is wheeled out on a gurney Before they leave, he grabs the guard's hand. The other men want him back in the chair, but one man stops them, saying that he was pronounced dead and they cannot execute a man twice. Eli is taken away to a hospital to see what effects the double-electrocution has had on him.
The actor goes through three different looks in this one episode!
In the present day, Ryan is rocking out to some music while fooling around with a lightening lamp. Micki turns off his radio and Jack arrives with a letter they sent out about an antique. Seems it was returned as there was no forwarding address, but Jack says the doctor's name turned out to be phony, the medical association never heard of the man. Ryan asks what Lewis sold him and Jack replies that it was an old electric chair.
Flash to Haverstock Reform School where a teenage girl is just coming out of the nitrous oxide after her appointment. The dentist, Dr. Lindheim, who is the former prisoner Eli Pittman, says he was sidetracked from his schooling in the 70s, but went back cause he likes working with kids. Mr. Downing, who runs the school, comes in and tells the dentist how happy they were to have him come work there, but he is sad to report that the school will be closing in two weeks due to lack of funding. After Downing leaves, Eli flashes back to his execution and the men who were present but did nothing to stop it. Eli puts a hand on his dental chair, which is the electric chair re-purposed.
At the prison, Jack and Ryan are interviewing the warden about the electric chair, pretending to do research for a book on infamous antiques. He tells them about Eli Pittman being the only one who survived his time in the chair, saying it gained a little notoriety after the incident. The chair was sold to a private collector, whom Ryan speculates was Uncle Lewis. The warden tells them that Eli had been telling the truth, someone else ended up confessing to murdering his girlfriend.
Next, we see Dr. Lindheim aka Pittman with a new patient in his chair. He makes small talk with the young man, then flips the switch on the electric chair and kills him, vaporizing the boy's entire body, leaving only his clothes behind. Eli then gets into the chair and it imbues him with power from the murdered boy.
Eli could have resumed his life,
but his experience left him too damaged.
That night, an older man, Mr. Kendricks, is working late in his office. Eli arrives, letting himself in. He remembers the man as the one who wanted to put him back in the electric chair after he survived his execution. Eli introduces himself as Dr. Lindheim. The old attorney is under the impression the dentist has information about a man who was wrongly executed. Eli then reveals himself as the prisoner. Kendricks wants him to leave. When the old man has his hand on the doorknob, Eli grabs the other side of the knob and the electricity the chair filled him with flows through, killing Kendricks.
Eli can kill with no muss and no fuss,
but not without pain.
In his office, Eli x'es out Kendricks face from an old photograph. Two other faces are already crossed out. He makes a call to the office of Judge Avery, another man from the photograph. He learns when the man will be at home. He then pulls a patient file, the young girl from the beginning of the episode.
At the store, the trio is going over the Pittman files to try and find out where he could be now, when Ryan finds a paper about Eli's previous dental school ambitions. Jack suspects that Dr. Lindheim and Eli Pittman might just be one and the same.
At the dental office, Melissa is startled by Dr. Lindheim. He wants to know why she missed her appointment. She was unaware of any appointment, but since she will excused from history class, she goes with the doctor.
Melissa, as a poster child for the 1980s!
Jack, Micki and Ryan prepare to head out and alert all the other people involved with Eli's execution that they may be in danger.
Mr. Downing goes looking for Melissa and finds her room empty. He continues to search. Melissa is high on the nitrous oxide and Eli flips the switch, killing and vaporizing the young woman. He removes her clothes and hides them just as Mr. Downing arrives, asking if the dentist has seen Melissa. He lies and says no. After the man leaves, Eli gets into the chair to be imbued with the electricity once more.
Quite the big antique!
Between this, the mulcher, the Houdan box
and then the trephantor and playhouse,
it is no wonder they needed more room in the vault!
That night, Judge Avery arrives home, unaware he is being watched by Eli. Ryan and Micki arrive to warn the judge about Eli, but Eli confronts the judge first. He questions the judge about what the punishment would be for someone who wrongly executed an innocent man. The judges realizes who Eli is tells him not to come any closer. Eli agrees, but he grabs the same iron railing the judge is holding and the electricity course through, killing the judge. As Eli turns, he notices Micki and Ryan watching and chases them. Ryan trips and falls in a puddle and Eli places his hand into it just as Micki gets Ryan out. Ryan just barely avoids being electrocuted. The pair rush to their car and lock the doors, but Ryan dropped the keys in the street. Eli approaches and Ryan tells Micki not to touch anything metal, just as Eli reaches out to place his hand on the vehicle's hood ornament. Electricity surges throughout the car until Eli is drained of all power. Micki and Ryan avoid being killed and Eli flees into the night. Aware of how close they came to death, Ryan says he'll go look for the keys.
Amazing that they even got the car started and drove home!
At the store, Ryan and Micki inform Jack of what Eli is capable of and Micki says almost everyone in the photo is dead, except for one man and a couple of guards. Jack tells them that he found where Dr. Lindheim is working, at the reform school. He has made arrangements to visit the school. Ryan tells them to wear rubber boots and gloves.
Micki and Jack, in rubber boots, arrive at the school and talk with Mr. Downing. Eli spies them. Downing shows them around, believing they are interested in the antiques. Downing takes a call and says he will be right there. We then see Eli hang up his phone, a hypodermic needle in his hand.
At the prison, Ryan is showing the photograph of the men involved in Eli's unsuccessful execution to the warden, hoping to find out who the unknown man is. The warden says he was the jury foreman during the trial, Mr. Stridel. The warden says he has more info at his home and invites Ryan to dinner with him and his wife. Ryan says he will give him a call later.
Micki and Jack search the school for Eli's office. Downing arrives and is immediately injected by Lindheim, aka Eli, who places the old man in the electric chair. He takes out his dental drill and demands to know what the old man told Jack and Micki. When he professes ignorance, Eli drills without Novocaine He asks again and the old man says they are just antique dealers. Eli then begins to drill again. Micki and Jack continue to search for the office. Downing is now nearly catatonic by the point, as Eli apologizes for what he has done.
Micki and Jack then see the lights in the building flicker and become concerned. Eli removes the clothes Downing left behind when he was vaporized then gets in the chair and becomes empowered with electricity once more. Micki and Jack don rubber gloves before entering the office. They find the place empty, the exit door ajar. Looking around, Jack recognizes the chair and Micki finds a stack of clothes on the floor. Jack then makes a needle into a magnetic compass as a way to find Eli. Following the floating compass, they are soon on Eli's path, through the basement of the school. Eli waits for them in the shadows. Jack seems a transformer and they are relieved to think the electrical sounds they here are merely from it. But when they turn around, the see Eli watching them. He steps closer, removing his rubber gloves, but at the last minute he turns and tuns away.
Micki and Jack must both be wondering
how the hell they are getting that home and into the vault!
Back at the store, Micki and Jack, after much struggling, finally place the chair into the vault. Jack is glad that Eli won't have access to it and will just have the final charge he got, but wonders why the man didn't use the electricity to kill them. Micki says he must be saving it for his next victim. Ryan arrives and tells them the jury foreman died ten years ago. Ryan thinks their job is done but Micki says that they still have to stop Eli, he is a killer on the loose. Eli still has a charge, as well. Micki speculates that maybe the final person wasn't in the photo. Jack says that warden Hobbs was the one who ordered the switch to be pulled.
After getting no answer on the warden's phone, the group rush out to his house. The man is just arriving home, unaware that Eli is watching from the bushes. Inside, Hobbs and his wife embrace and he asks about their dinner guest, Ryan. She says he hasn't called and the warden heads to his study. When the doorbell rings, Hobbs wife thinks the man is Ryan Dallion and lets him in. When Eli removes his hat, Mrs. Hobbs is surprised by his appearance, but says she expected him to be younger. Eli says he wants to surprise the warden and heads off to the study.
Micki, Ryan and Jack continue racing to their warden's home. When Eli and Hobbs do meet, Hobbs soon recognizes the man as the long-ago prisoner. When Mrs. Hobbs opens the door, she is shocked that this is Ryan. Jack sends Micki away with Mrs. Hobbs to find help and tells Ryan to go get the jumper cables from the car. He then rushes upstairs and tells the warden to get away from Eli. The man hides in a room and Eli tries to get in, but Jack keeps him distracted. Ryan arrives and attaches the cable to a radiator. Jack goads Eli, telling him that he has the chair and its all over now. Eli yells and attacks Jack, but Jack clamps the jumper cable onto Eli's hand. Eli winds up electrocuting himself and this time, he dies for real. The warden steps out of the room to find Eli's shriveled, smoldering body, Jack and Ryan watching.
Just how the hell do they explain this to the warden, much less the cops?
The next day, Micki is happy the sun is out, as Jack works on connecting Ryan's lightening lamp to his stereo. He tells Micki to put her hand on the globe. She does and thinks it feels kind of cool. Jack and Ryan snicker at Micki, who is unaware the electricity has sent her all of her hair to stand on end.
Micki can rock any look!
I love it! Well written, this is an antique one wouldn't think of, but it has the potential to give super powers, in a way, to Eli. Sadly, it also turns him into a killer.
Funny how the chair is supposedly not cursed before Lewis gets it, but Eli does survive his electrocution. Merely a coincidence, I guess?
Love the unexpected in this episode. Eli survives and becomes - a dentist! So now he has a plausible way to lure people into his chair, even if it doesn't look like any normal dentist's chair. I mean, didn't people wonder what the head thing was for?
Also love how ingenious Jack is in this episode! He not only figures out a lot of what is going on and who Eli becomes, he also goes all MacGyver and creates a compass to track the killer then comes up with the way to stop Eli at the end. Bad ass Jack being all bad ass!
Love Ryan's quip about Micki and Jack wearing rubber boots and then we see them in rubber boots!
Love how weird the warden gets when he invites Ryan to dinner. The man is like giddy with excitement over the idea!
Also love Melissa's totally 80s look.
Just a great, fun, interesting episode!
Next week: "Brain Drain"