Friday, December 7, 2012

F13:TS 25 - Scarecrow


Episode Recap #11: Scarecrow

Original Airdate: February 6 , 1988

John D. LeMay as Ryan Dallion
Louise Robey as Micki Foster

Guest cast:
Patricia Phillips as Marge Longacre
Ted Hanlan as Scarecrow
Steve Pernie as Sheriff Comins
Nicolas Van Burek as Jordy Meeno
Andrew Thomson as Dave Meeno
James B. Douglas as Charlie Cobean
Norma Edwards as Tudy Cobean
Todd Duckworth as Nick Cobean
Les Rubie as Nate

Written by Larry B. Williams, Marc Scott Zicree
Directed by William Fruet


We open on a farmhouse on a stormy night. A man is going over all the bills he owes, telling his son that he will pay every last one of them. The boy asks if it was the last crop that is the problem and the father says yes, it was a big disappointment. But he tries to remain upbeat for his son. A woman is outside the house, watching. She pins a photo of the dad to a scarecrow, who appears to be alive. In the house, the dad says good-night to his son and goes downstairs. He hears a noise and opens the front door to see the scarecrow with a scythe raised in the air. He slams the door but the scarecrow is in the house. The boy watches from the top of the stairs as the scarecrow beheads his father, then he sees a figure in a rain slicker take the head and leave. At sunrise, the woman is smiling, he arms raised to greet the day.

Marge does clean up after herself and her scarecrow.

Micki and Ryan are traveling after receiving a response to a mailer Ryan sent out, asking about a cursed scarecrow. The letter gives them an address and states "Please come get that Scarecrow!" Micki also has a postcard from Jack, seems he is on a mission to get a cursed item called the Icarus feather.

Not a pleasant drive into the country.

After stopping for directions, Ryan sees that Micki has packed a picnic lunch. She tosses him a baseball that she found in the drawer near the fridge at the store. It reads "To Ryan, from Jimmy." Ryan snaps at her for taking it, she apologizes, saying she didn't mean anything by it.

First we find out about Ryan's late brother, Jimmy Dallion.

At the address from the letter, they show the mailer to the man who lives there. He says he never heard of it. Micki asks about the scarecrow and the man's wife says they did buy it, but the man says it burned up a few years ago. Micki asks to use the bathroom and whispers to Ryan to keep them talking.

Micki quickly falls into a ruse to do some snooping,
Bet Ryan like the little smooch.

Micki snoops around the house and when a doorknob moves she unlocks the door to that room. A strange man comes up and attacks her. The old man and his wife get their son locked back in his room as Ryan comforts Micki. The man says their boy is their business and asks them to leave.

Outside, Micki and Ryan discuss that they know the man is lying, since the antiques can't be destroyed. On the premise that they are looking for antiques, the duo goes to the old barn near the house. Micki spots the crossbeam for a scarecrow in the field, but it is bare. The woman who had the scarecrow the night before approaches and asks who they are. They explain that they met the Cobeans and their curiosity got the better of them. She warns them about curiosity and tells them her name is Marge Longacre. She is bringing tea to help calm the Cobeans' son. When Ryan asks if she knows a place they can stay, she says she runs the only inn in town and points them in its direction. Marge goes to the Cobeans and asks about the visitors.

Micki looks great, as always.
But Ryan, that sweater. Wow.

That night, Micki and Ryan check into the inn. Ryan asks about a picture on the wall and Marge says it is of her and her husband. He was a farmer and the work killed him. After Marge leaves, Micki tells Ryan she thinks Mrs. Cobean wanted to tell them something. Marge overhears.

Later, Mrs. Cobean sneaks out of her home when her husband dozes off watching television. Visibly scared, the old woman nevertheless heads off to talk to Ryan and Micki. But Marge watches and pins a photo of the woman to the scarecrow. Soon enough, the scarecrow is after her, scythe in hand. She runs through the cornfield and to the inn. Thinking she eluded the scarecrow, Mrs. Coben climbs the stairs to inn porch. But when she turns around, the scarecrow is there and swings the scythe as she screams.

Inside, Micki hears the noise and opens the front door. She is horrified to find the still moving head of Mrs. Cobean on the floor and the scarecrow standing, watching her. She screams for Ryan, who rushes down the stairs. Ryan sees Mrs. Cobeans' body, but the head and the scarecrow are gone. Marge comes down asking what is going on and Ryan tells her there has been an accident. As he turns away, Marge smiles.

Mrs. Cobean decided to drop in on Micki.

The sheriff arrives at the inn and questions Micki and Ryan. As they sheriff goes to talk to Marge, Micki tells Ryan it was the scarecrow who killed her, with a photo pinned to his chest. The sheriff overhears and assumes Micki is telling Ryan a tall tale and advises her to keep that story to herself.

The next morning, Marge is cleaning up as the sheriff returns. He asks about her guests, he has more questions about Micki's story. Marge says the story sounds crazy, but the sheriff says the coroner's report confirms it was a long blade that killed her and they found straw in her hand.

Another huge antique for the vault!

Micki and Ryan purchase an old water pump from a local in town and ask if he knows of anyone else looking to sell anything. They ask about the Cobeans and the man says the Cobeans are one of the only families doing well while the rest of the locals are facing hard times. He thinks Mr. Cobean is lucky. They ask about any unsolved murders or disappearances. The man says some farmers take off before the bill collectors can get to them. Ryan asks if any were surprising. The man tells them about Dave Meeno, who wasn't the type to walk away from what he owed, but him and his boy both vanished. Ryan and Micki thank him and head out to the Meeno home to investigate.

Marge sees Micki and Ryan drive by and she plays on the emotions of the Cobeans' son, telling him she knows he likes Micki. She gets him riled up, telling him Micki is the type that needs breaking in.
At the Meeno home, poke around, looking for the scarecrow. They split up to search. In the house, Ryan finds evidence of someone still living there. Outside, Micki finds clothes on the line and is scared by a crow. She seems a pool of red liquid, apparently blood. She heads toward the old barn, which is burnt out and nearly a ruin. Ryan continues to search the house and is attacked from behind by the boy, Jordy Meeno. In the barn, Micki finds a tarp and thinks she is going to find a body underneath, but it is merely a basket of rotten tomatoes.

In the house, Ryan is struggling with Jordy and eventually gets the boy to calm down when he hears a scream from Micki. The scarecrow has appeared and is chasing her, scythe in hand once again. Micki falls and the scarecrow raises his scythe to strike her but he is shot by the recently arrived sheriff. He pulls the mask off the scarecrow and reveals the Cobeans' son, now dead.

The sheriff recognizes the boy with Ryan as Jordy Meeno and says he arrived there because he got impatient waiting for them at the inn. When the sheriff asks about Jordy's dad, Ryan hints that it appears the Cobeans' son must have killed him, too. Ryan says Jordy can stay with him and Micki at the inn until the sheriff can locate his aunt down south.

At the inn, Marge plays nice, asking if Jordy has said anything about what's happened. Ryan says no, and she tells him to let her know if he does speak up. Micki leaves her back at the bottom of the stairs and heads up to her room. Ryan continues to talk to Jordy, hoping to get him to open up. Micki arrives and they go into the other room so Jordy can sleep.

Downstairs, Marge goes through Micki's bag and finds her driver's license.  Ryan tells Micki that Jordy reminds him of Jimmy, his brother who died when they were kids. Ryan feels guilty because he was playing with his brother and there was nothing he could do to save him. Micki tells Ryan she found out that three people go missing every harvest, this year there has only been two, Dave Meeno and Mrs. Cobean. Ryan realizes the scarecrow needs another victim, soon. Jordy speaks, finally, telling them he can help.

Micki comforts Ryan when he opens up about Jimmy.

At his home, Mr. Cobean is drinking and looking at a photograph of late wife and son. He gets riled up, grabs a paper and the phone to call someone. But a noise outside spooks him, so he hangs up the phone.

Jordy tells Micki and Ryan about seeing a person in a raincoat the night his father died. He didn't see the person's face, however. He also tells them there was a scarecrow in the Cobean barn. Ryan and Micki decide to take Jordy with them to get the scarecrow. Micki notices her bag has been touched and finds her license missing. Jordy tells them his dad lost a picture before he died, too. They realize this must be how the scarecrow finds his victim. Ryan tells Micki they need to get her somewhere safe, like the Sheriff's office. They head out, unaware that Marge has been listening.

Ryan and Micki get the Sheriff to agree to let her stay there while Ryan and Jordy head to the Cobean barn. Marge hears. At the Cobeans', Marge is getting the scarecrow down when Mr. Cobean arrives and accuses Marge of being responsible for the deaths of his wife and son. He pulls his rifle on her and she pretends to be interested in him, romantically. He is wary, at first, but her words get to him and he lowers his rifle. As she goes in for a hug, Marge plunges a blade into his back, killing him.

Later, Ryan and Jordy arrive to look for the scarecrow. They find dozens of them, all hung from the rafters. Ryan has no idea which scarecrow is the one he is looking for as his flashlight beam swings around the barn. Ryan spots blood dripping and looks up, shielding Jordy from the sight of Mr. Cobeans' body, suspended from a beam.

Back at the sheriff's station, Micki tries to get the sheriff to open about anything he might now. He is a man of few words, however, so she gets nowhere. When he opens the closet to get a blanket for her, Micki spies the raincoat and hat Marge planted. Thinking he must be the one using the scarecrow, Micki pushes the cop into the closet and locks the door.

Back at the farm, Ryan finds the contract stating that Mr. Cobean had sold the farm three years ago to Marge. They rush out. Back at the inn, Marge is surprised to see Micki arrive, alive and well. Marge takes Micki upstairs and tells her to relax, then locks her in the room. Behind her, Micki is shocked when the scarecrow sits up from under the quilt on the bed. He goes after Micki, swinging the scythe again and again. Marge sits downstairs, knitting, listening to the struggle. Ryan, Jordy and the Sheriff arrive, looking for Micki and Marge leaps out and stabs the Sheriff in the shoulder with her scissors, then grabs Jordy and holds the scissors to his neck. But Ryan, thinking of how helpless he was when his brother died, leaps at her, kicking the scissors out of her hand. Jordy gets free and Ryan and Marge struggle.

NOT who you want to find in your bed.

Upstairs, Micki continues to allude the scarecrow, but just barely. When the scarecrow hacks at the door, Micki uses the moment to push him aside and crash through the broken wood. She rushes downstairs and is shocked to find the scarecrow already there, waiting. He raises the scythe  but Ryan leaps on its back. When Ryan holds the scythe, Micki grabs her license off the chest of the scarecrow and he is rendered lifeless.

Ryan goes all ninja on Marge!

Marge leaps out from the backroom and rushes to attack Micki, but Ryan stops her. In the confusion, the picture of Marge and her husband falls off the wall and onto the scarecrow. It is again animated and follows Marge, beheading her before she can kill Ryan. The pictures falls loose again and the scarecrow is again lifeless.

She wouldn't have believe Ryan if he had said "Behind you!"

The next morning, Ryan and Micki are saying goodbye to the Sheriff and Jordy. Ryan gives Jordy the baseball that his brother had given to him, then proceeds to tell the boy about his late brother.

Ryan doesn't get to stay and be a big brother to Jordy,
but he does give him the ball his brother had given to him.

On the ride home, Micki and Ryan talk. What did the scarecrow do with all the heads, she wonders. As they leave the town, a scarecrow frame in a field collapses.

Amazing final shot!


My thoughts:

One of my favorite episodes of the entire series! I love the feel of this one, the rural, autumnal setting is just great for the creepy story of killer scarecrow.

Love seeing Micki and Ryan on a mission together, outside of the store and on their own away from Jack. Also love the little bit about Jack being on the trail of yet another antique somewhere else.

The mention of Ryan's late brother is a great glimpse into his past. Ryan is definitely the type to carry such guilt over being unable to save his brother's life when they were kids. We see more of the darkness that slowly grows over Ryan in his time at Curious Goods.

Marge is also a great villain, dark and sadistic, she feigns caring for anyone around her save herself. We get a little insight into how she got this way when she mentions that the hard work of being a farmer is what killed her husband.

Also love the little bit with the townspeople. When Micki and Ryan buy the antique pump, the old men share winks, knowing they sold the item to these "city folk" for much more than it was really worth. Fun stuff.

One thing I don't get is how the scarecrow could appear in any place. When Dave Meeno shuts the door in its face, it suddenly appears inside the house. And when Micki leaves the scarecrow upstairs, it appears downstairs as soon as she does. How does it do this? I suppose we can just chalk it up to another power the items have via the curse.

Just a great, classic episode of the show. Scary, fun stuff.

Next week: "Faith Healer"

No comments:

Post a Comment