The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 5 – The Howling Man

David Ellington narrates his unbelievable past.  After WW I he was hiking through Central Europe when a sudden thunderstorm disoriented him and he sought shelter in a hermitage.  The brothers were unwilling to give David shelter but he passes out and when he wakes up, he hears a wolf howling.    He follows the sound back to a man imprisoned in a cell who begs him to release him.  Before he does, he is brought to Brother Jerome’s office.  Brother Jerome, the head of the hermitage, informs David that the man in the cell is actually the Devil.  David seems so skeptical that Jerome explains that since he had imprisoned him the Devil had no longer been able to wreak havoc on the world.  And he warns David that if he escapes again, he’ll devastate the earth.  But David couldn’t believe the story so he removes the “Staff of Truth” that was barring the cell and the Devil escapes.

It’s many years later and we see that David is telling this story to his maid.  He tells her that after many years he has recaptured the devil in a room in the apartment and tells the maid not to remove the “Staff of Truth” from the door.  When David leaves to arrange transportation back to Brother Jerome’s the maid removes the staff and the Devil is loosed on the world again.

The set is reminiscent of some Universal Classic Horror movie and Brother Jerome is played by John Carradine who looks sufficiently gothic with his big beard and haunted eyes.  I’m a sucker for classic horror ambience.  B.

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 4 – A Thing About Machines

Bartlett Finchley is a food critic who detests people almost as much as he does machines.  When we first meet him he is castigating his tv repairman for cheating him and failing to sympathize with his battle against his household machines.  The repairman states that Finchley has thrown his transistor radio down the stairs and kicked his foot through the picture tube of his television.  He considers Finchley a crank.

But once Finchley is alone in his house we see the inexplicable behavior of the machines.  A clock starts ringing endlessly even after it’s been broken in fragments.  His electric razor came alive on his own and struck at him as if it were a cobra.  His automobile escapes his control and crashes into his house and later on releases the emergency brake and rolls into the street barely missing a child.  Later on a typewriter and his tv set both start telling him to leave the house.

When his typist shows up and he insults her she quits.  But before she can leave Finchley begs her to stay because as much as he dislikes her, he fears his machines more.  Before she leaves, she mocks him and tells him he’s paranoid.  After the horrors of his day Finchley gets soused and passes out.  When he wakes up all the appliances attack at once.  All of the speaking devices tell him to get out and the razor slithers down the stairs in pursuit.

As he runs out the door his car chases him around the property until it pushes him in the swimming pool.  The next day the cop and ambulance driver discuss how he could have ended up that way.

Alright, the fussiness of Benchley and some of his diatribes are a little amusing but this is really thin.  C+.

Michael Anton is Interviewed on Powerline

Michael Anton wrote the Flight 93 election back in 2016 and he is one of the people who recognized how important it was to beat Hillary Clinton.  He has served in the Trump White House and he is a Claremont guy.  I think he is one of the smarter guys out there and he’s on our side.  I found this podcast very interesting.

 

 

The Power Line Show, Ep. 110: After the Flight 93 Election

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 3 – Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room

Jackie Rhoades is a small-time racketeer who lives in a cheap motel room in New York City waiting for his mob boss George to tell him his crime assignment for the night.  Jackie is afraid of everything but most of all George.  He’s biting his fingernails and sweating like a pig.

When George shows up, he mocks Jackie for being a coward and tells him that he’s going to graduate to murder.  He has to shoot an old bar keeper who won’t pay George protection money.  Jackie begs George not to make him commit murder but George tells him if he doesn’t shoot the old man then his own life is over.

After George leaves, Jackie agonizes into the mirror about his predicament and even as he insists that he’ll be caught doing it he decides to kill the old man.  But as he’s getting ready to leave, his reflection in the mirror starts talking to him.  It’s a more assertive, more confident version of Jackie.  He tells Jackie that he’s the better side of Jackie’s personality and he’s been submerged all these years while Jackie has sabotaged their life with criminal activities and knuckling under to racketeers and gangsters.

Scared Jackie tells his alter ego that he has to kill the old man and nothing will stop him.  His alter ego tells him this is his last chance.  If he kills the old man he’ll be caught and their life will be over.  Scared Jackie lashes out at the mirror and spins it around but now he sees the mirror image growing and coming at him.

In the next scene George shows up in Jackie’s room and finds Jackie sitting in a chair with his hands over his face.  George confronts Jackie and tells him he’s gonna skin him alive.  But now Jackie tells George he quits and when George gets angry, Jackie punches George in the face and throws him out.  As the episode ends Jackie, now called John is leaving the flophouse for good to get a job and start his new life and Jackie in the mirror is trying to understand what’s happening to him.

In the comments on an earlier episode I expressed the opinion that having a discussion with someone is a lot better than a soliloquy.  Now granted that technically it’s really just one person but without a doubt dialog beats monologue.  The technique was effective and the episode benefited by it.  It wasn’t Shakespeare but it was good.  B.

Galaxy’s Edge (Volume 9) – Retribution – A Science Fiction Book Review

This review is of the concluding volume of Jason Anspach’s and Nick Cole’s Galaxy’s Edge series.  But to be totally accurate it is the last volume of “Season 1.”  That’s right folks, science fiction series never die, they merely turn another page.

This episode carries forward where the previous volume, Message for the Dead,” left off.  Goth Sullus has defeated the Republic, been declared Emperor by the House of Reason, captured the entities controlling the Cybar army and looks to be ready to consolidate his empire.

But things have changed by the beginning of this book.  Because Sullus has thrown in with the House of Reason, the loyal and valuable core of his Black Fleet and Shock Troopers are disillusioned with him and are leaving in droves to join up with the small remnant of the Legion that has escaped destruction.  The book has all the remaining cast of characters from the earlier books and centers on the activities of now General Chhun and Kill Team victory and Aeson Keel and his crew as they team up to stop Sullus before he can consolidate his hold on the galaxy.

A separate story line sets up the arc of the future Season 2.  Prisma Maydoon is sheltering on a refuge planet supposedly safe from the war blanketing the rest of the galaxy.  But danger finds her and she must save herself from a deadly attack.  During this trail she decides that her fate is to find out what Goth Sullus is in order to destroy him.  This leads her to escape from her refuge and head out of the galaxy to advance to the next stage in her development and face her destiny.

The war and battle scenes live up to the excellent past of the series.  The characters are engaging.  The Prisma Maydoon story is a little too adolescent girl with magical powers for me.  I guess Buffy the Vampire Slayer, River Tam and all their spiritual sisters have used up all of my empathy for four foot ten inch super girls.  But that is just a small part of the book and the story is great.  There is plenty of revenge to enjoy and lots of action to relish.  And the story is faithfully completed (for the most part).  Highly recommended.

Trump Announces Rosenstein’s Replacement

Everything takes forever in Washington.  Now it’ll be a month until we have Rosenstein’s replacement in place.  Rosen is currently Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.  I hope President Trump has some feel good stuff coming up soon because I haven’t seen any winning in a while and I’m getting bored.

White House Officially Announces Rosenstein Replacement – Jeffrey Rosen to Deputy AG…

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 2 – The Man in the Bottle

Arthur Castle and his wife Edna own an old family business, an antique shop that is basically insolvent.  Not only can’t he pay his bills but his neighbors borrow money from him too.  An old lady neighbor brings in an old wine bottle she found in a garbage can and tells him it’s a family heirloom.  Arthur tells her it’s an old wine bottle but gives her a dollar anyway.  Edna sees the “no sale” sign on the cash register and bemoans their fate saying “I wish we could find a way out of this.”  Arthur drops the bottle on the floor and a genie dressed in a stylish English suit appears and tells them he will grant them four wishes.  Arthur and Edna disbelieve him so Arthur’s first wish is a test.  He wishes for the shattered glass in one of his floor-displays to be made whole again.  Immediately it is fixed.

Arthur and Edna become excited and Arthur wishes for a million dollars in five and ten-dollar bills.  The genie grants the wish and the money floats down onto the floor of the store.  The generous Castles start gifting money to all their friends and neighbors and announce their intention to take a trip to Europe.  Just as the last friend leaves a man with a brief case appears and announces that he is from the IRS.  After the money they gave out and the taxes they pay they only have five dollars left from the million.  When the genie returns Arthur calls him a con-artist.  The genie explains that consequences should be expected when an uncarefully considered wish is made.  Arthur starts to wish for an after-tax million when Edna tells him that money isn’t a safe wish.  They debate about positions of power; a corporate big shot or a mayor or higher.  Arthur is worried about the people voting him out of power.  So, he settles on a national leader that cannot be voted out of power living within the twentieth century.  So of course, the genie makes Arthur into Hitler in the bunker.  One of his staff gives Arthur a beaker of poison to suicide with.  Considering his options Arthur uses his last wish to be back as Arthur Castle just as he was before all of this started.  And as he drops the flask in the bunker, he becomes Arthur dropping the genie’s bottle on the floor of his store.

Edna and Arthur have a new-found appreciation for their merely unfortunate circumstances and Edna adds that at least the display case glass is still intact.  Immediately Arthur shatters the display glass with the end of the broom he was using to sweep up the shards of the genie’s bottle.  As Arthur empties the fragments into a garbage can on the street in front of his shop, the bottle is surrounded by the smoke from the genie and reassembles.

This is an extremely silly fantasy.  But as you know I like extremely silly stories.  The story is very far from original but the sentimentality is not overbearing so a B seems about right.

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 1 – King Nine Will Not Return

This first episode of the second season is a war story.  James Embry is a World War II American bomber pilot.  He wakes up on the desert floor next to his B-25 bomber named King Nine.  He has problems remembering the exact sequence of events but he remembers that there was a bombing mission over Italy that was supposed to return to the North African base but they had crashed in the Sahara Desert.  None of them had parachuted away so they should all have been around the plane dead or alive.  But Embry can’t find any sign of his crew.  After running around and searching in and outside of the plane for most of the show he finds the grave of one of the crew members.  When he looks back at the plane, he thinks he can see the crew but when he runs back to them, they disappear.  He starts to become incoherent and imagines that maybe he’s dead.  He spots some planes in the sky but realizes that they are modern jet aircraft and didn’t exist in 1943 when the plane crashed.  Now he becomes almost catatonic and lays on the ground crying.

Next scene is in a hospital where a doctor and a psychiatrist are discussing how Embry was walking down the street in 1960 when he read a newspaper that had a headline about the King Nine being discovered crashed in the Sahara.  The psychiatrist states that Embry was reacting to the guilt he must have felt because he was not able to fly when that last mission in his plane crashed.  When Embry awakens, he discusses his dream with the doctors and they tell him that it is reasonable for him to be powerfully affected by the news of the discovery of the wreck.  He tells them that it felt incredibly real.  When the nurse comes back with Embry’s clothes that were taken from him when he was admitted.  Removing his shoes from the box a very large quantity of sand falls out.

Okay, so I get it that the trauma of war time loss is an important subject that can be explored and used as the basis of a sf&f story.  But this episode is way, way too thin.  Robert Cummings is a decent actor and very likable but to watch him walking around talking to himself and ranting and raving is not entertaining.  It’s actually quite annoying.  I can’t give this a good mark.  It’s a D-.

18FEB2019 – American Greatnesss Post of the Day – Foggy Crossroads by Angelo Codevilla

Codevilla reviews what he thinks the choices are for President Trump.  Either deliver the Wall and Immigration Law enforcement or lose in 2020.  He also discusses the bi-party ruling class and what part they play in our awful politics.  No surprises here.  Just the outline of what to look for going into the coming election cycle.

Foggy Crossroads

The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 1 Episode 36 – A World of His Own

Gregory West is a playwright.  His wife Victoria suspects her husband of engaging in a love affair with a mysterious blonde.  When we first see Gregory, he is sitting in his study sharing a drink and a tender moment with Mary, the blonde Victoria is searching for.  But outside the bay window of the room we see a dark-haired woman staring in.  This is Victoria.  She enters the house and calls into the study telling Gregory to let her in.  When he does let her in, she searches for Mary and even checks the walls for hidden doors.  When she finally tells that she saw him with a woman he explains what is going on.

Gregory relates that for a playwright sometimes a character can have a will of his own and in fact one day a character he was writing showed up at the house and disputed with him over his actions.  Then he explained that one day he thought up the character of Mary to give him a low-key companion who wasn’t as intimidating as his “perfect” wife Victoria.  He recorded a description on his dictation tape recorder and she appeared.  And when he needed her to disappear, he cut the piece of tape on his recorder that contained her description and threw it in the fireplace and when it burned Mary would disappear.

Victoria didn’t believe a word of this and told Gregory that he was lying.  So, Gregory demonstrated.  He described her and narrated her reaching the house and walking into the house and into the study.  And there she was, the woman that Victoria had seen through the window.  But Victoria didn’t believe it.  She thought it was a set-up.  So, Gregory snipped the tape and threw it into the fireplace and Mary disappeared in front of Victoria.

Now Victoria decides that she will have Gregory locked up in an insane asylum and tells him so.  Gregory believes her and tells her that she herself is also a product of his imagination and shows her a piece of tape in an envelope with her name on it in a safe in the room.  She scoffs at him and throws the piece of tape in the fire.  And Victoria disappears.

Sighing, Gregory starts up his tape recorder and starts describing Victoria, then stops, rewinds the recorder and instead conjures up Mary.  Only this time he calls her Mary West, his wife.  She appears and their mutual love and happiness is visible.

Now Rod Serling is in the room and he’s disparaging the reality of such an impossible story and Gregory takes offense and takes out an envelope with Rod Serling’s name on it and throws it into the fire.  Rod shrugs, smiles and disappears.  And we are left with Gregory and Mary happily ever after in the Twilight Zone.

As you know I like the fun episodes.  This is a fun episode.  Even the usually dour Serling shows some humor.  And of course, I always like when an insufferable woman gets her comeuppance.  B.