Author Topic: Out of the Frying Pan -- Episodes 103 & 104  (Read 1236 times)

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Offline Luciaphile

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Out of the Frying Pan -- Episodes 103 & 104
« on: January 12, 2006, 04:56:33 PM »
Fashion notes first . . .

Vicki wears a number of ensembles for these episodes. All stuff we've seen before (dark, sleeveless A-line, dumpy suit, a nightgown that Ma Ingalls would like back. Nothing inspiring. The hair is down and falls are in place. And the bow is ever present.

Roger's Wal*Mart coat makes a reappearance; I suspect solely so that it matches up with the film footage.

Elizabeth's wearing that light colored dress gathered at the neck and the sleeves that does nothing for the sister of the human coat hanger (the late, great Constance Bennett). So you know it's bad.

Onto the show . . .

I'm trying to find something interesting to say about these episodes and it's pretty darn hard. Essentially Vicki can't make up her mind about Roger's guilt or innocence. There are a bunch of phone calls mostly about what Vicki knows and/or believes. Then there are a couple of attempts on her life. Really that's it in a nutshell. And it's boring.

I didn't care for either episode. Much of the waffling displayed by Vicki is, I suspect, poor writing. In order to keep the suspense (or what passes for suspense) going, Swann and co. have her vacillating back and forth. The problem is that it makes her seem like she's addicted to drama more than Erica Kane as well as pretty darn stupid. The other big problem I had with both of these is the Art Wallace-esque business of having characters make tons of phone calls. It's an exposition heavy plot to begin with, then you add in a bunch of fairly blah telephoning, and we have a snoozefest.

So anyway, Roger has been drinking. Like he always does so it's not even the suspenseful drinking of a person about to snap. But this is Roger so it's not like he's slurring his words or singing. He's just the same old, functional alcoholic Roger as always. He seems agitated enough when he can't find Vicki in the house, but for about the five minutes we see of Louis Edmonds wandering around the set calling her name, anyone just tuning in might be thinking he's trying to tell her she has a phone call or something.

Bear in mind that the last episode had her fleeing into the night and all.

Finally he flings up the front doors of Collinwood and yells out "Vicki!" but I'm still not getting the panic thing.

The Blue Whale is comparatively hopping. The Rotarian extras are at their favorite table just behind Burke while the poor man's William Schallert hangs out with a young woman in the corner. For the viewers just tuning in, Vicki relates Roger's story. Once we're all caught up (after five minutes of watching Roger walk around aimlessly yelling "Vicki") I'm checking the clock to see how much longer this is going to go on. Vicki now expresses her doubts as to Roger's guilt, which I could buy if she hadn't made such a gosh darn big deal about being in TERRIBLE DANGER from him last episode. Needless to say Burke is convinced that Roger killed Bill, but then Roger could have produced eyewitness accounts of him being in the company of the Pope and Burke would have been convinced Roger killed Bill.

Francis Swann proceeds to let me down in a big way. So Burke suggests going to the cops with what they do have. Now this is a change on his part, but still it's the next logical step. Little Miss Drama Queen objects. Why? Who the hell knows? Burke gets another idea. He plans to go down (or is it up) to Bangor. Vicki declines his invitation to go along with, and by the end of the scene appears to have decided that now Roger (formerly thought to be Jack the Ripper) is innocent.

After their departure, Sam stumbles in. A depressed looking Maggie is moping in a corner. You know you've got no social life when your night on the town consists of an evening with your drunken father. She is fairly quick to tell him about Vicki's belief that she knows what happened to Bill. One thing I really like about Maggie in this early period is the healthy amount of self-interest she has. That's a compliment, by the way. It's good to have loyalty to your family and yourself. You just know that as much as Maggie likes Vicki and all, her chief concern is her father.

Sam is vague and evasive about Maggie's questions. The scene is dull except for the amount of emotion that KLS and Ford put into it. You get the definite sense that Maggie would cover up for him if he was truly guilty of killing Bill.

The new bartender is called "Bill" and looks remarkably like the actor who plays Bob Rooney, but is not in fact the same man.

Back at the ranch, Roger does his own share of drinking.

I am so not a hard liquor-straight up-kind-of-a-gal. I'm getting tipsy just watching Sam down four shots of something in rapid succession. Sam has Maggie call Vicki.

Roger answers. The whole purpose behind this exchange is a setup to establish later on that Vicki can't lie to save her life (as we all know).

Maggie returns to find Sam gone.

Vicki meanwhile has arrived back at the estate and attempts to sneak in. Roger surprises her and he's appropriately sinister. I'm guessing we were supposed to feel anxious on Vicki's behalf when she lies about having been with Maggie, but really it's just kind of funny. He doesn't call her on it or stop her from going upstairs though. In fact, after she's upstairs, he calls the Blue Whale and confirms that when Maggie was at the Blue Whale, the only person she was with was Sam.

It's dark. Vicki's getting ready for bed and the door begins to open. She screams.

End episode. But wait, no, it doesn't. You would think this would be a great cliffhanger to end the day with, but for some reason we now get to see Roger call out, mysterious intruder disappear, and have a talky scene between Roger and Vicki. He claims no one could have unlocked her door. He suggests that she was still asleep; he's pretty darn sinister but I can't say that I blame him, because Vicki really can bring it on herself. This is also the first time where someone damns Vicki's experiences as the result of a vivid imagination. I know it's hard for people who have only seen the stuff from 1967 onwards to believe, but up until this point, Vicki's been the practical one. When she protests, he casually drops the bomb that Maggie called.

And now we end the episode.

104 begins with a brand new production slate with Dark Shadows, VTR, and AIR in permanent letters. For anyone who cares it's officially Day 16.

Okay, now I get that some unknown person breaking into your room is a truly frightening ordeal. It's scary and icky and it's a violation of your personal space. No question. What I'm puzzled by is the almost accusatory way that Vicki has with Elizabeth. Elizabeth, I might add, is alarmed. She immediately offers to have Matthew (oh yeah, that'll help) put another lock on Vicki's door. There's some discussion as to what a "prowler" could possibly want in Vicki's room.

Let's pause for a moment. I recognize that this is the mid 60s and all, but in theory Vicki is supposed to be from New York City, not Mayberry, not Our Town, but New York in all of its urban decay and glory. I also recognize that the good people at Standards & Practices probably would have had fits at the mention of rape or molestation, but c'mon. Also, it's not like Vicki's living in a room with a cot, a bare bulb, and a hot plate. It is perfectly conceivable that someone broke in to look for something portable to hock and unfamiliar (as Elizabeth conjectures) with the house, and happened in on Vicki's room. Yes, I know she's actually right in this instance and it was someone trying to silence her, but it is perfectly feasible to suppose otherwise.

Matthew implies Vicki's nuts. He's locked up the house so prowlers must be out of the question, which I find laughable. It's part and parcel of a general bizarre myth that we will hear time and time again on DS. Now I realize that the majority of viewers don't and didn't live in palatial mansions, but I'm guessing that almost every person watching who lives in a semi-detached or detached house possesses at least two doors. If you're living in an apartment, you usually have two methods of egress from any dwelling space. There are windows. There are fire escapes. I'm no architect but I do know that large mansions usually possess two doors at the very least--if only because in the good old days rich people did not like to be bothered with servants and deliverymen. We know there are multiple doors at Collinwood. Hell, we've seen them. For some reason on DS, it's perfectly plausible for there to be umpteen million secret passageways but it's totally impossible for there to be a back door.

And Matthew? Hello? Burglars don't usually worry too much about locks. We're supposed to believe that someone couldn't have a smashed a window without being heard?

But I digress. He goes to look into deadbolts and Elizabeth suddenly thinks that the door to the west wing could have been unlocked. Vicki takes this chance to call Burke (not in) and then Sam, who wants to meet with her. A meeting place (Blue Whale), time (after dark) and topic (Betty Hanscombe) are established.

Hours pass. Now it's late and Roger and his Mustang pull up to the house. Liz wants to talk about Vicki. Roger again impugns Vicki's grasp on reality. Matthew happens in just as Roger is explaining that Vicki claims to know who killed Bill.

Blue Whale. It's an exercise in frustration for both parties. Vicki cannot shut up about the attempted B&E. Sam is really much more interested in her providing detail about what she told Maggie and what she knows. Vicki really wants to know what he knows about Betty Hanscombe. Since he doesn't know zip and she's not going to risk her lock on gothic heroine of the month by helping to shed light on this stupid story, it's a stalemate.

And then Vicki's going home when a car tries to run her off the road.

End episode? Hell no, because that would be too dramatic. Instead we see the aftermath which is Elizabeth comforting Vicki. She'd like to call the police, but again Vicki says no. What could they do? Oh, I dunno, Vicki, they could get your description of the car, maybe rule out certain parties, have a patrol car making more regular rounds. Then you could relay your knowledge to the authorities and suddenly your life wouldn't be at risk. But that would be too damn easy.

We end with Liz making her take a sleeping pill.

Yeah, I don't get that as a cliffhanger either.
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Offline michael c

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Re: Out of the Frying Pan -- Episodes 103 & 104
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2006, 07:09:13 PM »
the 'cliff-hanger-within-the-episode' thing is some really bizzare storytelling. ::)

when i watched these episodes i really enjoyed them but reading these summations remind me of how mind-bogglingly boring they could be.

when mpi does release these on dvd i wonder what the reaction will be from people who have only seen the 1967 and on episodes.
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