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 Review The Night of the Legion of Death
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1438 Posts

Posted - 02/14/2006 :  19:49:48  Show Profile



Disclaimer: This is one of my favorites so you know that will effect my score.

This story examines power and the corruption and abuse of power. Part of that power is through the Black Legion who does what it wants. The leader Captain Dansby uses his position to intimidate the populace. We are dropped into the story as Artie in the disguise of Aaron Addison is about to be hanged. Not until you hear him speak does it become obvious that it is Artie in disguise. Jim rescues him by shooting a drug into him that resembles death. Susan e. Kesler in her book finds it a problem that the writers have West and Gordon having a ball at their jobs. It is exactly this reason that I enjoy the episode so much.

“There will be two of us? Won’t there?”

The scene in the mortuary is priceless with that slight overdose and Artie having his noodles scrambled. Tonian Matchinga makes her second appearance and like her first she tends to over play the scene but despite that I like watching her. I think that she make the most appearances (3) in WWW than any other actress. She was perfect for this part. She played the woman behind the scenes very well. Brubaker as the puppet is done very well. We don’t learn until the rally exactly what Deke Montgomery is up to. His rally cry “Statehood or independence”. Anthony Zerbe who plays this underling role is terrific and makes this episode believable. The trial is a hoot all the way through from Jim defending himself, Artie coming to his defense and the vacating of the room after the verdict. This is a very satisfying episode.

Besides the story there are other things going on. This is the episode that Robert Conrad decided to cut his hair. Whenever he enters the tunnel at one end it shorter than when he reaches the other end. The fight that occurs just after the trial it is obvious that the poor stuntman was trying to find the door but was in the wrong place. RC just grabs him and pushes him through. Speaking of that fight, I wonder what injury was received when whoever fell from the balcony to the table. It looked like he missed grabbing the balcony. I thought that it was RC but now I wonder if it was a double. One thing that bothers me is the conversation that Jim and Artie have after the trial and Artie is changing. It seems to me that they were not together filming this and just seems timed wrong.

Did I say already that this is one of my favorite episodes???


Herr Ostropolyer
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
209 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2006 :  15:07:42  Show Profile
Hey couldron,
Great review as always. I too enjoyed TNOT Legion of Death, and have to disagree with Kessler who feels that RC and RM are "spoofing" their characters by enjoying themselves. I am greatful that RC and RM are truly enjoying themselves this deep into the 3rd season of our favorite show. Just picture if WWW was running today, RC and RM may have been like James Gandolfini (SP?) and not like playing their parts anymore, or would feel typecast. That is the one thing that is lacking in any of the WWW bibles, I wonder how much of a raise the duo got each year as the series progressed? If anyone knows, please let us know.

TNOT Legion of Death is action packed, from Jim on the run after "Killing" Addison, to saving Artie from the mortuary, to trying to arrest the mcguffin (Brubaker). I always loved the episodes that have impossible plots ala TNOT Casual Killer, TNOT Assassins, TNOT Bubbling Death, and TNOT Big Blackmail. TNOT Legion of Death fits this criteria to a tee with Brubaker being the tyranical head of a settlement demanding statehood. Then once our heroes grab Brubaker, we find the real truth that he is nothing more than the handsome face or puppet of the cunning Deke Montgomery.

Kudos for Anthony Zerbe, he is the only actor that can bring pathos to the disfigured, but ingenious Montogomery. I actually feel for the guy once he tries to win over the masses, who cannot see beyond his ugliness. True, he is out of his mind and politically dangerous, but you still feel for him.

However, TNOT Legion of Death is very believable here due to the great cast. Toian Matchinga, without doubt gets one of the longest and dear I say it sexiest kisses from our Hero. Every time I see the scene in the gazebo, it gives me goosebumps, plus it shows just how wicked she was in that she didn't want Brubaker either. Kent Smith is wonderful as Brubaker, and I must give him credit because he was truly believable as a babbling idiot. Donnely Rhodes' Captain Dansby is truly the scum of the earth. I like his character here more than the character he played in TNOT Cossacks. However, Donnely may have been more effective if Karen Jensen as Catherine Kittridge wasn't so cold and wooden. I never felt bad for her plight and felt the actress played this character far too strongly. I feel that if she was a twinge bit more uncertain or even naive she would have easily won me over, but as far as damsels go this time around I have to go for Henriette Fauer.

Our boys are on top marks once again and I love how they are enjoying the script, I just love the pricelessness of Artie as Addison showing up to the trial and thus winning the case for Jim. They maybe overplaying it a little, but let's face it if TNOT Legion of Death did not have the stellar cast going for it, this would have been another forgettable one in the very down to earth 3rd season. Thankfully, its not and for that it gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Herr Ostropolyer

"Hey that did it, that knocked out all the Tapioca out of the ol' noggin." - The fully recovered Artie after falling off the stage coach in TNOT Legion of Death.
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Redhead1617
SS novice field agent

USA
1393 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2006 :  16:46:37  Show Profile  Visit Redhead1617's Homepage
-Hey I've got a bone to pick with you
-me?
-yeah


I must agree with you all the way couldron! Currently this episode tops my favorite list

quote:
Susan e. Kesler in her book finds it a problem that the writers have West and Gordon having a ball at their jobs. It is exactly this reason that I enjoy the episode so much.



ditto on that couldron! Dangerous as their job may be, it is nice to see our boys enjoying themselves, if that's what we're calling it

quote:
The scene in the mortuary is priceless with that slight overdose and Artie having his noodles scrambled.


this scene is indeed priceless instead of Artie saving Jim with the drugs, Jim is saving Artie, a bit of a role reversal (okay, okay, if we go further, Artie set Jim up with the drug and antidote, so Artie is kind of sort of saving himself but Jim is the one putting it in action)

I like the Katherine Kitteridge character, when the captain is in her room and his men searching her house I always feel so sick to my stomach that she had to put up with that. If she gave Jim & Artie away, she'd be convicted for sure, so she had to distract the captain and apologize for slapping him. I'm just really glad he took the headache excuse!!

all in all a fun and exciting episode



~Red

*sigh...where's MY Ross Martin?
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3799 Posts

Posted - 02/26/2006 :  17:51:39  Show Profile
couldron: One thing that bothers me is the conversation that Jim and Artie have after the trial and Artie is changing. It seems to me that they were not together filming this and just seems timed wrong. … This is the episode that Robert Conrad decided to cut his hair. Whenever he enters the tunnel at one end it shorter than when he reaches the other end.

Mary has put her finger on some things that annoy me, too, about this episode. Others are the last two picture-panels of the freeze-frames, which look like they were traced by a kindergartner, and the long shots (in Acts I and II) of the wagon chased by troopers (the latter clad in U.S. Cavalry uniforms, obviously lifted from some unrelated movie). Altogether, there's a lot of typical, third-season sloppiness in execution that knocks a from my rating. In addition, if you factor out the predictable Artie–disguises and West's spontaneously explosive escape-hatch to the livery stable (in the teaser), there's very little that's Wild, much less Wild Wild, in this West.

And yet, this episode has much going for it: a guest cast that is, if not great, then very good; some witty zingers; terrific rapport between Conrad and Martin. Anthony Zerbe is completely convincing as the political puppetmaster, and the script plays fair. In Act I, those slaps he gives across the soldiers' chops—and their quiet submission to them—is a seven-second tip-off that Montgomery is no flunky to be trifled with. And for the last time in the series, in the teaser we get to enjoy Richard Shores's classic fight music from "The Eccentrics."

In my book the best thing about this episode, however, is the realism of its threat. Throughout its history America has flirted with fascism; I very much fear that our present era is another of those flirtations. In a nutshell, that's what this episode is really about—abuse of power and terrorization of the populace by its leaders are the simplest means to that demagogic end. For a welcome change, our heroes have to overthrow, not a zonked-out scientist or pathetic band of bank–robbers, but what Hannah Arendt famously referred to as "the banality of evil." Very rarely does commercial entertainment touch anything that frighteningly close to home. Almost never did The Wild Wild West. But in this episode for once the series got serious—with a disarmingly light touch. That, I think, is why the comedy was heightened for this particular show: so as not to frighten away either the sponsors or the audience. For that, bravo to scriptwriters Dennis and Barret, and give their "Black Legion"

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