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 The Night That Terror Stalked the Town
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1444 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2003 :  09:30:47  Show Profile
Our second encounter with Loveless is not a disappointment. Unlike the previous episodes there are only two women Antoinette and Marie (Jean Hale). One scene with Marie reminds one of the opening cartoon. Loveless is still full of contradictions. He is upset when Voltaire is hit in the tummy by Jim “How can people be so cruel” He does not see that his actions are ultimately the cruelest. Nevertheless, he would not do some things as he protests to Jim “You can’t think that of me that is positively goulish.” We find out in this episode about Jim’s personnel life. We also find out Loveless’s views on Jim. He admires is physical abilities although he is going to kill him or at least try.
We are introduced to more inventions. In particular, the voice machine is unique. It can change sentences around. Loveless records Jim in the “Embalming Room”. When he plays it back for Janice(Chuck O'Breien), the sentence has altered.

This is one of my favorite episodes but there are a few questions that I have. Why did Loveless not ask Janice a personnel question after all Jim wouldn’t know his life story? Why did Artemus know the significance of the kiss to Marie? Artie is not in it enough but he is pivotal. It has the best use of Aunt Maude than any other episode. How could Marie have resisted him?

JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2003 :  09:46:26  Show Profile
This is a good one. I think it’s an unwritten law: if you’re working in the spy/adventure genre you must produce at least one doppelganger episode. Who better than Loveless to handle it? I’ll have to watch it tonight and give a full review later, perhaps tomorrow.

Mr. Phelps
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Elaine
SS 1st assignment - desk job

356 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2003 :  14:47:46  Show Profile
I really like this episode. The teaser is charming and pretty much sets up the problem Artie has whenever Jim is around (despite the fact that this time it is an intentional trap). The same with the tag.

It's no coincidence that Jim's double is named Janus (the ancient two-faced god - see this reference again in TNOT Janus).

Loveless is still at his best. I thought he became a bit too silly in some of his later eps.

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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2003 :  09:37:45  Show Profile
TNT Terror Stalked the Town

This one’s a lot of fun. I mentioned it in my earlier post about this episode; can any spy/adventure show really be complete without a doppelganger episode? “Danger Man” is the only show that comes to mind, although McGoohan did produce a doppelganger episode for “The Prisoner” (“The Schizoid Man”) and many consider that program a sequel to “Danger Man”, that’s an argument for someone else to figure out. However, every other 60’s spy show that I can think of had a “duplicate” episode (some more than one), “The Avengers” (“The Man With Two Shadows,” “Two’s A Crowd,” “They Keep Killing Steed”), “I Spy” (“Will the Real Good Guys Please Stand Up?”), and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” (“The Double Affair”), “Mission: Impossible” (about one or two each season, maybe even a “triplicate” episode!), even “Get Smart” used the device once or twice. Despite the overuse of this plot WWW handles it well, and in their own unique style. The first wise choice was to make it a Loveless episode. After his first encounter with Jim, and subsequent capture, Loveless now loathes Jim West and everything he stands for. Dunn plays his part perfectly full of venom for “Mr. West”, it also makes it more plausible that a man so obsessed as Loveless would go to the trouble of learning every detail of his nemesis’ life, including the name of his childhood doctor’s daughter. A villain-of-the-week could have worked in this story but not as effectively, there would be no emotional investment, as there is with Loveless.

Loveless is also introduced brilliantly in this episode, he is unseen in the teaser and is introduced in a quick jolt in Act I, Jim almost backs into him. I like episodes which keep Loveless’ presence a secret at least through the teaser, as in “TNOT Surreal McCoy”. Voltaire is also back as Loveless right hand man, and Antoinette as his lady friend. Phoebe Dorin never has much to say or do (except sing with Loveless) in the episodes she appears in, however the actress is able to convey something very evil about her, perhaps it’s because she seems so delicate and yet she is involved with Loveless so she must know what an evil person he is, she enjoys it, just look at the way she observes Loveless during Janus’ surgery, while at the same time Voltaire averts his eyes, she is Loveless’ Eva Braun Then we have the cleverly named Janus (two-face) who I feel as if I’ve seen before somewhere else . It’s another smart move using RC’s actual double to play the pre-operation double, the men’s physical resemblance sells the idea that Loveless can really make another Jim West, it’s also a smart move money wise, no need to pay a guest actor for the part just use your stunt crew.

I know I’ve complained about the treatment of Artie’s character in the first season, sometimes I think I might be too harsh, after all it’s not easy producing a television series and this is only the first year. I wouldn’t be surprised if people expected me to feel the same way about the issue here but Artie’s absence does not detract from the episode. Staying with Jim for two full acts gives this entry a more claustrophobic feel. I get the sense that Jim really is in an escape proof predicament with no sense of time passing. When Marie says it’s been 14 days, I believe it. Artie is used minimally but rather well in this episode, his pass at Marie with accent is funny, (he is rebuffed but it’s because Marie is a trap meant for Jim) and in Act III he has no problem at all spotting the ersatz Jim. RM plays the scene on the train between “Jim” (Janus) and Artie as if he’s onto the deception almost from the beginning, after he checks “Jim’s” eye he tests his theory with the Aunt Maude statement, then he says “Just fine, Jim” with a tone in his voice that says: “You can’t fool me.” Artie’s subsequent break-in to Loveless’ compound is done very well without any dialogue and that great theme playing throughout the sequence. RM is such a good actor body language and facial expressions say it all, just look at his expression when he has to dump the whiskey. It’s a cliché but it’s true: There are no small roles only small actors; RM proves this again and again.

The commercial break art is also good. The break for Act I which focuses on Jim’s tombstone is eerie in retrospect (that date), the blocking at the end of Act I with Jim being placed into a coffin and carried off while the funeral march type theme is heard was designed to chill the spine of the viewer but not in the way it does today. The break for Act II is my favorite with Loveless nonchalantly humming his way through surgery, the music captures Loveless’ nature well: a mixture of whimsy and menace. Act III is standard; I think RC appeared in the upper right hand corner more than anyone else. I like the night shot of the train for Act IV, too bad we lose the night scenes when the series switches to color, and I like the Americana type theme that plays over the end of Act IV, and I don’t think it was ever used again. About Artie being able to figure out it’s really Jim in the tag, I guess he figures Marie will know the genuine article.

Overall, a great Loveless episode, a fantastic follow up to his debut. I give it 3 and a half prosthetic noses out of four.


Mr. Phelps
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3908 Posts

Posted - 09/13/2003 :  11:00:49  Show Profile
Elaine: Loveless is still at his best. I thought he became a bit too silly in some of his later eps.

The reason for that, I think, is because his creator, John Kneubuhl, wrote this script and producer Freiberger allowed him control in shaping his character. Even talented actors like Michael Dunn do not plot their episodes and write their own lines.

With others I agree that this is one of the better Loveless episodes. One reason is its simplicity, which allows a small group of actors to do good work. In this episode we also begin to know more about both West and Loveless. (Gone, for instance, is the original notion, suggested in the pilot, that "James West" was a regional code name: in "Terror Stalked" we learn that "James" was a family name. We also learn that Loveless is a teetotaler, phobic about clocks: two traits that fast fall out of the series) When you think about it, this episode shouldn't work as well as it does: West is trapped in the teaser and doesn't escape for a full hour. On the other hand, now a fugitive, Loveless is also trapped in a ghost town of his own redesign. Then, as Mr. P. points out, there's the premise: the tired cliché of the perfect Doppelgänger. (As the series wore, it got even wearier: see "The Big Blast"; "The Pistoleros"). If you're willing to suspend your disbelief, however, the notion works here reasonably well (1) because it is made into the story's center (how difficult it would be to duplicate, then plant, a counterspy for a spy) and (2) because the show again belongs to Michael Dunn, who delivers all those pages of dialogue so delightfully. As in "The Wizard Shook the Earth," Kneubuhl knew that Act IV was stronger for having West outstrategize a brilliant opponent that, physically, he really cannot beat.

Flaws: Other than giving us a slam-bang opening, who's the knife-wielding assailant in the teaser? If he's another Loveless henchman (as Marie suggests but doesn't actually say), then (1) why has he been commissioned to knife West when Loveless is always so solicitous about his captive's well-being until his scheme is complete, and (2) why, over fourteen days of West's absence, doesn't Artemus grill that thug to pick up his missing partner's trail? As Mary points out, Marie's kissing test in Act IV is a silly idea: besides being an old chestnut, Loveless had a foolproof way to distinguish the original from his copy: Ask them both a question about Janus's life that only the impostor could have known. I disagree with Mary about Artemus's pivotal role in tbis episode: his only functions are to be outclassed by West and to search for—but finally not rescue—him. I never thought that the Great Aunt Maude trap, which Janus lays for himself by overreaching, was for Artemus proof that he was dealing with a ringer. The thing that seems to clinch it is Gordon's receipt of a presidential wire expressing concern about West's absence. If you notice, that's why Artemus, carefully and nonchalantly, rolls up the telegraph inquiry he's just received (so that Janus cannot see it). It's also why that scene in Act III ends with Gordon's return to that message: he knows that Janus is lying about having been given "another assignment" two weeks ago, because Washington knows nothing of it.

Nice touches: Marie's well-timed drop of her fan, giving West his opportunity to make his pass (the teaser). The Doctor's new interest in taxidermy and fabricating dummies: the point at which death and imposture meet. The Antoinette and Loveless duet is oddly appropriate for this episode: their song is about a Johnny thought to be bad and bonny. All those sketches and models of West's face in Act II, which are self-acknowledged, obsessive trial runs before the doctor's plastic surgery. Notice, too, in the discreet operation scene that ends Act II how the wormen assisting Dr. Loveless, especially Antoinette, are all steely-eyed professionalism; it's Voltaire who averts his eyes from squeamishness at all the blood! The small throwawy insert (in Act III) of Voltaire's reading "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is whimsical, as is, in a more macbre vein, the doctor's little lecture to Voltaire (in Act IV) on why violence is detestable ("all the noise . . . [that] destroys conversation"). My favorite touch of all: This is the episode in which Richard Markowtiz gave Artemus his perfect theme song, briefly announced in Act III but filling in for the lack of soliloquy by Ross Martin at the top of Act IV.

Out of five faces, let's give this one a double-Janus: BTW: Did anyone else catch the sly reference in this episode to MGM's classic The Wizard of Oz?
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1444 Posts

Posted - 09/14/2003 :  18:07:11  Show Profile
quote:
Did anyone else catch the sly reference in this episode to MGM's classic The Wizard of Oz?


I am not sure about this but are you refering to Loveless comment about Marie that she put her heart into her work and she is so loyal
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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 09/15/2003 :  11:59:01  Show Profile
I don’t have an answer for the Oz reference, must have slipped under my radar, perhaps ccb can enlighten us. I have to compliment ccb for spotting Artie discreetly hiding the message, what a great touch from RM, once again proving that he really just makes the most of it every time, even when he’s given such a small role as in this episode. There will be more of Artie however in the episodes to come, isn’t “TNOT Red-Eyed Madman” next? Who can forget the great Colonel Cross?

Mr. Phelps
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