The final Night Gallery review, of the vignette “Witches’ Feast” is reviewed here, but a brief afterward is still to come.

The final Night Gallery segment to review, this comic vignette actually manages to be somewhat amusing. “Witches’ Feast” is reviewed here.

“Witches’ Feast” **1/2

Written by Gene Kearney
Directed by Jerrold Freedman
Agnes Moorehead as Head Witch
Ruth Buzzi as Hungry Witch
Fran Ryan as Third Witch
Alision McKay as Fourth Witch

Originally airing at the end of the second season episode that featured “Class of ’99,” this comic vignette was replaced in its repeat airing, and on the second season DVD with “Satisfaction Guaranteed,” in my opinion, a slightly less-successful segment.

Three witches in heavy makeup, including Agnes Moorehead and Ruth Buzzi, cackle and howl their way around a bubbling cauldron as they toss in odd bits to be consumed in the final stew. Ruth Buzzi’s witch is famished to the point of hysteria as they await the arrival of a fourth with one final ingredient.

The final witch arrives and out of a brown paper bag, she produces—sandwiches from a deli. “Now who had ham on rye?” she asks.

What could have been the usual quickie clunker is stretched out to five minutes, giving Moorehead and Buzzi time to let us get to know their witches a bit, and we can’t help but smile as we share the fun they obviously had in filming this.

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Night Gallery vignette “Room For One Less” reviewed here

Another weak Night Gallery comic blackout sketch, shot for Season Two but unaired, “Room For One Less” is reviewed here.

“Room For One Less” *

Written and Directed by Jack Laird
Lee Jay Lambert as The Thing
James Metropole as The Elevator Operator

A crowded elevator stops to let in several more people into an already tightly-filled car, some of whom are turned away by the operator. We then see a large bulbous-headed creature, to whom the operator points out a sign saying “Occupancy by more than 10 passengers prohibited by law.”

The creature says in a sophisticated accent, “Quite,” and points a long-nailed finger at operator, shooting a laser and obliterating him.

Sigh. No comment necessary.

Night Gallery story “Die Now, Pay Later” reviewed here

Two segments shot for Night Gallery’s second season, but unaired, made their way into the syndication package. The first, “Die Now, Pay Later” is reviewed here.

“Die Now, Pay Later” *1/2

Teleplay by Jack Laird
Based on the short story “Year End Clearance” by Mary Linn Roby
Directed by Timothy Galfas
Will Geer as Walt Peckinpah
Slim Pickens as Sheriff Ned Harlow

Funeral director Walt Peckinpah (Will Geer) is holding a January clearance sale and not coincidentally the death rate in his town of Taunton, Massachusetts has skyrocketed over the month. Sheriff Ned Harlow (Slim Pickens), a southern translplant, is durned agitated over what he sees as a connection and drops by the funeral parlor to confront the director.

Peckinpah, a gentlemanly sort, breezily points out that all sorts of other businesspeople run similar sales. The sheriff, worked up into the type of lather that only Slim Pickens can offer, points out that many of these recent deaths were of people who were long wanted dead by other town residents.

And according to Mrs. Harlow, Peckinpah has relatives in Salem and is a descendent of a warlock who was burned at the stake many years ago. Peckinpah is bemused at the assertion, but Harlow is worried that if the sale doesn’t end, his wife will spread a rumor around town that the funeral director is somehow casting spells and causing these long-simmering feuds to spill over into murder.

The phone rings, and it’s Harlow’s wife, calling to scold the sheriff for stopping in to see Peckinpah. Stung by the tongue-lashing, he looks sheepishly at Peckinpah, who helpfully suggests that “it wouldn’t hurt all that much to let the sale go on one more day, would it? Might even help.” The sheriff grudgingly nods his assent.

A comic blackout sketch stretched to over ten minutes, this is pretty thin gruel, made more palatable by Geer and to a lesser degree Pickens, doing his typical schtick.

Night Gallery story “How to Cure the Common Vampire” reviewed here

Night Gallery concluded its run with this “comic” blackout sketch, but don’t worry, there are a few “missing” segments left to cover. For now, “How to Cure the Common Vampire” is reviewed here.

“How to Cure the Common Vampire” *

Written & Directed by Jack Laird
Richard Deacon as the Man with the Mallet
Johnny Brown as the Man with the Stake

A two-minute quickie to end the series’ run, “How to Cure the Common Vampire” gives us a crew of vampire hunters as they approach a coffin deep in a rocky subterranean basement. Or dungeon. As they open the coffin’s lid, we hear the loud snores of its inhabitant. A large stake is solemnly passed to a man with a mallet. As the would-be executioner is about to do his deed, he turns to the other man and nervously asks, “Are you sure?” to which the other man replies, “Well, it couldn’t hurt.” Ha ha. End of series. But as I said, a few more tidbits to come…

Night Gallery story “Hatred Unto Death” reviewed here

An anthropologist brings a gorilla back from the African veldt to settle a mano-a-mano grudge going back perhaps millennia in the ridiculous Night Gallery story “Hatred Unto Death,” reviewed here.

Season 3 Episode 15—aired 5/27/73

“Hatred Unto Death” ½*

Teleplay by Halsted Welles • Story by Milton Geiger
Directed by Gerald Perry Finnerman
Steve Forrest as Grant Wilson
Dina Merrill as Ruth Wilson
Fernando Lamas as Dr. Ramirez
George Barrows as N’gi
Caro Kenyatta as the First Native
Ed Rue as the Second Native
David Tyrone as the Third Native

Rather than going out with a bang, Night Gallery went out with a colossal thud. The series had its uneven moments, but apart from the silly one- or two-minute blackout sketches, most of the fuller-length stories had at least some redeeming qualities to them. Not so with the major story in this, the final episode of Night Gallery, broadcast May 27, 1973.

“Hatred Unto Death” begins with married anthropologist couple Grant and Ruth Wilson driving through the African veldt. They come upon some natives who have trapped a gorilla in a dugout pit. As the two peer down at the gorilla, the gorilla takes note of them as well. It seems to like Ruth but appears to have a strong dislike for Grant. Grant, in turn, feels a big heap of dislike for the gorilla, sensing something more than just an angry ape caught in a trap.

Breaking with the conventions of his profession, Grant decides to capture the gorilla and bring it back to an American museum for “study.” Ruth strongly protests, arguing they should release the beast.

They return to the U.S. and go to the museum where the gorilla is being kept. Their colleague, Dr. Ramirez (Fernando Lamas) shares a theory with Grant whereby beings are reincarnated again and again, thus offering the possibility that the gorilla and Grant were adversaries long, long ago and that they can both sense that, and feel the need to confront that, in their current incarnations.

The men leave and Ruth stays behind with the caged gorilla, telling him a tale of two apes who fought for the love of a female. The gorilla gets upset, either by the story or his caged surroundings, or perhaps by the wooden performance of Dina Merrill as Ruth.

Ruth unlocks the cage to comfort the beast and it escapes, going into a rage. She desperately phones Grant, who is working in his nearby office and he rushes over with a pistol.

A cat and mouse game between the old adversaries commences in a nearby storage area, allowing for hiding behind crates and taking cover while shooting the pistol. Grant hits the gorilla several times, slowing it, then finally seems to deliver a fatal gunshot with his final round.

Relieved, Grant turns back to Ruth, but the gorilla has one last burst of life in him and he picks Grant up and slams him down, impaling him on a set of animal horns, thus winning the battle this time around. I have no desire whatsoever to see the next round.

What can be said about this mess? Steve Forrest, who was so good in Season Two’s “The Waiting Room,” here can’t do much with a character who is forced to act in completely irrational ways. The script is a total embarrassment. Halsted Welles had done much, much better on Night Gallery before. Longtime cinematographer Gerald Finnerman was given the thankless task of directing and shows why he should have stuck to photographing the episodes. By far the worst of the fuller-length Night Gallery stories. And to cap the final episode off, another blackout sketch would follow to fill out the half-hour.

Night Gallery story “The Doll of Death” reviewed here

Another Night Gallery voodoo tale, much better than “Lagoda’s Heads,” not nearly as good as “The Doll,” “The Doll of Death” lies squarely in the middle and is reviewed here.

Season 3 Episode 14—aired 5/20/73

“The Doll of Death” ***

Teleplay by Jack Guss • Story by Vivian Meik
Directed by John Badham
Susan Strasberg as Sheila Trent
Alejandro Rey as Raphael
Murray Matheson as Dr. Strang
Barry Atwater as Alec Brandon
Jean Durand as Andrew
Henry Brandon as Vereker

Late-middle-aged Brit Alec Brandon (Barry Atwater) is about to tie the knot with younger trophy wife Sheila Trent (Susan Strasberg) in a lavish ceremony at the plantation he owns in the British West Indies. As his well-to-do guests are milling about before the nuptials are about to begin, in rides upon a horse a swarthy, mustachioed young man with a sexy Spanish accent who literally sweeps his bride-to-be off her feet.

The man is Raphael (Alejandro Rey), a former lover of Sheila’s, and Brandon will not stand idly by after this extraordinarily humiliating episode. Via his West Indian valet, Andrew (Jean Durand), Brandon arranges to procure a doll from a local voodoo priest to exact his revenge upon Raphael.

Blissfully ignorant of her ex-fiancee’s plans, Sheila takes up with Raphael on his boat where they spend some romantic, and suggestively carnal, time on and below deck. Their bliss is violently interrupted when Raphael convulses in spasms of pain and then shows red marks on his back, in the distinctive shape of hands. Sheila strongly suspects that this is the work of her ex.

She enlists the aid of Brandon’s physician friend Dr. Strang (Murray Matheson). Sporting a fabulously floppy grey hairstyle, Strang pays a house (boat) call and examines Raphael. His examination comes up empty and as a friend of Brandon’s, he vouches for the elder gent’s character and refuses to believe he had anything to do with what has mysteriously stricken Sheila’s young lover.

Fearful for Raphael’s life, Sheila sneaks into the plantation’s servants’ quarters and seeks out Andrew, whom she finds near death as he has been poisoned by Brandon when the owner discovered Andrew’s attempts to thwart his boss’s voodoo efforts. Andrew gives her a ring of Brandon’s, which, if placed on the doll, will break the spell—and likely spell doom for Brandon.

As she descends the stairs, she is confronted by Brandon. He sees through her attempts at a cover story and offers her one final chance to embrace the doll (and embrace Raphael) before he finishes off his rival.

Brandon raises the doll and smashes its head down on a table, and he immediately suffers an agonizing pain, which is in fact a mortal blow, and he crumples onto the floor. Sheila had surreptitiously placed the ring on the doll and when we see him lie dead on the floor next to it, we see the ring on the doll’s finger.

I realize writing this that it sounds sillier than a three-star episode and perhaps for some it is, but I enjoyed it. Susan Strasberg is not an actress who normally would come to mind for a sensual role such as this, but I found her fairly captivating. The story is also well-directed by series pro John Badham in his final outing before going on to bigger and better things such as War Games in 1983.

Night Gallery story “Whisper” reviewed here

Sally Field in a pre-Sybil multiple-personality role co-stars with Dean Stockwell in the Night Gallery story “Whisper” reviewed here.

Season 3 Episode 13—aired 5/13/73

“Whisper” ***1/2

Teleplay by David Rayfiel • Story by Martin Waddell
Directed by Jeannot Szwarc
Dean Stockwell as Charlie Evens
Sally Field as Irene Evens
Kent Smith as Dr. Kennaway

A high-point of the final season, “Whisper” reminds one of the good old days of the first two seasons with its serious, complex script and performances along with direction by Jeannot Szwarc that make it instantly recognizable as a “late” production with his very interesting decision to have on-screen narration that is at times spoken by Dean Stockwell’s character directly to the camera. A challenging episode, not completely successful, but this is what Night Gallery could and did do in its finest, most ambitious moments.

Field and Stockwell play young married couple Irene and Charlie Evans. Charlie, an architect by trade, has recently given up his profession and moved with his wife to rural Mississippi to, simply stated, try to make Irene herself again.

Irene channels the personalities of deceased people. She is not completely taken over by these voices and, in fact, Charlie accepts this in a way as part of her makeup. He finds it charming to a degree and is a most, perhaps, too, understanding of a husband.

Lately, however, the “occupants” inside Irene have become more insistent, more dominant. Irene always “comes back” from these experiences but of late, they have been harder to shake.

Some of this is explained by Charlie in voice-over narration which he delivers facing the camera. It is a highly unusual directorial gambit by Jeannot Szwarc, the kind of experimentation that was seen onscreen in its time (the mid-1970s).

Irene becomes frustrated by her inability to fully understand what the voice in her head, particularly a young mother named Rachel, are asking of her, and after one such attempt to get some clear answer regarding Rachel’s insistence at a cemetery that she track down some summer house, she agrees to leave with Charlie, to try to get away from the voices.

On the night before they are to leave, while enjoying a fine last dinner at home, Irene suddenly leaves the dinner table and goes outside. Charlie follows her into a nearby wooded area where he finds Irene who is speaking in a southern accent, referring to him as “Johnny.” She is now channeling Rachel.

She asks for Johnny’s assistance in pulling some stones away from a pile that seems to have been made by people in order to conceal something. After she is satisfied with his work, she opens her shawl to produce a perhaps two-foot bundle wrapped in cloth.

She says that it is their baby and that it deserves a proper burial this time. Charlie, getting more concerned at this scene, tries to open the cloth to see what is truly inside—perhaps a dead cat?—but Irene/Rachel forbids him.

She tells him to finish the job and, as she is tired, she retreats to a nearby bench to watch him finish. He places the bundle inside the rocky tomb, replaces the stones and returns to his wife, hoping that she will once again be Irene and no longer Rachel.

When he gets to the bench, he reaches out to her, but she falls back and we hear her voice say “Oh, Charlie, I can’t get back. I can’t get back!”

For me, this was some highly satisfying mid-70s cinema, truly ahead of its time, shot in late 1972. Jeannot Szwarc is to be highly complimented for what he did with this script. Sallie Field would go on to perfect this performance in the highly acclaimed tv movie Sybil a few years later. Although if I were Dean Stockwell’s character I would have been more concerned about my wife’s mental situation, but hey, I guess in the early/mid 70s things were different, at least in the realm of supernatural television.

Night Gallery story “Death on a Barge” reviewed here

Leonard Nimoy, in his directorial debut, does what he can with yet another Night Gallery vampire story, this one “Death on a Barge,” starring Leslie Ann Warren and reviewed here.

Season 3 Episode 12—aired 3/3/73

“Death on a Barge” **1/2

Teleplay by Halsted Welles • Story “The Canal” by Everil Worrill
Directed by Leonard Nimoy
Lesley Ann Warren as Hyacinth
Robert Pratt as Ron
Lou Antonio as Jake
Brooke Bundy as Phyllis
Jim Boles as Hyacinth’s Father
Artie Spain as the Coastguardsman
Dorothy Konrad as Customer No. 33
De De Young as Customer No. 32

Night Gallery aired stories dealing with vampirism many times, often in “comic” blackout sketches. This is one of the full-length serious stabs at the genre and it has mixed results. The high point is the casting of Leslie Ann Warren as Hyacinth, a beautiful young woman who spends her nights on deck of the barge she shares with her father, which is tethered ashore in a small fishing village.

Often shot in gauzy compositions by first-time director Leonard Nimoy, Warren is meant to portray a dangerous, unattainable object of desire, and she certainly possesses the ability to communicate that. Barefoot, in a flowing white dress and with a face that could have launched a thousand barges, one can easily see why young fishmonger Ron (Robert Pratt) awakes at midnight after an early day’s work to come to the dock to try to get to know her better.

She keeps him at arm’s length, she on the barge, and he across a span of perhaps fifteen feet of water. She is at first coy as to the reasons why she won’t let him come aboard or why she won’t disembark her vessel, but one night, after Ron’s girlfriend Phyllis (Brooke Bundy) follows Ron on his nocturnal visit and climbs aboard the barge to find Hyacinth climbing into a crypt to sleep near dawn, the reason becomes clear.

Hyacinth attacks Phyllis and as Phyllis escapes the barge’s underneath into the dawn’s early light, Hyacinth reacts in agony as the sun’s rays fall upon her. Later, at the living quarters Ron shares with his co-worker Jake (Lou Antonio), Phyllis reads up on both the history of Hyacinth and her father and also the subject of vampirism.

News accounts describe that Hyacinth and her father lived in a nearby town where some unexplained murders occurred—murders which resulted in mutilation and exsanguination—the tell-tale signs of vampirism. Ron and Jake scoff at this, but Ron’s curiosity is piqued and also, he wouldn’t mind another excuse to visit Hyacinth, so he goes to her and confronts her with these suspicions.

She admits that she’s a vampire and that she wants Ron as much as he wants her. Only, if he gives himself to her, it will mean the death of him. As they are an inch from embracing, Ron pulls away—his survival instinct trumps is sexual drive—and he leaves.

Jake, however, has followed Ron, and he sees how immensely attractive Hyacinth is (what man wouldn’t) and he either doesn’t believe she’s a vampire or doesn’t care, and he ends up dead.

Later, Ron returns near dawn to destroy Hyacinth for the good of humanity, despite his overwhelming desire. He wants to take her out into the sunlight but Hyacinth surprises him by insisting he drive a stake through her heart instead. Her lover for him (hard as it may be to understand, given that as portrayed by Robert Pratt, he ain’t no great catch) has made her decide to end her killing ways, natural though they may be to her.

Ron has the stake positioned over her heart but can’t carry out the act and is about to finally submit to her deathly kiss when Hyacinth’s father suddenly comes upon the scene, and in a big surprise, rather than fighting Ron off, he finishes the act of driving the stake through his daughter’s heart himself. Hyacinth then dissolves into a skeleton as we fade to black.

Some good and some bad in this tale. In addition to Leslie Ann Warren, the good includes some clever compositions from Nimoy. The bad, in addition to Robert Pratt’s uninspiring performance, include an opening scene that is one of the worst attempts at “day for night” shooting I have ever seen. It does not look at all like nighttime, but the gauzy compositions do give it a certain quality that I thought signaled something otherworldly which was unintended.

Night Gallery story “Something in the Woodwork” reviewed here

Geraldine Page plays a lonely, alcoholic ex-wife in her third Night Gallery appearance, and she’s the reason to see this one, titled “Something in the Woodwork” and reviewed here.

Season 3 Episode 11—aired 1/14/73

“Something in the Woodwork” **1/2

Teleplay by Rod Serling • Story “Housebound” by R. Chetwynd-Hayes
Directed by Edward M. Abroms
Geraldine Page as Molly Wheatland
Leif Erickson as Charlie Wheatland
Paul Jenkins as Joe Wilson
Jonathan McMurtry as Jamie Dilman
Barbara Rhoades as Julie

Molly Wheatland (Geraldine Page), divorced from her husband Charlie (Leif Erickson), has recently moved into a bargain-priced house, the low asking price being due to its supposedly being haunted (yes, another Night Gallery haunted house story).

A handyman, Joe (Paul Jenkins) has just finished up some work and Molly, desperate for company, insists he stay for a cup of coffee and conversation. Joe is anxious to leave, sensing how clingy (and drunk) Molly is. She wants him to do one more thing before he leaves—open a door to the attic. Joe has heard the stories of how the house is haunted (a bank robber was shot to death by police there years ago), but reluctantly agrees to her request.

Molly then wanders the attic and comes upon a spirit. Sadly, the spirit is realized in a most low-budget and therefore non-frightening way. We vaguely see it in a mirror and for whatever reason director Edward M. Abroms has the actor speak in a dull monotone—not scary, merely disinterested.

To seek vengeance upon the man who left her alone, Molly invites her ex-husband over to surprise him for his birthday, but he can’t stay as he has a young woman waiting for him in the car. This infuriates Molly, whose jealously kicks into overdrive. She claims she didn’t really want him to stay, that she has friends of her own and doesn’t need his company.

Charlie, her ex, thinks she’s gone off the deep end (correctly) and says he will be back sometime soon to try to get her the help she obviously needs. Molly retreats to the attic and asks the spirit living in the woodwork there for help. The spirit’s response? A monotone “leave me alone.” Molly says that unless the spirit helps her, she’ll burn down the house and the spirit with it. The spirit doesn’t know what to do—not a truly malevolent spirit, really just a disinterested one. Molly helpfully suggests “frighten him to death.”

When Charlie next arrives, he flat-out tells her that she’s insane. She denies this and dares him to go up to the attic. Humoring her, Charlie agrees. We hear a cry and the sound of a body collapsing to the floor. Molly, satisfied, pours herself another martini, then she hears the sound of feet descending the stairs. When she looks up, she sees that it is Charlie, seeming to be in a sort of trance.

He speaks, but it is the monotone voice of the spirit who says, “Charlie is no longer with us, Mrs. Wheatland. He’s in the attic room, moving around, getting used to things. Why didn’t you leave me alone? There was peace in the woodwork.”

Then Charlie (the spirit) descends toward Molly who lets out a scream as we end in freeze frame.

Another fairly dreadful third season tale, enlivened only by another terrific performance from Geraldine Page. Three appearances, three completely different roles (well, this one is a bit like her role in “Stop Killing Me”); Geraldine Page was one terrific actress.

Night Gallery story “The Ring with the Red Velvet Ropes” reviewed here

After a boxer wins the heavyweight championship, he finds himself transported to another reality where he must fight again in the Night Gallery story “The Ring with the Red Velvet Ropes,” reviewed here.

Season 3 Episode 10—aired 1/7/73

“The Ring with the Red Velvet Ropes” **

Teleplay by Robert Malcolm Young • Story “The Ring with the Velvet Ropes” by Edward D. Hoch
Directed by Jeannot Szwarc
Gary Lockwood as Jim Figg
Chuck Connors as Roderick Blanco
Joan van Ark as Sandra Blanco
Ralph Manza as Max
Charles Davis as Hayes
Ji-Tu Cumbuka as Big Dan Anger
James Bacon as the Second Reporter
Frankie Van as the Referee

“The Ring with the Red Velvet Ropes” begins strongly with a premise straight out of The Twilight Zone, setting us up for a moral payoff which never comes. Heavyweight boxer Jim Figg (Gary Lockwood, one of the two astronauts in 2001: A Space Odyssey) has just won the title. As his manager is shooing away the press from the dressing room, the man who Jim just defeated, previous champion “Big” Dan Anger, appears to him, his face beaten and swollen, and tells Jim that he’s no more the champion than he, Big Dan, was, suggesting something about the fight may not have been on the up-and-up.

Jim is disturbed by this cryptic comment and disturbed even more so when his manager returns and informs him that Big Dan was taken straight to the hospital after the bout for surgery, meaning he couldn’t have just spoken to Jim.

Jim’s manager tells the newly-crowned champ to hit the shower. When he emerges from the shower, he finds that he is no longer in the arena’s dressing room, but rather in what seems to be an opulent hotel suite. An attendant hands him a towel and seems to expect Jim’s presence. Jim questions the man but can get no answers as to where he is or what’s going on.

Jim suspects he’s been kidnapped when the attendant informs him that he is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Roderick Blanco and he meets Sandra Blanco (Joan Van Ark, quite sexy), who is similarly evasive as to the reasons for Jim’s being there. She tells him he must fight her husband, a former champion.

Roderick (Chuck Conners, looking menacing, but at times given lines that make him seem ridiculous), takes Jim to a ring of fire where he explains that no one has ever defeated him. Jim just plays along.

Asleep before the bout, Sandra visits Jim in his bedroom, telling him to lose to Roderick, suggesting that it would be better for him that was. No one yet has defeated Roderick, but she thinks Jim has the ability to do so, yet she urges him to lose. He replies that he’s never thrown a match and he’s not about to start.

That match takes place in an eerie private scene where Sandra and the other house staff watch. The bout goes many rounds, and though one would imagine Lockwood and Connors had the physical ability to box for the screen, director Jeannot Szwarc gives us shot after shot of their bout in closeup, suggesting that stunt doubles did most of the fighting, diminishing the impact of this scene. As good as Szwarc was directing this series, here, he’s not at the top of his game.

The match finally ends with a knockout in favor of Jim Figgs. The referee announces. The champion is dead. Long live the champion.” The silent house staff rise from their seats to honor the new champion. Figgs looks down at Blanco’s beaten, swollen face, much like Big Dan’s from the previous bout, but here the similarities end. Blanco’s face and body wither and decay and he becomes a skeletal corpse on the boxing ring’s mat.

“Who was he,” Figg wonders in astonishment. The attendant answers, “he was the real champion,” having first won in 1861—over a century prior. He’d defended his title successfully ever since, until this bout. It now becomes clear that Jim will replace Blanco as the “host” who must attempt to defeat each successive champion.

This story is hugely disappointing given its start. It makes no attempt to explain the supernatural element in it. Namely: why is any of this happening? What is this attempting to say about Jim’s fight or boxing in general? I have no idea and apparently neither did Robert Malcolm Young, the scriptwriter, or director Jeannot Szwarc. Another third season dud.