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Friday, December 23, 2005

1.12 --- If She Dies

Directed by : John Hancock
Written by : David Bennett Carren
Starring : Tony Lo Bianco, Andrea Barber, Jenny Lewis, Nan Martin
First aired : 25th of October, 1985.

Paul Marano (Tony Lo Bianco, The French Connection, F.I.S.T.) is a widower, taking care of his little daughter Cathy (Andrea Barber) after his wife died in a car crash a year ago. One morning, on his birthday, he is taking Cathy to school when a careless biker forces him to suddenly swerve and crash into a parked car.

Paul escapes unscathed, but Cathy is not so fortunate - she lands in coma. Being told by the doctors that hope is slim, he leaves the hospital crushed. Suddenly, Paul sees a little girl (Jenny Lewis) on a roof of a nearby building. He runs towards it, but is confronted by a nun (Nan Martin) who informs him that the building is a former orphanage being torn down, and that there is no little girl on the rooftop. The nun tries to sell Paul some remains from the orphanage, which Paul declines, but after the image of same little girl reappears in a swing and points her finger to an antique children's bed, he reverses his decision and buys it.

Back home, Paul places the bed in Cathy's room, and goes to sleep. In the middle of the night, he is awakened by the little girl, whose pale face and cold touch give away the fact she is a ghost. She asks Paul to escort her to her bed, saying how she can't find a certain Toby, and that she can't sleep without him. Paul takes her to Cathy's bedroom and tucks her in, finding out her name is Sarah. He sits next to her, but after briefly turning his head into another direction and then looking back at the bed, she disappears.

The next morning, Paul pays a visit to the new orphanage, trying to trace the nun who sold him the bed. She is surprised to hear that he knows of Sarah, who died from tuberculosis many years ago. Nobody wanted to sleep in her bed after she passed away, so it was put down in the old orphanage basement, and resurfaced after the moving. Toby, on the other hand, is a teddy bear Sarah loved so much. Paul asks the nun to give him the teddy, but she refuses, saying she keeps it as a memento. He manages to convince her that Toby might help him somehow, and she eventually gives in.

Thinking how Sarah's restless soul might give his own daughter a new shot at life, Paul takes Cathy from the hospital and brings her home, putting her in Sarah's bed. Night passes, and dawn brings no changes - Toby is intact, and Cathy still inanimate. Paul, now completely defeated, stumbles around the room in despair, until he hears Cathy calling him. He looks behind him to the bed and sees his daughter alive and well, smiling. But, before he can say a thing, she asks him to hand her Toby. Paul, realising Sarah's spirit is now laid to rest, happily obliges.

***

An interesting, atmospheric little ghost story directed by John Hancock, If She Dies is a worthy Twilight Zone entry, if nothing special. Both child actors do their roles good, especially Jenny Lewis as the ghoulish Sarah. Andrea Barber, who later played Kimmy Gibbler in Full House, is mostly resigned to playing dead, but her speaking parts work as well. Lo Bianco's performance is solid, save for the bit in hospital, where his emotional outburst looks, well...acted.

TZ Trivia : Nan Martin is a returning TZoner, having played in a classic TZ episode The Incredible World of Horace Ford (18th of April, 1963.)

Comments on "1.12 --- If She Dies"

 

Blogger Shawn said ... (11:15 PM) : 

I think I disagree with your conclusion about the ending of the episode... Despite the tender, sweet music, the acting of the father at the end seemed more like horror at his daughter knowing the name of Toby, and it seemed much more like the ghost girl possessed his comatose daughter so that she could live again herself. At best, one might say that the ghost merged with his daughter, because there would really be no way she would know and want to hold the ghost's favourite doll, unless she either was fully possessed or partially merged with the ghost.

 

Blogger Tim said ... (2:29 AM) : 

I read this the same way as Shawn - I thought the ghost had managed to take over the daughter's body in her weakened state, the evidence for this being that she knew the doll's name, and the decidedly sinister freeze-frame on her face at the end there.

 

Blogger motioninvisibles said ... (10:57 AM) : 

Maybe the daughter was a reincarnation of the ghost?

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:30 PM) : 

Actually the ending made no sense. Because one could assume the daughter died in the middle of the night and the ghost girl took over her body. But what throws it all out of whack is the fact the girl called out "daddy" when she woke up. And she acted just like she did before the coma. So one could assume either way because it made no sense. Just a stupid ? ending.

 

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